Tuesday, December 29, 2009

End of the Naughties Part II - 2001: (Enter hackneyed phrase here)

Here we go with Part Deux. The year was 2001. Everything went to fuck. Shit got crazy. Everyone was scared. Everyone was angry. Everyone united behind Bush. I didn't buy too much music at all this year. Oh, I have a bunch of albums that I've acquired since then from this year (as well as 2000, which I didn't mention in the last post), but I'm going for more of a time capsule thing. So. Here we go.


The Strokes Is This It
The Strokes Is This It?

My thoughts exactly. This was the Vampire Weekend of its day. The Hype Machine was in fucking overdrive with this band. I still subscribed to Spin at the time. In every issue, in every article, the Strokes were like fucking gods to any and everyone. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them like I do Vampire Weekend. I downloaded their first two albums and actually dig them a bit. But the fucking hype, people. It was out of control. At the time, more overrated than Weezer is today.

Björk Vespertine
Björk Vespertine

Like I said in the last post, I didn't really get into any Björk albums after Selmasongs. I still need to listen to this thing from start to finish. So, not much to say, but I can't not comment on the Swan Dress. She wore it to the Oscars when she performed a song from the movie. And everyone jumped on the "Björk is Batshit Crazy" bandwagon. Björk went into Batshit Crazy Mode beginning with this album and has only progressively worsened. Which, to be frank, turns me off to the music. I like my share of pretentious artists/bands, though. I am sure I will like this album. But never the dress.

Gorillaz Gorillaz

Everyone was pretty excited when this high concept album debuted in early 2001. But people I knew were kinda disappointed when they heard the end product. I like a bunch of tunes on this album, but it doesn't blow my mind. Good thing they're cute.

Radiohead Amnesiac

This is the matching bookend to Kid A. By the time this album was released, the shit had hit the fan and this album kind of flew under the radar, as I remember it. If I had a knife to my throat and I had to pick between this album and the last, I might have to go with this one. I think it's a bit more balanced, a bit more melodic, not so "experimental." Or maybe the band had just completely achieved what they set out to do- maybe I had just completely shed any and all expectations for this album and this band. Maybe it just wasn't as new and fresh and shocking and jolting as their last release. Maybe I was able to just listen without being distracted by how revolutionary the record was, as was the case with Kid A.

Radiohead I Might Be Wrong Live Recordings
Radiohead I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings

This was a great little EP of live music released towards the end of the year. Mixing songs from both Kid A and Amnesiac, it also featured the previously unreleased "True Love Waits," a song that I had read existed, but had never heard. This EP is a great snapshot of what Radiohead sounds like live, with songs reworked a bit to make them work on a live stage. My favorite track is "Like Spinning Plates."

System Of A Down Toxicity
System Of A Down Toxicity

The popularity of this album both surprised me and saddened me. I liked the fact that America could digest something like System of a Down, but at the same time I felt like the band had softened their sound a bit, maybe to break into the mainstream. Now people who had Limp Bizkit albums in their collection would flock to this Neü-metal sounding band, whose previous, self titled album was a refreshing breath into the lungs of stagnant hard rock/metal. "Prison Song" and "Needles" remind me of old SOAD. But those songs they played on the radio over and over and over and over showed a new, MTV ready side to SOAD that took off pretty well for them.

Tenacious D
Tenacious D Tenacious D

This is one of my favorites of all time. I didn't get into this one until about 02 or 03 but it's hilarious and it rocks my fucking socks off. Jack Black can get on the nerves after awhile, but on this disc, everything is just funny and good and the music is awesome, which I was pretty surprised by. I had never seen the HBO series until I received the DVD as a gift. I lent it out and never got it back. This is one of the things I am most sorry for in my life. I bet if I looked I could find it again, since my friends won't get it for me. This is my CD I put on when I'm falling asleep, driving to PHX.

Tool Lateralus
Tool Lateralus

This album took a LOOOONG time to grow on me (and a LOOOONG time to get here, 7 years since the last album). But now I think it may have squeaked past Ænima for favorite Tool album of all times. I know what you're thinking. "Ænima is the undisputed best Tool album, and anyone who challenges this doesn't know what they're talking about." (Unless you're in the Undertow camp, and in that case, you're probably not under 25.) This album is denser, more mature, and just all around kicks assholes. Although, there aren't any songs named "Hooker With a Penis" on this one, so you may have a point.

Ween godWEENsatan
Ween God Ween Satan

This was Ween's first studio album. It got a remaster and re-release in 2001, with some added songs and such. A great listen, and amazing to hear to how much they've grown and how much they've changed in the meantime.

