I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 04, 2016 - 2:21 p.m.
Today's the day I announce my top albums of 2016. That seems absurd as the year isn't over yet. Usually I wait a little longer but the WFUV staff has announced their picks and I'm staff even if they don't pay me or even know that I'm staff. I will hold off a little longer just in case a new album is released in the next few minutes and write a bit about my day. For the benefit of those of you who don't care about my day (i.e. heartless monsters) you can just skip down to the horizontal line.
There were three great concerts to go to last night, Chris Smither was up at Common Ground Community Concerts, M Shanghai and The Lords of Liechtenstein at Jalopy, and Ian Fitzgerald at Bowery Electric. Which did I choose? None, I needed a day off from music. Instead I planned on shopping at three different places. I, as is my want, put it off way too long and never go to Stop and Shop. I did make it to the Union Square holiday market and Trader Joe's. While I explored the entire market the reason I went was to pick up my annual supply of the No Chewing Allowed hot chocolate mix. I got addicted to their truffles years ago. When they introduced the hot chocolate, I had a cup that they made there. They put a truffle in it. I posted on Facebook, "I just drank a cup of orgasm." I still feel that way. I haven't checked them out but other years you could also get it at the markets at Bryant Park and Columbus Circle. What I bought at Trader Joe's was not as exciting but I had a great conversation with the checkout guy. I made my usual joke, the bill was $18.81 and I said, "A very good year." He asked what happened then? I said, I don't know, I just like saying that. I felt bad because I couldn't think of anything that happened that year. But he said, he does the same thing if it's a year that had something memorable happen. He had one for $19.68 and he took a college course called "The Sixties." So, we discussed the events of 1968 and 1969 and then went on to when did the Sixties end. His prof said 1968; I said, "They ended with Watergate." He agreed as did the woman at the next check out. And that conversation is why you shop at Trader Joe's.
Now on to my top albums of the year. This is always difficult. I leave off albums I loved. I don't pick a fixed number though it usually ends up being near ten. At some point, it's either add five albums or none and that's where I stop. I think this is the first year I had no overlap with John Platt. Remember best of lists are purely subjective, except for mine which are absolute truth. Within the groups the order is alphabetical. Ranking would be arbitrary. These are only full albums, no Eps.
There are four albums I want to choose as album of the year. When I got these I had to listen to them over and over again. They are too different to put one ahead of the other. The funny part is that the Irish artist did not make the Irish album. You might call it cultural appropriation, I call it art.
I wasn't going to list the honorable mentions but it's killing me; They deserve to be mentioned. They are better than 95% of the music out there. They are great.
I'm afraid to see who I left off this year by accident. One year it was Spuyten Duyvil. This year I caught Michael Daves and No Fuss and Feathers after I thought I had finished. Someone is going to say, "What about The Act? Where "The Act" is filling in for any act I don't like and I wonder; "Has this person ever talked to me? Do they just assume everyone's taste is the same as theirs? This is peeve of mine. More often it's someone asking me if I'm going to see The Act like there is a good chance I will be. They have never seen me at a show by The Act. They act surprised when I say, "no." So don't ask me if I'm going to see Dawes or expect to see them on best of list. They are for people's brains who have been addled by wearing too much argyle. It's nice having someone I don't know to use as a mocking example. They are probably nice guys but they don't know me an won't read this and if they do they'll say, "yeah, but we are hits."
This took me forever. Now I have to make my brunch at 2 PM. No wonder I'm so hungry.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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