Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Rockin' My Turntable in 2018.

Photo by Travis Wiens
No, that headline is not a typo. I am aware that even though I have long been a proponent of holding yearly "best of" lists until after the year is over, waiting 12 months to do one is pretty ridiculous. It's no secret 2018 was a difficult year for me, and a side effect of that was a change in my relationship to music. I've touched on why that was before, but suffice to say I can admit 2018 wasn't a year of broad discovery for me. Instead I often retreated to the familiar, meaning old favorites were in high rotation while new releases only nudged in here and there, relative to my previous music consumption habits. It's not like I didn't listen to a lot of new albums in 2018; I just had a difficult time evaluating them in the manner I did before.

That has changed in 2019—as many issues have been resolved, my ability to emotionally connect in the way I find necessary for my own critical writing has returned—but it still left a gap in how to handle 2018. In the end I returned to the same criteria I've always used and chose the albums I liked the best, while also understanding that my list may not be as varied or as deep as previous years.

I'm not going to make some grand statement about the state of music in 2018 since I still think we're in a transitional period as the entire landscape grapples with how people discover and consume music, and the effect that has on bands as creators. But I will always believe that people will like what they like, and this is what I liked in 2018. In some ways these were the bands I needed most during that time period, so let's see where I landed.

As always, these are not in any particular order. I still just can't get behind the notion of ranking favorites. That feels more like an exercise for writers still stuck on some notion of artistic hierarchies.


Superchunk - What A Time To Be Alive

I'm lucky that my generation has had a number of our "classic" bands prove they can still crank out music as good or better than their "iconic" periods of work. In other words, a bunch of the indie rock bands I loved growing up are somehow managing to not only remain relevant, but they're kicking out stuff just as crackling as they did in their heyday. Superchunk is near the front of that resurgence and What A Time To Be Alive is both one of their angriest and life-affirming works to date. I listened to this a lot last year.





Sloan - 12

Sloan remains near the top of my list of favorite bands of all time, and like Sperchunk they are managing to release amazing work decades into their career. However Sloan is one of the very few bands who can retain the twin distinctions of never having released a "weak" album while steadily releasing new music and never "breaking up" or "going on hiatus." O.K., they almost broke up, but that didn't last long enough to actually slow down their release schedule. This was another that  racked up hundreds of spins over the last year.





Unlikely Friends - Crooked Numbers

I'm just gonna snag what I wrote about this album for The Reader early in 2018: Crooked Numbers takes midwestern power-pop and laces it with northwestern slacker sensibilities. The result is a collection of songs that feels immediately familiar—your dorm-room record player would explode with nostalgia if you threw this vinyl on top of it. Pull on your Sub Pop "Loser" T-shirt and then drop this album into the mix.





Extra Arms - Headacher

My history with Extra Arms runs way back to when bandleader Ryan Allen was in another one of my favorite bands, Friendly Foes. On Headacher he continued to write speed raw kin' power pop anthems at a blistering pace. Unbeknownst to me at the time, he was also going through a divorce, cataloged on his band's latest release, so we probably could've had a lot more to talk about when I ran into him touring this record than we realized.





Franz Ferdinand - Always Ascending

I feel like Franz Ferdinand has never really gone away, but for some reason Always Ascending felt like a return to form to me. It also boasts such a solid collection of tunes that are equally at home in the car or on the dancefloor (or, in my case, on the train or my old back porch) that demand constant play.





Sonny Falls - Some Kind Of Spectre

Sonny falls recently broke up and  their bandleader is continuing on under the Old Joy moniker, so Some Kind Of Spectre will end up serving as the band's noisy, glorious swan song.





Gorillaz - The Now Now

I loved Humans, but I was super happy to hear Gorillaz get closer to the dancefloor again with The Now Now. But c'mon, if you know me, you know I'm a sucker for anything Damon Albarn does.
Also, seeing this tour with my friend Adam was a blast.





Telethon - Modern Abrasive

Telethon are "punk rock" but never seemed all that "angry" to me, but I assume they would find my use of "quotation" marks to be slightly silly as I attempt to describe them. Just listen and you'll discover how insanely "catchy" this band can be.





Ruler - Winning Star Champion

Ruler is Matt Batey and I know that when I wanted to see them play in Chicago they had to cancel so I have no idea if he pulls any of this off live, but the album is pure sugar laced with acid. And catchy as fuck.





Peter Bjorn and John - Darker Days

I don't have much to say about this one because in retrospect anything I do utter would probably be too personal. Too bad you didn't get me writing this last year, eh?





Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer

One of my favorite concert moments of 2018 was seeing Janelle with my friend Jill, Jill convincing me to trade our seats with some folks who wanted to sit with their friends, discovering these folks were friends (family?) with Janelle, leading us to meet Janelle after the show. Also, the album is magnificent and finally delivers on everything that makes Monáe a genius, all at the same time. She's come a long way since I first saw her play tiny Schubas...





The Dirty Nil - Master Volume

The Dirty Nil is a band you have to see live. Their records are big dumb smart raw all the way, and their stage show reinforces the joy that goes into crafting stuff like that.





Direct Hit! - Crown Of Nothing

They've been together over a decade, and live just across the border from me in Milwaukee, but I never heard of Direct Hit! until 2016's Wasted Mind—an album that blew the flesh off my bones. Crown Of Nothing continues you somehow graft inchoate rage at one second with a party-til-you-die chorus that shouldn't work by any stretch of the imagination, but totally does.





Jeff Whalen - 10 More Rock Super Hits

Jeff Whalen was the singer for Tsar, and I wrote about him here, so go read that. But holy shit, this is the real deal when it comes to power-pop and glam, or as Whalen calls it, bubbleglam.





Snail Mail - Lush

The spirit of Matador Records 1994 is alive and well and living in an enormously talented 20-year-old. Wait, what did I just type math-wise?!





Con Brio - Explorer

We saw Con Brio at Lollapalooza a few years ago, primarily because my companion at the time either read or wrote something about the band ahead of the show. I was less enthused since they were billed as a funk band, and in a festival setting that usually  means jam band over actual funk. Not in Con Brio's case! High octane tunes, horns, dancing, and a singer who could do multiple backflips ended up being an unexpected highlight of my fest-going that year. Explorer is a little more mature in it's speed and volume, but the energy is still there, and powered up my summer of '18. Oddly "Too Lit 2 Quit" is one of the album's weaker tunes, but the only upbeat number I could find with a video, since the newer stuff ain't on Bandcamp.





Danny Goffey - Schtick

Danny Goffey was (well, I guess now "is" again?) the drummer for Supergrass, but he's also a fucking great songwriter all on his own. Unsurprisingly, his solo stuff sounds an awful lot like Supergrass. The world needs more of that.





Hockey Dad - Blend Inn

I wrote about Hockey Dad when this album came out, and my opinion hasn't changed. Well, it changed a little. I like the album even more now than I did then.






Little Junior - Hi

I wrote about these cats a few times, most recently here. Again, this album has only grown better in my estimation.





Andrew WK - You're Not Alone

Wherein Andrew continues to party as if his life depends upon it. And it does. I know mine did.

Monday, December 09, 2019

There will be feasting and dancing...



I was never a huge Mountain Goats fan, early on. This isn't because I don't like their music. Not at all! This was more because I was just dumb and never paid the group all that much attention, and stupidly cordoned them off, leaving them—in my head—the nerdier corners of indie fandom.

Luckily I've grown wiser over the years. This gem from their back catalog has been popping up in a number of places over the last year, and that's probably because its sentiment, the feels it triggers, is something that feels even more universal than it did when it first surfaced in 2005.

When they played this on Late Show With Stephen Colbert earlier this year I burst into tears. It came out of nowhere. And now, every time I watch it, you can count on me to start ugly crying all over again. If I make it through the opening, I always crumble when Colbert comes out and you can just see the release the song sparks in him as he jumps around singing along with the chorus.
I am going to make it / through this year / if it kills me
I am going to make it / through this year / if it kills me!
And now I'm crying all over again.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Mando!


There has been a lot of darkness in 2019, but I think we can all agree that the introduction of Baby Yoda may be one of the most genuine moments of pop cultural joy the year had to offer all of us.

That's all. I just wanted to celebrate something that was, for once, simply...happy.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Le sigh—impeachment.

It doesn’t change anything, but there are three things that keep swirling around my head during this impeachment process, and while I think they're obvious it seems few are addressing a few simple facts.

Trump honestly doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong. The greatest motivating factor for Donald Trump is the promotion and preservation of Donald Trump. Because of this he doesn’t believe he’s capable of wrongdoing, and his constant stream of lies manifests itself as truth n his brain. I know, it’s dangerous and scary, but that’s the truth.

