Albums of 2011 (10 - 1 and Epilogue Extravaganza)


30 déc. 2011, 3h58m

Albums of 2011

10 – 1

The War on Drugs - Slave Ambient

If you haven't heard a The War on Drugs album by now I will never love you.

Kurt Vile was a founding member of this group but has since gone out into the world on his own, leaving this band to play in their own universe.

They take the concept of Americana and utterly rape it to death so badly that pretty much any other band that even tries to sound like them is basically committing a necro-abortion. Gross.

Think of every American icon of music, smash them together, and you have this band and album. You got your Bob Dylan, you got your Bruce basically have a personification of the "We don't need to be on the top 40" crowd from the last fifty years. It's just bloody fantastic.

I would literally love to just drive for hours and hours from coast to coast listening to this album back to back to back to back to back. Then people would hear it flowing from my car speakers and ask if I was listening to classic rock, because obviously it has to be old to be good, right? I would abduct them and drive far from their home, letting them listen to this from the back seat. And when the time came where we'd made it across a few state lines and I dropped them off in the middle of a wheat field, they wouldn't want to go home anymore, responding with a,

"I...I just...I...

...I've wasted my life not listening to this album."

And then they would walk off, humming these tunes.


Fade out.


Bon Iver - Bon Iver, Bon Iver

You can bite me so hard, but this album is even better than Justin Vernon's first. And that, my friends, is physically impossible. I find this to be infinitely better than For Emma, Forever Ago. Which is just unbelievable.

I was getting so tired of-

"dat's teh guy who lived in da cabin in da woodz and wrote dat album"

-and I'm sure Vernon was too.

And look at the cover! I mean, isn't that just the best album art of the entire year? The answer is: yes, yes it is.

If I may be brought back to Earth for a second, I don't know if I've ever heard a better palate cleanser than this. You listen to anything before it and this will just completely wash it away, bringing you back to center.

Active Child - You Are All I See

Most impressive.

It's like Bon Iver and Air joined forces to destroy the world as we know it.

This is the sort of reaction I imagine people had to James Blake, but I find this to be far superior. This also must be the kind of album that modern R&B artists like to think that they're making.

I really enjoy this, it reminds me of The Temper Trap but if they didn't write stupid songs for flippin' Coca-Cola commercials. It's very good and a very wise way to spend forty-five minutes.

I humbly approve of everything that this album tries to do, and not just because it succeeds uncompromising so. Incredible debut.

The man plays a harp. Shut up and download this.

Wilco - The Whole Love

[Author's Note:]Twelve years after Summerteeth and ten years after Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I took some time to dive into the Wilco discography. Upon reflection, I wrote a very personal review of The Whole Love.

Because friends and family are reading this year's list, I can not even entertain the notion of posting an excerpt/synopsis of said review.

My apologies, but those of you that have read it can attest to the notion that it should not be shared publicly.

Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo

This is just absolutely brilliant.

I command you to listen to this album.

The very first time I listened to this album I immediately concluded that this man needs to be my best friend.

On Tour? Smoke Ring for My Halo? Runner Ups? The whole thing is just immaculate.

I refuse to elaborate on this album any further. The next time you close your eyes to blink, you better be already listening to this.

I don't think I will ever get over this album.

Wild Beasts - Smother

Now this just makes sense to me. It is a very, very simple album but just ever so layered. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Smother is basically Minecraft. On paper, this album is very simple and theoretically anyone could do it, but the amount of room it leaves to avoid claustrophobia is purely the work of Wild Beasts.

It takes a lot of patience and self-restraint to let listeners inhabit the very landscape you create. The production isn't brick-walled and each note is crisp and clear. This is an album for people who love albums, no singles allowed. This is unquestionably the most beautiful album of the year.

At the end of the day, as incomplete an experience as this is, it takes an extraordinarily special band to pull off a song like Burning and that's why this sits at number five.

And another thing: feel free to disagree with me on where any of these albums are placed and what the 'real' best album of the year is, but DO NOT argue with me on the fact that Loop the Loop is the best song of the year. It is. This isn't an opinion, this is law. You can debate me on it but you're just going to end up running back to your car while I throw rocks at you.

Josh T. Pearson - Last of the Country Gentlemen

This album is nothing short of remarkable. It's absolutely spectacular in every way. I mean, holy crap, it's just so perfect. As far as I'm concerned this was the best kept secret of 2011. I could listen to this album every day for the rest of my life and it still wouldn't be enough.

The songs are way too long but at the same time way too good. It's just a whole world that you fall into.

But good luck finding this album, I had to do terrible, terrible things to get it. Is my reaction to it a justification of how hard it is to come by? Hardly.

I do not put recording artists on a pedestal but this is one of those rare albums that I feel privileged just to listen to. It's like I've gone back in time. A world where someone can honestly feel that Mumford & Sons is the best outfit currently using an acoustic guitar is proof that this world must not be a place I consciously inhabit. If someone doesn't make a film based on this album, I will.

Heck, this album's unreleased material (consisting of B-sides, alternate versions, and outtakes) is still better than basically everything else this year.

Also, let it be known that as sad as this album can be, Pearson still has a unnaturally sharp sense of humor if you're paying attention. This was one of those albums I listened to over and over and over again before finally catching a very sly punchline to a joke I didn't even know existed. Then I'd have to pause the song because I was laughing too hard to hear it. But it wasn't paused for too long, because it'd be terrible to spend time not listening to this album.

Honeymoon's Great! Wish You Were Her is just such a jam-packed emotional odyssey that it's hard not to rank that song alone above most of the albums on this list. Yeah, that's right: a single song is better than most of the fully-realized material released this year.

I think you just have to boil it all down to this: I am incredibly picky and uptight when it comes to lyrics. If I am listening to a song, it absolutely must have great lyrics. Not okay lyrics. Not good lyrics. Great lyrics. I say this because the lyrics in any one song from this album literally keep me up at night.

You have to understand: I write. All the time. I write so much that I would be convicted of conspiracy against the universe if it was a crime. It's been featured in magazines, websites, and speeches. Some people even go as far as to say I have a sense of humor. I have at least seventy-five college ruled notebooks scattered around this planet that are chock-full of concepts, thoughts, lyrics, short stories, scripts, jokes, essays, reviews, everything. But, when I listen to this's over. I literally feel like just giving up and burning everything I own. I have never gotten full-on writer's block in my life, but Last of the Country Gentlemen pushes me right to that edge. I listen to this album and it's like a Formula 1 engine sitting idle, I have to just shut off and cool down or I'm going to do more harm than good to my own pursuits.

This album will ruin your life in the best possible way.

Radiohead - The King of Limbs

I was a very young boy when I saw the film Gummo. I considered it to be pretty straightforward. And I still do.

I first heard Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors when I was nine years old. I thought it was a pop song. I still do. There's your context.

I could write books on this album, but I'll spare you. Simply put:

Radiohead albums are forest fires. Most of the time, the opener is the lightening strike that sets the foliage on fire. Then, you spend the next forty minutes watching it burn, seeing the animals run out, and slowly dissolve into nothing but a smoky mess. Then you just think to yourself, "Well, I'm probably never going to forget this."

And you don't.

Then, a few years later, they announce another album and you're like, "DIDN'T YOU JUST F*CKING BURN DOWN THE WHOLE FOREST!?! THERE'S NOTHING LEFT!"

Long story short: you get the next album, find that another forest has grown from the ashes, and the five pale Brits are lighting a box of matches near the shrubbery.

This happens every time. The difference between Radiohead's discography and The King of Limbs is that the fire has already started when you start Bloom. There is no bolt of energy, the fire's already raging. This makes it hard to find a place to watch from.

Then you hit the fifth song on the album, Lotus Flower, and the lightening strikes the smoldering ashes of the forest. The fire's over. Everything's gone.

