American Teenager by Ethel Cain

Once again there was a lot of new music to choose from this week. There was another new song off of Maggie Rogers’ forthcoming album, the a new Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs song that’s the first off what is going to be their first album in nine years, and more I haven’t even gotten to listen to yet. I’m actually going to go back a couple of weeks to an album that came out on May 18, Preacher’s Daughter by Ethel Cain. I started seeing Ethel Cain’s name pop up in a lot of music news recently and then someone shared one of her songs on NPR Music’s best songs of May episode, and I had to find out more. Ethel Cain, which is just the artist’s performance name, is a young trans woman originally from the Florida panhandle who now lives in rural Alabama. It’s very clear that she has a vision for her work and wants to create things her own way, and I’m very intrigued by it all. If you want to know more you can read a dozen different articles about her, but I recommend this New York Times profile.

Musically she seems to be getting compared a lot to Lana Del Rey, which I can sort of see. Though apparently she herself is not a fan of that comparison. I do like in the article that they mention she grew up only listening to Christian music and really started exploring other things after hearing a Florence + the Machine song in the closing credits of a movie. I can definitely feel that influence. Vocally I think she also sounds a lot like Maggie Rogers. There’s this same sort of warbling timbre I hear in both of their voices. This is definitely not a pop album in any way that modern pop exists. “American Teenager”, which is the song I’m sharing, is the closest you’re going to get to pop on it both in style and in length. At over 4 minutes it is long for a modern day pop song as they rarely go beyond 3 minutes these days thanks to the streaming economy. Most of the other songs on this album clock in at twice that at 8 or 9 minutes. There’s a lot to explore here and I look forward to spending a lot more time with this album.

TV Diary

I am way behind on posting about the tv I’ve been watching. Looking at the list of new shows I keep for these posts I’m realizing I finished some of them months ago.

From Cradle to Stage

This show is 100% made for me. It’s based on a book by Dave Grohl’s mom, Virginia, in which she interviewed the moms of musical artists about their childhoods and how they got into music. In the show Dave Grohl and his mom go around and make these conversations into little documentary episodes. Each episode is interspersed with Dave and his mom talking about his own experiences with music growing up and his career. I love it so much. It’s literally the only thing worth watching on Paramount+, which I only have because we got a free subscription. This was pretty much the only thing I found to watch. I don’t care that much for the Foo Fighters, but from everything I can tell Dave Grohl is the biggest mensch. If that ever changes literally no one tell me because I don’t want to know. He also has made several music documentary films and tv shows that I love so much. The final episode showed Virginia Grohl having a lunch with all the moms featured in her book and there were more people there than were featured in the show, so I really hope that they make another season featuring some of these other moms. I will pay for Paramount+ just to watch it.

The Guilded Age

This show is barely about anything other than looking at people in pretty dresses living in pretty houses and being scandalized by anyone who dares not have been born into their money trying to get into their circles. It’s utterly ridiculous, but yet I enjoyed it. I could use less of the downstairs people in this show. I know they were a big part of Julian Fellows previous show, Downton Abbey, but here they’re not as well integrated into a show so much so that I don’t even know which of them work in which house. This show doesn’t need to be about them. Also, I have to hand it to this show for having a season finale in which literally nothing happened despite the fact that it was an hour long. It really is an impressive feat.

You’re the Worst

I avoided watching You’re the Worst for a long time because I don’t like shows where everyone is terrible and that was my impression of what this show was. I wasn’t really wrong about that, but I also really wound up like this show. It’s the first show I’ve truly binge watched in quite awhile. In a lot of ways it’s over the top ridiculous, but there are also some really real moments about living with mental illness and being in a relationship with someone with mental illness that make it really lovely. Even though the characters were awful I liked them. The only thing I will say is that it worked better for me when they only interacted with each other because then it was a whole circle of awfulness that really only affected them. I didn’t care for the episodes where there were outside people who were affected by it. Luckily those didn’t happen very often.

