Month: September 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

Friday Playlist

A mix of old and new this week.

“The Others” – The Jezabels. The proverbial “Between Albums" single from this very fine Aussie group. The song is very fine, too.

“Continental Breakfast” – Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. There are plenty of one-off duets. Not so common are two artists coming together to make an album together. Barnett and Vile are so perfectly matched with their easy, mellow, guitar-based vibes, that this seemed inevitable. Two lead singles suggest their album is going to live up to all its expectations.

“Baby Missiles” – The War on Drugs. M had a late-morning ortho appointment last week. On our way back to school we stopped at Jimmy John’s to grab her a sandwich. This song, my #2 song from 2011, played on the in-store music feed while we were waiting. I thought that was a pretty great random tune to pop up. Oh, on Monday TWOD announced an Indy concert just before Christmas. Tickets have already been purchased. I am excited. Trivia: Kurt Vile got his start in TWOD.

“My Forgotten Favorite” – Velocity Girl. To my ear, 90s music hasn’t aged as well as 80s music. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of great music from that decade that I listen to. But I’m far more likely to pick 80s on 8 or First Wave over the Lithium 90s alternative and grunge channel on SiriusXM. Every few months Spotify will spit out this song, though, and I’m taken back to the heart of the 90s, when grunge and pop were mixing, and think maybe the 90s were better than I remember.

“Roadless” – Frightened Rabbit. Another track from their recent, surprise EP. This is a tremendous song for the fall. A beautifully crafted video, too.

R’s: Requiem

It’s over.

Sure, there are five games left in the 2017 season, but the run for the championship core of the Royals is officially finished.

Although the standings kept showing them just out of the Wild Card spots, they’ve effectively been done for about a month. But it became official Tuesday when Minnesota beat Cleveland leaving the Royals too far behind with too few games remaining.

What a frustrating season. The death of Yordano Ventura in the off-season was by far the worst thing that happened to this organization over the past year. But then came a brutal start to the season that had us worried all the free agents to-be might not make it through June in Kansas City. The team steadied in May and then was blistering hot through June and July. They added instead of subtracted at the trade deadline, and it looked like it was going to be another exciting fall in KC. The team then promptly went to shit again in August. And September has been thoroughly mediocre. There have been injuries all over the roster. Players who put up the worst performances of their careers. Despite that great middle, it’s going to end up being a pretty meh season.

Time and again this team has had chances to get back into the heart of the race with just a solid week of baseball. But every week they muddled around, maybe 4–3, maybe 3–4, but never 6–1 or 7–0. Minnesota wanted someone to catch them, but no one ever did.

Honestly I began checking out about a month ago. I kept waiting for that spark to appear that ignited the team. It never came. Throw in kid sports and a flakey AppleTV and I wasn’t automatically turning the game on each night. Sure, I’d check my phone to see what the score was. Once the kids went to bed I’d turn on the radio broadcast and listen while I did other things. But I was far less invested than I would have been had they kept playing like they did in the heart of the summer.

So it’s been a sad week for a lot of us Royals fans. As the end drew near the blog posts and Twitter threads began popping up reliving the greatest moments of the Octobers of 2014 and 2015. I’ll admit I got a little emotional watching a few of them. We re-ranked our favorites, recalled how those months felt, and shook our heads in disbelief once again at what this team had done. If the end feels a little empty at what was not accomplished the past two seasons, it is with a greater appreciation for what was achieved the previous two years.

And now five games to say goodbye. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Jason Vargas are almost certainly all gone. Alcides Escobar may be back, but only because no one else is interested in paying him. Vargas missed the 2015, but the other four all accounted for some of the greatest moments in franchise history.

Hosmer tripled in the 12th inning in the 2014 Wild Card game then tied the game. He won game one of the 2014 ALDS with an extra-inning home run. He hit a massive home run in legendary game four of the 2015 ALDS. He hit one of the biggest singles in franchise history in game six of the 2016 ALCS. He doubled to bring in Cain in the 9th inning of game five of the ’16 World Series. Moments later he made his mad dash home to tie the game.

