Tag Archives: Lil Wayne

Perry Compilationaria: The Official Pax Arcana 2008 Best Albums List

Perry Ellis

It would be hard for any trio of virile, dashing and hip young men such as Pax, the Padre and Perry to be less alike. For example, Father Scott is a bearded clamdigger from the back woods of Maine (which is technically Canada), Pax is a 7’10″ albino Viking and I most closely resemble Brad Pitt in every particular.

But one thing we all share (besides being sheer catnip to the ladies, as Mrs. Arcana, Mrs. Ellis and A Playah to be Named Later can attest) is a true passion for music of all stripes and genres.

Witness our trio of “Top 10 Albums of 2008″ posts, which saw entries ranging from Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III to some unpronounceable release by Icelandic juggernauts Sigur Ros. We’re so catholic in our tastes that two of our “Top 10″ lists didn’t even have 10 entries!

So, in the interest of clarity and coherence (and because none of the five companies I need to speak with to write the feature that was due last week are calling me back so I have nothing better to do), I took the liberty of creating an ingeniously complex algorithm to determine the consensus picks for this year in music.

Behold!

Conor Oberst, “Conor Oberst”

Pax and Father Scott both put this on their lists; though I considered it, and gave it another listen just this morning, ultimately I decided it was meh. Therefore I arbitrarily decree it lands at the bottom of our list.

She & Him, “Volume One”

Even though the Padre was the only one to list this as a fave, I’ve given it a once-over or three since publishing my picks and really, really like it. Sorry for the oversight, Zooey! Tell Frannie I said, “Hey.”

Dr. Dog, “Fate”

I’ve never even heard of this. Is it good?

The Gaslight Anthem, “The ’59 Sound”

Pax and I both liked this, though I’m pretty sure any indie band from Jersey would have made his list, regardless of the merits. It’s pretty good, even if New Jersey resembles a lunar landscape most of the time but especially in the early a.m. hours.

Lil’ Wayne, “Tha Carter III”

I have never heard a single note from this outside of the approximately 30 seconds of video I watched on one of the other guys’ posts, and therefore am unqualified to render judgment. But those two loved it, so here it is.

Frightened Rabbit, “The Midnight Organ Fight”

Color me utterly mystified that this stellar album isn’t taking the nation by storm and topping every list everywhere. It’s awesome. Buy it.

Bon Iver, “For Emma, Forever Ago”

This is the only record all three of us put on our lists, so it’s the clear champion. Even though it’s not as good as “Organ Fight.” Still, though, it is truly excellent. Buy it.

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The rest of the best of 2008

Father Scott

Best-of lists are all the rage in December (and annoyingly, now November as well) and all Paxites (in addition to some dude I don’t know) beat me to the punch in posting their lists. A multi-part best songs series, while fun, would just be redundant, so I’ll spare you and focus on things that Pax, Perry, FA, and the good doc missed or undersold, along with my own lists at the end, for posterity’s sake.

Without further ado, the best things in music in 2008, according to the Padre and his gaggle of female admirers (who shamelessly do what I say).

Lil Wayne’s lyricism. Pax didn’t give him enough due, and though the album was crazy-hyped, I feel like people are forgetting about it on their year-end lists. It’s Tha Carter III, bitch.


Weazy F. Baby, Esq.

Initially, I was going to make a gigantic list of the best lines on the album, but I realized that the list would have about 100 selections, and that most of them don’t translate well to print because the charm is in the way Weazy morphs his voice around the words. My favorite one lately has been in “Phone Home”:

I’m rare
Like Mr. Clean with hair
No break lights on my car-eer
I never had life and I never had fear
I rap like I’d have died and gone to heaven I swear
And yeah-r I’m a bear
Like black and white hair
So I’m polar
And they can’t get on my system cause my system is the solar
I am so far from the o-thers I mean others
I done eat them for supper get in my spaceship and hover

I love it. And I think it’s a “Lost” reference, which is fantastic.


You can look all you want, but Lil Wayne is far from y’all

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The Best Music of 2008: Pax Arcana Edition

Pax Arcana

We’ve already got year-end lists from Perry Ellis and The Good Doctor, so now it’s my turn to foist my favorites on an unwilling public. So let’s go ahead and dance about architecture, OK?

