Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Better than you would think a TMNT concept album would ever be.

Howth photo by Bryan Bruchman from the band's Facebook page
I'm not sure how I got on Howth's Bandcamp mailing list—I must've' downloaded something of their at some point—but when a free download code showed up in my mail directing me to download the band's latest album I was intrigued. The album's title wasTrashy Milky Nothing Town (check out the initials) and it was a concept album of sorts. bandleader Carl Creighton had this to say in the announcement:
I started writing about Leonardo living in the sewers when I was living in a basement in Brooklyn, waiting to graduate college so I could return to Minnesota. My dad was suffering from dementia and deteriorating fast. So these songs are partially about that. But I also fell in love with a straight guy when we were finalizing the album. So that's in there too now.
I don't know why it took me this long to actually listen to the durn thing, that intro alone should have had me sprinting for the play button, but now that I finally have I feel the need to share it with everyone.

I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't such a strong collection of music. Download or stream it below and tell me if you don't (or do) agree. If you need to sample a single track in order to decide whether or not you want to listen to the rest, might I suggest giving "Tourist Town" a spin?

Monday, May 30, 2016

On repeat. And onward.

In times of great stress I often retreat into "comfort zones." Popeye's Fried Chicken, Bloom County, and movies from my youth that I thought reflected vital portions of my psyche. Real Genius* is definitely in my top 5 movies of all time (though that list does morph along with my mood, as any decent Top 5 list should (and yes, sly reference there, eh?)) so I've watched it twice in the last 12 hours. Streets Of Fire, Rock And Rule and Blade Runner can't be far behind.

Right now though? It's lovely outside—for once—so I'm forcing myself outdoors.

*If anyone has the Real Genius soundtrack (I think there's an unofficial one floating around since crime upon crime it was never officially released) and wants to send it my way I'd be very grateful.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

One year ago today...

...was, easily, the happiest day of my life so far.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Big weekend plans!

I'm kicking off my holiday weekend in my pajamas in front of the TV. And it's not even dinnertime yet! This is about as wild as it's going to get.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

It was a day.

There is a cat to my left. And another cat a little farther away to my left. They're sleeping and I'm watching TV. Earlier I made dinner and listened to podcasts and then NPR One. Earlier than that I had a good conversation. Even earlier than that I helped a bunch of people bring two big projects closer to completion. Earlier than that I had a wrap from Freshii, and before that I was sweating in a bus and before that I was at the gym. Even earlier than that I had a cat to my left. And another cat a little farther away to my left. They were both sleeping and I was too.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Current mood: drenched.

Figure 1
Holy mackerel.

Tonight I had meetings go a little longer at work than expected, so I didn’t even see the gathering storm clouds outside. By the time we broke to go back to our desks and execute some of the things we had been planning out I realized that it was raining.

Pouring. Like sheets of rain, wrath of God.

I had to be at home to record a guest spot on a podcast at 8 p.m., but wasn’t worried; I still had a little work to do and by then certainly the rain would let up, right?


And when it rains like that in Chicago during rush hour, it messes everything up; especially public transit. So even leaving the office with plenty of time to get home turned into making it home in time for that podcast looking pretty doubtful. And while waiting for a bus, the transit tracker listed it as coming in two minutes.

Five minutes later it was suddenly 13 minutes away.

Then 15 minutes away.

This, on top of everything else going on right now, had me on the verge of freaking out.

Long story short—I didn’t freak out; I made it home just in time; I looked like wet dog (Figure 1, though that doesn’t capture the full body soak down); and logged in just in time to talk about some music with some pretty great folks.

But holy mackerel, what a commute.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

If you miss Superdrag you will love the new album from The Lees Of Memory!

The Lees Of Memory, photo via their Facebook page
I was listening to the latest Dig Me Out podcast while making dinner earlier, and their guest was John Davis, currently of The Lees Of Memory and previously the late and great Superdrag. It was a great interview—the Dig Me Out guys are passionate and knowledgeable so their conversation with guests often run very long without ever boring the listener—and I discovered The Lees Of Memory had a new album coming out!

