Monday, March 4, 2013

Keep Your Head up, My Love: A.B.’s 2012 Music Blog

Top Tracks of 2012--
(Consolidated list as shown on the daily fb feed)

1. Geographer - Kits
2. Twin Shadow – Five Seconds
3. The Lumineers – Stubborn Love
4. Grimes - Genesis
5. Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built
6. Purity Ring - Fineshrine
7. CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
8. Sigur Ros - Varua
9. Civil Twilight & Ra Ra Riot - River
10. Of Monsters & Men – Little Talks
11. Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen
12. Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
13. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
14. Geographer - Boulder
15. Stars – Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give it
16. Muse - Madness
17. Grimes - Oblivion
18. Cloud Nothings – Wasted Days
19. Citizens! – True Romance
20. The Lumineers – Ho Hey
21. Bloc Party – Day Four
22. The xx - Chained
23. Tribes - Sappho
24. Chairlift – I Belong in Your Arms
25. Walk the Moon – Anna Sun
26. Frank Ocean – Thinkin About You
27. Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
28. Youngblood Hawke – We Come Running
29. A Silent Film – Harbour Lights
30. Metric – Breathing Underwater
31. The Eastern Sea – The Match
32. Of Monsters & Men – Dirty Paws
33. Blondfire – Where the Kids Are
34. Lushlife - Magnolia
35. Grizzly Bear – A Simple Answer
36. Kitten – Cut it Out
37. Major Lazer – Get Free
38. Royal Teeth - Wild
39. The Gaslight Anthem – “45”
40. Ben Howard – The Wolves

Top 40 Playlist + Honorable Mention (shown below) --

Songs likely to be higher when I unfairly judge myself looking back at this next year:

12. Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
29. A Silent Film – Harbour Lights
36. Kitten – Cut it Out
40. Ben Howard – The Wolves

And likely half a dozen or so Honorable Mention tracks I'm sure.

The Last 15 Cut :

Passion Pit – Where I come From
Usher - Climax
Ritual Union – Little Dragon
Phillip Phillips - Home
Little Dragon – Sunshine
The Shins – A Simple Song
Smoke & Jackal – No Tell
Vacationer – Good as New
Animal Kingdom – Strange Attractor
Django Django – Default
Crystal Fighters – At Home
Saint Etienne – Tonight
Islands - Hallways
Dirty Projectors – Gun Has No Trigger

This list is the top 40 + Last 15 Cut + another ~40 Honorable Mention

Top 5 New Band/Artist discoveries (for me) in 2012

The Lumineers
Of Monsters & Men


Overall Top 15 Albums of 2012
1. Grimes - Visions
2. Geographer - Myth
3.The  Lumineers - The Lumineers
4. Japandroids - Celebration Rock
5. Sigur Ros - Valtari
6. Twin Shadow - Confess
7. Of Monsters & Men - My Head is an Animal
8. Frank Ocean - channel Orange
9. Ben Howard - Every Kingdom
10. Stars  - Never Trust a Happy Song
11. Imagine Dragons - Night Visions
12. Purity Ring - Shrines
13. Kitten - Cut it Out EP
14. Bloc Party- Day Four
15. Civil Twilight - In Light

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ditto: The 10 Lamest Romantic Lines in Cinematic History

In honor of Valentines Day I deciding to make a list of love. Well... kind of.


THE MOVIE: Pretty Woman (1990)
THE SCENE: She walked off the streets and into our hearts. And when showing how deep a Hooker can go (ahem) Julia Roberts tells a story that is in no way a microcosm for this entire diatribe of a movie. Nope. Not at all.
THE LINE:  Richard Gere "So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?"
Julia Roberts "She rescues him right back.


THE MOVIE: Ghost (1990)
THE SCENE: In what was really no more than a plot device that would make even Nicholas Sparks shudder we get this repeated phrase that somewhere some 35 year old man is repeating to his wife tonight thinking he is clever. 
THE LINE:  Demi Moore: "I love you." Patrick Swayze: "Ditto."


THE MOVIE: Hope Floats (1998)
THE SCENE: Harry Connick Jr takes time away from shitty cameos for CSI-NCIS-FBI-Chattanooga to step in and deliver this dandy to a single mother who recently was embarrassed on a nation-wide talk show. 
THE LINE:  “Dancing is just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."


