Sunday, December 31, 2017

10 Year Vintage:Art-Pop and Deep Spatial Steps from 2007

Over at the vintage blogs, I've highlighted a number of songs from releases, singles, EPs, scores, et al. that came through 10/20/30/40/50/60 years ago.   For the purpose of these lists, each artist will only appear once on each list

Though my list would have looked different then, here's what looks best in 2007 ten years on


1. Burial - Untrue
2. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
3. MIA - Kala
4. Oneohtrix Point Never - Betrayed in the Octagon
5. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum
6. Britney Spears - Blackout
7. Various - After Dark
8. Au Revoir Simone - The Bird of Music
9. El-P - I'll Sleep When  You're Dead
10. Pamelia Kurstin - Thinking Out Loud
11. Pan Sonic - Cathodephase
12. Kanye West - Graduation
13. St. Vincent - Marry Me
14. Caribou - Andorra
15. Bjork - Volta
16. John Maus - Love is Real
17. Liars - Liars
18. Axoltl - Memory Theatre
19. Flying Lotus - Reset EP
20. Lichens - Omns
21. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
22. Arp  - In Light
23. Smackos - Computer Day
24. Imagene Peise - Atlas Eets Christmas
25. Junior Boys - Dead Horse EP
26. DeepChord presents Echospace - The Coldest Season Vol 1
27. Pinch - Underwater Dancehall
28. Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad
29. Tracey Thorn - Out of the Woods
30. Pocahaunted/Robedoor - Hunted Gathering
31. Chromatics - Night Drive
32. PJ Harvey - White Chalk
33. Air - Pocket Symphony
34. The Valerie Project - The Valerie Project
35. Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings
36. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
37. Radiohead - In Rainbows
38. Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxxions
39. The Focus Group - We Are All Pan's People
40. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
41. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
42. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
43. Johnny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood OST
44. Timbaland - Shock Value
45. Robert Wyatt - Comicopera
46. Low - Drums and Guns
47. The Tuss - Rushup Edge
48. Throbbing Gristle - The Endless Not
49. Professor Genius - Professor Genius
50. Yeasayer - All Hours Cymbals


1. Burial  - "Archangel"
2. Rihanna ft Jay-Z - "Umbrella"
3. Animal Collective - "For Reverend Green"
4. Oneohtrix Point Never - "Betrayed in the Octagon"
5. The Bug ft Flow Dan - "Skeng"
6. Au Revoir Simone - "A Violent Yet Flammable World"
7. Kanye West - "Flashing Lights"
8. MIA - "Boyz"
9. Liars - "Plaster Casts of Everything"
10. Kleerup ft Robyn - "With Every Heartbeat"
11. Battles - "Atlas"
12. Metro Area - "Read My Mind"
13. Vampire Weekend - "A-Punk"
14. RP Boo - "Total Darkness"
15. Cut/Copy - "Hearts on Fire"
16. MGMT - "Time to Pretend"
17. Benga & Coki - "Night"
18. Chromatics - "I Want Your Love"
19. Timbaland - "The Way I Are"
20. Pinch ft Yolanda - "Get Up"
21. Tracey Thorn - "It's All True"
22. LCD Soundsystem - "All My Friends"
23. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Witchunt Suite for WWIII"
24. Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend"
25. Murderbot - "More Guns"
26. Caribou - "Melody Day"
27. Mala - "Forgive"
28. Yeasayer  - "2080"
29. The-Dream - "Fast Car"
30. Dude N Em - "Watch My Feet"
31. Marc Houle - "Extreme"
32. Friendly Fires - "Paris"
33. Of Montreal - "The Past is a Grotesque Animal"
34. DJ Blaqstarr & Rye Rye - "Shake It to the Ground"
35. Sophie Ellis-Baxtor - "Me & My Imagination"
36. Eve - "Tambourine"
37. Justus Kohncke - "Feuerland"
38. Snoop Dogg - "Sensual Seduction"
39. Dusk + Blackdown ft Trim - "The Bits"
40. Loefah vs Darqwan - "Warrior Stance"
41. The Veronicas - "Untouched"
42. Kia Shine - "Krispy"
43. Jesu - "Can I Go Now"
44. The Go Team - "The Wrath of Marcie"
45. Joker - "Stuck in the System"
46. Radiohead - "House of Cards"
47. Little Dragon - "Twice"
48. Escort  - "All Through the Night"
49. 50 Cent ft Justin Timberlake - "Ayo Technology"
50. Peverelist - "Roll With the Punches"

20 Year Vintage: Millennial Anxiety and Abstract Dynamics in 1997

Over at the vintage blogs, I've highlighted a number of songs from releases, singles, EPs, scores, et al. that came through 10/20/30/40/50/60 years ago.   For the purpose of these lists, each artist will only appear once on each list

Here are 50 near-perfect individual tracks from 1997

1. Aphex Twin - "Flim"
2. Herbert & Dani Siciliano - "Going Round"
3. Missy Elliot - "Hit em Wit Da Hee"
4. Radiohead - "Paranoid Android"
5. Fabulous Baker Boys - "Oh Boy (Ramsey and Fen Mix)"
6. Hum - "Comin' Home"
7. Carl Craig - "Butterfly"
8. Stereolab - "Miss Modular"
9. The Beta Band - "Dry the Rain"
10. Busta Rhymes - "Dangerous"
11. Portishead - "All Mine"
12. Crustation - "Purple (A Tribe Called Quest Edit)"
13. Sonic Youth - "Sunday"
14. Timbaland and Magoo - "Feel It"
15. The Verve - "Bittersweet Symphony"
16. Company Flow - "Population Control"
17. David Bowie - "Dead Man Walking"
18. Groove Chronicles - "Stone Cold"
19. Total feat Missy Elliot - "What About Us"
20. Erykah Badu - "Appletree"
21. Panacea - "Stormbringer"
22. Wildchild - "Renegade Master (Fatboy Slim Old Skool Mix)"
23. The Chemical Brothers - "Block Rockin' Beats"
24. Foo Fighters - "Everlong"
25. Dem2 - "Destiny"
26. Boymerang - "Soul Beat Runna"
27. The Crystal Method - "Busy Child"
28. Cornelius - "Star Fruits Surf Rider"
29. Fluke - "Absurd (Headrillaz mix)"
30. Active Minds - "Hobson's Choice (Tune for Da Girl Dem Mix)"
31. Elliot Smith - "Between the Bars"
32. Source Direct - "Black Domina"
33. N-Tyce - "Telefunkin (First Steps Mix)"
34. Deftones - "Be Quiet and Drive"
35. Luke Slater - "Purely"
36. Wu-Tang Clan - "Forever"
37. Broadcast - "Living Room"
38. Basement Jaxx - "Set Yo Body Free"
39. Labradford - "P"
40. William S. Burroughs - "What Keeps Mankind Alive"
41. 4Hero - "Loveless"
42. Lenny Dee - "Forgotten Moments"
43. White Town - "Your Woman"
44. W.I.R. - "Sexy and Rich (Janet)"
45. Mogwai - "Mogwai Fear Satan"
46. Can - "Vitamin C (UNKLE mix)"
47. I-F - "Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass"
48. KP& Envyi - "Swing My Way"
49. Beck  - "Deadweight"
50. LL Cool J ft Method Man,et al - "1234"

