CSTB’s contributors were asked to compile a list of their favorite events, people, recordings, etc. from the year-that’s-about-to-conclude, and unlike everyone else’s BULLSHIT BEST OF lists, we’re waiting until the last possible moment, just in case a) something truly amazing happens in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl or b) The Unholy Two LP shows up in the mailbox.
OK, the latter actually happened a couple of days ago, but in old-school deadline terms, man, talk about cutting it close. To everyone who wasted work hours, family time or should have paid more attention while driving in order to read Can’t Stop The Bleeding this year, we thank you all, very much.
My only live Flyers hockey game of the year: that limp and depressing Game 3 against the Bruins. Who knew?
Any pie with pork and fruit on it at Biga Pizza, Missoula, MT
Missing every minute of Roy Halladay’s perfect game, even via cell phone/Twitter, ’cause I was driving, and besides, who cared about a Phillies-Marlins game on the first night of the Stanley Cup final?
LCD Soundsystem at Sasquatch
Fellow sports obsessive Mark Kates providing a way for me to watch Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at Sasquatch.
Re-loving wacky late period Alex Chilton R&B covers like “What’s Your Sign” and “You’ve Got a Booger Bear Under There” just as much as Big Star. RIP.
Interviewing the NL MVP. Nice guy. Canadian.
Just about everything they crack an egg on (but especially patatas bravas and polenta with sausage ragu) at Tasty & Sons in Portland.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Ted Leo doing the Waterboys’ “Fishermen’s Blues” in Spokane. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Ted Leo vs. Fucked Up and Sonic Youth at Matador 21.
Roy Halladay’s no-hitter.
My only live Phillies game of the year, NLCS Game 4 at AT&T Park. Being there in person made it less painful.
Finally adopting a cat after a year of using the “cat library” (a.k.a. fostering). Naming her (in part) after the Ice Bats.
Thee Oh Sees at BSMT in Missoula.
Brussels sprouts. They’re like the asparagus of winter.
The Ticket City Bowl. I mean, it’s gonna be so awesome, it will retroactively improve 2010.
Tim Cook : Top 10 music records of 2010 for my fave internet info blog, CAN’T STOP THE BLEEDING:
1. Wounded Lion WOUNDED LION (In The Red)
This is playful music and an abstract concept record about cavemen. Wounded Lion compare well with many other Rock Music Artists Who Also Have Visual Art Pretension (e.g., Bob Dylan, Steve O’Malley, Kurt Kobain, etc.)
2. Bottomless Pit BLOOD UNDER THE BRIDGE (Comedy Minus One/Bottomless Pit)
Tim Midgett and Andy Cohen have been the most consistently great rock musicians since about 1993. This record is one of three or four peaks of their discography.
3. Tyvek NOTHING FITS (In the Red)
They’ve replaced the ramshackle elements of the records with a scalding heat. This just plows and blasts holes through everything.
NOTE: My biggest pet-peeve of 2010 rock music is popular indie bands that try to sound exactly like PSYCHOCANDY. While NOTHING FITS sounds “harsh,” it is definitely not a Jesus & Mary Chain rip.
4. Orca Team LET IT GO (Off Tempo Records)
I bought it in August from the group’s merch table for $8, and have listened to it 35 times according to ITunes. Maybe this record cured my ADD.
5. Thee Oh Sees WARM SLIME (In the Red)
High-energy, messy, distinct art rock music unlike all else.
6. Scott & Charlene’s Wedding PARA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB (Australian Self-released LP/CD-R)
Mikey from Eddy Current Suppression Ring/Total Control burned me a copy of this record that apparently exists only in an edition of 200 hand-painted sleeves. It took me two months to get around to listening, but it has become kind of an obsession. It reminds me a little of the Graeme Downes/The Verlaines, THIS NIGHT-era Destroyer and Neil Young, and maybe of Grant McLennan in its Australianness.
7. The Intelligence MALES (In The Red)
The other Intelligence records are at least worth knowing about, three or four worth owning, but this is the one you play over and over. “Estate Sales” might be the song of the year.
8. Personal and the Pizzas RAW PIE (1-2-3-4/Burger)
This is more of a joke rock singles comp, but I admire its schtick, and enjoy the hell out of the music.
9. Ty Segall MELTED (Goner)
23 year old SF kid made a mini-masterpiece.
10. Swans MY FATHER WILL GUIDE ME UP A ROPE TO THE SKY (Young God)
Comfort music. This is more symphonic-sounding and cabaret-styled than before, but a lot of it burns.
