Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Post Child invites you into their "Simulation."


Post Child just released a new single, and it's far dreamier than their previous work. The Chicago band tends to specialize in large, fuzzed out guitar pop, but "Simulation" sees them in a far gauzier territory. I';m curious to see what Post Child's next album will sound like because they're obviously exploring new territory.

Check out the tune below or download it for free (or pay what you want). If you like it the band has a show at Emporium Chicago on April 14.

Friday, March 08, 2019

This is temporary.

Is it depression if you brought the misery onto yourself?

Maybe? I dunno.

What I do know is that I’ve been deeply sad for quite a while. I enjoy people’s company, and there are certainly individuals that bring me joy when we’re together, but it’s finally settled in that a little over a year ago I totally blew up my life and I’m still not sure how to recover.

It doesn’t help that 2018 brought me an epic run of bad luck that had nothing to do with my divorce, but as I’ve said before, perhaps I had outlived my charmed existence and karma came back at me with a vengeance.

I’m a better person for it now. But I’m also a much sadder person. I still try to maintain my signature blend of pragmatism and optimism, but I admit it’s gotten harder.

Don’t get me wrong—there are many good things in my life. My friends and my job are both great. When Pickle the Kitten meets me at the door every time I come home it truly brings me joy. My family is awesome. In the past year I’ve met a LOT of new and amazing people as well, and it’s helped me break my usual rhythm of going to the same places and doing the same things. I view all of these as positives.

Oh Jesus, I just re-read that first sentence and realized I sound just like Rob from High Fidelity. I guess some things never change. I’m leaving it in though.

I stole the title of this post from her blog, because she’s right. This is temporary, and she’s living proof of that. I need to follow her example, let go of the past, and embrace the good things to come in my future. Because good things do come.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

It's an epidemic.

The person across the aisle from me on the train this morning was splayed out, snoozing across both seats they were on. At first I thought they were just being rude, until they moved their head on the backpack they were using as a pillow and a ton of empty little baggies and needles fell onto the floor. I just stared in shock. What do you do in a situation like that? I mean, the person looked pretty normal, and I had just assumed they were a student catching a quick nap before school.

Opioids are a huge problem and their abuse isn't being properly addressed. I've know addicts and was never sure what I could do to help. I bet you know addicts too, even if you're unaware. It's so depressing and I feel so useless.

Eventually a conductor came into our car and woke the person up. They told them to clean up all the stuff on the floor, and then left the person alone. I think that might've been the most disturbing thing. This is so common that public transit staff just treat it as a routine, mundane occurrence.

I hope that person is O.K.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

You're gonna love Love In October


Love In October continues the trend of Sweden kicking out sparkling and infectious music. The two brothers at the core of the group, Erik  and Kent Widman, relocated to the states in the early aughts, eventually settling in Chicago. Their sound settles firmly in the realm of power pop, and released a series of EPs between 2009 and 2016. With each release, the band’s sound got tighter and tighter, shinier and shinier.

With this year’s SHAPES, their debut proper full-length, some grit was thrown into the mix. The brothers, with the aid of guitarist Chris Limerinos, adjusted their sound to reflect the turmoil the world is currently going through. The result is a scrappier, though no less melodic, incarnation of Love In October. Kicking off with “Time Cop” the band mixes slashing guitars, swooshing synths and a driving beat that snags you from the first note. From there the album keeps up the intensity and only bringing you down into a less frenetic state of mind with the album closer “Wasting My Time.” The band also pulls off the amazing trick of sampling Donald Trump on “I Stopped Caring” without immediately triggering a spate of projectile vomiting.

The band plays a record release show at Chop Shop tonight. Since Love In October almost never plays live shows this is a rare chance to see them bring their music to life onstage. Check out SHAPES below and then you snag your tickets to the show here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

St. Vincent + Dua Lipa 4ever.



Somehow the Grammys did not completely suck this year. I know! How did that happen! And this duet between St. Vincent and Dua Lipa was easily the highlight. Snippets of this were all over Twitter yesterday, but St. Vincent was kind enough to post the whole video on her YouTube page so enjoy the steamy fire smoldering throughout this performance.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

FINALLY! Some new music from Charly Bliss!

Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz
Charly Bliss just announced their new album Young Enough is coming out in May! I've been a huge fan of the band since I first saw them (opening for Veruca Salt, I think?) so I am very excited. I actually saw 'em play a few weeks ago at the Tomorrow Never Knows fest and, as usual, they fully delivered. If you haven't seen them, you are missing out because they are one of my favorite live bands out there right now.

The group is previewing one track, "Capacity," from the album and it has me even more excited to hear every other track. It's got a great groove and is a little more downbeat and complex than their previous work. But I think it shows a band that's growing their sound in new and exciting directions, and who wouldn't get excited about that?!

Since they were just in town the obviously don't have any Chicago dates right now, but I betcha they'll be on one of the festival bills this summer, so keep an eye out.

