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Reviews: The Life and Times' The Life and Times
Reviews: Atoms and Void's And Nothing Else
Reviews: Survival Knife's "Traces of Me" and "Divine Mob" Singles
2013 (and 2012!) Year-End List Extravaganza
Reviews: Girls Against Boys' The Ghost List EP
Reviews: Bottomless Pit's Shade Perennial
Reviews: Carton / Alpha Cop Split Single
Reviews: Fuck Buttons' Slow Focus
Reviews: Speedy Ortiz's Major Arcana
Reviews: Two Inch Astronaut's Bad Brother

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So Much Silence
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Willfully Obscure

More 2008 Records

I’ve primarily been listening to Cocteau Twins, GZA, Frank Black, Polvo, and Archers of Loaf lately, which partially explains the relative quiet around these parts, but I have checked out a few more recent releases. Another RCR post should be coming up soon; I certainly haven’t stopped buying cheap vinyl.

Four Tet - Ringer: Some have criticized Four Tet for switching to from layered, jazz-inspired grooves to simplistic, minimal techno on Ringer, but that’s a reactionary response to a mini-album that seems more like a temporary diversion from the norm than a permanent shift in approach. While it isn’t as idiosyncratically appealing as Rounds, Ringer works well as a whole, pulsing through its four tracks with both subtle shifts in background elements and noticeable changes in foreground components, like the incorporation of a live drum kit near the end of the title track. It’ll be interesting to see if his next proper full-length utilizes some of this more straightforward approach or if it makes a full return to Kieran Hebden’s typical organic approach. This appears to be an unofficial video for "Swimmer," but it's worth hearing at the very least.

Wire - Object 47: I’m currently only up to object 13 in my Wire collection, but their newest album should find a place somewhere between The Ideal Copy and last year’s Read & Burn 03 EP when it’s released on July 7. While nothing matches the strength of opening track and lead single “One of Us,” Object 47 shows that Colin Newman, Graham Lewis, and Robert Gotobed are still capable of producing catchy, propulsive post-punk, even if it’s a bit less post- nowadays. If I hold Wire to the “always push forward” ideals of their first three albums, Object 47 comes up as a retread in ways that the less enjoyable Send was not, but I’m a sucker for Colin Newman singing mid- and up-tempo rock songs and his voice has smoothed well with age.

Black Taj - Beyonder: I noticed two Black Taj CDs at Polvo’s merch table at their reunion show, but I was too concerned with grabbing a t-shirt and a vinyl copy of Exploded Drawing to pick them up. I’ve since checked out their 2008 release Beyonder and found the classic rock direction of Polvo’s Shapes was not a passing fad for guitarist/vocalist Dave Brylawski and bassist Steve Popson. Shapes is my least favorite Polvo album by a fair margin, but Beyonder sounds less like an attempt to shoehorn classic rock tropes into an existing aesthetic blueprint and more like an attempt to build those elements into the foundation. I’ll take the solid opener “Move Me,” the aching “Damascus,” and the heavy “L.A. Shift,” but I’d be lying if I said I’m more excited about this record than the possibility of a new Polvo album.

Maps and Atlases - You Me and the Mountain EP: After Maps and Atlases’ 2005 EP Trees, Swallows, Houses gradually won me over to their Minus-the-Bear-in-graduate-school approach to poppy math-rock, I’ve kept an eye out for its follow-up. You Me and the Mountain ups the hooks and cuts down on the trickery for trickery’s sake, which is precisely what I hoped would happen. The finger-tapping and percussive hits are still present, but the mix favors the songs over the techniques. “Witch” sounds like a hybrid of their earlier work and Mock Orange’s recent Captain Love, bouncing along without the tension of “Big Bopper Anthems” or “Songs for Ghosts to Haunt To.” Most of the EP follows suit, staying closer to complexly arranged pop than catchy math-rock. It’s hard to make a judgment on the EP right now considering how long it took for Trees, Swallows, Houses to hit me, but right now I can’t help but think “Be careful what you wish for,” since I miss some of the rock of their previous release.

