Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oscars 2013

So the Oscar's were this Sunday and I don't think the awards surprised anyone. No major upsets. There was a tie. There were legends and there were newbies. People embarrassed themselves. Seth Macfarlane was meh. And many movies got at least one award. Here we go

Best Picture: Argo

Pretty predictable. It's been winning all of the awards, and was quite entertaining. My personal favorite from the nominees was Amour, but that was never going to happen. And it made up for Affleck not getting a Best Director nomination.

Best Director: Ang Lee

Affleck should have been nominated and Paul Thomas Anderson should have won it. It was a pretty wide-open race and anybody except David O. Russel could have won it.

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis

No surprise there, that guy is a monster at acting and now the actor with most Oscar wins for a leading role, and only one less than Katherine Hepburn. Not only that but Meryl Streep who has the most nominations and 3 Oscars herself (2 as leading actress) presented the award. Those are some Hollywood legends right there on that stage at the same time.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence

Again most people expected this one. I was personally rooting for Emmanuelle Riva as I thought she had a more emotional and powerful performance, but it's the Oscars so yeah obviously that was a long shot (same people who never gave Kubrick, Hitchcock, and others an award) but I got over my disappointment and I'll say that Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress who was pretty good in Winter's Bone.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Waltz

No surprise, but I felt sad that Alan Arkin didn't win it. Overall though, all those actors nominated for this category are great. And Django needed a major award.

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway

I don't really hate her the way others do. That being said, she is probably still cradling the award.

So yeah, no surprises. Zero Dark Thirty shared an award with Skyfall and that's all it got. Beasts of the Southern Wild got shut out. Pretty great to see Jack Nicholson is still alive, as well as seeing other of those Hollywood legends like Christopher Plummer Jane Fonda & Dustin Hoffman. We learned we need to let our hair grow long and gray if we want to win one of those technical awards or animated feature award. I think The Master should have won something! Pissed that the rumor of all Bonds reuniting did not come true.

Finally remember how important visual effects are to movies and the people working on them deserve a ton of credit that they currently aren't  receiving.

Please check back on this blog a few times a yea, thanks!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Favorite 10 Albums of 2012

This year's list was tough. Picking my number one wasn't too bad but the rest that followed was as difficult as   laughing while watching The Big Bang Theory. I'm sure I could switch the order around in the last 5 and I would still agree, but here they are

1. Chairlift - Something

Easy number one for me. Loved this album from the first listen early this year and my love increased as the year progressed. In particular most reviews I read praised the first half of the album, while I preferred the second half of the album with songs like 'Cool As a Fire' 'Amanaemonesia' and 'Met Before'. The 80s sound isn't original and they are not doing anything new with it, but they managed to make some beautiful and catchy music that resonated with me more than most stuff this year.

2. Chromatics - Kill For Love

I'll admit that I didn't know about Chromatics until I heard them in 'Drive'. So this album was the first full album that I heard from this group and I was not disappointed. Got it really cheap too right off their website with free shipping I think. Their cover of Neil Young's 'Into the Black' sounds new and fresh. Some of the album may drag a little too much, but they manage to keep the listener's attention throughout the thing. 

3. Grimes - Visions

"Overrated shit" is one of the most common descriptions I've come across from this album. That may be true, but for me it deserves this spot. It incorporated all sorts of stuff and sounds flawlessly.

4. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory

As much as I enjoyed Cloud Nothings previous releases, they can't help but sound like practice for what eventually became Attack on Memory. Short, frustrated, aggressive, and to the point.

5. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

This album is an absolute blast. Japandroids manage to top  themselves with this album which turns into a party  much like the title suggests.

6. Grizzly Bear - Shields

These guys can do no wrong.

7. Swans - The Seer

This was my introduction to Swans, and I felt abused and brutalized listening to this album. It is intense and not easy to listen to, and it's not meant to be. But once you get deep into this album, it just becomes overwhelmingly awesome. You hear all sorts of new stuff every time you listen. Fun tip: play this album to your parents and watch their reaction.

8. Tame Impala - Lonerism

Pretty solid sophomore album from these guys. Some bits of it reminded me of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd

9. Beach House - Bloom

While not as immediate as Teen Dream was, it's still a beautiful album with everything you would expect from Beach House.

10. Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw...

This list would be null if I didn't include Fiona Apple's LONG awaited new album. The wait paid off, and we were treated to another great Fiona Apple album.

Other stuff that I didn't include that I can remember from the top of my head that deserve recognition include Kendrick Lamar, Purity Ring, The Men, Screaming Females, Crystal Castles, Death Grips, Metz, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Jack White, Frank Ocean, and a few more I've forgotten.

Stuff to look forward to next year:
My Bloody Valentine (?)
The Knife
hopefully we get some new The Avalanches within the next 10 years


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

MY Top 10 Songs of 2012 and other ramblings

Here are my favorite songs of 2012. Lot's of stuff I might have forgotten about. Some stuff I should include in my honorable mentions but won't. Anyway here they are, not much different than most websites' lists but whatever.

I really wanted to make a best movies of 2012 list but I don't go to the movies all that often and I am still catching up on the classics and that would make a BEST movies list pretty difficult to make, but I will include a top movies that I SAW from 2012.

My favorite 10 Songs:

1. Beach House - Lazuli

While I found that the new Beach House album was not as powerful as their previous one, Lazuli has turned into my favorite Beach House song. 

2. Cloud Nothings - Wasted Days

Despite the length of the song this Cloud Nothings song managed to highlight their more aggressive sound (compliments of Steve Albini who should have an honorary statue built for him in the White House or something)

3. Japandroids - The House That Heaven Built

Wasn't that big of a Japandroids fan in the previous years. This album finally won me over, and this song became my most listened song this summer.

4. Spiritualized - Hey Jane

Another long song that I loved. Turned into a bit of a sing-along at the end. Spiritualized came back this year with some of their best which, for me, was this song.

5. 2:54 - Scarlet

Don't really know what to say about this song besides the fact that I found it haunting, and sort of reminded me of some 90s stuff.

6. Diiv - Doused

7. Sleigh Bells - Comeback Kid

Exactly how I like my Sleigh Bells, popish and punishing.

8. Death Grips - I've Seen Footage

Artwork freaked me out, the music freaked me out even more. Makes me want to mosh while poking people with a knife.

9. Bear In Heaven - Sinful Nature

These guys are too underrated. Putting out quality music like this song which for some reason reminds me of the 90s X-Men cartoon theme.

10. Teen - Better

Simple but good

And my favorite movies I saw from this year were:

1. Dark Knight - sure it wasn't perfect and some of the digital aspects bugged me, but I've loved Batman since I've been a little kid and grew up with the still good first two original movies and the other two atrocities that came after, this movie closed off this trilogy in a pretty good way. Love to see actors/actresses prove me wrong and Anne Hathaway proved me wrong in thinking that she would be crap.

2. Moonrise Kingdom - yeah I'm a Wes Anderson fanboy. Beautiful, and the score was perfect.

3. Lincoln - Coming in all I knew about the movie was that it dealt with Lincoln, and I thought it would deal with the entire civil war which would have been too broad, but loved how it was specific to the passing of the 13th amendment. Daniel Day-Lewis knows how to act, which made up for Sally Field's underwhelming performance (imo).

4. Skyfall - from the very first sequence I was hooked, and the theme for this one I actually liked (good job Adele). Makes up for Quantum of Solace and was my third favorite bond movie, behind Goldfinger and From Russia With Love. The scene in the dark office building with the lights flashing in the background was phenomenal. Add to it that the characters were likable and M (Judi Dench) came out looking like a bad ass.

5. Argo - Suspenseful, exciting, and fun. Very relevant despite the fact that this story took place in the 70s. I like Ben Affleck's directing even though I'm not a fan of his acting

Haven't seen Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook (I hate Bradley Cooper), Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Looper which may or may not have changed my top 10

Favorite Albums will come in a future post sometime this week after I'm done deciding

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 - Saturday

Decided  to head to Pitchfork music festival this year for a day as I'm not made of money and hotels cost too much. Out of the three days I decided to go on Saturday which included some very  good artists including Flying Lotus, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Wild Flag, etc.

I arrived into rainy Chicago at around 2pm which meant I missed out on Cloud Nothings who I was really looking forward to seeing. Their new album is amazing and I really wanted to see them live.

