|FAVORITE FILMS & ALBUMS of 2017
Movies . . .
01 / GOOD TIME……………………………..[The Safdie Brothers]
02 / mother!…………………………………….[Darren Aronofsky]
03 / BLADE RUNNER 2049…………………..[Denis Villeneuve]
04 / GET OUT ……………………………………[Jordan Peele]
05 / I, TONYA……………………………………..[Craig Gillespie]
06 / THE FLORIDA PROJECT…………………[Sean Baker]
07 / LOGAN LUCKY…………………………..[Steven Soderbergh]
08 / STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI…………….[Rian Johnson]
09 / THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER…..[Yorgos Lathimos]
10 / RAW ………………………..……………..[Julia Ducournau]
Runner-up’s. . . .
10 / THE BEGUILED ……………………………[Sofia Coppola]
11 / LOGAN ……………………………………[James Mangold]
12 / THE DISASTER ARTIST……………..……[James Franco]
Music . . .
01 / DRAB MAJESTY “The Demonstration” ……………..[Dais]
02 / PALLBEARER “Heartless”…………………[Profound Lore]
03 / ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER “Good Time” (OST) [Warp]
04 / TZUSING “(Dongfang Bubai)”……………………..[L.I.E.S.]
05 / JOHN MAUS “Screen Memories”………..[Ribbon Music]
06 / MUTOID MAN “WAR MOANS” ………….[Sargent House]
07 / WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM “Thrice Woven”…..[Southern Lord]
08 / MULTIPLE MAN “New Metal”……………………….[DKA]
09 / BLANCK MASS "World Eater"........[Sacred Bones]
10 / CORBIN “Mourn”………………………………..[Wedidit]
11 / ARIEL PINK “Dedicated To Bobby Jameson”… [Mexican Summer]
12 / POWER TRIP “Nightmare Logic” ………..[Southern Lord]
13 / FEVER RAY “Plunge”……
14 / MASTODON “Emperor of Sand” ………………..[Reprise]
15 / STATIQBLOOM “Blue Moon Blood” …..[Translation Loss]
|Final Fantasy VI (III for SNES)
After nearly a year of slowly hacking away at it, I finally just completed Final Fantasy VI for the first time. I can't believe I ignored this classic from my childhood era for so many years. Absolutely one of the most epic, intricate, arduous, legendary games ever made. I'm not gonna fuck with you - I shed a tear at the end.✨❤️ DILLY - GNARA - HOSS - PILBU - DIDDIT - SLOGAN - HARMBE - BONE - PAXTON - HARDLY - ZESS - MOG - BUZZ'M - and YURIN - i will miss you all dearly, but I will never forget you.
|Brujeria on the 4th of July
I have been dealing with a fit of brujeria.
Luck has not been on my side.
Things keep breaking in my life, including my body parts.
I think someone has cursed me.
This is Los Angeles after all.
A couple of weeks ago I jammed two of my toes, jumping up trying to reach a styrofoam water cooler for a camping trip in Joshua Tree.
I came down on them wrong and couldn't really walk for a solid 3 days.
When I woke up the next morning they were purple as fuck.
I thought maybe the fit of bad luck was over on voting day, the day I voted for Bernie Sanders and then he lost.
Things had been okay since then.
Fast forward to the 4th of July and I'm partying at my friend Josh Anzano's pool party for the holiday.
I'm having a conversation with some people and all of a sudden this giant shaggy dog starts going nuts right next to me and knocks over a potted cactus...onto my bare fucking feet.
There was blood, and after 5 or 10 minutes, an immense amount of pain.
People came to pick the spikes out of my feet and clean my wounds for me while I sat there hissing in pain.
The pain kicked in and lasted for about 15 minutes until it started to fade, but then by bedtime it came back in an entirely different sense... and wouldn't go away until I got antibiotics from beautiful baby angel and personal friend Dr. Chanel Gordon.
It must've been infected.
I couldn't walk for a couple days again!
The brujeria is real!
My poor feet!
|FAVORITES OF 2015
01: Tame Impala - Currents
With “Currents”, Tame Impala have taken their sound to a place that separates them from all the hundreds of other psychedelic rock bands that fill out most of hot record labels rosters these days. By maintaining a similar style of songwriting, but steering away from the typical fuzzy/cloudy production values in favor of a very polished, pristine one, the band have carved out a sound that is so easy to swallow the majority of people are happily drinking it up. Full of tasteful tones, and incredibly infectious melodies - the album maintains it’s prowess all the way through, far more than any other album released this year. No matter what genre you’re into, there’s a good chance you will find this music pleasing.
“The Less I Know The Better”
“Let It Happen”
02: Tamaryn - Cranekiss
Flashes of Cocteau Twins, Madonna, Slowdive, and more. Tamaryn’s “Cranekiss” floored me from the very first listen. The record does a fantastic job of showcasing Tamaryn’s lush vocal ability, especially in track’s like the beautiful “Last”. While the record maintains a key sound, it simultaneously does an impressive job of creating dynamic across tracks as well, from the shoegaze domineering title track to the 80’s-hugging new wave gem “Hands All Over Me”, to the pummeling melodic drone of the fantastic “Softcore”, and so on. A beautiful record.
“Hands All Over Me”
03: Rae Sremmurd - Sremm Life
People call them “The Kris Kross of this generation”, and while that is a reasonable introduction, I feel that Rae Sremmurd offers far more with their debut album right off the bat than Kris Kross was ever able to accomplish. With the aid of acclaimed trap producer Mike-Will-Made-It, and a naive enthusiasm that only a couple of kids right out of high school could push, the Sremm boys have the perfect formula for something downright refreshing, and made for success. Mike Will’s beats always go hard and stick in your head, while Sremm’s squeaky youth-riddled vocals demand your attention and allow them to stand out from the rest of hip-hop’s low/slow rippers. Versatility is another key positive here. While the Sremm boys always deliver vocals with a similar vibe, the songs manage to each create an entirely different atmosphere, from the hyper-popular club banger “No Flex Zone”, to the West Coast-tinged fight-me vibe of “My X”, to the earworm R&B of “Come Get Her”, to the lusty lapdance vibe of “Throw Some Mo”, one of the years best tracks.
“Throw Some Mo”
04: High-Functioning Flesh - Definite Structures
With HFF’s sophomore effort, they’ve solidified their place amidst the ranks of other industrial staples. Definite Structures finds them straying a bit from their early EBM experimentations and honing in on a focused sound that sits in more so with early to mid 80’s Cabaret Voltaire than it does with D.A.F. or Nitzer Ebb like their first effort. Driving hardware beats and drum machines and raspy punk growls create the foundation of HFF’s sound, but it’s the air of subtle lightness weaved into it that separates it from most other acts in the genre and open the band up for a bit of a wider audience. Be sure to catch the band live - there is no band that made me dance more in 2015.
“Confuse The Call”
“Mistakes Were Made”
05: Oneohtrix Point Never - Garden of Delete
An unpredictable build of electronic anti-climaxes. An intriguing, innovative album that serves much better listened to as a whole piece, not in the format of singles.
“I Bite Through It”
06: Sufjan Stevens - Carrie & Lowell
The lullaby master returns after his wonderful electronic-tinged The Age Of Adz for a refreshing exercise in organic minimalism. The overall sound has an edge of familiarity and even nostalgia but manages to feel like something you haven’t quite heard before. Sufjan’s voice has an angelic quality and his lyrics are easily some of the strongest of the year, aside from Father John Misty.
“Drawn To The Blood”
“4th of July”
“All of Me Wants All of You”
07: Father John Misty - I Love You, Honeybear
With this record, FJM breaks through as a masterful artist. The compositions are progressive and graceful, while the lyrics which are laced with sarcasm and satire, are the most standout of any this year.
“The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apt.”
“Bored in the USA”
“The Ideal Husband”
08: Electric Light Orchestra - Alone in the Universe
Jeff Lynne proves that classic rock can sound as earnest as ever. A good chunk of the tracks are as catchy as classic ELO cuts, and the disciplined production could make someone believe the record actually came out in 1977.
“One Step at a Time”
“When I Was a Boy”
“Dirty to the Bone”
09: Health - Death Magic
Congrats to these L.A. boys for finding an accessible, innovative, fully realized sound. This is one of the most creative records of the year which is also entirely listenable regardless of what genre you’re into.
10: Panda Bear - Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper
Weed smoking music.
“Butcher Baker Candlestick Maker”
“Come To Your Senses”
11: MG - MG
I became a huge fan of this album before I even knew who it was composed by: Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore. Fully instrumental, fully analogue - a perfect excursion in analogue minimalism.
12: Holly Herndon - Platform
This record is so ambitious. Aphex Twin meets Bjork but with its own personality.
13: METZ - METZ II
Not sure where these heavy hitters came from but god damn does this record go hard. Dirty, heavy, & very angry.
“Spit It Out”
14: Purity Ring - Another Eternity
My guilty pleasure of the year. Though some of you may argue with what “pop” is, to me, this is my favorite pop record of the year.
“Stillness in Woe”
15: Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon
Lana keeps going deeper with the dramatic sound she found with Ultraviolence. This record is even more cinematic and moody than the last.
“The Blackest Day”
16: Drab Majesty - Careless
L.A.’s Deb Demure breaks through with this debut LP, sitting somewhere between melodic post punk vibes and the dreamy shoegaze vibes of someone like Cocteau Twins. Well crafted guitar licks and tones are complemented by floaty, prophetic vocals.
17: Neon Indian - Night School
This dude is not slowing down. The synth maestro continues to make feet move.
18: Nicole Dollanganger - Natural Born Losers
There is a new goth angel bb on the scene. A perfect representative for the new generation of tumblrwave sad girls. Thank you to Grimes for bringing this sweet angel to everyone’s attention.
“Angels of Porn II”
Kite - VI
Contains one of my absolute favorite songs of the year, "True Colours"!
01. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
THEE greatest blockbuster action film since Terminator 2 in 1991. In fact, the only great one since then! It’s about time for a return to form! Mind-blowing cinematography and editing, extremely innovative conceptual work and character designs and effects, perfect casting. A non-stop explosive roller coaster that has to be seen in order to be believed.
02. The Revenant
INCREDIBLE. One of the most gorgeous films I have seen in the theater in as long as I can remember. The landscapes and literally breathtaking. The story itself is classic, gripping, tragic, and strenuous as can be. This song is not as much about the performances as it is the cinematic beauty. However, the acting certainly holds its ground with concrete shoes. This reminds me very much of one of my favorite cult classics of the last 20 years, Ravenous. I will continue happily watching both of these films until I cease to exist.
Wow, wow, wow. I was completely floored by this movie. I expected a tearjerker, but one could never predict quite where this movie takes you. If possible, I suggest going into this movie knowing as little about it as possible! Brie Larson and young Jacob Tremblay both put into devastating, breakthrough performances and I guarantee they will go on to have thriving careers. I must’ve cried at least 5 times! A devastating, masterful film!
04. What We Do In The Shadows
The most creative and effective comedy of the year. This is the one comedy from 2015 that I will continue to watch over and over and over. Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords is just one of those guys - just about anything he does I will eat up. The rest of the cast lives up to his ability as well.
While the film is a bit predictable in my opinion, it’s flawlessness cannot be ignored. This film has made stars out of its leads, Domhnall Gleeson and Oscar Isaac, rightfully so, who put in perfect performances. It is thrilling and makes you feel fear, sadness, and joy. The score by one of Portishead’s key composers is on point. It is just a fantastic film in a very traditional sense, and also makes you think a bit about where we are headed in the near future with our technology.
