Archive for the ‘Chaz’s Best of 2010’ category

My TEN FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOWS of 2010! (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 26, 2011

Here's to another good year of television!

Oh television, the glowing spirit box that is my wisest teacher, loyalest friend and sexiest teacher. As someone who could work the VCR before I could walk, I’ve had a special relationship with the medium. Even during those years at college when my compatriots were boasting how they didn’t have a TV in their room, I opted instead to not be pretentious and keep the good times rollin’ in half-hour and full-hour blocks.

Now, if TV has one flaw (and believe me, there’s only one) it’s that there’s just too much of it. I know it’s impossible to see everything the miracle cube has to offer, and that’s why I should say right now that I *know* I need to watch ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Modern Family,’ and ‘Archer.’ There’s just so much great stuff out there, combined with the never-ending replay value of ‘To Catch a Predator’ re-runs, that it can get overwhelming. So if I missed anything you thought I would love, be sure to let me know. Otherwise, Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza continues with my favorite television of 2010!

10 ) The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

Yes, they had to reshoot the pilot and it got off to a bit of a rocky start, but once Will Arnett came to Europe to directly interact with Cross the show took off! Cross played Todd Margaret, arguably the single most dislikable irredeemable protagonist on television. Outside a few early retooling, it was as dark as comedy got and had more than enough flinching fun to earn a spot on this list!

9 ) Eastbound & Down

As much as I kinda think Baseball is OK, season 2 of ‘Eastbound and Down’ really benefitted from getting away from the sport and focusing on the great Kenny Powers character in everyday life. Of course, by everyday life I mean rolling around Mexico as only he can. This season they went deeper into the character, his familial history and it lead to even heartier laughs. “I thought you were a whore with a heart of gold but it turns out you’re just a whore with a regular whore’s heart” is easily my favorite quotable of the year.

8 ) United States of Tara

Showtime had a strong year, and Dakota Fanning’s Diablo Cody’s United States of Tara was arguably their best offering. The real star of this season was Patton Oswalt whose “Neil” character was among the most endearing real portrayals of a regular dude on television. It’s hard to say what it is I see in you, wonder if I’ll always be with you. Words can’t say and I can’t do too much about the show without getting into spoiler territory but even as someone who isn’t much of a Cody fan, some of the best writers in TV today are working on the show and I highly recommend giving it a shot if you haven’t.

7 ) Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town

One of the most important times for me growing up was when I was home for that hour between 1:00 and 2:00 PM. It was then that, since I was six-years-old, I had my sense of humor shaped by Canadian sketch troupe the Kids in the Hall through back-to-back reruns of their self-titled sketch show. Neither my parents nor my friends until high school really *got* it, so flipping my gourd over The Eradicator and The Cincinnati Kid felt like my own secret treasure. Fifteen years later, thanks to my DVR, that hour was special again. ‘Death Comes to Town’ was the troupe at their best, delivering a miniseries about a small Canadian town in the thralls of scandal. Subtle, quirky and unapologetically them, ‘Death Comes to Town’ was a head-crushing crowd pleaser.

6 ) Dexter

So the first half of this season of ‘Dexter’ was bad. Really, really bad. But just when it looked like a shark’s fin was surfacing, Wendy West (the show’s best writer – look her up!) saved the day with the “Everything is Illuminated” episode and the show caught fire once again. Jordan Chase is arguably Dexter’s greatest foe yet, Lundy lurking in the shadows added extra suspense and Julia Stiles was so great as Lumen that I began entering rap battles under the name “Julia Stylez.”

5 ) South Park

‘South Park’ has always been great, but after 2008’s lackluster 12th season, things seemed a bit dire. Luckily they bounced back hard with a fantastic 13th season and kept the momentum going through this past year. Most notably, 2010 gave us their 200th and 201st episode, among the ballsiest and most controversial they’ve ever aired. The debate it struck over whether or not to air an image of Mohammad cut to the very core of what makes the show one of the most consistent of all time.

4 ) Tha Late Night Warz II

How great was this? I mean, while I won’t go as far as some and call Leno an outright hack, I believe he’s at his most interesting when he’s being a dick. Case in point, Leno making Kanye West cry on national television was the far-and-away the greatest moment of broadcast television in 2009. That being said, there’s few things greater than a dick getting a public flogging from the comfort of home. Letterman was the most entertaining he’d been since coming to CBS after finally being able to sound off on “Big Jaw Leno,” and Conan got to have his cake and eat it too by dragging his unsupportive network over hot coals and still going out with class. But the #ether moment had to go to Jimmy Kimmel who got to dis Leno to his face. Flawless victory. Fatality.

