Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Leftovers and a Look Ahead

As the holidays and 2008 come to a close, I thought I'd pull out a few other stand-outs that didn't make my top 20 albums list but were noteworthy nonetheless.

Friendly Fires - s/t
Van She - V

2008 seemed to be a big year for dance albums, from Cut Copy to Hercules & Love Affair, but the two albums above received very little fanfare and, to me, where the best of the bunch. I've been listening to the Van She album nonstop for the last month.

Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Coldplay - Viva La Vida

Both of these albums exceeded my expectations and were actually quite good. I just didn't listen to them very much.

From the U.K.:
Kaiser Chiefs - Off With Their Heads
The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
Glasvegas - s/t
Noah and the Whale - Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down
The Week That Was - s/t

Kaiser Chiefs rebounded after a lackluster second album. Unfortunately, Bloc Party did not. The others are all solid debut albums and are worth checking out.

Hip Hop:
Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III

Trendy, sure, but there are some great tracks on here.

Black Mountain - In the Future
Tapes 'N Tapes - Walk It Off
Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains - s/t
Grand Archives - s/t
Love as Laughter - Holy
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Cardinology
The War on Drugs - Wagonwheel Blues
Secret Machines - s/t
The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line

Twelve albums that I think fell under the radar for the most part. All had some good to great songs but were ultimately a bit uneven.

Looking forward to 2009:
1.13 - Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
1.20 - John Frusciante - The Empyrean
1.27 - Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
1.27 - Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band - Working on a Dream
2.10 - Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) - Keep It Hid
2.17 - Trail of Dead - The Century of Self
3.10 - Handsome Furs - Face Control
3.24 - The Decemberists - Hazards of Love

Many others to look forward to in 2009 that don't yet have release dates including: Doves, Pearl Jam, Wilco, Mastodon, and New Pornographers to name a few.

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008


One of the most intense experiences I've ever had in the theater. The best of '08 so far, by far.

[Wiki | IMDB]

Hipster Gold: Dr. Thomas Beckett's Best of 2008

[Photo Credit: Mind Your Do's and Don'ts]

From the bowels of the JFK School of Government, using his own hipster rating scheme.


"and put a fucking hooded sweatshirt on underneath!" - TB

21) Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours

BIRKAS (15-20)
"let's give the vets some PTSD!" - Anonymous

20) Vic Chesnutt – Dark Developments
19) Dr. Dog – Fate
18) Devotchka – A Mad and Faithful Telling
17) Shearwater - Rook
16) Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood

"trigger fingers shouldn't be covered by nothing..." - TB

15) Elf Power – In A Cave
14) Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
13) The Dodos – Visiter
12) MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
11) Portishead – Third

"and that shit better not fit you" - TB

10) Sun Kil Moon – April
9) Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
8) Mount Eerie – Lost Wisdom
7) TV On The Radio – Dear Science
6) Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold

"if I can't see your balls - you're wrong" - TB

5) The Music Tapes – Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes
4) Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)
3) The War on Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues
2) My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
1) Okkervil River – The Stand Ins


5) Aimie Mann Xmas Show – Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA
4) Cloud Cult – Middle East, Cambridge, MA
3) Radiohead (x3), Verizon Center, Indianapolis, IN
2) My Morning Jacket (x2), Radio City Music Hall, New York, NY
1) Elephant Six Holiday Tour (Wasn’t there, but should have been…Jeff Mangum singing Engine live is just as good in my dreams)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Wrestler

Great role. Great performance. Great film.

AV Club recently sat down with one of my favorite American directors, Darren Aronofsky:

"Well I’ve been joking that if Madonna taught us anything, you’ve got to reinvent yourself. I think it’s important as a filmmaker, as any person working in the arts, that you’ve got to try new stuff and challenge yourself and take chances. I’ve tried to take a chance with every film I’ve done—I’ve never done it the easy way, and I think that’s because that’s what excites me, is making as big a mountain as I can in front of me, and just trying to mount it."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Miroir Noir

Arcade Fire's new film/documentary covering the "Neon Bible Archives" here. Download it now, DVD will ship sometime next year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Neil Young & Wilco @ MSG, 12/15/08

So much for a curfew at MSG.  Neil busted right through it and played until 1230 (PJ, please take note).  He played for 2:10 before even leaving the stage.  It was clear to me last night that the man still has it.  The heavy guitar songs killed and the acoustic songs were, of course, amazing - I wish there had been more - including one of my all-time favorite songs ("Old Man").  Of course, you take the good with the bad when seeing the legends.  There were some dull moments and certainly some songs that I could have done without.  Wilco played for 45 minutes and should have played for 45 more.  It was a flawless set.

