Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Girl/Boy Songs circa 2010

Florence and the Machine - "You Got the Love (The XX Remix)"

Alphabeat - "Hole In My Heart"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Me to the rescue

Deerhoof vs. Evil is really quite good.

Graphic Film Analysis #1: The Runaways

You can see how this might be a problem.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Direction Home

From Nick Davis re: the Tom Hooper Best Director win:

I only got as far back as 25 years in asking myself, has any director ever copped this prize despite exhibiting less of a native knack for "getting" the cinema as an art form? I think Costner's best sequences trounce Hooper's, and Howard's populism and Minghella's swoony pictorialism connect to key valences of the medium. Mel Gibson's sadism at least feels alive on the screen if rabid and overdone. Sam Mendes, whose post-American Beauty struggles on screen have been sad to witness, at least had a lot of ideas in his Oscar-winning vehicle. Risks were taken. Who could say that of Hooper's work on The King's Speech? He's good with actors. So was Scott Cooper last year. He makes you feel. So did everyone whose movie got a Picture nomination, much less a Documentary or an Animated Feature nomination. So does the script by itself, and so does the historical incident that inspired the script. I simply don't get this win, and with divisive but fervently championed artists like Fincher, Aronofsky, Russell, and the Coens in the losing circle, it'll be even harder to validate...

Pretty much on point, I think. And there were things in this movie that felt maybe slightly unexpected - a few shots that follow a walking Firth, the low-angle outdoor stuff, the off center close-ups - but with at least the last two of those there really seems no good reason for them to be there. Worst award of the night for me.

Monday, February 28, 2011


Chicago House icons Cajmere (aka Curtis Jones aka Green Velvet) and Gene Farris have put out another two track EP (cop here) of the type of jackin' yet fluttery house that I hope will carry me into the spring. The video they've uploaded for a preview of the track is basically, well, let's just say my parents were ballroom dancers.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


So, I could write a 10,000 word Oscar preview but my prose is not feeling very sharp. So how about a simple series of lists with the people/movie I think are gonna win in bold and, much more importantly, listed in my order of preference.


- Toy Story 3 (Genuinely shocking)
- The Social Network (Makes an honest effort to explore the relationship between the public and the personal)
- Black Swan (Wonderful trash horror about the relationship between art and personal sacrifice)
- Winter's Bone (Ozark noir, another sub-genre I never knew I wanted until I got it)
- The Kids Are All Right (It's really funny!)
- The Fighter (D.O.R. doesn't explode the Boston Movie or Boxing Picture, instead lovingly makes great ones)
- True Grit (fun, gorgeous, and well-acted, if not particularly revelatory)
- 127 Hours (50/50 between the great desert/rock scenes and the annoying Boyled flashbacks)
- Inception (Plotted very neatly, but oh how I wish so much of the plot didn't hinge on the Leo/Cotillard love stuff)
- The King's Speech (not all bad, but it looks terrible and doesn't quite attempt to say anything about anything)


- Jesse Eisenberg (brilliant, brilliant, brilliant)
- James Franco (absolutely nails the big interview scene)
- Colin Firth (better than the material required)
- Jeff Bridges (good, you know)

*Haven't seen the Javier Bardem one, realized I haven't really altogether liked an Iñárittu movie and it probably wouldn't worth it for me


- Natalie Portman (uses her Portman-ness to great effect)
- Annette Bening (the Joni Mitchell scene is is jaw-dropping)
- Jennifer Lawrence (works hard throughout the movie for the big emotional payoff at the end)
- Michelle Williams (maybe the structure makes it easier to see what she's doing, but she does it real well)
- Nicole Kidman (the Kidman Forehead isn't altogether unrealistic for the character, actually)

- Christian Bale (not subtle, obvi, but the physicality is awesome)
- Jeremy Renner (like a little Boston pitbull James Cagney, so entertaining)
- John Hawkes (emotionally mysterious and excellent, like most of the supporting performances in Winter's Bone)
- Mark Ruffalo (subtle Cali bro skills)
- Geoffrey Rush (charming)

