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Archive | January, 2013

Movie Breakdown: Wrong (Noah)

January 31, 2013

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People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Quentin Dupieux’s first film, Rubber, was about a killer tire that blew up people’s heads. There were also people, er, watching something, and some seriously meta-debate. Beyond that, whatever that might be, Rubber proved Dupieux, if perhaps not the most rounded storyteller, a new voice in visual aesthetic. Wrong, quite simply, looks to be more of the same.

The Reality:

If you hated Rubber (which many did) you aren’t going to like Wrong. Dupieux doesn’t care about traditional narrative, let alone, the rules of cinema. People die, and then come back to life; it rains inside; characters appear without any reason and leave with just as little – this isn’t Hollywood people, this is some strange corner of Quentin Dupieux’s mind that he’s dusted off for minute so we can all take a peek.

For those still interested in what the “plot” of a film like this might be, here we go: Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) has lost, seemingly just about everything – his dog, his job, maybe even his mind – and he’s none too happy about it. That’s it. You spend the rest of the film hanging out with Dolph (and the assortment of wacka-birds that Dupieux creates, quite effortlessly) as he yells “Paul” and searches for his dog. You don’t come to a Dupieux film for anything more than that, you come for the ten minute scene where a “top rate detective” searches for Dolph’s pooch using the final memories of Paul’s poo. You come for the strange romance that blooms between Dolph’s gardner Victor (Eric Judor) and a woman that Dolph meets over the phone. There’s themes present here, and possibly some sort of greater meaning to it all, but if you’re going in searching for those, Dupieux is going to baffle you and you’re going to leave the theater angry. Instead, just be fascinated that William Fichtner plays an acid-scarred dog psychic. Then you’ll be okay.

The Lesson:

It isn’t about understanding Wrong, it’s about enjoying Wrong.

PS – Wrong will be available on VOD tomorrow (2/1).

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Charles Bradley

January 31, 2013

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Lee Fields helped me get my soul fix in 2012, and this year it looks like it will be the one and only Charles Bradley.  I’m totally fine with that.  The stellar singer will release Victim Of Love on April 2 via Daptone/Dunham Records.  He (along with His Extraordinaires) will also play Antone’s on May 1, which is something I can’t wait for.  Enjoy.

:Charles Bradley – Strictly Reserved For You:  There’s not a lot to say about this song.  It’s a glorious soul effort, and that’s all there is to it.  Now excuse me, I need get back to building a Valentine’s Day mix around this track.

Bonus Video:

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Steve Adamyk Band, Low Culture (Dan)

January 30, 2013

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The genius of the Steve Adamyk Band is their ability to draw you in. They write great hooks, which have you singing and nodding your head in a matter of seconds. Listen to Not A Witness and just try not to sing along with that chorus. These veteran Canadian punk rockers have just released their third album, appropriately named, Third. Fans of their past releases will not be disappointed. Third features quick hitting garage-punk songs that have more than a little classic-pop appeal. I’m on my knees praying to the rock gods (Are you listening, Jimi?) that the band makes their way to Austin for SXSW.

:Steve Adamyk Band – Not A Witness:
:Steve Adamyk Band – Landslide:

Speaking of bands I want to see at SXSW, you can add Low Culture to that list. Labelmates on Dirtnap Records with the Steve Adamyk Band, Low Culture hails from the great state of New Mexico. The group is comprised of members of Shang-A-Lang and the Marked Men. Their debut effort, Screens, is not unlike the SAB record since it’s filled with catchy garage punk rock. However, unlike some garage bands, they have a crisp sound that isn’t meant to be lo-fi or fuzzed out. It’s fast paced and thrashy but it still manages to be melodic and toe-tapping. Actually mosh-inducing is probably a more apt description.

:Low Culture – Screens:
:Low Culture – Touchy Feely:

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Jana Horn, San Saba County (Jennifer)

January 30, 2013

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During Free Week I had a conversation with a fellow local music blogger who surprised me when he said that he had a hard time discovering new bands/artists. That might not make sense at first, but I can empathize. How do you sort through all the submissions and recommendations, and where do you start? I prefer the method of accidental discovery and stumbling across an artist without any prejudiced expectations.