Single Drunk Female

Single Drunk Female is about a twenty-something alcoholic woman trying to get her life together after she hits rock bottom and gets sober. Her mom, who she is living with but who has had enough of her drama is played by Ally Sheedy. It’s an enjoyable little half hour show that airs on Freeform and is available on Hulu, which is where I watched it. I’m happy that it got renewed for another season.

The Newsreader

The Newsreader is an Australian show that is available to watch on the Roku Channel. It takes place in the 80s and stars Anna Torv, who should really have more roles on tv, as a news anchor with a mental illness, who has a nervous breakdown and who is helped out by a coworker who she decides to help work his way into being a news anchor as well. They start dating, but he is also secretly gay and lying to both her and himself about it. Each episode surrounds a big news story. Most of them were things that were also big enough stories that they were things I knew about. There was one episode featuring a bombing in Melbourne that I know nothing about, but which I assume was also real since the other stories were. It was a good show, and I recommend watching it. I have no idea if you have to have a Roku to watch the Roku Channel, but if you do have one watch it and see if you can anyway if you don’t have one.

The Dropout

I waited to long to review this show because I know I had some very specific thoughts about it, but now I can’t really remember what they were. I know there were various uses of music that felt way too on the nose to me and several pop cultural references that felt very heavy handed in trying to let you know what year you were in at a particular time. I think Amanda Seyfriend did a good job in the role. It was maddening that her house of cards was able to go on for so long.

Last Week Delight

Last week was a real rough week with the school shooting in Uvalde and the hopeless feeling that nothing is going to change because this country is more in love with guns than people. Rather than delights it was more like trying to find something, anything that just didn’t feel like the world is total and complete garbage. So here we are.

  • I love honeysuckle. It’s one of my favorite smells in the world. When I was a kid we had a bunch in our backyard and I would eat the little drop of nectar or whatever it is out of the blossoms. We would try to do it at school on the playground too, but the teachers would yell at us which makes sense. You don’t want kids eating plants and potentially getting sick. Anyway the honeysuckle is in bloom and there are a few places I walk by every day that have some and I’ve been loving it. Our neighbor across the street has some on their back fence which sit beside the sidewalk. I was walking the other day and it was breezy and before I even saw it I could smell it and was like yay it’s honeysuckle time!
  • Related to all that, I follow Katie Pruitt, who is a musical artist I like, on Instagram and she posted a story last week of showing everyone how to eat honeysuckle. Perfect.
  • Ever since my cat got sick she has been sleeping in somewhat odd places for her. At night instead of sleeping at the foot of our bed she has been sleeping on the couch in our bedroom. I said something about it to her the other night and was like are you never going to sleep with me again. And then she did! She started out on the couch, but I woke up in the middle of the night and she was curled up next to my legs. She did that two nights in a row, but now she’s just back to the couch.
  • Somebody Feed Phil is back for a new season! If you aren’t familiar with Somebody Feed Phil it’s a sort of travel food show on Netflex in which Phil Rosenthal travels around the world, meets people, and enjoys food. It’s such a delightful, joyful show. I really didn’t know when or if we would ever get new episodes because you know travel and eating in restaurants seem really difficult with COVID. They somehow managed to make it work and filmed both the fifth and sixth seasons back to back. So we’re going to get even more! You can tell some of the stuff they did to make it work. There is a lot of eating and meeting with people outside, and when they are inside they are meeting with the chefs while their restaurants are closed. Gone are the days where you feel like Phil is just dining there while all the tables around him are full of other diners. There is an episode set in Maine where it feels like there were fewer restrictions, but at least the two episodes I’ve watched so far that were shot abroad were definitely full of COVID protocols. I still have a couple more episodes of this season to enjoy. I’m trying to savor them because God knows I need a little injection of this joy. It could literally not have returned at a better time.
  • I made a lemon cake with lemon cream cheese frosting for my friend’s birthday last week. It was a delicious cake. I will definitely make it again. Also, I have to give a shout out to my awesome husband who went to three different grocery stores to find lemon extract for me. For some reason that one flavor seems to be hard to come by right now. He was like they have every other flavor of extract known to man, but the lemon is out. Luckily he finally found some and the cake was saved! My friend has a bunny, so I found some really cute bunny cake toppers to go on it. It was adorable, and she loved it so that made me happy.
  • As I believe I mentioned previously I had to find a new primary care physician because my current doctor is retiring. I just got the new patient paperwork in the mail from the new doctor’s office. One of the questions they asked on it was name three things that bring you joy. I refrained from just referring them to this blog, but I definitely thought about it.
  • Surprisingly I don’t really have a musical delight this week. Obviously going to The War on Drugs concert, but I have a whole long post on that already, so I won’t rehash it here. Instead I’m going to leave you with some poetry.
  • I have never been really much of a poetry person. I never just sit down to read some poetry. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book of poetry. Every once in awhile I’ll see someone share a poem that resonates with me, but I’ve just never connected with it that much probably because I’m not consuming it in the best way. When I sit down with a book I like to sit down and read it. I think with poetry it probably makes more sense to dole it out to yourself in little bits a poem or two here and there. I’m not good at that, but it’s probably why when I run across one shared on social media I can connect with it more. There have been a number of poems I’ve seen recently that have really hit home for me. Here are a couple of them.
    • I saw someone share just a fragment of a poem by Mary Oliver the other week and had to go look up what it was from. The whole poem is “Invitation“, but this is the part that made me need to go read all of it:

