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Daily Life Mix Tapes

Stay At Home: Day 29

Happy Friday, Y’all.

After last night’s post was published, the girlfriend hopped on a Zoom call and I started making us dinner. Last night we had cheeseburgers with a side of green beans. The beans were simply prepared. They were blanched and then combined with butter and minced garlic. As we each have distinct preferences when it comes to burgers, I had to make them separately so as to prepare each one properly. She likes hers cooked medium to medium-well, and I “toasted” her brioche bun in a sautee pan with butter (this is the only method for preparing buns — treat the bread like a butter sponge). She got one slice of heirloom tomato, one slice of cheddar cheese, and ketchup applied directly to the burger. I, on the other hand, like my burger cooked medium-rare. I did not toast my brioche bun (which, by the way, is an inferior bun for burgers, but it was all they had at Gelson’s this week). My burger was topped with one slice of heirloom tomato, one slice of cheddar cheese, and a sunny-side-up egg. Ketchup on the side, for when I get down to the bites with too few (or no) toppings. They came out fairly well. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pictures of either burger. Next time. I think we have six more patties coming in our next Butcher Box.

This morning for breakfast I used our last brioche bun to make an egg and cheese sandwich. The brioche was a fine vehicle for the egg and cheese, although not as fine as a sesame seed bagel. We have no bagels in the house right now and I’m seriously considering ordering bagels from Ess-A-Bagel through Goldbelly. The last time I used that website I got Chicago Deep Dish pizzas, and it worked well. If they can overnight me some real fucking New York bagels I should be taking advantage of it.

Dinner tonight is going to be a panini for me because I have to use up the rest of the deli meat we ordered last week. We got a ton of groceries delivered on Wednesday, so now I have peanut butter filled-pretzels to munch on alongside my panini. I’m tired of this “every main course needs a vegetable on the side!” BS I’ve been forced to adhere to for the last twenty-nine days. Let me spread my fat guy wings and fly. I don’t think that statement makes sense, so let’s just ignore it. You get what I’m trying to say.

Today has been a somewhat productive day. I woke up and went for a run. I edited together some audio for an as-yet-untitled, secret project I’ve been working on with a friend. I looked up some UCLA online courses that might interest me if this quarantine lasts any longer. And then I compiled a fresh mixtape for you, which I will share below.

Tonight I think we’re going to take it easy and either watch a movie or play a board game. I downloaded Monopoly for Playstation and am absolutely crushing it even though I own about 1/10th of the properties on the board. I got lucky and won Park Place and Boardwalk at auction when she didn’t have the money to afford them (she spent all her money on the other 9/10ths of the board). Now I’ve got 4 houses on each property and she can’t seem to get avoid them. My guess is she’ll be broke within the next ten turns, but I promised we could keep playing after dinner. As for a movie…I keep suggesting Monos but she won’t bite. We might start “Devs” because one of my group chats is filled with people who keep talking about how amazing it is, or Ian suggested “Money Heist.” Tomorrow we’re doing a small online game night with two other couples. I’m sure you won’t here from me again until Monday.

Which, coincidentally, might be my first day of official unemployment. Dear God I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Have a great weekend — or as great as you can make it given the circumstances.

Stay healthy and stay safe. Enjoy today’s mixtape.

Safe At Home
A Special Friday Mix Tape For You

01. Shannon Wright – Captain Of Quarantine
02. Angels Of Light – Palisades
03. Medicine – Home Everywhere
04. Rachel’s – You Will Be Safe
05. Broadcast – Message From Home
06. Throbbing Gristle – Hometime
07. Brian Jonestown Massacre – New Kind Of Sick
08. Jellyfish – I Wanna Stay Home
09. Theta Naught – Home Again
10. Library Tapes – In A Safe Place…Somewhere Near Your Heart
11. Lava – Pieces Of Peace
12. Motion Sickness Of Time Travel – No Warning
13. Yen Pox – Virus
14. Nina Nastasia – Why Don’t You Stay Home
15. Virus – Facts Of Death
16. Trees – Cover Your Mouth

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Mix Tapes

The Flaccid Archives

In lieu of a boring post about my daily life, I’ve decided to share a specially curated mixtape today. As I keep saying day after day, times are weird. Hopefully, I can help even one of you disconnect from reality for an hour. God knows putting this together has helped me disconnect enough to temporarily lower my heart rate. The past two days have been slightly more stressful than normal because…I don’t know. It seems silly, but every time I have to leave to run an errand or something I feel like a new timer has been set. So from that day forward I have to think 5 days out, ten days out, two-weeks out to project when I can forget that I was outside putting myself at risk. This probably seems absurd to many of you, but as I said on Day 6, logic has been thrown out the window. That’s part of dealing with — or should I say working through — anxiety.

If you’ve followed this blog for any period of time, you might have heard me mention The Acid Archives before. For a long time, it has been a bible for those of us who appreciate — and collect — underground recordings. It’s how I first discovered gems like the Todd record, the Heitkotter record, and so many others. Either the Lysergia website (or the first edition of the book, I can’t quite remember) used to have an awesome feature that is not present in the Second Edition. It was a list of records that had similar vibes to some of those shockingly rare (and uber-expensive!) entries in the book, but wouldn’t cost the novice collector and arm and a leg to obtain. To this day I remember the joy I felt when I found the Susan Pillsbury record for $15 because it was on that list. It was a special addendum to an incredible resource for collectors with actual (gasp!) budgets.

