Dan Boeckner, Wolf Parade:
I love this record. It basically hits all my pleasure centers. The first time I dropped acid was in a small town in British Columbia called Paldi. Some friends and I each took two hits, turned the lights out and listened to Remission by Skinny Puppy for about eight hours. It was Halloween. This record gets me back there.
2. Azra: Azra and Ravno do dna (Straight to the Bottom)
Azra was the Clash of ex-Yugoslavia. My friends Mate and Kepa helped my grab these two from a record store in Zagreb. The band has the same energy as the best early punk, mixed with a really specifically Balkan singing style and a willingness to push the genre beyond its constraints. Also the singers’ voices will just break your heart. “E, Pa Što (So What)” is a pretty unstoppable single.
3. AV Okubo
These guys opened up for Handsome Furs in Wuhan, the “Chicago” of China. They sound like a modern, Chinese Pere Ubu. They all work pretty grim industrial jobs in a grim, industrial city. One of them drives the long distance train to Chengdu in the Sichuan province. They took the stage at Vox Livehouse and absolutely killed it. Despite the fact it was 45 degrees Celsius, despite the fact they seemed to never be able to decide on what tempo to start their songs with, despite the fact that someone literally shot the bass player with a pellet gun while they were playing, they played one of my favorite live sets of the year.
4. Zola Jesus:
My favorite singer right now. It was an honor to get up and play on “Night” with her in LA.
5. Ma-la Zi Ji
Had this in Beijing. Alexei makes it at home a lot. Just a big pile of Sichuan peppercorns, braised chilis and chicken. Will melt face.
6. Piranha 3D
It’s nice that Hollywood figured out a way to force every theater to switch to digital, justify $14 tickets and confound those pesky cam bootleggers. At least we get Alexandre Aja’s 80-minute gore and nudity kiss off to America. Right up there with Starship Troopers.
7. Vasily Grossman: The Road
New York Review Books put out this book of short stories and non-fiction war reportage by one of my favorite authors. Even the biographical information is heart breaking.
8. Salem: King Night
I don’t really care about the merits of their live show. The new version of “Frost” is amazing.
9. Listening to the Canadian Conservative Party try to explain on national radio why Canada was not invited to the NATO Security Council for the first time ever.
It DEFINITELY has nothing to do with our foreign policy. Or Afghanistan. Or handing over private citizens to the CIA for extraordinary rendition. Or the tar sands. I almost pissed myself laughing. Runner up: Listening to the same geniuses explain why we can’t land cargo aircraft in the UAE anymore. Hopefully someone will call an election.
10. Watching a baby raccoon hunting for crayfish in an urban swamp behind the Orlando Holiday Inn.
Adorable! He kept going back for more! I think he ate half his bodyweight in fresh water crustaceans!