Issue 41 - 06/09/21


  • Pride Month Hall of Mirrors: Presented by |||PEPSI|||
  • (Mostly) Spoiler-Free Review of Critical Role, Campaign 2
  • Nextdoor Clippings
  • A Small Collection of Dungeons & Dragons Homebrew Items
  • 7 Ways to Support Your Struggling Local Power Grid
  • Did You Watch That Thing On Netflix That Made Me Really Confused and Amazed and Sad?
  • Stall Graffiti
  • A Briny Loch Away
  • A Dramatic Public Declaration of Love
  • Office Chart

Pride Month Hall of Mirrors: Presented by |||PEPSI|||

Step right up and step right in! 

Enter quick before it is sued out of existence or collapses under the strain of your collective agony and bliss extracted as with a centrifuge!

(Mostly) Spoiler-Free Review of Critical Role, Campaign 2

Chief Dice Correspondent Marina Martinez 

If you haven't at least tangentially heard about Critical Role by this point in your life, I consider that a personal failure. If you have heard about it but were like 'okay that sounds like a nerd thing, hard pass', the joke is on you pal - I'm about to get you super into it.

Critical Role is a silly little show on the internet that started back in 2015 and is now the most popular live-play Dungeons & Dragons game in the world. (I'm not exaggerating, they have literally broken world records at this point.) They may have had an unfair advantage at first, since other shows like Dungeons & Daddies or Girls, Guts, Glory aren't made up of professional voice actors and helmed by a professional DM, but Critical Role got to where it is today because the cast know how to tell good stories. (Well, better than just 'good', but I'm getting there.)

I originally wrote this review directly before the 7-hour long finale, and I'm rewriting it now that I've processed everything and am more emotionally stable, but one fact remains the same - CR: Mighty Nein is my favorite D&D campaign of all time (sorry, TAZ: Balance). Don't worry - I'm not about to ask you to watch/listen to it. This campaign has lasted 3.5 years (minus a small break last year bc of the Panini) and will have spanned about 540 hours over 141 episodes. It's a fucking enormous undertaking that would probably cost me several friendships if I bugged people about it as much as I constantly want to. Knowing that you'll never listen to it, I'm still going to tell you why it's the best and you should want to anyway.

Why the FUCK did I say I'd explain this without spoilers.

In most D&D campaigns, including CR's first, the player characters come together, rise up from mediocrity, and eventually become heroes that save the realm and live on as legends. The Mighty Nein, the party in this campaign, are just...people. They're not even good people, they're all assholes. They started out as 7 chaotic neutral player characters in a tavern and, if I'm honest, not much changed. Okay yes, there was obviously massive amounts of character growth - every character started out with suitcases FULL of repressed trauma that they unpacked over the last few years - and every character grew closer and made the conscious choice to stay together as a team, but at the end of it all, they're still themselves. They became the versions of themselves they always could've been if they were shown love and support, and it's absolutely beautiful to watch selfish characters with trauma and trust issues slowly learn that the world isn't always out to get them, and that they can rely on at least a few people. At the end of this campaign, they're all still just a bunch of loveable assholes, and - plot twist - they're not going to be legends.

Despite their best efforts (and they really did try very hard to not get involved in the first place), the Mighty Nein Got Into Some Shit. Did they get into the middle of a tense political conflict? Did they run into multiple powerful beings and deities? Did they stumble into literally every different form of love? Did they save the world? Did they all make it out alive? Idk, that sounds pretty spoilery so I won't get into it. But let it be known that they were not good at what they did! This fun show that I watch for serotonin has stressed me out nearly every Thursday night for the past few years because every conflict they got into was a direct result of their incompetence! And that fuckin' RULED.