The goal of this mixtape is not to break new ground. I’m not pretending I’m the first person to discover these artists or albums. In fact, a lot of these may already be known to you. They were all released by major record labels in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. I imagine if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably well versed in music history. So if you come away from listening to this enjoying even one song you haven’t heard before, I’ll consider that to have been worth my time. And if any of you are totally unfamiliar with these albums, the good news is you can find most of them pretty cheap! Now that I spent ample time describing what this mixtape isn’t, I will say that the goal of this mixtape is to do for you what The Acid Archives did for me: Introduce you to albums you might not be familiar with, that won’t break the bank in order for you to add them to your record collection.

Enjoy! I apologize for any issues with these files, I don’t have my usual recording equipment set up at home right now, my USB to USB-C cables have gone missing, and so these transfers are rudimentary at best. These aren’t audiophile rips or anything. They’re here to give you jumping-off points for tracking these albums down.

As always, of course, continue to stay healthy and stay safe.

The Flaccid Archives (vol. 1)

01. Karen Beth – “In The Morning” – Let’s start things off with a bang! Released in 1969 by Decca in the US, The Joys Of Life peaked on the Billboard Top 200 at #171 that year. If you’re a fan of Karen Dalton but cannot afford original copies of her albums, this is a much more affordable option that seriously deserves to be compared alongside that other Karen in the pantheon of canonic ’60s/’70s folk records. The best thing about this album is that it opens with its absolute worst track, and is consistently incredible from “In The Morning” straight through to the end of side two. Look for the title track on YouTube (link here!) for a seriously damaged acid-tinged masterpiece. Even more stunning: not a single copy of this album sold on Discogs has ever fetched more than $20.

02. B.J. Cole – “The Regal Procession” The New Hovering Dog was released by United Artists in the UK in 1972. It’s slightly harder to find than some of the other entries on this list. You’ll probably have to spend about $35-$50 for a copy depending on how much of a snob you are regarding condition. Nevertheless, this album is totally worth the price of admission. A pedal steel master, Cole’s studio credits include appearances alongside extremely heavy hitters like Elton John, Elvis Costello, John Cale, Bjork, and even my beloved Spiritualized (on Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space). His band here is comprised of luminaries like Michael Giles, Danny Thompson, Robert Kirby, and others. It’s a remarkable blend of art-rock, folk, prog, and psych that still sounds decades ahead of its time.

03. Sonny – “I Told My Girl To Go Away” Yes, I included a song from Sonny Bono’s only solo album. It was released in 1967 by ATCO following the success of Sonny and Cher. Unfortunately, the album tanked. It didn’t even chart in Billboard, though it has the rare distinction of having a full-page ad in the first issue of Rolling Stone magazine. Bono isn’t quite a laughing stock, but reading reviews of Inner Views lends the impression that his legacy hasn’t exactly been helped by this recording. Nevertheless, I find it enjoyable, and it’s ridiculously easy to find and very inexpensive. Not every entry in the Acid Archives is a masterpiece — some albums are included simply because they are atrocious. At times musical ineptitude can be charming, just as a songwriter’s naivete can be interpreted as endearing. Inner Views is often described as hacky, poseur-ish, and insincere. I kind of like it for all those reasons. It is what it is, and I dig that.

04. Cherokee – “Strange Ways” The Robbs were three brothers from Wisconsin who issued a self-titled album for Mercury in 1967 that collected their various A-sides and B-sides. Then they relocated to California and (of course) their sound shifted more towards country-rock. Their self-titled album came out courtesy of ABC Records. After this record and another single, the members disbanded but formed the infamous Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles. It’s like the Byrds or the Burritos but with more balls, which makes some sense because Chris Hillman appears on bass and mandolin. The record was produced by Steve Barri, whose credits include countless ’60s mainstays like the Fantastic Baggies, PF Sloan, The Grass Roots, and even another artist who appears on this list — Terry Black! “Strange Ways” has a fuzzy sound that, if the entire album were to include, probably would have found itself mentioned in the Acid Archives. Alas, it doesn’t, and now you can easily find yourself a copy for like $30 or less.

05. Jeremy Storch – “Dream City” The album From A Naked Window was originally recommended to me years ago by Andy Zax, I think. The recommendation itself isn’t so clear, but the joy I felt upon finding a pristine copy at the WFMU Record Fair for five or ten bucks certainly is. How this 1970 release by RCA Victor managed to evade the Acid Archives is beyond me. It’s positively Todd-ian at times! Storch began his career as a member of The Vagrants in the sixties before going solo. Full of elaborate melodies and Storch’s trademark nasally vocal delivery, this album is a gem from start to finish. And, even if you think you haven’t heard Storch before, odds are you might have heard the DJ Shadow tune “Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt” features a sped-up sample of the piano melody from Storch’s “I Feel A New Shadow”. Other albums sampled by Shadow (like, say, Colonel Bagshot’s Six Day War) will likely set you back about a hundred bucks, Jeremy Storch will likely only set you back ten.

