Mare Vitalis

Band/Artist: The Appleseed Cast
Album: Mare Vitalis
Best song: “Mare Mortis” or “Fishing the Sky”
Worst song: “Kilgore Trout” isn’t much

One of my favorite things currently online is a video series for Deadspin called “Let’s Remember Some Guys.” For the uninitiated, the basic idea of the series is that two Deadspin staff members (David Roth is usually one of them) look through decades-old baseball cards and they, uh, remember the guy on the card. Roth is usually the rememberer, with a younger staffer – young Deadspinners Lauren Theisen and Luis Paez-Pumar are the most frequent cohosts – holding up the card and hosting to ask Roth if he remembers each guy. It’s Roth’s brand, though, and he also hosts non-Deadspinners to bring in their own cards or remember guys even further back. Read More »
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Samsara

Band/Artist: Venom Prison
Album: Samsara
Best song: “Uterine Industrialisation” and “Naraka “
Worst song: “Self Inflicted Violence”

I’m not going to get into my dating life here (short version: I’ve not dated in ages because women sometimes pursue me despite my being a disaster person and I’m not interseted in them. I am incredibly stupid.), but I do enjoy getting glimpses of what dating is like for my younger generational mates . Read More »
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Nest

Band/Artist: Brutus
Album: Nest
Best song: “Fire”
Worst song: “Horde V”

No one gives a shit about my process – especially since I’m not really promoting this site, not even on Twitter – but I am trying to write more on this site. It’s awfully hard, though, because of the various (rightful) restrictions my job puts on me. Journalism, in the age of social media, puts the restrictions on its adherents to not promote political causes or seem biased against/for candidates/parties/etc. and all I think about within the 2019 world is politics – you can’t fucking avoid it. So, even the type of navel-gazing bullshit I write here would probably end up being within that structure. I’m not 100% sure I didn’t line-step on the Myrkur essay just by shitting on white nationalists, so who knows? Read More »
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Mareridt

Band/Artist: Myrkur
Album: Mareridt
Best song: “Elleskudt” or “The Serpent”
Worst song: “Kætteren”

I love the show Forged in Fire. If you haven’t seen it, it’s basically Top Chef, but for blacksmiths. The host — a former Army Ranger named Wil Willis — gives the contestants some bit of metal to make a certain style of knife (sometimes it’s salvage material like bits of a tractor, sometimes it’s just regular metal bars that blacksmiths use). The first round is the blade (one of the four contestants gets bounced here), the second round means the contestants have to put on a handle. Then the knives go through these tests of cutting meat or into ice or whatever. Someone gets bounced, then the final two get to go back to their home forges to make some historical sword or weapon. Then more tests. Read More »
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The Catastrophist

Band/Artist: Tortoise
Album: The Catastrophist
Best song: Probably “Ox Duke”
Worst song: Nah.

As I mentioned in writing about Chris Isaak, I’ve gotten off this blog’s schedule for years now and I’m trying to get back into it. This is easier said than done because I have less optimism about my own skill set and have acknowledged that I, as a writer and thinker, am simple mediocre.

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Heart Shaped World

/><br /><strong>Band:</strong> Kanye West<br /><strong>Album:</strong> The Life of Pablo<br /><strong>Best song:</strong> 

Band/Artist: Chris Isaak
Album: Heart Shaped World
Best song: I’m here to talk about “Wicked Game.”
Worst song: “In the Heat of the Jungle” is not great.

I’m old and tired now, but when I was a young person, music was my first passion (my first and only passion now is my dog). As recently as the beginning of my thirties, I was writing about and thinking about music much of my time. I wanted new bands in my life and I really fucking wanted to write about them. I’m not 100% sure as to why. I’m sure my failings as a songwriter and musician – I am psychedelically lazy regarding things that don’t initially come easy to me and have to be forced to practice, so I never really took to repetition necessary for music – are the main reasons I went toward music criticism.

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The Life of Pablo


Band: Kanye West
Album: The Life of Pablo
Best song: “No More Parties in L.A.”
Worst song: “I Love Kanye West” is dumb.

The Life of Pablo was finally released Sunday — two days after it was supposed to be released and three days after a pretty weird fashion show/listening party at Madison Square Garden — and let’s examine how I can relate to it . Read More »

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Abyss


Band: Chelsea Wolfe
Album: Abyss
Best song: “Iron Moon.” “Grey Days.” “Carrion Flowers.” “Crazy Love.”
Worst song: “Maw” isn’t as strong as the other songs.

What can I say about Chelsea Wolfe that I haven’t already said? The California-based singer/songwriter is my favorite current artist and someone about whom I’ve sung overwhelming praise. Her fifth (or sixth, depending on how legitimate you consider Mistake in Parting) record Abyss comes out this week after early release of a few singles and her rise in the culture continues with the inclusion of one of the singles, “Carrion Flowers,” on a Fear the Walking Dead trailer.

Abyss marks a run in which Wolfe has released an album a year — save for 2014, when she was largely touring — since 2010.  Read More »

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Kitsune


Band: Marriages
Album: Kitsune
Best song: “Ride in my Place”
Worst song: “Pelt” is the least conventional, but the album plays like one giant song.

My lack of writing in this space exposes two things. The first is that I’m a lazy sack of crap and need to work more on getting more reviews up. A scant seven years ago, I did two reviews a day and now I can’t even get to one a month. Pathetic.

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Carrie & Lowell


Band: Sufjan Stevens
Album: Carrie & Lowell
Best song: “Fourth of July”
Worst song: “Drawn to the Blood” is not as strong as the rest of the record.

There’s a conversation to be had about Sufjan Stevens, his religiosity, his skillset, his campiness and his general whiteness (I believe Pitchfork touched on the whiteness of the indie scene here). There are connections there, most certainly, but I can’t put them together right now. To use an overly obnoxious cliche: What do we talk about when we talk about Stevens? Is it one of those things above? Is it his popularity that seemingly came out of nowhere, only to be somewhat wasted on Christmas songs?  Read More »

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