The Mighty Nein were just a bunch of friends that did whatever they had to in order to stay together and help each other (and maybe, very occasionally, complete strangers. If they felt like it). They shared one brain cell and their collective moral compass swung wildly all over the place and the only driving force behind this entire campaign was 'okay which member of this friend group has an arc that needs resolving next?' and then that question occasionally caused them to stumble into a potentially world-ending conflict. But at NO POINT did any of them WANT to be the heroes! The only reason they ended up with a Big Bad at the End Game was because it threatened them personally and they love each other so much.

This is so hard to write without spoiling things. Have y'all picked up on the Found Family trope yet or do I have to spell it out for you??

The reason for Critical Role's success - as a show and a company - is that they are all best friends in real life. They are a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors (their words, not mine) who loved the fun dice game they played every week so much that they started sharing it on the internet. And even though they're playing characters, they can't help but love each other in the game, too. Because yeah, every D&D character you play is also a little bit you, too. And when a bunch of queer people with trauma and baggage get together (in or out of game), they're gonna love each other and form life-long friendships. That's just how it works, ask anyone. People like watching other people love each other.

I have a lot of feelings about this campaign, but the reason it's my favorite is that narratively it is absolutely PERFECT and it's not actually scripted. Dungeons & Dragons is a game that revolves entirely around improv and dumb luck, so the fact that the dice succeeded/failed in such a way that there are dozens of instances of unintentional foreshadowing throughout the campaign that were ultimately resolved in a heartbreakingly poetic manner is just...astounding. This stupid game is better written than stories with an actual script and I'm so mad about it but also I love it. Sometimes shows (coughTAZcough) fudge dice rolls and bend the rules in order to tell a better story, and it's magical, but (somehow) the story of the Mighty Nein failed some rolls and followed all the rules and still pulled off one of the most emotionally turbulent and ultimately satisfying stories I've ever witnessed.

Critical Role: Mighty Nein is a story that came at the perfect time. It's been a journey of a bunch of relatively powerless people who are just trying to survive and who figure that they might as well try to make their shitty world a little less shitty while they're here. It has been equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious and life changing and relatable. I see myself and my friends in these characters and their story, and maybe that's why I cried for the majority of the finale (and maybe a lot more in the next couple of days).

I know that Campaign 3 is just around the corner, and that Critical Role has several other projects coming up that I'm pretty excited about, but saying goodbye to the Mighty Nein feels like losing a few friends. I know this is very likely unrelatable for folks who are mentally stable, but losing an emotional support can take some time to get over. Huge shout-out to my D&D group for all the emotional labor they're doing as I cry to them about characters they don't know.

TLDR; I don't know how to end this review in order for you to super duper get my point here. '10/10'? 'Would listen again'? 'Will carry in my heart forever'? I'll leave you with a brief summary if you just skipped to the bottom as soon as I started sounding emo:

The Mighty Nein's motto has always been 'try to leave every place a little bit better than you found it.' And you know what? They did.

Nextdoor Clippings

Chief HOA Correspondent Matt Spradling

Barbara - Brentwood East - I Am 90

Does anybody have some food and water. everything is covered in ice outside and my house is off. and the national guard told me to suck it. And also I am 90.

Jayme - North Loop - Hi Neighbors Something Watching Me From Shadows Of Bedroom??

Hello everyone so I guess I just wanted to see if anyone else here has dealt with this before sometimes at night when I'm sitting in bed staring into the darkness for an hour or two before I sleep I see a shadow darker even lingering in the space between my bed and my closet and it's just kind of weird I guess has anyone else had this and do you have a good exterminator I guess thanks

Tim - Rosedale - Really Tired Of Texas Not Pulling It's Weight

I'm getting really frustrated about this power outage, it should have been totally preventable. I make my sacrifice every January like clockwork, this year I even did extra, I sacrificed youngest son instead of just a pet and some heirlooms like usual, but clearly a lot of you are slacking and it wasn't enough to satisfy ERCOT this year and now look at where we are, I just wiped my ass with my wife's diploma and the edge of that golden TCU logo sticker part started peeling off and cut me.