Wilco set list:
via chicago / Impossible Germany / You Are My Face / Spiders (kidsmoke) / Hummingbird / Jesus etc. / Forget the Flowers / Walken / I'm the Man Who Loves You

Neil Young set list:
Love And Only Love / Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / Powderfinger / Spirit Road / Cortez The Killer / Cinnamon Girl / Oh, Lonesome Me / Mother Earth / The Needle And The Damage Done / Light A Candle / Cough Up The Bucks / Fuel Line / Hit The Road And Go To Town / Unknown Legend / Heart Of Gold / Old Man / Get Back To The Country / Off The Road / Just Singing A Song / When Worlds Collide / Cowgirl In The Sand / Rockin’ In The Free World // Get Behind The Wheel / A Day In The Life (The Beatles)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Left Coast: Best of 2008


20. Beck - Modern Guilt [Interscope]
19. Albert Hammond, Jr. - ¿Como te Llama? [RCA/Black Seal]
18. Plants & Animals - Parc Avenue [Secret City]
17. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive [Vagrant]
16. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely [Warner Bros.]
15. Sun Kil Moon - April [Caldo Verde]
14. Black Mountain - In the Future [Jagjaguwar]
13. Boris - Smile [Southern Lord]
12. The Black Keys - Attack & Release [Nonesuch]
11. Fucked Up - Chemistry of Common Life [Matador]
10. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer [Sub Pop]
9. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) [Earthology]
8. Shearwater - Rook [Matador]
7. Sebastien Grainger - Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains [Saddle Creek]
6. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins [Jagjaguwar]
5. Foals - Antidotes [Sub Pop]
4. The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath [Universal Motown]
3. Portishead - Third [Island]
2. TV on the Radio - Dear Science [4AD]
1. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges [ATO]


50. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - "Baltimore"
49. Vampire Weekend - "M79"
48. The Hold Steady - "Sequestered in Memphis"
47. Rihanna - "Disturbia"
46. Shearwater - "Century Eyes"
45. The Black Angels - "Science Killer"
44. Portishead - "Magic Doors"
43. The Killers - "This is Your Life"
42. Glasvegas - "Daddy's Gone"
41. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - "The Power of Myth"
40. The Hold Steady - "Stay Positive"
39. Plants and Animals - "New Kind of Love"
38. Boris - "Statement"
37. Sun Kil Moon - "Lost Verses"
36. Shearwater - "Lost Boys"
35. British Sea Power - "Lights Out for Darker Skies"
34. Foals - "Red Socks Pugie"
33. My Morning Jacket - "Highly Suspicious"
32. Portishead - "Machine Gun"
31. The Mars Volta - "Tourniquet Man"
30. Fucked Up - "Son of the Father"
29. MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
28. Cloud Cult - "The Will of a Volcano"
27. The Black Keys - "Strange Times"
26. Boris - "Flower, Sun, Rain"
25. Albert Hammond, Jr. - "Victory at Monterey"
24. Sebastien Grainger - "American Names"
23. Nine Inch Nails - "Discipline"
22. Boris - "Messeeji" [Diwphalanx Version]
21. Mudcrutch - "Lover of the Bayou"
20. The Raconteurs - "Consoler of the Lonely"
19. Wolf Parade - "Language City"
18. Shearwater - "On the Death of the Waters"
17. The Mars Volta - "Metatron"
16. My Morning Jacket - "Evil Urges"
15. Portishead - "Small"
14. TV on the Radio - "Golden Age"
13. The Black Keys - "Oceans & Streams"
12. Cloud Cult - "Hurricane and Fire Survival Guide"
11. Black Mountain - "Tyrants"
10. One Day As A Lion - "Wild International"
9. Sebastien Grainger - "Map of the World"
8. Boris - "Floor Shaker"
7. Foals - "Heavy Water"
6. Kings of Leon - "Closer"
5. The Mars Volta - "Ilyena"
4. Okkervil River - "Lost Coastlines"
3. TV on the Radio - "DLZ"
2. Portishead - "The Rip"
1. My Morning Jacket - "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part II"


5. Beck, Spoon, MGMT @ Hollywood Bowl
4. Cloud Cult @ Knitting Factory
3. TV on the Radio @ The Wiltern
2. My Morning Jacket @ Greek Theatre [Read]
1. Eddie Vedder @ The Wiltern [Read]


Bear with me here. This will develop over the next month. This never feels as easy as the music.

