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Sunday Shuffle #339

I haven't done one of these in a while for a couple reasons:

1. I haven't synced my phone up with my iTunes to get an accurate reading on how many plays each song might have. I've had a issue with podcast episodes disappearing when I sync ever since iOS 7 came on the scene and it's annoying (I synced up a little bit ago and had the same problem).

2. It's been nice to not feel the need to do one of these every single Sunday morning. I was able to let go of it more easily than I had suspected.

Why do one today? Last Sunday of the year, synced-up songs, a feeling of why not. So, here are today's ten...

1. Joy To You Baby/Josh Ritter (14) - last played on 12/10/13
2. Jesse's Not a Sleeper/J Tillman (7) - last played on 5/17/12
3. All Things Must Pass/Yim Yames (4) - last played on 9/18/11
4. Downtown/Destroyer (7) - last played on 7/18/13
5. The Longing/Eels (3) - last played on 11/1/12
6. Happy Alone/Earlimart (8) - last played on 4/15/13
7. The Fall of the Wo…

The Mix #4: I Don't Want To Wait Forever

My title this time out is ironic, because I published the last mix over 4 months ago...so long ago, in fact, that I'm no longer going to call this series The Monthly Mix. From here on out, it will simply be known as The Mix and then I can put or new one up in a week or three months or whatever. Since it's been a while, I've upped this one to 20 songs instead of the usual 15. As always, just find me on Spotify to play along (or follow my Facebook or Twitter links)...

1. You Can Stay But You Gotta Go/Quasi - I've know of Quasi for a long time but I've never listened to a whole album. This duo is Sam Coomes (who was in Heatmiser with Elliott Smith back in the 90s) and Janet Weiss (who was in Sleater-Kinney and Malkmus and the Jicks and is currently a member of Wild Flag). This track comes from their recent album, Mole City, and is full of fuzzy guitar and the stellar drum work of Weiss.

2. Me & You & Jackie Mittoo/Superchunk - Superchunk came roaring back this…

Heavy Rotation #23

While my music listening continues to be more scattered than focused, I have digitally or physically spun two albums on a regular basis over the last few weeks. Read (and maybe listen too?) on...

Death Cab For Cutie/Transatlanticism - This album came out 10 years ago and was recently reissued. Naturally, there was coverage about the reissue and that led to me picking it up once again. It was the first Death Cab album I bought and it remains my favorite (though I like all their albums...also,  Narrow Stairs is a strong second). Lines like "I wish the world was flat like the old days/Then I could travel just by folding the map/No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways/There'd be no distance that could hold us back" and "There's a tear in the fabric of your favorite dress/And I'm sneaking glances" are catnip to me and those are from the first two songs. I love the juxtaposition of the music and lyrics in "The Sound of Settling," where the st…

Sunday Shuffle #338

I haven't done one of these in a month but today feels like a good day for it, so here's today's ten...
1. Golden State/Delta Spirit (13) - last played on 7/14/13 2. Daydreaming/Middle Brother (12) - last played on 5/13/12 3. Human Punching Bag/M. Ward (5) - last played on 6/1/13 4. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)/The Decemberists (6) - last played on 12/9/12 5. Polly Anne/Reigning Sound (3) - last played on 11/12/11 6. Blood Bank/Bon Iver (3) - last played on 11/6/11 7. You Can Always Count On Me (In The Worst Way)/Superchunk (13) - last played on 8/3/13 8. Little Faith/The National (19) - last played on 6/1/13 9. Disco 2000/Pulp (13) - last played on 8/9/13 10. Now You're Among Strangers/J Tillman (7) - last played on 5/17/12

Heavy Rotation #22

It's been a while since I've done one of these entries, a combination of a lack of focus during the summer and how Spotify has changed my listening habits. Over the past couple weeks, however, I've been coming back to three albums over and over...
Nada Surf/The Weight Is A Gift - This album is not new to me; I'm pretty sure I bought it the day it came out back in 2005 (when I still bought CDs on a regular basis). I was a big fan of their previous album, Let Go, and had high expectations for this one. I was not disappointed. Why am I listening to it a bunch now? I came back for "Always Love," the soaring song of positivity that is one of my unofficial theme songs. Once I started listening, I couldn't stop. This is melodic rock/power pop of the highest order and the first 7 songs are unimpeachable. After a few quieter ones, it closes with the charging "Imaginary Friends." If you haven't heard it, do yourself a favor and give it a Spotify spin o…

Sunday Shuffle #337

So much for regular posting - it's been two weeks since the last shuffle with nothing else in between. Maybe this week I'll finally get productive. For now, though, let's see what ten songs pop up first...