Alas, I got there just as Atlas Sound was starting his set. Rain pored down as he played and it seemed that from where I was standing the crowd was more interested in staying dry than the music. However, I really enjoyed his set, and his stories that he would tell between songs.

Next I headed over to Youth Lagoon. I feel his set is intended for small venues, not festivals. That being said I still like his music, and the crowd took his relaxing set as a time to pull out some of their weed and start smoking. Gave the field a very relaxed feel.

As soon as Youth Lagoon ended I ran over to catch as much of Flying Lotus as I could. When I got there it seemed like a war zone with the biggest crowd so far that day while everyone was jumping up and down to the music. Getting close to the stage was impossible so I watched from afar. As soon as he started playing the Beastie Boy's Intergalactic the crowd went nuts.

Wild Flag were everything I had hoped. Entertaining to watch, your eyes don't leave the stage. You want to see what they're doing while they're playing.

After that I headed over to see Sleigh Bells. I had heard a lot of confusing things about their live show. Some people hate it, some like it. I actually liked it considering all the negative stuff I had heard about their live shows in the beginning. Very energetic set. However, time was an issue for me as I really wanted to head over to see Chromatics, so I stuck around for most of their set and left about 10 minutes after Chromatics was supposed to have started.

As soon as I arrived to Chromatics (late) Schoolboy Q was just getting off the stage. After that we waited for about 30 minutes due to technical difficulties that Chromatics were having. By the time they started a lot of people had left and they only had a few minutes to get in  a few songs. They sounded great, and I can only imagine how great a full set would have been like.

After they were done, I went over to catch Hot Chip. At that point I was so tired that I truthfully did not really enjoy the set as much.

Due to the fact that I took a bus into Chicago, I had to leave before either Grimes and Godspeed could play in order to catch my bus. But from what I've heard, Godspeed killed it.

Crystal Castles - Plague

New Crystal Castles song out today. I imagine it will be included in their upcoming album which comes out sometime this year.
Crystal Castles - Plague

Friday, May 11, 2012

St. Vincent at the Deluxe at Old National Centre

First post in quite a while. Sorry if you've been on here and have only been seeing old stuff, but Physics can take up your entire life. Went to the St. Vincent show last night. It was a brand new experience for me for the most part. When I first heard about the St. Vincent show a few months ago, I was interested but I did not expect to go as the venue usually charges up the ass on ticket fees through Ticketmaster. I also believed that she would play Lollapalooza anyway so I wasn't too worried. Well the line-up for both Pitchfork and Lollapalooza came out and no St. Vincent anywhere on them. I really liked Strange Mercy last year and I increasingly loved the album the more I hear it, now I really wanted to see her, so I looked around and found out that my local record stores sell tickets for certain concerts (St. Vincent among them) for no fee. What would have been an expensive show came out at a mere $18.

Prior to the show last night, openers Shearwater played an in-store at Luna Music in Indianapolis which I also went to see, and while only two of their guys were playing, it sounded great and got me ready for their full set later that night.

So when I saw them again later that night, I was very impressed. I had not really heard this band that often before and didn't know what to expect with a full band, but I was very impressed.

Then St. Vincent's turn came. I got a good look at the setlist prior to the show as well as her setup.

As soon as Annie began, her skill with the guitar became apparent, the way she adjusted herself and the sound.    She began looking a little uncomfortable but she adjusted quickly and put up a great show. As in her previous shows, she told a small synopsis of her music video for 'Cruel', and the story of how she got the idea for 'Northern Lights.' She then played a cover of Pop Group's 'She Is Beyond Good and Evil' which sounded great and got us ready for the mayhem that ensued when she came down on to the crowd and started a mosh pit for Krokodil. Now I had been in a sort of mosh pit before for The Strokes but when that happened I was mostly just trying not to fall and get killed, however last night I was full on participating and not giving a care in the world whether I fell or not. Having been in the front row during the show, I was in perfect position to mosh right next to Annie. After the mayhem, they left and came back to play the encore which ended perfectly with 'Your Lips are Red.' After the show I realized that my sunglasses which had been in my pocket were not there anymore and instead found half of them about 20 feet away.