“it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.”

  • Amanda Gorman is an incredible poet who I think has brought a whole bunch of people into poetry who never considered themselves poetry people before. I haven’t read a ton of her stuff because see above, but from what I can tell she uses her poetry to powerfully speak truth to power, to call things out, but also to encourage, to lift up, and to call people action to build the better future she sees. She shared this short poem on Instagram the day of the Uvalde shooting and then later “A Hymn for the Hurting” in the New York Times. What a powerful voice she has.

The War on Drugs at Pier Six Pavilion

Last summer I wound up skipping a lot of concerts that I had tickets to that I didn’t wind up going to because after Delta showed up and it was clear that COVID was not actually gone and my doctor warned me about being very careful not to get it I was too paranoid to go to any of them. Data after the fact seemed to support that it would have been a reasonable thing to do. I’m not actually sure how with the new Omicron variants are making that data hold up for crowded spaces even if they’re outside with how much more transmissible it is, but I also know that it has to lessen the risk and I will go insane if I just lock myself away in my house forever. I was hoping to get back to some indoor concerts too with the way things are I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, but I’m not going to sit out my outdoor concerts this summer. (I’m so bummed that I’m going to miss Chvrches again next week. I had tickets to see them in DC right after Thanksgiving when OG Omicron was going crazy and didn’t go. Then they announced they were coming back again after only 6 months which is unheard of to a venue I like much better and I thought it was a sign that we were going to get another summer reprieve, and I was going to get to make up for missing out on the first show. Apparently it was just a sign that I’m too hopeful and willing to get kicked down over and over again.)

So all that being said I went to my first outdoor concert of the season last night to see The War on Drugs at Pier Six Pavilion. It’s a nice little outdoor venue in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was the perfect night for an outdoor concert too. It was also a nice low key reintroduction to concerts for me because unlike everything else I’m going to this one was not close to sold out. I bought lawn seats so that we had control over where were sitting and where in relation to other people with the ability to move if we wanted. Since the show wasn’t sold and the back of the pavilion was particularly empty a lot of people from the lawn went in and grabbed seats because there was no one policing it like at Merriweather and Wolf Trap where you have to show your tickets 50 times to get to your seats. That left the lawn very uncrowded. We had a spot right in the front of the lawn and there wasn’t anyone within 10 feet of us in any direction. I brought a mask but didn’t wear it until we were walking out in the crowd. I’m pretty sure I won’t have nearly that much space at any other show, so this was a nice dipping my toe in experience.

