Archive for December, 2014

Best Music of 2014

December 30, 2014

photo-1-extralarge__by_Pamela_Litky_1403631259412

2014 felt like 2009, a year with a couple stand out records but an off year since we didn’t have any new Kanye. So goes Kanye, so goes the year.

I listened to as many albums as I could get ahold of this year and even as it ends I’m still finding stuff I missed or should have spent more time with. Much love to Rich Gang, Guy Gerber and Puff Daddy, Charli XCX and A$AP Ferg.

DFA1979ThePhysicalWorld600px050914.gallery

1. Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World

I just wrote and then deleted a long autobiography about my relationship with Death From Above 1979’s first album, about the mythology created about the band with my wife and my friend Lauren, about the times that Sebastien was a jerk and Jesse was the coolest dude ever. But I don’t want to bore you. Death From Above 1979 are back, and this album rules. The production is cleaner but the songs are still brutal, ferocious, and instantly danceable. A joke we make is that Jesse’s bass is tuned to “awesome” at all times. I mean that in the truest sense. This band inspires awe in me. This record leaves me awestruck. It is a triumph and I am so happy they’re back. 10 years was worth it. Sebastien is still a jerk but that is why we love him.

keys n krates

2. Keys N Krates – Every Nite

Trap dance? I don’t know the official term but Every Nite is all bangers.

duck-sauce-quack

3. Duck Sauce – Quack

Another long wait that was worth it. A-Trak told a podcast in 2011(!) that this record was done and mixed and it finally came out this year. A-Trak is the partner that Armand Van Helden has needed his whole career. Van Helden has certainly created some masterpiece singles in his lifetime but a full cohesive album? Not until Duck Sauce. A-Trak is a people pleaser and he works well to accentuate Van Helden’s strengths and keep all his goofing around contained in the skits. This is dance floor nirvana.

Whigs_cover_noband

4. The Afghan WhigsDo to the Beast

Greg is back and he brought tunes. This is a divisive record since Rick McCollum isn’t featured on it but it still sounds like the Whigs to me and Greg is in fine form. In the sea of reunion cash ins, this is a record with purpose and spirit.

mastodon-cover-1-1402946808

5. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun

After the slump of 2011’s The Hunter, …Round The Sun is a nice return to form. Killer riffs abound and these guys still know how to write a hook. Standing ovation.

run-the-jewels-rtj2-cover

6. Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 2

El-P made me a believer with his production on Killer Mike’s 2012 R.A.P. Music. I didn’t exactly see the light on the first Run The Jewels but the sequel definitely hit my sweet spots. The raps are vicious and the beats are there to match them.

Brody_Dalle_Diploid_Love

7. Brody Dalle – Diploid Love

Brody Dalle’s post Distiller’s career has been largely silence, with the exception of the Spinnerette project, which took a promising EP and expanded into a disappointing album. Diploid Love is a total success, with Dalle playing nearly everything and just rocking faces. Dalle’s voice still retains that trademark rasp and she sounds like a Beast.

klaxons

8. Klaxons – Love Frequency

Is this really the last Klaxons album? Bummer. This one is more like the Myths of the Near Future with laser synths and less guitar. Rachel thinks it sounds like 2007 which is great! 2007 was great!

Sloan_Commonwealth

9. Sloan – Commonwealth

Sloan seem to be on an every other album thing with classics at this point in their career. After roaring back with Never Hear The End of It in 2006 they released the short and relatively subdued Parallel Play. That record is mad underrated. Then in 2011 they dropped The Double Cross which is a fucking masterpiece so it makes sense that Commonwealth would be more chill. Of course, it only takes a couple listens to realize that Sloan still have it and will always have it, that their songs will imprint into your mind and you’ll be singing them forever.

20140314115000!RecessSkrillex

10. Skrillex – Recess

He could have just made 11 bangers and said “That’s a wrap” but instead he sought out some interesting collaborations, and just tried to see what would stick. Not as hard hitting as Bangarang, this would be the thoughtful Skrillex album. Still has some dance jams but he is in a headier place. If this one left you wanting there is always the Dog Blood stuff which are all face melters.