Jayme - North Loop - Hi Neighbors Something Watching Me From Shadows Of Bedroom?? [UPDATE]

Hello everyone so I figured out that the entity watching me from the shadows was there between the hours of 1 and 6 so I waited for it and then went over to touch it because none of you recommended a exterminator or like therapist and when I did it disappeared but a small mouse latched onto my ankle ( I don't wear socks to bed gross) not unlike a colossal mammalian tick and I don't know how to remove it??

Roberto - Allandale - Anyone Else?

Hey did anyone else's government tell them multiple times this year that they wanted them to die? I can understand once but this is like the third time and it just seems a little excessive so I'm wondering if I'm the only one or ?

Jayme - North Loop - Hi Neighbors Something Watching Me From Shadows Of Bedroom?? [UPDATE] [UPDATE]

Hello every one so the mouse has been there for a few days and now a cat has also latched on to my ankle over where the mouse is and I think I can still feel the mouse but I can't see it because the cat is in the way and I can't really see the cat either because everything is dark but it doesn't have a collar?? I'm also allergic

Michelle - Windsor Road - Unrestrained Summer Fun

Hey babes it's been boring and cold but today it got sunny again let's have a big community get together in the park and take some picnic pics :) :) :) everywhere seems closed for some reason but maybe someone else can make some food! :))

Jayme - North Loop - Hi Neighbors Something Watching Me From Shadows Of Bedroom?? [UPDATE] [UPDATE] [UPDATE]

Hello everyone so I've mostly been sleeping a lot because of the allergic reactions but now an aggressive dog has formed from the shadow and latched on over the cat and now I can't really feel my ankle or foot and I can't see it any more for that matter but anyway it keeps barking incessantly and like it's a little muffled what with my flesh filling its mouth but it's still pretty loud and I'm worried about it bothering my neighbors <3 because it's at all hours of the day and night but I can't get it to stop so I guess does anyone have any dog training tips I'm not sure what sets it off maybe it's just like that??

Garrett - East Riverside - [For Sale]

Jayme - North Loop - Hi Neighbors Something Watching Me From Shadows Of Bedroom?? [UPDATE] [UPDATE] [UPDATE] [UPDATE]

Hello everyone so this vet like with animals not wars is here now and he's taken hold of my leg and he has like unrealistically good skin and I don't really know if I should trust him?? but it turns out he says the dog has a rare form of cancer and needs an operation and I can't really afford it but if anyone can donate to it here's my paypal and I really appreciate it

  -   -  Guys

I'm a lit major and don't donate to this person their posts aren't real this is obviously just a metaphor for depression and not even a very good one like wtf

Jayme - North Loop - Hi Neighbors Something Watching Me From Shadows Of Bedroom?? [UPDATE] [UPDATE] [UPDATE] [UPDATE] [UPDATE]

Umm I don't care how lit you are I'm not a metaphor I'm just going through some stuff and feel like I'm at rock bottom and you're being pretty freaking unhelpful?? Doctor Randall is getting pretty upset.

  -   -  Oh My God It's In My Room

A Small Collection of Dungeons & Dragons Homebrew Items

Chief Artificing Correspondent Andrew Piotrowski

Listen, assorted Drewbians. I know what you're thinking: "Where's the oddly emotional, touching, and professionally written contribution we expect from you in this 'weekly' publication?" And to that, I have two responses:

  1. Thanks for not being weird when I referred to my imaginary fans as Drewbians a second ago

  2. I was writing something incredibly challenging and introspective but I tabled it for reasons that I don't have to tell you, but I hope it fucking eats you up inside. Perish.

In any case, I was texting Matt earlier about a genius brain baby I delivered while riding in the car back from Houston earlier today, a proposed D&D item which I'll mention later. With nothing but a consequential bit of further ado, I present to you: some D&D items I hope that I came up with originally but may have just been incepted into my brain, since I'm probably going to have to come up with some on the fly for word count.

