New Music Friday: Look the Other Way by Katie Pruitt

Katie Pruitt has been teasing this song, which she released on Wednesday, on her Instagram for weeks, so I’ve known for a while that this song was going to be New Music Friday post for today. I wrote about her new album, which this song is not a part of, back in the spring. It’s one of my favorites of the year, and I’m really bummed that I didn’t get to see her in concert this summer as that show was of course one of the many that I had tickets to that got canceled due to COVID-19.

I think this song speaks for itself, but it’s all about breaking out of our own comfortable lives to fight for justice instead of just looking the other way because it’s easier and/or it doesn’t affect us personally. It’s a great song and one I definitely need to be better about applying to my own life because it’s far too easy to feel defeated and feel like I have no power to change anything.

New Music Friday: Nandi Bushell Official Theme Song by Dave Grohl

My friend texted me the other day telling me I should make this my New Music Friday song this week. Although there are a couple other songs that came out today that I could have written about I didn’t feel overly compelled to write about any of them, so I’m taking her up on her suggestion.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story Nandi Bushell is a 10 year old girl who is a great drummer and who challenged Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters to a drum off. It went viral on social media and he responded eventually declaring her the winner of round one. Then he wrote this song for her with his kids. You can read about the whole thing in this article.

I do not care one little bit about the Foo Fighters’ music. It is not for me, but Dave Grohl from what I can tell is a super awesome guy. After 1000 people in Cesena, Italy recorded a version of “Learning to Fly” to convince the Foo Fighters to come play a concert in their city Dave Grohl responded and they eventually did. He also once finished off a concert after breaking his leg in the middle of the show when stage diving. He just pulled up a chair and kept going so as not to disappoint the fans.

He also made some really excellent music documentaries in the fantastic documentary film Sound City about Sound City Studios and Sonic Highways an HBO docuseries, which explores the musical history of various American cities. I highly recommend them both if you if you have never seen them.

So my point is that even though I don’t really care for the Foo Fighters’ music myself and I will probably never listen to this particular song again, I am really happy that guys like Dave Grohl exist in the world to help bring us all a little joy.

New Music Friday: Turntables by Janelle Monae

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about here today. I didn’t come into today with anything in mind and after listening to NPR Music’s New Music Friday podcast and what Spotify had to offer me in my Release Radar playlist I still wasn’t really feeling anything. Then right as I was finishing my walk this morning WXPN played Janelle Monae’s new song “Turntables”, which is from the forthcoming documentary All In: The Fight for Democracy. It was just the song I was looking for this morning because I really need to believe that the tables are in fact about to turn and that there is a more just America on the horizon. I’ll be over here listening to this on repeat.

Another Good Things Roundup

I’m still here trying to make sure I find the good in all the terrible that is happening. So here’s another list of some of the things that have brought me joy in the past few weeks.

  1. Beautiful Labor Day weekend weather. I literally could not have asked for better weather. The whole weekend of was gorgeous. I spent about 4 hours hanging out with a friend outside on Saturday and several hours outside reading in my hammock on Monday. Beautiful weather always makes things feel better.
  2. As I just mentioned I spent time hanging out with a friend on Saturday. Other than a few minutes when I dropped off some drinks back at her house in May I hadn’t seen her in person since March. We both got take out from different restaurants in the neighborhood and then sat outside camped out under some trees in the shade in the back of my house. It was so nice to spend time with her.
  3. And speaking of the grassy area behind my house, it has been a real life saver in these times. I don’t really have a yard to speak of. We had what was a small concrete patio that we have since had jackhammered up and turned into a proper parking pad. Many of our neighbors have also turned their outdoor space into a parking pad as well, so we have all started treating this patch of grass that separates our rowhouses from the parking lot behind them as our communal backyard. A couple people have strung up hammocks between trees. I’ve seen people sitting out there under the trees working. I and others have used it to gather outdoors with friends. In the before times it was pretty much only used for people to walk their dogs. It’s still used a lot for that, but it’s nice to see that it has taken on a new life.
  4. Carryout french fries that aren’t terrible. For my takeout lunch on Saturday I got a shrimp salad sandwich with friends from Rocket to Venus. They have handcut fries that are always kind of limp, so they were actually still pretty good and similar to their normal state even as carry out. I’ve found all the other carry out fries I’ve had since this started to be pretty terrible because as soon as they throw them in a take out container and shut it the steam builds up and makes them soggy. It’s nice to know I can get some fries that still taste pretty much like they’re supposed to instead of questioning why I’m continuing to eat cold, soggy fries that don’t taste very good.
  5. While we’re on the subject of food, you may recall in my last good things round up post that I mentioned getting biscuits from blacksauce kitchen and that I had yet to eat the peach biscuit this year, though I was sure I was going to eat one soon. I did in fact eat one since then, but even better blacksauce and the Charmery collaborated and created a roasted peach and buttermilk biscuit ice cream. Two things I love put into one delicious treat. What could be better?
  6. Pretty much since the pandemic started and artists had to leave their tours Amos Lee has been doing a weekly Thursday night concert on Instagram Live. It’s something I look forward to listening to every week. Most artists are playing online for tips or trying to raise money for some cause. He never seemed to be taking money for anything that I could tell, so I asked once and he said he was just playing music and wasn’t collecting money for anything. I bought some merch I wouldn’t have bought instead to try and throw him some support. Then a week or two ago he started off saying that his uncle had just died and he was going to be raising money for a homeless shelter in Philly that his uncle did work with in honor of his memory. In the one hour he played probably about 60% of the 1,000 or so people watching donated and raised over $16,000. It was really heartwarming to sit there and watch the amount tick up while he was playing. It felt really nice to finally be able to give something back for all the joy his music has brought me every Thursday night.

