End On End

Tough loss for the Lady Stars

Tough group finals loss for the Lady Stars. The most tight knit group of girls, so they had a blast regardless.

Lady Stars in the tournament

Great tournament for the Lady Stars! A record of 1-1-1 in the round robin to get them into the finals of the consolation bracket tomorrow. Zoey scored her first goal of season too.

Yesterday evening started out with a road-trip to see Kenmore girls field hockey take on Barker. Then to Mohawk Place to see Hop Along. Long day, but fun!

Kenmore Field Hockey Hop Along at Mohawk Hop Along at Mohawk

Seeing Wilco for the third time triggered a listening binge. Picked up the deluxe re-issue of Being There today at Revolver Records.

Wilco Being There

Kenmore Modified Soccer Kenmore Field Hockey

Double header sports night! Stella played for the Kenmore girls modified soccer team and Zoey played for varsity girls field hockey. Fun night, even with the rain.

I went a little crazy with the 1992 playlist in preparation for the next issue of One Last Wish. So many good albums came out that year. 91 songs so far and I don’t think I got everything!

WEIRD Pitbulls

Wonder who is eating dinner under there? #weirdpitbulls

The pandemic has been yet another reminder that when Americans yell “FREEDOM!” they mean “personal freedom” and that means MY freedom, not yours. Especially not yours, if you aren’t like me. Gonna be the death of us, whether it’s climate or public health or worsening inequality.

Yo, microphone check one, two, what is this?

As mentioned in the last post, 1991 was an amazing year for music. While Nirvana was tops in rock music (and probably music as a whole), A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory was an instant hip-hop classic and the best rap record of 1991.

Like Nirvana following up Bleach, A Tribe Called Quest took things to another level with their second album. ATCQ’s 1990 debut People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm is a classic as well, but The Low End Theory fine tunes everything from their debut and pushes their style to new heights.

My love for A Tribe Called Quest started with that first album, specifically the songs “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”, “Can I Kick It?”, and “Bonita Applebum” – all of which were in high rotation on MTV and Yo! MTV Raps at the time. ATCQ was a truly groundbreaking group, incorporating jazz and R&B with laid back, conversational lyrics. Between ATCQ, De La Soul, and Disable Planets, I found my favorite hip-hop style – one I still prefer 30 years later.

Over the next few years I wore my The Low End Theory tape out – it was my go to for almost every situation: skateboarding, playing video games, running track in high school. It was my soundtrack for the very early 90s.

Let's dig in to each track:


Excursions sets the stage for the whole album – great lyrics over a jazz/bebop influenced track. A great opening and introduction to ATCQ.

Back in the days when I was a teenager
Before I had status and before I had a pager
You could find the Abstract listenin' to hip-hop
My pops used to say, it reminded him of Bebop
I said, "Well, Daddy, don't you know that things go in cycles?
Way that Bobby Brown is just amping like Michael"

The beat samples “A Chant for Bu” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Buggin' Out

A great song and Phife Dawg’s coming out party as a world class MC. The video for this track can be seen below with “Jazz (We’ve Got)”.

What an opening:

Yo, microphone check one, two, what is this?
The five foot assassin with the roughneck business
I float like gravity, never had a cavity
Got more rhymes than the Winans got family

The bass is sampled from Jack DeJohnette’s song, “Minya’s the Mooch”. The drums were sampled from Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Spinning Wheel”.

Rap Promoter

Rap Promoter is another track from ATCQ taking issue with the music industry (you’ll sense the theme by the end of the album.)

If there ain't no dough then there ain't no show
So take your roly poly fat promoter (ass)
To the Chemical Bank, and get my cash
If you wanna see the people scream and laugh
You best Quest, you ask the Quest, you ask real fast

From Genius:

“Rap Promoter,” is a pointed jab at the monetization of rap music in the music industry. Q-Tip warns up-and-coming rappers about venue promoters and their shady tactics of scamming money out of them

The drums were sampled from The New Birth’s “Keep on Doin' It”. The guitar sample is from Eric Mercury’s “Long Way Down.”


Phife Dawg takes this track with an autobiographical look at his girl problems:

1988 senior year at Garvey High
Where all the guys were corny but the girls were mad fly
Lounging with the Tipster, cooling with Sha
Scoping out the honeys—they know who they are
I was the b-ball playing, fly rhyme saying
Fly girl getting but never was I sweating

The drum beat was sampled from Chuck Jackson’s 1968 rendition of “I Like Everything About You.”