But you still have three more tracks to get through. And what you see next is what usually throws people off.

It's a simple mythos. You see a little bird, dying in the ash. That's Codex. It did nothing wrong, now it's dead.

Then, Give Up the Ghost. The bird, rising from the ashes, is now a phoenix. It flies off, giving you a simple goodbye in the form of Separator.

This doesn't sit well for most fans. Most fans need those guitar-driven tracks. At least a piano ballad or two. This album doesn't have any. And that's why, initially, it's seen as inferior.

Amnesiac went through the exact same thing. The difference is that Amnesiac is basically a collection of writings ABOUT the fire that raged through Kid A. That, and the fact that every single second of Amnesiac is utterly brilliant.

The King of Limbs is not about anything. Well, you know what I mean. I consider every Radiohead album to be a concept album, I don't think that any of them are the creation of a simple 'jam session.' Sure, there are themes and motifs, but there aren't any There Theres here.

Let's just get down to it: this is the worst album they've put out since Pablo Honey. But…the thing is...Pablo Honey is fantastic. As is this.

Again, Radiohead don't sound like Radiohead on this record. They succeeded, yet again, at escaping a defined sound. Can you tell me what the next Radiohead album going to sound like? Exactly. Thom will sing. Jonny will arrange something complex. Ed will create an atmosphere (and hopefully sing). Colin will rape the bass. Phil will epitomize rhythm. That's all you can really say with confidence. It's the same thing every time: completely unpredictable. As John Peel once said of The Fall, "They are always different, they are always the same."

Summarizing a long summary: It doesn't sound like anything they've ever done before, yet still accomplishes something that no one else has. This is Radiohead's Strangeways, Here We Come. Trust me, I definitely know how to chastise this band when they release something that sucks (which I have notably done before, extremely vocally), and this definitely isn't one of those times.

I know plenty of people that just absolutely hated Radiohead, listened to The King of Limbs, and came up to me afterward with a smile,

"I think it finally get it, I think I finally get Radiohead. I went back and listened to their other albums and they just finally…'clicked,' you know?"

So please, don't hesitate in expressing your distaste for this release. It just means that you really, really need a simple song structure to function. There is nothing wrong with that. Yeah, I'm being pretentious, but I'm founding it on legitimate logic. If Bloom isn't one of the best songs you've heard this year please, by all means, keep buying Muse albums.

Because really, why make The King of Limbs when you can just rehash the same pseudo-rebellious song structure for five albums and marry movie stars? You'll get there one day, Thom.

Look at me, defending an album that stands on it's own. How ridiculously teenage and desperate (so childish).

Pop is dead, long live pop.

Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes

Back off sadness, Lykke Li is my girl. I remember listening to the Little Bit EP all those years ago thinking,

"I love this woman. I love. This woman. I understand exactly what she's trying to do. And it's exactly what I never knew I needed."

I don't think this one packs quite the punch that Youth Novels did, but I think that's a good thing. Instead of being bombastic and direct, she dives much deeper into irony, anger, angst, and depression before sky-rocketing with cheerfulness and pep. She is quite the little spitfire.

There's an actual emotional flow working through the tracklisting, which is pretty much always a clear sign that an album is great. She is maturing, which means that her next album could be downright legendary. And she's only twenty-five years old. May God have mercy on our souls. Listening to the outro of I Know Places makes me ridiculously excited for where she's heading.

Heck, I can pinpoint the exact moment that acts as a microcosm of this album's brilliance. Five minutes and six seconds into Silent My Song Li bites her lips and hums where the final lines of the chorus should be. That's it. That's what every single musician needs to just absolutely hone in on. She could just muster up the energy and belt out the final notes, but no, she knows exactly when what needed to be said has been said. She doesn't overdo it, both on that second and every other second of this album. M-O-D-E-S-T-Y. She has it. She may be standoffish and can even be accused of avoiding her fans, but the girl knows what she's doing.

It's hard for me to even articulate for those of you that never listened to Youth Novels just how big of a jump she has taken musically. I mean, I was completely onboard with the pop she was selling before, but this? It's like she went from twenty-one years old to…I don't even know.

The artistic jump in quality and merit in this album can only be compared to Dr. John Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey: at first a mere person, and while still respected and immensely talented, would later become just unfathomably mature. Phoenix had a similar leap in quality between United and Alphabetical but nowhere near this scale.

When I first sat down to listen to this, I was betting that she'd put this album into my top 30, maybe 20. But all the way up here? On the podium!?! And still, I feel bad about not giving this album of the year.

Super hero names usually take advantage of alliteration and I can think of no better heroine than Lykke Li.

The Boxer Rebellion - The Cold Still

Meh, it's better than silence.

Which, as you know, really isn't a phrase that I throw around too often.

But are we going to just leave it at that?


Yes we are.

A Song to Say Goodbye
(Punkies' Dilemma)

While Jesse wrote the preceding list(s), the following letter was penned by both Hailey and Jesse.

Dear Everybody and Stuff,

”It's not the status quo,
or eclectics enticing a fit,
No, I wouldn't know,
She's too young for this shit

This may be a reprise
but I can't sympathize
with the excellent disguise
now that I'm wise, to it

As she draws near,
he whispers in her ear,

We're far too fucking young for this shit.”

Seven years ago that may have been a cry for attention but now that too many have people caught on, it could be the truth.

Well over a decade ago, Jason began posting what would later become our first "reviews" on a very basic, HTML-built website he started while in high school (the two of us were still being in elementary school). The three of us had lived through a very harrowing event that took place towards what we recall as being the beginning of the summer of 1996 and have since taken to any outlet of self-expression to distract ourselves from the trauma of confronting it. We are still firm believers in bottling up one's emotions until they reach a breaking point, because that uncorking is usually something of organic meaning.

Eventually, very early in the 2000s, record companies and their labels began paying attention to our bitter whispers along with several thousand regular subscribers. Before we knew it, we were being paid to express our disdain and joy with the world through music that was sent to us for free by hundreds of artists. Eventually written and electronic publications were asking us to write for them instead, which we would occasionally oblige. At our extremely young age, we didn't recognize this as any sort of a big deal. And we still don't. Because it's not.

This was obviously years before the two of us started writing and recording music of our own and setting off down a path that would fast-track us to international awareness. Jesse would like to make it perfectly clear that he knows he can't sing and Hailey would like to make it perfectly clear that obviously we know he can. Jesse would like to make it perfectly clear that we know that Hailey is the greatest musician that ever lived and Hailey would like to make it perfectly clear that she definitely isn't. Both of us would like to make it perfectly clear that we should get back on topic.

So it is with great deliberation that the two of us must declare that we will no longer be full-time members of the music journalism business in the ways that our readers are accustomed to. This has been a very significant aspect of our time on this planet for three-quarters of our lives so it must be made extremely well-known that this decision wasn't made hastily. Many of you saw this coming when we announced that we were retiring from the full-time concert scene back in 2009. We still don't regret that decision at all. You're all a bunch of idiots with your stupid cameras, worshiping fallible human beings that get up and make noise for you. It's disgusting. Once we stopped being the youngest people at a rock show, we knew that it was time to hang up the spurs before we end up jamming them up your collective cracks.

The process by which we review albums, which has since been proven to be inhumanely efficient and provides you with any mix of humor and cynicism that you are accustomed to, is an extremely time-consuming process for the two of us. On top of listening to each album once, which would already add up to a couple hundred hours of our time, we listen to them multiple times throughout a timeframe that will remain undisclosed. Then we spend about a week writing the full review, which takes a few hours to end up on the homepage or a few days to end up in the offices of our publishers. From there, we keep a running tally of where the albums rank against each other in real time, which requires conferring with each other (via webcam, phone, or park bench) to determine the definitive list. Luckily, the two of us basically share a brain so our rankings are usually the exact same anyway, if not incredibly similar.