06. Queen of Earth
This simple, low-budget indie drama has turned Elisabeth Moss into one of my new favorite actresses! She plays PSYCHO so well! Loved it!
07. The Green Inferno
Finally Eli Roth returns with another classic Eli Roth piece of trash art wonder. And with it, he introduces his new wife Lorenza Izzo to us, who I am now totally in love with. This homage to one of my favorite horror films of all time Cannibal Holocaust, works very well. On top of a very refreshing vibe and plot, unlike anything modern horror has seen in a long time, the violence is truly over the top, but not without it’s fair share of juvenile jokes woven in in traditional Roth manner. A movie for certain people… people like me.
08. Sicario / Black Mass (TIE)
Peter Sarsgaard stole the show in Black Mass, but it also featured a very strong cast, and one of Depp’s finer performances in some time. Sicario was just a slow-burning thriller that paid off properly, and Emily Blunt proves her worth with flying colors.
09. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Does it live up to the hype? Yes. The first half is mind-blowing. The second half a bit more predictable and cliche. However, this is the second best and only other worthwhile blockbuster action movie of the year. Aside from the wildly enjoyable practical effects, the casting was really the most impressive part - the cast was on fire (aside from Kylo Ren… the only weak point).
10. Inside Out (Pixar)
A very real concept, and a very tragic one. Although the film is adorable, you better be ready to cry your fucking eyes out if you have a heart. Bing bong.
So L.A. - so one of a kind - so funny. Shot entirely on an iPhone, and it's gorgeous!
12. It Follows
The concept was so promising. The score is so perfect, the best score of the year. I am completely in love with the lead Maika Monroe. I found the ending very disappointing, but this is still going to carry on a classic horror film. It is so much better than 95% of modern horror. It’s a very fun viewing.
13. Knock Knock
Hahaha another Eli Roth banger. These sluts… they’re so bad ass. So hot. This movie is just plain fun. And Keanu Reeves…. LOL. You don’t even know.
It should have been me.
15. Straight Outta Compton
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
Yeesh. One of the most miserable things put to celluloid I have witnessed in a long time.
He Never Died (starring Henry Rollins)
Holy shit, what were they thinking?
Mila Kunis CANNOT carry a fucking movie! Even Eddie Redmayne can't save this film!
Nicole Dollanganger - Angels of Porn II
Choad - One Way To Find Out
Sorry, but of course this is going to be one of my favorite things of the year. Joining forces with one of the most inspiring artists and musicians to me in L.A., I was still able to be 100% myself, just as she was, and the results were astonishing. I’ll be enjoying this final Choad excursion till I die. Thanks Geneva.
The Wolves That Live In Skin And Space - by Christopher Zeischegg
No joke - this is one of the Top 10 books I have ever read. Not only is written masterfully, maintaining impressive structure and pacing throughout, but it is straight up the darkest story I have ever read. There were more than several excerpts that had my jaw dropped, some because they were so fucked up, some because I couldn’t believe how Chris managed to create relevance and even twisted beauty within some of the heinous scenarios that occur in the story. I was wildly entertained throughout, and constantly impressed. It is pretty incredible to be able to say that one of my close friends and bandmates was the creator of this masterpiece.
|CHAD FJERSTAD'S FAVORITE FILM & MUSIC OF 2014 - THE LIST
BEST OF 2014:
22 JUMP STREET
BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
Top 10 movies of 2014:
10 - NIGHTCRAWLER [directed by Dan Gilroy]
Jake Gylennhaal, you are such a creepo. This is by far Jake Gylenhaal’s best performance and it’s because he plays the creepiest, most believable, sheltered nutcase ever. Aside from his ridiculously impressive performance, the entire movie did an amazing job and maintaining an extremely discomforting vibe. It always feels gross, it always feels wrong - as if something terrible is going to happen, and of course very frequently something terrible does happen. I suppose this is perfect because of what the film is about: if you were working a job doing what these people do, finding accidents and going to film footage of the people as they were dying, you’d probably have a feeling very similar to what watching this movie provides, all the time! I’ve gotta say, I’ve never seen a film quite like this, and it’s all wrapped up with a terrible black ribbon and you feel like you’ve been robbed and cheated and maybe molested in the end…. but in a good way.
09 - INHERENT VICE [directed by P.T. Anderson]
Some time in the second half of Inherent Vice, Josh Brolin's aggressive character "Bigfoot" asks something like, "This isn't gonna be another one of your paranoid hippie freakout monologues I'm gonna have to sit through, is it?" - this just about summarizes the entire film. It was clearly a conscious decision to give the film this confused feeling and therefore, although it can be difficult to pinpoint at times, it does have a strong focus and is a very accomplished film within it's own parameters. While halfway through you may very well find yourself wondering if the entire 148 minute run time will ever stray from its dialogue-heavy craft which is always teetering on the edge of nonsense, but the last hour holds plenty of pay off. If anyone could pull of a private detective who also functions as a full-time stoner, it's one of my favorite current actors Joaquin Phoenix. Josh Brolin is also 100% effective as the overt alpha male cop, Martin Short pulls in a surprisingly eerie cameo which helps shape one of the most memorable sequences in the film, and the smoking hot Katherine Waterson makes her mark as the mysterious one-who-got-away with the flawless body that can never quite be forgotten. On that note, Phoenix and Waterson pull off an unexpected sex scene that is just as depressing as it is fiercely hot. Though it's not one of Anderson strongest films, it's surely better than his last, The Master, and a great chapter in his catalog.
08 - THE GUEST [directed by Adam Wingard]
God bless the B-movie! This is the only fantastic B-movie I saw this year! And it literally has probably the best soundtrack of all time: all the best classic industrial… Front 242, D.A.F., etc. plus new shit like Gatekeeper and also a score by Steve Moore of Zombi! Talk about a synth nut’s dream cum true. On top of that, we get a mostly unknown Canadian cast I believe, and I am a fan of everything Canada does so that’s a plus. Then we’ve got our lead, Dan Stevens, known for his work on Downton Abbey, who is like the next closest thing to Ryan Gosling and he just kills it. He’s a fucking stud and effectively has you loving him and hating him simultaneously for the film’s length. Plus, newbie actress Maika Monroe is so crush-worthy…babe town. Without trying to be too serious of a film, The Guest has a fuck load of fun with itself and is totally a movie you could enjoy over and over again.
07 - THE RAID 2 [directed by Gareth Evans]
Simply put, this is the most impressive martial arts action flick I have ever seen. Other than the original film The Raid, I have not actually been blown away by a martial arts action film since I was a teenager. The Raid 2 would blow anyone’s mind regardless of whether or not you can get into the genre. The coreography is balls-to-the-wall, the action is non-stop, and it all feels so real and so brutal. It cannot even be put into words how much more impressive this feels than any other “fighting” movie I have ever seen. They pit the lead against 100 dudes in a mens bathroom and everything you see feels 100% real, even when they’re all convulsing on the floor with broken necks. It’s fucking ridiculous. Of course, if you want a brilliant plot and top notch acting, you’re gonna have to look somewhere else, but if you want to see the most impressive fighting sequences ever put to film, The Raid 2 is the movie.
06 - NYMPHOMANIAC [directed by Lars Von Trier]
If Nymphomaniac Part 1 was the entire movie, it probably would have been a lot higher on my list, as it is an incredibly pleasurable viewing. I have to look at both parts as one film though, as that is how they were intended. I absolutely loved the lead actress who plays Young Joe, Stacy Martin. She effectively captures the transformative period from relative innocence and sexual naivety into full blown whoredom, with great urgency as many blossoming sluts would. The dialect between Charlotte Gainsbourg and Stellan Skarsgard offered far more humor than I expected, while simultaneously conjuring up a lot of concepts to question and marvel over. Shia LeBouf also did a wonderful job, as he typically does ever since his breakthrough performance in Lawless. It’s all sexy fun and games in Part 1, but unfortunately as Part 2 focuses on pain and deterioration, the script’s functionality seems to partially deteriorate as well. And after a long build of Gainsbourgh’s character delving deeper into darkness and dramatically abusing herself, we receive an ending that feels almost as if Von Trier is just pissing on us and having a laugh. One way or another, I’m kind of into that…and if you have even the slightest hint of masochism within you, you may get off on this as well you sick fuck.
05 - THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL [directed by Wes Anderson]
This movie is so fucking out there, it’s got to be Wes Anderson’s strangest and I love it for that reason. I can’t even imagine deciding “Hey, my next movie is going to be about this”, and I guess that’s part of what’s fascinating about it. Of course, the most incredible feat of The Grand Budapest Hotel is in Wes Anderson’s visual aesthetic which he has been mastering ever since he found it in The Royal Tenenbaums. But here, more than ever, it is completely over the top and 100% mind-blowing. Most of the film takes place in a giant hotel complex, a prison, and a mansion - all brilliantly massive architectures that no one would capture in the fashion that Wes Anderson does here. On top of the aesthetic, Anderson has his typically incredible ensemble cast - my favorite characters being Willem Defoe as a strangely gothic bully, Tilda Swinton as an absolutely horrendous old diva, and Adrian Brody as an extremely vulgar and spoiled heir to old money. There is a sequence with Defoe and Jeff Goldblum that to me feels like a nod to one of my favorite old film genres, giallo, and that makes me really happy. Plus, Defoe throws a fucking bulldog out a window. There is really so much to take in with this movie, and from what I can tell after seeing it twice, it only gets better each time.
04 - GONE GIRL [directed by David Fincher]
I went into Gone Girl knowing nothing other than it’s a film by David Fincher about Ben Affleck’s wife getting kidnapped, and I am damn glad I had nothing else ruined for me. If you’re a fan of unpredictable plot twists, this is your film of the year. The hits never stop. When it first started, I thought Rosamund Pike was giving a very cheesy performance, but as the film transformed, her character started to make all kinds of sense, and in the end she steals the show! The film is long but it needs to be. It moves through so many different phases, and they are all gripping. Gone Girl is a monster you need to let grow and as it grows you will slowly cower more and more in its presence. Trent Reznor’s score shines through in a couple of very crucial moments, especially in the most memorable scene of the movie which I won’t ruin for you. One of my favorite aspects after all of the entertainment comes to a close is that we are given an ending that makes such a bleak statement on real life adult relationships that a lot of people get offended by it…HEAVY!
03 - WETLANDS [directed by David Wnendt]
I’ve been into “extremes” and gross-out films my entire life, but it gets harder to be impressed by something in that vein each year. Wetlands broke new ground for me in that department. If you can’t tell what you’re partially in for by the synopsis alone, maybe you should steer clear. I mean, it’s a German film about a young girl who cuts her asshole open while shaving it. She then ends up in the hospital for her injury and falls in love with the male nurse, and then doesn’t want to leave. Although the film takes some things further than I have ever witnessed, it’s main draw is in its charm. The lead actress Carla Juri was fucking adorable and reminded me a bit of Paz De La Huerta if she wasn’t seemingly on so many opiates. Although the concepts and some of the scenarios are absolutely disgusting, the movie is insanely endearing. A large quantity of the dialogue is absurd but somehow universally relatable at the same time. It is written, directed, and edited dashingly and it was over before I wanted it to be, which is a positive thing - I left wanting more. Even if you’re squeamish, Wetlands deserves a chance - it’s a fantastic film.
