Well, my best of 2007 list is now long overdue I usually do these things at the beginning of December. I'm working on it now; in the meantime, you can check out my best of 2008 list at the Washington City Paper. Yes, I sold out my principles to do a year-end list for this year, even though I haven't heard anywhere close to all the 2008 albums I want to hear yet. When I do a best-of-2008 list here next year, it will probably look very, very different from the list at the City Paper. Still, there might be some things of interest there. Sound clips and everything!
In the deal of the year, I recently got Nasum's Doombringer for six bucks from The End Records (sorry, the sale is over, but if you're into this stuff you can still find the two Crowpath albums there for six bucks apiece). It absolutely slays. I've never managed to get into grindcore all that much, but this is amazing.
In other news, I've reviewed the new record by Richard Pinhas & Merzbow on Cuneiform, Keio Line, but not here it's my first print review for the Washington City Paper, DC's alternative weekly. It's on their website here. The short version is that I really, really like this album, and in fact it may be my favorite non-Heldon Pinhas record. Go get it if you like this guy's music.
First off, in the Washington Post music blog, Post Rock, comes a scathingly amusing dismantling of the new album by indie-pop sensation Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley fame): "If you were wondering why you couldn't find a review of the album in today's paper, it's because all the potential reviewers either fell asleep or forced themselves to sleep via a hammer to the cranium by the 43rd time Lewis moaned "black sand" on the album's bore of an opening track." Ouch!
Secondly, this video, which is hilarious and painful and embarrassing all at once:
You might imagine that all the metal blogs have been sneering at this. A lot.
Finally, thanks to those who have been asking yes, I'll be writing reviews of some of the recent shows I've seen, including Extra Life and Mogwai. In the meantime, check out my photos and brief recaps of a couple shows over at Black Plastic Bag: one of a great show by Sigh and Unexpect, and one of the aformentionedMogwai show.
Speaking of Mogwai, looks like they've had to cancel the remainder of their U.S. tour because their drummer started having problems with his pacemaker. Bummer for them and the fans, best wishes to the drummer for a quick and full recovery. I'll particularly miss the updates to the band's USA tour diary that they've been posting on their website it has been absolutely hysterical. Some choice excerpts:
"People loved Fuck Buttons' set and it made me wonder how brutally strong the LSD must be in this city. I mean, some guy shouting into a children's toy while another mentally ill person screams monkey noises into a cheap effects pedal really just isn't enjoyable unless you've been fed an heroic dose of hallucinogenic drugs."
"The show was really quite good in San Francisco apart from the usual idiots who are afraid to keep their mouth shut for 10 seconds in case they start having an introspective tour of duty into their own minds and then nervous breakdown... [the next] show was a bit of a stinker we thought and the tourettes victims were out in force. One exceptionally stupid man shouted for a song he happened to like halfway through a song we were playing. I do wonder what he thought this would achieve...... let's stop playing this and start doing requests."
"Washington D.C. SHOWTIME! Here we are in what is hopefully not going to become Sarah Palin's new hometown. I suppose there's a real chance of her becoming VP seeing as the Americans had a cocaine and alcohol cowboy in the whitehouse for the last 8 years."
As I mentioned in my writeup of Aussie Floyd last year, Pink Floyd was the group that made me the music lover I am, and so Wright's passing affects me quite a bit. I'll be listening to Broken China tonight in memoriam.
Well, I spent about two weeks in China for the Olympics - one hell of a family trip. I don't really have much to say about that trip that relates to this website whatsoever, except for one small anecdote. One of the places we explored was the 798 Art District, a rather stunning space on the outskirts of Beijing with numerous spaces for avant-garde and modern art much of which was excellent and some of which was surprisingly political. At my favorite gallery, there was a particularly impressive sculpture made of a wrecked car painted entirely black, with tiny models of cars (think Micro Machines) swarming all over it, bulging out around cracks in the wreck, looking like nothing more than maggots infesting a recently deceased corpse.
Relevant to this website, though, was merely the fact that in the museum gift shop, Mogwai was playing softly, a desolate soundtrack and the only time I heard anything approaching interesting contemporary music during our entire two-week trip.
Musically, where have I been? Mostly expanding my horizons in metal listenership. Revisting stuff like Enslaved and Demilich, and familiarizing myself with obscurities like Book of Black Earth, local doom band Salome, the new Asva, and Georgians Kylesa (admittedly more hardcore/punk than metal). I'll try to write about some of this stuff in the near future as most of this has been dominating my recent listening.
For now, I'll leave off with this image of Salome, whom I saw with Behold... the Arctopus and Intronaut some three weeks ago, and who really left an impression on me. I wrote up that show at Black Plastic Bag and won't duplicate that here, since it's old news anyway. Click on the photo for the full image set at Flickr.
A coworker of mine is making a mix CD for his 30th birthday that includes one song from every year he's been alive (no duplicate artists allowed). This got me thinking about what such a mix would look like for me. I decided to do two songs per year and just go up to my 25th birthday. There are so many damn epics in the following list that if I ever actually burned this to CD it would have to be a box set, but anyway, it was kind of a fun and interesting exercise. This was all very much off the top of my head, and if I did it again tomorrow I'm sure it would look pretty considerably different. (Well, maybe not the early 80s - pretty slim pickings for me there.)