New Music Friday: Death Wish by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Earlier this week Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit released the first single, “Death Wish”, off their forthcoming album, Weathervanes due out on June 9. It’s absolutely no secret that Jason Isbell is one of my favorite artists, so I’m very excited for some new music by him. I’m seeing him in concert later this summer, and I’m happy there will be some new jams to rock out to. This song is about loving someone with an addiction. In true Jason Isbell fashion it really cuts to the heart of things. A few days before they made the official album announcement, they put out this ridiculous hype video as a teaser. It’s hilarious because it’s true.

There’s also a new song out by Chvrches today called “Over”. They are also a band I really love, so I’m excited for new music by them as well. However, it didn’t wind up being a contest over which song I was going to feature today because even though you can stream it, the video for the song is not coming out until this afternoon. As I prefer to share YouTube videos since I don’t know what streaming services everyone has access to, that made it an easy call to go with the Jason Isbell song.

Last Week Delight 2/21/2023

  • As I’ve already written about on this blog, I went to see both Maggie Rogers and Snail Mail in concert last week. Going to two indoor concerts in a row is perhaps the closest approximation of my pre-pandemic life that I’ve returned to yet.
  • I was in line behind a college age girl and her mom and I think aunt to get into the Maggie Rogers show. The girl was talking about her sorority sisters, which is how I for sure knew she was in college. I appreciated the fact that this girl was at a concert most kids her age would be at with her friends with her mom instead.
  • I got the last real spot in the parking lot at the Ottobar for the Snail Mail show. I mean aside from the person who created an extra spot right up next to my car. I was worried I wasn’t going to be to get back into my car, but I squeezed in, and that person came out right after me anyway. He had to move his car so his friends could get in it.
  • Also, as I mentioned in my post about the Snail Mail concert, I got a spot to stand on the risers in the Ottobar. I was there late enough I wasn’t expecting it. Between that and the parking spot I felt like everything was coming up me at that concert.
  • I took a staycation last week. I usually take a week off in February or March that often winds up being a staycation. By this time of year I’m always realizing how much vacation time I have left to use before the end of June, so I take a week off to use some of it up. I purposefully decided on last week to take a staycation after I realized that I would have the Super Bowl, and then two concerts all right in a row. Seemed like a good week to be able to sleep in instead of being out late three nights in a row and having to drag myself out of bed for work.
  • I also used my staycation to start learning to crochet. I’ve been beseiged by these Facebook ads for Woobles beginner crochet kits for months. I always thought they looked super cute, but I never wanted to spend the money on them. Then one of my friends posted about making some she got for Christmas, and her feedback on them finally convinced me to do it. I enjoyed doing it, though my poor arthritic hands not so much. I don’t think crochet is going to be a long term hobby because of that. I bought a 4 pack, so I still have three more little animals to crochet. I will have to space them out a little though and give my hands some time to rest in-between. The instructional videos for the kits were really good and very clearly walked me through everything I needed to know to crochet that specific animal. I think there are certainly other things they don’t cover that I would need to know how to do if I was just crocheting in the wild. I definitely understand some of the things I did wrong with my little penguin that I will be better about when I crochet my next little guy.
  • I saw three kids out roller skating in my neighborhood the other day. Seems difficult and a little dangerous given how uneven the sidewalks are around us, but it seemed liked they were having fun.
  • We went over to our friends’ new house for dinner on Saturday night. We got to see their new house for the first time and meet their new kitties. When I used to go out to eat in actual restaurants we would often meet at this Mexican restaurant for dinner. It’s a 30-40 minute drive from our house, so not somewhere we eat often. My husband and I grabbed take out from there once when we were nearish there running some errands picking out stuff for our new bathroom during our renovation, but that was the only time we have eaten there since COVID happened. It’s only about 15 minutes from our friends new house and not that far out of the way, so we swung by and picked up food from there for dinner. It was a huge cheat on this dumb low acid diet I’m doing. But that doesn’t seem to be helping my reflux issues at all either. It didn’t make me feel any worse than anything else I eat. So it was a fun night with friends and some delicious food.

And now for your musical delights.

