Saturday, February 28, 2009

Music Library: Bobs Marley, Mould, and Wills + Andrew Bird, Animal Collective, Antony & Johnsons, Aretha, Bats, Bert Jansch, & Black Star

Bob Marley: Jungle Dub plus various tracks. Jungle Dub is an album of early Wailers tracks remixed by Lee "Scratch" Perry. It's not in the 1st or even 2nd tier of Perry's work, but it's okay for what it is. The other tracks came about because, well, here's the deal: I'm not too crazy about Bob Marley & the Wailers. I like some of his rocksteady work, but the superstar-reggae-dude bullshit just smells too much like patchouli and weed and privilege to me; I can't get past the cultural baggage. However, I used to play bass in a Tuscaloosa band called the Copasetics that played nothing but early reggae, rocksteady, and ska. The time I spent in that band taught me a lot about how the bass fits into music. There's a few Marley/Wailers tracks that I like and want to hear. So when my wife asked me to download a track for her, I went ahead and bought the seven or so Marley tracks that don't set my teeth on edge, mostly popular stuff. I really like the basslines on "No More Trouble" and "So Much Trouble In The World," because I guess I like the way that trouble sounds in the bass. I'm glad to have them, but for the most part I don't want to listen to them often.

Bob Mould: Workbook, Black Sheets of Rain, LiveDog98, two bootlegs, and his cover of "Shoot Out The Lights." Man, I love Bob Mould, but I sure got diminishing pleasure out of his solo albums. I mean, I have owned some of the post-Sugar studio albums in the past, but I never held onto them because I just didn't like many of the songs. Maybe I should pick them up again and see if they're more interesting to me now. Workbook and Black Sheets are awesome, though. You can hear Mould attempting to figure out what's next. And his cover of Richard Thompson's "Shoot Out The Lights" (off the best-of Poison Years) is just a freakin' treat. The live albums is decent and the bootlegs are ok, but that's all.

Bob Wills: The Essential, a compilation called 1935-1940, and a couple of other tracks. The fun of Bob Wills's music is well-documented. The Essential is rightly-named. The tracks on the comp are scratchy, as if they've been copied from old 78s. The other tracks are fantastic.


Andrew Bird - Noble Beast. Wow. It's too soon for me to figure out how to rate this. I loved the last three of his albums, and this is part of that continuum. Is it a move forward? Lateral? I don't know.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion. First impression: I like this better than Strawberry Jam, but not as much as Feels or Sung Tongs. This opinion may change with more exposure.

Antony & the Johnsons - The Crying Light. Beautiful stuff from the showtune side of glam. Neo-glam? I don't know. I need more time to process.

Aretha Franklin - Aretha Now. Another great album from Aretha's ass-whuppin' late-60s output. Not quite up to I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You), but for the love of Pete, what is?

The Bats - The Law of Things. My exploration of the Bats continues. This one is somewhere close to the median of my estimation of their work.

Bert Jansch - Bert Jansch. Debut solo album from the legendary Brit-folk guitarist. Contains lots of gems, but none better than "Needle of Death," which just rules.

Black Star - Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Top notch hip-hop circa 1998. Am I a good source for hip-hop recommendations? No, I think we've established that I'm a dabbler at best. But I like this album.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Big Week for Your DVR

Although I've tried to scale back the Set Your DVR! column at the Screengrab, this week has no fewer than 14 movies that I had to recommend. Check it out.

Friday, February 20, 2009

DVR-worthy movies on cable this weekend

Here's my recommended movies for you to record off cable this weekend: Samurai III, 8 1/2, and Amarcord. Link goes to the Screengrab at

Words to live by

"Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg." - Haruki Murakami on accepting a literary award in Jerusalem earlier this week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

100 Albums To Provide Solace In Isolation, 2009

Blogger seems to make hard-coding a cut a chore, so this one is going to be unnecessarily long and more of interest to me than anyone else. SORRY!