Stream "Capacity' or watch its video below.




Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Celebrating new chapters.

Hey there. Hi there. How are you? I'm good, thanks for asking.

Well, as good as a guy can be in the middle of winter with almost no sunshine. But hey, I survived the polar vortex, so that's something!

Speaking of sunshine, my ex-wife is making plans to move to California. She told me about it a while ago, but I have learned over the past year not to talk about another person's business until they publicly break the news, even if it's to be celebratory. I mean, I already knew that, but in the initial months of my divorce it's clear I didn't always make the best decisions.

How do I feel about the move? There is certainly a part of me initially sad she's leaving. But I'm also happy for her. Her boyfriend is out there. Year round sunshine is out there. Activities I know have made her feel peace in her life are out there. She will be able to start a new chapter in her life out there. She'll be incredibly happy out there.

And in the end that's what counts, so that makes me happy.

Friday, January 25, 2019

We are the AI.



This short film by Keiichi Matsuda explores just how integrated we will become with tech in the future. It's not a good direction for the human race. The short posits that as we become more and more connected we seem to grow further apart. And in the end there's only one real solution to combat loneliness—the Merger.

Also note it's a 360ยบ video so feel free to change your vantage point and really get inside the story.

[h/t Mashable]

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

What the holy heck is a FLOPPOTRON?



Well, this is certainly one of the more interesting interpretations of Blur's "Song 2" I've ever heard. Let's hear it for old tech!

[h/t Boing Boing]

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Cherry Glazerr gets shinier and poppier but keep their scuzzy heart intact.

Photo by Pamela Littky
With each album, Cherry Glazerr strips away more of the L.A. grit that abraded earlier releases and replaces it with another layer of refined pop. So what started as a caterwauling garage band now sounds like something you’d hear on more mainstream modern rock radio. This makes them a little less fun, IMHO, but I also respect their drive to grow and expand their sound. They could have easily stayed in the swim lane that appeases hipsters but instead are striving for something a little more universal.

All of that said, while the the songs on Stuffed & Ready (out February 1) feature a shinier studio sound, the lyrics are anything but crowd friendly as frontperson Clementine Creevy continues to give zero fucks about what might or might not offend you. I can also easily see these songs stripped down into something grittier and glammier when performed live. In other words the band may be aiming for car radios but they’ll still sound just as good at somewhere like Bottom Lounge when they play there on February 23.

Check out the mildly NSFW video below and see if you agree with my read on the band’s latest evolution in sound.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Not the plague, but not pleasant either.

The drink of champions?
It's been weeks and I just want to stop coughing.

I want my voice back.

I want to stop alternating between feeling feverish and feeling chills all over my body.

I want to be able to get a decent night's sleep.

I want to feel strong enough and rested enough to make it to the dang gym, even!

I know I'm not the only one going through this since my Facebook feed is filled with friends who also seem to be sick with similar symptoms that just won't let go. I can usually power through these things but last week I completely lost my voice, and that never happens to me, so it freaked me out. Yesterday I barely made it out of my bed and to the couch and just focused on doing nothing in hopes my body would repair itself. But here I am, chugging Theraflu at my desk all day long and nothing is improving.

I made a deal with myself that if this stays this bad for the next couple of days I'll go see the doctor. It's just so hard to make the time to do so! I'm so busy at work I feel guilty for leaving the office for an appointment. Again, I'm sure I'm not the only one that does this since most everyone I know are dedicated to what they do and loathe to take any time just for being sick.

Anyway, enough of my moaning and complaining. I;m jjust counting down the hours until I get home, wrap myself in a blanket n the couch, and warm up some chicken noodle soup. It pairs quite nicely with all the Theraflu.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Year in review, or maybe not.

This year has been, um, interesting. I dated a lot of of very cool, very smart people. Exes of mine were kind enough to take me in as I tried to sort though everything. Heck, the girl I lost my virginity to decades ago took me out for a delicious lunch. And, even via dating apps, I made lots of friends.

This is my way of saying I'm O.K.

It's been a rough year. But I survived it.You will too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Take a ride to "Motor City Steel" with The Dandy Warhols.


The Dandy Warhols are releasing Why You So Crazy on January 25, and today they released the latest video from the new album. "Motor City Steel" is a jaunty little number that will have you humming along with it within the first few measures of the song. It also offers a nice hint of what to expect from the new album as a whole. I've heard it and think that fans of the band's work but recent and old will find this an enjoyable listen.

The band is touring behind the album and celebrating their 25th anniversary as a group this year, with a stop in Chicago at The Metro on May 11. Honestly, I can't believe they've stayed such a solid ensemble for over two decades—no offense, but a bunch of druggy musicians from Portland usually don't have great staying power—but here they are. I guess longevity is a healthy by-product of just doing things your own way and not giving one whit about what others think of you.


Friday, January 11, 2019

Best / worst Fig Dish cover of all time?



I don't know what rabbit hole Kip fell down in order to come across this, but holy cow.