Last summer, I found Jana Horn when she opened a show for Good Field. I didn’t see her perform again until last December when she played a solo set. Around that time, I also found demos she had posted on Soundcloud. Her delicate, airy vocals and songwriting convey a sweet vulnerability. There’s a hint of melancholy in the songs, but they also feel warm and comforting. An EP is set to be released this year on the German indie label Butterfly Collectors.  Before her EP release, I recommend catching one of her upcoming Austin shows – January 31 at Club Deville and February 7 at Red 7.

:Jana Horn – Praises (Demo):

One of the downsides of musical discovery is not being able to keep up with new bands and releases. One can only hope for a little bit of redemption when you do start to catch up and follow through. The most recent example is Austin’s San Saba County, who I saw perform last weekend as part of The Good Music Club’s One Year Anniversary Show.

Their sound has been described as alt-country meets indie rock. I also hear a power pop influence, especially on songs like Here and Electric Candle (from their 2012 EP Broken Record) that have sunny, singalong worthy harmonies and infectious guitar hooks. You can stream the EP directly from their website, but I highly recommend getting your hands on the vinyl to enjoy on your turntable at home (you can order it from their website). A little bit of twang and a little bit of jangle - two musical tastes that taste great together.

:San Saba County – Here:

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Surfer Blood

January 29, 2013

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Surfer Blood jumping to a major label has seemed odd to me ever since it was announced.  But, it happened, and now I’m curious to see how they’ll do with the machine behind them.  The band’s debut for Warner Bros Records, Pythons, is expected out at some point this summer.  Enjoy.

:Surfer Blood – Weird Shapes:  I really like this song.  It’s a big, confident pop effort that I expect the indie kids to willingly eat up.  Let’s hope the general public does the same.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: Dan Friel, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, MS MR, Sorne, Screaming Females

January 28, 2013

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Today’s music can’t be stopped.  Enjoy.

:Dan Friel – Thumper:  Dan (formerly of Parts & Labor) put out one of my favorite songs last year, so I was pretty pumped to finally see him release something new.  This is a great track, especially if you dig stuff that’s noisy and kinetic.  Thrill Jockey will release Total Folklore on February 19.

:Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Let The Day Begin:  I’ve never been an overly huge fan of BRMC, but I certainly recognize that they’ve been a solid band for a long time.  On March 19 they’ll put out their six full length, Specter At The Feast, on Abstract Dragon/Vagrant.

:MS MR – Fantasy:  I’m very much looking forward to hearing this band’s debut full length.  I really liked the EP they put out last year, and now there’s this pop number, which is just fantastic.  Second Hand Rapture is due out in May, but you’ll be able to pick up the Fantasy single on March 10.

:Sorne – Ego Altar:  If you want to know who currently has the most experimental and interesting sound in Austin, it’s Sorne.  This guy has the potential to really blow up this year, so you should take this intense, soulful track and use it as your excuse to jump on the bandwagon now.  Ego Altar is due out April 9.

:Screaming Females – Poison Arrow:  Some health issues may have sidelined the Screaming Females’ touring plans, but they’re staying busy.  This garage rock tune is off a collection of home recordings that’s only being put on on a cassette.  Chalk Tape is due out February 10 via Don Giovanni.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

January 27, 2013

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

JJ Abrams has been confirmed as the director of the next Star Wars film.

The members of the upcoming Justice League will reportedly be Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Flash.  There’s also a rumor that says Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Hawkman will have cameos.

Marvel is said to be looking at Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler for roles in Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Ray Liotta will reportedly appear in the next Muppets movie.

Ron Howard is said to be looking at adapting The Graveyard Book for Disney.  The novel follows a boy who has been raised by ghosts and other creatures in a graveyard.

David Fincher looks to be set to direct Gone Girl.  The book dealt with a woman who goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary.

Toby Jones said that he will return as Armin Zola in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Bruce Willis is set to appear in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

Rosario Dawson will star opposite of Ryan Reynolds in Queen Of The Night.  The movie will center around a father that believes his daughter, who has been missing for eight years, is still alive.

Bill Hader is set to star in a new Baywatch movie.

Dakota Fanning will play Kevin Kline’s teenage girlfriend in the Errol Flynn biopic, The Last Of Robin Hood.

Ant-Man and Doctor Strange will reportedly be a part of Marvel’s Phase Three.

Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) will appear in X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

The Weinstein’s are reportedly moving forward on a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

January 25, 2013

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Did you guys hear about Lupe Fiasco getting escorted off the stage by security at a pre-inaugural concert for performing a thirty minute song railing against Obama? This is the kind of thing I can get behind, and I LIKE Obama. Don’t be afraid to be loud, y’all. This little story has nothing to do with this month’s mix though. I just wanted to mention it because it’s one of my favorite stories this week, and you should check out Lupe’s new album Food & Liquor II because it’s pretty good. I really appreciate the fact that he pretty much had commercial success in the palm of his hands and basically went, “Y’know what? I’m just gonna say what I believe about the state of the world, even if it’s controversial, and even if a lot of people don’t like it, AND EVEN IF my corporate overlords are trying to prove definitively that the only thing that sells records are hyper-racist depictions of black life that glamorize guns, drugs, crime and misogyny.” Yeah, I like that he did that.

I also made you a sweet January mix of other stuff I like, and I hope you like it too.

There’s a sweet hip hop show tonight at Hotel Vegas featuring Fat Tony, Space Camp Death Squad (previously on a mix here), Ditch Witch, Norman Base, and P-Tek. You should come out and say hi and support some Texas hip hop.

:Common Market – Black Patch War:
:Pillowfight – Get Your Shit Together:
:Rick Ross – 100 Black Coffins:
:Lupe Fiasco – Strange Fruition (Featuring Casey Benjamin):
:Common – A Dream (Featuring Will.I.Am):
:The Coup – Wavip (Featuring Das Racist And Killer Mike):
:Mad One And Ruler Why – Mhhmmm Mhmmm:
:Talib Kweli And Z-Trip – Congregation (Featuring Black Thought And Ab-soul):
:Big Jus – Empire Is A Bitch (Fake Arab Spring Mix):
:Roc Marciano – Peru:
:Akala – Where I’m From:
:Mister RP – Diamonds Aren’t Enough:
:Azeem -Going Dumb VS Going To Brazil:
:Guru – Lift Your Fist (Featuring The Roots):

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Stream This

January 25, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

On And On – Give In
Speck Mountain – Badwater
Gold Panda – Trust EP
Ducktails – The Flower Lane
The Ruby Suns – Christopher
Bleeding Rainbow – Yeah Right
Ex Cops – True Hallucinations
Tomahawk – Oddfellows

VIDEOS

FIDLAR just released their self titled album on Mom + Pop.

Nightlands released Oak Island via Secretly Canadian this week.  They play the Mohawk on March 6.

Lee Fields brought in Lady for this acoustic number.

This is s German version of Moon Duo’s I Can See.

Crystal Castles will play the Austin Music Hall on April 21.  The Sad Eyes single will be out February 18.

Ultraista will play on Jimmy Fallon this Tuesday.

Nite Jewel’s One Second Of Love is available now via Secretly Canadian.

Sin Fang will release Flowers on February 19 via Morr Music.

PAWS will play SXSW.  Cokefloat! is out now on FatCat.

Shout Out Louds will release Optica on February 26.  They’ll also be at SXSW.

This is Club 8′s first new music since 2010.

A Thing Called Divine Fits is out now.

Widowspeak put out Almanac this week via Captured Tracks.

Iceage will release You’re Nothing on February 19 via Matador.

Minus The Bear’s Infinity Overheard is out now on Dangerbird Records.

Menahan Street Band’s The Crossing is available now via Daptone Records.

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Veronica Falls

January 24, 2013

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I need to see Veronica Falls live.  I keep getting sent stellar track after stellar track, but the band never seems to make it to Austin.  Bummer.  In any case, they’re set to release a new album titled Waiting For Something To Happen on February 12 via Slumberland.  Enjoy.

:Veronica Falls – Buried Alive:  There’s some great songwriting at play here that’s what I would describe as a proper mixture of sweet and creepy.  Maybe put this one in your back-pocket for Valentine’s Day.

Bonus Video:

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Swiftumz (Noah)

January 23, 2013

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There’s something delightfully sleazy about Swiftumz. With a the sort of lo-fi aesthetic we’ve grown so uncomfortably used to in the Bay Area, Swiftumz takes the notion of bubblegum pop – bright melodies, an upbeat bass-line, a sort of PG bit of hip shake matched with lyrics about love and what-not – and squishes them under the thumb of dimly lit back rooms and poor fluorescent lighting. It’s almost cute and it’s almost endearing, but there’s something about the sneered endings of his words, the tinnier rattle of the pop-pop bass, even the sight of Swiftumz (a large man, often times decked out in an even larger hooded sweatshirt) that makes take a step back as if you’ve found a hair on the bumpy surface of your ever-lasting gobstopper, and check again what you’re listening to. It’s no surprise that Swiftumz, Chris McVickers at birth, would serenade the world with this enjoyably off-putting blend of garage and pop, he’s a longtime recurring character in the world of Hunx and His Punx(ettes) (yet another SF band who plays in a dirty sandbox of saccharine tunes) and his newest album, Don’t Trip, was recently a part of Burger Records Tape A Day, OK!? promotion. Burger Records of course being the cracked wall headquarters of all pop tunes riding the thin line between grime, grit and gleaming, shiny goodness.

