Monday, March 30, 2009

Music Library: Brian Eno (+ Bert Jansch and Bob Mould)

Brian Eno:

Or, rather, Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, as some know him. Not me, mind you. Just some. Anyway, Brian Eno is one of the smartest and most creative people working in rock music (and that's a term that doesn't apply to most of his output, but I don't know what else to call his background). The fact that Eno is barely a musician hasn't stopped him from redefining the rules about music and the way that people experience it. He's less a musician than a sculptor, really. I mean, his job in Roxy Music was to modify the sound while the band was making it. He was essentially a producer, engineer, and re-mixer who was part of the band onstage. Rock music does not typically have guys like him, outside of anomalies like Martin Swope (and now Bob Weston) of Mission of Burma. Hip-hop, on the other hand, has guys like him. And that was only the beginning of his odd-bird career. I haven't gone through my whole collection to confirm, but I think he is the bottom-billed half of a few of his collaborations, so they'll pop up later. In the meantime, here's everything filed under "Brian Eno."

  • Here Come The Warm Jets. My favorite of his albums by less than a hair. Essential for all sentient beings. This one is ostensibly glam-rock, but it's oh so much more.

  • Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). This one's my 2nd-favorite by less than a hair. Sometimes it's my favorite. I wish I could say something meaningful about how great these two albums are, but it's beyond me. I have no words.

  • Another Green World. Eno starts mixing his rock anthems with the peaceful instrumental music that he will soon name "ambient." I should mention that I anxiously await Geeta Dayal's 33 1/3 book on this album.

  • Discreet Music. This one is fascinating. Building on Erik Satie's ideas of "furniture music," which is less a listening experience than a way of creating aural wallpaper, Eno came up with the idea of ambient music while bedridden and listening to an album turned down to the cusp of inaudibility. The title piece is a 30-minute ambient track. The other three works are variations on Pachelbel's Canon in D major (you know, the one that signifies that a wedding is imminent), which are modified by tempo in illuminating ways. Very cool.

  • Before And After Science. Like Another Green World, this one is part rock and part ambient. "King's Lead Hat," an anagram of Talking Heads, is my favorite track, but the rock songs are uniformly fantastic. After this album, it would be 28 years before Eno made another solo album that was song-oriented.

  • Ambient 1: Music for Airports. So incredibly relaxing! This is ambient music as it is meant: a way of subtly modifying one's environment.

  • Music For Films. Soundtracks to imaginary films. Of interest to Richard Thompson fans: Dave Mattacks, who is Thompson's main drummer and the drummer for Fairport Convention, plays on one track, as does Fred Frith.

  • My Life In The Bush of Ghosts [Eno & David Byrne]. This one's a rightfully celebrated masterpiece in which Eno and Byrne create a sort of pan-world electro-funk with samples of music taped from various radio sources. I don't know this for a fact, but I imagine that this is a landmark for artists like MIA, for instance, who have a finger in many different kinds of music. Especially interesting is that today, music like this would be digitally sequenced, but Eno and Byrne used analog equipment, which required an enormous amount of time for trial and error.

  • Ambient 4: On Land. This is the ambient music you play when you want to creep your room out. It's still ambient, but it's dark and unsettling.

  • Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks. A collaboration with his brother Roger and the producer Daniel Lanois, Apollo is ambient music as the final frontier. Elements of the music are meant to suggest country music, which reminds the Enos and Lanois of the sound of American individualism and exceptionalism. That's funny!

  • Spinner [Eno and Jah Wobble]. Eno recorded a bunch of instrumental ambient tracks and gave the masters to Jah Wobble to modify as he saw fit. Wobble (who's probably best known to U.S. audiences for playing bass in Public Image Limited) added rock and dub elements to the music. Of special interest to Can fans: Jaki Liebezeit is one of the drummers on the album.

  • Textures. This was a finding from the world wide web. Textures was never commercially released, being instead marketed to filmmakers for use as background music.

  • Wrong Way Up [Eno & John Cale]. Nowhere near as strong as either artist's albums from the early to mid 70s, this album still has some good performances in its favor. I really like the cover of the old soul classic "You Don't Miss Your Water."


Bert Jansch - It Don't Bother Me. Early album from the Brit-Folk master much in the same vein as his self-titled debut, which I reviewed three hundred years ago here on this very same blog, back when it was shouted in obscure villages by tongueless town cryers.

