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Joining Sam’s bardcore sci-fi burlesque ‘n’ wrestling polycule
This week from Sam and Josiah.
Went to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats game last Friday (this is obviously Sam talking, you think Josiah supports his local Canadian Football League squad??) and caught this beautiful custom jersey. I appreciate that it’s not just directed at the Argos (for non-CFL enjoying readers, that’s the Toronto team), but an entire city who already does not care about the Argos, or Hamilton. I care about Hamilton because I’m built different (and it intimates some kind of slightly gross affected working class allyship?). Mostly I thought Josiah would like this.
Here’s some stuff we’re thinking about this week.
exciting!!excellent!! “become dream (rank 1)”
Sam: The more we work on this newsletter the more I realize how simple my tastes are and accept that I am just profoundly uncomplicated. “Simple” would have done there, I guess, but I’m trying to be interesting. Here’s a song that combines classic 00s emo (the good kind) with chiptune (also the good kind) and manages to tickle all the nostalgia bones in my body without feeling rote. I specifically can’t shake how this reminds me of the excellent and unheralded Spy Machine 16 — a band so unheralded that the only song of theirs I can find online is this obviously unofficial upload from an anonymous Soundcloud account 13 years ago. And also Issue Sixteen, who at least have a Bandcamp I found after some aggressive googling. This was the first band I ever toured with and so I have very “first tour”-coloured glasses. Anyway this plus bleeps and bloops! So sick!
Jos: Maybe it’s because I spend my days on Slack with agency people, but this band seems to be named after the message someone would send when they particularly love the new data chart someone placed in a deck, maybe powered up with the godawful “Party Parrots.”
I’m glad skramzy Sam likes this though. He’s like three more songs away from becoming a prep cook at a vegan restaurant who runs an alt burlesque ‘n’ wrestling ring with his polycule. And I love that for him.
Hole Dweller “Crossroads”
Sam: Look at this little guy! Look at this band name! What a fun journey we’re going on together. I’m making another attempt at reading some “epic fantasy” as part of my summer reading vibe and Hole Dweller is the ideal accompaniment to a book about swords (specifically The Blade Itself). But I think I could do other activities to this music. Tend to my garden. Skip stones. Smoke a pipe. Sometimes this kind of music is too goofy by half for me but the vibe here is all stones and pipes, no maypoles (no disrespect, but if I can imagine dancing ‘round the maypole to music, I’m out).
Jos: Okay before I get into how I unfortunately love this so far, I gotta point out that Sam really is giving more fantasy books the ol’ college try this summer. I know this because Sara is a Goodreads freak, and she always tells me that Sam just started a book called The Shardening Quality: Bequickening or something. (I just asked her what it was and she said he’s reading books called The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) and Agents of Dreamland: Tinfoil Dossier #1, which is basically what I just wrote). Meanwhile I’m spending three months to finish some hip book that I hate because it’s so boring. Get to the fucking point, Elif Batuman! Dude this music is so good, I’m joining Sam’s bardcore sci-fi burlesque ‘n’ wrestling polycule.
RUSTBELT “OH MY GOD HERE IT COMES NOW”
Jos: Although it was somewhat inevitable, I don’t exactly recommend being a late-30s guy who is both addicted to releasing stuff and currently in a confusing state in between creative projects. It’s a time for reflection and self-interrogation, the complete opposite of spending over half a decade saying the same band is “sick” over and over again for weekly dopamine points. These themes also feel like they resonate in John Chiaverina’s RUSTBELT project. After two decades as Juiceboxxx, he lowkey pulled an MGK and traded in his raps for guitar pop and left New York for a Milwaukee homecoming. He seems to be teasing his sophomore album with some new singles, and “OH MY GOD HERE IT COMES NOW” really resonates. The music video sees the current John watch a cooler, sunglasses-adorned John on the TV through a window in the suburbs as he sings stuff like “It’s been a life caked in failure” and “How do you know if you’ve wasted your life?” But the whole thing has an upbeat New Radicals feel, completed with a delicious drum sound and Strokesy guitars and tasteful synths. It sounds a lot like so many of my friends who keep making tunes despite the odds. Also the promotional RUSTBELT fast food cup is a sick item that he blew his entire marketing budget on from his first album (and he actually mailed one to me when it came out). Oh, and he also has a sick music newsletter. Kindred spirit.
Sam: Yooo that “freaking out” Juiceboxxx song (just checked and it’s called “Freaking Out”) is so sick and unfortunately I just want to listen to that now (added it to a recent playlist instead so that itch it temporarily scratched). Love the idea of seeing any stylistic change-up as pulling an MGK, even historic ones. Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, huge MGK move. Alanis ditching teeny pop for Coulier alt? She MGK’d. Our podcast is now a newsletter! Two boys learning to MGK together. This song is great. Unfortunately the only other thing it evokes for me that Josiah hasn’t already said is the Th*rmals, and it’s up the reader if that is cool or not.
Lee Gamble “She’s Not”
Jos: I think I’m back in my wanker era, although I don’t really know where to look for new stuff so I’m mostly just listening to the hum of my air conditioner and poking around the web in time to find stuff for here. This new Lee Gamble song is definitely what I’m always in search of, just like ethereal vibes that are perfect for some kind of expensive MoMA PS1 installation from yesteryear. I also love that the video is just rolling smoke on a British freeway. I’ve never been to a rave but I love being a sad old raver for the three minutes this is on.
Sam: Earlier in Gchat Josiah hinted at the return of this version of his personality. “i'm going to oppenheimer not barbie.” Unfortunately I can’t picture myself reading a weighty tome in the Bequickening cycle to this and therefore I don’t know what to do with it. It feels like Britain shouldn’t have highways right? That’s a North American problem. This is getting under my skin though. Is that what it feels like to be Josiah? Pretty cool but I wouldn’t want to live here.
Dolly Parton “We Are the Champions/We Will Rock You”
Jos: If there’s one theme this week, it’s an identity crisis. Am I a washed old hipster, or a sad raver? Well, for our final “cover section” pick, I’m going to admit that I think I’m actually a “woo girl.” That’s because I love Nashville, I love iced coffee, I loved going to Dollywood, I love all the murals there and all of the stupid gift shops. I want a beer koozie that says like “Let Dolly handle it” in bad script font. She sincerely rules. I mean this sounds like complete shit, but it’s hilarious. It also has me revisiting the Three One G Queen compilation. Das Oath edges out Dolly slightly on “We Are the Champions,” but they’re both better than Queen.
Sam: I was going to try out some new schtick like “Dolly Parton is overrated” or whatever but this is so charming and I gather than most Americans can only read because of Dolly and what have I done. Was going to say no one has ever learned to read because of me, but I think I can safely that that no one has learned to do anything because of me. My contribution to society is a net negative. This is the message that I get from Dolly Parton’s music which means I may have missed the point.
Both Threads and ‘Sound of Freedom’ seem awesome now.
Free every Friday.