Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Music in 2014

I thought that this was a great year for music. I saw some excellent live shows (Afghan Whigs and Dum Dum Girls!)

I always submit a top 10 albums for City Paper.  (My husband wrote the Ty Segall blurb.)Without exception, I always end up with a different order by the end of the year. Taylor Swift, really! 1989 is a nugget of pop perfection soaked in '80s melodies and whip smart lyrics.

This year, an album dropped off completely, by the time of the paper's publication. John Luther Adams' Pulitzer Prize winning, Become Ocean, is truly a stunning piece.

Here is my top 10 albums:

1) Taylor Swift – 1989
2) Lana Del Ray – Ultraviolence
3) Bob Mould – Beauty & Ruin
4) Sylvan Esso – Sylvan Esso
5) Tove Lo – Queen of the Clouds
6) John Luther Adams – Become Ocean
7) Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
8) Johnnyswim – Diamonds
9) Dum Dum Girls – Too True
10) Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour


Rosanne Cash – The River and the Thread
Flagland – Love Hard
Foxygen -  . . . And Star Power
French for Rabbits – Spirits
Arianna Grande – My Everything
Angel Olsen – Burn Your Fire for No Witness
Shabazz Palaces – Lese Majesty

Here are my top 24 songs. As you know Taylor Swift gave the big middle finger to Spotify this year. "Out of the Woods" would have topped this list too. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Scary TV episodes to get you in the Halloween mood

I am not really into "Halloween" TV episodes but I do love to be frightened. These make me hide beneath the blanket. Basically, none of these are really good viewing for young kids (and frankly some adults.)

"Hush" - Buffy the Vampire Slayer. [Season 4, episode 10] No voices and creepy, creepy dudes.
"The Host" - X-Files. [Season 2, episode 2] I am actually too scared to think about this creature.  Needless to say, it's a sewer monster and it's so gross.
"Dark Descent" - The Fall. [Pilot] Gruesome, realistic and upsetting, it's some great acting and an almost sympathetic serial killer.
"Amuse-Bouche" - Hannibal. [Season 1, episode 2] Being buried alive to help a killer grow his mushrooms. Pretty much the stuff of nightmares.
"Conspiracy" - Star Trek: Next Generation [Season 1, episode 25] This is the most disgusting episode to ever air in any of the Star Trek series. Two words: spinal parasite.

Not really scary but sets the mood:
"And the Children Shall Lead" - Star Trek [Season 3, episode 4] Psycho kids.
"Monster Movie"- Supernatural. [Season 4, episode 5] A nice combination of kicking butt and humor.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Looking and giving up hate-watching.

Finally watched all the current episodes of  Looking, the HBO show about gay men in San Francisco. I really liked the show (except the pilot which is super boring.) I mean the three main characters all interesting, complex,etc. They are over 30, have facial hair, funny, Scott Bakula. My only two criticisms are a) why does it have to set in San Francisco. They are gay men elsewhere and b) where are the women? I know it's a show about gay men. There is one lady, a sister. But I mean no female co-workers or friends?  Hell it's only the first couple of episodes and one show can't represent everyone.

Speaking of HBO, I have given up hate-watching Girls etc. as part of my pop culture resolutions. Many people hate watched TV shows, movies, etc., shows that you openly despise but can't turn away from like a bad car wreck.  In this day and age, this is so much to see, why waste it on entertainment that it just going to piss you off. This does not apply to news. It is good to see what is happening out there even if you don't agree with it.

Finally, I stumble across this weird wikihow on how to make people think your British.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

It's a little late but here are my 2013 albums and songs of the year!

2013 was indeed was a pretty good year for women. Stellar releases from Kacey Musgraves, Joy Formidable, and a band to watch out for Echosmith (the lead singer is only 16!) The polar opposite embracing women in music was Kayne West's Yeezus.  Mr. West released the most challenging, provocative, and disturbing album this year. Not for the faint of heart.  See here, here, and here for why we hate to love this album.

Loads of great hip hop and R&B singles released from some pretty lackluster albums.

Here are my top 21 songs of 2013 which are not in chronological order. Looking forward to 2014! You can hear this playlist of Spotify. 

Name Artist
Open --Rhye
Chocolate Brown Eye--Salaam Remi
V.S.O.P--K. Michelle
Q.U.E.E.N. (feat. Erykah Badu)--Janelle MonĂ¡e
Work (Jacob Plant Remix)--Iggy Azalea
Definition of a Rap Flow (Albee 3000) --R.A. The Rugged Man & Amalie Bruun
Take Me Up (High) [Subgroover Radio Edit]--Lady Bunny
Paper Doll--Pyyramids
Every Weekday--Camera Obscura
Hercules--Sara Bareilles
Weed Instead Of Rose--Ashley Monroe
Upstart--Johnny Marr
Am I Wrong--Mikal Cronin
Little Blimp--The Joy Formidable
Avant Gardener--Courtney Barnett
Step--Vampire Weekend
Young And Beautiful--Lana Del Rey
Aventine--Agnes Obel