By August we are required to actually start building the list and take a synopsis or brief segment of the official review to accompany the album art and ranking. In November we have a week in-between the both of our birthdays. On Jesse's birthday (November 11), Jason inputs the both of our lists into an Excel spreadsheet and we view the statistics and averages. It's always a bit redundant on account of them being almost identical to begin with. On Hailey's birthday (November 21), the list is tentatively set and we inform our participating labels that any releases that they have scheduled for December will need to be sent to us as soon as possible to make the list. Then, by the first of December, our publishers (written or electronic, foreign or domestic) begin rolling out the lists.

This is when we get a break. This is when the two of us actually get to listen to older albums that we love. Yeah, one month of the year, we actually get to listen to what we want to, whenever we want. You know, what you guys do everyday. But we usually just spend this time recording what we've been writing all year.

What we are trying to get at is that while you all may think that reviewing music is just a super fun thing to get paid for, it is infinitely more time consuming than you could ever imagine. Sure, we could operate in the same way that Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, or Spin do…but we don't feel as entitled and bloated as they do, so we can't pull of that kind of pseudo-prowess yet. But, we would not have done it if we didn't absolutely love it to death. The two of us look back on what we now call our prime and just marvel at the eternal blur that was. Just endless interviews, album promotions, and backstage passes. We still have our press-pass lanyards and, while they are well, well worn…we can't divorce ourselves from hanging on to them. From the end of last year to the Autumn of 2011, we were constantly debating with the future of this sector of our enterprise.

But on October 8, 2011 our decision was made apparent to the both of us. We were scheduled to attend the St. Vincent show in Boulder, Colorado. It was an interview that was both required from us and one that we were greatly looking forward to, seeing as how Annie Clark is a very humorous individual and we love riffing off of artists that can improv. But, on the very same day, at the exact same time, Jesse was invited to attend a local band's show in Denver (The Stonewalls, check 'em out). He has friends in this band, and hasn't missed one of their shows at that venue to date, so breaking that streak was not an option either (the streak has since been broken, shut up). The two of us walked many laps around Cheesman Park, deliberating with one another and playing with the geese. But mostly deliberating.

It was a very, very quiet moment when the two of us realized that this would be the first time we'd be separated in this manner. Sure, Hailey had gone to see Wilco in Chicago while she was on vacation, but she wasn't on duty then. And Jesse had gone to more than enough sketchy clubs looking for inspiration, but again, not on the clock. We would be split and it was a very weird feeling for the both of us. We didn't cry, but it took us a few silent hours before we could stand up from that park bench and walk away from each other on a Saturday night.

So Hailey went to Boulder alone and Jesse went to Denver alone. St. Vincent killed and Hailey got one of the best interviews we've ever received and The Stonewalls killed and Jesse hopefully witnessed another great plot-point in a young band's history. The point being, we were able to temporarily detach from each other for long enough that any of you should be able to divorce from us for a while.

But make no mistake, this is no resignation letter. You guys are never going to believe this, but well, we kind of raped the world. In a good way. Imagine the situation that Wilco was in after Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, combine that with In Rainbows, and multiply it by a billion. That's the point we've reached.

When we sent our "official resignation letter" to the various publications, entertainment bookers, labels, and record companies…they kind of freaked out. Apparently, in the world of underground, anti-righteous music journalism (think of it as if gonzo journalism was invented by two six-year-olds), we kind of hold a lot of water. Our partners basically wrote us a blank check and told us that any future album or concert that we wanted to review for them would be given to us, free of charge. Basically, Wonka gave us the chocolate factory.

So this is definitely not the last you will be hearing from us. This letter is basically saying that we are now going to review whatever we want, whenever we want, like little spoiled bloggers. Ewww. With Jesse needing a very large chunk of time for filmmaking, [redacted], and [redacted] and Hailey needing just as much time for her [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted]...putting in the hundreds and hundreds of hours needed to review hundreds of albums just isn't possible for us any more. If time was no issue, we would by all means continue blazing this trail.

The simple fact is that the two of us are getting older. Not older in the natural way, but our past grievances are catching up to us. We have always operated on a completely sober level of thinking and have allowed the world to grind us into dust so that we could actually gain perspective and distance ourselves from our peers, but it is beginning to take its toll on us.

The both of us, just barely twenty years old, are beginning to literally lose our hair (which isn't a problem for Hailey because she's beautiful and will end up looking like Sinead O'Conner and isn't a problem for Jesse because he is incredibly handsome and will end up looking like Brian Eno or maybe even Michael Stipe, yum yum (just for the record, that was definitely Hailey saying Michael Stipe is yummy)) and our sleep patterns are reaching incredibly unpredictable states. And don't even talk about our hearing. Because we won't be able to hear you. Countless years of constantly barraging our ears with headphones and cheap speakers that probably should have turned down have basically made us much more deaf than we need to be at our age. To be fair though, the hair loss is probably from those gallons of hair dye and bleach over the years.

Will we suddenly regain our hair growth and hearing when we quit writing about music? No, and that's our point. The two of us have literally so much crap on our plate that we work to keep swept under the rug, that we're going to end up bald and deaf by twenty-five anyway. We just don't want to end up dead…at least not before we get some issues sorted out on this planet first.

So, this isn't a goodbye. This isn't a "We will always love and miss you," this is a "We're going to the store, do you need anything?" Just do what we did, and remember the good times. Like the interviews. Just remember Jesse making PJ Harvey snicker uncontrollably because he called her PB&J Harvey fifty-three times in one interview, "New world record!" Or remember Hailey's brutally honest and hysterically condescending chat with Jeff Mangum, "You guys were like so indie. Like, you guys were just like…so indie. Like, how did you guys get to be so…so…so indie?"

But we probably will never have another interview again, unless any of the artists that enjoyed our company would like to come on the podcast in their own spare time (wink wink, nudge nudge, awkward caress). Because it's just not possible for us to even maintain a consistent podcast schedule anymore. You'll probably get just as many as you're used to but in the most random intervals you can imagine.

But let it be perfectly well known that only the music-journalism aspect of the organization will be ceasing regular operation. All other enterprises will still be running full steam. And with that, we would like to thank all of you. Every single one of you. The ones that laughed with us, the ones that hated our guts, the ones that were genuinely delusional enough to actually give us money. You people are nuts. We're not even old enough for an acknowledged existence yet and we have a huge iron fist to wave around and smash philanthropic holes into whatever we want. Thank you for funding our mental breakdowns

A huge thank you is due for the labels and companies that work with us. Thank you sending us any bountiful blessing you fund even though we really enjoy calling you fascists. We apologize for all the deadlines we never met but you all owe us apologies for the attention you got as a result of that process. And, not from the bottom of our hearts but the entirety of our souls, thank you to the artists that sought out our opinions and ensured that we knew contexts and backstories and futures plans and anything that would be labeled 'inside information.' We treated you exactly like we treat ourselves, like crap. We thank you for understanding and appreciating us for that. We were never ones to kiss your butts or wash your feet, thank you for finding the respect and reverence in that.

Jason is currently working on the documentary based on our book and that should provide any insight that we are too embarrassed to elaborate on here. The book is due out next year in strictly non-profit, non-English European markets and we haven't talked to Jason about what he's doing with the film.

We love all of you and literally can not thank you enough for all the support you have given and still give to us in every single endeavor we take on in our foolish youth. Some of you have been with us only for a few years, since the Ewe Half Two era. Some of you have been with us even longer than that, since the Get Well Whenever days. And a small handful of you even can even recall the rainy day that Jesse dictated the Punk Fiction "manifesto" to Jason back when he still had blonde hair (WAY before all these other people started taking that title that we since had to abandon). We still can't listen to Pure Morning without getting all warm inside, thinking of all of you.

