Tag Archives: 2013

Top Films Of 2013

January 14, 2014


This bit of fun is coming to you a little later than usual, and it’s because I was waiting for Her and trying to see a few other films I had missed.  It sort of worked out, as I managed to pretty much catch everything I wanted to except for Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine, and The Spectacular Now.  Oh well.  In any case, allow Noah and myself to each run down what we thought were the Top 10 Films of 2013.  Enjoy.

John’s Top 10 Films Of 2013

10) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I was totally surprised by not only how much I loved this movie, but the way it stuck with me long after I had left the theater.  This film is the Empire Strikes Back of the Hunger Games series.

09) Grand Piano

Elijah Wood stars in this 2013 Fantastic Fest standout that I thought was one of the more outright entertaining and memorable thrillers I’d seen in quite a while.

08) This Is The End

Normally a movie packed with inside jokes and bits that never seem to end isn’t worth your time, but this one is totally spectacular.

07) American Hustle

Just a total mess of a film with a ridiculous story and even more ridiculous characters, but I loved it.

06) The World’s End

Edgar Wright absolutely nailed the finale to the Corentto Trilogy.  I’m going to greatly miss the output that results from Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost working together.

05) Mud

There were some great coming of age movies in 2013, but this one was the absolute best.

04) Her

When it comes to love stories, rarely does it get better than what Spike Jonze did with this film.  I’ll definitely be pulling for Scarlett Johnansson come nomination time.

03) Before Midnight

I’ve been following the story of Jesse and Celine for nearly 20 years, and this was a more than fitting way to bring everything to a close.  Thank you, Richard Linklater.

02) Wolf Of Wall Street

There’s not a lot of story or character development to be had in this Scorsese flick, but who cares!  It just wants to show you what real excess and greed looks like, and it does just that until you’re exhausted from it all.  I had a blast watching it.

01) Gravity

Alfonso Cuaron is now responsible for two of my favorite movies ever – this one and Children Of Men.  Not only is he a brilliant storyteller, but what he puts on the screen never fails to completely dazzle me.  On a related note, this and not The Blind Side is the best thing Sandra Bullock has ever done.

Before I go, big ups to 12 Years A Slave, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club, Blackfish, and Inside Llewyn Davis for being superb films that I can’t ever imagine watching again.  Also, much love to some other flicks that entertained me a lot in 2013 – Riddick, Pacific Rim, Fast And Furious 6, Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Drinking Buddies, Man Of Tai Chi, Journey To The West, Big Bad Wolves, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Oblivion, You’re Next, Side Effects, Trance and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug.  Oh, and for good measure, know that I dug the coming of age-themed The Way Way Back, Stoker, and The Kings Of Summer, and that I adored the love stories in Warm Bodies, Mood Indigo, and About Time.


Noah’s Top 10 Films Of 2013

Let’s say this: I had a pretty shitty year in the theater. Not because I wasn’t wowed and astounded by a hefty selection of films, but because life, sweet, soul-crushing life, and all the myriad responsibilities that come with it. I saw far below 50 films this year, and to be quite honest, my dedication to really getting out there and seeing everything only flared to life as the year crumbled to a quiet stop.

Look at this list though! Look at those directors! When’s the last time when my entire End ‘o’ Year Spectacular was filled with only movies but masters of the medium? Scorcese! Coens! Greengrass! It’s a veritable who’s who of film geniuses (and Seth Rogen), all on one list!

What does this mean? It was a pretty killer year for cinema. Oh, sure, Hollywood continues it’s unmitigated spiral in to video game dynamics and tear-jerking schlock, but somehow, someway, all of these amazing creators were able to do just that this year, push through the shit and get it done.

Somebody please, wheel 2014 in.

10) Captain Phillips, d. Paul Greengrass

Captain Phillips has a lot of things going for it – amazing action, a beautiful nuanced telling of this crazy story, some of the best Somali pirate acting of all time – but without the directorial skill of Greengrass and the heart-wrenching performance by Tom Hanks, it’d be just another pirate movie.