1. Father To A Sister Of A Thought/Pavement (7) - last played on 4/7/13
2. Robbers/Cold War Kids (3) - last played on 3/18/12
3. Untitled Instrumental/My Morning Jacket (6) - last played on 9/30/12
4. I'll Never Leave You/Harry Nilsson (4) - last played on 9/4/11
5. Flashes and Cables/Centro-Matic (5) - last played on 2/5/12
6. Black Out/Pavement (6) - last played on 11/10/12
7. Blue As Your Blood/The Walkmen (12) - last played on 6/30/13
8. You Won't See Me/The Beatles (5) - last played on 6/2/13
9. Dear Someone/Gillian Welch (5) - last played on 12/10/10
10. Last Love Song For Now/Okkervil River (4) - last played on 11/18/12

Sunday Shuffle #336

I've let the blog lie dormant over the last month plus but I'm ready to get back to semi-regular posting. So, let today's ten commence...

1. Before I Do/Sloan (13) - last played on 8/10/13
2. Troll Nacht/The Dodos (4) - last played on 10/30/11
3. Conduit For Sale!/Pavement (6) - last played on 11/18/12
4. The Shape Is In A Trance/Thurston Moore (3) - last played on 5/8/11
5. Rooftops/Pela (4) - last played on 12/14/10
6. Bandits/Midlake (5) - last played on 12/16/12
7. You're the Doctor/Ty Segall (6) - last played on 5/2/13
8. Not Enough/J Mascis (15) - last played on 7/14/13
9. When We Were Alive/The Thermals (11) - last played on 6/9/13
10. Bandit Queen (w/DT)/The Decemberists (4) - last played on 2/20/12

Sunday Shuffle #335

Today has already featured a drive from Columbus, Ohio back to Valpo (which took about 5 1/2 hours) and a get-together to see a friend who's been living in Japan for three months. It was a quick weekend in Columbus but a good one filled with family, food, laughter, and a live performance by The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Still, I thought I'd squeeze in the usual Sunday ten...

1. Miles Davis & The Cool/The Gaslight Anthem (6) - last played on 5/19/13
2. The Greatest Sum (acoustic)/The Avett Brothers (4) - last played on 3/4/12
3. Let Your Light In, Babe/Robert Forster (4) - last played on 3/24/13
4. Almost Fare/Dinosaur Jr. (12) - last played on 7/12/13
5. Water In Hell/Broken Social Scene (8) - last played on 6/30/13
6. Mess Inside/The Mountain Goats (5) - last played on 11/4/12
7. Fight/Art Brut (10) - last played on 5/9/13
8. Hot Freaks/Guided By Voices (9) - last played on 3/313
9. Calendar Girl/Stars (8) - last played on 3/24/13
10. The Wall/Yuck (14) - last played o…

Sunday Shuffle #334

A bit of a later start today but rather than skipping the proceedings, I thought I'd get one in. So, here are today's ten...

1. Postcard Blues/Verbena (5) - last played on 2/3/13
2. Kaputt/Destroyer (6) - last played on 5/5/13
3. In A Radio Song/Okkervil River (4) - last played on 7/22/11
4. It Looks Like Love/Josh Rouse (4) - last played on 3/10/13
5. Sour Cherry/The Kills (7) - last played on 2/11/13
6. I'm Not Through With You Yet/Sloan (11) - last played on 6/8/13
7. Shake And Pop/Nick Lowe (4) - last played on 4/15/12
8. 90-Mile Water Wall/The National (13) - last played on 5/12/13
9. Chinatown/Destroyer (6) - last played on 6/1/13
10. All the Lightning Rods/Centro-Matic (5) - last played on 7/15/12

Monthly Mix #3: Like A Shark Does

I realize that June has been gone for almost two weeks at this point but I didn't quite figure out if I wanted this to be a summer theme or just a collection of music again...and then I went on vacation. So, here I am with the June mix on July 12 and it's a cross between summer and a collection and also contains songs I discovered while on vacation. Whatever. In the end, it's a great group of songs and that's all that matters. As usual, the title comes from lyrics in one of the songs...a choice that may have been influenced by last night's Twitter explosion over Sharknado. I hope you listen (remember that it's on Spotify under my name) and enjoy...

1. Demon Dance/Surfer Blood - This is the lead track from their new album, Pythons, and is the perfect lead track for this mix. Pop rock and screaming guitars, what more could you want in the summer?

