We're not doing our annual end-of-year Thorkelsons Awards anymore. Two reasons: (1) Potsy always gives curt, one word descriptors for his nominees, and (2) Sacklunch usually submits his choices in March of the following year. Fuck that shit. Every year I tell them, submit your best of list, and please accompany each choice with a pithy comment. The only one who obeys is Jumbo Slice.
Imagine, for a moment, you are an editor at Us Magazine, in charge of the "Fashion Police" feature. You have this photo of Jennifer Lopez (oh man, call the fashion police...whoo, whoo, whoo (whoo = sound of siren on fashion policeman's police car)). You gather your staff for a meeting. Listen up, staff--give me a good comment on J-Lo's dress.
So obviously the thing that stands out about that dress is, there's maze running from her left tibia up to her left titty. Many jokes come to mind: McDonald's placemats, Pac Man, Tom Cruise in Labyrinth, etc. Here are the comments you would get from Potsy and Sacklunch:
Potsy: that dress is stupid
Sacklunch: I have no comments on this outfit, but I would like to talk about the dress she wore to the Oscars in 2002, if you have the time.
So no more Thorkelsons. I'm splitting out and doing my own list. Here we go:
Best Live Performances
Okay, so the point of this website is for us to get out of our houses, away from our hectoring wives and sniveling children and needy dogs, and see live music. So in this area I feel like my choices are somewhat informed, as opposed to other categories, which as you'll see are mostly dominated by shit I first heard about 10 minutes ago. Best shows of 2008 were:
- Bon Iver (Black Cat, 8-1-08). You could also file this under biggest surprise of the year. I thought these guys were pretty gay and didn't have high hopes for the show. One of the more ridiculous moments in local rock history was a post on craigslist that offered a free ticket to the show to whichever nadless guy or cat-loving woman wrote the best essay on "what moved you most about the album For Emma, Forever Ago." I'm kicking myself for not saving that because I can't find it now to properly mock it. Plus there was the irritating backstory about Justin Vernon and his depression and cabin, to the point where I started having flashbacks to the 1995 Jewel-living-in-her-car-in-Alaska-got-gangbanged-by-a-pack-of-renegade-Inuit hype. And yet, the show was excellent. Vernon bypassed the (predictable) spare, acoustic, folky route, and instead accentuated drums and bass. I swear it nearly sounded like ambient techno in parts. A cool move that made for some nice arrangements on songs that I was sick of hearing. Plus there was a stout gentleman in the audience next to us who came back from the bathroom with toiletpaper stuck to his show, which was fun.
- The Hives (9:30, 3-8-08). You can't beat the showmanship. Made even better by the contrast with openers the Donnas, which is like the contrast between a nice day out at Kings Dominion, versus a few years in Belsen.
- Holy Fuck (Black Cat, 3-19-08). March was a good month--in addition to Holy Fuck and the Hives, we also caught the Black Lips. This show featured the first time I'd seen someone use a 1930s stockticker as a musical instrument. It also featured our first acquaintance with local blind indie show guy Ahmed, who we've run into a few times since.
Dept. of Of Course I Fucking Missed It: Sacklunch tells me Eagles of Death Metal (9:30, 11-20-08) was his top pick of the year and I have no reason to doubt him.
Biggest Letdowns: I had high hopes for both Super Furry Animals as well as Elbow. The SFA show lacked the freneticism, as well as cool video backdrop and wookie outfits, that I had witnessed at previous shows. Elbow were good, but it's the sort of music that Liam Neeson's character in Love, Actually would sit at home and listen to--oh, me wife's gone an died on me, let me pour a glass of sherry and listen to this soothing, soulful adult contemporary, to keep me from toppin' myself, and leavin' me dear moppet son an orphan. Keep clear.
