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***January Thirty First Two Thousand and Eighteen***   



This sandbox appears to be getting fucked as hard as the country currently is...at least the sandbox appears to be
enjoying it.  


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Instagrams


Puppy love.  Cary, NC.


It's called fashion.  Cary, NC.  


Reynolds Coliseum.  Raleigh, NC.  


Snow impersonating cotton.  Cary, NC.  


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Links

Louie Lopez has released a shitload of footage this year, all of it great.  This most recent part is no exception.  

It's easy to forget Caswell Berry, he stays out of the limelight for the most part, but a new part for Transworld out of
the blue is a nice reminder of hos damn good he is.  

Krooked put out a new video called LSD (Let's Skate Dude), a title only Gonz would have thought was a good idea.  
The whole team is fucking great obviously, but the MVP goes to Brad Cromer, who has the first part.  Honorable
mention to the always entertaining Sebo Walker too.

The Quartersnacks edit of the best of 2017 is everything you need to see to sum up this past year in one place...
seven minutes of nonsense and then the best ten tricks of the entire year to finish it out.    

You know what isn't a great skateboard film?  This doc on the band Yazoo.  Like their career, it's short but quite good.  

I finally finished my electric photo journal entry from my trip to San Francisco in November the the public has been
clamoring for.



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Howard Ivans
With Skylar Gudasz
Cats Cradle Back Room
11/17/2017

The name Howard Ivans might sound familiar - supposedly he's the long lost twin brother of Rosebuds singer Ivan
Howard, but I have a sneaking suspicion they might actually be the same person.  It's unclear what the status of the
Rosebuds are these days and if they'll ever make any more records, but this alter-ego allows Howard to explore his
more sultry, soulful side.  The vocals might be mostly the same between the two outfits, but the music is...slinkier? 
Sure, why not.  His debut solo record was recorded with the help of Richmond's Spacebomb Collective, but live he
had a trio of local lads backing him up (Rob Lackey, Mark Paulson, and Brian Weeks)...all of which are my friends,
one that might have even been my roommate years ago so I'm definitely not being biased here.  Obviously.  And my
totally unbiased take is that while more stripped down than the record, they were really great live.  Rob and Mark held
down the backbone, Ivan handled the rhythm guitar, and Brain spent most of the night playing a bunch of solos and
leads that were straight out of the score from an eighties Michael Mann movie...given his hair metal background, it
was a gig that well suited him.  I was way into all of it, and my only regret is with Ivan living in Portland now these
shows will be few and far between. 

The opener this evening was Skylar Gudasz, who I've reported on a few times.  I don't have anything particularly new
to say here on her, just know her voice is one of the best in the business (not just locally, anywhere), and it's always a
joy to hear her live.  She had a four-piece backing band this time, made up of four well-traveled local musicians sport-
ing four high-quality beards.  Skylar had no beard, which might be a sign she's not a very good team player.  We'll
monitor this situation in the future and see if she gets on the beard program, or continues to flaunt the best interests of
band unity. 



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Hot Snakes
The Chapel
11/10/2017

I didn't necessarily travel all the way to San Francisco to see the recently reunited Hot Snakes play, but I did choose
this particular weekend to take a trip I had been wanting to make all year because of them.  After having now seen
them perform for the first time in probably a decade, it actually would have been entirely reasonable to make that
cross-country pilgrimage based on the performance they gave at the Chapel.  The place was packed, the show sold
out long ago - I actually bought my tickets to this gig before I bought my plane ticket, because it was the much more
important purchase.  The sausage party levels in the club were off the chart - from where I was standing, I couldn't
count more than a half-dozen women in the crowd, and three of them were from the opening band.  I'm not entirely
sure why this is, as I've known a number of women who like Hot Snakes, but the facts remain that most metal shows
I've attended were more diverse than this one. 


The whole band is great fun to watch, but I had forgotten just how amazing it is to see John Reis on stage.  He is truly
possessed - prowling the stage like a wild tiger in a small cage, a crazed look on his face, spitting everywhere, and
mixing it up with the crowd constantly (those interactions include occasionally berating them for their lack of energy). 
He has a smile on his face almost the entire time, but it's the type of smile you see on a demonic toddler after they
just decided to dump all of their food on the floor while staring you straight in the eye.  They were also touring with
both of their drummers - the first half of the show was with with their original drummer Jason Kourkounis, the second
half with Mario Rubalcaba, and then Jason came back out for the encore.  Given we're all getting older and how hard
they play, two drummers might not be bad idea for any band that's been around this long. 