Ariana_Grande_My_Everything_2014_album_artwork

11. Ariana Grande – My Everything

I was hoping for this to be 2014’s Kiss and while it didn’t quite get there it still has plenty of jams. Songs with Zedd, The Weeknd, A$AP Ferg, all fire.

starsnooneislost

12. Stars – No One Is Lost

Despite their claims, I thought Arcade Fire really shit the bed with their “dance music” attempts on Reflektor. Stars made similar claims on the run up to No One Is Lost but hey, they came through. Only the title track and the closer have that club feeling but the rest of the album is a more than solid collection of indie rock jams, and as someone with little stomach for indie rock these days that is saying something.

we-are-scientists-tv-en-francais-500x500

13. We Are Scientists – TV en Français

I’m a We Are Scientists fan for life so every record goes into immediate rotation. This one is more chill with less rockers but these guys still know how to crafty punchy tunes. I’ll take it!

5_The_Gray_Chapter_Artwork

14. Slipknot – .5 : The Gray Chapter

My expectations were low to non-existent for this album. Paul Gray dies, they kick Joey Jordison out of the band, the last record was just ok, was this album even going to exist at all? I should have realized that nothing gets a metal band invested like the death of bandmate. Like Back In Black and Down III.5 is all righteous fury and chewed anger. And they have “Custer”, which is an immediate instant classic. I read they’re closing their shows with it now.

DJ_Quik_-_The_Midnight_Life_(Official_Album_Cover)

15. DJ Quik – The Midnight Life

DJ Quik is a legend and genius and all of his albums are great. Same with this one.

homepage_large.767bdf78

16. Spoon – They Want My Soul

Spoon are so good at this point that it is easy to underrate them or just plain take them for granted. This album is more top quality Spoon for us Spoon loving masses.

todd terje

17. Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

This album sounds like these weird instrumental albums my dad used to play when I was growing up. I think they were like new age or something like that. Listening to this reminds me of being 10 years old but not in any specific way. I say this because I can’t describe the feelings this album elicits any other way. It’s really good and it makes me feel like a child.

Yg-my-krazy-life-deluxe

18. YG – My Krazy Life

As I type this I read that YG and DJ Mustard are feuding. If so, get this last document of their fruitful collaborations.

french-montana-coke-boys-4

19. French Montana – Coke Boys 4

I joked in January that this was the best album of the year but then I kept listening to it and I guess I love French Montana?

Katy_B_-_Little_Red

20. Katy B – Little Red

I don’t think this record caught on because they waited over 2 years to captialize on the excitement of “Aaliyah”. Drop this album in Spring 2013 and you might have had something. That said, it still has plenty of fun dance cuts and hey, they included “Aaliyah”!

