28 November 2009

And It's Hard To Leave

In the spirit of the end of the year, I decided to follow suit of some friends like Ethan Luck, I decided to do a year-end list of the best albums of 2009. I feel secure in providing this list now considering the rest of December looks very bleak for album releases.

Without further ado, here's the list:

10) Andrew Bird - Nobel Beast
9) David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
8) Jay Z - The Blueprint III
7) Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
6) Mos Def – The Ecstatic
5) The Dead Weather - Horehound
4) Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
3) Wilco - Wilco
2) Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane and Sugarcane
1) Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

I don't feel like each album needs a review or an explanation. And each ranking on the list might easily be interchangeable with another, but all in all, I feel like this list get the ten best records out there*.

*I haven't listened to several records that are on other lists, so it's an easy assumption that a couple of deserving records may have not made the list.

Definitely get into Canon Blue and all things he puts out

25 November 2009

Help Me Understand What We've Become

So, Obama signed the papers yesterday to ensure the addition of at least 10,000 US in Afghanistan. And now, there's talk of increasing that number to between 25,000-30,000.

But, the media seems to bury that story beneath such important articles such as the photos from the White House State Dinner last night and emission reduction talks in Copenhagen.

And it's scary to read, 'One administration official involved in Afghanistan policy said the president and his top advisers were thinking in terms of “exit strategies” and not necessarily “exit timetables.”'


From the song, "Carousel" by Paper Route

21 November 2009

It's All or Nothing. I am Not Worried.

It's been a very long time since I've come across a movie that, when it ended, I was so fully unimpressed. Sadly, this was the case for Clark Gregg's screen adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's book, Choke.

Now, I've never been a reader of Palahniuk's books and I'm very aware that his mind works in an odd and creative way. Fight Club is, hands down, one of my favorite movies ever. And with much hype behind both the book and the movie, I was really expecting to be wowed on some level. Not even close.

The film stars Sam Rockwell, which was enough to make me think it might be pretty good. A few of Rockwell's other movies - including Moon, Frost/Nixon, The Assassination of Jesse James and Matchstick Men - were really fantastic and he was such a fitting character for his roles. I feel, though, that this role for him was a huge miss.

With Rockwell narrating the story (a la Tyler Durden), you get a great feel for the depth of the story beyond what the characters are saying and doing on screen. And the wonderful Anjelica Huston's role as Rockwell's mom brings a delightful dynamic to the film. But the rest simply leaves a lot to be desired. The story feels choppy and disconnected. The overall feel of the film seems like a more perverted version of a kitchy, summer, high school comedy. And the signature "mystery" that's revealed at the end isn't the most mind-blowing thing around.

If you're looking for a film to make you think or to entertain you or to simply stand out visually, then I'd stay away from this one. If you're a Palahniuk fan or have read/seen Choke and have thoughts, I'd love to hear 'em.


The title comes from the Counting Crows' song, Anna Begins from their debut record, August and Everything After

18 November 2009

We Just Want to Find Our Own Way Home Again

This is the video for the new Charlotte Gainsbourg single from her upcoming record, IRM. It's easily one of the most visually stunning videos I've seen in a long time. Enjoy.

Today's title comes from Twothirtyeight's album, You Should Be Living

14 November 2009

I Wanna Be Sedated

It's no secret that I've recently become a huge fan of journalist and overall human rights advocate, Nicholas D. Kristof. He's a brilliant and well-respected writer and a man who (seemingly) has a heart for what is right and just.

Well, he recently had a write up in the New York Times with an extremely fresh take on war and health care. His main point: that by increasing federal budget to send more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan and not using that money towards affordable or free health care domestically, we are essentially spending more money and allowing more people to die. Does that make sense?

Anyway, read the article. It's very fresh and pointed. And if you want to keep abreast of Kristof daily, you may add his Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


What a great, classic punk rock song. You should definitely make it a Ramones kind of Saturday.

11 November 2009

It's Making Perfect Sense

Many apologies for the lag time. It's been a whirlwind lately. But in the midst of that proverbial whirlwind, I did get to check out the film, Bronson, at my favorite local film house, The Belcourt. I had little familiarity with the story or the person, Michael Peterson (or as he renamed himself, Charles Bronson. Because he wanted a name with a Hollywood, touch-guy quality). And I was more attentive knowing that I needed to really follow this insane man's journey to become Britain's most famous prisoner.

Lead actor, Tom Hardy, took on the role of Charlie Bronson and is one of the best lead role performances I've seen in the last year or two. I can remember being wowed at Forrest Whitaker's role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland in the same way.

I'm sure it can't be easy when portraying a person who actually exists. Especially one who is completely mad like Bronson is. But it's done wonderfully and with much gusto. And while there's not much more to the movie than the bits of the story that make Bronson's story so intriguing, it's one to see and to really appreciate Hardy's performance.


The title of this post is from Deas Vail's new record, Birds & Cages. A record that came out quite nicely.