Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 in review and 2019 goals


2018

the bad:
  • got food poisoning on new year's eve, which spurred some bizarre digestive issues for like three months, including intolerances to bananas and honey(???)
  • felt stuck in an awful job that i hated from pretty much day 1
  • found out that my dad had to have a very serious, very rare open-heart surgery in cleveland
  • drama with "friends"
  • saw a mouse in my apartment
  • bourdain :( :( :( :(
the good:
  • started taking probiotics every day and all of the digestive weirdness is gone (reader, i type this to you while reveling in the delight of a peanut butter, banana, AND honey sandwich)
  • went zip lining at mount washington
  • was featured on mashable for my google arts & culture app selfie-painting match for some reason
  • took a street photography class and got to exhibit some of my work during JP open studios 
  • quit my awful job without a backup plan in nearly-cinematic fashion in february, freelanced for a bit, and found a full-time job that i absolutely love as a copywriter in downtown boston, working with great people 
  • no more fake friends! 
  • witnessed shaun white winning his THIRD OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL
  • while freelancing, got to visit the world's first robotic restaurant before it opened and go on an all expenses paid trip to vegas—one of my favorite cities—for a new york magazine/visit las vegas piece 
  • took day/weekend trips to providence, block island (during which i rode a bike for the first time in years), and portland
  •  
  • was so relieved and grateful my dad's surgery went extremely well and he's doing great: back to running and skiing already!
  • moved from jamaica plain—which was too far from just about everywhere i spend my time—back to my former town of arlington, into a beautiful, historic, renovated apartment that i still can't believe i live in. and haven't seen any more mice since mouse-proofing it!



  • went to three wonderful weddings, for my cousin and two dear friends
  • got to visit the rock and roll hall of fame and a christmas story house in cleveland
  • saw a lot of live music (the obsessives, the wombats, say anything, savoir faire, love strangers, beware the dangers of a ghost scorpion, walk off the earth, tancred, paramore, sandy (alex) g, portugal. the man, the killers, jenny lewis, the monsieurs, the struts, foo fighters, cloves, greta van fleet, honey cutt, bully, bass drum of death, hanson, the courtneys, ratboys, and soccer mommy) 
writing

i wrote a grand total of 170 pieces this year, excluding everything i wrote for my full-time jobs. that's 77 news articles (PSFK), 64 travel blog posts (drive the nation and hotelcoupons), 20 personal blog posts, 4 humor pieces (2 self-published, 1 for the bigger picture, 1 for little old lady comedy), 3 feature articles (the outline, fodor's travel, new york mag), and 2 essays (self-published on medium). not too shabby!

favorite things that i wrote:

the 9 best offbeat museums to visit in las vegas (NY mag)

hypothetical craigslist missed connections for famous women in history (the bigger picture)

a day in the life of a knight at medieval times dinner theater (little old lady comedy) 

revisiting the best summer of all time (blog post)

a day in providence, rhode island (blog post)

favorite things that i read:

articles:

"fifty candles" by wendi aarons

"the end of authenticity" by zander nethercutt

"greta van fleet, pitchfork, and licking whiskey off a bathroom floor" by hutch harris

"yoga for masochists" by dave powers

"neighbor bro smashes my romantic fantasy" by rebecca woodward

books:

astral weeks: a secret history of 1968 by ryan h. walsh

meet me in the bathroom: rebirth and rock and roll in new york city 2001-2011 by lizzy goodman

music

songs:

already covered these in my last post!

albums: 
  • soccer mommy: clean
  • donovan wolfington: WAVES
  • kurt vile: bottle it in
  • greta van fleet: anthem of the peaceful army
  • stephen malkmus & the jicks: sparkle hard
  • flatbush zombies: vacation in hell
music videos:

"freaky friday" - lil' dicky f/ chris brown (DON'T @ ME IT'S GREAT)



"loading zones" - kurt vile




choreography videos: 

travis scott's "sicko mode" by julian deguzman





UNK's "walk it out" by willdabeast adams




movies/TV:

call me by your name
queer eye
love, simon
happy anniversary
crashing
the good place
sweetbitter 

...but i'm always behind, so i still haven't seen eighth grade or bohemian rhapsody or roma or anything i probably should have seen by now

2019

considering that i only accomplished a measly 11 out of the 40 items on this year's list, i decided to go easy on myself this year and pare things down to a more reasonable amount.

