Joe’s Top 16 of ’16

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Another year, another “Best Of” list. Anyone reading this knows I spend all year listening to as many albums as possible, compiling an ever changing list of all my personal favorites so I can submit a record of history to the internets to inevitably look back on with bewilderment and longing. I take it way too seriously and stress out over it for absolutely no reason what so ever and YET I love doing it and I’ll never stop. I have realized though that the older I get, the less in line I am with Pitchfork and Rolling Stone and various other music publications that provide solid year end lists so as always, “grain of salt”, “personal preference”, yada yada yada. That being said, I am including a mini list of albums everyone else loved this year that I’m just not connecting with for whatever reason because as history has shown, time can put great albums into perspective (Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange) and I might regret not giving certain albums a second or third listen (Solange, Chance the Rapper, Life Of Pablo). Regardless, all 16 of these albums spoke to me on a deep enough level to proclaim to the world how great I think they are and share them with you fine upstanding citizens and degenerates alike. RIP 2016. Smell ya later.

  1. Beyoncé – Lemonade 33238a0dbe6470fde82c5fea51ff69e2-1000x1000x1
  2. Anderson .Paak – Malibu 
  3. David Bowie – Blackstar blackstar
  4. Bon Iver – 22, a Million 
  5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool radiohead-a-moon-shaped-pool-2lp
  6. Jim James – Eternally Even jim-james-eternally-even-1474657396-1024x1024
  7. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…Thank You For Your Service 
  8. Jack Garratt – Phase 
  9. Savages – Adore Life 
  10. Frank Ocean – Blond ccc0894094b9a3cbb47a45ec0c69b1f0-1000x1000x1
  11. Kendrick Lamar – untitled unmastered 
  12. Phantogram – Three 
  13. Band Of Skulls – By Default bos-4000x4000
  14. Mutemath – Changes 
  15. The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect 
  16. Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
  2. Rolling Stones – Blue And Lonesome
  3. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression
  4. The Joy Formidable – Hitch
  5. Lake Street Dive – Side Pony

ALBUMS I MAY REGRET OVERLOOKING

  1. Solange – A Seat At The Table
  2. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
  3. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
  4. Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Denial
  5. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
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Joe’s Favorite Albums of 2015

So, yeah, this is a little late and I’m not even sure if anyone out there actually reads these every year BUT, never-the-less, here is my current, ever changing list (seriously, the order probably changed 8 times since I wrote this sentence) of my favorite albums from 2015:

   1. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

  

2. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit

  

3. Nothing But Thieves – Nothing But Thieves

  

4. Grimes – Art Angels

  

5. My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall 

  

6. Leon Bridges – Coming Home

  

7. Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool

  

8. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats 

  

9. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness

  

10. Foals – What Went Down

  
11. Florence + The Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful 

  
12. Mutemath – Vitals

  
13. Half Moon Run – Sun Leads Me On

  
14. Chvrches – Every Open Eye

  
15. The Lone Bellow – Then Came The Morning

  
16. Will Butler – Policy 

  
17. Tame Impala – Currents

  
18. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

  
19. Gary Clark Jr – The Story Of Sonny Boy Slim

  
20. The Arcs – Yours, Dreamily
There you have it! One more yearly list in the can. I’m sure I left off tons of great albums I haven’t heard yet and ordered some albums way higher or lower than I should have but that’s the beauty of my list…it’s mine. Come at me Internet! I love you. 

Dazy Mojo – Games

  

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I’ve been writing so much music lately I’ve completely neglected my blogging duties. Already that first sentence sounds weird and ill formed. That one too. Holy shit. I’ve either already lost what little writing skill I may have possessed at one time or judgement has reared its ugly head once again. I’m 95% sure it’s the latter. That stupid asshole voice in my head that spends all it’s goddamn time yelling how bad everything is. It’s super annoying and way too loud. It’s true, I’ve had a recent explosion of musical creativity as of late resulting in no less than 10 new songs (hopefully the genesis of the debut Dazy Mojo album), but that burst of hyper confidence and admiration for my art is unfortunately followed by the ever inevitable demon monster of self doubt and judgement. Like shitty clockwork it reveals its stupid face and it’s nothing new but it always sucks in subtly different ways just the same. It holds me hostage while my songs somehow simultaneously age with mold and stay frozen in time. My writing suffers, my confidence suffers, and sleep is the only thing that manages to escape it’s filthy clutches. Luckily, I know this cretinous swine’s power is temporary and must not be trusted. Batten the hatches! Ride out the storm! The beast shall indeed be tamed!

