january 2019

Right before the winter holiday, Julie and I went to see the Infinity Mirrors exhibit with four other friends (six was the max number of tickets you could buy, so that's how many I got back in September when the tickets went on sale to the public, knowing that it wouldn't be hard to find people to use them).

This exhibit is probably the most successful thing the High Museum has done this century (if not ever)—this is the final North American stop for this traveling exhibition, and the member presale and public sale tickets were gone in less than a day. They release 100 first come, first served tickets at the box office at 9 a.m. each day, and they post on their Twitter feed the time the person who got the last ticket got in line that morning. People start lining up as early as 4 a.m., and that lucky last ticket buyer usually has to get in line no later than 5:30.

The titular installations for this exhibit are a series of small rooms that are wall to wall and ceiling to floor (except for a very small platform where viewers stand) mirrors. The artist then uses different methods of lighting and decorations to achieve what feels like an infinite space, which effect is especially intense in the rooms where there are a series of hanging lights at different depths from the ceiling.

The concept is pretty cool, and there were a couple of rooms that I could have spent hours in. And that was the only real problem with this show: because only 3-4 people could enter each room at a time, and because of the overwhelming crowds, you are limited to only 30 seconds in each room, which for some of them isn't even enough time to run through their light pattern cycle.

We ended up going into each room at least twice, but I wonder what it would be like to be completely alone in one of those space for an hour or more, to be able to sit on the floor and enter a meditative state. Being in some of those rooms for even half a minute was transcendental; I can only imagine the sensory experience of being able to luxuriate in one for half an hour or more.

The mirror rooms were the main draw, but there were also displays of the artist's sculptures, prints, and paintings, a lot of which I also quite liked. The final room, which you were not allowed to enter until you were ready to exit, had started out as a furnished room where everything was completely white. When you enter, you are given a sheet of six circular stickers of various sizes and colors to place wherever and on whatever in the room that you like. In order to exit, you must give an attendant a blank sticker sheet so the stickers don't get spread all around the museum.

We're going back again in January on a Saturday when it will be a more family-oriented event (Will, my mom, my sister, and my brother-in-law), but I'm really glad we got to go this time. My sister and mom will most likely be in wheelchairs and Will will be bouncing all over the place, so I'll likely be more concerned with logistics than actually enjoying the experience. But I really can't wait to bring Will; it's a perfect exhibition for kids.

So the Ravens didn't make it past the first round of the playoffs despite winning their division for the first time since 2012, going to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, and hosting their first home playoff game since 2012. But I'm not at all disappointed in this season—they closed out on a fantasic run, winning 6 of their final 7 after entering the bye week with at 4-5 record and looking for all the world like they were going to have a losing season.

This turnaround was the result of switching to Lamar Jackson at quarterback after longtime starter and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco got injured. He's still very raw and has a lot to learn, but he brings a new energy to the team, and with a whole offseason to retool the offense around his strengths and clearn up some of his weaknesses, the future of the franchise feels wide open with possibilities for the first time in many years.

They lost their playoff games for a pretty simple reason: they didn't make adjustments and the other team did. See, only two weeks before the Chargers and Ravens played in Baltimore in the playoffs, they played against each other in Los Angeles. The Ravens won that game with great defense and an offense that the Chargers weren't prepared for, and the Chargers won the playoff matchup by preparing for the exact same offense that the Ravens threw at them and also playing great defense on their end.

Again, I'm pretty happy with how this season played out. Winning the division was great, and simultaneously knocking the Steelers out of playoff contention for the first time since 2014 was the icing on the cake. Sure, it would have been fun to make a depper playoff run, but if they can take full advantage of Jackson's skillset, that won't be his last shot at a title run.

On Christmas Eve we did our normal tradition of going to church for the Christmas pageant and then the candlelight Christmas Eve service. This year Will played Joseph, which he was very excited about. It's not actually a speaking part, but it was the first time he's played a human instead of a farm animal.