So. My Top 5 for 2001:

5.SOAD Toxicity
4.Tenacious D Tenacious D
3.Radiohead I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings
2.Tool Lateralus
1.Radiohead Amnesiac


A.I. dir. Steven Spielberg

When I saw this movie, I liked it. After it sat a few months, I decided I didn't like it. Now I'm on the fence, I need to see it again.

Amelie dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I don't really remember this movie, but it remains one of people's favorites.

Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones's Diary dir. Sharon Maguire

I don't care. I love the shit out of this movie. I don't care. I find Zellweger extremely attractive in this flick. I don't care. Say what you want, I love this movie.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko dir. Richard Kelly

This movie blew me away when I watched it on dvd for the first time. Super cool, super dark, starring who it stars: Swayze, Barrymore, Wylie, Gyllenhaals, McDonnell, Jenna mmmmmmmmmMalone... Watching it a few years later, with the commentary track on the special director's cut with Kevin Smith (???), the movie was completely transformed for me. Insightful for sure- it was cool to see what Richard Kelly had in mind when he was writing and filming, because it was completely different from the movie that I interpreted. Which sucks, because I ultimately remember liking my interpretation better. It may have been the last time I watched a movie with a director's commentary track. If I were to ever make a movie, I would want to match the mood and overall coolness of this one. And I promise to stay away from the much maligned sequel.

Ghost World
Ghost World dir. Terry Zwigoff

Oh, this fucking movie. So. Good. So funny. Clowes story, Crumb director. Buscemi. Thora fucking Birch. And. I fell deeply, deeply in love with Scarlett Johansson because of this film. Too bad she turned into such a cunt.

Josie and the Pussycats
Josie and the Pussycats dir. Harry Elfont

Uh. Yeah. Saw this and liked it too. Well, I should say I enjoyed watching Rosario Dawson, Alan Cumming, and Parker Posey.

Tomb Raider
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider dir. Simon West

Eyecandy only. I saw it in the theater.

The Fellowship Of The Ring
The Fellowship Of The Ring dir. Peter Jackson

Meh. I fell asleep a few times in this movie and never saw the other two. Couldn't give two shits.

Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge! dir. Baz Luhrmann

And HOLY SHIT this movie sucked my asshole. And I liked Romeo + Juliet. I don't know how people thought this tripe was watchable. I couldn't get through 20 minutes. And let me tell you how much I don't like not finishing a movie I start. It has to be real fucking bad. Which brings us to...

Planet Of The Apes
Planet Of The Apes dir. Tim Burton

This is where I turned on Burton. Up to this point I either loved or at least tolerated his films (except for Mars Attacks!, when I left the drive-ins half way through to make out with a chick. Looking back on it, that doesn't make much sense). This was a bore from start to finish. And everything after sucked balls, except for Big Fish, which was merely okay.

The Royal Tenenbaums
The Royal Tenenbaums dir. Wes Anderson

Barely beating Ghost World for my favorite from this year, I never get tired of watching this film. The soundtrack is amazing, the actors and humor are amazing. I think it's Anderson's best, which is saying a lot.

Storytelling dir. Todd Solondz

This is a disturbing and hilarious movie. Selma Blair and Leo Fitzpatrick's story is amazingly awkward, especially if you choose to have the red censor box in Blair's sex scene.

Waking Life
Waking Life dir. Richard Linklater

I saw this film very high and it was a bit transcendent at the time. I was outraged when this movie wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, which began my long-standing contempt for the whole Oscar process and award system.

This is gonna be hard... lemmee see...

5.Waking Life
3.Donnie Darko
2.Ghost World
1.The Royal Tenenbaums

So that's all for 2001, folks. This is fun, and stay tuned for 2002!

And please please comment! Tell me you agree, disagree, I'm right, I'm stupid, I forgot something, your lists, anything like that.

Now playing: Haley Bonar - Drinking Again
via FoxyTunes

End of the Naughties Part I (In the yeeeear twwwooo thouusaaaaaand...)

I have been wanting to jot down some things about the past decade. This blog is severely neglected, so I will try to barf something out right now.

This decade has brought me to the attention of some pretty amazing artists. Flipping through iTunes, I don't know if I can rate them in an order. Top 10? Top 20? Top 100? I don't think there's enough time to do that. Oh wait, I got nuthin' better to do. I'll give it a go.