Speaking of “taming beasts”, I feel the need to briefly discuss a little victory I’ve experienced recently involving addiction. I’ve gone well over a month without doing something that I deeply enjoy and tend to devote countless hours to on a somewhat daily basis. I quit video games. For anyone who doesn’t self identify as a “gamer” like I do, this may seem like a ridiculously childish thing for a 35 year old to care about but believe me it’s absolutely serious and also an absolutely real addiction. That being said, I’m not going to rant about the evils of video game addiction or weigh in on the negative effects gaming might have on the brain, I’m simply saying for me, it was time to put down the controller. It was really a time management decision more than anything. Without spending countless hours of my day collecting non existent trophies and completing quest after quest for imaginary robots, I’m forced to fill that time doing anything else. Sure a lot of that time is still spent sitting on my couch binge watching Netflix but a big part of it is now also spent sitting at my piano actually producing content instead of just endlessly ingesting it like Jabba The Hutt with a tape worm. I’ll still be a gamer for life and I’m sure my PS3 hasn’t endured its last epic session of dragon slaying or collectible hunting but at least now I’m fully aware of what I’d potentially be sacrificing in it’s place. Progress.
In other news, I’m settling into my part time second life as a poor man’s Sam Malone quite nicely. Working in a bar with people ten years younger than me might have it’s downsides (the fact that some of them may have watched me on TV when they were kids is a whole other story) but work is work and chatting up people all day over drinks is not a bad way to make a living as far as I’m concerned. Plus the cliche has finally been achieved! Like almost every other actor before me, I am now officially also a waiter. My time line may be a little messy but the ritual is complete. Maybe now one day Nicolas Cage will win the lottery and give me half the winnings in lieu of a tip just like that seminal 1990’s true life motion picture classic Face/Off. I still can’t believe how much Bridgette Fonda looked like that guy from Saturday Night Fever. Ah Hollywood magic. And scene.
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JM

Dazy Mojo: Work It

  

Jobs. Work. Both four letter words and for good reason. Doing things for money you wouldn’t normally do for free is kind of a ridiculous concept on many levels but it’s also part of the human experience. Some people are lucky to get to do the thing they love to do and would do regardless of payment, for a living and I fell into that category of magical unicorns for most of my adult working life. Acting was my passion and profession and only source of income for close to 10 years. This, like most fantastic to-good-to-be-true things, did not last. Unfortunately, residual checks and parental financial assistance only goes so far. Then what? “Get a job you hippie”, that’s what. Easier said than done for a plethora of reasons not least of which is a total lack of experience in anything other than professional pretending. Lucky for me, pretending to know how to do something is 80% of everything. Those numbers may be factually inaccurate but because I’m pretty good at pretending to know what I’m talking about, you probably believed me anyway. So, in the spirit of professional pretending (and complete financial disarray) I did what 99% of everyone reading this did at some point and finally got a god damn regular job.


First of all, some clarifications: The job is part time; the job is relatively easy; and most importantly of all, I’m still a working artist. Am I getting paid for my art? Negative. I am however, treating my art like a full time job (when I’m not at my part time job) and have no plans to put acting or music on the back burner…ever. In fact, in light of these new revelations, I’ve finally begun writing music again and am currently experiencing some kind of unimaginable embarrassment of creative riches in the form of nine new completed songs in just under three weeks. It’s super exciting and equally scary as hell but it’s proof of what can happen with a little discipline and focus. Also a trip to New Orleans doesn’t hurt.

