Monday, December 29, 2014

Anybody else definitely not watch The Interview yet?

I dug it. I could have actually used more vamping; it seems like Franco-Rogen may stick to the script a little more tightly when they don't have a dozen of their best friends to bounce stuff off.  Steph pointed out at least two great parts from the trailer were excised from the final cut.  The editorial discipline might help them connect with a wider audience, but I'm hoping there's a significantly extended version that will be available at some point soon.  Love these incorrigible bastards.

2014 Albums: Not Feeling It

Want to like all these records.  Goes from least to most disappointing. Not even gonna waste time italicizing and bolding.

The Hold Steady- Teeth Dreams
Robyn- Do it Again
Moonface- City Wrecker
Ryan Adams- Ryan Adams
Grouper- Ruins
Sam Smith- In the Lonely Hour
Peaking Lights- Cosmic Voices
Perfume Genius- Too Bright
Jenny Hval & Susanna- Meshes of Voices
Sun Kil Moon- Benji
St. Paul & the Broken Bones (boring on record, embarrassing live, NPR is the worst)
Prince- Art Official Age
Flying Lotus- You're Dead
Ben Frost- Aurora
Prince (3rdEyeGirl)- PlectrumElectrum
Nmesh- Dream Sequins

Friday, December 26, 2014

2014 Albums: Liked But Not Loved

Most liked on top, on down to more generalized affection or interest

Hundred Waters: The Moon Rang Like A Bell
Caribou: Our Love
Spoon: They Want My Soul
The Men: Tomorrow's Hits
Alvvays: Alvvays
Woods: With Light and With Love
The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream
Aphex Twin:Syro
Julianna Barwick: Rosabi EP
A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Sea When Absent
Lana Del Ray: Ultraviolence (I'm playing it straight!  I gotta!)
Operators: EP1
Vashti Bunyan: Heartleap great soundtrack for Twin Peaks S3 tho
Angel Olson: Burn your Fire for No Witnesses
Lewis Baloue: Romantic Times
The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers
Sylvan Esso: Sylvan Esso
FKA Twigs: LP1
Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire For No Witnesses

Sunday, December 21, 2014

2014 Favorite Albums

10. J. Mascis- Tied to a Star $5

9. Zola Jesus- Taiga: "Hollow," "It's Not Over," "Hunger," "Dangerous Days"  love this goth-marching band combo.  Buffy Pop. $10

8  Lewis:  L'amour $10

7. Lykke Li- I Never Learn $15

6. Jessie Ware- Tough Love $20

5. Pallbearer- Foundations of Burden $20

4. Ian William Craig- A Turn of Breath $20

3. Mark McGuire- Along the Way LP and Noctilucence EP $20/$5

2. Todd Terje- It's Album Time $25

1. Future Islands: Singles $50


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Favorite New Television of 2014

Honorable Mention:  Gravity Falls S2
Runner-up:  Portlandia S4

10. The Comeback S2 $5
9.  Silicon Valley S1 $6
8. Nathan for You S2 $10
7. In Review S1 $10
6. Game of Thrones S4 $20

5. Community S5 $27
4. Fargo S1 $28
3. Mad Men S7p1 $29
2. Rick and Morty S1 $30
1. True Detective S1 $35


Ken recommended Nathan For You, and I'm so glad he did.  Steph and I were in a rut and we have loved the first two seasons.  Nathan Fielder is a comedic genius- incredibly creative and unbelievably deadpan.  In Review is a perfect showcase for the incomparable Andy Daly.  I think he's one of the top five people in comedy today and I'm so glad Comedy Central let him go off the deep-end.  I can't recommend either enough.  The Comeback might not be for everybody, but Lisa Kudrow puts on an absolute clinic every episode.  I knew she was the most talented one on Friends, I had no idea she could carry a show so weightlessly.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Not being contrarian or a troll...

...but I finally finished Breaking Bad this year and didn't enjoy it.  Admired it, absolutely, but really had to fight to finish it.  You are free to disregard all future opinions on anything I might share.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Home for the Holidays? Post your Dates! Or I'll post more about Community!

The wife and I shall be in Portland from approximately December 14th through the 20th.

Filler Random Thoughts

We saw the New Pornographers the other night.  Someone needs to fire the garage rock band of schlubs that obfuscates all their songs and the backup chick whose mic was up higher than Neko goddamn Case's.  Dan Bejar didn't disappoint, in that he's as big a dick as I always imagined.