06. Lamb – “Sleepwalkers” Released by Warner Brothers in 1971, Cross Between was basically the brainchild of Barbara Mauritz, who has writing credits on every song as well as producer/arranger credit along with her partner Bob Swanson. Mauritz even recorded another album in ’71 that is credited to her by name with Lamb as her backing band. That album, Bring Out The Sun is also quite good, but this one is better. The blend of jazz, folk-psych, classical and avant-garde elements are quite unique, and Mauritz’s vocals shine throughout the album. Amazingly, this album can currently be purchased for as little as four dollars and change. Since 2017, not a single copy sold through Discogs has cost a buyer more than $20. A full-on, start-to-finish psych/folk jewel on a major label is an oddity in an of itself. At any price, Cross Between a steal.

07. Gary Ogan & Bill Lamb – “Kac” From one Lamb to another…Portland, recorded by this duo in 1972 for Elektra, is stupefyingly unheralded for how great it is. It feels like a record every hipster in Los Angeles would namecheck while talking about the Laurel Canyon scene, or Brewer & Shipley. A lot of them have probably heard of Ogan & Lamb before, without knowing it. In 1986 This Mortal Coil recorded a cover of “I Wanna Live” (and changed the name slightly to “I Want To Live”) for their album Filigree & Shadow (YouTube link). How Portland has escaped so many collectors and enthusiasts is beyond me. Their loss is our gain. Copies of Portland can be found for as cheap as $6 on Discogs right now.

08. Michael Konstan – “Great Train” Not much is known about Konstan, which might be why his solo album from 1973 remains largely a mystery. Released by RCA, copies can be found for as little as three dollars on Discogs. The songs were arranged by John Abbott (Chiffons, Left Banke, The Blades Of Grass), and Konstan’s voice combines to make a magical pairing. The only thing I can really find about Konstan’s career before this album was a writing credit on a Quadrangle single released on Philips in 1966. Nothing exists after this eponymous album. The Acid Archives loves a good appearing/disappearing trick, and as Konstan seems to have dropped off the face of the earth his story would seemingly fit right in with the rest of the misfits whose lives are a mystery investigated by that book. Vanished without a trace, all we have to remember Konstan is this record.

09. Mary Catherine Lunsford – “I’m Awaitin'” This sort-of-eponymous album by Cathy Lunsford was released by Polydor in 1971. Like a few other artists on this list, very little is known about Ms. Lunsford, but those who know her agree that this record is a masterpiece. Reviews of this album are quick to compare her to Joni Mitchell. I can hear that a little in the vocal flourishes, I think, but the arrangements and baroque style are wholly her own. I’ll be honest, I don’t own a single Joni Mitchell album, and whenever I’d hear her at work I used to cringe. So if I thought this album sounded anything like Blue or Court And Spark or whatever I’d dismiss it immediately. The Acid Archives spends a considerable amount of space mining gold from the female singer-songwriter realm, which makes the book’s oversight here all the more confounding. Best of all, you can grab yourself a copy for as little as $3.99 on Discogs today.

10. Click Horning – “See That My Children Got Warm Clothes” This is probably the most expensive — and hardest to obtain — record included on this mixtape. That said, it probably won’t break the bank for many collectors. I don’t think much of paying $50 for a record these days, even if that seemed unfathomable fifteen or twenty years ago. Copies of Click can be found for about $30 if you don’t care too much about the condition of the record, or $75 if you’re a stickler like I am. In a world where labels and collectors are rushing to “discover” unknown acid-folk masterpieces, this one has not yet been reissued. Released on ABC Records in 1969, this eccentric, mysterious album reminds me of the most warped songs from Donovan’s catalog blended with touches of Nick Drake. That’s pretty lofty praise, but I think it’s warranted here. It also kind of reminds me of another major label release that was included in The Acid Archives, Erik’s Look Where I Am on Vanguard. Major label releases from the late ’60s and early ’70s don’t get much more esoteric than Click Horning’s, which makes his absence from the underground rock bible the more unusual.

11. Terence – “Fool Amid The Traffic” How a book like The Acid Archives could ignore some of this fuzz guitar is shocking, but there are more than enough Canadian bluesy, psychedelic experimentations in that book to make up for it. Terence Black had a solid career as a songwriter in Canada before releasing this album in 1969. He had a handful of Top-Ten hits in his home country as a teenager. An Eye For An Ear is a somewhat inconsistent album, but there are enough unique sounds and warped tunes to make it totally worth your while. And since it was released by Decca in the states it’s relatively easy to track down. There are currently 47 copies for sale on Discogs starting at $5. It’d be a welcome addition to any collection.

12. Laurie Styvers – “Beat The Reaper” Another artist signed to Warner Brothers, Spilt Milk (not to be confused with the Jellyfish album!) was first issued in 1971. Before going solo, she sang in a prog group called Justine (YouTube Link!), who’s self-titled album on UNI sells for about $200. This, obviously, makes Spilt Milk a bargain by comparison. Robert Christgau hated this album, stating “Styvers is the kind of person who makes me like junkies–you know, the baby you want to steal candy from, so trite and pretty-poo in her fashionably troubled adolescence that you hope she chokes on her own money.” That above anything else means you should definitely give it a chance.

