This was a shit year. It’s hard to find a “best” thing about a terrible time frame, so it’s no surprise that my Best Of list is exceeding dark. We are the times, and times is hard, Missus Lovett. But my choices, all of them, provide small glimmers of hope, muted rays within the coal dust, a little something to grab for. In a year like 2014, it’s the best I can do.
Everything Dopest in 2013:
- DJ Rashad, Double Cup
- That show I went to in a warehouse in Detroit that Jay Daniel played
- My decision to buy the entirety of Daria and The State on DVD
- DJ Koze’s new album, Amygdala
- Suzi fucking Analogue
- Masters of Sex, especially the boobs
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
- This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
- Ben UFO, fabriclive.67
- DJ Deeon in general
- CodeAcademy/generally learning how to code
- Ableton Push
- Medium (the blogging platform)
- This GIF
Ducky’s newest single, “Two Over Ten,” was released on December 10. The Natasha Kmeto Remix of the track is out today.
Chance the Rapper, Acid Rap
The 1975, The 1975
Half Moon Run, Dark Eyes
Matt Corby, Resolution EP
I’ve read a lot of the Sherlock Holmes books this year and started—finally—my vinyl collection.
Lewis Watson‘s latest EP, Some Songs With Some Friends, was released December 16 via Warner Music.
Best meal: A toss up between Battersby in Brooklyn and Cal Pep in Barcelona.
Best coffee: Also a toss up: Courier Coffee or Barista, both in Portland, OR.
Best wine: A 1998 St. Emilion that Eric Harland brought to his birthday show at the Blue Note.
Best gig: Montreal Jazz Festival with Aaron Parks, Orlando LeFleming, and Mark Guiliana.
Best concert: Tie between St. Vincent and David Byrne at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA and a traditional flamenco group at Villa Rosa in Madrid.
Best album: Midlake’s Antiphon.
Best movie: I’m hooked on Michael Apted’s original English Up series.
Best purchase: A 1966 Fender Electric XII!
Best drive: After a gig in Vicksburg, MS I took a couple of days to drive up the old “Blues Highway” from Mississippi to Memphis, passing by Dockery Plantation, the legendary “Crossroads, and many of the unmarked places where the blues was born.
Best achievement: Finally finished reading Infinite Jest, which I started sometime in 2012. . .
Best opera: I had a blast playing with the NYC Opera in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole, in what ended up being NYC Opera’s final performance. A sad and moving occasion.
Best city: Athens, Greece. You can take a boat to any thousands of beautiful islands, you can study amazing ancient ruins, or you can just hang out and eat Greek food all day. I love it.
Nir Felder‘s next release, Golden Age, will be out on January 21, 2014 via OKeh.
This is the best/worst time of the year for me. I love year-end lists but I hate compiling them. It is a masochist thing for me: I stress on it, torture myself, then as soon as it is done, I want to change it. I’m never satisfied. For the record, all included here may or not be from 2013. My list contains things I’ve re-discovered throughout the year. It happens. Enough of the bullshit: here it is in no particular order (with exceptions for favorites).
Broken is an apt title for director Rufus Norris’s feature debut; viewers will be forgiven if they have a hard time choking back sobs by the end. It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Broken‘s superbly arranged 90 minutes evoke a concatenation of emotions. Certainly there is much chest-constricting dread to be found in the film, and many scenes heavy with emotional baggage, but these are often simultaneously buoyed with moments of exquisite gossamer beauty and unbridled humor, reminders that joy can be ephemeral and often intertwined with grief.
A Christmas Story seems like one of those films that was always part of our cultural heritage. Every Christmas, TBS broadcasts it in a 24-hour loop, phrases like “you’ll shoot your eye out” have entered the lexicon, and tchotchkes like the infamous leg lamp sell in large quantities online. Because of the film’s ubiquity, viewers can take for granted what went into getting it made. Writer Caseen Gaines (with the assistance of Jean Shepherd scholar Eugene P. Bergman and actor Wil Wheaton) lifts the curtain on the making of this beloved feature with the book A Christmas Story: Behind the Scenes of a Holiday Classic.
By J Howell
Gary Lucas duly notes early on in Touched By Grace that the book is neither a biography of Jeff Buckley nor Lucas himself. It is, however, a remarkable peek from Lucas’s perspective of a brief, tumultuous period in the author’s life, a time of promise and disappointment on a scale that seems overwhelming in retrospect. While the gravitas of the situation may not be readily apparent to non- (or even casual) fans of Buckley or Lucas, considering the lasting impact Grace has made on so many lives, Touched By Grace is an inside look at, frankly, kind of a big deal. Or at least a really big part of a big deal.
New this week on Popshifter: Lisa enthuses over the new horror anthology Comfort Foods from the Nashville Writers Group; Jeff suggests five Italian horror movies that you may not have known about and wraps himself up in Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours; Melissa argues that sitars and flutes are more influential than previously thought in her review of The Dawn of Psychedelia and is disappointed in the new Fratellis album, We Need Medicine.
October is here! And just in time for Halloween, the Nashville Writer’s Group presents Comfort Foods, a horror anthology edited by Nashville author Nikki Nelson-Hicks. The collection includes 13 short stories from local writers, many of which have distinctly Southern, if not uniquely Nashville, flavor to them. Some of these tales offer new takes on classic chills such as ghosts or zombies, and others invent entirely new nightmares for the reader.