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new MST3K host Jonah Ray tells us his top 10 mostly-music favorites of 2016

Jonah Ray

Comedian Jonah Ray got his start in comedy in 2004 and early on, his agilities as a writer, comedian, and actor were obvious. Couple that with his intense work ethic and the fact that he’s one of the nicest dudes around it’s no surprise that over the past 12 years Ray’s career has been on a consistent upward trajectory. Recent career highlights include three seasons of The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail, which served as one of the best surveys of stand-up comedy Comedy Central has produced in ages, and his stellar parody travel program Hidden America with Jonah Ray which you can/should definitely find over at Seeso and is currently in production of its second season. Jonah’s career “Holy Shit!” moment for me was the revelation that he has been tapped to host the highly anticipated revival of cult TV show Mystery Science 3000. Jonah’s career is also firmly entwined in music. Growing up in Hawaii, Jonah was in some rock and punk rock bands. His podcast Jonah Raydio generally features guests from various independent music scenes including Man Man, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Pup, and Har Mar Superstar. Jonah also teamed up with comedy website / label AST Records to create the Literally Figurative imprint, a comedy/music label aimed to feature “a comic on one side and band they are friends with on the other.” I am humbled that Jonah took to time to put together a Top 10 of 2016 for us. Enjoy!

Says Jonah…

Okay! This is a TOP TEN consisting of ten things I quite enjoyed this year. Most of it’s music. Some of it isn’t. Read on to find out! Oh! Also, it’s in no particular order. I find it hard enough to pair down the things you like, let alone quantify them in an order from “most liked” to “most really liked.” All and all though, it’s been a pretty great year…..I mean, for stuff coming out. Nearly everything else about this year has been TERRIBLE. But! In hindsight, it could be not so bad. For all we know, 2017 could be THE WORST year we’ve ever known…and it’s shaping up to be that way too!

Anyway, here’s the list!

1) PAWS – NO GRACE
Here’s my biggest complaint about the Glaswegian band PAWS: They aren’t more popular. As a kid, I would’ve reveled in the fact that they were obscure and not too many people knew who they were. As an adult that could care less about what’s popular and not popular ( read: Unpopular) I get worried that if this band doesn’t start picking up steam in the fan department, they could decide to call it quits. “No Grace” was produced by Mark Hoppus (member of cover band SNAKE PLISSKIN AND THE I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEADS) and is their third and best album. I’ve seen them live the two times they’ve been to Los Angeles and they have such a great live show. The drummer for Cloud Nothings was my favorite live drummer until I saw PAWS. Pick up this record and then throw some money at their GO FUND ME so they can afford to come and do another U.S. tour.

2) GREEN ROOM – dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Green Room is such an amazingly tense, brutal, violent, stylish and gore-filled movie about a touring punk band. The gist of it is that a band takes a gig to make enough money to make it home and the show ends up being a matinee show for Nazi Skinhead punks. Things during the set go well…but then everything goes to shit. I watched this with my wife at home and we were still jumping out of our seats yelling “OH SHIT!” scaring our animals into fits of fear pee. Also, I can’t think of another movie outside of the original SUBURBIA that has captured touring as a punk band as well as this movie.

3) Tickled – dir. David Farrier, Dylan Reeve
It’s hard to describe this movie without giving too much away. All I’ll say is watch it. Watch it with a bunch of friends and continually be weirded out by the journey this movie takes you on. I can say this: What starts off as a guy trying to do a story on the competitive tickling scene turns into a much weirder story….TRUST ME.

4) Ash Vs The Evil Dead
This show, with it’s pretty okay but not perfect first season, has consistently blown me away in it’s second. The jokes are non-stop. The gore is perfect. The directing style is so perfectly “RAIMI”. Almost every episode is rewatchable and has so much of the Bruce Campbell you love.

5) SIDE ONE DUMMY records
SIDE ONE DUMMY is having a bit of a hey day right now with a ton of great releases. One being PUP’s The Dream Is Over. This mother fucking record SLAYS. Tight, interesting, sing-a-long tunes that can turn the most jaded old punk into a teenage kid, pogo-ing the night away. As well as AJJ (formally Andrew Jackson Jihad) and their new album The Bible 2. This is the best work these boys have ever done. Insanely thoughtful and interesting lyrics accompanying music that sounds like the loudest moments of Neutral Milk Hotel. And of course Worry by Jeff Rosenstock, a very fun, upbeat record that sometimes goes into a SKA breakdown?! You think you wouldn’t be down for it…but then you are yelling “pick it up! pick it up! pick it up!” in your car on the way to watch Moana.

6) FLOWERS – dir. Will Sharpe
Full disclosure, FLOWERS is on Seeso. I have a show on Seeso as well (Hidden America). But this show…it’s the funniest show about depression, anxiety, and suicide. It’s so artfully done but without sacrificing humor (or since it’s made in Ol’ Blighty, “humour”). I mean, spoiler alert, but the opening scene is somebody trying to hang themselves but breaking the branch instead. OH! Also! It’s got Olivia Coleman AND Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh). Get a Seeso subscription JUST for this show….and then watch Hidden America if’n ya have the time.

7) HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
TAIKA WAITITI will go down, for me anyway, as one of the best and most diverse comedy directors of all time. Go see this movie. RICKY BAKER!!!!

8) FANTASTIC FEST
Fantastic Fest is a film festival put on by the psychos who run the ALAMO DRAFT HOUSE. It’s their genre film festival and it is by far what I look forward to the most every year. It all goes down at their multiplex in Austin, Texas. Just a ton of people there to just WATCH movies. Unlike other film festivals (honestly i’ve been to two) where you’ll hear people say words like “distribution” in regards to the film, at Fantastic Fest all you hear is people talking about the movies themselves. Well, that and what karaoke song they’ll sing. Or if they are gonna skip a movie so they can get a good spot for Denver’s insanely amazing black metal marching band “ITCHY-O”. All this and you are in Austin right next to a shake shack that NEVER HAS A LINE.

9) MORE ALAN PARTRIDGE! (editor’s note: hell fucking yes)
This year we had the distinct pleasure of Steve Coogan and the Gibbons brothers bestowing upon us two new Alan Partridge things. One, a new special Alan Partridge: Scissored Isle and the new book Nomad. I also highly recommend getting the other book I, Partridge as well as watch Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places in My Life. Jesus, you know what? just watch everything you can that has Alan Partridge. AHA! (editor’s note: AHA!)

10) MORE MUSIC!
Okay, here’s just a list of albums that I love that came out this year. I KNOW! I AM DEFYING THE RULES OF A TOP TEN LIST! BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE KLAUS KINSKI IS MY FRIEND AND SAID I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT NOW!!!! (editor’s note: this is true)
* ISLANDS – Taste
* HONUS HONUS – Use Your Delusion
* JOYCE MANOR – Cody
* YOU BLEW IT! – Abendrot
* TOYS THAT KILL – Sentimental Ward
* HAR MAR SUPERSTAR – Best Summer Ever
* THE THERMALS – We Disappear
* THE MANX – Voyage in Bad Taste
* DYKE DRAMA – Tender Resignation

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