02 - BIRDMAN (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu]
Dark comedy…it’s hard to top an effective dark comedy, especially when you have flawless performances by Edward Norton and Michael Keaton, and this film is all about the performances and the charismatic script that backs them up. I’m also a sucker for pieces that break the 4th wall, and having Keaton play a washed up star who was famous for being an ex film superhero works fantastically (obviously modeled after his stint as Batman in the late 80’s/early 90’s if you don’t know). Keaton kills it as the highly anxious, overly ambitious, half-psycho his character encompasses. And Norton almost steals the show as the acting perfectionist who is beyond pompous. Although Zach Galifianakis basically plays himself as always, he works perfectly as Keaton’s primary assistant and secondary decision maker, adding just enough comic relief without removing the audience from the film’s dramatic core. Aside from the perfect cast and characters, the film is directed with great skill as the entire thing feels like one non-stop ride. Surely there were editing tricks used to achieve this, but it feels as if the entire film is one continuous shot. Though the key reason to watch the film is for its humor and wit, there are themes that you may find touching as it reaches its final act. Birdman makes you ponder, only if for an instance, whether or not you are living your adult life the best way you possibly could be.
01 - UNDER THE SKIN [directed by Jonathan Glaser]
Simply put, Under The Skin transcends standard filmmaking. With its minimal use of dialogue and a pace that feels as if it is moving in real time, Glaser creates a chemistry between the viewer and the lead that demands they live the movie rather than watch it. Scarlet Johansson does a grade-A job of playing an alien completely void of emotion as we know it, seemingly programmed to accomplish one mission and one mission only. Much like what director Harmony Korine had to say about my favorite film of last year, Spring Breakers, the entire film moves a lot like an accomplished electronic song: repetitive but progressive and naturally transformative. At first Under The Skin may feel like an extensive patience-testing visual experiment, but as the movie progresses its purpose blossoms and those who connect with its message will feel almost as if they are becoming one with the film, fusing together. The director’s use of uninformed non-actors towards the beginning of the film helps to sculpt its dread from the very start, creating a unique vibe blending surrealism and hyperrealism. Content aside, Under The Skin is aesthetically the most unique and impressive film of the year, and it’s very frightening! The greatest film of 2014 is presented as being about an alien but it’s actually an emotive observation of the horrors of being human.
WHITE LUNG - DEEP FANTASY
GAZELLE TWIN - UNFLESH
LIARS - MESS
THE FAINT - DOOM ABUSE
SINOIA CAVES - BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW (OST)
THE BEST EP OF THE YEAR:
YOUTH CODE - "A PLACE TO STAND"
Industrial’s newest legends have returned after their debut full length with this gripping new EP. The production has seen a major face lift since the self titled debut. Sara Taylor’s ferocious audible lashings sound scarier than ever. With Ryan William George’s straight-and-to-the-point compositions, and Josh Eustis’s pristine production skills, the music not only sounds darker and heavier than ever, but also easier to swallow for a larger audience of listeners. This is easily Youth Code’s best material to date, and the remixes are all a major bonus. Serious bangers!
10 - APHEX TWIN - Syro
After 13 years, the lord of electronic music, Richard D. James returns to us with “Syro”. It’s greatest strength is in its subtlety. It’s a perfect meeting point between the minimal analogue exercises of his early works, and the more developed sounds in the releases he peaked with in the late 90’s. The primary difference between “Syro” and some of his strongest releases such as “Richard D. James Album” and the “Come To Daddy EP”, is that it holds off from ever getting too flashy. The album is relatively free of any sort of outlandish vocal samples or passages, focusing mostly on its creative textures and progressive compositions. While the creepy vocal exercises heard in tracks like “Come To Daddy”, “To Cure a Weakling Child”, or “Milkman” are what brought Aphex Twin all the way up onto the 1st place pedestal, it is admirable of him to stray from using any cheap tricks and instead delivering us a lengthy LP full of completely refreshing, innovative, tasteful electronic music. The king is not dead.
Favorite tracks: “CIRCLONT6A (Syrobonkus Mix)”, “Minipops 67 (Source Field Mix)”, “XMAS_EVET10 (Thanaton3 Mix)”
09 - SONS OF MAGDALENE - “Move To Pain”
For over a decade, Josh Eustis has put out endless material with several projects, but predominantly his Telefon Tel Aviv. After some time touring with Nine Inch Nails, he was able to wrap up work on his proper solo debut “Move To Pain” which covers a fair share of ground and pleases ears with it’s pristine production. Tracks like opener “Hold on hold still for a second” and title track “Move To Pain” will impress listeners keen on various kinds of new wave or synth pop, capitalizing on glossy vocal melodies and driving arpeggiated synths. “The Whip”, “O’Death”, and “Crows on the Eaves…” will cater more to the lovers of minimal darkness. Eustis’s full-length debut does a wonderful job of displaying his talents in production, his versatility in stylistic composition, and leaves us wanting plenty more when play time is so quickly over.
Favorite tracks: “Hold on hold still for a second”, “The Whip”, “Crows on the Eaves of My Father’s House”
08 - CLARK - s/t
Clark delivered his debut LP this year to much joy and acclaim. I was introduced to him as the opening act for Massive Attack at their Greek Theatre show this year, and immediately moved on to listening to the full length. It is one of those records that made me very happy from the first listen, with it’s pleasantly large electro/techno sounds most reminiscent of the best of the UK acts from the 90’s. Namely LFO, featuring the recently deceased Mark Bell, is the first comparable act that comes to mind. Clark feels like a worthy producer to carry the big-electro torch now that one of the greatest is gone. While the hardest hitting tracks such as “Sodium Trimmers”, “Banjo”, and “Winter Linn” are always the ones to cater most to my tastes, Clark impresses just as well when he slows things down and focuses on texture and atmosphere with tracks like “Snowbird” or “There’s a Distance In You”. On the harder, classic side of pure electronic music, Clark has delivered the most enjoyable LP of the year in his self titled debut.
Favorite tracks: “Banjo”, “Winter Linn”, “Sodium Trimmers”
07 - LIL SPOOK “BLACK SILK”
Lil Spook aka Spooky Black has seemingly rose to fame out of nowhere (the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota to be precise) with his own modern blend of seductive R&B sung over trap/witchhaus-inspired electronic beats. His music always holds a strong footing in romanticism. There’s something fascinating about a seventeen year old hoodrat making DIY music videos with cheap camcorders out in fields of snow, who just happens to have the voice of an angel. Tracks like “Rememeber You” and “Without U” keep their bassy beats less flashy and let Spooky’s relaxed croons shine over them, while tracks like “Night of Romance” or “Can I Make U Mine” capitalize on sparkling 80’s-esque loops that aren’t too far off from something like Human League’s “Human”. “We Were Together Once” is the perfect blend of both song styles. This is the kind of DIY release that feels too good to be true, and should not go unnoticed. The nu-R&B revolution begins now.
Favorite tracks: “We Were Together Once”, “Without U”, “Can I Make U Mine”
06 - LANA DEL REY - “ULTRAVIOLENCE”
Lana’s controversial sophomore LP proves to be a “grower not a shower”. While tracks like “Cruel World” and the very Portishead-ish “Shades of Cool” may be her most immediately enjoyable and groundbreaking new tracks, most of the rest of the album’s tracks hold their own equal ground with more listens over time. Lana and her team’s conscious decision to move away from the radio single sound and more into a washed out world of sad cowgirls crooning in saloons has allowed Lana to discover a sound she can completely call her own. The lyrics remain as dramatically obnoxious and sexualized as ever, which is one of her greatest charms, but the music reaches a far deeper, more mature level. While “West Coast” was our first taste of what the album had to offer, it still remains one of the strongest tracks as it is the most progressive and effectively so - that squelching synth lead at the end reminiscent of Portishead’s “Machine Gun” or … less so, but probably more intended, something like Snoop Dogg’s “Murder Was The Case”, is just too good to resist. Another wonderful cut is the album closer, “The Other Woman” wearing it’s influences such as Roy Orbison or Patsy Cline on it’s sleeve. And who can ignore the fact that the album’s title track “Ultraviolence” romanticizes the concept of girls getting beaten by their boyfriends and liking it? What better reflection of modern society? I can’t wait to see where Lana and her production team decides to go from here.
Favorite tracks: “Cruel World”, “West Coast”, “The Other Woman”
05 - CARIBOU - OUR LOVE
Dan Snaith has made wonderful music for years now, but mastered a sculpted sound he could truly claim as his own in 2012 with his “SWIM” album. Here now on “Our Love”, he doesn’t stray too far from that formula which is a good thing because what’s not broken shouldn’t be fixed. With his brand of soulful house-inspired electro-pop, he has crafted another near-perfect album. “Our Love” kicks off sounding like a straightforward house record, with “Can’t Do Without You” and it’s looping grooves and samples but eventually reveals itself to have more of a pop-based song structure as does the majority of the tracks on the record. Some of the strongest tracks reach out in a direction that are a bit more destined for the dance floor than anything on the “Swim” record was, like “All I Ever Need” and the title track “Our Love”. “Silver” is another great track that feels like new territory for Caribou in its slow BPM, creamy, washed out mix. As with a lot of great records, some of the best songs are the ones that sound like they could have been on the last record, primarily “Back Home” and “Your Love Will Set You Free” which both close the album off. Aside from a couple of mediocre experiments towards the middle of the album, “Our Love” is another unique, flawless, and universally appealing listen no matter what genre you are into.
Favorite tracks: “All I Ever Need”, “You Love Will Set You Free”, “Silver”
04 - TODD TERJE - “IT’S ALBUM TIME”
Two years ago, Norwegian producer Lindstrom graced us with his dance fantastic 7-track release, “Smalhans”. This year, his buddy and part of the “cosmic disco trio”, Todd Terje, dropped his debut LP, “It’s Album Time”. “Inspector Norse” had been a popular single of Terje’s for some time, and was the precursor to what was to come. I think what a lot of people expected was an LP full of a made-for-the-dance-floor cuts with roots primarily in Italo-disco, and while the record does find a huge part of it’s inspiration in Italo, the record is far more versatile than that. It’s clear right from the album kicker, “Leisure Suit Preben”, that this is not going to be your typical dance record, with it’s slow creeping electro-lounge vibes. The lounge vibes carry on into other tracks like the following “Preben Goes To Acapulco”, and later in the album on one of its highlights and only songs with vocals, “Johnny and Mary”, featuring Bryan Ferry. “Johnny & Mary” almost reminds me of one of the tracks Air created with Jarvis Cocker on their 2006 release, Pocket Symphony, only this song works better. Terje even exercises his tastes in samba with the almost cinematic “Svensk Sas”, which is a classic in it’s own right. There are still plenty of straightforward Italo-disco tracks which are certainly some of the best cuts on the record, such as “Delorean Dynamite”, almost a clone of Zombi’s fantastic rare single, “Sapphire”. “Inspector Norse” holds it’s ground as a modern disco classic, capping the record off with a proper dance party as it should. All in all, there’s not a weak track on this LP and Todd Terje has sealed the deal as an important new artist to keep your ears open to.