Dagger of Sylvankind

This is actually an item I came up with for the behiatused Newsworthy D&D campaign. It's based on an idea a friend had for a sword imbued with the power of a faerie. He asked for potential effects it could have and I had the idea of incorporating the mythos that faerie kind can't lie in some folklore.

The dagger features a wide, curved blade (similar to a modern bowie knife) of a silver metal, though the blade shimmers with pink in the light. The hilt is covered by a handguard that looks to be dripping with green leaves and pink flowers.

The dagger (which may have a different name, I don't quite recall) does the damage of a +1 dagger (or whatever, it's your game), and when the dagger does damage, the victim must make a saving throw or suffer the effects of the spell Zone of Truth. The interesting twist (that helps the weapon not be completely broken) is that the effect cannot be used without causing damage. This leads the weapon to seem like an interrogation tool, or something to which the victim must willingly submit.

The Ring of Mild Shape

This odd ring is made of a warm, caramel colored wood with threads of darker brown running throughout, all polished to a gleam. None of those things are especially odd, but the ring sure is square instead of round. It still fits okay though, so don't worry about it.

It's a ring intended for druids, so don't bother if you don't have any druids. It gives them an additional daily use of their wild shape, but more importantly, it allows them to use their wild shape for an additional purpose. They can use a charge of their wild shape to transform into an inanimate, nonmagical object of their mass or smaller. If you trust your players to make larger items, go for it; I'm kinda accustomed to playing with shitheads.

This might require some creativity to use successfully but one might transform into a rope ladder for their teammates, a tea kettle to hide from a guard, or a screen to provide shelter from eyesight. Always remind your players that it's up to your discretion, though. No rocket launchers is usually a good rule.

Potion of Immediately Shitting Yourself

This potion makes you shit yourself immediately. The bottle is clearly labeled. The potion inside is enchanted so that pouring it into another container causes that container to be clearly labeled "Potion of Immediately Shitting Yourself." The label cannot be covered, removed, or altered.

7 Ways to Support Your Struggling Local Power Grid

Chief Market Correspondent Macc Spaldinq

It's been a toughâ„¢ year. But as Texans, we stick together. It's time to show our support for the ones in our lives who are most important and who need it the most: businesses.

And not just any businesses, but especially local businesses. And what could be more local than power providers? They run their tender, spindly fingers through every street, into every one of your walls, and all the way inside of the devices you rely on every day to sleep comfortably, stay in touch with friends, work, eat, see, get off so good and so right, and watch the news.

And make no mistake, they have been hit hard recently - Texas power companies lost at least seven hundred (700!) good paying customers this February, which is almost five times as many as officially reported because they're trying to maintain a strong facade so we don't worry about them.

But you don't have to worry - because you can help! With your wallets! Here are some great tips for supporting your power companies to thank and help support them for seeing us safely through these tough times which were completely impossible to have predicted or mitigated.

1. Buy a gift card. It's true that most power providers, like most utilities, do not traffic in traditional gift cards, but that doesn't mean you should give up! What are gift cards but money with extra steps involved? And what else features money but with extra steps involved? That's right, ostensibly non-profit places on the board of directors for government-adjacent oversight committees. Buy one today!

2. Get delivery. Your power should, of course, already be delivered - that is inherent to being a customer, and being a customer is inherent to being alive.

3. Tip like a boss. As you've probably already determined for yourself having been to restaurants, being the cultured yet grounded customer that you are, it's not the working class that needs your money; they should get a real job if they want a payout. Don't tip your power company employees fixing your homes and climbing the icy poles on your street like rustic strippers. Instead, mail that money to 7620 Metro Center Dr, Austin, TX 78744 (oh shit not to break character but ERCOT is right down the street from where I'm moving to next month)

4. Skip the refund. Get overcharged on a power bill? Consider writing it off as a donation to the business that does so much for you. Happen suspiciously often? God gives his toughest tests to his bravest soldiers.

