Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My favorite records, 2007

That was a quick year. I hope 2008 takes its time. Here's the music that I dug the most this year.

1. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, The Doldrums

Okay, not really released in 2007, but this list, as I have said, is for music that I first heard this year. Of all the things I turned onto this year, this is the one that, even after a bobillion listens, still completely baffles me with delight every time I hear it. I have no idea what I'm listening to half the time it's playing, but when I try to describe him to myself, I say that he sounds like the kind of music Bob Pollard would make in the creepy basement if he were the serial killer guy in Silence of the Lambs.

And the coolest thing is that all the retro influences he corrupts and spits and beat boxes into his microphone made out of walkman headphones are completely sincere--he's not winking at us; he's just rocking out and not caring how ridiculous his falsetto is.

2. Animal Collective--Strawberry Jam

I dunno--everything they do is awesome and either you agree or you don't. I'm not judging you if you don't. I mean, I'm sure there are lots of people who don't like Animal Collective and manage to live completely normal, fulfilling lives. I guess it's possible in theory, at least.

3. M.I.A.--Kala

This is not at all like anything I usually listen to and therefore I didn't for a couple of months after I borrowed it from the school radio station. And then I watched her in-studio performance on Morning Becomes Eclectic, which probably wasn't all that amazing, but somehow it clicked for me and now it's my number one sitting in traffic album. For the past month, chances are good that if I am not driving in silence, listening to the fan on my car heater and that sound the air makes, I am listening to this.

4. Justice--Cross

Deep in my heart, or maybe not that deep, what I really want to be is a deejay like the guys in Justice. You watch their videos on Youtube and they're just totally stone-faced but the beat is in them, you can tell. DJ's are so business-like these days. I don't think they're allowed to smile at all, even. What a paradox: being a DJ is at the height of the cool hierarchy, just below architect, but you cannot smile or show the world how much fun you are having being so cool. I believe architects can smile, but it is hard to tell behind their glasses.

I just remembered a time in high school when I went to a job interview to be a DJ for a local outfit here in town and the guy started it by putting me by a deck or whatever and he said "okay, now let's hear you give your rowdiest 'get this party going' hello to the audience." I said "I don't think so" and walked out. Yes, it was all about the music to me then. Still is.

But seriously. This album is one of the few electronic--or whatever--records that just killed me over and over this year. There must be more out there that isn't boring; I should look for it.

5. Panda Bear--Person Pitch

Hey, this one is kinda electronic, too. I might have listened to the first track on this album more than any other song this year, other than, of course, "Only Shallow" from Loveless, which I usually hum to myself about 12 times a day. Not sure if that counts. But on this record, even the tracks that don't get mentioned in the press much are beautiful, and they are long but they all meander and change into a couple different beautiful tunes with great "beats" before they're done.

And that's all I'm going to list this year. I listened to a lot, but these are the things that I liked so much they just all stand above the rest. If I were to go to 10, these might be there, though: 6. Radiohead--In Rainbows--I still think they are indie poseurs like U2 and sound like U2, but this new one is pretty; 7. Grizzly Bear--Friend ep--after the P4k Festival especially, I think I have to like everything they do from now on; 8. Califone--Roots & Crowns; 9. Band of Horses--Cease the Begin--not nearly as lame as people are saying. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it is not lame; 10. Jose Gonzalez--In Our Nature--maybe this is because I just started listening to him, but this record is on my mind a lot lately. For some reason, I am embarrassed about this because I think he is supposed to considered cheesey.

So, that's it for 2007. If anyone knows of good freeware that will let me start mixing my own samples and beats here at home, let me know.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Real Snow

Finally, some serious snow. They'd been getting our hopes up all week, and even this one wasn't quite what they thought it could be, but it was enough to slow the town down for a day. People couldn't drive up the hill in front of our house. The mall parking lot was only half full. Neighbor Herb snow-blew our walk, demonstrating again why I have neither snow blower nor cell phone: when you really need one, there is bound to be someone near by who will loan you theirs.
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Check this cookie

My AP Lit class has been in the middle of independent novel presentations this past week, and a crack team presented Cormac McCarthy's The Road. They made these cookies to go along with their presentation--how awesome is that? They took the time to mix a food coloring to make "ash" colored icing. Pretty great. Couldn't bring myself to eat one.

Another group is reading Blood Meridian, and just talking to them about their project has me reading the darn thing again. It's just unstoppable, that book. Maybe Suttree isn't my favorite.
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