Here are the 50 best Compact Discs and Vinyls of 1997, a year that tried to forge the futurism of the early decade into a palatable pop and listening music platform

1. Portishead - Portishead
2. Aphex Twin - Come to Daddy
3. Radiohead - OK Computer
4. Missy Elliot - Supa Dupa Fly
5. Carl Craig - More Songs About Food and Revolutionary Art
6. Yo La Tengo - I Can Heart the Heart Beating As One
7. Broadcast - Work and Non Work
8. Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus
9. Erykah Badu - Baduism
10. Locust  - Morning Light
11. The Beta Band - Championship Versions
12. Wu-Tang Clan - Wu-Tang Forever
13. Bjork - Homogenic
14. Luke Slater - Freek Funk
15. Mouse on Mars - Audiotacker
16. Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen, We're Floating in Space
17. Busta Rhymes - When Disaster Strikes
18. Spectrum - Forever Alien
19. Elliot Smith - Either/Or
20. Boymerang - Balance of the Force
21. Stereolab - Dots and Loops
22. Timbaland and Magoo - Welcome to Our World
23. Voodoo Child - The End of Everything
24. Labradford - Mi Media Naranja
25. Cornelius - Fantasma
26. David Bowie - Earthling
27. Squarepusher - Big Loada
28. Windy and Carl - Antartica: Bliss Out v.2
29. Bis - New Transistor Heroes
30. Roni Size & Reprazent - New Forms
31. Godflesh - Love and Hate in Dub
32. Plaid - Not for Threes
33. The Crystal Method - Vegas
34. The Prodigy - The Fat of the Land
35. The Promise Ring - Nothing Feels Good
36. Fennesz - Hotel Paral.el
37. Dead Voices on Air vs Not Breathing - A Fire at the Bronx Zoo
38. Hot Boys - Get It How U Live!
39. GAS - Zauberberg
40. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - F♯ A♯ ∞
41. 4Hero - Earth Pioneers
42. Slum Village - Fan-Tas-Tick Vol 1
43. Mu-Ziq - Lunatic Harness
44. Deftones - Around the Fur
45. The Bug - Tapping the Conversation
46. Daft Punk - Homework
47. Puff Daddy and the Family - No Way Out
48. Janet Jackson - The Velvet Rope
49. Tosca - Opera
50. Quasi - R&B Transmogrification

30 Year Vintage: The Techno Futurism and Hip-Hop Social Realism of 1987

Over at the vintage blogs, I've highlighted a number of songs from releases, singles, EPs, scores, et al. that came through 10/20/30/40/50/60 years ago.   For the purpose of these lists, each artist will only appear once on each list

Here are the 50 best smash albums from 1987, a year that seemed caught in an identity crisis between various paths forward

1. Guns N Roses - Appetite for Destruction
2. Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
3. Sinead O'Connor - The Lion and the Cobra
4. The Butthole Surfers - Locus Abortion Technician
5. Game Theory - Lolita Nation
6. Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show
7. Marianne Faithfull - Strange Weather
8. Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses
9. Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Prescription
10. Prince - Sign O the Times
11. Bathory - Under the Sign of the Black Mark
12. Husker Du - Warehouse: Songs and Stories
13. Erik B & Rakim - Paid in Full
14. Soundgarden - Screaming Life EP
15. Wire - The Ideal Copy
16. The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come
17. Loop - Heaven's End
18. Coil - Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser
19. Def Leppard - Hysteria
20. Caroline K - Now Wait for Last Year
21. Happy Mondays - Squirrel and G-Men Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)
22. Pussy Galore  - Right Now
23. INXS - Kick
24. Pet Shop Boys - Actually
25. Negativland - Escape from Noise
26. My Bloody Valentine - Strawberry Wine EP
27. White Zombie - Soul Crusher
28. U2 - The Joshua Tree
29. Sonic Youth - Sister
30. The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
31. Schoolly D - Saturday Night! The Album
32. Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me
33. Einsturzende Neubaten - Fuenf Auf Der Nach Oben Offenen Richterskala
34. Big Black - Songs About Fucking
35. Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
36. Nick Drake - Time of No Reply
37. Jesus and Mary Chain - Darklands
38. The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland
39. Jody Watley - Jody Watley
40. George Michael - Faith
41. Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
42. The Dukes of the Stratosphear - Psonic Psunspot
43. Lydia Lunch - Honeymoon in Red
44. Ice-T - Rhyme Pays
45. Michael Jackson - Bad
46. LL Cool J - Bigger and Deffer (BAD)
47. Yo La Tengo - New Wave Hot Dogs
48. R.E.M. - Document
49. Cabaret Voltaire - Code
50. Rollins Band - Life Time

Here are the 50 best singles from 1987, a great year for hits, including many that sounded like nothing that came before and plenty that came after

1. Frankie Knuckles - "Your Love"
2. M/A/R/R/S - "Pump Up the Volume"
3. Rhythim is Rhythim - "Strings of Life"
4. New Order - "Temptation (Substance Version)"
5. Salt N' Pepa - "Push It"
6. Happy Mondays - "24 Hour Party People"
7. Phuture - "Acid Tracks"
8. Erik B & Rakim - "Paid in Full (Seven Minutes of Madness- the Coldcut mix)"
9. The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
10. The Sugarcubes - "Birthday"
11. Public Enemy - "Rebel Without a Pause"
12. Pailhead - "I Will Refuse"
13. T'Pau - "Heart and Soul"
14. Mr Fingers - "Stars"
15. Depeche Mode - "Behind the Wheel (Shep Pettibone Mix)"
16. Husker Du - "Up in the Air"
17. The Smiths - "London"
18. Boogie Down Productions - "The Bridge is Over"
19. Guns N Roses - "Welcome to the Jungle"
20. LL Cool J - "Going Back to Cali"
21. Swing Out Sister - "Blue Mood"
22. Gang Starr - "Bust  a Move Boy"
23. Expose - "Point of No Return"
24. R.E.M.  - "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
25. U2 - "With or Without You"
26. Pierre's Pfantasy Club - "Got the Bug"
27. Prince - "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker"
28. INXS - "New Sensation"
29. 2 Puerto Ricans, a Blackman and a Dominican - "Do It Properly (DEF mix)"
30. Wiseblood - "0-0 (Where Evil Dwells)"
31. Biz Markie - "Nobody Beats the Biz"
32. Fallout - "The Morning After (Sunrise mix)"
33. Einsturzende Neubaten - "Ich Bich's"
34. Ultramagnetic MC's  - "Mentally Mad"
35. Belinda Carlisle - "Heaven is a Place on Earth"
36. Pet Shop Boys - "Rent"
37. Channel One - "It's Channel One"
38. Stephanie Mills - "You're Puttin' a Rush on Me"
39. Rhythm Controll - "My House"
40. Ice-T - "Squeeze the Trigger"
41. Soundgarden - "Tears to Forget"
42. Sinead O'Connor - "Troy"
43. The Vaselines - "Son of a Gun"
44. My Bloody Valentine - "Strawberry Wine"
45. DJ Polo & Kool G Rap - "Rikers Island"
46. George Michael - "I Want Your Sex"
47. EPMD - "It's My Thing"
48. The Sisters of Mercy - "This Corrosion"
49. Enya - "Boadicea"
50. The Church - "Under the Milky Way"

