Music: Some wonderful music flowing through me in the past few weeks (these posts will become weekly soon) and much of it is rediscovered or old stuff-discovered rather than my own blog-surfing ability to find new tuneage. The best rediscovery stands as Bikini Kill, a band that made songs which were incredibly simple to the point of dumbness and committed so much to the conviction of this view that they end up being total genius. ‘Rebel Girl’ is the key text, a song with lyrics that could be written by a fourteen-year-old punk chick but a will to find a way and a brilliant, insistent riff. The album Pussy Whipped is though, for all the lack of sophistication, something of a minor masterpiece.
I’ve also become semi-obsessed with indie or leftfield hip-hop from the past few years, notably beginning to worship J Dilla and Madlib. Madvillain and the self-titled album which came of this experiment is something of a stone-cold masterpiece, as is Dilla’s Donuts, an elegiac sketch record of beats and mini-tunes. Also on the playlist for this is their collaboration, Jaylib, which, as you might guess, I flipping love. Also worth looking at are Why?, Cadence Weapon, Peanut Butter Wolf and Aesop Rock.
There’s been a number of great songs and albums mixing in to my last few weeks but gosh darn it, The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive is yet another brilliant rock and roll record and my hands-down favourite album of the year so far.
Film/TV: Again, much to report. I got to see Rashomon on the big screen last week, a truly wonderful experience, and will be seeing Ikiru also to further enhance my Kurosawa knowledge. I’ve recently re-taken in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a truly nostalgic experience for some but for me, a comedy without good gags and nearly two hours of suffering the stupefying lack of talent exhibited by Steve Martin, the most overrated comic ever. As a side, if you find this funny, you’ll likely love it.
My birthday occurred last week and my wonderful girlfriend treated me to a few Criterion DVDs of some of my favourite movies. I’ve yet to see Noah Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming but its on this week’s list but I also received David Gordon Green’s low-key debut masterpiece George Washington and Dazed and Confused, still my favourite Linklater.
On this week’s agenda are two LoveFilm rentals I’ve left back through utter laziness, Night and the City, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and . Also up this week is Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, In Bruges, Gummo, An Evening with Kevin Smith and finally, some TV on the schedule. I’ll be catching up on Generation Kill this evening (probably writing about it also) and Mad Men returns tonight, a welcome addition to the schedules for a show I fell totally in love with last year. I am of the wide belief that it is indeed the best show on TV right now.
Books: I finally began my journey into Sandman, something I’m likely to chronicle on the site, and I’m quite enjoying the first book. More on that soon. Also I’m on Clockers, Richard Price’s mesmerising account of New York drug trading and the police who deal with the fallout. The book is basically The Wire (on which Price was a co-writer) even down to a couple of scenes being nearly lifted wholesale in the show and the character of Stringer Bell seeing strong echoes from one of the drug dealers in the book.
Other: Other is becoming the Podcast section but I really am loving two new ones to my schedule. Watching Theology is a spin-off and now main show of the Watching the Directors series and is pretty decent. The discussion on Lars and the Real Girl was very interesting indeed and the title may be misleading, this isn’t some sort of religious indoctrination show where everything is about Jesus. Also great is SMODcast, the podcast of Kevin Smith and his regular producer Scott Mosier. It’s very hit and miss but they are always engaging and occasionally very funny indeed, even if the self-indulgence that sometimes mars Smith’s films is given full-flight here.