Also off-putting was Sam Beam, who just 'took requests' the whole show, i.e. ignored mothers yelling out for "Woman King" and sad ladies shouting for "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" and just played sorta shitty acoustic versions of his new songs, and a few old ones.  Dude has fallen in love with his own voice, and there is some Narcissus falling into the pond thing going on.

Not disappointing was Charli XCX who put on a fucking barn-burner in an old warehouse for a few hundred STL lucky goofs.  She is cool as it gets and her band of young women was tight as hell.

Califone was also incredible, replicating their perfect album sound and yeah, played The Orchids and Funeral Singers.  Glorious.

Homeland is Glee for people who read The Atlantic Monthly.  It has been bad and painful for so long I'm considering Boardwalking it.  (New phrase I'm developing for 'throwing in the towel,' since boxing is passé.)

Pat has made a rousing comeback in our fantasy football league and is now my pick to win it all.  I feel some soul-hurt, not gonna lie.

I miss you guys, hope to see your faces soon.  Except Pat, who will be gloating.


Favorite phrase ever, full stop.  I think I'm going to open an adult bookstore that only features nude oil paintings from the Enlightenment era.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Top Five Favorite" A Song of Ice and Fire" Audio Recordings by Esteemed Voice Actor Roy Dotrice

I really didn't think I'd like the books as much as the series, but I like them much better, especially when read by ROY FUCKING DOTRICE. So excited for The Winds of Winter.

5. A Clash of Kings
4. A Storm of Swords
3. A Game of Thrones
2. A Feast for Crows (come at me)
1. A Dance with Dragons

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Getting Old, Would Rather See Live Comedy These Days

Maria Bamford is godmode right now, easily a top five American comedian.  See her.
ps Her tourmate Jackie Kashian was fantastic in her own right.

Tig Notaro seems content to tell stories and fuck with the crowd.  She's got survivor's confidence, and the crowd's complete faith.   Delivery and physical comedy were spot-on, joke selection and long anecdotes not as high payoff.  Would have liked a little more discipline, but it was a treat to see her anyhow.

Mike Birbiglia seemed rejuvenated with a lot of new material and more enthusiasm and charisma than last time we saw him, where I think he was (and Scott sure was!) sick of his own stories.  Met him again, had more pleasantly awkward conversation. You would have a good time too.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Community Season 6

Season 5 got some shade thrown at it, and if you really feel like it doesn't continue to justify its existence, then nothing I can say can or should change your mind.  That is a huge bummer, thinking it out-stayed its welcome.  But I'd like to point-out Mr. Harmon had to do a MASSIVE course-correction, deal with the loss of his two best physical comedians, and SAVE THE GODDAMN SHOW all within 13 episodes.  Name another show that has ever done anything like that.

And if your argument wonders aloud where they have to go from here, I think we pretty clearly have come, with extremely economic grace, to the season where we have to deal with Jeff and Annie. Something that happens to mirror what is happening in Mr. Harmon's life.  You think that won't be worth watching?

Even it it would fail, haven't relationships been the weak link in many a great sitcom?  Won't it be exciting to watch it try? Even the mighty 30 Rock shoehorned in a half-dozen uninteresting significant others and cooked up story lines for Julianne Moore or Salma Hayak that didn't justify the minutes away from the writer's room.  Liz's had a better batting average, but we still had Wesley Snipes, repeatedly.  And honestly, don't both the people Jack and Liz settled down with seem more like placeholders that just happened to be there when the story ended?  They couldn't handle a romantic relationship--it is dangerous, messy business, and with both your stars over 40, not something the public is really clamoring for anyway.

But accomplishing a meaningful romantic journey, with already well-established characters is a truly difficult challenge, but so valuable.  Think of how poorly done Ross and Rachel were, and how we still cared about it.  America is not good at love stories, or hasn't been for years.  Rom-coms have a bad reputation now because no one knows how to do them right, not because they're inherently stupid.  A list of Great American Love Stories, well what do you think?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Great Sunday Album, and an Amendment

The Men with my 2nd favorite album of the new year, after Future Islands Singles.

