Yeah, it’s cliché and somewhat mind-numbing, but what the hell… might as well jump on the horse before it’s January and I find myself wishing I had lavished more praise on that album I bought circa 2006. So without further adieu, a bunch of lists:
h3. My top album acquisitions:
- Stars of Track and Field – Centuries Before Love and War: Holy crap, batman. I played this album A LOT this year… and it was a relative late purchase. It’s both ethereal and massive, and the entire album calls to you to listen to it again.
- Something For Kate – Desert Lights: SFK have long been a favourite of mine (since I lived in Melbourne), and this new album is their best effort since Beautiful Sharks (I’m sorry, but they cannot top that one, no matter what they do). The intermediary albums had very good songs, but I was starting to notice a lack of enthusiasm and energy. Not so with Desert Lights. Songs pop. Weird guitar elements and Paul singing with a different range and gusto make sure the album is not mundane.
- Juana Molina – Son: For not being able to understand most of this Argentine soloists lyrics, I was surprisingly drawn in to each song of this release. So much so that I went out and obtained two other Juana Molina albums as well. There is a dreamy, backward-talking feeling to Molina’s compositions that puts you in a different place.
- MuteMath – s/t: Oh very nice. Poppy, rocky, very tasty. Bold compositions for a band on a major.
- Form of Rocket – Men: This is the definitive FOR release for me. It’s probably the last to feature vocals by Curtis Jensen (he’s teaching English in Ukraine for the Peace Corps!) and the addition of Gentry on guitar… let’s just say it’s the most frenetic post-punk music you’ll hear out there. Very infectious.
- Decemberists – The Crane Wife: It’s a new Decemberists album, so that should be enough. But oh yeah, it’s on a major label. And it’s much more electric and proggy. And I loved it.
- Mew – And The Glass Handed Kites: This is technically a 2005 release, but it was just released this year in the US, so it counts. I cannot describe how much I love this band. And I won’t attempt to. Just go get this album. Now.
- Uzi + Ari – It Is Freezing Out: Bubbling and floating, it’s like drinking Willy Wonka’s Fizzy Lifting Drink during an autumn rainstorm in Salt Lake City. Oh, and they’ll be touring the US and Europe early next year, so check them out if you get the chance.
- Band of Horses – Everything All The Time: I essentially stole this album from my friend Corey, and every time she sees me, she reminds me that she wants it back. And every time I promise I’ll bring it back soon. And yet I still have it. This music just feels too damn good, and the Beach Boys-esque vocals creep their way into your psyche.
- Fiery Furnaces – Bitter Tea: Okay, the brother and sister team smoothed over the chaos that surrounded last year’s somewhat confusing Rehearsing My Choir. I could listen to Benton Harbor Blues about 500 times on repeat.
- Serena-Maneesh – s/t: Hello My Bloody Valentine!
h3. This year’s biggest album disappointments:
- The Vines – Vision Valley: I loved the first two Vines albums, but it seems like they didn’t even try this time. When a 13 track album only lasts 31 minutes, and only because of a 6 minute final track, you know something’s wrong. And being a punk fan as a teenager, I’m accustomed to short songs, but it’s as though the boys gave up on each song after they got to the chorus. Not worth the discounted 10 buck price at Best Buy. Ack.
- Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics: People might hate me for this, but AWWTM did absolutely nothing for me. The W.A.N.D. was okay when I first heard it, but it got old FAST. Give me the previous two albums, maybe Clouds Taste Metallic, but you can keep AWWTM.
- Eagles of Death Metal – Death By Sexy: It just couldn’t stand up compared to the first album. Songs were generally fun and bouncy, but after one listen I got bored with the album. I’d still take them over “Axl Rose”:http://www.punknews.org/article/21169 any day…
- Cat Power – The Greatest: Okay, I got sick of this album halfway through the first play. Set it aside and forgot about it. Then suddenly Chan started getting all this mainstream attention, and I remembered how much I disliked this album, now compounded with the snot-nosed media types who began to talk about her as though she were the newest, most innovative thing in history. Dear god…
- Ben Harper – Both Sides of The Gun: Oh Ben! I still love you. But double albums are TROUBLE. There were enough strong songs on BSOTG to make a pretty solid album, but stretched out to two discs… yeah… I lost interest.
- Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit: Okay, I’ll probably catch shit for this one as well, but let me explain. I adored this album when I first bought it. Played it probably a week straight. However, for some reason, anytime it comes up on random shuffle now, I rush to the computer to skip it. Now, I’m used to overplaying an album, but this is like that time 50. I cannot explain it. Even looking at the album cover art is making me cringe. Ack. Moving on.
- Lady Sovereign – Public Warning: Okay, you are not M.I.A. I get that. I love M.I.A. So I’ve tried to like you, too. But I can’t. Please, for the love of flying “shitbricks,”:http://www.microsoftshitbrick.com/ stop repeating the exact same phrases every goddamn song! Listening to this album was like shoving a q-tip a little too far down your ear canal: it hurt and you never want to do it again.
h3. My list of movies I actually saw in the theatres:
- Stick It: AMAZINGLY CLICHÉD. From opening with extreme sports straight from a Mountain Dew ad, to visible c-section scars on the high school protagonist, to a hip-hop dancing, ipod-listening gymnastics routine, to the coup de grâce of a near kiss from Jeff Bridges… let’s just say me and Karina were the loudest, most obnoxious people in the theatre. One can’t help it when viewing such tripe. I loved every second of it.
- The Fast and The Furious—Tokyo Drift: Wow. Imagine the cliché, B-movieness of Stick It. Multiply it by the sum of the first two TFTF movies. Now take the result and raise it to the power of n as n approaches infinity. Now imagine me and K watching said movie at a drive-in, surrounded by riced-out Civics. Is your mind blown yet? No? Okay, how about imagining watching every coffee-can muffler in the drive-in scraping pavement as the Civics try to “drift” out of the theatre. And then imagine nearly being hit by a Suzuki Swift (painted like the Batmobile) that was skidding out of control after being smashed in the intersection by a Jeep. Getting the idea? Yes… best moviegoing experience in HISTORY!
- Snakes on a Plane: If you could get past the fratboy wailings and internet hype, this was an immeasurably terrible and hilarious movie. Loved it.
- Borat: Let’s just say my brother and I can’t even talk about Borat around his wife. He was laughing so hard he cried.
p(note). Okay, so my movie going taste seems questionable, but I only saw one movie at the theatre the year prior, so take into account that my really movie watching takes place at home.
h3. Best Thing I did all year:
- Walking out of my last full time job. I still stand by this.
h3. States I breathed in this year:
p(note). Down from last year… but I’m also not dating someone who lives in Mexico anymore, so that can explain it.
h3. Best design decisions I made this year:
- Redesigning this site
- Avoiding perfectionism
- Trusting my judgement
h3. Worst decision all year:
- Not immediately moving when I had surplus money.
To be entirely honest, this has been a really really shitty year. 2005 was a bit crazy but great. 2006 was a perpetual kick in the stones. Here’s hoping 2007 is so amazing that people are turned into pure energy…