Moustakas won game two of the 2014 ALDS with his own extra-innings homer. He made an unbelievable catch of a foul pop-up in game three of the 2014 ALCS. He hoovered up everything hit his way, and was the “5” in the two 5–3 putouts that ended each ALCS. Along the way he reinvented himself, becoming the consistent hitter we had always hoped he would be. This year, became the Royals single-season home run king.[1]

Cain could fill up a highlight reel with his catches alone during the playoff runs. He single-handedly broke Baltimore’s hearts in the 14 ALCS with catch-after-catch while hitting the shit out of the ball. And if he did nothing else, his scamper from first-to-home in the 8th inning of game six of the 2015 ALCS would earn him a spot in the Royals Hall of Fame. He went from a guy with potential to a complete player and became my favorite Royal along the way. Hosmer and Moustakas are going to get paid for sure. I worry Cain’s age is going to prevent him from signing a ridiculously huge contract. I think he deserves every penny, and probably a lot more, that he earns.

And Esky saved his best baseball for October. He was the catalyst for the offense, spraying hits down the lines and taking extra bases. He was the 2016 ALCS MVP for torturing Toronto pitchers with line drive after line drive. And his inside the park home run to open game one of the 2015 World Series was a quick reminder to the Mets that they were powerless against Royals Devil Magic. Oh, and he also played amazing defense throughout the runs.

What was great about all those guys was how we got to see each of them grow up in front of us. Moose and Hosmer were the high draft picks that were supposed to become All-Stars. It took awhile, but it happened for each of them. Cain and Escobar came over in the trade for Zack Greinke, but had yet to establish themselves as everyday MLB players. They fit right in and the fanbase embraced them. They, and the guys around them, had all this potential to change the course of Kansas City Royals history. Holy shit did they deliver.

If you’re a Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals, or (now) Cubs fan, you expect your team to replace your heroes when they depart. They’re going to sign the best free agents, or have a bunch of talent in the minors they can dip into when legends move on. For Royals fans we’re not sure what’s next. The minors aren’t brimming with talent. The payroll will no doubt get slashed as the team begins to rebuild. That, too, makes our relationship with the current guys more powerful. It might be another 5–10 years before we see a group like them again.[2] And even then, there’s no guarantee the next batch of young talent will be able to do what this group did.

This group began hitting KC in 2011. That’s seven seasons which, on balance, had more frustrations and pain than success. But in those early years they were building to something, and even when it was hard for the fans to trust the process, the players did. Out of that came a year when they narrowly missed the playoffs, another where they narrowly made the playoffs – then made it to the last out of the last game, another year where they dominated for five months then won the whole damn thing, and finally two years where they began the season with legitimate playoff hopes only to come up short. Along the way they helped Kansas City fall in love with baseball again.

That’s not a bad run.

  1. He should have crushed the record if not for six weeks of bad health that slowed him down.  ↩
  2. God forbid we have to wait 30 years like we did last time.  ↩

Boom Goes the Dynamite!

Duuuuuuuuude! What a freaking couple of days for college basketball! And we haven’t even started fall practice yet, let alone any games that matter.

A couple hours ago one of the 20 greatest coaches in the history of the game got fired. (Correction: he’s officially been placed on leave, although apparently his contract calls for a 10-day grace period before he can be fired for cause.) Yesterday assistants at four other schools were arrested. Two more programs appear to be in deep shit, too. All the result of an FBI investigation into the relationship between coaches, player’s families, shoe companies, and agents. And, as many writers have been pointing out, this is likely just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

Shit is getting really real here.