3. The Wrestler, dir. Darren Aronofsky
2. 4 Weeks, 3 Months, 2 Days, dir. Christian Mungui
1. Gomorra, dir. Matteo Garrone

Monday, December 01, 2008

JK's Top Picks for 2008


It's December 1st and that means that there can't possibly be any new music released in the next month that will change my opinion of 2008. I'm also heading out on vacation later this week for 10 days so I'm ready to commit to this now. Overall, I think 2008 brought a lot of good quality albums with only a few stand-outs. For me, the first 3 selections were pretty easy while the rest were more difficult to piece together. Without further adieu:

My favorite albums:
20. Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creations Dark
19. Okkervil River - The Stand-Ins
18. Shearwater - Rook
17. Foals - Antidotes
16. Constantines - Kensington Heights
15. Portishead - Third
14. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
13. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)
12. British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
11. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
10. Fleet Foxes - s/t
09. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
08. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
07. The Black Keys - Attack & Release
06. Beck - Modern Guilt
05. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
04. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue
03. Blitzen Trapper - Furr
02. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
01. TV On The Radio - Dear Science,

04. Sebastien Grainger - American Names

03. One Day As A Lion - s/t
02. Trail of Dead - Festival Thyme
01. Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant

05. Fleet Foxes @ Bowery (7/9/08) [Read]
04. Hold Steady/Drive-By Truckers @ Terminal 5 (11/7/08) [Read]
03. Pearl Jam @ MSG I & II (6/24-6/25/08) [Read | Read]
02. The National @ Howard Gilman Opera House (2/23/08)  [Read]
01. Eddie Vedder @ NJPAC (8/7/08) [Read]

20. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - "Gardenia"
19. Sebastien Grainger - "American Names"
18. Drive-By Truckers - "Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife"
17. These New Puritans - "Elvis"
16. Cloud Cult - "The Ghost Inside Our House"
15. TV On The Radio - "DLZ"
14. Silver Jews - "San Francisco B.C."
13. Constantines - "Our Age"
12 & 11. My Morning Jacket - "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream, Pt 1 & 2"
10. Foals - "Red Sock Pugie"
09. Tokyo Police Club - "Tessellate"
08. Elbow - "Grounds for Divorce"
07. Plants and Animals - "New Kind of Love"
06. Black Mountain - "Tyrants"
05. TV On The Radio - "Golden Age"
04. Beck - "Chemtrails"
03. The Hold Steady - "Stay Positive"
02. Portishead - "The Rip"
01. Fleet Foxes - "Mykonos"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Filter Mag's Top 10

1. MGMT, Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)
2. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
3. Dr. Dog, Fate (Park the Van)
4. TV On The Radio, Dear Science (Interscope)
5. Foals, Antidotes (Sub Pop)
6. Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)
7. She and Him, Volume One (Merge)
8. M83, Saturdays = Youth (Mute U.S)
9. Cut Copy, In Ghost Colors (Modular/Interscope)
10 The Dears, Missiles (Dangerbird)

[Filter Staff Selections]

Bold choice at number 1. I've heard all of these but Dr. Dog so I'll have to check that one out. I'm working on my list right now, it should up next week.

Wordle pretty chill...

John Frusciante Update: The Empyrean Part 2


From his blog:

Journal Entry #3

The Empyrean is a story that has no action in the physical world. It all takes place in one persons mind throughout his life. The only other character is someone who does not live in the physical world but is inside it, in the sense that he exists in peoples minds. The mind is the only place that anything can be truly said to exist. The outside world is only known to us as it appears within us by the testament of our senses. The imagination is the most real world that we know because we each know it first hand. Seeing our ideas take form is like being able to see the sun come into being. We have no equivelent to the purity of that in our account of the outside world. The outer world appears to each of us as one thing and it is always also a multitude of others. Inside to outside and outside to inside are neverending. Trying and giving up are a form of breathing.

- John

Franz Ferdinand Winter Tour

Tonight: Franz Ferdinand drops on January 27:

12-03 Montreal, Quebec - La Tulipe
12-04 Toronto, Ontario - Lee's Palace
12-06 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre (WFNX show)
12-08 Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom (KNRK show)
12-09 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
12-11 Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena (Live 105 show)
12-12 Las Vegas, NV - The Joint (KVGS show)
12-14 Los Angeles, CA - Gibson Amphitheatre (KROQ show)
12-15 San Diego, CA - Canes
1. Ulysses
2. Turn It On
3. No You Girls Never Know
4. Twilight Omens
5. Send Him Away
6. Live Alone
7. Bite Hard
8. What She Came For
9. Can't Stop Feeling
10. Lucid Dreams
11. Dream Again
12. Katherine Kiss Me

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Synechdoche, New York

Synechdoche, New York was everything I hoped for in Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut: ambitious, hilarious, touching, amazing.