13. Alastair Riddell – “Zero” The most recent release on this compilation was issued in New Zealand by WEA in 1982. An original copy might set you back $50 for a decent copy, but there are three different issues from 1982/1983 and they aren’t too hard to track down if you use Discogs or eBay as an avenue for record buying. Personally, I think Riddell’s self-titled album and the album released under his nom de plume Space Waltz are superior to this album…but “Zero” is an undeniably catchy song that I really wanted to include here. It would be the perfect pairing for an ’80s movie montage, perhaps wherein two horny teens are fumbling around in the back of a car. Do yourself a favor and verse yourself in all of Riddell’s oeuvre. If requested, I’ve got rips of all his albums I can post for you.

14. Graeme Allwright – “The Pen” / “On The Words That Tungle In A Jumble” Originally released in France by Mercury, the ‘A’ side of this album is broken down into two parts. It spans about 17-and-a-half minutes and exemplifies an era of experimentation that was sweeping through France (and Europe) at the time of its release. Allwright’s first three albums were folky, including sung-in-French covers of Leonard Cohen and others. This heavily-improvisational album features two acoustic guitars and tabla, with vocals sung in English. Maybe there’s a piano or two here and there, but by and large, it’s a poetic, psychedelic masterpiece. And best of all, it shouldn’t set you back more than $15-$40 for a clean, playable copy.

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Mix Tapes

Sunday Mix Tape Number 416

Hey, remember when the Sunday Mix Tape was a thing around here? I am sorry that it’s been a while since the last installment. I’m trying to slowly reintegrate myself into blogging regularly. Unfortunately, I’ve picked literally the busiest 8 weeks of my entire year to suddenly feel inspired. Last week I organized a bachelor party in Vegas for a good friend, on Tuesday I’m flying back east for work, and May is going to be just as busy as April has been…with the culmination being a Hawaiian wedding (not mine, the one I organized the bachelor party for) at the end of the month. So…yeah. I’m going to give this a shot. We’ll see how it works. Apologies in advance if the next post you see from me is dated sometime in June.

The good news is, I’m at least remaining somewhat productive with my time. It’d be really embarrassing if I was not blogging but also not doing anything. Work has been good, my social life is rich, I’m still toiling away at a few little passion projects here and there… it’s hard to really complain about much right now, other than the fact that I haven’t devoted much time to this space. Luckily I’ve got some bullets in the chamber so-to-speak in terms of potential posts. I had an exciting pre-birthday meal over the weekend that I’m hoping to write about in the next couple days. Trips back east usually result in fun topics for discussion as well. Oh, and I’ve unearthed a few more treasures from the collector’s slum that I need to write about as well. The posts are there, I just have to find a little down time to post ’em.

And with that said, here’s a mixtape for you. Weirdness abounds.

Sunday Mix Tape – Number 416
Orwell’s Memory

01. 310 – Night On The Ocean [MP3]
02. Yukihiro Takahashi – Are You Receiving Me? [MP3]
03. Qautermass – Black Sheep Of The Family [MP3]
04. Blam Blam Blam – There Is No Depression In New Zealand [MP3]
05. The 976-Girls – Survey Says [MP3]
06. Alistair Riddell – Zero [MP3]
07. Atoll – Le Berger [MP3]
08. Orchid Spangiafora – Mondo Stupid [MP3]
09. Ben Frost – All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated [MP3]
10. Eigenlicht – Berzerker [MP3]

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Mix Tapes

Hiatus And Sickness

Hey Y’all. Sorry I have not posted much of late. Life has suddenly become busy, which is certainly better than my being stuck alone on my couch night after night. Unfortunately, that means that chances to update this site are few and far between. After Vegas work picked up a bit, and my social calendar started filling up. Before I knew it, it was February! Highlights included a great meal at Alexander’s in Pasadena with friends a few weeks ago (followed by a bit of a bar hop through Old Town), tickets to a live taping of Pod Save America (and dinner at Rao’s) this past weekend, a Super Bowl spent downtown at Boomtown Brewery, a delicious meal at Lucques last night…and now I think I might have the flu. I guess I can’t be sure until tomorrow, but I’ve felt pretty awful all day today and while my 24-hour sore throat has faded a bit I’m not sure what I’m feeling now…which is making me anxious. As hard as I can think…I’m not sure I can recall ever having the actual flu-flu before. So part of me is hoping I just wake up with a nasty head cold tomorrow. And not…you know…full-body aches, cold flashes and sweats and whatever it is that comes with the flu. I guess if I’m well enough to sit on the couch right now and formulate thoughts my condition can’t be that bad, right?

Right?!

Anyway. Now’s not a great time to be sick, as I’ve got dinner club Thursday night, a writing meeting Friday night, and a good friend’s birthday party Saturday night. For the 3 of you who still read this site, please feel free to post your best home remedies for cold/flu in the comment section. Thanks.

As it’s been a long time since I last wrote — and even longer since I’ve shared any music with you — here’s a surprise Tuesday Mix Tape. Please enjoy.

Tuesday Mix Tape
Sunday’s Ugly Cousin

01. Orchid Spangiafora – Mondo Stupid
02. East Of Eden – Have To Whack It Up
03. Web – I Spider
04. A.R. & Machines – Jeder Tropfen Traumt Vom Meer
05. Gnod & White Hills – Aquarian Downer
06. Aidan Baker – Transgenic One
07. Electric Wizard – Necromania
08. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Hangout
09. Noname – Bye Bye Baby
10. Tortoise – Whaihopai

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Mix Tapes

Sunday Mix Tape Number 415

It’s about to become that very busy time of year when I’m traveling this-place-or-that, so I thought it important to take a few minutes to post an update here. In about ten days I’ll be flying home for Thanksgiving. Before then I’ll be attending a basketball game (my first since moving to LA in 2007) and a concert. Upon returning I’ve got the Extreme Beer Fest (the first I’ll be attending since 2006!) and a bunch of other obligations that should take me through Christmas and New Years. It should be a wild but fun race to the finish of 2017. We’ll see where else it takes me.