Republicans would better off by impeaching and removing Trump from office. If you get rid of Trump, Mike Pence becomes president. This would be a tremendous boon to the Republican Party and solve the majority of their problems! Pence would also probably fly through the next election and stay in office, giving Republicans another 8 years in the White House. This seems painfully obvious, and the only reason I can fathom to explain why this hasn’t caught on is that the party as a whole is suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

The people that matter aren’t paying attention. The saddest fact that’s risen through all this mess is that the majority of the U.S. public isn’t paying attention nor do they really care. I haven’t the faintest clue what to do about this. To add to the issue, the people that do care are operating with blinders on. In an era where differing points of view are so easily accessible in order to create a well-rounded and informed opinion considering various sides of an issue, most people seem content in either continuing on in ignorance, or only reading material that reinforces their worldview. (I’m looking at my liberal friends on this point as well.) Again, I haven’t the faintest clue what to do about this.

So, le sigh.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Soft pop?

This topic has crossed my mind a lot recently, so Steven Hyden's piece "Why Was Pop Music So Mild And Inoffensive In The 2010s?" was a welcome read. I recommend reading the whole piece—it won't take you long—but his final notes really resonated with me (which is unsurprising since Hyden is only a wee bit younger than me, and we are both definitely NOT Boomers, so):
There’s an obvious irony in adults tsk-tsking the youth for not rocking hard enough. Trust me, I can see it. (Please don’t “ok boomer” me just yet.) I get that this is the opioid era. (Our music usually sounds like our drugs.) Not to mention the bottomless debt era and, of course, the Trump era. The rest of the world is already screaming at us. Who wants to music to do it, too? 
Nevertheless, I find it strange that I might be the one telling my kids to actually turn their music up.
Anyway, like I said, read the whole thing.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Eiliding scattered thoughts into attempted cohesion to describe Byre with various levels of success (which said, true success would be measured by your listening to band, so go on right ahead and do so!).

Byre is dressed for success!
Last night I was watching a documentary on XTC, and today I’m listening to this EP from Byre and can’t shake the notion that they kind of sound like a more ruminative version of XTC. Which, of course, they don’t really—my recency bias is clearly clouding my ears. But one thing they do have in common with those English indie and psych stalwarts is both bands are capable of unexpectedly tender vocal melodicism (which in Byre's case I presume are primarily delivered by Aaron Tanner). But the sound is entirely Byre's own. But hey, I needed a starting point to write this from, and this particular starting point works for me.

Byre's music is supported by tastefully busy drums, propping up solid bass platforms and guitars that interlock to create walls encapsulating you in the group's sound. Raindrops of spiky notes drop on top of you as guitar and bass accents throughout the Byre's songs. The feeling is of a solid building growing around you with the structure's roof leaping into the sky here and there as the music takes unexpected turns.

That last bit was typed in bits and pieces as I was listening to Byre's Head In Dead Lights EP, but I think the majority of it popped into my head during "Melindiana," so if you're looking for a musical CliffsNotes (ClefsNotes? Har-de-har!) audio version of what I just said, go there first.

Wait! No! Don't miss all the other good stuff! Listen to the whole thing from start top finish and then hop around all you like. But c'mon, the thing's only 5 songs long, so you can take a break and pay attention for that long.

Monday, December 02, 2019

The hills are alive. ALIVE I tell you!


I saw The Sound Of Music for the first time in my life last night. Yes, you read that right. I somehow managed to dodge this film for decades and decades, but last evening it finally caught me.

I saw it at The Music Box Theatre, a real classic-stylee movie house in Chicago, and it was with a "sing-along" crowd complete with props. You'd forgive me for at times feeling like I was at a G-rated version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at times, given the crowd interaction. Overall I think it was a great way to first experience the movie though: on a big screen and with an appreciative crowd. Though one has to admit it is a little strange this became such a classic family musical experience throughout the years, given the whole harrowing "escape from the Nazis" ending to the story.

FUN FACT: This was the second movie featuring Christopher Plummer I saw in a theater within a week! And I do highly recommend that you see Knives Out as well.

Friday, November 29, 2019

A recent SNL sketch that made me misty-eyed.



This song got me teary-eyed a few weeks ago when it originally aired, and for some reason it's stuck with me since then. I know it's ultimately silly, and you could view it as a little dark, but to me it seems sweet and innocent and captures a small truth that hits hard if you let it.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thankful.

You know what? I am thankful.

Let's just keep it at that.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Holy mackerel, 20 years of Light FM?!

