(ED. NOTE : sorry this is running so late, but apparently it was some kinda New Year’s Eve in Chicago — if Mr.’s Scheid and Warmowski wish to hand in their entries after the hangovers pass, so be it. Here’s the 2007 edition. Best wishes to all CSTB contributors, readers, comment pests and legal advisors for a healthy and prosperous 2008. Happiness, is of course, an illusion, as is the hope CSTB’s advertisers might pay a competitive rate. Without exception, I am wishing them a shitty 2009. – GC)
[Team of Rivals indeed: 2008 saw me vote for this Sox fan.]
Let me be clear, I do not respect 2008 personally or professionally.
First, some qualifiers: Since we rarely get a babysitter around here for our two-year-old, the year in review for me pretty much means the year as I witnessed it from my living room couch. I saw two movies in a theater this year. So, my top ten list, in order, is Iron Man and the Chicago punk doc, You Weren’t There. Together, they have it all: music, terrorists, flying men in armor, a guy named Stain that’s not in the punk movie, and (in the punk movie) lots of disgruntled South Siders talking about the “real Chicago” and who comes from the “burbs” and who doesn’t. That this South Side whining is captured on film by the “rockumentarians” is perhaps You Weren’t There‘s most important contribution to Western Civilsation, but by no means its only contribution.
That said, 2008 debuted with much promise by offering the spectacle of Roger Clemens in front of the Congress of the United States answering questions on his steroid use. David Roth’s near live-blog of it contained (I said it then and say it now) my favorite CSTB line of 2008, which you can check out here, regarding Republicans and millionaires. And yes, that tops Rog calling me a racist in the comments section.
Certainly The Chicago Tribune‘s “White Sox Fan Photos” section brought some much needed comic relief to Our Year. Sox fans come across as they really are, which means Cub fans probably took the pictures. Hosers love watching games at the appropriately named “cell” with their dogs, which gives the fan photography a “dogs playing poker” motif I especially like. Dogs watching Ozzie, the at-home Bud Light neon lights over the basement wet bars, the bad orthodontic work “ all the South Side esprit one could hope for in 2008. The 3-3 draw the Sox and Cubs fought to this summer, and their seasons in general, still amaze. Yes, the Pale Ho’s took advantage of some biased umpiring against the Cubs, but they also brought out some great posts from CSTB resident Sox reporter, Rob Warmowski. His brilliant insight into the Bennigans chain closing and a beating administered by sociopathic Cub fans sent into a mid-season wilding frenzy (the Cubs in first place post-July makes weird things happen) shows that not all Sox fans waste their GEDs working out at O’Hare. I can’t knock the South Side completely. It is the home of Hawk Harrelson, an announcer beloved by North Siders, since we don’t have to listen to him and Sox fans do.
My son learning how to speak was a highlight of 2008. Like when he plays Spiderman in the back seat of the car while I drive and “throws webs” at me. “Why are you throwing webs at me?” I asked, “What did I do? Why is daddy the bad guy?” “Because that’s how is,” he shrugged. It’s now the answer he’s taken to giving whenever I ask him, oh, why he’s hitting the tv with a drum stick, or screaming “HI!” out the screen door at no one, or needs to see the same Backyardigans episode for the 30th time.
Certainly 2008 closed on epic notes of inspiration and desperation. I loved the Palin family’s unwed pregnant teens, meth dealing mom-in-law, babies born to debatable parentage, its snowmobile salesman secessionist dad urging his wife on us as Vice-President of the United States, the Wasilla Warriors high school gun show fund raisers, church burnings, and their family witch doctor. I never thought George Bush could close his tenure in office on anything close to the disasters of Katrina and Iraqghanistan. And then came the economic collapse. Even the Cubs owners, the GOP propaganda machine known as the Tribune Corporation, went bust. What did I get for Christmas in the mail? Two copies of the Tribco bankruptcy filing. I guess they sent it to me because I freelanced for their LA Times “ a paper making history today as America’s only Wikipedia generated daily. It’s quite a list of ruined properties. And that may be the final insult of the welfare Republicans to their own vertebrae-free evangelical-business base “ they ruined Christmas. Fans of It’s A Wonderful Life may recall the Christmas Eve scene where where Uncle Billy loses the $5000 to a cackling Mr. Potter and leaves the Baileys in ruin, prompting this breakdown from George Bailey:
GEORGE (screaming at Billy): Where’s that money, you stupid, silly old fool? Where’s the money? Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal, and prison! That’s what it means! One of us is going to jail! Well, it’s not going to be me!
