Issue 21 - 04/17/20
- I Never Thought It Would Happen to Me: The Divine Comedy
- How to Wear a Mask (Emotively)
- Haas: A Plague Upon Woodbright
- Matt Reviews: Best (and Worst!) Coins to Swallow
- The World and Also Life Is Mostly Meaningless
- Young Americans Are Excessively Resting While Quarantined
- Dear Sam: Quarantine Queries
- Conspiracy Corner!
- You Hugged Us Too Hard
- Office Chart
I Never Thought It Would Happen to Me: The Divine Comedy
Journo, journo, pants inferno-level contributor Matt Spradling
CANTO I: The Plague'd Land
Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself upon a street foreboding, / For the straightforward pathway had been lost.
Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say / What was this wasteland savage, rough, and stern, / Which in the very thought renews the fear.
So bitter is it, death is little more; / What good there was, I encountered not, / Speak will I of the other things I saw there.
For lo! almost where my egress began, / A walker light and swift exceedingly, / Who on a phone ceased speaking not!
And never moved she from my path, / Nay, rather did impede so much my way, / That many times I to return had turned.
Before I could to wit react, / Proceeded she to pass, not with precaution, / Resolving our encounter grim and my exposure.
CANTO II: Into The Pit; The Pit
Arriving then upon roads' summit / Did I behold the sign raised with portent, / A mountain peaked with crimson, foreboding HEB.
Amongst the writhing masses, creeping / And yet inevitable as swiftest current / Was I swept along forthwith to where the chamber opened.
What suffering within did I, / With tepid sense, beholden unto the wrath, / Despair to glean amongst those shining halls!
Where damned and lost all intertwined / With souls yet clean and new arrived, / Resigned to linger in common fate.
Unwillingly fused we as one soul; / Matrons strove with addicts grim of visage, / Whilst quislings to hasten the spread did labour.
Alas! upon my departure from this place, / Forgot I the man who first set out to find / What fate awaited as a spectre; for find I did.
CANTO III: A Prison Cell; Chorus; The Beast
Into halls of stone I passed thereafter / Where, of no consequence, the passing of the sun / Kept its track without consideration from or to.
Circuitous chambers tight-knit and dim / Bearing relics of false promise for peace / Beckoned me one to the next incessant.
With timeless passage arose a voice. / Spake it, bidden or not, of that which was, / That which may seem to be, and what I fear may come to pass.
This siren Siri echoes through halls / Untouched otherwise by voices of souls remembered / As weary feet tread weary paths across.
Not all is lonesome, for good or ill, / For one other resides: a beast of fur and fang / Which stalks the shadows, calling and clawing for my flesh.
Resigned to this labyrinth night and day, / What shadows do now illuminate? / For I too know, now, what it is to be this wretch.
CANTO IV: The Frozen Larder
To the box of ice did I often retreat, / To my shame, for sustenance, indeed, / But more often driven by madness alone.
At the outset of this trial I remember / It brimming with the vibrancy and colors of life. / Now, though, does the dark periphery outwards spread.
Through the foyer I proceed, where, / But for uniform pillars of the memories of meals past, / All is barren; the white chill settles.
Deeper then do I dare descend, / Past ancient stalactites of mustard and soy, / Into the abyss: the vegetable crisper drawer.
Foliage of eons past droop and fold, / Obscuring the unlit horizon; At my feet, / Unnamed and unknowable liquids pool rippling.
From the black a mouthless voice issues, / The broken form of what once was fibrous. / In this void I too now am afixed.
CANTO V: The Texas Workforce Commission Website; Eternity
Awoken from black dreams and, endless, / Seemingly, a slumber restless and ill-begotten, / Found I yet a torment fifth and final.
Pits insular, unfathomable, unbathed / In sunlight for untold eons. About me passed / Arcane signage and spinning plates.
Ancient chambers carved of craftsmen blind / With passage betwixt through only portals / Cleft tighter than would suit even the slimmest man.
Lo! In what dank limbo have I, / Though tainted by no great sin to wit, / Become ensnared, impotent for to struggle!