Favorite tracks: “Preben Goes To Acapulco”, “Johnny & Mary”, “Inspector Norse”
03 - FKA TWIGS - “LP1”
Though she doesn’t like when people refer to her music as R&B, that’s exactly what this wonderful record is to me. “LP1” is the royal palace housing the R&B revival that is currently hitting us, and FKA Twigs is the queen. While the majority of the record is reminiscent of tracks by cherished R&B artists like Aaliyah or Janet Jackson, it does also weave in plenty of elements of more modernized art pop like Grimes or Bjork. “Lights On” is the most cinematic and experimental of the albums tracks with its minimal foundation, relying mostly on Twigs’ dynamic vocal performance to carry you through the song. Slow burners like “Hours”, “Pendulum”, and “Video Girl” effectively provoke listeners with sensual lyrics, intelligent melodies, and strong vocal performances. “Closer” stands out with its twinkly electronics, and its focus on a less soulful, more babyish vocal pop performance. While “Give Up” might be the least obscure of the songs, it is also one of the best, effectively capturing the essence of what made every 90s R&B radio single stick with us forever. Though, “Two Weeks” is the highest achievement of the record, showcasing Arca’s incredible electronic base amidst its stark minimalism, and properly injecting people with the not-so-subtle sexuality that FKA Twigs demands. There is a bright future for this bb.
Favorite tracks: “Two Weeks”, “Give Up”, “Lights On”
02 - TRUST - “JOYLAND”
Synth lovers newest guru returned to us with his sophomore release this year, and it came damn close to matching the perfection of his 2012 debut, TRST, which was my favorite album of that year. The major difference here is in seeing Robert Alfons take a step away from the dark side of his electronic excursions and begin to experiment with his love for 90’s club/rave. The first thing that came to my mind upon hearing tracks like “Joyland” and “Rescue, Mister” for the first time was: AQUA, and I wasn’t mad about it. Alfons had stated in interviews regarding the last record that Ace of Base was a major inspiration for him, and Aqua isn’t too far off from that, there is just a hell of a lot more bubble gum being chewed. While the brighter excursions like the raved-out “Geryon” work very well, it’s still the darker bangers that steal the show. Towards the middle of the record, “Icabod” and “Four Gut” sound the most like they could be off of TRST, and remain two of the tracks I find myself going back to the most. Prior to that, Alfons’s beautiful slow ballad “Are We Arc?” certainly takes the cake as the prettiest track. The highlight of the entire record can be found in the second half of the record’s third track, “Capitol”, which does a great job of balancing the darkness and the light. At the end of “Capitol”, Alfons blesses our ears with a repeating call, singing out like a siren, and it’s a perfect showcase of exactly the kind of beautiful, moving audio this man can create for us as listeners. If anyone should make you want to dance in 2014, it’s TRUST. I will be hoping for a long run of masterful records from this man.
Favorite tracks: “Capitol”, “Are We Arc?”, “Rescue, Mister”
01 - ARIEL PINK “POM POM”
In 2010, Ariel Pink made a massive fan out of me with his breakthrough record, “Before Today”. He was an artist so full of relentless character and unrestricted talent that I could not help but feel inspired. There are no rules with his music. Each song transports you to an entirely different world, while still working together in an inexplicably cohesive universe. After what felt like a step backwards with his 2012 album, “Mature Themes”, I wasn’t sure Ariel would ever match the brilliance of perfection that was “Before Today”. However, one listen through “pom pom” and I was immediately proven wrong and impressively so. I already consider “Before Today” one of the greatest records of the last decade, and I can confidently say that “pom pom” may be even better.
Our first taste of “pom pom” was in the single “Put Your Number In My Phone” which suggested that Ariel had taken a hint based off of the success of his “Round & Round” single to push further in the direction of whimsical psychedelic pop. While the album certainly finds some of its roots in psych pop, it could never be categorized as a strictly psych pop record, at least not in a traditional sense. In fact, it can’t really be categorized at all - which is one the primary characteristics of its genius. Within the first five tracks of the album, we are fed effective doses of five completely different drugs. “Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade” kicks things off with a shimmer, sounding as if it could be a whacked out version of the opening theme to a sitcom in the early 60’s. “White Freckles” shows off Ariel’s progressive prowess over the course of it’s composition, comparable to something along the lines of British prog maestro’s Camel, and features some of the most memorable lyrics the record has to offer by coining terms like “barbecutie”. “Four Shadows” is organ-heavy sludge pop that feels like brand new territory for Ariel, channeling elements of bands like Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath, or Uriah Heep while managing to never sound too much like any of them. “Lipstick” then floats off onto a 1984 Miami freeway with its suave, sexy vibes and a few years further back into time with “Not Enough Violence”, one of the album’s highlights which wears a crown due to its haunting Sex Dwarf-esque synth screeches.
Each of the record’s 17 fantastic tracks bring us to a new world far from our reality. Towards the middle of the record, we are treated to some of the album’s rawest songs such as “Goth Bomb” and “Negativ Ed”, both comfortably wearing their punk influences on their shoulders. Also towards the middle we dive into the album’s zaniest excerpts - for sections of “Dinosaur Carebears”, “Sexual Athletics”, and “Jell-O”, you may feel as though you have fallen into a Saturday morning cartoon after indulging in a bit of psilocybin. Two of the albums strongest offerings come towards the very end, in “Picture Me Gone” and “Dayzed Inn Daydreams”. Typically one of the aspects of Ariel’s presence that stands out most is his absurdity, which translates as humorous, but “Picture Me Gone” is an epic milestone for Ariel Pink in the sense that it is his first song that actually induces a very universally accessible sense of melancholy, setting all satire aside. “Dayzed Inn Daydreams” closes the album off wonderfully with a beautiful vocal harmony based chorus, which will sit in your brain for weeks.
There are a lot of great genre records that came out this year, but when a record drops sporting seventeen tracks and almost every single one of them are a classic, and it transcends genre altogether - there is no competition. This is the greatest album of 2014.
Favorite tracks: “Picture Me Gone”, “Not Enough Violence”, “White Freckles”
|hobbies = haircut
Cut all my hair off again today.
Every time I try to do something dramatic... it just ends up looking like a normal, subtle haircut.
I always think I'm going to be trying something different and then it just ends up looking like Leon Kennedy.
|R.I.P. Rich Friedman
R.I.P. Richard Alexander Friedman.
Seriously the best dude.
Los Angeles already feels a lot less like Los Angeles without you.
You were a very important piece of this world.
We'll never have those movie nights we talked about, though when I have my own I will think of you.
You'll be with me forever, brother.
|CHAD FJERSTAD'S TOP 10 MUSIC & MOVIES OF 2012
15. Grimes - Visions
My little Canadian cherub. I just discovered this whole thing was recorded on GarageBand in 3 weeks.
14. Dead Can Dance - Anistasis
Theyyyyyyy'rre baccccckkkk. Sounds like Scott Walker singing over the most epic movie soundtrack ever.
13. Holy Other - Held
I thought W1†CH H∆US was dead. Until I heard this record. More along the lines of oOoOO than Salem, but with heavier and more complex use of glitch vocals and progressive time signatures and beats. A haunting but soothing listen through and through.
12. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
Doesn't live up to the absolute classic that is "Before Today", but still withholds some of the best tracks of 2012 ("Kinski Assassin", "Mature Themes", "Symphony of the Nymph" etc.), set aside the throwaway stinkers.
11. Rustie - Glass Swords
Sonic the Hedgehog seems to have made a hard house record and it just happens to be more catchy and original than any other rave tunes this year. #PLUR
10. Gatekeeper - Exo
This is the most interesting case on my list this year, to me. For the first six months, I hated this record, just like everyone else seems to. People who loved the Gatekeeper EP's LOVED the Gatekeeper EP's. They delivered the perfect slice of 80's horror-inspired, minimal synth heaven (or hell?). Then all of a sudden, they put out a debut full-length that is meant to be the score to a non-existent virtual video game, full of pummeling bass hits and funked-out acid synths, rather than the retro analog sounds we were all so accustomed to. I found it to be SUCH a disappointment at first, it did not appeal to me in the slightest. Then, all of a sudden, a month ago, I started having cravings to listen to it again, and when I did, it clicked for me hard. Now, every time I listen to it, it's god damn masterful, and especially since the whole album moves through like one solid piece. When the tracks do hit hard, they hit really hard. I really honestly think that people are just not "GETTING IT" because it's so far off from what everyone else is doing right now, and probably pretty ahead of it's time. This is a great techno album through and through, and no one else has really put anything like that out this year. Let it sink in. Gatekeeper is for real.
09. Crystal Castles - III
You know, although Crystal Castles II was one of the most mind-blowing albums I have heard in years, I kind of expected to be over this duo by the time Crystal Castles III came out. But, I was pleased to hear that they are still exploring new ground and being creative with their craft. After hearing new single "Plague" as a first impression, I didn't expect much from the record. It basically sounded like "Baptism" off of the last album to me but with less energy, and less catchy. However, when you sit down to listen to the full album, they immediately impressed me with tracks that sound nothing like they have ever done, like track two "Kerosene" and it's rainbow of melodic glitch-edited chipmunk speak. I expected them to go in more of a pop direction with their massive hype and following, but it made me happy that they're staying experimental - sticking with distant distorted vocals and non-traditional song structures. They have definitely carved a niche for themselves with violent strobing synths at this point. And then they still have tracks like "Sad Eyes" where the SECOND it kicks in, you have a new favorite song, although that might be the only one on this record…
08: Light Asylum - Light Asylum
Shannon Fuchess is the duchess. A big, bold woman wailing powerfully over sharp synth patterns and heavy-hitting drum machines. She has more power in her voice than a lot of bands have in all of their instruments combined. "Pope Will Roll" is one of the hardest hitting tracks of 2012 by anyone - one of my favorites for the treadmill. This is a crucial debut. This is a crucial band. There is no one else like them at the moment, and there might never be. She apparently did some vocals for the new Knife album, can't wait to hear what they've done together.
"Pope Will Roll"
07: Lindström - Smalhans
Norway! Let's fucking dance! Although this might technically be an EP, honing only 6 tracks all about 5 minutes each, I'm going to treat it as a full length because it deserves that attention! This is the best dance music of the year, hands down, no matter who you are. Lindström describes it as "cosmic disco" and I think that's perfect. Love the synth sounds, love the beats, love the big production, the big bass. I've been blasting this on set at work - people are taking it in happily. This stuff is magic.
06: Bear In Heaven - It's Cool, I Love You
These krautrock loving romantics are still such an understated, underrated band to me. Although their last album was even better than this one, this new one is a wildly innovative, subtle epic full of gentle but driving ballads. Conjuring up images of things like moonlight on the water, french kissing, and valentine's day gifts - this is definitely the sexiest record of the year (unless you're a slut like me, then the Actually album holds that crown). Let these soft arpeggios, driving rhythms, and his welcoming voice massage you. I recommend you have a Zima with your favorite intimate partner and listen to this while taking a bath together.
"Kiss Me Crazy"
"The Reflection of You"
05: Meshuggah - Koloss
I don't really know how this band manages to keep getting better and better, they just do. This honestly is probably the best record they have ever done. It is fucking crushing and wildly amusing all the way through. Takes you to another realm just as they always have. Why listen to djent when you can just listen to the guys who started all that shit, when they're still making records this good? I have decided that, in my opinion, Meshuggah is THE most important metal band of the last decade, 2000-2010 (Metallica for the 80's, Pantera for the 90's). They changed the game like no one else, and they're not finished yet. Not many bands still make me want to bang my head like this.