After church we came back home and made snacks for dinner while watching Christmas specials. We usually open one present on Christmas Eve, but we didn't have that many gifts for each other this year and we were all a bit tired, so we just went to bed.

Will had an awesome Christmas. Santa replaced his Echo Dot, which he listens to music on constantly, with a full-fledged Echo and its much better speaker. Julie and I gave him a build-it-yourself Bose bluetooth speaker that has LED lights that play in time with the music. We also got him a Vector, which is the next generation of his beloved Cosmo robot that we gave him for Christmas a couple of years ago.

After spending a relaxed morning at home, we headed over to my sister's in the afternoon for Christmas dinner with her and my mom and a few of my sister's friends. It wasn't quite as chaotic as last year, but I'm always a little frazzled by the time we leave.

We had originally planned to stay in Atlanta for the whole of the holiday break, but we ended up driving to Wilmington to visit my parents a couple of days after Christmas. The main reason for this was that my brother was driving down from Ohio with his family, and we don't get to see them very often.

There was one day when we were all there: my brother, his wife, and their three kids; my sister and brother in law; Julie, Will, and me; my dad and stepmom; and my other sister, her husband, and their baby (she lives in Wilmington still, so she and her group weren't actually sleeping at the house). We had a big family dinner the evening that we arrived and then exchanged presents.

My sister left the next morning (she arrived the day before us), and we spent our only full day there letting Will hang out with my brother's kids. We also went to the best hot dog place in the world, Salt Works, which is a must whenever we go back to Wilmington, and went to the mall to see a model train exhibit (where I had a very nice conversation with a train hobbyist from England who writes science fiction in addition to making incredibly detailed train dioramas).

We drove back home the next day. Once we were back, I felt like I could take a breath and actually enjoy my time off for the first time since the holidays kicked into gear.

We weren't super busy between the time we got back from our trip to Wilmington and when Will went back to school, but we got some good stuff done.

I had orignally planned to go back to work on January 2, but then my institution made the decision to give everyone the three workdays off between Christmas and New Year's. This was wise and long overdue, since the university was functionally closed then anyway and all you were really doing was forcing people to use vacation days, but since I'm always pushing against my vacation cap, it mean I needed to spend those three days of vacation time or lose them entirely. So I joined Julie and Will and took the rest of the week off.

The major project was rearranging Will's room. He's only 8 and still a boy, but his room was still very much a toddler's room. He had his letters and numbers playmat on the floor, and his desk was a tiny one that someone had gotten him when he was 4 or 5, and he couldn't really sit at it anymore. I had been looking at options at Ikea for a couple of weeks so that he could have a real desk and more storage space, and after a preliminary visit to look at furniture with him, we bought a new desk, a chair, and a new storage cabinet (one with open cubbies).

When I got everything put together, I put his dressers (which used to be on the opposite wall from his bed) next to his bed, took the storage cabinet that had been there and turned it upright and put it where the dressers had been. Turning it upright made space for his new desk and chair, and then we put the new storage cabinet at the foot of his bed where his little desk used to be.

We also picked up his playmate from the floor and replace it with the area rug that used to sit under our coffee table in the family room (which had itself been recently replaced). So now he's got a very clean, minimal look that should last him until his teens: white furniture with grey and red accents (for the storage cubbie baskets and the area rug).

Our other major activity from that week was getting Will to see a Spider-Man movie for the first time. He's always been anti-superhero (probably because they are so popular right now), but the character has always been funny and one of the youngest in the Marvel world, so I thought he would like Spidey if he would just give him a chance. We went to see Into the Spider-Verse, and it was so, so good. Great characters and voices, so many amazing art/animation styles, and a plot that was better than anything in the Marvel universe in a while (probably since it wasn't chained to the overarching Thanos narrative).

He liked it so much that at our next movie night that Friday, he agreed to watch the live action Spider-Man: Homecoming, which he also enjoyed. I'm hoping this will be a gateway into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (he also likes the Ant Man movies), but I'm going to start with the next Spider-Man movie that's due out later this year.