Driven by utmost necessity, plunging, / Once more and again, chasing a future / Only to be entombed in night eternal.
Now at the last, brimming with heat, / Choking on ash, I wake with horror only to find / At journey's end there is indeed no end at all.
How to Wear a Mask (Emotively)
Troll-level contributor Alisha Simons
While we are all trying to figure out how to navigate this new world of disease and mistrust, it will be important to hone some new skills. There are plenty of "How-To" sew/wear/build a face-masks circling the interwebs, but it is equally important that we know how to navigate the social side of this new trend.
So here the some practical ways to appropriately and effectively show your emotions while wearing a mask the few times you will encounter other people for the foreseeable future:
Emotion: Terror. This is obviously the go-to emotion right now. That person sneezing lightly at the gas station? Terror. The guy who just walked by with his dog (and probably also left the doge shit down the lane) and hawked a loogie right as he passed by your patio? Terror. The HEB employee who is seated in the aisle, stocking just a little more slowly than seems natural, maybe due to a crippling disease? Terror.
How to express: This is the one time when the chola-eyebrow is actually a social necessity (Search Youtube for "fierce brow" or "brows on fleek" if you need help with this look). In this case, it does not matter if your brows are sisters or twins as long as they are over-defined. When those brows are ready to go, stand in front of your bathroom mirror and do a few experimental brow-lifts until you find the look that feels right. Generally, it will only take a gentle upward lift followed by a slight puckering of the middle forehead to express the desired amount of terror with your brows already raring to go.
Emotion: Desire. With the lack of physical touch and general human contact that many people are experiencing right now, it will be normal to feel an overwhelming amount of desire for any and all that you come into contact with during your Rona-outings. The neighbor who always has Peanuts-esque waves of smell coming off of them will likely start to look pretty attractive in just a few more weeks. So, with your face mask tightly secured, how can you show them that you appreciate who - and what - they are?
How to express: Guys, gals, and anyone in between, listen up: your eyes can speak volumes, IF you let them. This is going to take more eye-contact than you have probably experienced in your entire life, if you were born '90s onward. To practice this technique, you will not need a mirror, as you will be looking inward. While sitting alone, practice a sort of "emotional-regurgitation" into the eyes - it will feel uncomfortable at first, but really try to lean into it. Bring any emotion you can muster to the top of your esophagus, much like acid reflux, and then shine it through those beautiful browns or blues. While you are honing this skill, it doesn't matter if you use hunger, pain, etc. - all emotions can be thrust through the eyes. Just make sure you save those funny feelings of desire for your outside interactions.
Emotion: Neighbor-rage. I think we can all agree that our new world is suffering a really special and pointed kind of anger right now: neighbor-rage. This one is for all those Mr. Rogerses who think it is okay to smoke the day away right outside your open windows, who choose to have extended and animated speakerphone conversations about barbecue grilling equipment, who (apparently) assemble whole bowling alleys in their upstairs apartment, play a few rounds, and then drag the alleys around the floor Animal Crossing-style to see where they will look best for their nonexistent guests. So let's get some of that out.
How to express: You might think that this is also an emotion best expressed through the top third of the face, but you would be wrong. While wearing your mask and also maintaining social distance, the best way to express your neighbor-rage is actually through dressing as aggressively as possible so as to offend any and all onlookers. Aggressive-dressing is an art - you do not need to go full-on streaker to accomplish this. Try wearing clothing that not only does not fit properly, but that highlights the parts of your body that you know the world simply can't handle. This will look different for everyone! Maybe for you it is the tops of your pasty arms, maybe it is the small of your back that is just shockingly full of hair when the rest of your body is not, or maybe it's a combination of Full Cleavage and Muffin Top displayed to full effect with an old tube top or really stretchy pair of hose. Let's see how creative you can get.
Helpful Hint: You can use items that you would normally have around the house so that you are not contributing to the spread of illness by ordering more things online. If you have a bag of clothes you meant to donate for four years now in the back of your closet, whip it out! If you still have a pair of giant flip-flops from a college frat-trist gone wrong, even better.
