2015 music wrap-up, and mixtape 161

In only approximate order of favoriteness -- and for the thirteenth year in a row -- here is my year-end wrap-up. As usual, a few of the entries on the following list were released earlier than 2015, but that is when I discovered them, so I'm allowing some slack. Though most were actually released in 2015.

This year I acquired around 80% as much new music as last year: roughly 60 new releases, almost all released within the last 3 years, more than half released in 2015. That's down 50% from 2013.

Number of those bands that I saw perform this year: 15.
Number of those bands that performed at DNA Lounge this year: 5.
Go Team. Both of those numbers are down too.

So I am officially in a rut.

I haven't commented on all of these because I still find it really hard. Don't hold it against them. Listen to the mixtape!

I like these things. You should like them too. Here's your shopping list:

  • Veruca Salt - "Ghost Notes"

    This album sounds like they could have made it in 1998 -- which is totally fine by me. It's really, really great: Triage and The Museum of Broken Relationships are as good as anything they've ever done. In case you haven't heard, this is the band's original lineup, producer and all. They broke up in 1998, and Louise released two and a half albums on her own, but now everybody's happy so they can get back to writing angry songs about miserable relationships!

    I think it's kind of weird that most of the reviews I've read of it have pretty much pretended that Louise's "solo" Veruca Salt albums don't even exist. I think Resolver is very nearly as good an album as Eight Arms To Hold You was -- I love every track. And the later releases were also pretty good: maybe not up to that standard as whole albums, but they contained some great stuff: Damage Done, Officially Dead, Closer, Save You...

  • Meg Myers - "Sorry"

    More angry songs about terrible relationships! Yay!

  • Chvrches - "Every Open Eye"

    I'd say that overall the tracks on this album are consistently better than on The Bones of What You Believe, but that one had some better stand-out tracks. By the way, if you haven't heard their covers of I Would Die 4 V and Bela Lugosi's Dead, you really should.

  • Health - "Death Magic"

    This album has a very unusual style: the music is heavy as fuck, sometimes sounding a bit metal, sometimes a bit industrial, but just so heavy, and then the vocals come in and he's singing in this airy synthpoppy style. It sounds like that would be a complete mess, but it's not! Also this was probably the second best show I saw all year -- and they only came in second to Lydia Lunch, and she's hard to top.

  • Metric - "Pagans in Vegas"

    This is a really good album, but I keep wanting them to release Fantasies again... and it's not quite Fantasies. But, I felt the same way about Synthetica too, and that grew on me eventually.

  • Vanbot - "Perfect Storm"

    This album makes me feel sad, and cold, and sad. Ok, I'm really cold right now. But that's not why.

  • The Chemical Brothers - "Born in The Echoes"

    Better than Further, definitely, but they are kind of repeating themselves. Go is probably the best track, and its awesome, but it's basically the same as Galvanize (which to me I will always hear as the Galvanize the Empire mash-up, dammit). Taste of Honey could be a Recoil song.

  • Shriekback - "Without Real String or Fish"

    The first Shriekback album in five years! Three quarters of the original lineup. It's definitely a return to their 80s form, much more in the Oil and Gold vein than Sacred City or Naked Apes. Of the recent albums, I would still rate Glory Bumps slightly above this, but it's very good. I got the special edition that came with a 3d-printed fish and little bits of string. Their merch game is very strong.

  • Happy Fangs - "Capricorn"

    "Excuse me Sir, do you have a minute to talk about rock and roll?" They are awesome, and I'm glad we have booked them as often as we have. Though it has been a while.

  • Fight Like Apes - "Fight Like Apes"

    Even though it's self-titled, it's their third or fourth album, depending on how you count. It's great, though not as funny as previous releases. But it's hard to top song titles like Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues, Come On Let's Talk About Our Feelings, Pull Off Your Arms and Let's Play In Your Blood (from "The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner").

  • Five Knives - "Savages"

    Like I said when reviewing their first album, this band is what Shiny Toy Guns should have been but weren't. Their lyrics are like, the brattiest stuff I've ever heard.

  • Wolf Alice - "My Love Is Cool"

    A little shoegazey, a little grungey. Bellly meets L7?

  • Public Service Broadcasting - "The Race For Space"

    All of their albums are built around newsreels and old radio broadcasts. This one is about the space race, obviously. The songs are not as gimicky as that sounds.

