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    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Ten incredibly beautiful vocal moments in indie rock history

    1) "I said: 'kiss me, you're beautiful—/ these are truly the last days'/ you grabbed my hand and we fell into it/ like a daydream or a fever"
    from "Dead Flag Blues" by Godspeed, You Black Emperor!

    Lee Marvin's opening monologue is terrifying and tragic, perfectly cueing the terrifying and tragic music to follow. Every line is a ticking bomb but the simplest lines are the most striking, excavating the poetry from the post-apocalyptic wreckage.

    2) "There is no righteousness in your darkest moment/ We're all equal in the face of what we're most afraid of/ And I'm so sorry/ For those who didn't make it/ And for the mommies who are left with their heart breaking."
    from "Sympathy" by Sleater-Kinney

    Motherhood does a band good as Sleater-Kinney proved. Corin Tucker has never sounded as impassioned or soul-baring as she does on One Beat's heartbreaking closer, when she has to beg a God she barely knows for mercy.
    You will be missed, Sleater-Kinney.

    3) "And you are always on my mind/ And you are you always on my mind/ And you are always on my mind/ And you are always on my mind"
    from "New Partner" by Palace Music

    The most beautiful sad song of all time? I dare you to find one better. And even if you do, could it possibly get so much agonizing mileage out of one line as Will Oldham does here?

    4) "Oohh young liars/ I said thank you for taking my hands/ And burying them deep in the world's wet womb/ Where no one can heed their commands."
    from "Young Liars" by TV On The Radio

    The first time I heard the Young Liars EP, it sounded unprecedented. What was this soulful hybrid of styles and how did the vocals just seem to float above the music? Three years later, the same questions linger.

    5) "Eg Flýt Um I Neðarsjávar HýðiA/ Hóteli Beintengdur Við Rafmagnstöfluna Og Nærist/ Tjú Tjú"
    from "Svefn-g-englar" by Sigur Ros

    I have little to no definitive evidence, but my best educated guess suggests that this is, in fact, the soundtrack on the escalator to heaven.

    6) "Pouring my fingers across the keys/ Will someone review my salary please?/ I’m selling my time to the man who sells style/ That time should be mine to waste on you."
    from "Theory of the Crows" by The National

    Matt Berninger can sound like a hoarse Leonard Cohen or an unleashed maniac, but he never sounds as vanquished as he does here. In one listen, he will convince you that a tie is just a noose made of silk.

    7) "Debaser! (Debaser) Debaser! (Debaser) Debaser!"
    from "Debaser" by the Pixies

    This is the sound of real rock: Frank Black losing his shit over Buñuel and Kim Deal making it pretty. But what makes it especially beautiful is that it still feels so fresh and exciting as it celebrates its seventeenth year of influencing everyone.

    8) "OHHHHHHHHH!"
    from "I Luv The Valley Oh!" by Xiu Xiu

    It may be a ridiculous claim, but 1:47 of this song, when Jamie Stewart finally lets out all the torment and psychic trauma and violence that’s been building up in him for years, may be my favorite second in music.

    9) "Chaææ/ Enginn fylgist alveg/ Chaææ/ Sólin sekkur/ Chaææ/ Enginn sér við mér"
    from "The Modern Things" by Bjork

    Armed with that singular voice, Bjork could've made this list with pretty much any song. What separates "The Modern Things," besides that Icelandic refrain, is that she somehow manages to sound childlike, prophetic and otherworldly all at once.

    10) "Maybe I’m too young to keep good love from going wrong/ but tonight you’re on my mind so you never know"
    "Lover, You Should Have Come Over" by Jeff Buckley

    Even in a song so racked with regret and loss, Buckley still inflects a real hope into this elegy for love. It doesn't make it any easier to hear though or any less staggering.