The Beatles- 1
The Beatles 1

The Beatles really weren't on my radar until this album. I had heard Sgt. Pepper's when I was younger, and I wasn't into it. Listening to this album while driving up to the Snowbowl in Flagstaff, I realized the Beatles sang a bunch of tunes I didn't really know were Beatles tunes. I thought to myself, "I really have to look into these guys."

Björk Selmasongs
Björk Selmasongs

This is an unfuckingbelievable album (if I remember correctly, she did all the arrangements herself), and the last one by Björk that I really got into. The Lars von Trier movie is gutwrenchingly beautiful and brutally depressing- one of my favorites. I only recently got this album back, I haven't heard it since it was stolen with the rest of my music in 2004. Short and sweet, it's my first or second favorite Björk album. Thom Yorke has a duet on this disc, a much better performance than effin Peter Stormare in the movie. Thom also guests on...

PJ Harvey- Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
PJ Harvey Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea

This is PJ Harvey's most commercial and accessible work. And it has some of my favorite PJ Harvey songs (Horses In My Dreams, Kamikaze). Wikipedia says it was named one of Time Magazine's 100 best albums of all time. Slick and glammed-out glossy, it's very distinctive from any of her other work. Also, all the album art and press and concert photos from this era, Polly's fucking sick hot.

The Bloodhound Gang Hooray For Boobies
The Bloodhound Gang Hooray For Boobies

As an unabashed fan of One Fierce Beer Coaster, this album sucked.

Deftones White Pony
Deftones White Pony

I remember hearing Change (In the House of Flies) on the radio and saying, "Fucking Deftones better not turn into what Korn turned into." (Amazing how much my music tastes have changed in 10 years!) I have never heard this album in its entirety. But fucking The Passenger with fucking Maynard fucking rules.

Grandaddy The Sophtware Slump
Grandaddy The Sophtware Slump

Hewlett's Daughter played on repeat when I worked at Virgin Megastore. It was infectious, it was different, it was amazing. It sent me on my way to discovering new indie bands. This disc was on repeat for many months following its purchase. I haven't got into any of the other Grandaddy releases like I have this one. Every song a classic. One of the most depressing and haunting albums I own.

Modest Mouse/764-Hero Whenever You See Fit
Modest Mouse/764-Hero Whenever You See Fit

Brilliant. I only really like the first cut, the other two tracks are remixes, and they're ok. The Gold is in the first track.

Nobody Soulmates
Nobody Soulmates

This album was always on when we were smoking. A super-tripped out delight, it was another one that I didn't get back till this year. Nobody has released one or two more, but doesn't begin to touch this release's brilliance and charm. On my all time faves list.

A Perfect Circle Mer De Noms
A Perfect Circle Mer De Noms

I didn't really get into this album until a few years after its release. A good, brooding, emo album. The softer side of Maynard James Keenan.

Radiohead Kid A
Radiohead Kid A

This album changed everything. Just like OK Computer did. I don't know what else can be said. This album has been covered ad nauseum all decade long. But this is the one that ushered in the new millennium for me. This album came from the future. It gave the middle finger to the fan base and the media. If you weren't down with the new sound, you weren't coming along for the Radiohead ride for the better part of the decade. Only with In Rainbows did they start venturing back toward something more digestible and accessible to the masses. I know many people who crinkle their noses and say to me, "Well, I like old Radiohead." Ef you kids, go back to your Dave Matthews Band.

Ween White Pepper
Ween White Pepper

The seventh full length, and the first to not feature any cursing (WTFLOLBBQ?!?!!?!11), this was maybe one of the most accessible from the band. This was the first new Ween album I bought. I was super excited for it to come out, but I gotta say I was a bit disappointed when I first heard it. Coming off their entire previous catalog, this one was different. I bought it at midnight and my Ween pal and I immediately sped home to smoke a joint. It's grown on me for sure since then. Not in the top 5 Ween albums, but still a remarkable release from that year.

So the top 5 of 2000?

5.Grandaddy Sophtware Slump
4.Björk Selmasongs
3.Nobody Soulmates
2.PJ Harvey Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
1.Radiohead Kid A

Some quick 2000 film thoughts.

Almost Famous dir. Cameron Crowe

Liked it at the time, and it was a Big Deal at the time. Has since, along with most of Cameron Crowe's mediocrity, lost alot of gloss and favor in my mind. Jason Lee rocks it, though. Fugit never hit big and I cannot fucking STAND Kate Hudson.