New Music Friday: Lay Me Down Easy by Carolina Story

Carolina Story is a band composed of spouses Ben and Emily Roberts. They met in college and apparently in order to impress Emily, Ben learned how to play a bunch of songs by her favorite artist, Brandi Carlile. So you know I’m already interested. They apparently spent a decade playing music wherever they could play and considered leaving the music business altogether to focus on raising their young family. Instead they wound up recording their first album in 2018. They released their sophomore album Dandelion today, their first with an outside producer.

I adore the entire album. I’ve already listened to it multiple times already today. It’s perfect Americana music. I love the whole album and had a hard time deciding what song to highlight. I settled on “Lay Me Down Easy” because it’s got both harmonica and pedal steel in it and I’m a sucker for songs with harmonica and pedal steel. Plus it has some beautiful harmonies. Basically it’s Danielle catnip.

New Music Friday: Care by beabadoobee

beabadoobee is the stage name of 20 year old British-Filipino singer Beatrice Laus. “Care” is the first single off her forthcoming debut album, Fake It Flowers. The song came out back in mid-July, but I heard it for the first time this week. It has a real 90s female rock vibe going on that I am digging. I’m pretty much into anything that makes me nostalgic for times that aren’t these at the moment. Take a listen.

New Music Friday: Kathleen Edwards and Ashley Ray

I bet you thought I wasn’t going to have a New Music Friday post for you today. I actually wanted to listen to several new albums that were out today before I decided on what to write about. That meant I couldn’t write up anything until after work instead of first thing in the morning. I couldn’t even settle on one song after that, so you get two today.

Birds on a Feeder by Kathleen Edwards

Kathleen Edwards put out her first album, Total Freedom, in eight years today. She had actually quit her music career and opened up a coffee shop called Quitters in Ottawa, Canada. Then Maren Morris apparently invited her down to Nashville to do some songwriting together and it ignited a spark. So here we are with a brand new album most people thought would never happen. The whole album is lovely. I highly recommend listening to the whole thing. Even better go watch the online album release concert she did from her coffee shop for World Cafe.

I’m going to highlight the song “Bird On a Feeder” because it feels like being wrapped in a warm blank on a cold winter’s day to me. It just makes me imagine sitting in front of a fire in a cabin wrapped in a blanket with a dog sitting at my feet. I feel like it’s a song I’m going to be coming back to a lot this winter.

Just a House by Ashley Ray

Pauline is Ashley Ray’s third album and hopefully the one that helps break her out in the country music scene because it is amazing from top to bottom. It’s a very personal record, which I’ve seen called a photo album of her life growing up in Kansas. I feel like that’s a very apt description. The album title comes from her grandmother and the song of the same name on the album is about all the good and bad things she inherited from her. It’s full of fiddle and banjo and I love it, but it’s not even the song I’m going to talk about. One of the things I love about the album is how much it features the aforementioned banjo and fiddle as well as pedal steel. I love all these things, so it’s no wonder that I’m highly attracted to Americana and country music for which these instruments are staples. Oddly then I’m choosing to highlight a song that features none of those instruments.

