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Advocate Joel Crawford wants us to ditch the autos by Tim McCullough
he city of York, England predates
the car. With its design and architecture well-preserved, many of its narrow streets are touched only by the treads of bike tires and the soles of shoes. It was within the city’s center—where 2,000 years of history mesh with the present—that the ninth annual Towards Carfree Cities Conference took place. Over the course of six days, people shared their ideas for reducing car-dependency, while enjoying biking and walking tours of the city. American-born writer Joel Crawford was one of those people. ¶ “We may see a continuing economic decline, or it could be news about the environment that is going to force some very radical changes,” says Crawford, author of Carfree Cities. “We are going to need to look to the past to see the way to do things in the future.” 6
Crawford and other advocates see the car and its massive infrastructure as the source of many urban ills. They propose we build cities for people, not cars. To achieve this end, Crawford has authored two books and published 14 years worth of newsletters. “The conviction that urban cars and trucks are wrecking global ecosystems and destroying our communities finally drove me to develop a design for carfree cities,” he explains. From an American point of view, a city not built around cars is a strange thing. Even our urban centers with relatively extensive public transportation systems—like New York or Chicago—are slashed through with major highway systems that stamp out pedestrian street travel and encourage car-depen-
dence for residents. Vast parking lots and towering garages clutter the landscape. Big box stores catering to out-of-town left Traffic on the streets in shoppers (drivers) have replaced locally-owned mom and Barcelona, Spain. pop stores. Crawford argues that cities explicitly designed below A quiet street in carfree for car-dominance (including Los Angeles and Houston) Venice, Italy. are nearly hopeless. “Transportation structure determines and dominates land use,” he says. “As long as cars occupy urban space, you can’t achieve decent urbanism.” Socially speaking, he has a strong argument. A study done by Joshua Hart at the University of West England found “a dramatic decrease in the social life of streets with heavy motor traffic.” The 2008 study conducted in Bristol involved interviews with 60 households. They found that the average person on a street with heavy car traffic claimed to have less than one-quarter the number of local friends and half the number of local acquaintances as their neighbors on streets with light car traffic. The people on streets with light traffic also reported having a sense of personal responsibility for an area much larger than their
counterparts on heavily trafficked streets. The Hart study reaffirmed what a host of American and European studies from the late 1960s and ’70s first indicated about the car’s deleterious effects on society. A nearly identical study was performed in San Francisco in 1972, with strikingly similar results. Research from that era helped form the roots of today’s anti-car movement. In a particularly colorful example from 1975, an Austrian civil engineer, Hermann Knoflacher, donned a set of wooden boards the size of a car, called it the Walkmobile, and took to the streets. The stunt, performed to draw attention to the vast amount of space devoted to cars, was a hit and replicated throughout Europe and parts of Asia. Crawford, who currently resides in Ulster County, New York, is working on a new project. He recently stumbled upon a vacant area of land in Philadelphia. “We were looking at Google maps and said, ‘well, look at that,’” he recalls. He found approximately 220 acres along the Schuylkill that were vacant, formerly part of a municipal gas works. He wants to turn the area into a carfree neighborhood. The space is ideal because of the railroad line running through its center, its proximity to Philadelphia’s downtown and its size, which is big enough to support residents’ daily necessities. Crawford didn’t catch the carfree bug overnight. It was a slow progression, filled with periods of regular car use. His spent some time Carfree Cities is working at the New Jersey available now from International Books. Department of Transportation, a natural fit for his fascination with public transportation. In wasn’t until 1987 that he first asked himself if carfree cities were possible. “Then the final piece of the puzzle was my trip to Venice,” he says. Venice is, indeed, a completely carfree city (though not free of motorized boats). Its streets and buildings are laid out on a small, walkable scale—it is a pedestrian’s paradise. Crawford gets a bit of excitement in his voice when he talks about the Italian metropolis. Venice is comparable to the center of York. Both are old cities that were not rebuilt for the needs of cars. Because of this, they both have thriving street life. In the foreword to Crawford’s Carfree Cities, James Kunstler describes that vibrancy as “the spark of life.” An authentic city, he says, like a body, adds up to more than the sum of its parts. cowbell
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The Sacred and the Profane
Cee-Lo’s new album balances humor and heartbreak / by Michaelangelo Matos
homas Callaway—a.k.a. Cee-Lo Green, half of Gnarls Bar-
kley and one-quarter of Goodie Mob—is turning into America’s most reliably excellent hit maker. This is not a small feat. Pop music is intensely competitive at the Billboard level, and while Cee-Lo shares much of his sensibility with the indie audience, he’s become somebody whose success is measurable in numbers as well as pure musical pleasure. For example: Remember that slinky R&B earworm from a few years ago, “Don’t ’Cha”? Cee-Lo worked on that, a big hit in 2004 for the Pussycat Dolls, and before that a tiny one for Tori Alamaze. (Alamaze’s version is much better.) A couple years later, teaming with Danger Mouse under the moniker Gnarls Barkley, Cee-Lo lit the stage on fire with “Crazy,” a record that so thoroughly defined its moment that a lot of people can’t stand to listen to it anymore. But it’s still a great record, and—in a way that defines 2010 as surely as “Crazy” defined 2006—so is “Fuck You.” “Forget You” is the song’s title for radio, which didn’t really know what to do with it, mainly because the profanity is part of the hook—a big part. It’s not the same thing as a novelty hit. Though the song flirts hard 12
with novelty, part of its triumph is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of wearing itself out quickly, like a joke. It’s all in how exultant that curse word sounds coming out of Cee-Lo’s mouth. It’s both funny and not funny at all. Its combination of showbiz razzmatazz and laugh-to-keep-fromcrying barstool lament hits a chord in the way it mixes those registers so freely. If you don’t know where to begin in dealing with the confused state of the world in 2010, this song is like a great phone call from a friend you didn’t know was coming. My own phone call with Cee-Lo wasn’t quite so revelatory, though it was certainly pleasant. He sounded a little tired; he’d probably been doing interviews for two weeks solid. “Fuck You” blew up online
thanks to a cute animated YouTube video featuring just the song’s lyrics, a placeholder that worked great when it came to virally stamping the song into listener’s heads. As a result, the producer, MC and singer had already been in-demand by the media when the details of The Lady Killer, his newest solo album, were finally announced. He began with a concept, recording close to 70 songs before choosing the 14 on the album. “It’s no different than shooting a year’s worth of footage [for a film] and narrowing it down to an hour and a half,” he says. “Sound-wise, I wanted to do something that Barry White would have done. Even down to the title, Lady Killer, that’s something that implies edge and elegance at the same time. I wanted those undertones to be urban. I wanted a very elegant, orchestral type of thing to give it that surreal and cinematic The Lady Killer is available now approach—like a score from Elektra/ to a movie.” Asylum.
In that way, Lady Killer works as a reaction against the tinny, Auto-Tuned, ringtone-chirpy tracks that often make it onto radio these days. Cee-Lo says that was intentional, “but not initially. It is, ultimately, underneath it all [a reaction], but initially these are my own instincts and my own interests. That’s the initiative that I take, for it to be an honest reflection, an extension of my own partial and particular taste in music. That’s very ambitious in this day and time. I guess I can commend my label for allowing me to do so… It’s gotta be great. If you’re going to go against the grain, it’s gotta be great.” The fact that he claimed to have recorded “70 songs” stuck in my head—a huge number for any artist. Were they all finished recordings? “Some of them were demos,” he says. “Some of them hooks—just kind of scatting around on it. But idealistically, they’re all top-to-bottom. Some of them I’ll go back and finish. You can even include [his 2010] mixtape Stray Bullets—I include that in those songs, too, and you can hear they all fit around the Lady Killer concept.” Had he already picked the songs for the finished album before putting the mixtape together? “Some of those things on the mixtape I did in the course of the three years that I was recording,” he says. “I’ve got to be honest and say that a lot of the things you hear on the mixtape, the label didn’t necessarily get. They saw great music; they just didn’t hear singles.” The label did have a point. The Lady Killer, like the two Gnarls Barkley albums, is a tight package—the songs all come in at single-friendly length, and there’s little fat in its 46 minutes. It extends the
I wanted a very elegant, orchestral type of thing to give it that surreal and cinematic approach—like a score to a movie.” —cee-lo
Gnarls sound more than it does Cee-Lo’s two mid-’00s solo albums. Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections (2002) and Cee-Lo Green Is the Soul Machine (2004) were wild and rich, obviously coming out of his genre-defying work over the prior decade with Goodie Mob and the Dungeon Family—the conglomerate of ATL produc-
ers surrounding OutKast. But he’s also a natural pop craftsman—one who can take the public’s temperature. Did he have any inkling how listeners would take to “Fuck You”—or for that matter, “Crazy”—when he made them? There’s a long pause. “Are you asking me do I have a formula?” Not quite, more like: You’re writing songs for yourself, but then the public turns them into something bigger. Can you plan something like that? “Oh! Not so much. I can’t even begin to take all the credit for ‘Fuck You.’ I had been working with Bruno Mars almost two years, a year and a half, prior to, and it’s almost always toward the end that you end up finding that song. So, it took us three years to get it. The last six or so months, we were kind of back and forth about ‘Fuck You.’ These big pop melodies are something that he’s better than me at. But it’s for me. I don’t know if anybody else could have sung the song. I think the chord that strikes people as sincere, as something sacred or something serious, but yet it has a sense of humor… we all can relate to being in that disposition.” The Lady Killer ends with an orchestral cover version of “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Seattle-to-South Carolina roots rockers Band of Horses. Cee-Lo identifies with BoH as a longstanding cult artist—he calls the group “outside heroes”— but isn’t shy about trying a good cross-scene tie-in. “This one song in particular moved me, and was also very relative to the space I was in. Lady Killer has a lot to do with loving someone else better than anyone else could love them.” COWBELL
Not Quite Alt-Country
The two genres have been rubbing up against each other, and occasionally mixing, ever since. In the ’60s, Waylon Jennings A new generation of country bands courts rock audiences played the Fillmore Auditorium, home to psychedelic rock acts while keeping one boot planted in tradition / by Phil Freeman like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. The Byrds’ Gram ountry was the dark heart of rock ‘n’ roll when ev- Parsons became a revered country singer/ in the ’70s, at the same time eryone was still figuring out if this new music was songwriter artists like Charlie Daniels scored hits that actually going to amount to anything. Elvis Presley can be heard on classic rock radio to this started out as a country artist—there simply was no day. During the ’80s, traditionalists like such thing as rock ‘n’ roll until he (among others) Dwight Yoakam, who played clubs alongside punk bands like X and the Blasters kick-started the genre—and he returned to country early in his career, blurred the lines again. in his final years on albums like Promised Land. Johnny Cash’s In recent years, all sorts of indie rock acts Sun Records singles “I Walk the Line,” “Guess Things Hap- have flirted with country, including Ryan Adams, Wilco, the Drive-By Truckers and pen That Way” and “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” all topped many others. And recently a number of the country charts, but he was accepted into the rock ‘n’ roll country-to-the-bone acts once again seem fold early on, and his late-career American Recordings discs to be making music with equal appeal to rock audiences—sometimes courting the included covers of acts like Nick Cave, Tom Petty, Nine Inch mainstream, but occasionally working in Nails and Soundgarden. much darker, more underground styles.
Montgomery Gentry Vocal duo Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have pumped out six albums since 1999, bleeding heavy pop-rock into their Nashville-honed sound. Their debut album, Tattoos and Scars, exemplified MG’s hard twanging approach, from its title down to the first single “Hillbilly Shoes,” which featured a couple of searing solos you wouldn’t find on a Willie or Waylon album. And their 2002 album My Town concluded with a cover of the latter-day Allman Brothers song “Good Clean Fun.” Eddie Montgomery’s spoken in interRecommended: views about wanting to see the group’s Tattoos & Scars, Some People material on a jukebox alongside Charlie Change Daniels, Merle Haggard, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bob Seger, hard rock and honky-tonk sharing equal space. “Hey Country” from 2006’s Some People Change slaps quotes from Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. over a funk backbeat and metal guitars, with lyrics that include the defiant line, “He’s a hick / Just like me.”
The Zac Brown Band This Atlanta-based outfit has been touring hard since 2002, recordeding four studio albums, the first two self-released and the last two (plus a live album) on Atlantic Records. They’ve sent multiple singles up the country charts, won Best New Artist at the Grammys and been nominated for a fistful of country awards. But their tour history, their live repertoire and their collaborators suggest a crew of ’70s rock revivalists. ZBB have played the annual Bonnaroo music festival three times, where their sets Recommended: have included versions of Van Morrison’s Pass the Jar Live, “Into the Mystic,” Ryan Adams’ “Come You Get What You Give Pick Me Up” and Bob Marley’s “One Love.” (Yes, they mix country and reggae. Astonishingly, it doesn’t suck.) While they identify as country, anyone and everyone’s welcome at their party. The band’s original material has a lot of fiddle, but it’s just as often backed by gospel organ, and Brown’s lyrics occasionally cross the line into genuine profundity.
Jamey Johnson Alabama-based singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson is nothing if not dynamic. Lyrically, he ranges from doom-haunted tales of poverty and pain—“High Cost of Living,” on 2008’s That Lonesome Song, tells graphic tales of drug abuse—to idyllic evocations of an idealized heartland existence like “Front Porch Swing Afternoon,” from 2010’s The Guitar Song. His last two albums, recorded with his road band rather than studio pros, have a loose feel that he emphasizes by letting the Recommended: musicians sometimes jam past the sixThat Lonesome or seven-minute mark. Studio chatter Song, The Guitar Song and amplifier hum blend the songs into suites, recalling the album-as-experience vibe established by ’70s rockers like Pink Floyd. The Guitar Song, Johnson’s most recent release, is a two-CD set wrapped in a cover that, with its black-and-white profile shot of Johnson emphasizing his long hair and chest-length beard, looks like it should be adorning a Neurosis album. But while half the songs are driven by acoustic guitar, slow-burners fueled by a seething underclass rage (“Poor Man Blues,” “Can’t Cash My Checks,” “Mental Revenge”), the other half is an upbeat collection of Nashville boilerplate (“Thankful for the Rain,” “Dog in the Yard,” “Macon”). Graphically illustrating this dichotomy, the album is split into “black” and “white” discs, but don’t be fooled by his ominous album art and dour demeanor. Johnson’s hung onto his sense of humor.
Hank Williams III Shelton Hank Williams, the grandson of country pioneer Hank Williams, straddles the rock-country divide like no one else. He’s released five albums on MCA’s country label Curb, culminating in this year’s Rebel Within, but that relationship has always been contentious. Many of his songs lash out at the Nashville establishment in no uncertain terms. He’s also been a friend and collaborator of former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo for years, and he’s also the leader of Assjack, a punk-metal band that sounded like a redneck Ministry on their Recommended: self-titled 2009 record (on which Williams Lovesick, Broke played all the instruments). & Driftin’, Rebel Within His first two albums, 1999’s Risin’ Outlaw and 2002’s Lovesick, Broke and Driftin’, were hardcore honky-tonk records, but Williams’ hostility to the mainstream country scene was palpable from day one. (Risin’ Outlaw included the unsubtly titled “Trashville.”) In between, he fought with Curb over their refusal to release This Ain’t Country, a collection of cow-punk/hardcore songs that’s easily downloaded and worth the Google search. A contract dispute kept the more aggressive Straight to Hell on the shelf until 2006, but he’s kept up a frantic pace since. Damn Right, Rebel Proud came out in 2008, mixing extreme metal vocals with the country tunes, and Rebel Within maintains that pattern. On the title track, Williams’ reedy voice is offset by hoarse screams, but the arrangements are dominated by fiddle and steel guitar. Live, he tends to play two or even three sets: one of pure country, one of psychobilly-ish punk and sometimes an ultra-aggressive hardcore set. COWBELL
Soundtrack composers, dance gods, robots—Daft Punk are the decade’s most unlikely icons / by Michaelangelo Matos
n 2001, when Daft Punk released Discovery, few of us who ence. Basement Jaxx’s putative pop smarts
loved it could have imagined how it would thread its way through pop music and pop culture over the next decade. That doesn’t just mean dance music or dance culture. Obviously, the entire French house renaissance begins with the Parisian duo’s late ’90s work. The Ed Banger label picked up on Daft Punk’s blaring Human After All (2006), and DP’s robotic sheen, as well as the unabashed disco feel of “Music Sounds Better With You”—the all-conquering 1998 single by Stardust, a duo featuring Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter—have proven widely influential with DJs.
