Skip to content

Monthly Archives: November 2009

fave albums of the 00s


Making my TV of the decade list made me realize just how many incredible shows the last decade has produced. The 00s have not been as good for music, though. The decade isn’t a write-off, of course, but I could easily rattle off half a dozen albums from the 90s that I preferred to the best of the 00s. However, there was some brilliant electronica happening from about 2000-2003, a wave of great indie pop/rock/folk (much of it Canadian) in the middle of the decade, and… kind of a holding pattern these days, it seems, though maybe I just don’t have sufficient perspective on 2008-09 yet. (I’m secretly hoping the next decade produces an IDM revival. It could happen!)

Anyway, without further ado, my Top 50 Albums of the 00s. Feel free to post your own list in the comments, but be aware that my list is, oddly enough, completely correct and entirely objective, so there’s not really a lot to be gained by disagreeing with it. I expect it to be taught in music history classes by 2030.

kid_a

moon_antarctica

youarefree

andorra

misery

rounds

  1. The Arcade Fire – Funeral
  2. Low – Things We Lost in the Fire
  3. Boards of Canada – Geogaddi
  4. PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
  5. Radiohead – Kid A
  6. Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica
  7. Cat Power – You Are Free
  8. Caribou – Andorra
  9. Blonde Redhead – Misery is a Butterfly
  10. Four Tet – Rounds
  11. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
  12. Add N to (X) – Loud Like Nature
  13. Nicola Conte – Bossa Per Due
  14. Mouse on Mars – Niun Niggung
  15. Low – Trust
  16. Amon Tobin – Supermodified
  17. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  18. William Shatner – Has Been
  19. Explosions in the Sky – Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
  20. Sons and Daughters – This Gift
  21. TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
  22. The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
  23. The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
  24. The Flashbulb – Kirlian Selections
  25. Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
  26. The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic
  27. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
  28. Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer
  29. Bj̦rk РVespertine
  30. The Knife – Silent Shout
  31. Bonobo – Dial M for Monkey
  32. Yo La Tengo – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
  33. Sigur Rós – Ágætis Byrjun
  34. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
  35. Sun Kil Moon – April
  36. Daft Punk – Discovery
  37. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People
  38. Beck – Sea Change
  39. Kid Koala – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  40. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  41. Blonde Redhead – 23
  42. Plaid – Double Figure
  43. Manitoba – Up in Flames
  44. Sons and Daughters – The Repulsion Box
  45. Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans
  46. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever to Tell
  47. The Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia
  48. Junior Boys – Last Exit
  49. Holy Fuck – Holy Fuck
  50. Xploding Plastix – Amateur Girlfriends Go Proskirt Agents

Whew! And here are some more that I really liked but didn’t quite make the cut. You can consider them tied for 51st:

Andrew Bird – Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs
Aphex Twin – Analord, vols 1-11
Autechre – Quarstice
Beirut – The Flying Cup Club
Black Mountain – Black Mountain
Black Mountain – In the Future
Blonde Redhead – Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons
Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Buck 65 – Talkin’ Honky Blues
Burial – Untrue
Cat Power – The Covers Record
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Cul de Sac – Death of the Sun
Deadbeat – New World Observer
The Decemberists – Picaresque
Elliott Smith – Figure 8
Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Explosions in the Sky – The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
The Field – Yesterday and Today
The Flashbulb – Soundtrack to a Vacant Life
Four Tet – Pause
Franz Ferdinand – Tonight
Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Raise Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Hol Baumann – Human
Iron & Wine – The Creek Drank the Cradle
Junior Boys – So This is Goodbye
Ladytron – 604
Low – The Great Destroyer
Metric – Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Ever Sank
Mouse on Mars – Idiology
Mouse on Mars – Radical Connector
M̼m РFinally We Are No One
Neko Case and Her Boyfriends – Furnace Room Lullaby
The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
The Organ – Grab That Gun
Pole – 3
The Postal Service – Give Up
Prefuse 73 – Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives
RJD2 – Dead Ringer
Radiohead – In Rainbows
The Strokes – Is This It?
Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise
Sunset Rubdown – Random Spirit Lover
Thievery Corporation – The Mirror Conspiracy
Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
various artists – Clicks + Cuts

fave TV series of the 00s


Okay, I know I said that I would be posting here less, but The AV Club has started a month-long feature of the best pop culture of the 00s, and since I’m both a huge geek and a narcissist, it’s inspired me to make and share my own lists. So for the next 4 weeks, I’ll post my own favourite TV, music, book and movies of the past decade. If you want to post or link to your own lists in the comments, that would be cool, too. First up, television, or TV for short.

arresteddevelopment

The 00s are the decade that TV really came into its own — they don’t call it the New Golden Age of Television for nothing. Assuming they call it that, which they probably don’t because it sounds pretty dorky, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that they are cooler than me.

Bragging about not watching TV has gone from making you a pompous wanker to a clueless fool. TV in the 00s is a little like the New Hollywood of the 1970s, when a medium that was dismissed by the cultural elite started to really matter, there was just a massive wave of creative energy and for a while, all these brilliant people were able to do what they wanted, how they wanted, and get away with it. These are my favourite series of the past ten years (counting shows that started in or after 2000). More or less in order, though really, it’s just The Wire in first place and the rest could be moved around without upsetting me.