So yesterday's movie list was for the desert island of the soul. Today's music list supposes that I am lost on one of 2001's spaceships, spinning meaninglessly through the vacuum. But I don't want to listen to Thus Spake Zarathustra over and over again! Luckily my faithful pal, the ship's computer HAL, has allowed me to load up an iPod with 100 of my favorite albums to bring along. Thanks, HAL! That ought to make the time I spend running around in circles so much more interesting!

Here's the list:
  1. Akron/Family - Love Is Simple (2007)
  2. Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production Of Eggs (2005)
  3. Animal Collective - Feels (2005)
  4. Aretha Franklin - I Have Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (1967)
  5. The Band - The Band (1969)
  6. Bartók: The String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet recording, 1989)
  7. Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)
  8. Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique (1989)
  9. Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap (1998)
  10. Big Star - Third-Sister Lovers (1975)
  11. Black Sabbath - Paranoid (1971)
  12. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  13. Boris - Akuma No Uta (2003)
  14. Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets (1973)
  15. Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady (1979)
  16. Camper Van Beethoven - Key Lime Pie (1989)
  17. Can - Tago Mago (1971)
  18. Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (1963)
  19. Charlie Rich - Feel Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich (1997)
  20. The Clean - Anthology (2002)
  21. The Cramps - Bad Music For Bad People (1984)
  22. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willie and the Poor Boys (1969)
  23. The Decemberists - Picaresque (2005)
  24. Deerhoof - Milk Man (2004)
  25. Dirty Three - Horse Stories (1996)
  26. Duke Ellington - Money Jungle (1962)
  27. Earth - Earth 2 (1993)
  28. Elvis Costello - Armed Forces (1979)
  29. Fairport Convention - Liege and Lief (1969)
  30. The Fall - Hex Enduction Hour (1982)
  31. The Feelies - The Good Earth (1986)
  32. The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat (2004)
  33. The Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic (1995)
  34. The Flying Burrito Brothers - Gilded Palace of Sin (1969)
  35. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain (1971)
  36. Gang Of Four - Entertainment! & Yellow EP (1979)
  37. George Jones - The Essential George Jones: The Spirit Of Country (2001)
  38. Geraldine Fibbers - Lost Somewhere Between the Earth & My Home (1995)
  39. The Go-Betweens - Before Hollywood (1982)
  40. Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes (1995)
  41. Hank Williams - Original Singles Collection (1992)
  42. Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade (1984)
  43. Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul (1969)
  44. James Brown - Love, Power, Peace: Live At The Olympia, Paris 1971 (1992)
  45. Joanna Newsom - The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004)
  46. John Coltrane - My Favorite Things (1961)
  47. Johnny Cash - Columbia Records 1958-1986 (1987)
  48. K. McCarty - Dead Dog's Eyeball: The Songs of Daniel Johnston (1995)
  49. The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
  50. Lee "Scratch" Perry - Arkology (1997)
  51. Leo Kottke - 6 and 12 String Guitar (1969)
  52. Louvin Brothers - Satan Is Real (1960)
  53. Love - Forever Changes (1969)
  54. Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs (1999)
  55. Meat Puppets - II (1984)
  56. The Mekons - Rock N' Roll (1989)
  57. Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (1969)
  58. Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
  59. Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls And Marches EP (1981)
  60. The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers (1976)
  61. The Moles - Instinct (1994)
  62. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)
  63. Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
  64. Neu! - Neu! (1972)
  65. Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998)
  66. New Pornographers - Electric Version (2003)
  67. Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972)
  68. Ornette Coleman - The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959)
  69. Os Mutantes - Mutantes (1969)
  70. Pavement - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain (1994)
  71. Pere Ubu - Terminal Tower (1985)
  72. The Pixies - Surfer Rosa (1988)
  73. The Ramones - Rocket To Russia (1977)
  74. REM - Life's Rich Pageant (1986)
  75. The Replacements - Let It Be (1984)
  76. Richard and Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights (1982)
  77. Richard Davies - Telegraph (1998)
  78. Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street (1972)
  79. Scott Walker - The Drift (2006)
  80. The Silver Jews - Bright Flight (2001)
  81. Slayer - Reign In Blood (1986)
  82. Sleep - Dopesmoker (2003)
  83. Sly and the Family Stone - There's A Riot Goin' On (1971)
  84. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (1988)
  85. Sparklehorse - Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot (1995)
  86. Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians (ECM recording from 1978, please)
  87. The Stooges - Fun House (1970)
  88. Sun Ra - The Singles (1996)
  89. Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings And Food (1978)
  90. Television - Marquee Moon (1977)
  91. Terry Riley - In C (I'll take the original 1968 State University Center of Creative and Performing Arts version)
  92. Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners (1957)
  93. Tom Waits - Bone Machine (1992)
  94. Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne (1993)
  95. VA - The Harder They Come Soundtrack (1972)
  96. Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)
  97. The Who - Sell Out (1967)
  98. Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger (1975)
  99. Wire - Chairs Missing (1978)
  100. Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (1997)