- Amy Adams (plays the Supportive Girlfriend type, but makes sure you know there's more going on than just Standing By Her Man)
- Jacki Weaver (the escalation of menace throughout the movie is gr8)
- Hailee Steinfeld (great shit-talking, though again, this is in every appreciable way a Lead Performance)
- Melissa Leo (fun, but I think less convincing in her mannerism than her opposite number Bale)
- Helena Bonham Carter (a decent performance in a nothing role)

- David Fincher (not an achievement on the level of Zodiac, but shapes the Sorkin script into a super fast yet super clear stunner)
- Darren Aronofsky (great delirium)
- David O. Russell (manages the tone brilliantly, throwing in some screwball along with the inspirational and dramatic)
- Joel and Ethan Coen (pretty landscapes and the usual Coen skill for creating fun supporting characters)
- Tom Hooper (movie is carried by the acting, can't tell that Hooper did anything positive, to be honest)

- Toy Story 3 (the dialogue is great, the story is perfect)
- The Social Network (I was very worried when I heard Sorkin was writing this, but he did a great job, though I suspect the editing, acting, and direction aren't getting enough credit for how well they make his writing work)
- Winter's Bone (maintains both an air of mystery and emotional insight)
- True Grit (the broad comedy stuff might be my favorite, actually)
- 127 Hours (a lot of the Franco talking to himself stuff works, a lot of the psychoanalysis really doesn't)

- The Kids Are All Right (to say that it's just a family dramedy and not a lesbian family dramedy undersells what it accomplishes)
- Another Year (insightful about aging, and much more insightful about friendship and other complicated interpersonal relationships)
- The Fighter (solid take on the various genres, but I think it's the direction and acting that's really special)
- Inception (the exposition is pretty good under the circumstances, but the character interactions don't interest me all that much)
- The King's Speech (solid prestige movie dialogue, as corny as expected, but solid)

- Inside Job (Very neatly laid out, super-intense, and even manages to justify its blood thirst)
- Restrepo (the editing is done really well; the quality of and balance between the art and journalism is dope)
- Gasland (makes a very compelling argument against fracking, narrator really sounds like Johnny Depp)
- Exit Through the Gift Shop (quite entertaining, however, there lingers a suspicion that's it's not actually saying anything about anything)

*Didn't get to see Wasteland


- Alexandre Desplat will probably win for his score for The King's Speech. He totally deserves it...for his score for The Ghost Writer.
- Alice in Wonderland is not the worst movie ever made (Helena Bonham-Carter is probably actually better in it than she is in The King's Speech), but it might just be one of the ugliest. Any technical awards for it will be sad.
- I don't mind the Art Direction in The King's Speech at all, but the cinematography, with its low angle street shots and slightly off center close-ups, is horrendous. I really hope Roger Deakins finally gets his Cinematography Oscar instead of dude from King's Speech.
- Will be cheering against Let's Pollute for Best Animated Short. It's not nearly as bad as last year's Logorama, whose Political niche it fills, but it does seem to me rather half-baked. All of the other nominees are better than it, including the big-budget, 30 minute long British-Actor-Filled adaptation of kids' book The Gruffalo, Pixar's Day & Night, and especially Madagascar, carnet de voyage, which you should totally watch.

God I hope the King's Speech doesn't win. But it will. Let's drink!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beast mode


Here's the title track from the Meltdown EP Ill Blu dropped today and it's an absolute heater. You can't really mess with these guys right now as far as rhythmic intensity, but "Meltdown" isn't completely free of subtlety either, like that twinkle that comes in around 1:55 and reappears once later on and can't help but remind me (is it just me?) of Mary J and Meth's "You're All I Need". I was kinda eh on their Hyperdub single last year, but this one places Ill Blu right back at the forefront of what I'm checking for these days.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I purposefully didn't embed the video, because its boilerplate brattiness honestly makes these lyrics sound even more boring than they already are. That said, I've been jamming this song a whole lot for the last month because the chorus kills me, mainly through those non-verbal runs (I've also been playing the ultra-classic "I'm With You" a lot since the Rihanna song that samples it came out). I've never been too invested in Avril as a persona, but when she gets hold of a great hook she can definitely sing it. Song of the month for January 2011?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snap reactions after listening to the Britney single 5 times

- Definitely hits harder than I expected it to.

