Friday, December 14, 2007

end of year list #3

This was painful.

ten favorite albums

10 · Very Tiny Songs by Logan Whitehurst & the Junior Science Club
One last testament to the brilliance of Logan Whitehurst. May the giggling continue indefinitely.
9 · The Stage Names by Okkervil River
Bouncy, jangly, dark, upbeat, and beautiful in a vaguely ugly sort of way. Something of an achievement.
8 · Wincing the Night Away by the Shins
The faintly sterile quality that prevented me from fully embracing either of the Shins' previous releases is not present here. I'm a sucker for a great album opener, and "Sleeping Lessons" is definitely that. Also, the line "it's like I'm pushed on the handlebars of a blind man's bike" from "Split Needles" is one of the better metaphors that I've heard lately, for anything.
7 · In Our Bedroom After the War by Stars
It's not as good as Set Yourself on Fire. It's just not. But it's still dangerously addicting.
6 · The Flying Club Cup by Beirut
A couple weeks ago, an inexplicable and foreign weather pattern passed through Los Angeles, wherein water actually fell from the sky. It turns out that the sound of this album coming out of my car's speakers complements that phenomenon nicely.
5 · Friend and Foe by Menomena
Ingenious and absurd. And awesome live.
4 · Reunion Tour by the Weakerthans
Fact: the world is split into two camps. Those who recognize John K. Samson as the greatest lyricist in the history of ever, and those who have no soul.
3 · The Con by Tegan and Sara
Fact #2: Everything Chris Walla touches is gold. I mean, not to take anything away from Tegan and Sara themselves, who wrote and compiled a collection of layered, quirky pop songs -- easily their best effort to date -- but the production is just stellar. And so what if I'm only trying to justify the fact that I listened to almost nothing but this album for two months straight? Leave me alone.
2 · Emerald City by John Vanderslice
I'm trying to remember how I ever harbored ambivalence towards this man's music, and failing miserably.
1 · Random Spirit Lover by Sunset Rubdown
What's there to say anymore, really? If this album seems too long or too abstract or too complicated for you, listen to it ten more times. Trust me. The rewards of repeated listens here are unparalleled.


ten favorite songs

10 · "Modern Day Saint" by Via Audio from Say Something Say Something Say Something
Just a really great pop song. Wait, scratch the word "just".
9 · "Myriad Harbour" by the New Pornographers from Challengers
On an album that disappointed me somewhat, this manages to be joy, melted down and chemically manipulated into song form.
8 · "Polyethylene (Parts 1&2)" by Chris Walla from Stereogum's OKX
Oh come on, how was I supposed to leave this off? Consider it a small preview for next year, when my favorite album is a foregone conclusion.
7 · "Numbered Lithograph" by John Vanderslice from Emerald City
John Vanderslice has this way of taking universal, even clichéd, sentiments and making them wrenching all over again. Maybe it has something to do with the oddly specific settings his characters are cast in, but when he sings, "I've never been lonelier," you believe him.
6 · "Guyamas Sonora" by Beirut from The Flying Club Cup
If the horn section of this song (as it commences at approximately 1:04) was the official soundtrack to my life, it would be a whole lot more profound than it is now.
5 · "It's Not Worth Fighting" by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin from Not Worth Fighting
This is one of two songs on the 7" single that I bought when I saw SSLYBY in April. I think it qualifies as dreamy.
4 · "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" by Okkervil River from The Stage Names
It's always a little bittersweet when an album's lone downfall is that no other song lives up to the epic perfection of its opener.
3 · "Wet and Rusting" by Menomena from Friend and Foe
When I first listened to this song after a downloading spree on the Barsuk website last December, I had no prior knowledge of the band and the song's appeal was so obvious to me that my first instinct was to classify it under "guilty pleasure". It turns out that there's absolutely nothing to feel guilty about, of course. I love it when that happens.
2 · "The Taming of the Hands That Came Back to Life" by Sunset Rubdown from Random Spirit Lover
It's incredibly difficult to pick out individual songs from this album, as it flows so magnificently as a whole. Furthermore, to emphasize the strengths of one part is to imply the comparative weakness of the others, and weakness just doesn't happen here. But this one contains a few of my favorite lyrical moments, and at least one very good question.
1 · "Naked Girl" by the Velvet Teen from The Great Beast February/Comasynthesis
I decided three months ago that this was going to be my song of the year. I couldn't renege just because it happens to be six years old.


five favorite shows

5 · Ben Gibbard @ Royce Hall
4 · Beirut @ Amoeba Records
3 · Sunset Rubdown @ El Rey
2 · The Weakerthans @ El Rey
1 · John Vanderslice @ the Troubadour


three favorite books

I was too busy keeping track of all the albums I listened to to keep track of the books I read this year. I plan to fix this in 2008. In the meantime, here are three of my favorite books on most days:

3 · Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell
2 · The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
1 · Catch-22 by Joseph Heller


three favorite movies

I may have seen three movies in 2007, but of those, I passed out during the first five minutes of one, and one was Harry Potter.

my secret superpower is:
the ability to be insecure about anything and everything. Also, the ability to shield myself with a Radiohead poster and not pass out during Sweeney Todd.


my advice to other would-be hipsters:
Wear your seatbelt. And, obligatorily: don't follow my advice.


in 2008 I might:
actually die of homesickness for the Pacific Northwest.


mp3: "Myriad Harbour" by the New Pornographers
mp3: "Wet and Rusting (LOAF: A Deli Tea Version)" by Menomena
mp3: "It's Not Worth Fighting" by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
mp3: "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" by Okkervil River
mp3: "Naked Girl" by the Velvet Teen

1 comment:

old-fart-1 said...

hm idk i thought the NP's last album was really impressive, it sounded a lot more like Destroyer and A.C Newman than Twin Cinema which was cool too.