What I wouldn’t have given this year to see that scene played out by Bush and his Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, with Old Man Cheney guffawing on his way out the door.
Yeah, a nice note to walk out on “ followed by the best 2008 had to offer, Obama’s win, which I believe has been covered in the MSM a bit. That’s how bad the country’s doing. America has turned to a Sox fan.
TOP TEN THINGS OF 2008
1) The Chicago White Sox finally ending a grueling, punishing campaign unparalleled in recent history for its interminable discomfort. But enough about Nick Swisher’s dugout antics, they also took the AL Central in an overtime shootout, sending Burl Ives and his hated Twins moping home back up I-90 West. Jimmy crack corn, motherfuckers.
2-5) LA’s James Loney’s four RBI in the fifth inning of Cubs/Dodgers NLDS Game 1. Sorry, Ben, but that was like the sweet warmth of falling off the wagon after a year of teetotaling. To which NL West team will Lou and company drop three straight NLDS games this year? I’ll give 3-1 that it’s the Giants.
6) Being mistaken for an undercover cop while marching in the Fifth Anniversary of the Iraq War protest in downtown Chicago. It didn’t help that I spotted a CPD patrolman along the march route who I hadn’t seen since we went to elementary school together, prompting a nice gabfest in the middle of the Michigan Avenue ruckus.
7) Releasing a 7″. I love seven inches. This one had a song about a kidney and the chorus goes “urine for a treat.”
8) Wearing a “White Devils For Obama” t-shirt while visiting the campus of University of Chicago. I haven’t confused that many Ph.D. candidates since Tom Frank had my band play a Baffler party and we brought a balloon-twisting, bicycle-horn hoking clown with us to the gig.
9) Seeing CSTB whipping boy Will Leitch finally retired from regular abuse in these powder-blue pages after a good run. Not that he didn’t deserve it – but it’s time to consider complaints about his beat-biting in a new light. If they banned the practice of running with somebody else’s ideas from, say, rock music, the damage to the Interscope roster would be incalculable.
10) Discovering that CSTB’s Ben Schwartz is in fact Bertold Blecht from the paleo-blog suck.com, of which I was a huge fan. I had no idea! Man, what happened there, anyway? I just saw Ana Marie Cox on C-SPAN chirping about Rod Blagojevich’s hair. Rog, if you feel like changing targets this year, email me, I have an idea.
Jason Cohen’s 2009 Top 10
1. The Phillies
2. The Philles
3. The Phillies
4. The Phillies
5. The Phillies
6. The Phillies
7. The Phillies
8. The Phillies
9. The Phillies
10. Phleet Phoxes
Liz Clayton‘s Top Ten Unordered Memorable Things of 2008!
1. Accidentally paying a dollar to see a midget at the Wisconsin State Fair
2. Tim Midgett’s smoked pork (just under the deadline)
3. The “You don’t know me! You don’t know a thing about me! Word up!” guy on the B43 bus
4. Almost spilling a large pop on Anthony Bourdain at Hot Doug’s
5. Getting called a “cracker” on the street
6. Trip to Shea to celebrate CSTB’s 5th anniversary with 12 other people, and only talking to the four people there that I already knew really well. (oops)
7. That picture of Chris Nelson in the Moore/Coley No Wave book
8. Meeting my long-lost cousin in Portland, and trying to figure out both genetics and how many macchiatos and orders of candied bacon to get.