After somehow dodging scandals for several years at Louisville, Rick Pitino finally found the straw that broke the camel’s back. The FBI asserts that current UL freshman Brian Bowen’s family may have received up to $100,000 in exchange for him choosing the Cardinals last spring. Although there is no current public evidence that Pitino was directly involved in the exchange, after a scandal involving one of his assistant coaches bringing prostitutes in for recruits a few years back,[1] there was no way even a coach of Pitino’s accomplishments could survive this. It’s almost stunning it happened so quickly. I expected a few days of hemming-and-hawing. I’m sure we’ll soon hear from Pitino how all this happened without his knowledge, he’ll insist he ran a clean program, and that he was betrayed by people he placed his trust in. No apology, though, or acceptance of blame.

What is most stunning about the Louisville side of this case is that they don’t need to buy players. UL is one of the top 10 programs in the game. It is consistently the most profitable program in the country. They have an amazing, pro-like arena, are located in a basketball-crazy city, were coached the only man to win national titles at two different schools, and have a long, rich history of success. This isn’t like SMU football in the 1970s and 80s trying to beat traditional powers Texas and Texas A&M for recruits. Louisville should be able to go toe-to-toe with any program in the country when it comes to collecting recruits.

Whether it was jealousy at Kentucky getting the #1 recruiting class, filled with future pros, every single year, Pitino pulling out all the stops to win one more title before his career ended, sheer competitiveness run amok, simple greed, or even just a rogue assistant, it doesn’t make sense. Louisville didn’t need to cheat. Now one of the signature programs in the game is in shambles, and likely will be for several years.[2]

Arizona also seems like a school that shouldn’t have to cheat. They’ve been one of the best programs in the game over the past 35 years, winning one national title and making multiple other Final Fours. Tucson is a decent place to spend the winter. Over the past few years, though, they have signed several recruits that the “experts” were sure were going elsewhere. Today that makes a lot more sense.

Both Louisville and Arizona were expected to be top five teams this coming year. That seems unlikely now.

The other schools currently involved – Auburn, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, and Miami – are schools trying to get to where Louisville and Arizona are. I’m kind of discounting Oklahoma State because their assistant who was arrested, Lamont Evans, had only been there a year and came from South Carolina, which may be where he did most of his dirty work. South Carolina did break through last year, making a run to the Final Four, knocking off Duke along the way. Miami has been really good, and close to the Final Four, for several years. For a program trying to make that leap to the elite, it is more understandable that rules will be flouted and chances will be taken. Not acceptable, mind you. But understandable for sure.

I think just about every football or basketball player at a power five school is getting something beyond their scholarship and living expenses. It may just be a tab is overlooked when the eat out. $100 handshakes from alums at bars. Cushy summer jobs that pay cash under the table. “Help” buying a car. And so on. The better the player, the more likely they’re raking in one or more of these extras.

There’s not much you can do about these because they are so widespread and difficult to track. The NCAA has a hard enough time getting people to talk to them about egregious and public recruiting violations, let alone try to monitor tiny, day-to-day stuff like this.

But this big stuff, the systemic fraud and bribery and purchasing of talent, that’s a whole other ballgame. Especially since it’s the FBI that’s doing the investigating. And they reportedly have wiretaps and witnesses ready to talk. I imagine over the past 24 hours there have been a lot of interesting conversations between head coaches and assistant coaches, athletic directors and head coaches, and university presidents or chancellors and athletic directors. “Is there anything I need to know about?” is likely the most common question asked in these meetings.

And for fans, there’s a lot of waiting to be gleeful about a rival school getting sucked into this mess to be sure your alma mater’s name doesn’t come up first.

Is this the first step in a massive cleanup of college sports? I really doubt it. No matter how broad this investigation is, I can’t believe that it cuts into more than a small part of these practices. And this is just basketball. Football is a much bigger beast. Who knows if the FBI is looking that direction yet. And there’s always going to be cheating. The perks of winning are just too high for people to not break the rules in order to get that program-defining recruit.

