Joe Cardamone: The 11 best things I saw or heard in 2017

a press shot of Joe Cardamone

It’s been a big year for former Icarus Line frontman Joe Cardamone. Having spent the last 12 months alternately squirelled away working on his upcoming Holy War Collection – the first taste of which has recently been unveiled in the form of new single New Cross, which you can hear at the bottom of the page – or touring the world with former Screaming Trees man Mark Lanegan, there’s nary been chance for the art-rock innovator to catch his breath.

But everyone needs their downtime, don’t they? So, join Joe as he talks us through the best things he found time to watch or listen to in 2017. Warning: plentiful obscure art contained within.

1) Mother!

“I think it was Miles Davis or John Coltrane that said ‘Jazz doesn’t tell you a story, it tells you your story’. Darren [Aronofsky, director] has made some of my favourite modern films. I can still remember the beating that Requiem For A Dream gave me when I went to see it in the theatre. I was taxed. Black Swan brought art back to horror a few years ago, leaning on Argento’s best parts and even later Kubrick. I loved it. Mother! is another kind of beast all together. Everyone who I have spoken to that has seen it has a completely different explanation for its meaning. I took it very personally. An artist pillages his personal life to find a nugget of alchemy until his woman and home have been reduced to ash. Then from those ashes he creates something meaningful and starts all over again. Obviously this is over-simplified, but this is my quick takeaway from a brilliant piece of work. The film moves at the speed of creativity but also has a laboured amount of detail. Critics universally panned it, but after seeing the flick all I could think was ‘This isn’t meant for critics at all’.”

2) Yves Tumor – Experiencing The Deposit Of Faith

“I didn’t find time to really dig into [dance musician] Yves until this year, so most of the year was consumed with [2016 breakout album] Serpent Music, but in the tail end of the year I moved into Deposit… It’s hard to describe sounds that are 100% emotional intelligence. So much of his output is layered with laced memories. I would very often flip this on when we were filming a silent scene for one of my shorts and it always moved the subjects into the right place. Grateful for this.”

3) The Transfiguration

“This film may have been released last year, but it didn’t see wider release until 2017. It came to me on recommendation of my cinematographer/partner Jacob. At its most simple, the film is a vampire flick – which I’m a sucker for. I’ll take it any way I can get it, sometimes. A young kid growing up an outcast in a rougher building in NYC that is fascinated with blood drinking. Vampire from the projects. Go rent that.”

4) Annie Hardy – Rules

Rules is a record that I had a lot to do on. Annie and I have collaborated in various capacities for many moons at this point. On the back of some heavy tragedies, we agreed to make a recording. A document to process the grief and hope for life beyond loss. I think that she came out the other side with something powerful, funny and honest. One of the best records I ever had the pleasure of being a part of.”

5) Dunkirk

“Won’t lie. I didn’t go see this in an IMAX and have my face ripped off like some people reported back to me. Ian and I intended to go see it and b-lined for Good Time instead. Whoops. I saw it in my bunk with headphones on a tourbus. I think the fact that we were on the coast of the UK at the time helped, though. This film has received wide praise, so I probably don’t have much to add except that to my mind this is modern blockbuster storytelling at its best. The narrative is all over the place at times, but it serves the chaos of war. The entire movie is about humans trying to escape death and helping others escape. All the performances are on point and the score by Hans [Zimmer] is perfect.”

6) Oneohtrix Point Never – The Pure And The Damned ft. Iggy Pop

“This track cut direct to the heart of my existence when I heard it. Forget Post Pop Depressing or whatever, no not that. This is what I want to hear from Iggy at his age and place. Probably the best vocal/track I have heard Iggy on in 30 years. Such a beautiful moment for him. I continue to share this track with people, because everyone who loves good music should hear it.”

7) Get Out

“Louis CK is going out of biz. Too bad, because I thought his TV show was really good and pointed in the direction that comedy is going – or in a direction it can go. Thankfully, we have Jordan Peel. Get out is a great horror/comedy/mystery movie for the times we live in. I think the budget for the film was like $4 million or something like that. How inspiring that you can take a budget like that and make a great piece of entertainment like this? Also, there’s nothing hollow about it. Seen this a few times, probably will again. Can’t wait to see what he does next.”

8) It Comes At Night

“This is another relatively low budget film (at least for mainstream standards) that wins by force of style and idea. The tone of this flick is slow and steady. Menace is omnipresent and the ending is a gut punch. A24 serving up scooby snacks for cool audiences.”

9) Twin Peaks: The Return

“The boss is back to share some more of his art life with us. The fact that something like this is even allowed to be made/shown on a major cable network saves my life. David has mastered the hustle and he also knows how to set a slow motion mind bomb. Some of the season is slow and painful but at certain points (episode seven or eight?) the tapestry of fucked explodes into existential nightmares that are so impressive it haunts you for days. When the nuclear bomb goes and the music starts you can’t help but be in awe of what he has done here. The world of visual story telling and visual poetry is all the better for Twin Peaks. This series also served as a reminder that Fire Walk With Me and Mulholland Drive are modern master works. David is doing it and you all can’t stop him. So great.”

10) Vice Principals

“Danny McBride, Jody Hill and Walton Goggins make ‘comedy’ personally tailored for my viewing pleasure. That’s how it seems. Showing the most horrible impulses and traits of human kind juxtaposed with the beauty of imperfection. I watched the series two-and-a-half times now. Walton almost steals the entire series with his portrayal of Lee. It seems like people either get their styles here or they don’t. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. This series is pure visionary work hiding within the comedy genre. There is not one performance that doesn’t come across pitch perfect and the tone never lets up for a minute. After Eastbound And Down ended, I felt a serious sense that nothing would be able to match up to how fucking funny it was and VPs isn’t as funny but it goes deeper into what makes humans interesting. That works for me.”

11) Ryuichi Sakamoto / Oneohtrix Point Never – andata

“What a beautiful track. I played this through the storms of Europe and still back at home I am hearing it. Just listen, that’s all. Both versions are equally amazing to me. Merry Christmas.”

Joe Cardamone’s single, New Cross, is out now. Catch the video below:

Enter the bizarre but brilliant world of Brazilian art-punks Deafkids

Opinion: How the U.S. Net Neutrality Repeal Could Affect Rock Artists and Fans