Don’t Trip is out on cassette on Burger Records now. It can be found, all about the internet, in both digital and wax formats.

:Swiftumz – 4EVA:

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Black Books (Jennifer)

January 23, 2013

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Austin quintet Black Books are releasing their latest EP, Aquarena, on February 11 (available digitally on January 28).  It will be available on limited edition 10″ vinyl (pre-orders include the digital album). The EP features White Noise, which alternates between dream pop and psychedelic guitar rock. The song asks “what could it be but white noise/casting its spell on me/ just when I need it most?” Their rich, hypnotic sound has started to cast its spell on me, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from this band later this year (a full length is expected).

If you backtrack to 2011, a song from their debut EP,  An Introduction To, is still getting noticed. The Big Idea was used in the January 20 episode of Showtime’s Californication, and a new video has also been released. The haunting, melancholic feel of the song is reflected in the video’s storyline of a man grieving for his wife and dreaming about seeing her one more time.

The band celebrated the end of  2012 with their single, Like You Best/Shipwrecked, and announced their signing to UK label, Believe Recordings. Like You Best is guaranteed to get stuck in your head with its dreamy vocals, lush synths, and crashing guitars; Shipwrecked is a lush, starry eyed lullaby serenading you into sweet dreams.

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Quickdraw: Menomena, The Ruby Suns, Tiger Waves, Kinski, The Little Ones

January 22, 2013

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Today’s music wants to make out with you.  Enjoy.

:Menomena – Toomer:  These progressive fellas put out an album titled Moms last year, and a couple of the songs that didn’t make the cut have been packaged as a double A-side single.  More Menomena is always a good thing, so snatch the tracks up.  The band will soon head out on tour.

:The Ruby Suns – In Real Life:   While I’ve always liked this band, I’ve long wanted to love them.  Maybe their new album will make that happen.  This synth-filled number is certainly a pretty great start.  Sub Pop will release Christopher on February February 29.

:Tiger Waves – Fields:  Here’s one of Austin’s up and coming acts with a new song that was released in celebration of their upcoming tour.  It’s a rather pretty pop tune.  Tiger Waves will play the Mohawk tonight with Black Books after the Purity Ring show outside.  The rest of their dates can be seen here.

:Kinski – Conflict Free Diamonds:  It’s been so long since this band released anything that I just assumed they had called it quits.  Oops.  They’re actually still rocking, and I’m going to guess that they’re upcoming full length will be a good one.  Kill Rock Stars will put out Cosy Moments on April 2.

:The Little Ones – Forro:  If you’re browsing today’s post with the intention of just finding something that’s as joyous as can be, then this is it.  Crank the volume and have some fun.  The Branches Recording Collective will release The Dawn Sang Along on February 12.

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Weekly Movie News Rundown

January 20, 2013

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Time for your weekly movie news update!  Below you’ll find a slew of sentences meant to provide a brief glimpse of what’s been going on over the past week in movieland.  If something leaves you desperate for more info, then my advice is to do a little extra research on one or all of the following fantastic sites:  Latino Review, Dark Horizons, Ain’t It Cool News, CHUD and/or JoBlo.  Read on!

Liam Neeson will star in Run All Night, which is said to be about a hitman who has to take on his former boss.

George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau) has signed on to direct a currently untitled sci-fi film for Universal.

Ron Howard will direct All I’ve Got for JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot.  The movie will reportedly deal with a woman who dies, and then in the afterlife she must choose to become young again and be with her first love who tragically died, or to remain as she is and wait for the man that she eventually married and spent 50 years with.

James Franco will star in and direct Beautiful People.  The biopic will be based on the life of Jay Sebring, who was murdered by the Manson family.

Warner Bros. is trying to put together a Gremlins remake.

