City of Joyful Dread

I caught a fever, a holy fire

Month: December, 2012

Walter Benjamin on Urban Outfitters

“Youth culture is presently attempting a hopeless compromise. It empties youthful enthusiasm by means of idealistic self‑reflection so that, imperceptibly, the formal ideologies of…idealism can be replenished with bourgeois class contents. The proletariat cannot pass its class interests onto the young generation through the unfair means of an ideology which is geared to suppress the child’s suggestibility.”

Top Films of 2012

I never wrote any type of film review before because I’m not a film critic and I rarely see films in theaters. Actual film critics normally review the top ten films at the end of each year; however, I doubt I’ve seen ten films total in 2012. So my “top films” are really just films I bothered seeing.

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK: A romantic comedy that flawlessly and exactingly portrays people who suffer from a devastating and incurable disease that destroys millions of American lives every year. I’m referring of course to Philadelphia Eagles fandom. De Niro is especially brilliant as the bookmaker dad banned from Eagles games for life for beating up fans of other teams, as is Jacki Weaver as his devoted, peacemaking wife (wearing a Kevin Kolb jersey, no less—yes, Philadelphia fans, 2008 was, like, ten billion years ago). The manic depression theme, on the other hand, enjoys typical Hollywood treatment: with the exception of a few token midnight screaming sessions early on, the serious drama quickly degenerates into the worst, most tired formulas of the past 100 years of cinema, as rather than take lithium or Zoloft, the Adorable White Couple just learns how to dance (and eventually love) from the Trusted Black Sidekick. And hey, he’s an Eagles fan, too!

TED: A cruder but less dark film in the “nasty talking animal” genre than HOWARD THE DUCK (sleazy alcoholic duck) or the French BAXTER (a homicidal bull terrier); here we’re just dealing with a foul-mouthed pot-smoking teddy bear. Relentlessly male humor as well; the only woman I know willing to sit through this film is Mila Kunis, and she’s IN it.

HOLY MOTORS: Within the two hour running time of this offbeat, compelling, at times disturbing, experimental French film, Denis Lavant as the cinematically-named “Monsieur Oscar” plays, in the words of IMDB, a “captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man…” Some of you may also remember this description from reports of the Romney campaign.

MOONRISE KINGDOM: More of the usual from hipster god Wes Anderson: the saturated 1970s glow, the Hank Williams soundtrack, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand. My writer friend in Iowa wrote me: “Saw it with a small late Sunday crowd. Everyone looked sorta mystified filing out.” I saw it at Ritz East in Old City Philadelphia surrounded by hipsters who nonetheless weren’t nearly as amused by a deadpan, shirtless Bill Murray clutching a bottle of wine as he headed outdoors to chop down a tree as I was.

THE MASTER: Less fantastical than MAGNOLIA (i.e. no deluge of frogs from the heavens), more haunting (I think) than THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE MASTER is probably Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film as well as the best film I saw in 2012. If you’re still not sure whether Joaquin Phoenix’s recent “breakdown” wasn’t real, his intense, explosive Academy-worthy performance in this film won’t help. Philip Seymour Hoffman in turn is even more deserving of an Oscar here than he was in 2006, when his Truman Capote beat Phoenix’s Johnny Cash (who should have won, in my opinion). In the words of Public Enemy: “If you don’t own THE MASTER, then THE MASTER owns you.”

Seven Greg Dulli Songs That Involve the Word “Ass”

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What makes Dulli so brilliant is, about half of these are ballads.

1. The Afghan Whigs, “Her Against Me” (“I know your ass is fine”)

2. The Afghan Whigs, “Be Sweet” (“Ladies, let me tell you about myself/, I got a dick for a brain/, And my brain is gonna sell my ass to you”)

3. The Afghan Whigs, “Faded” (twice: “Better get your ass up on the mountain, baby/, I’ll take you up tonight” and “Get your ass over here, boy”)

4. The Afghan Whigs, “My Enemy” (“The sun is gone/, the sky is black,/ So get your ass out from behind my back”)

5. The Afghan Whigs, “Somethin’ Hot” (“And the way you make yo’ ass shake”)

6. The Twilight Singers, “Beginning of the End” (“Walk in the room,/ I see your ass has gone/astray/, You’ve lost your way/, come find your way”)