  • Meet Me In Orbit - "Traveller"

    Synthy, mostly instrumental, and possibly from the 19A0s.

  • Jesika von Rabbit - "Journey Mitchell"

    A more electronic album by the singer of Gram Rabbit, a longtime favorite. It's goofy. She's a wonderful goofball.

  • Speedy Ortiz - "Foil Deer"

    This sounds so much like if Liz Phair made records that I actually like! Wait, that didn't come out quite right. No, actually, it did. The Phair is strong in this one, but better. "Sorry I made out with your friends. I'm not that sorry, I'm never that sorry."

  • Barry Andrews - "Haunted Box of Switches, Vol. 2"

    The singer of Shriekback does his "crooning with a piano" bit. Volume 1 was superior, but this makes a good counterpoint to that copy of "Without Real String or Fish" you were gonna pick up.

  • Say Hi - "Bleeder's Digest"

    More sad songs about vampires! That's right, it's the sequel to Impeccable Blahs.

  • Sleep Thieves - "You Want The Night"

  • Priest - "Priest"

  • Ume - "Too Big World"

  • Vela Eyes - "Sparks"

  • 2:54 - "The Other I"

  • Voltaire Twins - "Milky Waves"

  • Sleater-Kinney - "No Cities To Love"

    If you were looking for an album that sounds exactly like a Sleater-Kinney album, this is that.

  • Chromatics - "Running From The Sun"

    If you were looking for an album that sounds exactly like a Chromatics album...

  • Purity Ring - "Another Eternity"

    If you were...

And finally, here's mixtape 161, which includes one track by each of the above artists.

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Current Music: as noted

DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein vomit isn't just for the evening.

Delicious Methane

Footage taken on December 17 shows a geyser of methane gas, visible by infrared camera.

In early December, the Southern California Gas Company said that plugging the leak, which sprang in mid-October, would take at least three more months. Right now, the single leak accounts for a quarter of the state's entire methane emissions, and the leak has been called the worst environmental disaster since the BP oil spill in 2010.

Part of the problem in stopping the leak lies in the base of the well, which sits 8,000 feet underground. Pumping fluids down into the well, usually the normal recourse, just isn't working, said Silva. Workers have been "unable to establish a stable enough column of fluid to keep the force of gas coming up from the reservoir." The company is now constructing a relief well that will connect to the leaking well, and hopefully provide a way to reduce pressure so the leak can be plugged. Right now, relief efforts have drilled only 3,800 feet down -- less than half of the way to the base of the well.

Previously, previously.

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The King In Red

Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Stranger: Indeed?
Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!


Tillinghast: Oh, it's so beautiful... So... beautiful!
Pretorius: Now you can truly see.
Katherine: What have you done to him?
Pretorius: I only awakened his sleeping pineal gland. It did the rest itself.
Katherine: No!

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Less than 24 hours! That's how long it took before someone threw away all of my ornaments!

I hate to go Full Godwin, but striping a tree of its ornaments on Christmas Day is absolutely the Grinchiest thing I have ever heard of.


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Last night, someone asked me if my surveillance camera sign modification art project was still ongoing. Sadly, the answer is no. I kept it up for about two months, but after a while it stopped feeling like a twice-daily opportunity to make a snarky joke about fear-based complicity in ubiquitous, asymmetric surveillance, and more like a chore coupled with an opportunity to argue with idiots.

Also I was sad that even though I got emails saying "Keep it up!" from a few other tenants of my building, when I was out of town for a week, nobody was willing to step up and continue the stickering in my absence. Throw me a bone here, people.

Anyway, this year someone put a Christmas tree in our lobby. It had lights but no ornaments, and last night, when I was having some of my "thinkin' juice" and got that question about the stickers, I said to myself I said, "You know what I oughtta do..!"

I thought this was funny enough that I braved Target on Christmas Eve. I hope you appreciate the hardships I endure for comedy.

I regret that my handwriting is not what it could be, but apparently I don't know anyone whose handwriting is any better. And uh, who was willing to come over and sit on my floor and doodle on my balls on short notice.

Happy Surveillmas, everybody!

And stop touching yourself.

Update: Well that didn't take long!

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5 mètres 80. 7 tonnes 2.

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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein everything is terrible.

The Internet Archive Telethon is live now:

Internet Archive Telethon

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Drinky, a different kind of bar bot

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