3 ) Party Down

The best reason to have Netflix streaming, ‘Party Down’ had a fabulous second season. While Jane Lynch left for Fox’s ‘Glee,’ Megan Mullally took her place and the show remained just as strong. With easily the best selected ensemble cast since ‘The Office’ and the perfectly timed directing of Fred Savage, ‘Party Down’ is destined to be a celebrated cult classic. A must see.

2 ) Delocated

The best way I’ve heard ‘Delocated’ described is “unfairly funny.” From the mind of ‘Conan’ writer Jon Glaser, this fake reality show about a family in the witness protection program just keeps excelling into the comedy stratosphere. The addition of always awesome Jerry Minor as “Mighty Joe Jon, the Black Blond” made for one of the funniest new characters on television. There’s a good chance this might go down as Adult Swim’s greatest contribution to the world, so don’t miss a frrt!

1 ) Community

Heart. Laughs. Hearty laughs. It’s a show that just keeps getting better. The best thing NBC has going on their Thursday nights, ‘Community’ picked up where it’s contemporaries began losing steam and gave us a show as unpredictable as it is constantly rewarding. For instance, the clip above gave a character an entire subplot in the foreground without once even being hinted at until the very end of the show. No other comedy is really doing that, and that’s why ‘Community’ is number one-one-one-hu-haa!

Seriously, watch 'Party Down.'

So until next time… let’s agree to agree!

The FIVE BEST LIVE ACTS I SAW IN 2010 (C.A.T.T.L.E.) (I GOT 5 HONEST)

January 25, 2011

As we’ve said so far during Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza, 2010 was a pretty fantastic year for music. But many were shocked to find out last year that music actually existed outside of the internet! These music exhibitions, otherwise known as concerts, are mostly held so greedy old people can bleed other old people for cash. However, there were more than a handful of performances that were not only outstanding works of art, but ranks among my favorite moments of the year. So now join me and some grainy iPhone footage as we look back on the five best live acts I saw in 2010!

I liked the part when they did songs!

5) HOMEBOY SANDMAN (June 1st , S.O.B.’s)

Kicking off the summer right was Homeboy Sandman’s record release show at S.O.B.’s. Not only was everybody who’s anybody in New York Hip-Hop there, but at least half of the audience were real life warm-blooded supporters not afraid to have a great time. With easily hundreds of fans and friends there to celebrate the rise of The Good Sun, it was just as powerful to see Sandman make his way around the room and treat every person in attendance like the most important person there. But this is all secondary to an amazing career-spanning performance that featured as many new favorites as underground anthems the usually-fickle Manhattan crowd was happy to chant right along with. The clip above was my favorite moment of the show when I was (to my surprise) invited on-stage along with Kosha Dillz for a freestyle over Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine.”

4) SAGE FRANCIS (June 25th, Webster Hall)

But as June began with the end of one career’s beginning, it ended with another’s touring career’s end. Longtime favorite of mine, Sage Francis set the final performance of his Li(f)e tour to be at New York’s Webster Hall, and it was bittersweet to be there for that last hurrah. Backed by Free Moral Agents with songs spanning from 1997 (shockingly breaking out his reinterpretation of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” from his days fronting AOI) through his entire discography and closing with “The Best of Times,” it was a great goodbye to one of the most reliable live performers in the genre as he passed the torch to labelmate B.Dolan.

3) PACE WON (September 3rd, FatBeats) / RAH DIGGA (October 21st, Sullivan Hall)

I’ve probably listened to The Outsidaz’s Night Life EP more than any other CD in my collection, but they sadly dissolved when I was 15 so I was never able to see them. It was great to fulfill a decade’s desire to finally see two of the Outsidaz family live. As unfortunate as it was to see FatBeats closing, it gave us a great week of performances, the best of which was Pace Won. Performing a dream setlist of his most known singles and Outsidaz verses, along with plenty of anecdotes in between, it was a great goodbye to the Home of New York Hip-Hop. On a much happier note, Rah Digga’s performance was the highlight of CMJ. While she also ran through her most known singles and even a medley of her posse cut verses, her set ran the gauntlet of emotions as she seamlessly wove in her new material to an absolutely captivated New York crowd.