But it is on bigger stages that Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo have made their impact. Their impeccable live spectacle—playing inside a glowing pyramid, wearing space suits and headgear and refusing to budge from their robot image, the world’s greatest light show—has made them into festival headliners. By all accounts, Daft Punk’s Coachella concert in May of 2006 was a line-in-the-sand moment for a lot of kids who suddenly realized dance music cool again. Beyond that, the entire android renaissance on pop radio—however dubious much of it ultimately is; sorry, Christina— comes down to two things. One, Daft Punk have proven beyond any doubt (not that there was much) that robots are perennially cool. And two, Kanye West tapped them for “Stronger,” the lead single from 2007’s legend-capping Graduation. What’s key here is that West didn’t have to pump it as a collaboration at all. He could just as easily have just paid for the sample (of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” from Discovery) and left it at that. Instead, he 16
seemed to give them more legs as a singles act, while the Avalanches’ full-length was a more intricate album experience than Daft Punk’s. But the Jaxx have stayed a cult act while the Avalanches have turned into the ’00s version of My Bloody Valentine, forever promising a follow-up that never comes. All three had identifiable production styles that were as important as the instrumentation or vocals, and in having the biggest sound, Daft Punk ensured their posed with the robots for the press and own longevity in a way similar to how Led promoted them as well. Part of it was Zeppelin’s carefully honed sonics kept their catalog selling for decades. undoubtedly West playing up his hipster I hasten to add that the Zeppelin comcredentials—it proved to be one of his canparison isn’t mine—it’s pop critic Matt niest cultural readings—but he was also clearly in awe of the Frenchmen’s massive, Diehl’s. He interviewed Bangalter and de Homem-Christo for Stop Smiling magabeautiful sound. zine a couple years ago, and pointed out So, it’s fitting, in both corporate-synergy and creative-combustion ways, that Daft the similarities in terms of leaving it to the Punk would get the assignment to create iconography to work on the imagination, new music for Tron: Legacy. Remake a film keeping some mystery in the band’s appeal. But there’s another reason the comthat’s a generational touchstone and you’ll spark off a whole lot of fan griping along parison works: Both groups have an outrageous way with a riff, and in the end, riffs “quit stamping on my childhood” lines, but prevail in pop. From the searing give the movie’s producers credit synth line of 1995’s “Da Funk” to for knowing precisely who to hire the burbling bass line of 1997’s for the soundtrack. Daft Punk are “Around the World” to the juicy already burgeoning pop stars; this guitar that drove 2001’s sublime could take them further. “Digital Love,” Daft Punk want Discovery shared its year with to give you every inch of their the Avalanches’ Since I Left You love. Sometimes with a wink, and Basement Jaxx’s Rooty, and all Legacy sure, though you’ll never see three made it onto many of 2001’s Tron: (Soundtrack) their real faces. Some things are year-end critics’ lists. At the time, will be available better that way. it seemed like any of them could December 7 from Walt have crossed over to a bigger audi- Disney Records.
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Cowbell’s guide to the best music of the last 12 months
hat did music, whether indie or pop, mean in 2010? That’s a hard
question to answer every year, but in 2010, it seemed particularly hard to pin down what bands, moments or movements (if any) truly had an impact on the public’s consciousness. That said, it’s always fun to try. Back in late October, I sent an email to Cowbell’s regular contributors: “Send me a list of your 10 favorite albums of 2010.” A simple request, really, the kind most music writers expect to start getting as the year draws to a close. I didn’t think there would be an obvious consensus pick for the best album of the year, and there wasn’t. Instead, the lists reflected a fact that almost everyone now takes for granted: There are so many listening options out there, almost all of them easily (if not instantly) accessible, that people are less willing to argue for any one album as “the best,” than extol private pleasures that move their world and hopefully might move yours as well. Still, there are always standouts. If anything, the sheer amount of music available to listeners in 2010 means any records that achieve some groundswell of support (or appear on numerous writers’ lists) must have something going for them, even if that something might not be your particular thing. Cowbell’s rundown of the best music of 2010 ranges widely, from politicallyminded pop-punk to roaring stoner metal to R&B that sounds more like ’60s psychedelia. In each of their particular fields, these artists are pushing themselves a little harder than everyone else. Some of these records were made by longtime huge names, others by folks who were nobodies working day jobs a year ago. What they all share, though, is personal vi-
sion. They may draw from the music of the past, but they’re also hard to mistake for work of anyone else. It may be a perfected version of the kind of records they’ve been making for decades, or it may be something that’s new, not just for them, but for music in general. Take a listen to any or all of them, especially the ones that seem like they might not be your Top thing, and if nothing else you’ll find artists chasing something top unique, something that was rattop tling around obsessively in their heads and had to be put to disc. top In addition to our Top 20 Albums, we’re offering a series of lists designed to expose music that might have been hidden, whether in plain view on pop radio or deep in the specialty genre racks at your local indie record store. And remember: This is just a small sampling of the good music that came into the world this year. The naysayers might be right about the health of the industry in 2010, but music itself feels richer than ever. —Jess Harvell
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Top Twenty Albums
Le Noise is one of the best albums ol’ Shakey has released in the 21st-century. Young’s always been equal parts folkie and rocker, torn between the sweet, simple charms of the acoustic guitar and his urge to let loose with a raging, ringing electrified solo. The country-tinged Harvest may have been the album that cemented Young’s rep as the poet of the post-hippie generation, but from 1969’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” to 1979’s “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” to 1989’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” Young has never quite given up on the liberating, amp-frying power of really loud guitars. Le Noise combines these two sides of Young in a wholly unique way. It’s a solo set, and the most emotionally naked collection of performances he’s released in years—closer in spirit to the blasted, melancholy feel of 1974’s On the Beach than 2009’s raucous and slightly undercooked concept album Fork in the Road. There’s a real beauty to some of these songs; if there’s one thing Young’s fragile voice has always been good at selling, it’s loneliness. But Le Noise is also the loosest and rawest album he’s recorded in years, full of ragged riffs and the kind of feedback he used to need Crazy Horse to kick up. The gorgeous noise is thanks in part to producer Daniel Lanois, who might deserve second-billing here. Together, they proved that, despite a career built on swerving left when fans were expecting him to go right, Young’s not done surprising us just yet. —Jess Harvell
Mumford and Sons Sigh No More
The lineage of British folk is long and illustrious, from itinerant medieval troubadours to their contemporary rock-tinged counterparts. Measured against that long history, the personal three-year timeline of Mumford and Sons barely registers, but even a casual spin through the Mumfords’ impressive collection of EPs and their astonishingly powerful full-length debut, Sigh No More, reveals that the West London quartet is a more than worthy entrant on that genealogical scroll. Mumford and Sons are the band that busks at the intersection of traditional folk and modern rock, acoustic on one corner, electric on the other, flourishing in the tension between hymnal folk whispers and anthemic rock exhortations, equally at ease with a finger-picked banjo, a strummed guitar or howlingly manipulated feedback. With voices raised in ancient harmony to tell epic tales of unfailing courage or intimate remembrances of unbearable heartbreak, Mumford and Sons handle each with a scuffed elegance and a burning intensity. If Dave Matthews, Jim James, James Mercer and the Followill family had been born in Old Blighty, DMB, My Morning Jacket, the Shins and Kings of Leon might well have shared van space with Mumford and Sons as they all roamed the English countryside in search of pubs to entertain and then drink dry. Sigh No More is the dashboard soundtrack to that journey. —Brian Baker
You Are Not Alone (Anti)
Feral Fire [Rebel Group]
The soundtrack to a backwoods rager, Feral Fire scratches a deep-down itch for musical comfort food. This collection of songs expertly employs both roots rock nostalgia (the honky-tonk shuffle of “No Guarantee”) and jagged moments of immediacy (the snarl of “Trembling Boy”). A five-piece from Murfreesboro, TN, who have quietly released wonderful records for over 10 years, Glossary are finally tickling the bottom rung of mainstream success. They deserve it—the band’s shaggy, underdog honesty is the perfect complement to sly twang (augmented by the excellent pedal steel work of Todd Beene) and frontman Joey Kneiser’s angular, instantly-recognizable guitar work. Feral Fire begins with a bang—the one-two punch of “Lonely Is a Town” and “Save Your Money for the Weekend,” a shimmying number destined for a permanent place on your personal TGIF soundtrack— and eventually winds down, like a booze-addled evening, into torch song territory. (On a related note, Kneiser recently released The All-Night Bedroom Review, a stellar stripped-down solo album that oozes with the afterhours melancholy promised by the title; it’s available for free download at glossary. us.) Those slow-burn numbers are aided greatly by the gentle harmonies of Kneiser’s wife Kelly; she lends the proceedings blink-and-you-miss-it beauty, rounding out the world-weary edges of the band’s more wistful numbers. —Lee Stabert
Mavis Staples is a septuagenarian who sounds as excited as ever to be making a new album. For five decades, both solo and with her famous family, Staples has been blurring the lines between soul, R&B, gospel and folk music. She recognizes that, though they might occupy separate racks in the record store and in listeners’ minds, these genres are more alike than not. Her church-reared voice, cut with a hint of the roadhouse, sounds at home in almost any setting. She handles booming protest songs just as well as tender ballads. (Often she’ll sing the protest songs as if they really were ballads all along.) She also has a knack for choosing young producers who can bring her music into the present without totally abandoning the long and hard-won tradition behind it. Of course “young” is a relative term when you’re talking about an artist who’s 71. Her collaborator on You Are Not Alone, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, is 43, which means he’s put in plenty of work himself at this point. Plus Tweedy’s always been a traditionalist, even with Wilco’s occasional forays into experimental art-rock, and You Are Not Alone is a very traditional album, closer to the bluesy swing of the albums Staples was releasing 40 years ago than anything currently playing on R&B radio. The arrangements are lean and a little rough-in-a-goodway—the guitar isn’t flashy, but it also isn’t polite—and the band sounds like they’d be equally at home on a bar’s bandstand or behind the pulpit. Tweedy also knows when to soften things up, as on Staples’ cover of Randy Newman’s “Losing You,” where Staples proves that a little experience goes a long way when trying to put across the pain of a broken heart. —JH
Top Twenty Albums
Contra [ XL]
The Big To-Do
Drive-By Truckers have never been better than on “This Fucking Job”—a tune enlivened by muscular guitars, a propulsive groove, pointed socioeconomic commentary and Patterson Hood’s simmering delivery. It’s a song about barely hanging on, about accepting the soul-crushing disappointment of your circumstances, and it rocks. Swagger, confidence and thoughtfulness are all front and center on The Big To-Do, DBT’s first effort on ATO (their second, recorded during the same sessions, is due in February). The band has been writing about the plight of working-class people since their first full-length (To-Do is album number eight), and this might just be the perfect time for people to start paying attention. As usual, they excel at dark humor—the rock club becomes an Old Navy in “After the Scene Dies,” the clever narrative structure of “The Fourth Night of My Drinking”—as a balance to portraits of people on the verge. And then there’s a song like “Santa Fe,” one of the prettiest (and saddest) ballads the band has ever produced. The tolls of touring are embodied by aching pedal steel, and the quixotic blend of weariness and hope in Hood’s voice is a feat of understated artistry. —LS
Indie rockers Vampire Weekend arrived in 2007 with a buttoned-up preppy look and a sharp-butcuddly sound to match. Critics talked up the spiky melodies purloined from African music and the tumbling harmonies straight from Paul Simon’s Graceland, but the best thing about the band’s debut album was how tight the songs were. Here were four kids, Columbia grads with their ears open to the scope of world pop, who’d grown up listening to new wave, and who’d internalized the genre’s rules for writing punchy three-minute pop gems. Each song on Vampire Weekend had an indelible chorus, while the band played with an admirable dearth of fuss and enough rhythmic snap to keep things brisk. Indie kids argued over what it all meant—were they sons of privilege ripping off music from the third world?—but the hooks allowed Vampire Weekend to connect with an audience who wanted something catchy, even if it wasn’t “authentic.” So, when VW’s second album, Contra, dropped this year, fans were wary of the advance notice, with the band enthusing about how they’d begun to experiment with styles like reggaeton and R&B. Would the experimentation compromise the catchiness? The answer came within two minutes of pressing “play”: Nope. With a tumbling rush of Caribbean drums, album-opener “Horchata” was the most rhythmically tricky thing Vampire Weekend had written yet, and singer Ezra Koenig’s wordplay has grown even more intricate. (Seriously, who tries to build a chorus around a word like “horchata”?) And yet the song felt as purely pop as anything on the band’s debut. What’s amazing, and what’s proving to be Vampire Weekend’s real skill, is how they manage to arrange all of these tricky, ornate, global sounds into something that still retains rock’s strippeddown rush. And the band hasn’t abandoned the wiry new wave framework that made their first batch of songs so memorable, either. “Cousins” and “Holiday” even manage to make a ska revival seem like a good idea. —JH
The Black Keys Brothers [Nonesuch]
Songs for Singles
Torche [Hydra Head]
The only complaint anybody with functional ears/ heart/nether regions could levy at this band is that eight songs in 22 minutes = EP, not LP, brothers. But as Nick Green pointed out in our October feature on the Miami-based “thunder pop” overlords, “The beauty of Torche’s music—especially with the jukebox format the band has adopted on Songs for Singles—is that it encourages you to approach it with open ears and draw your own associations.” Frontman Steve Brooks drew inspiration from sources as disparate as My Bloody Valentine and Van Halen to concoct these eight distinctive Singles, but through the miracles of a) savvy sequencing, and b) an unfuckwithable sense of identity, SFS boils down to one potent, kickass, highly evolved slab of Torche. “U.F.O.” launches their poppiest instincts into orbit, then the ensuing 52 seconds of “Lay Low” machine-guns them into a sludge shake of half-Melvins and halfFloor (Brooks’ influential bottom-heavy predecessor.) The multiple fits and starts are more Universal Studios theme park ride than actual rollercoaster— you thrill to the hairpin turns, but never come close to barfing it all up. And hey, if Mike Huckabee approves (and believe it or not, we’re not being facetious), they have to be doing something… well, not right, but satisfyingly demented. —Andrew Bon-
Considering their personal turmoil and professional overextension, it’s amazing the Black Keys could concentrate on a new album. Before tracking the excellent, diverse Brothers, the Keys embarked on several side excursions: guitarist Dan Auerbach’s production duties (including the new Jessica Lea Mayfield), his wonderfully nuanced solo album, 2009’s Keep It Hid and drummer Patrick Carney’s new outfit, appropriately dubbed Drummer, and their 2009 debut, Feel Good Together. The pair also collaborated with rapper Jim Jones in Blackroc, a project that included, among others, Mos Def, Raekwon and Ludacris. Throw in Carney’s recent divorce and Brooklyn move, and it would seem Brothers was impacted by numerous forces. With the Blackroc sessions—where the duo utilized bass lines and wrote keyboard-based songs beyond their methodology—fresh in the Keys’ minds, their writing sessions were shaped by their recent hip-hop/soul experience, and that spirit inhabits a great deal of Brothers. The Keys injected funky swing and indie-blues-meets-Curtis-Mayfield soul into their psychedelic blues swamp groove, but regardless of their sonic mood, Auerbach and Carney’s lyrical concerns were never more personally illuminating or emotionally naked; even songs that aren’t necessarily autobiographical come from raw and wounded places that translate pain into creative expression. For anyone thinking there’s no evolution for a two-man blues group, Brothers is powerful evidence to the contrary. —BB
Top Twenty Albums
The National High Violet
After the wrenching emotional impact of Boxer, the National’s 2007 breakthrough, the expectations for its follow-up were more inflated than Tea Party campaign promises. As such, the greatest mistake for diehard fan or casual listener would be to use the suffocatingly desolate Boxer to navigate the decidedly darker, moodier and more complex High Violet. With their latest full-length, the Cincinnati-born/Brooklynbased National beautifully blend their formidable gifts, exemplified by the trembling shiver of “Terrible Love.” Matt Berninger’s almost hymnal delivery of the lyrics in his sonorous baritone mesmerizes as the band quietly stirs up the distilled spirit of, say, the Smiths produced by T-Bone Burnett and Steve Albini. But as the song builds, the shimmer turns to squalling shoegaze chaos, Berninger struggles to maintain sanity in the face of love’s seemingly unwelcome advances, and the band floats sweet Beach Boys vocal harmonies just above the churn. It’s an unsettlingly perfect launch for the National’s epistle of beautiful doom, a comfortable but disturbing triangulation of Leonard Cohen, Magnetic Fields and Radiohead. Moments of gorgeous melodicism are matched by a disquieting undercurrent of discord and dread, and the band shows its amazing facility for sounding epic and intimate simultaneously. With High Violet, the National proved more than their maturity, musicality and stamina—they produced a lasting work showcasing their incredible diversity, immediacy and classicism. —BB