2. Swim and Sleep/Unknown Mortal Orchestra - I've heard this song here and there over the past few months and finall…

Sunday Shuffle #332/333

I won't have a chance to do a Shuffle next Sunday, so I thought I'd do a "double issue" this week. So, here are today's twenty...

1. I'm Done Running from You/Mikal Cronin (4) - last played on 6/18/13
2. Lionesse/White Rabbits (6) - last played on 3/24/13
3. She Wears My Hair/The Soft Boys (4) - last played on 6/23/13
4. Andiamo/The Twilight Singers (4) - last played on 10/16/11
5. Wave Of Mutilation/I Wanna Be Sedated/Rhett Miller (5) - last played on 3/313
6. Alive Among Thieves/Oakley Hall (3) - last played on 1/1/12
7. Swimmers/Broken Social Scene (4) - last played on 10/2/11
8. Be Invited/The Twilight Singers (9) - last played on 3/24/13
9. And The Glitter Is Gone/Yo La Tengo (4) - last played on 5/29/11
10. California Stars/Rhett Miller (6) - last played on 12/12/12
11. When I Lose My Eyes/Saturday Looks Good To Me (6) - last played on 7/15/12
12. Angels On A Passing Train/Marah (7) - last played on 3/24/13
13. European Oils/Destroyer (4) - last played …

Sunday Shuffle #331

I'm starting this later than I usually do...it's just past 1:30 and I've got the White Sox/Royals game on, hoping the Sox can sweep. At first, I wasn't going to do a shuffle today (and didn't do one last week) but I just now decided "why not." So, here are today's ten...

1. She Wears My Hair/The Soft Boys (3) - last played on 2/24/13
2. Big Darkness/Crooked Fingers (6) - last played on 4/8/12
3. Maggie/Cracker (4) - last played on 4/15/12
4. Roosevelt Island/Eleanor Friedberger (8) - last played on 11/18/12
5. Go Ahead/The Rosebuds (7) - last played on 12/27/11
6. Little Red Corvette/Prince (4) - last played on 4/22/12
7. Cruel/St. Vincent (12) - last played on 11/4/12
8. No Lucifer/British Sea Power (2) - last played on 5/20/10
9. Codex/Radiohead (9) - last played on 12/29/12
10. June Hymn/The Decemberists (18) - last played on 8/10/12

Recent Reading

Last weekend I had a hard time deciding which of the too-many books in my TBR pile I wanted to start, so I ended up reading some single issues and finishing a trade instead. After that, I made a decision and managed to read a book during a busy week. Oh, and the new issue of Astro City came out. Some thoughts...

Astro City: Confession - I love what Kurt Busiek does with this six-part storyline. It's the story of Brian, who moves to Astro City after the death of his father and sets about getting involved in the world of super-heroes. He manages to get noticed and becomes Altar Boy, the sidekick of The Confessor. That's the basic plot and it sounds like a typical type of super-hero comic. It's not. Sure, we are given some scenes of The Confessor training Brian but those scenes are marginally about the nuts and bolts of fighting crime with no powers and a cape. Brian is also learning how to be a detective and about that world of super-heroes he is joining. This story deals wit…

Sunday Shuffle #330

This is my transitional Sunday - the school year is over and my summer of swimming lessons starts tomorrow. Not sure how ready I am for it but that doesn't much matter, does it? Today I want to watch the French Open men's final between Nadal and Ferrer and hopefully watch the Spurs take a 2-0 lead over the heat. For now, today's ten...

1. Just Listen/Two Hours Traffic (4) - last played on 2/26/13 2. I Know These Waters Well/Apex Manor (17) - last played on 1/17/13 3. Too Hard/Kurt Vile (2) - last played on 6/3/13 (just bought this!) 4. The Shape of the Sum/I Love Math (4) - last played on 3/25/12 5. Every Single Instinct/Superchunk (14) - last played on 3/28/12 6. Snakes of Hawaii/Army Navy (5) - last played on 9/17/12 7. Holy Roller/Apex Manor (15) - last played on 3/1/12 8. Losin You/Amy Millan (5) - last played on 10/21/12 9. Paranoia in Bb Minor/The Avett Brothers (3) - last played on 2/18/12 10. Country Sad Ballad Man (Live Acoustic Version)/Blur (1) - debut

Sunday Shuffle #329

I've put up three posts since last Sunday, including two last night, so if you haven't seen them, please go back and take a look. Today is the last Sunday of the school year - four more days gets us to summer break (my wife has already started hers). Oh, and go Blackhawks and Pacers!

