These are things I’ve been drinking in with the pleasure of a whirling dervish the past few weeks, but haven’t had the time to praise.
Upright Citizens’ Brigade, Season 2 DVD
The modern TV sketch comedy revolution began in earnest with The State in 1994 and continued with Mr. Show, which ended its run in 1998. That’s when the UCB came to the rescue. Besides the tasty trimmings (live audience Q&A, deleted scenes) what’s truly remarkable is how little the episodes have aged. Indeed, it’s as if the Del Close disciples saw into the future of comedy and recorded it for the 20th century (yes, I just wrote “indeed.”). A pleasure unique to the UCB series is trying to figure out the theme of each episode. I swear the theme of one episode is “everybody gets zapped.”
Though all the episodes are remarkable, the one where Matt Besser tosses throwing stars with a limp wrist is a work of “super-cool” genius.
Challengers, The New Pornographers
It is almost hackneyed at this stage to disparage a Pitchfork review, but they really lost their aim on this one. Most of the songs are lambasted for having “flat” or “awkward” structure. Does this mean that all songs must conform to the standard Pop Hook Style Manual? The subdued nature of this album is a welcome departure from their sunny, twee pop anthems (much as I worship them like the alien Canadian relics they are). Each song sounds like the season finale of a great TV show where a hot couple breaks up in time for sweeps week. I imagine Dawson and Joey breaking up during “Challengers” and Pacey and Joey breaking up during “The Spirit of Giving In.”
Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective
If liking this album makes me a hipster, then I’ll wear that ringer tee with the accompanying horn rimmed glasses. If loving “Peacebone” makes me an art fag, then I suppose I will have to pose for those Robert Mapplethorpe photos. If writing a rave review of Animal Collective is the most hack thing a blogger can do, then get ready for a slew of wacky cat pictures and anti-Bush screeds.