Best Songs of 2014

  1.  Swet Shop Boys “Benny Lava” Heems of Das Rascist drops of one off EP with the jam of the year. I heard he’s quit music and working in an office now which is total bummer because dude has bars.
  2. Federal Reserve featuring Cam’ron, A-Trak, Juelz Santana & Dame Dash “Dipshits” This promised a Dipset return that didn’t happen but while you play the track you feel like Cam and company are set to take over the world. Dame Dash with best spoken word outro of the year. Also A-Trak!
  3. Death From Above 1979 “Virgins” The first 10 seconds of this song are the greatest 10 seconds of your life.
  4. Keys N Krates “Are We Faded” Yes.
  5. Death From Above 1979 “Trainwreck 1979” The comeback single that said that everything will be alright and the boys are back.
  6. Stitches “Brick In Your Face” This was the year of Stitches. He has a gun tattooed on his face and he loves cocaine. Also video of the year.
  7. Future featuring Pharrell, Pusha T and Casino “Move That Dope” Pharrell has the best verse on this track and there are a LOT of great verses on this track.
  8. Bobby Shmurda “Hot Nigga” Free Bobby.
  9. Duck Sauce “Time Waits For No-One” This is the great sequel to “U Don’t Know Me” that we’ve been waiting 15 years for.
  10. Dej Loaf “Try Me” The nicest song about murdering your enemies.
  11. Hercules And Love Affair “Do You Feel The Same?” These guys can’t make a full record but they’re usually good for one jam and this song is a JAM.
  12. La Roux “Uptight Downtown” La Roux followed up a five year absence with 9 songs, 1 of which was this one, totally great, and then eight forgettable whiffs. But yeah, this one rules.
  13. Ariana Grande feat. A$AP Ferg “Hands On Me” These two sound absolutely jubilant about having sex.
  14. Drake “0 To 100” Swap in “We Made It” or “6 God”, Drake dropping loosies and still running shit without an album.
  15. A-Trak & Lex Luger “Ohmygosh” A-Trak also also worked with Lex Luger this year and made some bangers so basically A-Trak was running shit in 2014.
  16. Drake “Trophies” More Drake.
  17. Brody Dalle “Don’t Mess With Me” Noted.
  18. The Afghan Whigs “Algiers” This sounds a lot like the True Detective theme song which is also a pretty good song and hey a not bad show have you watched True Detec-
  19. Kylie Minogue “I Was Gonna Cancel” This Kylie album felt slight but had a few wonderful moments, this Pharrell production being the highlight.
  20. Designer Drugs “Crystal” BANGER BANGER BANGER BANGER BANGER!
  21. Young Money featuring Tyga, Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Wayne “Senile” This beat is insane and I can’t believe they let Tyga rap on it but Nicki and Wayne drop flames and thus it is a classic.
  22. French Montana featuring Jadakiss “88 Coupes” Harry Fraud needs to do a Ghostface album, stat.
  23. Run The Jewels featuring Zach De La Rocha “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” As a longtime Rage Against The Machine fan, I was excited for this and the fact that it actually delivers on it’s song title is remarkable.
  24. Basement Jaxx “Never Say Never” The Jaxx have been just ok since crushing shit on Kish Kash in 03 and Junto is a nice return to form. “Never Say Never” is their best single since “Good Luck”.
  25. Nick Jonas “Teacher” I’m as surprised as you. The rest of the album is a snooze though.
  26. Nicki Minaj featuring Beyoncé “Feeling Myself” Nicki Minaj released “Only” as a single instead of this and I just can’t wrap my mind around it.
  27. Sloan “You Don’t Need Excuses To Be Good” Chris Murphy is a golden god.
  28. Slipknot “Custer” New classic.
  29. Beyoncé “7/11” The self titled album ended up on my list last year but this track is as good as about half the songs on that one.
  30. Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige “F For You” Disclosure are inherently boring but Mary J. Blige makes this a first class banger for the ages.

Best of Movies of 2014

December 23, 2014

eternalsun11

This was not a hard list to make. In the past I have agonized over these things, moving them around for days and days, fretting over placement. What a waste of time! But this list came easy because I followed my heart.

The Best

1. The Raid 2 

kinopoisk.ru

Best action, best violence, best payoff, best everything. How can you hype something in your head and it still exceeds your wildest dreams? The answer is The Raid 2. I think I’ve covered everything I love about this movie in various other places or if you’ve ever met me in person but let me just reiterate that nothing is beating this bad boy for a long time. The bar has been raised. Never forget that at the U.S. premiere someone had a seizure and they had to stop the movie. The Raid 2 is so good it might kill you.

2. The Guest

IMG_4660

I loved how they kept showing you that David is a bad guy but then have him do something cool as hell, like intimidate a high school principal or casually smash a guy’s head into the wall and then fuck that dude’s girlfriend. “This guy is bad, right? So why does he rule?” The grenade toss is highlight reel hall of fame shit and put it in the Smithsonian.

