Friday, March 31, 2017

George Saunders LINCOLN IN THE BARDO (2017)


I can't recommend strongly enough that you listen to the audiobook if able.

The Hobbit: LOTR:: Our Town: Lincoln in the Bardo

Exhaustively researched and shaped, with a Greek chorus of opinionated true people of history providing context for a moment where our nation stood on the knifepoint. Harrowing with acute anguish, leavened with slapstick and gallows humor; the most titanically empathetic work in any medium I've yet experienced.  Saunders is the fusion of Vonnegut and Whitman, and in this present crisis of American masculinity, there can be no more vital reminder of whom we should truly strive to emulate, who our spiritual father was and must continue to be.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Favorite Albums of 2016

20. Ian William Craig CENTRES
19. 1 Mile North AWAKENED BY DECAY
18. SubRosa FOR THIS WE FOUGHT THE BATTLE OF AGES
17. Margo Price MIDWEST FARMER'S DAUGHTER
16. Bruno Mars 24K MAGIC



15. Tim Hecker LOVE STREAMS
14. Caretaker EVERYWHERE AT THE END OF TIMES
13. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith EARS
12. Eluvium FALSE READINGS ON
11. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith/Suzanne Ciana SUNENERGY



10. Carly Rae Jepsen EMOTION: SIDE B
9. Chance the Rapper COLORING BOOK
8. Pallbearer FEAR AND FURY {EP}
7. Bon Iver 22, A MILLION
6.  Grouper PARADISE VALLEY {Single/B-side}



5. Rihanna ANTI
4. Lady Gaga JOANNE
3. Steve Hauschildt STRANDS
2. Julianna Barwick WILL
1. Beyonce LEMONADE

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mount Eerie A CROW LOOKED AT ME (2017)



I own every Phil project on vinyl, pending this one.  The most open and honest and brutal album I've ever heard. Had to be impossibly hard to share, but of incalculable value.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Visible Cloaks REASSEMBLAGE (2017)



Somehow Portland, and the Pacific Northwest, own at my favorite genres.  I'm kind of toggling in binary back and forth from ambient to doom, doom when I must face and live in the present, ambient when I need escape.  Visible Cloaks made a very good magic wardrobe of an album.



JoJopus is now up on Spotify, meaning that your playlists finally have the possibility of attaining perfection.

EDIT I am still waiting for Leave (Get Out) and there will be no justice no peace

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Drake MORE LIFE (2017)



Such is the state of poptism and its thirst for male heroes--not to mention the slow Q1 news cycle-- that this is hailed as some achievement.  Tremendously boring, punishing to deep listening...fine, I guess it's fine if you're using it like Eno to provide texture to household chores and malaise, but I'd like a headcount in Q1 2018 of the folks that still give a shit about this non-album. I like the title, though. "Yes, to smell pork" would be a great, unsettling name for his next playlist.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

ALLIED dir. Robert Zemeckis (2016)



What do you think it feels like to turn in very good performances, as Pitt and Cotillard do, and then watch the film to see that the cinematography has no depth or character, the extras are astoundingly bad (saboteur-level,) and the score is by turns limp and lame?  The whole affair seems like a prestige picture from the 90's that got gussied-up with modern after-effects.  Middlebrau like flat beer.

To be fair, Brad and Marion presumably read the unoriginal script, and hopefully had an assistant capable of pointing out that its author owns a clothing line based on his similarly uninspired creation, PEAKY BLINDERS.  Style over substance, and tired imitations of style at that.  Akin to 90's slacker-indie-rock revivalism, but that is a diatribe for another time...

Saturday, March 18, 2017

LOVE S2 (2017)



Captures the first few months of a relationship of co-dependents agonizingly well.  A comedy without being a sitcom in the least, moments of humor are all the brighter for their unpredictability. Bertie, another perennial Comedy Bang Bang hero, is one of my favorite characters on this thing I guess we still call television.  Steph and I probably watched it more like a triptych, and I do think it shares some spirituality with Linklater's Before trilogy.  It is strange that what we really crave from a romantic comedy is this, the tissue, the actual relationship, but most modern rom-coms are de facto action movies.



Carry Bertie in your heart.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

THE AMERICANS S4 (2016)



Olds will try to tell you it is the best show on television.  I can squint and see saying it is the best drama on television, but there are at least five 2016 comedies I would take over it without blinking.  The show is great when it sets the adults up in opposition or uneasy cooperation, but as the Paige saga (now with 900% more Pastor Tim and Alice!) continues to fester and consume the show with necrotic banality, we've lost the verve of seasons one and two, where Elizabeth and Philip were confronted with incredible challenges and had to find a way out-- at its best reminiscent of the set-pieces of BREAKING BAD.  And those external battles would reflect in the internal chess of their marriage.  Both aspects were mostly lost in season three and are completely gone in season four.  Season five just started, with renewed interested in our relationship with the Russians, and season six will be the end: must I keep slogging?  Will it improve?  I can't trust the olds to tell me! It can be beautiful, thoughtful, and engaging, but television critics are giving it such a pass on its dreadfully slow storytelling and now-static relationship/characters of Elizabeth and Philip, who by turns hector and assuage Paige, the worst teenage character since Dana.  Dana, you were awful, but Paige has taken the throne.

HOMELAND>THE AMERICANS come at me bro!