What I think is far more likely is this could be the big shove we’ve been waiting on that divorces college sports from the academic mission of universities. Whether that change comes rapidly, or is still 5–10 years away, the first big cracks in the foundation of college sports as we know it appeared this week.

  1. And his own affair/extortion scandal.  ↩
  2. Ironic that Pitino took a Kentucky program that was in even worse shape and turned them into national title contenders in just four years. Someone gets to clean up his mess now.  ↩

Kid and Cougar

Steven Hyden has to be one of the three or four writers I’ve linked to most over the years. I think he’s the best music writer going these days, and have followed him across Pitchfork, the AV Club, Grantland, and now Uproxx. I appreciate both his musical sensibilities and his writing style. I’d say eight times out of ten when he is enthusiastic about an artist, I end up loving them too.[1]

So when he flagged his latest article on Twitter last week and mentioned it was kind of lengthy and “think-piecey”, I was all-in. Even with that warning I was not expecting how excellent it would end up being. It’s a deep look at Kid Rock of today, John Mellencamp of the 80s, the growth and collapse of Heartland rock, and the intersection of politics and music.

From Farm Aid To F@#$ You: Kid Rock, John Mellencamp, And The Fall Of Heartland Rock

Yep, I’ve been listening to some Mellencamp over the past week because of it.

  1. The only hole in his game is his podcasting style. I’ve tried to listen to his podcast several times and he drives me nuts by talking way more than his guests.  ↩

Hot, Sweaty Weekend

Our September heatwave continues. This weekend would have been a great weekend to sneak in a weekend at the lake. Naturally we had sports both days, so had to just stand/sit and roast in the heat.

It was a doubleheader weekend for L in soccer. Her team played at 4:00 Saturday, which was probably the hottest moment of the last 4–5 days: mid–90s, humid, no clouds or breeze to help out. The parents who were watching were wisely camped out in the shade. Those of us who had to coach got beaten down by the sun for an hour. It felt more like early August than late September. As if playing in the heat wasn’t tough enough for the kids, the fields are covered in crabgrass, hard as rocks, and just a beast to try to control the ball on. Even our best player kept having the ball bounce away from him as it hit a rut or patch of crabgrass. L scored one goal as we won easily.

Sunday she played again at 1:00. It was marginally cooler, and there was a slight breeze, so it wasn’t quite as bad for the players. It was also the first time this year our kids have been matched up with a team that was bigger than them at every position, and had a good understanding of how to play. We were deep into the first half before either team scored. We went down 1–0 and L answered right back to tie it. We got behind again and she pounded a shot home from the 18-yard line to level things again just before halftime. Second half was the same story: they took a lead, L scored on a beautiful pass from our best player to tie. We actually took a lead on a free kick by our stud, but gave one back on a free kick. Ended up 4–4 in a pretty well-played game. L is sitting on seven goals through four games. She’s starting to learn how to play off our best player, who probably has closer to 14 goals despite usually only playing half of the game.

Sunday was also cross country day. St. P’s was the host school and we bumped up the start times a couple hours to try to avoid the heat. So C and I were downtown at 7:20 to help set up. It was just starting to get uncomfortable when she ran. I don’t have her time yet, but she definitely struggled compared to a week ago. She finished in the ribbons – at #19 – but was the fifth St. P’s finisher this week. Looking back, she’s never run well on this course for some reason. She has one more regular meet this Saturday before the City championship meet on Oct. 7. Hopefully it has cooled off some by then.

We were also babysitting this weekend. One of the young nephews spent four days and nights with us, as my sister-in-law had a work trip. He was pretty easy: he went to bed without fuss at 8:00 each night and usually slept until 7:15, when we woke him to get the girls to school Thursday and Friday, or later on the weekend when he woke himself up. He’s mobile and lots of fun. The girls had a great time getting him to repeat his animal sounds or say his other handful of words. He loves – LOVES! – ceiling lights and fans. Anytime he walks into a room, he looks up, and if he sees a light, he is utterly delighted.[1] Saturday afternoon we filled up our inflatable pool and the other two young nephews came over to splash around with him.