You're all like an innumerable cult and we have no idea what to do with you just yet. So we'll just dance.

“Forgive me sir,
for being so bold,
it takes an awfully long time,
to grow triumphant and old.

Spare me from your facts,
and all their minions,
because I'm a teenager
and I have...'opinions'...”

-Hailey and Jesse

P.S. All pseudonyms are still operating at maximum efficiency. None of THOSE have been compromised, so relax. August 25 was an anomaly, and while unforeseen, was still able to be spun into something absolutely wonderful. So cut it out, we got this.

P.P.S. Thank you very much for putting up with all of the different domain name changes and subdivisions. And a huge thanks for putting up with the fact that we deleted the old account that combined our listens and replaced it with this one that only records Jesse's tracks. The old one was getting too much attention and had to be disposed of, like this one will be if the circumstances repeat themselves. Always remember to monitor welcome the delegates.

P.P.P.S. And a huge thank you to everyone that supported IMF while it was on the air. It had a good run and I think we may have proved that the United States, although they'd like to think otherwise, just isn't ready to give up its cookie-cutter music videos.

P.P.P.P.S. Oh, and listen here, this is one of the main reasons it was so easy for us to walk away: we quite literally hate you all. You all walk around saying how much you love music and then you go and get Spotify and Mog accounts? We don't care what you're listening to, because any music service that isn't internet radio is destroying all bindings that hold albums together.

You people are just so repulsive with this whole, "Why does music suck these days" mentality one moment and then turning around and listening to SPECIFIC TRACKS on Spotify the next, not realizing that those are both incredibly asinine things to do. If you have a Spotify or MOG or Grooveshark or any other "free music" service, we hope you choke and die in a pit of excrement. You people are the reason that the word 'feces' is only one letter away from 'faces.' Or something like that.

Same goes for you people that ever bring up any band in conversation that you ever saw in concert ever. Going to see music isn't supposed to be a social thing that you post about on Facebook, telling us all how great they were. You're just justifying your ticket price. Honestly, it is not an impressive thing that you paid money to see someone else play, call us when you can pull off the opposite.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Sorry, that was mean. We love you all but boy do you get under our skin. Just stop. If we die tomorrow, we just want this one lesson to be clear: no one cares about your musical preferences. Just enjoy the music that you enjoy and leave everyone else alone. Trust us, from experience, they'll thank you for it.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. And no, we're still not revealing our favorite albums of all time. And no, we've never reviewed most of them. No need to. Get back to us in a few lifetimes.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh and we finally broke down and got tickets to Radiohead shows. Hailey will be at the Glendale show and Jesse will be at the Broomfield show, so if you recognize either of us please feel free to not embarrass us completely by bringing up anything we've ever written/recorded/created that you even remotely liked. Feel free to talk about composition or lyrical meaning, just make sure you understand which of us you're speaking to.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. And no, we're not doing another reddit IAmA anytime in the future. Too much that we can't disclose any time soon, last time we ended up just saying, "We can't talk about that" over and over and over again. And that's not fair to you.


...oh, and in regards to LP4: 2013. Major winter/summer sessions ahead, we thinks.

Tee hee.

Hidden Tracks

This is the part where I thank the people involved for putting up with me. That's what this is. And it starts soon. As in now.

*Insert secret handshake here*

Thanks for being a straight up groovy human being. You know, just in general. But most of all, thanks for being our straight up groovy human being. And thanks for putting up with all my Thom jokes.

And thanks for referring to yourself in public by your race and not your name. That doesn't make it awkward for any of us at all. Not even the least bit. It proves a point, if anything.

See you at the top of Saturday Mountain.

”This must be some sort of conspiracy! How come I've never heard of these guys before?”

“I don't know, they only have two albums though. Well, three if you count all the Warsaw stuff.”

“Shit! This is just so goddamn...”

“I'll give you a minute.”

Hey, listen to me: you're going to be alright. You're a remarkably smart human being and an asset to all that are around you. Now shut up and figure it out or we aren't going to take you to the Hidden Temple.

“What's actually ironic is that this isn't ironic at all. It's not even a coincidence. It's just...stupid. It's fucking stupid, that's what this is.”

“Now THAT'S ironic.”

You've only known about my music journalism schtick for about a year now. Remember all those times growing up that I would go spend the night at a friends house? Yeah, about seventy-five percent of those were concerts or interviews. Or things I still don't need to disclose.

Do you remember the Lykke Li show? Yeah, Hailey was the blonde there that had photo credentials. She passed by us and smiled a few times but I don't think you caught it. I'm sure you have no real recollection of her but she's basically your big sister. You actually met her once when you were very, very young. She came to visit me at Singing Hills and I introduced you to her in the hallway. And she came to my high-school graduation too. And the only reason I knew the Ogden so well is that Hailey and I have been on stage there many times (it was nothing like Li's setup though).

Anyway, I'd like to thank you for having an incredibly unbiased approach to experiencing music. You are one of the only people I'd ever feel comfortable going to a Radiohead show with on account of the fact that anyone else would act like a complete s(t)uck-up wanker. I know I give you a ton of crap for liking Muse and Porsche but I honestly appreciate that you like things in this world based solely on how they make you feel and not how it makes you look to other people.

You're not quite ready to hear anything that I've ever recorded with friends you never knew I had, but if you ask me very nicely maybe I'll let you hear one of the cover albums of our work that other artists have put out. One day, I'll tell you things. One day.

On second thought, I might introduce you to Hailey again some day soon. I think that your sense of humor has expanded to a level that you could keep up with her. A little while back we entered a battle of the bands where you were only allowed to do cover songs. We were doing a cover of Helicopter and during the that 'guitar solo' before the last chorus she was spinning around as fast as she could, playing at an insane speed. She uses a wireless guitar so getting tangled in the cords isn't a problem.

Anyway, she's just spinning faster and faster and faster, when she totally loses her balance and falls into one of the monitors, breaking her guitar. And by breaking her guitar, I mean that she completely snapped the neck in half. The audience became really concerned and thought she was hurt but she just jumped back up, dizzy, and hopped up to sit in front of the keyboard. It took her a second to regain balance, and then she started playing Like Spinning Plates. The place erupted in laughter. I feel as if that would have been an event I should have taken you to, but you aren't ready to hear your brother sing just yet. I'll give you a few years.

P.S. She did name one of our drum machines BMO, so...

P.P.S. And she's really proud of how upset you get when people call it a 'guitar lick.' That's something the two of you definitely have in common, except she gets a bit more pissed.

P.P.P.S. And remember how I told you that I got the best birthday present of all time? Yeah, that was from Hailey. She MADE me a wool hat. What kind of wool hat? Oh, just one that looks exactly like Finn's. Yeah, I know. When she said she'd make you a Jake one and I just laughed. Let me know if you want one.

P.P.P.P.S. Please continue never mentioning absolutely any of this to mother and father.


"It's purely physical, darling. There is nothing that you do particularly better than anyone else, there's nothing that I find to be very original about you either. What we have is just merely the result of a socially acceptable hormone imbalance that faults in your favor."

"You probably just say that to all the girls you like."

"Yeah, you're the first to catch on."

"What do I win?"

"What do you want?"

"I think I have everything I need."

"Then you've already won."

While I hold the fact that we were incredibly close to be irrelevant, Ash-ole, I really consider you to be one of my very, very closest friends even though we've only known each other for about a year and a half. I think limiting our connection to 'super-best-friends-fun-time-forever' is much better than what could be thrown away taking things any further than we did.