Chinese Restaurants “Summer Romance” (SS)
La Sera “Never Come Around” (Hardly Art)
Unnatural Helpers “Sunshine/Pretty Girls” (Hardly Art)
The Liminanas “I’m Dead” (Hozac)
Eat Skull “Jerusalem Mall” (Woodsist)
Destroyer “Archer on the Beach” 12″ (Merge)
Fresh and Onlys “Impending Doom” (Agitated)
Boomgates “Bright Idea” (R.I.P. Society)
The Beets “Loco Motion” (Captured Tracks)
The German Measles “Color Vibration” (Wild World)
The Mayyors (RIP)
Thee Oh Sees
Joel RL Phelps + Downer Trio/Treasure State
The Intelligence (all 3 2010 versions of this band)
Guided by Voices
Tyvek Nothing Fits (In The Red)
The Young Voyagers Of Legend (Mexican Summer)
Bare Wires Seeking Love (South Paw)
(l-r : Nathan, sucking up to locals in “Jerry Lawler For Mayor” tee, Wes, Ray, at the year’s best live music event, Goner Fest 7)
John Wesley Coleman Bad Lady Goes To Jail (Goner)
Bottomless Pit Blood Under The Bridge (Comedy Minus One)
Running s/t LP (Permanent)
Circle Pit Bruise Constellation (Siltbreeze)
Total Abuse Mutt (P.P.M.)
James Arthur’s Manhunt -s/t (Arraght)
Dikes Of Holland s/t (Sundae)
Wounded Lion s/t LP (In The Red) and “Pointed Sticks” 7″ (Trouble In Mind)
Drunkdriver Self-Titled LP
Black Bug s/t(FDH)
Deskonocidos En La Oscuridad LP (Todo Destrucdio / Trabuc)
Phantom Payn Days “ s/t LP (De Stijl)
Ex-Humans-s/t (Rob’s House)
Endless Boogie Full House Head (No Quarter)
The Unholy Two – $kum Of The Earth (Columbus Discount)
smaller records (in diameter)
Cruddy “Berlin Wall” / “Running Rats”7″(Let’s Pretend)
Mind Spiders “World Destroyed” 7″ (Dirtnap)
A Giant Dog “The Grand” (Sundae)
Boomgates “Bright Ideaa” (RIP Society)
archival works :
Ozzie – The Parabolic Rock (S-S)
Crushed Butler – Uncrushed (Radio Heartbeat)
Dynamic Truths – Understanding Is Overrated (Little Black Cloud)
Les Rallizes Denudes - Heavier Than A Death In The Family / Blind Baby Has It’ss Mothers’ Eyes LP’s (Phoenix)
Jesu – Heartache & Dethroned (Hydra Head)
on stage :
Lamps (Portland, August, Memphis, September)
Louis C.K. (Paramount Theatre, Austin, November)
Drunkdriver (Austin, March)
Wounded Lion (Los Angeles, April)
Ty Segall, (Emo’s, Austin, July)
Cum Stain, (Austin, July, Portland, August)
The Muffs (Austin, March)
Wire (Barcelona, May)
Retribution Gospel Choir (Austin, February)
The Marked Men (Denton, June)
Eddy Current Suppression Ring (Austin, June)
OBN III’s / A Giant Dog / Flesh Lights (too many times or perhaps not nearly enough, Austin, throughout 2010)
Cloud Nothings (Chicago, July)
Grinderman (Memphis, November)
Best Show — Dead Meadow and Endless Boogie at Bowery Ballroom was hugely enjoyable, and Eddy Current Suppression Ring at Cake Shop was amazingly sweaty and also great fun. I can’t choose one, and the experiences were so dissimilar as to be basically different things. But I recommend either experience to anyone with ears, pores and an opportunity.
- South Brooklyn Pizza, First Avenue, Manhattan — Really, really good. There’s a real resistance in me to the concept of the $4 slice, but this is delicious pizza and the people are nice.
- Reading Things, Long — Consider The Lobster (I’m just going to reread it every year, I think) by David Foster Wallace; Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson. There are more, but there’s a lot of typing under this.