Based on the podcast conversation and the snippets of songs they played throughout, it was obvious the band's sophomore effort took a very different route than the band's borderline shoegaze-pop debut. So I hopped on over to the project's Pledgemusic page, where the album is currently available for pre-sale, and immediately bought a copy so I could get access to the immediate free download of the whole thing (the CDs are still being manufactured and the vinyl is currently in production).

And it's great. I know I probably shouldn't say this, but it sounds very early Superdrag in a very good way. If been listening to it since I downloaded it a while ago.

There's only a free days left to get in on the pre-order, and I highly recommend you do so, since the extra downloads of demos and other tracks make it well worth the dough. It's such good old-fashioned power-pop goodness that it's mixed in mono!

Monday, May 23, 2016

I've had dark days.

Last week was maybe the worst week of my adult life. But I made it through. I'm hoping to make this week much better. I have to mark some hard decisions, and really look inside myself, but I feel like it was something that had to happen.

I'm looking forward to progressively brighter days ahead.

Friday, May 20, 2016

A shadow.

I might be that thing you always assume is around until you realize I'm not there. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

11 years ago today I posted my first Chicagoist article.

Wow, it's been 11 years? And over 2,700 posts. And my first one was about Assassins (back in the days when images weren't exactly uniform on the site).

Quite a bit has changed since that first post, but the one thing that has been constant over the years is that Chicagoist has offered me some amazing opportunities. It was also how I met the woman who would become my wife.

I won't go into a long list of memories or get too introspective on y'all. But if you feel like reminiscing with me a little bit, feel free to  scroll through my posts and see how they, and the site, has changed over the years.

Maybe I'll treat myself to a classic t-shirt to celebrate!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Ye olde tankPHONE 5S bit the dust yesterday and wouldn't function at all, forcing me to get a new phone. I was really hoping it would hold out through music festival season but it just wasn't meant to be.

I picked up an iPhone 6S Plus and think I made a mistake. The dang thing is just too big! I'll give it a try for a couple of days but I just don't think I was meant to own something that huge.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rough week.

Some weeks you just look at the approaching couple of days and want to throw your hands up in the air, right?

Friday, May 13, 2016

In the age of the instantaneous music review.

Upon initial listens I find the new Chance The Rapper album > the new Radiohead album. But that's just a quick first impression. Not a review. Luckily there seems to be a budding movement to halt same day reviews. They basically suck.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Good news! I'm not dying! (Yet.)

Annual physical completed! And after four decades by body appears to still be functioning mostly well. I was worried going into my appointment that my age was finally catching up to me, but outside being told I need to watch my cholesterol everything else is in good shape. This is news I happily accepted.

At the same time it made me realize that I shouldn't take good news and use it as an excuse to not adopt healthier habits. So I'm in the midst of doing just that. I think the cholesterol thing will help me watch my diet even more closely than i already was (I'm aiming to get back down to my "summer weight").

Overall I'm going to look at this bill of good health as a gift I need to protect.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

You think hipsters are brand new to Logan Square?

I was thumbing through the ten-years-old Act Like You've Been Here Before: The Chicagoist Guide To Chicago the other day and came across this passage that made me laugh out loud.
Recently Logan Square’s rough edges have started to round out due to the influx of two-flat- and condo-buying hipsters. The neighborhood is heavily flavored by its Latin population though, and no amount of whitewashing can dull this neighborhood’s throbbing heart.
Well, actually, that was pretty prescient, huh? I think at that time Photogal and I were one of those two-flat buying hipsters!

You should download the whole thing and see just what we were recommending people check out way back when in 2006. You can tell where most of the writers at the time lived, based on which sections have the most entries.

