The annoying children in airports, the rising humidity, and the end of the interminable NHL and NBA playoffs means that summer has arrived and gives us a nice opportunity to discuss All Things That Are Good in 2013 thus far.
While there are more excellent releases on the horizon, I see myself spending the majority of the remainder of this year trying to decide if Vampire Weekend’s new album, or the National’s will be my Album of the Year. VW comes damn near pop music perfection with Modern Vampire of the City, each song catchier than the last. For me, what’s most interesting about this record is it’s mere existence. VW was the first Buzz Band, going on multiple tours and getting major publicity before even releasing their debut album. Most people loved that album, myself included, but thought they would most likely disappear right back into the same internet ether that had spawned them. Very few people sitting around listening to Walcott or A-Punk in 2007 would have said the same band would release a great album in 2013. But they did. Does this make them the first Classic Buzz Band?
The National don’t make bad music, and follow up 2010′s good but slightly disjointed High Violet with another homerun record to add to their catalog. The guys from Cincinnati have been open about how making a record is a painstaking process for them, but this time things went a little more smoothly with Berninger writing a lot of the lyrics with his young daughter in mind, and what the future will hold for her. The resulting album, Trouble Will Find Me, is a true beauty.
Those weren’t the only good records out so far this year, here are a few other good tunes from the first half of the year…
Game of Thrones delivered another solid season. Some storylines are way better than others (Less Sam, more Khaleesi please) but the show’s willingness to kill of a main character, or a room full of them, makes it a must watch. Veep continues to be hilarious, with Jonah becoming one of the best characters on TV. Best of the year so far though, goes to House of Cards. Ya it’s a little overdone, but Spacey’s character is irresistibly brutal and Robin Wright is so well dressed and smoking hot that I can overlook it’s shortcomings. Netflix’s other series this year, the much anticipated return of Arrested Development…well, as much as it pains me to type these words…was terrible. I don’t even want to talk about it it’s so disappointing.
The best one I saw was about an old Japanese guy who makes Sushi in a Tokyo subway station OR is about the most dedicated and focused artist in the world today. Watch it, you decide.
This midnight blue Domenico Vacca tux DDL wore to the Oscars. So money.
Joe Nocera continues his insightful coverage of college sports and their outsized role on university campuses. The Atlantic had a must read piece about educating people on end of life care, an issue that probably deserves and will get more coverage in the coming years. EVERY major periodical and website had a cover story on the oil boom in the Bakken, and they were all pretty fascinating (Coincidentally ATTAG had the unique opportunity to participate in this trend as one of our co-founders took a business trip to the Bakken, but we are still awaiting the report on his trip, or any other other contribution to the website, anything at all…) Pitchfork did a really cool piece for Record Store Day where they had a bunch of artists tell their own personal record store memories.
How good was the Masters this year? Once again, 9 holes to play you have NO idea who’s going to win this thing, then just when you think Adam Scott has finally done it, Angel shuts the damn crowd up, stiffs a 7-iron and sends it to OT. Unreal. Then Scotty steps up with a little hold-off 6-iron to 15 feet and by making the winning putt green-lights Australians everywhere to use the phrase “proud sporting nation” 500 times in the next 24 hours. Another classic Masters.
Best Tweets: Twitter not only continues to provide the best comedy out there, but the best news as well, often at the same time. The best thing about Twitter is that the line between reality and satire in almost invisible. I have to do a double take on some NYT headlines, thinking for sure it’s something the Onion wrote, and vice versa. My favorite feeds haven’t changed much this year, Goldman Sachs Elevator Gossip, the Onion, and George Wallace continue to reign supreme but there’s plenty more people putting out good material, here’s a smattering of my favorites…
George Wallace @MrGeorgeWallace - I’m gonna have Sergio Garcia over for some knuckle sandwiches.
-Why the hell do they call ‘em sport coats? “You up for some basketball?” – “Hell yeah, lemme get my sport coat.”
Tilda Swinton @NotTildaSwinton - In 1979, I fed a black bear both of my legs. I lay on the ground for 7 years, until that bear’s legs were brought to me by his son.
GS Elevator Gossip @GSElevator - [Classic] #1: Some chick asked me what I would do with 10 million bucks. I told her I’d wonder where the rest of my money went.
-#1: Sometimes, I will apologize for farting even when I didn’t just so people think mine don’t stink.
The next two are particularly entertaining if you imagine the sequence of events and thought process the led to, and followed these tweets. I picture it this way: “Obama, dude can really give a speech, good message, even gets me pumped up, I’m going to tweet about it…..
Whoa, relax people, it was just a comment! Muslim terrorist? I just said he was a good speaker! I’m not even sure what Party he belongs to. I didn’t say anything about taxes, whoa, people really getting worked up here….
Okkkk, should have cut my losses after the first tweet, deleted it, and moved on. WOW, people are fucking nuts, I’m never tweeting about Obama again, AND I need to hire more security….
Thomas Jordan @thom_jordan - Congrats Mr Hacker, you’ve stolen my identity! You now have crippling student debt and mild alcoholism. And you’re losing your hair. Enjoy!
And my Tweet of the Half Year goes to Tringale for his tweet following Angel Cabrera’s 7-iron on the 72nd hole at Augusta.