Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Best Albums of 2012

10. Sun Kil Moon- Among the Leaves:
Lush guitars and lovely drawn out stories.

9. Bhi Bhiman- Bhiman:
Gorgeous folk music with a sense of humor.

8. Patrick Watson- Adventures In Your Own Backyard:
Dreamy pop under the direction of a supremely talented dude.

7. The Dirty Projectors- Swing Lo Megellan:
Interestingly danceable album from one of the more interestingly danceable bands.

6. Dark Dark Dark- Who Needs Who:
Piano-driven chamber pop with substance.

5. Trampled by Turtles- Stars and Satellites:
Country music done properly.

4. The XX- Coexist:
They keep stripping down, and keep getting better.

3.Father John Misty- Fear Fun:
Cheeky lyrics and classic rock make this more fun than fear. 

2. Alabama Shakes- Boys & Girls:
The best thing to come out of Alabama since, umm, Sun Ra?

1.How to Dress Well- Total Loss:
This album was a complete surprise to me. It's atmospheric indie soul, not usually my bag. If you let is soak in, it will be rewarding. A bit dark, a bit 90s R&B, the contrast is beautiful.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Let them eat Twinkies

I don't like paying taxes. My dislike, however, doesn't stem from some half-thought theory yammering on about "liberty." I certainly acknowledge that my taxes pay for many essential services. My problem is one of return on investment. Instead of health care, I get a thuggish imperialist military, subsides for the rich, and so on. In short, I am not too keen on paying for a state that is not run for my benefit.

That, one would think, is understandable. What is less understandable, for me anyway, is this religious devotion many rich have to not paying a single penny more in taxes. Considering these people are supposed to be so clever, does it not occur to them they have to pay to for the state that shapes the societal structure that perpetuates their privilege? Thirty, forty, fifty percent, whatever; it's a small price to pay for power.

It appears many of these folks have convinced themselves of their divine right to rule. Granted, this "right" is less focused on the metaphysical (most of the time at least) and instead infused with the legend of the uber-American grand entrepreneur. At any rate, with few notable exceptions, they've put on the blinders. Their neoliberal experiment of the last few decades has not restored the economic growth we saw after WWII. It has succeeded in increasing inequality. The rich have never been so rich, income for everyone else has stayed flat, at best. The state, their state, has had to pick up the slack. If history is any indicator, this is at their own peril.