09) Blue Jasmine, d. Woody Allen

Woody Allen won’t ever be “Woody Allen” again, but if he continues to make films like this in the twilight of his life, sign me up. Cate Blanchett is brilliant, sad, and evil in this teary-eyed comedy about the rich getting poorer.

08) Pacific Rim, d. Guillermo del Toro

No other film entertained me more this year. No other film made me pump my fist with glee more. No other film had sword fighting robots squaring off with hammer-headed monsters.

07) This Is The End, d. Seth Rogen

Seth Rogen is the real deal. We all know that now.

06) 12 Years A Slave, d. Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen’s sashay in to Hollywood is 94 percent brilliant, 6 percent near-brilliant, 100 percent Chiwetel Ejiofor. This is the type of performance that everyone at the Oscars will tell their friends they thought deserved to win.

05) Her, d. Spike Jonze

They just don’t make films like this anymore. Well, except for Her. Stuffed with ideas, talky, beautiful beyond belief – this is a modern love story. I will now start the time until the next Spike Jonze flick.

04) Wolf Of Wall Street, d. Martin Scorcese

No movie stunned me more this year. Excessive and brutal, somehow hilarious and sadly, intentionally-hollow all at the same time. Leonardo DiCaprio gives the best performance of his career and somehow a 72-year old Scorsese just keeps getting better.

03) American Hustle, d. David O. Russell

David O. Russell takes on the late 70s. Magic happens.

02) Gravity, d. Alfonso Cuaron

Dear Mr. Cuaron, thank you for remembering that films can be powerful and entertaining.

01) Inside Llewyn Davis, d. The Coen Brothers

Sigh, a perfect movie about failing. I wish the Coen Brothers made one movie a week.

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2013 SOTO Staff Picks

December 18, 2013

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It wouldn’t be fun if only I just rambled along about what I liked this year, so I reached out to my very diverse staff for their Top 5 Albums of 2013.  I think you’ll see that the SOTO clan like a lot of different things.  Enjoy.

You know what can, sometimes, kind of blow? Getting old. Yup, watching the old life clock tick on by, the responsibilities of life pile around your ears, those precious moments when you could just wile away an hour or five listening to a handful of new records. Well kiddies, those days are dead. Nowadays I’m happy if I can listen to the new Lil’ Wayne single more than a few times when I’m driving to the gym to work my gut out with my trainer Francis. What I’m getting at here is that though I wish my list was full of a shocking selection of diverse and mind-expanding music, well, it’s not. I stand by each and all of these picks but I can’t say I did the extra work this year to blow any minds.

Forgive me, and enjoy.

5. The National – If I Stay Here, Trouble Will Find Me
4. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
3. Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin
2. Fuzz – S/T
1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City

In keeping with my column, I fully intended to select nothing but chick-fronted albums in 2013. Laura Marling was one of my most-streamed, and my girl Neko’s latest was an insta-fave. But once I got back to looking at things, I realized my list was a little more eclectic than anticipated. Vampire Weekend never ceases to be the catchiest around, and Local Natives continue to lyrically break my heart with everything they put out. And there’s nothing like a little Washed Out to soundtrack a Sunday afternoon. Notable mention? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds stopped by KCRW, resulting in a record store day release that I haven’t stopped listening (and crying) to since purchasing.

Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle
Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
Washed Out – Paracosm
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires Of The City
Local Natives – Hummingbird

I see it this way … 2010 was the first date, 2011 was the good times, 2012 was the breakup, and 2013 was when music took some “me” time. That does not mean this year did not generate some great or even classic records, it does mean that there was some experimentation that may or may not have worked out so well; see Drumgasm. That being said, there was still plenty of illuminations happening all over the musical cosmos in 2013. Labels like Chapter Music and Paradise of Bachelors killed it this year, as did Bedroom Suck and Fire Records. Though some more successful than others, 2013 saw artists and bands the world over restate time honored sounds and genres.

