Ten Years Ago…This Week?

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Ten years ago last Sunday, February 14, 2006, I started this website. It’s fitting I’m writing this AFTER the anniversary, as nothing with this site ever gets done on time.

It’s been a lot of things over time. A hub for my friends to write whatever they want, an ill-conceived web magazine, the home of The Eternal Mixtape Project, and for the better part of the last half-decade, a place for me to put whatever I’m thinking…occasionally.

It’s the longest-lasting creative endeavor I’ve ever had (if you don’t count my two-decade association with Jordan), and I’m proud of the body of work that’s here, both of my own and so much of what anyone that ever contributed did. It mattered to me then, and it still does today.

“Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl” by Carrie Brownstein

To a millennial audience, Carrie Brownstein is likely more well known for her comedic partnership with Fred Armisen, and their show “Portlandia,” which has run for six season on IFC. But to anyone just a few years older, she’s probably better known as a third of legendary rock trio Sleater-Kinney. And with Sleater-Kinney back touring on 2015’s “No Cities to Love,” the band, and Brownstein, are in the spotlight now more than ever before.

Brownstein’s memoir, “Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl,” tackles much of her early life and the years she spent in Sleater-Kinney as guitarist and co-vocalist-songwriter. It’s a surprisingly breezy read that offers insight into a performer that, in the past, has revealed very little about her personal life. Here readers are afforded a glimpse into the motivation behind some of that group’s greatest works – seminal albums for any modern listener.

Brownstein is an engaging, thoughtful writer that allows you to quickly envelope yourself in her life. With Brownstein’s pen, you’re in the van, on stage and on the road – feeling those same frustrations and anxieties. One can only hope that a sequel detailing her next phase is in the works.

Master of None – Season 1

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With what seems like an endless stream of TV shows available on a variety of formats, watching something new can almost feel like a chore. Master of None is not one of those shows. It arrived recently on Netflix fully formed and ready for total consumption.

The story covers a struggling actor in New York named Dev, played by Aziz Ansari, and explores his life and that with his friends, family and girlfriend. The show covers a smorgasbord of topics including (but not limited to) sex, dating, race, gender and family.

It’s a perfect snapshot for someone approaching 30, trying to negotiate their place in the world during what feels like a constantly transitional age. Savor it – no – devour it and be glad that there’s something like this that exists in the world.

All episodes of Master of None are streaming on Netflix.

Favorite Songs of 2014 (and Other Stuff)

No particular order outside of “Grand Canyon” which is #1.

Favorite Songs of 2014

“Grand Canyon” – Drive-By Truckers
“Spinners” – The Hold Steady
“The Only Thing” – The Hold Steady
“i” – Kendrick Lamar
“Transgender Dysphoria Blues” – Against Me!
“Fuckmylife666” – Against Me!
“Black Me Out” – Against Me!
“Ain’t Got Nobody” – Weezer
“Go Away” – Weezer
“New York Kiss” – Spoon
“Do You” – Spoon
“Echo Boomer” – Fucked Up
“Glass Boys” – Fucked Up
“Red Eyes” – The War on Drugs
“Under The Pressure” – The War On Drugs
“An Ocean In Between The Waves” – The War on Drugs
“Waste Your Time” – Ex Hex
“Gimme Something Good” – Ryan Adams
“Change Your Mind” – Ryan Adams
“Low Key” – Tweedy
“A Little God In My Hands” – Swans
“She’s Not Me” – Jenny Lewis
“Oh My Darling Don’t Cry” – Run The Jewels
“Blockbuster Night Part 1” – Run The Jewels
“Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” – Run The Jewels
“Bury Our Friends” – Sleater-Kinney
“Afraid of Nothing” – Sharon Van Etten
“Our Love” – Sharon Van Etten
“It’s Time To Come Home” – The Rentals
“Seventeener (17th and 37th)” – The Lawrence Arms
“Beautiful Things” – The Lawrence Arms
“Maidenhead” – Protomartyr
“Trust Me Billy” – Protomartyr
“Break Free” – Ariana Grande & Zedd
“Problem” – Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea
“Rattlesnake” – St. Vincent
“I Prefer Your Love” – St. Vincent
“Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
“Champions Of Red Wine” – The New Pornographers
“Ain’t That Easy” – D’Angelo
“Make You Better” – The Decemberists
“Can’t Do Without You” – Caribou
“Seasons (Waiting On You” – Future Islands
“Tell You (Today)” (Arthur Russell Cover) – Robyn
“Chandelier” – Sia
“I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers
“Out of the Woods” – Taylor Swift
“Style” – Taylor Swift
“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“I”m Not Part of Me” – Cloud Nothings
“Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” – Chromeo
“Two Weeks” – FKA twigs

Favorite Non-2014 Album Discovery

The Long Winters – When I Pretend To Fall

Honorable Mention Albums

D’Angelo and the Vanguard – Black Messiah (came as I was writing my list)
Swans – To Be Kind
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Jenny Lewis – The Voyager
Spoon – They Want My Soul

Perspective

I joined the class of nearsighted people with the addition of these yesterday. I not-so-secretly harbored a desire to get a nice pair of glasses but never needed them because I had good vision. Obviously, that’s changed and I have these, but I’m still a bit intimidated by them. I’m too self-conscious to post a picture of myself with them, so they’ll have to do on their own. If interested, you can learn more here.

Teenage Dream

It felt I had come so far to be right back home again.

So much has been said about Weezer – the limitless promise of their first two albums, the glacially slow fall that came with everything after. Still, there’s something perfect about those first two albums – how effortlessly they tap into something adolescent and pure. Also, there’s those relatable themes of being pissed off at half-Japanese girls and falling in love with lesbians, right?

Despite their countless missteps and pretty much all of “Make Believe,” Weezer knows that too. Nothing quite matches up to their first two albums. With a lead single from their latest mediocre album titled “Memories,” there was no better time to revisit their classics.

Weezer at Roseland Ballroom, New York City, New York
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Watching “Pinkerton” unfold in front of me last night – every bit of tortured “Tired Of Sex” feedback to the final, gentle strums of “Butterfly” brought me eight years and seven hundred and fifty miles from where I was. Instead of being twenty-five and in Manhattan’s Theatre District, I was back in my room in West Dundee, wide eyed and unable to understand girls. Okay, so maybe not a whole lot has changed.

Obviously, there was a strong sense of nostalgia to the show, which was enforced by an incredible one-two-three punch of “You Gave Your Love To Me Softly,” “Suzanne,” and “Jamie”. I can’t help but think that it was a not-so-subtle wink at their long-suffering fans. Beyond all of this, I was more impressed by the audience that the show brought out – folks who probably attended Weezer shows when the album first came out, folks like myself who lived through their tortured middle period, and a staggering number of teenagers who were toddlers when the first two albums came out. I mentioned to one young guy that I had first seen them in 2002 when they were touring behind “Maladroit,” and he responded with “I wish I could have seen them then, but I was like, twelve.”

“Memories,” indeed.