We didn't do a whole lot this past weekend—Will did the basic work on his Pinewood Derby car at a workshop on Saturday, but other than that it was a pretty quiet weekend. It's nice to have those once in a while, especially as my work is entering the most stressful part of the year and Will is getting reacclimated to school routines after a long break.

So I have officially killed my music blog site, notes, which I haven't updated since last February. Those of you who read this site with any frequency know that I've struggled to stay current here, and so it's no surprise that I don't have the time/energy to keep a separate blog updated.

From now on all my music-related content will just be posted here, like it was before I started notes. I will miss that site, but the old content will remain archived in case anyone cares.

Because notes is now closed for business, I'm going to post my best-of music lists for 2018 here, and then in the days following those lists, I'm also going to post the lists for 2017 and 2016, tasks I never got around to on the notes site.

To kick us off, here are my favorite singles from 2018. It was a pretty sparse year overall—there are only eleven artists who I gave five stars to at least one of their tracks, so I've just taken my favorite song from each of those releases. I don't have a particualy order, so I'm just going to post them in alphabetical order by artist.

Antarctigo Vespucci—"Breathless on DVD"
The Decemberists—"I'll Be Your Girl"
Sidney Gish—"Sin Triangle"
of Montreal—"Paranoiac Intervals/Body Dysmorphia"
Janelle Monae—"Pynk"
Remember Sports—"Pull Through"
Jeff Rosenstock—"Powerlessness"
Ruler—"Winning Star Champion"
Spiritualized—"A Perfect Miracle"
Titus Andronicus—"Above the Bodega (Local Business)"
Tierra Whack—"Fuck Off"

Best albums of 2018, also in order by artist:

Antarctigo Vespucci—Love in the Time of E-mail
I usually don't have to worry about my only-one-item-per artist rule on the albums list (because Bob Pollard/GBV aren't often in contention), but I'm making a semi-exception here. This band is a collaboration between Chris Farren and Jeff Rosenstock, and you'll see Rosenstock's entry lower down this list. But to be fair, Farren handles the lead vocals, and it's a bit poppier than Rosenstock's solo offerings, so I feel pretty good about including this.

The Coke Dares—Fake Lake
A high school friend of mine who still lives in Chapel Hill turned me on to this band. This album is so fucking weird, you'll either love it or hate it (or maybe a little bit of both). An off the wall bar band that's not interested in anything but recording every musical idea that flits through their heads.

Sidney Gish—No Dogs Allowed
This was technically released on January 31, 2017, but I think it's fair to count this as a 2018 record. I don't remember how I stumbled on the self-recorded sophomore effort from this Northeastern University. It's a little hard to describe her sound in a way that will make it sound appealing. Self confident twee? Jazz inflected guitar pop? I don't know. But however you want to describe it, it's good stuff.

Janelle Monae—Dirty Computer
Janelle has gotten so busy with being a movie star, etc., that I wasn't sure she'd ever deliver another album. It was five years between The Electric Lady and Dirty Computer, but it was worth the wait—this is her most polished and complete work so far. It's a near perfect record that covers ground with everyone from Brian Wilson to Prince to Grimes against a backdrop of soulful funk and 21st century R+B for human-emulating AI, all while showcasing Janelle's unique voice.

Kacey Musgraves—Golden Hour
I wish this record contained more individual songs that I liked, but there are still several great singles on here ("Slow Burn", "Oh, What a World", and "High Horse" are my favorites), and the album as a whole is impeccably performed and recorded. It's a little more modern day country than I usually like, but she's got an old country soul and she's also not afraid to veer off into non-country styles when the song demands it.

of Montreal—White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood
It's been years and years since of Montreal made an album that I really cared about, but the ones I do care about (that epic run of release between Sunlandic Twins and Skeletal Lamping) affect me deeply, so I reliably purchase everything Kevin Barnes releases. For the first time in years, he has returned to his method of writing and recording where he makes the whole record by himself in his home studio (as opposed to recording with his bandmates in a proper studio), and this is easily the best thing from of Montreal since Skeletal Lamping. Weird, dancey, and crowded with synths, but that's when Barnes is at his best.