40 Year Vintage: Stroboscopic Reflections of 1977

Over at the vintage blogs, I've highlighted a number of songs from releases, singles, EPs, scores, et al. that came through 10/20/30/40/50/60 years ago.   For the purpose of these lists, each artist will only appear once on each list

Here are the 50 best Long Players from 1977, a year that turned into the future and was particularly ripe in the burgeoning punk and disco scenes:

1. Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express
2. David Bowie - Low
3. The Congos - Heart of the Congos
4. Sex Pistols  - Nevermind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
5. Iggy Pop - The Idiot
6. Bernard Fevre - The Strange World of Bernard Fevre
7. Cheap Trick - Cheap Trick
8. Michael Rother - Flammende Herzen
9. Van Halen - Van Halen
10. Cluster & Eno - Cluser & Eno
11. The Clash - The Clash
12. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
13. Electric Light Orchestra - Out of the Blue
14. Popul Vuh - Herz Au Glas
15. David Lynch and Alan Splet - Eraserhead OST
16. The Shoes - Black Vinyl Shoes
17. Miles Davis - Dark Magus
18. The Boys - The Boys
19. Gary Wilson - You Think You Really Know Me
20. Talking Heads - Talking Heads 77
21. Richard Hell and the Voidoids - Blank Generation
22. Culture - Two Sevens Clash
23. Cerrone - Supernature
24. Univers Zero - Univers Zero
25. Chrisma - Chinese Restaurant
26. Heart - Little Queen
27. Hawkwind - Quark, Strangeness and Cahrm
28. Clara Rockmore - Theremin
29. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Exodus
30. The Stranglers - No More Heroes
31. Slave - Slave
32. Goblin - Suspiria OST
33. Wire - Pink Flag
34. Bootsy Collins - Aaah!  The Name is Bootsy, Baby!
35. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue
36. The Ramones - Leave Home
37. Tony Allen Plays with Afrika 70 - Progress
38. Giorgio Moroder - From Here to Eternity
39. Rosebud - Discoballs
40. The Jam - In the City
41. Various - Streets (Beggars Banquet comp)
42. Klaus Schulze - Mirage
43. Parliament - Funkentelechy vs the Placebo Syndrome
44. Elvis Costello - My Aim is True
45. Donna Summer - Once Upon a Time
46. Steely Dan - Aja
47. Chic - Chic
48. Throbbing Gristle - Second Annual Report
49. Rush - Farewell to Kings
50. The Damned - Damned Damned Damned

Here are 50 ace singles from 77, jolting energy into the 80s

1. Donna Summer - "I Feel Love"
2. David Bowie - ""Heroes""
3. The Congos - "Fisherman"
4. Slave - "Slide"
5. Kraftwerk - "Hall of Mirrors"
6. Iggy Pop - "Nightclubbing"
7. William Onyeabor - "Something You'll Never Forget"
8. Parliament  - "Flashlight"
9. Michele - "Magic Love"
10. Camouflage feat Mysti - "Take a Ride"
11. Idris Muhammad - "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This"
12. Cheap Trick - "He's a Whore"
13. The Clash - "Career Opportunities"
14. Fleetwod Mac - "Dreams"
15. Demis Roussos - "I Dig You"
16. Eddie Warner - "Night Flight"
17. Rosebud - "Have a Cigar"
18. Van Halen - "Ain't Talking Bout Love"
19. Bill Withers - "Lovely Day"
20. Norman Connors - "Once I've Been There"
21. Richard Hell & the Voidoids - "Liars Beware"
22. Sex Pistols - "God Save the Queen"
23. Grace Jones - "La Vie En Rose"
24. Culture - "Two Sevens Clash"
25. Bootsy Collins - "Munchies for Your Love"
26. Rhys Chatham - "Guitar Trio"
27. Peter Gabriel - "Solisbury Hill"
28. Electric Light Orchestra - "Mr. Blue Sky"
29. Space - "Magic Fly"
30. Carlton and His Shoes - "Never Give Your Heart Away"
31. Talking Heads - "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire"
32. The Ramones - "California Sun"
33. Bohannon - "Maybe You Can Dance"
34. Giorgio Moroder - "Lost Angeles"
35. Hopeton Lewis  - "Sounds and Pressure"
36. Styx - "Come  Sail Away"
37. Isaac Hayes - "Moonlight Lovin"
38. Bob Marley and the Wailers - "Waiting in Vain"
39. The Real Kids - "All Kindsa Girls"
40. The Adverts - "We Who Wait"
41. Chrisma - "Black Silk Stocking"
42. Nilsson - "All I Think About Is You"
43. Supermax - "Love Machine"
44. Jan Hammer Group - "Don't You Know"
45. Michael Zager Band - "Love Express"
46. Marvin Gaye - "Got to Give It Upp (pts 1 & 2)"
47. 999 - "Nasty Nasty"
48. First Choice - "Let No Man Put Asunder"
49. The Soft Boys - "Hear My Brane"
50. Dennis Wilson - "Farewell My Friend"

Cinemap (Updated back to 1920)

I didn't see a lot of films this year, so here's a list of the best films I've seen in each year since 1920, with the caveat that many of those early years don't contain a particularly long list of films that I've seen. 