5. Fat History Month – Bad History Month (Exploding In Sound)
4. The Stevens – A History Of Hygiene (Chapter Music)
3. Purling Hiss – Water On Mars (Drag City)
2. Dick Diver – Calendar Days (Chapter Music)
1. Steve Gunn – Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors)

When I received my assignment to pick my Top 5 albums for the year, I thought that It would be a piece of cake: “5 albums? No problem.” But then I started to recall the various new releases from this year and felt twinges of panic and regret: “Who do I choose ? Who do I leave off the list ?”. I don’t have a complicated system for deciding on favorites; it usually comes down to what I listened to the most.  The focus for my 2013 Top 5 are all Austin-based artists, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy records from bands from other places. This year was also a fantastic year for some outstanding releases from some of my favorite local bands. They all share a common love for melodies, harmonies, and top notch songwriting.

Royal Forest – Spillway
Black Books – Black Books
Wiretree – Get Up
The Zoltars – Walking Through The Dark
Yum – Take My Blue / Santiago Dietche – Waxing And Roaring (tie)

This year there have been some amazing metal releases, I am not even giving lip service about my genre, it has been incredible the caliber of albums coming out, and to narrow it down to five, I had to switch a few things around from other lists I have made. Excluding Dillinger Escape Plan, Cult of Luna, Arsis, Black Dahlia Murder and All Pigs Must Die is heart wrenching, but these five bands have created some of the best music metal has heard in two decades. From noisy extremes like Nails, to groove laden jams on the new Clutch album, and the rebirth of the dormant Carcass to win the top spot on every list I have done.  So let it be written, so let it be done, the best metal albums of the year are:

5. Nails – Abandon All Life (Southern Lord)
4. Kvelertak – Meir (Roadrunner)
3. Clutch – Earth Rocker (Weathermaker)
2. Protest The Hero – Volition (Razor And Tie)
1. Carcass – Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

Hey, everybody! It may surprise you that here in my natural habitat of the music blog, I am supremely uncomfortable making lists.  Yes, I listen to a lot of music, and yes, there is stuff I like more than other stuff, but really when it comes down to taking my favorite albums from an entire year and ranking them on such a fine gradient, I just get miserable and ambivalent.  There was a lot of great hip hop produced this year and these are all great albums, and these are only in an order because John Laird forced me to do it.

5. Shad – Flying Colours
4. Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
3. Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
2. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels
1. Danny Brown – Old

2013 was a big year for pop music. Miley’s tongue was inescapable, British teens ran rampant, and through it all I reveled in the weirdness. The latter half of this year found me really embracing my not-so-guilty pleasure of pure female fronted pop, so I thought I should theme my Top 5 to mainstream pop with female vocalists. Specific enough for ya? But after all, there’s so much of it, sometimes you need a spirit guide. Like Katy Perry–those of you who wrote her off for bubblegum pop need to check out Prism, where her dark side shines and emotions run rampant. And Ariana Grande–the next in line for a breakout from the Disney dynasty actually has the pipes to back it up, and I can’t stop spinning her tracks. Meanwhile, singles shine for Lady Gaga’s Artpop, where any track could be a hit–and Do What U Want is climbing charts for a reason. None of the Lana Del Rey songs on 2013′s Tropico are new–all taken from last year’s Paradise–but these three songs might be her best so far and provide an excellent primer for burgeoning Lana fans. Number one couldn’t go to anyone but Lorde–sure, brush her off as a one hit wonder, but I’d take Tennis and Ribs over Royals any day–it’s an incredible album.