Originally slated for release early in the year, this record and its supporting tour were delayed several months so frontman Evan Hall could work through some personal issues. It's not as strong as their stunning debut, Cardinal, but it's a solid record that gets them over the sophomore hump.

Jeff Rosenstock—Post
I fell in love with Rosenstock's last album, Worry, and I've since become a fan of all his previous solo releases. It's hard to top a once-in-a-lifetime record like Worry, but Post is another strong effort from Rosenstock that captures the rage and ennui of these troubled times. In the signature track "USA", Rosenstock repetitively shouts "We're tired! We're bored!" before eventually launching into howling refrains of "Eff you USA! Eff you eff you USA!"

Ruler—Winning Star Champion
WSC is the debut album from Seattleite Matt Batey, and it hits that same glorious guitar pop sweet spot as Big Star, the dBs, Matthew Sweet, and Superchunk to name a few. I have no idea why this didn't get more attention—it's nearly flawless and there's not a weak track on here. But the title track's titular chorus tells you a lot about the attitude you'll find here: "I'm the winning star champion of fucking up."

Vince Staples—FM!
This doesn't even really count as a proper Vince Staples record—he released this as a sort of palette cleanser while he finishes up his next official release. And though it is relatively slight by his high standards, both in tone and in length, it is, like all of his other releases, compellingly listenable.

Tierra Whack—Whack World
This is the most brilliant debut I've heard from any artist in a long, long time, especially given it's tricksy frame: 15 songs that last exactly one minute each, making it a 15 minute album. What makes this work is that what you're really getting is a fragment of a larger song, and every single one of those fragments leaves you wanting more: just as you're getting into a track, it's over and you're on to the next one. Don't be shocked if you listen to this one on a loop for hours at a time and still find yourself craving another hit.

In addition to a new, more colorful area rug for our family room and new furniture for Will's room. another household upgrade was to get new everyday dishes. We've had the same pattern since we got married, and due to breakage over the years, we were down to about 6 or 7 small plates total (including saucers meant for coffee cups) and 6 large plates.

I wanted to get back to the point where we had 8 plates of all three sizes, which is what we had when we got married. But unfortunately our pattern was discontinued several years ago, so the only way to replace them is to go to one of the sites that has back stock of old patterns. And while they had what we were looking for, it would have cost about $250 for the 8 or so plates that I needed across the three sizes.

In my search for the plates, I started at the manufacturer, Mikasa. and while they didn't have our pattern, I noticed a few other current patterns that looked good. One in particular was on sale, and when I learned of the high price tag for our old pattern, I returned to the site to see how much it would cost to start over with a new pattern.

Due to the sale, I could get twelve place settings of the new pattern (large plates, small plates, bowls, and coffee cups) for only $165, which was not only a bargain but would also give us bowls that we would actually use (the bowls for our original pattern were too flat for our normal usage, more like pasta bowls, whereas these were much more rounded like soup bowls). We didn't really need the coffee cups, but it was more expensive to leave them out then to buy them in the sale bundle.

It took a few days to convince Julie because of the nostalgic attachment to the dishes we'd had since we got married (many of which were wedding gifts), which I totally understood (and shared). But I think (I hope?) I'm becoming more practical and less unnecessarily sentimental as I get older, and eventually Julie got on board as well.

We're still in the early phase of getting used to them, but I definitely like the bowl shapes better, and the colors are exactly what we were hoping for based on the website images. Getting them also prompted a good cleaning and reorganizing of our dish cabinets, and that's also been a positive—a lot less useless clutter getting in the way of the things we actually use now.

