Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best of the Year 2015: Music album

The Magic Whip
This is chiefly a Damon Albarn album--the guitar parts aren't really emphasized. But, that's a good thing. It's a mature, honorable addition to the Britpop band library.

Spirit Club
Spirit Club
Imagine a really dream/poppy version of Wavves. I hope they make more.

Art Angels
The first half of the album is pure radio-inspired pop; the second half is more morose and experimental. Eagerly waiting more from this self-produced artist.

Protest punk rock that seems easier than it sounds. Monstrously catchy riffs. Super timely, super political; super catchy!

Gaz Coombes
The Supergrass frontman goes solo, and pulls off something akin to Radiohead combined with Spiritualized. And, it's great.

Best of the Year 2015: Television series

TV is going through growth spurt, and through growing pains. Rolling Stone had a great article on how the amount of new television series broadcast has eclipsed the hours in a year. You can no longer watch someone else's favorite TV program--you've got your own massive queue. Anyway, here is what I watched and enjoyed the most.

Game of Thrones
Season 5
Always satisfying. Is this a show, or a long-form movie?

True Detective
Season 2
Even though critics widely dismissed the second season, it was quite good. Better than a lot of crummy shows out there. Waiting for season three.

The Last Man on Earth
Season 1
A hilarious breath of fresh air to apocalyptic media. Can't wait for next season.

Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter
Season 1
It's a mini-series, but I would guess it will be picked up next year by Adult Swim. It starts with the death of Paul Rudd, and ends with a spaceship powered by werewolf howls. The Jaws homage is excellent. Heermp!

The Walking Dead
Season 5
I am so sick of zombies. But, when Steven Yuen's character seemingly met his demise, I had an emotional response. I guess the simplistic, dumb show got to me.

The Leftovers
Season 2
Quite a departure from the first season, and this one is way more interesting. The final episodes of the season had me gasping for breath (because my mind was blown). Great story, great characters. It's and underrated underdog drama--the best kind.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Lyric Entry #009

Wire's coming back again;
Elastica got sued by them.

When Michael Jackson dies,
We're covering "Blackbird".

But won't it be absurd, then,
When no one knows what song they just heard
Unless someone on the radio
Tells them first.

So come on, come on, come on, come.
Come on, come on, come on, come on.
Come on, come on, come on,
You monkeys.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Titanfall and the game year

Reports say that Titanfall users surpassed 8 million at the end of 2014. This is a "best of the year" article about the game and sleeper success. I am a gamer on a budget. And, I am a gamer who plays 3 games a year. This means I have to wait for good deals to come by--I never pay retail. And, I finally broke the bank and spent $10.00 on Titanfall for Christmas.

Titanfall was released by EA in early 2014. It had a lot of hype--the E3 debut was very well received. But, there was no gamer buzz. Gamers were distracted by old games, primarily. To me, 2014 was a lackluster year. Destiny still seems so overrated. And the rest... same franchises, same gameplay.

Titanfall is a game changer--a watershed in FPS. While games like Call of Duty and Halo are still relatively the same since 2004, Titanfall is a logical move forward. It's a first step in combining RTS and MOBA into the first-person shooter schema. It makes MechWarrior look like Pong.

Reasons I like Titanfall:

1. It's a more complex FPS than anything out there.
2. It's easy as hell to learn.
3. It's easy for me to dominate.

It is not a perfect game. It is lacking a single player mode, and the storyline is unclear. But, people don't care about story when you pit it against gameplay and aesthetics.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Best of the Year 2014: Song

"Andro Queen" by Pixies
The Pixies reunion kinda got swept under the rug by the indie culture.


"The Gold Standard" by Prince
A podcaster recently said "thank goodness for this song". It's a weird quasi-throwback to Prince's Sexy MF days, but also 70s Parliament Funkadelica.


"Monuments" by the Smashing Pumpkins
Corgan's opening lyrics are "I feel alright/I feel alright, tonight". The chorus is just beautiful and warming.



"Seeds" by TV on the Radio
There isn't much else in rock 'n roll today that can make me dance like TVOTR.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Best of the Year 2014: Movie

Best of the Year 2014: Movie

A high dose of sci-fi and realism this year!

Edge of Tomorrow
Everyone thought that Oblivion was crud, but I liked it! An aging Tom Cruise is like the Charlton Heston circa 1970: making great sci-fi for posterity. Think about it, man. These movies are gonna be remembered.


While not as amazing as other Norton flicks, this one still delivers the message, the feeling, and the splendor that a movie should. I knew the twist right at the beginning, but I still enjoyed the journey. A great addition to the tiny genre of hard sci-fi.


As soon as you suspend your disbelief (how does that fucking aquarium stay intact?) you can enjoy the social and political questions that this film offers.


X-Men: Days of Future Past
I was so ready to loathe this movie: it has Old Picard reprising his decade-old role, and it has freaking stupid time travel in it. But, I was wrong.



Gone Girl
There are like seventeen write-ups about this movie at Grantland, so I will spare you another. I didn't gasp at the reveal, and I'm not married, but I still really liked it. Maybe if were married or dumber (or both) it would have been the best of the decade?

Best of the Year 2014: Music album

Best of the Year 2014: Music album

Art Official Age

So thankful for Prince and his chameleon ways. Art Official Age is probably his most transcendental record, seriously. Evidence: Lianne La Havas therapeutically relaxing your brain on "affirmation I, II & III" . Exhibit B: that cover.


Here and Nowhere Else
Cloud Nothings 

I regret not seeing this band live in 2014... great music that could be labeled "mainstream punk", but so much more (or less?)


Julian Casablancas + the Voidz

A much-needed continuation of Casablancas' 2009 debut album's sensibility. Tyranny is an old word, but has new definition with the music's powerful rhythms, angry harmonies, and strange pop noises. The grimy (awful) album cover of Tyranny probably scared potential fans away, but the true believers maintained the righteous path and reaped the benefit.


...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

A most satisfying and consistent album, full of new avenues to deliver the same rock song. Instrumentals are there, long epics, and short singles. They let their drummer sing one, even.



TV on the Radio

Even with the loss of a band member, TVOTR seems to maintain their funky-joyous momentum. Seeds contains instant classics like the calming "Ride" and the punk-nostalgic "Lazerray". And, the title track is just glorious and perfect. Lay down your lantern, coat of arms, broken drums, and dance with me.

Movies watched in 2020

Here's my annual list. I beat 2019 by about 60 . I stopped tracking TV series, too. The only films I saw in theaters were: Star Wars IX,...