But first, a disclaimer:

WHY SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES ARE NOT ON THIS LIST: Because either I didn’t hear them or they sucked. Or I suck. Either way, feel free to argue my picks but don’t expect it will get you anywhere.

That said, here’s my top 10 favorite albums of 2008:

10. Okkervil River — The Stand Ins

thestandins

Better, in my opinion, than their last album (The Stage Names), this follow-up is full of the kind of literate, tuneful fare that makes the hipsters swoon. In my opinion, singer Will Sheff’s voice is the band’s biggest flaw — but it’s pretty hard to ignore the inventiveness and good humor of songs like “Pop Lie” and “Lost Coastlines.” And “Blue Tulip” features one of the coolest guitar parts I’ve heard all year.

9. The Gaslight Anthem — The ’59 Sound

the_59_sound_cover1

A pleasant surprise from the always-pleasant state of New Jersey, The Gaslight Anthem’s first album is a throwback to a bygone era of blue collar rock music. Fusing elements of rockabilly and garage rock with Springsteen-influenced story-telling lyrics, these guys injected a much needed dose of testicular fortitude to my iTunes this year.  My personal favorites are “Great Expectations” and “Casanova Baby.”

8. Lil Wayne — Tha Carter III

lil-wayne-tha-carter-iii-album-cover

I’m predicting this will land higher on Father Scott’s list, since he practically walks around the office with a boom box on his shoulder playing it. For me, Lil Wayne albums are an exercise in creative listening. Just following Weezy through all the twists, turns, metaphors, allusions, homages, and concepts is enough to set your earballs on fire. Is that the whitest review of a hip-hop album in history? Oh well. Guilty as charged. Still, it’s fun as hell. Especially “Dr. Carter.”

7. Conor Oberst — Conor Oberst

oberst

I’m surprised at how little attention Oberst’s first solo record has received. Perhaps most music fans consider him a known commodity for his Bright Eyes recordings — and there’s not really much difference between Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes in the first place. Whatever the reason, this album is full of the  hyper-literate alt-country troubadeering that has made Oberst a force in the indie rock scene since he was a teenager. “Souled Out” is probably the most accessible (and best, in my opinion) song on the record, but there are some terrific moments scattered throughout. I especially like the bizarrely Spanglish refrain in “Eagle on a Pole”: El cielo es azul, just don’t go tellin’ everyone.

6. Dr. Dog — Fate

dr_dog_fate_a

All I know about Dr. Dog is that they’re from Philadelphia and there are like 400 people in the band at any given time. For all I know, they could be gypsies from Albania or suburban frat boys or train-hopping hobos or the illegitimate children of Jethro Tull. It’s safe to say their music is eclectic yet accessible — with a decidedly retro guitar-rock flare. My favorites are “The Old Days,” “100 Years,” and “My Friend.” I do wish they’d stay away from the 1970s prog rock, though.

5. The Notwist — The Devil, You + Me

notwist

The German band The Notwist have been around for years, but this album was my first exposure to them. The band is relatively famous in electronic music circles — which I always imagined was a group of European twits in retro sweatsuits trying to outdo each other with layers of pointless noise — but the songs on The Devil, You + Me are a lot more accessible and melodic than I expected. The electronics on the album are employed mostly to add lushness or cool signature rhythmic flairs to otherwise straightforward — and inventive — songs. “Boneless” and “The Good Lies” are standouts, while “The Devil, You + Me” is a downright charmer. Like Radiohead with a slight German accent.

4. Sigur Ros — Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust

sigur-ros

Everything I knew about Sigur Ros before this year was that it was a critically-acclaimed shoegazing electronic ensemble from Iceland whose songs would make you want to eat fermented shark meat just to kill the pain. But I got the album after hearing a slice of the first song, “Gobbledigook” on a music podcast. It’s safe to say this was my favorite surprise find of the year. The first half of the album is replete with stunning, lush, upbeat anthems beautifully orchestrated and paced. The second half descends into the morose, but somehow it all still works for me. Really the only reason this isn’t my favorite album of the year is that I can’t understand a word of it (until the very end).