  1. Yes!  ↩

Friday Vid

Just a video today, as we have a variety of contractors in-and-out of the house today.

“I Melt With You” – Modern English. Fall begins just after 4:00 today here in Indy. So of course we’re in the midst of the hottest, driest stretch of the year. Cross country practice was cancelled last night and Sunday’s meet as been moved up two hours to keep the kids out of the heat. Lawns are burning up all over the place. I felt like I was going to melt at L’s soccer practice Wednesday and all I was doing was playing some light goalie while the kids shot. Crazy to think that, back in early July, we were something like 12-inches over normal for rain. We’ve had almost none since then.

Is There Anybody Out There? Anybody At All?

Well this checks a few boxes for me.

General 80s nostalgia
80s pop culture and political sub-categories
Nuclear obliteration
And Kansas City/Kansas references

Yep, The Day After was a pretty big deal. And, perhaps, as relevant today as it has been for nearly 30 years.

The Day After traumatized a generation with the horrors of nuclear war

My favorite family story about The Day After was of some college friends of my parents who lived in Lawrence when the movie was being filmed. They showed up for the open casting calls but weren’t selected. They found out where they were filming one day and drove their VW back-and-forth on the nearest street with the 4-year-old waving every time they passed, hoping to show up in the background of a scene. When the movie finally aired, they were disappointed not to see themselves out of focus behind John Lithgow.

The videos embedded within this story are definitely worth your time, too.

More Kid Sports

Kickball is done.

As you should recall from last week, L’s team had to finish a game that was mysteriously cut short by their opponents, then play that team again in a full game. Sweep the game and they would go onto the City championship. A split meant a tie-breaker playoff game to settle matters.

In the suspended game Friday, we got a run in our half of the sixth to push our lead to 13, then got out of the bottom of the inning unscathed to secure the first win. That was the highlight of the day, though. We got absolutely trounced in the full game. It was 20–1 after two innings. We righted things a bit to keep from getting run-ruled, but still lost 40–17. We couldn’t kick, our defense was atrocious, and our girls just weren’t into the game at all.

Last night was the playoff game. I was really wound up on Friday but was pretty chill last night. I figured the second game was probably more true-to-form than the first, so was just hoping we could keep it close. We had a 5–3 lead in the second, and two outs on defense, before we made a couple misplays and suddenly were down 8–5. That was pretty much the game. We left the bases loaded without getting any runs the next two innings. In the fourth we gave up six runs with two outs. It was 14–5 going into the sixth. We got two runs but ended the game with a force out at home.

Here’s the thing, though: this was almost definitely our girls best game of the year. We had girls up-and-down the line crushing the ball. We just kept crushing it right at defenders.[1] L almost killed a girl in the first inning with a line drive, and only got a single out of it because the ball ricocheted right to the pitcher. Their pitcher caught at least six liners, and their suicides kept nailing our girls at home when we loaded the bases. On defense we were outstanding, those hiccups in the second and fourth aside. We had two 1–2–3 innings. We held their best kicker, who kicked four home runs Friday, to just one. The only thing we didn’t do well was run the bases. While St S’s girls were making turns and being aggressive, our girls kept stopping. We probably left 3–4 runs at third because of that.

St S averaged nearly 40 runs a game in their five regular season wins. We held them to 14 twice. I was really, really proud of our girls after the game. It would have been great to win and go to City, but I thought they showed a ton of improvement. We had a group of three or four girls who should be able to blast the ball but can’t quite do it yet. If we get those girls kicking the ball hard, that can turn a good team into a really good one. And hopefully beat St S in the spring.