Gregor Samsa - Rest: It’s hard to imagine a more apt title for an album based almost entirely on the appeal of hushed female vocals. Rest fleshes out its reserved brand of slow-core with an ample amount of twinkling pianos, echoing vibes, muted horns, funereal drums, whirring organs, graceful strings, and even some male vocals, but I primarily find myself coming back to hear Nikki King’s vocals on “The Adolescent” and “Jeroen Van Aken” (which is accompanied by a beautiful video). Those expecting crescendo-oriented post-rock only have a brief segment of “First Mile, Last Mile” to reference, but I’m a convert to their gentler approach. They’re playing Café 939 by Berklee in Boston on July 8; I hope to make it out for the show.

Errors - It’s Not Something But It Is Like Whatever: Errors’ ridiculously titled full-length has already been released, but I missed the advanced leak and haven’t seen the import-only CD or LP (available in the US from Tonevendor) in stores. Considering that Errors’ previous discography consisted of two singles and a short, five-song EP, a ten-song, 44-minute LP is a lot to digest. Early highlights include “Cutlery Drawer,” which features hip vocals from spoken word artist George Pringle that glitch in and out of the keyboard-heavy mix, the melancholic, guitar-centric “Still Game,” and graceful closer “A Lot of the Things You Don’t Isn’t,” but past single “Salut! France” and the Battles-ish current single “Toes” are also worth mentioning. I still find it strange that I’m more excited about Errors’ first LP than Rock Action Records impresarios Mogwai’s forthcoming The Hawk Is Howling, but I think that says more about Errors’ intriguing mix of elements than a fall from grace for Mogwai.

Recent Concert Photos

Here are my photos for the four recent shows I attended. Reviews of these shows will be up shortly.

Stars of the Lid at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, May 1, 2008.

Foals at the Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, MA, May 6, 2008.

The Acorn at Great Scott, Allston, MA, May 7, 2008.

The Night Marchers at the Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA, May 8, 2008.

Bottom Five II: The Bottom of the Barrel

1. Guy Fieri: I usually enjoy watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Versus, but certain things—the random intrusion of the Bruins’ color commentator Andy Brickley, Mike Emrick’s beady eyes, Brian Engblom’s roadkill haircut—certainly detract from the experience. Yet those quibbles pale in comparison to the routine airings of a T.G.I. Friday’s advertisement starring Food Network star Guy Fieri. If shoving his over-tanned skin and shocked-blonde hair into my face isn’t bad enough, he immediately tells me what I am going to eat at T.G.I. Friday’s. No, Guy Fieri, I will not eat that shoe-sole piece of sirloin steak. Sorry, Guy Fieri, I do not intend on buying drinks for the townie skanks at the next table. I will leave that one to you, pal. Do you want to know the next thing I’ll eat at T.G.I. Friday’s? Fucking crow, that’s what.

2. My Bloody Valentine Tour Dates: My finances will not allow me to attend what basically amounts to my dream festival this September, at which My Bloody Valentine will beckon the apocalypse by performing live and proving their existence, Built to Spill will perform the entirety of Perfect from Now On with the necessary thirty guitarists on stage for overdubs (I’m probably lying about this), Tortoise will trot out Millions Now Living Will Never Die in hopes of making me forget their post-TNT output, and Mogwai, Shellac, Polvo, Dinosaur Jr, Low, Thurston Moore, Lilys, and the Meat Puppets will combine in to form a Voltron of past and present indie credibility with the sole purpose of melting my soul. No, I will not be able to attend said event unless I drain the blood from my body and sell it to vampires. So finding out that My Bloody Valentine did not include a Boston date on their announced U.S. tour dates angers me just a tad. I need to experience the inside of a jet turbine, Kevin Shields, and I will hold all of your chinchillas hostage until that happens.

3. Missing The Narrator’s Last Show: For reasons similar to those behind item two, I will not be able to make it to The Narrator’s last show in New York City this Saturday. I imagine the following things will happen: they will perform “Son of Son of the Kiss of Death,” “This Party’s Over,” “Ergot Blues,” and “Now Is the Time for All Good Men” (none of which were performed at their last Boston show); Jesse Woghin’s guitar will spin around as if it were in a ZZ Top video; the band will spontaneously combust while performing “Roughhousing”; and finally, their ashes will sing an affecting cover of “All the Tired Horses” as a final encore. If any Boston gas stations would like to hold a Turn Back the Clock sale and charge $0.99 a gallon, I could make the show, but, as is, I’ll just have to read the police report.