9. Doubles (from A&A Trinidad Roti on Fulton, or Doubles King on Nostrand)
10. My Bloody Valentine at All Tomorrow’s Parties New York, louder than I ever rememebered (surely it’s not my age)
Beerland’s non-sxsw Sunday 2008.
The Kadane Brothers at Emo’s inside. Sublime.
The New Year at Emo’s outside. Criminally under-attended. Hey, Pinback was up the street.
Almost any Dikes Of Holland show, but especially the one I mixed at Beerland, because it was the best-sounding. Heh.
Those kids from Mexico. Did sound for that too, they were great.
Distant Seconds at Beerland with Air Traffic Controllers and Aaron Blount. The last time I try the idealistic booking of different kinds of bands thingl in Austin, a town where that once would have mixed the different crowds together nicely.
I missed A H Kraken, dammit.
Wes Coleman vs. John Schooley at Beerland. Schooley, the aptly-named song scholar, playing reluctant straightman to Wes’ most entertaining implosion of the year.
Most impressive, easily predictable but taunt-you-with-hope collapses of 2008: (Cowboys, Mets)
In spite of my dormant freelancer tendencies, now residing in a drawer somewhere in the Houston Press offices (freelance contracts worth the paper they are printed on), I was denied access to the milky teats of promosexuality this year, and didn’t buy a lot of records (except for tons of 7″ vinyl) but (no order here, really):
Prisonshake “Dirty Moons” the last gasp of the “record” in the original meaning, a grown-up and wistful record in all the right ways, worth the wait that was so long I’d forgotten about them. Older punks and “punks” take note: here is a way to grow older gracefully, not taking refuge in fiddles and banjos. I turned friends on to this record and their responses became the same kind of sorting bin as “Letterman People vs. Leno People” can be.
Thee Oh Sees “The Master’s Bedroom¦”transcending the reverb mannerisms etc etc
New Times Viking: everything I liked about Demolition Plot J-7 (except the lost mint copy my ex helped disappear) + 10 times the art school damage
Actually, I’d like to write a book about art school ‘fags’ turning out good music. Or find a ghost writer for it. Someone else can do the London School of Economics book.
Monotonix: Like the clichÃ© about bee aerodymanics, it shouldn’t work, but it treads the line between Neanderthal and Australopithicus perfectly for me.
The New Year. Stretched their style a bit, and made another slow-burning beauty that, like their others, isn’t really as melancholy as superficial listening suggests. Just honest and clear-eyed.
Jay Reatard. Somewhere between the anti-hip backlash and the backlash backlash, just a buncha good songs.
2008 pet peeve that I can’t really mind that much:
Bands mining retro sounds of the 60s, 70s, 80s, many of whom I like a lot: If the bands you are mimicking did this, there would have been a flood of 70’s acts sounding like Bing Crosby and Burl Ives.
2008 Pet peeve I haven’t made peace with yet:
How Facebook usurps the pleasure of catching up with friends when you see them out.
All in all 2008 was pretty kind to Philly sports fans as for the first time since 1981, all 4 major sports franchises made it to the playoffs and of course, the quarter century championship drought was vanquished
The Phillies finally managed to ride one of their annual late-season surges through the month of October by winning the World Series and doing so in a near seamless fashion.
No flukes, no “Rocky” bullshit, the Fightins won it primarily with via the”Weaverball” of strong pitching and the longball. Even with this WS victory, the partnership that owns the Phillies are still viewed with suspicion and now that Pat Gillick as hired gun is finished, the Phils are going back within their organization by handing the GM reins to former batboy Ruben Amaro Jr, who was literally born into the Phillies country club. It remains to be seen if Amaro can maintain the Phillies as a top flight NL club, but for the near future, the Phillies fan base is happy, the squad will be in the thick of things and for a change, they actually have some serious pitching prospects that are ready/near-ready, although positional prospects remain very thin outside of the currently somewhat blocked Jason Donald and Lou Marson.
