Picking up from where we left off a mere days ago. Of course if you missed Part One, you ought to go back and read that first. i think we’re going to keep this one simple and list a few of the best bits of tunes and Tinseltown this list. Again, everything below is simply in the order that I happened to think of it in. Lemme know what you think.
What was what in music in 2008:
A good year for pop-punk and power pop. Here’s a short list of what you should be listening to in no particular order (and there’s even handy-dandy links to band websites, er mypace sites, in blue):
Little Lungs-“Hoist Me Up Comparisons to Sleater Kinney are inevitable(and a sign of laziness on my part) but goddamn if that opening “stop-skip-stop-start” riff on “Pet Cemetary” doesn’t kick my ass every time. Easily one of the best bands at the Kickstand this past year’s Gainesville Fest.
Cheap Girls-“Find Me a Drink Home“ I’ve already written about these boys extensively here (hey-still clinging on to page one of Google hits-a rare win for the home team) so in brief-absolute fantastic power pop with cleverly ironic and dank lyrics. A must-own.
Get Bent-“demo cd-ep“-Another band you can read about here There isn’t a single song I’ve listened to more than “Forest Ave.” this year. super fast, catchy and upbeat singalong pop punk. Best basement show of the year by far as well. By far my favorite band of the year.
Lemuria-“Get Better“-All too sweet and catchy pop music with tons of bite underneath the surface. Juliana Hatfield with more punch to it.
The Serious Geniuses-You Can Steal The Riffs But You Can’t Steal The talent“-Fun indie rock with nods to Superchunk and Big Star.
The Hold Steady-“Stay Positive“-Some folks like to bag on these guys for being a Springsteen derivative. I’d counter that the world would be a much better place if bands took more cues from The Boss and less from Duran Duran.
Ben Weasel & His Iron String Quartet-“These Ones Are Bitter-Proof that no one out-Screeching Weasel’s the original Weasel.
Good Luck-“In To Lake Griffy”-Guitar parts like Braid, lyrically sensibilities like Red Letter Day-era Get Up Kids. Yes please.
The Closet Fairies-“Ghetto Girls seven inch-FYP meets the Marked Men in a last man standing cage match with guitars.
Chuck Ragan-“Ole Diesel“ seven inch-Further proof this man does nothing half assed. Whaling on his six string while wailing out his heart through by way of his voice, the A-side was one of my most listened to tracks the latter part of this year. A better love song detailing the long road back home to your peace of my mind may not come around for a long while. There’s folks that play revival music because that’s what you do when you grow out of hardcore, and there’s folks that play it because that’s what keeps them standing upright. You can take an easy guess as to which category Mr. Ragan falls under.
One quick website note before we move on to movies:
I wrote about this site recently, but once more with feeling: If You Make It is far and away the best indie music-based site I’ve run across all year. From the stripped down acoustic acts in the long running Pink Couch series, to posted live shows, to demo mp3 albums on the site, you can’t find a better laid out, more diverse, more fun site to explore. bookmark this site immediately.
(to quote Bad Brains)At the Movies in 2008
Many sweet reasons for sweatpant wearing geeks to get their shoes stuck in spit out wads of gum and fingers oily with fake butter in 2008. Before I continue with my list, let me just state I haven’t had the chance to see “The Wrestler” nor “Let the Right One In” yet, but I’m sure I’ll love both. Also, Wall-E was extremely overrated.
Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr. was put solely on this earth to play Anthony Stark whilst mugging it up as a billionaire playboy/inventive genius. Also, imagining Jeff Bridges as “the Dude” who decided to take Lebowski the elder’s advice, accept that the bums lost and go legit and become a profit obsessed wiley corporate tycoon enhances your viewing pleasure tenfold.
Wanted: Pretty much the most ridiculous movie of the year, but if you just needed to turn of your brain, drool over fantastic action sequences and the best use of “Bullet Time” special effects since the orignal Matrix, and giggle like a titmouse every time Morgan Freeman used the phrase “Motherfucker” then you walked into the right movie. Bonus nerd points if you were more excited about Konstantin Khabensky from Night Watch having a bit part in the movie than anything onscreen involving Angelina Jolie. I hate to be the guy to make a Brandon Lee reference here, but didn’t you have your fingers crossed just a little bit during the climactic scene? No? Just me?
The Dark Knight: There’s little to nothing new I could add to the billion-word-plus that have already been heaped upon this movie lavishing justified praise from Ledger’s Joker, to the moody atmosphere, gritty, maybe kind of plausible if superheroes existed in the real world kind of crime tale David Goyer and the Nolans put together and the oft-overlook Aaron Eckhardt as the tragic Harvey Dent. Rather, let’s just hope Nolan doesn’t have a six week whiskey and grain alcohol bender leading him to the inevitable conclusion that there’s no way he can top this past effort, so the third film needs to have Bat Nipples just because.
