The Numbers

Radiohead – The Numbers

My son and I went to see The Smile tonight, the side project of Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke. I couldn’t believe they were starting the North American leg of their tour in Providence. Providence! Amazing! Someone that well-known I would expect to start in New York, maybe Boston, but I was more than happy to reward their fine decision by splurging on the tickets back in the spring.

The show was great, though not for the uninitiated, and lots of Dudes with a capital D. That’s always a drag, except for if you want to hit the ladies’ room before leaving the venue. Thankfully, after the first song, Thom encouraged those of us who wanted to get up by saying, “just because there are chairs doesn’t mean you have to sit in them,” so we stood for the rest of the time. It’s much easier to ignore douchey bros when people are standing.


Wet Leg – Angelica

In case you somehow missed the debut full-length album from Wet Leg, I’m here to tell you that it’s really good and lots of fun. Another missed opportunity concert in Boston (taking my son to see his favorite, the Microphones, up the road a piece in Somerville on the same night) but someone I know caught it and said they lived up to the hype.

Expert in a Dying Field

The Beths – Expert in a Dying Field

This past February I was supposed to go see The Beths up in Boston. I’d bought the ticket as soon as I heard they were coming to the US because it’s not every day a band will make the trek from New Zealand. The show sold out and I hatched a plan to make a weekend out of it. Three or so weeks before the show, The Beths added a show at one of my usual venues, closer to home, but as I’d spent the money on the Boston show and had this whole plan, I stuck with my original Boston ticket.

My daughter had a concert she had bought tickets for, also in Boston on the night before the Beths show. The friend she was going to go with wound up having a conflict so I said I would go with her. She had been having a rough start to the semester and I was trying to give her a fun break, get a hotel room and have a girls weekend. But then a big snow storm pushed the Dodie concert my daughter had been waiting and waiting for to the same night as my Beths show. The two venues were probably a distance that you could have walked in the summer but in the snowy, below freezing streets of Boston in February, there wasn’t a viable way to do both. Dodie is my daughter’s favorite so I had to forego The Beths.

I could have probably made it to the closer to me Beths show that happened a couple of days later but by that point I’d already driven well over 500 miles in just two days and I was wiped.

So when I saw The Beths were already coming back, almost exactly a year later, I was torn. Again, just Boston or New York for the options and again, there is actually a perfectly timed hole in the tour dates when they could swing through and play that same venue. But I knew it would sell out! Risk it and end up missing it again or buy the ticket and possibly go twice if they add the date? Argh! Not to mention it will again be February in New England. The whole thing could be upended just like last year.

My Music League friend texted me and said, hey, did you see The Beths are coming back to Boston? She’d gone to that show at our regular place and encouraged me to get a ticket for the upcoming Boston show, she and two other people I know would also be going. So I bit the bullet and got a ticket. Here’s hoping my third chance to see them will be the charm.

To Hell With Poverty

Gang of Four – To Hell With Poverty

Last week, a bit reluctantly, my son and I attended a FAFSA night at the high school. They promoted it by saying there would be people from colleges there to help you fill out the financial aid form. I kind of figured I already knew what to do since this is not our first rodeo, but the prospect of having someone from a college, rather than the clueless high school counselor, on hand to answer questions made me think it might be worth it.

Now I’m not so sure. I kind of think we may have entered something incorrectly but when I tired to go in to verify it, the stupid form kept timing out after we logged in so I gave up on that for tonight. Instead I thought I’d get started on the CSS Profile. Oh happy day! We are broke enough to not have to pay any fees for filing that one!

It still amazes me that people can be so easily misled into believing that their problems are caused by whichever minority group the far-right would like to blame today. I mean, we all know how it has happened, but I can’t imagine being so willfully ignorant, so incapable of following basic logic, so completely incurious about the world, that you would look at the two ghouls pictured in this video and think yeah, I’ll trust them instead of my neighbors. I’m avoiding mentioning any of the current crop of fascists on election eve but Ronnie and Maggie really got that party started. Here we are, 40 years later, and I think they would be thrilled to see the state of things today.

Something Soon

Car Seat Headrest – Something Soon

I know there’s a later version of this song and a different video but this was the one I saw/heard first and it says awkward and vulnerable teenager so much more effectively than the “official” version.

It has been a tiring weekend, it’s getting late, and I still have one clock I need to fix before going to bed. Note to self, get a lottery ticket when you stop for gas in the morning.