I couldn’t resist “Just a House” though. It’s co-written with Natalie Hemby and is all about Ashley trying to encourage her mother to leave the house that’s sort of falling down around her, but her mother doesn’t want to leave because it’s where she lived with Ashley’s father who died in a tragic fall on their farm when she was a child. It’s a very sad, but beautiful song.

New Music Friday: exile by Taylor Swift feat. Bon Iver

I have a New Music Friday post for you in which I’m talking about Taylor Swift’s new surprise album. I did listened to it once, but that will be the last time I listen to it. For the most part Taylor Swift doesn’t do much for me. I like a random song here or there, but mostly her music leaves me cold. This new album was no exception. The only song I really cared for was “exile”, which she sings with Bon Iver and that’s mostly because it sounds like a Bon Iver song.

TV Diary: Watch This Edition

Still sitting here in quarantine, so I’m watching a lot of television. I mean I always watched a lot of television, but now I really watch a lot of television. That means just a few short weeks since I wrote my last TV Diary entry I’m already back to write about a host of new shows I’ve been watching. It already felt long, so I’m splitting it into two posts. This one is shows I either really liked or I thought were decent enough to watch. The next post will be shows that I didn’t particularly care for. Some of them are objectively bad and some of them are just not for me.

Wynonna Earp

I really don’t understand why Wynonna Earp is not a bigger thing. I mean I guess because it’s a SyFy show, but even so for as much as people love Buffy the Vampire Slayer I’m surprised this show hasn’t broken out more because I feel like they share a lot of the same DNA. There are currently three seasons available on Netflix and the half of the fourth season they shot before COVID shut everything down is premiering on Syfy at the end of the month. We’re nearing the end of season 2, so maybe it goes way off the rails in season 3, but I love what I’ve seen so far.

I think maybe I didn’t pay close enough attention to the first couple of episodes because my understanding of the mythology of the show is a little fuzzy, but the general gist is Wynonna is an heir of Wyatt Earp. Somehow there is a curse that brought the people he killed back to life as revenants and the Earp heir is the only one who has the power to kill them or something. I guarantee they did a better job of explaining this, but I was probably playing around on the internet and not really processing it. There’s more supernaturally stuff that gets added in along the way. Doc Holliday is also still alive somehow and becomes a sort of love interest for Wynonna as does her boss at the secret government agency also trying to fight the demons.

Wynonna is a great strong, sarcastic female character that as I said reminds me a lot of Buffy. If you are someone who is a fan of Buffy I definitely recommend watching this show.

Normal People

I never read the book that this Hulu show is based on. Apparently it is very beloved, but I somehow had never even heard of it. I don’t know if my thoughts on this show would be different had I read it. I liked the show and enjoyed watching it. However, I’m not sure I felt about the characters the way I was supposed to feel. It follows the relationship of Marianne and Connell beginning in high school and into their early twenties as they get together and break up and get back to together again in several iterations. I think we were supposed to be rooting for them to be a couple and some respects I certainly did want them to get it together and make it work, but mostly I was like these people do not in fact have a functional relationship. I don’t think Marianne is capable of having one without some serious help given the damage her family did to her, and I’m not sure exactly what Connell’s deal is but he’s definitely got some issues too. But also maybe the show also thought that they shouldn’t be together either. It’s not very straightforward. I at least think other people who love the show and book think they should be together.

The show is set in Ireland and is produced by one of the BBCs. It definitely feels very different than American shows in a way that I appreciated. I will warn you that it is practically like soft core porn in a lot of episodes. I would definitely not watch this show at any time you might be in danger of kids walking in on you watching it. I appreciated that there was some equal opportunity full frontal nudity and it wasn’t just the female actor being expected to bare it all. And though there was a lot of sex and nudity it didn’t feel gratuitous or just there to be titillating. The sex was for sure a major part of their relationship. Anyway, I enjoyed watching it and I’m still thinking about it, so that’s probably a sign that it’s a good show.