L ended the season with a team-high seven home runs. The only games she didn’t kick a homer in were our two losses. St S had girls at the corners who were not afraid of the ball and knocked down her low-liners. She kicked four balls yesterday that would likely have been homers against weaker teams. Instead she went 3–4 with three singles. Yesterday she played part of the game at suicide and part at first, swapping with another girl. Those two were awesome together, getting a combined eight outs. Whoever was up front was making perfect throws and the girl at first made the catch every time.

On our way home she asked if we would practice between now and the spring season. I told her we could kick today if she wanted to.

“No, I mean the whole team, not just us.”

I like the way she’s thinking!

OK, it was a big cross country Saturday so a quick update on that.

Man, was it hot. I talked to one of the XC coaches Friday and we agreed there would be no PRs set the next day, as the forecast was for it to be hot and humid and it was an afternoon race. Mother Nature did not disappoint: it was pushing 90 and the sun was blazing all afternoon.

C surprised us a little, though. She didn’t set a PR, but she did run her second fastest 3K ever. More importantly, she helped her team win the team title.

When the race started we were more concerned with whether she would stay in the top 25, which was the cutoff for ribbons.[2] After the gun, we walked out to the midpoint to wait for her. When she came through, she and her buddy were together at 28 and 29, a little back from two of the St P’s sixth graders.[3] Right when she passed us she made a move and passed four or five girls before they disappeared back into the woods.

We ran down nearer the finish line to watch them come in. Our sixth grader who won the first two races of the year was well ahead of everyone else again. Then we started counting. The next St P’s girl didn’t come in until #12. I figured the next sixth grader would be right behind her. But, no, it was C on her heels! Running hard and putting space between the girls behind her. She came in 14th, at 14:15, which was awesome given the heat and humidity. Over a minute slower than her insane time at City a year ago, but still good enough for her second fastest 3K by about 20 seconds.

She was the fifth 5th grader to cross the finish line. More importantly, she was the third St P’s girl, so she was in the points. She even placed ahead of one of her sixth grade teammates who had been well ahead of her a week ago. St P’s top four – the girls who claim points for the team – finished 1st, 12th, 14th, and 15th, which was good enough to easily win the team championship. They got a huge ass trophy for their performance. At practice last night they had a special presentation with the assistant principal and this morning they took pictures with both principals and the main priest. Now they have three weeks and two meets to prep for City, and a chance to take home another trophy.

  1. Full credit: St S played great defense. But this was the best we kicked, as a team, all season. Including the games we scored 40 runs.  ↩
  2. This is one of the biggest races of the year, thus the deeper threshold for ribbons. Also it’s the only non-City Championship meet with a team competition.  ↩
  3. The pattern this year has been three sixth graders are the first three St. P’s finishers, then C and her buddy E are some combo of 4th and 5th.  ↩

“I Want To Find What Can’t Be Found” – A Deeper Understanding Review

I’ve been listening to The War on Drug’s A Deeper Understanding nearly non-stop for almost a month now. Yet, I’ve been struggling to put some thoughts about it together to share here. I love the album, so it should be easy to write about, right?

Turns out I’m running into the same problem that I think Adam Granduciel faced when he began recording this album: how to deal with the legacy of the LP that came before it.

2014’s Lost In The Dream was a classic album. It was at or near the top of just about every major critic’s Best Of list for that year. It’s my favorite album of the decade so far, and one of my 10 favorite albums of all-time. It was a perfectly constructed album: a tremendous opening track, followed up by the band’s biggest radio hit; an absolutely massive song in the middle, two more radio-worthy songs, and one of the greatest final tracks ever. There wasn’t a throw-away song to be found. It also documented Granduciel’s personal issues at the time the album was recorded beautifully. It was all about being in the depths of romantic depression but beginning to find the strength to kick back toward the surface of being a normal human being again.

Granduciel took an interesting path on A Deeper Understanding. He didn’t try to top Lost In The Dream or take his band in a new direction. Rather, he took much of the soul and sound of Lost In The Dream and worked to perfect those elements.