Other than them not playing my favorite song "Mystery Boy," I have zero complaints about this performance and I'm so
glad I made the trip for it.  Word is this reformation isn't meant to be short-lived - a fourth record is on the way for Sub
Pop, and a tour in support of that album to hopefully/probably follow.  I'll go pretty much anywhere to see them again,
though financially I wouldn't be mad if they decided to play closer to my home. 



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"Bird triflin', basically. Kill an everyday workin' man and all. I mean, I do some dirt, too, but I ain't never put my gun on
nobody that wasn't in the game."


Blur - Girls & Boys.  Probably because they were so popular with my peers and I'm such a contrary asshole, I never
paid much attention to Blur the first time around.  It's been fun to go back and "rediscover" them.  So many pop gems.  
Parklife

Spoon - Tear It Down.  The newest Spoon record "Hot Thoughts" still doesn't live up to their classics from the late
nineties and early oughts, but I like it a lot more than their other output from the last decade or so.  
WhisperI'lllistentohearit

T. Rex - Metal Guru.  My second favorite dinosaur-named band.  
Telegram Sam
The Slider

The Cranberries - Dreaming My Dreams.  I was planning on posting these songs even before Dolores O'Riordan
died a few days ago, because I'd been listening to them some again.  Such a great voice.  RIP.
I Can't Be With You
Zombie

Whiskeytown - Don't Wanna Know Why.  What I said about Blur also applies to Whiskeytown, with the extra
addedlevel of stupidity that they were local and I could have gone to see them live a thousand times if I wasn't such a
stubborn dickhead sometimes.  
Easy Hearts
Mirror Mirror

Three cuts from the great Studio One Soul comp...I think the title pretty much tells you what to expect here.  
Norma Fraser - The First Cut Is The Deepest
Sound Dimension - Time Is Tight
The Heptones - Message From A Black Man





***January Twelfth Two
Thousand and Eighteen***   


The Best Movies of 2017!
Of the ones I saw, obviously.  What am I, a critic?  I have to pay for this shit.

Top 5 (in alphabetical order):
    
The Big Sick
Dunkirk
Logan
Thor: Ragnarok
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Honorable mention
(in alphabetical order):
Baby Driver 
Get Out 
Kong: Skull Island 
LA 92 
The Meyerowitz Stories
Mudbound 
Star Wars: The Last Jedi 
The Void 


The Best Movies not of 2017 That I Got Around To Watching in 2017!
I think that's fairly self-explanatory.  As you can see, it's mostly 2016 flicks I just managed to finally watch this year.  

Top 5 (in alphabetical order):

Hell or High Water (2016)
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
The Red Turtle (2016)
Rogue One (2016)
Tower (2016)

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order):
The Arrival (2016)
Hard Ticket To Hawaii (1987)
Solitary: Inside Red Onion State Prison (2016)
Streetwise (1984)
This Property Is Condemned (1966)


The Best Stand-Up of 2017!
Good year for comedy.  I like laughing.  

Top 3 (in alphabetical order):
Todd Barry: Spicy Honey 
Neal Brennan: 3 Mics 
Al Madrigal: Shrimpin' Ain't Easy 

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order):
Marc Maron: Too Real 
Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up For The First Time 
Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust 
Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady 
...and of course all 467 specials that Dave Chappelle released.


The Best Unclassifiable Shit of 2017!
I had no idea where to file these two, but I loved both.  "Oh Hello" might have been the funniest thing of the entire year.  

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return 
Oh Hello On Broadway 


The Best New TV Shows of 2017!
Yeah, a bunch of these weren't actually on TV, but you know what the fuck I mean.  

Top 5 (in alphabetical order):

Big Mouth 
Godless
Mindhunter
Ozark
Trapped*

*Technically was released in 2016 in Iceland, but wasn't released until 2017 here.

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order):
American Gods 
At Home With Amy Sedaris 
Detroiters 
The Deuce 
Feud: Bette and Joan 
GLOW 
I'm Sorry 
Manhunt 
Mr. Mercedes 
Punisher 
The Tick 
 

The Best Returning TV Shows of 2017!
Man, I really watched a lot of TV this past year.  Also, every other year.  

Top 5 (in alphabetical order):
   

Gomorrah
(second season)*

Narcos (third season)
Please Like Me (fourth/final season)
Schitt's Creek (third season)
Toast of London (all three seasons)**

*Technically the second season came out in 2016 in Italy, but wasn't released until 2017 here.
**The last season aired 2015, but all three seasons were only made available in the US in 2017.