The Winter of Mixed Drinks [Fat Cat] This was a bleak year. Sometimes it felt a bit like drowning—fortunately Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison was coming down with us. Following the Scottish band’s casually devastating Midnight Organ Fight—a record that occasionally felt downright fun, until you started paying attention—March’s Winter of Mixed Drinks delves deeper into moody atmospherics and welcome distortion. Simultaneously exuberant and heartbreaking, the album’s strongest moments are its strangest: the cacophonous fuzz of “Skip the Youth” dissipating to reveal a man burying himself alive, the soaring refrain of “Not Miserable” (a song that oscillates between earnestness and irony on every listen) or the haunting reprise “Man/Bag of Sand.” Over and over, Hutchison returns to his central motif—rising waters, receding shorelines, “all the pieces lost in the flood”—creating a cohesive vision of a world (or a relationship; this is angsty indie rock after all) slipping away. Thank goodness there’s still a glimmer of hope in the lush beauty of band’s layered sound and their frontman’s exquisite emotionalism. —LS
The national photo by susanna howe
Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty
High on Fire
Snakes for the Divine
A dozen years and five albums in, Oakland stonermetal masters High on Fire have already forced the adjective “awesome” to grab its ankles so often that it’s no longer a surprise when they stick it in. Whether this year’s Snakes for the Divine is the band’s best album yet is open to debate (for now), but it’s certainly their biggest, burliest and most devastating. Under the sonic tutelage of Slayer producer Greg Fidelman, guitarist/vocalist Matt Pike’s cyclonic riffs sound leaner and meaner than ever as drummer Des Kensel and bassist Jeff Matz’s rolling-thunder rhythm section booms with newfound clarity and atmospheric nuance— especially on monster cuts like “Bastard Samurai” and the excellently titled “Frost Hammer.” Meanwhile, Pike roars over the blitzkrieg like Lemmy’s younger, angrier, more mystically-minded brother. Listen closely enough and you can almost hear awesome begging for more. —J. Bennett
high on fire photo by travis shinn
Big Boi’s first solo album is a testament to tenacity. Label politics and artistic conflicts led to it sitting on the shelf, pretty much finished, for nearly a year. Yet it still sounded absolutely vital upon its release this summer. When you’re always a few steps ahead, delayed releases don’t mean quite as much. If you were an OutKast fan who preferred Big Boi’s Speakerboxxx to Andre’s The Love Below, you couldn’t help but feel rewarded by the long-put-off release of Chico Dusty, which uses hip-hop more as a launching point: the technofunk of “Shutterbugg,” the looped snatch from Verdi’s Aida that propels “General Patton,” a soulful sample of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes glittering behind “Shine Blockas.” Meanwhile, Big Boi plays the trickster, stringing along verses that are so dense with internal rhyme, tongue-twisting complexity and (crucially) a wicked sense of humor that they seem to revitalize the English language itself. This lyrical prowess, and Big’s seeming compulsion to explore the musical landscape until every option’s been exhausted, would be thrilling enough. But it’s a testament to Big Boi’s bigger-than-life personality that—despite the album being crowded with skits, styles and guests—Chico Dusty is such a singular statement of intent. —Maura Johnston
Top Twenty Albums
LCD Soundsystem This Is Happening
The Brutalist Bricks
Ted Leo’s commitment to old-school punk values is easy to admire. He really does believe, passionately, that music can be accessible to a wide audience without the corrupting influence of big business coming anywhere near it. He’s put that ideal into practice over the last 20 years, sticking doggedly to indies despite two of his last three labels being forced out of business due to modern record industry realities. What’s even easier to admire, though, is his strike-rate as a recording artist. After all, plenty of moral bands release unlistenable albums, after all. The Brutalist Bricks, his fifth album with the Pharmacists in the last 10 years, is an infinitely more focused, what-Leo-does-best follow-up to 2007’s Living With the Living, where Leo attempted to display his range with middling results. His command of the language of poppy turn-of-the-’70s punk and new wave remains preternatural. (No one does ultraearnest, anthemic, Strummer/Jones-style choruses better than Leo.) But what really makes The Brutalist Bricks so hot is that reining in the hey-we-can-play-reggae-too excesses lets you once again hear what a super-tight band the Pharmacists are, especially the rhythm section, which moves with a speedy, locked-in fluidity that makes most of your arena-packing pop-punk pretenders sound even more plodding than usual. —jh
ted leo portrait by shawn brackbill
James Murphy’s third album as LCD Soundsystem isn’t quite as revelatory as 2007’s Sound of Silver, but along with Silver it does prove conclusively (and gorgeously) that the man is something more than a hilarious crank and excellent musical mimic. On This Is Happening, Murphy’s even less interested in showing off his eerie knack for noteperfect recreations of old disco and dance-punk classics, or his ability to unveil a new style on each song and then prove he’s mastered it. Instead, he fixes on a kind of motorized-but-lush synth-rock throughout, a sound that’s indebted to Brian Eno without (usually) being too obvious about it. But while the songs may be less formally ostentatious, the production on This Is Happening is richer than ever, each song stuffed with bright little keyboard hooks and catchy percussive accents. Murphy often drapes these new slow-burning songs in a voice-obscuring layer of Bowie-inBerlin keyboard buzz, which is a bit perverse (and probably wholly intentional) considering that the songs on This Is Happening have more to say, about their author and his world, than either of Murphy’s previous albums. Initially cast as the snotty scourge of uptight dance music culture, a rather one-note role he chafed against pretty quickly, Murphy’s moved far beyond the simple sardonic slogans that made up the lyrics to his early singles. Having bravely tried for emotional earnestness on Silver and succeeded, Murphy’s jokes cut even deeper now—sharp standout moments on an otherwise tender, ruminative album. By turns withering and hilarious, gnomic and naked, This Is Happening is the sort of album that requires focused listening and multiple plays to reveal all of its nuances, both sonic and lyrical. It’s the definition of a grower aimed at grownups. Yet it’s still more surface-level thrilling than any album about middle-aged woes has a right to be.. —jH
The second album from the side project of Nick Cave—and an assortment of his Bad Seeds—is a bit more polished than the group’s debut. But “more polished” is the equivalent of coarse-grain sandpaper dipped in lye when compared to most other musical offerings in 2010. Lust, paranoia, daddy issues, Disney issues and other deep-seated emotions that might send more religious-minded people straight to the nearest confession booth still rule Cave’s lyrical roost, while even the relatively resplendent “Palaces of Montezuma” sounds whittled down to its absolute sonic minimum. (That song ’s mental image of “The spinal cord of JFK / wrapped in Marilyn Monroe’s negligee” makes the song even more unnerving.) That the harrowing atmosphere presented here is as compulsively listenable—and at times, riotously funny—as it is serves as a testament both to the charms of Cave and to the blinding skill of his bandmates. —MJ
Deerhunter Halcyon Digest
Picking up the torch that made Sonic Youth and shoegaze seem so essential at the tail end of the ’80s, Deerhunter have become modern masters of swirling sometimes ethereal, sometimes grating noise into traditional rock. So, it’s no surprise that they’ve finally landed on 4AD, a label that’s specialized in dreamy, disorienting noise-pop for 30 years now. What’s different about Halcyon Digest—what makes it different from Deerhunter’s earlier albums and perfect for their new home—is that it’s the band’s catchiest, most listenable record yet, without losing the murky sense of mystery that’s made them so interesting. Like a sweet, lilting early ’60s pop (not rock) album draped in Daydream Nation distortion, this is Deerhunter’s most vulnerable, and most melodic, collection of songs. (Few noise-rock jams here, though they still know how to let things sprawl when the mood strikes.) As a group of hummable tunes and a dark atmospheric world to get lost in, Halcyon Digest is the year’s most immersive and compulsively playable slice of avant indie-pop. —JH
Deerhunter portrait by drew vandenberg
Top Twenty Albums
Janelle Monáe The ArchAndroid
Only the Lindsey Lohan/Herbie the Love Bug mashup seems more unlikely than Broken Bells’ creative pairing; who’s heard Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton and the Shins’ James Mercer and said, “Those guys should totally work together...”? Thankfully, serial collaborator Danger Mouse’s chance meeting with Mercer at Denmark’s 2004 Roskilde festival ultimately led them to blenderize styles. Although Danger Mouse is renowned for his production skills (Beck, Gorillaz), projects like Dark Night of the Soul (with the late Mark Linkous and director David Lynch) and his file-trading partnership with Cee-Lo in Gnarls Barkley, he and Mercer recorded in an essentially two-man band structure. Consequently, Broken Bells’ eponymous debut successfully pairs DM’s compellingly quirky sonic atmospherics and Mercer’s flawless indie pop instincts, neither one overwhelming or acquiescing as they effectively merge their distinctive styles. Mercer, in particular, makes interesting adjustments; a darker, less obtuse lyrical perspective and vocals ranging from soul/pop falsetto to menacing baritone. Danger Mouse concedes his primary modus operandi, shelving his samplers and relying on live instrumentation, which plays to Mercer’s pop strengths on the Shins-like tracks, but that sound is tweaked and intensified by DM’s psychedelic Abbey Road/spaghetti western/electronica sensibilities. Nothing can supplant the Shins’ crystalline beauty, but Broken Bells were an evolutionary progression that definitely begs a sophomore reunion of Mercer and Mouse. —BB
“Am I a freak, or just another little weirdo?” Janelle Monáe wonders aloud during an early track on her full-length debut. After fans spent 2010 swaying and sweating to the feverish, intergalactic sounds of The ArchAndroid, it’s safe to say Ms. Monáe is 100 percent freak. If she were just another little weirdo, she’d have faded out by now. The creator of the The ArchAndroid has a vision: What she sees outside of music’s usual prefabricated parameters is unnerving, but nonetheless exhilarating. And she chases her vision with a fearlessness that purposely exposes her own anxiety, desire and grit. Whether tipping on the tightrope, fighting a cold war or deconstructing love, Monáe is a shark—if she stops moving forward, she’ll die. Armed with the gumption of funk, the heart-wrenching humanness of R&B and rebellious freedom of rock ‘n’ roll, she is blazing new trails, both within herself and beyond this galaxy. —Jeanne Fury
janelle monae portrait by andrew zaeh
Arcade Fire The Suburbs
Even in the troupe’s earliest days, Arcade Fire had grand ambitions, marrying a ramshackle indie aesthetic with choruses that seemed destined to be shouted from stadium rafters. The band turned away from the crowds, briefly, on 2007’s darker, more inwardlooking Neon Bible. But with The Suburbs, AF are once again courting the masses—perhaps because reaching out is a natural reaction to the isolation that, for some kids, seems to come with living in subdivisions and gated communities.
photo by Eric Kayne
The Suburbs is an album for long drives through half-finished housing developments, for cars stuffed with teenagers staring at the sky, wondering what else the world might hold. The dreams expressed in the lyrics often involve little more than catching a glimpse of a life beyond the cul-de-sac. “Let’s go downtown and watch the modern kids,” frontman Win Butler sings on “Rococo,” a grandiose track draped in swooping strings. But as anyone who’s escaped an isolating experience knows, even the briefest glimpse of the great beyond can have seismic effects on the needs and wants of people with hampered vistas. That yearning for a new life reaches its breaking point on “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” a pulsing dance track that recalls Blondie, Kate Bush and the chilly Swedish electronic outfit the Knife all at once. Vocalist Régine Chassagne sings of ambitions crushed by the drudgery of the everyday, but she’s not as snuffed-out as she seems. “They heard me singing and they told me to stop,” Chassagne trills, the direct defiance fronting a band serving as its own sign of ultimate triumph. —MJ
Top Twenty Albums
Sleigh Bells Treats
t’s hard to think of a more “2010” collaboration, a band
for this era of supposedly obliterated genre boundaries: A guy from a second-rate hardcore punk band (Derek Miller) decides to make a noisy dance album and happens on a singing refugee from a TRL-era girl-pop group turned indie ingénue-in-the-making (Alexis Krauss). The results should have been awful. Sleigh Bells should have turned out the kind of tentative, tepid record you usually get when former punks and Brooklyn art kids decide to “go pop.” ¶ Instead, Treats is the most physical, and most mindlessly fun, album released this year. Even the lyrics come out as a rush of glorious gibberish. This is a record full of babbling children, pitch-shifted cartoon voices and Krauss shrieking about… actually, 90 percent of the time I have no idea what she’s shrieking about.
Despite being a contemporary of the Backstreet Boys, Krauss sounds like she grew up secretly listening to old punk albums. The sing-song goofiness of Treats also suggests plenty of time spent watching a Banana Splits box set. Krauss’s “rapping” is sweetly silly, and usually chopped to digital nonsense by Miller, sleepy and sexy and a little robotic all at once. (Kinda like Stacey Q after a heavy ECT session.) Krauss’s alternately laid-back and amped-up playground sass is the perfect complement to the sound of Treats, which is messy in the best sense. Miller’s guitar riffs sound like Scorpions and Accept ringtones played on out-of-date phones. The bass is marrow-wobblingly deep. (Did I mention
this album was noisy as well as messy? Even when SB slow down to a Funkadelic-sampling lope on “Rill Rill,” shit stays noisy.) But the best thing about the Sleigh Bells sound might be the beats. Even at low volume, the drums on Treats sound huge, the way the drums on early Def Jam releases threatened to stampede right over the rapper. At a time when even hip-hop, once the last bastion of big beats, is plagued by thin and tinny rhythm tracks, Miller’s drums are less blockrocking than neighborhood-obliterating. Sleigh Bells aren’t particularly innovative, despite sounding like very little else around at the
moment. You can pick out some of the scrap parts they used to make Treats easily enough: the volume and swagger of the first few LL Cool J singles; the bratty vocals of riot grrl legends Huggy Bear; the smiley-faced synth riffs of hardcore techno. But Sleigh Bells foreground a need for fun rather than their influences. What smacks you immediately,
and then again and again, is the duo’s enthusiasm, as they smash everything together. It makes Treats so infectious, and hard to ignore, even if it’s blaring from someone else’s car. And in 2010, we needed that kind of enthusiasm. —JH
Year in Music
Rank & File
together can help bring things into focus—especially if you set your parameters wide. ¶ What follows are a handful of ways to look at the mass of great music 2010 brought us. (And sometimes not-great, but notable: see the Justin Bieber entry.)
Forget the Future: 10 reasons 2010 was a great year for looking back
Literally, 2010 saw some amazing reissues and retrospectives; figuratively, we heard great music in classic styles from new talents and veterans alike. Here are a few highlights:
This 18-CD monument is more manageable than you might imagine—it lasts only 16 hours instead of more than 20, and it’s a totally listenable survey of most of the continent’s major pop styles. Good luck getting to the bottom of it—or wanting to. Cee-Lo Green “Fuck You” [Elektra] Fitz and the Tantrums Pickin’ Up the Pieces [Dangerbird] Old soul never dies—it just comes back in unlikely and welcome forms, like a web-conquering hit radio couldn’t touch, or a white L.A. guy with an uncanny vocal resemblance to Daryl Hall.
by Michaelangelo Matos
ou can’t encapsulate a year with a Top 10 list. But a few of them
With every passing year, there is a greater amount of both past and present to sift through musically. Great music from other nations’ unaccountably rich past fight for shelf space (physical, virtual, mental) with an ever-expanding number of brand new records by homegrown or already-familiar
Various Artists Africa: 50 Years of Music
One man’s attempt to make sense of the year in music
Corinne Bailey-Rae “Paris Nights/ New York Mornings” [EMI] The Foreign Exchange “This City Ain’t the Same Without You” [Foreign Exchange] Neo-soul never sounded so perky. Caribou Swim (Domino) It’s never a bad idea to make ’80s NYC downtown icon Arthur Russell into your icon with these results. Deadbeat Radio Rothko (The Agriculture) Matthew Hawtin Once Again, Again (Plus 8) Two techno DJs mix (mostly) ’90s material into sets that feel as right now as they would have then, be they finelined minimal techno (Deadbeat) or pillowy ambient (Hawtin).
or buzzing or ripe-for-rediscovery artists. It’s enough to make even the hardiest listeners want to retreat. Not this year, though. Indie rock had a good year, of course. But so did dance music, and there were signs of life in other areas, too. That past-future mesh alluded to above—permaretro, where everything is available at once—has resulted in new areas of sound being explored by everyone from laptop upstarts to veteran songwriters looking to reinvent themselves. And while the business of music still feels uncertain, music itself seemed bullish to a rare degree in 2010. You can slice it 10 ways, and then you can slice that a few others. Here’s our attempt. (All lists are alphabetical by artist or title.) Ramadanman “Don’t Change for Me” (Hessle Audio)
Jungle’s golden period was around 1994’95. That’s what this track sounds like. Superchunk Majesty Shredding (Merge) They made the scrappy punk they’d been doing since they started—and hit new peaks doing it. The Vaselines Sex With an X (Sub Pop) Two decades after splitting, these twee icons sing, “Feels so good, it must be bad for me / Let’s do it, let’s do it again.” Great idea. Wavves King of the Beach (Fat Possum) Former indie stumbler Nathan Williams caught himself, straightened up and flew right into the sun with this halfhour-plus of fuzz-pop gems. Yeasayer “I Remember” (Secretly Canadian) John Hughes, 1950-2009. R.I.P.
Breach “Fatherless” (PTN, U.K.) U.K. bass producer Ben Westbeech makes what may be the year’s dance anthem: deadly percussion and heaving bass on a skipping rhythm and Indian flute. The Bug “Skeng (Autechre Remix)” (Ninja Tune)
Fucked Up “Year of the Ox” (Matador) A 14-minute odyssey from a Toronto hardcore band—a comparative step down from their 2008 opus, which clocked in at 17 minutes, but still, it reminds you you’re living Right Now like little else.
On both the Bug’s Infected EP and the monster compilation Ninja Tune XX, both superb, this cut is the most lethal—a beat so wiry it could slice you open.
Girl Unit His massive singles “Wut” and “I.R.L.,” as well as phenomenal DJ sets for just about every dance blog around, made 2010 this London DJ’s year.
Flying Lotus Cosmogramma (Warp) Like everything you’ve ever heard playing at once, only it makes sense.
Spoek Mathambo Mshini Wam (BBE) South African electro-rap lives and thrives—and no, we’re not talking about Die Antwoord.
Four Tet There Is Love in You (Domino) Digital 3D bubblescapes that help you escape from virtual reality.
The mix-podcast explosion A mushrooming number of DJ sets and radio shows covering all sides of music have become the most convenient way to keep up with the new and rediscover the old, courtesy of sites such as Fact, Resident Advisor and XLR8R. Of Montreal False Priest (Polyvinyl) From Elephant 6 leftovers to the most cunning art-pop troupe around—and with Janelle Monáe and Solange Knowles in tow, no less. Pantha du Prince Black Noise (Rough Trade) Beautiful, laid-back beat music in which tolling bells signal life as well as something darker.