4. Ongoing Democratic Primary: I can no longer pay attention to the national news because of the unrelenting teeth-gnashing on the part of both sides. Do you know what that leaves me? Human interest stories on local news. Please, a candidate, defeat the your opponent, behead them with a victory guillotine, and drink their blood during Deal or No Deal to show John McCain who’s really ready to take office.

Or, you know, convince the populace that you are a better fit to lead the nation.

5. Tautologies as Profound Insight: The next person, whether friend, sports analyst, or renowned blogger, who says any variation of “Well, you know, it is what it is” deserves to have any held degrees revoked. Oh, you graduated high school and think such clichéd sayings deserve mantra-like status for those accepting of certain conditions? Sorry, you’d better re-enroll. Don’t forget to stock up on school supplies.

Special New Band: Costa Music

L'altra's Different Days is one of my favorite records of the decade, fulfilling the drifting, dream-like promise of their early records with a remarkably assured, IDM-informed disc of affecting, layered slow-burners. Given Lindsay Anderson and Joseph Costa's tenuous relationship—they broke up while recording Music of a Sinking Occasion, but kept the news quiet until the album was completed—it's hardly a surprise that L'altra has gone on an extended hiatus since Different Days came out in 2005. Anderson's solo debut If came out last year, but her gorgeous voice alone couldn't hold my interest in the midst of less evocative lyrics and more straightforward arrangements. Joseph Costa's upcoming debut as Costa Music, however, sounds remarkably like Different Days-era L'altra, retaining its exquisite sense of layering in a compelling blend of folk and electro-pop. Marc Hellner (Pulseprogramming), Joshua Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv) and Kevin Duneman (The Race) help flesh out the disc, but it's the occasional contributions of guest vocalist Aleksandra Tomaszweska that hit the closest to L'altra. Whereas L'altra's vocals were always about balance, giving foreground and background duties to both Costa and Anderson, Costa Music blends the male and female vocals to great effect. Aleksandra Tomaszweska isn't afforded the same level of personality that Anderson's vocals brought, but it's important to remember that this is a solo record, not a L'altra follow-up.

"Snows" isn't single material, but its dynamic range impresses, beginning with intricate percussion and lingering piano chords, building up the mix with background vocals, strings, acoustic guitar, and electronic effects, and ending with only Costa's voice over reverb-heavy piano. Lighter Subjects has already made the sidebar list of worthy 2008 releases, so be on the lookout for it when it's released on May 1.

Rodan Rarities

After seeing that Zen and the Art of Face Punching posted Rodan's Rusty, How the Winter Was Passed single, and unreleased Peel session, I remembered that my period of blinding Rodan obsession helped me find a solid bootleg of a 1993 show in Athens, GA, Aviary, their demo tape, and a live version of "Big Things Little Things" and an alternate version of "Shiner". Considering that "Tron" (from the Half-Cocked soundtrack) and "Darjeeling" (from Simple Machines: The Machines 1990-1993) are both on Aviary, you'd only be missing their pre-Rodan rap material, their fake-Rodan song as Truckstop in Half-Cocked, and far, far too many side-projects and off-shoots. I'll save those for another day.

Record Store Day

Today (Saturday, April 19th) is Record Store Day. Don't let Bruce Springsteen single-handedly support the record industry.

In all honesty, I do my best to advocate buying new music. While I download a good amount of music and make certain songs available on this site, I feel compelled to buy worthy records whenever they're released and pick up vinyl reissues of old favorites. I understand the appeal of iTunes for a generation that didn't grow up needing the physical product in order to hear the music contained therein, but I still cherish acquiring the actual thing, preferably in LP format. I also love spending hours flipping through bins of records, which is why I try to support stores I enjoy in addition to purchasing music directly from the artists or their labels.

I'll be hitting up the Newbury Comics in Harvard Square bright and early for their 25% off vinyl sale, but here are some of my other favorite stores, past and present:

Parasol Records, Champaign, IL: I relied on Parasol Mail Order to acquire Midwestern indie rock in high school, but being able to visit the brick and mortar location when I moved to Champaign for college was far, far superior. Being able to banter with Roy, Jim, Angie, Bill, Jeff, and the other staffers made afternoons disappear. Their no-longer-new location seems less like a mail order basement and more like an actual store, so if you're in central Illinois, make the trip.

Reckless Records, Chicago, IL: I was simply floored by the amount of stock both the Broadway Ave. and Milwaukee Ave. locations possess. The first few times I hit them up I seemingly purchased CDs, LPs, and seven-inches by the pound, scouring dollar CD bins and $0.33 single bins for countless treasures. Receiving an enormous box of music in the mail simply can't compare with exiting the store with a plastic bag straining by the handles.