We didn't get rid of our old dishes, but they live up at the top level of the cabinet, safely stored and out of the way of everyday access. I don't know that we'll ever sell them, but I also don't see any reason why we'd ever use them again either.

Back to the best-of music lists for the next couple of days. For 2017 and 2016, I'm just going to list my favorite singles and albums with no additional descriptive text. Alpha by artist.

2017 singles:

Alvvays—"Plimsoul Punks"
Arcade Fire—"Creature Comforts"
Big Boi—"All Night"
Deerhoof—"I Will Spite Survive"
Robyn Hitchcock—"Raymond and the Wires"
Kendrick Lamar—"Humble"
LCD Soundsystem—"Call the Police"
Jens Lekman—"Evening Prayer"
Liars—"No Help Pamphlet"
Magnetic Fields—"You Can Never Go Back to New York"
Sleigh Bells—"Panic Drills"
St. Vincent—"New York"
The Shins—"The Fear"
Vince Staples—"Big Fish"
Stars—"Flourescent Light"

2017 albums:

Arcade Fire—Everything Now
Sidney Gish—Ed Buys Houses
Robyn Hitchcock—Robyn Hitchcock
Kendrick Lamar—Damn
LCD Soundsystem—American Dream
Jens Lekman—Life Will See You Now
Los Campesinos—Sick Scenes
Magnetic Fields—50 Song Memoir
Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark—The Punishment of Luxury
The Shins—Heartworms
Sleigh Bells—Kid Kruschev
St. Vincent—Masseduction
Vince Staples—Big Fish Theory
Stars—There Is No Love in Flourescent Lights

2016 singles:

Allo Darlin'—"Hymn on the 45"
Avalanches—"Because I'm Me"
Bent Shapes—"What We Do Is Public"
Car Seat Headrest—"Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales"
Chance the Rapper—"Same Drugs"
Frankie Cosmos—"Embody"
Goon Sax—"Home Haircuts"
Hamilton Leithauser—"A 1000 Times"
Frank Ocean—"Ivy"
Pinegrove—"Old Friends"
Pinkwash—"Longer Now"
Remember Sports—"Sunchokes"
Jeff Rosenstock—"I Did Something Weird Last Night"
Run the Jewels—"Legends"
Vince Staples—"Loco"
Thao—"Nobody Dies"
Jamila Woods—"Lonely Lonely"

2016 albums:

Animal Collective—Painting With
Bent Shapes—Wolves of Want
Car Seat Headrest—Teens of Denial
Chamce the Rapper—Coloring Book
Goon Sax—Up to Anything
Frank Ocean—Blonde
Jeff Rosenstock—Worry
Run the Jewels—RTJ3
Regina Spektor—Remember Us to Life
Tibe Called Quest—We Got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
Jamila Woods—HEAVN

Despite the failure of my first attempt to find some bridges between the sci fi genre that I've fallen in love with again over the past few years and capital-L-Literature that was my go-to for most of my late teens and early 20s (Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists, which had a total red herring magic realism/sci fi hook), I dediced to give it one more try with Katie Williams' Tell the Machine Goodnight.

The sci-fi hook of this book was the titular machine, a mysterious device that is framed similarly to the Scientologists' E-Meter, except that instead of measuring your engrams or whatever, this machine takes a bit of your DNA and then gives you three simple (though often inscrutable) commands that will make your life better if you do them.

The story focuses on Pearl, who works for the company that owns the patent on the machines and adminsters all the tests, with some chapters that focus on other people in her life, including her ex-husband, her son, her son's girlfriend, and her boss, each of which are affected by this technology in different ways.

I did not really like this book, and there were two primary reasons for my response to it. First is that it treats the machine like a MacGuffin, with no explanation as to how the technology might work, how it was developed, etc. So it's just this thing that sounds totally made up and impossible that the author also apparently thinks is totally made up and impossible.