Forget the Past: 10 reasons to bask in 2010’s musical present
Sure, there’s always a revival going on. But 2010 was a year in which all kinds of new stylistic alliances revealed themselves. Here are some of our favorites:
Year in Music
Forget the Underground: 10 reasons to watch the charts in 2010
Even if you live in a cave, chances are you’ve seen or heard something from one of the big mega-stars that emblazon TV and tabloids. Guess what? Some of them make music, and sometimes it’s good—or at least educational.
Justin Bieber Not because of his music—are you kidding?—but because he’s become mainstream pop’s weirdest and most telling voodoo doll. His hairstyle has been adopted by an alarming number of kids (as well as inspiring the Tumblr, Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber) and one of his songs was slowed down to the length of an album, thereby vastly improving it. His 15 minutes are just about up, but no one provided a richer source of détournement all year. Big Boi Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Return of Chico Dusty (Def Jam) The whole darn thing: every winner a hit, every hit a winner.
Aloe Blacc “I Need a Dollar” (Stones Throw) Easy-rolling soul and not a chart hit, but the theme song for HBO’s How to Make It in America, so close enough. Mostly, though, a whole lot of people’s 2010 theme song. Cali Swag District “Teach Me How to Dougie” (Capitol) Too charming to say no to. (Don’t bother with the remixes.) Jay-Z ft. Swizz Beatz “On to the Next One” (Roc Nation) When he tries, he can still rap. And when he tries, he can still produce. Lady Gaga “Alejandro” (Interscope) The only song of hers everyone loves instantly.
Rihanna “Rude Boy” (Island Def Jam) Yes, ma’am. Sade “Soldier of Love” (Sony) Who the hell would have figured Sade would come on so Iman-fierce in 2010? What a truly odd year. Rick Ross ft. Ne-Yo “Super High” YG “Toot It and Boot It” (Island Def Jam)
Two Souths: one so clean you can do blow off of its surface, the other vulgar boasting buoyed with the swear-toGod eeriest chorus of the year, evoking chain gangs and slave ghosts as surely as anything in the blues. Kanye West “Power” (Roc-a-Fella) His own power has dimmed, unavoidably—getting as mega as he wants to means softening things. But he really does know what he’s doing.
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Year in Review by chris dick
the top games of 2010 10
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Blizzard) It’s taken Blizzard 12 years to follow up the original Starcraft megahit. Patience is obviously a virtue, and for those who’ve waited, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is a damned fine Zerg-filled pie. One of the first noticeable changes is balance. Balance is everything when you play as one of three races—Protoss, Terran or Zerg—and in Wings of Liberty no single race has a leg (or tentacle-like appendage) up on another. Just don’t expect to walk all over Wings of Liberty like you’re God. It’s hard. There’s a lot of real-time strategy competition out there, but nothing compares to Wings of Liberty.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nintendo) Super Mario Galaxy was a splendid title, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is the bee’s knees. Bowser, now massive from planet gobbling, invades Mushroom Kingdom to abduct Princess Peach. To rescue his fine female friend, Mario must galaxyhop with the aid of his starship, Starship Mario. The game difficulty has increased, but the (absurd) levels and in-game features have also improved. And the addition of an actual second player (as Luma) is a real treat. Really, if platforming—even cutesy platforming—is your forte, there’s no better title than Super Mario Galaxy 2.
Rock Band 3 (MTV Games) Rhythm games lost a lot of luster over the last two years. Yeah, there’s been advancements—DJ Hero, for example—but the sheer mania over well-placed fingers on plastic fake instrument controllers has faded. That’s until MTV Games unveiled Rock Band 3. Guitar Hero has always had the slight edge over Rock Band, but with the third iteration of Rock Band, the (musical) scale’s shifted. With the addition of backup singers and a keyboard, 3 allows for more song options (83 songs to start) and band configurations. And, hey, if you got the skills, Pro Mode is the way to go. It’s only a matter of time before Michael Score imitators hit YouTube.
Runners Up: Lost Planet 2, Bioshock 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Heavy Rain, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.
FIFA Soccer 11 (EA Sports) Though NBA 2K11, NHL 11 and MLB 10: The Show earned high fan accolades, FIFA Soccer 11 is the dominant sports title in 2010. As deep as Real Madrid’s pockets, FIFA Soccer 11 has all kinds of killer off- and online features. You can either be a player, manager or playermanager in Career Mode, or be a goalkeeper (a first). Cool. With 24 globe-trotting leagues—doubt too many will play the Polish Ekstraklasa league—Pro-Evo killing controls and a rousing soundtrack, FIFA Soccer 11 has all its ducks in a row. As usual.
Final Fantasy XIII (Square Enix) Linear gameplay may’ve been one of Final Fantasy XIII’s biggest drawbacks, but the 13th installment more than makes up for the lack of adventure in absolutely stunning graphics, beautifully rendered cut scenes, a good story and an innovative battle system. Square Enix knows how to draw you in. The plot is always complex— this time involving the floating world of Cocoon, its paranoid (and militaristic) government, and sister world Pulse—the characters are engaging, and overall look and feel is top quality. The Active Time Battle system returns, the new Paradigm system is way cool and the Eidolon summons are breathtaking. Final Fantasy XIII won’t be the last, but it’s certainly one of the best in recent memory.
Super Street Fighter IV (Capcom) True, 2D (or 2.5D) fighting games like Super Street Fighter IV might seem outdated compared to the Tekkens, SoulCaliburs and Mortal Kombats of the world, but there’s no replacement for Capcom’s tried and true Street Fighter formula. In Super Street Fighter IV, the follow-up to Street Fighter IV, 35 (10 new) battle-ready warriors return to the fray. It’s good to see Super and Ultra combos continue their respective roles, but fighter nuts will delight in the Focus Attack feature. With beautifully rendered 3D backgrounds and superb controls, Super Street Fighter IV’s one of the best brawlers of the year.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (Activision) Call of Duty: Black Ops is the new kid on the FPS block, but Black Ops has nothing—not even a headshot—on Modern Warfare 2. Single-player (Campaign and Cooperative) and multiplayer are beyond awesome. Though the singleplayer mode is remarkably short, the classic “Enemy Russia” storyline proves to be highly immersive. Most gamers fire up Modern Warfare 2 to experience one of seven online multiplayer modes. It’s here where Modern Warfare 2 exhibits its depth. And trigger-happy joy. Who doesn’t want to control a nuke after a 25-person killing spree?
God of War III (SCEA) Previous God of War titles spawned a host of exceptional imitators— Darksiders, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Dante’s Inferno. This year, there’s nothing quite like an original. The third installment of God of War finds protag Kratos battling the Gods of Olympus only to be betrayed and hurled to the Underworld. He defeats Hades and ascends from the Underworld to seek revenge on those who have wronged him. The scale on display here is breathtaking. The titans are enormous! While the control system may feel a bit too familiar, the full effect of God of War III is that it captures the imagination way more than the Greek Lit class we barely passed.
Red Dead Redemption (Rockstar) The Grand Theft Auto of the American Old West? Yes, sir! You are outlaw John Marston, hired (rather extorted) by the government to track down violent and influential gang members to bring them to justice. Things never go the way they’re planned. Of course, along the way Marston’s exposed to all kinds of shady dudes and unbelievable situations. But he gets the job done. With marriageending sandbox game play, a seemingly horizon-less narrative, gorgeous Old West visuals and a sensational cast (both real and virtual), Red Dead Redemption’s on its way to legendary status.
Mass Effect 2 Action role-playing games rarely get cred, but Mass Effect 2 has “I rule” written all over it. When Time magazine says it’s “the Avatar of video games—except it’s better written,” you know Mass Effect 2 reached critical, uh, mass. Most gamers delight in the flexible combat system, novel-like story, huge character cast, vast array of weaponry and astounding graphics, but hardcore Mass Effect nerds adored the save-transfer feature. Like your character in Mass Effect? Transfer it to Mass Effect 2 and enter at a higher level and receive valuable in-game bonuses. Although slow to build, Mass Effect 2 rewards almost endlessly. (BioWare)
Year in Review
the top DVDs of 2010 In our first eight months of existence, Cowbell has tried to keep you on top of the absolute best DVD releases, both fashionable and obscure. As we settle into Oscar bait season, it’s a good time to sift aside the overrated and/or abysmal and pick out 2010’s shiniest plastic gems. These vids should either be in your TV cabinet already or on your Christmas list.
Its let’s-bury-this-thing-in-mid-January DVD release was as inauspicious as its truncated indie the-
atrical run. And it’s hard to blame sci-fi fans for steering clear when the preview painted Kevin Spacey’s smiley/frowny robo-assistant GERTY as a blatant HAL rip-off. But the few that did take the plunge with Moon were surely pleased to find director/co-writer Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s kid) using 2010 and Solaris as launching pads, rather than gospel. With an intesely physical performance, Sam Rockwell puts a cherry atop a career of emotional idiosyncrasy, playing a family man about to end an extremely lonely three-year stint at a lunar base. When he encounters what appears to be his clone, unconscious in a rover on the surface, well, no fair revealing the coil of thoughtful twists. We’ll just say that Spacey (who’s rivaled only by Edward Norton in recent freefalls from grace) isn’t... shit, we can’t lie: he’s kind of annoying. But it doesn’t detract from Jones’ fantastic debut effort. S ony Pictures
“God help you if you use voice-over in your work, my friends,” Brian Cox, as screenwriting guru Rob-
ert McKee boomed in 2002’s Adaptation. “That’s flaccid, sloppy writing. Any idiot can write a voiceover narration to explain the thoughts of a character.” It would seem easy to confuse Zombieland writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick with said flaccid, sloppy idiots (ugh, nasty combo, amirite?), but there’s enough sweet-Christ awesomeness in their Shaun of the Dead-for-Yanks blood feast that we’ll forgive Jesse Eisenberg’s constant exposition. The plot hinges on black humor survival tips, after all, and the use of flashy graphics to convey post-apocalyptic principles like “double tap” (that would be with a firearm), “don’t be a hero” and “check the back seat” is all part of Zombieland’s uniquely selfaware aesthetic. Bonus points for a) Emma Stone’s star-making turn, b) abetting Woody Harrelson’s comeback (still not sure that he ever actually left), and c) the uncredited cameo of the year that, well, you should’ve seen for yourself already. Sony Pictures
Up in the Air
goer a while to acknowledge Up in the Air’s charms. The first 15
king of upper-middle-class-whites-got-it-rough-core. Sounds like a recipe for no-thanks with a side of fuck-that, but only because the preceding sentence is a dickish generalization that doesn’t remotely take into account the subtlety and versatility both actress and writer-director bring to their craft. Ben Stiller is the titular Roger Greenberg, a super pleasant combination of emotional cripple and immature asshole. A fortysomething letter-to-the-editor-writing layabout snob still harboring delusional fondnesses towards old bands/girlfriends, he’s watching his brother’s house/dog in L.A.—Gerwig is the family’s quirky but sweet personal assistant. Baumbach specializes in conversational interplay that peels back layer after layer of stereotype, and we soon learn that Gerwig is far more grounded and stable than the manic pixie dream girl sketch we assume her to be. Her tumultuous, at times crushingly awkward courtship with Roger is representative of Baumbach’s most insightful work. Next time you want to skewer Stiller for cashing in on the latest installment in the Focker series, remember that it probably makes gems like this possible. (Just kidding—he’s still a sellout.)
One imagines that it took even the most open-minded movie-
minutes was quite the smarm-fest, with Juno helmsman Jason Reitman two-shotting reams of interminable blather between George Clooney and Vera Farmiga’s frequent flyers, two human beings seemingly without a single identifiable reason for existence aside from reaping the myriad material benefits of their soulless corporate whoring. But things slowly become less obnoxious (despite the pterodactyllike squeal that passes for Anna Kendrick’s voice), then less predictable (Clooney, who travels across the country to fire people, is in danger of getting downsized himself when Kendrick points out this shit can be done remotely over video), then before you know it, Up in the Air becomes a graceful depiction of two grating careerists learning to stop believing their own bullshit and maybe try an adult relationship for once. Oooh, almost forgot: Danny McBride kind of gets to play a real human being! Paramount
Greta Gerwig is the queen of mumblecore, Noah Baumbach the
Year in Review
The Thin Red Line
Buyers should know to beware by now: If Terrence Malick is releasing a film—and he’s improbably settled into a once-every-seven-years groove, with The Thin Red Line, The New World and the forthcoming Tree of Life following seminal ’70s triumphs Badlands and Days of Heaven—the studio DVD will be threadbare, eventually followed by a lovingly rendered Criterion edition. Mind you, the man will never submit to a task as pedestrian as a commentary track, but plenty of his closest colleagues helpfully color in the enigma. The most fascinating legend of TRL remains the casting—pretty much every Hollywood actor between 18 and 65 was filmed at some point, although actually appearing onscreen was a much more arduous task. Casting director Dianne Crittenden sheds some light on the protracted process, which is partially captured in archival audition footage. Among the other bonuses are 14 additional minutes of footage—no, not entirely morning dew and katydids—and interviews with actors Kirk Acevedo, Jim Caviezel, Thomas Jane, Elias Koteas, Dash Mihok and Sean Penn. Still not sure if The Passion of the Christ was the best or worst thing to happen to Caviezel’s career, although rest assured that he kills it here. Criterion
Everyone Else Probably too “meditative” and “meandering” to earn any
sort of mass year-end foreign recognition, Maren Ade’s Everyone Else is regardless one of the most revelatory and heartbreaking cinematic journeys of the year. It helps to be indoctrinated into Antonioni’s sometimes sensual, sometimes withdrawn “trilogy” of L’avventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse, but those are only reference points. Ade balances eroticism and palpable unease in this languid decomposition of a relationship. Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) and Chris (Lars Eidinger) vacation in Sardinia, saying little, taking in the sun-dappled brilliance of their surroundings, intoxicated by each other’s bodies. But as their sabbatical extends, so does their unsaid mutual disdain, and a scarily familiar, slow unraveling begins. Obsession plays a major role in this, albeit not in a trite Fatal Attraction sense—both of Ade’s leads have latent ambitions beyond the countryside villas and beachfronts they infiltrate, and they’re played against each other to chip away at a bond revealed as tenuous at best. Is “anti-romance” the right term? Probably not, but know that Everyone Else is possibly the year’s most underrated drama. Cinema Guild 40
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Short of Irreversible, Antichrist or, I dunno, The Accused, it’s
hard to fathom a film less ripe for a “satirical reimagination” (our words, not Werner Herzog’s) than Abel Ferrara’s 1992 Bad Lieutenant. In both the brutal original and 2010 quasisequel, the eponymous lead is a gambling addicted, drug-addled, power-abusing irredeemable shithead. The first time, it’s played for stark, unforgiving did-you-justsee-that/did-he-just-do-that melodrama; this time, Herzog and Nicolas Cage conspired to make Port of Call New Orleans funnier than anything that Apatow Incorporated could muster. And we think at least 75 percent of it was intentional. By now you’ve probably seen the infamous “shoot him again—his soul is still dancing” clip via the preview, and we can only assure you: that’s the tip of a deeply idiotic, infinitely rewatchable iceberg that features Cage’s best, uh, Cage in years. Available for less than the cost of a lucky crack pipe, so there’s that. First Look Pictures
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ax Renn, cable television executive and
and protagonist of David Cronenberg’s David Cronenberg’s conflicted paean 1983 masterpiece Videodrome, has been to shock entertainment still has the warned. Renn (James Woods) is searchpower to provoke / by Sean L. Maloney ing for the source of an underground video program named “Videodrome,” a show of unmitigated brutality, nothing but barren clay walls, mysterious figures and unbridled sadism. Renn wants it for his cable channel, which peddles in sex and violence on the outer reaches of the cable spectrum. Across the table at lunch one day, friend and soft-core pornographer Masha (Lynn Gorman) tries to dissuade him from following the trail any further: “It has something you don’t, Max. It has a philosophy, and that’s what makes it dangerous.” Twenty-seven years later, Cronenberg’s nightmare vision of the analog-media landscape is still dangerous, still philosophically jarring, and still unsettlingly prescient. Our consumption of media may no longer revolve around cassette tapes and rabbit-ears, or even broadcast television in the traditional sense, but the ability of media to corrupt and/or liberate its consumers remains. Even more than lingering, the corruption/liberation of media has become a part of every moment of every day. The cathode ray tube may no longer be a running interest but the blue flicker of its smaller, flatter cousins is omnipresent. You need look no further than your own pocket for a device that can tap into the signal that satisfies the most craven lust for sex and violence. Anyone that’s been forced to watch porn on a drunken friend’s phone can attest to that. Videodrome came out right as home video of the BETA/VHS variety was hitting critical mass and
Television is reality, and reality is less than television.”