THE MOVIEEver After (1998) 
THE SCENE:  The context here might even be worse than the line. So, Drew Barrymore in some bastardized version of Cinderella is trying to explain to, of all people, Leonardo da Vinci why her romance is impossible.
THE LINE: ”A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?”  


THE MOVIE: City of Angels (1998)
THE SCENE: Meg Ryan waxes poetic as she’s lying in bed presumably mid-thrust with her lover-boy Alien, I mean Angel, "Seth" who's now become human.
THE LINE: ”We were made to fit together.” 

5), 4) and 3)

THE MOVIE(s): The Twilight Saga (2008 -12)
THE SCENE(s): I have no idea.  And I hope to keep it that way. I can only assume that Edward is mad that the sale at "Claire's" has ended and he will have to buy the expensive glitter now but wants his beloved Bella to know that despite these hard economic times he still wants to give her a mutant baby. 
THE LINE(s): "Isabella Swan, I promise to love you every moment of forever." 
 "I've never wanted a human's blood so much before." 
"You're like my own personal brand of heroine." 


THE MOVIEChronicles of Riddick  (2004)
THE SCENE: Vin Diesel is all of his steaming glory (literally, he emits steam in this flick) flicks one liners like he is Rodney Dangerfield and is somehow seen early in the film with Dame Judie Dench, who must have had some contractual obligation, and is clearly over-matched.
THE LINE"It's been a long time since I smelled beautiful." 


THE MOVIEStar Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
THE SCENE:  Natalie Portman professes her undying love in a way only George Lucas could have put it.
THE LINE: “Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo.


And as a bonus I leave you with THE most romantic line ever spoken in film:

Where are all the white women at? - Blazing Saddles

Friday, February 10, 2012

The City is my Church: A.B.'s 2011 Music Blog

Top Tracks of 2011--
(consolidated list as shown on the daily fb feed)

1. Bon Iver - Halocene
2. M83 - Midnight City
3. College ft. Electric Youth - A Real Hero
4. The Antlers - I Don't Want Love
5. The Head and the Heart - Down in the Valley
6. Phantogram - Don't Move
7. Devotchka - All the Sand in All the Sea
8. GROUPLOVE - Colours
9. The Naked and Famous - Punching in a Dream
10. AWOLNATION - Sail 
11. Bon Iver - Calgary
12. The Head and the Heart - Lost in my Mind
13. Sea Wolf - Song for the Magpie
14. The Dodos - Black Knight
15. Typhoon - Honest Truth
16. Phantogram - Turning into Stone
17. Los Campesinos! - Hello Sadness
18. Fun ft. Janelle Monae - We are Young
19. Florence and the Machine - Shake it Out
20. We Were Promised Jetpacks - Medicine
21. Hurricane Bells - Possibilities
22. Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers
23. Papercranes - Synapses
24. M83 - Steve McQueen
25. The Airborne Toxic Event - Half of Something Else
26. Kanye West & Jay-Z - Niggas in Paris
27. Funeral Party - Finale
28. Neon Indian - Polish Girl
29. Explosions in the Sky - Last Known Surroundings
30. Bombay Bicycle Club - Shuffle
31. Rachel Yamagata - Even if I Don't
32. The Cults - Go Outside
33. The Joy Formidable - Whirring
34. The Naked and Famous - Girls Like You
35. Cold Cave - Great Pan is Dead
36. Sarah Jaffe - Clementine
37. Beirut - Sante Fe
38. Broken Records - A Darkness Rises Up
39. Opus Orange - Crystal Clear
40. Cut Copy - Need You Now

Top 40 Playlist --


Grooveshark Embedded:

A.B.'s Top 40 Tracks of 2011 by Aaron B. Koontz on Grooveshark
*Note: Sea Wolf - Song for the Magpie and Hurricane Bells - Possibilities were not available on Grooveshark but I found apt replacements for this playlist. The Hurricane Bells track in particular was my #2 song of 2009 even. The spotify playlists have all tracks accounted for properly.

Songs likely to be higher when I unfairly judge myself looking back at this next year:
15. Typhoon - Honest Truth 
18. Fun ft. Janelle Monae - We are Young 
34. The Naked and Famous - Girls Like You
And likely half a dozen or so Honorable Mention tracks I'm sure.