Bob Mould - Bob Mould and The Last Dog And Pony Show. A gift from a friend after I mentioned that I ought to pick up some later Bob Mould albums. They're pretty good! But not as good as his first two solo albums or his Sugar albums. And not even close to the Husker Du albums. All of which makes me sound ungrateful, doesn't it? Sorry! I do like them.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Music Library: Branford Marsalis, Brazilian Girls, and Breeders

Branford Marsalis - The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Bloomington, and Requiem. I think Branford's supposed to be the most adventurous of Marsalises, but all of these could have been recorded in 1957. Pretty decent bop featuring top-notch performances, though. The piano work on Requiem is especially lovely, which is fitting because the requiem of the title is for pianist Kenny Kirkland, who passed away before the record was released. Not everything has to burn it all down and start anew. These don't even consider the possibility.

Brazilian Girls - Talk To La Bomb. I do not like, not one bit. Deleted tonight.

The Breeders - "Oh!," "Safari," Last Splash, and Mountain Battles. On one hand, Kim Deal is awesome. On the other hand, she is more awesome at being Kim Deal than writing awesome songs. Although you can hear her Pixies background in many of these songs, they are generally not as fun, funny, or breathtakingly crazy as the Pixies, especially in the mediocre Mountain Battles (the album she was working on during the filming of the Pixies documentary loudQUIETloud). But "Cannonball" is still a hell of a track.

At this point, iTunes tells me that I have thus far listened to and reviewed 5,829 tracks and 560 albums or part-albums (and this is misleading, as it includes as an album the many loosey tracks floating around). This number doesn't include the few albums that I've disliked enough to delete, other than the Brazilian Girls album I mention above. That's a little more than 1/10th of the way through the whole of my music library! In a mere year-and-then-some. Yes, this is going to take some more time. On the upside, I've been zipping through the catalog in the last couple of days.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Music Library: Bottle Rockets, Bottom of the Hudson, Bournemouth Symphony, BR5-49, and Brainiac Plus Ass Ponys and Bonnie "Prince" Billy

The Bottle Rockets - Bottle Rockets, The Brooklyn Side, "Love Like A Truck," and Songs of Sahm. The Bottle Rockets write songs that amble drunkenly around Americana, sometimes folk, sometimes ZZ Top-style blues-rock, sometimes Replacements-ish folk-punk, basically the epitome of everything the No Depression insurgent country movement wanted from a band. Their schtick is fully formed on self-titled debut album with every song built on the same foundation and yet every song having a different style, a sort of cohesive variance. The Brooklyn Side is more of the same and yet also better. The opening track, "Welfare Music," starts with a great dig on Rush Limbaugh from way back in 1994. I should probably pick up more of their later albums. "Love Like A Truck" is from Brand New Year, but I've never heard the rest of that album. Songs of Sahm is a tribute album to the great Texas songwriter Doug Sahm and his genre-busting Sir Douglas Quintet, and the Bottle Rockets kick those songs out like the kindred spirits they are.

Bottom of the Hudson - The Omaha Record. Interesting lo-fi indie-rock album from a few years ago. "Chilling Sorceror," the reason I bought this, is the standout track, starting out like Donovon and bam! turning into Pavement. The other tracks are okay, but few are that memorable.

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop - ADAMS: Shaker Loops/Wound Dresser/Short Ride in a Fast Machine. Three compositions by John Adams. "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" is some lovely minimalism. "Wound Dresser" is an operatic treatment of a Walt Whitman poem of revulsion at war and barely restrained desire. I like it more when I can read the poem while listening. There's an arrangement of "Berceuse Élégiaque" by Busoni, and I don't really know who he was or what that means that Adams arranged his work. "Shaker Loops" is a lovely slice of minimalism.

BR5-49 - Live At Robert's EP and "Bottom of Priority." Cornpone Nashville band with classic country writ large upon their music.

Brainiac - Hissing Prigs in Static Couture. Skronky glitch-punk that's about a decade before its time. It's all glam and industrial and electronic and fairly awesome.



The Ass Ponys - Mix By Leonard Pierce. I'm shocked at myself for not listening to these guys sooner. What a fantastic band! All clever lyrics and bar band bluster, with a feel somewhere between Clem Snide, the Handsome Family, and the Hold Steady. I intend to start picking up their albums post-haste. Thanks, Leonard!

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Master and Everyone. Will Oldham plays sweet acoustic Will Oldham music.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Music Library: Boredoms + Boris

Not one, but TWO freakin' awesome Japanese bands today. Aren't we lucky to live in such times?