The Babysitter’s Club

I loved The Babysitter’s Club books when I was a kid, so even though this show is for sure not aimed at me as a 42 year old woman, and I have no kids to watch it with I binge watched all 10 episodes in one day. I think they did an excellent job updating it for today while also staying true to the original stories. It’s been 30+ years since I’ve read any of the books, so it’s not like I remember everything about them, but from what I do remember they seem to be sticking to at least the major plot points and character traits that I remember. Even though I am 100% the opposite of Claudia, she was always one of my favorite characters in the books, and I really adore the actress they have playing her in this show. I think they also did an excellent job casting Kristy. I’m less sold on some of the other casting particularly Stacy for some reason. I am on board with them casting non-white girls to play Marianne and Dawn though because it may be cliche, but it’s also true that representation matters.

Upload

The reviews of Upload, which is a show on Amazon, were mixed when it came out so I never bothered to watch it. We have now entered the portion of quarantine where I’m starting to watch stuff that I probably wouldn’t have watched otherwise. This show was better than I thought it would be. Basically it takes place in a future where when you die your consciousness can be uploaded into some sort of virtual afterlife, but the trick is if you want it to happen you have to pay for it and of course how good of a virtual afterlife you can afford depends on how much money you have. The main character dies in a suspicious self-driving car accident, which is a plot point. Since his family is poor, his rich girlfriends decides to pay to upload him into some fancy afterlife, but now he is reliant on getting her to continue to pay for things for him. Meanwhile he’s developing a relationship to one of the people who works for the company who is still alive in real life, but whose avatar he interacts with in his virtual world when she is sent to help him transition into his life there. I’m not sure if there is going to be another season of the show eventually, but I liked it well enough that I would keep watching.

Love Life

Love Life is one of the few original series that premiered when HBOMax came online. It’s sort of an anthology series starring Anna Kendrick. The premise of the show is that every person on average has some number of serious relationships before they find the one they’re meant to be with. Each episode chronicles a different one of her relationships. There are definitely through parts to the story, but each episode also to some degree feels very self-contained. It was fine. I didn’t love it, but it was a decent enough watch especially when I had nothing else to watch.

The final episode gave me a little bit of an existential crisis though. It takes place on New Years of this past year and is the episode where she meets her true love. I just wanted to spend the whole episode yelling at the characters to enjoy what they have now because in a few short months everything will be different. Instead of just enjoying their happily ever after I’m sitting there thinking about how their fledgling relationship is going to have to endure lockdown in New York and living in a tiny apartment with a baby and her art gallery shutting down. It definitely gave a different feel to the end of the show than they were going for.

Cougar Town

I didn’t watch Cougar Town when it was on. The premise of the show to start with seemed very gimmicky and I was not interested in it. I had heard that the show pivoted away from that and just became a show about friends hanging out and drinking lots of wine. That is very true. It really didn’t take them long to make the switch. It happened way earlier in the first season than I was expecting. I’m about halfway through the 6 seasons of the show and it has been an excellent diversion. At least so far it’s a good little sit-com that I would recommend watching if you haven’t already.

New Music Friday: Songs I’ve Missed in 2020 So Far

I generally only post about one song per week in my New Music Friday post, so there are obviously lots of songs that have come out in 2020 that I haven’t covered here. Since I don’t have anything super new that I feel compelled to write about today I thought I would circle back around to a few songs that came out earlier this year that I haven’t written about but which I really like.

I don’t think I have too much to say about any of these songs, which is probably why I didn’t write about them in the first place. They’re just songs I like.

Held Down by Laura Marling

I listen to WXPN streaming a lot while I’m working and this song has been on heavy rotation there this year, so I’ve heard it approximately one jillion times and I don’t mind. The lyrics don’t especially resonate with me, but the music is just kind of this calm, soothing vibe that I’ve been digging.

Time Moves On by Phantom Planet

I don’t really know anything about Phantom Planet other than the fact that the wrote the hit song “California” that was the them song to The OC that I never really liked and couldn’t escape for awhile. Thus, I have no idea when this song was written. With the lyrics to the opening verse

“It’s just the same day over and over
I mean, seasons will change
And we will get older
Maybe it rains
Or it’s sunny weather
But when it gets bad
Maybe it’ll get better
As time moves on
It’s gonna change before too long
And the doors will keep revolving
With everyone who’s come and gone
As time moves on”

it seems like the song was written exactly for this moment, but it could also be one of those weird songs that were written previously but wound up being eerily prescient for our times. Either way I really dig it and totally feel what it’s saying to me.

Strangers by Mt. Joy

I really have nothing to say about this song other than the fact that I really love it. It’s probably one of my favorite songs of 2020 so far. I love the music. It feels joyful and with this purposeful sense of moving forward that it hard to come by these days.