  1. http://tcmcards.com/product/this-was-once-my-cottage-of-peace-convict-token/ The Wire (2002-2008) Just an amazing achievement. Not just the best TV show, I enjoyed this more than any book I read or movie I saw from the past decade, too.
  2. buy generic priligy uk Deadwood (2004-2006) It’s frustrating that it never got a proper ending, but it still makes it to the #2 slot for its contributions to fine art of profanity as poetry and the character of Al Swearengen.
  3. can you buy neurontin over counter Arrested Development (2003-2006) Probably the densest, most quotable sitcom ever.
  4. The Office (UK version, 2001-2003) The last word in everyday social discomfort and humiliation as comedy.
  5. Planet Earth (2006) Does for the nature documentary what The Wire does for the police drama.
  6. Firefly (2002) In just a few well-told stories, managed to create a collection of characters I still miss to this day.
  7. The Office (US version, 2005-present) Once it stopped trying to duplicate the UK version, it managed to really come into its own as a comedy which even at its wackiest, is rooted in the personalities and shortcomings of its characters.
  8. Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009) There’s no denying that the show made some missteps in later seasons, but when it was good, God, it was epic.
  9. 30 Rock (2006-present) Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin are an incredible comic duo, and when the script and supporting players help them out, it’s the funniest show on TV.
  10. Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009) Who knew that what the world needed was a quirky musical/sitcom about two kiwi musicians in New York? But it did, and now we have it.

Tentative late addition: I’ve only recently started watching The Venture Brothers, and I am floored by how brilliant it is — an animated action comedy that manages to be a parody of, homage to and deconstruction of superhero comics and cartoons (among other things), with intricate plotting and three-dimensional characters. Oh, and it’s fucking hilarious. I need to see more episodes before I can place it, but it will probably make somewhere onto my top 10 by the time I’m caught up.

venture

The next ten, alphabetically: The Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Extras, Generation Kill, Mythbusters, Peep Show, Project Runway, Summer Heights High, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job and Trailer Park Boys.

Honourable mention: Da Ali G Show, Dollhouse, First Person, House, John Safran Versus God.

Why this list is invalid: I kind of suck as a TV critic because I don’t actually go out of my way to see most shows until they’ve been on (or even over) for a few years. I need there to be a critical mass of people telling me to see a series, so I don’t end up wasting my time. So as a result, there are still quite a few beloved shows I haven’t got around to seeing yet. Feel free to tell me which are worth seeing/skipping, though. It all goes into my internal scoring system and once the threshold is passed, it is on. These are just some of the beloved series I’ve been meaning to watch one day — some of them I’ve seen a few episodes, but most I’ve never seen: The Shield, 24, Dexter, Lost, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, Undeclared, Metalocalypse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Rome, Carnivale, Heroes, Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice, Band of Brothers, The Corner, The League of Gentlemen, Black Books, Jam/Jaaaaam, The Mighty Boosh, Frisky Dingo, The Thick Of It, Sons of Anarchy.

Incidentally: 1999 was a pretty awesome year for TV, too. Angel, Futurama, The Sopranos, Spaced, Home Movies, Freaks and Geeks and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart all would have had to find a place on the list if they has started a year later.

Eric versus Eric’s brain


Broadcast at the Biltmore, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

It’s been a beautiful fall weekend here in Van, but I’ve mostly been home with an annoying rhinovirus. However, I did get out to see Broadcast at the Biltmore, and being stuck on the sofa in a Neo Citran haze has been a good excuse to spend hours reading TV Tropes (which may be an even more powerful timesuck than Wikipedia). Meanwhile, my parents are at this very moment in the process of purchasing a pretty spiffy retirement home on Vancouver Island, the lovely Janelle comes to visit in just 24 days, my apartment is the cleanest its been in weeks (months?) and I have some time to ramble on the ol’ Haiku Factory.

So, first up, I think I’m going to make this blog a once-a-month kind of deal, probably until I finish my thesis. I’m thinking that on or around the first of each month, I’ll post a longish update like this one. At the same time, I’m going to try to put more Eric (my links, photos, etc.) into the sidebar. Unfortunately, the volatile combination of WordPress plugins and my hosting company seems to be so fragile that at least half of the plugins I’ve tested seem to cause the dreaded “500 Internal Server Error.” So we’ll see how that works out. Hopefully my future posts will have go beyond the self-involved meandering of this one, but give me a break, I’m siffly and whiny today, and my throat hurts.

Ironically, though, the main reason I’m restricting my blogging is my writing. I’m doing a lot of writing these days — not only my thesis and the occasional paper, but I’m also working on a book with my supervisor, and I may soon be working on a special soopersekrit project that I can’t tell you about right now. The thing about all these projects is that they have a finite end in the next several months, so if I have the writing impulse on a Sunday afternoon, or late at night some evening, I feel like I should be working on those. Now that the end of grad school is finally in sight, spending a few hours writing in the middle of the night means my book or my thesis will be finished all that much earlier, right?

The flipside of this is that I’ve been finding myself up at 3AM editing papers and writing code and sleeping ’til noon. It’s not because I’m really pushing myself all that hard, it’s more that I know how lazy, unfocussed and unmotivated I can be, so when I don’t feel that way, I want to take full advantage of my finicky brain. Oh brain, why must we always be at odds?

Well, actually, I’m not sure that’s really a problem. While operating on a noon-to-4AM schedule puts me at odds with normal people, I kind of do like working at night. I’m definitely more creative in later in the day — I think pretty much every good idea I’ve ever had came to me after 8PM. And what’s more, I kind of like that I’m in a position where it’s an option. I’ll admit to a holding a certain nerdily romantic view of being awake in the wee hours, working on a PhD thesis in an empty lab or annotating papers in a 24-hour coffee shop. It’s like I’m some kind of cool Bohemian, or something. Mainstream society be damned, I’m a Creative!