End Of Year Albums/Tracks/Artwork/LiveShows/OTHER STUFF 2010

Top Ten Records in no particular order because i am fickle and apart from the Monitor, the hierarchy sort of fades between the rest of them. Oops that makes it sound like nothing else matters except the Monitor which is clearly not (entirely) true! I chose all of these because they were all records that, in some small way, had a time and a place for me this year:

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
Four Tet- There Is Love In You
Abe Vigoda- Crush
Wild Nothing- Gemini
Ty Segall- Melted
Deerhunter- Halcyon Digest
Julian Lynch- Mare
No Age- Everything In Between
Active Child- Curtis Lane
Screaming Females- Castle Talk

Top (12) Tracks:

Well, its hardly surprising!

1. JPNDRDS- Younger Us: This band never fail and this track is like a first boyfriend. At one point i'd say it could even reduce me to tears, maybe at that point when he cheats on you with a girl who doesn't even have every single SY record on CD.
2. Caribou- Odessa: I played this one repeatedly when i went to Wimbledon this year, made the queues a hell of a lot more bearable.
3. Veronica Falls- Beachy Head
4. Mark McGuire- Brain Storm (For Erin): A recent favourite!
5. The Tallest Man On Earth- Love Is All: This is a really beautiful track and reminds me of home movies, being in Australia when i was a kid and all my favourite places there; the smell, the beautiful shades of red on the ground and in the sky.
6. Twin Shadow- Castles in the Snow
7. Ariel Pink- Frightnight (nevermore)
8. Wavves- Post-Acid
9. Fang Island- Daisy
10. Home Blitz- Two Steps: A fun little track which i think is about being scared and pretending you're not i guess.
11. Marnie Stern- Transparency Is The New Mystery: I fucking hate that P4K called this a 'power ballad' even if in jest, but whatever. She's awesome and this is awesome.
12. Sleigh Bells- Crown On The Ground

Favourite Artwork: Julian Lynch- Mare

Least Favourite Artwork: Best Coast- Crazy For You

Favourite Live Shows:

Titus Andronicus!- @ Bodega Social, Nottingham
Of Montreal- @ Academy 2, Manchester
High Society presents: Felix, Les Etoiles, El Heath- @ Bodega Social
Default This covers ATDI/SY/Fugazi/Refused/And You Will Know Us as part of Hockley Hustle- @ Bodega Social, Nottingham
Abe Vigoda- @ Bodega Social, Nottingham
Marnie Stern- @ Bodega Social, Nottingham

Fucked Up and Times New Viking would have PROBABLY made this list, if only those gigs were at convenient times for me when i didn't have work commitments (that's quite funny, really because i NEVER have any work commitments even when i do have work commitments)

Bunch of stuff i've yet to hear, some of which are friends' recommendations:

Sufjan Stevens- Age of Adz (YEP still haven't!)
Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Woods- At Echo Lake
How To Dress Well- Love Remains
Delorean- Subiza
Das Racist- Sit Down, Man
Big Troubles- Worry
Little Women- Throat
Rangers- Suburban Tours
Sun Araw- On Patrol
Richard Skelton- Landings
Giant Sand- Blurry Blue Mountain
Gate - A Republic of Sadness
Woven Bones- In And Out And Back Again

Things that should probably have got more listens:

Mark McGuire- Living With Yourself
Zola Jesus- Stridulem
Perfume Genius- Learning
Swans- My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Fang Island- Fang Island

Album i have been most baffled by cropping up EVERYWHERE and i'm not sure i'll ever listen to because of this fucking ugly cover.

Earl Sweatshirt- EARL

Hello reader we've reached the end of this miserable journey. I'd liked to know what YOU had on your end of year lists, too! Happy end of 2010!



Oh, this is new and exciting. My friend posted about 8tracks ages ago, but i've only just got round to posting a mix. All these songs are on a mixtape i made a friend, but they're all stuff i've been enjoying so much off late. It includes my new found love for Burger Records- swiftly making my way through some of their bands, especially Ty Segall and i really like Nobunny as well for the concept.

There's some Abe Vigoda and Ganglians in there too, who i'm seeing in November and hugely excited about. "Crush" is such a great album i totally wasn't expecting it.

They Saw The Waves...That's The Way To Go.

I saw this video a while ago and knew i was going to come to adore this band. "Beachy Head" reminds me of this holiday i went on once with my family in Spain somewhere. We stayed with some friends at a place near the cliffs, and the best moment i remember was looking down to the raging sea and just finding that situation and everything i knew about life sort of hilarious. This band are full of fun and dark moments.

Veronica Falls - Beachy Head from Philippa Bloomfield on Vimeo.


