Austin L. Ray's Greatest Hits: The Paste Years, Volume 1

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Or: Some Retrospective Navel Gazing From Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed

So, this is my final List of the Day for Paste. This is also my final full-time week with the publication, and while I’m excited to be moving on to new things, it’s going to be weird not editing the majority of the content on this site, writing a list every week, poring over reader feedback, running meetings with interns and doing all the myriad things I’ve grown so accustomed to doing over the past five years.

I feel like it’s important to keep looking toward the future, and while I’ll be continuing in a freelance capacity around these parts, mostly writing comedy profiles and CD reviews, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent a good chunk of time this week looking back at my time here. After all, we can get all misty-eyed and sentimental, or we can remember the good times and vow to keep on having them. Below, then, is a chronological-order retrospective of sorts that I’m referring to as “Volume 1,” because there are always more stories to work on, always more overdramatic introductions to be written, always more everything. Anyway, I’m really going on here. Thanks for reading, folks. Catch you on the Twitter

Band of the Week: The Selmanaires
Back when Paste had a Band of the Week instead of an Artist of the Day, and back when I was still but a wee-baby intern, I wrote about the first group of Atlanta musicians that truly impressed me. These guys were the first of many.

Black Lips Tour, Talk New Album, Movie
Used to be, the Black Lips weren’t popular enough outside of their hometown to anchor (sorry!) a rock ‘n’ roll cruise ship. Good for them. It’s too bad that movie never happened, though.

Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
One of the most important albums of all time, now with extra Mike Watt!

Wayne Coyne Talks Touring, Sex and UFOs
Talking with the Flaming Lips frontman is always a memorable experience, but especially when he waxes thoughtful on Diet Coke Plus, Dane Cook and having sex with his wife.

Jens Lekman: The Best Medicine
It’s not every year you get to have a conversation with the guy that ends up making your favorite album of said year. “I used to write really shitty, gloomy songs about how everything sucked,” Lekman told me. “But I realized that everything sucked because I wrote those songs.”

Jann S. Wenner & Corey Seymour: Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson
“All that’s left now are Thompson’s words, many of them inspired. Instead of wallowing in his passing, readers might take a cue from his myth and celebrate the work.”

Man Man: Rabbit Habits
At the time, I was pretty proud of myself for shoehorning a Young Jeezy reference into the review of a spastic, art-rock band.

Izza Kizza: Dropping Rhymes and Replying to E-mail
In which the playful MC from Valdosta, Ga. talks about his favorite toothbrush, how he’s a “variety rapper” and all the mixtapes he’s going to release. Whatever happened to this guy?

Rhymes with Crouton: The Touching Story of Zach Galifianakis
“I’m standing outside the artist hospitality area at Bonnaroo, waiting for Galifianakis. As he approaches, wearing a blue striped shirt and khaki shorts, a sun hat dangling from his neck, he walks a direct line until he’s standing about 18 inches from me. ‘Austin? Austin?!?’ he says, sounding more panicked with each repetition, looking everywhere except directly into my face, despite the fact that he’s right in front of it. ‘GODDAMMIT!’”

Chuck Klosterman: Downtown Owl
Downtown Owl is the Seinfeld of novels. It’s a book about nothing. The characters are quirky, funny, interesting and, sometimes, just as loathsome as Jerry and the gang. Conflicts arise, but rarely are they resolved or even monstrously consequential.”

TV on the Radio: Dear Science
I got a lot of flak from friends and fellow critics for being one of the three or so people in the world to not flat-out adore the record, but I stand by this review. And the fact remains, at the end of the day: Even at its worst, TV on the Radio is pretty good.

Some Remarks on David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster from Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed
Following DFW’s self-imposed passing in late 2008, I took it upon myself to become educated in the vast and brilliant work of one of the Great American Writers. This is where my obsession started.

Working With Funny People is Hard: What RZA Learned On Set With Judd Apatow, Seth Rogen and Adam Sandler
Interviewing members of the Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nuthing ta fuck wit.

Thirty Reasons Why the Insane Clown Posse’s 2009 Gathering of the Juggalos Infomercial is the Greatest YouTube Clip Ever
Pro-tip: Before moving forward on an innocent idea like, “Hey, it would be fun to do a timestamped listicle about the Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos infomercial,” think very seriously for a moment about just how long you’d actually want to spend watching something like the Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos infomercial.

Best of What’s Next 2009: Gentleman Jesse
In which I speak with my favorite Atlanta musician for a piece that’s about as short as one of his pop-perfect songs.

Jay Reatard: Watch Me Fall
The album, by far Reatard’s most polished, would end up being his last.

Anger Management: Growing Up With Patton Oswalt
In which the 26-year-old me interviews the 40-year-old Oswalt.

All Those Yesterdays: Brendan O’Brien Reminisces on the Evolution of Pearl Jam and the Making of Backspacer
Speaking of age, High School Austin was so jealous when he found out I talked to the guy that produced Vs., Purple and Evil Empire!

The Jesus Lizard: Touch and Go Reissues
This one holds the distinction of being the only article of mine which includes a conversation between Scratch Acid/Jesus Lizard bassist David Wm. Sims and producer/rocker Steve Albini in the comments section.

Five Reasons Why Modern Family is Television’s Best New Comedy
It’s always fun discovering new, awesome things.

Five Reasons to Love Chicago Restaurant The Publican
Early last year, I went to a fantastic restaurant in Chicago. Then I raved about its food, beer, restrooms (seriously) and more on the internet.

Great Expectations 2010: Ted Leo
“I probably spend more time talking about Ted Leo than I should,” Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla sheepishly admits. “I’m a super fan. There is no way to not make this interview a totally geeky—I’m just tongue-tied. It’s ridiculous. I love Ted Leo. That’s pretty much how I talk about it. I get all hyperbolic. I actually find it kind of difficult to say anything intelligent about Ted Leo.”

Me, Myself and I: Ten Notable, Musical Alter Egos
Without Chris Gaines, we, as a people, are nothing.

Five Reasons Why You Should Go to w00tstock
I went to an amazing geek-variety show in Minneapolis and all I got was to stand in a room with Neil Gaiman, shake Wil Wheaton’s hand, a lousy (read: awesome) t-shirt and 3+ hours of entertainment!

Ten ‘00s Acts That Should Make Music Again
“Are there quality acts [other than Death From Above 1979] that started releasing music since 2000, and have, for whatever reason, stopped making music, and should start doing so again? Why yes, yes there are.”

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