Brian De Palma and Al Pacino have teamed up for a Joe Paterno film.

Emma Stone and Charlie Hunnam (Sons Of Anarchy) may star in Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak.  It’s said to be a haunted house flick.

MGM is trying to put together a sequel to Hot Tub Time Machine.

Kid Cudi and Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) have signed on to star in the adaptation of the game Need For Speed.

Anne Hathaway will star in a modern day version of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew.

Bradley Cooper may star in Dark Invasion.  The movie will reportedly be a spy thriller set in 1915.

MGM is looking at doing a remake of Ben-Hur.

JJ Abrams is said to be working on a Lance Armstrong biopic.

Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar) and Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine) have reportedly been hired to write a script for Terminator 5.

Noomi Rapace may star opposite of Tom Hardy in Animal Rescue, which is said to be about a reformed criminal who gets mixed up in a bad heist.

Paul Dano will play a young version of Brian Wilson in the biopic Love And Mercy.  An actor to play an older of version of the famous musician is still be sought after.

This Week’s Notable Trailers

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Zoe Knows Infinitely Sad Songs

January 18, 2013

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There are few things more universal than sadness. If, you’re human, you’ve been sad, and chances are that you’ve got a song to go along or help you through it. I’m so enchanted by the concept of excellently sad mixes, because when I am sad, I do not want to be cheered up. No, I am a deep wallow-er. I want to lie alone in my bed eating and immersing myself in the saddest possible songs. It was in this vein that, years ago, I made The Infinite Sadness Mix. I’ve been reworking the mix a lot over the years, adding and subtracting songs as my music tastes have changed, but the basic concept stays the same; what do I want to listen to when I am at my worst?

I like this mix as an introduction to my new (!) monthly mix feature, because it showcases my “emo” roots. I’m sure I’ll produce many proper indie rock mixes, but I like throwing in reminders here and there that my little heart still beats like a 2003 skate and surf teenybopper. Yet, the majority is still “credible”; although I suppose Modest Mouse’s stint in the Top 40 doesn’t make them a poster boy. But the melancholy tone that their initial horn riff sets is almost as heart-lurching as the lyrics “If the world’s at large, why should I remain?”

The National make an appearance, of course, although it was hard to narrow it down to one track since they are basically the crown princes of sadness. But Green Gloves go beyond the obvious angst of newer offerings (such as High Violet’s soul crushers), and explores alienation. Stars show up twice, thanks to their paired songs that play so well together. You get the first blow; then, just when you’ve forgotten, they pop back up with further tales of relationship horror. And only a couple songs in, we get that throwback emo style started with Dashboard Confessional–I don’t know how people have a proper cry without them, anyway.

Dear & The Headlights and Manchester Orchestra have the same depraved vibe, both seeming to beg to women in their lives for some sort of salvation. Bon Iver shows up between the two of them to do his electronic thing–remember that phase?!–which is used to great dramatic effect in this eerie track. About halfway through the mix, Yann Tiersen shows up for the first time, and then finishes things out, both times with instrumental tracks. Both tracks are taken from the soundtrack to Amelie, and I love them for their ability to communicate such intense ennui via the piano. Ben Gibbard’s The Postal Service side project was basically a receptacle for all his leftover misery; the drawn out beat of this song perfectly communicates the numbed brain. The inclusion of Something Corporate will probably provoke more than a few laughs, but Andrew McMahon is one musician I have stood by for 10 years and counting. This isn’t even his best sad track; but I think it’s one that captures teenage angst so perfectly. This song was on repeat during a break up at age 16, so that should tell you something about the mindset you’ll want going in.

And for all you total weirdos who prefer to listen to happy music when you’re sad (psh, what’s cheering up even mean), I’ve included a bonus track that you can tack on for a more hopeful ending.

:Modest Mouse – World At Large (Horn Intro Version):
:The National – Green Gloves:
:Stars – Your Ex-Lover Is Dead:
:Dashboard Confessional – So Long, So Long:
:Dear And The Headlights – Mother Make Me Golden:
:Bon Iver – Woods:
:Yann Tiersen – Le Moulin:
:Manchester Orchestra – Where Have You Been?:
:The Postal Service – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight:
:Something Corporate – Walking By:
:Stars – One More Night (Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead):
:Yann Tiersen – Comptine D’un Autre Ete: l’Apres Midi:
:Regina Spektor – Eet:

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