Holy jalapenos in a hot pocket... it's been almost six months since I said a damn thing. The last thing I said was "Grizzly Bear is awesome," and the only activity is a gaggle of Google-ogling haters reminding me that my Hate Binky post is the #1 search result on Google for "Animal Collective sucks." Not complaining about that per se... cause hey, fight the powers that be. But I have hit blog bottom, and it smells like moth balls down here. Time to bust out the biscuits and strike up the band.
So let's see what I've been up to, culture-wise:
DINING & TRAVEL
I ate cream cheese on a bagel. I ate smoked mackerel. I ate at one of Las Vegas's finest buffets, shortly after eating the best Egg McMuffin I have ever had. I drew a picture of myself with blood pouring out of my mouth in crayon at a $30-an-entree restaurant. I ordered filet mignon shortly after drawing said picture. It was delicious. The filet mignon, not the drawing. The drawing was underdone. Those things happened over the past six months.
My Netflix queue has become a cesspool. I still haven't finished my Best Movies of 2008 post, and it's almost 2010. Not that I'll be writing a 2009 post from the look of it... I have seen exactly one film in a theater since the last time I posted anything here: the sixth Harry Potter movie. It was great, until the end, when it absolutely blew. How do you make the most devastating moment in the series totally boring and matter-of-fact? Makes me want to puke in a sorting hat.
Lost. That's about it. Almost done with season two, and so far it's everything I'd hoped for. Mad Men's been awesome, but that ain't news.
Kind of a blah year for Teh Rock. To invert a Louis CK truism, nothing is awesome, and everyone's happy. Really? We're happy that Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors are the only things we can really hang our hats on this year? We're fine with that being the direction of music?
The only real victory of the year, musically speaking, the only true, top-to-bottom legitimate contender for Best Album of 2009, is Manners, from Cambridge's own Passion Pit. Continuing the burgeoning trend of New Order/Devo fixation, as epitomized by the likes of Cut Copy and Holy Fuck and Hot Chip, Passion Pit have brought the synth-heavy sound to bright, fun, bouncy new places. There's nothing complicated or challenging about them... I don't see PP changing the game or blazing new trails in music or anything. But I don't care. Manners is flat-out incredible from start to finish. All the words being used to describe Merriweather Post Pavilion that I hated so much? "Danceable," "universal," "accessible," and so forth? Those words describe Passion Pit.
"To Kingdom Come"
See? Isn't that some fun-ass fun? You know it is.
(Also of interest is Andrew Kuo's thoughts, visualized, on a show of theirs last year as well as their debut EP, Chunk of Change.)
Basically, this is the one breakout masterpiece of the year. Manners is the only front-to-back excellent album of the year; even Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix has its uncompelling moments. It'd be great to hear another breakout pop album before Christmas but I'm not holding my breath. It's not that kind of year. (Embryonic doesn't count, cause Embryonic is fucked up.)
It's bad enough that my primary musical fascination since the beginning of the summer has been late 70's/early 80's punk (Buzzcocks, Wire, Minutemen) and post-punk (Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, Pere Ubu) and neither (Elvis Costello). I've gone 30 years back in time to find something that moves me. I don't think I'll be able to do this again next year.
But until then... Double Nickels On The Dime, you are fabulous.