In terms of pure sound, I will accept arguments that A Deeper Understanding might match Lost In The Dream. This is an amazing sounding album. Three of the greatest guitar solos of the current era are on this album. Album opener “Up All Night” could have been rescued from a lost Miami Vice soundtrack with its shimmery synths and heavily processed guitar solo. “Pain” would be the best song of the year, with the best solo of the year, were it not for “Strangest Thing,” which nudges it out in each category. “Thinking of a Place” is a wonderfully arranged piece that makes you forget it checks in at over 11 minutes long. And “Holding On” is the one song made with an ear for radio, where I’ve been hearing it on a fairly regular basis.

Lyrically and emotionally it falls short of Dream, though. It lacks that centered sense of loss and despair that made up Dream. I think Understanding recalls TWOD’s 2012 disk, Slave Ambient, which had a more general sense of unease and longing. Granduciel’s lyrics are often hidden, but I found many of them on Dream to be excellent. Here the vocal are as up-front as any he’s recorded, but some of them aren’t very strong to begin with and others sound a bit recycled from older songs.

I have to admit I was also ever-so-slightly disappointed by the album simply because the five singles released in advance of the entire disk are the five best songs on it. There was no “OH SHIT!” song waiting for me on my first full listen. Three of the “new” songs are still quite good, but two songs I’m just not that into.

Those are minor quibbles, and ones that are perhaps more apparent simply because Lost In The Dream was such a flawless album. A Deeper Understanding is easily my favorite album of the year, and it will take something massive in the next three-plus months to knock it out of that spot. It closes a magnificent, three-album run for TWOD. Slave Ambient was a surprise to me, with its combination of heartland rock and ambient, electronic sounds. It was an announcement that the band was ready for the big time. Lost In The Dream confirmed Slave’s promise and was, for all the pain that went into creating it, the album most artists spend their entire careers yearning to create. And Granduciel did it on his second full-length disk! A Deeper Understanding doesn’t break any new ground, and thus to me feels like the end of a chapter for the band. They’ll tour it for a couple years, take a break, and likely spend another year working on their fourth LP. I expect that’s when we’ll hear The War on Drugs take things in a different direction.

This was indeed a tough album to write about. Reading back, my words may be a bit too harsh, or make it seem like I don’t really like the disk. That’s definitely not the case. A Deeper Understanding is a fantastic album. It’s just an A- where Lost In The Dream was an A+.

Friday Playlist

“Plimsoul Punks” – Alvvays.

Man, this song is just so good. Power, jangle pop with just a hint of shoegaze in the background. Perfect.

“Strangers Kiss” – Alex Cameron and Angel Olsen.

Something about this song feels straight out of 1981.

“Rained On” – Frightened Rabbit.

A surprise three-song EP dropped today from my co-favorite band. The entire thing feels perfect for fall, more restrained and folky than most of their music. This song hints at busting loose, but never quite gets there. I like it a lot.

“Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely” – Hüsker Dü.

I admit, I was never a HD fan. As much as I love/admire Bob Mould’s post-HD music, I’ve never gone back and dived into his original band’s music. As you likely have read, the other creative half of HD, Grant Hart, died yesterday after a long serious of health issues. So I spent about 30 minutes listening to some of their music yesterday. Of the Hart songs, this was the one that most jumped out at me.

“Could You Be The One?” – Hüsker Dü. 

OK, this is a Mould song, and I believe I’ve shared it before, but it deserves re-sharing today. The Today Show visited Minneapolis in 1987 and, somehow, decided HD would be a great live musical guest. The story I’ve read about this performance is that the band was pissed NBC only have them of few seconds of live air time, so they decided to just keep playing. So, as you see Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley signing off for the day, HD is blasting away in the background. If what I’ve read this morning is correct, they just kept playing for about 45 minutes. Much to the delight, I’m sure, of people throughout downtown Minneapolis. Punk rock, baby!

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