Photo by Jim Newberry
It's really weird to think a friend's band has been around in one form or another for 20 years. Well, I guess it's not that weird. I have friends whose bands are nearing the 30 year mark, now that I think of it, but it's still the sort of thing you only really consider in the context of "classic" bands. I guess I have friends in "classic" bands? That must make Light FM a classic band!

I've meaning to write about Josiah's new Light FM Tourist EP, and I kept forgetting to do so. It's not because it 's not good—it is—but I kept waiting for the "right time." Like, a tour, or round-up of local releases (even though Josiah's been in L.A. for years and years I still keep thinking of him as a Chicago musician—guess I just can't let go).

So, Light FM has a new EP and it sounds exactly like Light FM, which is to say crisply produced and written, with layers of sound that betray Josiah's love of the studio while also supporting his never-ending quest for something that sounds buzzy and futuristic yet soulful and of-the-moment. And, like almost everything the man has written, there is a tug--f-war between sunshine and storm clouds, and that struggle has always endeared his music to me.

The track he's pushing from the album is "Dreamerz" and it features Brett Anderson of The Donnas entwining her vox with Josiah's. They mix well, to be honest. Honestly I'm just pleased Light FM is still making music, and you should be pleased too.

Light FM also just released a career-spanning retrospective called Turn On The Light FM, which serves as a nice primer for the band's music. So if you like the future pop of the song below, you will probably also enjoy taking a dip and swimming through their older tunes as well (even if the collection criminally omits my favorite song of the band's, "Eli Miller," but I'm sure that's just my nostalgia speaking and Light FM has a reason for not including it).

Hey, between the 20 year thing and the album retrospective and the new EP I guess I did have a timely reason to write about the band! And now you will also discover that sometimes I don't title these posts until after I'm done writing and figure out what point I might be trying to make more fully...

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

"This Feeling" isn't new, but it still slays.

Wait! Did Jeff (far left) get a haircut?!
Dead Stars have waited far too long to release a new album since 2017's Perfect Patterns. The fuzz-pop indie trio from Brooklyn have reliably released music that makes life better for everyone that listens to it, so I was beginning to worry they'd been silent for so long. I've only seen the band live once—I managed to time my birthday celebration with a show they had in Chicago a few years ago—but I keep enough tabs on them to know they still play out and about, even if they haven't been releasing much in the way of new music.

While "This Feeling" doesn't truly qualify as "new" since it was originally meant as a 2017 b-side, the band did recently release it as a bonus track on Perfect Patterns. And, as expected, it's terrific. So it looks like I'm gonna shell out a buck to download the track, and you should too! But if you can't afford a buck, stream it to your little heart's content.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Hey, how's the new job going?

Great! Thanks for asking!

Oh yeah, I just realized I don't think I ever mentioned I got a new gig in this here space, and that was because I did mention it on my "how to survive being unemployed" post that is still a draft since I've been too busy to properly tackle it and get it in good enough shape that I'm comfortable publishing it.

There is one key observations about my first couple of weeks at the new gig that I think tell you all you need to know, though:  I find myself in the office earlier than I need to be just about every day, because I actually like going in to work.

And that, my friends, is a wonderful thing.

Friday, November 22, 2019

New Who!


I had something else in mind to write when I first sat down in front of the clutter this morning, but as I took a quick scroll through my inbox I discovered it contained the new single from The Who! So this takes precedence.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, The Who has resisted the urge to release new music to support the existence of their touring incarnation. I've found that refreshing, and it's helped to keep the nexus of the band's legacy intact, at least in my eyes.* 2006's Endless Wire was the band's first album since 1982, and it was a solid collection that didn't cause any huge shockwaves throughout the music world, but it still managed to feel like a suitable addition to the band's oeuvre.

The band's releasing their latest studio album, WHO, next month, and they just released another track from it, "I Don't Wanna Get Wise." In the accompanying press release, singer Roger Daltry says, “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia in 1973, Pete [Townsend] hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter, and he’s still got that cutting edge”.

It's not unusual for a band to reference a previous high-water mark—I'm a huge Bowie fan but even I got tired of every new album of his being heralded as his "best since Scary Monsters"—and it usually elicits an eyebrow raise from me.** And, I'll be honest, my eyebrow is raised yet again by Daltry's claim. However listening to the music, I think what he might mean is that the band is leaning into that period's sound as the inspiration for the new work, and if that's the case then I agree. Either way, I'm looking forward to hearing the whole album!

Anyway, without further ado, "I Don't Wanna Get Wise."