  • Both of my musical delights come from Maggie Rogers concerts in the past week. Not the one I was at. This is just a Maggie Rogers fan blog now. I shared this on Facebook, but David Byrne joined her at the first night of her shows at Radio City Music Hall. They sang “Strange Overtones” and had some choreography they put to it. I was totally amused by the fact that he clearly didn’t really remember the steps and was like a little kid at a dance recital always half a step behind watching the person beside him to remember the steps.
  • There’s also this sweet story about a 6 year old who was sad she didn’t sing “Burning” in Chicago and convinced her mom to drive them to the Minneapolis show the next night if they could get Maggie to see her plea over social media to sing the song. Maggie did see it and let them know she would sing it for them, and she did.

New Music Friday: Kids in Love by P!nk featuring First Aid Kit

No one probably needs me to tell you about P!nk, but she has a new album out today. If you like P!nk, you should like it. It’s full of songs that sound like your typical P!nk songs, but it also features songs where she collaborates with a lot of Americana artists including The Lumineers, Chris Stapleton, and First Aid Kit. It’s not the first time she’s dipped her toe into this area of music. She did a folk album with Dallas Green of City and Colour under the moniker You + Me about a decade ago. She’s also doing some sort of touring this spring with Brandi Carlile. In my mind this all lending credence to my friend’s theory that P!nk will be at the Newport Folk Festival this year. When suggested it, I was like wha? Why would you think that, but then the more I thought about it I was like well maybe the idea is not so outlandish. This album is adding more fuel to the fire that I think she could actually be right. We’ll see. They’ve only announced three of the artists so far. Anyway, here she is with a band that I am certainly hoping will make another appearance at the festival this year.

Snail Mail Valentine’s Fest Night 5 at the Ottobar

Last night was my first time back to the Ottobar since COVID. It was also my first truly standing room only indoor concert experience. It was the one I was most reluctant to return to. I love the Ottobar. It is a great place to see a show, but it is a super dive club. It’s old. It’s tiny. The ceilings are very low. Aside from the fact that they leave the back door where you go in open all the time, there is probably next to no ventilation. Aside from the fact that there are fewer people there than a larger club so statistics are slightly on your side, it’s really a COVID field day in there. But I finally decided to take a chance and brave it in my N95 mask. I had a few anxious moments, but I feel like they were more just my typical anxiety of I hate being smushed in a crowd of people and I wish these strangers would stop touching me. I’m glad I went though, and I hopefully didn’t bring any COVID home with me.

Lindsey Jordon, aka Snail Mail, is from Ellicott City, Maryland a suburb of Baltimore. So of course she still has lots of ties to this area even though I believe she now lives in New York and her musical career has reached a much larger national stage. So she put together a five night run at the Ottobar called Snail Mail’s Valentine’s Fest. When tickets went on sale I don’t think there was any indication of who would be joining her across the five nights. At some point they put out a poster that listed all the bands, but there was no indication of who would be playing which night. If you follow me on social media that’s why I kept referring to the openers as “surprise” openers, since you had some clue who it might be. I was there on the final night, so it was pretty clear by that point I was going to see Waxahatchee.

I was very excited to have Waxahatchee on night, but I was also super bummed that I missed Soccer Mommy on night 2. I had plans to see Soccer Mommy at Ottobar thrwarted twice by COVID, and I apparently don’t want to see her bad enough to drive down to DC to see her next month. I’ve also seen Waxahatchee two other times in recent years, so I would have preferred Soccer Mommy. Oh well. I made a calculated decision to go with night 5 even though it was a Tuesday, instead of the Saturday show because of the Maggie Rogers concert on Monday. These are still the complicated COVID calculations I make in my head. I was like if I go to Ottobar on Saturday and catch COVID there, then I will miss out on Maggie. But if I go on night 5 after Maggie then I will probably get both in even if I do catch COVID at one of the shows.

Before Waxahatchee though, there was also another opener who I hated. She was not the absolute worse opener I have ever seen, but she was pretty up there in my rankings. I know Lindsey Jordan has a lot of punk and pop punk influences, so it’s not entirely surprising that she would have someone more on the punk end as an opener, but that was very much not for me. The artist was MJ Dunphy and to my mind it was essentially her up on stage sort of scream groaning lyrics into a mic with a musical backing track except for the one song where she played a guitar. I did not enjoy and was very happy when her set was over.

Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee did a solo set without the rest of her backing band. She was just had Brad Cook, music producer and musician, on guitar with her. Even though I have seen Waxahatchee recently this was actually a very different set. I would say the set was comprised of about 50% new music, 30% Waxahatchee songs, and 20% Plains songs (her recent musical collaboration with Jess Williamson). I really wanted to try and make it to one of the Plains shows. I don’t remember why I couldn’t make that happen, so I was very happy to get to hear a couple of those songs live. I’m sure some people were bummed that she played a ton of new stuff, but I was pleased. A small club like the Ottobar is the perfect place to try that stuff out. She did surprisingly very clearly flub the lyrics to “Lilacs”, which some asshole in the audience felt the need to yell out to her after she was done. It was very clear that she screwed it up, she knows it, we all know. No need for you to point it out jerk,

I had been very excited when I got to the Ottobar. I didn’t actually mean to get there quite as early as I did. I was flying solo because my friend who was supposed to go with me wasn’t feeling well, and I couldn’t find anyone who wanted her ticket. Ottobar is super close to my house though. It’s just over a mile away. If it felt at all safe to do so late at night, I could totally walk if I wanted. Anyway, since the drive is like five minutes I got there at 7:40 which surprisingly was still plenty of time to snag a spot on one of the risers. There are two steps down from the back bar area where you come in to the main part of the club in front of the stage. Instead of just putting two stairs there they sort of built them out and ran them around the corner and all the way down the wall of the club so that there are sort of two elevated platforms you can stand on. Since I’m super short and have a hard time seeing at standing room only shows, I always try to snag a spot on one of them because then I can actually see over the crowd. So I was excited to have a spot there until Snail Mail came out and I realized they had set Linsey Jordan’s mic up in such a way that a pillar was blocking pretty much my entire view of her any time she was singing or speaking intot he mic, which was about 85% of the time. Oh well. Best laid plans and all that.

She did a nice mix of stuff from her two albums and EP. Katie Crutchfield came out and sang “Ben Franklin” with her since she does the backing vocals on the actual recording of that song. Lindsey was saying they have a “Katie button” they use to fill in thos vocals when they don’t actually have Katie Crutchfield there to sing them. Apparently the drummer didn’t actually know it was Katie’s vocals and was like wait what that’s Katie, when he found out she would singing the song with them that night. It was a very unpolished show compared to what I often see, but that’s what made it fun. Katie came back out again to sing the final song, which was a cover of The Killers’ “When We Were Young”. It definitely ranks up there with my favorite concert covers of all time.

In fact I recorded it. I never do that. I never, ever record full songs at shows. I will do a few clips from one or two my favorite songs and that’s it. I don’t want to bother the people around me and make them stare at my phone, and I also prefer to live in the moment and experience things not from behind a screen. I did this one because I knew I wanted a copy of it, and I could do it while subverting my other reasons for not recording. I was standing in front of a wall so there was no one behind me to bother. Also, by that point in the night a lot of people had left because it was very late on a work/school night. So no one was next to me either. I was able to hold my phone off to the side and record while also watching it not through my phone. I posted it to my YouTube, so you too can enjoy. The sound quality isn’t great. I promise it sounded better in the room. You can also tell I never do this since it didn’t occur to me to turn my phone horizontal because I’m so used to shooting things to post to my Instagram stories. I refuse to post to Reels and share from there though because I don’t want to agree to let other people do stuff to my videos, which you now have to do. I don’t know why I draw the line there, but I’m an old curmudgeon who doesn’t want people to be able to do stuff with my content outside of my control. See also one of the many reasons I don’t TikTok. Anyway, here it is if you want a listen.

Maggie Rogers with Del Water Gap at The Anthem

Last night I trekked down to DC to see Maggie Rogers at The Anthem. Unless it is one of their rare fully seated shows, I will forever and always only spring for the VIP box seats at that venue. No standing in the ridiculously long line to get in with 6,000 other people or then being smushed on the floor not being able to see anything in the standing room only section. I am old and tired and my body is broken. I will take a seat if I can have one because luckily I can afford it. Anyway, when I bought my ticket there was a single seat in the front row of the second level boxes available. If I wanted two seats together I had to buy one in the back row of a box on the third level. I decided I preferred the better seat over dragging my husband down with me. I’m sure he preferred my choice too.