Step Brothers-Way funnier than it had any right to be. I thought this would be another one of those films which gave away all the funny bits in the trailers. Happily, Will Ferrell and John C Reiley are over the top vulgar is this fine flick. It introduced the phrases “ballfro” and “chestpubes” into my everyday vernacular and gave the world the rap battle classic “boats and hos”. What else can you ask for?
Role Models-Paul Rudd is the snarky good looking version I see in the mirror every day. Here’s he’s teamed with Stifler plus ten years, the nerd from Superbad and a cute, foul-mouthed black kid. And there’s LARPing and boobs thrown in for good measure. This is a recipe for a good time.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall-Jason Segel reminds me way too much of my friend’s ex-boyfriend, and I’m still on the fence if this is a good thing or a bad thing. That said, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a funnier movie this year. From the pearl necklace gag, the pediatrician talk, Paul Rudd as a stoner surfer and Russell Brand as the cock rocker, this move had it all(and that’s before mentioning the brilliance of the puppet Dracula musical).On top of everything else, you have Kristen Bell in a bikini for most of the flick. without going into such details that the lovely Miss Bell ever has to worry, let me just say if we were one day in close proximity to one another, and she were to whisper in my ear, “I’ll let you touch my boobs if you push your wife down the stairs”, well, thankfully my wife has fantastic insurance.
Cloverfield-Granted, the marketing campaign was better than the final product, but despite the Dramamine cam, this is still a fun, scary Monsters smash up NY in the vein of Godzilla type of movies. And yes, there is the post 9/11 undercurrent running through out the film. When all is said and done, there may not have been a better thirty seconds of film all year than the severed Statue of Liberty head careening off cars and building in downtown NY.
Quarantine-Yes this is a near shot-for-shot remake of the spanish thriller [REC], but I didn’t get to see the original in a darkened theater on a 100′ screen. This movie scared the bejesus out of me with it’s claustrophobic atmosphere and unique sense of “oh man that little girl with a head cold is SO going to be a mindless zombie in about fifteen minutes” dread. Loved the twist near the end.
In Bruges-Beautifully filmed hitman tale that actually made me appreciate Colin Farrel AND it had a smarmy dwarf in it. Life does not get much better.
Other things to love about 2008:
-Bill Simmons mailbag columns and podcasts on ESPN.com
-Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback column on si.com, once you get past the Peyton Manning ballwashing
-the Sonos wireless music system
-eMusic.com-Best site for downloading DRM-free independent music
-True Blood on HBO
-Lost Season 4-They moved the island! Holy Shit!
-“Whatchoo gonna do when Obamamania runs wild on you!?”
–Live Action FARSIDE cartoon reenactments on FLICKR
-The continued excellence of the DC/Vertigo comic “Fables”
Chuck Ragan (ex-Hot Water Music, though if you’re reading this blog, ‘duh’
So, the four regular readers of this site may have noticed a prolonged absence for the past few months. Sorry about that. There’s no real reason except that my full time job hit its busy season post-Thanksgiving (and we’re not even retail!), I’m back in school and bit off a bit more than I can chew with two intensive writing courses, my wife’s having a tough go with her job so SupportiveHusband man has his duties, and on top of that I just started doing stand-up comedy and some event planning. Something had to give, and that thing I had to leave behind for awhile was the site and the podcast. I don’t think anyone wanted to read a few dozen “Today I ate a burrito, and put together a few training modules for my staff. Also, whenever Ice is onscreen during the new ‘American Gladiators’, it moves just a tiny bit, and I’m not entirely comfortable with myself at this moment. That said, I think we’re back up to speed, and this site should be updated on a much more consistent basis. The standup has gone pretty well so far. People laugh at all the right moments, no one’s pelted me with rotten fruit, and my bit about spinning of a new show from “To Catch A Predator” featuring pedophiles luring kids off playgrounds and into the trunks of ’89 honda Accords is going GANGBUSTERS! Much appreciation goes to Matt and Rob of the Laugh Track for giving me three straight months of shows. By the way, there is no better way to spend $5 the first Tuesday of the month. Word of mouth is catching on, and every show is attracting a higher level of comedian and larger turnout. Hopefully we’ll be sitting down with these two guys soon for a podcast. So, hopefully PFCC is back for good. There was the thought of changing this to “Minimum Rock & Roll”, but Chump Change has been the brand name, so to speak, for over a decade. Why change what kinda sorta works? Look for some new podcasts, reviews of Dead Mechanical’s, Cloak/Dagger’s, Lemuria’s and Ben Weasel’s latest works in the coming weeks, along with a post-Chilifest wrapup and hopefuly some exciting(!) news on events I’ve got lined up.And hey, if you missed me, drop me a welcome back comment so I know you care.