If you’re not familiar with The War on Drugs they’re originally from Philly, but I think they live in LA now. Their album I Don’t Live Here Anymore was my favorite album of 2021. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but this is the first time that I’ve actually been able to see them live because as their lead singer said last night even though we’re from just up the road in Philly we never play down here. It’s sadly true for lots of bands because Baltimore falls within the radius clauses for lots of DC And Philly venues and since those are bigger markets the bands just play there and skip Baltimore.

They’re basically a good old guitar based rock band the likes of which you don’t see too much these days. I love their music, in particular all the guitar sounds. Their songs do tend to have some long instrumental breaks, but they’re contained which in my mind makes them different from jam bands that will take a 5 minute song and turn it into a 25 minute song live. Their songs live were still their songs even if there are stretches that are only instrumental. I appreciate my husband letting me drag him along because I knew he would really not care for this concert. It made me laugh to myself a little because stereotypically if you told someone that one us was being dragged to this concert against their will people would guess that it was me rather than my old, white guy husband.

It was an enjoyable show. They didn’t have an opening act so they had plenty of time to play with and didn’t go on until almost 30 minutes late, which I was annoyed at. I get annoyed at rock and rollers acting like stereotypical rock and rollers, particularly because I’m not used to it. Between festivals and individual shows that are packed to the gills with multiple acts, concerts these days are generally very regimented with strict set times. It’s rare that acts don’t go on when they’re supposed to. They did play for a good two hours though, which is rare because of a lot of shows having not just one, but two opening acts in this day and age. It was perfect chill music to sit outside and listen to on a gorgeous summer night with a couple of songs worth getting up to dance to. It did make me realize that this is the only way I would really ever want to see them live again. They are not a band I would want to stand around in a crowded club or arena and see. They’re definitely a chill out on the lawn and enjoy the vibe band for me. It was a nice way to get back into a full fledged concert season. Looking forward to several shows in a few weeks over my birthday weekend.

Top Gun: Maverick

I am not that much of a movie person, and when there is a movie I want to see I want to see it in a theater. If I don’t watch it when it’s in the theater there’s a good chance I will never watch it save for the times my husband forces me to. Obviously I’ve watched a lot more movies at home in the last couple of years because of the pandemic because I had no choice for the films I really did want to see, but I’d still rather go to the actual movie theater to watch them.

I have been waiting to watch Top Gun: Maverick for literally almost three years. I looked it up and on July 18, 2019 along with the first trailer they released I posted, “I kind of hate myself for succumbing to the nostalgia bait of this, but I really do feel the need for speed next summer.” I do hate that Hollywood is all sequels and reboots now, and I know that I’m just contributing to the problem by watching them. If no one watched them they would stop making them. Also, like many people I think Tom Cruise is kind of problematic. However, everything about the trailer for this movie made me immediately want to see it.

I love Top Gun. I saw it in the theater as a little kid only because my parents went away for the weekend and left us with some babysitter, who I’m guessing was in college or maybe her early 20s. I don’t recall that I ever saw her before or after this weekend. At any rate, it was the weekend that the original Top Gun was released and she took my sister and I and met up with a friend to see it. I don’t think my parents ever would have taken us to it. I was only 8 when it came out, so I’m not sure why I would have liked it that much, but I did. We also had a copy of it on VHS eventually, so I watched it a bunch more times that way plus you know whenever it would show up on TV. So let’s just say I’ve seen that movie A LOT.