Verses from the Abstract

Q-Tip takes this one solo (well, Vinia Mojica is featured on the chorus) with a very jazz/funk influenced flow that has since influenced many MCs:

I'm moving, yes I'm grooving cause my mouth is on the motor
Use the Coast in the morning to avoid the funky odor
Can't help being funky, I'm the funky Abstract brother
Funky in a sense, but I play the undercover
Once had a fetish, fetish for some booty
Now I'm getting funky in my rap and that's my duty

The drums were sampled from Joe Farrell’s 1974 track “Upon This Rock”. The background instrumentation on the hook was sampled from Heatwave’s 1977 song “The Star of a Story”.

Show Business

A cautionary tale about the record industry. The song was also the first song on the album to include guest artists/groups. For this one it’s Lord Jamar and Sadat X of Brand Nubian, as well as Diamond D of D.I.T.C..

Yo, I gotta speak on the cesspool
It's the rap industry and it ain't that cool
Only if you're on stage or if you're speaking to your people
Ain't no-one your equal
Especially on the industry side
Don't let the gains just glide
Right through your fingers, you gotta know the deal
So Lord Jamar speak, because you're real

The drums are sampled from Aretha Franklin’s 1971 song “Rock Steady”. The bassline is from The Fatback Band’s 1974 track “Wicki Wacky”. The guitar break is a ssample from Ferrante & Teicher’s 1969 song “Midnight Cowboy”. Other samples were taken from James Brown’s “Funky President (People It’s Bad)” and Gerson King Combo’s “Mandamentos Black.”

Vibes and Stuff

Some more great lyrics and flow from Q-Tip and Phife Dawg on this laid back jazzy track.

Here I am ghetto, full with a lot of steam
Think I gotta, I think I gotta, I think I gotta scream
Cause that's how good it feels child
Let your hair down, so we can get buckwild
Do your ill dance, don't think about the next man
We must have unity and think of the bigger plan
Division we will fall, we must stick together, see
I'd like to take this time to say what's up to Kool G

The song samples Grant Green’s 1970 song “Down Here On the Ground”.

Infamous Date Rape

1990 was an important year in the discussion of rape, date rape, and rape on college campuses in the United States. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg add their social commentary in this song, along with some casual jokes (maybe too casual for 2021) about sex in general:

Listen to the rhyme, it's a black-ink fact
Percentile rate of date rape is fat

The drum samples are from Jackie Jackson’s 1973 song “Is It Him or Me” and the keyboard sample was taken from Cannonball Adderley’s 1972 song “The Steam Drill”.

Check the Rhime

One of my favorite songs on the album and a hip-hop classic. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg use call and response to celebrate their roots and how far they’ve come together:

Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden
We used to kick routines and the presence was fittin'
It was I, The Abstract
And me, the Five Footer
I kicks the mad style so step off the frankfurter
Yo, Phife, you remember that routine
That we used to make spiffy like Mr. Clean?
Um… um… a tidbit, um… a smidgen
I don't get the message so you gots to run the pigeon

The hook samples Minnie Riperton’s 1975 song “Baby, This Love I Have” and the horn sample comes from Average White Band’s 1976 song “Love Your Life”. The drums were sampled from Grover Washington Jr.’s 1975 song “Hydra” and Dalton & Dubarri’s 1976 song “I’m just a Rock N' Roller”.

Everything is Fair

Look at Miss Elaine who runs the fast lane
Barely knows her name, struck by fame
She just got a Benz, she rides with her friends
Gotta keep her beeper in her purse to make ends
Rollin' down the block, checkin' out the spots
She winks at the cops, always give her props
She knows she's the woman, can't nobody touch her
Hangs with the elite, makes her papes from the gutter

From Genius.com:

“Everything Is Fair” is a social commentary about crime and survival in New York City in the early ’90s.

The hook was sampled from Funkadelic’s 1976 song “Let’s Take It to the People”. The drums were sampled from Willis Jackson’s 1972 song “Ain’t No Sunshine”. The bassline was sampled from Willis Jackson’s 1972 song “Don’t Knock My Love”.

Jazz (We’ve Got)

Another one of my favorite jams on this album. The lyrics are top notch.

Stern firm and young with a laid-back tongue
The aim is to succeed and achieve at 21
Just like Ringling Brothers, I'll daze and astound
Captivate the mass, cause the prose was profound
Do it for the strong, we do it for the meek
Boom it in your boom it in your boom it in your Jeep
Or your Honda, or your Bimmer, or your Legend, or your Benz
The rave of the town to your foes and your friends

The video combines two songs: “Jazz (We’ve Got)” and “Buggin' Out” from earlier in the album.

The drums were sampled from Five Stairsteps 1968 song “Don’t Change Your Love”. The keyboard sample twas taken from Jimmy McGriff’s 1972 song “Green Dolphin Street”. On the beat, three samples are manipulated on the turntables from The Dells 1972 song “Segue 2: Funky Breeze/Ghetto Scene”.


ATCQ’s commentary on the importance of pagers in the early 90s. I know that probably seems crazy to younger people, considering what we have now. But yeah, pagers were a thing well into the 90s.