Now here's where it gets long. Through the goodness of his heart, HAL has allowed me to expand to 300 albums. I tried to modify my blogger template to allow expandable entries so that this would be behind a cut, but Blogger, in its infinite wisdom, has made this modification difficult. So take your time! Or do the smart thing and skip this!
o Adverts - Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts
o Akron/Family - Love Is Simple
o Albert Ayler Trio - Spiritual Unity
o Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
o Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production Of Eggs
o Animal Collective - Feels
o Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
o Aretha Franklin - I Have Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
o Armand Schaubroeck Steals - Ratfucker
o Bad Brains - s/t
o Band - Music From Big Pink
o Band - The Band
o Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra; Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta; Hungarian Sketches (Fritz Reiner & The Chicago Symphony Orchestra)
o Bartók: The String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet)
o Bats - At The National Grid
o Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
o Beach Boys - Smile (Vigatone)
o Beach Boys - Sunflower/Surf's Up
o Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique
o Beatles - Revolver
o Bedhead - Beheaded
o Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap
o Big Star - #1 Record
o Big Star - Radio City
o Big Star - Third-Sister Lovers
o Bill Evans Trio - Everybody Digs Bill Evans
o Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
o Black Sabbath - Master Of Reality
o Black Sabbath - Paranoid
o Blue Oyster Cult - Tyranny & Mutation
o Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde
o Bob Dylan - Blood On The Tracks
o Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited
o Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding
o Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline
o Bob Wills - The Essential Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
o Boris - Akuma No Uta
o Boris - Pink
o Boris - Smile
o Brian Eno - Discreet Music
o Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets
o Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
o Brian Wilson - Smile
o Buddy Holly - Original Master Tapes
o Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady
o Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo
o Camper Van Beethoven - Key Lime Pie
o Camper Van Beethoven - Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
o Camper Van Beethoven - Telephone Free Landslide Victory
o Camper Van Beethoven – Camper Van Beethoven (The Third Album)
o Can - Ege Bamyasi
o Can - Future Days
o Can - Tago Mago
o Captain Beefheart - Doc At The Radar Station
o Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
o Cardinal - Cardinal
o Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
o Charles Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady
o Charlie Rich - Feel Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich
o Chills - Submarine Bells
o Clash - London Calling
o Clash - The Clash (UK)
o Clean - Anthology
o Clem Snide - Your Favorite Music
o cLOUDDEAD - ten
o Comets on Fire - Avatar
o Comets on Fire - Blue Cathedral
o Congos - Heart of the Congos
o Cramps - Bad Music For Bad People
o Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River
o Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willie and the Poor Boys
o Culture - Two Sevens Clash
o Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask
o Danielson - Ships
o David Bowie - Station To Station
o David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World
o Decemberists - Her Majesty
o Decemberists - Picaresque
o Deerhoof - Milk Man
o Dillard & Clark - The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark
o Dinosaur Jr - Bug
o Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me
o Dirty Three - Horse Stories
o DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
o Django Reinhardt - Verve Jazz Masters 38
o Dock Boggs - His Folkways Years
o Duke Ellington - Money Jungle
o Earth - Earth 2
o Earthless - Rhythms From A Cosmic Sky
o Elizabeth Cotten - Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Tunes
o Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
o Elvis Costello - This Year's Model
o Eric Matthews - It's Heavy In Here
o Fairport Convention - Liege and Lief
o Fall - Hex Enduction Hour
o Fall - This Nation's Saving Grace
o Faust IV
o Feelies - Crazy Rhythms
o Feelies - The Good Earth
o Feelies - Time For A Witness
o Fela Kuti - Zombie
o Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat
o Fiery Furnaces - Gallowsbird's Bark
o Firesign Theatre - Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers
o Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic
o Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
o Flipper - Generic
o Flying Burrito Brothers - Gilded Palace of Sin
o Fucked Up - Hidden World
o Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
o Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
o Galaxie 500 - On Fire
o Galaxie 500 - This Is Our Music
o Gang Of Four - Entertainment! & Yellow EP
o Gene Clark - White Light
o George Jones - Cup of Loneliness: The Mercury Years
o George Jones - The Essential George Jones: The Spirit Of Country
o Geraldine Fibbers - Butch
o Geraldine Fibbers - Lost Somewhere Between the Earth & My Home
o Go-Betweens - Before Hollywood
o Go-Betweens - Bright Yellow Bright Orange
o Go-Betweens - Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express
o Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane
o Gram Parsons - G.P. / Grievous Angel
o Guided By Voices - Alien Lanes
o Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
o Hank Williams - Original Singles Collection
o Howlin Wolf - Chess Box
o Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising
o Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade
o Iggy Pop - Lust For Life
o Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
o Isis - Oceanic
o James Brown - Love, Power, Peace: Live At The Olympia, Paris 1971
o Jandek - Blue Corpse
o Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
o Jens Lekman - Oh You're So Silent Jens
o Joanna Newsom - Milk Eyed Mender
o Joanna Newsom - Ys.
o John Cage & David Tudor - Indeterminacy
o John Cale - Helen of Troy
o John Cale - Paris 1919
o John Coltrane - A Love Supreme
o John Coltrane - John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman
o John Coltrane - Live At Birdland
o John Coltrane - My Favorite Things
o John Fahey - The Legend of Blind Joe Death
o Johnny Cash - Columbia Records 1958-1986
o K. McCarty - Dead Dog's Eyeball
o King Crimson - In The Court of the Crimson King
o Kinks - Arthur
o Kinks - Something Else
o Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
o Kraftwerk - The Man-Machine
o Kris Kristofferson - Kristofferson
o Laurie Anderson - Big Science
o LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
o Lee "Scratch" Perry - Arkology
o Leo Kottke - 6 and 12 String Guitar
o Little Willie John - Fever: The Best of Little Willie John
o Lou Reed - The Blue Mask
o Louvin Brothers - Satan Is Real
o Louvin Brothers - When I Stop Dreaming: Best Of The Louvin Brothers
o Love - Da Capo
o Love - Forever Changes
o Macha - See It Another Way
o Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
o Magnetic Fields - i
o Mastodon - Leviathan
o Meat Puppets - II
o Meat Puppets - Up On The Sun
o Mekons - Fear & Whiskey
o Mekons - OOOH!
o Mekons - Rock N' Roll
o Mekons - The Edge of the World
o Melvins - Bullhead
o Merle Haggard - Swinging Doors and The Bottle Let Me Down
o MIA - Kala
o Mike Watt - Contemplating the Engine Room
o Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
o Miles Davis - Live At The Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It's About That Time
o Miles Davis - On the Corner
o Miles Davis - Tribute to Jack Johnson
o Minutemen - Buzz or Howl Under The Influence of Heat
o Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
o Minutemen - What Makes A Man Start Fires?
o Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls And Marches
o Mission of Burma - Vs.
o Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
o Moles - Instinct
o My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
o My Morning Jacket - At Dawn
o Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood - Nancy and Lee
o Neil Young - Dead Man
o Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
