Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Shuffle #161/162

It's time for the annual Sunday-before-Thanksgiving double issue...

1. Embassy Row/Pavement (12)
2. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations/Arcade Fire (17)
3. Hands (demo)/Fanfarlo (3)
4. Cream and Bastards Rise/Harvey Danger (34)
5. Domesticated Lovers/Josh Rouse (6)
6. The Greatest Sum (electric)/The Avett Brothers (9)
7. San Francisco/Lucero (7)
8. On a Freezing Chicago Street/Margot & The Nuclear So & So's (12)
9. In The Mausoleum/Beirut (6)
10. My Very Best/Elbow (18)
11. Loosens/Sloan (14)
12. Shangri-La/M. Ward (14)
13. Morning Of/Le Switch (4)
14. Injustica/Kathleen Edwards (13)
15. Dirt On Your New Shoes/Bishop Allen (7)
16. London Bridges/Josh Rouse (10)
17. Myriad Harbor/The New Pornographers (20)
18. Floating in the Forth/Frightened Rabbit (11)
19. 66/The Afghan Whigs (2)
20. Sick Priest Learns to Last Forever/Destroyer (11)

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I cannot stop listening to Bee Thousand by Guided By Voices.

Paolo Bacigalupi's debut novel, The Windup Girl, is dark and fantastic.

Jack Skillingstead's "Life on the Preservation" is wonderfully depressing and uplifting at the same time.

Adventure Comics #4 uses Superboy Prime for a bit of metafiction in the midst of the DC-wide Blackest Night storyline and succeeds.

I am excited for Chuck to return on Jan. 10 and Lost to do the same on Feb. 2.

Even though I have stacks of things to read and tons of stuff on the DVR, I think I'll watch Ashes of American Flags (the recent live Wilco DVD) again...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Shuffle #160

It was a busy week and this coming week should prove to be more of the same. I still would like to continue my posts about the best of the 2000s but I may end up doing lists once my college classes wind up (on the plus side, I only have 7 more classes of each...and then a Spanish final). We'll see. In the meantime, here is today's ten...

1. Sweetie/Josh Rouse (10)
2. Golden Pony/Army Navy (11)
3. Every Single Instinct/Superchunk (4)
4. Susie Q/Creedence Clearwater Revival (6)
5. Your English Is Good/Tokyo Police Club (15) - album version
6. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle the Thistles Undone/The Decemberists (6)
7. Impossible Germany (live)/Wilco (10)
8. Nude/Radiohead (26)
9. O'Brien/O'Brien's Nocturne/M. Ward (10)
10. ST 100/6/Big Star (11)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Truth be told, I didn't love Fables at first. I felt the first story arc, collected in Legends in Exile, was overwritten, had too much exposition. I did like the idea of book, though, with Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf and Prince Charming and all the rest alive and living in New York. So when the second collection (Animal Farm) came out, I picked it up. I haven't stopped buying the book since.

By this point, Bill Willingham's creation is getting close to its 100th issue and I am eagerly awaiting the 13th trade. It has spawned a spinoff series co-written by Willingham and Matthew Sturges, Jack of Fables (which has just seen its 6th collection published), an original graphic novel, a prose novel (still sitting on my shelves waiting to be read), and now a mini-series starring Cinderella (and written by Shooflypie-approved Chris Roberson).

Why has it stuck around so long and proven to be so popular? The characters. The cool ideas. The stories. Mark Buckingham's art. James Jean on covers for years. It has been to Vertigo in the 2000s as Sandman was in the 90s...that's no small feat. It's a great comic.

Sunday Shuffle #159

I have lots of work to do for my English class today, so I'm just going to jump right into the music...

1. I'll Be Yr Bird/M. Ward (8)
2. Weary Mind/Frankel (4)
3. Hang Me Up to Dry/Cold War Kids (10)
4. Imposters/Canasta (12)
5. OK/Higgins (7)
6. 30 Gallon Tank/Spoon (8) - EP version
7. Here We Go Again/Justin Townes Earle (7)
8. Getting Down/The Kills (6)
9. Ruination Day/Gillian Welch (4)
10. Crumble/Dinosaur Jr. (9)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Almost Famous

Russell Hammond on a kid's roof yelling "I am a golden god!"

The true confessions of a band and their manager who think they are going down in a tiny plane.

The band and gang on the bus singing "Tiny Dancer" together and getting over the slings and arrows of life on the road.

Russell, thinking he is going to see Penny Lane, discovers he is at William's house and William finally gets an interview...

William: So, Russell, what do you love most about music?

Russell: To begin with, everything. (Cue Led Zeppelin's "Tangerine" on the soundtrack)

These are some of my favorite moments from Cameron Crowe's great movie, Almost Famous, a fictionalized look at his life as a teenage rock and roll writer. It's a movie about music, life, love, and dreams. It has humor, heart, and drama. It has great performances, including Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs. It's not only one of my favorite movies of the last ten years, but one of my favorite movies period.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

"I am an American aquarium drinker
I assassin down the avenue
I'm hiding out in the big city blinking
What was I thinking when I let go of you"

With that evocative verse and disparate song elements that wouldn't fully cohere until several minutes into the song, Wilco opened their 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. At this point, the story behind the album's release is as big as or bigger than the actual songs but we shouldn't forget about the music. The songs were great when I first listened to them as a stream from Wilco's website and they are still great more than 7 years later when I run them through iTunes or crank it on my car stereo.

There's the hushed intimacy and urgency of "Jesus, Etc." The goofy fun of "Heavy Metal Drummer." The moody dirge of "Ashes of American Flags," which wonders why we listen to poets "when nobody gives a fuck" all where Tweedy's "lies are always wishes." And no matter how many times I listen to it, the ending of "Poor Places" always gets me as the music dissolves into searing feedback that just scrapes at my soul; I think the fact it comes after the swell and build of it all makes it that much more devastating. It's an epic in just over 5 minutes.

I know I said I wasn't going to rank anything in this series but I will admit that if I had to choose my favorite album of the last ten years, this would be it. It might even be my favorite album ever.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The 2000s

I will not be posting a series of decade's best lists. I am not interested in ranking what I've loved from the last ten years. I would rather write about the music and books and TV and movies and comics and short stories that I've loved from the 2000s and tell you why I love them. This blog will be mostly devoted to just that over the next two months. I'm looking forward to sharing.

Sunday Shuffle #158

The extra hour we got last night didn't do me much good, as I was awake at 4:50 and couldn't go back to sleep. I have a bit of college stress happening right now and that doesn't help. Before I attack that work, let's get to today's ten...

1. Gwen, Now and Then/The Broken West (16)
2. Lights Out For Darker Skies/British Sea Power (6)
3. Old Forgotten Soldier/Harry Nilsson (2)
4. Jump Into The Fire/Harry Nilsson (3)
5. Fool the Moon/Warren Zanes (13)
6. Los Cruzados/Elk City (8)
7. It's All Gonna Break/Broken Social Scene (3)
8. I Never Said I Was Deep/Jarvis Cocker (12)
9. Chips and Dip/Spoon (18)
10. Country Song/Le Switch (3)