The Staves: Tired as Fuck (and a rant)

A few months ago, I stumbled on The Staves "Tired as Fuck," and it's been a go-to listen on YouTube, Spotify, etc. It's got a great build – adding layers until it turns into a chorus of voices and blistering guitar and throbbing percussion.

Really, you should listen to it right now if you haven't already.

And now, the rant… I really want to buy a copy of this, but it's only available digitally. I can buy it via iTunes, or listen on Spotify and Apple Music. (Or YouTube.) Or I can buy it via Nonesuch as an MP3. (Presumably, I hope, at 320.) No CD, no vinyl, not even FLAC.

Maybe demand is no longer there, but I don't want my only copy of music to be digital.

I recently went with a deal on Bandcamp to buy 200+ releases from Buckethead, and it was similar – no vinyl, no CD, just digital. At least in this case, Bandcamp offers FLAC so the music quality is as good as you get on CD, even if you don't get the actual physical media. (And Bandcamp has a reasonably good archival experience, I can go back for my purchases anytime – at least as long as they remain in business. Which I hope is a long time.)

Similarly, one of my favorite scrappy Indie labels (Magnatune) stopped offering physical media a long time ago. They're such an awesome outfit, I'm happy to subscribe and have access to their catalog, but… I'd really love to have physical copies of Ehren Starks' catalog, and Ninety Pounds of Ugly's Richmond Motel Room 3. (Pity they've broken up.)

For folks who only want digital, that's great – but I want a pristine, physical copy. Hell, I want something the artist or band can sign if I get the chance. Something that, assuming civilization survives, somebody might pick up in 100 years and listen to.

Ehren Starks returns! "Cry Wolf" on Magnatune

Last year when I did my 100 favorite albums, I put Ehren Starks' The Depths of a Year at number 74. It had been 11 years since his last album, Lines Build Walls, and there were no signs of a third album in sight.

And then Cry Wolf dropped out of the sky unexpectedly. It was actually released in June of this year, but I hadn't caught wind of it until recently. I've given it a few good listens, and I do believe it's every bit as good as Depths.

It's really great, powerful instrumental music. It's not just background noise – it's worth, and rewards, sitting down and just listening. (A habit, I'm afraid, people have gotten out of.)

Go give it a listen, you'll be very happy you did.

Instrumental Super Funk / Pop from The Traffic

Friday's jam is another Bandcamp discovery, a "single" with "Super Freak" as the A-side, and "Like I Love You" as the B-side. This is a lot of fun, and I'm bummed I missed out on the limited pressing of the 45.

The band is The Traffic, an Aussie outfit from Melbourne. Looks like they're just putting out the occasional single rather than full albums, but they have some tasty stuff on Bandcamp. Give 'em a listen!

[bandcamp width=400 height=208 album=763350226 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 artwork=small]

Today's Album Pick: Dynamics by Secret Drum Band

This is another Bandcamp win, Secret Drum Band's Dynamics. Based in Portland, Oregon the band describes the album thusly: "Dynamics sees composers Lisa Schonberg, Allan Wilson, and Heather Treadway delving headway into creating living, breathing soundscapes, rich in rhythmic textures. Driven by five drummers, each song also employs an array of affected vocals, guitar, and synthesizers from noise musicians, often mimicking sounds found in nature."

I'm on my third or fourth listen to the album, and I'm still finding new things to enjoy. If a hard, driving beat and textured sounds appeal to you, you really should give it a listen or two.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2378566956 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Halloween Music: Gorilla vs. Bear's 2017 Halloween Mix

You just know that Christmas music is around the corner. Waiting. Lurking. The insufferable and treacly tunes are just lying in wait, ready to spring on November 1st. But! Until then, we can fend them off with spooky sounds.

Want a ready made playlist of moody, dark, and apocalyptic sounds? Of course you do! So check out Gorilla vs. Bear's 2017 2017 Halloween Mix. I put this on the other day and thoroughly enjoyed it – particularly "We Shouldn't Have to Wait," by Carla Dal Forno off her The Garden EP.

Check it Out: Death to the Planet by The Comet is Coming

Don't recall how I stumbled on this one, exactly, but one of my Saturday morning music searches led me to a post on Bandcamp's blog about The Comet is Coming.

If you like instrumental music in the vein of Material, or early trippy Pink Floyd, I'd recommend checking this one out.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3084023840 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

Another Day in Dystopia

Many people seem surprised that not only is Trump doing the things he kept saying he'd do if he was in office, but how quickly he's doing them. I can't say that I'm in the least bit surprised, only disappointed that he's meeting such tepid resistance from Congress and the rest of the country. To be sure, plenty of people are protesting and complaining on social media, and I imagine the ACLU has never seen this many donations at once.

But the administration has not only committed an obvious and flagrant illegal act in its travel ban, it is also attempting in some cases to ignore the courts – thus subverting checks and balances that our nation depends on. Whether you agree or disagree with the administration, when the executive branch decides it no longer answers to the legislative or judicial branch, we're in dangerous territory.

There's the small matter of dropping the Joint Chiefs from the Security Council and appointing white supremacist Stephen Bannon on the council. If that doesn't scare the living daylights out of you, I don't know what will.