Honorable mention (in alphabetical order):
Black Mirror (fourth season)
Bojack Horseman (fourth season)
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (second/final season?)
Halt and Catch Fire (fourth/final season)
Longmire (sixth/final season)
Master of None (second season)
The Missing (second season)
Rosehaven (second season)
Stranger Things (second season)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (third season)
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (second season...kinda sorta?)
You're The Worst (fourth season)





***December Seventeenth Two Thousand and Seventeen***   



It's December so that means another round of...
Top Records of 2017!!!
Wherein an old dude picks mostly predictable old dude rock music, with a few exceptions.  These are mostly in order.  



Run The Jewels - RTJ3 (Self-Released)
Sure, this technically came out last year, but it was late in December after all the lists came out and deserves recog-
nition and years are just a social contruct developed to keep old man hip hop like Run The Jewels down.  Plus, the
actual physical manifestation of the record didn't happen until this year, so, you know, fuck it...best record of the year.  
Legend Has It
Talk To Me
Thieves! (Screamed The Ghost) (feat. Tunde Adebimpe)

s
The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic)
Not as good as "Lost In The Dream."  Still really damn good though.
Holding On
Pain
Strangest Thing


Grandaddy - Last Place (30th Century)
Grandaddy decided to be a band again and then make a new record that sounded exactly like their old records, but
guess what?!?  I love their old records and I'm totally fine with that.  And then their bassist Kevin Garcia died way too
young and that really fucking sucked.  
Brush with the Wild
The Boat is in the Barn



ISS - Endless Pussyfooting (State Laughter)
I'm pretty sure these guys requested to be known as the Postal Service of punk rock.  Rich formerly of Whatever Brains
continues his effort to be in as many good bands as possible.  This shit is catchy.  
penISS envy
THE GOV'T IS AFTER ME


Protomartyr - Relatives in Descent (Domino)
Detroit dad and the kids released another collection of professor punk...sometimes it feels like this band was custom
made just for me.  
Don't Go To Anacita
Up The Tower


Spiral Stairs - Doris & The Daggers (Nine Mile)
You know those Pavement songs that Spiral Stairs sang?  This is a lot like that, but for a whole album.  This is def-
initely the best dad rock record of the year.  
Angel Eyes
Dance (Cry Wolf)
The Unconditional


Destroyer - Ken (Merge)
There's kind of a dancy vibe to this version of the Dan Bejar Musical Review, but it still mostly sounds like what you
expect and/or want a Destroyer album to sound like.  
In The Morning
Tinseltown Swimming In Blood


Future Islands - The Far Field (4AD)
Jesus, I pretty much just keep listening to the same bands make more or less the same records, but goddammit
eventually you just figure out what you like, ya know?
Cave
Ran


Booji Boys - Booji Boys (Drunken Sailor)
Catchy punk that sounds like it was recorded inside of an old coffee can buried two blocks from the recording studio.
Dear Donnie
Dream Of Booji


King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard - Murder Of The Universe (ATO)
I'm always in and out on this band, but this record is a non-stop multi-guitar orgy of Dungeons & Dragons-esque silli-
ness...it shouldn't work, and it might not for most people, but I'm feeling it.     
(This is sort of a tough one to post individual song from, cause the whole thing plays as one long song, so just con-
sider these excerpts.)
Altered Beast I
The Lord Of Lightning


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Honorable Mention!
Better than bad but not quite great.  Listed in alphabetical order.

Alvvays - Antisocialites (Polyvinyl)
Birds Of Avalon - Operator's Midnight (Third Uncle)
Brad Pot - Brad Pot (Slovenly)
The Clientele - Music for the Age of Miracles (Merge)
Diet Cig - Swear I'm Good At This (Frenchkiss)
Jeremy Enigk - Ghosts (Lewis Hollow)
Escape-ism - Introduction to Escape-Ism (Merge)
The Flaming Lips - Oczy Mlody (Warner Bros)
Guided By Voices - How Do You Spell Heaven (Guided By Voices Inc)
Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble - Find Me Finding You (Drag City)
Metz - Strange Peace (Sub Pop)
The New Pornographers - Whiteout Conditions (Concord)
Pallbearer - Heartless (Profound Lore)
Sylvan Esso - What Now (Loma Vista)


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Best Singles/EPs!
Note: The B&S EP is getting two friends in 2018 to make an EP box set, and the whole thing will probably be high on
my best of 2018 list because I'm psychic and also that's where B&S records always end up.  

