The Mountain Goats live, 2008

Who doesn’t like live indie rock?

0:00:00 – Michael Myers Resplendent
0:02:32 – Heretic Pride
0:06:46 – You Or Your Memory
0:09:24 – Quito
0:12:05 – Sax Rohmer #1
0:16:25 – Marduk T-Shirt Men’s Room Incident
0:20:46 – So Desperate
0:24:34 – Raja Vocative
0:26:45 – I’ve Got The Sex
0:29:11 – Downtown Seoul
0:32:25 – Talking In Your Sleep
0:34:25 – In The Craters On The Moon
0:38:23 – Dilaudid
0:41:08 – Sept 15 1983
0:45:29 – Lovecraft In Brooklyn
0:50:10 – See America Right
0:52:17 – House Guest
0:57:25 – This Year
1:01:36 – California Song
1:05:00 – The Sign
1:10:35 – The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton

John Darnielle and company put a lot of great songs into just over an hour. I’m still pretty new to the Mountain Goats canon so a lot of these tracks were new to me. House Guest is a new favourite

January Tracks, 2020

I use an IFTTT applet that adds tracks that I’ve saved on Spotify to a monthly playlist. In January I tapped the heart icon 14 times.

January was a month of camping and travel. I didn’t play a whole lot of stuff deliberately until the last few days when I went of something of a later-Wilco trip, triggered by getting a copy of Uncut magazine’s Wilcovered covers collection.

I’ve been Wilco (The Album) the short shrift for a decade. It’s an excellent collection of songs and stands up as well as anything Wilco have put out. Tracks from it make up half the playlist. Bull Black Nova is probably my favourite.

Pearl Jam released Dance Of The Claiirvoyants in January. Pearl Jame are trying a new direction and style with this track. I listened to it a few times the day it came out and liked it. But I couldn’t even hum it now, so maybe tapping the heart icon was premature?

The rest of the top tracks are a hangover from sitting in the sun with random “radio” streams on in the background. Favourite among those is Holly by Aussie muso Hayley Mary.

Read the Jackson Lamb novels

A birdy tells me you’ve got one of mine in your lock-up.”
“That would be River Cartwright.”
“Yes, but don’t blame me. I think his mother was a hippy.”
“Smoke a lot of dope while he was in the womb, did she? That might explain today’s dipshit behaviour. And I thought he was one of your cleverer boys.”
“Mind like a razor,” Lamb agreed. “Disposable.

Per Warren Ellis’s advice I’ve been working my way through Mick Herron’s Jackson Lamb/Slough House novels over the last four months. Here’s Mr Ellis’s summary:

The Security Service, known popularly as MI5, sometimes can’t outright fire people.  Political reasons, operational reasons.  But it would still like to get rid of them. So it puts them in Slough House, a dismal set of offices intended to make those consigned there so miserable that they just quit.  Those people are known as slow horses. Slough House, slow horse.  Slough House is run by Jackson Lamb, himself a slow horse of mysterious provenance, an impressively offensive creature who looks a bit like Timothy Spall if you stuffed Timothy Spall with old pork fat and left him out in the rain for six weeks.

I liken the novels to Len Deighton’s Bernard Samson novels but brought into the Brexit age and with a bit of The Office thrown in. They are enormously enjoyable; funny and smart and, occasionally, shocking.

I’ve actually been listening to the novels via Audible. All so far have been narrated by Seán Barrett, who lends something almost like a sense of authenticity to the story. Each passage of the book is written from someone’s point of view and Barrett is easily able to capture the differences in tone and perspective. And his Jackson Lamb is perfect.

I have two novels to go out of the six currently in print. There hasn’t been a stinker yet. Highly recommended.

Angry folk follow legendary comic artist into container, yell at him.

Recently Stereogum posted a short article about members of System of A Down and Avenged Sevenfold covering Radiohead’s Street Spirit (Fade Out). I’m always up for a Radiohead cover so I bookmarked the page and finally watched it this evening and commented on the post:

This version is not for me but I was stoked to see that the artist painting a excellent portrait of Radiohead is Bill Sienkiewicz, one of my favourite comics artists ever. I don’t know why they were yelling at him in a container, though. That’s impolite.

The cover of Street Spirit is pretty grim. You’re better off watching pretty much anything on the new Radiohead Public Library archive.

December Tracks, 2019

I use an IFTTT applet that adds tracks that I’ve saved on Spotify to a monthly playlist. In December I tapped the heart icon 14 times.

I haven’t gone back and listened to this playlist yet. Much of December’s listening was Spotify radio tunes and nostalgic tunes to keep the mood up as the year wound down.

I have to hand it to Jarvis Cocker for making a great singalong chorus that I’ll pretty much never be able to sing in the car with my kids. I’ll count Running The world as my favourite. What’s He Building? by Tom Waits confused my kids. FFunny FFriends by Unknown Mortal Orchestra was their favourite.

Top Songs of 2019

In early December Spotify compiled my Top Songs of 2019. Leaving aside there is a whole bloody month to go, the results were a little surprising. Venus by Bananarama took the top spot, followed by Battlefords by Hawksley Workman. Tay-Tay’s Me! rounded out the top 3. I know my daughter and I listened to Me! a lot. I would have picked Battlefords for most played. But Bananarama? I suspect the list may not entirely be in order.

There’s some really great songs in the 100 best. Befor We Were Together by Margaret Glaspy is an airworm I was happy to entertain. The various pieces from Blizzard Entertainment games got me through some tough spreadsheets. The National’s I Am Easy To Find contributed a lot of songs.

Fucking Bananarama, though. I remember putting it on for the kids maybe once?

Righto, Spotify. You do you.

Buried Treasure

There’s anywhere from 20 to 40 video games released on Steam every day. That’s too many video games. John Walker, veteran games critic and founder of Rock Paper Shotgun is trying to find the really good indie games out that pile of what has to be a lot of average stuff.

Buried Treasure is a Patreon backed site highlighting the really good games that don’t get coverage from mainstream press. It’s a worthy endeavour. Hopefully some of these titles will get the boost they probably deserve.

Classic game postmortems

The GDC YouTube channel is chock full of talks about game development. Everything from math, to animation, to writing, to production tips.

My favourite playlist covers postmortems – a look back on the development ups and downs for making games. The postmortems for classic games are the best. are the really the best. Here are a few for your weekend viewing pleasure.

Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley talk about Civilization
John Romero and Tom Hall talk about Doom
David Brevick on Diablo
Peter Molyneux talks about Populous