5. Provide a signal boost. Give a shout-out to your favorite local businesses by leaving them a stellar review on YELP, 1.40%  Google, GOOGL, -0.13%  or Facebook FB, 1.44% - that thing you always meant to do but never had time for. (Thanks, coronavirus!) While you're at it, follow all your favorite corporations online and share their social media posts. They might have their own ideas for how you can support them or flagellate yourself for their profit and entertainment. I bet they'll fuck you!

6. Reach out to government leaders and ask for help

7. Make your vote count. Finally, what would show support more than simply paying more to show how much you value their services? Vote for state representatives who will pass this buck on to where it belongs: us! (Actually not me, I happen to be on the oversight committee so there is no way for me to ethically benefit from any such thoughtfulness, but thank you for thinking of me, and if you would like to further discuss and negotiate benefits for Texas power companies, please meet me where I work in the state capitol building, in Michigan.)

Did You Watch That Thing On Netflix That Made Me Really Confused and Amazed and Sad?

Chief Culture Correspondent Alex Speed

Bo Burnham.

Have you seen this?

Have you heard about this?

I think the Venn Diagram of people who read Newsletter and people who love Bo Burnham is just a tiny circle inside of another bigger circle so I won't start this with any sort of backstory on Mr. Burnham (he is our authority and we will address him as such). Instead I want to just jump right in to whatever the fuck has happened to me since taking the weird leap of destroying my own mental health for the sake of relating to someone much smarter and more creative than I thought I was.

If you weren't already aware - the world has been in a bit of a snafu lately. Well not just as of lately, but it seems the entropy dial has been glued to eleven for the past eighteen months or so. The opportunity of being locked inside for a year should, in theory, allow for some serious white-knuckle time for artists of all kinds. I know personally I vowed to write, record, mix, and release a quarantine album that really just turned in to three songs I kind of hate and probably won't ever actually release. April 2020 was so cute.

The point is that a lot of people saw this as a time to stay inside and work on something. The creative world was kind of equalized because suddenly we were all in the same very real and present nightmare. No set alarm to wake us back to comfortable monotony, just being afraid and using creativity as an outlet in whatever way possible. What I, and I think a lot of people, quickly realized is that making any kind of art in the middle of a pandemic is the mental health equivalent of just staring at your computer screen for fifteen solid minutes trying to think of an analogy before giving up and realizing you're actually on fire.

Then something happens that is so special it makes you, the person who tried really hard to make something, just sort of shit your pants. Like as a viewer and as a human and as a creator - you shit all your collective pants for every piece of your identity because someone did the thing everyone was trying to do in a way that perfectly articulates feelings you couldn't even grasp at. It isn't necessarily because they had a team of people who helped them, or that they worked harder than you (although he for sure did), or anything you can put your finger on. You watch this thing and realize that some people just find what they are supposed to do in life and the thing they are supposed to do is also the thing that they are really exceptionally good at. You then have the realization that the envy you feel while witnessing this run at artistic perfection is completely misplaced and worthless because even this talented in-their-groove performer admits feeling worthless and lonely despite their achievement of the thing you have so badly wanted your entire life.

This feels like it got too sad too quickly so here's a stock photo image of people trying to look really happy:

The special has almost twenty songs in it, and I would say a third of it is just Mr. Burnham dancing in his underwear which I am definitely here for. In between scantily clad gyrations are some incredibly well written pieces about the Global Kerfuffle (TM) and how frustrating it is to be a witness to it all with no real power for change, which leads to a not-so-fun confrontation of self and impact, and then you laugh really hard because Mr. Burnham is also incredibly funny.