1. Mirror in the Dark/Twin Shadow (5) - last played on 12/20/12
2. Out Of My Hand/Michael Penn (8) - last played on 2/13/13
3. Forced To Love/Broken Social Scene (6) - last played on 3/10/13
4. Born A Woman/Nick Lowe (3) - last played on 5/1/11
5. Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five/Shearwater (7) - last played on 3/28/12
6. Girl In The War/Josh Ritter (5) - last played on 4/26/13
7. Cover Ears/The Rosebuds (7) - last played on 2/17/13
8. With Or Without You/U2 (4) - last played on 5/19/13
9. The Night Starts Here/Stars (5) - last played on 1/13/13
10. Dressy/Reigning Sound (3) - last played on 4/28/12

Monthly Mix #2: You Cannot Wrestle A Dove

Here is my May mix, filled with songs I could not get out of my head...and didn't want to...

1. Cannonball/The Breeders - Last Splash is 20 years old and just got reissued in a deluxe edition, which means I've had this song lodged in my head once again. It's still an oddball of a tune but all those elements come together to form a super-catchy song.
2. Breakers/Local Natives - This is off their new album, Hummingbird. I heard it on KEXP a few times and fell for it. The soaring "ooo"s are really hard to beat, aren't they? I have as yet to explore the rest of the album, so I don't know if this is a band I like or just a song. Well, I do like the song already, don't I? Hope it catches your ear too.
3. Sea of Love/The National - A few songs were released ahead of the new album but this was the first that truly caught my attention (and not just for the video). It's got that surging, pounding drumbeat with the bass locked in step and then when it pauses fo…

Mega-Post #3

It's been quite a while since I posted something that was a Sunday Shuffle, Heavy Rotation, or Monthly Mix, which means it's well past time to get caught up with my pop culture intake...

BAKER'S DOZEN

Yes, I've read 13 books since last time I wrote about books. I'll try to keep my comments short...

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin - I took just over three weeks to read this, though I did read a couple others during that time as well. The first half of the book does great character work and the second half is full of big event after big event and made me leave any other reading aside. It's my favorite book of the series so far and the first half or so is being adapted into the current season of Game of Thrones, which I also recommend.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - On the surface, I should have liked this a lot. It's a romance set in the 80s and the titular characters are into the things I was into - I was the same age during that time period. An…

Heavy Rotation #21

It's been about a month since I put up the last one but this covers the period from then up until the last week or so, when some new albums have started to take over...

Mikal Cronin/MCII - This album starts out with some tinkling piano then some acoustic guitar then a sharp lyric wedded to a melody that will stick with you before finally bringing on the guitar fuzz. How great is that? Even greater is that the rest of the songs employ those tools (plus some saxophone here, some strings there, and a couple Ty Segall guitar solos on top) to create an album that you don't want to miss. I just can't get enough.
Ivan & Alyosha/All The Times We Had - I used to think that this band did dance pop music ala MGMT. I was incorrect in my assumption. Instead, they are purveyors of pure pop music, descending from The Beatles as all such bands do. So, we get hummable melodies and harmonies and ballads and rock songs and lyrics that rise above the banal. And, like good albums of this gen…

Sunday Shuffle #328

I'm working on a couple other posts, which I will hopefully have up in the next couple days. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the fact that this is the middle of a 3-day weekend. Hope you're having a good weekend too...

1. Better To Be/Liam Finn (15) - last played on 5/18/13
2. Tokyo/Telekinesis (17) - last played on 4/1/13
3. My Revenge/Julie Ocean (8) - last played on 3/24/13
4. Animated Airplanes Over Germany/Superchunk (7) - last played on 3/28/12
5. The Only Piece That You Get/Superchunk (14) - last played on 3/28/12
6. From Ghost Town/Robert Forster (5) - last played on 5/12/13
7. Better Times Are Coming Our Way/Cracker (5) - last played on 11/20/11
8. My Body Is a Cage/Arcade Fire (7) - last played on 3/5/13
9. Market Girl/Headlights (6) - last played on 1/20/13
10. Atmosphere/Velvet Crush (10) - last played on 12/2/12

Sunday Shuffle #327

I realize I'm doing these mostly for me at this point but I'm okay with that...