I'm on shaky ground here because I don't buy a lot of albums. Exhibit A: in January I heard two new awesome songs from Helio Sequence ("Keep Your Eyes Ahead" and "Can't Say No"). I buy album. I listen to album. Two cool songs, and a bunch of filler. I want to take the CD and throw it at the Helio Sequence like I'm Odd Job and the CD cuts off their heads. I'd have been better off just downloading the songs and leaving it at that, and that's what I usually do. Fuck your concept albums and rock operas, just give me the good stuff.
Nevertheless, here are a couple of good ones from 2008.
- Santogold, Santogold. Four knockout tracks on here: "L.E.S. Artistes," "Lights Out," "Shove It," and "Creator."
- Modern Guilt, Beck. I'm not a Beck uber-fan but the man's Thetans were firing on full blast this time around. Wait, Thetans are bad, right? Whatever. "Gamma Ray," "Profanity Prayers," "Chemtrails," "Modern Guilt" and "Profanity Prayers" are all first rate.
Lots of good shit for the mixtapes this year. Here are my favorites:
- "Ark"/"The Old Days," Dr. Dog
- "No One Does It Like You," Department of Eagles
- "L.E.S. Artistes," Santogold
- "This Is Not a Test," She and Him. Very catchy Mamas & the Papas throwback. It would be interesting to see Zooey Deschanel gain 100 pounds as an homage to Mama Cass.
- "The Arm," Islands. Apparently this album sucks. This is a good song. Just goes to show, don't buy albums.
- "Pot Kettle Black," Tilly and the Wall
- "Never Miss a Beat," Kaiser Chiefs. I love this one. Are we supposed to hate this band? I only know what I'm told. Just let me know because otherwise I'll form my own opinion.
- "Oh Man!" Sybris
- "Language City," Wolf Parade
- "Anything 'Cept The Truth"/"Wannabe in LA," Eagles of Death Metal. EODM will pummel your sack like a boxer working a speedbag. It's the UCLA grad student meth.
- "Being Here," The Stills
- "Fernando," Jenny Lewis. I really used to hate her, based soley on "Portions for Foxes," which is a terrible song. But this one's good, and "Acid Tongue" and "Next Messiah" are catchy as well.
- "A Children's Crusade on Acid," Margot and the Nuclear So and So's
- "Rigor Mortis," Wussy. Not entirely sure if this is 2008 but fuck it, it's a great song. An excellent in-car singalong moment when Lisa Walker belts out "here's a cure for rigor mortis/here's a place that you call home":
I wanted to add a category where I could just pass judgment on everyone and everything under the sun without someone saying, how is this music related? Fuck you. And surprise, surprise--I found more things to complain about in 2008 than to laud.
First, the good.
- New black people on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I never thought they could top Krazy Eyez Killa, or Wanda. But when God closes a door, he also opens a window, and Leon Black entered our world through that open window. Basically CYE is funniest when Larry interacts with Afro Americans and inadvertently says or does something racist. Not since Three's Company has any show so adeptly used the misunderstanding.
- Neo-Hippyism. Fleet Foxes, Blizten Trapper, Band of Horses...when's it ever gonna stop? Shave your beards and cut your hair.
- Al Davis. You're insane. I wouldn't wish death on anyone but you're fucking testing me, man.
- The Demise of the Thorkelsons. Peter Tork's publicist is gonna be pissed. Sack and Potsy, let this sin be upon you and your children.
- FAIL/"Really?" The Jerk Store called, and they're running out of catchphrases.
- Los Campesinos. I wish you would die.
- ScarJo/Jonas Brothers backlash. Scarlett's Tom Waits covers weren't any shittier than 90% of what I heard on the radio this year. Leave her and her beautiful sweater puppets alone, now. Also I saw about 20 minutes of "Camp Rock" while I was waiting at the dentist's office and it was sort of gripping. Can anyone tell me how it ended? Did an uptight counselor get short-sheeted? Was there a Jonas-led panty raid?
- Dan Bejar's voice. Talk about a weak link. A.C. Newman's the guts of that band and you know it's true.