I can't remember exactly what my contributions were to the guide, but you can definitely pick out a few of the music venue write-ups as mine—let's see if you can guess which ones!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Let Aloha take you to the Moon, Man.

Sorry, that headline is terrible. The song is "Moon Man" and the band is Aloha. the group is splintered across a couple different states, but you wouldn't know it from the cohesion in their music. Technology!

Their sound's Playful, mellow dance rock-y stuff. There is a touch of the tropical here—a nod to their name?—but in a "sunshine in the music" way, not hokey, stereotypical "island" instrumentation.

O.K., sue me over the overuse of quotes in that last sentence. Or maybe don't, since I think you'll be willing to fogive me after giving into the best track on their new album Little Windows Cut Right Through.

The band has two tour dates set so far, September 22 in Cleveland at Beachland Tavern, and September 23 at Lincoln Hall in Chicago.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Swimming in superhero stuff.

We saw Captain America: Civil War last night and earlier in the day I was griping about the fact that superhero toys now are so much cooler than when I was a kid.

Mich looked at me and said, "That's because it's all people your age creating the toys now the way they would've wanted them then."

She's totally right!

Oh yeah, and go see Captain America; Marvel yet again has yet to take a serious misstep and the movie's great! Also, Spidey FTW!

Friday, May 06, 2016

It's been a good-ish week.

Things got off to an especially rocky start. The past rushed in to consume me and remind me of things I miss so badly, nut have absolutely no power to do anything about any longer. This led to a pretty stark rethink of a number of things—starting with the decision to make a concerted effort to let more go instead of thinking I can do anything about the things I can't?

I know. That might not make a lot of sense externally. But I think this is ore an internal note to myself, and a reminder that I want to travel this path, so I can refer back to it every time I;m tempted to throw my own unstoppable force against an immovable object.

So things got off to an especially rocky start this week. But as the days have sped along my general outlook has grown brighter and I'm going into the weekend full of optimism for the days, weeks, and months ahead.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

According to the Pew Research Center I am a millennial!

Welp, you can't blame me for not being young at heart. Funny story, when I started working at Edelman Digital in 2008 it because quickly very apparent that people there thought is was in my mid-twenties and hadn't a clue I was in my late-thirties. I was even put on a Millennial Taskforce!

This actually makes sense since I've been neck-deep and adjusted to digital ecosystems / pop culture / etc. for decades; it's only recently I've even found myself beginning to adopt a "back in the day" mindset about a few things. So when a scientific quiz stacks people against each other based on regular daily behaviors but not internal philosophies it makes sense I'd skew this way.

Anyway, take the quiz and see how you do!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Looks like I'm not the only one still missing Prince.

If you're in Chicago and want to celebrate Prince with a great big, outdoor dance party and parade, Friday is your chance to do so.

Loss is hard, but I'm happy to see tributes to both David Bowie and Prince are still going strong. It feels better to celebrate their lives than mourn their loess, that's for sure.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

I've been listening to a lot of Prince lately.

I still think that the man could have done with the help of a good editor to help him pare down albums in later years, but the net result—even including the less spectacular songs—is still a catalog that boggles the mind. If also been listening to a ton of live recordings and the man was on fire during every era of his music making. In fact a show I heard featuring his recent backing band 3rdeyegirl from last year is absolutely shredding, and shows that those musicians were more than up to the task of backing one of the greatest all-around musicians of our (and possibly of all) time.

Basically just listening to a lot of Prince and still thinking it totally sucks he is so suddenly gone.

Monday, May 02, 2016

On a Green Day kick.

I also remembering taping this off MTV onto my stereo hi-fidelty VCR (???!!!!) and then copying it onto a cassette tape because I thought the Kerplunk! material sounded so much better live.

Yeah, I was a huge fucking nerd, even about punk rock stuff.

Also, just look at the Aragon floor. The WHOLE FUCKING CROWD is just losing their mind. ˆt'sd awesome.