1920 - The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
1921 - *
1922 - Nosferatu
1923 - *
1924 - Ballet Mecanique
1925 - Battleship Potemkin
1926 - Page of Madness
1927 - Metropolis
1928 - The Passion of Joan of Arc
1929 - Man With a Movie Camera
1930 - L'Age D'Or
1931 - M
1932 - Freaks
1933 - Duck Soup
1934 - It Happened One Night
1935 - Bride of Frankenstein
1936 - Modern Times
1937 - The Grand Illusion
1938 - Bringing Up Baby
1939 - The Wizard of Oz
1940 - Fantasia
1941 - Citizen Kane
1942 - Casablanca
1943 - Der Fuhrer's Face
1944 - Laura
1945 - Three Cabelleros
1946 - The Big Sleep
1947 - Miracle on 34th Street
1948 - *
1949 - The Third Man
1950 - Sunset Boulevard
1951 - The Day the Earth Stood Still
1952 - High Noon
1953 - *
1954 - Rear Window
1955 - Night of the Hunter
1956 - The Searchers
1957 - Paths of Glory
1958 - Vertigo
1959 - Rio Bravo
1960 - Peeping Tom
1961 - Yojimbo
1962 - To Kill a Mockingbird
1963 - X the Man With the X Ray Eyes
1964 - Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
1965 - Alphaville
1966 - Persona
1967 - Playtime
1968 - 2001: A Space Odyssey
1969 - Medium Cool
1970 - Crimes of the Future
1971 - A Clockwork Orange
1972 - Solaris
1973 - The Holy Mountain
1974 - The Conversation
1975 - The Rocky Horror Picture Show
1976 - Network
1977 - Eraserhead
1978 - Dawn of the Dead
1979 - Apocalypse Now
1980 - The Shining
1981 - Scanners
1982 - The Atomic Café
1983 - Videodrome
1984 - Threads
1985 - Back to the Future
1986 - River's Edge
1987 - Robocop
1988 - Die Hard
1989 - Do the Right Thing
1990 - Goodfellas
1991 - Barton Fink
1992 - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
1993 - Dazed and Confused
1994 - Natural Born Killers
1995 - Strange Days
1996 - Fargo
1997 - Boogie Nights
1998 - The Thin Red Line
1999 - Existenz
2000 - George Washington
2001 - Mullholland Drive
2002 - Morvern Callar
2003 - Lost in Translation
2004 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2005 - Mysterious Skin
2006 - Children of Men
2007 - Superbad
2008 - Step Brothers
2009 - We Live in Public
2010 - Black Swan
2011 - Tree of Life
2012 - The Master
2013 - Her
2014 - Citizenfour
2015 - Ex Machina
2016 - Hypernormalization & (tie) Hell or High Water
2017 - Get Out

*No Films Seen

As a bonus, here are the worst films I've seen since 1990

1990 -Pretty Woman
1991 -Cool As Ice
1992 -Beethoven
1993 -Indecent Proposal
1994 -Exit to Eden
1995 -Batman Forever
1996 -Jingle All the Way
1997 -Chasing Amy
1998 -Armageddon
1999 -American Pie
2000 -Family Man
2001 -Jurassic Park III
2002 -Austin Powers in Goldmember
2003 -Terminator 3
2004 -Team America World Police
2005 -Just Like Heaven
2006 -Clerks II
2007 -Across the Universe
2008 -Gran Torino
2009 -Observe and Report
2010 -Somewhere
2011 -Sucker Punch
2012 -Rock of Ages
2013 -Man of Steel
2014 -Divergent
2015 -Pitch Perfect 2
2016 -Suicide Squad
2017 -Rock Dog

50 Year Vintage: 1967 Immortal

Over at the vintage blogs, I've highlighted a number of songs from releases, singles, EPs, scores, et al. that came through 10/20/30/40/50/60 years ago.   For the purpose of these lists, each artist will only appear once on each list

Here are the 50 best singles from 1967, a year of so many memorable tunes:

1. The Beatles - "A Day in the Life"
2. Scott Walker - "The Plague"
3. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - "May This Be Love"
4. The Doors - "The End"
5. Nico - "These Days"
6. Dawn Penn - "You Don't Love Me (No no no)"
7. Les Yper-Sound - "Psyche Rock"
8. Classics IV - "Spooky"
9. Pink Floyd - "Interstellar Overdrive"
10. Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood - "Some Velvet Morning"
11. The Marvelettes - "The Hunter Gets Captured By the Game"
12. Odetta - "Sail Away Ladies"
13. Leonard Cohen - "Suzanne"
14. Buffalo Springfield - "Expecting to Fly"
15. Nina Simone - "The Turning Point"
16. The Red Crayola - "Hurricane Fighter Plane"
17. James Brown - "Cold Sweat (pt 1 & 2)"
18. Terry Riley - "You're Nogood"
19. Jerry Reed - "I Feel For You"
20. Perrey-Kingsley - "Carousel of the Planets"
21. Tintern Abbey - "Vacuum Cleaner"
22. Alton Ellis - "I'm Still in Love With You"
23. The Kinks - "David Watts"
24. The Zombies - "Care of Cell 44"
25. The Paragons - "The Tide is High"
26. The Turtles - "Happy Together"
27. Thelonius Monk - "Straight No Chaser"
28. David McCallum - "The Edge"
29. The Elastik Band - "Spazz"
30. The Bar-Kays - "Soul Finger"
31. Jefferson Airplane - "White Rabbit"
32. Frankie Valli - "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"
33. The Monkees - "Pleasant Valley Sunday"
34. Archie Bell & the Drells - "Tighten Up"
35. The Minstrels - "People Get Ready"
36. Janis Ian - "A Song for All the Seasons Of Your Mind"
37. Love - "Alone Again Or"
38. Lou Rawls - "Dead End Street"
39. The Third Bardo - "I'm Five Years Ahead of My Time"
40. John Harris and the Soul Sayers - "Hangin In"
41. The Grass Roots - "Depressed Feeling"
42. Desmond Dekker - "Unity"
43. The Supremes - "The Happening"
44. Gene Pitney - "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart"
45. The Peddlers - "Sneakin Up On You"
46. Glen Campbell - "Gentle on My Mind"
47. The Cannonball Adderley Quintet - "74 Miles Away"
48. The Amboy Dukes - "Baby Please Don't Go"
49. The Youngbloods - "Get Together"
50. Small Faces - "Itchycoo Park"

Here are 30 Best Albums from 1967, a year when albums came into their own:

1. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico
2. The Kinks - Something Else by the Kinks
3. Pink Floyd - Piper at the Gates of Dawn
4. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced
5. The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
6. Nico - Chelsea Girl
7. The Walker Brothers - Images
8. The Rolling Stones - Between the Buttons
9. Nina Simone - Silk & Soul
10. Tim Buckley - Goodbye and Hello
11. Leonard Cohen - Songs of Leonard Cohen
12. The Who - Sell Out
13. The Paragons - On the Beach
14. The Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds
15. Letta Mbulu - Letta Mbulu Sings
16. The Beach Boys - Smiley Smile
17. Perrey-Kingsley - Kaleidscopic Visions
18. Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Picnic
19. Astrud Gilberto - Beach Samba
20. The Doors - Strange Days
21. Hal Blaine - Psychedelic Percussion
22. The Standells - Try It
23. Peter Walker - Rainy Day Raga
24. Henry Mancini - Wait Until Dark OST
25. The Free Design - Kites are  Fun
26. Love - Forever Changes
27. Booker T & The MG's - Hip-Hug Her
28. Dionne Warwick - Windows of the World
29. Vanilla Fudge - Vanilla Fudge
30. The Monkees - More of the Monkees

60 Year Vintage: Artifacts from 1957

Over at the vintage blogs, I've highlighted a number of songs from releases, singles, EPs, scores, et al. that came through 10/20/30/40/50/60 years ago.