5. Katy Perry – Prism
4. Lady Gaga – Artpop
3. Ariana Grande – Yours Truly
2. Lana Del Rey – Tropico
1. Lorde – Heroine

So 2013 was pretty good year for music, yes? My thirst for catchy punk rock and fuzzy garage rock was quenched throughout the year. There were a bunch of albums I loved that did not make the very top of my list. I’m looking at you Ty Segall, Bad Sports, Mind Spiders, A Giant Dog, and Thee Oh Sees. I love you all but there can only be five:

5. Radioactivity – Radioactivity
4. Vaadat Charigim – The World Is Well Lost
3. Sweet Talk – Pickup Lines
2. Mikal Cronin – MCII
1. Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 5

December 6, 2013


Well, this is the end of it.  Feel free to comment and mention anything I may have missed.  Otherwise, take in all the songs, and then join me next Wednesday through Friday for my Top 25 Albums of 2013.  Enjoy.

PS – You can check out 47 of the 50 tracks on this list on Spotify here.

10)  :Jonny Fritz – Ain’t It Your Birthday:  If I were doing a list of the year’s most fun songs, there’s a good chance I would slap this in the #1 spot.  Jonny Fritz is a rad dude.  From Dad Country.

09)  :Veronica Falls – Buried Alive:  This song is so hopelessly romantic.  And well made.  And catchy.  And just awesome.  I’ve actually listened to it so much that I’m surprised I didn’t burn myself out on it.  From Waiting For Something To Happen.

08)  :Quasi – You Can Stay But You Gotta Go:  The return of Quasi was fronted by this wonderfully sloppy 90s-ish indie rock track.  It deserves to be played at a volume that might get you evicted.  From Mole City.

07)  :Ellie Goulding – Tessellate (Alt-J Cover):  This is actually the second year in a row that Ellie Goulding has landed a one-off cover in the top 10 of my song list.  If you ask me, that probably means she should hurry up and do a covers album.

06)  :Haim – The Wire:  I know everyone digs Falling, but this is the song that made me appreciate/love Haim.  It’s like Shania Twain meets arena rock, which is weird but apparently what I’ve always wanted.  From Days Are Gone.

05)  :Diarrhea Planet – Separations:  Yes, the name Diarrhea Planet is silly.  Now with that out of the way, please allow this song to rock your soul.  From I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams.

04)  :Yuck – Middle Sea:  Yuck lost a frontman and then just continued on like it was nothing.  That’s impressive.  I think this is one of the best songs in their catalog.  From Glow And Behold.

03)  :Chvrches – Recover:  The Mother We Share is a great track (that ranked high on my song list last year), but part of me feels like this is Chvrches’ best single.  Such synth-pop goodness.  From The Bones Of What You Believe.

02)  :Mikal Cronin – Shout It Out:  I was so very close to putting this Mikal Cronin gem in the top spot.  It really is one of the better pop rock songs to come along over the last year or three.  From MCII.

01)  :Vampire Weekend – Step:  It wasn’t until I sat down to do this list that I realized just how much I adore this Vampire Weekend track.  I think it’s an endlessly impressive piece of pop music that’s totally deserving of all the time and attention you can spare.  From Modern Vampires Of The City.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 4

December 5, 2013


We’re now down to the final 20 songs!  Ah!  Enjoy.

20)  :Minks – Margot:  I know some folks weren’t a fan of Minks cleaning up their sound, but I thought it was an alright move.  This song in particular is great and reminds me of early 2000s indie pop.  From Tides End.

19)  :Okkervil River – It Was My Season:  As I said when this made my Austin Essentials list, it’s that one song Okkervil River seem to have on every album that I can’t get enough of.  From The Silver Gymnasium.

18)  :Parquet Courts – You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now:  To be honest, I totally didn’t get all the love for Parquet Courts until this song came along.  I appreciate its adequate amount of snarl.  From the Tally All The Things That You Broke EP.

17)  :A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Austin’s finest pop punk band is A Giant Dog, and I think this is their best song.  It rocks and does well to show off Sabrina Ellis’ stellar voice.  From Bone.

16)  :Wavves – Demon To Lean On:  I didn’t at all think Wavves would ever turn into a 90s-esque alt-rock band, but here they are doing it and doing it well.  I approve.  From Afraid Of Heights.

