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01.13.21 Year-End Albums That Passed Me By07.31.20 Criterion Collection Haul (Part II)
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Criterion Collection Haul (Part I)

Barnes and Noble coinciding one of their twice-annual Criterion Collection sales with me getting my quarterly commission check is always a dangerous combo, so I've given myself a budget. Here's the haul so far, along with some recent digs.
1The Appleseed Cast
The Fleeting Light of Impermanence


Being John Malkovich: An absolute classic, and one that it's been long enough since I've seen that it'd basically be like watching the film anew.
Album notes: Relistening to this one pretty regularly, and I really feel like it was slept on for a lot of the year-end best of lists for 2019. Definitely this band's best output since the Owls, and "Time the Destroyer" simply slays.
2Dogleg
Melee


The Friends of Eddie Coyle: Actually going into this bad boy cold, though I read and really liked the book back in my college days. Plus, I mean, Robert Mitchum? Come on now.
Album notes: Luckily snagged this one at my recently reopened local record shop, which is doubly awesome since it seems like, despite being released this year, it's already out of print? Either way, super fun, energetic, singalong pop-punk, which is some of the pick-me-up magic we can all use these days.
3Hum
Inlet


Godzilla: Showa-Era Films:: Easily the biggest-ticket item on the list, but worth every red cent fo sho. 15 O.G. Gojira and kaiju classics, and some pretty killer displayable packaging, as well. If you're any kind of Godzilla fan and have the expendable funds, treat yo self while this monstrosity is half-off.
Album notes: Been on steady rotation since they quietly dropped it last month. Haven't lost a step in two decades--and, by the by, "Step Into You" is a gotdang BANGER, but one made all the more propulsive by its context among some of the best spacey compositions this side of early-day Rosetta.
4Haim
Women In Music, Pt. III


Hunger: A blu-ray upgrade to an existing DVD in my collection, but well worth the double-dip. Not sure I'd call it Steve McQueen's best, but an absolutely riveting and complexly layered film. And that centerpiece scene between Fassbender and a pre-Onion Knight Liam Cunningham? Basically a masterful one-act play in and of itself.
Album notes: Still digesting this one, at its robust 16 tracks, but hey, I'll take too much of a good thing anyday, especially since there aren't any particularly lacking or lagging stretches that feel easy to trim. Get the feeling I'll end up pruning it into a select top half, but for now, it's quantity time!
5Dance Gavin Dance
Afterburner


Lone Wolf + Cub: Another one new to me, outside of knowing its general reputation. Plus, it compiles all six films, so if even half of them are worthy, that'll still be a solid batting average.
Album notes: This one's growing on me, though probably/admittedly a step down from their last few (though I'm still in the minority that thinks Instant Gratification may be the best of the Tilian era, so, y'know, feel free to ignore me). Still, some great tracks here, and the front half in particular is super-engaging.
6Katie Malco
Failures


Naked: Actually picked this up on the recommendation of another Criterion mainstay, Greta Gerwig, who cited it as a surprising influence on her performance in Frances Ha. Plus, I've loved David Thewlis in virtually everything I've seen him in, so a lot of solid backing for this one, even sight unseen.
Album notes: I'd mount my soapbox and shout about how this one is criminally overlooked around these here parts (so far, at least), though that'd be hugely hypocritical, as I only came across this by virtue of AV Club's mid-year music review. If this hasn't crossed your path, though, do yourself a favor and check it out, especially if you're a fan of fellow 6131 labelmate Julien Baker.
7Trixie Mattel
One Stone


Paris is Burning: A gift for my partner, who, bless her heart, has slowly but surely worn me down into something of a Drag Race fanboy. It'd feel queasy at best, if not outright disingenuous to say I'm fully enmeshed in the culture, though, so hoping this'll be some elucidating viewing for me, selfishly, while also making for a pretty good present.
Album notes: Speaking of Drag Race, this alum has a pretty solid classic country sound that might get unjustly overlooked as "gimmicky," but who goofy persona belies a true and substantial musical talent.
8Owen
The Avalanche


Watership Down: Another blu-ray upgrade (which may be a bit silly given that it's animation, but what can ya do?), this film sticks with you long after viewing. We're talking years. Transcends both its era and it medium--and, to that latter point, sort of represents a tragic road-not-taken when it comes to Western animation as a rich, nuanced vehicle for "grown-up" storytelling, at least for the subsequent couple of decades.
Album notes: Yeesh, what a brutal listen. But gorgeous, too, which helps to swallow some of the wallowing bitterness. Some occasional lyrical clunkers (looking at you, "I Should've Know"), which are more than made up for by the poignancy, scathing introspection, & odd moment of catharsis on display almost everywhere else. Also enhanced by the sheer coincidence that I finally mustered up the willpower to work through the homestretch of BoJack Horseman (speaking of adult-geared animation...), which is a pretty apt thematic/spiritual companion for this record.
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