1. do 1 activity per week that allows me to meet new people
2. take 2 classes
3. bake 3 desserts (or breads, whatever)
4. volunteer 4 times
5. place 5 humor pieces or essays
6. take 6 trips (at least 1 international)
7. watch 7 new tv shows
8. take 8 dance classes
9. try 9 new dinner recipes
10. read 10 books

carryovers from last year's list that would be fun to do:

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

my 18 favorite songs of 2018



it was a less fruitful year than most for me, musically, but there were still plenty of gems to be found. let's get right to it!

playlist for your listening pleasure HERE.

honorable mention:

the brian jonestown massacre - "who dreams of cats?"
ariana grande - "no tears left to cry"
deeper - "pink showers"

18. cherry glazerr - "juicy socks"



sorry, the title of this song is kind of weird and gross ... and so is the video, but i swear it's a really good tune! it's a simple little slice of lush, dreamy garage pop from singer clementine creevy and her ever-rotating cast of bandmates. it's funny, too: a lot of the comments i read about this song from longtime cherry glazerr fans expressed some disappointment in the new direction she was taking the music in, but i felt just the opposite. i was never super into anything i heard from them until this song!

17. khalid f/ normani - "love lies"




the power of a smooth r&b jam cannot be underestimated, and "love lies" puts me in a chill, happy place. khalid and normani (formerly of girl group fifth harmony) have such sexy vocal chemistry, and the bridge is as catchy as the chorus.

16. calpurnia - "greyhound"



no, your eyes are not deceiving you...that is indeed mike from stranger things, aka finn wolfhard. turns out that he has an indie band on the side that's pretty good! calpurnia's scout ep was produced by my boy cadien lake james from one of my favorite bands, twin peaks (and by "my boy," i mean i just have a weird crush on him and gleni and i refer to him as my "white trash boyfriend"). anywho, this sleepy, groovy song appears to be about someone whose partner either broke up with them or committed suicide, leaving them to go to a concert they planned to attend together by themselves. :( either way, a bit dark to be sure, but the instrumentals are lazy and light and i love the harmonies at the end. perfect for a long train or...erm, greyhound ride.

15. bass drum of death - "too high"



he's baaaack! while i was extremely wary of BDOD's new album just business after hearing the decidedly Not Good first single, "heavy," he fortunately returned to form for the rest of the record, adding just a bit more polish and doo-wop flair to his brand of garage rock. this song immediately stood out to me with its singalong quality, and the chorus just makes me want to do the pony (you know, the '60s dance).

14. teddy - "i was in a cult"



whoops! i definitely just wrote about this song like, two weeks ago and then realized it was probably going to end up on this list immediately after i posted it. so, i guess i'll just copy and paste what i said about it because i feel the same today:

i can't be the only one to remember the shaggy-haired, blue-eyed heartthrob teddy geiger, can i? his earnest acoustic tune, "for you i will (confidence)" was kind of a sleeper hit back in the mid-2000s, and he starred on the short-lived, ill-conceived, but mostly enjoyable show love monkey with tom cavanagh from ed.

fast forward 13 years, and he is now a she, who has apparently co-written mega-hit songs for the likes of shawn mendes, one direction, and 5 seconds of summer. one of her own recent tunes, released under the moniker teddy (i can't add the heart because blogger thinks it's HTML code), popped up on spotify and it is a certified BOP.

it has an undeniably catchy melody, there are shades of fuzzy garage/psych pop, and how about that little piano riff?! just makes me want to strut down the street.

addendum: seriously, i feel like i have to physically restrain myself from pretending i'm on a catwalk when i'm listening to it in public. and i didn't really notice it at first, but the vocal flourish at 2:07 gives me LIFE, honey.
 
13. tancred - "reviews"




this is the second time tancred (the solo project of jess abbott, formerly of now, now) has made my year-end list—"bed case" was on my 2016 list as well. "reviews" has a more subtle, decidedly darker vibe, and a pretty interesting melody that's somehow still really catchy as it takes all these twists and turns. i had the pleasure of attending a *~secret show~* by her and her band at the boston spotify office this past spring (probably because i had been listening to this song all day, errday), and i felt like i was in one of those "cool concert" scenes from a movie or tv show and it was extremely sweet. sounded great live, too!
 
12. 5 seconds of summer - "youngblood"



i swear to god, the first 20+ times i heard the beginning of this song on the radio, i was absolutely convinced it was ZAYN (which is another reason i love it, probably) and then when the beat kicked in, i was like "goddammit, tricked again!" i finally got it through my thick head a few months later and fully embraced the song and its true identity. between the groovy, shoulder-shimmying, finger-snapping "you push and you push and i'm pullin' awaaay" to the larger-than-life, foot-stomping chant of a chorus, there's so much to dig about this perfect, not-so-little pop song. btw, that's not the band in the video. they're australian. so...no idea.