1. Big Difference/Tokyo Police Club (14) - last played on 11/11/12
2. Don't You Evah/Spoon (7) - last played on 4/4/13
3. Parklife/Blur (5) - last played on 5/12/13
4. Pablo And Andrea/Yo La Tengo (10) - last played on 9/30/12
5. Watch Out For Me Ronnie/Yo La Tengo (7) - last played on 1/2/13
6. Anchorage/Surfer Blood (5) - last played on 12/21/10
7. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of/U2 (6) - last played on 5/5/13
8. Jamy/Higgins (12) - last played on 10/24/12
9. Staples/Buffalo Tom (17) - last played on 8/10/12
10. Slapped Actress/The Hold Steady (7) - last played on 10/14/12

Sunday Shuffle #326

I'd had thoughts of taking a break, what with 325 being a decent number to stop on, but I feel like doing one this morning, so here we go...

1. Yeah It's Beautiful Here Too/Superchunk (9) - last played on 2/24/13
2. The Mystery Zone/Spoon (12) - last played on 4/16/12
3. A Rose for Emily/The Zombies (13) - last played on 4/14/13
4. Guide Down Denied/Grandaddy (7) - last played on 3/31/13
5. Come Undone/Isobell Campbell & Mark Lanegan (10) - last played on 12/5/12
6. The Crooked Spine/M. Ward (4) - last played on 1/1/12
7. Your Apocalypse/Crooked Fingers (9) - last played on 1/19/13
8. With Nothing To Show For It/Clem Snide (15) - last played on 3/21/12
9. The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid/The Decemberists (4) - last played on 2/20/12
10. She Was No Good/Elvis Costello (5) - last played on 2/21/13

Sunday Shuffle #325

The lawn-mowing merry-go-round has started back up but the older I've gotten, the less I mind doing that particular chore. The nice weather also means that we have our porch set up again and I got to spend some time reading on the futon, which is one of my favorite things to do. Only five weeks left of school and only two of those weeks have a full five days, of which this upcoming week is one. Summer is coming...

1. He's A Reptile/The Soft Boys (5) - last played on 3/3/13
2. Out The Door/Ben Kweller (21) - last played on 3/22/13
3. Seeing Other People/Belle & Sebastian (6) - last played on 3/15/13
4. Larry/Buffalo Tom (15) - last played on 4/14/13
5. She Walks/Eli "Paperboy" Reed And The True Loves (6) - last played on 12/26/10
6. Concerning the End of the World (Eterna Redux)/The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (2) - last played on 6/13/11
7. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Of/U2 (5) - last played on 1/27/13
8. In My Bed/The Orwells (11) - last …

Monthly Mix #1: Good Love Is Hard To Find

Like all serious music fans, I love making mixes. I started with tapes, of course, and then moved on to CDs. These days, you can use Spotify to work the same kind of magic and I'm recommitting to the art of the mix. I plan on putting one together a month. For April, I assembled songs that I loved listening to (that will probably be my default mode but we'll see). I published this out on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr and few days ago but I've since renamed it and will now annotate it. I hope you give it a listen...

1. Wakin on a Pretty Day/Kurt Vile - This is the sorta title track to Vile's new album and it is so easy to get lost in the shifting guitars and sections of this nine-and-a-half minute tune. The thing is, it doesn't feel like it's that long. This is an album I've listened to a few times and I like it lot, so much that I think I might buy it in mp3 form. It's always great to find a new artist to like.

2. Wolves/Josh Ritter - My plan was to put …

Sunday Shuffle #324

Heading into the home stretch of the school year - only three 5 day weeks and three 4 day weeks left to go. I was up late helping to disassemble prom last night but got about 6 hours of sleep, so as long as I turn in early tonight, I should be alright. I still have to go to the grocery store and clean the house and I certainly want to watch the hour-long Baseball Tonight in a couple hours, so I'm going to start this while I finish my orange juice and finish it when I finish it (of course, you'll have no way of knowing how long that gap is, will you?). Anyway, here are today's ten...

1. What You Want It To Be/Sugar (3) - last played on 2/3/13
2. I Don't Wanna Go There/Dinosaur Jr. (14) - last played on 8/6/12
3. Tugboat/Portastatic (4) - last played on 3/3/13
4. Crimson Skies/The Budos Band (7) - last played on 6/27/11
5. Shady Lane/Pavement (11) - last played on 4/21/13
6. Mellotron 2/Apples In Stereo (5) - last played on 3/17/13
7. My Love Is Real/Divine Fits (18) - l…

Heavy Rotation #20

Here is this month's rundown of the music I've listened to most often...

Earlimart/Mentor Tormentor - I listened to this album a lot when it came out in 2007 but since I had to reconstruct my iTunes 3 years ago, I've pretty much just heard it when songs would pop up in shuffle. Not sure what led me back to it now but the soaring melodies and sharp guitar and pretty piano work all add up to a collection of songs that gets stuck in your head. Sometimes that's all you need.

