December 18, 2007


No year end lists to contribute to for publication this year. Budget constraints, art constraints, not being staff are most of the reasons. It's perfectly fine because "best" is disturbingly open-ended, and what difference does a year make when art is currently only truly dividable into pre or post 9/11, pre or post Katrina, and save for that effluvient noise coming from down the hall--it's all popular music, and there is less meaning and more money than ever in anything you might be tempted to call underground. More people getting more rich on a myth is a terribly old story I'm not much interested in anyhow (Next year we're going to have a Pitchfork channel of TV, dogs! Perverse! Intense! The meaning of the absence of meaning writ broadcast large!) It's also perfectly fine because I'm not sure I can name a couple 2007 LPs that I listened to again n again all the way through for pleasure, that brought me pleasure, that I felt like I understood, or could campaign behind. Part of the reason behind that was simply, or maybe sadly (?), constraints of the job. This year, almost all of the money I made writing was in blurbs, charticles and show previews that are between 300 and 80 words instead of longer stories, essays etc. I had to write way more stuff, but with not much space to extrapolate on big ideas (if the band even has them) or theories (if I even conjure them), and what I write is more about the "good vs. bad", interesting vs. not and making a joke or two. Another factor was having to write about second or third choices because I'm freelance, not staff, and pop or hip hop (etc.) is someone elses beat, and ouila, now theres a lot more Myspace-only local bands on my radar, less time mining albums for the big idea; how I make money neccesitated (sp) a change in what I listen to and how I listen to it in 2007. I ain't complaining, as fact is print journo is tomorrows buggywhip today; I'm lucky to squeeze paychecks out of it. Friends (still) ensconced on mastheads are quick to remind that the only crit refuges left are academia or books, as jobs and column inches are impossible to come by in the ought-seven. I never met an ivory tower I liked, so I went with the latter. My pub date is March 2009, according to the deal memo, but in the meanwhile, look for my byline on the inflight next time you fly from Duluth to Phoenix.

None the less, I'm not bummed. Esp. about the non existence of year end list. Hierarchy is bunk. Bunk as heck! PLUS You already know that the M.I.A. record is serious business, though her live show made me feel like she's a Mumia-beat Dan Deacon for those who are down with the other and have the Mp3 blog to prove it. I think PJ Harvey making a record from the POV of a Victorian-era ghost baby is really interesting. Best? As best as the zillion Lil Wayne songs that I downloaded this summer? I have no idea. Probably not. As best as Mika Miko doing "Attitude"? Defs not as best/bext as how Lil' Mama Chancla smelled, NAY! stunked after singing "Attitude". I do not know if Radiohead is best because I haven't downloaded it because I can't decide how much I want to pay for it. Not sure if that Radiohead has much as the fuck the man bestness as the mailorder only edition-of-100 cassettes that Rjyan and Roby put out. Or the Landlord demo-cassette that the kid at the farmers market passed me. Is free, invisible, green non corpo action from a band that makes like, a million dollars a show or free, hand-to-hand traditional sharing of the peoples medium (pre-internet version) more of a BEST remix of anti-capitalist ideal? You can't really tie best. Another best is the differential between No Age on record (I like some of those EPs bester than others, and you can tell it wasn't an LP in the first place) and No Age on the stage which revealed that America's favorite Angeleno cool dude dual/duel/duo is making punk a threat again. I am not sure how it's best compared with when I went to see Watain and their corpse paint had so much realistic peeling skin that it made me gag a little and leave after a few songs because they were an actually scary black metal band. Though were their costumes as best as the kid at Fiery Furnaces halloween show dressed as a furnace on fire? Perhaps a tie. What is best scariest or charming effort? Watching Tim Kinsella turn over a new solo leaf, as a singer-singer songwriter, baring all and inspiring a very mortal tremble amongst the 22 or 34 people watching on a Free Monday at the Bottle, his married/buried allegories the most powerful take since "All Apologies"; I had to leave because it was so good. I couldn't take it. Another song more and there'd be some unmooring of internal paradigm. There was also that backyard party Bird Names show which was a wretched best--I felt my age ruefully and deeply and then during the show, suddenly, an epoch lifted amongst the sweat and flashing xmas lights.

Yeasayer might of made the best of the Tv on The Radio rip off albums of 2007, but that dudes got a fretless bass, so I might have to differ to Dragons of Zynth, who have one great song that out-TV-On-The-Radio's Tv On The Radio. Like most people, I also like the bands that sound like my favorite band. Generally, the last thing I want to admit--that I'll settle for a cheap imitation. As a best, it was not as best as Rickie Lee Jones singing about the garden of Gethesemane, or the Michael Dracula album. Michael Dracula is a girl who sings like she is very high, cold and careful. Static doom and a certain intransigence is why I think people like, say, Wooden Shjips, but 10 minute songs is a lot to ask of people, and I'm still not feeling hippydroneshit as the new punxsound, so I go for Michael Dracula. I also thought that Lavender Diamond was going to be best, but I keep forgetting to listen to it a third time. Those first two? Wonderful. It'll make you feel like a virgin again.

Posted by Jessica at December 18, 2007 01:18 PM | TrackBack