- Full of sounds that I don't really like

- The chorus is full on 90s Euro-trance-pop-whatever. As far as contemporary stuff, it's much closer to mining the same territory as Cascada than Gaga, Katy, or Ke$ha.

- The breakdown will code as dubstep because of the wobble (and because dubstep is becoming just popular enough with certain folks that something will be able to "code as dubstep" in 2011), but rhythmically it's not at all extreme for, like, a slightly R&B leaning pop song.

- I actually really like the breakdown, Brit sounds great on it.

- Whoa trance buildup

- If this is actually just Max Martin and Dr. Luke, what the hell did Britney's actual sessions with Tiesto sound like? (did that even ever happen?) Actually, with the breakdown being what it is, it's like Luke and Max were just like, "she's working with Tiesto and Rusko? We can just do all of that ourselves!")

- I guess I don't like this very much, but if a track can fairly accurately be described as Dr. Luke doing Tiesto, I guess the odds of me liking it aren't very high.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Maybe this Sky Ferreira song will get a push and a re-release next year and maybe her album will come out. But with the way pop music works these days maybe it won't, so it's #1 for 2010. Another great year of traxxxxxxxxxxxx. Assembled for your listening pleasure is a YouTube playlist of the tracks from my top 90 of 2010 (the ones available at YouTube). Power Hour available upon request.

