Purple Mountains

Band/Artist: Purple Mountains
Album: Purple Mountains
Best song: “Margaritas at the Mall,” hands-down. It’s one of Berman’s best songs in his catalogue.
Worst song: “Maybe I’m the Only One for Me” is a good song, but the record’s weakest.

In the Conservative American Judaism I grew up with – even the different branches of Judaism, each is hardly a monolith – there is a set of prayers that are essentially blessings that one says to start the day or start a morning service. They are called Birkhot HaShahar (ברכות השחר), or the blessings of the dawn. There are 10 of them and I was taught that they are meant to begin the day in a thankful and meditative mood. Read More »
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He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…

Band/Artist: A Silver Mt. Zion
Album: He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…
Best song: “For Wanda” and “13 Angels Standing Guard ’round the Side of Your Bed”
Worst song: “Long March Rocket or Doomed Airliner” is not a song, necessarily.

I was having a conversation with a friend a few years ago about the dog meat trade that takes place in different cultures. There are conversations to be had about cultural differences and the reasonable question he asked was something to the effect of “well, we eat cows and pigs and chickens in the West. What’s the difference?”

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Hiss Spun

Band/Artist: Chelsea Wolfe
Album: Hiss Spun
Best song: “16 Psyche”
Worst song: “Twin Fawn” is a great song, but the least fitting on the record.

One of the things about getting older is that you lost touch with a lot of your friends. If you don’t have an activity with them – this is partially why I still play softball. It makes me see people I like without having to make an effort. – it’s easy to lose track of one another’s lives. Marriage, kids and the general ennui of getting older makes it so our social circles contract. Read More »
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Demo

Band/Artist: Konvent
Album: Demo
Best song: “Chernobyl Child”
Worst song: None. The demo is four excellent songs.

I usually try to write these posts with something of a hook other than “check out this band I like,” but I really just wanted to highlight how much I like the Konvent demo. Read More »
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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

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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