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Archive for ‘Best of 2009’

Help with Your New Year’s Resolutions

December 22, 2009 By: Category: Best of 2009, Lists

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(Editor’s note: As the end of the year approaches, the Awkward contributors have been hard at work putting together their end of the year lists. In today’s installment, Honor offers some helpful advice on managing your New Year’s resolutions. Enjoy our other lists here.)

1. Improve Your Relationships
Trust me, I used to work above a place in Beverly Hills called Dr. TATTOFF: Wait until after the paternity test results come in to get that tattoo. Ballpoint pens have blue ink for a reason.

2. Exercise More
Medical fact: you burn calories by breathing, digesting food and excreting waste. Save exercise for when you’re dead and these methods are no longer an option. (more…)

The Fifteen Best Old Albums That Were New to Me in 2009

December 21, 2009 By: Category: Best of 2009, Lists, Music, Opinions, Videos

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When Jeffrey asked me to come up with some sort of “Best of 2009” list for Awkward, I told him, “Listen, Hot Lips: I’m an old, crotchety douche bag who lives solely in the past… and not even my past! I’m talking about the past of some stinky old hippie who got beaten with pool cues at Altamont! I haven’t seen ten movies in 2009 worthy of recommendation. I read maybe three books that were published this year, only one of which didn’t give me the dry heaves. Albums? Do they even make those anymore? Yes, Jeffrey, I recommend you take your ‘Best of 2009’ project and stuff it into your tear ducts, because I bet that would hurt like a mother.”

When Jeffrey stopped sobbing, he said, “Pretty please.” Now, I’m not made of stone, so I told him I’d toss him a piece I was already posting on my own site: the award-winning* Psychobabble. He said, “Whatever.” So, here’s The Fifteen Best Old Albums That Were New to Me in 2009. Enjoy!

*Awards may be self-administered.

15. I’ve Got My Own Album to Do by Ron Wood (1974)

On the cusp of the collapse of The Faces and his recruitment into the Rolling Stones’ ranks, Ron Wood went into the studio with a few buddies and a few bottles and cut a characteristically sloppy solo record. Surprisingly, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do wound up being more than a bundle of drunken jams. “Am I Grooving You” may be a dumb lyric slapped onto a lazy guitar lick and “Crotch Music” may marry a dumb title with dated jazz-rock fusion, but there are a surprising number of quality songs on this record. Wood duets with future fuehrer Mick Jagger on “I Can Feel the Fire”, getting the record off to a rousing start (although it would turn into an even fierier item during live performances with The Faces), but the ballads may provide the most memorable moments of I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. “Far East Man”, co-written with George Harrison, is gorgeously reeling, and “Mystifies Me”, on which Wood goes pipe to ravaged pipe with Rod Stewart, is a lovely, ragged, countrified love song. Stewart also steps in to give a little boost to the Chuck Berry-esque rocker “Take a Look at the Guy” and mask Wood’s drunkenly tuneless delivery of “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody”, but this remains Wood’s show all the way through. (more…)

The 15 Best Albums of 2009 that You Probably Will Not Like

December 11, 2009 By: Category: Best of 2009, Greatest Hits, Lists, Music

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If you had asked me to list my favorite albums of the year in, say, October, I would have told you that this was one of the best years for music in ages and I could hardly choose between all my favorites. If you had asked me to list my favorite albums of the year this week, (which you did, as you’ll recall–I think we were at Arby’s), I would tell you that nothing really stood out. Albums that I thought were masterpieces upon first listen (The Decemberists’ The Hazards of Love, Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon: The End of the Day) quickly reached their saturation points. Artists I love released albums that barely warranted a second spin (Tegan and Sara’s Sainthood, The Hidden Cameras’ Origin: Orphan).

My appreciation for this year’s releases has been slightly dulled by the sheer number of new records I picked up this year. According to iTunes, I currently own 69 records that were released in 2009. That is over 2 days worth of music. I could listen to my 2009 releases from start to finish for 48 hours straight and not hear every song on every album. It is just too easy in this age of digital downloads to go overboard and pick up everything that’s garnering a slight amount of buzz. Also, I have a serious problem. It’s this or Home Shopping Network, and I don’t really have anyplace to keep hundreds of souvenir plates.

All that being said, I still maintain that in terms of quality releases, this year saw a greater percentage than many. We’ll have to wait and see whether I’ll still be listening to any of these records next year, but for the time being, here it is. As you read this list, please keep in mind that I would never give this list to anyone and say, “buy these records.” I can’t tell you how many of my friends I tried to turn on to Los Campesinos!, my favorite record of the last five years, who think it is garbage. I don’t think I have the most eclectic taste in the world, but I do like to give everything a fair shake, and this sometimes leads to me liking music that my hip friends find too mainstream and my mainstream friends find too hip. (Note: I do not have any mainstream friends.) In other words, stuff that no one likes. Enjoy! (more…)

Top Ten Horror Movies of 2009 That You Probably Didn’t See

December 07, 2009 By: Category: Best of 2009, Horror Films You'll Never See, Lists, Movie Reviews

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So – here is my contribution to the Awkward Press end-of-the-year Top Ten blowout. Given that Jeffrey requested we pick a topic near and dear to our hearts, I went ahead and came up with the Top Ten Horror Movies of 2009 That You Probably Didn’t See. Considering most of the horror movies you probably did see in the theatres this year were absolutely dreadful (Orphan, The Fourth Kind, Saw VI, Drag Me To Hell, The Collector, The Final Destination, Friday the 13th, Halloween II, Sorority Row, The Unborn, The Uninvited), with the potential exception of the box office phenom of Paranormal Activity – chances are, you haven’t seen or even heard of the following horror movies. Unless you’re a total horror film geek like me.

Clay#1010. THE BURROWERS
Written and directed by J.T. Petty.
(Watch the preview here.)

J.T. Petty is one of those filmmakers that seems to volley between making interesting, complex, thought-provoking horror films (such as the amazing S@Man) and bizarro mainstream direct-to-DVD sequels (such as the unnecessary Mimic: Sentinel). The Burrowers is somewhere in between – a Tremors-inspired western yarn, complete with shades of Pitch Black and Young Guns thrown in for good measure. While the movie suffers in the center, it is most definitely a fun film that prefers patience over cheap thrills. Considering Petty is a compatriot to such New York-based indie-horror filmmakers as Ti West and Larry Fessenden, it’s exciting to think what scares he’ll be coming up with next year. (more…)