o Neil Young - Rust Never Sleeps
o Neil Young - Time Fades Away
o Neil Young - Zuma
o Neu! - Neu!
o Neu! 2
o Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
o New Pornographers - Electric Version
o Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left
o Nick Drake - Pink Moon
o Nina Nastasia - the Blackened Air
o Nina Nastasia & Jim White - You Follow Me
o Oneida - Secret Wars
o Only Ones - The Only Ones
o Ornette Coleman - The Shape Of Jazz To Come
o Os Mutantes - Mutantes
o Palace Brothers - Days In The Wake
o Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
o Patti Smith - Horses
o Pavement - Crooked Rain Crooked Rain
o Pavement - Wowee Zowee
o Pere Ubu - Terminal Tower
o Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance
o Peter Laughner - Take The Guitar Player For A Ride
o Pixies - Doolittle
o Pixies - Surfer Rosa
o Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God
o Public Enemy - It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
o Ramones - Rocket To Russia
o Ray Charles - Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music
o Red House Painters (I)
o REM - Life's Rich Pagaent
o REM - Murmur
o Replacements - Let It Be
o Replacements - Pleased To Meet Me
o Replacements - Tim
o Richard and Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
o Richard and Linda Thompson - Shoot Out The Lights
o Richard Buckner - Devotion & Doubt
o Richard Buckner - Since
o Richard Davies - Barbarians
o Richard Davies - Telegraph
o Richard Hell and the Voidoids - Blank Generation
o Richard Thompson - Rumor and Sigh
o Roky Erickson - I Have Always Been Here Before: The Anthology
o Rolling Stones - Between the Buttons
o Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
o Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
o Roxy Music - Country Life
o Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure
o Scott Walker - The Drift
o Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire De Melody Nelson
o Sigur Ros - ()
o Silver Jews - American Water
o Silver Jews - Bright Flight
o Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers
o Six Organs of Admittance - School of the Flower
o Slayer - Reign In Blood
o Sleep - Dopesmoker
o Slits - Cut
o Sly and the Family Stone - There's A Riot Goin' On
o Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
o Sonics - Here Are The Sonics!!!
o Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
o Sparklehorse - Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot
o Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant - Stratosphere Boogie: The Flaming Guitars of
o Staple Singers - Best of the Staple Singers (Stax)
o Stereolab - Emporer Tomato Ketchup
o Steve Reich - Music For 18 Musicians
o Stooges - Fun House
o Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring (Gergiev/Kirov Orchestra)
o Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
o Suicide - Suicide
o Sun Ra - The Singles Collection
o Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings And Food
o Talking Heads - Remain In Lights
o Television - Live At The Old Waldorf
o Television - Marquee Moon
o Terry Riley - In C
o The Dexateens - Red Dust Rising
o Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners
o Thelonious Monk - Thelonious Monk Trio
o Tom Waits - Bone Machine
o Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
o Tom Ze - Estudando o Samba
o Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die
o Townes Van Zandt - The Late Great Townes Van Zandt
o Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne
o VA - The Harder They Come Soundtrack
o Vashti Bunyan - Just Another Diamond Day
o Velvet Underground - Loaded
o Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground
o Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground and Nico
o Vic Chesnutt - About To Choke
o Viktor Vaughn - Vaudeville Villain
o Who - Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy
o Who - Sell Out
o Wilco - A Ghost is Born
o Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
o Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger
o Wire - Chairs Missing
o Wire - Pink Flag
o Wrens - the Meadowlands
o X - Wild Gift
o Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One
o Yo La Tengo – Painful