Here are 20 choice selections from 1957

1. Chuck Berry  - All 1957 Singles
2. Martin Denny - Exotica LP
3. Vladimir Ussachevsky - Metamorphosis
4. Julie London - "Dark"
5. Buddy Holly - 1957 singles
6. Ella Fitzgerald  - Like Someone in Love LP
7. Dale Hawkins - "Susie Q"
8. Gene Vincent - "Jezebel"
9. Sam Cooke - "You Send Me"
10. Miles Davis - "My Funny Valentine"
11. Original Broadway Cast - West Side Story
12. Blossom Dearie - Blossom Dearie LP
13. The Platters - "My Dream"
14. Johnny Cash - With His Hot and Blue Guitar LP
15. John Coltrane - Coltrane LP
16. Slim Harpo - "I'm a King Bee"
17. Fats Domino - "What Will I Tell My Heart"
18. Wonder Woman - "I Wanna Be Free"
19. Richard Berry and the Pharoahs - "Louie Louie"
20. Everly Brothers - "Wake Up Little Susie"

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Eardemption 2017

I feel like every year I say that my game is down, but I probably listened to significantly less now-moment music in 2017 than others.  To boot, it felt like now music didn't have as much to offer to right now as in previous iterations of "now".

Nevertheless, here are 30-ish songs I really liked this year, in relative order.   

Sophie - "Ponyboy"
Sophie - "It's Okay to Cry"
Lanark Artefax - "Touch Absence"
Selena Gomez - "Bad Liar"
St Vincent  - "Los Ageless"
Missy Elliot ft Lamb - "I'm Better"
Ida Dillan - "DM Me"
Vince Staples - "Yeah Right"
Charli XCX - "Boys"
Migos - "Bad and Boujee"
Fever Ray - "To the Moon and Back"
Slowdive  - "Sugar for the Pill"
Bjork - "The Gate"
SZA - "Drew Barrymore"
LCD Soundsystem - "How Do You Sleep?"
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - "A Song of Summer"
Fawkes - "Nemesis"
HCMJ  - "Ran Through Glass"
Yatta - "Desert Song"
Brian Eno/Kevin Shields - "Only Once Away My Son"
Tyler the Creator ft Frank Ocean, Steve Lacey - "911/Mr. Lonely"
Kingdom - "Tears in the Club"
Drake - "Passionfruit"
Perfume Genius - "Die 4 You"
Sega Bodega ft Shygirl - "CC"
Yves De Mey - "Summer"
TRONICBOX - "Whaaat85 (AG Cook mix)"
Syd - "All About Me"
Mumdance & Logos - "Café Del Mar"
Zuli - "What you Do"
Shabazz Palaces - "Shine a Light"

Here are 25 albums in approximate order that I thought rose above in 2017

St Vincent -Masseduction
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith -The Kid
Vince Staples -Big Fish Theory
Slowdive -Slowdive
Gazelle Twin -Kingdom Come
LCD Soundsystem -American Dream
$3.33 -Draft
Syd -Fin
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma -On the Echoing Green
Tyler the Creator -Flower Boy
Oto Hiax -Oto Hiax
Emra Grid -Shay's Vacation House
Migos -Culture
Kailin -Fracture
Algiers -The Underside of Power
Kingdom -Tears in the Club
Kepla & DeForrest Brown Jr -Absent Personae
Kendrick Lamar -Damn.
Cube -Crisis Actor
Blanck Mass -World Eater
Jlin -Black Origami
Gnod -Just Say No to the Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine
Maxwell Sterling -Hollywood Medieval
Drake  -More Life

Peak Peak TV 2017

I watch a lot of TV.

Here are what I found to be the best single episodes of television in 2017

1. Twin Peaks- "The Return, Part 8"
2. Mr Robot- "eps3.4_runtime-error.r00"
3. The Handmaid's Tale- "Offred (ep.1)
4. Big Little Lies- "You Get What You Need (ep.7)"
5. Dear White People- "Chapter V: Reggie"
6. Legion- "Chapter 3"
7. Rick and Morty- "The Ricklantis Mixup (ep.7)"
8. Game of Thrones- "The Spoils of War (ep.4)"
9. The Young Pope- "Episode 8"
10. Fargo- "Who Rules the Land of Denial? (ep.8)"

Here are what I found to be the best longform shows of 2017
1. Twin Peaks: The Return
2. Big Little Lies
3. The Good Place
4. Legion
5. Alias Grace
6. Mr Robot
7. Handmaid's Tale
8. Difficult People
9. Dear White People
10. Glow
11. Ozark
12. Rick and Morty
13. Game of Thrones
14. The Young Pope
15. Mindhunter

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Friday, November 3, 2017

101 Best Albums Made By Women Not on NPR's List of 150 Best Albums Made By Women

I re-discovered a list I had started making back around the time in July when NPR Released its list of 150 Best Albums by Women. I had got to about 60 or so and planned to expand it to 150, but, you know, time, resources, mental faculties, et al. In the interest of completion, I expanded the list to 101.

 The logic of the inital list was a little difficult to follow, but I attempted to do so.  Albums with just female members didn't really apply, unless they were also songwriters for the bulk of the album.  Albums with frontwomen who didn't write their own songs, however, did seem to apply as the spotlight was more on musicality rather than songwriting itself.  Overall though, the criteria seemed a bit loose, so I kept it so. The list leans a little more recent since these tend to be the type of things left off of canon-building exercises (and also I just tend to think there's been great stuff produced in the last 10-20 years that hasn't seeped into canon for structural reasons to do with the critical praxis rather than aesthetic reasons). I'm sure I missed a bunch, but I never see these things as definitive. 