Once you feel you are ready, don your face-mask of choice and get out there. Do your best not to faint from the lack of oxygen, and let's make those interactions count!
Haas: A Plague Upon Woodbright
Resident representative-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer
I, like many of you, am enjoying Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It's the perfect game for times like these. I've spent hours arranging my town, planting flowers, and crafting decor. I've befriended my neighbors, curated a chic wardrobe, and obtained a three star rating for my beloved island. It should be perfect, and it is.
Except for Matt's villager.
Except for Haas.
Haas arrived on Woodbright and immediately took off all his clothes. He proceeded to run circles around the villagers in town, spoke to one of them briefly, and disappeared for two weeks. I was offended, sure. To say it was a bad first impression would be an understatement.
I decided to give Haas a second chance. I found him in his tent, which was empty apart from two containers of protein powder. I asked why he needed two and in response he sneezed into my face and then winked at me with both eyes at the same time.
The next time I saw him he had decided to wear clothes. His new outfit consisted of black boots, white jeans, no shirt ("don't want to chafe the nips, baby") and a police hat/aviator sunglasses combo. I asked what was up with the cop costume and, after giving me an incredulous look, he explained that he IS a cop, and not "some cosplay pansy."
Word traveled fast about the mysterious new trash person in town. Before long I had every villager asking me if I had met Haas, when Haas was coming back, why Haas hadn't deemed them important enough for an introduction. It was a nightmare. I tried to explain to them that Haas would bring nothing but pain to our peaceful community, but they persisted. I decided that finding some common ground with the intruder was going to be necessary, so I set up a time to hang out.
During our outing, I learned that Haas never intended to move to Woodbright. His dream was to found his own island, name it Boomtown, and manufacture explosives to sell to a small group of militias in the north of Kazakhstan that were working to reinstate the Soviet Union. In that moment, for the first time, I felt for Haas; he didn't want to be on this island and I didn't want him here. Maybe we could come to understand one another with a little effort.
Perhaps if Haas had a section of the island to himself he would feel more at home. I tried to visualize what a feral manchild might be interested in. I set up a basketball hoop, playground equipment, and a large cardboard cutout of a triceratops. As I worked, I imagined Haas' reaction, how he would finally feel comfortable on Woodbright and would maybe stop running through my meticulously placed flowers and telling the other villagers I made a living by selling counterfeit prescription drugs to homeless children.
Nothing could have prepared me for Haas seeing the park I built for him and immediately attempting to push it into the ocean. He proceeded to jump into the ocean himself before declaring he would start sleeping on the beach and screaming at the fish until I built him a house to live in.
Reader, I am a fool. An adorable, kindhearted fool. A selfless, lovely fool for thinking I could find a way to make that rotted starfish boy bearable. My only option now is to try to get rid of him. I imagine he must be wanted by some government so I'll start making some calls. I will not rest until my villagers and my careful landscaping are safe from the plague that is Haas.
Matt Reviews: Best (and Worst!) Coins to Swallow
Despot-level contributor Matt Spradling
It's 2020, and that means nothing if not liberation from obsolete societal norms and complete digestive autonomy. The Newsletter team, ever at the cultural forefront, has proactively taken responsibility for charting these turbulent, murky waters.