Thus, my extreme excitement to see this sequel despite myself. I was annoyed that they kept pushing back the release date so that COVID would hopefully be more under control and people would go see it in the theater. Now I’m glad they did. I drew a line in the sand at some point and told my husband that this was going to be my first movie back in a theater. I also said that thinking delusionally that we would get a bit of a reprieve from COVID this summer like we did last summer. Instead I literally went to see the movie on the day the CDC announced that Baltimore was back in their high risk category according to their new rating system, so you know that pretty much means everyone has COVID. If you know me or have been reading this blog you know that I am still super cautious and don’t do much indoors, so this was a big step for me. I took the day off work so I could go to the first showing of the day. I also went to the Senator Theater, which is a big old historic movie house that was originally one screen, though they’ve added additional screens in the past decade. It seats something like 675 people. It’s a huge space with really tall ceilings. There were maybe 25 people in the theater. I sat near no one, and I had an N95 mask on the whole time. I feel like I was pretty safe. If I can’t do that without catching COVID there’s literally no hope I can ever do anything.

One last thing before I get to my thoughts on the actual movie. While we were happily in the theater watching the movie there was apparently a tornado warning in Baltimore City which we were oblivious to. Luckily no tornados killed us. The strong storms blowing through did manage to make the power blip enough to shut down all the equipment in the theater and it took them 10-15 minutes to figure out how to get everything working again. Then when they started it back we got to rewatch about 10 minutes of the movie. I’m just happy they got it working again and I didn’t have to figure out how to come back and see the rest of it another time cause I have had that happen to me before.

Now for my actual review of the movie. It will be pretty spoiler free other than tipping you off that there are a lot of callbacks to the original. If you don’t want to know what those are then stop reading now, but honestly they’re what you would expect. First of all I will say that I am 100% glad that I saw this movie in a theater. They were right to hold it. It was apparently shot in IMAX and if you have a chance to see it in IMAX I would do that. It would never have been the same watching it on my couch. You needed the big screen and the sound system that made your body vibrate with the jet engines to get the full experience.

This has been talked about a lot in relation to this film, but it is was really great to see a movie that is not just all CGI. The practical effects were incredible. It’s just a really gorgeous movie to watch with a lot of good action. They showed a little clip of Tom Cruise before the film thanking us for coming to actually see the movie in a theater and talking about how this is good old school movie (not his words) that relies on practical effects and not CGI. Tom Cruise wants to bring you back to the glory days of cinema y’all. Anyway, my big takeaway from that little bit was that Tom Cruise has in fact actually aged. He looked old in that. But then the movie started and he still only looked 30 in it.

The movie hits nostalgia in all the right ways, but it’s also something that is not relying on it. You could definitely go into this movie having never seen the original Top Gun and be totally entertained and not feel like the only reason it exists was for people looking for a nostalgia hit. Obviously if you do know and love Top Gun then all the things it’s calling back to will make it mean more to you. They really played into it at the get go with literally the same opening statement about what Top Gun is that starts the original movie. Like for a second I almost thought they accidentally played the wrong thing. The music at the beginning was the same. That kind of gong sound that opens it just gave me chills. And then we get a bunch of jet and aircraft carrier footage set to “Highway to the Danger Zone”. I’m not going to lie I teared up a little. Obviously that was not completely about the movie itself and more about well everything, but this movie is going to dig into your nostalgia feels right away. There was obviously the obligatory “volleyball” scene because they understood the assignment. They even had someone who was not in the original film but had the same voice timbre who was the character who gave all the missiony sort of information and talked about what Top Gun is and announced. It was perfect.

I know they never even asked Kelly McGillis to reprise her role as Charlie. I don’t know what’s up with that, and I feel like nothing good, but Jennifer Connelly was a decent stand in for Maverick’s love interest. It did feel a little weird to me that instead of a new love interest she was someone from his past that he rekindled a relationship with just like he would have done if they did invite Kelly McGillis back, but whatever.

Obviously it was the perfect storyline to have Goose’s son be one of the new pilots. It gave some weight to the story, and it all felt true to where these characters would be in their lives at this point. I’m also really happy they found a way to bring Val Kilmer back as Iceman despite everything that’s happened to him.

