Drug Church, World Impact. The vocalist gargles with razor blades, the groove is sludgy but fast,  the chorus is killer and the lyrics are great. This shouldn’t work but it does. I found this band in an article about Turnstile and the future of hardcore, and it gives me hope. I want more of this to restore my faith in guitar-based rock.

Date posted: March 10, 2023 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »

Pitchfork did a quick piece on a band called Crushed, using touchpoints like the Sneaker Pimps, the Sundays, and Ivy, which is basically a Venn diagram of music I love. Their EP is pretty good; I can see some of the influences, and I think with a little more work and editing there’s something promising here. The first track is the one I’m replaying the most.

Date posted: February 17, 2023 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

This week’s earworm: Sometimes, by My Bloody Valentine. I wasn’t ever a big fan of MBV back in the day; I heard several of their songs and just couldn’t get into it. When the movie Lost in Translation came out in 2003, they used several MBV songs in the movie, and the sequence with this song stuck out with me. It’s the best song on the album in my opinion, and it has all the things I like with nothing I don’t.

Date posted: February 14, 2023 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »

Long ago in 1995 I was watching MTV while making my dinner and saw a clip featuring a scruffy-looking Portland band playing a killer song. I just happened to have a copy of the City Paper and saw that they were playing the 8×10 on a weeknight, so naturally I roped my roommates into going down and seeing the show, where we all had a great time and I bought a copy of the CD and a T-shirt. Any resemblance to my dog’s current name is purely coincidental. But this song rips.

* * *

My friend Rosie, who I hired at WRI and subsequently got hired away by the Wall Street Journal, had her very first byline last week, a story on coaching trees in the NFL. Yay Rosie!

* * *

Here’s some new tasty font goodness from an old-school design/web hero of mine: Dan Cederholm put up a storefront with some excellent display fonts and design-nerd merch.

Date posted: January 18, 2023 | Filed under art/design, friends, music | Leave a Comment »

I’ve had this rattling around in my head for the last couple of days, after falling down an INXS rabbit hole—mostly reviewing their earlier hits:

It’s hard to overstate just how big this song was in the fall of ’87.

Date posted: January 7, 2023 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »

Death Cab for Cutie and the Postal Service are playing a 20th anniversary tour for the albums Transatlaticism and Give Up. They’ll be at Merriwether Post Pavilion (10 miles from here) in September. I am very much considering going to see this show.

Update: the presale was this morning; I just spent ten minutes waiting for Ticketmaster to send me a fucking code to “verify” my account; when I got in I was able to add three lawn tickets, get to the checkout, and enter my credit card information only for their system to bonk and make me do it again. In the 2 minutes it took to re-order the tickets, they “sold out”. FUCK TICKETMASTER

Date posted: December 14, 2022 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

There’s something impressive about seeing a theater company mount a production and watching it work from a pure entertainment standpoint but also from a logistical/production background. We went to see the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of A Christmas Carol downtown on Saturday with Karean and Zachary. The venue is in a building across the street from my old office on Redwood Street, which began as a bank, was renovated as a disco, and then was bought for the theater company and rebuilt. The tiered seating is set up almost vertically, so we were on the second level and sitting almost over the stage. We were able to watch the cast both perform and be stagehands, carefully introducing and removing various props while they were performing; it was like watching a tightly choreographed dance and I enjoyed every minute of it. They seamlessly wove music, singing, and even a Stomp-style rhythm into the play, and every cast member was fantastic—how refreshing it was to see so many people of color as the leads! It was an excellent production and I would definitely return for serious Shakespeare.

We had a great time with K&Z, stopping in after the play at an old Canton haunt called Nacho Mama’s, where we spent way too much time, money, and brain cells when we lived in the neighborhood. The man who founded it died ten years ago and I’d wager it’s changed hands since then, because the vibe, menu and quality have all slipped. I don’t think we’ll be going back, and I will miss Mesa Fries for the rest of my life.

* * *

Following some recent comments about video games and ramping difficulty levels, I’ve been playing a Season event in The Division 2, where there are a series of challenges that lead up to four minor boss fights, which then unlocks a major boss fight. I did the last Season primarily solo, as is my usual MO, and found the ramp to the boss fights achievable and challenging. Far from a simple walkthrough, I had to work at the boss fights but they were a solid test of my skills to that point and ultimately I enjoyed finishing it. When they rolled out this new season, I started with the first challenge and got to the minor boss fight; with a bit more work I was able to beat it and move on to the second challenge. It was there I got my ass completely handed to me. By default they ramped the difficulty level up to Heroic, which is four steps above “you will need nuclear weapons to beat this.” As mentioned before I like to play solo, but there was no way I could beat these bosses by myself. Last night I joined another player who was playing solo against one of the boss challenges, and between the two of us we took him down. I suggested we take on the third boss, and soon we were joined by two more players who helped us along. We all died multiple times but in the end we all finished it. There’s one more miniboss to beat and then it’s on to the main event; hopefully I can find some other players to help finish the season.