Vintage Vinyl, Granite City, IL: I'm not sure if this location is still in business, but I preferred shopping here to the Vintage Vinyl in the St. Louis loop. I credit the day when they had all of their seven-inches on sale for a buck apiece and I bought no fewer than 25 of them, but I've also heard enough stories from Jon Mount about when he worked there to hold a certain appreciation for its charms. I may have shopped there near the end of its peak as a store, but I still enjoyed the experience and have more than enough trophies to prove it.

Sonic Boom, Seattle, WA: I visited several Sonic Boom locations when I was in Seattle two Decembers ago and recommend both of them. The vinyl annex of the Ballard location was particularly fruitful, netting me the only used Lungfish LPs I've seen. Everyday Music in Capitol Hill was also a noteworthy store, producing an LP of Chavez's glorious Ride the Fader.

RRRecords, Lowell, MA: RRRecords isn't the easiest store to frequent—you have to call ahead to ensure that it's open during stated business hours, and even that is no guarantee—but the walls of reasonably priced new and used LPs are worth the effort. RRRecords is also a noted noise label, so if you're fond of that genre, it's a must-visit.

Rhino Records, New Paltz, NY: I drove out to New Paltz on my last visit home to my parents' house and was disappointed to learn that Rhino has moved to a smaller location, changed their focus to "collectable" vinyl (i.e., charging $20 for everything), and eliminating any worthwhile cheap bins. This comes in stark contrast to what I came to expect from the once-various Rhino locations (Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park [I think]): a constant rotation of realistically priced new and used CDs and some epic dollar bins. It's a shame that I've written off revisiting Rhino, at least until I'm swimming in extra dough.

Other noteworthy stores include Record Exchange in Salem, MA, which I visited for the first time last weekend and Other Music and Kim's Video in New York City. I still need to make a trip out to the Amoeba locations out in LA and San Francisco, but it's hard to book vacations around record shopping.

Remember that the Boss needs your help. Happy shopping.

Some Special New (and Old) Bands

Matt Talbott is apparently branching out from coaching high school football, since he's joined up with former Shiner members Paul Malinowski and Jason Gerkin (among others) for the next Open Hand record. He's featured on the untitled song at their MySpace page, which sounds like Downward Is Heavenward-era Hum with background vocals replacing some of the riffs. I have no idea if they're all part of the touring line-up or if this song is a one-off, but it bodes well.

Former Doris Henson/Proudentall frontman Matt Dunehoo is now in the NYC band Baby Teardrops. I skimmed a few of the songs, which didn't grab me as much as the highlights of Doris Henson's final record, Give Me All Your Money, but I'll keep an eye out for any official releases.

Bradley's Almanac has talked about Wye Oak on several occasions, so I checked out their Merge debut If Children. Perhaps it's the male/female duo that tipped me, but the record reminds me of a more rustic version of Folksongs in the Afterlife, whose Put Danger Back into Your Life is one of the most underrated records of the decade. Wye Oak has a similar appreciation for varying tempo and approach, although there are no bossa nova joints on If Children. They're playing Great Scott in Allston on May 2nd, but that is the week of too many damn shows, so I may not make it.

The Narrator has posted a song called "So the End" on their MySpace page, which surprisingly enough is about their impending demise. Like their R.E.M. cover posted at Stereogum, "So the End" furthers the folky resonance that popped up on All That to the Wall. The gang chorus of "I can't live on this witch's salary" sure bums me out. I'm still hoping to make it down to NYC for their final show.

Jon (of Stepleader/Juno documentary fame) has plugged singer/songwriter David Karsten Daniels a few times, so I finally got the hint and checked out his 2007 release Sharp Teeth and the new Fear of Flying, which comes out on April 29th on Fat Cat. I haven't fully digested either record, but "In My Child Mind You Were a Lion" from Fear of Flying is a clear highlight, displaying Daniels' expressive voice over a skeletal acoustic arrangement before ending on a wiry electric squall. Plus he can grow a pretty sweet beard, which is a pre-requisite for joining the indie folk movement. Sadly, I have proven time and again incapable of growing a burly beard, so freak-folk stardom does not await me.