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    Mixtape for my sweetheart, the drunk #3

    1) "Black Sheep Boy" - Okkervil River
    2) "Murder in the Red Barn" - Tom Waits

    3) "Blue Arrangements" - Silver Jews
    4) "Red Sea, Black Sea" - Shearwater
    5) "Cherry's Blues" - Thurston Moore
    6) "Black Eye" - Uncle Tupelo
    7) "Red Right Ankle" - The Decemberists

    8) "Black Heart" - Calexico
    9) "Red" - Mission of Burma
    10) "From Black to Blue" - Yo La Tengo

    11) "Coxcomb Red" - Songs: Ohia
    12) "Blue Hawaiian" - Pavement
    13) "Red Blood" - Chad VanGaalen
    14) "Black Crow Blues" - Bob Dylan
    15) "Another Song For A Blue Guitar" - Red House Painters

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    The nine best movies about pianists

    9) Fingers - Remember when James Toback used to make great movies like this instead of pure crap like Black and White? Ah, sweet, sweet times those were.

    8) The Piano Teacher - It may not be a pleasant film or an easy one or even consistently great (the second half kind of lags), but Isabelle Huppert is incredible and some of the scenes will haunt you for weeks.

    7) Shine - Geoffrey Rush winning the Oscar for his portrayal as David Helfgott almost makes up for Jennifer Connelly winning one for A Beautiful Mind. Or Akiva Goldsman winning one for A Beautiful Mind. Unfortunately, it doesn't make up for A Beautiful Mind winning Best Picture. What could?

    6) The Piano - Remember when Jane Campion used to make great movies like this instead of pure crap like In The Cut? Maybe she's started a support group with James Toback somewhere.

    5) Five Easy Pieces - This is a great example of a movie that isn't especially groundbreaking or lifechanging, but still stands out with its solid writing, acting and direction. It's also noteworthy because Jack Nicholson leaves pieces of the scenery unchewed here.

    4) The Beat That My Heart Skipped - I haven't seen a movie this effortlessly cool since, I dunno, maybe Shoot the Piano Player? That scene where Thomas is bopping down the street to the beat on his headphones? Extra cool.

    3) Shoot The Piano Player - Possibly belongs in Truffaut's top three and that's saying a lot.

    2) Amadeus - With remake fever infecting Hollywood, I'd like to be the first to suggest that Dakota Fanning be cast as Mozart and the Olsen Twins as Salieri.

    1) The Pianist - Tragic, beautiful, stirring, infuriating. Every chord it strikes is virtuosic.

    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    Sixteen more awesome videos

    So Pitchfork listed 100 Awesome Videos, and okay, yeah, many were indeed awesome. They even picked what may be the most beautiful video of all time, Sigur Ros's "Untitled 1 (Vaka)." But what’s the fun in harmony, when there are so many other great choices out there? To be fair, I’ll even play by their rules: it has to be MTV-era (sorry, Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”), not on the Director’s Label DVDs (sorry, pretty much every excellent video ever, but especially Bjork’s "All is Full of Love"), and finally, it has to be on YouTube (sorry, Max Herre’s “1ste Liebe.”) With those caveats in place, here are my picks for 16 More Awesome Videos:

    "Neighborhood 2 (Laika)"
    Arcade Fire

    Pitchfork missed a chance to hype Arcade Fire? Color me stunned.

    "No Rain"
    Blind Melon

    For the chubby, four-eyed Bee Girl living in all of us.

    Carpark North

    What a dance recital with the X-Men looks like.
    (Thanks to M3)

    "Dance Me To The End of Love"
    Leonard Cohen

    Remarkably, not from the period when he was doing acid.

    "She Blinded Me With Science"
    Thomas Dolby

    If I ever make a documentary about Marie Curie, I’m hoping to use this for the closing credits.

    "Giving Him Something He Can Feel"
    En Vogue

    Hey Destiny’s Child, that’s how it’s done.

    "War Photographer"
    Jason Forrest

    KISS, Transformers, Vikings—all the essential ingredients to a kickass video (or bar mitzah).
    (Thanks to DoCopenhagen)

    "November Rain"
    Guns 'n Roses

    The best thing to happen to cinema since French New Wave.

    "Addams Groove"

    The greatest Addams Family music video ever?

