Friday, February 26, 2010
NEVER GOING BACK
1. "OBATALA" - MALCOLM MCLAREN
2. "MINORS" - TORO Y MOI
3. "SCHOOL'S RULES" - PHOENIX
4. "15 SEPTEMBRE" - BENJAMIN BIOLAY
5. "'81" - JOANNA NEWSOM
6. "NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN" - FLEETWOOD MAC
7. "I FEEL BETTER" - HOT CHIP
8. "LIVE FOREVER" - OASIS
9. "SILVER SOUL" - BEACH HOUSE
10. "MAYONAISE" - THE SMASHING PUMPKINS
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
TEN FOR EASTERN STANDARD TIME
Writer's block/vacation/winter has kept me away from this site for a week. I haven't had one thing in particular that I've been focused on writing about- too many things happened in the past week and my brain is on overload. Here are a few things that have been on my mind:
1. POMMES FRITES AT BALTHAZAR
The best meal by I had by far in the city this past weekend.. Croque Monsieur/Madame? and french fries so good I can't even remember the words In 'N Out Burger.
2. ONE OF THE NICEST THINGS ANYONE HAS EVER SAID TO ME
I received an email from someone who I am a big fan of and it has totally made my week.
3. HILLARY CLINTON IN THE PERSIAN GULF
Hillary at her best: stonefaced, bold, and empowered. A strength that never falters, inspiration that grows and grows.
4. TYPE RECORDS 53, 54, & 55
Type has established itself as one of the finest and most cohesive labels out there right now. I am reminded of how Touch used to be maybe 7 or 8 years ago- everything from the covers, the music, and the sense of lost/forgotten yesterdays is in complete synchronicity. Alphabet 1968 by Black To Comm, Give It Up by Zelienople, and Landings by Richard Skelton. Coming soon is the final record by The Yellow Swans which is sure to be a classic.
5. THE ROLLING STONES
I can't stop listening to them. I often forget just how powerful Let It Bleed really is. Gimme Shelter, You Got The Silver, Monkey Man, Live With Me.... songs don't get much better than this.
6. "THE ENDING, FOR SIMPLY BEING ITSELF WITHOUT APOLOGIES, IS PEERLESS"
The latest Top 10 list for Criterion comes from Michael Atkinson. The quote is from his thoughts on Kiarostami's A Taste Of Cherry. This film has been on my mind a lot lately, but I've never been able to think of words that can describe it as perfectly as this.
7. GARANCE DORÉ & SCOTT SCHUMAN AT BAND OF OUTSIDERS
Two of the three reasons I started writing again in the first place (the other would be Gwyneth Paltrow) in person. I was so not expecting to see them that night (I was really only looking for Kirsten Dunst), but when they walked past I could have fainted. To see them at my first fashion show, and to have my first show be my favorite designer.. too much for one night is all I can say.
8. ROGER EBERT
There is a heartbreaking feature on Robert in the latest issue of Esquire, written by Jeff Labrecque. Speechless, but still so much to say. A dedication and love for the cinema that is simply unequaled. I still make it a habit to check for a new Great Movie every two weeks. Keep strong, Roger.. we still need you.
9. MARC BY MARC JACOBS PRIMARY COLORS BLAZER
At Barneys this weekend, this blazer completely jumped off the rack at me. I completely fell in love with it and it just might have to be one of the VERY FEW purchases I am allowing myself for the rest of the year.
10. "SORRY ANGEL"
I first really fell in love with this song when Charlotte sang it last month, but the more and more I listen to her dad's version I love it even more. Such a perfect song.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This single came out so quietly with almost no press this past November. I first heard about it today. Elizabeth Fraser's solo debut was rumored to be released sometime in 2007, but for some reason never happened. The fact that these eight songs existed in some form somewhere only added to the anticipation. A website appeared mysteriously, but was never updated again until the release of this single. It goes without saying just how good of a song it is. It sounds Balkan, windswept, sorrowful but smooth, like a desert shadow, black birds flying across an Eastern sky. Accordion, ghost murmurs, echo, and a brand new language. The words do not sound the same as her Cocteau Twins days, they are from somewhere else entirely, someplace new. Without saying anything, she says so much.
The Thighpaulsandra remix is even more arid, more Renaissance, and more Arabic. A slow dance at the ends of the earth. A love story of lost time, forgotten and then found. It's been too long, Elizabeth. Show us what's inside of you. The world is waiting.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
I was just rewatching Synecdoche, New York. It hasn't been that long since I've last seen it, but when I saw the opening credits I was so impressed by the cast- I had completely forgotten how good it was. Halfway through I couldn't keep watching it anymore. There are three actresses in this movie that are just so good, so singular, and they're acting their hearts in every single scene. Catherine Keener, Samantha Morton, and Michelle Williams. These days you would be hard-pressed to find anyone better, let alone all in the same film.
Catherine Keener is so good at being real.. she's got this amazing voice and this sensibility that never cracks. I remember my favorite scene in Where The Wild Things are was with her in it. She can break your heart with her nylons.
I first fell in love with Samantha Morton in the all-time great Mister Lonely. She is so understated and has this incredibly quiet way of being. She is always so sweet and seems to have walked straight out of a fairy tale. She can break your heart with her smile.
Michelle Williams is so put-together and exudes that perfect mix of confidence and cool. She is so beautiful in this movie, and I just love listening to her speak. She can break your heart with her style.
The movie as a whole is very good.. Roger Ebert is crazy about it and must have seen it 100 times at this point! There are moments in it that seem too clever for their own good, but at the end you are left with such an overwhelming feeling of what you just saw. Maybe because what you just saw was life: full of boxes, full of characters, full of perception. I am always reminded of the truly great Jacques Tati film Playtime, if nothing else for its equally grand ambition and larger-than-life scale.
Friday, February 5, 2010
This record seems to be misunderstood. In my opinion, it is the most cohesive, honest, and downright beautiful R&B album since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It might even be better than that. Destiny Fulfilled is simply real life with some of the best girl-group (?) vocals this side of The Supremes. The high point for me is Is She The Reason- so smooth, so classy, but so sad.. listen close, you can hear it in their voices, it’s all in there. Life and all its maladies. It just happens to float by so easily, so effortless. This song has the most amazing lyrics of almost any song and captures a completely outloved sense of longing better than anything:Is she the reason
You don't call like you use to
Fall thru my hood like you use to
Put it on me hard like you use to do
I feel in my mind what's goin' on
But my heart won't let me go until I know
T-Shirt actually captures some of that vaporous, humid four in the morning lost in/out of time vibe of Tricky’s Pre-Millennium Tension. It sounds like suffocation, like a heat vent on full blast mid-summer, like the dim light of a tv screen flickering in the dark. Cater 2 U is sweet, with Beyoncé singing in her best fast/halfrap style only she can about doo-rags, dessert, and bath water- (what else is there?!). Soldier is one of the few uptempo/hiphop songs on the album that connects Destiny’s Child most to their past work:If your status ain't hood
I ain't checkin' for them
Better be street if he lookin' at me
I need a soldier
That ain't scared to stand up for me
Known to carry big things
If you know what I mean
Things come to an end with the ultimate slow-jam of Game Over. Pure smoldering. The majority of this album is slow, serious, and I know I can’t stop saying it, but sad. They sound more mature, more adult, tougher/more explicit, yet still soft in all the right places. I remember several times rewinding some of the songs to be sure I was hearing the right lyrics- just too good! I’ve been listening to it for years and every song sounds better and better the more I hear them. I hear they are working on a new album, but if this was the last we ever heard from them I can’t imagine a better way to bow out.