Boredoms - Super æ and Vision Creation Newsun. Has it really been so long since I reviewed Acid Mothers Temple? In my conception of Japanese rock, every third musician is a huge fan of krautrock and Stockhausen and is also an acid casualty with close ties to the spirit world. Maybe this kind of music is the legacy of WWII and Shinto. Anyway, big loud primal psychedelic skronk-rock. Is awesome. I slightly prefer the latter to the former, but both are the aural equivalent of a chemically enhanced journey to the spirit world. I need to pick up more Boredoms albums.

Boris: Now we're talking. Boris is where the experimental Japanese psychedelic skronk of Acid Mothers Temple and Boredoms meets the pure metal growl of Sabbath-style stoner rock. They are one of my favorite bands. Since most of their songs are in Japanese, I guess lyrics are just not important to me in this kind of music, but as much as I wish that I spoke Japanese, at this point the likelihood that I'll learn it is somewhere around the likelihood that I will spontaneously begin to fly or write something that doesn't make me cringe to read. Anyway, I'll break their albums out, because they all have something going for them.

  • Absolutego+: Perhaps my least favorite of their albums. When this was originally released, it consisted of a single hour-long track of a guitar droning on and on. The re-release has two tracks now. The hour-long one, "Absolutego," has been expanded to be five full minutes longer, adding to the droning nearly-ambient guitar. This is the sound of an amp turned up loud, humming to itself. The new track, "Dronevil 2," is more of the same, but a mere 8 minutes long.

  • Amplifier Worship: Heavy, heavy, heavy. Opens with nearly five minutes of a howling guitar that turns into a thumping metal anthem. This doesn't have any of the deft touches of later Boris releases, instead focusing on heavy-as-mud riffage that develops into more heavy-as-mud riffage. There's nothing wrong with this, mind you, but it's just not as good as the band will become.

  • Flood: I'm not sure that Flood is actually a rock album. I think that it is a compositional work, closer in spirit and execution to a 20th century classical work. The album consists of a single work, split into four parts. The first track starts with six minutes of a single, short (2 or 3 second) guitar phrase recorded with a slight delay onto two separate loopers. The loops are off from each other by a fraction of a second. Unless one is being manipulated, I'm not sure. Anyway, the two loops (of near-identical phrases, mind you) circle around each other. I don't know that I have the patience to listen to this every day, but when I can sit down and concentrate on it, it's utterly mesmerizing and beautiful. It reminds me, taking the name of the piece into account, of the near-symmetry you find in natural patterns. I think of water flowing over rock, dividing into two trickles that first mirror each other, then grow slightly off, then chase each other. At the six minute mark, the drums create a blast of thunder, a swell in the river. These blasts continue to overwhelm the loops, slowly but growing in frequency. At ten minutes in, the drums, the howl, the noise completely overwhelm the track for a full four minutes. This is the flood. Part II has an eerie, otherworldly, mournful calm, which is the sound of the first impressions of the aftermath, the world suddenly filled with water, everything thought solid now drowned. Part III continues the lament, but morphs into a powerful anthem of loss then into several minutes of the same riff repeated over and over, an angry and defiant sound. Part IV drowns the riff in echo and chorus, then has crashing cymbals create waves for nearly ten minutes. Powerful, powerful music.

  • Heavy Rocks: This is post-punk/stoner-metal Boris. Ten tracks, some under 3 minutes, all bringing maximum rockage. No idea what they're singing about, but it sure sounds compelling. "Death Valley" starts off with some Merzbow (Merzbow, if you don't know, is the king of Japanese noise-rock, which may not be rock, now that I think about it) squall. My favorite tracks on this album are "Rattlesnake" and "Kane -The Bell Tower of a Sign."

  • The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked: Three songs of ambient/drone instrumentals. Includes the first version of "A Bao A Qu," a title that pops up on a number of Boris releases. Actually, it might not be fair to call this the first version of that song, as even though the title appears on a few different albums, it's a different song hereafter. Make of this what you will, but I suspect that there's a certain playfulness and willful obscurance at work, the same impulse that has led the band to release more than one album under the same title.

  • Akuma no Uta: This is Boris's first rock masterpiece. Six tracks, about 50 different styles of music (mostly, yes, Sabbath-style metal), an increasing range of ornate guitar style, and the trio working together as a seamless whole. The cover art features Takeshi, the band's bassist/2nd guitarist, imitating Nick Drake on the cover of his chamber-folk classic Bryter Layter. Best thing ever: "Naki Kyoku."