    "Down By The Water"
    PJ Harvey

    So simple, so disquietingly erotic.

    "Doo Wop (That Thing)"
    Lauryn Hill

    Before the crazy, there was the sexy and the cool.

    Natalie Merchant

    Proving once and for all that Natalie Merchant is the Woody Allen of Lilith Fair.

    Nada Surf

    An entire season of Veronica Mars condensed into a hooky four minutes.

    "Don't Come Around Here No More"
    Tom Petty

    I think this video is based on something, but I can’t figure out what.


    Is there anything subtitles can’t improve? Nope, not even an epileptic Thom Yorke.

    "Right Now"
    Van Halen

    Right now, no one is safe from loneliness. Especially Sammy Hagar.

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    The thirteen Arrested Development quotes to adopt as your own personal catch phrase immediately

    13) G.O.B.: "Taste the happy, Michael."
    Suggested uses:
    Meeting two-time Oscar winner Michael Caine

    12) Buster: "Who would want to 'R' Mother?"
    Suggested uses: Mother's Day, solemn family dinners, nursing home visits

    11) Tobias: "Do these effectively hide my thunder?"
    Suggested uses: Talking to strangers in fitting rooms, talking to strangers elsewhere

    10) Lucille: "That’s how we joke. She doesn’t even have a house."
    Suggested uses: Comforting hurricane victims

    9) Tony Wonder: "Look at Tiagra, my girl. Don't look at her. 'Cause you look at her and, like, it affects her in a way I don't feel comfortable with. Or go for it, I don't care, whatever. I'm just saying, it's your world."

    Suggested uses:
    Lurking outside of Ben Stiller's house, strip club patter

    8) Lucille: "I don’t know what that is nor do I care to find out."
    Suggested uses: Discussing Jimmy Kimmel Live, getting a sex talk from your parents, giving your parents a sex talk

    7) Buster: "We have unlimited juice? This party is going to be off the hook!"

    Suggested uses: Throwing a party, juice-shopping, going to a party where juice may possibly be served

    6) Lucille: "Suddenly, playing with yourself is a scholarly pursuit."
    Suggested uses: Any and all occasions

    5) George Michael: "Say what you want about America, thirteen bucks still gets you a helluva lot of mice."
    Suggested uses: Comparative mice shopping, Fourth of July parades, eating in Chinatown

    4) Buster: "Army had a half-day."

    Suggested uses: Showing up early, going AWOL, explaining why Iraq is such a mess

    3) GOB: "Yeah, the guy wearing the $4,000 suit is holding the elevator for the guy who doesn't make that in four months. Come on!”
    Suggested uses: Turning down homeless people, working as an elevator operator, shopping at the Men’s Wearhouse

    2) George Michael: "What a fun sexy time for you."
    Suggested uses: Creeping out your cousins

    1) G.O.B.: "Please refrain from discussing or engaging in any sort of interoffice [bleep]ing or [bleep]ing or finger [bleep] or [bleep]sting or [bleep]ing or even [bleep]. Even though so many people in this office are begging for it..."

    Suggested uses:
    Weekly team meetings, performance reviews, Little League coaching

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    Found photo gallery #3

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    Mixtape for my sweetheart, the drunk #2

    1) "The Bay" - PJ Harvey
    2) "Tire Swing" - Kimya Dawson
    3) "Free Money" - Patti Smith
    4) "Rio Seco" - Juana Molina
    5) "Makes Me Wanna Die" - Tricky
    6) "Kim Gordon and the Arthur Doyle Hand Cream" - Sonic Youth
    7) "Good Woman" - Cat Power
    8) "Who Is He and What Is He To You" - Me'shell N'dgeocello
    9) "I Wish I Was The Moon" - Neko Case
    10) "Sunday" - Sia
    11) "Hyperballad (Live)" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    12) "Far Away" - Sleater-Kinney
    13) "Anthem For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl" - Broken Social Scene
    14) "Drake" - Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man
    15) "Have You Got My Money?" - Jana Hunter