Another year has flown by. It started off with the most frigid of winters in which I attempted to deliver newspapers on frozen icy roads. Which could be a fun experience once, but not for three months. Luckily the rest of the year went well for the most part. Went to a few shows, met up with some old friends, and made some new ones along the way. Of course there were a few bumps in the road, but potholes can be filled, and suspensions can be fixed for about $400.
I listened to a lot of music this year. As I do every year. I also listened to a lot of podcasts. Podcasts are like the radio where you know what you’re getting into. I haven’t had time to rank albums. I used to think it was fun trying to figure out what was best to come out in the year, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s time that I could be spending elsewhere. Which is also part of the reason I don’t update as much on here. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, but rather putting these ideas in ink hasn’t come to fruition for one reason or another
Regardless, here are some podcasts that I have been coming back to.
One Shot Podcast – One off role-playing campaigns using a different rule set each time.
Turned Out A Punk – Damien Abraham (Fucked Up) talks to guests on how punk music influenced them in the respective career they chose. Damien is very well spoken and a punk music enthusiast. It’s interesting to hear how a genre that helped me realize the thoughts in my head actually made sense. Even if a lot of people still don’t understand I’ve met tons of people who do, and that sense of belonging is the reason this genre is still doing strong
The Angry Chicken – A podcast about the game Hearthstone. It’s such a simple fun game to pick up, but difficult to be good at. I’ve never had so much fun or be as infuriated with this game.
Campaign – A long form narrative role-playing game in the Star Wars Universe. It’s a story worth listening to if you’re a fan of role-playing, Star Wars, or podcasts in general.
Serial – Another story worth listening to. If you’re into audiobooks, then this will be right up your alley.
Overnight Drive – The rantings of two regular dudes are used to be/are in bands. Their life experiences are hilarious, sad, crude, and occasionally heartwarming. They don’t put up episodes as frequently anymore, but there’s quite a backlog you can catch up on.
Anxious and Angry - Ryan Young (Off With Their Heads) talks with guests about mental health and life experiences. He’s an honest dude who wants to better himself and help others who are having problems. Ryan always comes off as honest and sincere. Plus he makes some pretty rad music, and has a tendency to promote other rad music I may or may not have heard of.
The Virzi Effect and The Monday Morning Podcast – Paul Virzi and Bill Burr are two of my favorite comedians going now. If you listen to one podcast you should listen to the other. They are both down to earth guys who aren’t putting on comedy skits on their podcast. It’s more off the cuff rants about things going on around them. They are both likeable guys who are naturally funny.
There are more I listen to, but those will get you started. Now onto some records I’ve been digging all year. The list is not really in any order. They all get my seal of approval and are a worthy listen. I’m sure there’s some I haven’t listened to or will forget to list, but such is life.
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues : Their most important album, and I think an important album for all people to hear.
Protomartyr – Under the Colour of Official Right : If Joy Division and The Hold Steady made a band. I know that’s what I thought to.
Pup – Pup : I just did a review for this album. This band reminds me that young bands can still rock just as hard as any veteran band.
Restorations – LP3 : This band can’t top their last album, but they can come close. It’s raw. It’s epic. It’s everything an album should be.Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else : Cleveland is just churning out good bands. Last year I found out about Harvey Pekar, and this year this band gives me the punky garage rock I need in my life.
Hard Girls – A Thousand Surfaces : Just a rock album. Front to back.
Dwarves – Invented Rock and Roll : This band is genius. They make you sing along to the dirtiest fucking songs. They can be aggressive, catchy, or just plain weird. And it’s all still effortless to them 20+ years later.
Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown : This band is hit or miss with me. This time their channel their inner Converge, and they are all the better for it.
Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt : Not out of left field like Brian Fallon alluded to, which is just fine with me. Everything Brian Fallon touches is gold. This is no exception.
Botanist – VI Flora : This band is just plain weird, but I can’t help but listen to it. They swap out guitars for hammered dulcimers. Heavily distorted lo-fi black metal that is at times the prettiest thing you’ve ever heard and the most volatile. Any band that pushes the limit to a genre is something I can get behind.
Andrew Jackson Jihad – Christmas Island : They’ve finally embraced having a full band. I think they’ve hit their stride. I don’t know if this is my favorite album by them, but I think sonically it might their best.
That’s some of what I’ve been listening to this year. I think only one band appeared on last years list. I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons. As if I don’t consume enough media as it is. As always, see you next time. It could be tomorrow or a month from now. Well probably not tomorrow since I’m writing this on Christmas Eve, but soon. Happy holidays. Stay warm and stay happy wherever you are. If you’re not happy, find something that makes you happy. There’s a lot we can’t control, but you can choose to seek out positive things or dwell on the negatives. Maybe something of the above can help. I know they have for me this past year.