Hola Amigos! I know it’s been a long time since I hollered atcha… (JIM ANCHOWER 4 EVAH!) but I figured I owed you a year end something!
I didn’t listen to a lot of new stuff this year. Or rather I didn’t listen to a lot of new records all the way through this year… I did listen to a lot of songs that were new though! Like Phosphorescent. That Zula whatever song was so good. I am sure there was other good stuff I listened to that was new…
More importantly I listened to a lot of old stuff that kicks tons of ass and that everyone should listen to. I also read books too. So there’s that.
So with that in mind, here are my 7 things from 2013!
1. Young Galaxy – Ultramarine: I listened to this record all the way through many many times this year. For real. There was a time this year where I watched the video for New Summer at least once every single day for nearly a month. And in fact the video set me off on a disaster movie binge. It was a great ride!
2. The Impossible: Holy shit this was the best disaster movie I’ve ever seen (and trust me I have pretty much seen them all by now)! Sure it came out some time ago and sure it is focused on well-to-do foreigners and all the locals are just faceless interchangeable others but damn this was brutal and harrowing. Just like a disaster movie should be! The trailer alone is pretty kick ass!
3. Haim on snl!! Man I love Haim. Not as much as Young Galaxy though (read: I did not listen to the haim record all the way through on a single sitting ever) and they were so good on snl. Lotsa people were like meh on all their crazy faces but I loved it. It was so good. I think I’ll go watch it again right now.
4. Reggae: So this year The Harder They Come came back to the theatres. I hadn’t thought about that movie in years even though there is a big painting from it of jimmy cliff on the wall of the old tower records here in Austin (I think it’s still there. I don’t know.). so when it came back to the theatres I made a point to see it. And I’m glad I did! It sparked a yearlong spiral down into the depths of old ska, rudeboy, rocksteady and all kind of dancehall classics from Jamaica. I never got much into the deep roots but I didn’t hate it. I think frat bros blaring Legend might have destroyed roots reggae for me. Too bad. If you’ve always wanted to get into reggae but weren’t sure where to start check out the movie soundtrack. The 2 cd deluxe version will give you more to go on and also includes the lovely and amazing Guava Jelly. And also this book: Cut n Mix: Culture, Identity and Caribbean Music. It’s not exhaustive but it’s a great intro. Now track down all the artists mentioned and you’re off!
5. Pressure Drop: You can ask Laura, I listened to this song about a kabillion times this year. The original Toots and the Maytals version is the best. Sometimes you just need a pressure drop. For reals.
6. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter: Sure that The Anniversary song jams but did you know there is a book of the same name??? well there is (first though let’s go back and listen to that song. JAM!!). Anyway, the book is depressing and awesome and beautiful in all the best ways. It’s worth whatever your local half price books is charging or get it used on amazon. Check out this short review I wrote for it after reading it:
one of my all time favorite books. we live in a society and in a world that crushes, deforms and destroys people and dreams. a world where connections are fleeting or never occur at all. a world where your burden is always yours alone and not only can no one help but you don’t even know how to ask for help. and maybe you don’t even know how to express that you need help or even what the problem is in the first place. it’s a splinter in your mind; the frustration of the misunderstood. the restlessness that comes with the surety that something is wrong and that everything could be better but how? always, what is to be done. there are no answers here. the only thing to remember is what dr copeland said: do not attempt to stand alone. this world will rob you of your humanity and while it is never a sure thing, together we can be different. together we can do something different and together we can make the world different. a world that doesn’t pervert our humanity and fill us with a monstrous burden we have no place to lay down. a world where the future chemist is not wasted in the cotton fields but where our full potential can be realized. a world truly governed by marx’s maxim: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. that is our only chance for a world not built on the destruction of the individual but rather on the full flowering of human potential.
7. Van Morrison: I really don’t know what to say here except that I have gone crazy for Van the Man! I now rank Astral Weeks right up there with Ys, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and Didn’t It Rain. It’s a fuckin masterpiece. It’s really that good. Not everyone loves it but I can’t get enough. I don’t even know what it is but it hit me in all the right ways. I have dug deeper into his catalog by now (and the album Too Late to Stop Now is a fantastic live album) and while he did loads of good records and good songs, there is nothing that will compare for me to Astral Weeks*.
So that’s it then. Goodbye 2013.
I used to feel real guilty for now listening to new music. Like I was NOT DOING IT RIGHT! But I’ve left that guilt behind, thank god. Now I am just pleased to jam out to something that makes me feel good.
And this year it was definitely reggae, Van Morrison and the New Summer video over and over and over again.
Let’s hope 2014 is full of more of the same goodness for us all!!
*funny story. I rediscovered Van Morrison this year after watching the 5 Year Engagement after going on a short romcom kick. I really liked that movie and the use of both Sweet Thing and the Glen Hansard cover of Into the Mystic in it should set any music lover off into a Van binge…