Belle & Sebastian - How to Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1) EP (Matador)
Chavez - Cockfighters EP (Matador)
Superchunk - Break The Glass 7'' (Merge)
Superchunk - I Got Cut 7'' (Merge)
Total Control - Laughing At The System 12'' (Alter)





***November Thirtieth Two
Thousand and Seventeen***



I've been sick and had a sore throat for most of the month of November...it's left me a little hoarse.  


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Instagrams:


Clear day.  Jordan Lake, NC.  


Leaf monster.  Cary, NC.  


Surly rattlesnake.  Asheville, NC.  


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Links:

New Balance put out a new web video called "Tricolor" - and while all of it is great, it's particularly noteworthy in that
PJ Ladd has an actual full part and not just a handful of tricks like he usually does.  No, it's not as impressive as his
breakout ender section in "Wonderful Horrible Life," but I'm pretty sure we'll never see anyone that good and so com-
pletely out of the blue again with how the internet works...but he's still really really REALLY damn good.  

Zion Wright recently went pro for Real, and in honor of that they cobbled together this "Greatest Hits" part to more
or less make sure that everyone understands why this kid is now a professional.  After watching this, there is no doubt
he is deserving.

Despite their desire to film all of their videos with the worst camera equipment available, the new Palace video
"Palasonic" is well worth a watch.  Highlights include Chewy Cannon skating a hundred miles an hour to PM Dawn;
Jamal Smith and all his shuvit glory (with a small Lucas Puig section in the middle of his part); Danny Brady,
who I always forget is even on this team but never fails to impress; and Lucien Clarke...goddamn.  No words.  

Not only did Riley Hawk release a great part for Lakai a few months ago, he apparently so much footage that he
could pull off a six minute part in the homie video "Shep Dawg 5" too...I'm not saying he'll win SOTY, but he should be
on the final ballot.  

There's a photo journal entry of band photos: Guided By Voices, Moon Duo, and more.


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Moon Duo
With Birds Of Avalon
Kings
10/8/2017

I wonder, is it weird that while on tour, you get to play one of the gigs at the club you own?  I'm guessing not a lot of
bands have their own club at which to perform, but a third of Birds Of Avalon do - aka both of the guitarists, Paul and
Cheetie.  Aside from my love of the band, the best part of BOA being the opening act is no one has to sit through them
setting up their gear....between two drum kits and what I estimate to be roughly 4000 guitar pedals, it can be taxing. 
Luckily, their music is good enough that it fixes everything - heavy psych/prog/pop with a shitload of vocal harmonies,
I'm not sure it makes much sense on paper but it sure as shit does live.  The band just released a great new record
called "Operator's Midnight," well worth checking out in my opinion. 

Here's my hot take on Moon Duo - they're terrible music for a basketball fantasy draft, their hypnotic take on krautrock
caused me to space out and take a fourth mediocre point guard when I really needed to be drafting big men.  Much
like Birds Of Avalon, they bathe themselves in trippy light projections that, while I have no concrete proof, were custom
designed to frustrate my ability to take any worthwhile photos...but were pretty cool to watch otherwise.  Moon Duo are
one of those bands that I rarely listen to recorded, but always make an effort to see live...that might be true of the style
of music they play in general - it translates better to the stage than to tape. 



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"
If there's anything that upsets me, it's having people say I'm sensitive."

Built To Spill - Another Day.  Doug Martsch mostly just keeps writing the same few songs, but I'm not complaining -
they're really damn good songs.  
Some Other Song

Marvin Gaye - Too Busy Thinking About My Baby.  Ever heard of this guy?  I think he has a real chance to be
something special.  
That's The Way Love Is
Can I Get A Witness

Thurston Moore - Germs Burn.  I've listened to a lot of Sonic Youth over the years, and unless you told me different
I would just assume this was some song from their back catalog instead of new material.  

The Jayhawks - Save It For A Rainy Day.  Every time I listen to the Jayhawks I can't help but think if they were from
the seventies instead, they probably would have been huge stars.  
Tailspin

Mind Spiders - Ulcer.  These doods make good synth punk, like a harsher Devo.
No Filter

The Afghan Whigs - The Spell.  It took a few listens, but their latest record "In Spades" has really grown on me.  Of
course it's not OG Whigs, but it's still better than most bands out there.  
Toy Automatic

Dogs - Greatest Gift.  French punk / pub rock from the late seventies that I can't get enough of.  
Stranger Than Me





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