The Narrator Is Breaking Up

According to their MySpace page, The Narrator is playing two final shows (Chicago and New York) in May. I'll look into making it down for the New York show, but given that I'm going to three other shows that week, it might be tight. If you haven't checked out All That to the Wall or Such Triumph, you have some research to do; those are two of the finest straight-up indie rock albums of the decade. I don't want to think of how many times I played "Son of Son of the Kiss of Death" in my car within the last year. It's too bad that a vinyl pressing of All That to the Wall never came to fruition, but I'm glad that I got to see the band twice.

Bottom Five

1. Tapes ‘n’ Tapes: I vaguely recall hearing their Pavement-aping indie rock, but their music is not something I’m familiar enough with to critique. What I hate is their name. Every time I see it in print, a voice in my head chirps “Tapes ‘n’ Tapes! Derp!” It pains me to sully this site by reprinting it, but I do it in the hopes that they either change their name or lose all media coverage.

2. ESPN: I discovered ESPN’s existence when I was nine or ten, thereby transitioning my fondness for baseball cards and box scores into live replays. I remember watching the same episode of SportsCenter several times in a row back when Craig Kilborn and Keith Olbermann were hosts. Eventually I got out of this habit, but when I was freelancing after college I’d make sure to reserve an hour of my undivided attention for Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption. When I got digital cable, ESPNews became a constant din in the background of my activities. It is safe to say that I have watched a great deal of ESPN programming.

But what is the state of that programming? Tired, misguided, pedantic. I realized sometime last year that ESPN has devolved into a constant barrage of the same exhausting arguments, typically delivered by the worst commentators on television. I’ve seen more than enough of Skip Bayless’s ridiculous, contrarian rants , thank you very much. Aside from Outside the Lines, there was no actual reporting being done, just rehashes of worn arguments, saccharine-laced human interest stories, or, worst of all, ESPN fluff pieces. Should I mention their live sports programming? Without hockey to draw me in or NHL2Night to cover the sport, it’s of limited interest to me. They have the worst baseball coverage team (Joe Morgan, ahem), Dick Vitale blaring over college basketball games, and far too much poker. Aside from the occasional college basketball or college football game, there isn’t much reason for me to watch the channel anymore. So I decided to make my New Year’s resolution to boycott the network.

Amazingly enough the boycott has stuck. The only time I’ve considered cheating was when the Patriots lost the Super Bowl—perhaps the greatest blow to another hated institution, Boston sports talk radio—and when I skipped to the channel Emmitt Smith was about to open his mouth. The impulse was gone. My stamina has been helped by the fact that my two colleges of interest—University of Illinois and Boston College—were downright wretched at basketball this year. I’d like to think that they’ll improve enough next year to get me to break this resolution, but I can hardly express the same level of optimism about ESPN.

3. 2008 March Madness: Avoiding ESPN for the last three months prevented me from gaining much of a foothold on the happenings of college basketball, so after Illinois made its failed run in the Big Ten tournament, I struggled to interest myself with the prospect of the annual basketball feast. Opting for episodes of Dexter over a large number of the first-round games didn’t help, but neither did the field itself. The coverage I read seemed to applaud having four number one seeds reach the final four as a long overdue justification of tournament’s conclusion, but that is damned chalk. If Davidson had put up a winning basket, they would have been my horse, but instead I’m left with one school that beat my college in its only title game appearance (UNC, who I’ve long hated anyway), a school who poached my school’s coach (Kansas), the school with the most titles (UCLA), and a school whose coach is desperately trying to portray his team as “friends first and teammates second,” gag (Memphis). As it turned out, I will adopt Memphis as a one-game favorite, praying that Bill Self doesn’t get to justify his departure. At the very least, it’ll be entertaining basketball, but I can’t say that my excitement level has flown off the charts. Hell, I forgot the semi-finals were even on today.