I, as always, have no real conclusion to these ideas. I wanted to write about this because it is all I can think about since I saw it for the first time. I was so obsessed that I posted a TikTok (please god forgive for this sentence) featuring one of the songs from the special. That TikTok is the most viewed and liked thing I have ever posted online. It took me one minute to make, and has surpassed anything I have ever obsessed over for years creating. I have been writing and releasing music and articles and poems since I was eighteen years old, but this meaningless 15 second clip of me looking sad while a Bo Burnham song plays in the background is technically my largest ~online~ achievement. I can not think of a more fitting metaphor for what the special means than that.

Stall Graffiti

Chief Community Containment Correspondent Matt Spradling

Wellness check survey results:

Exceeds Expectations:  1

Further Parameters Requested (Not Great):  1

Alive:  1

On the Brink of Death:  0

"Oof":  2

In the Process of Discovering Undiagnosed Neurodivergencies:  3

Party Score:  B-

A Briny Loch Away

Chief Shanty Correspondent Wendy Fernandez

My true love she is beautiful

My true love she is large

Her eyes are bright, her speed is swift

Outswims me on my barge

Outswims me on my barge, me Ness

Though she be so far away

She says "will you remember me

Forever from this day?"

And blow, the high winds, blow,

A-sailing I will go

I'll stay no more on friendly shores

I'll feel the ocean's sway

I'm off to a bonnie land

Where we'll be hand in hand

So I progress to see my Ness

A briny loch away

Now sad and sorry are the men

That say she don't exist

I'm the chosen few who's seen her true

Swimming through the mist

Swimming through the mist, me Ness

I hear her call at night,

So here I go, and away I float

To me true love I'll treat right

And blow, the high winds, blow,

A-sailing I will go

I'll stay no more on friendly shores

I'll feel the ocean's sway

I'm off to a bonnie land

Where we'll be hand in hand

So I progress to see my Ness

A briny loch away

Oh the ship may sail upon the land

And the the sun refuse to shine,

Or the ocean salt may ruin the loch

And the water turns to wine,

And the water turns to wine, me Ness

As I sail up to the bay

Before I forget me own true love

A briny loch away

And blow, the high winds, blow,

A-sailing I will go

I'll stay no more on friendly shores

I'll feel the ocean's sway

I'm off to a bonnie land

Where we'll be hand in hand

So I progress to see my Ness

A briny loch away

Oh I wish I were a Scotsman

Or a highlander, my dear

I'd build a boat and away we'd float

To always keep you near

To always keep you near, me Ness

And though the water's grey

I'll sail across the oceans to

A briny loch away

And blow, the high winds, blow,

A-sailing I will go

I'll stay no more on friendly shores

I'll feel the ocean's sway

I'm off to a bonnie land

Where we'll be hand in hand

So I progress to see my Ness

A briny loch away

A Dramatic Public Declaration of Love

Chief Boombox Correspondent Matt Spradling

I still remember when I first met Chief HR Correspondent Sam Strohmeyer. It was many years ago now; I was busy striding the halls of the Newsletter Industrial Complex (Office Tier: In New England), hardhat on, whip in hand, and sleeves rolled sexily and relatably, ensuring all staff and slime-powered equipment functioned well enough to eventually create the catastrophic success we all know today. We locked eyes from across the flickering engine room, running on naught but fumes and hormones after another long day, and immediately began passionately smooching while that green nickelodeon slime splashed everywhere (she had been busy fixing it until then which is why that one issue is the way it is.)

Ever since, Sam has proved to be the best partner anyone could ever ask for. Not a day has gone by in a literal decade that I haven't felt utterly loved, cared for, supported, understood, and lucky. I know everyone says they're the luckiest man/gal/superbowl-winner in things like this, but they will actually go to the hell I don't even believe in for telling such a big and obvious lie, because that particular superlative has been mine and mine alone for a very long time.

There is no better Saturday than waking up at 10:00, cooking an enormous breakfast together and screaming at the TV about the sport that you graciously allowed me to indoctrinate you with. There is no better feeling when you're away than knowing you'll be back soon. Life's not perfect, but there's no better one I can imagine than tag teaming it with you.