"Do Not Look Down"
"Break Those Bones Whose Sinew Gave It Motion"
04: Actually - Actually
Although it's only been 6 months since the release of this L.A. princess's debut, it blows my mind how under the radar it still is. Take the tenacity and in your face sexuality of Peaches, the haunting public-access-painted dryness of Ariel Pink, and the pop sensibility of early Madonna and you are somewhere in the realm of what Actually is actually doing. So many of her lyrics are about the magic of sex and the importance of getting fucked - how can you not love it? A beast of a debut with 14 tracks and almost every single one is a full-length pop ballad worthy of singledom, even the kick ass Fad Gadget cover of "Lady Shave" which might be better than the original. Watch the "Tropical Winter" music video to get a good taste of this diva's masterful slut-charm.
03: Twin Shadow - Confess
Whoa. Rock and roll is apparently still alive, and this man is keeping the spirit there. The first album was a subtle indie smash, produced by one of the Grizzly Bear guys and worshipped by hipsters in all corners of the circular planet. Then, he came out of nowhere with this second album, boasting big, arena-worthy production and radio-ready smashes. "Five Seconds" is the kind of song you find yourself singing as if you've loved it since you were a child within the first 30 seconds of the first time you hear it, probably the best single of the whole year by anyone. There are three things that make this album so epic: 1. Sincerity - there is a sense of sincerity here that is not often found any more with the over abundance of electronic-based artists and the tainting of rock and roll which has only gotten worse over the last 30 years, one year at a time. 2. Pop - this dude knows how to write singles, and the album is full of them. Some of the catchiest stuff you'll hear by anyone in 2012. 3. Versatility - he can go from energetic new-wave, to down-tempo Springsteen worship, to modern electro R&B over the course of three tracks and they all still weave together like magic and he pulls each of them off with flying colors. Not many artists can cover this much ground so effectively.
02: Beach House - Bloom
This record just TOUCHES me in more special places than anything else this year. Every time I listen, it is more and more goosebump-inducing. I thought Teen Dream was good but in the big picture it kind of felt like half of it was great and half of it was a bit of a bore. I think Beach House have really figured themselves out and hit it full stride with this record. It doesn't get much dreamier - riffs that are droning but pretty, soft synth pads, watery guitars, and her wonderfully androgynous voice. If her voice works for you, then there is no way this record will not make you feel something DEEP. Better every time - it's emotive and beautiful all the way through. Can't believe how many good bands come out of Baltimore lately… how?
01: Trust - TRST
The Knife meets Ace of Base anyone? The debut album from Robert Alfons, a shadowy and appealing man from Toronto who decided to start this project with Austra drummer, Maya Postepski, who looks like Tina Fey except younger and cuter. I was immediately impressed and drawn into this new band's sound and compositions within the very first listen, within the first couple of songs. To my pleasure and fortune, I was pleased to discover that every single track to follow was just as good as the one before it. We have a full 11-track album holding 11 dark synth pop classics here. And on top of all the lush synth pads and riffs, Alfons' has paved his way quickly as a unique voice who none of us will be forgetting any time soon. I will be dancing, singing, and vibing to this album for years and years.
"This Ready Flesh"
<3 Joaquin <3
10. Beyond The Black Rainbow (directed by Panos Cosmatos)
Wow. What a bizarre film. A psychedelic swirl of nightmarish sequences that are nearly plotless but somehow feel coherent and still quite thrilling. The Canadian weirdo who played the lead was quite discomforting and a bit reminiscent of Christian Bale in American Psycho. I like the color schemes - how they were very overbearing and a little Dario Argento -esque. This is definitely an art film, and definitely not for everyone. If you want to be extremely visually stimulated and possibly a little frightened, this is definitely for you. Of course, the best part of it all, that really ties the entire thing together as an experience, is the absolutely KILLER score by Sinoia Caves - sizzling synth masterpieces. Love it to death.
09. Chronicle (directed by Josh Trank)
Heard about this sleeper hit from a couple people and finally got the chance to check it out. It was really fun! A really strange "found footage" type movie about a group of teens who discover an underground cave with a giant glowing stone structure and end up getting super powers. From then on, you get to experience what would happen if this REALLY happened - a realistic look at what teens would do with their powers. I can't say much more without ruining the twists of the film, but it really takes you for a ride. There are some really impressive sequences throughout the film for it being such a low budget movie. And, the lead actor reminded me of Nick Stahl - who has his share of great performances that are actually quite comparable to the character in this. Everyone should check this out.
08. Wreck-It Ralph (directed by Rich Moore)
This one was pretty obviously going to be another Pixar classic, but with the whole concept of vintage arcade characters being involved, and him himself being a vintage arcade character. Wow, what a sure fire way to get all of us 80's/90's kids hooked right off the bat. The movie totally lived up - delivered in every single way that it could have. I would watch it again and again. And there was plenty of small homages to RARE older games that I love, such as Altered Beast and Metroid just to name a few. They did a great job creating effectively emotional scenarios with computerized characters as they always do. I almost cried a couple of times, when Ralph and whatever her cute name was got into their first few scuffles, and again at the end. You know, those joyful tears that come at the end of a lot of cute family movies? Great movie.
07. Where The Dead Go To Die (directed by Jimmy Screamerclauz)
OK, this one is definitely not for everyone. In fact, it's probably not for almost anyone. First of all, it's put out by Unearthed Films who also put out the Guinea Pig series. It's a CGI-film, made of local commercial level, 90's technology looking graphics - but it knows that that's what it's made of. It works with it and it takes it to mystical, hellish, and horrifying places. But, on top of that, it doesn't play like a linear film at all. It's split into three chapters which are very, VERY loosely related - mostly only in the way their characters are some of the most fucked up characters ever put into any movie, anywhere, and the scenarios they go through are easily some of the darkest I have ever witnessed conjured up and created for anyone to view. It just gets darker as it goes, but fortunately only people who understand and appreciate the darkness are the only ones who would make it to the final chapter, which is pretty obviously the most disturbing and discomforting. The horrible, HORRIBLE voice acting is definitely the films greatest weakness, but for weirdos like me, it also gives it it's own special charm. What makes the film so memorable and one to remember is in it's extremity, taking things to a dark place I have never seen them taken before, and in it's visual creativity - some of the images melting and morphing for you on your screen are really, really beyond - like a bad trip that really brought you to hell. Cool.
06. The Comedy (directed by Rick Alverson)
Tim Heidecker - I dunno how you do what you do, but you do it, man. I love the fact that this movie is so pushed as a drama, and not a comedy at all. Whatever, guys. I was cracking up all the way through - the same way I would at Tim & Eric or anything else they've done. The sense of humor was exactly the same, it was just shot and presented in a completely different way. I think for anyone who really GETS Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job, you will appreciate the comedy just as much. The humor comes from the same place of disdain - it's very dark and very dry, and very fucking funny. Pretty wild seeing Neil Hamburger as a normal guy for once, as well. Their conversation while out for lunch about hobo dicks is groundbreaking. See it.
05. Looper (directed by Rian Johnson)
I'm really glad I didn't even see the trailer before I went to go see this one. Just went based off of hearing heaps of my friends recommending it, saying it was great. And they were right. Another nice, original, well-done sci-fi action/thriller. It's really great to see sci-fi capitalizing this year. Whatever they did to Joseph Gordon Levitt's face was pretty weird, but I like weird, and it worked, - you could see plenty of Willis in there. Lots of great future imagery and concepts in here, plenty of gun play and thrilling who's-going-to-kill-who scenarios. The best part of the whole film was simply the pace, it moves and moves and keeps moving in different directions - it's really fantastic. It kind of exists in segments, and the very last segment was completely unexpected and a very welcomed finale. I would recommend this movie to just about anyone as well.
04. Lawless (directed by John Hillcoat)
Nick Cave fucked me once. I took a bunch of people to go see The Proposition at the Lagoon in Minneapolis, and everyone hated it - I could sense that during the movie, and maybe that's why I hated it too. Or maybe I really just didn't like it. I felt quite bored too. Anyhow, Nick Cave returns with another western and I decided to give it a shot. Holy SHIT am I happy that I did. One scene after another, my jaw kept dropping and I kept turning to my friend Tegan and repeating "this movie…is FUCKING AWESOME". Shia LeBouf finally won me over. I was always a hater until I watched this, he totally pulled off playing the lead, the innocent pipsqueak who wants to be a tough guy. He really did fantastic - and of course, so did Tom Hardy, the legend, adding just enough tweak to his western character to be another intimidating character that you haven't already seen him play. Also, another performance that was totally for the books - GUY PEARCE as the villain! CLASSIC! Epic western slime! The grossest haircut ever! He was so fucking good! Oh, and last but not least, this movie is VIOLENT as FUCK! It's brutal! It was really unexpected to me. A lot of heavy-handed gore and plenty of cringe-worthy (in a good way) and fulfilling twists! Another classic! Everyone should see it. I want to own this one.
03. Moonrise Kingdom (directed by Wes Anderson)
Wow. What can you even say about this utterly adorable stylish masterpiece? It's beautiful. The two child leads were perfect - capturing the morose rebellion of the kids who want to lash out but don't know how. Their escape as children becomes the perfect escape for a lot of us as adults as well (but I suppose that's not that rare, that's kind of the point of the youthful imagination). Their babyish romance which is not even fully understood by themselves is the most endearing thing you could possibly see in a film this year. Obviously the very best part is the sets, the landscapes, the shots, the colors, everything there is for you to look at and swallow - Wes Anderson has his craft down. The entire supporting cast who are basically worshipped by everyone in general, is the only other thing needed to solidify this as another perfect film for Wes to add to his list. This & "The Royal Tenenbaums" are my favorite Wes Anderson films, and I would call both perfect.
02. Magic Mike (directed by Steven Soderbergh)
Obviously I love how many people hate this movie. It makes no sense to me. It's a wild ride through and through. Channing Tatum delivers exactly what he needs to and what I would imagine everyone was asking for - aside from the good looks and the actual immense level of dancing talent, his character is ultra realistic as well as simple and very relatable. Matthew McConaughy really stole the show though - in both of the same departments, what the fuck did he do to get that body? And his character is just off the wall - the slimiest douche around, but he lives it and he kills it - my favorite character of his by far. Alright, alright, alright. Young newcomer ____ ____ who almost shares the bill of the lead with Tatum impressed me the most. I had never heard of him or seen him in anything before and he really proved himself talented in this, playing the reckless, useless, rebel coming-into-adulthood-without-knowing-what-the-fuck-he's-doing 19 year old. He was the most entertaining part of the whole movie - displayed naivety, ignorance, and impulse perfectly. I felt like I was living in his shoes, I felt like I was a dumb horny 19 year old again, which I am not any longer believe it or not. Took a while, I know. Anyways, loved everything elsa about this too. The cinematography was great, especially during the dance sequences. All the sex life/drama sequences showcasing what the single life of a male stripper would be like also felt incredibly realistic and enjoyable. The plot progressed in a non-predictable way and really took me for a ride. I found the ending to be ultimately perfect, and while endearing, a very sad summary of what everything really comes down to when you are human, no matter what you're doing with your life. Simple movie, big concepts. A masterpiece. This and "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" are my favorite Soderbergh movies.
