Thursday, June 30, 2016

DFW on ambition and ISU.

Right about the 2:29 mark really stings because I remember feeling exactly that way in college and in retrospect I realize what an idiot I was.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Today is my Friday.

Tomorrow is my birthday, so I took it off work. And since the 4th of July is on Monday I also took Friday off work. So now I have a super log weekend in which to chill. And celebrate me. Yay me!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Caught in the act!

This is where I hide out earlier in the day when my desk is being zapped by white hot beams of sunlight (but I refuse to give up my window seat so I have no problem traveling around the office when needed). Last week a co-worker was wandering around, covertly snapping shots of folks at work. I am just thankful I didn't have something dumb on my screen at he time. Look at me though, I look so serious!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Holy moley it's Holy Fuck!

Holy Fuck, photo by Nick Walter
Holy Fuck's new album Congrats is dirty, grimy, sex music. It's the sound of lowered lights and sweaty dancing. It exudes danger, bad decisions and poor life choices that will make killer stories later in life. It's hazy make out sessions in smoke filled rooms where the only thing that matters is how good a kisser the other person is.

Congrats is a fucking good time.

Holy Fuck will be in town to blow up Lincoln Hall with with their groovy, fuzzed out dance beats on July 14.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Staying in and being lame.

The title is somewhat incorrect. I have been staying in a lot recently, and I have been lame for doing so, and I have really enjoyed it. I've been able to spend much quality time binge-watching TV shows I missed the first time around or am way behind on, and just generally relax.

It feels good.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's party party party time with Mean Jeans!

Mean Jeans
There are times albums just sit in my queue and it takes me a while to get to them. I get a lot of music so this is natural, but sometimes I truly regret sitting on something a little too long. In the case of Mean Jeans, I finally listened to their new album, fell in love with it ... and then realized they already came through town last month on their tour. And I get the feeling Mean Jeans is probably an awesome live band.

I won't go into too much detail—you gotta hear this for yourself—but their sound is party pop-punk with a heavy nod towards The Ramones. But there's also a little modern anarchy a la Diarrhea Planet's "let's all raaaaaaaaawwwwwk right now and have a good time" vibe that I immediately fell for. Stream the whole album below, but if you only have time for one song right now, jump to "Are There Beers In Heaven."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Where's the storm?

Today was supposed to be stormageddon, yet I had a lovely midday walk outside with nary a cloud in sight or heavy breeze to be felt.

Chicago weather-people just love to get everyone worked up over nothing (90% of the time).

UPDATE: We got a bit of a storm late in the evening, but compared to the forecast it was pretty weaksauce.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Went to my first baseball game of the season with a pretty girl.

It was a good night. And her team won! I could do with more nights like this.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Media is in trouble. No secret there. But tronc—the dilution and reimagining of a once great media company—is a lovely distillation of just how much trouble journalism is in right now.

The pendulum has to start swinging the other way again. Right? Right?

I just noticed in the contents of the post that someone posted the below video. The frightening thing is this parody is, well, probably more honest than the HR video tronc posted.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Jon Lindsay's summery, shimmery sidewalk power-pop.

Jon Lindsay
Luckily I seem to be stumbling over all the summer music at the right time. The sun has finally rediscovered Chicago and the heat has made a welcome arrival. This means windows have been flung open all over the city and we need the appropriate soundtrack to waft out of our houses and cars.

Jon Lindsay just released Cities & Schools and it's just the sort of album I want to hear playing from the second floor of a three-flat as I wander down the sidewalk. These songs are tiny darts that hit the corners of your lips to draw out an unexpected smile. It's music that makes you want to breathe deep in take in all the positive things in the world around you. This is an album full of sparkling power-pop with just the slightest southern twang and the tiniest twinge of barroom smoke to keep things honest.

Sadly Lindsay has no Chicago tour dates in the near future, but you can bet I'll let you know when he does.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Yay Team Kale Chips!

Kale Chips and friends, photo via my Instagram
The picture above is from when we attended a yoga fundraiser to help bring Kale Chips, a beagle who had grown dangerously obese before being surrendered to a local shelter, back to health (and a healthy weight).

The photo below is Kale Chips now. And we just learned he's been adopted!

Kale Chips, photo via the One Tail At A Time Facebook page
Happy endings do exist!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

On the lighter side...

Photo by me, sorry for the fuzziness, I was trying to be discreet.
Things have been a little on the darker side around these parts lately, so I figured it was time to share something a little lighter. The photo above was taken about a year ago on the way back from MACRUS and Katie's wedding, Imagine our shock at seeing some super buff shirtless dude doing what appeared to be a combination of tai chi and some sort of yoga posing in the parking lot of a rest stop.

Fast forward a few hours later when we pull into another rest stop to find THE SAME DUDE DOING THE SAME THING (sans shirt, of course). My memory may be playing with me, but I want to say we even saw him a third time, but that might just be wishful thinking.

Anyway, it was both mind-blowing and pretty hilarious. Ta-dah! Something lighter!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Monkees mourn the death of an accidental hipster.

The Monkees just released their first album in 30 years, Good Times! It's full of excellent collaborations, including a beyond thew grave performance by Davey Jones on a Neil Diamond number never completed back in the '60s.