American Psycho dir. Mary Harron

Was very drunk during the viewing of this film (as I was most of the time when I saw a movie at Scottsdale Century 6 drive-in). But it is generally well liked by people, I remember laughing a lot, and Sarah and I are looking forward to seeing this very soon.

Cecil B. Demented dir. John Waters

This was at a time when I was just really getting into (good) film, so of course this movie spoke to me. Funny as fuck, as to be expected from the venerable Mr. Waters.

Dancer in the Dark dir. Lars von Trier

A Lars von Trier musical?! WITH FUCKING BJÖRK?!! How will this qualify as Dogme 95? All of these film nerd thoughts rang through my mind when I first read about this movie. As stated above, it's a brutal beauty, much in the same vein as Children of Men. Watch it if you dare. It's worth it.

Erin Brockovich dir. Steven Soderbergh

Didn't see this movie until a few years after its release. Glad I did, Julia Roberts turned me off but turns in a non-vomit inducing performance.

Gladiator dir. Ridley Scott

Never seen this in its entirety. But I remember it was the Big Shit back in 00. I also remember it was The Best Selling DVD of All Time up to that point, shortly after its release. DVD was juuust starting to get super big at this time. I was working Virgin Megastore at the time and I would love walking by the DVD display where all the various movies would be playing. It felt like High Def does today.

High Fidelity dir. Stephen Frears

Whenever this movie's on, I will watch it to the end. I love that this movie really got the "lists" fad going. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. I love Cusack and Jack Black in this one. Great soundtrack, great lines, and what's her name is pretty hot. I love this story, and with my new found free time, I'm putting the Hornby book on my To Read List.

Memento dir. Christopher Nolan

Fuck. This movie is in my top ten favorites. There's nothing I can say to make this movie any better, and I'm ashamed it hasn't made its way back into my library. Saw it with my dad at Camelview. I miss me some Camelview. :(

O Brother, Where Art Thou? dir. Joel Coen

This movie was everything a Coen brother movie offers. Funny as hell and entertaining as shit, it made a bunch of cash and the soundtrack was an out of left field, bonafide fucking PHENOMENON. Love it.

Quills dir. Philip Kaufman

Fell asleep during this movie. Gotta remember to put this on my Netflix.

Requiem For a Dream dir. Darren Aronofsky

Pi got this director on my radar and this follow up cemented him as one of my favorite directors. A sad fucking flick, but visually arresting and exciting nonetheless.

Snatch dir. Guy Ritchie

Fuck this movie and fuck Guy Ritchie. Although I may give it another chance one day and I hope I eat my words when I see Sherlock Holmes soon.

Traffic dir. Steven Soderbergh

Another one I couldn't get through. It's on the list for a second chance, folks.

Unbreakable dir. M. Night Shyamalan

I saw this movie in the theaters. Loathed it. Loathe Shamalamadingdong. Putrid garbage.

Wonder Boys dir. Curtis Hanson

Just found out this movie is an adaptation of a Michael Chabon book. Christ this is a great flick. Warms my heart to think about how much I enjoyed it and miss it from my collection.

X-Men dir. Bryan Singer

FinallyFINALLYFINALLY someone made a decent superhero comic book adaptation. Thrilled it was my favorite book and thrilled that it spawned a litany of other decent (Marvel anyway) comic book flicks. And he's stated he's coming back to the franchise (to get that Superman stink off of him)!!

Top 3 of 2000:

5.O Brother, Where Art Thou?
4.Wonder Boys
3.High Fidelity
2.Dancer in the Dark

Well that's the year 2000 in a medium sized nutshell. Musically and Cinematically speaking of course. As for what was actually going on in my life, there's not enough time to document any of that stuff before the end of the year (if ever).

As for the rest of the decade, I'm not sure that will be done before the rest of the year either, since this post took the better part of a day. But I'm gonna try.

Now playing: Gorillaz - Double Bass
via FoxyTunes

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unemployment, Day 5

So. Unemployment. Something I had wished for just a few, short months ago. Something that now kinda scares the bejeezus out of me. I got laid off on Thursday of last week. Been kind of an alcohol-induced blur since then, I won't sugarcoat it. But here I am, all the same: 4 days before Christmas and without a job.

I've been able to keep myself busy for the most part. The National Geographic Channel had staved off the boredom thus far, and the PS3 and 360 are getting hooked up, system updates are being downloaded, and I'm eying games that I haven't beat (looking at you, GTA IV and MGS 4) and trying to remember if I've beat some others (Battlefield Bad Company).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Laid off

Look for this blog to become very active, very soon.