American nickel - One of the best; not too big to cause trouble going down, but not so small that you don't feel anything. True, it has a low monetary value, but that contributes to its casual, low-risk vibe. 4/5
2 Euro coin - Now we're in business. Valuable, multiple colors, and it looks like a wrapped chocolate coin which means it is perhaps the truest archetypal coin. 5/5
Gold-plated collectible bitcoin - Looks cool as hell but is technically worthless. Usually far cleaner than circulated coins, but lacking in character and left me feeling empty. 2/5
American quarter - A true juggernaut, but with some unforeseen pitfalls. These guys are amply available and about as valuable as common coins get, plus sizable! However, dropping one in you technically makes you a cheap jukebox. I had "Station to Station" by David Bowie start playing every time I opened my mouth for four hours, and I had errands to run. 4/5
Brazilian 50 centavo piece - These have some heft but are smaller than the 25 centavo piece. How does that make sense? I guess Americans aren't ones to talk what with our tiny dimes which will not be reviewed here. Anyway these make my eyes turn yellow. 2/5
American penny - This is about as low as you can stoop. Not only does the penny have such a low value that it shouldn't even be used anymore, but the zinc tastes awful. The main thing, though, is that with pennies, every time I swallow them I start to feel really hot and sluggish and then before long, I shit you not, ants become attracted to me, I mean dozens of em just swarm inside from somewhere and flock to me, and what's weird is they don't bite me or seem to want anything, they just get on me and crawl around a little and then leave the way they came after about half an hour. 1/5
Chuck E. Cheese's token - Rife with childhood nostalgia and whimsey, yet also rife with bacteria. Last time I went to Chuck E. Cheese's, I was about 10 and my friend invited me to go along. I'd been watching a history channel show about the French revolution before, and told him "boy was it bloody." He did not respond. Once there, I remember crawling around through the tunnels even though it was getting difficult because I was a large child. The floor of the tunnel in places was wet, but just wet enough to fly under my still-developing child radar. Then I turned a corner into a far-too-wet section to find a toddler, a kid we in the kid biz usually called "too little to hang," sitting and smiling like an idiot in nothing but an overly soaked diaper. I turned around and tried to go about my business like a reasonable boy but I was worried my pants would smell bad for the rest of the outing. A year ago this week it was announced that Chuck E. Cheese's would be going public in the stock market and I've been watching closely. My dream since I was 10 has been to simultaneously buy up as much ownership of the company as possible whilst undermining its business on the ground level, driving prices lower and lower until I am able to buy them out in their desperation. Once they are mine I will provide what the children truly wanted all along: arena death matches between the new cartoony Chuck mascot and the classic, horror-wrought animatronic incarnation we all love and fear. Previously discontinued characters Helen Henny and Mr. Munch will provide burlesque shows between fights while birthday boys and girls toss patronizing, pizza-grease-stained coins at them and sip on their root beers. 2/5
The World and Also Life Is Mostly Meaningless
Load-bearing contributor Alex Speed
I am sitting in my parents' backyard in one of those red plastic lawn chairs. It is a little past nine o'clock in the evening and I have built a fire because it is cold in mid-April (the planet is dying). The temperature is just so that I can wear the white pullover from Target I found in one of the closets here and sit next to the fire without being too hot or too cold. My phone is playing songs that I will recommend Matt put into this week's playlist and I feel mostly content in the midst of a very stressful, not-so-fun time. I, as I typically do because I'm an insane person, gave myself three matches to start this fire. I got it to really catch on the second so I ended up just sort of sacrificing the third match to the flames which for some reason really bummed me out.
Earlier I went for a very long drive through the town I grew up in. I passed the kinda racist high school, the field we used to break stuff in, and pulled in to the park where one time I dove into the very shallow pond in my underwear because I lost a bet. I felt like the guy in Up when he has the montage showing how his neighborhood has changed, but in this instance I was the one that had changed and this small north Texas town had stayed impressively the same. It gave me that really gross nostalgic-but-I-don't-know-what-for feeling. I had the following epiphany that in articulation makes me sound like a big dumb idiot but at the time felt meaningful: everything is meaningless and the only thing that matters is drinking beer on your porch with your friends. I refuse to elaborate on this and if you disagree with me you are wrong and also I hate you.
A Small Elaboration: The town I grew up in objectively sucks but I am one of those very sad peaked-in-high-school people. I had a great time just hanging out with people and doing dumb dares and drinking Coors Lite in secret with my friends. Now, in the absence of these people, I have a more objective view of this place and how the pond I jumped into is gross, the high school is too close to the highway, and that field we used to break stuff in is maybe the meeting place of a low-stakes sex cult. My only takeaway from this is that if you are going to invest in your happiness it should be done by investing in yourself but also the people you choose to build your life around (that's the big dumb idiot part).
In conclusion I will be assembling a small group of people I enjoy to start a commune in the woods where we drink Coors Lite and do dares and stuff. If you would like to apply, just email me at email@example.com.