*Their propensity for reissues and repackaging previously released material does a fine job of snagging disposable income from their fans. However you feel about that sort of behavior, it at least doesn't mean they're releasing dreck that taaints their back catalog, right?

**I would argue that The Who By Numbers was the last "great" Who album, but I wonder if Daltry perhaps views that as more a "Pete" album than a "Who" album since its subject matter is so personal? But if that's true, isn't the subject matter of most of The Who's greatest work intensely personal to Pete's worldview?***

***I wrote that before delving back into the press release and saw that Townsend is quoted as saying, "I wrote this in a mid-‘70s style, like a song from an album like 'WHO BY NUMBERS'" so I think I'm onto something there, even if Rog's own timeline's recollection seems a bit. off.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tripping over your own words to prove a point you didn't mean to make.

I haven't looked at the full list of nominations for the 2020 Grammy Awards yet. I miss a lot about Chicgoist, since it's still in hibernation, but the one thing I don't miss is the constant rush to get up content about topics I have no personal interest in, and the vast majority of award shows and their nominations fall firmly under that category.

Of course a few things have crept through to my attention on the Grammy front regardless of my interest—while the non-stop writing sprints ended once my regular outlet went dark, my non-stop consumption of hundreds of news stories across just about every topic every single day never slowed down. I just have the luxury of not having to dig deeply into the more meaningless stuff in order to extract somewhat meaningful content. In the case of awards shows, there are now so many (across every artistic discipline) that thaw are completely meaningless. In recent years I haven't even seen conclusive proof they help artist album sales in any sustainable way, or introduce underdogs to a new fanbase that sticks around.

To me, the only thing the Grammys were good for in the last couple of years was the chance they provided me and a select group of friends to gather around the television and mercilessly mock the proceedings in real time—both IRL and on Twitter. (Truth be told, we did celebrate the brief highlights of this or that super famous talented person doing something worthy of praise instead of ridicule too. We weren't monsters. Much.) There is something hilarious and writer's room-like about a room of cultural critics tossing around barbs and working off each other as they compose their tweets. Who ever said Twitter had to be a solo activity?! Sadly, in recent years, my path split off from that crew, so I don't even watch the broadcast for humorous purposes any more.

One thing that about the headlines that accompanied this year's noms did bring a smile to my face, though. Numerous media types were trumpeting that Lil Nas X, Lizzo, and Billie Ellish "dominate 2020 Grammy nominations." The quotes are there because multiple outlets used that exact descriptor in their headlines in reference to some combination of those three artists, accenting the performers who probably resonate most with their target reader demo and would result in clicks.

I know that last bit sounds snarky, and it is. But I'm all for Lil Nas X, Lizzo, and Billie Ellish dominating the nominations, even if that doesn't really result in anything concrete outside the Grammys acknowledging that what would have previously been viewed as industry-unfriendly artists are simply the ones running the show nowadays, and that the rams needs artists like that to make them at least appear relevant.

Annnnnnnd I just realized that what started as an early morning writing exercise turned into me producing "content about topics I have no personal interest in."

Sigh.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

If It Feels Good, Sloan It!


Sloan is coming through Chicago to play Bottom Lounge tonight. I've put together this point-by-point presentation to pique your interest and then convince you to attend this evening's concert.
  • Sloan has had the same four members since its inception in 1991.
  • The band features four songwriters, who more or less share songwriting duties equally, and have distinct melodic personalities that still blend seamlessly into their signature "single band sound."
    • The four songwriters' personalities could be boiled down to simple descriptors like:*
      • Jay Ferguson - the sensitive one
      • Chris Murphy - the poppy one who wants everyone to have A REAL GOOD TIME
      • Patrick Pentland - the punky one who can't resist a hook
      • Andrew Scott - the artsy one
  • They are all "the cute one," by the way.
  • The band's sound has slightly varied over the years—beginning as an indie almost shoegaze noisy smear with a strong melodic center, then eventually steering more towards the vibe of '60s clubs and '70s arenas with a power-pop focus, but without every really being a power-pop band. It's just goddamned catchy rock and/or roll. It's the beat of life. It's essential. I am not exaggerating this point.


  • They are currently touring behind the deluxe reissue of 1998's Navy Blues—arguably the band's best album in a catalog of amazing albums. And yes, the deluxe reissue of a 1998 album from a Canadian band that most current music fans are woefully unfamiliar with was absolutely warranted. I preordered not the second it was available and don't regret one cent I spent for it.
  • Sloan shows are more fun than should be allowed, and the band is just as energetic and boisterous as they were when I first saw them on their One Chord To Another tour. This was the tour that caused me to fall in love with the band, even though I admit I didn't expect them to still be putting out albums 20 years later. Or that I'd still be trying to drag every living soul I know to see their shows and listen to their records.


