Top Ten of 2004
1. The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat (album). Read about it here.
2. Mission of Burma at La Zona Rosa, March 18 (live show). SXSW showcase. Roger Miller had ear protection headphones on and stood behind his amp, and all three played like they were 20 years old. Excellent.
3. Jandek played live in Scotland (Oct 17, live show)? Really? I wasn't there, but wow. I'm still speechless.
4. The Wire Season Three (tv show). Featuring the most complex characters and almost primordially compelling storylines of any show ever filmed, The Wire is the best thing about television.
5. Kill Bill Vol 2 (movie). Between this & the Fiery Furnaces, I'm apparently a sucker for form. I loved the hell out of both Kill Bills, both of which were more semi-philosophical set pieces and love letters to great filmmakers than stories. And yet, also like the FF, they carry the weight of brilliance operating in confusing times.
6. Brian Wilson with the Wondermints at the Backyard, Oct. 24 (live show). They played SMiLE in its entirety, making sounds more beautiful than most live bands could even conceive. I remember reading a review of the Pet Sounds tour that commented about the loss of wonder in seeing those sounds reproduced on stage. That guy was nuts; I'm still reeling from the sheer talent in evidence.
7. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs (album). Dude. Seriously. Campfire music on acid.
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (movie). This movie was near perfect. Lots has been written about it, but my only personal 2 cents is that it rips my heart out every time.
9. Deadwood Season One (tv show). It's Locke vs. Hobbes in the State of Nature. This show is about why philosophy is almost as important as soap, whiskey, and a sense of honor.
10. My wife's pregnancy (May 2004 - Feb 2005). Nah, this isn't really the least important of the great things in 2004 (and we're not going to mention the horrible, horrible political realities around us). I'm trying not to be overly sentimental, that's all. This one is just so far above the other stuff that it doesn't make sense in context. Our pregnancy months were amazing, almost as amazing as what came after.