You also hold the record for saying the single most attractive thing a woman has ever said to me. I walked up to a girl that everyone had told me for years to meet, challenged her musical preferences, and in her naturally-faded, black Wu-Tang shirt she replied,

"My favorite album? Probably Tago Mago."


Although we may not agree on everything (*cough* French Romanticism *cough* *cough*) we agree on enough regarding culture and philosophy to get along more than famously. You brought out a lot of good in me and I hope I returned the favor. You were the inspiration for more than a few lines, like the 'moving fan' one. Yeah, I'm not meeting your parents any time soon right?

I literally can not tell you how proud I am that you don't have a Facebook and have resorted to communicating with me through handwritten letter. I guess Gutenberg Sucks got through to at least one person.

We all miss you very much back here in Colorado and we all are cheering on our little Yale doll. And please, wear my Modest Mouse shirt in more pictures. I can't find another one like it anywhere so I just want you to know that it means a lot to me and even more now that you own it. It's not meant to be kept clean, Mish-Mash.

P.S. Hailey says that you need to call into the podcast more often and wants to know if you received the shirt she sent (I don't know which one she's referring to, probably the one with the vulgar blessings).

P.P.S. You're also like the only girl I know that understands that the concept of humor is incredibly old and, as a result, actually laugh at my incredibly obscure jokes that are meant for demographics much older than the one we belong to.

"Anyone else remember Pogs!?!"

P.P.P.S. Thank you very much for covering any and all East-coast shows and festivals. You are only one of a handful of people that we actually relinquish control of the writing for a brief moment, and only the most talented and humorous writers have earned that. We understand that it's very inconvenient for us to call you up at such strange hours and…wait…WAIT!


Nobutseriously, thanks again.

P.P.P.P.S. I won't be able to really exchange any long letters until this summer so I'll just answer your last question here:

Coming from someone who has your best interests at heart, you should probably date whoever that one guy is (I don't remember names well and frankly, I don't give a bother).

You've liked him for a long time and, even though he doesn't like Radiohead, our generation tends to place misguided importance on the media that we consume as a social lubricant instead of choosing suitable companions based off of personality and character alone.

Or something like that.

But seriously, take him to a 'head show next year, and then thank me when he proposes to you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I just wanted to have five P's all up in this pod.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Listen to the new M83. I'm pretty sure you know what I'm getting at.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. One time this guy at my film school asked where that "babe" I was showing around the building has been. I said she was back East. And that she didn't live out here. And that she didn't really go for guys that wear "funny" t-shirts. Well, I didn't say the last one, but you know I wanted to.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh and please get us the rights to those flippin' pictures. You know, whenever it's convenient.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I know I fought you on the haircut issue for a very long time, but I admit that I was wrong. I like it. I don't really care, but I like it. Thanks for the imposing that on me. And you owe me, judging by the reaction you got. Pffffffftttttt, I mean really, we got you on a leash from all the way out here. What are you possibly going to do to top it next semester? Wait, don't answer that.

"This is so stupid, this better be worth it."

"It will be, and you look very handsome."

"You're not helping. And no, no I don't. I look like a…a corporate tool."

"Well that's pretty good disguise, right?"



"...THAT'S why they give you the front page."

"I know, right?"

Maybe I'm writing this out of therapy, maybe I'm writing it based on whatever religious beliefs you almost revealed to me. I don't know, I'm working on it.

No, I'm doing this because your family has wanted a public address from me regarding your memory for a very long time. Instead of writing this from a stupid and self-indulgent first person account or a pointless and irrelevant third person point of view, we're going to have a conversation. Sure, it may be a little one-sided, but whatever. So try to keep up.

Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and miss you. You were the only people on the planet that I comfortably allowed to be in the same room as Hailey and I at the same time but I think you recognized and acknowledged that. You played better than most people breath, I want you to know that. I know you always felt guilty and embarrassed that Hailey would write your basslines, but I hope that you realized that you're one of the only people the world that could actually play what that girl wrote (which still holds true).

One thing I always loved about you is that whenever I would make fun of your British accent you would take it as a compliment. You knew that I was simply expressing my emotions about the first British person that I was ever associated with.

"Meh an' Prince Charles 'ere ar goin' down ta tha speak-easies to see if wea can pickupa few flappas!"

"Jesse, the slang for 'women' is 'birds.' And I think you're confusing the United Kingdom with Prohibition."

"I ain't confusion' nothin with anythan! I was just quizzin' ya, you little tossa!"

You really helped open our eyes to a European market and open their eyes to us. I really want to thank you for quickly dissipating the now ever-growing dilution of anglophilism before it could define us.

One of the top five greatest/worst moments of my life was when we did that cover of Sit Down Stand Up. The second it reached the four part harmony, "WEEEEEEEEEE CAN WIPE YOU OUT ANNNNNYYYYTIIIIIIIIIIME!" I knew that you had changed for both better and worse. I saw the humanity that it put into you when we introduced you to our contradicting method of songwriting. When you insisted teaching me how to play Amazing Grace on bass, I knew something was up. We didn't hear from you for a few weeks and to be honest, it didn't really bother me. Then we heard that you decided to leave the planet from a motel room. Typical bassist.

You know, I'll be perfectly honest with you, I get it. I get why you did it. I'm not going to give you that "oh life is just so worth living" crap, because it's not. If I didn't have Hailey and a web of obligations that won't expire until my mid-twenties, I probably would have followed you (at that time in my life, not now). Not only do I accept what you did, I condone it. I don't feel "betrayed" that you left, I'd feel "betrayed" if you stuck around in a world that you knew was past your purpose. I'm serious. You and I were always on the same page with all this crap.

"Americans are always talking about the weather, but you don't do that. Why don't you do that?"

"Because I don't let my birthplace tell me what to do? Or something like that, I don't know. It's probably because I'm not a flippin' idiot. Let's play Xbox."

A few days after we heard, Jason called me and said that you left a note. Yeah, I had a great deal of empathy for your death but your note pissed me off something royal. Charlie, you and I never talked about religion, so I don't know if you're reading this right now or not, but listen up. From wherever you are.

No. Hailey and I don't owe anything to the world. Nothing. I know that when you were alive you understood that we got an immense high from creating art that no one else would ever consume and that's why your final wishes came as such a surprise to us. No, I'm sorry, but Hailey and I have a pact that goes back to '96. There is no document on this planet that supersedes that agreement. The two of us have a "book" and Jason has a film, but that's the closest you're getting, buckaroo. We have a number of embargoes that expire forty years after our deaths, so maybe that'll make you happy.

Again, not knowing your existential philosophies, I will tell you that we did indeed honor your demand that we play your funeral, a-hole. The three of us were incredibly underdressed (when aren't we, right?) and had a hard time listening to the pseudo-eulogies from your other friends and family. Probably because we knew you, the real you, better than most of them. And how many girlfriends did you have? There were no less than a billion girls there claiming to be 'more than just friends' with you and I was all like, "Pfffffftttttt, bassists." And you dated a girl that I went to high school with, how in God's name did you sneak that past me?

"You a smooth talka, Johnny Walka."

"Don't say that. I want to use it."

"That's my line, I wrote it. You can rent it from me. Besides, no one over here knows what Johnny Walker is."

"How do you know then? You don't even drink."

"Because I watch Formula 1."

"That's my boy."

Anyway, back to the gig. We got up there and opened with the Pure Morning duet, because we like starting off the wrong foot. And, let me tell you, you would have been so proud of Hailey. She took the very last note of the song, jumped down onto the pedalboard and made a perfect segue way into Compliments. That's when the tears from the audience came. I didn't do my normal yelling part on the last two choruses, because that wouldn't have worked well. Then Jason and I went back down to the pews and watched Hailey perform a very, very, very heartbreaking Videotape. It's really hard for me to talk about, it was pretty bad for the three of us. I had to get up and finish out the lyrics because her voice started getting that shivering effect that people get right before the waterworks start up (I know we used to roll with that in the recording process, but she doesn't like doing it in public).