Young Americans Are Excessively Resting While Quarantined
Actionable, deliverable, and impactful-level contributor Mats Bradling
As millions of Americans have filed for unemployment or otherwise been confined to their homes in recent weeks, unrest about the economy has been among the foremost concerns of young adults. The Serious Times reached out to local 20-somethings, conducting remote interviews to see how they're coping.
"Yeah yeah I've done a lot of sleeping," says Jeffrey, 24, a furloughed service industry veteran. "I haven't gotten a lot of sleep the past few years it feels like, so," he coughs, "but it's a really bad time for everybody day to day I guess."
"I just miss selling 10 hours of my life for meager tips most days," reminisces Jamie, 26, who is also missing her honest-job lifestyle. She sways as the bass of her dance music causes the camera to vibrate slightly. "I no longer feel like the wage slave I was meant to be. I built a lot of my identity around being treated like shit. My skin has cleared up and I'm having fewer nightmares. I just really hope it ends soon."
Because of the sudden cessation of income, mitigated for many by unemployment benefits, most of those we spoke to found themselves with two months of income or less saved up. "Yeah that's really new and novel and I'm not used to it at all," says Kelsey, 25, looking very pointedly at me. "Never before have I known the struggle of living check to check, unable to effectively plan for my future. Definitely not just business as usual. No... no way."
"It's depressing to have a sudden uptick in keeping up with lots of friends via texting, facetime, games, instagram, whatever, and then gradually letting it all dwindle - makes you feel like you're unable to maintain relationships. It's new and tough," says Jeffrey. "I mean, I guess I experienced that when I left for college, and then when I switched majors in college, and then when I moved out of my dorm, and then when I got a new job, and then when I was between jobs, and then when I moved cities, and then when I changed jobs again, and then again for no real reason. But yeah, it's novel and tough and new."
Asked about American billionaires potentially going under, Jamie frowns. "It really is the worst part of this," she muses, stirring the umbrella in her bright mango-colored drink. "When someone like me is on their last paycheck's worth of savings, you know, that's one thing, but when the heroes among us who take on huge amounts of risky assets so we don't have to, when those risks don't work out, it's like, I really feel pained by that." I ask a follow up question but she clearly cannot hear me whilst slurping the drink. "Yeah, yeah," she adds sympathetically.
"I spend like six hours a day laying face down on the floor," says Jeffrey. I ask, really? "Oh yeah man, it was only like three hours before on an average day. Crazy times."
"It's tough to worry about your friends that are stuck with risky responsibilities right now, like nurses and delivery workers, which is new," says Kelsey. "I mean I guess that was the case before with some of my friends who got convinced that joining the military was their only shot at paying for school, or who couldn't afford to get out of bad parts of town, or my cousin who has hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt for getting brain damage in a car wreck. Oh and all my friends who were born black in America. But yeah it's new and strange."
"I've watched just so much porn," says Jeffrey. I remind him I asked about economic elasticity. "Totally," he says, "yeah I've had time to read a lot too, so," he coughs, "it's uncharted territory."
Dear Sam: Quarantine Queries
Mommy blogger-level contributor Sam Strohmeyer
I'm having some issues with my online shopping, as my preferred source of stress relief is "retail therapy." My problem is that I have no money now that I've been laid off. What can I do to curb these urges?
Go ahead and just cut all of your clothes into crop tops. You'll feel like you've just bought a brand new wardrobe! As a bonus you can use the scraps to make one giant fabric tube top to donate to a large snake in need. Doing for others can often help us feel better during difficult times.
I want to eventually own a castle. Where do I start?
You'll want to start near a stream or perhaps a large puddle. Wear a nice outfit, and for godsakes, put on some cologne. Before long you'll spot your one-way ticket to castle ownership: a frog. That's right! You're gonna lift the curse on a dashing and newly reformed prince, sweep him off his feet, and inherit a fortress of your own. And if you end up not liking the prince just poison him or something after the wedding.
Suggestions on how I should spend my birthday in quarantine?