101. Shop Assistants- Shop Assistants
100. Curve- Cuckoo
99. Ada- Blondie
98. Jody Watley- Jody Watley
97. Rachel Stevens- Come and Get It
96. Goldfrapp- Supernature
95. Shystie- Diamond in the Dirt
94. L7- Hungry for Stink
93. Nicki Minaj- Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded
92. Lily Allen- Alright, Still
91. Chelsea Wolfe- Abyss
90. Bis- New Transistor Heroes
89. Anne Clark- Joined Up Writing
88. Bat for Lashes- Fur & Gold
87. Nite Jewel- Good Evening
86. Nicolette- Let No One Live Rent Free In Your Head
85. Cristina- Sleep it Off
84. Lady Sovereign- Public Warning
83. Francoise Hardy- Francoise Hardy (1962)
82. Annie-Anniemal
81. Tilt- 'Til it Kills
80. Pameila Kurstin- Thinking Out Loud
79. Chicks on Speed- The Re-Release of the Un-Releases
78. Ramona Lisa- Arcadia
77. Julia Holter-Ekstasis
76. AC Marias- One of Our Girls is Missing
75. Cat Power- Moon Pix
74. Frightwig- Cat Farm Faboo
73. Heavenly- the Decline and Fall of Heavely
72. Letta Mbulu- Letta Mbulu Sings
71. Sheila Chandra- The Struggle
70. Xosar- Holographic Matrix
69. Teenage Jesus and the Jerks- Teenage Jesus and the Jerks
68. Syreeta- Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta
67. Michele- Magic Love
66. Electrelane-The Power Out
65. Miss Kitten and the Hacker- First Album
64. Peaches- the Teaches of Peaches
63. Pale Saints- The Comforts of Madness
62. Seven Fields of Aphelion- Periphery
61. Minnie Riperton- Adventures in Paradise
60. Everything But the Girl- Walking Wounded
59. Teddy and the Frat Girls- I Wanna Be a Man
58. Carter Tutti- Cabal
57. Rachel Zeffira- The Deserters
56. Windy and Carl- Drawing of Sound
55. Julianna Barwick- Will
54. Book of Love- Book of Love
53. Rosebud- Discoballs
52. Lady June- Lady June's Linguistic Leprosy
51. Cibo Matto- Viva! La Woman!
50. Au Revoir Simone- The Bird of Music
49. Grimes- Art Angels
48. Huggy Bear- Weaponry Listens to Love
47. Virginia Astley- From Gardens We Feel Secure
46. Sky Ferreira- Night Time, My Time
45. ABBA- Waterloo
44. Vashti Bunyan- Just Another Diamond Day
43. Kelis- Tasty
42. Julie London- Around Midnight
41. Dead Can Dance- Spleen and Ideal
40. Karen Dalton- In My Own Time
39. Kaitlyn Auerlia Smith- EARS
38. Nancy Sinatra- Boots
37. Garbage- Garbage
36. Pocahaunted- Chains
35. Sibylle Baier- Colour Green
34. Chrisma- Chinese Restaurant
33. Bobbi Humphrey- Satin Doll
32. Ellen Allien- Berlinette
31. Fatima Al Qadiri- Desert Strike
30. Blossom Dearie- Blossom Dearie
29. White Noise- An Electric Storm
28. Annie Anxiety- Soul Possession
27. Camille Yarborough- The Iron Pot Cooker
26. Mazzy Star- Among My Swan
25. Richard and Linda Thompson- I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
24. Aghast- Hexerei Im Zwielicht Der Finsternis
23. Dionne Warwick- Anyone Who Had a Heart
22. Yma Sumac- Mambo!
21. High Places- High Places
20. Danielle Dax- Jesus Egg That Wept
19. Ladytron- The Witching Hour
18. Gazelle Twin- Unflesh
17. Rihanna- Anti-
16. Ludus- The Seduction
15. Holly Herndon- Platform
14. Sweet Trip- Velocity:Design:Comfort
13. FKA Twigs- LP1
12. Laurie Spiegel- The Expanding Universe
11. Jlin- Dark Energy
10. Jenny Hval- Blood Bitch
9. The Knife- Silent Shout
8. Bow Wow Wow- See Jungle!See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy
7. Stereolab- Emperor Tomato Ketchup
6. The United States of America- The United States of America
5. Lisa Germano- Geek the Girl
4. Dawn Richard- Blackheart
3. St Vincent- St Vincent
2. Grouper- Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill
1. Broadcast- the Noise Made By People


Something I shared on Facebook a few weeks ago, reshared below. 

I think I'd have to add an addendum that since I wrote this, there's been a string of accusations that have come out.  In the spirit of this is a troubling "Shitty Men in Media" document, which seems to have originated as a doc to warn women of predators lurking in media.  While the spirit of this doc is attuned to what I've written below, things like this may just be too open to trolls.  Indeed we're now seeing it being weaponized by worthless alt-right fucks who don't give half a shit about women, or by political opponents eager to believe, or defended by political allies wanting more evidence than they're willing to grant for those they could care less about.  I worry about this whole thing becoming such a mess that it takes the spotlight off of finding paths forward in establishing accountability and attacking rape culture at its core.  In a way, this is nobody's fault.  The socio-cultural hellscape of the comments section moment is not one best suited for having these discussions. And given the personal, uncapturable, intimate nature of most of these violations, they remain a space for the cast of doubt.  What I think I mean to say below is that we can never expect to have a full interrogation of these topics without a reversal of power dynamics.  What I maybe failed to mention is that this not only means making men's intentions carry as much suspicion as women's criticisms of them historically have, but also lifting up women or other people marginalized by rape culture and finding ways for their voices and perspectives to be heard loudly. 

A little late on the draw with this, but I did want to just say that I see all your #metoo posts and I feel them and appreciate everyone using their voice on this topic, while respecting those who may not want to say anything as well.  I can't say I am surprised by anything.  I’d always assumed that these experiences were fairly universal, but it's also heartbreaking to see the trickle-down effect of patriarchy and rape culture at the individual level, affecting specific people you know in singular, uniquely devastating ways.
 I think this kind of campaign is good though, because when something exists solely as a phenomena it can be opaque and forbidding to even attempt to tackle.  When sexual harassment and sexual assault become part of the atmosphere, they get absorbed into ideology, process, and become structures in their own right.  They can hide in the margins of unobserved male privilege, obscured by the gaslight of humor, unintentionally defended either through depreciation of impact (“it wasn’t that bad”) or the pernicious passivity of consensual silence (“it’s not my problem”).  Conversely, when this behavior is laid bare and when the pain and suffering is standing in the limelight, it becomes incumbent upon us to start shining lights in the corners where illegitimate power and its enablers like to hide and present them as the black mirror image of existing mainstream culture we know them to be.
 One of the most important aspects of this is acknowledging one’s own complicity in it.  Given the way our social relations have been mediated and intercepted by the various channels our words get funneled through, these gestures can seem performative, but they’re important nonetheless.  I’ve definitely at times looked the other way or said things that may have made someone else uncomfortable.  I’ve told women to lighten up and made excuses for men who were demonstrably wrong.  Even as I evolve and try to stay cognizant of my actions, I may still wind up talking over women or undervaluing their contributions or participating in other microagressions that holistically, if not individually, denigrate the autonomy and contributions of women.  I try not to, but I know it happens.
 Here’s the thing about why it happens- living as a white dude is super easy.  Even when it’s hard, it’s not as hard as it would be for someone not identifying cisgender male.  Even if I’ve never had a problem identifying as a feminist, never intentionally inflicted harm, and tried incessantly to purge any misogynistic preconceptions from my mind, I know that I’ve still been guilty of making things worse because some of these dynamics become conscripted.  And whereas it’s incumbent upon women culturally to watch their step when they’re walking alone at night, to be careful what they’re saying in a board meeting, to be mindfully of acquaintances they know, to brush off humor in order to fit into a patriarchal order, and to monitor their appearance at every turn, none of that applies to guys.  I can be blunt and kind of a dick sometimes.  Women can’t.  Well, they can, but the consequences for them would be much steeper than it would be for me.  White men rarely face or worry about consequences at all.  And chances are something that flat out ruined your day, that still bites from years ago, probably meant nothing to him, if he even remembers it at all.  It’s fucking easy to be a white guy. And we need to make it a lot hard.
 One of the ideas that always comes up when the tables finally flip on these open secrets like Trump and Cosby and Weinstein is that nothing will change until we trust and believe women.  Indeed, there’s really nothing to gain when these coming forward.  In fact, as sick as it is, more often than not, it’s likely better for them on a personal level to stay silent, to not face reliving trauma and have hordes of frothing bros hurl vile insults and threats their way.  The status quo has a way of reinforcing itself at all costs.
 But beyond believing women, maybe it’s also time to start trusting men less.  That’s not to say that it’s a zero sum game or that there aren’t some men who are fundamentally decent, but unless a man is actively working towards solutions to the problem of rape culture do they really deserve the benefit of a doubt?  I realize that I say this to my own detriment, that these words could easily come back to haunt me. But perhaps white men need to be less comfortable and more careful until this problem is fixed.  Maybe they need to feel as vulnerable as women do every day, like their words and intentions are being second-guessed.  Unless men starting fighting for equity, maybe they could stand some equality.   

