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2009

Records I liked in 2009

Yes, if there’s one thing that’ll actually make me post on this blog, it’s the need my over-inflated sense of ego has to share with you my favourite records of the last year. Much though I love listing and this is quite obviously a top ten records list – it’s in no particular order. It’s too much of a mixmash of genres (and by that I mean about 3 – ooooh look how I’ve grown)  to go rating them numerically.

This was a pretty hard list for me, when I sat down to write it originally I figured it was just that I’d been rediscovering a lot of older stuff this year, but on conversing with other list makers it turns out that 2009 wasn’t the best year ever for music. Who knew?

Anyway, without further ado, I present you with my TOP TEN RECORDS OF 2009.

Dear Landlord – Dream Homes

I know I just made a big deal about them not being in order, but this is probably my record of the year. I was stoked for it to come out, I waited eagerly for my pre-order and it was everything I wanted it to be. Whenever I think about giving up on punk rock entirely I play this and I remember why I can’t.

Ben Nichols – The Last Pale Light In The West

Although the Lucero record made it on to this list, it was more out of sense of loyalty and a couple of great tracks than an immense love. This ep however is pretty much everything that made me love the band in the first place. Ben Nichols jumping the McCarthy wagon before it was (all that) cool.

Banner Pilot  – Collapser

Another one of the few punk entries. I feel pretty similarly about the Banner Pilot record than I did about Dream Homes, I know a lot of people like it less than Resignation and there are issues with the production and for a punk record it’s a bit of a grower but dude, come on now. Catchy as fuck end to end.

Broadway Calls – Good News, Bad Views

This was the pop punk record of the summer. I’m telling you, it’s literally impossible to feel bad when you’re listening to it. It kicked me out of countless bouts of depression this year. The Kingston show was one of the greatest shows of this year (there’ve been a bunch) Listen to it with your friends and some sunshine.

Lucero – 1372 Overton Park

I was SO excited for this record, listened to The Devil and Maggie a million times when they were streaming it on the ‘org. Preordered it to get the 6 tracks early and fell in love with a few of them. But lets face it kids, there’s a little more of the Billy Joel about this record than there needs to be. I’m imagining this as a Replacements kind of thing, I can’t imagine everyone loved say… Nightclub Jitters the first time they heard it. All round it’s still a pretty good record, but I’d love it if they removed some of the sax.

Chris Wollard and the Ship Thieves – S/T

I know the digital release was in 08, but if Punk News are putting it on their lists I’m putting it on mine. This record rules. But then I love when punk dudes grow up and write country songs about whiskey and girls.

Kevin Devine – Brother’s Blood

I’ve always been a fan of Kev, even when he was a massively whiney emo brat. The thing about this record is, he’s really gotten good at what he does. Honed his craft, become a singer songwriter of worth and although still a bit on the sad side is infused with more positivity than I’ve seen from him before. Listen and fall in love.

Yesterday’s Ring – Diamonds in the Ditch

I like beardy Canadians, what can I say ? I prefer Yesterday’s Ring to Sainte Catherines (kick me outta punx, I don’t care anymore) and this was the soundtrack to the early part of this year. It’s a narrative record too, and I’m a sucker for those.

Cursive – Mama I’m Swollen

I have always been a big Tim Kasher fangirl, and although this sounds more grown up and far less angular than any previous Cursive release, worry not, the subject matter hasn’t changed all that much. Saw them at Dingwalls earlier this year and he’s still a lovably insane alcoholic.

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

I love Neko. I’d like to be Neko. This is her most accessible record to date. You should all own it. Period.

5 records not on the list, but would be if it was a top 15.

William Elliot Whitmore – Animals in the Dark

Fake Problems – It’s Good To Be Alive

Austin Lucas – Somebody Loves You

Monsters of Folk – S/T

Eilen Jewell – Sea of Tears

And the compulsory 2009 mix, featuring a song from each of the named records. Click the tracklisting for download.

What I thought about Paranormal Activity

Don’t read this if you haven’t seen it. (I’m looking at you, Marshall)

I was really excited about seeing this, I read a couple of the preliminary festival reviews and have been avoiding any movie marketing since.  Those of you that know me are aware of the kind of horror nerd that I am. I don’t scare easy, but I actively try to scare myself as often as is possible.

The one genre that helps me out with this quest more often than any other is the Supernatural movie, specifically the Haunted house/possession movie.

I decided to watch Paranormal Activity alone, which may not have been my smartest move, but I really didn’t think it would scare me as much as it did.

