My predictions are essential the same as yours, but re-arranged.
But I’d also say that Robyn and Big Boi are likely 11 and 12. (This sort of looks like the average of our best albums list.)
My Guesses for p4k’s top 10:
1. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
3. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
4. Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot
5. Ariel Pink - Before Today
6. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
7. Robyn - Body Talk
8. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
9. Beach House - Teen Dream
10. Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
Hey Nick (Martens),
Pitchfork is running their year-end lists this week. They’ve already posted their favorite songs (Ariel Pink, not much of a shocker), and this Thursday and Friday they’ll list the year’s best albums. So before we get into a discussion of year-end lists, the influence of Best New Music, and Pitchfork’s consistency throughout the year, I thought I’d ask: what are your predictions for Pitchfork’s top 10 albums?
I wish I had an interesting new habit to pimp like you, but the biggest changes I’ve made to my online reading mostly consist of tiny bits of common sense that everyone probably knows about.
I switched from NetNewsWire to Google Reader because I thought sharing stories with friends, and following their shared stories in return, would be pretty cool. It was so cool, in fact, that when Greader unfollowed all my friends for some reason, I didn’t notice for like a week and then I didn’t even bother to refollow them afterward. So that was pretty underwhelming, but I stuck with Greader anyway.
The best thing I did is so obvious I’m hesitant to even mention it, but whatever. I sorted all my feeds into folders (comics, design, links, music, etc), and now I browse through the entire folder instead of looking at each feed individually. This is obviously how RSS is meant to work because the experience is way better. Different items from different sources cascade together into streams of the present tense. The one problem with this setup is that I see duplicate items all the time; every big happening in the recording industry, for example, seems to pop up in my “music” folder four times in succession.
My favorite new folder is “sports.” You may have noticed from my recommendations that I’ve been getting more into football and basketball lately, and the snarky Tumblrs that populate that folder are a big reason why. Instead of having to grapple with bone-headed, mainstream coverage from ESPN, getting my commentary from sources like Got ‘Em Coach and SB Nation has made following sports less like watching a beer commerical and more like reading The Awl. My life is better for it.
Funny you should ask. I recently made a big, life-changing switch in my reading habits.
I should probably start by stating my preference for desktop apps over web apps. I use a desktop client for Gmail and Twitter rather than their web interfaces, and I have never used Google Reader with any frequency. For a long time, I read my feeds through NetNewsWire, which has always been a wonderful piece of software.
But every few months, I started to feel overwhelmed by my RSS feeds. I would then go on an unsubscribing spree in an attempt to reclaim my sanity.
So last summer I decided to try Fever, an RSS reader designed by Shaun Inman. Not only is it web-based, but you have to install it on your own server space. And yet Fever has CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER.
The brilliant thing about Fever is the way it lets you separate the feeds you want to read everyday from the ones you visit with less frequency. As far as I know, it’s the first feed reader that allows you to treat feeds differently, which is surprising because why would anyone want to read every site the same way? There’s also a nice feature that shows you the most-linked sites/articles from your subscriptions (our Best New Blogs piece currently sits at the top of that list). The interface is also better designed and more responsive than Google Reader.
I also went one step further.
I used to organize NetNewsWire by category, which seemed to make sense at the start — all the tech blogs go in one folder, all bookish stuff in another, and so on. But some workdays are busier than others, so I realized that when I didn’t have time to read everything, the only tech blog I wanted to read was Daring Fireball, The Millions covered all of my book needs, etc. So I reorganized my feeds by priority — numbered from 1 to 3.
Stuff I want to read everyday, so for days that are busy, I can read my favorites.
The rest of the sites I keep up regularly. I’d say I read about 2/3 of the content these guys run.
Mostly new additions and sites I want to just keep tabs on, but not necessarily dedicate my time to.
I also have a folder called Friends, which mostly has abandoned Tumblrs and travel blogs from personal friends that I felt obliged to subscribe to. It currently has over 700 unread items…
How about you? I noticed that the number of feeds you subscribed to doubled from last year. How did your RSS habits change in 2010?
On Monday we posted this year’s Best New Blogs feature (with, it can’t be said enough, stunning custom design and illustrations from Sleepover). I don’t think the picks themselves need any further commentary, but since we traffic in minutia on this here Tumblr, let’s talk about feeds.
I can’t remember why we decided to ask our contributors about their RSS habits, but I’m glad we did because I always find them interesting. I doubled my subscriptions after posting the low score on last year’s list, which has made it even harder to pull myself away from the internet. It’s not just the new blogs I enjoy, but also the mindset of always being on the watch for new and exciting sites that I’d like to spend more time with.
But I think next year we might have to broaden our question beyond just RSS. Many of this year’s contributors went out of their way to describe how they’ve ditched traditional feeds for something else, e.g. Robin Sloan using Laterstars or Matt LeMay relying on his social network.
So, it seems that new kinds of aggregators are changing the way people experience the web. How have your online reading habits changed over the past year?
Glad YOU asked.
Patrick Wolf’s “Time of My Life” is NOT a Dirty Dancing cover. Which is too bad, but this new song is pretty good too. It doesn’t stray too far from Wolf’s sound — which has always brought my to mind the words “orchestra” and “orgy” — but “Time of My Life” reveals a more vulnerable Wolf. The track comes from an untitled new album that’s supposed to come out sometime next year. I can’t wait.