Video: Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

3. TV on the Radio — Dear Science

dear-science

I didn’t realize how much I love this album until the normally-reliable Paste placed it at #50 on its year-end list — behind the crapulent effort from My Morning Jacket and not-real-in-any-way comedy band Flight of the Conchords (I love FOTC, but they should be considered on their own terms). Upon encountering that slight, I puffed out my chest, hitched up my pants, and marched around the cube farm at the office all red-faced and seething. It took Father Scott two blowdarts and an entire bag of Cape Cod potato chips to calm me down.

Anyway, Dear Science is probably TV on the Radio’s most accessible album to date, which may piss off some of their die-hard hipster doofus fans in Williamsburg — but only makes them more endearing to me. I think the move puts them at the doorstep of being the coolest rock stars on the planet. There are a ton of great songs on this album, all imbued with the confidence and swagger of a band that knows how dope it is, and isn’t afraid to show off a bit. My favorites are “Halfway Home,” “Dancing Choose,” “Golden Age,” “Red Dress,” “Shout Me Out,” and “Lover’s Day,” which is probably my favorite song of the year (Oops! Did I just spoil my next post?).

Video: Golden Age (Live on Later…)

2. Bon Iver — For Emma, Forever Ago

bon-iver-for-emma-forever-ago

I’m predicting this sparse, haunting album of sad ruminations from Justin Vernon will hover in the top 5 of almost any year-end list you read, so I’ll refrain from saying too much about it. I will say that the thing that sets this album apart, to me, is how complete it feels as an album. There are songs on here that can highlighted or singled out (I like “Flume,” “Skinny Love,” and “For Emma”) but the artistry of the album is really in how seamlessly it all fits together. It’s an expanse of lofty peaks and depressing lows, but Vernon’s songs carry you from place to place gently and deliberately rather than shoving you around. I probably listened to this album once a day for three months last winter.

Video: Flume (Live)

1. Frightened Rabbit — The Midnight Organ Fight

midnight-organ-fight

First, let’s talk about body parts.

From the opening line of The Midnight Organ Fight (“A cripple walks amongst you all you tired human beings”), Frightened Rabbit lead singer and songwriter Scott Hutchison reveals a deep preoccupation with the human body in all its glory and decay. That first song, “The Modern Leper,” is an anthemic — if disturbed — look at self-pity and remorse, as the protagonist continues to lose body parts and functions yet still clings to an old love in the chorus:

Well is that you in front of me?
Coming back for even more of exactly the same
You must be a masochist to love a modern leper on his last leg
Well I am ill but I’m not dead
And I don’t know which of those I prefer
Because that limb which I have lost
Well it was the only thing holding me up
Holding me up

Hutchison explores body part metaphors even more deeply in “Fast Blood,” my favorite song on the album (but not by much). The best line is that which gives the album its name:

good night
it’s stroke time
let’s get paralyzed down both sides
snake hips, red city kiss
and your black eyes roll back
midnight organ fight
yours gives in to mine
it’s all right

Which moves into a chorus that continues the doin’ it metaphor:

and the fast blood
hurricanes through me
and then it rips my roof away with her fire heads
this is the longest kiss
good night

The bodily theme continues throughout the album with grace and charm, most notably in “Good Arms, Bad Arms,” “Head Rolls Off,” and “Poke.”

That I listened to this album dozens of times for its quirky, escalating rock anthems before successfully interpreting the Scottish brogue of the lyrics probably says all you need to know about why this is my favorite album since Arcade Fire’s Funeral. For me, it’s like a five-tool ballplayer — it’s got just the right amount of quirk, bravado, lyricism, desperation, and goofiness. Hutchison — with his kid brother Grant on drums — took a huge step forward from the pretty-awesome The Greys with this album. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they do next.

Also, they put on a killer live show.

Video: The Modern Leper (Live in Madison)

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals — Cardinology
Army Navy — Army Navy
British Sea Power — Do You Like Rock Music?
The French Kicks — Swimming
Pete & the Pirates — Little Death
Ra Ra Riot — The Rhumb Line
The Submarines — Honeysuckle Weeks

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS (HIGH HOPES DASHED):

My Morning Jacket — Evil Urges
Of Montreal — Skeletal Lamping

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YoonTunes Invitational: Vote for the best music of the year

Father Scott

This is the time of the year when everyone and their mom puts together a “best albums of the year” list. I’ll do it, except in a prolonged, unnecessary way. Perry will do it. Pax might chime in, if only in comments.