2) THE TOILET BOYS (June 14th, Le Poisson Rouge)

During my “Punk Rawk” High School years, there was no band I wanted to see live more than the Toilet Boys. Introduced to me by their ties to Troma Studios, I was never given the chance to see the fire-breathing glam rockers live as the Great White incident pretty much ensured they would never get booked again. So imagine my surprise when longtime friend and homie Ray Willis called me on a Monday afternoon to tell me that not only were the Toilet Boys having a surprise “dress rehearsal” reunion show THAT NIGHT, but it was FREE. At a price that fit my budget perfectly, I attended and felt myself step right back into 2002. The jam was awesome. The crowd roared like a lion. It really whipped a hyena’s ass. PLUS, I caught a t-shirt. What more could you want?

1) PRINCE (December 18th, Madison Square Garden)

Not unlike Mortal Kombat II, nothing in the world could have prepared me for this. As a child of the Twin Cities, I’ve grown up with the mythology of Prince as far back as I can remember. Of course, seeing the Purple One in our shared homestate is a near-impossibility and, even then, the setlists have reportedly been mostly new material. When he announced the Coming 2 America tour, I had to see it. Absolutely spellbinding. Words cannot express what a show this was, but this setlist might help make you understand. He gave it all and we took every bit of it. A great end to a great year.

He's writing about me!

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

The TOP TEN RAP SONGS OF 2010 (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

January 19, 2011

What will YOU even remember about this year?

Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza begins with probably my favorite thing to talk about: rap music. I’m sure you have plenty of websites telling you how great their lists are who really just want to invite their readers to a “pat yourself on the back”-fest. Not here.

My credentials are that I listen to a lot of rap music and have for some time. I evaluated each song on a scale of how much I liked it. I didn’t factor in social significance or success. I also didn’t factor in songs with great moments that suffered from the rest of the song. As great as that one Nicki Minaj verse was, let’s not forget it came from a song that suffered from Jay-Z saying “loooooooove.” No sex with a pharaoh can change that.

My favorite year end lists have always been the honest ones. I don’t read them to see how much my favorite writers agree with me, rather I hope to catch any of the great music that came out last year that I may have missed. That in mind, following my top ten I included a list of unranked ten songs that I still think are pretty incredible and worth a listen. Check them out. They’re great. Now, this was the best year for rap since the 90s, so let’s talk about rap music…

Music is a lot like love, it's all a feeling...

10 ) Bun-B “Press Play”

Now Bun-B’s 2010 album Trill…O.G. was pretty terrible and easily the worst album he’s ever been involved with. With its watered-down production and underwhelming performance it was basically a UGK album for people who hate UGK. What was most disappointing about it was that his mixtape featured a song like “Press Play.” Produced by Statik Selektah, it was Bun reminding us he was still one of the best rappers in the world in a new, refreshing soundscape. 32 bars of greatness, exactly how to build a bridge between Port Arthur and Brooklyn.

9 ) Homeboy Sandman – “Mean Mug”

The crown jewel of Homeboy Sandman’s fantastic The Good Sun album, “Mean Mug” was the best deconstruction of a sourpuss and reasoning for why they’re not in style in 2010. Catchy, well-written and not heavy-handed in the slightest, it’s a shining example of why Boysand is one of New York’s favorite sons.

8 ) Sage Francis – “The Best of Times”

The final song on what may be his final album, Sage Francis’ “The Best of Times” is not only the perfect bookend to a great body of work, but an enjoyable exploration of self-examination. It’s Francis at his most vulnerable and confident and stands perhaps the definitive statement of his career.

7 ) E-40 f/ Too $hort – “Bitch”

The only thing better than hearing the fire reignited beneath Too $hort is having him alongside one of the most dependable rappers in the game. On “Bitch,” 40 Water and Short Dog explain that not all bitches are women. In this new decade, this is the type of “music with a message” I can get behind.

6) Lil B – “New York Subway”

What a year for the #based one. Along with being the best rapper on Twitter, Lil B knocked his highly anticipated Red Flame mixtape out of the park with “New York Subway.” While he’s perhaps most known for being shocking, the subtle detail of “New York Subway” perfectly captures what being in New York in December is like. Lil B is for real, and the power of this song cannot be denied.

