It’s Sam’s Month
This week in 155, blink-155 and beyond
It’s Sam’s Month. Which means Sam’s picking all the songs, picking all the guests, and eating all the plain eggs. And yet he left this part of the newsletter for me to write. And that’s the thing about Sam’s Month — the episodes have been painstakingly chosen with me in mind, determined precisely based on how I will react, as if Sam is merely attempting to try and see his own reflection in me. It’s Sam’s Month, but Sam’s years are still seemingly spent in some strange pursuit of me. And that’s the description you get when Sam leaves it to me.
We concluded Gobruary with “Give Up the Grudge,” but there were also some B-sides (er, G-sides) laying around, so head over to our Bandcamp to dig in.
Here’s some other stuff we’re processing rn:
Sam: In 1996, one year before the life-changing moment of hearing Dude Ranch, I made my first tentative steps out of showtunes and oldies radio via Mix 99.9’s daily countdown. These hits are etched in my memory in a way that obliterates my critical faculties — “I Love You Always and Forever,” “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand,” “Jerk.” Crushed’s version of ‘90s nostalgia feels pulled directly from the tapes I would make with “1979” running right into “Gift Shop.” Bring back these drum loops.
Jos: It’s hard to believe the ‘90s alt pop stuff is still happening, but I guess what else are people going to do with their time? Get a job? Anyway, this is really nice because it’s less Buzzfeed list ‘90s and more like, remembering the feeling of a weird sick day where you had to drive around running errands with your mom and you felt too hot and cold at the same time. I love that it sounds like Adore-era Pumpkies and that one Pains of Being Pure at Heart record that was produced by Flood. Great now I have to listen to this album.
Shit Present “Fuck It”
Sam: When I first heard this song I was worried a swaggy garage rock track was about to play out. What a pleasant surprise that it’s just a very sick power-pop song! Sometimes you hear a type of melody that you feel like you never have in a specific context — the pre-chorus thing that this song does before it really opens up the first time made me feel that way. The drop into the lower register, some Zevon shit! Very tight.
Jos: The band name is very bad-vibes to me, and then I saw the album title in handwriting and my aesthetic fight-or-flight was activated. Ultimately, I see what Sam is saying and the song is pretty good despite its sins of presentation (and the singer’s over-the-top accent is helping), but ultimately this is still just some shit I would’ve watched when I paid my own way to SXSW 2009 so I could write blog posts at 3a.m. for like $25 a pop.
(dir. Lukas Moodysson, 2002)
Jos: I’m sorry to break from my normal pod persona and sound arrogant for a second, but I do want to brag that we have a really big TV. In fact, our home set-up is so nice that when we put on highbrow shit it feels way better than a trip to the indie cinema (which is still fun, but often impeded by the kind of people who go to indie cinemas — ppl who bring loud, elaborate, truly ridiculous snacks from home and crinkle away at the most powerful parts of the flick). We’ve recently watched two incredibly tragic classics, both of which are not for the faint of heart but both of which are beautiful, heart-aching pieces of work. The first I want to highlight is Lukas Moodysson’s Lilya-4ever, which is a remarkably painful film about a young girl in the former Soviet Union who is forced into sexual slavery in Sweden. The film is all-too-real at times (like what I imagine Irreversible might be like but I’m too scared to watch), but the topic is also treated with a great deal of empathy as we follow Lilya’s day-to-day life leading up to it. It also looks unbelievably good and has an incredible soundtrack that veers from trashy Eurodance to obscure indie rock to Rammstein. And there are some Wim Wenders-esque angels, too. But only watch it if you can handle some heavy shit.
Sam: As someone who will never watch Irreversible no matter how much I love Climax or Enter the Void, I will never watch this. I did rewatch Enter the Void this past weekend because Ashley was away and I wanted to sink into some real shit. That’s the difference between me and Josiah, though. I bet when Sara’s away he watches this, and I order a big-ass Dominos and revisit Big Trouble in Little China (I did this the next day).
(dir. Olivier Assayas, 1994)
Jos: The other unbelievably tragic flick was Olivier Assayas’ debut, Cold Water. Now, I’m only a recent Assayas convert (other than loving Personal Shopper when it first dropped) but I’ve been going hard, watching everything from The Cloud of Sils Maria to the absurd proto-DeviantArt, Sonic Youth and Moby and Silver Mt. Zion-sountracked, porno Hackers ripoff Demonlover (which is quite bad but I still recommend). That said, I feel firmly correct in thinking the HBO Irma Vep was bad. Anyway, all of this is to say that Cold Water is another incredibly shot, beautifully soundtracked teen tragedy that features a party scene that feels like pretentious Parisian Dazed & Confused. It’s really good.
Sam: Okay this one does sound good. Good enough to re-up my Criterion Channel subscription? No. So will I ever see it? Also no. But I really liked reading the phrase “Parisian Dazed & Confused” and sometimes that’s enough, like reading the Wikipedia plot summary for a movie you’ll never watch but want to understand the fuss (Dear Evan Hansen, A Serbian Film).
Metallica “If Darkness Had a Son”
Jos: Another thing I watched in my February movie binge was the awful Knock at the Cabin, and in doing so I realized I’ve never seen any of M. Night Shyamalan’s classic movies. I’ve never seen The Sixth Man or Signals or whatever the other good ones are, but I have seen the beach that makes you old and the one with the scary grandma. I think I just love late period stuff that everyone hates. I’ve never enjoyed a single Metallica album, but I love Some Kind of Monster so much that it makes me feel glee to know that they’ve got another bloated discount-riff sesh, and decided to call it “If Darkness Had a Son.” They’re so stupid I love them.
Sam: Fuck Old is so good. Also this might not be as good as anything on Hardwired but it’s still wild that Metallica came back from the Bob Rock era so lovingly captured in one of the greatest documentaries of all time to still be a pretty decent thrash band. This is a little unfortunate sounding since “Screaming Suicide” seemed promising and this… is not. But as I discussed with my temporary new barber this week because the nice older woman who cuts my hair had to close shop for an undisclosed medical emergency, there aren’t a lot of heavy bands to shift into the middling vibe of Load and come back to tell the tale. I just realized that I never finished this song because I put “Screaming Suicide” on to confirm it was actually good and I didn’t imagine it. It’s good! Won’t be listening to this other song again, thanks.
We didn’t talk about blink-182 on our blink-182 podcast, and that was before blink-182 decided they’re going to postpone their tour. We must’ve just known that they were giving up somehow. Instead, we watched over an hour of “punk” versions of “Happy Birthday” on YouTube to celebrate Sam’s birthday. Sam’s month.
Free every Friday.