Correction time: Lorde's Pure Heroine (Extended) is my album of the 2013.  You need to sit down and listen to the whole thing. "Royals" is the weakest track on there, and sticks out like a sore thumb.  But I can't fault her for Trojan Horsing her way into fame.  I thank her.  Imagine Southern (Hemisphere) Gothic- think Top of the Lake- with the outsider heart/mind of Lindsay Weir and the full realization of the xx's spare pop majesty.  Her vocal emotiveness and limberness is banana-stand crazy. Who's to say what will come next for this kid who already thinks she's old, but based on her outre collection of covers and collabs, the sky is the limit.  If she falls back to earth, this was more than enough.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Televsion Shows of 2014 so far

Honorable Mention: Good Wife (Season 5)
Runner-up: Justified (Season 5)

10. Parks and Rec (Season 6)
9. Silicon Valley (Season 1)
8. Veep (Season 3)
7. Sherlock (Series 3)
6. Game of Thrones (Season 4)

5. Community (Season 5)
4. Fargo (Season 1)
3. Mad Men (Season 7 1st half)
2. Rick and Morty (Season 1)
1. True Detective (Season 1)

This was the funniest season of Mad Men so far.  Elisabeth Moss deserves supporting Emmy's in both categories. 

gravy needs

I'm solid with morning blogging, but night blogging is my Achilles's heel.  Lose steam, become nihilistic, etc.  Your support would be appreciated. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Loeb FTW

JO's new show is pretty spiffy- like the Daily Show w/o the sometimes half-assed correspondent segment (I missed the glory years of Colbert/Carrell) and hopefully the sometimes perfunctory celeb-on-the-circuit interview. 

Poor ol' Oregon.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

officially a Damian Lillard fan site now

 If: League Re-draft, Then: Lillard's the first PG off the board, no longer a question.

courtesy of Shakeer, Internet Planeswalker

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Hold Steady Steer Into The Slide

Allow me ponder a topic that's been sticking in my craw for awhile:

"Solid album" is what fans of a band say about a record that doesn't live up to their hopes but nonetheless scratches their itch for now.  It means there isn't a run of, or even a couple great songs, just ten that you like but don't love.  It means "not for the non-believers."  It is a late period John Irving novel.

"Solid album" means don't worry about missing out.

Which brings us to the long-awaited Teeth Dreams.  (The wait was somewhat lessened by Craig Finn's recent solo album.) Their big-money \m/RAWK\m/ producer a-hole, *who'd previously never heard of them!!!* decided to bury Craig's vocals.  Which, uh, what?  His stories, set against Tad Kubler's previously-awesome sense of dynamics, were the bedrock of this band.

Long-gone are Hallelujah, Gideon and Charlemagne, replaced by nameless low-rent hoods whose stories are hard to care about.  Craig still manages to get out some great lines, but damn if his verses aren't obscured by the new, 2nd lead guitarist (yes, I'm blaming the dude from Lucero for this.)  And Superproducer managed to turn the vintage warm, muscle-car and six-pack guitar tone of years past into plain greyspace.

The last two Hold Steady albums were regarded as letdowns:  inevitable, after the dizzingly high of Boys and Girls in America.  Stay Positive had some weird detours (Harpsichord yo!) but also some all-timers, notably the title track, Constructive Summer, and the show-stopper "Lord, I'm Discouraged."  Heaven is Whenever lacked some inspiration, but made up for it with buckets of beautiful Replacements jangle.  Teeth Dreams is fine while it's on, but unfortunately you WILL struggle to remember any songs, excepting possibly the closer "Oaks" if only because a nine-minute slow-burn closer leaves more questions than answers.

U-turn time: possibly that the problem is mine, not theirs.  Many of my favorite bands are in this period of their career, where an album is less an urgent document to publish before death than a good excuse to get out on tour again.  Which I should be grateful for.  The Hold Steady, to their eternal credit, played a dive-y old bar here in St. Louis last month, instead of the theater they easily could have commanded.  Allegiance to the roughnecks instead of the NPR, let's-get-a-babysitter set, is damned admirable at this point.  I'm sure merch sales were dismal.  They would have been better if I could have gotten a ticket, but the Stubhub prices were stupid.

I bet these songs sound awesome live.  Next time, please, let's pick a producer who knows what you're supposed to sound like.