You Don’t Want This

Pip Blom – You Don’t Want This

I met up with a friend after work today. I was nervous about going out to eat but we went to an Indian restaurant that was completely empty when we arrived (it was on the early side of dinner) so it seemed ok.

We hadn’t seen each other since the summer and there was a lot to catch up on. For many years her life was really difficult and I used to feel like I really had no business griping about any of my challenges to her but these days we are more evenly matched. It’s not like we’re trying to outdo each other for title of pity queen or anything but it is nice to be able to commiserate with someone who will just agree that yeah, that sucks! It’s nice to not feel like you should censor yourself.

And with that I’m going to get under the covers and hope to sleep in.

How Can I Make It Ok?

Wolf Alice – How Can I Make It Ok?

I was listening to the newest Wolf Alice album on my way to work and got stuck on this song. This video wasn’t what I was expecting but I think it expands on the song’s message from a deeply personal one to something universal.

While I was driving I was thinking about my kids and how the past two years have been so difficult for everyone, but of course my focus is on trying to make their lives better. How can I make it ok? Honestly the world sucks so bad and what is there for them to look forward to in a country teetering on the brink of fascism. Climate change, racism, crippling debt, homophobia; how do I sell them the world? I’m also keenly aware of how their lives right now, in the present, are so far removed from what any of us imagined their high school and college years would be like. It’s a pointless exercise to consider what could have been had things not been upended by a pandemic but I think most parents do have hopes for what their kids will do as they grow up and it’s hard to watch the things you envisioned for them disintegrate. I just want them to be happy. Nothing else is as important as that to me. It’s why I drove 300 miles on Monday to take my daughter to her show.

In looking for a video* I watched a number of live performances and thought about how great their show was that I went to a couple of years ago. They’re touring now and it seemed like there were still tickets for the Boston show next week. I had them in my cart but then remembered a potential conflict I need to check into, plus I am still catching up on sleep from the trip up to Boston earlier this week (which already feels longer than just three days ago!). This is going to be one of those ones I leave up to the fates. If there are still tickets next week, who knows, I may decide it’s worth it.

*I was looking for a video with the lyrics because they’re kind of critical to what I’m talking about here, but the only ones I found were either crappy quality or actually got the lyrics wrong. You had one job!

Begin Again

Adam Melchor – Begin Again

Even though yesterday was Halloween and you would think that would tip me off that today is November 1st, it still snuck up on me. This morning when I was driving to work, yes driving to the office again, my year and a half of working remotely is unfortunately over, I was kind of zoning out looking at the landscape, the trees were not vibrant colors anymore, and I thought well, it is November. Then I thought, fuck! It’s November!?!

Back in the summer my daughter bought concert tickets for a couple of shows. She had a friend who wanted to go with her and they figured plenty of time to figure it out later but in the months in between, her friend got busy and decided they weren’t able to go to the show tonight in Boston. I don’t mind going to Boston for a show, it’s not that far, but of course I had to first drive an hour up to work and then drive an hour from work to my daughter’s college and then drive an hour from her college to Boston and then repeat the reverse Boston to her college to home.

So I did not have time to think about some kind of appropriate post for kicking off yet another NaBloPoMo. To be honest I don’t think I gave much thought at all to whether or not I was even going to do it. I feel like at this point, simply because I’ve got a streak going, it feels wrong to not even try. Does anybody else still do it? I have no idea.

I’m grabbing the video to the song that was the encore tonight and doing the speech to text while I’m driving home. I’ll clean up the post when I get home and call it good enough.

Can’t Hardly Wait

The Replacements – Can’t Hardly Wait

Now that my son is into having physical copies of the music he likes, he gave us a list of things he wants for Christmas that is all records or CDs. I managed to get out by myself for a bit today and went down to our local record store to pick up one or two things.

I was hoping to find something used that wasn’t too much money to go along with the new (reissued) album I grabbed for him. Something he wouldn’t know to ask for but that he might like anyway. Then I spied the small section of cassettes and since he has that Walkman, I thought maybe I could find a stocking stuffer. Much to my surprise, there was a cassette of R.E.M.’s Document and The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me. All cassettes were $2 a piece or 6 for $10. I didn’t see six that I wanted so I just went with those two.

I brought them up to the counter and told the owner that I was getting the cassettes for my son’s stocking and he said, “oh, I’ll just throw those in for free. He’s a great kid, smart. He’s been down here checking out all the things he’s interested in, took pictures so he could make a list, it’s great to see kids still getting into it.” I’ve got to say, that really made my day. Parenting these days is a real challenge and I’ll take any signs that the kids are alright.