—Dr. Brian O’blivion, Videodrome 42
survives as one of the rare riffs on the underground video culture of the day. It’s now almost hard to imagine that people used to have to make actual physical copies of a video and then actually transport it from Point A to Point B. Scoring shock-video took more than typing different combinations of your favorite dirty words into a search engine. It took time, money and a good deal of resources Yes, your local video store probably had a copy of Faces of Death or the version of Driller Killer that runs out of tape before the movie is over, but tracking down the truly extreme, truly deranged edges of the human experience caught on tape took some effort. At one point, Dr. Brian O’blivion (Jack Creley)—a “media prophet”, a literal talking head who only appears on television while on television—tells Renn that “television is reality, and reality is less than television.” And that’s years before The Real World ushered in a an era of unscripted narcissism. Over two and a half decades before Bridalplasty and the end of dignity. Well before competition-reality television became the last sector of the global economy
that was actually hiring. That’s some foresight on Cronenberg’s part. And that’s why Woods’ Renn—a uniquely perverted outlier in his day, a curator of smut in an era when it was first being welcomed into the home via coaxial cable—has become the deeply disturbing everyman for our era. The sadomasochism that underscores Renn’s relationship with media—and his relationship with radio host Nicki Brand, played by Debbie Harry in her first acting role—may have lost
its shock value in a world where even Disney-manufactured pop stars winds up naked on the ’net, but that just cranks the creep-out factor up even higher. Combine that with the unsettling special effects make-up of the legendary Rick Baker (Hellboy, An American Werewolf in London, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video) and you’ve got a horror film that just may have become more terrifying with age. As with much of Cronenberg’s output—including such classics as the literally mind-blowing Scanners and the way-ahead-of-the-curve and criminally underappreciated eXistenZ—Videodrome is an examination of the horrors inherent in the human body, the weakness of our flesh and the vulnerability of our minds. But unlike Scanners, which concerns itself with terror of intellectual evolution, or Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly, which tackles the horrors of physical evolution, Videodrome is a critique and exploration of our evolution as a society of media consumers, simultaneously the heroes and villains, sadists and masochists, perpetrators and victims. Survival is never assured, but is it really worth it if we’re willing to sacrifice our humanity and our dignity for entertainment? Videodrome is the rare film that pushed the boundaries of its day so far—reveling in the violent sexuality that it simultaneously condemns, celebrating the entrance of grindhouse sensibilities into your house while hoping the neighbors don’t catch you watching—that its moral center (amoral center?) still feels timely. It becomes a tale for this Videodrome will age as well, an analog-era fable made more potent by the be available interceding years of technological development and socio- on Blu-ray 7 logical regression. It has a philosophy and that’s what makes December from Image it dangerous still. Entertainment. cowbell
Intimate Relations Director Alan Rudolph brings another kind of adult romance to the screen / by Bret McCabe
y the time Marianne Faithfull’s “El Gavilan” appears at the very end
of writer/director Alan Rudolph’s Trouble in Mind, the movie has more than earned the bittersweet ineffability that the song stirs up. Set in the fictional Rain City at some unspecific time, this 1985 outing recounts the demise of one relationship as another blossoms. Coop (Keith Carradine) and Georgia (Lori Singer) drift into Wanda’s Diner looking for something, anything. There, the titular proprietress (Geneviève Bujold) watches as her old flame Hawk (Kris Kristofferson) starts falling for Georgia. Coop begins dressing like a new wave gangster and hanging around aspiring hoodlum Solo (Joe Morton), and the pair’s antics bring them into the crosshairs of crime boss Hilly Blue (Divine, not in drag). Coop is going one way, Georgia another, and Trouble in Mind follows their forking paths with a whimsical, endearing grace. This month, Shout Factory releases a restored Trouble in Mind on DVD in a special 25th anniversary edition, and the movie still feels hauntingly out of time. Everything about it is a study of contradictions. It takes place in an Alphavillelike future, while everybody looks and acts like they’re living in hardboiled 1940s film noir. The soundtrack doesn’t just add an emotional component as much as it functions like a commentary, and the movie’s color scheme is somewhere between David Lynch baroque and Fassbinder saturated. It’s a movie world that practically couldn’t exist without movies, and it’s the best entryway into the singular cinematic universe of Alan Rudolph. The son of an actor and television director, Rudolph got started working under Robert Altman, serving as the assistant director to The Long Goodbye, California Split and Nashville, and co-writing Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson. Altman has historically cast a long shadow over Rudolph’s work, but the only filmmaking trait the two auteurs really share is their confidence in
It’s a movie world that practically couldn’t exist without movies, and it’s the best entryway into the singular cinematic universe of Alan Rudolph.
creating their own cinematic space. Rudolph’s movies don’t move or feel like any other director’s, and because of that they can be difficult to engage. To date he’s directed 21 movies, but what he’s best at are meditations on love, be they comedic dramas or dramatic comedies. They’re anything but romantic comedies. Rudolph doesn’t rely on conventional film language or stock characters, and he doesn’t use genre merely as shorthand to express his ideas. Instead, he approaches narrative storytelling as a means to get into his characters’ heads and hearts. In the process, he’s become American cinema’s plainspoken poet of love and its absence, as ebullient as François Truffaut and as savage as Raymond Carver. His 1976 Welcome to L.A. and 1978 Remember My Name showcase a writer/director finding his voice, but his deft touch comes together for the first time in 1984’s Choose Me. It moves through a loosely connected group of Los Angelenos—bar owner Eve (Lesley Ann Warren), her late-night radio advice host roommate (Bujold again), the escaped mental patient who heads to Eve’s bar and meets Pearl (Rae Dawn Chong), whose husband Zack (Patrick Bauchau) is carrying on an affair with Eve—all of whom appear to be able to find sex easily while still looking for something else. It’s a profoundly lonely, yet strangely funny and caring movie, thanks in large parts to its able cast. Given that a “roman-
tic comedy” today typically involves grown men who act like teenage boys failing to communicate with the women they chase, it’s almost alien to see Choose Me’s adults be both vulnerable and human, able to extend their hearts to somebody, if only for the night, without immediately becoming forever scarred when things maybe don’t end up going happily every after. A similar sense of blithe maturity powers Rudolph’s 1988 The Moderns. Set in Paris during the 1920s jazz age, it follow the misadventures of artist/ forger Nick (Keith Carradine), an American expatriate who bumps into the likes of Ernest Hemingway (Kevin J. O’Connor), Gertrude Stein (Elsa Raven), and Alice B. Toklas (Ali Giron) while chasing the wife (Linda Fiorentino) of an industrialist (John Lone). Paris in the ’20s is one of those overly romanticized clichés, where the Lost Generation drank and loved and made madcap fun alongside the surrealists, but Rudolph treats his characters with the same irreverent tenderness as Choose Me and Trouble in Mind’s lovelorn, wayward souls. It’s a decision that makes the era feel lived-in and approachable, not the relic of some imagined past. Bringing the past to devastatingly familiar life is what makes Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle one of Rudolph’s two finest outings to date. Ostensibly a Dorothy Parker biopic, Mrs. Parker takes place primarily in a 1920s Manhattan when the Algonquin
Round Table of critics, actors, editors and the like would gather to eat, drink and drink some more. Rudolph follows this self-absorbed circle through the rollercoaster professional and romantic life of Parker, played with a severe openness by Jennifer Jason Leigh, who was born to play Parker the way Gary Oldman was born to play Sid Vicious. Mrs. Parker is uncomfortably raw at times, so harsh are the turns that Parker’s life takes, but Rudolph affords such faith in Leigh’s performance that watching a woman’s descent into alcoholic depression becomes both comedic and tragic. Love is both, at least when Rudolph is at the top of his game, switching from life’s greatest pleasures to greatest pains at any moment. And he transports that two-sided coin to the present in what remains his finest statement on the fickle ways that love and sex run hot and cold, 1997’s Afterglow. The still luminous Julie Christie and the born-haggard Nick Nolte play an older married couple who live in Montréal. Phyllis is a former B-movie actress, Lucky is a general handyman and inveterate rake who sometimes services more than a housewife’s kitchen sink. It’s a perfectly understandable arrangement between two adults that gets all kinds of fouled up when Lucky starts some work, and maybe a little more, for Marianne (Lara Flynn Boyle), the stay-at-home wife of an uptight yuppie (Jonny Lee Miller), with whom Phyllis begins an affair. This schematic love rectangle would feel more coincidentally preposterous if Rudolph’s sense of romantic foibles weren’t so polished, refined and touching. Afterglow spends a good deal of time with its May-December affairs, but it’s the connection between Lucky and Trouble in Phyllis that anchors the movie—a portrait of two people Mind will be available on who may have endured more valleys than peaks, but who DVD December also put the time into not forgetting what has held them 14 from Shout! together for all those years. Factory. cowbell
* Directors often get
all the credit when it comes to great films, and great TV shows are often seen as ensemble pieces. But what about the actors who help elevate a flick to classic status, or the unsung stars who take a show to the next level? Each month, Pretty Great Performances looks at the actors who rescued a project from failure or added that extra layer of awesomeness.
Pretty Great Performances *
et’s start with the moment everyone
Rutger Hauer is much more than a quotable soliloquy as Blade Runner’s Roy Batty / by Joe gross
remembers, the scene most science fiction fans and a fair number of movie buffs can recite from memory. Roy Batty, a Nexus-6 replicant, perhaps the most perfect synthetic human ever produced, sits on a ledge of a building on Earth, a planet that all but the least-favored have long left. He is stripped to the waist, wet from the rain that seems near constant in this city. He has just saved—chosen to save—the life of his hunter, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a man who has sworn to kill him. Batty’s friends are dead, killed by Deckard. Batty himself is dying. He looks at Deckard with a mix of incredulity and exhaustion, as if he’s slightly appalled he has to tell this guy, this human, for God’s sake, What It’s All About. ¶ “I’ve… SEEN things you people wouldn’t believe,” Batty says, as if he can’t believe it himself. “Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate.”
Cut to Deckard, who looks like he has no idea what Batty is talking about. (Perhaps it is the expression of an actor who suddenly realizes nobody is going to remember he’s even in this scene, such is his co-star’s atavistic power.) Cut back to Batty, who seems to be looking almost inward. “All those... moments will be lost in time... like… tears... in rain.” He pauses. “Time... to die.” He smiles briefly, almost embarrassed by this display of emotion. But it is also a smile that says, “Now you know as best you can what I know and how I feel. That’s all I can do.” He lowers his head, releases the dove he was holding, and dies. Rutger Hauer didn’t win any awards for this performance, nor was he nominated. Though it grew in status over the decades and is now considered one
of the most important, visionary movies of the 1980s, Blade Runner was met with decidedly mixed notices upon release, and largely tanked at the box office. Indeed, though a star in his native Netherlands, Hauer was barely known in the States. But in Roy Batty, he found his signature role, a mix of actor and part that happens once in a career. Hauer never did anything as interesting since. But he didn’t have to. Science-fiction thrives on suspension of disbelief, and we absolutely believe Hauer as a perfect man. Or, rather, as a child’s idea of a perfect man. Blonde with piercing blue eyes, his looks did have an almost post-human vibe, a sharp contrast to his dank surroundings. He exudes confidence and arrogance mixed with an awe he can never quite suppress. We catch a glimpse of him when Deckard is being briefed on the replicants. In this mugshot, Batty has dead eyes and a stocking on his head, as if he was just released from the vat he was grown in. But when we see him in the world, we see his hand first—he is flexing it, as if arthritic decay has started to set in. In profile, we see him looking at his hand. He turns his head, smiling with the mix of psychopathy and wonder that Hauer manages to embody. He walks over to Leon, the replicant who has just killed another Blade Runner and returned to his home for his “precious photos.” He hasn’t found them; the place was tossed. “Men?” Batty says, his voice full of disdain. Men are the ones who swear they are more human than Batty, but don’t appreciate the amazing gift of life. “Police… men?” Batty says, a little harder. He turns away in disgust—Leon, you’re an idiot. This is the dance Hauer does as Batty. He is violent, profoundly so, but he is pushed to violence. He is a leader who knows his days are (quite literally) numbered. He is packed with human knowledge and loves twisting it to suit his aims.
I’ve… SEEN things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those... moments will be lost in time... like…tears... in rain.” —Roy Batty, Blade Runner
“Fiery the angels fell,” Batty says to Chew, the Asian eyemaker. “Deep thunder rolled around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc.” Check out how Hauer rolls the words off his tongue, perhaps knowing the misquote from William Blake is deliberate, well aware he is the fallen angel. He’s least believable when he’s trying to seem human. “Ah, gosh,” Batty says when introduced to J.F. Sebastian, the 25-year-old with “Methuselah’s syndrome” who designed the Nexus-6. “You’ve really got some nice toys here.” J.F., that was your cue to run like hell. But he doesn’t because these replicants seem so perfect. Batty looks like an Aryan Apollo, Pris is a literal sex toy. Batty and Pris are sympathetic to J.F.’s plight, but ultimately, J.F. is merely human, a means to an end. That end is the most violent scene in the film, Batty’s encounter with Tyrell of the Tyrell Corporation. This is also some of Hauer’s most compelling acting, as he vacillates between filial rage and just wanting his dad to make it all better. He tries to debate with Tyrell about the mechanics of modifying his gene sequence to allow for a longer lifespan. Tyrell repeatedly says it can’t be done. Batty makes it plain: “I want more life, fucker.” (Or as some cuts have it, “I want more life, father,” an inspired substitution that doesn’t feel like a less angry alternative.) Notice the almost shamed way Batty says, “I’ve done questionable things…” Tyrell tries to condescend his way out: “Also extraordinary things. Revel in your time,” a comment for which Batty crushes Tyrell’s skull and puts out his eyes. Hauer’s face is pure rage, the slave destroying his master, the son slaying his father, homo superior laying waste to mere humanity. Then, during Batty and Deckard’s final fight, something shifts in Batty. He taunts Deckard throughout their iconic cat-andmouse on rain-slicked buildings, like the Joker mocking a wounded Batman. He breaks Deckard’s fingers, one for each of his fallen replicants. “This is for Zhora… this is for Pris.” It might be the moment of Batty’s clearest morality—he doesn’t feel badly about this at all. Yet, the change still happens. He all but stands there as Deck- Blade Runner ard hits him with a pipe: “Good! is available on DVD and That’s the spirit!!!” Blu-ray, from When he sees Deckard helpless, Warner Brothers. Batty knows that this is the victory, that saving Deckard isn’t a surrender to human mores, but a transcendence of them. “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it?” Batty says to a struggling Deckard. “That’s what it is to be a slave.” He sits down and talks his way into movie history, the artificial man who embodied the catchphrase “more human than human.” Hauer was never more human, either. cowbell
In the Valley of Death
Restrepo goes deep into the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan’s deadliest region / by Bret McCabe
hat are we doing?” That’s the question one
member of Second Platoon, Battle Company, 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Infantry Regiment, remembers asking himself when he first laid eyes on the Korangal Valley in Eastern Afghanistan. In May 2007, he and his unit were deployed to this remote locale, dubbed the “Valley of Death” by American military personnel due to the amount of fighting it has seen.