The author also gets lazy with some of the details of Pearl's usage and handling of the device to make it easier for her to move her plot forward—for instance, Pearl is not only allowed to keep outdated version of the device, she can even bring the most current device home with her without any oversight as to its usage and whether she's collecting money for administering tests. In a world where people get fired for leaking details of a device to the public, it's hard to believe that a company that is portrayed as zealously guarding its intellectual property would be so trusting of their employees.

But the second issue is the real problem. The author's lack of realistic grounding for the device and its place in the world is annoying, but the real killer for this book is that I just don't like any of the characters. If you're going to use a cheap plot device as a framework to write about a set of characters, there needs to be something compelling about them, and hopefully at least a couple of them are people you can root for.

I'm going to give up on these forays into "real" literature for a while and retreat back to my current comfort zones of pop culture non-fiction and sci fi. I suppose I'll still give the next book with a promising setup a try, but after getting burned twice, I'm not sure how many more attempts I have left.

Back to busy weekends, although this one was pretty fun. The big day was Saturday, when we took Will to see the Infinity Mirrors exhibit that Julie and I saw with some friends back in December. My sister, her husband, and my mom also came along, which presented some challenges: both my mom and my sister are recovering from surgery and needed to be in wheelchairs.

The museum was very accomodating, however: they not only gave special wristbands to my mom and sister (and provided a smaller wheelchair that would fit in the exhibit rooms for my sister), they also gave them to me and my brother-in-law. These wristbands let us go to the front of each line for the rooms, and also allowed us to bring one other person with us to round out our group to three, so Julie and Will floated between our two groups.

That made it much easier to navigate the exhibits, and also made it so we finished much faster even though we went into each room at least twice. Afterwards we all went to the Varsity for lunch before we headed home and my sister and mom went back to their homes outside the perimeter.

In what remained of Saturday afternoon, Will went over to help with the breakdown and cleanup of the Pinewood Derby, which had been run while we were at the museum (I got the tickets for the exhibit in August, months before we knew when this year's Pinewood Derby would be held). Our denmaster ran his car for him, but it didn't win anything. It was a cool design though, which is the part he likes the best anyway—an ocean theme with lots of different sea creatures.

Saturday evening Will worked on a big video project for math class. They were supposed to cook something using fractions and then make a slideshow or video about the experience, and Will got really into it. He wanted to have his friends in it helping him with different steps, but that was too difficult to arrange, so he took stuffed animals from his room (a Porg, a kitty, and the two totems from Monument Valley 1 and 2) and used them in place of his friends. He also ad-libbed everything, which you wouldn't guess from watching the video.

The trip to the art museum ended up being easier than I'd anticipated thanks to the very supportive staff, although I'm saddened that I'll likely never set foot in an Infinity Mirrors room again in my life. I wish we got more than 30 seconds at a time to experience them, but even that 30 seconds gave a glimpse of what they can be that I'll remember for a lifetime.

Sunday's big event was a family outing to the birthday party of one of Will's friends at Medeival Times. We've been there with Will once before with my sister and her husband, but it's been a few years, and I'm not sure how well he remembers it.

Julie is good friends with the mom of Will's friend, so we were the only other adults helping them herd 5 or 6 kids around (I swear at the time it felt like there were a dozen of them), keeping them entertained, non-destructive, and making sure they were where they needed to be.When we got to our row for dinner and the show, we bracketed one end while the birthday boy's parents sat at the other, keeping them all nicely contained.

It was a pretty fun afternoon. We sat in the best seats we've even been in for this experience (we also went a couple of times when we lived up in Maryland), for the first time that I can remember, our knight actually won the whole tournament. Most of the kids ignored their food and took in the spectacle; the boy next to Will got super into it, yelling and cheering like he was at a championship-level sporting event.

I don't know if I want to go with a group of kids that big again, but it might be fun to go again with one or two other families while Will is still young enough to really enjoy it. He was so excited that his knight won that he stayed after to get his picture taken with the knight and also get his paper crown signed.