- Reading Things, Short — The Atlantic, Triple Canopy, Alex Pareene at Salon and Moe Tkacik’s Das Krapital blog at the Washington City Paper, Tom Scocca’s blog at Slate, Ted Berg’s Tedquarters, Joe Posnanski’s whatever-he-writes. And The Awl, naturally, about which…
- The Awl – I think that a lot of the writing I’m proudest of has run at Can’t Stop The Bleeding over the past years. The trend of doing my best writing for no money continued over the past year at The Awl, and the idiot conversations about football I’ve had there with Jeff Johnson and the essay-style stuff I’ve done for them have done a lot to get me back into enjoying writing. Finishing my novel helped there, too (look for it in… I don’t know, I can send you a Word doc maybe? I don’t know what’ll happen to it), but I’m better at this when I’m enjoying myself, and maybe the best thing to happen to me in 2010 was finding a venue to pair with this one as a place to have fun doing the only thing I’m any good at.
- The Sandy Alderson Administration — It’s so much easier to be optimistic about all this with the Mets still a few months away from playing any actual baseball. But while I guess I enjoyed writing pissed-off rants about the illogical aimlessness and worst-in-show backwardness of the Omar Minaya Era — I don’t remember enjoying it, but I did keep writing about it — I also really hated it that the baseball team upon which I rely for my warm-weather distraction was dispirited and crappy as to be essentially unwatchable for most of the last two seasons. I don’t totally expect the “crappy” thing to change in 2011, but at the very least I and other Mets fans like me will receive a lesson in getting what we wished for — a less-than-great team that’s run in a moderately forward-thinking manner. Whether or not that will be satisfying by July, I don’t know yet. The answer, one way or the other, will probably appear in this space.
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — I mean, obviously not favorite as in “something I do not actively detest.” By that standard of favorite, this ham-faced bully-boy falls far short at every single level. But I think there’s something instructive in Christie’s glib, lunchmeat-y exercise in giving conservatives what they believe they want. What this has meant, in Jersey, is a distinctly hector-intensive brand of legislation in which just about any actual governing is subsumed by aggro posturing — looming over and loudly dressing down public employees in increasingly staged and painful “YouTube moments” — and a sort of anti-governing, in which the basic functions and duties of the state are ritually dishonored and removed. Christie’s fearless public bullying of modestly paid state employees has made him a hero among the sort of assholes who are into that sort of thing. But in the state of New Jersey, Christie’s political fortunes are already in eclipse, because people who actually have to live in a state increasingly without services and governed only by the lower-minded impulses of political theater and eighth-generation libertarian venality actually have to deal with the anxieties, unpleasantnesses and gnawing ill will of living in such a place. It’s a feeling I imagine a lot of the country will have to get used to over the next couple years. If Christie and his Kid From Brooklyn-inspired statesmanship represent the end of all this, I may actually wind up liking him. In, like, a few decades.
I don’t have much of a Top 10 list of favorites, but here’s some 2010
notable moments of Gratitude and Are You F’n Kidding MEs?
Caption: “Who knew the “G” in “O.G.” stood for Gallo? Youtube find of 2010:
This appearance by “Prince Vince” Vincent Gallo on Grafitti Rocks.”
KERRY WOOD BLEEDS (MORE) CUBBIE BLUE:
After a mediocre turn with the Yankees and an even less interesting stint with the Indians, the man with the glass arm has signed a one-year/$1.5 mil deal as the key set-up man on the Cubs’ DL. Have they retired Wood’s ice-pack in centerfield yet? Take it down, he’s back! Wood’s career personifies the modern Cub era, all the potential and money in the world and nothing results. With all the talk that Girardi might leave NYC for the Cubs managing spot in 2010, we end up with Kerry Wood. Sorry, but signing up fan favorites instead of talent to sell ticketsis the kind of cynical sentiment the Cubs’ front office has killed this team with since the days of Ernie Banks. The only silver lining is that Wood is getting a pay check more in line with his reliability. Wood was offered more cash in other places, but for Wood, Wrigley means failing to standing ovations, and you can’t buy that.
THE SOUND OF SILENCE:
2010 saw Michael S. Schmidt, THE NEW YORK TIMES’ ace reporter on the steroids in baseball front, pretty damn quiet once the medical records of MLB baseball players were handed over to the players’ union by the Federal Government. In the near future, I’ll write up the recent developments on the government dropping its legal bid to get the records back. But suffice it to say, Schmidt’s inability to break a single baseball-related steroid story without the government in possession of those records, nor his explaining if the names he gave us – Sosa, Ramirez, Ortiz’ were on the three sub-lists of those records (inconclusive results, legal at the time results, or the illegal list) speaks volumes. 2010 makes it look more and more like Schmidt was used to smear players by Feds struggling to keep their case in the public eye and politically hot. When did Schmidt get back into the steroids news business? In 2010, when the government shifted gears from their loser MLB case for Lance Armstrong.