"The Viewing Experience"

A few weeks ago, i went to see "Mother" with my friend at Broadway and about 15 minutes or so in, Mike whispered to me "did you realise they've not put subtitles?". It's not really beyond me to not notice things like this, but i have to admit that it is sort of odd that someone had already decided to go and speak to the staff at broadway before i properly noticed that i had no idea what they were saying and still quite contentedly sat there as if i had any clue what was going on. I still believe that i could have watched the whole thing without subtitles, the film itself was quite captivating from the 15 minutes i saw, and rather than daydreaming inside a cinema (i have a problem concentrating on films sometimes) i think i was kind of enjoying it subconsciously for the very reason that i was completely lost in this world of language as foreign to me as the Southern Korea setting, and it wasn't exactly impossible to suss what was happening. For a fleeting few minutes i felt more involved with the film and the concept of it than if i were following the print.

This reminded me of the experience of watching tennis matches without commentary; the commentary is incredibly crucial (albeit pompous and annoying on occasion), and the lack of it when watching live matches (or not having one of those super cool radio gadgets) is something i didn't think i would miss so much -but there was certainly a level of 'consciousness' that i lost without it. What you gain in watching live tennis or other sports is an entirely different mental representation of what is going on and it's peculiar how i remember the least about Wimbledon the past two years when i've actually been there than the years before when i'd watched everything on television. Yet nothing beats watching tennis matches live, and i know that experience can enrich people who find tennis otherwise incredibly dull. However there's elements to watching games through the box that are just as enjoyable to me (and probably to other sports fans), and sometimes it's somewhat of a relief to go crawling back to the television after four days worth of numbing in the heat running from court to court lathered in sun cream and wincing at which way the ball is spinning.

As much as i'd like to sniff at commentary having been accustomed to entrenching myself in match stats for so long i often really don't care about what they're saying (i.e. Peter Flemming; the guy is always an ass about everything) the commentators haven't spent so long in the game playing or otherwise without gaining a tad bit more knowledge than you ;) Like watching foreign films i guess you can easily fail to acknowledge the context and the culture within which it is being communicated which an audience who belong to that language culture would. Invariably, one feels like they have lost out somehow, and indeed they have. Points are often too quick to notice and appreciate things like tactical advantages of a kick serve as opposed to a topspin slice, or how wind might be affecting shot selection without someone pointing it out to you or even how player's previous opponents/slam experience has set them up for the current match. Overall, commentary brings 2D to 3D, and as rubbish as that analogy might seem, it's certainly true of why everyone is falling in love with 3D TENNIS- "a tennis viewing experience like no other....blah blah" as seen on Sky Sports

Though this article is somewhat accurate, i think he under-appreciates how tennis fans will go gaga for anything that brings a new level of visual experience to the game. Tennis fans from what i've experienced are usually also the most embracing of sports enthusiasts and importantly, kids who like tennis are a fantastic market for things like 3D broadcast because generally those kids are absolutely crazy for this sport because of the level of accessibility it provides for them, being able to see their favourite players up close and personal on big show courts...and now in 3D when they can't make it to the show? That is a winning concept.

It's also true that the technical brilliance of professional tennis can never ever be fully known by the viewer, courtside seats are terribly impractical no matter where they are. My friend and i, being the spoilt brats we are, were sitting on centre court seats 2nd row from the front and still complaining that we weren't close enough to see the ball move properly, no one can help 'people like us'. But really, kinetics of the ball spin and placement and accuracy is mind blowing and if anything, i would hope that 3D would allow people to 'see' that more up close and appreciate the game at a different level than before. It's a lot of fun, and i'm pretty embarrassingly tempted by one of these '3D sports pubs', if only i could find an adequate companion to join me. I can see how 3D would be somewhat of a disaster in a sport like football though. Sport aside, without going into too much detail, i really don't like the concept of 3D in films, its as redundant as anything i've ever seen and i am yet to be enlightened as to how it is possibly entertaining after the bewilderment of this new visual dimension wears off.

Moving on, i was super duper excited when Frenchman Gael Monfils got to his first quarter-finals this year at New York. Though, I can't claim he showed any really sparkling tennis during his match against Djokovic, he is one of my very favourite players; awesome guy and a talented athlete not to mention amazingly fun to watch. However, i often wonder whether being a full time funny man is his main priority over actually winning matches......it's startling how Gael though pumped up and ready to go like a Lockheed Blackbird that he is, is still too much of a passive player when he reaches the deep, murky and heavily experienced waters of the Top 5 ATP rankings. Monfils is not a 'naturally' talented tennis player though he is a naturally talented athlete, and often though that seems to be enough to do well on the men's tour in this modern age, players at Djokovic's level can be very tactically aggressive and it takes more to break through at slam level. Even though it suits Monfils to be so charming, I fear that if he doesn't start revamping his boyish, class clown image he will find himself reaching the peak of his career before what is ideal. His roads already been a pretty bumpy one steeped in injury breaks, and his tireless defensive play is something that is becoming a terribly greater weakness than his hamstrings. I think it's time he started reviewing and re-watching his matches with his new coach, Roger Rasheed, to establish a good offensive play that he can stick to against bigger players.