Here are my top albums of the year (in chronological order):

  1.      Kayne West--Yeezus         
  2.      Vampire Weekend--Modern Vampires of the City  
  3.      Joy Formidable--Wolf’s Law   
  4.      Echosmith--Come Together       
  5.      Rhye--Woman     
  6.      Nine Inch Nails--Hesitation Marks     
  7.      No Joy--Wait to Pleasure      
  8.      Mikal Cronin--MCII   
  9.      M.I.A.--Matangi         
  10.      Kacey Musgraves--Same Trailer Different Park

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New to Me Films in 2013

Didn't quite make it 100 new to me films (not just out in 2013 but ones I haven't seen.) 40+ isn't too bad. 

New to Me Films - 2013

1/2/2013 - Sherman’s March -  3 out of 5 lovesick 80s southerners
1/10/2013- Lincoln - 4 out of 5 Lincoln 13th Amendment Hunter. 
1/16/2013 Beginners-4 out of 5 silent dogs and French ladies
1/19/2013 Django Unchained  -3 1/2 out of 5 bounty hunters.
1/23/2013 Jeff Who Lives at  Home- 3 out of 5 Signs, signs everywhere there's signs
1/26/2013 The Wrong Man- 2 1/2 out of 5 this is a Hitchcock movie?
1/27/2013 Life of Pi- 2 1/2 out of 5 so much water.
2/10/2013 Les Miserables- 3 out of 5 what have I dones
2/16/2013 Zero Dark Thirty -3  1/2 out of 5 More Jason Clark please
2/16/2013 Caged Heat- 2 1/2 out of 5 three for one movie
2/18/2013 Until the Light Takes Us- 3 out of 5  not as much actual black music but Fenriz rules.
2/19/2013 How to Survive a Plague - 4 out of 5 Not so silent = lives saved.
2/20/2013 Amour-3 ½ out of 5 Inspiring and depressing.
2/21/2013 One for the Money- 2 1/2 out of 5 Should have been a Lifetime series.
2/22/2013 The Invisible War - 3 out of 5. Very predictable film-making but worthwhile if someone isn’t educated on the epidemic.
3/2/2013 Your Sister’s Sister - 3 ½ out of 5 Lynn Shelton takes forever to get the story going. I have such HUGE crushes on Mark DuPlass and Rosemarie DeWitt though.
3/17/2013 Oranges and Sunshine - 4 out of 5 turning a blind eye. Stellar acting by Emily Watson and Hugo Weaving. Atrocious history of deporting children from the UK to Australia. Human trafficking is disgusting.
6/5/2013 48 Hours - 3 out of 5 not as funny as the trailer advertises
                 Friends with Kids - 2 ½ out of 5 could have been a contender if she just directed  rather than acted.
                 Machete Maidens Unleashed - 3 ½ out of 5 Holy Phillipines.
6/23/2013  Man of Steel  - 2  out of 5 video game fight scenes. Smile Superman.
6/30/2013   Bernie - 3 ½ out of 5 Jack Black - please continue to do more roles like this. So good and brings a human element to what could have been a crap crime story.
7/26/2013 TED- Actually really fun. Seth McFarlane is best not in human form. 3 1/2 out of 5 Flash Gorden references.
8/03/2013     Karla - A movie based on a real life Canadian couple killers Karla Homolka and Paul Bernado. It's strangely upsetting but sort of kinder to Karla than who she is. I thought Laura Prepon who was good but needed to turn it up a little.  2 3/4 out of 5 almost a Lifetime movie.
                   John Waters' A Filthy Word - I love John Waters. Still irrevant and always in on the joke. You can tell that it was great live and really works on the stage. Very funny look back at his childhood and movies. 4 out of 5 creepy baby dolls.
08/21/2013 The One Percent. This was a strange cowardly movie. The filmmaker, Jaime Johnson, sort of attacks his father from distancing himself from his more liberal view. Where it appears Jaime did the same. A hollow insider's view of the wealthy. 2 1/2 out of 5 family fortunes.
                  My Awkward Sexual Adventure - With a fairly formulaic plot, this film is actually charmingly sweet and with a solid performance by Emily Hampshire who plays the sex yoda/stripper. 3 out of 5 Canadian sex games.
8/22/2013 Derek - This Derek Jarman documentary produced and narrated by Tilda Swinton is strange and touching. Mostly told through interviews with Jarman himself, it does feel a bit disjointed. Still a very interesting and weird look at Jarman. He probably would have loved it. 3 1/2 out of 5 frontal nude art.
8/30/2013 The Innocents - Creepy kids and Deborah Kerr =truly terrifying. Based on Turn of the Screw, Kerr plays the doomed governess  and the kid from Children of the Damned. Very little tricks it's just all in your mind. 4 out of mind games.
8/30/2013 - Katy Perry: Part of Me - I was worried that because it was MTV produced that this was going to be some ridiculous fluff piece. This is not Truth or Dare but not quite Bieber. Having seen Katy Perry live, it does a good job depicting her shows. It does breeze over her relationships but they kept in some of the Brand stuff. If you are not a KP, you will probably not love this. 3 out of 5 glitter guns.
9/12/2013 A Matter of Life and Death - How have I never seen this Powell and Pressburger film before? Often cited as one of the best British films ever made, it's about a man's fight to stay on Earth. Set in 1945, it is very ahead of its time in terms of the statements on war and heaven. Also Jack Cardiff is a genius. 5 out of 5 awesome escalators.
9/15/2013  Tabloid - A fascinating look into the scandalous Joyce McKinney. Obsessive aging beauty queen who was accused of the weirdest kidnapping case I've heard of in a while. Sad and ridiculous. 3 1/2 out of 5 manacled Mormons.
9/29/2013 Lee Daniels' The Butler - 3 1/2 out of 5 Oprah's magnificent boobs
10/07/2013 Vertigo - 2.5 out of 5 overrated Sight and Sound toppers.
10/13/2013 Gravity. 4 out of 5 ground control to major Toms.
10/13/2013 Pearl Jam Twenty. 4 out of 5 Mookie Blaylocks.
10/21/2013 The Sting - 4 out of 5 handsome offs between Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
10/27/2013 The Source Family - 3.5 out of 5 crazy bearded cult leaders.
11/03/2013 Goon -3.5 out of 5 brutal hockey enforcer fights.
11/05/2013 Don’t Look Back  - I saw where it wanted to go but didn’t end up there. Plus knowing the twist beforehand sucked. 2 out of 5 crazy orgasmic blind ladies.
12/11/2013 -Devil with a Blue Dress - 3 out of 5 Dreamy Denzel Washington private eyes.
12/28/2013 - The Honeymoon Killers - 3 out of 5 Divine look-a-like killers.