Igglephans were a fed-up lot fatigued with either/or/both coach Andy Reid and Donovan Mc Nabb, but with the ridiculously improbable events of this past Sunday that landed them the 2nd wild card, everything is on hold to see which Eagles offfense shows up in the playoffs. The Brian Dawkins-led defense has been very formidable as of late, but Reids overly pass-happy play calling and awful clock management looms over the Birds chances at advancing through the playoffs. The Birds are very capable of advancing to the NFC Championship game and they are just as capable of an embarrasing offensive crapout. A wild-card loss to the Vikings this Sunday will certainly revive the clamor for both the Reid and McNabb eras to be finished that has quieted this week.
The Flyers made a huge bounce back in 2008, and after a slow start for 2008-2009 have been raging as of late, should go deep into the playoffs this coming spring and regardless of their eventual outcome, they will be beloved by their faithful fans who are as ever sunny and optomistic as you are going to find in Philly.
The 76ers made an effort with the Elton Brand acquisition, but Brand got hurt before it could be seen if the team could congeal and the ever-classy Mo Cheeks took the fall. For the time-being the Sixers will remain an afterthought and continue to struggle at the gate.
As far as Phlly music, I have to qualify that I dont keep up as much as in the past but I will cite releases by avant grinders Total Fucking Destruction and the melodicore Paint It Black and am sad to say that reports have the on-hiatus Clockcleaner playing their final show this coming spring.
The year of Stephen Baldwin’s Lord, 2008, is over, at last. Some important things went well enough (my continued employment, the 2008 US election), and other events maybe less so (my continued employment, Geopolitical tensions, Seattle’s amateur and professional athletic sporting teams I happened to for), but I lived, maintained if not improved slightly, so I’ll call it a win.
In case you had been lulled to indifference, please note that The Best Show on WFMU has never been better than it is right now. Scharpling and Wurster’s institution has gone on for nearly a decade, so I find this achievement very impressive, and a mark of true greatness.
2008 musik I listened to a lot:
1. The New Year The New Year (CD, Touch and Go)
2. Bottomless Pit Congress (CDEP, My Pal God)
3. Magik Markers Gucci Rapidshare Download (CD, 3 Lobed)
4. Fabulous Diamonds Seven Songs Time 24:16 (CD, Nervous Jerk)
5. Times New Viking Rip It Off and Stay Awake(CD and 7″, Matador)
6. Wire Object 47 (CD, Pink Flag)
7. Dawn Smithson Earth Machine (CD, Mind Expansion)
8. Awesome Color Electric Aborigines (CD, Ecstatic Peace!)
9. Destroyer Trouble in Dreams (CD, Merge)
10. Jennifer O’Connor Here With Me (CD, Matador)
11. Shearwater Rook (CD, Matador)
Kevin T. Rys
Wax Museums – S/T (douchemaster records)
JT IV – Cosmic Lightning (drag city)
King Tuff – Was Dead (colonel records)
Dutchess & the Duke – She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke (hardly art) [this record is fucking bananas, love it so much]
Cheap Time – S/T (in the red)
Nobunny – Love Visions (bumbledumb records)
Cat Burglars/Wax Museums/Busy Signals/Cheap Time – (1/11/08 Lucky Gator Loft) I’m not gonna lie, I forget the order they played as this was my birthday show at a loft in Wicker Park. I know the Wax Museums were sick but I remember the Busy Signals being amazing as they always were. I really miss having them around. I think I bought beer for some underaged kids, unless the statute of limitations hasn’t run out in which case I know I didn’t.
Goner Showcase SXSW – (sometime in March, Beerland) My favorite band in the world, Cococoma, played the best show I’ve ever seen them play. Lisa told me it was because they’d come back from a European tour two weeks before and playing every night had made them really tight but holy god damn I don’t care what the reason was, they were fucking AMAZING. Also great was the surprise set by Gentleman Jesse & His Men. I happened to wander near the front of the stage because everyone was going outside to grab some air and wasn’t surprised to see Jesse on stage thinking it was the Carbonas but when I saw Dustin and Dave Rahn I started pushing my way closer. Glad I did. GREAT FUCKING BAND.