Turns out I really was sitting in the we’re old and tired box. I could see a lot of the people in the other boxes were standing even though they had seats. Not my box. We used those seats we paid for. I probably would have liked to get up and dance a little, but my still screwed up foot would not have appreciated it especially since I am going to a standing room only show tonight and will be on it for hours. Plus, since I was in the first row I didn’t want to be the person who stood up an forced everyone behind me to stand up so they could see since none of them clearly interested in standing on their own free will. I still did some chair dancing and had a grand old time. It was also fun just to be able to look out over the crowd and see their collective movements.

Del Water Gap was the opener. Maggie Rogers was actually in Del Water Gap for a hot second when she was a literal teenager. Now Samuel Holden Jaffe holds the moniker as a solo artist. He did have a band with him, but he definitely kept referring to Del Water Gap as him and not a band, and he never introduced the people playing with him. Other than knowing that Maggie used to play in the band when she was first starting out, I didn’t know much about it. I know I heard a song or two from when they played together off her album Notes from the Archive: Recordings 2011-2016, but I definitely don’t think I had ever heard any of his more recent stuff. I liked some of the songs more than others, but he put on a good performance and got the crowd into it. He did also come back out later and sing one of their songs during Maggie’s set.

Maggie Rogers grew up in Easton, Maryland so whenever she plays the Baltimore/DC area she refers to it as a hometown show. She did say that there were lots of old friends including her middle school math teacher along with most importantly her mom. I always think it’s fun to be at a “hometown” show for artists. This show was pretty much at the beginning of the new Feral Joy tour. She had three nights in Boston before this, but that’s it. The production values have gone way up since the last time I saw her. More money means more stuff. There was a lot more fancy lighting stuff and a big projection screen behind her that there was a camera guy on stage projecting onto. The screen was only in use during certain songs. I have said many times before and will say it again, that I don’t give a whit about any of that. At a certain point I feel like bands begin relying on that to wow the audience instead of their actual performance (*cough* U2 *cough*). That was not at all the case here. I felt like it just augmented the performance and wasn’t the focus of it, which is how it should be in my opinion.

It was a great high energy show with a good mix of new songs, old songs, slow and fast songs and a little bit of storytelling, which I always like. Based on what she was saying on social media ahead of the show, I knew she was going to play the entirety of the new album, but only some songs off of Heard It in a Past Life. It’s inevitable that some of your favorite songs start dropping out of the set list once artists have multiple albums to pull from. I just really wanted to hear “Back in My Body”, and was happy it made the cut. It’s my favorite song from that album, and it was my favorite song of the night. It was always a great show.

