Friday, April 23, 2004

So I knew this kid in college named Andrew, and he works at Entertainment Weekly now. Last summer he called to tell me he was starting a zine and could I write some stuff for him. And so I interviewed Travis from the Dismemberment Plan and wrote some reviews for him. A few months later, he told me the zine had become a webzine and it would totally be up sometime soon, and then I never heard from him again. Nothing came up when I googled my name, which I do pretty often because I'm egotistical like that. But then I googled the proposed name of his zine, and I found it. No idea how long it's been up, but you can read it here. I did the Travis interview and everything in the "retroactive reviews" section.

Anyway, for the week of 4/23/04
Top 10 People

1 - Corin Tucker. I said it yesterday, but Sleater-Kinney totally wailed on Wednesday night. Corin might be my new favorite member of the band. She has that incredible voice, and she does this thing where she emits this piercing, gut-wrenching primal howl and then steps back from the mic and sort of grins a little like, "whoa, was that me?" I love that.

2 - Craig Finn. As of right now, The Hold Steady is Killing Me is like the best album ever. I mean, all the bar-rock guitar solos aren't necessarily my thing, and I guess I probably like Fiestas and Fiascos better, but holy shit what a piece of work. Craig Finn has better lyrics than anyone ever. I'm going to be picking this thing apart for months.

3 - Ghostface. As of right now, The Pretty Toney Album is like the best album ever. My pulse rate probably doubles when "Run" comes on. The album doesn't have the same sort of hallucinatory impenetrable weirdness as Supreme Clientele, but it's probably a better overall listen because it hangs together so well sonically. The horn stabs and weeping strings and soul vocals and the unbelievable urgency of Ghostface's vocals just sweep me up. I have to listen to this album every couple of hours or else I don't feel right.

4 - Dirk Nowitski. I'm six foot eleven (no joke), and I haven't played organized basketball since high school, not even much then. I wasn't all that good. Whenever I did play, my coach would park me under the basket, and I'd block shots, get rebounds, and make layups. That's it. I never ran, I never made jump shots, I never tried to steal. I never once dribbled in an organized game, not once, ever. All this is why Nowitski is my favorite player. He runs the court, gets fast breaks, and hits three-pointers like a fiend. People this tall just don't do that stuff; it's amazing to see. A woman I work with says that the Dallas coach is shortening Nowitski's career by making him play this kind of running game; she says he'll blow out his knees in a couple of years. Maybe that's true, but I'm still consistently stunned. Game two of the Mavs-Kings series Tuesday night was one of the best games I've ever watched. They're my two favorite teams, and I wish they could both win. I guess I'm glad that Sacramento will probably win it, since they'll have a better chance of beating the Lakers and the Spurs. But man this guy is a joy to watch.

5 - Tami Siciliano. She's the woman who took a picture of a cargo plane full of caskets from Iraq and sent it to the Seattle Times. She worked in the cargo bay in Kuwait, and she's since lost her job because the government isn't allowing any of these pictures to get out, just another one in a long line of stunning, ridiculous violations of the American trust. Siciliano gave up her job so we'd have some tangible evidence of the costs of the Iraq war. We owe her a lot of thanks.

6 - Claudia DeHaza. The self-titled album from On Air Library (I'm not going to use those exclamation points) is a gorgeous record, better than the new joints from M83 and Pluramon for time-bending psychedelic haze. The thing I like the best about it (this is going to sound rockist) is how analogue it is, how the DeHaza sisters (I picked one at random) sound like real girls singing, not ethereal sprites or whatever. The music has force and sadness and this huge, intangible sense of longing that just kills me.

7 - Greg Weeks. Speaking of a huge, intangible sense of longing, the Espers record is fantastic, the best document of this whole astral raga-folk thing that's sweeping Baltimore and maybe some other parts of the country, though I couldn't find the record till I went to Portland. It's just a gorgeous piece of work.

8 - Douglas Coupland. I never read Generation X, and I thought All Families are Psychotic was just OK, but I loved "The Vanishers" to bits. In the new McSweeneys, there's this thing where all these great writers like Jonathan Lethem and Aleksander Hemon and Rick Moody and Emma Forrest have these 20-minute stories, short stories that were conceived, written, and finished over the course of 20 minutes. Coupland's story "The Vanishers" is the best of them. It's like something Vonnegut would come up with for a Kilgore Trout book, though it would be spoiling it to say anymore. I just started reading Hey Nostradamus!, and it's already killing me.

9 - T.I. This is fucked up. Right after he had his first-ever solo hit with "Rubber Band Man", one of my favorite songs of the year, T.I. is headed to prison for the next three years. When Mystikal went to prison, it was for sexually assaulting a woman. When Shyne went to prison, it was for shooting a woman in the face. These guys deserve all the prison time they got and more. T.I. is going to prison for, I think, parole violation and possession of marijuana. That's some bullshit. And he's going to prison in Cobb County, GA, which means he's going to have to deal with the Big Bossman as his prison guard.

10 - Bob Woodward. Do it again dude! Do Bush like you did Nixon! Or if nothing else, just convince enough people not to vote for him again. It's just insane that Bush can still be leading in the polls after so much damning evidence has come out.