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26Apr2016 1900: Outbreak

Did you all enjoy your vacation from me? I enjoyed my vacation from...the five miles surrounding my house? I just stayed in Fargo and played board games with cool dudes. I discovered it is possible to have a board game hangover. By Monday my head was pounding and I didn't want to read or roll anything. But oh! Those heady games of Pandemic Legacy! When that thing went down in April my crack team of cube hunters rose to the challenge and continued to fight the scourge of uh...cubes? with verve and skill. But! Now, in May and June, the board game has started to pull away. We've lost three times in a row, each time coming within a turn of victory before the dolphins not really exploded beyond our quarantine zone. Within Pandemic Legacy is a Dread Package labelled "open if you lose 4 games in a row". I had hoped to never see the inside of that box. But!

Speaking of losing streaks, Supergirl is over. Probably for good. Probably for the best! It never rose above its uneven tone and only the Flash crossover contained actual humor. At least she didn't kill anybody, right? That's the most we can say for Kryptonians this year.

I'm just busting your chops, Supergirl. I'm jealous because you can shoot lasers and I still can't.

[Mikael Seifu - How to Save a Life (Vector of Eternity)] is an instrumental radio play about being stalked by an ostrich. It tries to sneak up on you with a breathy flute, only to give itself away with its kick drums. A chase ensues for six minutes before you tire and collapse, succumbing to a relentless instrumental from the outback.

[Mac McCaughan - Only Do] is doing an okay Pixies impression and swipes his hook from Yoda, so Mac's pretty alright in my book. All that positive energy is wasted on a toothless love song. Better luck next time?

Speaking of toothless love songs, [Lissie - Don't You Give Up On Me] is modern pop of the sort we don't generally get on Google's "up and coming" list. I suppose Taylor Swift doesn't have quite enough songs to support an entire radio station all by herself; Lissie et al fill in the cracks.

And then suddenly a Tarantino movie starts playing! Oh wait, no, it's [The Heavy - Since You Been Gone]. Huge 70s funk that gets to stick around on its own merits and then gets added to my Not Covers playlist. Big win!

[Sinden - Crystal Maze] says it's from the album "Crystal Maze", but the album art says it's "Night Bass". They're both right! This is wobble-bass dance music for an interminable 5.5 minutes.

[Dylan LeBlanc - Cautionary Tale] is a 70s folk song, but I can't figure out if it sounds more like Harry Chapin or CSNY. Somewhere in that range, from the violins to the small hits of ghost guitar to the vocals.

I remember literally nothing about [Roo Panes - Paperweights]. This song was less interesting than a Reddit thread I'd already read an hour ago. But it wasn't bad enough to raise the alarm either?

But when [Sean Nicholas Savage - Suburban Nights] came on I had to spring into action typing things. Falsetto R&B warning; but not the sexy kind of R&B, more like... half that? Half sexy. There's only half the song here. Not nearly enough choral backing to make it powerful, not nearly enough bass to blow her clothes off. But this isn't about steamy sexy nights, this is about suburban nights. Pop the merlot and put on your tightest sweatpants.

[William Tyler - The Sleeping Prophet] is six and a half minutes (oh no) of country guitar noodling. I checked, and this is not the closing credits song of a Western titled "The Sleeping Prophet" so I dunno.

13Apr2016 1815: Never Who

Eek eek eek. I finally powered to the end of the Foundation series -- a process I have previously referred to as eating peas. These books are incredibly unpleasant! Every single "character" is a needlessly polite mouthpiece for Big Ideas, and nothing exists outside the plot. Nobody has a favorite trinket they rub for luck, nobody collects fancy tea sets, nobody commits any action but that it feeds directly into the single Big Idea being advanced. Asimov was prolific and influential but his last book, from barely twenty years ago, still reads like it was from sixty years ago. And it's not like he couldn't write some characters. I've witnessed him establish characters in less than twenty pages. Why, there are upwards of four archetypes represented there!

The only upside to the experience is that I now understand why Three Body Problem is so popular. I can now firmly place it in the pantheon of Big Idea Scientifiction, the beige and angular theses that ask "what if" but never "who".

[MOTHXR - Touch] is yet another INXS, a tenor over a synth promising sexy times in the near future. Maybe it's just my lack of sleep lately, but I thought the song had ended when it was merely the mid-song bass drop. This guy goes on for five and a half minutes but I'm sure the lady got the message within thirty seconds or so.

[Eric Bachmann - Carolina] tries to rhyme "Carolina" with "blinded" and almost gets there. There's very little lyrical content for 4.5 minutes; at most one verse and a refrain. It's very well put together for a choral piano pop song -- it just doesn't have anywhere to hide its complete lack of writing.

[Kitten - Church] is not about Chvrches and doesn't sound that much like the last Kitten song that showed up here... twice! I think I know why that 2014 post felt it was "mighty familiar". Anyway, she's back, and she's gone full 80s here without any of the grunge. That makes it significantly worse!

[Beau - C'mon Please] is girl-fronted funk blues that puts me in mind of Grand Ole Party. That's a great place to be, but once again this week there isn't enough lyrics to carry the song.

06Apr2016 1900: Between Foo Ferns

Did you all realize that you're living in the future? It's the future right now as I type, because now there is actual goddamn virtual reality that exists in people's houses. I spent last week and this watching Giant Bomb explore the virtual realms's going to stick this time. This time it's not just pterodactyls in some far-off arcade that I'll never drive to. VR is here, it's usable, and it's only going to get cheaper. I'm not just talking about games; the most compelling VR thing that I've seen so far is just a talk show kinda. But the implications are terrifying.

[Rob Crow's Gloomy Place - Business Interruptus] is a screamo band constantly on the verge of getting to the screaming part; Lit if all their feedback pedals were broken for a night. The quiet punk-inflected chords are free from the usual interference and a crisp vocalist sings very precise notes. The space that would normally be filled with distortion

[The Cactus Blossoms - Stoplight Kisses] are trying to re-release Everly Brothers tunes under their own name but I'm onto them.

From the album cover and title I was hoping that [Kilo Kish - Distractions I: The Opposite Sex] was a stand-up routine. But no, it's the latest mild song on an April list of mild songs. It's a sparse pop song in the same way that [Business Interruptus] was a sparse punk song. Kilo Kish is a street performer, kicking a drum and gesturing at a theremin while reading from a slam poetry notebook. Halfway through Herbie Hancock drives past on his way to the grocery store.

[Lindstrom - Closing Shot] is an eight-minute instrumental synth tune. I detest it with every fiber of my hearing, but I have to admit it is yet another mild example of the form. This week has been entirely too chill. What's that saying about April? In like IAMB, out like Snoop Lion?

[Bombino - Akhar Zaman (This Moment)] is a bouncy country-rock tune that could have had two months of radio play in the mid-90s, except it's also in some Arabian language that I refuse to look up. It's got glottals, that's all I know.