Monday, November 11, 2013

The Gratitude Experiment

So I've signed up for the 21 days of gratitude. I have put my name of the gratitude contract, written in my journals and come up with 20 things I am grateful for or learning from:

Accepting that I can look back, learn from it, and I can change my present and future
Being wrong is o.k.
Cleaning up my mess will make me feel refreshed.
Dancing is sometimes what the doctor ordered.
Every day that I am able to wake up is a great day.
Feeling centered only takes a few deep breaths.
Giggling once a day makes me a better person
Hustling, although hard in the beginning, can lead to greatness.
Imagination is never wrong.
Jumping for no reason is super fun and should be done once a day.
Kissing my husband is imperative and must be as much as possible.
Learning to let go
Magic can be found in the smallest things.
Negative thoughts are important to identify.
Organization in the beginning makes everything run smoother.
Preparing is not the same as obsessing over.
Questioning is always o.k. if it is done with a purpose.
Reconciling, even if you think you’re right, is sometimes the best path.
Smiling actually does make you feel better.
Taking care of myself will help me take care of others better.
Undermining a loved one, colleague, stranger in the end doesn’t really accomplish anything.
Veering off the straight and narrow is scary but very often liberating.
Wanting to be someone else wastes the potential of who you could be.
Yawing can actually wake up the soul.

Zipping around without care can be done at any age. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Top 10 albums and top 20 songs so far in 2013

Inspired by all the various lists of best 2013 albums and songs so far, including NPR All Songs Considered discussion, I've come up with my own. No particular order. Also, some real surprises for me with my love of the Vampire Weekend album and Lana Del Ray. Lots of great hip hop and R & B singles but where are the good hip hop albums?

Top 10 albums (so far)
  • Camera Obscura - Desire Lines
  • Mikal Cronin - MCII
  • The Joy Formidable  - Wolf's Law 
  • Phoenix - Bankrupt!
  • Rhye - Open
  • Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels
  • Savages - Silence Yourself
  • Smith Westerns - Soft Will
  • Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
  • Kanye West - Yeezus

Top 20 songs (so far)
  • The 1975 - Sex
  • Iggy Azalea - Work (Jacob Plant Remix)
  • Neko  Case - Man 
  • Ciara/Nicki Minaj - I'm Out
  • J. Cole - Runaway
  • Kat Dahlia - Gangsta
  • Lana Del Ray - Young and Beautiful
  • Drake - Started From the Bottom
  • Fantasia/Big Krit - Supernatural Love
  • Lorde - Royals
  • Steve Martin/Edie Brickell - Fighter
  • Janelle Monae/Erykah Badu - Q.U.E.E.N.
  • Kacey Musgroves - Blowin' Smoke
  • Phoenix - Entertainment
  • R.A. The Rugged Man - Definition of a Rap Flow (Albee 3000)
  • Rhye - Open
  • Run the Jewels -Twin Hype Back
  • Robin Thicke/T.I./Pharrell - Blurred Lines
  • Vampire Weekend - Step
  • Kayne West - Blood on the Leaves