01. Prometheus (directed by Ridley Scott)
True sci-fi horror finally returns to us! Ridley Scott gives us first thrilling film in some time, and that's exactly what it capitalizes on so intensely - thrills. I went into the movie not expecting much - expecting to see some aliens and maybe to walk out thinking "yeah, okay, that was pretty cool", but it was so much better than that. I love Noomi Rapace so choosing her as the lead was a fantastic choice. Mooney Rara or whatever her name is was cool as the Dragon Girl i guess…but she didn't do for the character what Noomi Rapace did. Rapace became stuff of legends in my book, and she carries her torch well with her grippingly intense performance here. Plus I want to make out with her, even if she is in her 30's - I don't care, that's only 2 years away for me. Michael Fassbender also adds wonders to the movie as that robot dude, him and Tom Hardy are probably my top newish male actors at the moment. Anyways, most importantly, not only did they make a movie with a high budget that was actually creative and original (almost never happens nowadays), but they made one that was HORRIFYING! I was really on the edge of my seat the whole time, and this is the only movie that did that for me this year (with the exception of maybe Lawless which had me quite gripped a large quantity of the time as well). Alien fans can kiss my ass - this is a new sci-fi horror classic and my favorite film of the year. This is what we have been missing from BLOCKBUSTER, HIGH-BUDGET, HOLLYWOOD films. This is what we need.
|I need money or an abandoned bank
• my pee smells like spaghetti this morning
• Andrew Linde is in town. His girlfriend lives just 3 blocks away from my girlfriend. In Koreatown. In a week, she (Kara Neko) is moving to Brooklyn to start a new life, one that involves him. Last night we attended a going-away party for her which took place at The Brass Monkey. Linde & I did a mean rendition of "Self Esteem" by The Offspring. I put out to "all boys going through puberty".
• Doctor Zhivago is on Netflix Instant. I've been meaning to watch this ever since I first saw Don't Look Now - Julie Christie fucking kills it.
• Went with my koala and her mother to help her pick out her first flat screen TV today. We went with a 46" Sony Bravia LCD for $700, seems to be quite the excellent choice! Picking up the FREE XBOX 360 that my insane and amazing friend Daniela is going to give to me on Thursday night. Totally stoked!
• Tried a Fleshlight for the first time today...wow!!!
So, back in about 2003 when I first started touring with my band Nehemiah, I used to hear about characters like Brandan Schiepetti (vocalist of Bleeding Through) and Jordan Peterson (Too Pure To Die) having banged well over 100 girls. Brandan was rumored to be at around 250 or so, and that was way back in 03. It always blew my fucking mind, and to be honest, I was quite envious of them and their magnetic pussy powers towards women.
I've been keeping track of the girls I've slept with, and or messed around with, since high school. There is also a point system but instead of points I call them BROINTS, because it's such a BRO thing to do, obviously. Tonight I decided to update the list and after crunching a few numbers, I realized that I have had sex with 99 girls.
That's basically all I wanted to say. "I am ALMOST there, man". The next girl I slay will be number 100. I can't believe it, dude. I really hope she's a special one. A really special one. There IS someone I can think of I'd like for it to be if I got to choose...
I really wish I could have a 100 GIRLS PARTY and invite all of them as that hottie Kristen Blue suggested, but unfortunately I know how people are, and we all know that if I sent out the invites for that, majority of them would hate me for it, and only about 2 or 3 would show up. I would still get hammered and dance to my own playlist till the sun came up... it would be the shit.
|| Read 2 - Post
|FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE
MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE. MY BOOK IS DONE.
In the Spring of 2007, whilst on tour with my band Dead To Fall - I started writing my first novel. After getting praised for my writing on a regular basis, I began to take a hint and consider doing something more serious with one of my only apparent skills. While on the tour, I read the Chuck Palahniuk novel "Choke" after having it recommended by many many people who's opinions I deemed worthy. I enjoyed the book thoroughly but immediately thought, "Well, I could do this". So instead of reading more books, I began writing my very first one.
Now - 3 1/2 years later, at 9:32 PM on January 13th, 2001 (typo, I meant 2011) - I have completed the first draft.
Let's see what we can make happen from here...
- Chad Fjerstad
|| Read 6 - Post
|THE BEST MUSIC & MOVIES of 2010
CHAD FJERSTAD'S OFFICIAL ***BEST of 2010*** LIST
1. Enter The Void (Dir. Gaspar Noe)
Although technically this was released in 2009, it was not released to a wide audience until this Summer (2010) - and there is no way I am letting it slip by without the credit it deserves. Enter the Void is not just a movie, but an incredible emulation of an experience that we may or may not go through once our lives have reached their end. There hasn't been an artistic interpretation of life and death as profound or as stimulating since Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey". Of course, since it is a Gaspar Noe film, you're going to get a very heavy plot on TOP of the experience which is both disturbing and endearing at the same time. Enter the Void is not for common moviegoers - it's art; it's dark visual poetry. It's very challenging (although not nearly as challenging as Noe's last film, 'Irreversible') and in my opinion, it is one of the most innovate and important films made in the last 10 years.
2. Black Swan (dir. Darron Aronofsky)
The ultimate converging of psychological drama, horror, and dark surrealism. Join Natalie Portman in her Oscar worthy performance on her spiral into stress-induced psychosis. Aronofsky again proves himself to be one of the true modern masters of his craft through tastefully beautiful cinematography and intensity when need be. Clint Mansell, his partner in crime, kills it again with an amazing orchestral score that basically never lets up through the entire film, and is just as important an element as every other perfect aspect. Vincent Cassell also destroys with his performance as usual - Barbara Hershey gives a great performance as well, playing the effectively detestable mother figure. Of course, what really makes the film so phenomenal is the flow and the experience of slowly sinking into the black hole along with Portman's poor character. It's a grueling ride - one that everyone should take.
3. I'm Still Here (dir. Casey Affleck)
This is the greatest joke anyone has played on movie audiences/Hollywood in my lifetime. From Oscar-winning actor to hobo-esque, white-rapper wannabe, amphetamine-snorting goon - JOAQUIN PHOENIX wins for the man of the year. Even after Casey Affleck officially stated in interviews that it was all a hoax, people are still CONVINCED it's real. Joaquin had that character down to a T, hmmm - i wonder why?!?! Genius!!!!
4. 127 Hours (dir. Danny Boyle)
Danny Boyle rules, and in this film especially, James Franco rules even harder. I loved Boyle's style of cinematography and choice of music - while it still has an innovate modern feel, it also feels like a bit of a throwback to his 90's feel ala one of my favorite movies of all time, Trainspotting. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cringe - and you'll think about the fact that it could happen to you. Fantastic film.
5. Kick-Ass (dir. Matthew Vaughn)
This movie was such a surprise! I did not expect the level of brutality I received! Watching Hit-Girl murder dudes will never get old. Nicolas Cage was where he belongs in a dry, campy role. We have found a new, young, worthwhile actor in lead Aaron Johnson as well. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more good things from director Matthew Vaughn in the future! Definitely my favorite blockbuster-style movie of the year. Wildly entertaining throughout. I would recommend it to anyone.
6. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (dir. Edgar Wright)
Absolutely the best campy film of the year! And definitely a new modern/cult classic, there is no denying it. The style in the cinematography, editing, and even in the dialogue is so insanely personable and obscure - it would have to be hard for any artist not to admire it. Cera's 3rd best role, only after Arrested Development & Superbad. Kieran Culkin (Igby Goes Down 4-EVR) & Chris Evans also shine. From the opening shot featuring a song directly out of Legend of Zelda, I was already in love.
7. Cyrus (dir. Jay & Mark Duplass)
You have to love the awkward chemistry between John C Reilly and Jonah Hill. It's just too believable, and way too entertaining. And after "The Wrestler", what man isn't completely in love with Marisa Tomei (I am, that's for sure). I just love the realism in this film - it makes the humor very relatable and raw. And god damn, I'll never forget Jonah Hill's one-man electronic performance. Also, Human League has become my favorite band to sing karaoke to - thanks Cyrus.
8. Inception (dir. Christopher Nolan)
Amazing CGI and visual concepts. Stellar cast, stellar performances. These were enough to keep the movie VERY entertaining. The only downfall to me however...what is it that happened in this movie again? I can't remember...
9. The Social Network (dir. David Fincher)
Loved being able to learn the story behind something so fresh and modern. Tasteful effective cinematography and flow throughout thanks to David Fincher. Jesse Jewgenburger proves himself worthwhile with a performance far superior to his in that pile of garbage, Zombieland. Oh, and duh, the Trent Reznor soundtrack totally made the whole movie.
10. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (dir. Niels Arden Oplev)
Slow as fuck for the first half, then all of a sudden it starts getting hardcore. Noomi Rapace stabilizes herself as a desirable icon for both men and women alike and hopefully a new Swedish star of the silver screen - she deserves it. They don't release thriller/mysteries like this in the US anymore. It takes patience and in the end the reward is worth it. It's intense and tasteful. Cheers.
11. Get Him To The Greek
I'd hit it.
***BEST MUSIC RECORDS of 2010***
1. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 'Before Today'
Apparently, Ariel Pink has been around for a decade now putting out lo-fi albums full of zany songs exploding with so much personality and tape hiss that most commoners would not be able to fathom it. In 2010, he decided to up the production values and make a record that was a little easier to swallow. It seems like it was a pretty good idea. 'Before Today' is probably the best album since Of Montreal's 2006 endeavor 'Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?'. It covers so much different ground musically that you could never put a genre label on it. Each song has such a different persona, so much character, and they're each as memorable as the track before it. All classics - every single song. From the feel-good surf opener, through the hauting melodies of "L'estat" and "Fright Night", into the throwback singalong "Round and Round", to the stoned out dance party "Beverly Kills", to the grunge garage with "Butt House Blondies", into the emo 80's with "Can't Hear My Eyes", through the kraut-inspired sexually questionable "Menopause Man", and capped off with the punk-gaze conclusion "Revolution's a Lie" - 'Before Today' is one of the best musical collections in some time. It's like a god damn Greatest Hits collection for a phenomenal 70's/80's rock band that never even existed!
- every single one
2. Caribou 'Swim'
Dan Snaith blows minds with his 5th album. As far as music that is extremely effective, 'Swim' is the freshest, most innovative release of the year. Although Caribou has changed up his sound on each of his releases quite dramatically, I think he may have found a sound here that he may be smart enough to stick with for another album or two. Comparable to when Radiohead released 'Kid A', Caribou's 'Swim' is the most important electronic based release of the year. Opener "Odessa" is one the strongest songs of the entire year. "Sun" seems to be a throwback to the vibes of classic techno ala Orbital, Chemical Brothers, etc and since it's the only track with that vibe it becomes a stand out. "Kaili" sets the tone for the entire record with it's thematic vocal melody and dreamy sounds. "Bowls" makes it's mark as one of the most unique jams of the year, instrumentally (especially when done live), "Leave House" would make a great radio single, and album closer "Jamelia" pretty much steals the show in my opinion, building up to an emotional vocal breakdown over an off-kilter synth pattern which in combination creates quite possibly the most beautiful musical moment put onto tape in 2010. Fantastic music. Dan Snaith has put himself onto the A-List with this one.
3. Crystal Castles 'Crystal Castles (II)'
When I first heard this I was a little disappointed that they let go of the 8-bit sound they got popular for with their first record, THEN I realized it doesn't matter because this album is probably FIVE times better than the first one. Basically, if you like to party, or like to do drugs, or if you like to party while doing drugs, this is the album you want. Alice Glass has become a new icon through her tweaked out spasms, both vocally and through her presence - and that's all she needs to do to make her mark in the band. As far as everything else (the music), Ethan Kath has the best taste in selecting sounds and in writing riffs out there right now - at least catering to my tastes. Almost every song is a tripped out, subtle epic - laying low in it's own drowned out darkness, then exploding out when the time is right. I'll be cranking this one for a long time. Can't wait to see them do it live in March.