In the spirit of positivity:

Top Five Hold Steady Albums

5. Stay Positive
4. Almost Killed Me
3. Serparation Sunday
2. Boys and Girls in America
1. A Positive Rage (Live double album, with Ask Her for Adderall.  Hell Yes.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sky Ferriera- Night Time, My Time

I pretty much wrote Sky off after her "big" song, "Everything is Embarrassing" was a mild, electro-pop pretender to the throne.  But Pat gave me the heads-up on this album, and it is a welcome about-face, if 80's pop with a grunge underbelly perks your fancy.  The Rolling Stone, in an unsurprisingly lukewarm review (too bad it's not a new John "Five Star" Cougar album) panned it as sounding like a re-imagining of The Breakfast Club, which does not sound like an insult to me.  It sounds like what the whole sweeping, M83-generation is aiming for.  And this hits home.  The three-song run of 24 Hours, Nobody Asked Me (If I Was Okay), and I Blame Myself is my favorite of the year.

Puts me in a Graduation Day mindset, running around in rented robes, dodging sprinklers, losing your cap in some hopeless, exhilarating bid for love.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ten Favorite Songs of 2013

Honorable Mensch: Aloe Blacc- "The Man"
Runner-up: Beyonce- "Drunk in Love"

10. Icona Pop (ft. Charli XCX)- "I Love It"
9. Lady Gaga- "Gypsy" {Kermit mix}
8. Kanye West- "Bound 2"
7. Mariah Carey (ft. Miguel)- "#Beautiful"
6. Kanye West- "Blood on the Leaves"

5. Burial- "Come Down to Us"
4. CHVRCHES- "Recover"
3. Blood Orange- "Chamakay"
2. Kanye West- "New Slaves"
1. Lorde- "Team"

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows of 2013

Honorable Mention: Family Tree
Nicely affecting little comedy.  Great character work, love love the trip to California and Ed Begley Jr. seals the deal.

Runner-up: Top of the Lake

A decidedly strange, Twin Peaks-ian mini-series, without the humor but with engrossing cinematography (no other word for it) of a high elevation New Zealand town and the surrounding countryside.  The mystery is viscerally disturbing, Peggy Olson is great as the miserable, not-so-smart detective, and an astoundingly haunting Holly Hunter (say that five time fast!) steals the show.

10.  Community

There were actually some good episodes scattered through, from old crew writers like Megan Ganz, and they managed to wrap it up surprisingly well.  I was at peace with its conclusion, but really psyched for Harmon to be back this season.  First two episodes are up on Hulu...check 'em out!

9. The Good Wife

Last season hit the doldrums with the Mr. Big Goes to Washington storyline, but with the divergent rival firms, they're firing on all cylinders again.

8. Orange is the New Black

Wildly ambitious, so naturally has some flaws to work out, but that's way better than the 'Boardwalk' way.  American pie guy needs to seriously fuck off tho.

7.  Arrested Development

Speaking of ambition, Hurwitz is working some crazy angles here, refusing to take any easy route for laughs.  My problem with AD has always been the over-exposition, over-reliance on flashback, and this season was worse there.  But the creativity and daring more than made up for it.  And this:

6.  Parks & Recreation

Talk about an ensemble.  My favorite cast, top to bottom. Perhaps not as funny as it once was, but Pawnee has an alluring geniality that makes you want to set down roots forever.  With a time-share in Muncie for getaways, of course.

5. Veep

Matt Walsh is my spirit animal. 

4. Game of Thrones

I could understand writing this show off, if every actor wasn't absolutely murdering it.  Only the Jon Snow love saga brought you out of the moment.   That said, I think spelunking for Arctic sex caves, complete with requisite hot springs probably skyrocketed this year. 

3. Justified

The season-long mystery was a masterclass on  the slow burn.

2. Mad Men

I think I've finally pinpointed my reluctance to fully embrace this season: Linda Cardellini.  I understand the importance of the storyline, triple-underlining what a wretched man Don Draper is, but her performance, and the writing for her, was unarguably sub-par.  And the hair. 

I still trust Weiner to pull the Season 7 train into the station, but consider the following:

"Who'd rape her?" "Don'd Rape'r!" "Why?" "Because he's a Dick Whit(e)man."

Meaningful?  Meaningless?  Idiotic non sequitur from a man who doesn't know how to stop talking about Mad Men? Who knows!

1. Gravity Falls
 This might seem like trolling, but I swear it isn't.  Check it out.