15)  :White Denim – At Night In Dreams:  The heaviest song on White Denim’s 2013 effort is also my favorite from it.  I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to blow out my speakers via this track.  From Corsicana Lemonade.

14)  :Swearin’ – Watered Down:  I love any sort of indie rock that feels lifted out of the 90s, so I was hooked on this pretty much immediately.  Be warned, Swearin’ will make you want to dig up tons of old records.    From Surfing Strange.

13)  :Four Fists – MMMMMHMMMMM:  POS and Astronautalis as one act?  Yes.  Forever.  If we’re lucky, this rad track is just the beginning of something awesome.  From Four Fists’ self titled 7″ single.

12)  :Polica – Chain My Name:  Earlier this year I couldn’t wait to get a hold of Polica’s sophomore effort, and it was largely because of this track.  It’s super dancey and completely set on never leaving your head.  From Shulamith.

11)  :Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener:  This wordy number from Courtney Barnett was a favorite of mine before I was even done listening to it for the first time.  She’s a fantastic storyteller.  From the A Sea Of Split Peas EP.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 3

December 4, 2013


We’re now firmly in the mid-section of this list.  I hope that so far you’ve been digging it and have maybe found some new stuff.  Let me know if you have any guesses on what will be in the top spot!  Enjoy.

30)  :Action Bronson – The Rockers (Featuring Wiz Khalifa):  Out of the ton of good stuff that Action Bronson released in 2013, this track is my favorite.  He sounds great in it, and I especially dig the Wiz Khalifa verse.  From the SAAAB Stories EP.

29)  :Phantogram – Celebrating Nothing:  At some point in 2014 I’m going to finally get a new Phantogram album.  Until then, I’ll just let this gem swirl around in my head.  From their self titled EP.

28)  :Divine Fits – Ain’t That The Way:  If you ask me, this is the best Spoon cover that Divine Fits have ever done.  Ha!  Seriously though, it’s a pretty great pop song.  From the Ain’t That The Way/Chained To Love digital single.

27)  :M.I.A. – Y.A.L.A.:  Another year, another great single from M.I.A.  She may be a bit unhinged, but her work is consistently interesting and worth your time.  From Matangi.

26)  :Joanna Gruesome – Sugarcrush:  This infectious piece of noise pop has been a favorite of mine for months.  Also, as a Joanna Newsom fan, I’m admittedly a sucker for the name Joanna Gruesome.  From Weird Sister.

25)  :The Orwells – Other Voices:  While the hard working, fresh out of high school dudes in the Orwells make me feel lazy and old, I can’t help but dig their music.  This rock tune is as catchy as it gets.  From the Other Voices EP.

24)  :Son Lux – Lost It To Trying:  This song is definitely Sigur Ros-light, but I think that actually makes me like it more.  Toss on headphones or just crank your stereo, either approach works well with Son Lux.  From Lanterns.

23)  :The Men – The Seeds (Acoustic Version):  The original version of this track is rather nice, but I think the acoustic take really makes for something special.  It’s definitely my favorite song by the Men.  From the Campfire Songs EP.

22)  :Youth Lagoon – Dropla:  Throughout the year this Youth Lagoon song was one of my go-tos for when I just wanted to kick back and listen to something.  It has such a stellar, well layered arrangement.  From Wondrous Bughouse.

21)  :Lightning Dust – Loaded Gun:  I ended up not loving Lightning Dust’s new synth-enthused sound as much as I thought I would, but I do think this particular song is rad.  Be sure to jam it.  From Fantasy.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 2

December 3, 2013


Because it would just be totally weird to skip part two of my Top 50 Songs Of 2013, here it is.  Enjoy.

40)  :Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege:  I can’t at all figure out what overall direction the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are heading in, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.  I gave this weird track a lot of plays in 2013.  From Mosquito.