4. Murder by Death: When I first heard Little Joe Gould at the Highdive in Champaign, their bass player, Matt Armstrong, was warming up with the bass line to Mogwai’s “Tracy.” That anecdote has stuck for me for two reasons: first, I remember talking to Matt about it afterward and finding out that we had similar musical taste, and second, they actually sounded like Mogwai during parts of that set. I can’t think of the band without thinking of how much has changed. The original keyboard player and drummer are gone. The warm Cure influence from the first record has vanished. Their fixation on the old West is all-consuming. The post-rock elements have disappeared. The spectacle of their live show is gone. The lyrical narratives of Johnny Cash and Tom Waits have become the biggest touchstones for their last two albums, but the scope of the music has been pared down to pop structures. They’ve certainly found their niche, touring with the Reverend Horton Heat on a few occasions, but I’ve accepted that I am not a part of that niche audience. I still enjoy their first few records, though. Like the Exorcist, but More Breakdancing isn’t a cohesive document, but that’s part of the appeal. They wrote Cure-informed pop songs, post-rock epics, and aggressive rock songs, giving their live sets surprising variety. Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? has gained thematic and structural cohesion, but lost some of its predecessor’s spirit in the process. I miss the band that made those records.

5. Mono: I recently replaced the cassette adaptor for my iPod/CD player, so I didn’t anticipate it going on the fritz this quickly. But almost every time I get in the car, I only hear music out of the right channel. If I tinker with the cord I can get it to work again, but only hearing music from the opposite side of the car is threatening to drive me insane.

Ten of Ten

Here’s the completion of my ten. Next post will be bottom five.

6. The Wire : I finally caved to the whims of numerous friends and media outlets who insisted that this show was the greatest thing in the history of mankind. Having watched the first season, I understand where they’re coming from. It does so many things that I wish 24 would do: fleshes out supporting characters, avoids contrived plot twists, develops fruitful side plots, casts aside any notion of caricature, and most of all, maintains some sense of realism. I also understand the trade-off—The Wire is not as pulse-pounding as 24, except for a few occasions—but as the last few seasons of 24 have demonstrated, pursuing the big thrill gets in the way of the long-term payoff. I’ve started season two, but since I’m only through one episode right now I can’t comment on the further trajectory.

7. Foals – Antidotes: The advance of Antidotes, Foals’ debut album on Sub Pop, sat in a poorly marked folder on my hard drive for what seemed like ages. I remember digging the first track, “The French Open,” but getting annoyed by “Cassius” and not giving the rest of the record a chance. My annoyance threshold for modern dance-punk is decidedly small, particularly in the vocals department, but giving Antidotes a full listen made me appreciate its place in the recent surge in the genre. My issue with Bloc Party—my initial reference point for Foals—was how they tangled up their Gang of Four fetish with a vague approximation of that band’s political platform, which came across as a modern-day version of U2’s “Let’s change the world” mindset. Foals is thankfully smart enough to avoid U2 as a reference point, reminding heavily of pre-Mirrored Battles in their arrangements and early Q & Not U (and Bloc Party at times) in the delivery. Having David Sitek of TV on the Radio produce the album was a smart move, giving depth to an already elaborate framework. While the Battles-aping “Two Steps, Twice” surges once the chorus hits, the comparative ease of “Olympic Airways” does the best job of putting my occasional unease about the genre to rest.

8. Michael Azerrard – Our Band Could Be Your Life: According to the inscription on the inside cover, I got my copy of this book for Christmas in 2001 and probably read it over that winter break. My initial read caused me to fill in some of the major gaps in my collection; I remember tracking down Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr., and older Sonic Youth while making a mental note to eventually hit the other bands I’d missed. That mental note has come to fruition in the last few years, with the Minutemen, the Replacements, and Minor Threat coming into my collection. Hell, I even picked up a used copy of the first Butthole Surfers EP a few weeks back, even though I’d vowed to ignore their existence after the Touch & Go affair. Re-reading the chapters on those bands has been quite rewarding, if somewhat less informative now that I’ve been focusing on 1980s American post-punk.

9. They Live: Comcast’s OnDemand listings are usually the dregs of cable movies, but after reading an entry into The Onion’s AV Club’s New Cult Canon series, I was thrilled to get another chance to see it. I admittedly drifted for the first thirty minutes of the film, but once the plot is exposed, They Live holds up as a far more scathing companion to Repo Man’s social criticism. Elsewhere in the New Cult Canon, Clerks gets scoffed at, perhaps rightly so, but I’m far more interested in seeing what they think of Primer, one of my favorite films from this decade. Perhaps they’ll even say what Shane Carruth is up.

10. The Photographic - Pictures of a Changing World: Every now and then I enjoy chiming guitars and gradual swells in instrumental rock form. Now is one of those times. The Photographic isn’t breaking any ground here—Explosions in the Sky is the biggest touchstone—but they pull it off and that’s enough for a few listens.