She finished and I had to console her on the piano bench for at least a minute or two. Your parents were incredibly moved, I'd say. Your father later wanted to thank us (monetarily) for that song alone, but we said no thanks. And we still get Christmas letters from your mum, asking Hailey to come over and play that song on your old piano. She obliges every once in a while, but only rejects when Cherry Creek gets under her skin. Then, you'll be surprised with this, there's an orchestra that we now work with, and a few members came up and helped us with one of your favorites.

Do you remember that ten minute odyssey that we wrote back in, what, 2006? Yeah, well in the week between your death and the funeral, the three of us finished it. I called it "Birds are Fish in an Ocean of Air," because I knew how much you liked long, pretentious titles. And because it relates to that conversation we had out in Commerce City. And to further gratify your stupid note, Hailey recorded it. Now you know me, I hate everything I do, but this performance was something special. We really did tweak the song quite a bit, but it was a great precursor to what we later moved on to.

We added this immense climax at the end (after the fake-exit) where the trumpets, violins, guitars, and my voice really mesh (think the end of Pocahontas, your favorite). Right before it ended, I sang the final, "I've lost, what I have, in places, I've never beennnnnnnnnnnnnnn" and got caught up enough in the moment to pull your favorite move: the classic pitch-the-microphone-into-Jason's-drum. It made this huge boom and the feedback went crazy. And, as you can imagine, Hailey being who she is, immediately jumped down to the pedal board and started just synthing the crap out of it. The violins were just going crazy and we told the trumpets to go insane at the end because we knew how much you loved The National Anthem finale. Jason just pounded on the hi-hats and I just sat down on the steps and watched Hailey go to the piano. Everything just went full-on avant-garde crazy for about fifteen seconds and then abruptly stopped, so she could play those final notes of Aladdin Sane that you loved. She just sort of flicked the keyboard and then shot me that smile that used to make you and I hysterical. It was nice.

That was it Charlie. That was the only time we ever performed that song, ever. It was like that moment when Radiohead's harmonium broke and they haven't played MPS since. That's us, you were our harmonium. We haven't ever played that song again.

Back to the fun-neral, we flicked on this montage of footage that Jason shot and edited of the four of us together. He set it to the Moz's "Sunny" and we sat and watched for a few minutes. After it got to be a bit too much, we pulled your bass out of the case, signed our personal messages, and then put it in the coffin alongside you. You looked happy, that's all I remember. I wasn't staring, but you looked happy.

Then, we said our goodbyes to your parents (I accidentally called your father "Guvna'" out of habit, but he smiled anyway. It was a genuine smile too, not the kind I get for doing my normal schtick). Your older brother was next to him, and right before we left and the preacher went up the podium, I whispered into his ear, "You know what funerals are missing? Ball pits." I'm proud to say that it got the second biggest laugh I've ever received at a funeral (you would have loved the biggest one I ever got, it was about a year later and it was just perfect).

I went out to your grave a few months back. There were ducks there. Big ones, small ones, it was great. It was kind of weird because I made a short film about suicide back in 2010 that I based around that song Hailey and I wrote back in the 1990s about ducks. It was weird Charlie. You would have said,

"Oh, isn't that just fucking adorable."

We gave the flac file of our performance at your funeral to a couple dozen of your favorite independent UK magazines, and the consensus was that it was pretty good. A few even went as far as to call it the 'Most Beautiful Song of the Last Twenty Years." But what do they know. They wanted our permission to release it for free. We said no. They wanted us to release it for charity. We said we'll wait for a studio version first. Because we remembered, you don't like it when songs suck. And if we can do better, we will. We just don't know where to send the donors yet.

There are no plans for a studio version.

While this isn't the first post-mortem writing I've written for you or about you or to you, but it certainly is the most public. Maybe I did it as therapy. Maybe I did it in the spirit of your stupid little note. We found another bassist and it took Hailey hundreds and hundreds of hours to get him to a level where he could play what she writes. Not many bassists know how to read sheet music I guess.

We do have a rhythm guitarist now though! I wanted more live takes and Hailey was really being stretched thin. He's a cool guy, you two would have gotten along famously. He's still a bit chafed at our stage tactics, but he's learning.

The absolute hardest part of your death, for me at least (being someone you went to for this sort of thing), is hearing all these great albums being released since your death that I know you would have loved. That honestly breaks my heart. I remember I'd always have an iTunes playlist titled 'Char-Char's Czar-Bars' and you always got a kick out of my over-explanations of the themes of all the albums that I wanted you to pay attention to. The latest Tom Vek would probably be right up your ally. Diagon-Ally. See, it just doesn't stop. Just because your dead doesn't mean I won't annoy you.

But also the new Radiohead album. You always wanted a 'drum and bass' -based album from them, and I think The King of Limbs is the closest we'll get to that. You'd have liked it. We could have covered Bloom together. Hailey and I do a mean Give Up The Ghost, but we don't cover Morning Mr Magpie in the normal way based on the fact that you probably would have crapped your pants playing that baseline. That's what really gets me, I cried for a solid week when that album came out because it sounds so much like something you would just salivate over.

We miss you. I miss you. As much as it used to freak me out, I miss trying to calm you down. I miss hugging you with a blanket as you shivered, trying to get you to come back down. I miss trying to get you rehabilitated. Most people would feel defeated and lost if someone they tried to help just gave up on life, but I know better. You did what you could Charlie. You let society break you into little pieces and tried to give those little presents to anyone that'd listen. Trust me, we know the feeling. We're not in the same river, but we're in the exact same boat. I've never been able to deal with death very well and I usually keep my feelings towards you very bottled up. They still are, but they'll burn through eventually.

If you came back tomorrow, I wouldn't let you apologize. I know you'd be sorry, but I wouldn't accept it because you shouldn't be. The world is not entitled to the people that walk upon it. I know that if you read this you'd probably respond with something like, "The only reason you wrote that is because I rape you in the bass department." To which I would probably cross my arms tightly and reply, "Yo, Char-mander, hows about we take this to the talkie-tube? That's what you call TVs over there, right?"

Goodbye Charlie, it was an honor being your enabler.

P.S. I don't have glasses anymore. Or the big hair. You can't call me the Dylan of the room anymore. Well, you can, but it would probably creep me out, on account of you being a ghost and all.

P.P.S. Every year, on the anniversary of your birth, the two of us go out to your gravesite and do an acoustic How to Disappear Completely (And Never Be Found Again). I just wanted to let you know that doing that has given me a certain perspective of the world and I plan on turning that mood into a short film. So don't feel bad, because we don't.

P.P.P.S. Every year, on the anniversary of your death, the two of us go out to your gravesite and do an acoustic Well I Wonder. I just wanted to let you know that we've never been able to do a full rendition, because we both end up crying at the final minute. So please don't feel bad, though we always will.

P.P.P.P.S. I think I know what got you though. There are only four people on this Earth that I have showed my magnum opus to, and you were one of them. It was only about a week before your death and I just remember you saying over and over, "This film needs to happen. This film…needs to happen." I've tortured myself writing it for a little over a decade now and each person reacts differently to it. Hailey cried for about a month when I first wrote it (way before I even met you actually), but then I showed it to her a few months ago and she's very much at piece with it. She's changed her religion a few times because of it, but that doesn't mean she can't be at peace. I tried getting Jason to read it a few times, but he said he'd rather see it in a few decades. I've only told my brother a few select parts of it, so as not to completely implode his mind. Since enrolling in film school, I've taken out some scenes and added a few more, tightening it up overall. But that one's for you buddy. Just want you to know that.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I can't remember if you ever saw that YouTube video of that baby biting that toddler's finger. The baby's name was Charlie. I know, it pissed me off too. I just wanted you to know that it's a stupid video and it really would have ruined my opinion of British men named Charlie if you didn't exist. So thanks for that. AND ONLY THAT. No, just kidding. Not jk, I'll actually type it out. Like a respectable human being. Teaching them your lessons.

