You know, we’ve been talking about this tenth anniversary week for a long time. The problem is, we’d always end that conversation before coming up with a concrete plan for what to do. This Mildly Pleased Hall of Fame idea isn’t that fleshed out yet, but I think we’ll use it to enshrine media that specifically we all like. Meaning it’s not going to be the best stuff of all time, but the stuff that most represents our tastes. I had originally envisioned doing something like this years ago as a video essay series, but that’s a lot of work. So instead, I’ll merely write about a movie that has become the centerpiece of an annual tradition at the blog: The Edge.
Some people seize the moment, while others wait for the moment to seize them. In the Fall of 2016, Jeff Rosenstock seemed to be doing a bit of both when he released his break-out solo effort WORRY. at a precise moment in time when all anyone with half a brain could do was worry. After years of playing in various punk bands with a fiercely DIY-aesthetic, Rosenstock finally seemed to be taking advantage of all his skills at once, by releasing an album that seemed to embody all the anxiety and frustration that would befall America a mere 3 weeks after its release. Which is why despite WORRY. making a respectable #7 on my top ten of 2016 list, it was undoubtedly the album from that year I kept listening to the most while clenching my way through the dregs of 2017. Continue reading
Earlier this year, Universal Pictures unveiled their plans for a “Dark Universe”. This entailed a series of reboots of classic Universal Monster films like The Mummy, Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Like The Marvel Universe, all of these characters would interact with each other in various ways in a shared continuity.
Kamasi Washington was one of those artists I’d always wanted check out, but like so many things, time was the thing holding me back. Much like Thundercat, Washington got a little bit of mainstream exposure from appearing on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, and adding to that record’s jazz-funk sound. However, it didn’t help that his most acclaimed album to date was 2015’s The Epic, which at a nearly 3-hour running time, might actually have been short-selling itself with that title. Continue reading
Unsurprisingly, this was a year where I was a little more prone to sad bastard music. Not because I necessarily found it good to wallow in some sort of depressive state. But more because, not unlike the feeling of listening to Vince Guaraldi around Christmas time, sometimes you need some contended “sad time”, and to remind yourself that music is a place where indulging life’s more morose feelings can be a source of comfort. Granted, it’s a little hard to pin down what Julien Baker, a supremely talented 22-year-old, would have to be sad about, but she sure has a way of expressing it in a very pure way. Continue reading
I’m noticing that a lot of the artists I’m writing about in these year-end music reviews seem to be indie artists so ubiquitous that I didn’t feel the need to comment on. Japanese Breakfast is not one of those artists, though this solo project of Michelle Zauner might put her on her way, after delivering one of the more aptly titled albums of 2017. Because there’s something quite otherworldly about these songs, yet they’re raw and human enough to cut towards something a little deeper, and a little more Earthly. Continue reading
How is it that I never got around to reviewing this album? Was it because it came out during that two month period on the blog in between Criterion months, where we were all a bit too exhausted to write about anything? Was it because we talked about it on that end-of-summer wrap-up podcast, and that was review enough? Or was it because this album is ultimately an uninteresting one to write about, because it’s somehow great and unsurprising at the same time? Well, we’ll see about that last one, but I’m gonna say it’s probably a combination of all three. Continue reading