I can't express how amazing you've been through the last year. In the slim slivers of time you have between working full time, stopping me from hurting myself (in an ill-advised-stunts way not a self-harm way) and being a loving cat mother, you just went and started grad school (a hobby known for being cheap and relaxing) for a career you believe in, accruing grades that even Kasia Nikiel would blush at along the way. Everyone should also know that you are absolutely the archetypal group project champion and your classes don't deserve you. You constantly infect others, willing or otherwise, with your warmth, wisdom, positivity, and a larger capacity for emotional availability than Ever Given Evergreen, and like her, everyone who loves chaos tinged with shades of anti-corporatism also loves you.

I know what you're thinking - "Oh man, I wonder if this is going to be one of those cool proposals Creators do by making it just as much about their Content as their own relationship" - and the answer is that you don't know what I'm thinking even a little bit, internet stranger, and you're not invited to our wedding. And also I already did that back in March (sans Content).

I can't wait for you to put a ring on it as we take it to the next level, and I'm so proud of having the fortune to do so. I love you.

Good Lord Lorie - Turnpike Troubadours

So I typically try to keep it a secret but I am from Oklahoma. Turnpike Troubadours is an Oklahoman delicacy and this is the best example of what that band is. As far as country rock songwriting goes this song is as good as it gets. If I ever set foot in Sevier county well your brother said he'd break my jaw // But here I stand with the dark haired daughter of southwest Arkansas. It's a beautiful song of love not being enough and ultimately love itself not being what you thought it'd be. Good stuff. Great stuff.  -Alex

a m a r i - J. Cole

I'm absolutely not any kind of rap aficionado but if this comes on while you're out running you become incapable of being hurt by cars.  -Matt

Codex - Ramin Djawadi

Ashley Johnson put this on one of her character playlists because she said it reminded her of The Mighty Nein and how much they loved each other. At the end of their campaign, I'm gonna co-sign that statement and also I'm gonna go cry in a corner.  -Marina

MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) - Lil Nas X

Surely the video of the year, right? You remember that decade old commercial where you have a first person view of a long and touching montage of going places with your boyfriend and doing things and living life and being sad and being happy and being in love, and then he proposes and the camera zooms out and omg you were a guy too the whole time ergo gay marriage? This kind of feels like that but a version appropriately brazen for 2021 and then the end graphic isn't about marriage equality but is instead a weeks-long marathon of amazing Lil Nas X tweets.  -Matt

All Right Now - Aaron Zachary

Okay all cards on the table - I played on this song. BUT I think it is very very good and Aaron is incredibly talented. This song is also a great picture of the longing that comes from being an artist in a world of instant gratification. Check it out. Tell me how great the organ solo is. It's a good time.  -Alex

Your Screams - Flying Lotus

I'd only listened to a little Flying Lotus before this year but then he created the greatest album cover of all time - 

- and it turns out this is some incredibly versatile and high quality stuff. It's been my go-to for work, exercise, and even soundtracking D&D sessions for months now. The anime it's made for is decent but this is my main squeeze.  -Matt

My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit

This is what I want to play over the credits as I ride off into the sunset.  -Marina

Face to Face - Daft Punk

Earlier this year I attempted to write a whole article about Daft Punk immediately after they hung up their helmets, but my focus and energy was a little lacking what with the natural disaster we were busy fleeing. And that's just as well - before this year I really only knew their final album, 2013's Random Access Memories. It's one of the all time greats, but after diving into the rest of their discography, I think 2001's Discovery is absolutely up there as well. I don't really have the vocabulary to describe electronic music in any meaningful way, but do yourself a favor and put it on in the background next time you need a bit of joy and energy. Oh and also instead of a music video they commissioned an incredible full-length animated film for which the album is the soundtrack, which is slightly abnormal.  -Matt


Banner - Pure Comedy, Father John Misty

the other ones