Last Week Delight 2/13/2022

  • Let’s start with a follow-up to one of last week’s items, circus animal cookies. My sister called me after she read my post last week to tell me that crazily she was in Target and bought some of the same cookies after not eating any for years and years just before reading my post. Like my nieces were asking her what they were because she never buys them. What are the chances?
  • The city fixed some of the sidewalks on our street last week. Technically property owners are responsible for their portions of the sidewalk, and my understanding is that if the city fixes it they will send you a bill. I don’t really understand how that’s okay since what if they fix your sidewalk and you can’t afford to pay for it. I also don’t understand how they decide what the city is going to fix since there are streets around here with way worse sidewalks than the ones on my block. Anyway, our next door neighbors section was on their list. They accidentally busted up one of the squares of our part of the sidewalk in the process and had to replace it too. I’m pleased about this because we paid to have our sidewalks redone years ago because they were super cracked up to and along the base of our house and I was worried water was going to seep into our basement. While the concrete was still drying some jerk wrote their initials + someone else’s initials in a heart in the wet cement. So I had to stare at that for years. I would bet a million dollars those people aren’t even together anymore. Well now that dumb heart that ruined my nice new sidewalk is gone because the single piece they had to replace where was where that was. I am going to be annoyed if the city sends us a bill for fixing something they broke. I will go fight it.
  • It was really nice outside several days last week. I went for a short walk after work one evening and there were just tons of people out enjoying. Kids were out playing on the sidewalks. Everything just felt very alive.
  • For the most part our neighborhood Facebook page is a pretty positive place. There’s always your random jerks who just have to try and provoke everyone and the occasional racism, but overall I find it a pleasant and sometimes even joyful place to be. This is in contrast to our NextDoor, which I had to leave. Not sure why the vibe is so different, but it is. Anyway, there were a couple of reminders of that this week. I saw a post with someone saying they found an abandoned upright bass, which they assume had been stolen and that they were looking for its owner. Then shortly after that saw a post with someone looking for their stolen upright base to which everyone responded with the first post. They were happily reunited. Someone also shared a post expressing that they had been feeling depressed and lonely, and the outpouring of support and suggestions for various groups to join and people offering to call him to join on walks with their dogs and just the general outpouring of support was really lovely.
  • I went to my first Super Bowl party since the start of the pandemic. It was really my first indoor party too. It was a little weird because I kept my mask on the whole time and ducked outside really quick to eat a plate of food, but it was fun to see a bunch of people I don’t see very often since my social life is still stunted. There were also people I haven’t seen since before the pandemic started as well. Quite possibly since the 2020 Super Bowl party. That included a whole 2 year old child who up until this point I have only met through Facebook photos.
  • I finished up my Invisalign treatment today. I feel like finished is a bit of a misnomer, since I still have to wear retainers all the time for what I think is 6 months. Eventually I’ll just be able to wear them to bed. But I literally have 4 different retainers plus a night guard I’ll be getting eventually. I have an Invisalign upper retainer I have to wear during the day. Then I switch to an old school retainer at night to fit with my night guard once I get it. I also have a permanent retainer on the back of my bottom teeth and have a different retainer I have to wear on the bottom at night until I get the night guard. So finished feels like a strong word. I feel like we’ve more just progressed to a new stage. I’ll really feel like I’ve finished when I can just wear all this junk to bed and my teeth can be free during the day. My orthodontist did give me a little bottle of champagne to celebrate. Since I can’t actually drink it, I sort of wanted to ask to trade it out for a prize from the wall of stuff kids earn fake money to buy things from. I refrained though.

TV Diary

High School

I watched this show eons ago but apparently somehow forgot to write about it. It’s available to watch for free with commercials on Amazon Freevee. The show is based on a memoir by Tegan and Sara Quin of the indie band Tegan and Sara. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t say how faithful it is or not. It follows them in high school as they move to a new school, start getting interested in music, and start to recognize their sexuality. Each episode is told through the perspective of two different characters, not always Tegan and Sara. I really liked it, though I don’t feel like the plot advanced very far in the course of the season, so I hope we get more seasons of it.

This Is Going to Hurt

This is Going to Hurt is based on yet another memoir. This time by Adam Kay. It’s a British show co-produced by the BBC and AMC. It’s available in the US to stream on AMC+. I kept hearing how great it was, but there was nothing else I was interested in on AMC+ and I didn’t really want to pay for just this show. We finally subscribed for a month when Amazon was having a $2 sale for AMC+ as one of their channels. It was an excellent show and worth paying even the full price of AMC+ for a month. It stars Ben Whishaw as a doctor working on an obstetrics and gynecology doctor in an NHS hospital in 2006. It shows the good and the bad of Britain’s nationalized healthcare. Adam is a pretty terrible person a lot of the time, but your’e always sort of rooting for him. I presume this is a one season and done show, but I would watch more episodes if they ever made them.

The Detectorists

The Detectorists is another BBC show that is available to watch on Amazon Freevee and a number of the other free streaming services with commercials. It originally aired it’s three seasons from 2014-2016 but then came back for a 75 minute Christmas episode this past December for some reason. (Right now that is only available to stream through AcornTV). That’s how I wound up hearing about the show. I saw some article written about it because of the new episode. It sounded like some nice gentle humor, and I can always use that. It centers around Andy and Lance, who are metal detectorists hoping to find long buried treasures on local farms. There is also the other members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club and their rivals the AntiquiSearchers. Season 1 was definitely the highlight, but I also enjoyed the rest of the seasons. If you’re looking for some gentle British humor watching some relaxing scenes of people walking around fields swinging metal detectors, this show is for you. It sounds kind of boring, but it is not.