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

100 Desert-Island Movies

Here's the situation: I am shipwrecked on a temperate deserted island with a 52" plasma tv, a state-of-the-art blue-ray player, and an unlimited supply of power from the native coconuts, all of which have mutated to mature with electric outlets on their sides and cold fusion within. By an extraordinary chance, I took the care to pack 100 of my favorite movies into a waterproof container that just happens to wash up next to the air conditioner, Laz-E-Boy, and well-thumbed copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Training Monkey Butlers To Cater To Your Every Whim. But which movies could I watch and rewatch until my rescue, which may well be years hence? What's in the bag?

Glad you asked! Here's my 100 flicks for the desert island. I made a similar list a few years ago, but times have changed, and so has my bag o' flicks.

3 Women (Altman, 1977)
8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959)
A Man Escaped (Bresson, 1957)
Amarcord (Fellini, 1973)
Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972)
Au Hasard Balthazar (Bresson, 1966)
Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
Badlands (Malick, 1973)
Band of Outsiders (Godard, 1964)
The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1965)
The Big Lebowski (Coen, 1998)
The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946)
Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986)
Bob Le Flambeur (Melville, 1955)
Boudu Saved From Drowning (Renoir, 1932)
Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah, 1974)
Burden of Dreams (Blank, 1982)
Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)
Cockfighter (Hellman, 1974)
Days of Heaven (Malick, 1978)
Dead Man (Jarmusch, 1995)
Deliverance (Boorman, 1972)
Diabolique (Clouzot, 1954)
Duck Soup (McCarey, 1933)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)
F For Fake (Welles, 1976)
The General (Keaton, 1927)
Gerry (Van Sant, 2002)
Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai (Jarmusch, 2000)
The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
The Godfather Part II (Coppola, 1974)
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (Leone, 1966)
Gosford Park (Altman, 2001)
The Grand Illusion (Renoir, 1938)
Grizzly Man (Herzog, 2005)
High and Low (Kurosawa, 1963)
His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940)
Human Resources (Cantet, 1999)
Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)
I'm Not There (Haynes, 2007)
The Incredibles (Bird, 2004)
The Iron Giant (Bird, 1999)
Junior Bonner (Peckinpah, 1972)
Killer of Sheep (Burnett, 1977)
La Jetee (Marker, 1962)
L'Atalante (Vigo, 1934)
L'Avventura (Antonioni, 1960)
The Lady Eve (Sturges, 1941)
Little Dieter Needs To Fly (Herzog, 1997)
The Long Goodbye (Altman, 1973)
M (Lang, 1931)
The Maltese Falcon (Huston, 1941)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (Ford, 1962)
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Weir, 2003)
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman, 1971)
Miller's Crossing (Coen, 1990)
Mon Oncle (Tati, 1958)
My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki, 1988)
The New World (Malick, 2005)
Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955)
No Country For Old Men (Coen, 2007)
Nosferatu (Murnau, 1929)
On the Waterfront (Kazan, 1954)
Once Upon A Time In the West (Leone, 1968)
Pennies From Heaven (Ross, 1981)
Pierrot Le Fou (Godard, 1965)
Playtime (Tati, 1967)
Princess Mononoke (Miyazaki, 1997)
Ran (Kurosawa, 1985)
Ratatouille (Bird, 2007)
Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954)
Ride The High Country (Peckinpah, 1962)
Rio Bravo (Hawks, 1959)
Rivers and Tides (Riedelsheimer, 2001)
The Rules of the Game (Renoir, 1939)
Sans Soliel (Marker, 1983)
The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
The Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954)
Singin' In The Rain (Donen, 1952)
Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2002)
Stagecoach (Ford, 1939)
The Straight Story (Lynch, 1999)
Straw Dogs (Peckinpah, 1971)
Sullivan's Travels (Sturges, 1942)
Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
Taxi Driver (Scorcese, 1976)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (Lang, 1933)
There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)
Thieves Like Us (Altman, 1974)
The Third Man (Reed, 1949)
Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)
Two-Lane Blacktop (Hellman, 1971)
Unfaithfully Yours (Sturges, 1948)
Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
Week End (Godard, 1967)
The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969)
Yojimbo (Kurosawa, 1961)
Young Frankenstein (Brooks, 1974)