That's Good for Trump

Friday, October 27, 2017

Good Behavior Hurricane Relief compilation

I haven't worked on music in ages, but I do have a track on this very worthy fundraiser from the well-behaved boys over at Good Behavior, alongside some other great tracks.  Purchase a hard copy + digital copy for a limited time for the same price as a straight digital copy.

Turf War

It's been a little quiet at this blog lately.  I feel like this is annual routine where I announce this.  But this time I've actually been doing something other than being busy at a thankless job.  Probably the most prominent taste of this is here in The Atlantic , where Alex Putterman interview my family and a close personal friend about our involvement in forming NHASTI, an organization opposed to the use of crumb rubber infill in sports fields and playgrounds.  Crumb rubber is ground-up tires, an eco-hazard containing at least 13 known carcinogens currently being studied by the EPA, CDC, and CSPC because it has potentially being poisoning children for the past 20 or so years.   It has become a hot-button issue at the local level, and has elicited some nasty glares and threats towards us, as well as some jeers directed at my daughter for ...having gone through two major skull surgeries from a condition that could be partly influenced by the same substance?  I dunno, these sports fuckers are nuts.

We've been trying to raise a lot of attention on this since the town is completely inattentive and weirdly at the mercy of this band of local Dylan, Texas-style sports crusaders.  Never thought I'd be back at it with the jocks, but here we are.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Deficits Racket

Citations Needed is one the sharpest podcasts around and this episode on thinking about deficits/how wealth is produced/ countering conventional economic arguments/what spending money gets debated and what is raises questions of how we will pay for it is ace and worth everyone's listen

Monday, October 23, 2017

RIP Daisy Berkowitz

Marilyn Manson were a huge part of my early adolescence and Daisy's riff-ology was a huge part of that


Monday, October 2, 2017

It is PKD's World, We Just Live In It

“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”
Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the state department and US intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.
Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the US government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August – nine months after symptoms were first reported.'

Saturday, September 9, 2017

In a wig, after a ridiculous makeover, and still managing to deliver right to the gut

Friday, September 1, 2017

Purging archives

Free shit pitches to listicle servers if you want 'em

musicians named after real people:
Hype Williams
Sissy Spacek
Emil Beauliel
milton bradley
harriet tubman
franz ferdinand
the beau brummels
jethro tull
the mr t experience
kathleen turner overdrive
duran duran duran
run dmt
dandy warhols
com truise
joy orbson
wevie stonder
ill. Gates
Gnarls barkley
Donna Summer

musicians who've done porn
traci lords
carter fanny tutti
lydia lunch
paris hilton

Musicians who were music critics
stephen merritt (SPIN)
ekoplekz (gutterbreakz blog)
alexis georgopolous of ARP/Alps/Tussle (XLR8R, others)
kim gordon (artforum)
cex (baltimore sun)
dominique leone (pitchfork)
neal tennant- pet shop boys (smash hits)
paul d.miller
david toop
chris weingarten of Parts and Labor (Rolling Stone, others)
drew daniel (matmos)
john darnielle
sasha frere jones of ui  (New Yorker)
daniel martin-mccormack of Ital and Mi Ami (Dusted)
kevin martin (aka k. martin) (the wire)
kode9/steve goodman  (hyperdub zine, the wire)
jeffrey pierce of gun club (slash magazine)
lydia lunch (forced exposure)
graeme revelle of spk  (re/search)
stephen morrissey (NME)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

RIP Peter Principle

Feel like I didn't even time to mourn the death of George A. Romero

Goodbye, friend.  His films will stick around though

In the Present Moment

A mix built on a sensibility of unease, with an arch based around song titles that tap into the emotional currents of the present moment
1. Chris Isaak- Unhappiness
2. Glaxo Babies- This is Your Life
3. Gnod- Breaking the Hex
4. Croatian Armor- Reality Summit
5. Nazar- Tyrrany
6. Nicolette- No Government
7. Arca- Anger
8. Thomas Brinkmann- Uselessness
9. Trans A.M.- Speechless
10. Liturgy- Mysterium
11. The Caretaker- Emptiness
12. Low- Violence
13. The Heptones- Our Day Will Come
14. Suicide- Dream Baby Dream

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Postmortum on Twin Peaks Eps1-4

This article by John Tatlock does a good job at articulating the differences in the new Twin Peaks iteration without going into spoilers. I won't go into too many details, but here are some semi-spoilerish thoughts on what exactly is happening with Twin Peaks and why this is what we are getting in 2017 (and don't expect that to change any time soon).

The first thing to note about Twin Peaks The Return is that the show is pretty tedious. It tests and plays with the limits of patience, particularly a fan's patience, waiting for the old series to emerge.  This series has zero melodrama and deep feeling, articulated with the abundant and some might say ironic use of Angelo Badalementi’s score work on the original show.  Here, in 2017, David Lynch does not do fan service. That said, hardcore fans of the show will notice the recurrence of minor details, or the completion of motions set in place during the initial run or in the film Fire Walk With Me. There are the odd cues and callbacks to things like the Arm, the blue rose, or a flickering light, but there is no legend to guide you through it.  Whereas 90s Dale Cooper served as the series guide by bringing his crew up to speed as mysterious events unfold, here there is no narrator, no guide, no clues connecting the dots, which are in complete disarray like splatter art.  At one point, Deputy Hawk appears to be going through an existential crisis about whether a seemingly trivial bit of evidence might be relevant or not.  If Twin Peaks gave birth to the postmodern show, as many said at the time, Twin peaks the return is full postmodernism, signs and signifiers completely detached from all meaning, no center in sight.

It becomes pretty clear by the time Brett Gelman and Michael Cera arrive on screen in episode 4 that Lynch is making this show in full awareness of the Adult Swim roster, much of which thrived on a surreal horror-comedy that was clearly in debt to Lynch himself. In fact, there's an acknowledgment of many items that have trickled through the TV/film matrix both over the last 25 years and prior.  It’s unclear if distracting allusions to the Addams Family and The Wild One are inserted to be canny, clever, or intentionally awkward, but they play as the latter.  Just as the tonal shift of the Twin Peaks film was announced with its opening shot of a TV screen being smashed (and then with an FBI agent making vague threats to "Deputy Cable"), the new series, available as a TV Show, streaming show, or, at a later date, as an 18 hour movie, seems to just be trapped somewhere in a virtual consciousness, figuring itself out.  One of the major plot points in episode one concerns a giant unexplained glass cage based out of TV capital NYC which has no known origin or originator- it's a literal manifestation of a mystery box, the genre Twin Peaks helped to create (though the mystery in the box was never intended to be solved- for further physical manifestations of this, see Westworld's McGuffin map).

