Posts Tagged ‘Lana Del Rey’

1. GRAVITY – we walked into the theater thinking this was a movie about people stuck in space. we were wrong. my wife sobbed most of the film. we went with two friends and we all huddled in the lobby afterwards and declared viewing this film one of the more powerful cinematic experiences we’d ever had. IMAX 3D didn’t hurt. if sandra bullock does not win an oscar for this, i will puke on my own shoes.
2. MUD – loved this for obvious arkansan reasons. local boy. local scenery. the character of neckbone. the return of matthew mcdoucheanay. this film is perfect. PER-FECT. nichols could only improve on this film by putting it twice on one dvd.
3. FRANCES HA – this was the last film we saw on our netflix, and it was a gorgeous punctuation on a slippery chute of slothfulness. God, i loved this movie. and for multiple reasons. but the main two: one, i can’t get enough of greta gerwig. when i saw her in THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL i thought, “oh crap, i might have a new favorite.” and she owned FRANCES HA in incredible, old-school hollywood great actress ways. two, i think noah baumbach – minus his last two films – is the shit. he’s so dedgum pretentious that i can’t help but feel drastically endeared to him. i think my pretentiousness is drawn to his pretentiousness. we would coffee well together. so good. i can’t wait to see it again.
4. 12 YEARS A SLAVE – it lives up to the hype. steve mcqueen is a beast. i’ll watch anything he makes, even as soul-pulverizing as it may be. i’ve seen his other films, but this is the first one i felt comfortable recommending. there are several scenes here that make you want to recoil, record, and applaud eveything on the screen simultaneously. masterpiece.
5. THE CONJURING – yes! this blew my mind! and it’s not just a solidly amazing horror film: it’s a solidly amazing film. everything falls into place here creating a new genre classic that easily transcends the genre. with that being said, THE CONJURING did freak my shit out. i was all over my theater chair, gripping the arm rest, covering my eyes, even squealing a little bit. i love a film that makes me want a cigarette and a nap afterwards.
6. THE WAY WAY BACK – my all-time favorite cinematic genre is the coming-of-age story. and this one is near the top of my list. there’s not a lot of coming-of-age stories where the kid and the parent grow up together. but it happens here. also, i’m cuckoo for cocoa puffs for both toni collette and allison janney. they do no wrong in my book.
7. FRUITVALE STATION – the fact that this no-name filmmaker could make a feature length film, in which the entire audience already knows the ending, completely enthralling from beginning to end is a huge feat of storytelling and artistic confidence. yes, michael b. jordan killed it here. but ryan coogler’s filmmaking is what immortalized oscar grant’s story and created a prophetically day-numbering experience for audiences.
8. THIS IS THE END – it’s no secret that i dearly love seth rogen and bathe in his laughters. he’s my number one hollywood dude crush. and now that i’ve watched the first three seasons of EAST-BOUND AND DOWN, danny mcbride is a close second. with that being said, i walked into this movie with some raging nepotism. still, THIS IS THE END is honestly one of the top ten films of the year. super funny. super dorky. super dirty. and super more theologically sound than any of that LEFT BEHIND bull-shonkish. this is the apocalypse done right: with earth ending before michael cera becomes the next hugh hefner.
9. AMERICAN HUSTLE – best thing christian bale has done since AMERICAN PSYCHO. best thing amy adams has done. period. and best reality show housewife performance in a major picture by that glorious hot mess, jennifer lawrence. this movie was fucking delightful.
10. THE GREAT GATSBY – skip everything in the movie before and after gatsby. nick carroway is not that interesting and neither is baz luhrmann’s ego. but all the stuff with gatsby is golden. and the lana del rey montage of daisy and gatsby swimming and golfing and throwing shirts is reason enough for me to own the DVD. there’s plenty of crap in this picture, but luckily it’s all sandwiched on the outer edges for easy avoidance. but the stuff here that works worked better than the entirety of most films i saw this year.
WORST FILMS OF 2013: i saw a bunch of stinkers this year. but three films had me running to the ticket counter begging for a refund.
1. TRANCE – God bless danny boyle, but not even a fully cherubic rosario dawson could make this film one bit titillating.
2. SPRING BREAKERS – pointless and overly glorifying of the gluttony it hoped to demonize. and, no, i’m not getting old. this movie just sucked.
3. ELYSIUM – shamefully obvious and paper-thin. THE PURGE preached the superior “anti-1% sermon” this year.

Half way through the year, and it’s time to take inventory of what’s stood out musically. I asked Myles to join me in a Top Five SO FAR Records of 2013 list. I’ll be interested to see what, if any, of these records make my end of year list. Also, these records are listed in chronological order of acquisition, and they may not have even been released in 2013. If you have a problem with that, make your own list. Here’s what I’ve jammed the hardest this year.