It’s an extremely simple premise, shot on the super cheap but executed better than pretty much anything I’ve seen in the last decade or so. It employs the Blair Witch popularized handheld effectively and is smart enough to never ever show us the “monster”. The entire film takes place inside of the confines of the house (there’s maybe two exterior shots, but they’re both in the garden of said house) and this is incredibly important in helping add to the films sense of claustrophobia.

The twist in this tale is that it’s actually the female protagonist that’s being “haunted” and not the house, so there’s no Amityville or Poltergeist escape on offer here. She literally is just stuck to wait it out until it comes to its inevitable head. While I was watching I couldn’t help but think of the 1991 TV movie “The Haunted” which is one of the other most genuinely terrifying haunted house movies I’ve seen.

I’m glad the studio didn’t remake it with big names, it would have completely wrecked the believabilty of the situation. Although this is an entirely fictional movie (yeah, was disappointed that it wasn’t based on a real life anything) you rarely need to employ your suspension of disbelief. There are a couple of plot developments I would rather hadn’t been included, but I guess they needed to move the narrative along somehow. The last few mintutes of the movie were annoying to me, but more on a Blair Witch scale than say, Harpers Island. From what I’ve read this isn’t the original ending anyway. I’ll be interested to see what the DVD release offers up.

You should definitely watch this movie.

I’m probably going to have some trouble sleeping tonight.

I’ve included the trailer. Be warned it’s in no way representative of the mood of the film.

Poor Bill Compton

eric-poster2So, season 2 of True Blood. Now we’re 6 weeks in I feel I can make a couple of observations …

Observation One. Bill Compton is totally over. EVERYONE is crushing on Eric. There are a number of reasons for this, they include;

Eric not being English. Remember the day you learnt the dude who plays Bill is just a middle aged English Guy? All the paparazzi pics you ever see of Steven Moyer and Anna Paquin feature Moyer wearing some kind of Dad cargo pants. Take away the accent and the vampire and you’re left with a dude that hits on you in Bar Uno. Eric being T-A-L-L. Most of last season Eric was seated, but this one he’s all up and around all the time, whether ripping people limb from limb in the basement of Fangtasia or chatting with Bill in women’s departments he’s always towering over everyone. I did some research, he’s 6’4″ (Moyer is barely 5′ 9″ depending on who you ask, but the evidence seems pretty clear) Eric Got a Hair Cut. Yep. After the aforementioned ripping limb from limb incident Eric had to get his hair chopped (there was blood in the bleach) and now his hair is short. Girls like short hair. All of them. Eric is Not a Pussy. This may the the most important factor. Bill is such a massive none blood sucking goodie. (The occasional orgasmic bit doesn’t count) In episode 6 while Eric is sucking on an escort in a hotel foyer he declares that it’s so much less fun when they’re willing.

Observation Two. Jessica is awesome. She has great hair, nice teeth and fucks Bill off. Enough said.

Observation Three. This is more of a question really, but why is Tara still in the show? What value does she add ? Why are storylines revolving around her? And is the woman that plays Marianne totally type cast to play crazy bitch the way Zooey Deschanel is with Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl?

Observation Four. Holy fuck the sex is hot this season. Sookie’s got a taste for it and turned into a massive slut. Marianne hosts demon orgies every other night, Jason has been shown the way back to joy in the bath-tub and Sam, well…. HBO and Alan Ball seem to want to sever as many ties with the PG13 books as possible.

Too hot for mixtapes

Okay, it’s not, that was a lie. It’s never too hot for mixtapes. It is too hot for pretty much everything else though. In the midst of this heatwave, while hanging out of my window smoking cigarettes and wishing it would cool down, I decided to make a mixtape specifically for this purpose. It’s all sultry and summer and should be enjoyed with Bourbon over ice and preferably not listened to before 2am.

Sorry, I had to upload it to rapidshare, ‘cos it’s just over the mediafire upload limit. It’s probably worth it though. But then, I would say that, I made it.

Click the tracklisting for the download.

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Levis Jeans and Leather Jackets…

The new Lucero record is finished. HURRAH. This is possibly the thing I’m looking forward to most in 2009. There’s no info on it yet, but I did find an awesome live set from DC earlier this year. And dude, they cover ‘Aint No Sunshine. I’ve heard from people there that it was the drunkest anyone has ever seen Ben.  I was reading a Suburban Home post a while back and the writer exhibited some concern Will Whitmore was going to get “Nicholed” before he had a chance to play. Good Going.

