Sunday, December 6, 2015

Best Music, Vids and Food of 2015

Music, videos, books, movies, television and food are where many of we spend the majority of our leisure and socializing time. We also spend a decent percentage of current or future earnings on these pursuits. Do you have time to find out about the new stars and releases? I do, and here is my list from 2015. Hope you find something to talk about at the next party! And, there are links to free versions and pro reviews of almost all the listed music and videos. No free lunches at the restaurant though!

Music 

This was the year I developed more of an ear and appreciation for hiphop with even some rap here and there. Last year started this morph with Azealia Banks' Chasing Time video and Vic Mensa's Down on My Luck inventive storyline. This year brought Future's Dirty Sprite 2 which is at once both nihilistic and entrancing with its brutal portrayal of inner city life dominated by drugs, violence, generational crime and the resulting mindset focused mostly on money, sex and getting high with the strongest ties in life to your gang members. Listening to that album while reading the translation on lyrics Genius was like taking a trip to a foreign land that in Future's case is the Little Mexico section of Atlanta.

Albums

  1. Neon Indian - VEGA INTL Night School LP This is completely infectious and instantly accessible though has held up to heavy rotation since its release in October.  Dance music that sounds innocent though a lyric dive can reveal some dark shit.  
  2. Nao - Feb 2015 LP Nao is supposed working with Jai Paul's brother to produce her latest effort. It has that funky heavy bass synth beat reminiscent of Jai Paul's latest. Her vocals are somewhere between Aluna and FKA Twigs.  
  3. Kurt Vile - B'lieve I'm Goin Down  Kurt is known as putting out the best stoner guitar picking music in the universe. I don't know about that but have enjoyed this album since its release in September. 
  4. Future - Dirty Sprite 2 If you are not up on the latest lingo then DS2 can be difficult to comprehend. With the help of Lyric Genius though anyone can figure it out quickly. In case you don't know, a Dirty Sprite aka Lean and aka Purple Drank is a mixture of cough syrup (codeine and promethezine), Sprite and a Jolly Rancher.  I've never taken this but after a hernia operation the end of August I ended up with a hydrocodone scrip and only took one and half pills before feeling very sick and dizzy and was taken off of them.  Getting back to the music on this album, it seems that even someone like me who is not a big hiphop fan will appreciate this music because of the high artistic achievement of making me understand the hopeless feeling of being a hood on the wrong side of town. I have never felt such nihilism from music before.  Trap Nigga (a black man trapped in a bad situation or place) is one of the more accessible songs and gives a good idea of this album.  
  5. Grimes - Art Angels  Claire Boucher goes by the music artist name of Grimes. This is her fourth album and the first I had heard. The music was so good I ended up exploring her earlier catalog and realized she has been a major talent for years. The album is hard to categorize with styles all over the place which is what makes it great. I never felt like it was listening to the same song 10 times.  This is pop dance floor music at heart with musical techniques not usually associated with that genre thrown in to make it endlessly interesting since the mid-November release.  

Singles

  1. Fifth Harmony - Sledgehammer  An immediately foot stomping dance song with great vocals and music from girl band Fifth Harmony.   
  2. Joey Bada$$ - Save the Children  This song deserves a top notch video - hard to believe a cutting edge producer has not done it for free by now. This just begs for visuals.     

Video 

This year did not have the big impact standout video like last year's Chasing Time. What 2015 did bring was a lot more high quality vids which made selecting three very difficult. It was a lot of fun reviewing the many worthy considerations.

Men's

Future - Blood On The Money



This is not happy holiday music, is not uplifting and does not have a happy ending. Regardless, the funeral feel to the music and the dark visuals create a mood and movie scene that sticks with you after watching it.

Women's

Demi Lovato makes you simultaneously dread and thirst breathlessly for summer 2016 to be here now.



Honorable Mention for being very cool and probably costing more than any other one.




Books 

The one standout book I read was The Shephards Crown by Terry Pratchett. This was a work in progress at his death in March that his friends and family finished from his notes. It is in the fantasy genre and was enjoyable because it was really good and had the added drama of being his last.  I listened to the audio version and highly recommend.

Meal

Allegro Romano  - Italian restaurant on top of the Broadway Tunnel in San Francisco.  My friend had the truffle risotto special which was fantastic. I had the chicken saltimbocca that was served with a picatta type sauce. Other dishes at the table were the beef carpaccio appetizer and lobster ravioli. Food, service and timing were excellent. The view from the hill outside back into downtown is wonderful.  The restaurant feels like your own private find in a nice neighborhood away from other commercial businesses.

Movie

CitizenFour was released October 2014 and I watched it in 2015.  Chilling movie that helped me understand the absolute futility of the idea keeping guns in your house will protect you from a tyrannical government - forget that - it is way too late. I consider it almost a duty for every intelligent US citizen to watch this movie. You then realize how this world works on many levels and can better identify and understand the media propaganda we are bombarded with every minute.

Television

 What can I say? It was a great year to be a Warriors fan!!!! My wife and I so enjoyed watching the team play all season and then eat the competition alive in the playoffs.  They are starting the new season off pretty well too. Haha!


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