  • Boris At Last: -Feedbacker-: We're back to the single-song album split into different tracks (five this time). "Feedbacker" is a song that Boris frequently plays live, although rarely for the 45 minutes that it takes up on this album. The cover shows guitarist Wata lying in a pool of blood. As a side note, I nearly pushed into her at a crowded Austin show, and Wata is a very tiny and very beautiful woman. She makes a loud and ugly-beautiful sound on her guitar, too. Ok, "Feedbacker." It rocks, and mightily, too. It's self-indulgent in the best way. It builds slowly from near ambient noise to a major rock jam.

  • Soundtrack from Film "Mabuta no Ura": There is no such film. Like some of Brian Eno's ambient albums, this is a soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist. So it's mostly instrumental. The pieces are short and sometimes clipped, as movie music is. The music ranges from "experimental metal-tinged folk-guitar pieces" to "experimental ambient-ish folk-guitar pieces with heavily reverbed vocals." That said, it's gorgeous in an entirely new way for Boris. The ornate folk guitar appeared on no prior Boris work, but opened new doors for the band on later albums. "It Touches," the final track, is the standout and would make some pretty entertaining end-credit music.

  • Sun Baked Snow Cave [Boris/Merzbow]: A single-track 62-minute collaboration with the master of Japanese avant-noise, this is an extremely well-named album, as pointed out by the clerk at End of an Ear Records who sold it to me. It's very mellow and warm, then harsh and cold with scads of static and noise like wind through a cavern. It winds down with more sparkly sunlit guitar notes while the Merzbow noise gale blows past.

  • Altar [Boris/Sunn 0)))]: A collaboration between Boris and the drone metal duo Sun 0))), Altar is an odd bird of an album. One would expect that the presence of Sunn 0))) would push Boris towards their most dronish, Absolutego-ish extremes. Instead, it's a surprisingly accessible album. One track even feature alt-country chanteuse Jesse Sykes on vocals. Well, ok, it's not really that accessible. Another track is three minutes of cymbals and bass, and there really is plenty of drone and noise. It should be noted that this counts as something like restraint for Boris.

  • Dronevil Final: The original vinyl version of this had two discs, each with two tracks. The CD release adds another track to each disc. This is a conceptual album not unlike the Flaming Lips' Zaireeka. One disc is full of chocolately repetitious drone/ambient music. The other disc has peanut-butterish rising and falling stoner metal. Play them at the same time and you have the a pleasurable experience (if only there were some food-related analogy!) of two vastly different but good things that create something greater than the sum of its parts. Very much in the vein of Boris's experimental/compositional side.

  • Pink: Damn right! Pink kicks all kinds of ass. Until Smile, this was their most stylistically varied album, blending all of the great Boris rock trends into a coherent whole. There's slow, atmospheric rock jams, punk-based riffage, Judas Priest-ish metal, droney experimental tracks, a spacey soundtrack-style tune, and an 18-minute epic. This is the place to start with Boris.

  • The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked 2: More epic instrumental rock tracks and drones. The first song, "No Ones Grieve Part 2," turns up again on Smile as "Dead Destination" on the Japanese version and "Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sa Ki -No Ones Grieve-" on the American release. Wikipedia notes some similarity to track 7 on the hardcore version of Vein, too, although that's less clear to my ears. "Another After Image" is a very pretty and delicate instrumental, too.

  • The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked 3: Very much about the ambient drone, even more so than the first and second installations of this series. I think "No Ones Grieve Part 1" follows essentially the same changes as "No Ones Grieve Part 2," but instead of drumming with atmospheric clean guitar on top, this one is just guitar drone with waves of noise/static. It's very hard to distinguish between the tracks on this one, though. All of them are basically the same sound: long-held insanely-distorted and sustained guitar chords with amp sounds and random noise-bursts.

  • Vein [Hardcore]: In one of Boris's obscure strategies, they released two separate LPs (both viny-only) with the same name and the same cover art. The hardcore punk version, which was sold primarily in the U.S., has twelve untitled tracks. Instead of being sung by the bassist/guitarist Takeshi, these are shouted/sung (in that inimitable hardcore way) by drummer Atsuo. Although the tracks are mostly hardcore, Boris being Boris, they leave room for distorted/droney guitar effects. There's a few random quotes in various languages, including a clip in Russian from the Tarkovsky film Stalker. I'm not a huge fan of hardcore these days, and this album really doesn't do much for me. It all ends with a ten-minute drone freakout, which is also Boris being Boris.