Here’s a video from the same dude who recorded the set (he posts loads of awesome stuff from around MD)

and here’s the link for the live set.

“Chariots of Fire” – Ben Nichols and Rick Steff from Tony Bowman on Vimeo.

sunny sunday awesome/help save ifyoumakeit.

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the awesomeness that is ifyoumakeit. If you’re not you should be. It’s the bestest punk rock video site on the whole wide interwebs and that’s for all the right reasons.

I post the stuff here a fair amount, I’m addicted to the pink couch sessions and pretty much everything else about it. You can also pick up a bunch of free/donation based records from some fucking incredible bands. In short. This site rules.

David, the dude who runs it all is having some financial difficulties and doesn’t think he’s going to be able to continue running it the way he has been for a while. This is BAD news people. but YOU can help, sling him a couple bucks  via the donate button on the homepage and help keep something awesome alive.

Yeah! Up The Punks!

Oh, and now you should watch Good Luck,  Stars Were Exploding, and feel pretty damn good about yourself.

Good Luck – Stars Were Exploding from If You Make It on Vimeo.

Also, I haven’t posted here for a while, I’ve been drowning in my tumblr, but don’t worry I’m planning on actually writing something soon. I know, exciting right?

New Coupland Excerpt

There’s a new Douglas Coupland short story in this months McSweeney’s, here’s an excerpt of it. ( I copied it from Coupland.com)

A   N E W   E X C E R P T   F R O M   M c S W E E N E Y ‘ S   3 1Fucking fuck , there is no place worse than the port side of the Luxurious CBS Yacht. Each morning I’m greeted by sauna-like humidity and the perpetual odor of tuna sandwiches, plus, believe it or not, the sound of CBS executives playing racquetball. Their court is on the other side of my headboard’s wall. Thank you, British divorce laws, for handing me this sack-of-shit career move. We’re in the middle of fucking nowhere and sleep doesn’t even provide me with dreams, just an escape from those sniveling American shits I now have to shadow all day. Could these people have found a place on earth more remote? Excuse me, but were the Kerguelen Islands all booked up? Did Pitcairn Island shut down for an extended religious holiday? I tried Google-mapping this place: Fucking fuckity fuck.

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The Republic of Kiribati is an island nation located in the central Pacific Ocean. It comprises thirty-two atolls and one raised coral island, and is spread over 1.4 million square miles. Kiribati straddles the equator and, on its east side, borders the international date line. Its former colonial name was the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. The capital and largest city is South Tarawa.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: English, Gilbertese
POPULATION: 105,000
GDP: $206 million
INTERNET TOP-LEVEL DOMAIN (TLD): .ki
INTERNATIONAL CALLING CODE: +686

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Our ludicrous contestants had to choose names for their “tribes” today. I suggested Swallowers versus Spitters and got pursed lips all around. Fucking Americans: no sense of humor. Doubtless they all own Forrest Gump on DVD and have already asked each other what they want to be when they grow up. They are monsters.

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Kiribati has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of its 1979 independence. Copra (dried coconut kernels) and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. Tourism provides more than one-fifth of the country’s GDP.

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I have eight fellow cameramen, five of them veteran crew members of this wretched show. They divide contestants into two categories: Fuckable and Unfuckable. They treat the latter like Molokai lepers. As far as I can see, our biggest technical issue is ensuring that our shadows not appear on the sand—very hard to do around sunrise and sunset.

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Survivor is a popular reality-TV game show, versions of which have been produced in many different countries. In the show, contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete for cash and other prizes. The show uses a progressive elimination, allowing the contestants to vote off tribe members until only one remains and wins the title of “Sole Survivor.”

The initial U.S. series was a huge ratings success in 2000 and triggered a reality-TV revolution in the USA.

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Last night I got saddled with infrared night-shift filming. Ray, a fellow Brit cameraman, told me it’s too early in the season for the contestants to truly fuck around, and I was prepared for eight hours of drying paint when a storm came out of nowhere and blasted away the pathetic huts they’d made as shelters. Talk about sniveling! So much fun to see them get what they deserve. The Spitters also inadvertently spilled their rice canister. When they picked it up, it had become a big white lump filled with dead sand flies. It looked like raisin-bread dough. They are going to starve and it’s going to be very funny.

Ray tells me that it usually takes about three storms before the contestants discreetly offer blow jobs in return for chocolate bars, bug repellant, and antifungal sprays. Perhaps there is light at the end of this tunnel.

Am feeling a bit ill. Too much sun is getting to me, I think.

—from “Survivor,” a biji by Douglas Coupland.