Tuesday, December 28, 2010


This is the first of many discoveries I made over 2010. The rewards were great, serenaded with beautifully intense music throughout the year and bombarded with an eclectic display of films for my devouring taste. I love discovering new music and analyzing movies, so that has become my focus with this year-end countdown. Most of my music is current and the films may be just as current or hearken back to the dawning age of celluloid. Hope that my insight brings some new awareness to the world around you.

Micah P. Hinson & The Pioneer Saboteurs (2010)

Started listening to Micah P. Hinson a couple of years ago and I haven't stopped. He's been very productive, producing two original albums and a covers record since then, and his collaboration with the Pioneer Saboteurs (a different group of musicians that he pulls together for each album) is lingering with me this year. It has all of the great elements of Hinson's sound; guitars that growl then swoon, strings that sing such sweet melody, softness, harshness, a blow of gravel intensity. He's a strange cat in a world that seeks out conformity but he's not going anywhere near that. What makes this album different is that he doesn't try to make himself heard as strongly as before. His wretched voice stays lost behind the instrumentation most of the time, even on those songs that shout. Perhaps he's losing the last bits of strength he had left in that distinct voice and the future will call for further deterioration until he's rasping out his tunes in hushed whispered tones that will be almost impossible to understand. He can call it Micah P. Hinson and the Ethereal Atmospheres.

A Serious Man - The Coen Brothers (2009)

I'm still not sure what this movie was about, actually. My guess is that it's some sort of Jewish guilt karmic retribution tale that pummels down on poor Larry Gopnik, the ill-fated hero of the film. No matter what direction he takes in his life, nothing seems to go right. His wife is leaving him, he's on the verge of losing his job, he's having sexual thoughts about his neighbor, his brother is living on his couch and is being sought out by the authorities, a student is trying to bribe him, his son is up for his bar mitzvah but only wants smoke pot, his Rabbi won't even see him about his problems so he has to deal with the junior Rabbi who keeps telling him to look at the parking lot and appreciate his life, and he might have some horrible disease. Basically he's fucked and doesn't know why. He's having some serious issues with doubt regarding his faith. Nothing much comes to fruition by the end of the movie, either, but despite all of the mess that is made of this film, it has one thing going for it; the Coens made it. The vaunted duo of film-making genius decided to make this movie as an homage to their childhood and it has the perfect look and feel of a suburban neighborhood from the sixties. Once the movie is over, you can't help but remember all of the unique and interesting images that have been implanted into your brain. You know that there is something going on with the madness that comes from Coen land and you can't help but wonder about all of the subtle messages that were imparted. Maybe it's the perfect metaphor for how religion wriggles its way into our lives and tweaks us from the inside-out.

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