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Monthly Archives: December 2007

Jase and I were discussing the year in movies the other day and we were both stuck. Nothing came to mind. This was a bit sad, but considering I used to be seeing 1-2 movies a week and this year only went every few weeks, I knew a “best of” list would be a bit lean.

Ratatouille was the only one that came to mind with any conviction. I seem to be minority amongst my friends, but I think it is Pixar’s best yet. Yes I agree it is too slow for kids, but name me a more gorgeous film? I loved it.

Best film that should have been awful from the trailer but was actually hysterical was Superbad. Juvenile I know but I haven’t laughed like that in a while. Best Hollywood action movie that really was great was Bourne Ultimatum, but everyone seems to agree on that one.

Otherwise there were a few others that were OK. Three of my favourite directors had movies this year. I think David Lynch is an absolute genius and I would see anything with his name on it. So what of Inland Empire? It kept me utterly enthralled and tense for 3 hours. Was it any good? You know… I don’t know. The fact I didn’t budge for its whole duration is probably the best way to end. David Cronenberg also gave us Eastern Promises. This I am not so sure about. I dug it while I was watching it, but by the end I kinda just thought OK. It was good without being great. History of Violence struck a real chord, but this left me a little… I don’t know… underwhelmed maybe? Same with the new Wes Anderson The Darjeeling Limited. Looked great, was funny, but in the end it just came and went for me. I think both need another watch.

So here is me at the end of 2007 and am a little down with movies. And then comes No Country For Old Men. Oh. My. God.

Now I’m a bit of a Coen Brothers fan. I am one of the few that doesn’t think they have dropped the ball yet (well, OK… Ladykillers was unwatchable). If all you have been doing is waiting for the next Fargo, then you have missed the genius that is The Big Lebowski or Man Who Wasn’t There and are missing the point of the Coens. Now, with No Country coming, I have been reaching fever-pitch. The book is awesome… Initial reviews have been raving… Awards are being won. So I rushed out Boxing Day and saw it.

GOLD.

Yes, it is that good. It is as good as all the reviews, and yes it needs to win everything. There is not much more I can say about it that hasn’t been said before, but they did nail the tone of the book. It was word-perfect where it needed to be, and cut some things that could be without losing anything. It was just an amazingly tense, dirty, beautiful, movie. Two things though that need to be addressed:

Javier Bardem… should he win Best Supporting Actor? No way… he is just Best Actor full stop. None of this supporting business. Who the hell is he supporting in this movie? He owns it. It is his movie for sure.

The ending… is perfect. No spoilers here but please do see this movie in a cinema. The whole audience is stunned at the end. Half are in awe, half think the end of the movie has been cut off. Forget those jerks. If you loved the subtleties of the film then the end is perfect. If you just got off on the violence then of course you want more closure. It is faithful to the book and true to the preceeding 2 hours. The end just made me love it more.

So there you go. 6 days before years end comes the best movie of the year. Trust the Coen Brothers to come through.

… muttler

Hey all, muttler here.

It is certainly a busy few months of gigs coming up, what with all the New Year’s festivals, the Big Day Out juggernaut, Don’t Look Back, Golden Plains and Byron all bringing out many great acts. I am heading to heaps, but won’t bore you with the details now. Needless to say I am a very excited camper with the long awaited returns of Ween and Bjork amongst others.

Just a quick one to remind people that Built To Spill are finally back. There is a sold out gig at the Corner which Jase and I will be at later on this week. But if you missed out on tickets, then give the East Brunswick Club a try and you may be lucky. They are there on Jan 1st (so try not to be too hung over).

The Corner show will be a unique one in that you will get both Jase’s and my opinions. You can read them and then take sides from here on in.

See y’all at Built To Spill… muttler

1. New Amsterdams – At the Foot of my Rival
New Ams are the #1 on any year they put an album out (pretty much every year at the moment). Judging on the steady gains of the last 3 albums, I would guess that the one after the next will literally make my head explode.

2. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
I think I probably wore this one out, but I still dig it. It’s like the best elements of the last 3 or 4 albums, distilled into something even wilder. The addition of Johnny Marr to the lineup had me worried at first, but it was pure genius.

3. Ted Leo + RX – Living with the Living
I was hanging out for this album for months. Somewhat more fractious than the awesome Shake the Sheets, but probably more in style with Hearts of Oak. Political, angry, more Elvis Costello than Elvis Costello ever was. And then there’s the reggae song that was always threatened in past albums (it’s good).

4. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
I hate the name, after spending most of the year telling everyone it didn’t really matter. It does, the name is just stupid. I don’t want to say it. But the album’s great. I know a lot of people are sad at the continuing move away from lo-fi n’ gritty, but I think it’s just working really well for them. Black like me is one of the two finest last-tracks of the year.

5. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
And the other one is 505 from this album. A great followup to Whatever People Say I am, although I’m still repulsed by Only Ones Who Know. Otherwise a great set of songs.

6. Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends
I’ve come to the realisation that LSF are incapable of making a filler-free album, but there’s enough gold here to make up for it, and lyrics that are still out there. “My court, they surrounded me, they gagged and bounded me”. Hilarious.

7. Max├»mo Park – Our Earthly Pleasures
Suprisingly good, if you’ve only heard Girls who play Guitars (and, who hasn’t?) then you really need to check out the rest of this album. I thought they were Swedish, but they’re not.

8. The Clientele – God Save the Clientele
Unexplainable, but great. The Garden at Night is a stand out.

9. Radiohead – In Rainbows
Kind of obligatory to the 2007 Best Of lists. Also, not really like The Bends, as everyone wanted it to be (again). I feel bad about paying nothing for it, but I’m sure I’ll listen to it more once I have a physical copy in my hands.

10. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
I can’t help but think I’m rating this just to rile my co-barricader, and I’ll admit I didn’t get it for about 9 months of this year, but it’s growing on me. Matt, “No Cars Go” is awesome.

Honourable mentions:

  • 11. The Fratellis – Costello Music.
  • Best song not on an album: Beck – Timebomb.
  • Best song on an otherwise throwaway album: Bring Me the Head Of from Magic Dirt – Beast.
  • Best Interpol album of the year: Interpol – Our Love to Admire
  • Best album that I’ll probably like whenever I get around to listening to it: The Shins – Wincing the Night Away (I’ve only just “discovered” Chutes too Narrow, come on)
  • Best album that I thought I would naturally hate, but it was OK, really: The White Stripes – Icky Thump
  • Best album even though it came out in 2006: Snowden – Anti Anti
  • The nicest guy in indie music: John Vanderslice – Emerald City

How to begin? Well I like lists and everyone is usually subjected to my favourite things of the year. So here are my favourite musical moments.

Musical Highlight:
Easy… PIXIES. Finally they come to Australia. I was lucky enough to see them in London a couple years back, but nothing could match the thrill of seeing them in your home town in a relatively small venue. I wasn’t special enough (the “industry” nor the bouncers didn’t think so) to get into the “secret” gig at the Nothcote Social Club, but did salivate outside with a handful of other devoted fans and could at least hear and see through the beer garden windows almost all the gig. But I was right in front of Joey for the Palace show. Greatest gig ever… yep. Fanboy… unashamedly. Fanboy rhetoric? Maybe. But it is still the greatest gig ever, after hundreds and hundreds of shows I have seen. Perfect set, perfect sound, perfect songs. Earplugs were left out and as a result I think it was the gig that officially bought tinnitis. Also the last show I saw at the Palace before it was reduced to ashes. How fitting.

Best Albums:
This year was one of surprises. I ended up liking different albums to what I would have expected, and not listening to ones I was waiting for. Both exciting and disappointing all at once.

1. Battles “Mirrored” – A work colleague asked “have you seen the clip by a band called Battles”? I saw and heard Atlas and fell in love. The album has so many awesome moments that it is number one without doubt.

2. LCD Soundsystem “Sound of Silver” – Hyped? Yep. But is it still any good? You bet. This took me a while to get into, but when I did I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop listening. Plus James Murphy and co are here next month. Sweet.

3. Klaxons “Myths of the Near Future” – Another out of left field. Atlantis to Interzone got me and the rest hooked me in.

4. Radiohead “In Rainbows” – So by now you are thinking that this list is a bit cliche, and in some respects it is. But when Radiohead drop a new album out of the blue and it is gold, what can you do?

5. Okkervil River “The Stage Names” – I loved “Black Sheep Boy” but this blew it out of the water.

6. Daft Punk “Alive 2007” – Never would I have thought Daft Punk would be in a list of mine. I was one of the few who thought “Human After All” was not that bad, but nothing prepares for how great this live set is. Only disappointing thing is I haven’t seen the pyramid.

7. New Pornographers “Challengers” – Fanboy reference number 2. A.C. can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. Yes it is more understated, but it is still amazingly catchy. I guess some New Porn backlash from reviewers had to come at some point. Not sure why though.

8. Beirut “The Flying Club Cup” – How do you back up one of the most original albums in a while? Make one even better.

9. Kings of Leon “Because of the Times” – Debates continue between some friends and I about the “new” KoL. Maybe they are pretty boys now, and On Call does grate a little, but the rest is very very cool.

10. White Stripes “Icky Thump” – Fanboy reference number 3. Jack White can do no wrong either. But was anyone ready for just how fun this album would be? Rag and Bone is easily one of the song highlights of the year.

Honourable Mention: Dinosaur Jr “Beyond” – Who would have thought that this comeback would result in a “best album of career”? Well it did.

Don’t Understand: Arcade Fire. I just don’t get the raves. I have tried. Neon Bible just isn’t very good?!

Feedback welcome… muttler

Hi all.

Yet another blog. Will this be revelatory? Maybe, maybe not… who knows. We figure I rant enough about things that I may as well put it down in writing. Plus my Myers-Briggs profile says that I “have strong opinions which I readily express”. Can’t argue with psychologists I guess.

Welcome, and more meaningful posts soon… muttler