11. the voidz - "leave it in my dreams"



like a much dreamier (sorry) early strokes song, "leave it in my dreams" took a while to grow on me. but it wasn't long before its subtle sweetness and casual cool started to endear me to it and i craved it like my morning coffee. so...basically, also how i feel about julian casablancas.

10. eminem - "killshot"



never thought i'd see the day that i included a rap diss track on this list, but if everyone hadn't already agreed that em's the greatest rapper of all time, this confirmed it, despite his last few terrible albums. it does help to watch machine gun kelly's original diss video (which was surprisingly decent) for context. but when i first heard "killshot" without having listened to it, i was still blown away. i won't spoil any of the lines because it's so much more fun to listen to the sweet, slow burn of every jab and yell "yaaaaas." but i will say that the "man bun" line had me like:





and the "you dress better" one had me like:




9. gender roles - "about her"




i love me some bratty british indie rock, and gender roles came through this year with "about her," a crunchy little nugget with a headbanging earworm of a chorus. after the first time i heard it, i'm pretty sure i listened to it aboooout 50 times in 3 days, which is one of the most satisfying musical experiences ever, IMO. love the brit-as-fuck spoken-word breakdown. CRUSH IT UP AND PUT IT IN MY DRINK!

8. phantastic ferniture - "fuckin 'n' rollin'"



block your ears, children! if it weren't for the fact that the lyrics to the chorus are literally "fuckin' 'n' rollin, roll in the night/fuckin 'n' rollin'/just feels right" this laid-back, folksy song would be the LEAST likely to have such an explicit title by the mere sound of it. it’s gorgeous in the simplicity of the melody, the bassline is groovy as hell, and julia jacklin’s voice adds a layer of richness to the whole breezy affair. the video is so enjoyable to watch, too.

7.  donovan wolfington - "ways"



i wrote at length about these cats earlier in the year, and "ollie north" was on my 2015 list, so i've been loving d-wolf for quite a while. sadly, they broke up in the spring, but their final album waves is such an excellent goodbye note, and certainly one of my most-played this year. "ways" in particular encapsulates their sound perfectly, IMO: joyous, unabashed skate punk with dark undertones and unexpected layers and textures to it. the alternative put it really well, describing the beginning as "a gargantuan riff with the crunch of a dozen Nature Valley bars." totally, bruh.

6. kurt vile - "bassackwards"



"remember that time that neil young had a baby with tom petty and he was born with long scraggly hair and a sneer and a flannel? hi kurt." - some guy on youtube 😂

would it even be my favorite songs of the year list without an appearance by kurt vile?! while "loading zones" and "yeah bones" from his latest album, bottle it in, were in the running, i kept coming back to this languid, hazy, almost-10-minute trip that's not a second too long. "bassackwards" —and much of kurt's music, really—feels like big, long hugs from your favorite person, aimless solo drives where you pretend you're in a movie, good, cathartic cries, finding shapes in clouds, and the all of the beautiful, weird little moments that make life so lovely. kurt vile is the only person who can have a lyric like "i appreciate her to the utmost degree" and have it somehow sound like he's saying "whatever, maaaan."

5. greta van fleet - "brave new world"



IN THIS HOUSE, WE LOVE AND RESPECT GRETA VAN FLEET.

man, it's a good thing i don't require bands to write a fucking thesis on their innovative compositions in order for me to like their music, because if i did, i'd miss out on some excellent tunes like this one. are greta van fleet currently derivative as hell? absolutely. do i care? not one damn bit. my criteria for enjoying music is the following: it makes me feel good when i listen to it, and...nope, that's it. it makes me feel good when i listen to it.

if they aren't your cup of tea, that's fine! but to dismiss them or worse, spew hate because they have the same "sound" as another—incredible!—group (who, may i remind you, isn't making music anymore) when 95% of indie bands sound alike is pure bullshit. i laugh so hard when i see critics referring to them as "precious," because TRULY, the only element of preciousness here is the fact that pretentious assholes are taking a super fun young rock band so seriously. like, it's not greta's problem that you'd prefer to quietly cry yourself to sleep while listening to neutral milk hotel every night than have a couple of beers and play air guitar. please calm down. it's only rock 'n roll, baby!

when i fell in love with this band just over a year ago ("edge of darkness" was my favorite song of 2017 and i stand by that assessment more now than ever), all i knew is that they were going to get really, really big—probably really, really fast. then, i saw them live in july. i've been to around 200 shows at this point in my life, and theirs was easily in my top three, ever. it was certainly the most fun i've ever had at a concert. the maturity, musicianship, energy, and charisma these guys play with at 19(!) and 22 years old is straight-up insane and i will not let a mumble-rap-loving journalist tell me otherwise, because i know what i saw, heard, and felt.