Meanwhile, the search for a new game continues. I did find one that I thought might be interesting to play, but it turns out it’s only written for the PlayStation or PC.

* * *

As mentioned earlier, there are nine new windows leaned up against the wall in the garage, waiting for installation. Between the holidays, work schedule, and family commitments, I may not be able to get any of these in before the middle of January, but I do intend to try. The first room up will be Finn’s; she has three circa 1925 windows which insulate about as well as a wet towel. I can’t wait to get the new ones in place and test the difference in both heat retention and soundproofing.

This is a lovely tribute to the late Adam Schlesinger, by his bandmates in Ivy, who I’ve written about before. They talk about their early years, who he was, and what drove him to create. It’s a really thoughtful tribute.

* * *

I spent a little time in ProCreate learning some more tools and working on another shirt design for the holidays. I’m about 75% happy with it, both for content and execution. I’d like to move towards more vintage designs to take advantage of the resurgence in antique trucks and Scouts in particular, but more practice is required.

Date posted: December 13, 2022 | Filed under friends, history, music | Leave a Comment »

It’s December, and that means we’re deep in the middle of List Season. All the professional knowers and taste arbiters compile lists of 25 Somethings You Should Something and try to out-cool each other by namechecking cultural touchpoints nobody has heard of. The big ones never fail to disappoint; reading Stereogum’s 50 Album list isn’t quite as pretentious as Pitchfork, but the vast majority of artists are unknown to me. Happy to see Drug Church, Beach House, Soccer Mommy, and Spiritualized(!!) on this list; he ratio of bands I’ve listend to this year to bands I’ve heard of to who is this? is about 5:15:35 in the list of 50. Get Off My Lawn, etc.

One good thing these lists provide is isolating some new music worth checking out, which I will do after triangulating across several of them.

* * *

We went to Finn’s chorus recital last night, which was quite lovely and mercifully short; spending more than an hour in a gymnasium with 400+ people in winter coats can get pretty close pretty quickly. They did well; there were only a few off-key notes across three grades, which was a blessing. Watching young gawky middle-schoolers file on and off the bleachers and giggle with each other reminded me of a time when the music program at school was my lifeline; all of my new friends were part of the band, orchestra or chorus. Our high school had a serious music program, something I was invited to early—I played upright bass for the high school orchestra in 8th grade, when I was technically still in junior high. The concerts were always fun but what I remember the most was that incredible time after the concerts, when my friends and I would go and hang out at the diner, jamming ten people in a 4-top booth to share a plate of fries and nurse a coffee under the watchful glares of the waitresses, laughing and killing time together until curfew hit. That feeling of finally finding a place to fit in was huge, and perhaps because I’ve been jammed in the house for so long, afraid of what the the world has become around us, crashing against the early 50’s question of what have I been doing for 30 years of my life and what does it mean, and thinking about my daughter’s future in all of this, I was feeling giant blue waves of nostalgia for those days of innocent, wide-open freedom.

* * *

I’ve had a dozen or so sales on my storefront so far, mainly variants of the Scout II grille designs, which totals out to a pretty depressing amount of money. That’s mostly because I pushed the store during a holiday sale, where the cost of T-shirts (and thus my percentage) was dramatically reduced. And, as you might expect, likes and shares do not equate to sales. I think I have to keep feeding the store with new merch; I hve an idea for a holiday-themed shirt but it’s going to take a couple of days to put together, and I’ll most likely run out of time before the holidays.

Date posted: December 7, 2022 | Filed under history, music | Leave a Comment »

I was watching another video with some clips from the movie Snatch, and this song is the music cue after Brad Pitt’s character Mickey lays out a man twice his size. I loved it when I first saw the movie and finally tracked the tune down: it’s by the Stranglers, an early punk band, in 1982.

Additionally, I’ve got this one stuck in my head alongside it, after finally watching the eponymous movie:

A beautiful, sad, haunting track. I have my issues with Billie Elish’s voice, but this works.

Date posted: December 1, 2022 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »

I’ve had the groove from Ocean Size by Jane’s Addiction stuck in my head for several days now.

I like watching this video and remembering how weird and exciting they looked and sounded in ’88, when I showed this to some of my high school friends. This album got me out of hair metal and into a whole new world.

Date posted: November 20, 2022 | Filed under earworm, music | Leave a Comment »