First edit: I somehow left off Ikiru, so that's going on and Throne of Blood is coming off. Also missing: The Shop Around The Corner, Los Angeles Plays Itself, Topsy-Turvy, The Man Who Would Be King, and Zero For Conduct.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bloody Valentines at the Screengrab

Here's this week's Screengrab list! It's all about the worst movie romances in history. I wrote the bulk (all but the first one) of Part Two and a piece on Days of Heaven somewhere else. But the whole thing is chock full of good writing, so check it out!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Music Library: Dylan (+ A.C. Newman, Aesop Rock, & Annuals)

Early folkster Bob:

  • Bob Dylan.
  • The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
  • In Concert.
  • The Times They Are A-Changin'.
  • Another Side Of Bob Dylan.

I'm not going to address these separately. You probably know the score, but just in case, here's my take: the first one is so-so, the rest are indispensable. In Concert is a bootleg of an album Columbia pressed and then decided not to release. I like it, even though it starts with nearly 8 minutes of 20-something-year-old Bob reciting his Woody Guthrie poem.

Mid-60s poet-troubadour Bob:

  • Bringing It All Back Home.
  • Highway 61 Revisited.
  • Blonde On Blonde.

This is what it's all about, isn't it? Lyrics that are silly until they aren't. Scruffy folk-rock that sounds like all the folk and garage-rock and blues and soul and hillbilly and race 78s and everything else has been poured into it and come out new.

Late-60s shabby prophet Bob:

  • The Basement Tapes.
  • The Genuine Basement Tapes.
  • John Wesley Harding.

After his motorcycle accident, Bob attained enlightenment and became a wizened old man. He wasn't yet 30. The Genuine Basement Tapes is a five-disc bootleg of almost everything Dylan recorded with The Band at Big Pink. It is a bit much. The Basement Tapes culls everything down to a two-disc collection. It is not quite enough. John Wesley Harding is utter perfection.

End of 60s/beginning of 70s finding-himself Bob:

  • Nashville Skyline. Bob's a country crooner obsessed with love. One of my absolute favorite Dylan albums.
  • Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid. Four years later, Dylan's a cowboy. Another absolute favorite, and it's almost all instrumental.

In between these two albums are two I don't have as mp3s (although I have one on vinyl): Self-Portrait and New Morning. Self-Portrait is the first Dylan album that is horrible, and it's sort of fascinating for that fact. Greil Marcus famously quipped about it that he always said he would buy an album of Dylan breathing hard, but he never said he's buy an album of Dylan breathing softly. New Morning (the one I have on vinyl) is wonderful, on the other hand. Don't know why I've never picked that up on CD or as a download. The album afterwards is Dylan, which consists of outtakes from the Self-Portrait sessions. Abandon all hope, all ye who listen to that.

70s lost-in-the-wilderness Bob:

  • Planet Waves. Very good album, but it doesn't knock me out like his best.
  • Before The Flood. Dylan and The Band play a lot of songs by Dylan and The Band. All of these live versions suffer in comparison to their studio releases.
  • Blood On The Tracks. On of the greatest break-up albums ever made by anyone who wasn't Richard or Linda Thompson. One of Dylan's last thoroughly groundbreaking and thoroughly great albums.
  • Desire. Lots of sound and fury. I think it actually signifies something, but I don't know what.

80s Bob Of God:

  • Saved. Not terrible, but definitely not great.
  • Infidels. This might not be religious. I can't quite tell.

Missing: Slow Train Coming, which I have on vinyl. I like that one, too, although I don't love it. There's many more albums from this period, but I just don't care about most of them.

90s - 00s Bob The Prophet:

  • Good As I Been To You.
  • World Gone Wrong.
  • Time Out Of Mind.
  • "Love & Theft".
  • Modern Times.

