Well fuck. Mark Lanegan, of the Screaming Trees, various solo projects, and a fantastic run with Queens of the Stone Age, is dead at 57.

Date posted: February 22, 2022 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Jen and I got to talking over coffee yesterday morning about mixtapes and 45’s and the first albums we had as our own people (not inherited from our parents or siblings). In 1984 my sister and I both got boom boxes for Christmas (the exact model I had is in the picture above), with a selection of five cassettes to listen to. My five were:

Looking back on that selection, it’s pretty solid, from an early 80’s point of view. There weren’t a lot of clunkers there—the Def Leppard album fell off on the B side pretty steeply and there was some filler on that particular Van Halen album, but everything else was tight. I played all of these constantly and then when I got my first brick of blank tapes I started taping songs off the radio. At some point I probably had 30 or so cassettes like this, where the DJ was talking over the intro to the song, it played through, and they came back in again only to cut into another song. You Kids Don’t Understand, and all of that.

But man, I miss mixtapes. I miss the time and patience it took to sit by the radio and wait for the DJ to mention he was gonna play a Who deep cut at the top of the hour, and I’d sit with my fingers over the Record button hoping it would be Baba O’Reilly because there was no way I was going to spend $12 on Who’s Next for one song. I had a whole stack of “goddammit” cassettes, a hundred dollars’ worth of store-bought albums that sucked except for that one good track, and that really sucked at a time when when I was making $7.50/hr slinging tacos. Mixtapes may have sounded shitty, but we got the music we wanted.

Date posted: February 3, 2022 | Filed under general, history, music | Leave a Comment »

File this under Awesome Shit I Did Not Know Until Today: Blood and Thunder, one of my all-time favorite metal songs, features guest vocals from Neil Fallon of local heroes Clutch. One of my favorite podcasts breaks down the song and some of the things that make it so good.

Working on the bus this summer I binged about thirty episodes of Strong Songs; even if you’re not a musician there’s a ton of great stuff to learn about great music.

Date posted: January 27, 2022 | Filed under entertainment, music | Leave a Comment »

Billy Conway, prime drummer for the band Morphine, died last week at 65 from cancer. Fuck Cancer.

Date posted: December 21, 2021 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Date posted: December 15, 2021 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

It’s December, so the interwebs are full of Best-Of lists for music by bands I’ve never heard of and TV shows I’ve never seen. Some sites are predictably more niche than others; I think I know three of the top 20 artists on the Pitchfork list, while Stereogum’s list is roughly 50/50 familiar, and Turnstile is their #2 pick. Last week during work everyone shared their Spotify Wrapped playlists, which I also don’t get to see because I’m still using the unpaid version. StatsforSpotify tells me that tracks from Deafheaven, Taylor Swift (I binged Shake It Off last month) Mayer Hawthorne, Hybrid, and Boards of Canada were my top ten from the last six months but I can’t see the yearly list—I’d bet it would skew wildly in a different direction.

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I get a lot of special offers for custom printing every week due to my job, and it’s always fun to take advantage of a good deal. My sticker company sent me an offer for a $9 color printed shirt with free shipping, so I whacked together a version of the Old Line State Binders logo for a black shirt and sent it in. I’ve wanted to do that shirt for a long time anyway. The offers pop up in my social media feed too: I clicked on an Instagram sticker ad the other day, and suddenly sticker ads took over my whole feed. Avery is running a special on 10 vinyl stickers for $10 at any size, so I cobbled together a simple version of the Peer Pressure shirt design and ordered a set of 4″ stickers. If they turn out nice, I’ll use those as my calling card and start trading stickers around with other Scout nerds.

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Our plans for snowboarding are on hold for the time being; Whitetail isn’t open as early as last year (or I’m not remembering the dates clearly) so we’ve got to reschedule. My guess is that we’ll do it in January at some point. I have to do some research into what weekdays are quietest so that we can maximize our visit. I don’t want to wait all the way until March, but I’d like more than one trip this season if we can swing it.