But seriously, he should do that Dirty Dancing song.
I just got a copy of 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker, which features short works from young writers the magazine believes will be “the future of American fiction.” (It says that on the back of the cover.) With the exception of Jonathan Safran Foer, Gary Shteyngart, and maybe a few others, the book introduces new, unfamiliar names. Or at least they’re new to me.
The predictions are bold, but the last time The New Yorker made its 20 Under 40 picks was in 1999. That list predicted four of the past decade’s Pulitzer Prize winners, with a majority of the rest — including George Saunders, Sherman Alexie, Rick Moody, Jonathan Franzen, and DFW — establishing themselves as household names too. It’s likely these picks are at least in part self-fulfilling, but it doesn’t make them any less accurate.
That clip of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon doing their Michael Caine impressions got linked around quite a bit a few weeks ago, but a lot of people failed to mention that it comes from a wonderful new BBC comedy called The Trip.
The concept is interesting: Coogan and Brydon, as themselves, are on a restaurant tour in northern England. Their relationship is somewhat strained by mutual jealousy and respect; the centerpiece of each episode is their improvised dinner conversations, which features plenty of clever banter and many more impressions (Ray Winstone, Al Pacino, and Stephen Hawking to name a few).
And though it’s a self-conscious comedy, there’s a bit of an emotional core, as Coogan tries to resolve things with his ex-girlfriend. All of these elements seem sort of disparate, and yet The Trip is the most organic, understated comedy series in a long time.
Unfortunately, you can’t watch it in the U.S. yet, so I’ve been downloading it from that bittorrent site Buccaneer Cove or whatever it’s called.
I’m working through the five-episode Tales of Monkey Island, the lovely revival of the classic LucasArts adventure series. I remember the first time I played The Curse of Monkey Island when it came on the demo disc of an issue of PC Gamer. Luckily, the new Monkey Island holds up much better than PC Gamer. It’s clever, nostalgic, and each episode only takes a couple hours to beat, perfect if you want to feel like you’re accomplishing something on a Sunday afternoon.
I still rely on free walkthroughs from GameFAQs as much as I did as a kid (although who could really figure out that you’re supposed to light a Bomb with the Grease Fire, use it with the Frilly Pink Underwear, then scale the Clothesline to commandeer a pirate ship?). But that never really diminished the experience. Monkey Island is just as funny as ever, or at the very least, I’m proud I never outgrew it.
I’m glad you asked Kevin,
How lame is it that I finally bought into Kanye’s new album the same day Pitchfork gave it their first 10.0 in nearly a decade? But I’d actually like to recommend Jonny Greenwood’s score for the film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, which I downloaded from a leak site* over the weekend. I adored Greenwood’s work on There Will Be Blood, and while I obviously don’t know how well these new compositions will work in the movie itself, I can say that, for normal listening, they sound even better at first blush. They’re more melodic and less abrasive, but they retain an unsettling edge that evokes lingering insecurity. Really nice.
*Future EvE topic?
I’m reading Free Darko’s Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History. This is basically the perfect holiday gift for any sports fan in your life. The book is gorgeous: one guy, Jacob Weinstein, put together all the design, illustration, and layout work, and it all looks great while being totally readable and more educational than most textbooks. The dude is just super talented. And the essays, as you’d expect from FD, are thoughtful, erudite, and offer different perspectives than typical sports writing. It’s worth buying just for the seems-like-a-ridiculous-stretch-but-somehow-makes-sense analogy between 18th century English agriculture and the NBA in the 50s and 60s.
I’ve been watching a ton of Oregon football, and with only two games left, this weekend’s matchup against Arizona might be your last best chance to see a fascinatingly unique team in action before they play in the national championship game (and they will). To call back to our VYou conversation, Chuck Klosterman thinks this is the most exciting offense he’s ever seen, and I don’t think I can argue with that. Their drives are like lightning strikes, over in a second but stunning to witness, and the atmosphere surrounding the team, from their goofy mascot to weird play-calling schemes to hideous uniforms, is so much fun to watch. This is sports-as-entertainment at its finest.
(I didn’t pick a show because I’m only watching two besides sports right now, and I’m pretty sure you want to talk about the one I have an interesting opinion on. So I’ll offer you a prompt about it instead: is The Trip the most grown-up television show you’ve ever seen?)
Did you have a Dreamcast? I did, and I loved the hell out of that thing. One of the cool things about the rise of downloadable games is that a lot of the classics from that system have reemerged on new platforms. On Xbox Live, you can get Rez, Ikaruga, Mark of the Wolves, Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure and others great stuff I’m probably forgetting. And just released for the iPhone…Chu Chu Rocket! Such an awesome game AND it still holds up AND it controls really well on the phone. Games from that era usually feel kind of odd, stuck between modernity and nostalgia, but I’m really enjoying reliving this one. And at $3, it’s an absolute steal.
So that’s what’s up with me and culture these days. How about you?
What are you listening to/reading/watching/playing at the moment?
I had a tough time with this. I decided to go with one that I’ve seen posted over and over again through the years, that never fails to make me stare for a couple of minutes, that has actual real-world utility, and that was created specifically as an animated GIF:
How a sewing machine works.