To my ears the true standout track on the album is the Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller composition, "Birth Of An Accidental Hipster," featuring vocals by Mike Nesmith and Mickey Dolenz. It's a sweetly, slightly psychedelic tune that just has a timeless vibe.

It's been a bummer couple of days so let's see if this can't help brighten things up, even if just a little bit.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Stop shooting people.

This is tough. I don't like guns. At all. Yet my wife's dad is a gun advocate. And you know why he is? Because he operates under the understanding owning a gun is a right that carries consequences. 

I want her dad to own a gun. That actually makes me feel safer. But I want prospective gun buyers to prove they are also repsosible gun owners. So let's all come together and admit our system is broken. Give guns to the good guys and stop turning s blind eye to the bad guys. 

This has to stop. Now. And don't let right-wing nut jobs spin this differently. Period. 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Empty Bottle Book famous!

Photo by Clayton Hauck
Well well well, looks like I'll have to pick up a copy (as if I wasn't going to already) of the new book about The Empty Bottle! Can you spot me on the back of the book?

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

California vibes emanating from Tennessee.

If you dig early to mid-'60s Beach Boys albums, then Tennessee's The Explorers Club new album is going to be your summer jam. Heavenly vocal arrangements permeate every song, and summer sun vibes come shining through. My favorite tune on the album is "Once In A While" but since that's not streaming anywhere here's the video for the first single. "California's Callin' Ya" indeed.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Summer tunez from Ladyhawke.

Photo of Ladyhawke playing oh-so-many years ago at Metro by me.
It's been too long since Ladyhawke's last album. Four years? That's just too long. Luckily Wild Things was worth the wait.

I've had the album for a while now but have been putting off listening to it. I'll admit, I was worried it might not measure up to my personal memories of Pip Brown's earlier material that made me kind of fall for her songwriting in the first place. Heck, the last time I saw her—her Chicago debut—was in 2009!

The music scene has changed since then, but on Wild Things Ladyhawke doubles down on the synth-pop dance-rock slightly gritty sound that won me over on her debut. In fact there's something almost touchingly sweet about the optimism in the melodies and beats here, trading in hope for melancholy. Even the "sad" love songs will fill the dance floor before people realize the content is more bittersweet than they realized. But who cares, the music is filled with a joy that leads everyone—well at least me—that things are always going to get better.

This year has been rough as far as any stellar new music coming out, and this has been a year where I could really have used the refuge of songs that soared and lifted me. Based on music popping up in my inbox over the past couple weeks, maybe the second half of this year will deliver me more of the music that I so dearly need right now.

Sing it Pip!

Monday, June 06, 2016

On pause.

I keep looking for streams of songs I’m digging because it’s Monday, and it’s been a bummer couple of weeks, and I could really handle feeling like I’m at least picking up someone else’s mood, even if mine is still stuck in subterranean levels. But everything I’ve listened to today that’s actually sparked any interest in me isn’t available yet. And digging through my “2016 Songs” playlist isn’t unearthing anything that fills me with enough of a spark right now to wanna share. Monday has extinguished my spark.

 Sorry to be such a bummer.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Peter Bjorn and John and 'Breakin'' and saving my life (and also RAC).

The new Peter Bjorn and John album has quite literally saved my life a few times over the last few weeks. It's been too long since their last LP, but at least they spent the time between releases writing a collection of kick ass tunes with not a clunker in the bunch.

My personal jam is "What You Talking About," but they sadly haven't posted that anywhere yet, so you'll have to make do with the slightly inferior (though still pretty dandy) RAC remix below.* And below that is the first official song off Breakin' Point, "Dominos." Did I also mention "Dominos is currently a free download as well? Get on that!

Another strong track is the lovely, summery "Do Si Do," but you'll just have to wait until June 10 when the album comes out to hear that one.

Mich and I have quite a history with this band—they may be the group we've seen together the most times—and if you're looking to see us in public we'll be at Taste Of Randolph when Peter Bjorn And John take the stage on June 19. They're live sets are always fabulous; even more so when they've got a great album powering the newer material.

Anyway, enough prattling. Listen up and get excited for one of the best albums of 2016 thus far.

*Wait! Hold the presses! While I was writing this I skipped around the interweb and discovered the band actually just released a video for "What You Talking Aboit," so you can hear the original version! Huzzah!

Thursday, June 02, 2016

My house is dark.

I've noticed recently I rarely turn on the lights. My windows are all open and the shades are wide open, so as the sun goes down and my house adopts a twilight glow, I find I'm not really reaching for the light switch any longer. When I'm cooking is just about the only time I need illumination. The rest of the time I just exist in a cloak of darkness. I wonder if that means something?

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Talkin' 2016 LPs from Bowie, The Dandy Warhols (and a bunch of other stuff).

The kind folks at Dig Me Out had me as a guest on this week's podcast, which is a review round-up of 2016 albums from acts who also had a strong '90s presence. There are a bunch of smart folks talking about a bunch of great (and some not so great) new music, and I chatted about Davied Bowie's Blackstar, and The Dandy Warhols' Distortland.

Listen below for my thoughts, and please do take in all the other reviews while you're at it.