I need to get Oh Mercy. I'm very fond of that album, but I don't have any idea what happened to my copy of it. Anyway, after Jesus didn't work out for Dylan, he tried his hand as a legacy performer, wrapping okay albums around a few good songs, but that wasn't such a great choice for the man, either. Oh Mercy was the best of the period where Dylan rode his own coattails. Since the early 1990s, he's become a world-weary folk blues guy who works up some rock steam, somewhere between Mississippi John Hurt and John Fogerty. It's not a bad fit for him. The first two solely consist of acoustic interpretations of traditional tunes. The other three are fairly creative reworkings of old blues songs into something new and surprising.

Bootleg Bob:

  • The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1 - 3: Rare and Unreleased, 1961-1991.
  • The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert.

The first Bootleg Series release is a fascinating box set of outtakes. Your fascination levels may vary, depending on how much you like Dylan. Actually, for me, the third disc, with all the crap from the 80s, is much like the 80s releases: yawn, yawn, yawn. The second release (Vol. 4) is the famously misnamed Royal Albert Hall Concert bootleg, which actually was recorded in Manchester, where Dylan rocks hard while being heckled by his more conservative audience. The story behind this concert is such a great mythmaking story that it seems too good to be true. But here's the proof that it exists, plus the footage of said concert in the stunning Martin Scorcese documentary No Direction Home. Wanted: the remaining Bootleg Series albums.

After listening to all this Dylan, I find it hard to believe that he's human, let alone a single person. Of course, his humanity isn't in doubt; it's what makes his musical output so amazing. The contradictions of his life and legend, though, leave me with a strong urge to rewatch I'm Not There.


Edit: Hola to my visitors from Expecting Rain. If I'd know you were going to drop by, I would have tried to write something a little more eloquent about The Man. As a little gift, here's something I wrote last Fall about Dylan in the movies for The Screengrab, which is's film blog.


Bonus! Fake Dylan - Dylan Hears A Who!

A few years ago a smart-ass in Houston recorded a bunch of Dr. Seuss stories in the style of mid-60s Dylan and put them on the web. Dr. Seuss's estate was unamused and issued a cease-and-desist letter, which is a shame. These recordings are dead-on impressions of Bringing It All Back Home through Blonde On Blonde style and Dr. Seuss's lyrics have a definite affinity with Dylan's High Surrealism period. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky many who downloaded the songs in time.

Here's Salon on the now-defunct Dylan Hears A Who site.

PLUS! Catch-up:

A.C. Newman - Get Guilty. Newman's new album, like his last, sounds an awful lot like his main project The New Pornographers. And that's not a bad thing at all.

Aesop Rock - Bazooka Tooth. It takes me a while to really figure out how much I like hip-hop albums because it takes me a long time to parse the words from the beats. The sound of this album is great, though.

Annuals - Be He Me. I avoided this band for over two years because its reviews were almost uniformly awful. Awfully written, I mean. None of them panned the music; on the contrary, most asserted the strength of the sound and the songs and the youth of the songwriter (who was 19 or 20 when the album dropped in late 2006). Almost all of them mentioned The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, and Animal Collective. And I think they were all a little short-sighted. The Arcade Fire may be a touchstone for the Annuals, but there's very little of the overwrought anthemic Springsteen working-class heroics. Animal Collective is even further off: the Annuals rarely build their songs on the loops of bucolic electronic pantheism that power Animal Collective. The lead guy screams a little bit and loops some incidental Moog blips & bloops, but the songs are clearly built on guitar and piano chords. Broken Social Scene is closer, but BSS has such an ethereal take on their songs that they always sound on the verge of falling apart. The Annuals sound better structured than that. Although this is clearly folksy indie rock with mildly psychedelic noise, it's the kitchen-sink sound of Brian Wilson and the Flaming Lips that drives this album. They put out a second album last year; I'll check it out sometime.

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