"It's OUR language and YOU lot keep raping it!"

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. And don't even get me started on people these days. I remember that Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was the last album you ever listened to with us. You should see these people coming up to me, "Have you ever heard of Phoenix, Jesse?" And I'm like, "Yo, wanker, I've been listening to Phoenix since United." Thanks for the line.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I finally saw Trainspotting this year. You were ahead of your time buddy-boy.

And if Charlie's family is reading this, thank you for the Christmas jelly beans. I would have called, but...well, yeah, you know, all that, and uh, pretty much.

And if there's any more about 'Charles' that you'd like to know that he may not have shared with you, talk to me and not Hailey. She may have been closer to him but that whole 'gender difference' thing kinda inhibits some memory receptors (her words, not mine).

Hey Blondie, you should probably be in bed. I'll use small words here so that you can work on your lit-er-ary com-pre-hen-sion. Oh, sorry about that. Anyway, if I ever have a daughter I would very much like for her to be half as great as you. It has been an honor and a pleasure exposing you to what I hope will someday be your favorite albums. Because I kind of like them.

But I really need you to do something for me. You're getting to that age where you'll be rebelling against your mother any day now and emulating older kids. First of all, do not emulate Hailey and I. We had some very bad things happen to us when we were a few years younger than you are right now and it took a lot of work to ensure that it couldn't happen to anyone else. So I'm sorry but the option to copy us expired long ago. Besides, we would like you to grow up to be very healthy, so following our pattern of self-erosion isn't what we want for you. I will say that if you want to shut yourself away from the world and avoid human contact based on the fact that none of your peers will ever know what they want in life, I wouldn't be opposed to that (worked for us).

Just please be easy on your mother. When I was about your age, your mom introduced me to Wilco, which becomes more important to me every passing year. Yes, the very same Wilco album that I gave you. You and I, children of the moon, right? Your mother is one day going to find an actual husband (she's almost thirty, so I wouldn't put it past her), and I want you to know that while he isn't your real father (trust me, he's not someone worth meeting), she certainly wouldn't pick a suitor that didn't love you immensely.

And when he comes, I'll leave. Not because I don't love you, but because you don't want a convoluted father image growing up. That's how girls end up on the pole, right? I know you're going to grow up to be the creative type, and I already view you as more original than most people I know, but please just don't try to top Hailey and I. Because you won't and it will hurt you. Lateral movements girl, lateral movements. Don't be us, don't be yourself, be someone that we haven't met yet.

And remember, I will never be too busy to have a food fight with you. Ever. I will literally prepare food, drive to where you live, and throw it at your face. That's how much I love you.

P.S. Don't go around saying those Madvillainy lyrics, there are more than a few words there you aren't supposed to know yet.

P.P.S. Thank you for all your help, I hope your parts turned out how you wanted, because the entire thing turned out way better than I ever would have imagined.

Oh you. I can't really say you ever really did anything for me, can I? You only brought me into a terrible part of the world, allowed me to vanquish it with your sister, and allow us to pursue any artistic venture we desired. I know you like to blame yourself for what happened to us in the 90s but you need to take a step back and realize what you created. I don't blame you for feeling guilty, it's an emotion I'm rather fond of, but if you hadn't felt like you owed us the world, you would have never given it to us.

I know many mentors teach their proteges the value of a dollar and I would like to offer you my eternal thanks for teaching me that a dollar has absolutely no value. The only thing a dollar represents is power, and just because you're human doesn't mean that having power makes you powerful. I would like to thank you for teaching me, even before I asked for a lesson, that humanity is not an excuse. Power is nothing more than a tool, and a crappy craftsman blames his tools for his own faults.

"Power doesn't corrupt shit."

It is because of you that I've gone into filmmaking (and that Goodtimes commercial, but we don't need to go there, amirite?). I look back on that "snowboarding" documentary that you let me write with you and I think it is one of the only things in this world that I'm actually proud off. You are an incredibly talented individual and I thank God every day that you do non-fiction, I'd hate to even attempt competing with you. Because you simply have no match. You taught me to put meaning anywhere I can and to shake the audience's hand at every available second.

I still occasionally look back on the old tapes and photographs that you took of all of us. Again, you have an eye for meaning. There's this one picture of Hailey and I messing with that old four-track recorder that your father gave you and I look at that photograph almost every single day. It was so long ago that I even have blonde hair. I'm not making a red-eye joke here, but you managed to capture that bitter fire in our eyes that I can only hope we have maintained. Jason, my family may have hundreds of pictures and rolls of film showing me during my youth, but you captured my childhood. The childhood I preferred.

But, this being the unofficial close of my music-journalism career, I need to thank you for the music. You gave me the musical preferences and knowledge that most people don't get until they're twenty five and dumb. You always stuck your neck out for us, making sure that we got the hundreds of music releases way before we had the P.O. Box or any method of delivery. I still remember you driving out to my house in the middle of the night and leaving me about five or six albums at a time with brief handwritten biographies of the artists. Then you'd go home with my previous week's reviews and take the time out of your college schedule to code and submit the reviews to your handmade website. Dear Lord, I am so glad things took off the way they did so that you didn't have to do any more of the grunt work.

(After doing this year's coding, I can see just how crap of a job it is)

And thank you for being the best English teacher I've ever had. You helped me find a voice and articulate my thoughts while my peers were either just entering their teens or writing for "big-city magazines." You were very supportive, and I say that because I went back and looked at some of my reviews from the beginning. I don't disagree with my thoughts but holy balls, the writing is terrible. And you knew that, but still let me grow. Thank you Jason.

Thank you for getting us into concerts, into interviews, and just out into the world in general. You took two young children who were pissed off at the world and wanted nothing to do with it, gave them an international audience, and let them get away with murder. We were too young to understand taboos and I'd like to thank you for keeping us in that state of mind. My father always used to say that whenever I got out there in the "real world," I'd have a manager that I'd have to deal with and his word was law. I didn't tell him that I already knew this feeling, or that the young man who acted as mine already had my best interests at heart.

I just want to say that whatever you have my permission to put anything into the SSD film, anything that can literally be seen coming out of my mouth or directly taken from my writings isn't legally slander, right? Right. Thank you so much for what you do, and yes, I will always embarrass you in front of any girlfriend you have. I'm still saving some schemes for when you get married. You are a saint of the highest regard, one that has none.

P.S. Thank you for being our music video auteur and accepting the accolades on our behalf. Thank you for being the reluctant, uninformed public spokesman for two bashful twenty-year-olds. Though I'm sure all the parties make up for that.

I just want you to know that because you wrote a very personal thank you to me in your year-end list, I am obligated to outdo you. Spirit of competition and all that. Look, I even wrote your name in red. So shut up and listen a second, chicky-pants.

You are my mother, you are my sister, and you are my daughter. But more than all of that, you are my mirror. I can't remember the last thought, idea, or opinion that I had that you didn't reveal to having the night before as well. It has been nothing less than an honor and a privilege having a shared consciousness with you and although it was created through deplorable and inhumane circumstances, I would hate having it any other way.

You have fundamentally destroyed the way that I look at women, as a result of both raising you and being raised by you. I will never meet a young woman that is as beautiful, clever, and driven as you are. I have given up on marrying a woman that compares to you and settled for searching one that could be called a fraction of the person you are. I will always be overprotective of you and you're going to need to admit that I learned that from your example. The difference is that your process of sheltering me is based on justified paranoia whereas mine is based on the potency your angelic snarl.