Date posted: December 7, 2021 | Filed under art/design, music | Leave a Comment »

As I mentioned earlier this month, I’ve been listening a lot to the new Deafheaven album, Infinite Granite, and I really dig it. Very atmospheric, excellent melody, lots of energy.

Baltimore’s own Turnstile released a new album, Glow On, which sounds really good on first listen. I really loved their last album, a mixture of powerful vocals, shredding guitar, and pure hardcore energy. This one is more polished but the fact that they’re just going for it with every idea they have is amazing.

And, as mentioned before, Chvrches just released a new album that I haven’t listened to yet. I’m embedding it here to remind myself to spin it as soon as I’m in front of the laptop again.

On the streaming front, I watched the last season of Bosch on Amazon Prime and enjoyed every minute of it. I’d read this was the last season and wondered if they had any plans beyond this, and my hunch was correct: three of the main characters are going to continue in a new series over on IMDb TV (apparently that is A Thing) where Bosch, his daughter, and another character will fight crime in LA. I’ll miss all of the supporting characters I was familiar with from the book and series—Crate and Barrel, J. Edgar, Lt. Billets, Sgt. Mankewicz, etc. but they’ve had seven great seasons.

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In my podcast queue I found a couple of new shows I really like. Strong Songs features a careful deconstruction of a song, spanning multiple genres, as well as careful explanations of basic music theory. I came for his episode on Know One Knows and was hooked. I have two friends currently teaching music history and theory and immediately shot the link off to them. There are three seasons dating back to 2018 so I’m set for awhile.

SmartLess is a podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, and they are always able to get incredible guests to come on and talk about anything and everything. They got Kamala Harris the week she was asked to be the VP; they’ve had Paul McCartney and Megan Rapinoe and Tony Hawk and many more.

I Spy is a podcast produced by Foreign Policy and features stories told by spies about their experiences in danger zones around the world: a CIA agent before the fall of Saigon, the guy who interrogated Saddam Hussein, and a Soviet sleeper agent sent to the U.S. before the end of the Cold War. Riveting and fascinating. This was my binge on the way home from Ohio a few weeks ago.

Cautionary Tales is about mistakes that we make and how we might learn from them. The last episode I listened to was about how we depend on tools like Microsoft Excel, how we often use them incorrectly, and how that can lead to disaster. It’s a better version of Malcom Gladwell’s podcast.

Date posted: September 4, 2021 | Filed under entertainment, general, music | Leave a Comment »

Yay! the new Chvrches album will be out this week. Here’s hoping it’s better than the last one.

Date posted: August 24, 2021 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’m not a fan of Black Shoegaze or whatever they call it, and I wasn’t into Sunbather, but this is a great fucking song.

Date posted: August 19, 2021 | Filed under entertainment, music | Leave a Comment »

Adult Swim canceled one of my favorite shows, the Venture Brothers, last year, with little fanfare. They announced today they’re going to produce a follow-up movie for the series along with Metocalypse and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, two other canceled shows. It’s not as good as having a whole season, but I’d love to see things wrapped up (and have a little more time with Team Venture).

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I haven’t mentioned the Mustang here because, well, it’s not here yet. The seller was being a little iffy about the possibility of it making an hour-long drive and crossing a 3-mile bridge with no breakdown lane, so we postponed the pickup and explored other options. I talked with Matt yesterday and he’s arranged for it to be towed here this afternoon, as he didn’t want us to get stuck on the bridge or somewhere in Eastern Maryland with a car we hadn’t ever driven. Which is, frankly, fine with me: as much as I’d love to road-trip it across the bridge, I’d rather do the 1-10-100 test with my USAA towing card handy.

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In other news, I dusted off my acoustic guitar a couple of days ago, tuned it up, and put it behind my desk in the office. There are a bunch of simple songs I was learning back when I was taking lessons ten years ago—sweet creeping Jesus time has flown—and recently decided I’d like to pick this thing back up and learn them again. I found my notes and chord books and I’ve worked on the progressions for two songs already, and my fingertips already hurt. But it’s nice to make music again!

Date posted: May 14, 2021 | Filed under cars, entertainment, music | Leave a Comment »