Probably the most important blog post I need to make before 2018 commences is my annual Top 100 Albums list. Luckily for me (and you!) it’s been a very fruitful year in music, and I’m going to have a very tough decision when I finally sit down to map things out that last week of December. Back in June I awarded Migos - Culture the top spot on my list. It remains to be seen whether or not the top spot — and by extension the top ten — will remain in place when all is said and done. I feel pretty safe saying that the top ten will be entirely different. Considering how often I still listen to Culture…will it stay #1? I don’t know. We’ll see how I feel a month and a half from now.

So here’s a mix tape! A couple fresh releases at play here, including the new Angel Olsen record and a bizarre-as-fuck Frankie Goes To Hollywood cover by Ulver (?). There’s also a couple songs from Twin Peaks: The Returnhere, and an Ian recommendation in the form of James Holden / The Animal Spirits. Oh! And speaking of Ian, his new band Thunderon released a three-song EP recently that you should all listen to here. Recommended if you like Sabbath, stoner rock or post-metal.

Dig in.

RULES for uninitiated noobs: I give birth to a weekly Mix Tape to be deposited on your iPhone or iPod or iBrain or whatever the industry is currently pushing on you. Sometimes there will be themes that link all the songs together, other times I’ll just throw songs at a wall (not literally – iPhones are expensive!) and see what sticks. See above for a description of this week’s tape. The goal of this endeavor, as always, is to pique your interest in these artists so you’ll support the artists and buy their albums.

Sunday Mix Tape – Number 415
Noname & Noplace & Nowhere

01. Noname – Yesterday [MP3]
02. Aidan Baker – Red Robin [MP3]
03. Thunderon – Flat On A Gurney [MP3]
04. Chromatics – Saturday [MP3]
05. Angel Olsen – Fly On Your Wall [MP3]
06. Ulver – The Power Of Love (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) [MP3]
07. James Holden & The Animal Spirit – Thunder Moon Gathering [MP3]
08. Sharon Van Etten – Tarifa (Roadhouse Mix) [MP3]
09. John Zorn – Blue [MP3]
10. Myrkur – Death Of Days [MP3]

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Mix Tapes

Sunday Mix Tape Number 414

Oh hi there, readers. Sorry I’ve been absent of late. The past few weeks have been quite busy for me socially. This has left little time to write new posts. Mindhunter came and went on Netflix and now everybody is geeking out on Stranger Things. My friend who works at that company might have spoken a bit hyperbolically while describing the “greatness” of the former. I enjoyed the first season of that new show, but it wasn’t anywhere near as brilliant as I hoped it would be. In fact I would go so far as to say that poor writing and direction was a common theme throughout the ten episodes. To be certain, it was no season 1 of True Detective. And as far as 2017 television is concerned, it was no Twin Peaks: The Return.

Speaking of Twin Peaks: The Return I went to a Halloween party this weekend. A guy there was dressed as Dougie Jones, and he kinda killed it. I usually don’t care much for this holiday, but for the second year in a row I felt compelled to dress up as the eggplant emoji and show my face in public. At least two people told me that my purple bodysuit left little to the imagination, and that I should consider doing more squats when I go to the gym. Ouch.

Last week my mother came to town. When she visits, most of what we do together revolves around food. After ten years of living in Los Angeles there really isn’t that much we haven’t done already, so most of our tasks this weekend revolved around chores. Most of one day consisted of re-planting the planters on my front porch with things that require less water than whatever I inherited from the guy who lived here before me. Even with a fancy modern sprinkler system I still managed to kill all my plants. Now there are pretty succulents that require water only once a week instead of once a day. I think I can handle that.

…I think.

We dined at Michael’s in Santa Monica one night, which I really enjoyed. Chef Miles Thompson (formerly of The Vagrancy Project and Allumette) took over the kitchen somewhat recently and is showcasing some great dishes right now. The next night we tried Uovo (also in Santa Monica), which was way less exciting. The remainder of her visit included trips to Bed Bath & Beyond in Westwood, a beachside restaurant in Dana Point, and sushi at our regular spot near the airport.

This past week Dinner Club met at The Venue in Koreatown, and boy was that disappointing. That place is probably awesome if you just want to go out in K-town and drink some quality cocktails, but the food was completely under-seasoned, and at times downright terrible (example: our requested medium-rare ribeye came out closer to well-down). On Saturday I went down to AleSmith to pick up my bottles of Double Barrel Speedway Stout and stopped at Societe beforehand. I’d never visited Societe before but the atmosphere was great and the beers were mostly above average. AleSmith was a blast, as they had a special Halloween flight at the bar (pictured above) and the list inside Anvil & Stave was even better. There was also a stop in Old Town, San Diego for fresh flour tortillas…which were incredible. By some miracle (or, more likely, a brain fart) I’d never visited Old Town before. I left impressed. It should become a more-common stop on future visits to SD.