I don't use profanity when I'm not around you. I'm dead serious. I use a lot of placebos and replacement words, but nothing more than that. And I know you think that I sing all the time and around everyone, but I honestly don't. You are the only one that has the psychological prowess to gain my trust in that department. Again, dead serious. I don't even sing to myself or when I'm alone. I would be ecstatic if we never did another live show and I know you echo that thought. But again, you're the only other person on this planet that places unwanted obligations on themselves. I am honored to have at least one other person that lives in the Exclusion Zone with me. And it helps that she prefers the cold as well.

This is the paragraph were I talk about your musicianship. I know I tell you this all the time (usually very excitedly and hugging you) but I want you to know that I am honestly not exaggerating: I find you to be the greatest musician that ever lived. You are the only person I know, in history, that has literally learned how to master any and every instrument thrown at her.

"We should have a viola for that part. The outro."

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking…something with strings. I'll see if I know someone who has one and learn how to play it."

"Oh you don't know that one yet? We don't have to."

"No, I think I can figure it out. I already raped the cello, so we'll just go down the line."

You are the Greenwood to my Yorke. You are the Sumner/Hook to my Curtis. You are the Birgisson to my Brock. But most of all, you are the Marr to my Moz. I could not, should not, and would not work without you. I know you have your individual outlets and I have mine but I would never dream of breaking up any endeavor that we created together.

If anything, your existence basically justifies mine. I would not be able to function the way I do without knowing that someone else out there is working with me to create and change our own little universe. I would have to become like everyone else: living life purely based on whatever ethos I'm ignorant enough to create.

Pretty much everyone I know doesn't feel obligated to the anti-Coke lifestyle, but I know that you're on the same page. I haven't met anyone who has completely understood color-coding a wardrobe to specific duties yet, and I don't think I ever will. That was a brilliant thesis by the way.

But most of all, no one (not even your own brother) has ever fully accepted the concept of conquestial art. But that's probably because it's not very kind to the creator, now is it?

But really, if I had to sum up a majority of every way to say, "You are the most necessary human being on the planet" it would be this: I remember playing on the playground with a little girl back at Cherrelyn Elementary School. The two of us were playing on the jungle gym and lying on the platform on top. As we watched the planes spew forth their faded jet streams, she turned and asked me,

"Don't you think that everything that will happen already has happened?"

It was at that moment that I knew you were the only person that occupied the same train of thought that I was aboard and the only human that I could trust enough to inspire me. You are the only person I've ever met that's just as hot-headed as I am and the only person I would direct that term as a compliment to.

Thank you for consoling me through all of my futile loves and it's been an honor to help you try to find the same haunted attics. One day you might find a man that wants to tie your shoe laces and maybe I'll find a woman that wants to tie mine. But don't let that make you think that we won't still be attached at the hip.

I may marry away from you and you the same, but we're still going to be buried together. I don't want to be laid to rest in a public cemetery or a private one. I don't want to be next to my wife or offspring. I want to be laid by your side in a shallow, unmarked, north-Siberian grave. And only because I know we're the only two that see the innocence in that.

In my eyes, you are always going to be the girl that smashes her guitar at the end of Fashion Police State and I hope I remain the boy that throws the microphone after every good take.

"YES! That was perfect! Let's clean this up before he gets back."

"He's going to know. He always does."

"I know, but if we stopped breaking things, how would we pay for them?"



"...whoa, cosmic."


You are the single greatest person that has ever existed, nothing more.

From Linus to His Blanket,


P.S. I know I've alluded to this, but The Evening Noose is based on Army of Mine. Listen to a demo version of it (not the final) and tell me how much I butchered it. Because it's a whole bunch. I listened to that song (the drumless demo version) in the car on my way home from getting the awards and was pretty pissed with myself. Sorry.

(But I hid a duck in the film somewhere and bet you're the only one that saw that)(tee hee)

A Little Young Spitfire Says Anything was also utilized. But you knew that.

And Commitment Issues. But that's more of a half-theme.

P.P.S. I will always do everything in my power to make it to your shows. But only to see that bitter smile you get when someone says

"Oh you're so pretty, shouldn't you be up there?"


*walks away*

"I swear to God. One of these days."

"You're going to what? What are YOU going to do?"

"Shut up, I'll…I'll…hey, are those green olives?"

"Don't change the…good call."

P.P.P.S. John texted me the other day (the one from Reims). How did he get my number? I had to wipe my phone data a few months ago because I was getting way too many international numbers coming up. Anyway, he said that they wanted any design falling between 34J-48J and 98H-112H. The PDFs are on your laptop (thank me later, before you ask how I did it). I gave him no permission, but I said that we would only even consider it if it was black on white. No solid black ones.

P.P.P.P.S. Go to any of our artist pages. Look at the Similar Artists. They're getting closer. Not good, my dear. No need to get out of Dodge just yet though, right?

And if you really want a hearty chuckle, look at the wiki pages. You are going to die when you read some of that. And the sources! Are those even real!?! It's just a riot.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Hey, this might not be the proper forum for this, but do you have my United States of Africa shirt? I swear I can't find it here and I'd just like to make it a matter of public record that it's probably sitting under one of your kitchen table legs. I don't know why, totally just a hunch.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. And I would like to thank you very much for the Alone in Kyoto cover you gave me for my birthday. I like birthdays as much as you do, but that was one of the best things anyone's ever given to me. I really, really like the bells and I really, really wish that I remembered you had those. It was certainly better than the cover I gave you, no matter how much you disagree.

And thanks for the Adventure Time hat. You have no idea how much I get hit on when I wear that. The ladies are like, "OMG! YOU WATCH ADVENTURE TIME!?! GET IN MY PANTS!" and I'm like, "Yo, you need to surf some chillwave baby-girl." Well, I don't say it like that but you know.
Shut up.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh no, we're doing AROBTTH this year aren't we? I swear to God, I'm counting on you to fix Clocks. Speaking of which, that Italiano Mag sent me an email saying something to the effect of "You two fixed Princess of China! The worlds need to see this!" And I was all like, "Cool your warm jets, bro." I don't think he grasped the connection.

Wait…we could do Sea Change. Maybe. I don't know, but definitely not YBTPR. We've got plenty of time, but I'm thinking the sophomore would be better. And more fun. Meaning: better.

Plus think of the demographics, it could be a record year. It's not for us, and it really wouldn't be selling out because I love at least 90% of the material on it. We'll see.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. 4284-5493-4958-3948-4892. Upload it from whatever library we haven't used yet. Add the flag-counter BCCode so that we'll know when to kill it. If you get nervous, just remember: it's just dipping toes in the water. Feelers, if you will.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Thank you for the haircut when I had that meltdown. At least we got a good live DVD/article out of it, right?

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I've put it off long enough, here. They're just demos.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. Plug in your blue harddrive. Go to the 'WIP 2012' folder. Go to the 'Dr. Kringle or How I Learned to Stop Putting It Off and (I Hope You) Love Your Present' folder.

This Mac isn't too great with the Fruity Loops or Moog emulators, so I'm not going to say they're perfect but they should get your gears going. Tentative lyrics are in the other folder. Work your magic, gurl.

Merry Christmas. See you tomorrow.


And that's it everyone. We're done here. I'll see you all next year, with significantly less albums of course (you have no idea how happy Hailey and I are to finally shut this machine down).

I know I usually end the year with the most current photo of the gang, but I actually don't have the rights to use this year's picture yet. That's right, it was deemed so important that someone else actually dictates its use.

We're growing up, I know.

(awkward segue)

You say that you haven't heard any of these albums? No excuses, click on the picture below to listen to a track from each release.

Playlist length = 55:48


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