From what I can tell this dude is an L.A. comedian/actor, but I suspect he's being totally sincere here. I wonder if this will lead to another Fig Dish reunion?

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Meg Myers ain't interested in your parent's disco.


Meg Myers was unknown to me until I was listening to a recent All Songs Considered, and the track they played, "Tear Me To Pieces," really grabbed me. So I went to check out her album Take Me To The Disco and while it feels a little uneven, it's still pretty solid and worth your time.

I kind of forgot about it again—I've finally started to rev up and am listening to quite a bit of new music again after months where I slowed waaaay down—but when the news broke that St. Vincent is producing the new Sleater-Kinney album, Myers popped back to top of mind. Meyers is definitely rocking a St. Vincent vibe with her latest music, so I figured in honor of this most excellent new S-K music news, I'd share the track that initially grabbed my attention and sparked the realization Myers most certainly shares that Annie Clarke DNA.

Also note it appears Myers has had at least 5 full-length releases since 2013, so the fact I'm just now discovering her is entirely my fault. But if I hadn't heard of her, there's a chance you might not have either.

Friday, January 04, 2019

I made a funny.

Oh the joys of cartoon clip art. I used Strip Generator to make this. It's awfully glitchy but if you're looking for something goofy to play with, have at it! I obviously opted for the minimalist approach...

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

One last adventure in 2018.


So I did something crazy during the holiday break. On Christmas Eve, at the last second, I decided to buy a ticket and go to the Dominican Republic for a few days. My family wasn't doing a holiday gathering until the following week, and a friend of mine was already down there and offered to arrange somewhere for me to stay while I was in the air.


I missed my first flight when I got to the airport and discovered I had left my passport on my dresser. When I finally landed the cab driver was super late picking me up. My hotel room had an, um, interesting smell and a bathroom that looked straight of the set of one of the Saw movies. I got pretty sick one of the days I was there. On my final night an older Russian traveler who was in the shared suite area of my room decided it was a good idea to bring in a prostitute, and was so drunk he kept trying to open my door, not realizing his room was across the hallway.

Yet it was still one of the most relaxing, wonderful vacations I've had that involved beaches and sun.

In the past I'd usually stay at an all inclusive resort and spend all my time trying to down as much free food and booze as I could. This time my focus was on unplugging and relaxing. I spent one day just reading on the beach, more interested in drinking water than margaritas.

The neighborhood I was staying was more remote and less touristy, and I cared more about just walking around than taking in the nightlife.

I spent a day hanging out with spider monkeys in the mountains, and taking in the countryside during the 90-minute ride to and from the preserve. If you ever have a chance to take a similar excursion I highly recommend it. You haven't lived until you have a bunch of monkeys using you as a literal jungle gym. And later that evening I had some excellent chicken from a restaurant owned by a Serbian ex-pat.

Most of all I just re-centered. Since booze and clubs and partying were the furthest things from my mind—and I stayed mostly offline since I kept my phone in airplane mode while I was there—it was just an excellent few days of getting away from it all without also getting away from myself.




Thursday, December 20, 2018

A sad anniversary.

I've been pretty quiet around here this week, huh? I think it probably has something to do with the fact I was sort of dreading this day. It's the anniversary of my ex-wife filing for divorce. She was as nice as one could be about it, and had her attorney deliver the papers electronically, but it was still a huge blow and quite possibly the worst day of my life. I still remember leaving work early and just walking in a daze down Michigan Avenue in total shock.

2018 has generally been a pretty dark year, and while the divorce was a major factor, it was just a year where all my luck ran out. If I owed karma a debt it has certainly been paid back many times over, with interest. There were times I honestly did not know how to even move forward.

Things have gotten better since our house sold, and it feels like my life is back on an upward trajectory. But I'm still in complete uncertainty about what my future looks like. I had a built a life with someone else and when that ended all the plans I had vanished and I was staring at a blank canvas. If I was younger that might be a more exciting position to be in, but at this age it just feels so daunting.

But, repaint the canvas I shall. I don't really have another option, do I? The year has been rough, but I'm exiting it having learned a couple hard lessons and that certainly contributed to my self-improvement. I'm not going to make those mistakes in the future so that's a positive thing, right? I just wish I'd learned those lessons more quickly, because I'd be in a very different place right now if I had.




Friday, December 14, 2018

Walls work! (Not.)



I came across a press release from the Department of Homeland Security a few days ago that was posted on December 12. It was astoundingly poorly written, and completely different in tone than other press releases on their website. It is filled with misinformation and outright lies. For instance did you know a "violent mob of 1,000 people stormed our Southern border" just last Sunday? Yeah, neither did I. Because it didn't happen.

It looks like they went in and fixed some of the worst grammar mistakes today, but luckily for you I took a screenshot of the original. You can see it here, and just click on it to magnify it so you can read it.

Our taxpayer dollars at work, people. Government agencies should be printing false propaganda to further one madman's obsession.