But our good friend at YoonTunes has an interesting idea. He’s set up the YoonTunes Invitational, wherein he’s asking people to fill in their best albums of the year on his site, and he’s going to run some numbers to see where you stack up against Pitchfork and the like.

So go check it out and make sure to vote by Dec. 15ish, his hard-and-fast deadline. I’ll be sure to link to any interesting findings he has, in case you haven’t added YoonTunes to your Reader and read it obsessively (shame on you).

And when voting, remember how awesome this guy is:

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A blog that’s the bomb like tick, tick

Father Scott

The only thing I’ve liked more than my beard in 2008 is Lil Wayne. Suffice it to say that when this year’s top 3,491 songs of 2008 series of posts on Pax Arcana rolls around, Tha Carter III will be featured prominently.

And now Lil Wayne has joined the likes of noted luminaries Andre Ethier, Marshawn Lynch, and Ben Yoon in the blogosphere.

Lil Wayne’s blog is hosted by ESPN, which means that a trust-fund-aided Princeton student likely types it up and intentionally misspells a few things that Wayne has recorded on a voicemail. He proved his sports fanhood by tattooing ESPN on his arm a few months ago, which, based on his propensity for ink, means that ESPN is one of his 400,000,000 favorite things in the world.

Anyway, a few points of interest: Mr. Carter is a Packers and Red Sox fan, but still cheers for departed players Brett Favre and Manny Ramirez. The New Orleans Nightmare even responds to reader feedback asking why he isn’t a Saints fan:

People were also asking in the blog comments why don’t I like the Saints? I do like the Saints, but I’m not a Saints fan first, and that’s only because that shows my true love for sports. I’m not just gonna choose a favorite team just ’cause that’s my city. The only reason why I’m a Saints fan is because that’s my city, but I’m a true Packers fan.

Cogent. And his thoughts on the baseball playoffs, which start in mere moments.

The Red Sox start the playoffs this week, and my thoughts are up in the air about them because, honestly, their chances are up in the air. I’m so grateful they made the post-season, but I’m kind of not sure about them. You know how you can envision a team in the World Series? I don’t see them. I close my eyes and I see the Tampa Bay Rays. I’m a big emotion guy. I’m a heart guy, and I think they all play that way.

Might as well go on the record (since my NFL picks seem to be going so well): I like Sox over Rays and Dodgers over Brewers in the championship series, with the Sox getting another title over LA in 5.


Keep your eye on the ball, kids

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Happy 5th of July

Father Scott

No better way to nurse that post-4th hangover than to enjoy the soothing sounds of Lil Wayne:

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Dogs hate Lil Wayne

Pax Arcana

Lil Wayne has a way with words (disclosure: I’m a little obsessed with his jaw-dropping lyricism these days — see for yourself here) but dawg needs to work on his relations with  canine kind.

All Lil Wayne wanted to do was cruise through Arizona on a chartered bus with a bag of weed (3.7 ounces), some blow (1 ounce), a couple hits of X (1.5 ounces), a few small bills ($22,000 in cash) and his Lil Friend (a .40 caliber handgun). Instead he finds himself in the pokey in Yuma County after getting busted with all that contraband yesterday.

lilwayne_mugshot.jpg
It’s always Ash Wednesday at Lil Wayne’s house

This isn’t Lil Wayne’s first brush with the law, but it may be the first time a telepathic dog has busted someone by transmitting secret brainwaves to the authorities. Here’s how Reuters reports the story:

Border patrol agents stopped the bus at about 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday after a dog alerted them to possible drugs on board, Bratcher said.

So the bus was moving, and the dogs just knew there was bad stuff on board, huh?

Or maybe a bus load of black guys with dreadlocks and gold teeth just get searched no matter what.

[pause]

FREE LIL WAYNE!! FREE LIL WAYNE!!!

Rapper Lil Wayne arrested for drug possession [Reuters]

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