All in all it was a great old school summer blockbuster movie. If it’s something you’re ever inclined to see I definitely encourage you to throw on a mask and see it while it’s in theaters. It definitely won’t be the same experience from your couch.

New Music Friday: Bones by Soccer Mommy

Sometimes there are weeks when I struggle to figure out a song to write about because there doesn’t seem to be anything new out there at least that I’m interested. Other weeks are like this one where there is almost too much new music. I had a lot of options today including new songs by Amanda Shires and Dawes and the new Wilco country album, but it’s a double album and I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet. Maybe I will write about it another week. So I’m sticking with my original plan which is to write about “Bones”, the new song by Soccer Mommy.

The song at least as I’m interpreting is about a toxic relationship. I don’t particularly have any feelings about what the song is about. I just really like the way it sounds. It also brings up other feelings for me that are entirely divorced from the song itself. It very much sounds like a Soccer Mommy song to me, and listening to it has been eliciting lots of feelings about all the stuff I’ve lost in the pandemic. I was supposed to see her in concert fairly early on in the pandemic which then was canceled and rescheduled twice but eventually did happen. It was just one of the many, many concerts I have had tickets to that I didn’t use. I’ve definitely hit a point recently where I’m grieving all the things I missed out on and continue to miss out on while the world moves on and I still try to keep my immunocompromised self from catching COVID. I feel like I’m going insane because I feel like I’m the only one who cares anymore. Anyway, the song is great and maybe one day I’ll see Soccer Mommy live.

Last Week Delight

  • Old Bay Goldfish. McCormick and Pepperidge Farm teamed up to make a limited edition variety of goldfish crackers flavored with Old Bay. Being a Marylander I am required by law to like Old Bay on everything. My husband ordered some of these crackers online and they are delicious and very addicting. I have to put a small serving out in a little bowl to eat them or I would eat the whole bag in one sitting. The first night I was eating them my husband took the bag away from me, but then I had to take it away from him.
  • Work happy hour. I went out for drinks with people in the department I’ve been supervising to celebrate the end of the academic year and the retirement of one of our part-time people. They found somewhere outside to accommodate me, but the weather was looking real iffy all day long so I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out. The rain that happened where we were cleared out early in the day and the terrible thunderstorms that were happening right as we were meeting up all went to the north and south of us and left us dry. It turned out to be a lovely evening both in weather and company.
  • Parking in front of the house. My husband took my car in to get refixed because after I had some work done the other week it was leaking oil, so I drove his car for the day. Coming home from the happier hour I realized that we hadn’t discussed him parking my car on the street instead of in our parking pad after he picked it up so that it would be free for me when I got home from the happier hour. I swung through the alley to check and my car was back there. I was afraid I was never going to find a spot on the street at that time of night, but I drove around to the front of our house and there was a spot right in front of it!
  • Online doctor appointment booking. My doctor of 20 years just told me that she is retiring at the beginning of July. She wasn’t sure when they might have someone in to fill her spot, so she suggested I look elsewhere. I hate making phone calls. So I was not thrilled with the prospect of calling around doctors’ offices to try and find a new primary care physician. I called multiple places that told me they weren’t taking any new patients. I called one that told me they were taking new patients, but then told me they couldn’t see me until February 2023 so I kept looking. I was beginning to think I wasn’t ever going to find anyone, but then found a doctor that was taking new patients, had good reviews online, and let me book an appointment online. At that point I had already been tears about the whole thing, so I was extremely happy not to have to call another place. Hopefully I actually like her when I go for an appointment in July.
  • Dinner outside. The weather was nice on Thursday night, so instead of our normal take out dinner I suggested to my husband that we actually go to a restaurant and dine outside. I know other people eat out all the time both inside and outside because apparently I’m the only one this pandemic exists for anymore, but this was the first time I’ve eaten at a restaurant where someone has served me since last summer.
  • Speaking of eating outside, I hung out with a couple of friends on Friday night. There is a development in my neighborhood that has a bunch of businesses with apartments on top and a big courtyard area in the middle. We all grabbed take out and sat outside there and had dinner and got gelato for dessert. There was a cute little girl running around in a Belle dress that her parents had hiked up with some rubberbands so that she wasn’t tripping over it. Then when they ducked in to grab a pizza from the pizza place she had a matching yellow mask that she put on. We also, half watched Dirty Dancing, which was the first outdoor movie of the season there. We had already made our plans to do this when they announced last minute that they were surprise starting their outdoor movie series on Friday. I’ve seen Dirty Dancing a million times so it was easy to just pay attention occasionally from off to the side. I did enjoy that all the people that were actually watching the movie cheered when Baby did the lift at the end.
  • Birthday banner. There is this tiny courtyard of 6 houses that I walk around every day on my morning walk. I noticed at one point in the last couple of years that someone had hung a birthday banner on their stair railing. Then I noticed that it moved around the courtyard to various houses, presumably when it was someone else’s birthday. It’s been going on for a few years now, and I appreciate these people’s commitment to keeping it going. There must be a whole cluster of birthdays this past week since it’s been on three different houses in the last week.