3. Whiplash

tumblr_nd9f0sOUTg1rkem6ho3_500

There is a moment about 3/4’s the way through that a few people say is too over the top and throws the movie into some crazy realm. And definitely when that scene happens the first thought is “Whoa movie! You are getting crazy! Settle down, baby.” But then Miles Teller tries to play the drums while covered in blood and I got it, it worked. The movie is all about playing till you bleed and about playing so well while mouthing “Fuck you” to your archenemy. The best archenemies are the ones who might be your friend but then turn on you but you could almost be each other. Dr Doom and Reed Richards, Wolverine and Sabretooth, heck DeNiro and Pacino in HeatWhiplash even has it’s own version of the restaurant scene!

4. John Wick

tumblr_inline_nfjxrl3isc1rr5l6k

Keanu Reeves is a national treasure and a legend. The Matrix, Point Break, Speed, classic status. His legend is secure, he directed The Man of Tai Chi and fucking crushed it, and still he made head shot masterpiece John Wick because he wants you to know that he is still a legend who will barrel roll and pop you in your right eye.

5. Blue Ruin

Blue-Ruin-Dwight

Everything goes wrong in Blue Ruin and just keeps going wrong for a while and never really goes right. It’s sad but also hilarious, like when a character gets shot with an arrow and tries to remove it like DeNiro in Ronin and then realizes fuck it and goes to the hospital.

6. Nightcrawler

maxresdefault

Jake Gyllenhaal is a fucking creeeeeeeep in this movie. Also I believe that the person he plays is very real and true.

7. Edge of Tomorrow

edge of tomorrow tom cruise

Tom Cruise in a mech suit fighting aliens. NO CONTEST CLASSIC STATUS.

8. Snowpiercer

tumblr_n8zjgySHKh1strf5yo1_500

I like how people watched this movie and said things like “That train didn’t make sense, where did the rich people sleep?” What is it like to be dead inside? Bong Joon-Ho has about 5 classic set pieces here, the classroom being the most obvious but that ax fight is goddamn poetic. This is also the film I get the most texts about, after The Raid 2. “Did you see Snowpiercer, Lorin? Seems like your thing.” You are correct, everyone. Awesome movies are indeed my thing.

9. Only Lovers Left Alive

2ytzd5e

Literally two vampires spooning and playing shoegaze. Masterpiece.

10. Under The Skin

tumblr_n8zjl6IKo31qzoblbo1_500

Scarlett Johansson lures men into her van and then rips their guts out and leaves just the skin. This was really good.

Honorable mentions

The Grand Budapest Hotel

tumblr_n6ttayhKy31rdutw3o1_400

Wasn’t that ending like the saddest fucking thing?

Boyhood

original

Relatable.

Sabotage

USA Today keeping readers informed about Arnold shooting people in the spine.

USA Today keeping readers informed about Arnold shooting people in the spine.

Goriest Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ever made. At one point they’re just stapling people to the ceiling and shoving main characters into fridges. INSANE.

Underrated

300: Rise of an Empire, Hercules, Pompeii

tumblr_mt4p4jbweg1qfmbszo1_500

These movies had no obligation to be any good and yet they were all wonderful romps. Pompeii is a John Snow and Mr. Echo team up movie against Jack Bauer! 300 Part 2 is a prequel, sequel and sidequal all at the exact same time. Eva Green shoots a flaming arrow into a monster which causes a domino effect explosion and she just turns and walks away like, “This is what I do.” And Hercules had The Rock casually murdering dudes as one does.

Worst Movies

Birdman

tumblr_mj0n9qvgC21rz3koqo1_400

I’ve gone on the record.

They Came Together

They-Came-Together

I think I hate David Wain movies.

Godzilla

a3cf208ec07d3d096369d61082b904d1-d77yyfa

Every defense of this movie is verbal gymnastics trying to say boring is not boring.

Need For Speed

tumblr_inline_ngqm8oLPbl1t6h482

Everyone is embarrassed and sad about being involved. Also people keep getting out of their cars and not racing! Get back in your car!