Sunday, December 30, 2007

Missing The Cut

So here I am, sitting on my couch and trying to recover from a little sickness. I mean, tomorrow is New Year's Eve and that means I have some big plans. Actually, to be honest, I don't even have real plans yet. I know I'll be doing something, and I know other people will be involved, but I am not sure what yet.

Anyway, excuse this post if it lacks any humor. I've filled myself with Sudafed and feel like I'm in a daze. But enough talk about that stuff, let me quickly mention that my friend Danny's band, The Black Noise Scam (that's them above), will bring its brand of old-school punk to BAR tonight. The guys will be opening for another one of my favorites, The Tyler Trudeau Attempt, which features the Advocate's Brian LaRue, a really good guy. It all starts around 10 p.m. Make sure to be there. And, hey, bring some tissues in case I need a few.

In other news, if you picked up Friday's Weekend section, you read my article on the top 20 records of 2007. Well, as usual, I had to leave off a bunch of really good albums that I loved a lot. So, I wanted to list my near-misses.

One disclaimer, many readers have wondered why I didn't include Radiohead's "In Rainbows." Well, here's the thing, I'm going to consider that really great disc a 2008 release. Why? Because you can't buy it in stores until next month. So, consider me old-fashioned or stodgy or whatever, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, here are the discs, in no particular order, that just barely missed inclusion in my story:
21. Menomena - "Friend and Foe" (Barsuk)
22. Paper Airplanes - "Boyhood" (54-40 or Fight)
23. Loney, Dear - "Loney, Noir" (Sub Pop)
24. The One AM Radio - "This Too Will Pass" (Dangerbird)
25. Mother Mother - "Touch Up" (Last Gang)
26. Immaculate Machines - "Fables" (Mint)
27. Neil Young - "Chrome Dreams II" (Reprise)
28. Rocky Votolato - "The Brag & Cuss" (Barsuk)
29. John Vanderslice - "Emerald City" (Barsuk)
30. Sea Wolf - "Leaves in the River" (Dangerbird)
31. Band of Horses - "Cease to Begin" (Sub Pop)
32. Levon Helm - "Dirt Farmer" (Vanguard)
33. Phonograph - "Phonograph" (Arclights)
34. Nick Lowe - "At My Age" (Yep Roc)
35. Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black" (Republic)
36. Ryan Adams - "Easy Tiger" (Lost Highway)
37. The Magic Numbers - "Those The Brokes" (Astralwerks)
38. Aqueduct - "Or Give Me Death" (Barsuk)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Pat –

Just catching up after a couple of days away. Sorry to hear about the sickness – never a stylin’ way to close out the old year. Frankly, I’ve taken to eschewing the December 31st revelry over the last few years – nothing ever seems to live up to expectations, except perhaps chewing the fat with some close friends over a couple of drinks (plus, the drinks are waaay cheaper at home). So wherever you end up, enjoy – me, I’ll be home chiming it in with Dick Clark, a couple of kindred souls, and homemade artichoke dip.

So – read through the mail and papers that have piled up, including “Weekend.”
Two very fine columns on Friday indeed:

1) A very respectable top 20 albums – I had forgotten about some of them, since the organization in my IPod is almost as bad as the organization on my desk. I hate that critics are forced to issue “best of” lists – I just prefer “CDs I really liked..a LOT.” Yep, Modest Mouse, Feist, Arcade Fire, Okkervil and Dinosaur Jr, were pretty great. And Ritter’s album was excellent – it got played LOTS when I first got it. Have to admit, I haven’t heard some of your choices. And a couple of my faves – The Thrills, the Shins and Nick Lowe (I see that made your 2nd team picks) - weren’t on there, but to each his or her own (for idiotic pop that I played REALLY loud with the windows down, I couldn’t beat the new Fountains of Wayne…go ahead, slash away).

I really appreciated the fact that your list was a good balance of nationally and lesser-known groups – I think in addition to demonstrating a broad range of tastes, it shows that you don’t thumb your nose at the wider audience faves (the Boss, Wu Tang) just because they’re bigger than most.

Oh – and by the way – you should care about what Stephen King (yes, THAT Stephen King) thinks about music because?.... Frankly, his opinion is no more valid than anyone you’d meet any night of the week at one of the clubs downtown. Just ‘cause EW gives him a public forum for his oh-so-erudite opinions, doesn’t mean we should give then more credibility than anyone else. Usually, I find his criticisms scarier than any novel he’s published in the last twenty years.

2) Regarding your resolutions – YES, we like to know what movies you’ve seen. NO, we don’t need to know what you’ve eaten for dinner, since chances are - from the sound of things - it’s either fried or Chinese or both. Give us SOME credit.

The whole blogging phenomenon CAN be kind of a cool thing, especially in the world of journalism – it gives the public the opportunity to interface with journalists, and hopefully (on occasion) establish meaningful dialogues about interesting and sometimes important subjects. Oh, I’m sure that you've received poorly written diatribes by angry zealots who are unhappy about some band you’ve disliked or some participle that you left dangling, but there are other folks (some of whom I’m sure have responded to your blogs) that appreciate what you do, and would like to communicate as much.

As someone whose boss evaluates them only once a year, and who seldom receives any feedback from customers (despite trying to get it), I find the whole blogging thing an interesting form of communication. Let’s face it – the majority of MySpace pages have become nothing more than public e-mail forums, where people post snarky comments that only the page owner will understand, or heap mindless praise upon celebrities who have set up sites. If someone wants to talk to me (and is too cheap to pick up the phone and call), then I prefer that they privately e-mail me rather than splatter their “in the know” messages out on the ‘web for the entire world to see. Of course, that’s just me.

It seems from reading down through some of your blog respondents, that most have taken an interest in what you’re talking about, and feel comfortable enough to try to state a coherent thought or belief. Good for them and – frankly - good for you. Your Register columns are accessible and interesting to read because they seem to be a reflection of who you are (of course, I say that not knowing you). You’re certainly knowledgeable about the subject matter of which you write, but your prose is devoid of that gasbag arrogance that permeates a lot of critics’ columns (music critics, film critics, theater critics, you name it…) You’re not pedantic or preachy, and I’m guessing that most folks who respond either positively or negatively to what you say would feel as comfortable doing so with you over a beer as they would through the e-mail, had they the opportunity. I hate to say “regular guy” (even moreso given your revulsion for all things John Mayer), but…there it is.

So, take that for what it’s worth –you jokingly stated that you resolved not to write about yourself as much. Break THAT resolution. I think that’s the very part of what you do to which people most respond. And hey – at least you’re not saying “poop” as much anymore. That can only be good.

Hope you ring in 2008 happy and healthier!

P.S. –
Until last week, my favorite flick of 2007 was “No Country for Old Men.” That is, until I saw “There Will Be Blood” Friday night in Manhattan. After waiting in waaaaay too long a line and paying waaaay too much for a seat, my comrades and I hunkered down for this marathon (nearly 3 hrs) – but it’s worth it. Both Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano are so intense and creepy, and the story so involving (plus hey, the town’s called Little Boston [!]), that the time flew by. And the first and last ½ hrs of this are as cool and controversial as anything you’re likely to see anytime soon (remember – I didn’t say “good” – I said cool and controversial). I believe it’ll be starting here in CT in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll probably see it again. I’m guessing it’ll be on a lot of folks “Best of 2008” picks around here. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lewis get the Oscar for this.