Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Year In Trailers

Click the titles/links below to see the most curiosity piquing, buzz generating, ass kickering previews/trailers/teasers of the past year or so...

10) The Machine Girl
9) No Country for Old Men
8) King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters
7) Rambo
6) Superbad
5) The Dark Knight
4) Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)
3) There Will Be Blood
2) I'm Not There
1) Iron Man
0) Cloverfield/Untitled

And a special shoutout to Rodriguez and Tarantino for encouraging an appreciation for the significant cultural product and art form that the trailer is. The fake trailers released with Grindhouse almost got more attention than the films themselves. And Machete was definitely best. And (not) surprisingly, the second best came from a Canadian contest winner - Hobo with a Shotgun.

Monday, December 24, 2007


So 2007 eh, pretty darn good year for albums, I say.

Voila mes favoris...

10) The White Stripes - Icky Thump

Not the riveting prod that Get Behind me Satan was (Jack even lost the mustache), but nonetheless it includes some memorable tunes - both straight ahead and some with new curves ("Conquest", "Rag & Bone"). All in all, a solid addition to one of the most exciting rock catalogues currently in construction.

9) Liars - ~

Holy shit. Liars go mainstream, and at the same time stay completely vital and essential. Creepily beautiful and beautifully creeping, it combines their more straight-ahead post-punk tendencies with what I always wanted kraut-rock to sound like.

8) Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

These guys are slick. Oil on steel slick. The production on this album is precise and huge, and the songs mostly keep up. The vocals inevitably get annoying at times, but for the same reasons they lend this band a sense of purpose and style.

7) Vietnam - ~

Maybe the only album on this list that's not on a hundred other end-of-year lists. Vietnam's first full length has their Dylan meets Spaceman 3 sound fleshing out into a full blown ruckus. At times sweet, wild, asinine - everything that makes for solid rock n' roll.

6) Akron/Family - Love Is Simple

Not many bands could pull off such a flood of new sincerity; with songs like "Love, Love, Love (Everyone)" or "Love, Love, Love 2 (Reprise)". But A/Family does it with such ferocious naiveté that it's irresistible. Not to mention the jaw-dropping fragmentation and collage of sound and idea that raise this album up to the heights of their debut. Even my grandmother likes Love Is Simple.

5) Okkervil River - The Stage Names

Okkervil River made a very melancholy album with their last kick at the can (Black Sheep Boy is the kind of record you want to listen to but can't always find the occasion or mood), and now they've turn around and made one of the most irrepressibly listenable albums of the last few years. Triumphant and catchy as all get out. (Too bad the cover art is shit).

4) Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Win and the gang went darker and little more succinct on their follow-up to their fucking smash hit Funeral. It's really a wonder that they didn't falter too, but the songwriting (eg. "Intervention", "My Body Is A Cage") on Neon Bible is so ace that it's almost a wonder this record didn't get more praise than the first. Too bad Regine didn't get a chance to sing more though.

3) Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

It seems like a lot of people didn't care much for Ga5's predecessor Gimme Fiction. I am not one of those people. Still, this band has put together a seriously engaging string of records. And this latest one is the best yet. Classic rock with a contemporary brain.

2) Menomena - Friend and Foe

Straight off from the cover art, this album is an intricate and inspiring work of art. Each song carries new surprises... and these songs are fucking gooood. I'm probably most curious about Menomena's future trajectory than any other band on this list. Even if they stand still, it'll likely be brilliant.

1) Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam

I've listened to this album more than any other on this list, but I still feel like I haven't listened to it enough. Pure joy has never been so complicated. Part !! of the best album tandem of this decade, along with Feels (as well as featuring the best back-to-back hitting tracks on any album this year in "For Reverend Green" and "Fireworks").

Honorable Mentions...

Brutal Knights - Feast of Shame; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Lound Thunder; The National - Boxer; Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil; Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare; The Hives - The Black and White Album

Hypothetical Honorable Mentionees (the truly great thing about the phenomenon of the year end list, is the potential tip or reminder to check out something you've missed. here are some albums i'm excited to give more of a listen to in 2008)...

Bruce Springsteen - Magic;
Celebration - The Modern Tribe
Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
No Age - Weirdo Rippers
Dizzee Rascal - Maths + English
Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Radiohead - In Rainbows
M.I.A. - Kala
Vieux Farka Toure - ~

2007 Best Songs (according to Pop Gunning and a survey of 300 fisher cats)...

10) Fall Out Boy - "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race"
9) Bright Eyes - "Four Winds"
8) Kanye West - "Stronger"
7) Patrick Wolf - "The Magic Position"
6) Modest Mouse - "Dashboard"
5) Black Kids - "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You"
4) Black Lips - "Bad Kids"
3) Battles - "Atlas"
2) The National - "Fake Empire"
1) Animal Collective - "Fireworks"

Dried Fruit Xmas

There's something about christmas tv/movies, where the worse they are, the better they actually are.

There's a few exceptions, including this claymation ditty and maybe National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

It's all sentimental dreck, so I say please lay the dreck on thick please. It's a molasses time of year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Les Vampires

Vampire Weekend. The next band to further entrench "indie" as an unquestioned category for non-mainstream pop rock.

Definitely offering something more resonant than fellow blog darlings Tapes N' Tapes, not quite the firebrand the Strokes were when they first came out, but all in all, a pretty fucking great little combo.

Their self-titled album isn't available until January 29th in NA, but you can preview a couple tracks here (right click links below) as well as on their myspace.

Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma
Vampire Weekend - I Stand Corrected (Live Radio Session)

I'm pretty stoked on these guys, even though it's not usually my thing. And that's seems to be the common reaction, ie. this band could be huge. And they definitely made a case for their hugeness when I saw them last week at the El Mocambo in Snowtown, Ontario. Great vocals and stage presence from the lead singer (somewhat of a less awkward Michael Cera) and songs that trick you into thinking they're annoying, but then make you realize they're just cute, concise, and catchy as all get out.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I like Star Wars too...

Here's some fan art [or, for short]... a collage of sorts assembling all the Star Wars movies into one wonderful, silly, mess of weirdos.

I'm not sure how I feel about in general, but I have to at least appreciate the time put in. [I think my position is changing though, as I'm actually thinking of re-editing I'm Not There into the staggeringly cool film it should've/could've been (but wasn't)].

One thing's for sure about this piece of, dude really loves Grand Moff Tarkin...

ps. Where's Greedo / Alec Guiness's Obi Wan?


I know you've been holding your breath for... a TDK update (and maybe a new PG posting).

Here it is...

And check out what Michael Caine has to say about the new Joker...

"Now, we have had Jack Nicholson, who is one of the greatest Jokers and one of the greatest characters in this kind of movie. I have worked with Jack and I know him really well. You do not really want to follow Jack into anything. Unless it's a nightclub...Heath Ledger stunned me. Jack played The Joker as sort of a benign nasty clown -- like a wicked uncle. Heath plays him like an absolutely maniacal murderous psychopath. You have never seen anything like it in your life. He is very, very scary. [...] Wait until you see it, it's incredible."

Apparently there's going to be a new teaser for The Dark Knight before some remake of Charleton Heston's The Omega Man called I Am Legend - that hits Imax screens this weekend.