The series takes place in a world in which language and communication have become so corrupted that the mere concept of rational thought and dialogue seems like an impossibility. The show's initial concern is returning Cooper from the Black Lodge, but something from that world seems to be infecting everything outside of it. Gone is the witty banter and maudlin lovelorn confessions of the initial series.  Instead, there are impossibly long pauses, stunted phrases, and often stupid, just plainly and hopefull-intentionally idiotic back and forths.  One can pull from this tenuous narrative gauze a potential thought project about aging. The geriatric experience is made manifest in the slow processing of language, the way characters have to repeat themselves, and the deep frustration that comes from realizing that even utilizing filters like repetition and drawn-out-speech does not clear the deep confusion of existence.   The whole thing seems like a product of dementia or senility (in fact, Cooper is probably suffering from it), a borderline sensibility that Lynch no doubt realizes will be leveled against him by his harshest critics.  Indeed, reuniting much of the old cast, many of whom were already in late adulthood when the show first aired over 25 years ago, finds a number of them missing- Miguel Ferrer, Jack Nance, Frank Silva, David Bowie, Warren Frost, Don Davis, and Catherine Coulson have all passed away in recent years.  If the initial run was about youth and the uncomfortable proximity between rebellion against adulthood and total corruption into its darker tenets (as personified in Laura Palmer, but elsewhere as well), the renewed series has thus far focused on the cold, empty, and lonely terror of old age.

Fittingly for a Lynch piece, the old cast of characters reappear but like dream caricatures of themselves. Albert doesn't talk much and yet seems crankier than usual. Andy is now almost too dumb.  Dr. Jacoby is now clearly insane, collecting and decorating golden shovels either in anticipation of digging something up or burying something deep. Lynch himself appears (in episode 4), revising his role as Gordon, to talk to a version of Cooper.  They both tell each other that's it's been great to see each other after such a long time, but it's obvious in their strained chat that neither of them is being honest. Lynch, as Gordon and - mind you- the director and author of the whole new series run- later becomes the only voice of levity when he confesses that perhaps for the first time, he has no idea what the hell is happening. Should we take this as a confession?  So much of this show reads as auto-critique, attempts to negotiate itself in the most Lynchian way, as a piece of intellectual property.  What people want, it assumes, is something old and dying, malfunctioning and regressive.  What it has to offer as an alternative, however, remains to be seen.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pinned Tweaks

Thursday, May 18, 2017

R.I.P. Chris Cornell

Soundgarden, more than any other mainstream act from their time and place, were the full embodiment of the “Grunge” aesthetic.  Whereas their mainstream contemporaries veered closer to the melodic end of punk (Nirvana’s bastardizing of the Pixies/Husker Du aesthetics) or classic rock (Pearl Jam).  Much of this was due to Kim Thayil’s insane Sabbath-style riffage, mounted approximately at the apex of sludge metal, Jane’s-style hard rock with a tinge of psychedelia, and SST post-hardcore, but one can’t discredit Cornell whose soaring vocals could gravitate from low rumble demon to high squealed possession with the rapidity of a jet engine and the grace of a bird of prey.  Cornell’s voice was gravelly and lived-in, sure, but it also had the animalistic timbre of something lurking deep in those Washington evergreens.

Cornell, particularly pre-chopped with the long curly locks, was also the prime image of grunge.  He looked better when dirtied, unlike Kurt with his fluffy blonde hair, disheveled Eddie, gas-station ponytail creep Layne, or better-when-glammed-up Scott. Cornell oozed sex as if the worksmanlike personification of that patented Seattle flannel, which he never really wore.  He looked like a dark drifter.   Whereas the smug irony of Cobain and the impassioned liberalism of Vedder would become archetypes, Cornell remained a mystery. 

Soundgarden recorded for both Sub Pop and SST early in their career and they were one of the first groups to jump ship to a major label.  But while contemporaries from those scenes made this transition by broadening their sound (like Husker Du) or by competing directly against the market forces trying to lure them (like Sonic Youth), Soundgarden seemed at home in both worlds.  They put out two incredible big rock albums in Badmotofinger and Superunknown (both with unbelievably bad album art mind you) that never seemed to weather the same accusations of “sell out” that other bands at the time faced.  Maybe it was because they’d been the first to sell out, or maybe it was because those albums still hold up today even when many of their peers’ records don’t.   When you consider the glut of contemporary music from the early 90s – post-rock, jungle, IDM, rave, dreampop, house- that didn’t crossover but had a far greater impact on the current sonic landscape, it’s an even bigger feat. 

Soundgarden were massive enough to have Guns n’ Roses cover their dumbest song, but remained fairly indistinct as personalities, supporting and commenting on causes quietly or aesthetically rather than appearing on magazine covers with “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” t-shirts or scribbling “Pro-choice” on their arms during unplugged performances.  Soundgarden’s “angst”, if they had any, was less an anxiety of choice between collusion and independence than it was an anxiety over the impossibility of negotiating the two.  Indeed much of their best work (“Black Hole Sun”, “4th of July”, “Jesus Christ Pose”, “Mailman”, “Nothing to Say”,  “Blow Up the Outside World”) was emboldened by a scorched earth nihilism, far closer to metal’s Lovecraftian take on power as a quasi-mystical evil force than punk’s mindset that it was something which could be urgently seized and redistributed.   Cornell’s hopelessness is everywhere across these early records, so news of his suicide should not be such a shock, though it’s no less tragic.

In a sense, it was good timing that the band dissolved in 1996 following the release of their decent but lacking final album (until their 2012 reunion).  It’s unlikely they would have rode out OK Computer and the electronica explosion of the following year well.  Cornell was really only primed for the grunge era and that era alone.  The slip into party music- raves, ska and pop punk, boy and girl bands- must have mystified the surviving grunge stars, who didn’t feel the ground shift in any tectonic positive way.  If anything, the society that they wanted to drop out of strengthened and tightened.  It was mainstream music fans that left them behind, which seemed to only prove Cobain and his cynicism right. 

Cornell’s attempt at a compromise for compromised times, Audioslave, wound up being a total bore, a middling shadow of both Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, his backing band’s old act. The only time Cornell did branch out in new sonic directions he spectacularly failed, on 2008’s Timbaland-assisted Scream solo record, which received brutal jeers from critics, fans, and fellow musicians alike.  His iffy solo work followed, but largely as a retread, a tourism in past glories. The spectacular decade-long run from 1986 to 1996 though remains a pivotal time capsule showing how seamless energy could flow from a provincial urban scene into the mainstream. I bought Superunknown from a record store in Seattle in ’94 on a trip with my family when I was 12.  It was maybe the 6th or 7th CD I ever bought and it’s perhaps the only one from that time I still spin.  It doesn’t sound like now.  It still sounds like then.  But you can tell why then wanted it now.