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I’ve never really understood the draw of Phosphorescent, until now. You can listen to the whole album at NPR http://n.pr/XDyqXU
Source: SoundCloud / Dead Oceans
I haven’t seen all the of Best Picture winners in the past 25 years, so I may have missed some bad ones, but I have seen these ones and man, do I not like them.
5. A Beautiful Mind (2001): A mediocre Russell Crowe movie won for the second year in a row, propelling Crowe to the top of the Hollywood darlings list for a brief time before everyone realized he was a drunken asshole. (Fine, Gladiator is above mediocre and that’s why it’s not on this list)
Other nominees: Moulin Rouge (Baz Blergh-man), Gosford Park (ok, but boring), In the Bedroom (never seen it), LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring (Love it, but no way is it best picture).
If I had picked it: The Royal Tenenbaums (One of my favorite movies of all time, get over it Wes haters)
4. Chicago (2002): Fucking Musicals, hate ‘em. But emotions aside, the Pianist probably should have won.
Other nominees: Gangs of New York (long, but awesome), LOTR: Two Towers (See above), The Hours (They say Jews control Hollywood, I’d say it’s Australians), The Pianist (Roman Polanksi won for best Director and Adrien Brody got best actor, but a musical featuring Pouty-Face McSquint won best picture?)
If I had picked it: Probably Gangs of New York, but I also really like Road to Perdition, despite the child narrator.
3. Slumdog Millionaire (2008): A pandering, glossy and ‘uplifting’ fairy-tale from Danny Boyle
Other nomines: Curious Case of Benjamin Button (…), Milk (that’ll be fine), The Reader (Never heard of it), Frost/Nixon (not my cup of tea)
If I had picked it: Milk? I guess, or maybe The Wrestler?
2. Braveheart (1995): Horrific historical inaccuracies aside, this movie is just not very good
Other nominees: Apollo 13 (I’ve heard this is a good one), Il Postino (Not a Fellini), Sense & Sensibility (Jane Not-sten!), BABE! (That’ll do)
If I had picked it: BABE!
1. Crash (2005): Some racists are also racists against other races but sometimes they can do good things too.
Other Nominees: Brokeback Mountain (Didn’t finish it), Capote (Didn’t Like it), Good Night, and Good Luck (Didn’t see it), Munich (Liked It)
If I had picked it: Anything but Crash, maybe The Constant Gardener, but really anything but Crash
Honorable Mention Schindler’s List: Only because it came out in 1993, the year the best movie all time, Jurassic Park came out, I don’t know what Spielberg was thinking cockblocking himself
Frightened Rabbit - ‘Oil Slick’
So far my favorite track of their new album.
Covering Nilsson & Lennon’s Pussy Cats note for note was a strange and often ignored turn in The Walkmen’s history but you shouldn’t forget about it if only for this excellent rendition of ‘Don’t Forget Me’
Eat your heart out, Neko Case.
It’s the moment a few of you have been waiting for, the top 5!
#5 Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair/Ty Segall - Twins
Taking up one spot are two fantastic albums from the prolific Ty Segall (only 2/3 of his 2012 output). I’ve said before that if I ever got my act together and wrote some full songs, I would want them to sound a lot like Ty Segall, particularly like the first song below (off Twins). As you can hear, his solo stuff is just heavy hitting, fuzzed out garage rock, while on Hair, he teams up with White Fence for a psychedelic sound that sounds straight out of 1969. He’s singlehandedly keeping the San Francisco tradition alive.
#4 Mac Demarco - 2
Mac Demarco both appears and sounds like he time travelled here from 1993 a few months ago, studied the sounds of Brooklyn closely and then made this album. It’s such a perfect blend of the sounds of early 90s Indie bands like Pavement and Yo La Tengo and the current mellow and reverby guitar-driven songs of bands like Real Estate or Kurt Vile. It’s a really pleasing and and engaging sound that I look forward to hearing more of.