Jay Gonzalez/Mess of Happiness - Jay plays the keys in Drive-By Truckers but this album does not sound like that band at all. Instead, it is a prime chunk of power pop. I was turned on to the record by the track "Turning Me On," which is about thanking someone for turning them on to a song - yes, I realize it's a bit meta but it's the truth. I love how the song opens out after the lyrics come to a close, how it packs different moods into 2:43; the video is also fun. I also love the guit…

Sunday Shuffle #323

Busy week ahead - my son has a band concert; I am playing in a charity game against the Harlem Wizards; my son's band has contest; and finally, I will be going to the Kankakee Valley prom for the 18th time. Jealous?

1. Shady Lane/Pavement (10) - last played on 12/16/12
2. Excuses/The Morning Benders (9) - last played on 8/26/12
3. Fame Throwa/Pavement (5) - last played on 11/18/12
4. Nancy From Now On/Father John Misty (12) - last played on 1/23/13
5. La Dame et la Lincorne/Shearwater (5) - last played on 3/28/12
6. Backwards Walk/Frightened Rabbit (3) - last played on 5/15/10
7. 17/Kings of Leon (3) - last played on 9/2/12
8. How To Hang A Warhol/Little Joy (6) - last played on 4/7/13
9. Whatever (Folk Song In C)/Elliott Smith (3) - last played on 11/12/12
10. Crazytown/Aimee Mann (17) - last played on 1/17/13

Sunday Shuffle #322

Let's just get to it...

1. La Costa Brava/Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (5) - last played on 10/14/12
2. Look, Honey, Peaches/Portastatic (3) - last played on 7/8/11
3. Massive Nights/The Hold Steady (6) - last played on 8/5/12
4. Cold Ground/East River Pipe (8) - last played on 12/31/12
5. She Ain't a Child No More/Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (12) - last played on 1/27/13
6. Laying So Low/Sloan (22) - last played on 3/24/13
7. Don't Let Me Explode/The Hold Steady (6) - last played on 6/15/12
8. Beneath Your Tree/Bowerbirds (2) - last played on 6/27/10
9. Don't Pretend You Didn't Know/Dinosaur Jr. (9) - last played on 3/30/13
10. Bad Dreams/M. Ward (4) - last played on 1/27/13

Sunday Shuffle #321

Today's number brought to mind the theme song from 3-2-1 Contact. Anyone else used to watch that show?

1. The Dance of the Hours/The Clientele (6) - last played on 12/31/12
2. No Man Shall/A.A. Bondy (5) - last played on 11/18/12
3. Stuck Between Stations/The Hold Steady (6) - last played on 3/17/13
4. Dawned On Me/Wilco (4) - last played on 9/29/12
5. The Queen of Lower Chelsea/The Gaslight Anthem (12) - last played on 8/20/12
6. My Mind Is Ramblin'/The Black Keys (2) - last played on 4/11/10
7. Painted Faces and Long Hair/The Orwells (6) - last played on 12/20/12
8. Oceans In The Way/Dinosaur Jr. (13) - last played on 8/12/12
9. Now I'm Learning to Love the War/Father John Misty (12) - last played 1/23/13
10. 7/4 (Shoreline)/Broken Social Scene (7) - last played on 6/17/12

Sunday Shuffle #320

My plan for today, the last day of spring break, is to watch the NCAA tournament, the first game of the baseball season, and the season premiere of Game of Thrones; to read more of John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades; and to listen to as much music as I can. Also, Happy Easter!

1. Hymn And Her/Earlimart (4) - last played on 1/27/13
2. Early Roman Kings/Bob Dylan (3) - last played on 1/8/13
3. Josephine/Slobberbone (4) - last played on 2/24/13
4. One For The Cutters/The Hold Steady (7) - last played on 6/24/12
5. If All Else Fails/My Morning Jacket (8) - last played on 2/17/13
6. No Regrets/King Khan And The Shrines (4) - last played on 8/28/11
7. Modesto Is Not That Sweet/The Hold Steady (5) - last played on 8/18/12
8. We Made a Mountain/The Mynabirds (11) - last played on 10/23/11
9. Taillights Fade/Buffalo Tom (13) - last played on 2/3/13
10. Strings/A.C. Newman (11) - last played on 1/1/13

Sunday Shuffle #319

It's the Sunday of spring break week. We aren't going anywhere but I am looking forward to a week of reading, listening to music, watching TV and movies, and just relaxing. Let's see what ten songs will start it off...

