Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Weaving is a man's game"

OK, so I thought I might be able to get my top albums of 2008 up before I left for Germany, but that's not going to happen. I'll get it up in January though, for sure. Besides, I've got a stack of new albums resulting from my usual year-end binge, and there's a reasonable chance that some of them will make the list (TV on the Radio, I'm looking at you!)

So, to make up for what I can only assume is a shattering disappointment, I'm posting the Season 2 premiere of Flight of the Conchords (legally!). It won't make much sense if you haven't at least watched the last episode of the first season. But if you haven't watched the first season by now, you should, because FotC is fun, and fun is good*.

*this rhyme blatantly ripped from from Dr. Seuss.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fables: The TV Show?

I wrapped up the comics primer I posted this past year with high praise for Bill Willingham's Fables series. I was surprised to learn today that it may actually be made into a TV series.

As the AV Club article mentions, this could either be really good or very disappointing. Any decent TV version of this series would have to have some incredibly high production values to be any good, and somehow I doubt ABC has the cojones to pony up that kind of money on something this risky. Maybe if they limited the TV series to Fabletown (which exists within NYC) and left The Farm (where all the non-human fables live) out altogether they could do it less expensively, but the writers would have to sacrifice several interesting story lines. I think the show is an ambitious idea, and someone in TV land knows some good story-telling when they see it, but I can't help but be a little pessimistic. I could maybe see HBO pulling something like this off, but ABC? Not so much.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

EJP's Top Irregular Albums of 2008

I had a post like this last year, so I figured I better get the ball rolling with this post. Actually, I'm not going to be quite as ambitious this year with the end-of-year lists. I leave for Germany in a week and have metric buttloads of stuff to do before then. I'll be condensing things a bit this year, and no way will there be a top 30 like last year. it is, I'm up way past my bedtime tonight.

Best 2006 album that wasn't purchased until 2008: The Dodos - Beware of the Maniacs
I already raved about this album extensively much earlier this year, so I won't really go into any details here. The Dodos got some good press in 2008 with the release of Visiter, their followup to this album, but I have to say I think BofM is the better album. It's more of a fun album, in any case, and it's still getting a lot of play time with me.

Best Reissue 2008: Andrew Bird - Music of Hair
This one wins by default because I think it's the only reissue I purchased this year. No, that's not true...I got something by Mission of Burma and hated it. It's no secret that I'm totally crushing on Andrew Bird's music, so this pick should not come as a surprise to anyone who reads this blog. That said, Music of Hair is not for everyone. In Bird's own words, "It is sort of a relic from the time before I got my conceptual shit together.” That sounds about right. The styles of the songs are spotty and the singing (what little of it there is) is fairly weak. There's little if any of the trademark whistling--the album is all about the violin. Lucky for me I enjoy the violin in nearly any style, so I found the album a great listen. I haven't had it for very long, so I can't really say I have a favorite track. I'd say it's a nice album to have playing in the background while preparing a Sunday dinner.

Best EP of 2008: Ben Kweller - How Ya Lookin' Southbound? Comein...
I also didn't get many EPs this year, but I'm glad I picked this one up. Generally when a rock artist "goes country", the result is pretty disappointing. But Kweller pulled this one off with aplomb. I genuinely liked every track on this EP, and I would go so far as to say that "Things I Like To Do" and "Sawdust Man" are two of BK's better songs as of late. This EP definitely whet my appetite for the upcoming LP. I'd say it was a must-have for any Ben Kweller fan, and even a should-give-a-listen to nonfans, though it's not really representative of his previous work.

Best Soundtrack of 2008: ???
I think the only soundtrack I bought this entire year was Juno's, which technically came out in 2007. I suppose that it'll have to count, but if anyone has any other recommendations, let me know. Not that the Juno soundtrack was bad, but I'd rather heap praise upon Kimya Dawson for...

Best Children's Album of 2008: Kimya Dawson and Friends - Alphabutt
This is a new category for me, and it's actually pretty competitive. My son listens to plenty of my music, but he's also got a growing collection of kids' albums, all carefully selected by me (which means no Rafi). Alphabutt won this one hands down. It has very, very little educational value, and let's face it, Kimya Dawson can't sing worth shite. But guess what? Kids don't care. These songs are fun and delightfully immature. There are several songs about farting, and I'm totally down with that. Farts are funny. My son might not appreciate this album much now, but he will. This'll be the CD we can only play when mommy's not home, because she loathes it. This is not to say die Frau isn't fun, but unlike me, she is usually unable to regress her sense of humor back to age 7. Oh well, more fun for the boys...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

EINR: My Picks For Best Albums of 2008

Straight to the point. Minimalistic. That's all I have to give right now. See my previous posts as references as well (here).

2008, Best Albums of the Year:

Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

The Walkmen – You & Me

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

J.Tillman – Long May You Run, J. Tillman/Minor Works/I Will Return. Kinda cheating with three albums, but they have really been hitting me hard. If you want happy go lucky, this is not for you. Trust me.

Calexico – Carried to Dust

Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel – Dual Hawks. This is the most recent addition, and it is possible that it should be higher, if that matters.

Cut/Copy - In Ghost Colours

Girl Talk – Feed the Animals

Thao & The Get Down, Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All

Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Sun Kil Moon – April

Los Campesinos! – We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

The Wood Brothers – Loaded

Others that didn't make the list:

Portishead – Third
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music?
The Black Keys – Attack & Release
The Broken West – Now or Heaven
Cold War Kids – Loyalty to Loyalty
M83 - Saturdays = Youth
Okkervil River – The Stand Ins
Mates of States – Re-Arrange Us
Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
Spiritualized – Songs in A&E
Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer
TV on the Radio – Weird Science
R.E.M. - Accelerate
Beck - Modern Guilt

Most disappointing album of the year:

My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

Memorable Shows from 2008:
03/02/08: Wilco – The Ryman, Nashville, TN
03/12/08: Seeing David Berman 'poetry reading' at a small art design college in Nashville. Does this count as a show?
05/09/08: Radiohead – Charlotte, NC
05/17/08: Ladyhawk – The End, Nashville, TN
10/01/08: The Walkmen – Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
10/02/08: Andrew Bird – UNC Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill, NC
10/03/08: The Black Keys – Orange Peel, Asheville, NC

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mmm...That's Some Good Sarcasm

I'm generally opposed to posting internetty stuff up here, but today's Toothpaste for Dinner just hit too close to home. It probably hits pretty close to home to more than a few people who read this blog...(you'll have to click on the pic to read the whole cartoon)