Just to change the pattern of the days

"Dust" by Ujin lee and Tom Edwards

"They'd admire the complexity of his plan, incomplete as it was. It had art and memory. It had a sense of responsibility, of moral force. And it was a picture in the world of their own guilty wishes... Astonish them, create coincidences so bizarre they have to believe it. Create a loneliness that beats with violent desire. This kind of man, an arrest, a false name, a stolen credit card. Stalking a victim can be a way of organising one's loneliness, making a network out of it, a fabric of connections, desperate men give their solitude a purpose, and a destiny"

I'm not sure if i enjoyed "Libra" as much as i did because i haven't completed a book for some time or whether I like being convinced of other people's guilty wishes. I found that sense of reconciliation in Iain Bank's "Wasp Room" as well (i had a conversation with someone about this book recently, really need to re-read it and actually i want to re-read Libra again because i felt short-changed and i could see through more of it if i tried again)....It's somewhat of an escape from morality and purely an insight into personal success, and the ways it can be achieved, told as a rehash of a pub story. It probably wasn't Delillo's intention to have readers feel sorry for Oswald, though paragraphs like the above suggest otherwise. But outside of just being a lonely man seeking a destiny and a purpose, Oswald was a falling man, 'tilting' maybe, and then he found the only way there was to strike a balance, to keep the scales level and you're tempted to feel relief, whether it's for him or something else. Some people just can't deal with lopsidedness. He was terrified, but of what we never really understand and a passive protagonist of what he believes (or what the author believes) as a presence greater than himself, greater than the historian Nicholas Branch. "Ideals", and often political ideals, grow into something uncontrollable, reality makes little sense and it's almost impossible to continue living in the same way; "if the world is where we hide from ourselves, what do we do when the world is no longer accessible? we invent a false name, invent a destiny, purchase a firearm through the mail"........

There's a sense of hilarity that works it's way through the whole book, the fact that the very concept of determinism or destiny doesn't exist for Oswald at all,at least not in the way he thinks it does, as he actively does something to put an end to his deterministic love affair by proliferating everything with interpretation, meaning, context and an overwhelming urge of creativity that he can't resist. I may be naive in saying its all a big guilt trip, but for what? Who is this boy with his hair messed up and his shirt sticking out of his trousers? "And he looked scared, and he looked wild........."

I suppose i know 'just enough' about the JFK assassination, and to be honest i don't really care that much about it, as compelling as it was, because Libra is as good a novel without having any real attachment to those events, just as Lee Harvey Oswald has little attachment to who he really was, he's a construct of a vision of who he really may have been, in history, in fiction, and who he thought he may have been in both.

Libra ends with a perfect restlessness;

"I stand here on this broken hearted earth and i look at the stones of the dead, a rolling field of dead, and the chapel on the hill, and the cedar trees leaning in the wind, and i know a funeral is supposed to console the family with the quality of the ceremony and the setting. But i am not consoled."

Im not sure if i've fully gathered by thoughts on this, maybe i should speak to Playing Pretend as i did borrow her copy (thankssssss). But there we are, life usually ends unfinished, and i have to make a start on Infinite Jest.

Stay Active

Been listening a lot more to "Curtis Lane EP" by Active Child (Pat Grossi) of late. It sucked me in dangerously quick, like how religion can be overwhelming if you've never heard of it before. Luckily you can still enjoy the best of a record like Curtis Lane without having to convert, pray and maintain practise; it's just really really pretty music fusing choral and dark, melancholic synths. It's not hard to imagine beautiful music with that description, but i think it would be difficult to 'get it right' if you were going to try. What i love best about Active Child is that Pat grew up listening to really dirty rap- (his dad used to work for the rap label Priority Records) but he was also in Philadelphia Boys Choir for the better part of his childhood, so little Pat was introduced to and met Snoop, Dr.Dre, Eminem and still ends up playing gospel music. That's remarkable.