Last 5 Cut:
Gotye - Somebody That I Used to Know
Ryan Adams - Lucky Now
The Airborne Toxic Event - Graveyard Near the House
Lana Del Rey - Video Games
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical

Honorable Mention Playlist --
(after the first 5 these are in no particular order)


Grooveshark Embedded:

Honorable Mention -2011 by Aaron B. Koontz on Grooveshark

Song Stats:
Bands/Artists Featured Multiple Times - 10

The Rare 3 Mentions --
Bon Iver - #1 and #11 plus an Honorable Mention
M83 - #2 and #24 plus an Honorable Mention
The Naked and Famous - #9 and #34 plus an Honorable Mention

Top 5 New Band/Artist discoveries (for me) in 2011
1) The Head and the Heart
2) The Naked and Famous

3) Typhoon
4) Givers
5) Foster the People

Top 15 Albums of 2011
1) Bon Iver - Bon Iver
2) Drive Soundtrack - Various Artists, Score by Cliff Martinez
3) M83 - Hurry Up We're Dreaming
4) The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You
5) The Head and the Heart - The Head and the Heart
6) Phantogram - Nightlife
7)  Super 8 - Score by Michael Giacchino 
8) The Airborne Toxic Event -
All at Once
9) The Antlers - Burst Apart
10) GROUPLOVE - Never Trust a Happy Song
11) Explosions in the Sky
12) Moneyball - Score by Mychael Danna w/ contributions from 'This Will Destroy You'!
13) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical
14) Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes
15) Givers - In Light

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oscar Preview & Predictions Blog

So I won't be using this space to pick the winners, that will be reserved for a time further down the road when I have seen more of these films (I'm on a watching frenzy currently trying to catch-up). Instead this will be is a space to highlight what I believe will be nominated and then what I think *should* be nominated. All of which in no particular order.

Documentary and Foreign subjects are my current focus so more to come with those soon as well.

Simple enough. Lets begin:

Best Picture --
(Please note: The voting is different this year for Best Picture so there could be as few as 5 and as many as 10 nominees. I'll be picking ten just in case)

Who I think will be nominated:
The Artist
The Help
The Descendants
The Tree of Life
Midnight in Paris
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
War Horse

Who I think SHOULD be nominated:
Midnight in Paris
Take Shelter
A Separation
The Descendants

Best Director --

Will be nominated:
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Tate Taylor, The Help
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

SHOULD be nominated:
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Takashi Miike, 13 Assassins
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best Actor --

Will be nominated:
George Clooney, The Descendants
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Leonardo diCaprio, J.Edgar

SHOULD be nominated:
Michael Fassbender, Shame
George Clooney, The Descendants
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Thomas Horn - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50

Best Actress --

Will be nominated:
Viola Davis, The Help
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

SHOULD be nominated:
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Leila Hatami - A Separation

Best Supporting Actor --

Will be nominated:
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method

SHOULD be nominated:
Albert Brooks, Drive
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Ben Kingsley, Hugo
Max Von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Best Supporting Actress --

Will be nominated:
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

SHOULD be nominated:
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter
Carey Mulligan, Shame
Elle Fanning - Super 8
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Chloe Moretz - Hugo

Best Original Screenplay --

Will be nominated:
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Kristen Wiig & Annie Mumulo, Bridesmaids
Will Reiser, 50/50
Mike Mills, Beginners

SHOULD be nominated:
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Tom McCarthy and Joe Tibani, Win Win
Asghar Farhadi, A Separation
Ben Ripley, Source Code
Will Reiser, 50/50

Best Cinematography -- 

Will be nominated:
Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist
Emmanuel Lubezki , The Tree of Life
Robert Richardson, Hugo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Janusz Kaminski, War Horse

SHOULD be nominated
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Robert Richardson, Hugo
Manuel Alberto Claro and Lars Von Trier, Melancholia
Newton Thomas Sigel, Drive
Sean Bobbitt, Shame

Note: I have yet to see "Warhorse" but I hear this will easily make my list but this is not an easy 5 to crack here so that remains to be seen.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Twenty-Eleven Music: Who Let the Filth Out

A Compilation of the Best of the Worst Music 2011 has to offer. ..