39)  :Desaparecidos – The Left Is Right:  To be honest, I equally dig each of the four songs that Desaparecidos released this year.  I listed this one simply because it reminds me the most of the band’s 2002 effort, Read Music/Speak Spanish.  From The Left Is Right/Anonymous 7″.

38)  :Terry Malts – I Was Not There:  Terry Malts and this fuzzy pop punk gem of theirs muddled up a good portion of my summer.  Fortunately, I didn’t mind.  At all.  From Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere.

37)  :Eat Skull – Space Academy:  Way back in January I called this Eat Skull effort the first great rock track of 2013, and in the time since then I’ve only grown even more fond of its swirling guitars.  You need this if you like noise.  From III.

36)  :The Callas – Anger:  The great thing about the Callas on this track is that they give you two of the things that tend to make rock n’ roll a lot of fun -  a good hook and shit ton of attitude.  I approve.  From Am I Vertical?.

35)  :Sleigh Bells – You Don’t Get Me Twice:  I thought that perhaps I was done with Sleigh Bells, but then this raucous anthem came along and reminded that when inspired, not many are as fun as they are.  From Bitter Rivals.

34)  :Metronomy – I’m Aquarius:  This might be my favorite Metronomy song ever.  If you can manage to not adore it whenever the “shoop doop” part kicks in, then there might be something wrong with you.  From Love Letters.

33)  :Tennis – Mean Streets:  Tennis have now completely moved away from sounding like they just got off a sail boat, and I love it.  I really didn’t think they had a slinky dance pop number like this one in them.  From the Small Sound EP.

32)  :Tony Molina – Breakin Up:  This little pop tune from Tony Molina is just a minute and half long, but it packs some great songwriting and a really nice guitar solo.  Talk about being efficient.  From the Six Tracks EP.

31)  :Charles Bradley – Strictly Reserved For You:  With Sharon Jones battling cancer, I looked to Charley Bradley for my soul fix, and he didn’t fail me.  This is one of his better songs.  From Victim Of Love.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2013: Part 1

December 2, 2013

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Now that I’ve shared with you my Austin Essentials of the year, it’s time to just talk about singles in general.  As usual, the songs were picked from the large pool of tunes that I shared here at SOTO throughout the course of 2013.  Look for the list of 50 to wrap by Friday.  Enjoy.

50)  :Daft Punk – Get Lucky:  Yes, this is the most over-played song of 2013.  No, I don’t really care.  Daft Punk really nailed it with this earworm of a track, and I’ll probably hum it for the rest of eternity.  From Random Access Memories.

49)  :Black Milk – Sunday’s Best/Monday’s Worst:  Technically this is two songs, but I decided to leave them merged to better help you understand why I think Curtis Cross (aka Black Milk) continues to be one of hip hop’s best storytellers.  From No Poison No Paradise.

48)  :The Tontons – Veida:  The Tontons are from Houston, and I think they’re pretty close to being special.  If I were you, I’d snatch up this shimmering gem and find a seat on their bandwagon now.  From the Veida digital single.

47)  :Anamanaguchi – Planet:  I’m on the fence when it comes to most of Anamanaguchi’s stuff, but this track really works for me.  I think it’s because it has a fleshed out sound and doesn’t just come off as a piece of meme/8-bit fandom.  From Endless Fantasy.

46)  :Phoenix – Entertainment:  Once again Phoenix swept me off my feet with a killer lead single and then promptly tossed me on the ground with a bland album.  Fool me twice, something something.  From the Bankrupt.

45)  :Alpine – Gasoline (Mystery Skulls Remix):  The original version of this Alpine track is good, but it plays kind of small.  I definitely prefer this bigger, more confident take by Mystery Skulls.  This remix is a one-off release.

44)  :Best Coast – I Don’t Know How:  Admittedly, this is one of Best Coast’s more cheesy efforts.  I love it, though, and I have no shame in saying I’ve had some serious sing-a-long sessions with it in the car.  From the Fade Away EP.