1. I'm Looking Through You/The Beatles (3) - last played on 3/18/12
2. Candy Cigarettes/Portastatic (7) - last played on 8/28/11
3. Brand New Start/Little Joy (6) - last played on 11/18/12
4. Skip Steps 1 & 3/Superchunk (15) - last played on 2/17/13
5. Bright Future/Bowerbirds (5) - last played on 7/15/11
6. Living The Dream/Sloan (8) - last played on 2/16/13
7. Dying Is Fine/Ra Ra Riot (2) - last played on 6/13/11
8. Farewell To the Pressure Kids/Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew (5) - last played on 9/30/12
9. Heart's Ease/Josh Ritter (6) - last played on 3/20/13
10. Country Song/Le Switch (10) - last played on 3/17/13

Storm Companions

As I mentioned last week, I'm currently reading the 3rd book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Storm of Swords. I'm doing it not only in anticipation of the 3rd season of Game of Thrones starting two weeks from tonight (apparently this book will get me through Season 4 as well) but also because I like the books. I haven't just been reading the novel, though, a practice I started out of necessity with the 1st book in 2011 when I had to read for college course work as well and then continued that summer with the 2nd book. I'm maybe 100 pages shy of being halfway and thought I would pause to talk about when I've been reading alongside...

Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell - This is yet another big short story collection in a year of big story collections. While I liked Russell's debut novel, Swamplandia!, I liked her first collection St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves even more and was primed for this book. The title…

Heavy Rotation #19

While I listen to a lot of music, these albums have been played quite a bit in the last three weeks or so...
Alabama Shakes/Boys & Girls - The band was on SNL a few weeks back and not only ripped into "Hold On," the first and best song on this debut album, but also played a great new song. That's all it takes to send me back to an album and it's not like I hadn't already liked this last year - it just got a little lost in some of the other 2012 releases. These are good blues rock songs and Brittany Howard has a great voice. I do think their next album has a chance to be even better but this is well worth repeated listens, even beyond "Hold On."
Atoms For Peace/Amok - This is the new band that features Thom Yorke (from Radiohead), Nigel Godrich (producer of Radiohead and other bands), Flea (bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers), and Joey Waronker (drummer for a bunch of artists) but the sound is not much different than what you would expect a Yorke solo a…

Mega-Post #2

It's been about a month-and-a-half since I posted about something other than music, so I figured I was past due for another Mega-Post. I've decided to make it even more mega by including today's Sunday Shuffle, which didn't happen this morning due to that lost hour of time. Crazy, right?

Sunday Shuffle #318

1. Bucket Brigade/Michael Penn (7) - last played on 12/8/12
2. Love Is Luck/The Walkmen (18) - last played on 2/5/13
3. Beer Commerical (Live)/Sugar (1) - debut
4. Explode And Make Up/Sugar (2) - last played on 12/30/12
5. It Looks Like Love/Josh Rouse (3) - last played on 10/24/10
6. Fluffy Lucy/Cracker (4) - last played on 6/28/11
7. Forced To Love/Broken Social Scene (5) - last played on 12/23/10
8. Beechwood Park/The Zombies (18) - last played on 10/31/12
9. I am Morris Townsend (No-Fi Transmission)/The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (7) - last played on 7/8/12
10. First Few Desperate Hours/The Mountain Goats (6) - last played on 12/2/12

LONG

Gun Machi…

Sunday Shuffle #317

I'm going on record right now that I do not want 6 inches or more of snow on Tuesday. Do something else, winter storm.

1. Archangel Tale/M. Ward (3) - last played on 4/29/12
2. Better Dead Than Lead/Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (12) - last played on 1/25/13
3. Infinite Arms/Band of Horses (22) - last played on 9/15/12
4. Genesis 30:3/The Mountain Goats (6) - last played on 11/1/11
5. Vice Rag/A.A. Bondy (3) - last played on 9/4/11
6. Punch And Judy/Elliott Smith (7) - last played on 3/1/13
7. Elvis Presley Blues/Gillian Welch (7) - last played on 4/8/12
8. Movin Away/My Morning Jacket (10) - last played on 12/21/11
9. June Showers/Superchunk (9) - last played on 11/21/12
10. Elevation/U2 (3) - last played on 8/19/12

Sunday Shuffle #316

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor tonight. I know, right? Actually, I don't know how much of the Oscars I'll bother watching tonight. Both the Bulls and Blackhawks are playing this evening, so that's a lot of my attention to start with. Speaking of attention, let's turn it to today's ten...