1. Sky Ferreira - "One" (Parlophone)
2. Taylor Swift - "Mine" (Big Machine)
3. Kingdom - "Mind Reader ft. Shyvonne" (Fool's Gold)
4. Willow Smith - "Whip My Hair" (Columbia, Roc Nation)
5. Young Jeezy - "Lose My Mind ft. Plies" (Def Jam)
6. Gyptian - "Hold Yuh (remix ft. Nicki Minaj)" (VP)
7. Girl Unit - "Wut" (Night Slugs)
8. Ciara - "Ride ft. Ludacris" (LaFace)
9. Big Boi - "Shutterbugg" (Def Jam)
10. Katy B - "Katy On a Mission" (Rinse)
11. The-Dream - "F.I.L.A." (Radio Killa/Def Jam)
12. Tensnake - "Coma Cat" (Permanent Vacation)
13. Robyn - "Dancing On My Own" (Konichiwa)
14. Yelawolf - "Pop the Trunk" (Interscope)
15. Caribou - "Sun" (Merge)
16. Javiera Mena - "Hasta La Verdad" (Unión del Sur)
17. The Fives - "It's What You Do ft. Vanya Taylor" (?)
18. Sade - "Soldier of Love" (Sony)
19. The Crystal Ark - "The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous" (DFA)
20. Little Big Town - "Little White Church" (Capitol Nashville)
21. FaltyDL - "My Friends Will Always Say" (Planet Mu)
22. Wacka Flocka Flame - "Hard In the Paint" (1017 Brick Squad/Warner Bros/Asylum)
23. Nebraska - "This Is the Way" (Rush Hour)
24. jj - "Into the Light" (Secretly Canadian)
25. Gucci Mane - "Electricity" (mixtape)
26. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - "Bottled in Cork" (Matador)
27. Subeena - "Picture" (Opit)
28. Ludacris - "How Low" (Disturbing Tha Peace)
29. Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand" (Fool's Gold)
30. Justin Bieber - "Baby" (Island)
31. Roll the Dice - "The New Black" (Digitalis)
32. Keri Hilson - "Pretty Girl Rock" (Interscope)
33. Storm Queen - "Look Right Through" (Environ)
34. Diddy-Dirty Money - "Ass On the Floor" (Bad Boy)
35. Arcade Fire - "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains" (Merge)
36. Joanna Newsom - "Esme" (Drag City)
37. Funkystepz - "For U (ft. Lily McKenzie)" (Safe and Sound)
38. Kanye West - "Power" (Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam)
39. Jazmine Sullivan - "Love You Long Time" (J Records)
40. The Extra Lens - "Some Other Way" (Merge)
41. Lloyd - "Lay It Down" (Young Goldie/Interscope/Zone 4)
42. Lil Silva - "Perfussion" (Night Slugs)
43. Young Dro - "Freeze Me" (Grand Hustle?)
44. Hole - "Samantha" (CherryForever/Island Def Jam/Mercury)
45. LCD Soundsystem - "Home" (DFA)
46. Brad Paisley - "Water" (Sony)
47. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - "Round and Round" (4AD)
48. Los Campesinos - "Straight In at 101" (Arts & Crafts)
49. Enrique Iglesias - "I Like It" (Universal International)
50. Andre Nickatina & the Jacka - "My Middle Name Is Crime" (I-Khan)
51. Justin Martin and Ardalan - "Mr. Spock" (Dirtybird)
52. Zinc - "Wile Out (ft. Miss Dynamite)" (Zinc Music)
53. Miranda Lambert - "Only Prettier" (Columbia Nashville)
54. Glasser - "Mirrorage" (True Panther)
55. Wiz Khalifa - "Black & Yellow" (Rostrum, Atlantic)
56. Katy Perry - "Teenage Dream" (Capitol)
57. Corrine Bailey Rae - "Paris Nights/New York Mornings" (EMI)
58. Moody - "It's 2 Late 4 U and Me" (KDJ)
59. Laura Marling - "Alpha Shallows" (Virgin)
60. Rick Ross - "MC Hammer (ft. Gucci Mane)" (Slip'n'Slide/Def Jam)
61. Mad One - "House Girls 6" (Devine uk)
62. Horror Inc. - "Aurore" (Haunt)
63. Kourtney Heart - "My Boy (ft. Magnolia Shorty)" (?)
64. Teengirl Fantasy - "Cheaters" (True Panther)
65. Grinderman - "Worm Tamer" (Mute)
66. J Stalin - "D-Boy Blues 2010" (SMC)
67. Keith Urban - "Put You In a Song" (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville)
68. Emeralds - "Genetic" (Editions Mego)
69. Beeda Weeda - "Baserock Babies" (?)
70. Lindstrøm & Christabelle - "Lovesick" (Feedelity)
71. Ost & Kjex - "Continental Lover" (Diynamic)
72. Oneohtrix Point Never - "Returnal" (Editions Mego)
73. Damian Marley & Nas - "As We Enter" (Universal Republic/Def Jam)
74. Cassie - "Fuck U Silly ft. Nicki Minaj" (unreleased)
75. DVA & Fatima - "Just Vybe (Soul Power Mix)" (Hyperdub)
76. Dam Funk - "Hood Pass Intact (ft. MC Eiht)" (Stones Throw)
77. Shit Robot - "Take Em Up (ft. Nancy Whang)" (DFA)
78. School of Seven Bells - "ILU" (Ghostly International)
79. The Gathering - "In My System (Jef K System Mix)" (Silver Network)
80. Actress - "Maze (Long Version)" (Honest Jon's)
81. Erykah Badu - "20 Feet Tall" (Motown)
82. Yolanda Be Cool & Dcup - "We No Speak Americano" (Ultra)
83. Trace Adkins - "This Ain't No Love Song" (Show Dog/Universal)
84. Ramadanman - "Glut" (Hemlock)
85. Alphabeat - "Hole in my Heart" (Polydor)
86. Ajay D - "Sax Breeze" (?)
87. Âme - "Rrose Sélavy" (Innervisions)
88. Jam City - "Ecstasy Refix" (Night Slugs)
89. E-40 - "Lightweight Jammin' (ft. Clyde Carson and Husalah)" (Heavy on the Grind)
90. Nina Sky - "You Ain't Got It (Funk Dat)" (self-released)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

My only resolution is to get this blog good again (and if not good, than at least updated). Here's to a stunning 2011.