A guest post from the legendary Mr Matthew Hevey aka 'Doofin'. And a mighty fine one at that I might add. Here's to hoping this is not the last such post from Matt, because this... is glorious.

20) Willow Smith – 21st Century 

Apparently, level 25 in Scientology involves forcing your daughter to record an impotent version of a Rihanna/Kesha mashup.  Thankfully, it looks like Willow has already gotten her own Wild, Wild West out of the way.

19) Patrick Stump – This City

Look, I was all for being a Fall Out Boy apologist when it seemed like they were the only band around. Somewhere I grew tired, much like Stump’s ongoing crusade to prove he is the white Michael Jackson. If only that was true, so he could have been drugged by a money hungry physician and spared us from this garbage.

18) Chris Brown – Look At Me Now  

I really struggled putting this song here, as it’s a ridiculously good beat, not to mention Busta and Lil Wayne’s turns are more than enough to make it a good song on its own. Unfortunately someone let Chris Brown in the studio, where he somehow channeled his inner John Lennon to come up with some lyrics like:  
…she accidentally slip and fall on my dick
Oops I said on my dick
I ain’t really mean to say on my dick
But since we talking about my dick
All of your haters say hi to it…

I’d make a domestic abuse joke, but Brown’s grasp of rhyme scheme seems to be the lower hanging fruit.

17) Design the Skyline – Surrounded by Silence
You know those kids who drive their parents to nervous breakdowns by haphazardly banging pots and pans and throwing temper tantrums for no reason? Well, a group of them grew up and formed a band, got anime haircuts and reaffirmed your suspicions that there is no God.

16) Bruno Mars – The Lazy Song

What is there to say? Bruno Mars doesn’t feel like doing anything. You know, like being original or writing a halfway decent song.  Truthfully, who can blame him, what with so much pompadour styling and so little time?

15) Big Sean – Dance (A$$)  

In 2009, Jay Sean brought us the seminal hit “Down”, where he repeated the titular word 72 times in a span of under 4 minutes. Not to be outdone, Big Sean has decided to bring us what appears to be the most unimaginative Mad Lib ever created, with the word A$$ being repeated 76 times. Noun? “Wobbledy-wobble”, Big Sean says.  Adjective? “Hammer time.”  Verb? “Go stupid.” Oh, you did that and then some, (insert adjective) Sean.

14) Big Sean – My Last   

You know what’s worse than Drake? Sounding like a confused ripoff of Drake. All monotony aside, this song lives on two ends of a spectrum. In one hand, Chris Brown and Overcompensating Sean are letting us know they are going to head into the night like they’ve never done it before. But just before that, they were going to do the same thing like it was their last.  Thankfully, the confusion is cleared by obvious stroke Big Sean is having, causing the endless amount of stuttering. God willing, this song will be, be, be his, be his last.

13) Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci

I’m trying hard to figure out how I am supposed to respect three white girls from Oakland who dress like a hipster crashed headfirst into a secondhand Disney store. Oh, and then they make aural vomit. I’m pretty sure I’d rather listen to a pack of rabies-infested raccoons eat my firstborn then listen to this golf range vacuum cart.

Because they suck balls, you see.

12) Lady – Yankin

For years the world has been clamoring for a daring female rap artist to tell us how fantastic her vagina is. Right on cue, Lady showed up. And with a classy name like that, we were sure to learn all the subtle nuances of and genteel ways to please a woman’s hoo ha. Or, maybe she could be a psycho whore who equates her flesh covered bear trap to a group of weightlifters playing tug of war, and the rope is attached to your penis. 

11) Chris Brown – Wet The Bed

This is your third appearance, Chris. 2011 was obviously not a good year for you, highlighted by your grotesque explanation of moistening your lover’s lady bits. Where Ginuwine tried to be cute with metaphors, you cut no corners and took what should have stayed a locker room conversation and applied a D’Angelo beat to it, proving once and for all that you think as much of songwriting as you do Rihanna’s face.

10) Lil B – I Got Aids

Remember when Tupac wrote Brenda’s Got A  Baby and you thought, “What a good exposition into the life of a single woman in the hood and how hard life can be overall?” Well, Lil B wants to take all of that, throw it out the window and make AIDS sound more uncomfortable that it could ever actually feel. There’s a good message in here, unfortunately it’s wrapped in lyrics whose T-Cell counts are diminishing with every second.

