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  • New Music Fridays – Lydia Ainsworth

    I saw this Canadian artist open for Yeasayer a couple years ago. For an opening performance, it was exciting and refreshing. She did everything herself with a couple keyboards, a computer, and a sequencer. The songs were fun and equally enjoyable as Yeasayer. The best part was that she was using some sort of vocal effect that made it sound like little leprechauns were singing backing vocals on a couple songs.

    This new album, Phantom Forest, continues in the tradition of infectious synth pop with warm vocals. The first single, Can You Find Her Place, is the kind of song you just have on repeat all day. Then here are slower, lighter numbers like Tell Me I Exist and Kiss the Future. It’s got something for everyone, even the kids!

    Streaming options:

  • Yule Love It!

    Now that it’s December, the Christmas season is upon us. Gifts and movies and eating and decorating and putting kid presents together and white elephants and Christmas lights and freezing nuts off and cookies and egg nog and gingerbread houses and hot chocolate.

    Having worked in retail for a few years, I hated Christmas music that seemed to start earlier and earlier each year and often would just recycle the same 30 songs.

    I’ve gotten over that and Christmas music is a fun part of the holidays again. I’ve put together a playlist with some classics and a few lesser known tracks.

    Have yourself a merry little listening party!

  • Frustrated, Incorporated

    imageThe original title of this post was going to be: Thanks A Lot, Shitheads

    I’m trying to stay positive and hope for the best, though. I’m trying to remember that I have kids and I need to set a good example for them. Going off the rails right now would not be good for anyone.

    I’M. FUCKING. PISSED. OFF! There is no silver lining. No happier days on the horizon. The people that thought this was a good idea are selfish, delusional pissants who think that they have been left behind. Well, guess what? You left yourselves behind. You didn’t want to be a part of the system when your team lost 8 years ago. You alienated yourselves. The American dream is there for the taking and if you are going to be lazy, whining complainers who wait for a demagogue to promise the world, then you get what’s coming to you. You get nothing. You’ve been lied to. I can’t fathom how a nation of nearly 320 million people sees only 125 million of them being bothered to participate in their own democracy, and less than half of them picking the winner. That’s less than 20% of the total population, and I’m not even that good at math.

    I’m going to keep an open mind, and I’m going to offer some words of hope in the form of two quotes:

    When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.

         –Mahatma Gandhi


    Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world’s a fine place and worth fighting for.” I agree with the second part.

         –William Somerset


    I also made a playlist:


  • The Exclusivity Needs To Go

    iPoopMusic streaming has become a huge money-making service for the companies that had enough sense to set up shop early on. Though there was resistance from the music labels (there always is), the general public has spoken and streaming is here to stay.

    The problem is that there are too many services and there really isn’t any actual competition. They all charge virtually the same price and they don’t offer that much variance in their song catalogs. Each one has their own little feature differences and promotional deals for new customers.

    I subscribe to Google Play, because I like that I can upload my own music to fill in the gaps where they don’t have certain albums/tracks. I don’t like how there is minimal distinction between music I’ve uploaded and music that is in their catalog. It’s especially annoying when an album has double the number of tracks because the MP3s I uploaded have slightly different track lengths.

    The thing that really grates my cheese about all of this is the exclusivity nonsense that is increasing in prevalence thanks to Apple Music. For some reason, Apple Music is the platform that gets 1-2 week early releases. Partly, it’s Apple trying to gain subscriptions from people who can’t wait. It’s also the record labels hoping that people will just buy the music instead of stream it, since it is also usually available in the iTunes store. It makes sense from a business standpoint, but I don’t think I’ll ever be subscribing to Apple Music (beyond the free 3-month trial, suckerz). In the end, I’ll just wait or break out my peg-leg. It’s just sad that this has become a thing. Of course, if the tides turn and Google Play starts getting exclusives, I probably won’t give a shit.

  • The 90s Are Alive Again

    AfteCrystal Popsir searching far and wide, my dreams have come true. I’ve found the holy grail of a 90s kid: Crystal Popsi.

    Way back sometime in 1992 or 1993, I remember going to this food fair thing they would do in downtown GR. Meijer was the main sponser and we’d go every year to get free samples and coupons. That year, they had a big table set up for the new “Clear Cola” from Pepsi. I got little sample cup and I liked it. It was a unique flavor that I hadn’t tasted before. Something about the whole package was magical. I went back for seconds even though you aren’t supposed to do that.

    I’m pretty sure we bought a couple two liters before it went off the market within a year. Since then, I’ve seen little blurbs about the old pop. I even watched that guy drink an old bottle and puke it up.

    Then they did the little sweepstakes giveaway last December that I missed even entering by like 4 hours. 🙁

    When I heard it was coming back Summer 2016, I nearly crapped my pants. I waited and waited and resisted buying the overpriced sweepstakes bottles on eBay.

    Last Monday was the official release date. I went to various retail outlets and turned up empty-handed. Meanwhile, dozens of people on Twitter were posting their bountiful finds. Some even purchasing the entire store stock they could find (a**holes). On Tuesday, I had 8 bottles in my hands (I left some for the other nutballs).

    The first sip was oh so amazing. It was the exact flavor I remembered. It’s only going to be around for 8 weeks, but they will be glorious.

  • 11/22/63

    112263I’ve always found Stephen King to be an amazing writer. His ability to craft a story is like no other. From horror to sci-fi to any genre he feels like. After reading Under the Dome, I was really excited for the supposed 10-part series on CBS. Then it had to suck AND be super popular, so they made two more seasons of dreck. Thanks, CBS.

    It was with great apprehension that I approached the new Hulu series 11.22.63 based on the King novel. The plot is about a guy who is shown a portal by a friend that takes the traveler to 1960. The friend suggests they attempt to save Kennedy from the assassination in 1963. Well, the past don’t like to change too much, I reckon.

    I’m about half way through the 8-part series and it’s really good. Much better than I was expecting, and actually feels like a Stephen King story. James Franco and the rest of the cast is perfect.

    If you have Hulu and like Stephen King or rewriting history, you should check this out.

  • Shameless Self-Promotion

    About 11 years ago, I recorded a little album (or EP) worth of music that I dubbed “All Play, No Work”. I always liked the way it turned out, even though it was less than perfect in many respects.

    As an independent musician, I’ve been interested in getting my music on more platforms for greater exposure. After reading this article, I decided to try putting my music on various monetized platforms. It was meant to be an experiment to see how current digital music distribution platforms work. I’m not really interested in making money with it, but I am interested in how to publish music to various download/streaming sites. Since there has been much hubbub from artists like Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke about the lack of streaming revenue getting back to the artist, I’m curious how much streaming generates after every group involved takes its cut. That and it feels really wonderful to say: “I have an album on Spotify.”

    Without further ado, I give you “All Play, No Work“:




    Google Play


  • It’s March

    shamrockSpring is in the air and that means the weather is warming. No, I’m not going to launch into a rant about climate change. Suck it.

    The best things about this month include Shamrock Shakes, March Madness, and Lucky Lime Eeegee.

    Yesterday, I went to get my first Shamrock. I asked at the drive-thru to make sure they even had it. The response: “You already know it.”

    What? I already know it? OK, give me three, shit-biscuit.

    At the first window, the guy asks, “Do you really like the Shamrock Shake?” with a look of disbelief.


    “You really like it?”


    I pulled forward and got my shakes.

    I’m not enthusiastic about mint-flavored things, but this shake tastes good and you can only get it one month out of the year. Also, TRADITION! And, IRISH! (not really)