Sad Sam (my name is also Sam)
Dear Name Buddy,
You definitely shouldn't have people over for your birthday since it is important we maintain social distancing. You know who hasn't been asked to social distance? Squirrels! Get some peanuts and have a trail of them lead into your home. Heck, you might find all kinds of critters are interested in your party! Perhaps a large spider will move into your home and make its bed in your closet. Maybe a medium-sized falcon will poop on your couch. Now THAT will be a celebration to remember!
Widowmaker-level contributor Madison Bailey
Last week I shared some controversial beliefs about zodiac signs. To be honest, I only expected five friends from work to glance over them with mild enjoyment after I had to shout the horoscopes at my mom, complete with long pauses to cue fake laughter, while she was making pasta because she was "too busy" to read it in the first place. Considering mothers always offer the best advice, had she actually been listening, she would've told me not to include that bit about "no one actually being a virgo" because WOW did I get some clap-backs from y'all. So here I am again, ready to settle this.
VIRGOS. AREN'T. REAL.
-- 9 months before virgo szn is none other than the holiday szn. 'Tis the season when literally no one is "gettin' down". First up we have Thanksgiving, which is known for gluttonous behavior and sleeping. No one is making a baby after creating a food baby, you feel me? Plus the tryptophan hits you like a karate chop to the adam's apple and knocks you right out leaving no time for funny business. Trust me, I'm a Nutritionist. You're inevitably going to get in a family argument about politics, your racist uncle's comments, and when your mom is expecting you to pop out those little virgos. The time between Thanksgiving and winter holidays (e.g. Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice) isn't any better, with a likely repeat of the previous month but with the added bonus of your judgmental aunt throwing snide comments about your religious preferences. A real mood-setter, amirite???
-- BuT iM a ViRgO! No you're not, Moira McClandess. Have you ever read a book? The easiest fake names are alliterative. That's why all of JK Rowling's characters with lazy backstories are named Helga Hufflepuff and Peter Pettigrew. You're not one either "Lizzie Dragon." Facebook doesn't even recognize your last name as real. Dragon? C'mon. Try harder. Jess Stillwagon? Fake name. Jen Groudle? Just trying to promote your instagram modeling career. Katherine Peters? Getting attention for your recent engagement. Eric Ejifor? Read my comment about alliteration above. Lauren Ventecinque? Can't even spell it, it's so fake.
-- Most people that claim to be virgos are actually CIA agents needing to conceal their identities. The government was concerned about the lack of births between late August and September, thus assigning everyone undercover or in witness protection with these "birthdays." Easiest way to spot someone with a secret is by asking them what their sign is. That's why bouncers do it.
-- Labor Day is intentionally in the middle of virgo szn to throw everyone off. No one is in labor, they just want you to think there is. "PRANK!" -The Government.
Essentially, virgos are the human equivalent of birds. They don't exist and we're so accustomed to it, no one bats an eye. They're here to control the narrative.
STAY WOKE, FAM.
You Hugged Us Too Hard
Bindle-level contributor Matt Spradling
Turns out ya'll are so bored and tore through so much bandwidth last week that it would've crashed the site to publish again this month, so I, a Businesssmn, purchased some extra stuff from webnode to keep things fancy and official.
If you feel the holy spirit moving you with somber organ music, you can make a PayPal donation below to show support and help keep things running. Donations will be split evenly between the week's contributors.
I've seen other sites I like call this the "buy me a drink" button, but the Newsletter team isn't currently drinking because we're collectively trying to get super ripped as a bit, so maybe it's more of a "buy my cat protein powder" button.