And now for your musical delights

  • Phoebe Bridgers started a record label called Saddest Factory Records. I have never put this together before, but I was listening to a podcast where someone mentioned it and said it in just the right way that it sounded like Satisfactory Records. I have no idea if this is intentional or not, probably it is, but even if it’s not I like the word play.
  • Allison Russell did a free livestream on Saturday to celebrate the one year anniversary of her album Outside Child. I love her and I love that album, so that was a nice little treat.
  • Speaking of Allison Russell she was part of the tribute to Naomi Judd that aired on CMT last week. She sang a duet with Emmy Lou Harris, which was great. Brandi Carlile sang a duet with Wynonna Judd that was very moving. Wynonna breaks a little at one point in the song and makes them stop and restart that part so she can sing it right. It was a very touching moment.

New Music Friday: 12th of June by Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett had a new album come out a few weeks ago. I’ve been enjoying the title track, “12th of June” for a couple of months since it was released as a single. I’ve never really paid that much attention to Lyle Lovett. I really like his song, “If I Had a Boat”, but I’m not even sure if I’ve ever heard another Lyle Lovett song despite being very much aware of his existence for decades. Based on this song and my historical love of “If I Had a Boat”, I thought maybe I’d just been sleeping on Lyle Lovett all these years and he is someone who I would really love if I had ever given him a chance. Then I listened to the rest of this album. I have no idea if it’s representative of any of his earlier work, but I can say that “12th of June” is the only song that I care for on it and in my opinion sounds nothing like the rest of the songs on it. So maybe I haven’t been missing out on Lyle Lovett that much. I guess I’ll just go back to enjoying the one song I come across every decade or so.

Last Week Delight

Another week. Some things delighted me in it. That is all.

