Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best of? We don't need no Steenking " Best Of"

Ok, so you know that I'm not really good at "best of" or "end of year" lists. But I know they are expected of sites like mine, so, here's some stuff that happened this year that I think you're missing out if you missed it, grouped by month:
January: Nothing. Not A Damn Thing.
February: Die Antwoord at the 930 club. Mark Lanegan Blues Funeral
Normally, I'm with Henry on "Rave music" But, Die Antwoord is more punk rock than most punk rock.
Also, Mark Lanegan's "Blues Funeral". Ye gads, the guy is good. He could sing the phone book and it'd sound like a three day bender complete with divorce and hangover.Also, have you heard Dark Mark ? If you haven't, secure it somehow. You'll most likely have to break the law to do so, but ye gads, the guy is good.
March: Meh. It was a month....
April- Wow! ok, Black God II, Killing Joke MMXII, Coachella, Torche Harmonicraft, and Aeges- The Bridge.
 Black God play hardcore thrash the way it should be done, Killing Joke I shouldn't have to sell you on, Coachella laid down the gauntlet for Live streams, Torche brought the best hard party all year ( Hence I saw 'em twice), and Aeges did the best late 1990's post-hardcore record this side of the Refused.
May- Tragedy- Darker Days Ahead, The Cribs- In the Belly of The Brazen Bull, Dead Ending.
May must be punk rock, or something- first with Tragedy, they upped their game from sludge punk to some undefinable metal punk hybrid that is one part Neurosis, one part Kylesa, and one part Discharge. The Cribs answered the much-needed question- why must someone mix the Pixies and Oasis?, and Dead Ending brought Vic Bondi back to Chicago, with awesome intelligent thrash as the result.
June- dEUS- Following Sea, Silence is Sexy- Modern Antiques, The Hives at the 930 club
dEUS let down the veneer to do a quickie LP that rocks, Silence is Sexy sloughed off this mortal coil with a double LP that mixes Depeche Mode, the Editors and The Beach Boys, and the Hives gave part one of the proof that the Swedes put on the best rocknroll shows.
July- Baroness Yellow and Green, The Refused at the Fillmore, Workers- Both Hands
Baroness evolved into one of our finest psychedelic bands, the Refused gave the definitive proof that the Swedes put on the best Rocknroll shows ever, and the Workers finally put out a second record of awe-inspiring indie rock
August- Bob Mould- Silver Age
Yes, it officially came out in September, but I got it in August. Best record of the year. No question.
September- Bob Mould at the 930 Club
St Bob got off the cross, got happy, rocked hard, melted faces. Amazing.
October- Argo
No I didn't review it here. However that didn't stop it from being the best movie I saw all year.
November- Deftones Koi No Yokan
In which the Deftones prove that post metal doesn't need to be either instrumental, nor too difficult to enjoy
December- Not over yet, but I ain't hopeful.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Sorry if I'm being self-indulgent here, but I have to talk about some behind-the-scenes stuff.
See, it happened again. I got offered a job.  Not a paying job, of course, because those come around every 6 months or so, but a job, nonetheless. I get these about once a month. What was somewhat unusual is that mostly, the job offers I get are technical. This was a writing assignment. I get a request like that about every year or so.
Now, I know my strengths. I'm a very, very good sound engineer. I have exquisite tastes in regards to music and movies. I'm a decent cook, and I can speak really well, having both training and natural gifts for voice work. In other words, I'm better than the best DJ you ever heard. That's my strength. If I sound arrogant, wait for the next paragraph.
See, I also know my weaknesses, and they are legion. I'm really not a good writer. I can convey my thoughts, a bit. But I cannot thrill or engage my reader very well. I have difficulty with sentence structure, and  I am even worse with formally structuring a piece for publication. Further, I'm an ugly git, and more than a little curmudgeonly.
Still my strengths being what they are, I get offers- hey could you write a column, could you do an interview, could you contribute to my magazine, blog, book, or article? I never get a second offer, because the way I write is not what they're looking for. I've lived a very interesting, and somewhat unbelievable life. So friends, from time to time tell me I should write a book. I always act bashful, and "aw shucks" them away, but I know the truth- while my life story is interesting, my way of conveying it would better be a stand up comedy routine- I can't write that down.
So, if you're reading this blog, I do thank you for showing an interest in my thoughts, despite my awkward way of conveying them. However, I've now found that this blog is useful, as well. I simply asked my latest proffer-er of a job to read my blog. That did the trick, quick. They didn't so much as respond with a 'Uh, hey, yeah, the position got filled, thanks" ; they simply vanished. Which is why I bring the whole thing up, and why I'm classifying it as 'Metadata"- I know that the way I write didn't work for him, as opposed to my tastes, or my ability to discern Art and culture. I've been told way too often by far too many musicians, film-makers, TV producers, and other Artists that I "get it" to simply think I've got a bad read on Art, culture and taste. But, that is not what 99% of culture writers are trying to do. Most people writing about music, writing about film, or TV, or whatever else, culturally, ultimately aren't really concerned with conveying the Art- they want to convey something about themselves. Maybe they want to convey how "cool" they are, either in the sense of being hip, or in the sense of being distant. Maybe they want to be funny, or witty. Usually, they want you to think about how clever they are. Me? I don't care one little bit what you think about me. I know that I'm a lousy writer, and even if I was trying to make you think good things about me, I'd mis-communicate enough that you'd end up thinking entirely different things from my intent. That's why I'm loathe to call what I do here 'reviews'- I'm not writerly enough for that term. I'm just using this blog to throw support, in the best way I can, for people who create.
I once had a friend, an artist, explain things brilliantly to me- an Artist's job is to take various things and put them together to build something- notes to make a song, paint to make a picture, and so forth. A Critic's job is the opposite- to take whatever's built apart- to discern the structure and show what's been built and how. Both are valuable, but neither is what I do. What I do is point and say "Ain't this cool?" That's the "meta" behind the "Data" here....