Where on earth did the inspiration for songs like "Weight of the World" "She was a Vision" "Wilderness" come from when your favourite records growing up were mostly about cunts and guns. Weight of the World reminds me in a strange way of the title music for Ecco the Dolphin on Sega; a little heartbroken, lonely, but hopeful. Can't say Ecco was my favourite game to play, now that i think back on it, it was highly inappropriate for my age at the time! It's about a lonely, aggravated dolphin who tries to organise his grief stricken existence by travelling back in time through seas of chaos at a very poor level of physical fitness where you have approximately 3 minutes to complete a really difficult underwater maze because of your failing respiratory system which means you always invariably DIE!

Despite all that, I love Curtis Lane, and this video gets across that 'expansiveness' quite well


After all the Agitation.....

in fact i think it's just the kind of rude awakening i need.

.....and after all the frantic expeditions to make 3 months of an unorganised life organised, i finally found a moment of peace-about a week ago, a way of sitting still and being comfortable that way. I saw through all that bothered me, all the things i hadn't done or attended to, and somehow i managed to convince myself that it was all dealt with, until today.

The thing about old friends is, they bring up a lot of 'ugliness' that you would rather forget about yourself, but what's worse is when an 'old friend' is actually someone you met not so long ago, and you realise after all this time, since before and even after you met them, when you thought you might have changed.... you're actually just the very same person with the same insecurities that had been slovenly shelved for so long that they almost disappeared- you just found better ways of hiding them. I have one very good friend who sees the best things in me, but also knows what makes me feel exposed and insecure, and i hate that. There's nothing i can say or do, it's just a weird feeling i get when i'm with them like they're eyeballing me, and every small hand gesture or shifting of the eyes to a different point of focus apart from their line of focus is mapped with scrutiny. It's strange, because it's almost as if i hate them for trying to know me, but they still don't 'see' and that's frustrating for me. To (think) they know so much and not know anything at all. My plight in being friends with an emotional stump.

My friend moved city more than a year ago now, and i've realised that they're slipping away, perhaps they're getting older, moving on, finding a job working towards a career, or perhaps our relationship is moving on to a plateau. It's settled, and i didn't want it to- i've just realised. I wanted it to keep moving....but i'm not sure where.

Right now, if i could find some way of being emotionally blind i would take it. I perhaps used to enjoy this sort of self destruction seeped in sentiment, mystery, musing and lust but that is one thing that i have grown the hell out of finally, and i want some calm, no complications.

Perhaps i'll pull myself together soon, i need to, but i'm certainly not wasting anymore time on hopeful operative pretence.

I should basically be given a merit badge after those 4 paragraphs. I am suddenly turning emo, and i'm enjoying it somehow. I'm 'growing' and 'regressing' at the same time! I would rather decorate my personal growth with one of these below.....bit of a scaredy admittedly.

by awesome Tim Forbus

(sorry the feet are kind of gross, but try and look past that)


Ghost in the Machine

Quite a lot recently, i've had this sense of unfamiliarity within my own body, its like a continuous 'what the fuck are you doing?' sense of being which makes me wish i didn't have to associate myself with my Self.

Most of this stems from an extreme detachment, or rather discrepancy, between what i intend doing and what i physically end up doing. It's true a lot of people have good intentions; i used to have intentions too, real ones, like an intention to get into University, get a job, improve my backhand slice, or read 3 books a week.

I've since deteriorated.

I now have intentions like making sure i don't break anything made of glass today. Or, sometimes i have an intention to not get out of my car again because i 'think' i've left the straighteners on in my bedroom. And then i go upstairs, not paying attention, forget why i came back in, i do something completely irrelevant, get back in my car, then wonder if i've locked the front door....and whether i've left the straighteners on in my bedroom. It's a sad state of affairs, and they're not 'intentions' they're just Standards of Sanity, i guess. Thus, my approach to life these days is one of Positive Apathy; why bother thinking about anything when it has no real meaningful effect on what you do, it reaches no further than the thought process itself.

I can only currently describe my feelings as a mix of 'locked in syndrome', phantom limb, being drunk and the relationship the rat and Linguine had in Pixar's Ratatouille. My brain is active but my body is incapable of creating anything beautiful or interesting, i don't recognise my hands when they make a sloppy job out of everything, i find it difficult to pay attention to anything that requires me to sit down quietly and mostly i feel like i'm dealing with a total idiot of sorts.

It's frustrating. What have i become? What was i before? Can i get up from this horrible nightmare.

Meanwhile, this video for Fang Island's "Daisy" strangely depicts a nightmarish version of the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. If you don't get it, watch it again- you'll see. The sense of exclusivity from the world, and how, you quite simply can never physically let people know that hot pants don't suit them.

Fang Island from carlos charlie perez on Vimeo.