And today is Sunday. I spent my day cleaning house and running errands. Now you’re caught up on most of my October. Feels good, doesn’t it? All right. Let’s get to the mix tape, shall we?

RULES for uninitiated noobs: I give birth to a weekly Mix Tape to be deposited on your iPhone or iPod or iBrain or whatever the industry is currently pushing on you. Sometimes there will be themes that link all the songs together, other times I’ll just throw songs at a wall (not literally – iPhones are expensive!) and see what sticks. Lots of new releases to share this week. From Spirit Adrift and Esmerine to my buddy Dan’s band Scavenger Hunt to the return of Swan Fungus favorites Die! Die! Die!.The goal of this endeavor, as always, is to pique your interest in these artists so you’ll support the artists and buy their albums.

01. Vattnet – Spun [MP3]
02. Spirit Adrift – Earthbound [MP3]
03. Deradoorian – Love Arise [MP3]
04. Scavenger Hunt – Eyes Wide Open [MP3]
05. Die! Die! Die! – How Soon Is Too Soon (It’s Not Vintage It’s Used) [MP3]
06. Mirah – The World Is Falling Apart [MP3]
07. Esmerine – La Penombre [MP3]
08. Andrew Bird – Gypsy Moth [MP3]
09. Tiny Vipers – Living On A Curve [MP3]
10. Ben Frost – If Anybody Asks We’re Already Fucked [MP3]

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Mix Tapes

Frozen In Time

Hey y’all. I hope your weekends were productive and/or enjoyable. Mine was both! I guess technically it started Thursday evening with another successful Dinner Club For Day People meeting. I’ll hopefully get around to reviewing that meal tomorrow. On Friday I headed to the Pico-Robertson / Beverly Hills area where I cooked dinner and started watching Manhunt on Netflix. I’ve been hearing about the new Netflix original series Mindhunter lately from an insider who claims its as good as the first season of True Detective. Ever since I heard that, I’ve been watching for a release date announcement. I must have consumed a bit more alcohol than I thought on Friday, as I saw Manhunt was “recently released” and immediately thought it was Mindhunter. After two episodes of me repeating, “This is gonna be awesome just wait…” I realized I was watching the wrong show. So dumb. On Saturday I was supposed to see Chelsea Wolfe but I ended up selling the tickets at the last minute. I don’t regret the decision at all, as her setlist confirms my fears that 12 out of 14 songs she performed are from her recent albums. Only 2 “older” songs, which would have infuriated me had I gone to show. On Sunday I watched the early football games with some friends, watched the Giants game alone, and then drank myself to bed. In between I got a lot of housecleaning and errands done, I swear. It was productive and enjoyable!

Last week also included a chance to see my buddy Brandon’s band Simon Doom. They played at The Friend, which I guess is a hip new bar in the old Barbarella space (which itself took over the old Zen Sushi space). It’s kind of an uncomfortably scene-y bar, but the cocktail I had was good and getting to chat with Brandon and see his band made it worth the effort. I don’t know if they’re touring anywhere else, but I’m sure they’ll continue to play around NYC so keep your eyes and ears open, there’s a lot to like if you’ve ever counted yourself a fan of The Replacements, The Strokes, The House Of Love, Interpol or Elefant. At least to my ears, those are some sonic similarities I heard.

That said…how about a mix tape?!

RULES for uninitiated noobs: I give birth to a weekly Mix Tape to be deposited on your iPhone or iPod or iBrain or whatever the industry is currently pushing on you. Sometimes there will be themes that link all the songs together, other times I’ll just throw songs at a wall (not literally – iPhones are expensive!) and see what sticks. Lots of new releases to share this week. What do you think? As we approach the end of 2017 my Best Of… list is undergoing almost daiy revisions. The goal of this endeavor, as always, is to pique your interest in these artists so you’ll support the artists and buy their albums.

01. Ufomammut – Babel [MP3]
02. Library Tapes – Komorebi, Pt. 1 [MP3]
03. Wolves In The Throne Room – The Old Ones Are With Us [MP3]
04. Benoit Pioulard – Same Time Next Year [MP3]
05. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Fam/Famine [MP3]
06. Townes Van Zandt – Lungs (Live In-Studio) [MP3]
07. Max Richter – Nocturnal [MP3]
08. Squalus – Eating Machine In The Pond [MP3]
09. Myrkur – Ulvinde [MP3]
10. Ben Frost – Entropy In Blue [MP3]

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Mix Tapes

Sunday Mix Tape Numer 412

At the very least, I’m keeping busy. Last week was another when I was out most nights. Yes, this leaves little time for ye olde Swan Fungus, but at least I’m enjoying myself! If I was sitting on my couch night after night WOOSH-ing blog posts out into the ether it’d likely be because I had nothing better to do. I have things to do now! I do things! I swear!

Why are you all looking at me like that?

I saw IT on Friday night and I liked it. For me, watching the miniseries was a memorable childhood experience. Mostly because I was subject to it at a way-too-young age by older kids and as a result I didn’t sleep for weeks. If I had any criticism of the remake it would be that maybe it relied to heavily on horror gags and jump scares. The music also felt a little off at times. Other than that? I enjoyed it! Last night a buddy had a film premier down the street so I attended that and went out for some celebratory drinks afterwards. Today was the fist day of the NFL season and I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Oh. Did you guys watch Twin Peaks: The Return? I was chatting about the finale with Podcast/Narrator Jack the other day and asked for his interpretation of the final scene(s). I don’t think he’ll mind my publishing his thoughts here so I’ll share ’em with you. If you haven’t watched The Return yet, don’t read the following paragraph.