Paul Collins Beat, SXSW (whatever that resale shop is next to Antone’s) – After seeing Jack Lee at the Radio Heartbeat show the year before I was on the fence about seeing Paul Collins but holy balls if this wasn’t the best show I saw at SXSW. And there were a ton of good ones, including that Unnatural Helpers/Cococoma/Birthday Suits/Hex Dispensers show at the Parlor. Pizza and beermosas at noon was a habit that proved hard to give up.
The Dials/Lover!/Black & Whites – (5/3/08 Beat Kitchen) I was supposed to go to a going away party this night but I blew it off for this show and I’m so glad I did, I’ve been a huge fan of both Rich Crook and Talbot Adams for a while and this night was totally bananas.
King Khan & His Shrines/Jay Reatard/Cheap Time/A/V Murder – (7/19/08 Bottom Lounge) Best I’ve ever seen Cheap Time and they’re on this list a couple times. Every band was stellar but Cheap Time was the best I’ve ever seen them.
Dutchess & the Duke (9/9/08 Town Hall Pub) Acoustic, no microphones, no lights, no percussion except for Matt Williams forgetting how to count to four, it was great. So simple and so awesome, those songs are tremendous.
Intelligence/AV Murder/Magas – (10/02/08 Empty Bottle), Intelligence/Oh Sees (10/02/08 Permanent Records) I left work early that day to get to instore and I’m glad I did because the Oh Sees were mind-warpingly good. It’s too bad their show at the Cobra that night couldn’t have been incorporated into the Empty Bottle show because the Intelligence were ferocious later that night. I love them every time I see them and this time was no different.
Wax Museums – (12/30/08 Cobra Lounge) Holy crap they were a lot of fun.
Prisonshake – Dirty Moons (Scat)
The Notwist – The Devil, You + Me (Domino/City Slang)
Endless Boogie – Focus Level (No Quarter)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (Anti/Mute)
The Distant Seconds – Spectral Evidence (Sweetheart Contract)
Fennesz – The Black Sea (Touch)
Jesu – Why Are We Not Perfect? EP (Hydra Head)
18th Dye – Amorine Queen (Crunchy Frog)
Gentlemen Jesse & His Men – s/t (Douchemaster)
The New Year – The New Year (Touch & Go)
Cheap Time – s/t (In The Red)
Steinski – What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 (Illegal Art)
Jarboe & Justin Broadrick – J2 (The End)
Retribution Gospel Choir – s/t (Calo Verde)
The Busy Signals – s/t (Dirtnap)
The Young – “Get Out Of My Face” 4 song 7″ (Supersecret)
Rock City Sixteen – “Lunette Noires Nuits Blanches” 7″ (Cigarette Music)
Box Elders – “Hole In My Head” 7″ (Grotto)
V/A – Messthetics Greatest Hiss, Vol. 1 (Hyped 2 Death)
AH Kraken, Beerland, Austin TX
Marked Men finale / Wax Museums / Bad Sports, Rubber Gloves, Denton, TX
The Notwist, ULU, London,
Black Time, Hi-Tone, Memphis
Tyvek / The Homosexuals, The Crofoot, Detroit
(photo by Brian Turner)
Los Llamarada, Spiros, Austin,
Dikes Of Holland, everywhere, everytime, Austin
Awesome Color, Mohawk, Austin
Wire, Irving Plaza, NYC
Witch Hats, Santos Party Haus/ Cake Shop, NYC
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, James Dolan’s Party Barn, NYC
Total Abuse, not often enough, Austin
non music : The Guardian setting David Mitchell and Russell Brand loose on the sports pages, Hai Ky (e. oltorf st., Austin, TX), “Pineapple Express” and the continued ascent of Gary Cole, election night 11/04/08, Austin’s taco trailer population explosion,, “Peep Show” season 6, “The Best Show On WFMU”, Derek Erdman.
Bad stuff : Mets bullpen, Mets relievers, the guys who pitch for the Mets after the starters leave the game. Mets closers, set up men, mop up men, their families and friends. Prop 8. Twitter/F-book pests. Not necessarily in that order.