#3 Daughn Gibson - All Hell
I first heard Daughn Gibson on the podcast “Risk!” (think R-rated “The Moth”), and was instantly spellbound. I became further intrigued when I read that when he wasn’t making weird, beautiful music, he was a long-haul trucker out of rural Pennsylvania. His voice is a mesmerizing blend of Stephen Merritt and Johnny Cash, deep and mournful. No genre can really classify this album, “Lo-fi” comes to mind, but that’s more of a descriptor of the sound quality than the music beneath it. I guess you’ll just have to listen.
#2 The Walkmen - Heaven
Unless they serious mess things up, there’s no way that any new Walkmen album will not be one of my favorites of the year, they are just too in line with my heart. On first listen to, I was a little disappointed and worried that they were getting too soft, aside from “Heartbreaker” “Love you Love” and the title track, the rest of the songs sounded to tame compared to the majority of Lisbon. But as almost always happens, it grew and grew on me, and while those three songs I just mentioned are still the strongest, the subtler songs are very good as well. It’s hard to believe the band best known for “The Rat” would eventually sing the acoustic and harmony-filled opener “We Can’t be Beat” and sound completely earnest while doing. I hope they never stop progressing.
#1 Twin Shadow - Confess
The best way I can describe this album to anyone unfamiliar with it is “imagine the Top Gun soundtrack, now imagine what it would sound like as a dance album” That’s not to say that the entire album is full of uptempo 80s pop songs, there are plenty of slow R&B takes, including my favorite “I Don’t Care” On this song of Twin Shadow, the sole member George Lewis Jr., expertly delivers the line “before the night is through, I will say three words, I’ll probably mean the first two and regret the third” But the standout track, and probably most defined by my Top Gun comparison is “Five Seconds”
Sometimes you have to take 12 extra days to figure out your list, ya know?
The pool of music this past year was really not as strong as it has been recently, which is why this list is only ten and not the 29 I did last year. However, that is not to say that these 10 albums aren’t strong, because they are, they just don’t have much company.
Without further ado, albums 10-6:
#10 DIIV - Oshin
Who would have thought that after 10+ years, 80s influenced indie rock would still be going, much less still sounding good? DIIV prove that the well’s still not dry:
#9 Divine Fits - A Thing Called Divine Fits
How could a collaboration between Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner not be good? Admittedly, it’s not quite as good as I was hoping, but not everything Britt Daniel does can be a Spoon record, so I’ll take it. Also the only band on this list that I actually saw perform this year. Here’s a their great take on a Nick Cave gem “Shivers”
#8 The Shins - Port of Morrow
This album was a pleasant surprise, I really wasn’t expecting The Shins to ever to return to a form comparable to Chutes too Narrow. Broken Bells was an inoffensive and unexciting side project that I then heard repeatedly while I was working at Starbucks. I have fond feelings for the Shins; repeated listens to Oh, Inverted World initiated me into the world of Indie music (2-3 before Natalie Portman uttered those loathsome words might I add) Needless to say it was without much enthusiasm, but with a sense of duty that I put this on the speakers, once, and then forgot about it. But about a month ago I decided to give it another try, and realized my expectations had clouded my ears, it’s a great album.
#7 Grizzly Bear - Shields
In my opinion, even though Shields lacks a gem like “Two Weeks” it is a more rounded record than Veckatimest. The band doesn’t get lost as much in Baroque embellishments that made the middle to end of that album a bit boring.
#6 The Men - Open Your
Unlike that stinker of an album by Japandroids, The Men actually have variation on their record. Where Japandroids’ music sounds like just repetitive punk with a primary influence of Newfound Glory, The Men’s sound harkens back to Fugazi, or more recently, The Thermals with some late 60s garage rock thrown in for fun. They summon the ghosts of the Rolling Stones ‘Dead Flowers’ on this track:
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Arts & Crafts inspired Corner Cupboard that I built for my folks. Reclaimed mahogany top from a former Rhode Island court-house bench, with period ‘butterfly’ reproduction hinges.
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