  • This weekend was graduation for the seniors at the university I work at. The is a nice black marble sign on the corner of a busy intersection in the city at the corner where the university sits. Students often go out there in their graduation gowns to take photos next to it. Twice this week when I was driving home from work there were groups of students getting their pictures taking and people in their cars waiting at the light were honking and shouting congratulations out of their car windows. It was all very joyful and it put a big smile on my face.
  • This one is a little of a you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone delight in retrospect. Since the pandemic my library has been limited to only people associated with the university, so the doors have been locked and people to use their ID to get in. Pretty much since I came back to work in person we’ve had a temp working at our entry desk and she would always see me coming and just buzz me in. With the academic year over we ended her employment, and now I have to dig out my ID to get into the building every morning. So this is a little retrospective delight at that little bit of making my morning easier thanks to this person.
  • Speaking of people helping me, I usually walk by our local elementary/middle school on my morning walk. When I come home the kids are going to school so there are crossing guards out. They never do anything for me if there aren’t kids trying to cross the street at the same time, but this week I had a walk signal and a whole bunch of cars just kept turning right across the crosswalk so I couldn’t go and the crossing guard jumped out and made them stop for me even though there were no kids around.
  • Speaking of kids and walks, I was coming home from my walk on Saturday and there was a little girl and her mom walking to her dance class. She had on tights and a little ballet skirt under a rain coat that had little flaps attached under the arms of the coat that turned into sort of rainbow wings when she held her arms out. She was bouncing along with her rainbow wings trying not to step on the cracks in the sidewalk like little kids do. Be that girl.
  • I am still not an indoor person thanks to being an immunocompromised person during COVID. I rarely do anything inside if I can help it. The weather finally cooperated this week to allow me go back in person to a few things. We got to have book club in person and outside and my church has moved back outside for the season, so I was able to go back to church in person as well. It was nice to be around people in person for a change.
  • I feel like I am in a perpetual state of losing my faith, but every time I’m ready to walk away I feel God calling me back. My friend suggested that we listen to season 2 of the Evolving Faith podcast and discuss it. In a time that I very much am struggling to see God’s presence the first episode felt like God speaking directly to me. It literally started out “You who doubt, you who struggle, you who feel lost—you are loved. Atheists, agnostics, seekers—you are loved. You who are disabled, you who carry chronic pain, you whose bodies challenge you in ways you are tired of explaining—you are loved. Shy people and introverts–you are especially loved by me. You raging introverts.” Check, check, and check. This episode was about what the speaker called subsistence faith, basically taking the idea of being in the wilderness and just subsisting on what little there is to get by and applying that to faith and how sometimes we only have a small kernel of faith, but maybe that’s enough. And that’s where I feel like I am. This podcast was just a small bread crumb reminding me that God is still there even if I’m having a hard time finding him.

And now for my musical delights. There were several this week.

  • Friday was Friday the 13. I was out for my morning walk and listening to NPR Music’s New Music Friday podcast. They were playing a selection of John Carpenter’s score from the new Firestarter movie and at the exact same time it started some bird (a raven? a crow? I don’t know birds. Something that makes that horrible caw, caw sound that is the evil bird sound in movies) started cawing, and I was like did I just enter a horror movie somehow?
  • The tv show Somebody Feed Phil (side delight was finding out it will be back for a new season May 25) has a theme song by the band Lake Street Dive. My husband jokes that next time I make him go see them in concert that they better play it. This week after their show at Red Rocks they posted a photo of him backstage with them, so I told him if there was ever a chance that they probably did play the theme song, it was at that show. Cut to the next morning when they shared videos on their Instagram story of them actually singing the theme song with Phil on stage throwing food into the audience. Though my husband pointed out that’s Phil feeding other people not somebody feeding him.
  • Back around 2003/2004 when I first discovered WXPN, the NPR music radio station out of University of Pennsylvania, Rachael Yamagata’s song “Worn Me Down” was in heavy rotation. I adored it, and it is always connected in my mind to that time in my life and finding WXPN which I still listen to most days at work. I heard it this week, and I still love it.

New Music Friday: More by Rachel Bobbitt

I am most excited by the new Florence + the Machine album that comes out today because I love Florence Welch so much. I just wrote about one of the singles off that not too long ago, so I’m not actually going to write about that today. Just know that I am very happy to have new Florence music in the world and think you should go listen to it.

What I am writing about is the song “More” by Rachel Bobbitt. She is a Canadian artist who originally gained some fame as a social media star on the now defunct video site, Vine. She just signed a record deal with Fantasy Records and announced it with the release of this song. It’s a timely song both about women not being taken seriously by the medical system and also being expected to have babies. I adore the guitar work in it. I look forward to hearing whatever comes out of this record deal in the future.