ANYWAY (shh, don't tell the haters!), this song—along with about half the songs on the new album—sounds absolutely nothing like zep. break out your lava lamp and get ready to stare at your favorite tapestry for five minutes, brothers and sisters. it's grungy, heavy, atmospheric, and rush-meets-neil young and crazy horse-meets-black sabbath-meets-the mars volta. more than anything, though, it's very greta van fleet. as a youtube commenter said, "the chorus sounds like you're a knight fighting a dragon on a cold night." fuck yes. also, i'm pleased to announce that i'm now pregnant as a result of that fuzz-pedal guitar solo and drums at the end.

admittedly, i preferred last year's double EP from the fires to anthem of the peaceful army, but it's a solid, highly enjoyable album with some true flashes of greatness like this one. i really look forward to seeing these young bucks continue to grow as musicians and hone their own sound, because they absolutely have what it takes to be legendary, and i'm not being hyperbolic. i'll proudly be going to new york to see them live again in may. think the dude from pitchfork will be there? ;)

p.s. if you're interested in joining the party and opening your ears and heart to GVF, i recommend you set aside 26 minutes, light somethin' up, and watch this...one of my favorite activities these days, tbh.   
 
4. post animal - "gelatin mode"



in the second appearance from a band featuring a stranger things cast member (joe keery aka steve harrington played guitar on this record), we have post animal's swirly, psychedelic adventure, "gelatin mode." this track is part soulful '60s garage ditty, part sludgy '70s acid trip, part '80s video game soundtrack, and most importantly, a really good time. without a doubt, it's also one of the most creative and unique songs i heard this year. but see? that's the beauty of music, guys. you can enjoy a great (mostly derivative) song AND a great (mostly unique) song. both can be excellent! there's more than enough room for all of it in this big, wonderful world. thanks for coming to my ted talk.

3. anna burch - "tea-soaked letter"



hiiii, jangly '90s indie rock vibes! indeed, this song wouldn't be out of place at all on the soundtrack to singles, reality bites, or the clueless tv adaptation. anna's voice is like the best parts of juliana hatfield's and liz phair's all mixed together and baked into the perfect pie. also, i credit this video for inspiring the majority of my style this year.

2. flatbush zombies - "headstone"




i still can't believe that i accidentally discovered these guys at the boston calling music festival a couple years ago. this track—the first single from their album vacation in hell—is not only an absolute banger (that beat, tho!), but also a masterclass in old-school hip-hop. every single line of every single verse is a reference to those who came before FBZ, from biggie to slick rick, and it's all woven together flawlessly; i completely lost my shit at the bone thugs' "crossroads" and kanye's "jesus walks" nods. if you're as nerdy as i am, these dudes break down the references pretty thoroughly.

don't even get me started on the flows, y'all. erick, zombie juice, and meech all spit fire, as the kids say, and have their own distinct voice and vibe that makes the song so dynamic and interesting the whole way through. i'll give you a moment to laugh as you picture an extremely white girl rapping "put money over bitches on my headstone" as she drives through suburban boston.

1. soccer mommy - "your dog"



in 1969, iggy and the stooges were like, “i wanna be your dog” and in 2018, soccer mommy (aka sophie allison) is all “i don’t wanna be your fucking dog!” JK, i'm pretty sure that the former song has absolutely nothing to do with the latter, but it was my first thought. 

clean, the album on which this track appears, was also my favorite of the entire year. the whole thing is earnest, angsty, and bare-bones, really showcasing allison's excellent songcraft and understated-yet-powerful voice. my favorite time to listen to it has been driving around at night, because it evokes such a distinct mood. in "your dog," a haunting guitar riff sets the scene for pleas like "i'm not a prop for you to use/when you're lonely or confused/i want a love that lets me breathe/i've been choking on your leash." the lyrics are very of-the-moment, but also timeless, because…dudes. in many ways, it's a perfectly fitting closing track for 2018.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

5 things i love right now

1. this nutso purple and blue house in my neighborhood



 like...WHO LIVES HERE?!