Also, my friend Angela Craig will barf on her own shoes when she sees this.

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1. Ke$ha – Warrior

It’s no secret that I shamelessly love pop music. And it’s also no secret that I do not believe in guilty pleasures. And I have zero intentions of apologizing or shirking my love of Ke$ha – and her entire canon – to make you feel cool. And just for the record: This. Record. Kicks. Ass. The wife surprised me with Ke$ha’s new release, Warrior, for Christmas, and it stayed in our car stereo until February. Super fun jams, party lyrics, a little bit o’ White-girl rap mixed with a whole lot of bar-romping sing-a-long, crotch-rocking attitude. Yeah, I realize there’s nothing I can say to talk you into giving Ke$ha a fair chance, and I’m sorry for you. As for me and my family, we rock the casbah out of any Ke$ha record.

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2. Best Coast – The Only Place

Absolutely one of my new favorite bands! After falling in love with this record, I immediately bought everything Best Coast had released to the public. For such a short lived band, they’ve had an amazing sound evolution. I’m not even sure which of their records I recommend more highly – the new cleanly produced The Only Place or their previous raw-garage rock Crazy For You debut. Best Coast also has a couple of EPs on iTunes that are super fuzzy and killer. I especially love their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Storms”, which showcases angles to Bethany’s vocals not found in their other work. Good stuff. Just good stuff. I actually wrote a review of Best Coast’s The Only Place on my teacher-y blog. I’m rather proud of this review. My buddy Pepe thought it was a Rolling Stone or Paste review, which inflated the mess out of my head. You can go here to relish that glory :

http://www.blackhightops.blogspot.com/2012/11/best-coasts-only-place.html

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3. Duke Ellington and John Coltrane

The air wafting through my office door reeks of two things: stale coffee and big band music. I have both going nonstop all day long when I’m at work. Big band is my go to music when I want to write, when I need to work, when I do not need lyrics getting in the way of my own literary craft and intake. But this past year I decided to expand my territories and reach beyond big band into actual jazz. I did not know exactly where to start, except that I remember my friend Jesse owned Duke Ellington’s Four record when we lived together, and that record found regular rotation – right along with Tammy Wynette’s Run Woman Run – during our late night whiskey and backgammon sessions. So this past spring, when I wanted to study jazz, I started with Ellington. I’m still not sure how this duo between Ellington and Coltrane landed on my iTunes, but it’s divine. Absolutely magical. I’ve since found more from each artist that has stood the test of time and won new listeners – particularly Coltrane’s Blue Train and A Love Supreme records – but nothing so far has topped this duet recording as a flawlessly beautiful incantation of sheer artistry.

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4. In This Moment – Blood

I discovered In This Moment while searching metal bands with female leads.  Their previous record, Star Crossed Wasteland, rocked a cowboy vibe with strong metalcore influences. On their newest record, Blood, to which I’m completely addicted, In This Moment dropped their sound several octaves, slowed down the metalcore strumming and drumming, and – in the process – conjured a darker, somewhat sinister industrial grit. I’m not sure I always love In This Moment’s music. It’s a bit crunchy for me, probably leaning more towards some hip new crunchcore metal than good old fashion metal. But for all their musical failings, Maria Brink’s vocals redeem each track ten fold and ten fold. Brink is one of the greatest metal vocalists I’ve ever heard, nailing every level of her metal vocals – shrill screams, gross throaty growls, and pristinely emotive cleans – telling her story as much through her vocals as her lyrics. I’d sell a pinky toe to see Maria Brink perform on a tiny stage in a tiny room. She’s a beast. Like a boss.

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5. Lana Del Rey – Paradise

Alright. Here it is. The pinnacle of my 2013 auditory experience. Of everything else I’ve musically discovered or rediscovered or explored this year, nothing – absolutely nothing – has shaken me like Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die double-CD. Yes, yes, yes: I remember LDR’s botch SNL performance. It was so devastating I nearly fell into a life of narcotics and addiction-supportive prostitution just watching her bomb. And I don’t know what happened that night. Surely, such nights happen to more performers – LDR just happened to land her fall on national television. But I don’t hold it against her, especially after I listened to this double-album set twice through on a solo drive across the bottom of Arkansas into the top of Texas earlier this summer. I’ve had her spinning on loop ever since. I love her husky, bottom droned voice. I love her Kennedy-esque lyrical persona. I love her videos, all grainy and dizzily grappling at the last raw strands of youth and beauty. And I love her sense of humor, labeling her own musical style “Hollywood sadcore”. I’ve joked that if I ever finish this book, I’ll have to mention Lana Del Rey in the acknowledgements. Her voice has painted several scenes and drawn the interior of a major character. Here’s to redemption from a public fall.