The Korangal Outpost—the “Kop”—is a small miliar to the genre, with camp located among one of the valley’s rocky crags. soldiers acting like the In every direction lies unforgiving terrain of tribal young men they are villages, scattered brush and dirt—all of it hostile. during downtime back As a different member of Second Platoon says in at the Kop base and Outpost Restrepo, erected a few months into their tour and Restrepo, the documentary about the unit’s deploy- named for a fallen comrade, PFC Juan “Doc” Restrepo. But the movie’s baseline ment here, the Kop is at the end of the road, and experience is completely different. The crackle of gunfire and low-end thud of where the road ends the Taliban begins. artillery begins to feel almost constant during Restrepo, so much so that the American journalist Sebastian Junger and Brit- few moments of near silence feel uncannily tense. ish photojournalist Tim Hetherington spent a year In fact, Restrepo is less narrative documentary than experimental sound embedded with these men, and the riveting footage and visual immersion. It captures the unit’s weekly “shura” meetings with the they brought back and assembled into Restrepo is area’s village elders about trying to help them fight the enemy—the strategic unlike any other document of the ongoing War on value of the Kop is to provide security to a road, keeping goods and services Terror. While Junger and Hetherington do include flowing to the villages so that they don’t turn to Taliban for support—but for a few interviews with the men after they the most part its point of view is that of the grunts doing their job. And leave the valley, and very occasionally add what they do is burn their waste, dig in their positions to provide cover music to accompany their footage, for from the nearly 360 degree field of fire, and try to stay alive. During one most of the movie’s 94 minutes, all that it multiple-day maneuver, Operation Rock Avalanche, this job becomes offers is what the lenses and microphones so intensely anxious that it’s amazing some video artist hasn’t tried captured of the soldier’s experience. It’s requesting the raw footage to be projected in continuous loop on four walls of a square gallery space and titled it “P.T.S.D.” less cinema verite than an ambient recording of surviving hell. What are we doing? Junger and Hetherington never insult their auSince the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, dience’s intelligence by assuming that they can answer that question, this military campaign and occupation but it swirls through the head like the near-constant gunfire in the dishas become the most constantly docu- Restrepo will tance. The filmmakers claim Restrepo is apolitical, as it doesn’t try to be released mented war in history, with a deluge of December 7 politicize the Second Platoon’s presence in Afghanistan. But Restrepo embedded documentaries hitting movie on DVD and also possesses the unnerving power to elicit strong emotions—which Blu-ray, from theaters and home video beginning in in and of itself is a political response to a military operation that is Virgil Films and 2004. Restrepo includes many scenes faseven years old, with no end in sight. Entertainment. 48
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WOULD IT KILL YOU
HFM 2: THE HUNGER FOR MORE
LET FREEDOM REIGN
THE SHOW MUST GO
MAN ON THE MOON 2: THE LEGEND OF MR. RAGER
FONK RECORD: FEATURING TIZ & FONKIE PLANETARIANS
LOST IN TIME
20th Century Fox: 75th Anniversary Collection 300 Killers 40-Year-Old Virgin A.B. Quintanilla III Presents Kumbia Kings About Last Night… Absence of Malice Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright Adaptation Age of Innocence American Nitemare American Pop America’s Music Legacy: Blues America’s Music Legacy: Dixieland Jazz America’s Music Legacy: Soul America’s Music Legacy: Folk Ana Popovic Band: An Evening at Trasimeno Lake And Justice for All Annie’s Point Apparitions Apt Pupil Armed and Dangerous Awakenings Awakenings/The Fisher King Ayaka Is Your Angel Barry Munday Bastard Swordsman Belly of the Beast Belly of the Beast/Half Past Dead Bellydance Superstars: Behind the Shimmy Betty White: In Black & White Big Bad Mama/Big Bad Mama 2 Big Hit Big Lebowski Big River Man Blind Date Blip Festival: Reformat the Planet Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice Bob Hope Collection Bonanza: The Official Second Season Vol. 2 Bonnie and Clyde Boy Meets World Season 4 Boys Be… Boys Life, Vol. 7 Butterflies Are Free Caged Animal California Suite Celebrity Sweat: Nelly V02 Chevalier d’Eon: The Complete Series China: Centuries of Mystery Classic Adventures Collection Vol. 1 Closer Cocaine City #14: The Extendables Edition Collector Cowboy Bebop: The Movie Crazy Mama/The Lady in Red Cronos Curious George: Sweet Dreams Dancing Across Borders Dark Metropolis Darkness Falls Death: Live in Japan 1995 Deep Deliverance Dennis Hopper: The Early Works Destination Forks: The Real World of Twilight
Disciples of the 36th Chamber Dismal Dr. Faustus Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation Dog Year Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer Dragnet: Season 3 Duchess of Malfi Linkin Park: DVD Collector’s Box Erik Friedlander: Solos – The Jazz Sessions Escape From Zahrain Eye of the Beholder Final Frontier Fisher King Fistful of Brains Forbidden Planet Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor & Other Fantastic Films Furry Fun: Life Lessons for Kids Part 3 Gad Guard God in America Goth Vampire Nation Grado 3 Graham Parker & The Figgs: Live at the FTC Grand Morrison: Talking With Gods Greg Osby & John Aberombie: Solos – The Jazz Sessions Greg Stump Classics Groucho Marx TV Classics Half Past Dead Half Past Dead 2 Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre Heavy Metal Thunder: The Movie Hemalayaa: Bollywood Party Workout Historia History of the Black Church Hoarders: Season 2 Part 1 Hollywood Knights Hot Shot Rockabillies on the Town Hall Party Hot Wheels Battle Force 5: Season 1, Part 2 Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel Hunter Prey Hush Beyonce: I Am World Tour I Do: Do-It-Yourself Wedding Planning I Love Rockets! I Love You to Death I Told You Not to Call the Police Idle Hands Inception Into the Void: The International Space Station Jagged Edge James Levine: Celebrating 40 Years at the Met Jawbreaker Jeremiah Johnson Jess Franco Collection: Cravings of the Depraved Jess Franco Collection: Deviant Lust Jess Franco Collection: Erotic Rites of a Virgin Jess Franco Collection: Naked and Dead Dolls Jess Franco Collection: Stripped Dead Jesus Guy Jet Li: The Man From Shaolin Jet Li’s The New Legend of Shaolin John Wayne: Bigger Than Life Johnny Mnemonic Kimikiss: Pure Rouge Collection 2 Laboratory Law & Order: The Eighth Year Learn Mahjongg With Susie Legend of the Sky Kingdom Les Gamins Letters to God Life in the Game Living Dead Girl Living Legend: A Rock Legend at a
dec 7 Inception
Directed by Chris Nolan A case can be built that both his Batman and original films are highly overrated, but you’ve got to give Chris Nolan credit for reintroducing invention and intellect to Hollywood. His body of work simply doesn’t fit in this dreadful decade for mainstream cinema (although even the grumpiest Luddite has to admit that Inception wouldn’t be possible without technological advances). As far as navigating the unconscious goes, sorry—we prefer the comparative simplicity of Dreamscape and Dark City. (Warner Home Video)
Turning Point Lockdown Mademoiselle Chambon Marcus Miller: Live in Tokyo Matthew Shipp: Solos – The Jazz Sessions Medallion Men of Peace Milk of Sorrow Milton “Butch” Hones: The Detroit Connection 1 Missy and the Maxinator MLB 2010 World Series – Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants Money Train My Friend Rabbit: Season 1 My Normal Nanny McPhee Nature Tracks: Wild Africa – Season 4 Nature: Echo – An Elephant to Remember Nothing in Common Nowhere to Run Odessa File Official Major League Baseball World Series Film Collection Once Upon a Time in China Only When I Dance Order Paul Mooney: It’s the End of the World People vs. Larry Flynt Plasma Optics: Aquarium Sunsets Fireplace Principal
Public Enemy: Welcome to the Terrordome Rainbow: Rockin’ Night – Live in Japan 1984 Random Hearts Razorblade City Red Rock West Release Restrepo Retro Bye Bye Vol. 2 Return of Bastard Swordsman Riptide Rising From the Rails: The Story of the Pullman Porter Robben Ford Roses From the South School for Scandal See No Evil, Hear No Evil Sherlock Holmes: Definitive Collection Sherlock Holmes: The Archive Collection Shiver of the Vampires Short Circuit 2 Shrek Forever After Shrek: The Whole Story Simon Boccanegra Slackers Sleepwalkers Smash Cut Snapped: The Killer Collection – The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 Soldier’s Story Space: The Grand Adventure Part 5 Spectacle: Season 2 Spice and Wolf: The Complete First Season SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 6 Vol. 2 St. Elmo’s Fire Stealing Harvard Stir Crazy Stranger in Us Strapped Sturcz Quartet Featuring Al Di Meola: Live Suspense Collector’s Set Tear This Heart Out Best of Soul Train Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye Complete DVD Collection Thomas & Friends: The Lion of SOdor To Die For Tomcats Toy Trek Stars Go West TV Commercials: Ultimate Collection Twilight Saga: Eclipse Two Can Play at That Game UFC 119: Mir vs. Cro Cop UFC: Heaviest Hits – Best of the Heavyweights Ultimate Black History Collection Ultimate Death Match Ultimate Hitchcock Collection Ultimate Railroads Collection Uncut: Raw TV – Take a Look Into My Life 2 Under Suspicion Vega$: The Second Season Vol. 1 Vidas Al Limite Violent Blue Virginian: The Complete Season 2 Vision From the Life of Hilde Volpone Wanderers: 25th Anniversary Edition Wasp Woman What Happened, Dad? Westlife: Where We Are Tour White Lion: Concert … 1987-1991 Wylds Year of Getting to Know Us Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper You’ve Got Mail Zula Patrol Patrik, Age 1.5 Eros Ramazzotti: 21.00 – Eros Live World Tour 2009
Dec 21 Easy A
Directed by Will Gluck Emma Stone is good news. Generally the most soulful part of dreck (The Rocker, House Bunny), her career has springboarded from Superbad to Zombieland to this, and before you know it, she’ll be overexposed worse than Ellen Page, in everything from the unnecessary Spider-Man reboot to (barf) 21 Jump Street. For now, let’s enjoy her charms as a good girl teen who uses sexual innuendo to her advantage against prudish/moronic classmates. (Sony Pictures)
2009 World Championship Review 2010 World Championship Review 24: Season 1 24: The Complete Eighth Season 24: The Complete Series America Lost and Found: The BBS Story Angst Army Wives: The Complete Fourth Season A-Team Back Nine Baker’s Hawk/Pony Express Rider Baseball’s Greatest Games: 1960s World Series Biography: Bobby Flay Biography: David Letterman Biography: Gary Coleman Biography: Lindsay Lohan Biography: Ringling Brothers Biography: Robert De Niro Biography: Robert Downey, Jr. Biography: Shirley Temple – Hollywood’s Little Princess Biography: The Brat Pack Cayman Went Celebrity Sweetheart Chabrol: Two Classic Thrillers From the Legendary Director Child Warriors China Steam Christmas in Wonderland/A Hobo’s Christmas Complete History of My Sexual Failures Coronado 9 Cyrus Daniel and the Superdogs
Day After Disaster Dear Mr. Gacy Desert Song Desirable Teacher 2 Despicable Me Diary of a Wimpy Kid Disengagement Double Take DragonBall Z Kai: Season One Part 3 Enchantress ESPN Films 30 for 30: Collector’s Set Vol. 1 Exit Through the Gift Shop FDR’s Secret War Fishmen and Their Queen Frank Sinatra: Concert for the Americas Franklin the Fabulous Frenemy Gasland Ghost Bird Girl From Cortina Gospel Guitar of Rev. Gary Davis Guest of Cindy Sherman Gun Sword: The Complete Series Gunsmoke: The Fourth Season Vol. 2 Guyver: Complete Hawaii Five-O: The Tenth Season History’s Mysteries: Cults Honeymooners: Christmas Special Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle Imperial Japanese Navy: Kaigun Is There Life Out There?/Blue Valley Songbird IT Crowd: Complete Season 4 JLS: Only Tonight – Live From London Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work Last International Playboy Leave It to Beaver: Season Five Leona Lewis: The Labyrinth Tour – Live at the O2 Lil’ Treasure Hunters/EZ Money Lost Worlds: Kama Sutra Lost Worlds: Lost City of Aphrodite Lost Worlds: Secret U.S. Bunkers Lost Worlds: Taj Mahal Lost Worlds: The Vikings Lucille Ball Specials: Happy Anniversary & Goodbye/What Now, Catherine Curtis? Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus/ Mega Piranha Micmacs Misbehavior MLB 2010 Texas Rangers: It’s Time! MLB 2010 World Series: Texas Rangers vs. San Francisco Giants Mother and Child Motogp 2010: Official Review Motogp: Route to Glory Mugabe and the White African Nanny McPhee Returns Naruto Uncut Box Set: Season 4, Vol. 2 Other Guys Paris: The Luminous Years – Toward the Making of the Modern Passchendaele Phish: Alpine Valley 2010 Prayers for Bobby Puck Hogs Queen Elizabeth in 3D Quintessential Guy Maddin! Resonnances Return of the Pirates Richard Simmons: Sweatin’ to the Oldies Vol. 5 Robert Klein: Unfair & Unbalanced Sands of Destruction: The Complete Series Scandalous Gilda Slave State Trooper Complete First Season Straight to Hell Returns Tapping the Source Titanic’s Achilles Heel Tower of Druaga
Trailer Park Boys Trailer Park Boys: The Movie/Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day Trotsky Trouble in Mind Ultimate Gulliver Collection Ultimate Krav Maga We Married Margo Wild Wild West Collection William Kentridge; Anything Is Possible Women Combat Pilots: The Right Stuff Works: Robots Works: Sneakers Works: Steel Works: Tattoos WWE: The Top 50 Superstars of All Time DECEMBER 21
Ages of Man Amateur Porn Star Killer: Trilogy Andy Griffith Show: 50th Anniversary – The Best of Mayberry Beautiful Kate Big Shot-Caller Billy the Exterminator: Season 1 Billy the Exterminator: Season 2 Bleach Uncut Box Set Vol. 7 Bob Ross: Barns Collection Bob Ross: Waterfalls Collection Bounty Cabaret Voltaire: Johnny Yes No Caprica: Season 1.5 Classic Adventures Collection Vol. 2: Gulliver’s Travels/The Odyssey Cyborg 3 D.C. Sniper Devil Dungeons of the Deep: Shipwrecks and Artificial Reefs Durarara!! Vol. 11 Easy A Einstein Euphoria Eyeshield 21: Collection 3 Family Guy: It’s a Trap! Furry Fun: Life Lessons for Kids Part 4 Futurama Vol. 5 Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 4 Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season 5 Good Boy Heavy History Classics: American Adventurers History Classics: Famous Figures of the Civil War Horde Huutajat Imogene McCarthery Injury Slight Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy Left/Right Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole Let It Rain Luckiy Racer Vol. 2 Map of the Sounds of Tokyo Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus Monuments of Our Land Mystery of Sherlock Holmes Night Raid: 1931 Vol. 7 Nyan Koi! Complete Collection Occult Academy Vol. 4 Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad Pinprick Rivals Rivers Wash Over Me Salt Secret Life of the American Teenager Vol. 5 Shaw Brothers Triple Threat Shiki Vol. 3
Six Days Seven Nights/Reindeer Games Skirt Day Soul Kitchen Space: The Grand Adventure Part 6 Step Up 3 Step Up 3D Stonehenge Apocalypse Tenchi Muyo! GXP: The Complete Series Tomb of Jesus Town Turning Green UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama V.P.: Mackamento Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps WWE: Survivor Series 2010 DECEMBER 28
Ali G: The Lost Episodes – Innit American And Soon the Darkness Baccano! The Complete Series Big Bad Boguslaw: Deserter’s Gold/ Segment 76 Bob the Builder: The Golden Hammer – The Movie Boy Next Door Charlie Brown Valentine/Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown Classic Adventures Collection Vol. 3: Animal Farm/Moby Dick Coyote County Loser Cyborg Conquest Dragon Ball: Curse of the Blood Rubies Dragonaut: The Resonance – The Complete Series Dying God Films of Helma Sanders-Brahms Fireman Sam: Ready for Action Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Part 3 Germany in Autumn Gintama: Collection 3 Handsome Harry Jaunting of Amelia Jersey Shore: Season 2 Legacy Legendary Legendary Assassin Made in Romania Merantau Mysterious China: Land of Legends Pool Time Ragnarok the Animation – The Complete Series Real Santa Resident Evil: Afterlife River Monsters: Season 2 Samson and Delilah Shinobi: The Movie Twelve United States of Tara: The Second Season WWE: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan You Are Here JANUARY 4
Barney: Musical Zoo Behind the Scenes Bellydance Superstars: Introduction to Bombay Bellywood Beware Dogs Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season Bishop T.D. Jakes: Live From the Potter’s House Bitter Feast Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern: Collection 4 Part 2 Black Sheep Borderland/Dark Ride/Unearthed/ The Gravedancers Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Season 8 Motion Comic Burn: The Evolution of an American City Cabin Fever/Cabin Fever 2/