Jon Glaser’s hilarious sit-com about a guy in the witness protection program is probably the comedy highlight of my year. Infiltrating the Russian mob with Eugene Mirman alone could have done it, but Glaser has pulled off what a lot of comedians hope to do a goofy show that feels as funny as an in-joke with your friends but is watchable by anyone (well, anyone who doesn’t get Larry the Cable Guy).
MATADOR 21 LIVE FEED:
Obviously, I’m sucking up to the boss by mentioning this, but the live feed idea is what I’m talking about. In my life I’ve managed to miss some major moments in music that I knew were happening but could not get to (International Pop Underground, TOUCH ‘N GO 25), was too late to know about (Rites of Spring) or mistakenly blew off (too many). Matador’s live feed is something I hope music festivals everywhere take note of and use in the future. If you’re going to make something a destination event for aging indie rockers and punks, it doesn’t mean we aren’t dying to see it and might not PAY to see it live on-line. Music is still a community event, even if you can’t be there. Because of this, I got to see some great sets and my kid got to bed on time.
BLUES EXPLOSION 2010 at the Troubador and JSBX Remasters:
Tangentially related to the above, my best show of 2010 remains JSBX just before they went out to Vegas for the Matador 21 show. A fun set, a HUGE set, matched only by the remasters the BX is now putting out that mean even their many crowd hecklers now have their due as footnotes in the sonic history of this band.
WILSON by Daniel Clowes:
Clowes got some flack from the lesser lights of the comics world for making such a hilariously unlikable lead character as Wilson, but this is the lit comics highlight of the year for me. Movies, novels, plays, music — you never see anyone spending so much time on this sort of disturbed, emotionally fractured, laughably obnoxious character. Indeed, where, but as cable news hosts, do such people get their due? Clowes gets to the heart of what makes these people what they are, and then he makes you actually feel for the bastard. Masterpiece.
WATCHMEN (the movie):
Finally saw it this year on DVD and it’s a big improvement over the comic book. Don’t listen to the fan boys, WATCHMEN the movie lifts the book up from its dreary nerd self-absorption into something so much more entertaining and engaging. Dropping the blah colors of the book and finding an ending that makes sense (never a strong point in Alan Moore’s oeuvre) makes me sorry for the millionth time in my life I followed the advice of my comics fans.
THE FARCEURS: Has anyone ever left the stage, aged less gracefully, or presented the nation with comedy on such an epic scale as Brett Favre, Mel Gibson, Christine O’Donnell, Haley Barbour, or Conan O’Brien? Going into their individual stories is just repeating the obvious, but in these hard times, I appreciate the free entertainment.
Need I say more? A stupid relic of compromising with bigots is gone.
Sanders’ filibuster over the Obama tax deal said everything I’d want to say about it to Obama, more eloquently, and with a lot more attention than I’d ever get. Much as I hate the deal, I can’t coldly cut off all those unemployed people who will get more benefits from it just because I think other people who have gotten off easy tax-wise need to pay more. Hopefully, Sanders will gain momentum over the next two years, and not be just a righteous guy blowing off steam but a political force thatwill make a difference on Republican greed masquerading as opportunity.
Best Of 2010 in no particular order
1) These New Puritans – “Hidden” Makes me wish I was in a black fraternity so I could choreograph a stomp routine to standout track “We Want War”. Honorable mention: Grinderman 2, wherein Mr. Cave’s mustache runs amok.
2) Ozzie’s son @OneyGuillen’s Twitter abuse – Not since the on-camera squirming of Rudy Guiliani’s brat kid have as many people become so united in the wish that the apple should be thrown back into the tree. It’s quite a trick to be clubhouse poison when you don’t even have access to the clubhouse.
3) Deciding upon the most awesome name for a kitten ever: Tacos. Tacos came to our home in the Year of the Tiger, which explains both his stripes and his unhinged response to TV images of Sigfried and/or Roy. (To be fair, Tacos leans toward the bonkers in all matters.)
4) Texas upending the Yankees, including A-Rod’s visible surrender in Game 4 to the inevitable. I haven’t seen body language that pessimistic since Rod Blagojevich stood for his verdict.
5) Wikileaks Iraq helicopter video – You know how sometimes you assume that it’s already well-known that horrible shit with our name on it is raining do