43)  :Majical Cloudz – Childhood’s End:  If you want something that’s hauntingly beautiful, then this Majical Cloudz track is for you.  Just be sure to toss on some headphones before hitting play.  From Impersonator.

42)  :Savages – She Will:  This song is so intense that sometimes when I listen to it I worry that Savages will show up at my door and yell at me for not rocking hard enough.  From Silence Yourself.

41)  :The Appleseed Cast – Great Lake Derelict:  It’s kind of amazing how quickly this track can put me in a mood to listen to nothing but post-rock all day.  It’s good for the world that The Appleseed Cast are still a quality act.  From Illumination Ritual.

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Hip Hop Hooray (Leah)

April 26, 2013


It’s nearly the end of the month and it’s clear to us all now that April just plain sucked (unless you got married or whatever – congrats). But for the US as a whole, and Texas and Boston especially, kind of a shitty time. So let’s just all collectively exhale and try to start May off on a better note. I made this mix for you including new tracks from k-os, Das Racist, RZA, Shlohmo, The Hood Internet, Lakutis, and Zilla Rocca so you can start early. Love you guys.

:Dilated Peoples, Havoc, And Guru – Worst Comes To Worst (Remix):
:Diamond District – In The Ruff:
:Shlohmo – Bo Peep (Do U Right):
:The Hood Internet – Ignition (1901 Remix) (R Kelly x Phoenix):
:k-os – Spraying My Pen (Featuring Saukrates And Shad):
:Das Racist And A Tribe Called Red – Indians From All Directions:
:Lana Del Ray – National Anthem (Cashmere Cat Remix):
:K.Flay – Hail Mary (Featuring Danny Brown):
:Blackalicious – Deception:
:Zilla Rocca And The Shadoboxers – Blood On Blood Converse (Featuring Curly Castro):
:Space Camp Death Squad – Southern Hospitality:
:Lakutis – Death Shark:
:Mindz Of A Different Kind – I Will Find You:
:Salt N Pepa – None Of Your Business:
:James Blake – Take a Fall for Me (Featuring RZA):
:Handsome Boy Modeling School – I’ve Been Thinking:

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SXSW 2013: 5 Docs To See (Noah)

March 6, 2013

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If I was at SXSW, I’d probably stick to whatever films featured the slowest, most easily understood narrative, and the biggest explosions as there’d be such much alcohol flowing through my system that just keeping my big, beautiful peepers open would be hard enough. That said, for a few of you who are interested in subject matter aside from Spicy Coke and the occasional shot of Goldschlager, I put together a list of a few of the more interesting sounding documentaries. Surprisingly, there is very little full frontal nudity lauded in any of these film’s descriptions.

1. A Band Called Death, d. Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett

Death were the forefathers of punk, before the idea of punk was even a flicker in the eye of a bunch of leather clad skinheads getting overly sweaty. Born and bred on the mean streets of Detroit in the late-70s, Death released piercing, brilliant music that sunk beneath the surface and didn’t resurface for another 33 years. It’s the kind of story that we hear more and more of these days, but Death, with their harshly political lyrics, started something, and this doc follows that creation.

2. Our Nixon, d. Penny Lane

Nixon was a divisive figure that has been rightly smeared in the wake of his involvement, his heading even, of the Watergate scandal. Nixon wasn’t just that though, he was a charismatically environmental president, as well as an impressively intelligent one. Our Nixon follows Super-8 movies of three of Nixon’s closest aides, offering, what could amount, to a revelation of less public side of this American pariah.

3. TINY: A Story About Living Small, d. Christopher Smith, Merete Mueller

I read an article a while back about the advent of the tiny house. It’s a strange movement that reflects both the rough economic times as well as the fear of ecological reprimand. We put a lot of weight on the idea of a non-moving home in this country (regardless of the world’s nomadic past) and the tiny house questions just about all of them. TINY, questions those questions, following a handful of people who’ve decided to pack up the big life and get small.

4. Before You Know It, d. PJ Raval

Three words: gay, old, people.