5 ) Dez and Nobs f/ P.O.S. – “Underbelly”

The closer of the duo’s analog modern classic Rocky Dennis, “Underbelly” sees them joined by Doomtree member P.O.S. for a pill fueled lament that also boasts some of the best technical rapping today. As heartbreaking as it is, Nobs’ warm MPC-based production gives it a classic New York feel.

4 ) Domo Genesis f/ Tyler, the Creator – “Super Market”

2010 was undoubtably the year of Odd Future, and this song is a shining example why. Producer/rapper Tyler and Domo exchange absurd barbs between two angry teenagers in a super market that acts as a series of trump cards over a swaggering bulldozer of a production. Amazing.

3 ) Danny Brown – “Guitar Solo”

If you’ve never heard of Danny Brown before, start with his song “Exotic” and then come back to this, his masterpiece. Best described by rapper Despot as “all the members of the Outsidaz rolled into one,” What I love about Detroit’s Danny Brown is that his music has a genuine unpredictability that’s been missing from rap music. He keeps me guessing with his verses, even on repeat listens, without sacrificing any of his soul. This is best heard on “Guitar Solo,” one of his album The Hybrid‘s more serious moments, it quickly dips into poverty stricken Detroit character studies before cliffhanger endings, as if the people discussed are trapped within the self-awareness of the song.

2 ) Beeda Weeda – “Baserock Babies”

DJ Fresh is picking up where the Hyphy Movement in the Bay Area left off, and he’s ready to explode. Not since Rick Rock’s production on Turf Talk’s West Coast Vaccine has the Yay given such a progressive slap to rap production. Riding the beat like a coin-operated carousel is Beeda Weeda, who you remember from last year’s “No Hoe” remix. Here, instead, he breaks down exactly what it was like being a product of the 80s. But this isn’t another “back in the day” song, rather a stripped down this-is-how-it-really-was fact-check that shows no matter what the scene is, things aren’t that different.

1 ) Earl Sweatshirt – “Stapleton”

We’ve all see the “EARL” video with the teenagers who kill themselves and yes, it is great. As brash and in-your-face as that is, Earl is an outstanding technical rapper and it’s what he hides in his songs that make him incredible. The last verse here speaks not only to his persona being the product of a deadbeat father, but parallels the ageist Hip-Hop generation predating him of boom-bap dinosaurs that raised the post-Rawkus “real Hip-Hop” sect to sound like soulless 40-year-olds. An amazing performance from one of rap’s most compelling new voices and the best rap song of 2010.

Almost...

Honorable Mentions:

Atmosphere – “To All My Friends”
Big Boi f/ Andre 3000 – “Lookin For Ya”
Curren$y – “Life Under the Scope”
Mac Lethal – “Cover My Tracks”
Mike G. – “Crazh”
Rick Ross f/ Jay-Z “Free Mason”
Roc Marciano – “Ridin Around”
Shad – “Rose Garden”
Soulja Boy – “First Day of School”
Waka Flocka Flame – “Hard in the Paint”
Young L – “Drop Top Swag”

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

WELCOME to CHAZ’S ARBITRARY TOP TEN LIST EXTRAVAGANZA BEST OF 2010 OPINION-AS-FACT-TACULAR!

January 10, 2011

At the gym I work-out at, getting ready to rundown the year in entertainment!

Welcome back my friends to the show that ends once a year. As I stated last year around this time, January is a cultural deadzone. With the exceptions of Cloverfield and the birth of JustKait, nothing remotely artistically worthwhile has ever, ever happened this month. That’s why when all those other blogs spend the last weeks of December scurrying to make their top ten lists, I kick back with a egg nog, a Yule Log DVD and a plate of Red Lobster Cheddar-Bay Biscuits and relax, saving my sharp eye, keen ear and forked tongue for the unbearable 31 days when it’s really needed. Those days are upon us now, and you need my opinions, thoughts, and YouTube links more than ever.

It was the year 2010, you could say what you want, but now that another candle is on planet Earth’s birthday cake, it’s my turn to pick up the torch and let you know what was the very best in everything, that is, except for explanation as to how magnets works.

So without any further depardu, IT’S TIME FOR CHAZ’S ARBITRARY TOP TEN LIST EXTRAVAGANZA’S BEST OF 2010 OPINION-AS-FACT-TACULAR!

First post goes up this week. Get ready.

So, until next time…let’s agree to agree!