Monday, March 13, 2017

I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE dir. Macon Blair (2017)



Duplass Brothers meets Tarantino; Melanie Lansky is terrific, Elijah Wood needs to play this character in every film.  The Far East Portland setting is genius...the 80's, 90's seediness of Portland is still present, it has just been pushed to the fringes, but life out in the triple digits of the eastside is damp dark dank.  It has a left-behind quality.  IDFAHITWA (lol) is a kind of a grindhouse movie with an overeducated undercurrent of nihilism felt by the lead, who is activated from her despair when a mission of vengeance and justice presents itself, finding that taking agency provides its own strength and stamina.  Reminds me of something that Brandon Johnson said on a recent Harmontown: the only silver lining to this horrible mess we're in is that now we get to be the self that has been waiting for its cause.

ps Pitchfork wrote up a "best new reissue" on this excellent Midori Takada album I suggested a couple months ago, if you needed a co-sign:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Amy Schumer THE LEATHER SPECIAL (2017)



Amy has the throne and Netflix is a disturbingly well-run company.  Amy's expanded and improved her physical humor and there is just no one who conducts a better maglev of humor and guts than her. Off-topic: her book was funny and brave and slightly tedious, but that seems what like most of these books by comedians end up being, except Michael Ian Black, WHO STEPH AND I JUST MET AND CREEPED OUT! He is such a careful craftsman of sentences and has a more literary spirit than stand-up I think.  He's an insanely good improviser though, so I think specificity is his strength, whereas the world-beater stand-ups--Chris Rock, Louis C.K., Amy, Jerry etc.-- have to go broad and universal to achieve that status.  


PS I found the perfect retirement home for Pat in Bland, MO

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Rhye WOMAN (2013)



I've listen to this album a bunch in the last 365 days, but wasn't inspired to share it until Ben Ratliff (GOAT emeritus) on the New York Times Music Popcast podcast (I'm mainlining the back catalogue) included it in his 2013 best-of and mentioned that it was a man's voice.  Previously I'd taken it as perfect Sade tribute, now I'm baffled in the best way.  Both members of the duo have gone on to work with really interesting people in pop, and have left this as a stand-alone debut and denouement.  Sade is the hero of Quiet Storm, one of the greatest musicians of Late Capitalism, and her music never fails to put me in deep remembrance of middle school crushes, because smooth jazz was the only music made available to me as a youngster, and I took the best of it, and molded it to fit the unsordid dramas of being thirteen and hopeless and bursting with hope, and of course those crushes reached titanic heights during summer vacation, when you are free to romanticize a person with English-poet-with-syphillis vigor.  To me, the most magical part of growing up in Portland was the summer evenings.  The sun sets behind the West Hills but hasn't really set, so there is this hour, but it feels like more, of soft lavender light.  That's what this music, and especially Sade, always invoke for me.  The clarity and harmony of zero humidity, sprinklers, ice cream trucks; anxiety and stress distant as probes sent far from Earth, never to return.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Joni Mitchell



one of the dang jazz guys I start the morning with worked in a Christmas song motif and I needed a fix, took a lot of discipline but I restrained myself to River.  What a song.  It was the entry point I needed to get lost in Joni, who is just singularly great.  Regret that it took me so long to learn that.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Happy Casimir Pulaski Day



I tried to explain to a freshman cello player how this was a better song about cancer than some dumb country song he played me and Robby but his face went blank and Robby tried to tell me, people don't listen, they don't want to listen, and that's alright.

I mean, you can think that, you can be in a glee club with those guys, perpetuating the Maroon 5 and have more friends than me.  But allowing, smiling past uncritical thought or feeling, is how we ended up in this fucking awful place.  Deuces up.

Bright as the Oregon breeze:



Sunday, March 05, 2017

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM dir. David Yates (2016)


WOOF fam I thought you loved me.  How was I not warned? I played Quidditch with you people.

I mean, it is bad in a way I never would have suspected, but I guess I should have given latter-day JK's heavy involvement.  Like, I guess I'm glad these messages are getting to the kids...but the vehicle is a goth Christian rock band.

LOGAN dir. James Mangold (2017)



The kids are alright.  The villains suck, per usual. I coulda used more Johnny Cash!  Packed house for the Saturday early evening show; I think I've been disconnected from how popular these things are...did you know that David Benioff, he of smug GoT HBO exec producer fame, wrote the X-Men Origins: Wolverine script?  I think I made it through the first 20 minutes of that.  The Wolverine was alright.  Logan was well-done.  Any other pseudo-trilogies have a similar ramp-up in quality to the end?

Saturday, March 04, 2017

ZOOPTOPIA (2016)



I'm really glad the kids are learning about prejudice and stereotypes and through a classic buddy-cop flick, by way of film-noir.  Funny, caring, better than it needed to be.  The Shakira song was tacked-on-af and really empty, broad and formless, it sounded like one of those World Cup theme songs or something.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Nick Drake



This is quickly becoming my favorite thing on youtube.  I always enjoy a little movement in the video, whether it is just the vinyl spinning or whatnot, but that sailboat is apt af.  Contrasts to what we've been listening to at work, 'tropical house' mixes by Kygo, et al., which just collage ladies who seem to've lost their pants to time or tide.  Real classy bros, like the new hair metal is some unholy cross-section of chill, privilege and MDMA.  Fine, utilitarian; perfect music to convince a young mom to buy a fun top, just because, but Nick wouldn't sell your fandom out, and that is nice to know.