/movies/new_releases Descent/Descent 2 Camille Case 39 Cat That Came Back Coraline Demon Resurrection Dinner for Schmucks Dirty Pair: The Original TV Series Part 2 Dirty Tricks Doctor Zhivago Dracula’s Curse/Bled/Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Guest/Fangs Edge of Dreaming Enemy at the Door Series 2 Escape From L.A. Event Horizon Eye/Bug/Ju-On/Alone in the Dark Godsend/See No Evil/Stir of Echoes/Stir of Echoes 2 Gold Rush Good Neighbor Sam Gravitation: Complete Collection Guilty Gun Haunting in Connecticut/An American Haunting/Soul Survivors/Riding the Bullet Hope & Redemption: The Lena Baker Story Howl iCarly Season 2 Vol. 2 Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking Jackal K-10: The Widowmaker Lake Dead/Unrest/Crazy Eights/ Wicked Little Things Last American Cowboy Last Castle Last Exorcism Legend of Bagger Vance Leprechaun/Leprechaun 2/ Leprechaun 3/Leprechaun 4 Let Me Die Quietly Life Unexpected: The Complete First Season Machete Magi-Nation: Fight the Shadows Make It or Break It: Season 1 Vol. 2 Mama Flora’s Family Manga Yoga: Cherry Blossom Mannix: The Fourth Season Men in Black 2 Mid-Air Collision Mummy: The Animated Series Vol. 1 Mummy: The Animated Series Vol. 2 Mummy: The Animated Series Vol. 3 My Best Friend Is a Vampire/ Repossessed/Slaughter High/ Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 Nine Lives of Marion Barry Notorious Landlady Nowhere But Texas Operation Mad Ball Oregon Trail Out of Africa PHFFFT! Playing From the Heart Pumpkinhead II/Leprechaun/ Wishmaster/Wishmaster 2 Ricky Gervais Show: The Complete First Season Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends: The Complete Series Rules Sam Steele and the Junior Detective Agency Sarah Jane Adventures: The Complete Third Season Scifi High Shadows Showdown Sid the Sciene Kid: Sid’s Super Duper Senses
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Small Time Crooks Supreme Swordsman Sword of Swords Thomas & Friends: Wobbly Wheels & Whistles Ticking Clock Traffic UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez Under the Yum Yum Tree Unexpected Killers Van Helsing: The London Assignment Vanilla Sky Visa Dream Who Loves the Sun Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! Wings Over California Wolvesbayne Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Wubbzy Be Mine JANUARY 11 Adam-12: Vol. 1 Air Power: Story of the USAF Alamar Alien From the Deep All in the Family: The Complete Eighth Season Alpha 7 Omega Archer: Season 1 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Vol. 1 Between a Hammer and an Anvil Beyblade: Metal Fusion Vol. 2 Bizarre Animals Black Butler Season 1 Part 1 Booky’s Crush Boy Soldiers/His Master’s Ghost Byrds; Live Captain Johnno Cat in the Hat: Up & Away Catfish Cheddar Chingo Bling & CompanY: I’m Too Famous for This Chit Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff Criss Angel: Mindfreak: The Complete Season Six Dances With Wolves Devil’s Hill Doctor Who: MEglos Doctor Who: The Dominators Dragnet Vol. 1 Duke Ellington… and More Stories to Celebrate Great Figures in African American History ER: The Complete Fourteenth Season Famous Bombers of WWII From Normandy to Berlin Frontline: Death by Fire Frontline: The Spill Funny or Die Presents: The Complete First Season Gift Girls Rule Collection: Clueless/ Mean Girls/She’s the Man Great American Train Journey Great Generals Great Performances: Macbeth Greek: Chapter Five – The Complete 3rd Season Green Hornet Halloween Night Happy Ever Afters Hessen Conspiracy History of American Railroad Hot in Cleveland: Season One How to Get Ahead in Advertising Il Compleanno Jackie Robinson Story/The Joe Louis Story Jamie Kennedy: Uncomfortable Just Friends/Journey Kathleen Madigan: Gone Madigan Key-Stonerville Korea: The Forgotten War Land Before Time II: The Great
jan 11 Archer
Season One Not to suggest that Cartoon Network is a ghetto, but it’s nice to see Adam Reed take his talents to South Be… er, FX, without a noticeable drop-off in subversive quality. Much in the spirit of Reed’s Sealab 2021 and Frisky Dingo, Archer specializes in smartass selfaware interplay, in this case between the goofy satellites of the titular boor of a superspy, many of whom make Jessica Rabbit look like Velma. (20th Century Fox)
Valley Adventure Land Before Time III: The Time of Great Giving Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists Land Before Time IX: Journey to Big Water Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration Land Before Time XI: The Invasion of the Tinysauruses Land Before Time XII: The Great Day of the Flyers Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends L’arnacoeur Last Brickmaster in America Legion: The Final Exorcism Let the Balloon Go Lincoln and Douglas: An American Friendship… And More Stories to Celebrate U.S. History Louis C.K.: Hilarious Love Hurts Mammals Masterpiece Contemporary: Framed Max & Ruby: Bunny Tales Mi Pecado Mighty Hunters Mighty Machines: Mega Machines Mitsein Moon Race Mountain Wildlife Mr. Belvedere Vol. 1
Mr. Immortality: The Life and Time of Twista My One and Only Narnia Code Nature: A Murder of Crows NFL: Top 100 – NFL’s Greatest Players Nine Months Once Upon a Time in America Peter & Pompey Picture Me Piranha 3D Pocoyo: Super Pocoyo Polar & Desert Wildlife Powwow Highway Predators Princess Kate Psychosis Punk: Attitude Quest Beyond Time/Paper Boy Red Dirt Rising Rise & Fall of Japan Rise & Fall of Nazi Germany Room to Move/On Loan Rules of Engagement: The Complete Fourth Season Seashore Wildlife Second Childhood/Big Wish Secrets of the Dead: Slave Ship Mutiny Secrets of the Dead: The Silver Pharaoh Semper Fi: Marines in WWII Shake Hands With the Devil Sins of Madame Bovary Skins Vol. 4 Small Wonder Vol. 1 Social Network Sordid Lives: The Series Soul Kittens Cabaret Space Race Spin City Vol. 1 Stalemate at the 38th Parallel Stonerville Super Size Me Switch Tarflowers/Mr. Edmund Temptations Top Enders Top Kid/Other Facts of Life Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II Visioneers Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Season 4 Vol. 2 Wild Kingdom Yo Gabba Gabba!: Let’s Visit the Doctor JANUARY 18
Andrew Dice Clay: One Night With Dice Andy Williams: Moon River and Me Angel Beats Vol. 7 Animal Kingdom Animal Rescue in Taiwan Animal Senses Animal Sleeping Patterns Animals: A Day in the Life Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Coll. 5 Pt. 2 Army of Crime Assistants Australia Baby Seal Rescue Beached Grey Whale Bears in the Wild Best of Global Lens: Africa Black Klansman Bloodsuckers! Bowfire: Live in Concert Bread Bugs Canada Cereal Chocolate Clubbed Cold Cold Dog Soup Cool Dog
Jan 18 The Virginity Hit
Directed by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland It’s no spoiler to reveal that the title refers to the toke of pot the characters take after they lose their virginity. Wish we had friends like that in high school—we seem to recall tearfully praising God for the last time in our lives. Anyway, TVH can be summed up best as a mockumentary version of American Pie. Pretty high concept, huh? It completely flopped in a limited theatrical run, so hopefully it’s better than that. (Columbia Pictures)
Corn Creepy Creatures Cyborg 3: The Recycler Dallas: The Complete Fourteenth Season Danger Mines! Danger UXO! Dark Skies: The Declassified Complete Series Death Race 2 Denis Leary and Friends Present: Douchebags and Donuts Dino World Doc West Dogfather Down Terrace Dubai Eco-Environment Ecohouses Eggs Eichmann England Extreme Wildlife Fire Fire on the Amazon First Scientists Florida Manatee France Freebie Gangland Garfield Show: All You Need Is Love and Pasta Germany Grizzly Bears H.R. Pufnstuf: The Complete Series Hamburgers Hawaii Hunters in the Sky: Fighter Aces of World War II 5-Pack Hunting Buddies Ice Cream
Insect Eaters Italy Jack Goes Boating Jade Tiger James Bond: Connery V01 Juranger Vol. 5 Ken Hensley: Blood on the Highway Ketchup King of Paper Chasin’ Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1987 Lebanon Love Kittens: Four Sexy Classics From the ‘60s Marine Life Married Men and Single Women Mars: The Phoenix Odyssey Marvel Knights: Black Panther Mary Alessi: Pressing On Masked Rider Vol. 12 Masked Rider: Final Stage & Bangumi Cast Talk Show Masked Rider: Forever A to Z Merlin: The Complete Second Season Mining Mm! Vol. 1 Mutants Naked Kiss National Geographic: Inside the State Department Natural Disasters Natural Garden Neshoba: The Price of Freedom Netherlands Nile Crocs Nite Tales: The Series North Atlantic’s Most Endangered Whale Oil Spill Disaster & Otters Oscar Peterson: Live at Ronnie Scott’s 1974 Paper Man Perfect Man Perfect Woman Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom Part 1 Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom Part 2 Pizza Polar Bears on the Run Predators Reptiles Roger Corman’s Cult Classics: SciFi Classics Running Wild Sailor Moon: Sailor Stars Collection Vol. 2 Scoop on Poop Sheeba Shock Corridor Sins of My Father Soft Drinks Spain Stellar Sea Lion Mystery Superstar: The Unlikely Rise of Juan Frances Sweden Switzerland Takers Tea TNA Wrestling: Bound for Glory 2010 UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami United States (West) Up From the Depths/Demon of Paradise Vanilla Virginity Hit Waking the Dead: The Complete Season Five Weather Pattersn Wildlife Wine Winter Wombat Hunter World of Water: Taking the Plunge World of Water: Vessels World of Water: Watercrafts WWE: TLC – Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2010 Yellow Footed Wallaby
1st Furry Valentine 48 Hours/Another 48 Hours A/K/A/ Tommy Chong Aaron Bacon: Troubled Youth Collection AC/DC: The Interview Sessions Adventures of Power Agatha Christie Hour Set 2 Air Front 3: Japan – Triumph & Defeat ‘41-’45 Airplane!/Top Secret American Beauty/The Virgin Suicides American Experience: Robert E. Lee Anywhere USA At the Edge of the World Back to You and Me Basil Dearden’s London Underground Bellamy Beowulf Big Alligator River Bird Can’t Fly Bon Jovi: DVD Collector’s Box Bread Crumbs Broadcast News California Clay in the Rockies Cecil Taylor: All the Notes Celia Cruz: Live in Zaire Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Confessions of an American Bride Crippled Heroes Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse to Action Cuggi Mane Gone Bonkers Dead Space: Aftermath Demon Haunt Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry “Wild Man” Fischer Disgaea: The Complete Series Donald Judd’s Marfa Texas Doors Are Open/Rolling Stones in the Park Dope Double Feature: Wayne’s World/ Wayne’s World 2 Downton Abbey
Duplicity East Coast Ryders Vol. 7: Back 2 the Streets El Padrino II: Border Intrusion Emergency Mine Rescue End: Civ Resist or Die Enter the Void Essence Music Festival Vol. 3 Extreme Comedy Collection Fatal Secrets Feed the Fish Fighting Life Finding Lenny Fixing the Future: Now on PBS Freakonomics Gantz: Complete Collection God’s Bloody Acre Greening of Southie Gucci Mane: In Wonderland Hope and a Little Sugar House of Bones How I Married My High School Crush I Do But I Don’t I Me Wed I.R.A.: King of Nothing Inhale Iron Maiden: The Interview Sessions Jamaican Railways Jefferson Joe Strummer Tribute Concert: Cast a Long Shadow John Cage: One/Seven and Talks About Cows John Kawie: Brain Freeze Justified: Season 1 Killjoy 3 King of the Boardwalk Kiss: Interviews Kiss: Meet the Press Land of Confusion Last Winter Love the Beast Lovers & Friends Show: Season Three Making Mr. Right Man in a Suitcase: Set 1 Man of Violence Marc Chagall: Profile of the Artist
Bestselling Books About Music at Indie Bookstores for December ’10
e n T p T o e Th
(Knopf) ondheim S n e h p t Ste the Ha cco) g n i h s i h (E (Harper) ➊ Fin Patti Smit n Bieber ti s s u d J i r tK ve ➋ Jus tep 2 Fore (FSG) S t Ross bleday) lume) ➌ Firs to This Alex lan (Dou p a K s e Levitin (P . m n J a l J e ie t n e a s Voic sic D ➍ Li
u e nk: Th n on M ➎ Fra s Your Brai sI ner) ➏ Thi Terry Teachout (Mari ks (Vintage) s Sac s Image) ➐ Pop ophilia Oliver am Buckholz (Abram Willi sic bow ➑ Mu stand Rap a Rain er e d k n i U L ➒ ds 10. n) ber 9, 20 i: Soun e (Clario g Novem in d n e ➓ Jim , Javaka Stepto d perio o
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Visit IndieBound.org for more great reads and to find an indie bookstore (or other great indie business) near you.
WANT A LITTLE MORE EDGE TO YOUR SEASONAL SOUNDTRACK?
TRENT REZNOR IS YOUR GUY ON SALE THROUGH JANUARY 31
NINE INCH NAILS PRETTY HATE MACHINE: 2010 REMASTER REVISIT THE BEGINNING OF NINE INCH NAILS. THIS DIGITALLY REMASTERED VERSION INCLUDES AN ELEVENTH TRACK, A COVER OF QUEEN’S “GET DOWN MAKE LOVE,” ORIGINALLY THE B-SIDE TO THE “SIN” SINGLE AND PRODUCED BY AL JOURGENSEN.
NINE INCH NAILS WITH TEETH
NINE INCH NAILS BROKEN
NINE INCH NAILS THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL
LOST HIGHWAY SOUNDTRACK
NATURAL BORN KILLERS SOUNDTRACK
© 2010 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and Beverly Blvd LLC. All Rights Reserved. © 2010 Layout and Design Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The amazing show when They all shared The sTage. now on dVd and BlU ray. R.E.M.
Live in Austin, TX
Albert King/ Stevie Ray Vaughn
Another Station: Another Mile
Look At What The Light Did Now
Metallica/ Megadeth/ Slayer/Anthrax
Regina Spektor Live in London
The Big 4 Live from Sofia, Bulgaria
COWBELL multiDVD_half_1210.indd 1
11/24/2010 10:25:39 AM
Gold (CD/DVD) Open Your Eyes Black, White & Bluegrass Angelzoom Anika 3 A.M./Cocktail for Three I Capricorn/And I Love You So S Bechet & M Solal Sidney Bechet & Martial Solal Natasha Bedingfield Strip Me Harry Belafonte Deep as the River The Boogie Town 1 Clifford Brown With Strings Martin Carthy Untroubled: Live in Belfast 1878 Celtic Crossroads World Fusion Chingo Bling El Chavo Del Ache Clouds Up Above Our Heads (Clouds 66-71) Trish Clowes Tangent Ornette Coleman The Shape of Jazz to Come Complainer The Amor Dan Lo Fi Rebel Creator De Infernali Symphonia De Infernali Deadmau5 4x4=12 Blossom Dearie Once Upon a Summertime Dew Scented Ill-Natured/Innoscent Dew Scented Immortelle Dew Scented Impact Dew Scented Incinerate Dew Scented Inwards Dew Scented Issue VI DFx2 Emotion: Anthology Disbelief 66 Sick Disbelief Infected Distorted Wonderland Distorted Wonderland DJ Clay Book of the Wicked 2 DJ Exodus House Addiction Fats Domino Blueberry Hill D Douglas & Keystone Spark of Being: 3 Disc Box Set Duffy Endlessly Duskfall Frailty & Source Einsturzende Neu… Strategies Against Architecture IV Eluvium The Motion Makes Me Last Engineers In Praise of More Enthroned Pentagrammaton Existentialism Revival Jazz of the ‘60s Fairport Convention Dirty Linen: Live Farmer Boys The Other Side Feist Look at What the Light Did Now (CD/DVD) Flying Pickets Only Yule Flyleaf Remember to Live Kevin Fowler Best Of… So Far Freebass It’s a Beautiful Life The Fugs Tenderness Junction c/w It Crawled Into My Hand Honest Erroll Garner Other Voices Erroll Garner Swinging Solo Robert Gordon All for the Love of Rock and Roll Grave Burial Ground Nick Gravenites My Labors & More Sammy Hagar Loud and Clear Coleman Hawkins Encounters Hedley The Show Must Go Hinder All American Nightmare Hipower Ent. Presents Chicano Rap Bangers 4 Hollow Architect of the Mind John Lee Hooker Boom Boom Lightnin’ Hopkins Cadillac I the Breather These Are My Sins Immolate Ruminate Ink Spots Java Jive ABBA Alien Jesus Allerton & Alton Angelzoom Anika George Arvanitas Shirley Bassey
Irakere Misa Negra Iron Maiden The Interview Sessions Milt Jackson Plenty, Plenty Liz Janes Say Goodbye Generoso Jimenez Generoso Q Eric Johnson Up Close Christian Kane The House Rules Kavina U Got Sum Nerve Keak Da Sneak/PSD … Da Bidness 2 Kerosene 454 Race Freddie King Texas Flyer 1974-1976 Kitten Sunday School Earl Klugh Earl Klugh/Living Inside Your Love/Magic Gene Krupa Drummin’ Man Peggy Lee Black Coffee & Dream Street Shawn Lee & Ping … Hooked Up Classics Michel Legrand Michel Legrand Featuring Mile John Lewis Improvised Meditations & Excursions Lifelover Konkurs Lil C H-Town Chronic 4.5 Lil Keke 713 Volume 4 Liquido Float Taj Mahal Music Keeps Me Together/ Satisfied ‘n Tickled Too Malevolent Creation Australian Onslaught Man Ray Tokyo Joe Mangelsdorff Dauner Mangelsdorff Dauner Quintett Dean Martin Solitaire Chris Massey Vibrainium Massiv in Mensch Niemand Wei Randy Meisner One More Song/Randy Meisner Ministry And the Co-Conspirators: Undercover Misfits X-posed Sara Mitra April Song Modern Jazz Quartet Fontessa Rudy Ray Moore Dolemite Sings Ella Mae Morse Rocks The Motels Motels/Careful Natu Gram Duszy The New Mastersounds Masterology No Joy Ghost Blonde Nocte Obducta Galgendammerun Northern Light Orch. Celebrate Christmas Nova Mob The Last Days of Pompeii Esther Ofarim Esther Graham Parker Box of Bootlegs Astor Piazzolla Quejas De Bandoneon Plain White T’s Wonders of the Young Polyester Peace Love Unity Respect Bud Powell Jazz Giant Psykovsky Tanetsveta Pump Against Everyone’s Advice Pump Breakdown to Breakthrough Pump Sonic Extasy Redman Redman Presents The Remo Four Smile! Peter Gunn… Buddy Rich Speak No Evil/Plays and Plays and Plays Billy Riley The Mojo Albums Plus Billy Riley The Outtakes David Rodigan Fabriclive 54 Aak Van Rooyen Homeward/Picture Of SBB Blue Trance Sceptic Internal Complexity Klaus Schulze La Vie Electronique 5 Klaus Schulze La Vie Electronique 6 Sebastian Schunke Vida Pura Nina Simone Classic Hits Frank Sinatra Night and Day Cal Smith My Kind of Country/I Just Came Home to Count Snowgoons Kraftwerk The Sorrow The Sorrow Soundtrack 20th Century Fox 75 Soundtrack Get Low Soundtrack I’m Here Soundtrack The Chronicles of Narnia Soundtrack Tron Legacy Srubki Srubki Sufjan Stevens All Delighted People Rod Stewart The Day Will Come Sonny Stitt Sits in with the Oscar Peterson Trio