  • Vein [Noise]: Same name, same cover, completely different work. This one, which was released in Europe, is an all-instrumental drone and noise album with a track per side. The emphasis is on noise more than drone, and it sounds more like a Merzbow release than any of Boris's other experimental drone works.

  • Rainbow [Boris with Michio Kurihara]: Following the double-blast of pummeling noise of Vein, Boris here releases a dreamy, psychedelic masterpiece. Michio Kurihara is a psychedelic guitarist best known in the U.S. (outside of his collaborations with Boris) for his work with the band Ghost and his solo album Sunset Notes. Anyway, this one brings a whole new flavor of pop psychedelia into Boris's repertoire. I saw Boris last year with Kurihara on guitar, and I have to say that he's a great fit with their Smile-era aesthetic.

  • Rock Dream [Boris/Merzbow]: Merzbow is a fantastic collaborator for Boris, too. This is a live album, and I often don't like live rock albums, but Boris has the improvisational chops to make it interesting. Adding Merzbow only amps up the improvisation. The noise he adds warps the reality of their performance into something that sounds so artificial that it must be a studio creation, but yet wholly in service to the sound and energy of the live performance. It's overwhelmingly awesome. Literally. As much as I love this album, I occasionally have to pause to take a breath and clear my head before I can continue. Anyway: KICK ASS!

  • Smile [U.S. version]: The Japanese version of this album is better - marginally - than the American version. That's not to say that the American version doesn't have its charms, because it's really, really good. For starters, though, the American version starts with "Flower, Sun, Rain," a cover of a song by the Japanese band Pyg that previously appeared on Rock Dream. It's an odd choice, mixed to sound tinny, like a half-heard song on the radio. Then the midrange kicks in at the middle of the song and it sounds like, well, Boris. This track and "Statement," the fourth track here, are reversed on the Japanese version. The sequence is otherwise the same. However, the mixes are quite different on almost every track. The U.S. versions usually are more monolithic than subtle, not that subtlety is one of Boris's great strengths. But the Japanese versions usually have a weirder sound than the U.S. version. For instance, going back to "Flower, Sun, Rain," the American version ends with screaming guitars cut off in the middle of a phrase, while the Japanese version ends with Takeshi singing the main theme a capella. Slight difference, yes, but enough to change the feel of the song. On the American track "Laser Beam" (called "Hanate!" ["Shoot!"] on the Japanese version), Wata and Kurihara duke out the guitars over a conventional (and admittedly superfast) 4/4 drumbeat. On "Hanate!," the guitars are jagged and over-distorted and the beat is a throbbing low drum-and-bass pound more suited to club music. Both end with the same acoustic guitar strums. The U.S. version was mixed by Atsuo himself, so I don't know why they're more conventional than the Japanese mixes. But they are.

  • Smile [Japan version]: Boris told my friend Leonard when he interviewed them that one reason for the different mixes is that the Japanese version of Smile references a bunch of 70s J-pop that will have no meaning for U.S. audiences. Maybe so, but this version is the better one. This one starts with "Message," a remixed (and twice-as-long) version of "Statement" that's all rumbling bass and drums with some "Sympathy For The Devil"-style "hoo-hoo"s on top and a couple of wicked Wata guitar breaks. This is only the first and most noticable difference, as the mix seems to favor noise and electronics and jarring guitar breaks over the American mix at every point. This is not a bad thing in the Boris zone.

  • Statement EP: Starts with the American version of "Statement" and includes a song called "Floorshaker" that does, indeed, shake the floorboards. Well, not in the typical Boris way. This one is surprisingly jaunty, with a lot of high-hat drumming and a bouncy bass. Very danceable!

Can You Whup It?

Man oh man. Thanks to J. Campbell for the hat-tip. My pals in the Dexateens cracking me right up here. Click the link to make the magic happen.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Music Library: Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bobby Bare, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Booker T & The MGs, Bootsy Collins + Belle & Sebastian, Fishtank 11, Dylan/Cash

Bobby "Blue" Bland - The Best of Bobby Bland. It always seems wrong to file Bobby "Blue" Bland under his last name, because he was a first-rate vocalist in the thin line between bluesy R&B and urban blues. Also, his version of "Turn On Your Love Light" should be the national anthem.

