Without provocation or pretext you will now be subjected to some of my favorite things of the year 2008.
Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride
Fog lifts from the harbor...dawn goes down today...an agent crests the shadows of a nearby alleyway starts out this beautiful mix of songs that sounds like reading your favorite book of short stories...much like great shorts..these song earn/require repeated listenings...The goats started out recording modern classics on tape recorders..Yet its taken them little time to master the use of layered instruments, atmospherics, builds and breaks, earning them their jump from paperback to hard cover
Atmosphere - When Life Gives you Lemons, You Paint that shit gold.
The Gold box caught my eye. The title made me listen. The songs blew me away. I had no idea that anyone was making rap music like this. I'd heard the name thrown around...good thing though i never actually listened till this album. As i took a listen back through older albums, nothing really even comes close to these songs. Its 13 or so tracks of almost entirely fictional narratives that come through MC Slug's highly emotional/emotionally troubled lyrics like as many after school specials directed by Aronofsky...Lyrics and stories aside the album still kills you with its brilliant use of low key beats and samples.
Yes, the new murder by death was good...and the new tv on the radio is great, mogwai and ratatat too, but were all slight let downs....lump of montreal, don cabalerro, sigur ros, hot chip, the mars volta, ben folds, in that same catagory of albums that didn't quite live up to my insanely high expectations.
Next up Movies...
Synecdoche New York
Charlie Kaufman becomes a film-maker and his prediliction for self reference gets the treatment it deserves. If were all going around picturing our lives as movies what are we losing or gaining in the careful writing and rewriting of our own characters. Synechdoche breaks nearly every wall imaginable to expose itself to itself and to the audience. I love to see a movie or any work of art for that matter reach out so ambitiously further that its grasp. Whether or not it comes back with a fresh kill it's important that someones going to new places. Synechdoche wants not only to be a film but a new religion and nearly suceeds on every level save a few forgivable moments when it whines slightly louder than it hurts.
It's Harmone Korine's goal to bring thing to film that you haven't seem before. In Mister Lonely he gives us 1. Abe Lincoln reciting an in your face version of the Gettyburg Address while spinning a basketball and under a strobe light. 2. A seemingly invincible nun sky diving while riding a BMX. 3. Charlie Chaplin beating Marilyn Monroe. And somehow he is magicly able to spin all these sweet little pop culture gems into a movie with a plot; an interesting, engaging, and rewarding one at that with the best ending since No Country for Old Men.
Frederick Peeter's Blue Pills
The author meets the love of his life...and then finds out she has HIV.
Instead of doing what any sane person would do which is run fast and the other way,
He does what he knows is right and what he wants to do which is stick around and get to know her. What follows is the real life story of living with, overcoming, and making great graphic fiction out of the worlds scariest disease.
I Shot a Man in Reno - Graeme Thomson
If Chuck Klosterman were more of an intellectual and less of a comedian he would have made something like this book. Which is a completely legitimate look at the history of Death songs
From Shakespeare on up through Eminem. Thomson can respect the sentimental and also keep it at a proper distance. He keeps a scientific tone yet allows for pop music to be what it is, which is something to be felt, and appreciated on a level above numbers and lists which is just what you must do if your going to delve in the stuff of the times.
Now you know what I like.
Get to shoppin' bitches!