the paper chase

January 20, 2009

This is madness! Two blog posts in one night?! Note: like last year, this stuff didn’t necessarily come out in 2008, but let’s just pretend.

favourite albums of 2008:

mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister
Twin Vickers – Demo

These two recordings were so far beyond anything else I heard in 2008 that I feel the need to break up the list in order to point out this fact. The rest can be considered more or less equal.

Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Muscles  – Guns Babes Lemonade
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife/Picaresque
Smoking Popes – Stay Down
Bayside – Shudder
The Benevento/Russo Duo – Play Pause Stop
Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
The Black Keys – Magic Potion
The Maccabees – Colour It In
Annuals – Such Fun
Judy and Mary – The Great Escape
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call
Crystal Castles – S/T
Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Foals – Antidotes
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
New Order – Substance
Ratatat – Classics
Justice – †
Kanye West – Graduation
Louis Jordan – Greatest Hits
Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Oh Mercy – Priviliged Woes
The Bronx – III
The Presets – Apocalypso

favourite songs by bands/off albums i may or may not necessarily give a shit about:

Twin Vickers – The Way To Walk Out Of Here
mewithoutYou – O Porcupine/The Dryness and the Rain/Wolf Am I!
Oh Mercy – Can’t Fight It
The Greasers – Shelley
The Bronx – Past Lives
Annuals – The Tape
Cut Copy – Feel The Love
Death Cab For Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart/Cath…
Common – Be (still probably my favourite hiphop track)
Kanye West – Robocop
Bayside – The Ghost of St. Valentine
MGMT – Time To Pretend (I liked this when everyone was still obsessed with ‘Kids’)
Muscles – Jerk
Hot Chip – Ready For The Floor
Driving Music – Demo (all five tracks)

bands that should have quit in 2008:

Fall Out Boy
Jimmy Eat World
Saves The Day (hurts me to mention these last two)
Bloc Party
Kaiser Chiefs
Coldplay (still)
Metallica (still)
The Getaway Plan

bands that shouldn’t have quit in 2008:

Blueline Medic…

best new bands/new to me:

The Paints
Kimbra
The Benevento/Russo Duo

biggest disappointments:

Kanye West – 808s and Heartbreaks
Common – Universal Mind Control
Lagwagon – I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon

best gigs:

The Paints @ Noise Bar
mewithoutYou @ Soundwave Festival
Saosin @ Soundwave Festival
The Matches @ Soundwave Festival
Ratatat @ The Espy
Kimbra @ The Toff
Twin Vickers @ The Old Bar
Justice @ Ganban Night ’08
Lagwagon @ Club Quattro Tokyo

i just don’t get it:

MGMT
Deerhunter
The Gaslight Anthem
Vampire Weekend

biggest surprises:

Local artists outshine just about everything else regardless of genre
After shockingly saccharine Plans album, Death Cab release scary good song with ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’
I develop a nasty affinity for nasty electro (although I can pinpoint this to one very particular night)…
Sum 41 most popular pop-punk band in Japan (not really surprising actually)
Brad Pitt in Burn After Reading, mental

best movies:

Let The Right One In
Wall-E
The Dark Knight
The Killing
Tekkonkinkreet
Burn After Reading (Coen-lite but still hilarious)
Battle Royale
Hidden
5 Centimetres per Second
Tokyo Story
Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (why are there so many thrillers on this list?)

worst movies:

I didn’t watch anywhere near as many movies this year so thankfully I didn’t see many bad ones. Let me think…

Babylon A.D. (stumbled across this on the plane to Cambodia, I couldn’t look away it was so appalling)
The Orphanage (not bad by any means but just a bit of a disappointment)
Ghost In The Shell (so overrated)
Pineapple Express (had its moments but ehhh)
My Blueberry Nights (ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

best television shows:

The Colbert Report
Monster
Death Note

worst television shows:

The Office (quit while you’re ahead!)
Heroes
Lost

best games:

The World Ends With You (DS)
Space Invaders Extreme (DS)
Kirby Canvas Curse (DS)
Jump! Ultimate Stars (DS)
Geometry Wars (DS/PC/360)/Grid Wars (PC)
Everyday Shooter (PC)
N+ (DS)

best books read in 2008:

The Grapes of Wrath
The Name of the Rose (it took me like four months, it must be good…I think…)
Red Dust
The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea
If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler

best book read in 2008 that i didn’t really care for:

Slaughterhouse-Five

most anticipated/fingers crossed/predictions for 2009:

New Decemberists album redefines indie rock, tops both Pitchfork’s best albums chart and the New York Times book review
Fabled second Postal Service album finally drops
Kimbra becomes the next Björk sans the cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof act
Blueline Medic reunite and finally get the recognition they deserve
Hacking the Wii becomes even cheaper and easier
Nonetheless, Nintendo continue their march towards total world domination
Barack Obama launches rocket full of conservatives into the sun
Kevin Rudd’s internet filter blocks every website except tubgirl
Electric cars
People start talking about how many Yen gold can buy, not the other way around

That’s a whole year’s worth of pop culture right there! Sadly I can’t even remember half of the stuff I read and watched in 2008. The first half was spent in a warbly daze and the second half swimming in neon and smokey karaoke bars. Consider my lesson learned.

よろしく。

cat heaven

January 19, 2009

Is this thing on?

So, uh, I’m sorry it’s been so long since I wrote in here.  That’s not an apology directed at anybody in particular, cause I know nobody reads this, but I feel like I’ve let the team down. Anyway on with the show.

New year’s resolutions. Bizarrely, I more or less accomplished all the things I set out to accomplish in 2008. I feel like that must be a first for humankind. So this year I’ve pared it back a little bit, and focussed on more practical, rather than abstract, goals. Like getting more proficient at Japanese, f’rinstance. And saving money. 2008 was a year of excess. And to prove it…

OK now, I’m more or less over these kinds of surveys. But I feel that given my time constraints it would be more efficient and less painful for you, the reader, to see this in easy-to-digest point form. So with no adieus to further, here’s 2008 in review.
Read the rest of this entry »