1. Gentlemen/The Afghan Whigs (16) - last played on 2/23/13 (yesterday)
2. Along/Haley Bonar (3) - last played on 7/10/11
3. Grounded/Pavement (8) - last played on 2/3/13
4. Great Expectations/The Gaslight Anthem (7) - last played on 8/18/12
5. Going Nowhere/Elliott Smith (3) - last played on 9/26/10
6. Crudely Drawn/The Drams (4) - last played on 6/3/12
7. This Is a Low/Blur (3) - last played on 1/7/13
8. Good Intentions/My Morning Jacket (9) - last played on 4/8/12
9. Sunny/Rhett Miller (8) - last played on 9/9/12
10. Where I Lead Me/Steve Earle (6) - last played on 4/8/12

Heavy Rotation #18

I haven't done one of these since mid-October 2011, which surprises me. Anyway, this is what I have been listening to the most over the last couple weeks...

The Afghan Whigs/Gentlemen - This came out in 1993 but I didn't start listening to the band until a few years ago. Greg Dulli sings about sex and obsession and he does it in a very witty and filthy manner. His lyrics are definitely not for everyone but I think they're great. The music is pure rock - melodic in places and punishing in others. My air guitar and air drumming skills have been getting a workout each listen. While it's yet another album I'd like to slip back to my younger self, I'm still satisfied that I can crank it up during the present.

Eels/Wonderful, Glorious - One reason I really like Spotify is that it lets me listen to albums that I'm not sure whether I want to buy or not. For whatever reason, I didn't get into End Times after loving Hombre Lobo and ended up not even picking up Tomo…

Sunday Shuffle #315

I had planned to do some posting in the last couple of days but couldn't decided whether to do another mega-post or smaller more focused posts. I will make a decision soon. In the meantime, how about today's ten...

1. Paper Kitten Nightmare/Margot & The Nuclear So & So's (4) - last played on 11/18/12
2. Demon Days/Robert Forster (3) - last played on 3/6/11
3. Sideways Glance/Tom Adamson (8) - last played on 10/14/12
4. No Time For Dreaming/Charles Bradley (11) - last played on 12/10/12
5. Break It One More Time/Mary Weiss (2) - last played on 2/13/11
6. Each And Every Night/The Redwalls (3) - last played on 5/13/12
7. When I See Her/Higgins (7) - last played on 1/30/13
8. C & O Canal/John Vanderslice (4) - last played on 2/3/13
9. Tell Me What You Want Me To Do/Mary Weiss (4) - last played on 12/2/12
10. You Are The Ocean/Phantogram (7) - last played on 6/5/11

Super Bowl Shuffle 2013 (Sunday Shuffle #314)

Have you all read the oral history of the Super Bowl Shuffle that went up this week? That '85 Bears team was the sports bright spot of my teenage years as a Chicago sports fan and that song was all over the radio. Hard to believe it's 27 years ago already. Heck, I'm still bummed that Walter Payton, my boyhood hero, didn't score a touchdown in that Super Bowl.

As far as today's game goes, I'm mostly hoping for a really good game. No blowouts, please. So, before you all have a blast at your Super Bowl parties, here is today's X...

I. Wedding Bells/Lissie (5) - last played on 12/18/11
II. Green Flowers, Blue Fish/Superchunk (10) - last played on 12/9/12
III. The Ancient Commonsense Of Things/Bishop Allen (3) - last played on 6/9/12
IV. Best of Luck/Oakley Hall (4) - last played on 10/23/11
V. Dig It/The Beatles (3) - last played on 3/20/11
VI. Bullet The Blue Sky/U2 (5) - last played on 9/30/12
VII. Pinball Song/Slobberbone (6) - last played on 6/10/12
VIII. S…

Mega-Post

DECEMBER WORLDS

The second book I read this year was In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood, a collection of essays about SF and more. I've never read any of Atwood's famous novels; I always intended to but after reading this collection, I think I need to try and get to one this year. In these essays she makes the case for a breadth of reading - highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow - and the joys that can be found in all sorts of books. Sure, it may be preaching to the choir in my case but she makes some lovely points. Even more, she made me interested in some of the books she repeatedly mentioned, such as H. Rider Haggard's She (I read this book for Bookrageous's book club and they were intrigued by She too, so much so that it's their next book club pick). A smart collection by a smart writer that I will become better acquainted with.

The fourth book I read (we'll get to #3 in a moment) was the new story collection by George Saunders, Tenth of December. I've been…