Music challenge for serious listeners.

I was working on a compilation of my favorite songs of the decade when the esteemed and annoying Lou O’Bedlam challenged me to rank them in order of preference. I thought it was nuts, but I found myself with some free time and I think I’ve managed to do it. The process was surprisingly enlightening and loads of fun, so I’m putting the challenge to the universe.

This isn’t meant to be a boring, critical look at the “best” songs of the last ten years, but just the tracks you love most from this decade that used to be the future.

Remixes are cool, as are remixes and covers of old songs as long as the remix or cover was released in 2000-2009, i.e. Johnny Cash’s 2003 cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” or any of the remixes from The Beatles’ Let It Be… Naked. No live versions of old songs! Everybody’s top 13 tracks would be the entirety of Daft Punk’s Alive 2007.

This sounds daunting but it’s not that hard. If you use iTunes, for example, you can create a Smart Playlist that will compile only songs with a “Year” setting greater than 1999. You should also inspect your physical collection to make sure you didn’t forget anything.

When you’ve got the Master List, pick your favorite songs and dump them into another playlist and just listen to that playlist all the fucking time. You’ll find yourself eliminating the chaff and beginning to sort your Final List. I finished mine in just a couple of weeks. Megan Harris finished hers in just a few minutes.

Upon completion of your Final List, blog it before New Year’s Eve. Embellish in any way you like. I intend to offer close friends an enormous download of all 100 songs re-metatagged into a new album sorted in order from 100-1 with unique artwork so they can play my compilation on any software player or mobile device.

Trust me, it’s fun.

(And I know what you’re thinking, but everyone on the planet thinks the oughties started in 2000 so that’s what we’re working with.)


Krypto by Francis Manapul.

Ink wash sketch of Superboy’s best friend Krypto, done for me by ADVENTURE COMICS artist Francis Manapul. Some people think Krypto is stupid. Those people are stupid!

Francis’ work is some of my favorite in recent comics art, so I hope you’ll check out Francis’ site and read his new book, THE FLASH, coming sometime in 2010, I think.


Hyphocity, Summer 2009.


The hyphocity photo sets document my miscellaneous existence.

Summer 2009 was another eventful season of fun travel, brilliant music and amazing friends. There was Comic-Con, two Underworld shows, two Nine Inch Nails shows, a baby's christening, many nights out and of course numerous trips down to the pool.

As some of you may know, I'm something of a Flickr addict, and I routinely upload photographs of my adventures within a few days of experiencing them. I catalogue said activities into specific sets as well as a massive set encompassing the whole season's events so I can watch a slideshow of my memories, often with my own soundtrack playing in the background. I thought you might want to do the same thing.

I did swipe three or four photos of the girls from a club photographer's website, and I stole the shot of Carré Callaway (aka Queen Kwong) opening for Nine Inch Nails from Flickr, as I just wasn't close enough to the stage to get a good shot of my friend performing.

So here's what the summer looked and sounded like through (mostly) my eyes and ears.

Or, if you prefer, here's a straight, non-video slideshow (also available in fullscreen)

Or, if you prefer, here's the Flickr photo album.


So Long, CBR...

It’s not without some sadness that I tell you this is my last day at Comic Book Resources. After three years, it’s time for me to discover what’s next. I’d never before been employed by one company for three years straight, so I’m very grateful to CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland for making it possible for me to make a living in the comic book business, and for being a good friend and boss.

In the last three years, I’ve been privileged to represent CBR at trade shows and press events around the U.S., author more than three hundred articles and interviews with some of the coolest talents in comics and film, and contribute to thousands of other CBR features. CBR’s grown to become the leading comics website of its kind, and in 2009 won its first Eisner Award for Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism. I am proud to have had a hand in those achievements.

I’m also pleased to have committed a few acts of journalism at my time with CBR, like breaking the Minx cancellation story and my subsequent interviews with most of the imprint’s creative roster. But more than that, I’m happy to have helped bring wider attention to Jonathan Hickman, whose The Nightly News is arguably the best graphic novel of the decade; and to have given a platform to Timothy Callahan, whose insights into comic books enrich my already huge appreciation for the medium and its classic characters. Interviewing Tori Amos and walking around the bank set from The Dark Knight were also pretty cool.

Web content is a tough job and demands more of us than most readers will ever realize, so my hat’s off to anybody in this area of the business who endeavors to do good work. My particular gig at CBR was to operate even further behind-the-scenes than most, so I am very grateful to the creators, journalists and marketing staffers who’ve taken the time to say kind things about my work, including: Scott Allie, Axel Alonso, Chris Arrant, Jeremy Atkins, Nick Barrucci, Anne Chun, Jacq Cohen, Dennis Culver, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, David Hahn, Jonathan Hickman, Rantz Hoseley, Sam Humphries, Geoff Johns, Joe Keatinge, Ralph Macchio, Heidi MacDonald, Jim McCann, Jamie McKelvie, Mark Millar, Chip Mosher, JK Parkin, Jim Valentino, and Brian Wood. I’d also like to say a special thank you to Marvel’s Arune Singh, who had this job before me, yet always made it feel like he was just down the hall anyway.

Thanks again to Jonah Weiland for everything he’s done for me, and also to my fellow CBR contributors for their hard work and friendship. I wish you guys and CBR the very best in the future.


Underworld Trek 2009.

IMG_3037.JPG by you.

My favorite band is Underworld. They were set to play three shows over three days in three different cities, and my girlfriend Stepho and my friend Sam and I followed them to each date: Las Vegas, Oakland and Los Angeles.

It was awesome. Except for L.A., where Underworld was to headline the HARD Summer festival.

Riot Police emptied the Forum last night. We got out just in time. Hooligans got the whole festival shut down before any of the bands played. I am so fucking bummed. This trek was a huge deal for me.

Clusterfuck is really the only appropriate word. Everything about this event went wrong, from the minute you arrived at the venue. I won’t be surprised if this puts HARD out of business, what with refunding all the tickets (i assume), paying the artists and paying the venue. Not to mention the serious damage to HARD’s reputation. This is a class A disaster.

  • There was no order at all to the entrances, it was anarchy — people climbing over walls and shit.
  • Inside, nobody knew how to get down on the floor level. The staff were wall imbeciles, nobody could even tell you were the second stage was.
  • Frustrated with the lack of access, some hooligans started jumping over the wall of the bleacher section and onto the floor.
  • Fire marshall came in and caused some trouble, prompting the organizers to BEG people to sit down and back away from railings. Nearly everybody did but even 1.5 hours later the music still had not resumed.
  • Riot police called in, rumors of a fatality.
  • Finally, everybody noticed the sound guys packing up and Tweets and Texts from the outside said Underworld and Chromeo and the other artists had already left the building.

Total fucking FAIL.

My friends and I did the whole trek: Vegas, Oakland and back home to LA, and it was such a big deal to me to do this. I am crushed and furious. I’m embarrassed for my city.

Underworld were amazing in Vegas and Oakland, though, and seeing them two nights in a row and meeting up with old friends in both cities was an amazing experience.

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