7. Lo Fidelity Allstars, “Somebody Needs You” (“saw you shake that ass on the corner/, now get it on back to bed”)

Mauer’s Top Albums of 2012

Mauer V

Top Ten Albums
1. Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young & Crazy Horse
2. Local Business, Titus Andronicus
3. Blues Funeral, Mark Lanegan
4. Tempest, Bob Dylan
5. Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen
6. Here, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
7. Open Your Heart, The Men
8. Temple Beautiful, Chuck Prophet
9. Between the Times & the Tides, Lee Ranaldo
10. Shut Down the Streets, A.C. Newman

Top Ten Songs
1. “Endless Flowers,” Crocodiles
2. “Death To My Hometown,” Bruce Springsteen
3. “Walk Like A Giant,” Neil Young & Crazy Horse
4. “Man On Fire,” Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
5. “Xtina As I Knew Her,” Lee Ranaldo
6. “Harborview Hospital,” Mark Lanegan
7. “Still Life With Hot Deuce on Silver Platter,” Titus Andronicus – what “Bohemian Rhapsody” must have sounded like in 1975. Titus Andronicus is the most technically perfect thinking-man’s guitar band since Lotion.
8. “Tempest,” Bob Dylan
9. “Live It Up,” Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
10. “To the World,” Kanye West & R. Kelly

Also Worth Mentioning
Cat Power, Ruin
Japandroids, Celebration Rock
The Afghan Whigs, Live in New York City – the Haldern DVD/CD bootleg is even better, IMO (other than missing “Summer’s Kiss”)
Crocodiles, Endless Flowers
A Place To Bury Strangers, Worship
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Aufheben
Wymond Miles, Under the Pale Moon
Lord Huron, Lonesome Dreams
Dr. John, Locked Down
The Magic Castles, The Magic Castles
The Tragically Hip, Now For Plan A –arguably the best Hip album since In Violet Light
Tame Impala, Lonerism
Dinosaur Jr., I Bet On Sky
Bob Mould, Silver Age –arguably the best Bob Mould album since Last Dog & Pony Show
Lower Dens, Nootropics
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Americana
Calexico, Algiers
Alejandro Escovedo, Big Station
Sea Wolf, Old World Romance
Royal Baths, Better Luck Next Life
Frank Ocean, channel ORANGE
Naomi Punk, The Feeling
Low Cut Connie, Call Me Sylvia
Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, & Yim Yames, New Multitudes
G.O.O.D. Music, Cruel Summer
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Mature Themes
Mac DeMarco, Rock and Roll Night Club
The Killers, Battle Born
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp
Redd Kross, Researching the Blues

Tempest

Americana

Temple Beautiful

Times & Tides

Blues Funeral

Local Business

Endless Flowers

Open Your Heart

Lord Huron

Rock & Roll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Quotes
“You go fight the power/, I’m fightin’ off a cold” –Chuck Prophet
“I fed the cat trembling at my feet/, I fed the neighbors’ curiosity” –Crocodiles
“Up on banker’s hill, the party’s going strong” –Bruce Springsteen
“If I had me a gun/ I’d find the bastards and shoot ‘em on sight” –Bruce Springsteen
“We come from the future, where the present is the past” –Greg Dulli live (quoting Kanye West)
“Gonna get me a hip-hop haircut” –Neil Young
“I’ll stay ‘til the wisteria fades/ and falls on LA” –the Tragically Hip
“Cosmonaut every night my dreams/, take a walk in my holodeck, baby” –Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
“Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax” –Kanye West
“Here it goes again/, I hear you took it to another level” –Titus Andronicus
“Look at this youngish man/ already halfway off with his pants/, he’s doing something weird with his hands” –Titus Andronicus
“There’s a street named for every disease here: Syph Alley and Clap Avenue” –Woody Guthrie (by way of Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, & Yim Yames)
“Tout est noir, mon amour/, Tout est blanc/, Je t’aime, mon amour/, Comme j’aime la nuit” –Mark Lanegan

Other Words
Someone wrote in the New Yorker that Psychedelic Pill’s “She’s Always Dancing” was “a half-remembered ‘Like a Hurricane.’” This is a bad thing?