Smiley is a Spanish series available on Netflix. It’s a rom-com centered around Alex and Bruno, two gay guys who are very much opposites but who are both longing for a serious relationship while being surrounded by people only interested in hooking up. They meet when Alex accidentally leaves a voicemail meant for an ex on Bruno’s phone. The show also builds out the supporting characters really well too, which is impressive given that it’s only 8 half hour episodes. I do enjoy opposites attract/hate-to-late romances, but I do wish they done a little more with building up what would actually make them want to be together. There’s only really one scene in the whole series that I feel like actually tries to do that, and it’s not enough in my opinion to overcome everything presented that would not make them a good match. Despite that quibble, it was a show I very much enjoyed watching and would definitely watch more of if they ever made more seasons.

Crash Landing on You

Crash Landing on You is a Korean drama also available on Netflix. I know people love Korean dramas, but this is the first one I’ve ever watched. Linda Holmes from NPR was raving about it, so I decided to give it a try. I don’t know if this is typical of all K dramas, but the episodes were way too long for my taste. They’re all between 75 and 90 minutes long with the final episode being over 2 hours. That’s just too long for a tv episode in my opinion. The story centers around a rich woman from South Korea who goes paragliding as part of a publicity stunt and improbably gets swept away by a tornado that comes out of nowhere and accidentally winds up in North Korea where she is found by a captain in the North Korean army. For reasons he winds up having to hide her in his small village while they try and figure out how to get her back to South Korea. I had a hard time following some of the political stuff going on that was putting people’s lives in danger, but I got enough of it to get the gist of what was going on. I loved the supporting characters, particularly the members of the captain’s troop. It’s definitely a little melodramatic at times, but overall I liked it even though I wish the episodes had been shorter.


Mood is another BBC show. We watched in on some actual tv channel when it aired, so I’m not sure if it’s streaming anywhere at this point. It follows Sasha, who is a 25 year old woman who is sort of a disaster. She’s trying to make it as a professional singer, but her actions and lifestyle are alienating everyone around her. After getting dumped by her boyfriend and kicked out of her parents’ house she winds up getting connected with some social media influencers and then delving into the world of sex work while trying to keep her dream of a singing career alive. There are lots of sort of dream sequences in which she breaks out into song. I had mixed feelings on the show. Ultimately, I liked how things ended and how you get some more of Sasha’s back story that explains a lot of things.

New Music Friday: Lose My Boots by The Kentucky Gentlemen

This song isn’t particularly new. It came out last July. However, it’s new to me as of this week. I was listening to WXPN and they played it. I liked it a lot, but I was surprised at first because it seemed way more country than the music they normally play. Then I found out that the reason the song was being played was because The Kentucky Gentlemen are one of the five artists selected to participate in the first Black Opry Residency that is a collaboration between WXPN and The Black Opry designed to help develop and elevate Black Americana artists.

The Kentucky Gentlemen are composed of 27 year old twins Brandon and Derek Campbell, who hail from Kentucky but are now based in Nashville. They play country music with an R&B influence. In addition to this song, I really like the entire EP it came from, The Kentucky Gentlement, Vol. 1. I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Last Week Delight 2/7/2023

Let’s dispense with the preamble and get right to the delights this week.