Bobby Bare - The Moon Was Blue. I thought I had another Bare album, one of those Essential collections. But that doesn't appear to be the case. This one's good, but it's basically his version of Willie Nelson's Stardust, where he croons a bunch of jazz and pop standards from an earlier era.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Joya, I See A Darkness, The Letting Go, and Strange Form of Life EP. I love the hell out of Will Oldham, as the Palace entry (coming in 2017!) will show. The only album of his that I've heard and haven't liked was Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music, his rerecording of Palace songs with Nashville studio cats, which just didn't work for me at all. However, the rerecordings on Strange Form of Life worked fine for me.

Booker T. and the MGs - In The Christmas Spirit, The Best of Booker T & The MGs (Atlantic), "Soul Limbo," and McLemore Avenue. I revere Booker T & the MGs, but I appreciate them more as a backing band, because too many organ-heavy instrumentals in a row is wearying for me. The Xmas music is most welcome around the holidays, the Atlantic best-of (as opposed to the identically named Stax best-of) has some of their great tracks after their jump to the major label, and the Beatles cover album McLemore Avenue (a Memphis-style take-off on Abbey Road) is absolutely brilliant in spots, but tiresome in others.

Bootsy Collins - The Bootsy Collins Anthology. The world's funkiest sing-along. Psychotic funk. Is it just me or is there an extraordinary amount of self-referential funk? As if all a funk song can be about is itself? I know this isn't universally true - there's a lot of funk about interstellar space, for instance - but Bootsy certainly wants to remind listeners that this is, in fact, funk music they are listening to at the moment. We know, man. That's why we're here.


Belle & Sebastian - The BBC Sessions. Live versions of many of Belle & Sebastian's great early songs.

The Black Heart Procession and Solbakken - In The Fishtank 11. I'm unfamiliar with either of these bands, but I quite like this entry in the Fishtank series. It rocks.

Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash - The Dylan/Cash Sessions. A bootleg of the two greats messing around in the studio around the time of Nashville Skyline. Yeah, it's a lot of fun.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Screengrab Review: American Prince

As you may or may not know, I'm covering SXSW for The Screengrab. Here's my first write-up! Expect at least one more later today.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Salon on Flannery O'Connor

I find this review so odd. At least the 2nd paragraph: Allen Barra measured Flannery O'Connor's success through the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and Bruce Springsteen, which seems like saying that Faulkner was great because Bono likes him. But it's ok. Any love for Flannery O'Connor is good love.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Moviegoer, Part I

I have been watching lots of movies this year. In years past, I've read lots of books, but this year I've opted to spend my time with cinema. This doesn't seem to be a conscious decision on my part, but perhaps a by-product of parenthood of small children and a shortened attention span. Anyway, I've finished only one book in the first two months of this year: David Simon's Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets. I'm a big fan of The Wire, which Simon co-created. To a lesser extent, I'm a fan of the tv show Homicide, which was based on this book. I probably don't need to tell you that I loved it. But I did.

But that's it for literature this year. I have a couple of other books that I'm reading, and I'll probably follow up when I finish them. But I'm watching lots and lots of movies. Since January 1st, I've watched (and many of these were not the first time I'd seen them):

  1. Dr. T & The Women: B
  2. Encounters At The End of the World (this was the third viewing in two weeks): A+
  3. Amarcord: A+
  4. Out of the Past: A
  5. Pineapple Express: B
  6. Man on Wire: A-
  7. Kung Fu Panda: A-
  8. Last Night At The Alamo: A
  9. The Order of Myths: A
  10. M. Hulot's Holiday: A
  11. Peter and the Wolf (2008 short): A+
  12. Wagon Master: B
  13. Paranoid Park: A+
  14. Kiss of Death: B
  15. The Night of the Hunter: A+
  16. Topsy-Turvy: A+
  17. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains: B-
  18. The Day The Earth Stood Still (original version): A
  19. Burn After Reading: B+
  20. Drunken Angel: B+
  21. I Live In Fear: Record of a Living Being: A-
  22. Wattstax: B
  23. Aliens: A
  24. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: A-
  25. Hamlet 2: B-
  26. Eyes Wide Shut: B+
  27. Lessons of Darkness: B
  28. Stroszek: A+
  29. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: A
  30. Pootie Tang: C+
  31. The Trial: B
  32. Trafic: A+
That's 32 movies in 59 days. Judge me harshly, if you be so inclined.

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