So Joe finally get’s a regular job like everyone else in the world. So what? Nothing really. It’s my blog, I’ll say what I want. Full disclosure though, I came incredibly close to quitting after only two days of training. Learning an entirely new job at 35 in an industry lousy with 20 year olds can totally mess with your sense of self and I already have pretty shaky confidence or a “dazy mojo” if you will (Oh you will! #dazymojo). Regardless of all that, I’m sticking it out (for now) and it’s proving to be a positive experience that I most likely desperately needed for a long time, just like everyone and their dog have been telling me for years. 
As far as acting goes, I’m at a bit of a stand still at the moment. It sucks to not be getting opportunities anymore but I’m weirdly not too worried about it. I’ve always shifted focus back and forth between music and acting ever since I can remember so if I’m currently in a fruitful music mentality that could lead to Dazy Mojo releasing an album, touring across the country and ending up on SNL the same week Jim Carrey hosts for the fourth time, I guess I’m OK with that. The important thing is, I’m doing what I should be doing again, creating. Writing, singing, acting, playing, performing. These are all equal parts of who I am and when I’m not actively engaging in at least one of those things at any given moment in time, I’m not accurately representing my true self and the results are nothing short of apocalyptic. Losing sight of who you are is the fastest path to depression and self destruction and while it may not be the only ingredient in the shit stew that is hard times, it’s definitely the overpowering flavor in mine. Thankfully, my world is back on track and hopefully I keep that bastard of a ball spinning in the right direction from now one. Long live the Joeascence!
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Sober City Redux: Epilogue

  

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During my recent (and way-too-short) visit down south, I started writing a new blog post in-between taking countless pictures of the beautifully gothic Louisiana oak trees, and enjoying countless world class musicians and Bourbon Street Bloody Marys. The post was about being yourself and me being Canadian and trying to be American or something like that like, but I decided to shelf that one for now and do a little epilogue to Sober City Redux instead. As I announced in my last post, Sober City is in the process of becoming Dazy Mojo and switching from a blog about me not drinking to a blog about whatever the hell I feel like blogging about. In light of that upcoming (albeit somewhat slight) shift, I feel like a quick recap of my post sobriety-breaking adventure in The Big Easy is in order. Spoiler alert: It was awesome. 

First off, I kept true to my word and held off imbibing until April 1st, which provided me with two full days of vacation sobriety. Vacation Sobriety, as we all know, is the Jar Jar Binks of sobrieties. It’s primarily enjoyed only by children and most people over 20 do everything in their power to forget it even exists. Regardless of this, holding off on the booze for a couple days was easier than I expected. Turns out crawfish boils are just as delicious as I remember even without the frosty Abita Amber cooling the heat. This didn’t really surprise me so much as provide me with a good reminder that booze can be good but it’s not the thing that makes the good. That last sentence was brought to you by Third Graders. Third Graders: “Making write good. Good writing make good.” 
Secondly, once I did have that first drink again after three months, it was no big deal at all. The skies never filled with rain clouds of whiskey, the sea level never rose to Captain Morgan proportions, and I wasn’t visited by the ghost of John Belushi with a never ending bottle of Jack Daniels cascading down his “College” sweatshirt. I had a glass of red wine while reading Tom Robbins in the Louisiana sun, and it was perfectly perfect. That’s it, that’s all.
Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just have one glass of wine on April 1st, tip my hat to Emily Post and retire to my drawing room in quiet reflection for the evening, but I also didn’t dive face first into Bourbon Street for Hurricanes and Hand Grenades either. Truth be told, I definitely drank more over the course of the trip than I would have had I not been in the greatest city on the planet for live music and world class cuisine, but I definitely didn’t overdo it and I have zero hangovers to prove it. That’s the whole point of it all really. “Have fun. Enjoy life. Don’t get hangovers.” I’m pretty sure Gandhi said that or something. 
Anyways, all is good in the Joe camp and more goodness is coming your way soon if you so choose to keep following along after Sober City is but a speck of dust in the rear view mirror of the Internet. I’m getting pretty excited about DazyMojo.com and I hope it actually materializes into something fun and consistent. I’ll be posting various new songs as Dazy Mojo very soon as well, so get ready to be bombarded with some smooth polka-jazz infusion sprinkled with a hint of death metal. Am I joking? Am I serious? You’ll just have to wait to find out. Until then, I’m joking. They’re just regular old Joe MacLeod songs written in German and sung in Inuit throat singing as always. Top 4040 here I come!
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JM
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