Shawn’s Top 11 Albums of 2013

A quick note: This year I had a very tough decision – I changed my top ten to top eleven. I’m not going to lie, I did this under great personal tumult, as adding an extra number really goes against my own preferred aesthetic to these kinds of things. If you add one to make eleven, why not add another to make twelve if there’s a record you just really want to add? The idea of year end ‘best of’ lists has always – to me – been to whittle it down; to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak. How is it doing that if you add number positions, eh? Well, then I got to thinking, how did ten become the number? And on top of that eleven is a very powerful number for me, so why am I not already doing eleven instead of ten? In the end it occurred to me that while there were a lot of records I loved this year there were a solid eleven that I felt I must absolutely must talk about, so the number change stuck.

Thee Comic Column #64: Save Rachel Rising

image courtesy of ifanboy.com

This week’s column was originally going to be about the best comic book news all year – the return of David Lapham’s Stray Bullets! However in the cosmic balance of ying/yang, the good news was almost immediately followed by the worst news in comics this year. The heartbreak arrived via Twitter when earlier in the week when iconic comic book creator Terry Moore – best known for the long-running and highly influential series Strangers in Paradise – tweeted the following about his newest series, Rachel Rising:

In Defense of Stone Temple Pilots

Any popular movement or genre (or sub-genre for that matter) of art or music is bound to spawn imitators.  And those imitators spawn imitators who spawn imitators and so on and so forth, until like a copy of a copy of a copy, the original model is so pale and so degraded that it’s impossible to see how awesome and majestic it once was.  Such was the case with the grunge music scene of the 1990’s whose initial monster acts gave way to wave after wave of cheap knock-off bands, polished turds of which many are still trolling the reunions circuits and bargain bins of Walmarts across the country.  Stone Temple Pilots surfaced during the heyday of the second wave, and while they sold millions of records, the band was critically derided and often criticized as aping a sound that did not belong to them.  While those comparisons and critiques were justified in the beginning (and at the end), the group grew organically over their subsequent releases, culminating in two excellent albums that stand out as some of the best music of the genre and the decade, rivaling much of the work of their predecessors.

Some Best-Of Albums from 2013 You May Not have Thought Of

Lists are popping up all over the internet, as they always do in December, a nonstop onslaught of opinions, items, films, music, and art ranked for your easy consumption and delight.  Being a music guy, i too succumb to the unwitting desire to tell the masses what i think of albums and songs that come out year after year after year.  But, i’m not necessarily doing that here (for those, head over to heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com).  Instead, here are some random albums (compilations, reissues, new soundtracks. and free online mixtapes) that i think deserve your attention…and maybe your dollars too.  And so…

Some Notes on Making a Mixtape

mixtapeTime is moving faster.  Or, at least I perceive that it’s moving faster.  It’s because I’m getting older, or because collectively our culture is nearing its inevitable end.  As postulated by deep thinkers and sci-fi writers alike, time is a fluid thing, and it’s moving in a circular fashion as if down a drain, going faster and faster as it gets closer to the center (the end).  Days, weeks, months, years pass in a blur.  Seconds, minutes, and hours fly even faster.  It wasn’t so long ago that I was unmarried, that I was single, that I was a college student, a high school student, in grade school, an infant.  The days were huge and expanding.  I had an eternity.  All activities were simple specks of time and space strewn out before me.

Thee Comic Column #63: Peter David’s Fallen Angel

image courtesy of comics101.com

Thee Comic Column #62: The X-Mas Buying Guide

image courtesy of image courtesy of classes.It.unt.edu

I’m sick this week so I thought I’d take this opportunity of diminished stamina to do as I did last year and pen a quick little buying guide for the comic book fan in your life. Keep in mind there’s plenty of other GREAT comic-related stuff out there, these are just a quick handful of what I would recommend. Also, as with last year I figured it would help if I broke these suggestions down for the various stages of comic-book fan, from beginner to the more sophisticated. I define these various stages of addiction as follows:

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