After my unsuccessful foray into Serious Fiction with Tell the Machine Goodnight, I went to running back to my reading comfort food, a rock biography. This one was Let's Go (So We Can Get Back), a memoir by Uncle Tupelo member and Wilco founder and frontman Jeff Tweedy.

I've been a Wilco fan for a long time now, and I was hoping this might be an in-depth look at the workings of the band similar to the the documentary I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which chronicled the tumultoous and productive time in the band's history whne they were making their seminal record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

And there was a little bit of that, especially regarding the formation of Uncle Tupelo with Jay Farrar and then the splitting of that band into two groups, Wilco and Son Volt, with Tweedy leading one and Farrar leading the other. But this really was a memoir, and it was also clearly written by someone whose not used to writing long form prose. We learn a lot more about Tweedy's family and his outlook on the world than we do about the music he makes, the shows he plays, etc.

There's a lot of armchair philosophizing that goes on here. It felt a lot more like an extended unburdening that he would do in a therapy session than a book that was meant for others to read. Even if that's exactly what he wanted, the book would have been much better if he had collaborated with a ghost writer to craft a stronger narrative with a better flow that wouldn't meander so aimlessly so often.

There is undoubtedly still a great book to be written about this band, but this isn't it. If you like the warm, shaggy, quiet persona that Tweedy has developed for his stage presence and don't really mind the lack of detail about the musical part of his life, then you might like this book. He's got a surprising sense of humor (even if it tends to the punny), and while he glosses over an awful lot of what he's experienced in his life, you do get a good sense of his world view and how it developed over the years.

I've been listening to Antartigo Vespucci's new album, Love in a Time of Email, a lot recently, and out of curiosity I checked to see if they were touring behind it. This band is a collaboration between Chris Farren and one of my recent favorite artists, Jeff Rosenstock. The Google search took me to Rosenstock's page, and while AV wasn't touring, Jeff himself was, and he was coming to Atlanta in about a week.

It was at the new location for the Masquerade, which I haven't been to yet, and I convinced a friend of mine to come with me (and drive, since parking is always my most anxiety-producing aspect of going to a new venue). It was on a Sunday night, which wasn't optimal, but we somehow didn't bail on it, and I'm so, so glad we went.

Remember Sports was the opening act, so we got there in time to see them as well. They are a punk pop band from Philadelphia who originally got together and made their first two records while they were students at Kenyon College in Ohio. I stumbled on them somehow a couple of years ago (they were originally named Sports and added the Remember for their most recent record), and I've been a big fan, crossing my fingers that they'd stay together as a real band once the college experience no longer bound them together.

The sound was terrible for them, but I recognized all of the songs they played, so that made it a little easier for me to enjoy it. They were lacking in charisma—the bassist stood stock still in the center of the stage, and the guitarist/lead singer stoof off to the right with a hoodie covering her head. They played a good set though—I'd love to see them on a headlining tour in a smaller club like the Earl.

Joyce Manor was technically the headliner for the evening, with Rosenstock playing the middle set, but man, I have no idea why they would want to follow him. The sound was a lot better for his set, and he absolutely killed it even though he only had 45 minutes on stage. Here's the setlist:

    1. USA
    2. Wave Goodnight To Me
    3. All This Useless Energy
    4. Festival Song
    5. Yr Throat
    6. Hey Allison!
    7. Nausea
    8. TV Stars
    9. The Beauty of Breathing
    11. June 21st
    12. The Fuzz
    13. ...While You're Alive
    14. Perfect Sound Whatever
    15. You, in Weird Cities
    16. We Begged 2 Explode

The show was everything I needed it to be from an artist who I've been obsessed with for a couple of years now—they only thing that could have made it better was if the club had a better layout and he had played a full headliners set.

We stuck around to watch the first few songs of the main act, Joyce Manor, but we weren't really that into it, so we headed out early.

december 2019
november 2019
october 2019
september 2019
august 2019
july 2019
june 2019
may 2019
april 2019
march 2019
february 2019
january 2019

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