Some good things from 2010, by Mike Holdsworth, Dead Oceans UK/EU GM
If you love rock guitar two albums that kept it raw, elemental and just plain groovy (in quite different ways) were Superchunk‘s Majesty Shredding and Endless Boogie‘s Full House Head. Endless Boogie take the primal sounds of the foundation rock guitar and restate it with both power and smarts.
Superchunk manage to make a rock and roll sound that is inevitably uplifting, those guitars pound and ring and propel the listener along in an exhilarating way. Sufjan StevensAge Of Adz has such a depth of texture and warmth that I am compelled to revisit his earlier recordings which had previously left me uninterested. Much has been made of the ups and downs of Gil Scott-Heron‘s life, with most of the focus on the downs. He is succinctly eloquent about the situation. “If you gotta pay for things done wrong – well, I got a big bill coming” he states in one of the spoken word interludes from his new album I’m New Here. The arrangements are sparse and the choice of a Smog song on the album works very well. Read the rest of this entry »
Moving to NYC has been nice for me as it has allowed me more access to music, films and pals. Here are some things I liked this year:
Most listened to 2010 releases:
Thee Oh Sees Warm Slime
Women Public Strain
Titus Andronicus The Monitor
Moonface Dreamland EP: Marimba and Shit-drums
Beach House Teen Dream
Marnie Stern S/T
Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot…
Male Bonding Nothing Hurts
Grass Widow Past Time
Special shout out to music put out by friends, especially Soft Healer, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Girls, Miniature Tigers, Love Inks and others I’m forgetting right now
Top 5 Concerts:
-Grinderman was probably my favorite show of the year.
-Spiritualized doing Ladies & Gentlemen We are Floating in Space with a full choir and orchestra at Radio City Music Hall
-Pavement in Central Park was a long time coming, and still delivered for me.
-Getting to play with The Yummy Fur was an early 2010 highlight
-Tinariwen shows, 2 nights in a row when I first moved to NYC was also a great “I live in new york now and things like this happen here!” experience
-Special shout-out to shows put on by homies, especially Dum Dum Girls, Mini Tigers, Darwin Deez, Electric Owls, Girls, Yellow Ostrich, Rattlesnake, Fools Gold, label-mates Akron/Family, and others I’m forgetting right now
Top 5 Narrative Films
I’m Still Here (yeah, i know…)
The Ghost Writer
Special shout out to films made by mi amigos, especially Lovers of Hate, You Won’t Miss Me, Tiny Furniture, Gabi on the Roof in July, Cummings Farms, and others I’m forgetting right now
Top 5 Documentaries
Last Train Home
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Special shout out to docs made by fine people, like Winnebago Man.
Also, I like the movies Jackass 3-D and Somewhere, because they both feature Chris Pontius, who might be my favorite on-screen personality who I wish I had as a friend.
Just got a transmission from Califone’s Tim Rutilli about his best of 2010 list. Read on and be amazed.
Here’s a kind of random list in random order of things that i enjoyed this year.
Rediscovering old things:
Arthur Russell disco music
Thelonious Monk solo piano music
Robert Altman California Split & The Long Goodbye
Andrei Tarkovsky The Mirror
shamanic illumination process
Too many great food experiences but this one comes to mind, but this is the number one place to get soup this year: Daikokuya. It’s always crowded but worth the wait. Monterey Park location is a bit more sane than Little Tokyo. Seriously the best soup.
I went to Poland for a film festival. It was a great experience, showing Funeral Singers and meeting some wonderful people.
The best experience I had was falling asleep in a crowded movie theater while this film played:
It was an absolutely beautiful film but sleep pulled me under. Kind of the way sleep drugs pull you under and into sleep before you realize you’re sleeping. I fought hard but the sleep won.
The sounds and images of the movie leaked into my dreams and created another movie that I experienced. The dream took place in the movie theater and also in the woods but I was in it and engulfed in the trees and smells of this world. I found myself interacting with some harsh hill folks and also some angry Polish people. I was sitting between two friends. They said I snored loudly during the quiet parts. Looking forward to seeing this film again…
This was very similar to an experience I had at an Einsturzende Neubauten show in Chicago in the early 90’s. I had been awake for 3 days . Should have probably gone home and crashed but I didn’t want to miss the show. I sat in the balcony and leaned on the rail and was attacked by sleep in the hail storm of their noise. An amazing experience.
Another one from poland for the best of 2010 list is Zubrowka… buffalo grass vodka. pretty good.
There were plenty of amazing shows and great experiences with Califone; recording and showing Funeral Singers at film festivals etc… It seems like entire new worlds opened up this year.
But, working on music for Here with Michael Krassner and Boxhead Ensemble, Braden King and the crew was a definite highlight. Life affirming stuff.
Other People’s Pets:
I’m watching this kitten. he’s 6 or 7 weeks old. His owners are coming back in a few days. wish I can keep him. He’s making me happy- they haven’t decided on a name for him but I’ve been calling him Larry. (See photo above)
My friend was pet sitting for an old dog and a snake. The snake was in a glass tank. The dog was half blind and groaning. The snake had a layer of dead skin and shit littering his tank. She needed to clean the tank but was afraid. I pretended that I was unafraid. The snake was eyeballing me. I reached in and got the shit and the skin out of there. My heart was racing a bit. Snakes are scary. Pretending that you are not afraid until you are actually not afraid is number 10 on my best of 2010 list.
I consumed a lot of music in 2010. After omitting any Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian releases, I was able to narrow it down to about 20, which I somehow divided into a top 10 and 10 honorable mentions. Ask me tomorrow and I’d probably have two or three of these swap spots. Enjoy.
Dead Oceans co-conspirator
Top 10: Arcade Fire The Suburbs Arp The Soft Wave Avi Buffalo Avi Buffalo James Blake The Bells Sketch / CMYK / Klavierwerke etc… Emeralds Does it Look Like I’m Here Grinderman Grinderman 2 Prins Thomas Prins Thomas The Radio Dept. Clinging to a Scheme Spoon Transference Sharon Van Etten Epic
Honorable mentions: Balam Acab See Birds
Beach House Teen Dream
How To Dress Well Love Remains
Lower Dens Twin Handed Movement
LCD Soundsystem This is Happening
Morning Benders Big Echo
Sufjan Stevens The Age of Adz
The Walkmen Lisbon
The Young Voyagers of Legend
Tie for No. 2: High Places – High Places vs. Mankind // The Books – The Way Out
Big Boi – Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
Lib B – Blue Flame; Red Flame; Evil Red Flame; Rain in England
Wold – Working Together For Our Privacy
U.S. Girls – Go Grey
Gucci Mane – Jewelry Selection
e-40 – Revenue Retrievin’ (Night Shift) Peaking Lights – Space Primitive
Salem – King Night
Balam Acab – See Birds EP
Sleigh Bells – Treats Zola Jesus – Stridulum; Stridulum II