SPOILER ALERT FOR TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN

“I think the last episode may not be about bringing an amnestic Laura home, but rather an amnestic Sarah. What does the Arm tree hint at earlier in the episode? That something we’re ABOUT TO see is actually ‘the story of the little girl who lived down the lane’? Slowly: a lane could be any street, though technically a lane is a ‘narrow way’, big enough for only one car, I’ve even read. The girl from Ep.8 who swallows that creature seemed to live in such a remote place, with a dirt road that feels like a fitting match for ‘down the lane’. If the girl is a young Sarah Palmer, the final episode can be read like this: in Odessa, Sarah lives at house #1516 (the 5 and 6 recall 1956, when the creature went in the girl), and the foreboding #6 electricity pole is in front. Carrie’s demeanor at the door with Cooper visibly changes when he says–not ‘Laura’–but ‘Sarah’. Perhaps she reacts as if a little of Sarah has woken up. Notice she’s much more dopey or loopy for the remainder of the episode. And in her house we next see the most obvious association with Sarah: a white horse, via a statuette on her mantel. This recalls not only the white horse Sarah has seen before (before BOB killed Maddy), but also ‘the horse is the white of the eye’ that the Woodsman chanted about in Ep.8 in The Return. And Carrie is wearing a chain with a horseshoe on it, so another Sarah/horse reference. A supplemental note about the mantel is that next to the horse appears to be a small globe, recalling the view of the Earth we had when the Laura orb was transported in Ep. 8. IF Carrie is Sarah–at least who we’ve been shown to be Sarah in The Return season anyway–then what can we conclude about Sarah? We’ve seen her kill someone with some malevolent supernatural power. If she’s been possessed by the Experiment-or-Judy-as-Sarah, how can we read the final sequence if she has possessed Laura and manufactured the facade Carrie over her? An optimistic reading would be that Laura is freed of the possession when Cooper asks what year it is and/or when she remembers Sarah yelling ‘Laura’, then she screams, and her consciousness (or the scream itself–note, it is the first time that Carrie vocalizes anything in front of the house outside of the car) causes the house’s evil presence to be extinguished (‘and dark within’ from the Woodsman comes to mind). A somewhat more pessimistic reading, though, is also visible: Laura doesn’t remember her mother calling her name—she actually HEARS it. In the house, upstairs. In the pilot episode, the exact call comes from Sarah in the house when she’s searching for Laura upstairs before her daughter’s body is found on the beach (the scene is also seen in slow motion at the start of the famous Cooper dream sequence a couple of episodes later). The Sarah scene originally occurred in the morning, though. In the final sequence, perhaps Laura emerges and screams as a primal reaction to the impossibility/falsity of an event (Sarah calling) that she somehow knows is out of place, let alone her mother actually being upstairs. Or that hearing her mother reminds Laura that, in the proper timeline, she’s possessed by evil. And so the house, a big BOX, that Cooper and Laura are STARING at, reacts. Either its sudden darkness is a signal of its evil being vanquished by Laura’s presence and/or voice (or a combination of Laura AND Cooper’s presence and/or voice)…or a signal of an unhappy ending: of the house going dark so it can manifest something to attack them. There’s not enough for a definitive reading. Name of My Theory: ‘WHAT THEORY?!?’ Anyway, I’m amused by a freed Laura willing the house’s evil (and the evil hold over Sarah in some timeline) to just suddenly extinguish. ; ) ”

 I appreciate the take, Jack! Interesting to see the references not only to the white horse and the globe, but to numbers as well. During the 18-hour Return I read a lot of episode recaps. A lot of them referenced the numbers that kept popping up all over the places as fodder for fan theories, but decided not to go down that rabbit hole myself.
Ugh. What’s next, guys? I watched the pilot episode of The Deuce and it was compelling enough to have me continue watching. A friend with inside intel described the upcoming series Manhunter on Netflix as similar to True Detective season 1 so I’ll be all over that. What else is there…Mother!? What the fuck is up with the marketing campaign behind that movie? Why are they making it look like a grindhouse flick? It’s Aronofsky!
Too many questions. Here, have a mix tape.

RULES for uninitiated noobs: I give birth to a weekly Mix Tape to be deposited on your iPhone or iPod or iBrain or whatever the industry is currently pushing on you. Sometimes there will be themes that link all the songs together, other times I’ll just throw songs at a wall (not literally – iPhones are expensive!) and see what sticks. It should come as no surprise that the music I’ve been listening to lately mirrors the highs and lows I’ve experienced. I’ve tried to sequence the tunes here to mimic the unevenness one feels during times of strife and growth. Maybe you sleep like a baby one week, and the next not a wink. That’s this mix in a nutshell. The goal of this endeavor, as always, is to pique your interest in these artists so you’ll support the artists and buy their albums.