4. Bear in Heaven 'Beast Rest Forth Mouth'
This band surprised me. They still sound like a full band, which is rare, and nice, these days. I love the dudes semi-monotonous vocals - they're very droned out, which is a wonderful compliment to the repetitive, droned out music! The record feels heavy, without actually ever being heavy - and that is a wonderful thing. Although their sound is very thick, the album remains calm and quiet the majority of the time which ends up being a very impressive, enjoyable sound. I have a feeling this one will appeal most to actual musicians and fans of music (not lyrics, or choruses they can sing a long to). Every track is fantastic, all the way through. I highly recommend any true music fan to give this a chance!
- "You Do You"
- "Lovesick Teenagers"
- "Beast in Peace"
5. Cold Cave 'Love Comes Close'
Although this technically came out at the very end of 2009, I believe it is too good to let slip by without recognition! It is amazing to see so many old hardcore/metalcore faces break through once again in 2010 with fresh sounds and new bands (ala these guys and Sleigh Bells). Wes Eisold, the infamous one-armed ex vocalist of American Nightmare/Give Up The Ghost has proved himself worthy as a new cold wave, goth-worshipping force to be reckoned with. His Joy Division-esque, uber-low vocals work pleasantly with these minimal synth jams, full of quirky hooks. The addition of Jenny Clavin's dreamy vocals is a necessary addition to many of the tracks including "The Trees Grew Emotions and Died", "Theme From Tomorrowland", and the album highlight "Life Magazine". This is the kind of music that makes me happy to be alive in 2010.
- "Life Magazine"
- "Youth and Lust"
6. Salem 'King Night'
Basically, I've been talking about wanting to make music for the last couple of years and I've had a specific sound in my head - Salem is now capitalizing on that sound and calling it "rape-gaze". They're definitely the most intriguing new musicians of the year, mostly due to their degrading interviews and really really horrible live videos. Fortunately for them, this record is so perfect that it fully redeems every other aspect that could be seen as faults. These guys look like dirty hipster demons, and their debut release was called "Yes, I Smoke Crack" - and it comes off as being no surprise if it's true. The music is hardly as tongue-in-cheek as that title though. If M83 were part of a yin yang, M83 would be the white, and Salem would be the black. Drowned out, minor-chord synth riffs are really the only aspect that truly matter through these deep, dark hallucinative ballads. And, it's fun when that Jack kid decides to rap over them too. Drown in this self-proclaimed "rape-gaze" and let it guide you into the next decade!
- "Release Da Boar"
7. Robyn 'Body Talk' collection
We have a new pop goddess, ladies and gentleman! Not only was 'Body Talk Pt. 1' full of the best pop songs of the year, but then Robyn had to go and release TWO MORE albums full of fun-ass pop tracks! She is a god damn force of nature! Thank god for Sweden, because no one in the U.S. seems to be capable of keeping AHEAD of the trends, instead of just sitting there right on top of them.
- "Dancing On My Own"
- "Cry When You Get Older"
- "In My Eyes"
8. Beach House 'Teen Dream'
This one took a long time to really grow on me! At first, it's almost too simplistic and almost stale. Then, with each listen the melodies start to stick with you. You want more of that voice. You want to float in that 'Teen Dream' along with it, over and over again. It's the best "universal background music" record of the year, but you can listen to it while singing along and bobbing your head just as well. It's just so chill! And, I didn't even realize the girl who sings was hot until just now! She gets down so hard at the live shows!
- "Lover of Mine"
- "Take Care"
- "Silver Soul"
9. Deerhunter 'Halycon Digest'
Calm, tasteful music in a traditional sense. While it may not live up the the absolute classic that was their last album, 'Microcastle', this is still a thoroughly enjoyable album through and through. Guitars, guitars, guitars. I'm glad someone still knows how to use guitars and make songs that don't sound like they have been done a million times before already.
- "Memory Boy"
10. Sleigh Bells 'Treats'
Derek Miller ditched Poison The Well years ago, and apparently with good reason - I guess he had something sweet in mind this whole time! Sleigh Bells debuts with one of the freshest new sounds of the year. I mean, c'mon - nobody sounds like Sleigh Bells. And I like it because it hits so hard - nobody hits hard anymore! The only complaint is that yeah, all the songs kind of sound the same, and yeah some of them are a little repetitive and annoying - but THAT SOUND! It's nuts! I can't wait to see what they do with the next record.
- "Riot Rhythm"
- "Run The Heart"
- "Rill Rill"
11. LCD Soundsystem 'This is Happening'
It's too bad that James Murphy has decided to retire from being an artist/performer just as he has reached his prime. He's made it clear on this record that he is capable of capitalizing on any genre of music, as long as it's unbearably catchy. This record holds some of the greatest party jams of the year, especially "I Can Change".
- "I Can Change"
- "Dance Yrself Clean"
- "All I Want"
12. Owen Pallett 'Heartland'
Nobody else is making music like this. The man who used to go by the moniker, Final Fantasy, has switched over to his real name due to obvious copyright issues. This guy is the new king of strings, building epic songs through his violin riffs and a loop pedal almost entirely alone. Also, that voice is incomparable in the way that's slightly operatic and so far off from everyone else's right now. This is the kind of music you listen to while drinking tea and crumpets on your patio on a Sunday morning.
- "The Great Elsewhere"
- "Midnight Directives"
- "Keep The Dog Quiet"
13. Panthu Du Prince 'Black Noise'
Love this shit! A new important leader in analog minimalism! It's like Aphex Twin's early ambient works/analogue bubblebath material has converged with the modern electro sounds of fresh artists like Caribou. Not only do the songs grow and break apart - but so does the entire album as a whole. Each track is a wonderful journey in itself ala the soundscapes of bands I'm super into like Zombi, but each piece is crucial to the whole. I listen to this A LOT!
- "A Nomad's Retreat"
- "Stick To My Side"
- "Satellite Snyper"
14. Die Antwoord '$0$'
Is it a joke, or is it serious? It doesn't matter. Much like the effect of Joaquin Phoenix's "I'm Still Here" - we need great hoaxes in 2010. The album has a lot of obnoxious (almost unlistenable) tracks, but the great ones make up for it. Plus, we need an outlet for Ninja and the hottest new bitch in music Yo-Landi Vi$$er. I don''t like rap - but I sure as fuck like this...
- "Enter the Ninja"
- "Very Fancy"
- "I Don't Need You"
15. Gorillaz 'Plastic Beach'
Damon Albarn continues making appealing, innovative music as he allows Gorillaz to blossom into something entirely new with each record. The middle of this record holds all the strong tracks, mostly consisting of slower dynamic electronic ballads. "On Melancholy Hill" is one the strongest songs of the year.
- "On Melancholy Hill"
- "Rhinestone Eyes"
16. Circa Survive 'Blue Sky Noise'
Rock is no longer a very easy genre to make standout records in, but Circa Survive manages to stick around as one of the best bands the rock genre has to offer currently. Although isn't quite up to snuff with their first two records, it does hold it's own and continues to get better with repeat listens. Anthony Green continues to push his voice further and further, reaching a new height in the albums first single "Get Out". I hope this band sticks around for a long, long time. "I Felt Free" is the greatest rock ballad of the year.
- "I Felt Free"
- "Get Out"
- "Imaginary Enemy"
17. Tobacco 'Maniac Meat'
The main man in Black Moth Super Rainbow has basically ditched the band because he discovered he can make similar music just as well on his own. It doesn't seem like too horrible of a decision. Maniac Meat hits harder than any album BMSR ever put out. The sounds are ridiculously crunchy, very melodic and very abrasive simultaneously. Most tracks are instrumental, rightfully so, and do fine without vocals - but when Tobacco's vocoded vocals or Beck's guest vocals do effectively take place, they do end up being the highlights of the record. Fun stuff!
- "Unholy Demon Rhythms"
- "Fresh Hex"
- "Heavy Makeup"
18. Fang Island
Members of Daughters and a bunch of guitar-loving dudes from Rhode Island prove themselves to be the rookies of the year when it comes to invoking good times with bright, shredded riffs. To me it brings on fantastic feelings somewhere between those provided by Andrew W.K. and old Saves The Day (it doesn't sound like either of those, simply provokes similar posi vibes). This is a great debut!
- "Life Coach"
- "Careful Crossers"
19. Tegan & Sara 'Sainthood'
It doesn't have the memorability of the last two crucial albums, probably due to it's change of pace from being incredibly emo to a more aggressive sound. But, it's still full of nearly perfect pop songs. These hot sisters can do no wrong.
- "Red Belt"
20. Of Montreal 'False Priest'
Kevin Barnes continues dominating the world with his brand of schizophrenic funk, carried over from the last record. 'False Priest' is superior to the last album in the way that it's clashing instruments are just as chaotic as before, but the song structures have been simplified dramatically. While in a lot of cases complexity is something to be proud of, this seems to be working better for Barnes...at least in the genre of psychedelic funk.
- "Hydra Fancies"
- "Enemy Gene"
- "Our Riotous Defects"
***BEST SONGS OF 2010 (THAT WEREN'T ON ANY OF THOSE RECORDS)***
1. THE KNIFE "Colouring of Pigeons"
2. La Roux "Bulletproof"
3. Yeasayer "O.N.E."
4. Hot Chip "One Life Stand"
5. Girls "Substance"
6. MGMT "It's Working"
7. Liars "Scarecrows on a Killer Slant"
8. Health "Die Slow"
9. Burzum "Kaimadalthas' Nedstigning"
10. Arcade Fire "Sprawl II"
11. School of Seven Bells "Windstorm"
12. Delorean "Real Love"
13. Health "USA Boys"
14. Starring "Wife of God"
15. Girls "Carolina"
16. Broken Social Scene "Forced To Love"
***THE BEST MUSIC VIDEOS of 2010***
Lady Gaga - Telephone
Lady Gaga, Telephone from Jonas Åkerlund Film on Vimeo.
LCD Soundsystem - Drunk Girls
LCD Soundsystem - Drunk Girls from DFA Records on Vimeo.
Health - USA Boys
HEALTH - USA BOYS from City Slang on Vimeo.
Sufjan Stevens - Too Much
Sufjan Stevens, "Too Much" from Deborah Johnson, CandyStations on Vimeo.
Hot Chip - I Feel Better
Hot Chip - 'I Feel Better' from Wrath66 on Vimeo.
Health - We Are Water
we are water from Dana Morris on Vimeo.
***Worst movie of 2010***
Things in 2010 I didn't get to check out that might've made the list?:
Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz
ALBUMS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON MY TOP 10 for 2009:
NEON INDIAN 'PSYCHIC CHASMS'
|TRASH HUMPERS review
I saw TRASH HUMPERS at a screening in L.A. where Harmony Korine was there to introduce it and also do a Q&A afterwards.
I was wildly disappointed with the lame array of questions that were thrown at him. Probably 90% were brainless, pointless, and uninteresting.
The question I wanted to ask him was "is Trash Humpers in any way a statement or mockery on TRASH ART in general?".
To me, this is how the movie came across. With a name like Trash Humpers, what else can you expect? It is one of the most pointless and trashiest movies I have ever seen - but that is exactly what I came for, and it effectively delivered that.
It's full of humping, cussing, assorted offensive jokes, violence, vandalism, religion bashing, and anything else you'd expect in a trash art film. The difference is that with most trash art, the point is to try to shock you, scar you, or offend you. Trash Humpers, to me, seems more like it's doing these things in such a way that it's all a big joke - to take all of the other movies that have already done it, and re-enact them while giggling.