Donors are entitled to any and all of:
- A place on our sponsorship wall of fame
- A custom poem or prophecy from one of the Newsletter staff
- Make a request
- I'll think about you in the shower
Special thanks so far to:
Now By Real Persons
Thom Yorke - A Brain in a Bottle
This song is completely overlooked but one of my absolute favorites. I set an alarm to wake up and watch this video at four in the morning every day to offset the health benefits of the kale smoothies I drink at four in the afternoon every day. -Matt
Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto
Sometimes your family disappoints you. Sometimes it happens while you're in Japan. "I'm gonna kill you // If you don't beat me to it." Oof. But also I'm dancing? 10/10. -Sam
Pinegrove - Aphasia
One of the coolest nights of my life was when I went to see Pinegrove a few months ago and this song was a highlight. "Aphasia" is one of those songs that shows even a sad boy band can get some real work done in the groove department. Evan Hall's skill as a scary good songwriter is on full display here. "One day I won't need you love // One day I won't define myself by the one I'm thinking of." Fuck. -Alex
The National - Sea Of Love
There was one summer when I screamed this song on my five minute commute both ways every single day and summer lasts six months here. Resonates full of young 20-somethings future-dread and depressive camaraderie. Clearly the best video as well. -Matt
Car Seat Headrest - Can't Cool Me Down
If you're a Car Seat obsessive like me and Matt you will initially be underwhelmed by this studio version. Especially if you were able to see this song live after nine lone stars and lots of crying. However, like most Car Seat singles, it really grows on you. Not in a Stockholm syndrome way where you love the band and just say a bad song is good. It has really interesting dynamics, but I mean yeah the weird rap bridge is bad. There's a lot here and I have this weird suspicion some of the lyrics are inspired by Kafka On The Shore but I have literally no proof of this. -Alex
I can't explain why but this song always makes me dance. Isn't that the point? But it also makes me want to start a fight. I don't know if that's the point. Maybe I'm just violent. I actually love the weird bridge - the mumbling combined with the (surely off-key) synth bit that sounds like a melodica is what my brain sounds like most of the time and it explodes really beautifully at the end. Favorite new song in at least a year. -Matt
Like Matt and Alex, I first heard this song live and repeatedly listened to several low quality youtube recordings until the official version dropped. I didn't like it as much at first and I still don't but I like it more than I did. I guess it's ideal, when you've only heard a song live and loved it, for the album version to be exactly the same. But if you can't have the live version, the second best thing is to get something kind of weird that makes you think. The third best thing is to get just an okay version and the fourth best thing is to travel back in time to the original live performance you were at. You might think that might be the first best thing but imagine going back in time, now knowing what you know about the present, and pretending you don't know to the people around you and acting normal. NOT fun. -Sam
Sleigh Bells - And Saints
I'm new to Sleigh Bells and they seem to mainly do more distorted guitar rock like if The Kills got sex-tortured with a car battery for a couple hours, but this slow number is gorgeous and really stuck with me. -Matt
Doja Cat - Say So
This song instantly puts me in a good mood. I'm able to sing along with it but couldn't tell you a single lyric when it's not playing, like it puts me into a dopamine fugue state. And you know what? I deserve a break from reality and so do you. Pair it with a kitchen to dance in for best results. -Sam
Woody and Jeremy - Too Hot in L.A.
The keyboard wizard from Vulfpeck and some freaking groovy melodies from someone named Jeremy. This song will stay stuck in your head and you get to hear Joe Dart absolutely wreck the Joe Dart Bass. -Alex
Childish Gambino - Sober
Is Awaken, My Love! the best Childish Gambino album? Yes. But is Kauai the best summer music for some reason? Also yes. It's probably mostly nostalgia at this point, but hey, that's valid. -Matt
Arctic Monkeys - No. 1 Party Anthem
This is my go-to karaoke song. I think it's kind of inherently a karaoke song. Just an excuse to ham it up like a sleazy lounge singer and drink and roll around on the floor some. I think that's the point? What the fuck is a gallic shrug? What is on this floor? Bof! -Matt
Radiohead - The National Anthem
Video = entire mood. I couldn't find the crazy 2000 SNL performance on youtube but this is about on par. -Matt
Banner: Stanley Donwood - "Burn the Witch"
Dante w/ mask photoshopped by magician's assistant Sam Strohmeyer (but she was secretly the magician the whole time and I was the eye candy)
Animal Crossing screen captures - my twitter, to which nintendo bullied me into uploading
Chuck-E-Cheese's band - some man's flickr