Sunday Mix Tape – Number 412
No Stars

01. Cloakroom – Gone But Not Entirely [MP3]
02. Zola Jesus – Exhumed [MP3]
03. Mogwai – Don’t Believe The Fife [MP3]
04. Mt. Eerie – Between Two Mysteries [MP3]
05. Trouble – Snake Eyes [MP3]
06. Arab Strap – Glue [MP3]
07. Ben Frost – Leo Needs A New Pair Of Shoes [MP3]
08. Sannhet – Salts [MP3]
09. Cult Of Luna – Leave Me Here [MP3]
10. Rebekah Del Rio – No Stars [MP3]

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Mix Tapes

Mid-Week Sneak Peaks

Hey y’all. As I mentioned last week August is an incredibly busy month for me. It’s likely I won’t have time to post for a while (I’ll be out in Palm Springs for the weekend enjoying a comfortable 112 degree Saturday according to my phone’s weather app). Next Thursday is my monthly dinner club meeting, and then from Friday until Monday I’ll be in Vegas for this year’s installment of Psycho Las Vegas. I’m sure I’ll be Instagram-ming up a storm during all my favorite bands’ sets, so if you’re into heavy music you’ll want to throw us a follow or some likes. If you plan on being in Vegas let me know, I’m bringing tons of beer along with me. Ever listened to Inter Arma or Psychic TV while underwater? I’ll be able to tell you all about it – and maybe even share a picture of me in a pool – once I return from that trip. The next weekend is that silly masquerade ball I always attend with my geek friends. After that is Labor Day. I guess what I’m trying to say is you can expect things to return to normal around here right around…September 11th.

Whoops. Sorry.

This past weekend was fun! On Saturday I went down to San Diego with my buddy Chris and a friend of his. We hit up AleSmith and had some fantastic barrel-aged beers. We followed that up with a big lunch and some beers (Velvet Speedway included!) at Urge Gastropub. My burger had braised short rib and bacon jam atop it, and the short rib poutine was pretty good too!

Before headed home we stopped off at Stone because Chris’ friend had never visited. I have to say, that place reminds me more and more of Disneyland each time I go. So many families with small children! Of course we drank Pliny the Elder exclusively because, you know…it’s better than anything Stone brews.*

I returned to LA on the late side, but not late enough that I couldn’t meet some friends at Mama Lion for cocktails. A veritable fuck-ton of cocktails. Which then led to 1am potato tacos from a random taqueria that was Koreatown-adjacent.

On Sunday I went for a long run to ward off my hangover, then took care of all my regular weekend chores (laundry! groceries! housecleaning! coffee!) and then attended a goodbye party for a coworker. That was fun (free food and drinks) but also very sad (my coworker, gone forever!). Then I watched Game Of Thrones, Rick And Morty, and Twin Peaks alone on my couch (sad!).

*: I recently had a 2009 Stone Russian Imperial Stout and it was REALLY fucking good. Even with like 8 years of age on it! So while I don’t find myself drinking many Stone beers these days, they’ve definitely had their share of talented brewmasters working for them through the years.

I haven’t shared any music with y’all since that last mix tape, so here’s another. Sad songs! Sorry, I know it’s summer and I should be putting forth more effort when it comes to sharing summer-y tunes, but that’s not what I’ve been listening to lately. You’re stuck with what I’ve got.

Not Sunday Mix Tape Volume Whatever
Your Pain And Sadness Is Not Sad And Painful Enough

01. Eneferens – Morning (Acoustic)
02. Children Of Alice – Rite Of The Maypole – An Unruly Procession
03. Game Theory – The Real Sheila
04. Chris Brokaw – Hills
05. Smog – All Your Women Things
06. Jackson C. Frank – October
07. Low / Dirty Three – Down By The River
08. Lhasa de Sela – Love Came Here
09. Sir Malcolm Arnold (London Symphony Orchestra) – Symphony No. 9, Op. 128: IV. Lento

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Mix Tapes

Sunday Mix Tape Number 411

Oh hey y’all. Sorry for the delay between mix tapes. Life’s been a little hectic of late and it’s only going to get crazier come August. I’ve got a bunch of little travel plans scheduled that will be taking me out of town for the next four or five weekends. It would be devastating if the four of you who still read this page revolted for lack of free tunes. I’ll try to post when applicable but I wouldn’t expect much until September. The good news is one of my little side projects (sometimes colloquially referred to as SL002) is slowly but surely coming along. Hopefully I’ll have good news to report by the end of the year. What else? Eh, not much. Work is work. Social life is social. I’m still giddily allowing the return of Twin Peaks to wash over me on late Sunday nights. Still amassing fresh Collector Scum LPs to share with you. Picked up some new books to read (if you’ve got any recommendations, they’re always welcome). Eating well. Drinking well. The usual.

Here’s your mix tape. I’ve got to head out for a Game Of Thrones / Rick And Morty / Twin Peaks marathon.

Be good.

Sunday Mix Tape – Number 411
It Was Blood. Warm To The Touch. Not Warm Enough.

01. Cavernlight – Lay Your Woes Upon The Ground And Know That The End Will Soon Swallow You
02. Ben Frost – Mere Anarchy
03. Chelsea Wolfe – Vex
04. Public Service Broadcasting – People Will Always Need Coal
05. The Focus Group – New Toytown Walk
06. Lana Del ReyIn My Feelings
07. Boris – DEADSONG
08. Leyland Kirby – Days In The Wilderness
09. 65daysofstatic – Heliosphere
10. Johnson – Time To Go Home