1. Japandroids – Celebration Rock
You used to have adventures. You remember a time when you weren’t in front of a computer for 10 hours a day. You used to make out in public. You used to go on road trips without seatbelts. You didn’t care about the housing market. You did drugs. You lived in squalor. People didn’t know what you were doing, where you were going 24 hours a day. Your life was more secret. You lived your own quiet jubilations. It felt like you had nothing to lose.
2. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid, m.A.A.d City
Love the sense of place in this album, like a contemporary/anxious/paranoid take on The Chronic (a comparison I can’t separate because of Dr. Dre’s involvement). Lamar has created a masterpiece, rendering the fear and heartbreak of being young in Compton, which makes the solace he finds in his family especially moving.
3. Metz – S/T
Haven’t felt this dirty listening to rock since the Murder City Devils.
4. Beach House – Bloom
Lovely. A refinement of their Teen Dream sound, but with more tension. The video for “Wild”, I think, captures the intensity of the entire album.
5. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die
Chromatics – Kill for Love
Tropical Popsicle – Ghost Beacons
Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
Future of the Left – The Plot Against Common Sense
Bat for Lashes – The Haunted Man
Soft Riot — No Longer Stranger
1. Jonah Man – Christopher Narozny
“What elevates Jonah Man beyond pulp-fare, is the bulldozing sense of history that motivates the characters. Every character is laced with sadness, and even when they resort to abuse, murder and cutting off their own arms, it suggests a fight against modernity and a struggle to keep their acts relevant” Read the review.
The best time I had with a book this year.
2. Cataclysm Baby – Matt Bell
“The children in Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby are disgusting. They are disfigured, hairy, segmented. They break apart when they exit the womb. They are the harbingers of the apocalypse. The 26 stories in here culminate in a bleak, frightening vision of what happens when the parental structure falls apart.” Read the review.
3. Fast Machine – Elizabeth Ellen
“It’s been a long time since I’ve read a story so honest to adolescence–the alienation, the self-consciousness, the hurt and the fun–as Ellen’s story of a boarding school. It gave me context for everything else to follow. What I thought was meandering prose became intense confessionals–the kind that connects readers with the mistakes they made in their own youth. It’s such an unflinching account of family history and tragedy that you can’t help but feel a kinship.” Read the review.
4. My Friend Dahmer – Derf Backderf
“Read this whole thing, front to back, in one sitting.” Read the review.
5. The Obese – Nick Antosca
“Just finished this book and feel slightly weird for enjoying it. It’s an ugly, ugly book–the cover’s (amazingly) grotesque and every character in The Obese is a piece of shit.” Read the review.
I had the most fun at: Looper.
The movie I’ve thought about the most since watching it: The Innkeepers
Biggest disappointment: Dark Knight Rises
Movie I wish I’d seen when I was 10 and could obsess over (AKA “The Jurassic Park” award): The Avengers
Metabest: Cabin in the Woods (for being inclusive)
Metaworst: Holy Motors (for being snobby, “clever” and too in love with itself)