McCarthy on Film

Blood Meridian is now under the supervision of Todd Field. This, coupled with the knowledge of Andrew Dominik (see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford NOW!) tackling Cities on the Plain, and things remain right with the Cormac McCarthy film adaptation part of the world. Blood Meridian is due next year, with Cities slated for 2012. Once scheduled for the '08 holiday season, The Road, is now looking like a 2009 release as well. I would love to see Field & Dominik tap into the Nick Cave/Warren Ellis reservoir. Director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) already has Ellis scoring The Road. From Paste:

A Los Angeles Times article on the upcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road (starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron) curiously dropped this little nugget of information: writer/director and sometimes actor Todd Field is currently working on an adaptation of McCarthy’s Blood Meridian novel. Ridley Scott had previously been attached to direct the tale, said to be a brutal 1850’s Western where Native Americans are slaughtered for profit. [Paste]


[Photo Credit]

"Matt is getting in the comfort zone," Moss said. "He's playing some hellified ball."

If you would've told me the day after our Super Bowl loss to the Giants that Brady would be out for the entire 2008 season and Matt Cassel would step in and keep the team in division/playoff contention, and, along the way compile back to back 400+ yard passing games, I would've told you you're full of shit.

It's becoming apparent why we didn't panic and look for another quarterback on the waiver wire when Brady went down.

Omar Creates

[Photo Credit]

Dating back to May of 2007, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (lead guitarist, The Mars Volta) has released eight solo albums. They are:

Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo
Omar Rodriguez Lopez & Lydia Lunch
The Apocalypse Inside of an Orange
Calibration (Is Pushing Luck and Key Too Far)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez & Jeremy Michael Ward
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus
Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead
Old Money
Two more (Megaritual & Despair) will be released on December 1st through Willie Anderson Recordings.

He also teamed up with Hans Zimmer to compose score for Guillermo Arriaga's (writer: Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel) directorial debut, titled The Burning Plain. (Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo is listed as the official soundtrack to the Arriaga-penned El Bufalo de la Noche.)

Omar also has two films (directing, producing & acting) in various stages of production.

Album Cover of the Year

Anyone who has been in a National Park in the past few years knows what I'm talking about. The title and photo make me laugh. Then cry. From Wiki:

Minor Cuts and Scrapes in the Bushes Ahead is a mostly instrumental record by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez released by Willie Anderson Recordings. Recorded in 2001-2002, shortly after completing the Tremulant EP, the album was initially made available only to friends on minidisc format.

Paste's Top 50

Interesting, to say the least. It's good to see MMJ up there, but I don't quite follow the barely-in-the-Top-50 placement of Dear Science,...

50. TV On The Radio - Dear Science (Interscope)
49. Sandra McCracken - Red Balloon (Towhee)
48. REM - Accelerate (Warner Bros.)
47. Laura Marling - Alas, I Cannot Swim (Astralwerks)
46. Lykke Li - Youth Novels (LL)
45. M83 - Saturdays = Youth (Mute)
44. Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers (Zoë)
43. Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer (Roadrunner)
42. Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings & All (KRS)
41. The Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Grave (Gravitation)
40. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords (Sub Pop)
39. The Dodos - Visiter (Frenchkiss)
38. Jamie Lidell - Jim (Warp)
37. Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit - A Larum (Lost Highway)
36. The Bridges - Limits of the Sky (Verve)
35. Colour Revolt - Plunder, Beg and Curse (Fat Possum)
34. Torche - Meanderthal (Hydra Head)
33. Santogold - Santogold (Downtown)
32. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City)
31. The Walkmen - You & Me (Gigantic)
30. I'm From Barcelona - Who Killed Harry Houdini? (Mute)
29. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal)
28. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular (Columbia)
27. Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning (Yep Roc)
26. Lee Ann Womack - Call Me Crazy (MCA Nashville)
25. Mugison - Mugiboogie (Ipecac)
24. Santogold & Diplo - Top Ranking
 (Mad Decent)
23. Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us (Barsuk)
22. No Age - Nouns (Sub Pop)
21. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust (Vice)
20. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark (Astralwerks)
19. Gentleman Jesse and His Men - Introducing Gentleman Jesse and His Men (Douchemaster)
18. Death Cab
 for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
17. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Lie Down In The Light (Drag City)
16. My Morning Jacket
 - Evil Urges (ATO)
15. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (Mute)
14. Langhorne Slim - Langhorne Slim (Kemado)
13. Ida Maria - Fortress Round My Heart (Waterfall/RCA)
12. of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping (Polyvinyl)
11. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive (Vagrant)
10. Deerhunter - Microcastle (Kranky)
09. Lucinda Williams - Little Honey (Lost Highway)
08. Sun Kil Moon - April (Caldo Verde)
07. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals (Illegal Art)
06. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
05. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins (Jagjaguwar)
04. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)
03. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (XL)
02. Sigur Rós - Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust (XL)
01. She & Him - Volume One (Merge)

Trailer: The Wrestler

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Well, I just got really excited for the new Franz Ferdinand album. The first single, "Ulysses," is up on their MySpace page and it's damn good.