  • I've kept track and not one single person I have introduced to Sloan's music has been able to resist the band.
If you are not already, and you go to the show, you too will become a Sloan fan. And you too will join me in my mission to expose others to one of the genuinely great things in life. Sloan.

Thank you for attending my tankTALK.


*These descriptions are overly simplistic, and meant to align more with the fanzine depiction of the group through the eyes of a teenage fan. It should be noted that this is a band you can still view through the eyes of your inner teenage fan, even if you are, in reality, an old fart.

**I maybe listened to Superchunk's What A Time To Be Alive more, but I can't be sure. It was neck-to-neck.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

'Cuz I know when you're in my heart you're in my mind.



I woke up this morning ultra early yet still managed to utter around my apartment long enough that I didn't have time to write in this here place before heading to the gym. Luckily I did have enough time to whip up a quick preview of Jonny Polonsky's Chicago show tonight for Third Coast Review

So head on over and read it to discover what makes tonight's show a little bit more special than usual.

I haven't seen Jonny in years, so I'm looking forward to a late afternoon cup of coffee so I can stay awake long enough to head on out and see him play!

Monday, November 18, 2019

The power in letting go.

Rowe, photo by Simon Filip
Rowe (a.k.a. Becky Filip) released her debut single "Tired Love" last week, and it's the kind of slinky and slow groove that finds its home deep within you. I know it's stuck with me and bubbled to the top of my consciousness a number of times over the weekend since I first listened to it.

Filip's song is borne out of the newfound freedom driven by the realization that "being alone was not the same thing as being lonely." That feels powerful to me. But also incredibly vulnerable. And those two things come together the song's bridge when Filip sings "So you can write me letters / And you can write me songs / But it won’t make it better / You can’t keep a heart you broke."

It's such a simple statement, but it's also the kind of truth that takes people just so long to truly embrace and understand. On the surface, "Tired Love" appears to be a lament, but I think that at its core it's a statement of strength through self-acceptance.

I'm curious to hear what Filip has planned next under the Rowe moniker.

Friday, November 15, 2019

You'll believe a cat can fly!

Viktor the cat, photo via Mikhail Galin's Facebook page
In a week (month? year? years? has it always been this bad?!) of garbage news, one story rose up to save us all.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sometimes, first thing in the morning, you can literally only talk about the weather.

Sheez, it is cold in Chicago.

I'm not really complaining, since the freeze is something you just grow used to around these parts. However we usually have a little more time to ease into it, and it really does feel like we've hit the deep freeze range of temps we are usually more acclimated to in February.

For example, most of the radiators in my apartment don't work. Or they do, but only for something like 15 minutes a day, at 5 a.m. And the two or three that stay heated longer than that do so intermittently, ad are in areas of the apartment I don't reguarly occupy (like my library or the room where my drum kit is set up). So it can get unusually cold in my place, but I tend to just wear extra layers and crawl under blankets. But last year "unusually cold in my place" didn't really manifest until, you guessed it, February. This year it started creeping toward that territory in October and is now firmly ensconced in the land of not-comfy chill already in November.

I planned on just dealing with it but my upstairs neighbor just told me that everyone in the building is having heating issues already, so maybe this year they'll get taken care of! My landlord is actually very cool, I'm just the sort of person that always just deals with these things quietly rather than bothering someone else to actually fix them. Lame, I know. But I hate feeling like I'm putting people out! I don't wanna do that.

So there you go. Another fascinating update from the Midwest on, you guessed it, the weather. Hey, I promised I'd return to writing something every day, I just never promised it'd all be genius.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Lou Barlow stars in The Get Up Kids' "Lou Barlow" and we continue to reach new heights of self-referential indie awesomeness in today's media landscape.



Continuing the trend of current bands paying tribute to their '80s indie rock idols, and then recruiting their '80s indie rock idols to participate in some manner in that tribute, The Get Up Kids have released the video for their song "Lou Barlow," and it stars Lou Barlow.

In the accompanying press release, Barlow confirmed in an official statement that “I acted the shit out of that.”

I concur.

Also, worth noting, the album "Lou Barlow" is pulled from, Problems, is an excellent album and you should listen to it and buy it and go see The Get Up Kids live and buy all their merch and all of that, while you're at it.