9) Lady Gaga – Judas  

Nothing more than a cacophony of afferent intonations bombastically reverberating in sonic resonance culminating in an insipid and inutile denouement with no formulated missive. See, Gaga, I can be pretentious with saying anything too! In the future, stick to sounding like Madonna rather than acting like her, as this is nothing more than a pop version of a Disturbed song combined with your narcissistic need to say your own name in songs. How many piece of silver did it take for you to sell your soul, by the way?

8) Kim Kardashian – Jam (Turn It Up)

Turn me up turn me up turn me turn me turn me up yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. That’s how the song starts. They Playing my jam They Playing my jam They Playing my jam They Playing my jam They Playing my jam They Playing my jam They Playing my jam They Playing my jam turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up turn it up. That’s how the chorus goes. As many times as Ray J came on her face, you’d think she would have at least gotten a hint of talent out of it.

7) Toby Keith – Red Solo Cup  

Fresh out of ways to milk money from the masses who have no more to worry about other than Mexicans stealing all the dirt from their tires and Muslims existing altogether, Toby Keith turned to something that spends most of its existence as empty as his head is. The only thing worse than Toby Keith continuing to make music is…well, you’re about to see.

6) Trace Adkins – Brown Chicken Brown Cow

Reference to farm: Check. Reference to character with two first names: Check. Reference to beer: Check. Muppets having sex in a barn:. Chec…wait, what the living hell? More disturbing than Adkins thinking this was a good idea for a song (and video) is the fact that the two people in this song can’t get their kicks anywhere except in a barn. I’m afraid to see if the third verse includes the animals in the action. Aww, who the hell am I kidding, it’s country. Of COURSE it does. 

5) Jason Aldean – Dirt Road Anthem

He’s hitting easy street on mud tires. He’s chilling on a dirt road. Laid back swerving, with an ice cold beer sitting in the console. But wait, kids, this song isn’t only about driving drunk. It’s also a lesson in everything that’s wrong with white people rapping. Yeah, Aldean *tries* his hand at flowing on the mic. He’s about as effective as Rick Perry in a debate, only with much less charm. 

4) Brian McFadden – Just the Way You Are (Drunk At the Bar)

You know what’s better than a banjo laced song about DUIs and lack of infrastructure in the south? A banjo laced song about lusting after a drunk chick and date raping her in your car. This is what would have happened if  those bastards that sang Cotton Eyed Joe had gotten  a hold of your drink while you’re not looking. But fear not, wary drinkers, even if your rum and coke is secure, he’s already gotten rapey with your ears in this god awful mess of a song. 

3) Hot Chelle Rae – Tonight Tonight  

There was a scene in the Land of the Lost (don’t judge me you anonymous prick) where Will Ferrell was shit out by a T-Rex, and he has a hard time coming to terms with it. Which I’m pretty sure is an allegory for this travesty. I could go off on the holocaust of haircuts in this band alone, but I’ll hold back. It’s easy to see that their lyrics reflect how this collection of music professionals’ kids feel about music. You realize how bad this is, right? “La la la. Whatever.” But you’re not even a real band! “La la la. It doesn’t matter.” You realize you’ll never be respected because people know how talentless you are, right? “But watch how good we’ll fake it.”

Fuck you, Hot Chelle Rae. Fuck you indeed.

2) Rebecca Black – Friday  

Look. You’ve heard this song 7,000 times. You and your frands have laughed at her. So there’s not too much to say here. She over enunciates her i’s, she’s indecisive about a god damned car seat, and they autotuned her autotune just to make this shit tolerable. She has a pedophilic black friend and a 1st grade grasp on days of the week. The only way in history that  $5,000 was spent worse was Nicole Simpson’s security setup.

1) Heart2Heart – Facebook Official   

Listen to it. Seriously, listen to the whole, miserable thing. If there is any bit of this that you find enjoyable, walk into traffic because you are a horrible person. For the rest of us, wipe the blood from your ears and focus. You know who to blame for that? Lance. M-Fing. Bass. While Justin Timberlake is becoming a silver screen darling, Lance Bass is finding ways to shit through stereo. He deserves a lifetime of punishment, to be delivered in the form of heterosexual sex for a millennia. Brian McFadden style, of course.