T.I. dec 07 No Mercy
In February of 2008, T.I. knew he was going to do major time for federal weapons charges. From there, he went on to drop his most popular single (“Whatever You Like”), wrangle a popular—if goofily messianic—reality show (T.I.’s Road to Redemption) and talk a suicidal man down from an Atlanta ledge. This September, he and his wife were arrested on for ecstasy possession, but the charges were dropped. Yeah. Something tells us there won’t be a lot of filler on No Mercy. (Atlantic)
Stormwitch Such a Surge Suns of Arqa T.I. Tank Tapping the Vein Danuel Tate Juan Pablo Torres Triggersoul Robin Trower Caterina Valente Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Various Artists Muddy Waters While Heaven Wept The White Buffalo Charlie Wilson The Yardbirds Zoon Van Snook
Witchcraft Alpha Know Thyself No Mercy War Machine The Damage Mexican Hotbox Identidad Restoration The Playful Heart Personalita (Sorta) Love Songs: The Songs of Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel A Spanish Christmas ABC of the Blues Best of Gay Dance Vol. 1 Born With the Blues Cuban All Jazz Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Hillbilly Music Flower Power: Music of the Love Generation Jazz in the Charts Vol. 1 (1917-1921) Jazz in the Charts Vol. 2 (1921-1923) Kumharas Vol. 7 La Isla Bonita: Cool Latin Jazz Masters of Hardstyle Vol. 4 Rock & Roll Train Romancing the ‘70s Shapes 10:02v Technoboy Essential Temple of Chaos The Ave All Stars The Motown Collection The Ultimate Oldies but Goodies Collection Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings They Called Me Muddy Waters/Live at Mister Kelly’s Triumph: Tragedy: Transcendence - Live at the Hammer of Doom Prepare for Black & Blue Just Charlie Little Games (Falling From) The Nutty Tree
Bellydance Superstar Bombay Bellywood Birthmark Shaking Hands Crystal Bowersox Farmer’s Daughter Igor Boxx Breslau Ciara Basic Instinct Alice Cooper Along Came a Spider The Damned Things Ironiclast Diddy – Dirty Money Last Train to Paris Michael Jackson Michael Kandi Kandi Koated R. Kelly Love Letter Leona Lewis The Labyrinth Tour: Live From the 02 Midnight Juggernauts The Crystal Axis Phish Alpine Valley 2010 Popa Chubby The Essential Popa Chubby Sheek Louch Donnie G. Shrag Life! Death! Prizes Tank Now or Never Volbeat Beyond Hell/Above Yelawolf Trunk Muzik 0-60 DECEMBER 21
Avant The Letter David Banner & 9th … Death of a Popstar Brand Nubian Enter the Dubstep Vol 2 Carter Burwell True Grit Keyshia Cole Calling All Hearts Curren$y Muscle Car Jamie Foxx Best Night of My Life Ghostface Killah Apollo Kids Hex Hector Allura Keri Hilson No Boys Allowed Level 3:16 Level 3:16 Monster Magnet Mastermind One of Us Blow Your Speakers out Soundtrack Gulliver’s Travels Soundtrack Little Fockers Soundtrack The Tourist Various Artists Strictly the Best 42 Various Artists Strictly the Best 43 Yo Gotti Live From the Kitchen JANUARY 4
Gregg Braden’s Music Form the Divine Matrix Vanessa Carlton Icon Cher Icon Cherrelle Icon Sylvain Chomet The Illusionist Class Actress Journal of Ardency Jerry Clower Icon Company Company Sheryl Crow Icon El Debarge Icon Ella Fitzgerald Icon Love Songs Ella Fitzgerald Twelve Nights Vol. 1 & 2 Ella Fitzgerald Twelve Nights Vol. 3 & 4 Marvin Gaye & Tam… Icon Love Songs Generationals Trush Billie Holiday Icon Love Songs Imogen Heap & Frou Frou Icon In Flames Reroute to Remain Kein Hass Da Hirntrafo – Bad Brains Transformation Louisiana Red Sweet Blood Call Brian McKnight Icon Love Songs Willie Mitchell It’s Dance Time Alexander O’Neal Icon Ann Peebles Tellin’ it Tyler Ramsey A Long Dream About Swimming Across the Sea The S.O.S. Band Icon Schiller Breathless Soundtrack Faster Various Artists Thirteen Stories Down Rev John Wilkins You Can’t Hurry God The Windupdeads Army of Invisible Men Lee Ann Womack Icon Gregg Braden
Michael Jackson DEC 14 Michael
There have been roughly eight zillion posthumous Tupac albums. Nirvana, not so much. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that MJ will fall closer to the former. These 10 songs make up the first largely unreleased compilation since the King of Pop’s June 2009 passing, and include cameos from sorta-still-relevant artists like Akon, 50 Cent and Lenny Kravitz. Can’t vouch for the quality of the tunes, but the cover looks like a still from the “Leave Me Alone” video, so, creepy bonus. (Epic)
A Million Thoughts and They’re All About You Alien Vampires Harshlizer Alpha Blondy Masada Alpha Blondy The Prophets Amgod Dreamcatcher Gary Barden Rock ‘N’ Roll My Soul Count Basie One O’Clock Jump Believe World Is Round Big Country Bluegrass The Boys in Hats and Ties Edie Brickell Edie Brickell British Sea Power Valhalla Dancehall Broken Records Let Me Come Home Bullet The Entrance to Hell Shirley Caesar The Ultimate Collection Cake Showroom of Compassion Cold Blue Rebels Blood, Guts & Rock N Roll Ralph Covert & Bad … Ralph Covert & The Bad Example Matt Cusson Matt Cusson Doris Day Somebody Loves Me Desmond Dekker The Israelites Lee Dorsey Absolutely the Best Duke Ellington Blue Harlem Fancy That Fancy That Fen The Malediction Fields Final Conflict Stand Up Ella Fitzgerald A Tisket a Tasket Hasse Fröberg Future Past Furnaze No Stairway to Heaven Erroll Garner The Elf Good Charlotte The Lowdown Halo in Reverse Trials and Tribulations Hammock Longest Year Haushetaere Sundicate Hitchers Tees Valley Deadbeats I: Sinctilla Dying & Falling Elmore James Hits & Rarities Jimmy Eat World The Lowdown John P. Kee The Legacy Project Kings of Modesty Hell or Highwater Leaether Strip Dark Passages Peggy Lee Gold Lost & Found Down on Sawmill Road Louis C.K. Hilarious Lynyrd Skynyrd Skynyrd Nation Magna Carta Midnight Blue D Maxwell & O Spann Conversations in Blue Joe McPhee Trinity Morning After Girls Alone Notorious Radio Silence Alice in Videoland
Tapestries of Song How High the Moon Trip’n 4 Life Devil’s Ground Jaws of Death Nuclear Fire Primal Fear A Part of Me Queens of the Stone Age This Clear Shining Condemned to Eternity Une Vie De Reve It’s Over Now Not Available Go! Pop! Bang! Beginnings Mode The Ultimate Collection Californication Steel Magnolia A Thousand Lights: Live in 1970 Stranglers In the Night Ya Tafari Millennium Tapes ‘n Tapes Outside Theatres Des Vamp… Anima Noir T-Model Ford & … Taledragger Ike & Tina Turner Absolutely Best LOive Various Artists Best of Deep Root Various Artists Hand in Glove: The Smiths Tribute Various Artists Kiss Me: 17 Songs of Love & Romance Various Artists Mix the Vibe: Mr. V Various Artists Portobello Shuffle Various Artists Ultra Latino Wake the Light Leave It All behind Abigail Washburn City of Refuge Dinah Washington Low Down Blues The Wildhearts Chutzpah Wire Red Barked Tree Matt Panayides Oscar Peterson Philthy Rich Primal Fear Primal Fear Primal Fear Primal Fear Tom Principato Queens … Stone Age Razorfade Re-Animator Red Lili Della Reese Residents Rye Rye Marvin Sapp Say Hello … Angels Karen Clark Sheard Soundtrack Steel Magnolia The Stooges
Afrodesia Low Country Blues Hi-Five Soup! The Sound of T. Rex: Hot Love Audio Bullys Higher Than the Eiffel Acker Bilk Mr. Acker Bilk & His Paramount Jazzband Blackmore’s Night Autumn Sky Ken Colyer Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen & Skiffle Group Complete Index Jazz in the Charts Andy Cooper Andy Cooper’s Top 8 Shemekia Copeland Deluxe Edition Decoder Decoder V Dickenson/U Green Vol. 31 Dragged Into Sunlight Hatred for Mankind Fergus & Geronimo Unlearn Damon Fowler Devil Got His Way Bud Freeman Vol. 33 Peter Green Splinter Time Traders L Hampton and … Vol. 35 J Harrison String … The Music of Paul Motian Ken Hensley Blood on the Highway Kottonmouth Kings Present X Pistols Shoot to Kill Kristina & The Dolls The Human Condition Lars-Luis Linek Harmonica Globetrotter Memorials Memorials Peter “Banjo” Meyer Party All My Troubles Away Mythos Mysteria Night Ranger Authorized Bootleg Papa Bue’s Viki In the Beginning Flip Phillips Vol. 32 Ponderosa Moonlight Revival Reel Big Fish The Best of Us for the Rest of Us Django Reinhardt Swing De Paris Steely & Clevie Digital Revolution Stratovarius Elysium Warpaint Exquisite Corpse White Lies Ritual Afro-Soultet Gregg Allman The Aquabats Dave Ashby
/ video games /new_releases
WEEK OF DECEMBER 6
101 in 1 Sports Party Megamix Wii Black Dualshock 3 & Little Big Planet GOTY Bundle PS3 Blue Dualshock 3 & Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time PS3 Brunswick Pro Bowling 360 Learn Science Grades 1-4 NDS New U Fitness First Yoga … Wii Red Dualshock 3 & God of War Bundle PS3 Touchmaster: Connect NDS Tron Evolution PSP, 360, PC, PS3, NDS Tron Evolution Battle Grids Wii Tron Evolution Collector’s Ed. PS3, 360 Tron Evolution Guide PS3 Warcraft: Cataclysm PC World of Warcraft Cataclysm Signature Series Guide PC Yogi Bear: The Movie Wii, NDS Yu-Gi-Oh: 5D Duel Transer Wii WEEK OF DECEMBER 13
WEEK OF DECEMBER 20
Book of Unwritten Tales Commander Europe at War Free Running Horrible Histories: Ruthless Romans Jakers Let’s Explore Reader Rabbit 1st Grade Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade Reader Rabbit Kindergarten Reader Rabbit Preschool Spellforce 2 Faith in Destiny The Warriors
PC NDS NDS, Wii Wii, NDS Wii Wii Wii Wii Wii PC PSP
NDS, Wii PSP
WEEK OF JANUARY 3
Jr. Brain Trainer Math Edition NDS Jr. Brain Trainer Two NDS Lost in Shadow Wii Plants vs. Zombies NDS Sherlock Holmes & The Mystery of Osbourne NDS SOCOM 4 PS3 Two Worlds 2 PC, 360, PS3 Two Worlds 2 Guide PS3 Venetica PC, 360, PS3 WEEK OF JANUARY 10
Burger Bot NDS DC Universe Outline Guide PS3 Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective NDS Guinness World Record Gamers Edition 2011 Guide PS3 Kingdom Hearts: Re:coded NDS WEEk OF JANUARY ;17
Little Big Planet 2 Mass Effect 2 Mindjack Prinny 2
PS3 PS3 PS3, 360 PSP
WEEK OF JANUARY 24
Dead Space 2
WEEK OF JANUARY 31
Days of Thunder Hybrid PS3 Mystery Pi: Stolen… San Fran. PC Popcap Greatest Hits PC Top Gun Hybrid PS3 Ultimate Battle of the Sexes Wii WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7
Jr. Island Adventure NDS Lego Star Wars 3: Clone Wars 360, NDS, PSP, Wii, PC, PS3 Naruto Shippuden Shinobi … NDS WEEK OF FEBRUARY 14
History’s Greatest Battles History’s Greatest Battles Medieval Labyrinth Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds Michael Jackson: The Experience NASCAR 2011: The Game Shogun 2 Total War YS I & II Chronicles
PC PS3, 360 NDS 360, PS3 360, PS3 360, PS3, Wii PC PSP
Dec 07 Yogi Bear: The Video Game
Wii, Nintendo DS Much has been made of the WTF pairing of Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake voicing Yogi and Boo-Boo respectively in this CGI flop/megahit (there will be no in between). Dan the Man lends his distinctive voice to the game as well, in which the picnic-purloining anthromorphs belly slide and scamper through “majestic Jellystone Park locales” in an effort to keep their favorite green space from closing down. You’ll probably have to see the movie to understand what the hell that last sentence meant.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 21
WEEK OF DECEMBER 27
Mr. Bean Patapon 3
Dead Space 2 Guide PS3 Hoppies NDS Lord of Arcana PSP Lucha LIbre AAA Heroes Del … PSP, Wii Maximum Racing Drag & Stock Racer Wii Maximum Racing GP Classic Racing Wii Pet Vet Marine Rescue NDS Star Raiders 360, PS3 Superstars V8 Next Challenge PS3, PC, 360 Veggy World NDS You Don’t Know Jack PS3, 360, NDS, Wii
PC, 360, PS3
Brink Bulletstorm Bulletstorm Guide Chess Attack Codes & Cheats Vol. 1 2011 DC Universe Online DC Universe … Collector’s Ed. DC Universe … Hero Edition De Blob: The Underground Driver San Francisco Driver San Francisco Guide Duke Nukem: Critical Mass Fantastic Pets Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove Horrid Henry: Missions of Mischief Hunted: The Demon’s Forge Killzone 3 Max Payne 3 Montessori Music Toy Story (Hybrid w/ Toy Story Movie) WRC FIA World Rally Champ.
PC, 360, PS3 PS3, PC, 360 PS3 NDS PS3 PC PC, PS3 PS3 PS3, 360, NDS, Wii 360, PS3 PS3 NDS 360 NDS Wii, NDS PS3, PC, 360 PS3 PC, 360, PS3 NDS
Atari’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 ATV Xtreme World Challenge Brain and Body Connection Centipede Crazy Machines Dragon Age 2 Dragon Age Origins 2 Sig. Ed. Homefront Jr. Mystery Quest Major League Baseball 2K11
WEEK OF MARCH 17
PS3 PC, 360, PS3
PC, 360, PS3 PS3, 360 360 PC
WEEK OF MARCH 24
PC Wii PC
NDS NDS 360 NDS, Wii Wii, NDS 360, PS3, PC PC, 360, PS3 PS3, PC, 360 NDS PS2, Wii, NDS, PSP, PS3, 360, PC
Maximum Racing ATV Xtreme World Challenge NDS Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings PC
Chuck E. Cheese’s Sports … Man vs. Wild Okamiden Phantom Brave Heroes of the Bermuda Triangle Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll Warriors: Legends of Troy
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 28
Deus Ex Human Revolution Fight Night Champion Gun Loco Reload Target Down Remington Super Slam Hunting: Africa Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War Retribution
WEEK OF MARCH 7
Crash Time Crysis 2 Double Pen Sports (3DS) Dungeon Siege 3 Guide Dungeon Siege III Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon
Wii 360, Wii, PS3 NDS PSP PS3 360, PS3
360 PC, 360, PS3 NDS PS3 PC, 360, PS3 360, PS3
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
DARKER MY LOVE
MUMFORD AND SONS
PICKIN’ UP THE PIECES
APPEAL TO REASON
ALIVE AS YOU ARE
SIGH NO MORE
A BLOCKBUSTER in stores dec 7
FOR EVERYONE in stores dec 17 in stores dec 17
IN C EP T IO N s of violence and action Rated PG-13 for sequence Inc. ner Bros. Entertainment throughout. © 2010 War All rights reserved. res. Pictu y ndar Lege and
TH E TO W N Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use. © 2010 Warner Bros . Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
LEGEND OF THE GUARD IANS
Rated PG for some sequences of scary action. © 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
11/24/2010 10:30:53 AM
Crack The Skye Wormhole Package Available at retail stores for the FIRST TIME EVER and only at Metal Club stores.
600 of these special trippy Mastodon packages out there for fans starting 12/7. Features exclusive, extended art and a DVD.
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE The highly-sought after, out of print debut release from QOTSA has been recreated by Joshua Homme as it was initally envisioned, with the reinstatement of three tracks that were initially cut from the record. 180 gram double vinyl gatefold package.
IN STORES 1/11
FIND METAL MUSIC, NEWS AND THE STORES THAT ROCK AS HARD AS YOU DO AT WWW.MYMETALCLUB.COM
11/24/2010 9:56:53 AM
ACTION BLU-RAYS ONE KICK-ASS PACKAGE
Rambo: THE FIGHT CONTINUES + First Blood R for strong action and bloody violence throughout, and for some language. © 2010 Alta Vista Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
© 2007 Equity Pictures Medienfonds GmbH & Co. KG IV. All Rights Reserved. © 1982 StudioCanal Image S.A. All Rights Reserved.
t2: JUDGMENT DAY + total recall
© 1991 StudioCanal Image S.A. All Rights Reserved. © 1990 StudioCanal Image S.A. All Rights Reserved.
COWBELL lionsgatedvd_1210_half.indd 1
11/24/2010 9:55:51 AM
YOU’LL NEED A LITTLE
DANCE MUSIC TO GET THAT PARTY STARTED. KICKSTART YOUR NEW YEARS EVE JAM FOR ONLY $9.99 Tom Joyner’s Old School Mix
Millennium Funk Party
Millennium Hip Hop Party
Move Your Body Ultimate Dance hits
TITLES AND PRICES VARY BY STORE. MORE TITLES AVAILABLE $9.99 EVERY DAY AT YOUR LOCAL INDIE RECORD STORE.
Sounds of the Season New music for the holidays on sale now at your local independent retailer!
A Christmas Cornucopia
If On A Winter’s Night
The Puppini Sisters
Christmas with the Puppini Sisters
Verve Remix Christmas
My Kind of Christmas
Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album
SOME HOLIDAY HO-HO-HO, EMPHASIS ON THE HA-HA-HA
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas
Merry Christmas II You
Published on Nov 30, 2010
"Indie Rock with a Slice of Green." Cowbell Magazine features Cee Lo Green, Daft Punk, plus our lists of the top albums, games and dvds of t...