After all, I feel that movies really are coming to a point where it is nearly impossible to shock people through exploitative sex, violence, etc. So why not find a nice comfortable place where we can live in that kind of world for an hour and a half and not try to shock anyone? We can just float through it and accept this demoralized joke of a world - that's the world that Trash Humpers creates to me.
Unfortunately, when you start mocking your own genre or personal style of art, along with that comes the instinctive drive to take it to a far enough level where you are pushing people away. I felt that with several obnoxious things repeating throughout the film (such as Harmony's character constantly YELLING in your ear through entire scenes from right behind the camera) - he was showing signs of this kind of behavior. This is something I have observed from my own experiences as part of artistic projects, as well as observing friends mocking their own work. I have watched this kind of behavior occur with a lot of people towards the end of their artistic cycle.
Of course, my interpretation of the movie could be completely off from how Harmony sees it. But, it's nice to have different perspectives isn't it? I enjoyed it - especially the fact that I got to see it in a theater with Harmony in attendance. But, I don't know if I'd ever want to watch it again. We'll always have Gummo for those endless viewings...
|my COACHELLA 2010 experience
Planned on getting to the festival at 12 O'CLOCK N00N, ended up getting in there at precisely 5:45 PM.
First of all there was a major traffic jam on 60 East driving through the mountains towards Indio, where the fest takes place. Definitely "COACHELLA TRAFFIC". That shlogged up an hour or so. Then, once we finally got off the highway, it was already like 2 PM and then the traffic was even more disgusting - mostly because of ONE broken stoplight doing the flashing red thing (awesome).
After parking and walking for probably literally 2 miles, we got to get in the back of a line that was probably literally about a MILE long. It took about an hour and a half to get through.
After getting through that line, you finally walk one last mile and you're in the valley - you've made it!!!
SHE & HIM*****
I immediately ran all the way across the field to see as much as I could catch of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward doing their thing. M Ward gives me a bit of a Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips) vibe which is cool, but of course when he plays and sings he sounds absolutely nothing like him. Zooey sounded good and looked cute. It was cute to see her putting on the "genuine smile" and dosey-doe type dancing the whole time. To me, she was "acting" - but she was putting on a damn good performance. Glad I got to catch some of it.
Let's GO BACK for a minute so I can tell you who I MISSED because of all the god damn unexpected obstacles getting in:
1:30 - P.O.S.
2:00 - BARONESS (so pissed about that one)
3:10 - AS TALL AS LIONS
4:20 - YEASAYER (just recently listened to Odd Blood for the first time and I fucking love it - also super bummed about missing these guys)
Ok...now back to where we were...
PASSION PIT (7:00 PM)*****
My sister, and my best friends Megan and Holly all talk these guys' live show up so hard! I was thrown off by a live performance of "Little Secrets" i saw on the Jimmy Fallon late night show one night. I thought the singers voice sounded weak and lame without the aid of the effects he uses on the recordings - also, his stage presence I found to be incredibly lifeless and uninspired. The actual live experience proved to be exactly the same. However, the music itself sounded fantastic and I do enjoy the songs he writes. The crowd was pumped and I am happy that Passion Pit is doing so well. I still enjoyed the set.
Skipped THEM CROOKED VULTURES, GRIZZLY BEAR, and LA ROUX who were all playing at the same time to go get some food with my hungry girlfriend.
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN (8:30 PM)*****
Biggest disappointment of the entire festival. They didn't play a fucking thing off of "Ocean Rain" as long as we were standing there. The shit they did play was horrible. And they looked like a wannabe Rolling Stones with a wannabe Liam Gallagher of Oasis on vocals. The only cool part about their set was him keeping his sunglasses on the whole time and him smoking a cigarette during their first song.
LCD SOUNDSYSTEM (9:00 PM)*****
One of my favorite sets of the entire fest. They played on the biggest stage - there was a million people watching and EVERYONE was madly into it. I was dancing harder than I have in a long god damn time. James Murphy rules. And there was a dude with a sweet skullet playing drums. I can't wait to listen to the new record more.
Skipped IMOGEN HEAP (because she played at the same time as LCD Soundsystem), VAMPIRE WEEKEND (because I hate them), and BENNY BENASSI.
FEVER RAY (11:10 PM)*****
Couldn't get very close and that bummed me out. The sound was kind of shitty compared to the last time I saw her - all of the lows were way too overbearing and they sounded blown out. Last time I saw her I was 5 rows back from the front and everything sounded flawless. Anyways, she basically played the same exact set and it was the whole record plus a Nick Cave cover. It was still fantastic. I went off during "Triangle Walks" and "When I Grow Up".
Sarah watched Jay Z by herself and that was her festival highlight. She made friends with some asian girls and shook her booty the whole time I guess. Yes, Beyonce made an appearance.
Got to bed too late the night before in order to get up early enough to see JOHN WATERS, PORCUPINE TREE, or GIRLS.
BEACH HOUSE (4:30 PM)*****
We DID get there just in time for Beach House though. Stood far away in the back and center. Their set just got better as it went. You had to sink into it. I love how hard the lead chick fucking rocked out even though the music is so gentle. She was literally doing hair whips at one point.
The XX (6:30 PM)*****
Didn't know the chick with the sexy voice was a hefty butch girl. That was fun to see. Watched most of their set - they had a nice interesting vibe. Not SUPER into this band but I dug what I saw of them. The record is good too.
DIRTY PROJECTORS (7:00 PM)*****
FUCKING AMAZING! One of the most talented and innovative groups I have seen in a long time! I get like classic screamo vibes from the song structures themselves, but then with a John Mayer vibe from the vocals and of course the primary icing on the cake is the constant backing harmonies from all three of the ladies! I want to see this band again!
HOT CHIP (7:30 PM)*****
Caught just a few songs of these guys which were awesome. Even from far away, everyone was going ape shit for them, dancing like crazy. They sounded perfect too and gave off really great vibes. But I had to jet to see the Faith No More reunion.
FAITH NO MORE (7:50 PM)*****
Haha what can I say? Mike Patton showed me why he is worshipped so much. I will continue looking up to him the way I did and expected to after seeing him live. He's a real singer (like Freddie Mercury) and we don't get many of those anymore. Also, his presence was intimidating - I couldn't believe it. Opened the set with "reunited and it feels so good", and also covered Michael Jackson's "Ben". of course "Epic" and "Last Cup of Sorrow" were fabulous too!
MGMT (8:50 PM)*****
Second biggest disappointment of the entire fest. No one cared about any of the new songs, and the entire first half of their set was new stuff which I think killed the vibe of the entire crowd. The band themselves seemed totally dead - they barely moved and almost seemed nervous or maybe deep down they were upset about the response to the new material. When they did finally play the old singles "Electric Feel" and "Time To Pretend", it was nice but they lacked the power the recordings deliver and I think they'd already lost the crowd at that point. They closed with "Weekend Wars" which was awesome, but not enough to save their set. They didn't even play "Kids" either.
MUSE (9:30 PM)*****
Definitely felt like the BIGGEST performance of the whole fest. Their set up and light show was the most ridiculous shit I have ever seen. I walked up just in time to see them start ripping it up with Deftones' "Headup". It was amazing! He said it was his favorite "California riff". Anyways, me and Sarah split up cuz she was hungry but there was no cell phone signal and we weren't very precise about a location to meet. So I spent the majority of this set trying to find her amongst THOUSANDS of fucking people. It took about an hour but then miraculously she spotted me and called out to me!
DIE ANTWOORD (11:30 PM)*****
OMG. I am angry I didn't take any pictures of these guys. It blows my mind that an act like this can make it to a headlining slot at a festival like Coachella when they only have TWO songs. And they only played 2 songs! An intro, "Enter the Ninja" and then an extended version of their first song. But it still felt like a full set and it was fucking AMAZING! The visuals were off the hook- they sounded perfect, and when Yolandi got down into her gold hot pants - I kinda got into her the way every guy seems to be doing now. I think these guys are going to blow up into something bigger.
Getting in got easier and fast every day thanks to them opening an entrance on the opposite side on the 2nd day. After grabbing some lunch and drinking some booze (I hammered some sweet tea flavored vodka on ice) - we got in nice and tipsy around 3:30.
DEERHUNTER (3:30 PM)*****
So happy I got to see these guys. Their "Microcastle" record has been one of my favorites over the past year or so. I was vibin' to the entire set and Sarah and I were both dancing harder than everyone else around us. Made me feel like THE TRUEST DEERHUNTER FAN around.
Finally managed to meet up with Andrew Linde at 4:30 in front of the Playstation tent. I came running at him like Shadow at the end of Homeward Bound.
SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE (4:45 PM)*****
Wow. Perfect. Most of their set was songs off of Diary which was such a crowd pleaser. And everything sounded flawless and exactly like the album. I think "Song About An Angel" was the highlight, which was always my favorite. That's what this picture is from.
JULIAN CASABLANCAS (5:30 PM)*****
Way too many people crowding this tent. Could hardly get to a good spot to watch. And from far away, it didn't sound that great. Even when he played the one song Sarah and I love, it just wasn't that good. Eh.
JONSI (6:00 PM)*****
He was fucking great. Seemed so happy to be there playing and of course he sounded beautiful. We laid down in the grass a ways back and just kind of relaxed during this fantastic set.
PHOENIX (7:10 PM)*****
Popped half a pill. Headed over here to try to meet back up with Linde and his crew but ended up not being able to find each other. So then I ended up watching almost their entire set too. They were okay - the songs themselves were nothing too spectacular but they gave off good vibes and they were definitely solid performers. Shockingly, they probably had one of the biggest crowd reactions at the whole festival. I couldn't believe how far back I had to walk to get away from a clusterfuck of people going ape shit for them.
GARY NUMAN (7:55 PM)*****
I walked up and was pretty much offended that there was almost NO ONE in the tent for Mr. Numan. After waiting ten extra minutes for him to start, a bunch of dudes who were not him came on stage and started playing. I waited through one song and when they started the second song and there was still no HERE IN MY CAR Gary, I gave them the finger and left. Apparently he got stuck in Britain somehow and couldn't get out for the show. So lame.
ORBITAL (8:10 PM)*****
Still wasn't feeling anything so I popped the other half of my pill. Halfway through the set, it finally kicked in! It was great to experience my first real TECHNO set and have it be ORBITAL, the only techno group who has captivated me since the mid 90's. They played all my faves from "Satan" to "Halcyon + On + On". Sarah and I both danced our asses off and I loved every minute of it.
Tired and sick of plowing through endless hordes of tightly clumped people, we decided (YES, I KNOW) to SKIP Thom Yorke... and go get up as close as possible for GORILLAZ. Waited for an hour and a half sitting clumped up with hundreds of other people in front of the stage.
GORILLAZ (10:30 PM)*****
Was a nice finale to the festival. Not holograms as we had heard rumors about but instead just Damon Albarn and the rest of his army with great variations of visual art for each song behind them. Sounded fantastic and overall I was just glad they were chosen as the headliners - a nice interesting mix of everything that makes music good. We left halfway through the set anyways cuz Sarah's feet and legs hurt too much :)
One of the best music experiences of my life. Great weekend. Glad I could share it with you a bit.
I'm not saying this is the last time I will ever write in here, but I will say it would not be that surprising if it was.
I think I've finally officially lost interest in posting on Livejournal.
After 8 or 9 fantastic years.
One things for sure - I sure as hell won't ever be deleting it.
There are some memories and thoughts recorded here that I will never be able to see anywhere else.
But in one way or another...
R.I.P. Chad Fjerstad's LIVEJOURNAL
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