  • Last week I saw John Scalzi tweet about eating circus animal cookies. You know, the ones that are covered in pink and white frosting and little sprinkles. I think they are delicious, but they are terrible for you so I never buy any. The last time I had any was right after I got my second dose of vaccine and was wandering around the CVS for the 15 minutes they made you wait to make sure you didn’t have a reaction. They had an Easter themed version of them half off because it was just after Easter, so I treated myself. They weren’t something we ever really had in my house growing up either, but the family I babysat for every day after school in high school had them on the regular so I used to eat them there. Anyway, the day after I saw that tweet and was thinking about how I could go for some of them, we had a work meeting where there were snacks and they had little individual bags of these cookies! It was like a sign, so I had to cheat on this low acid diet I’m still try and eat them.
  • I had a couple of days last week where I hit the stop lights almost perfectly on my way home. My already fairly short commute is so much faster when I hit the lights green instead of red.
  • Somebody Feed Phil was renewed for another season. I love that show so much, so I’m really happy there will be more episodes. The final episode of season 6 really felt like a series finale, so I was resigned to it being over. Then I got a nice surprise this week when Netflix announced they were renewing it for a seventh season.
  • Stoolgate. I love how this stolen barstool from a bar in my neighborhood became actual news.
  • My nieces gave me a snuggly blanket for Christmas. One side is white fleecey material. The other day the cat was sitting on the sofa with her crossed paws propped up on it. It totally reminded me of one of those 80s like Sears or JCPenney photo studio photos. I’m almost certain there is one of me as a small child with my hands placed on top of each other on a box covered in some similar white fleecy looking material. If there isn’t one specifically of me I’ve definitely seen other people’s. Alas the cat ran away as I was trying to take a photo of her, and I don’t actually have the supposed photo of me in my possession, but I really wanted to make a side-by-side photo collage of us.
  • Ed Wilson was a professor at Wake Forest where I went to college who is affectionately known as “Mr. Wake Forest”. He was a graduate of the school and then spent his entire career as an English professor there. There is a wing of the university’s library named after him. I was never lucky enough to take a class him. He was an emeritus professor by the time I was there, but he would teach a class every once in awhile. I had friends who were in his poetry class, but I could never get into one as a non-English major. However, one of my early memories of being a student at Wake Forest was going to see the movie Michael Collins and then being invited back to his house to have a discussion about it. It was one of the most special experiences of my time there. Anyway, he was quite old when I was a student make in the mid to late 90s, so I sort of assumed he had passed away at some point. However, I saw news this week about celebrations for his 100th birthday! I was so delighted that he was still alive and celebrating such a momentous birthday.

And now for your musical delights.

  • I’ve said a number of times before that I’m not the hugest fan of Beyoncé, but I have been very much enjoying dancing in my car to “Cuff It” every time I hear it on the radio. We’ll also just concentrate on and celebrate the fact that she’s the most Grammy winning artist of all time and not the fact that the Grammy’s keep snubbing her in the major categories. I don’t even love most of her music that much, and the more I think about it the angrier I get that she didn’t at least win for Best Album. Renaissance was a real album. Like designed to be listened to from back to front with the interstitial’s connecting the songs and moving you from one to the other. I don’t know how people could say Harry Styles put out a better album. Get it together Grammy voters.
  • I heard a song on my way to work the other day that sounded very familiar to me, but that I couldn’t quite place. I could definitely place the era it was from though, and I was like this song perfectly encapsulates a certain genre of music from the late 90s and early 2000s. I immediately thought about including it in this post. The only problem was I just didn’t know what it was. I was driving alone in the car, so I couldn’t Shazaam it. I tried to keep some lyrics in my head until I got into my office, so I could Google them and try and figure it out. Unfortunately the lyrics were too close to too many other songs that also had those lyrics as their title. I also heard it on this weird sometimes high school radio station, so they don’t have playlists like all the major stations do. I was almost ready to give up on ever figuring out what it was. Then I decided to have one more go at trying to find it. I don’t remember what I did to switch up my search, but I found it! It was Sarah Harmer’s “Basement Apartment”. Now it’s one of my Spotify playlists, and I won’t forget it.

New Music Friday: Chariot by SYML

SYML is the solo project of Brian Fennell previously of the band Barcelona. The Day My Father Died, out today, is his third studio album. I was unaware of SYML’s music before today, or at least unaware that I was aware. He has a number of songs that have been in used in TV shows and movies that I’ve seen, but I obviously never looked into them further. They talked about this album on All Songs Considered’s New Music Friday podcast episode this morning, and I was immediately interested in hearing more. As they talked about on the podcast although he is not a Christian artist there is a lot of religious undertones to his music. Like if you removed what are clearly the references to sex from some of these songs you could totally sing many of them in any contemporary Christian church service. Like seemingly every indie rock album these days there is a song featuring Lucius. Seriously they are everything. There are also collaborations with Sara Watkins and Guy Garvey from the band Elbow. Sonically it’s a little bit all over the place in ways that I’m enjoying because it reminds me of a lot of different artists that I love. There’s a little bit of Bon Iver, some Simon and Garfunkel, and some Lord Huron. The song “Chariot”, which is the one I’m sharing reminds me of The Killers in both sound and the fact that Brandon Flowers also includes a lot or religious references in his music. It’s probably the most bombastic song on the album so not necessarily representative of the album overall, so I encourage to go check out the whole thing.