2. this song by teddy, "i was in a cult"



i can't be the only one to remember the shaggy-haired, blue-eyed heartthrob teddy geiger, can i? his earnest acoustic tune, "for you i will (confidence)" was kind of a sleeper hit back in the mid-2000s, and he starred on the short-lived, ill-conceived, but mostly enjoyable show love monkey with tom cavanagh from ed.

fast forward 13 years, and he is now a she, who has apparently co-written mega-hit songs for the likes of shawn mendes, one direction, and 5 seconds of summer. one of her own recent tunes, released under the moniker teddy (i can't add the heart because blogger thinks it's HTML code), popped up on spotify and it is a certified BOP. it has an undeniably catchy melody, there are shades of fuzzy garage/psych pop, and how about that little piano riff?! just makes me want to strut down the street.

3. this vintage garfield sweatshirt 


can you imagine if i wore this to work?! hahaha. 

4. this article about being a hanson fan for 20 years

so, you guys know that i'm a fanson fo' lyfe and that last night, i had the pleasure of seeing my OG favorite brother band (sorry, greta van fleet, our relationship is still too new to call it) for the ninth time. this show was different than all the others, though; they were backed by a symphony orchestra. it was likely for this reason—and the fact that i was really feeling the two glasses of wine i imbibed—that halfway through the first song, the tears just flooded my eyes without warning. something about the dramatic strings, and that i was in the same venue a few feet away from where i first saw them live 18 years ago, and that i've loved their music so deeply for the majority of my life all converged and i just couldn't help it.

 it was also that the day before, a woman that i met at one of their shows a decade ago posted the above article and tagged all of the ladies she's met at hanson shows, including me. as she said, i don't think i've ever read a more perfect description of how it's felt to be a fan for all of these years. "...part of loving hanson is loving the memory of who i was when i became their fan: an outsider who found kindred spirits in a band that wasn’t quite mainstream." last night, singing along to songs that still hold up wonderfully after more than two decades with all of those other "outsiders," i felt not only comforted, but incredibly proud that my 11-year-old self was so right about them all along. relatedly, this song from the new album, "siren call," is also insanely good so i'mma just leave this here:



5. this chilean sandwich, a chacarero



i know, it's hard to imagine a sandwich with green beans on it being good, but these little guys are ADDICTIVE. always on the hunt for lunch places near my office, i popped into this restaurant (which shares a name with the sandwich) with a coworker a month or so ago, and ordered a small original chicken chacarero. it was the beginning of something beautiful. the bread is soft and homemade, and the chicken is dressed up with muenster cheese, tomatoes, green beans, avocado spread and hot sauce for a little kick. it's everything i never knew i needed in a sandwich and i now find myself craving it at least once a week. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

a lil' halloween roundup

halloween is my second-favorite holiday (after thanksgiving, obviously). there are so many things i love about it, besides going to salem and watching hocus pocus a million times, of course. here are just a handful of things that totally put me in the spirit every year. how about you?

"the tale of the whispering walls" episode of are you afraid of the dark 


still scares the living shit out of me.

funny pop culture-related halloween costumes



lmao i would definitely also be the mom that dresses her small child as post malone

houses that go ALL OUT with the halloween decorations









this part of the thriller video:

via GIPHY

THESE GUYS:

Sunday, October 7, 2018

the weekend in photos

i jokingly say "bury me in massachusetts" pretty often, but it's weekends like this one that i seriously mean it. since i'm going to be out of town for weddings the next two weekends, i figured it was the perfect time to frolic around with a cup of mulled cider and a scarf and do a little boston walkabout.

as a bonus, it was honkfest this weekend, so i got to enjoy some of the bands playing in davis square on saturday afternoon. if you don't know about honkfest, the short version is that it's a huge gathering of activist musicians who form brass bands and dress up in crazy outfits and have fun and play tunes all weekend. then there's a parade on sunday afternoon (pictures of that later).




when i got into the city, i headed straight for FALL CENTRAL aka beacon hill. i was bummed that there weren't more halloween decorations up yet, but it was still beautiful and quaint and the ridiculously wealthy residents were staaaarting to get into the spirit.








then i wandered back through boston common to locate *~THE TREE~* which just steals every other tree's shine. foliage on fleek.


also very into this scene:


and of course, there was some kind of colonial reenactor thing happening, because why wouldn't there be?


I'M DEAD (and no, i don't know this man, but it was too perfect):


and i couldn't stop, wouldn't stop the honkfest festivities, so i went to the parade today and got some sweet shots with my real camera.















that's all, folks. thanks for indulging me here, because if i were to post every photo i wanted to post on instagram i'd most definitely have no friends OR followers. :) :) :) :(