5. The Network, d. Eva Orner

If you saw Control Room, the documentary of Al Jazeera and their coverage of war and terrorism, this one might be right up your alley. The story of a television network that exists in … Afghanistan. News + danger = riveting.

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SXSW 2013: 5 Films To See (Noah)

March 6, 2013


SXSW is almost here! I can tell because every band I’ve never heard of has suddenly decided that the one time I said some other band sounded like another band that they too probably sounded like that band that the other band that had no relation them sounded like and because of that, they should probably send me a 45-page email detailing they’re sound and that they once opened up for a guy who played back-up drums for a Van Halen studio sesh. Mmmmmmm … bitter.

I won’t be in the arid plains of Austin this year but I thought I’d still open up sizable yapper and let you know a few of my thoughts on the film section of the festival. Nothing terribly heavy, just a breakdown of the five films I would see if the given the opportunity to be a part of the 2013 SXSW Festival.

No particular order, just a handful of Narrative Films I thought sounded interesting.

1. Evil Dead, d. Fede Alvarez

If you’re even slightly a movie dork, you have to be at least a bit interested in what a remake of one of the great horror films of all time might look like. From everything I’ve seen the film looks to be intensely gory, and even if it does, as the trailers hint, seem to drop most of the more comic aspects of the original, the film seems to capture the general essence of unchecked mayhem Raimi brought to his version. Do I care that Bruce Campbell isn’t playing Bruce Campbell in the film? No. Not one bit. I’m happy to see a new generation of actors and viewers alike pulled under the gore bus of a new take on this classic. If it sucks? Who gives a shit, by this point I’ve been so desensitized to the films that helped define me getting raked over the coals of big budget Hollywood, that another film on the pile won’t mean nothing.

2. Spring Breakers d. Harmony Korine

Kids was a pretty great film for me when I was 12 and eating gummy bears and riding bikes wishing I wasn’t a shy little wallflower who could barely muster a hello to the lasses in the daisy dukes. Everything else that Harmony Korine has had (aside from his strange cameo in Beautiful Losers) any sort of connection to has been totally and completely painful for me to watch. The Trashhumpers trailer, though amazing in a way that only a film called Trashhumpers can be, really dropped the cherry on the top of the “why-I-hate-Harmony-Korine” sundae with it’s painful visuals and horrible, grating sound design. That said, Spring Breakers looks downright fantastic. Take a bunch of America’s sweethearts, throw ‘em in to the terrible world of Spring Break Miami and see what happens. Sure, sure it seems gimmicky that you cast very attractive, very recognizably pure faced women in these roles, but if Korine is doing what I hope he’s doing (casting light on the secret lives of our fresh-faced daughters and sisters) it could be amazing. James Franco, you, especially in corn rows are nothing but a distraction.

3. The Lords of Salem, d. Rob Zombie

Again, Rob Zombie and I are not a match made in heaven. His style is overly stylized and I’m sort of horrified by his post-exploitation visuals. The Lords of Salem though looks, if trailers still tell the truth, pretty awesome. It seems to actually have some sort of narrative drive (not just flashing visuals, bared boobs and bad teeth) and a foreboding sense of dread (opposed to Zombie’s usual mouth-fisting of over-the-top HORROR). Good things have been circulating, and this will play fantastically to the midnight crowd.

4. The Act of Killing, d. Joshua Oppenheimer

This film is executively produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. Nothing else needs to be said. If that doesn’t give you an instant tingle in your nip-nips, then you need to throw your BetaMax out the window.

5. Upstream Color, d. Shane Carruth

I know, I know – if you’re spending enough money to go nerd out on films at SXSW you already know you should get your ass in the seat for a new film by Shane Carruth. That said, it doesn’t hurt for me to remind you, again and again (check your email I just reminded you, twice). I would go but I’m still looking over the infographic that explains the time twists in Primer.

Have fun you lucky bastards. I’ll be at home, trying to emulate 6th Street in my front yard.

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