Those who don't believe, see you're laid behind
Got our skypagers on all the time
Hurry up and get yours cause I got mine
Especially if you do shows, they come in fine

The drums were sampled from Sly and The Family Stone’s 1967 song “Advice”. The jazz sample heard in the hook was taken from Eric Dolphy’s 1960 song “17 West,”, featuring jazz bassist Ron Carter.


A short, uptempo track with many rhetorical questions from Q-Tip.

From Genius:

The sparse track entirely consists of a loop of the Paul Humphrey song called “Uncle Willie’s Dream” (1974). The track’s bouncy momentum culminates into a group shout of “What!!” that leads directly into the album’s crown jewel posse cut, “Scenario.”


Another classic and my favorite ATCQ song. What a way to close out the album. The song was my introduction to Leaders of the New School and Busta Rhymes, who went on to massive success as a solo artist.

The verses and interplay between everyone involved is simply quite amazing. I could quote all of the lyrics – they are that good – so check out the Genius page to read along.

The drums on “Scenario” were sampled from The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 song “Little Miss Lover”. The bassline and other elements heard throughout were taken from Brother Jack McDuff’s 1970 song “Oblighetto”.

This album is now over 30 (?!?!) years old, which makes me feel very old… but I am very happy that it has stood the test of time. It may not fit with current radio play and trends, but it is truly a classic record that is 100% listenable today. It’s hip-hop, creativity, and lyricism at it’s finest. A true piece of art.


Since A Tribe Called Quest is this month’s featured artist, we’ll focus on hip hop from 1991. Enjoy! Listen on Apple Music.

  1. Check the Rhime by A Tribe Called Quest
  2. Mistadobalina by Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
  3. If My Homie Calls by 2Pac
  4. Mind Playing Tricks on Me by Geto Boys
  5. How I Could Just Kill a Man by Cypress Hill
  6. Check the Technique by Gang Starr
  7. The Choice is Yours by Black Sheep
  8. I Shouldn't Have Done It by Slick Rick
  9. The Creator by CL Smooth and Pete Rock
  10. Case of the PTA by Leaders of the New School
  11. Can't Truss It by Public Enemy
  12. OPP by Naughty by Nature
  13. Live at the Barbecue by Main Source

Totally Digging

Here are some new releases I’ve been listening to and enjoying:

  • Sour by Olivia Rodrigo (Listen)
  • Perfect by Mannequin Pussy (Listen)
  • Between the Richness by Fiddlhead (Listen)
  • The Off-Season by J. Cole (Listen)
  • Seek Shelter by Iceage (Listen)
  • Just Until... by Cordae (Listen)
  • Thank You for Being Here by cursedtheknife (Listen)
  • Jubilee by Japanese Breakfast (Listen)
  • Unscrew My Head by Ekulu (Listen)
  • Path of Wellness by Sleater-Kinney (Listen)
  • GLOW ON by Turnstile (Listen)
  • CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST by Tyler, the Creator (Listen)
  • Piecing it Together by Free Throw (Listen)
  • Distant Populations by Quicksand (Listen)

And some older releases that have made it back into regular rotation:

  • Red Medicine by Fugazi (Listen)
  • Copper Blue / Beaster remastered 2xLP by Sugar (Listen - Copper Blue and Listen - Beaster)
  • Show Me How You Disappear by Ian Sweet (Listen)
  • Crush by The Doughboys (Listen)

Follow me on Last.fm to see more!

Musical Moving Pictures


LIVE MUSIC?!?! Since the last issue I had the pleasure of attending two concerts: an indoor show with the twin bill of Japanese Breakfast/Mannequin Pussy and an outdoor show with Wilco/Sleater-Kinney/NNAMDI. Both were very good.

The Japanese Breakfast show was thankfully vaccine + mask required, which definitely helped us relax. It was truly amazing to see live music again. Before the pandemic I definitely took it for granted. I’ve seen hundreds of bands over the years and the thought of standing in a hot sweaty room, packed in with other people was not appealing any longer, in most cases. That show 100% changed my mind. The best part of that show is we took Lu and two of their friends and they were blown away by Mannequin Pussy. Such a great, in person experience to give young kids.

Jimmy Eat World - Michigan Fest 1997 (photo by me)

Wilco tonight at Artpark

Wilco at Artpark

Sleater-Kinney tonight at Artpark

Sleater-Kinney tonight at Artpark

Here we are now, entertain us

Note from Jason: Wow, I procrastinated a lot on this one. This issue was like 90% done for weeks. The last 10% was the hardest – putting the focused listen into words. Maybe it’s because SO much has been written about Nirvana, I didn’t think I could do it justice? Anyway, here it is… I will attempt to follow up with another issue this month to get back on track. Thanks for reading!

1991 was a huge year for music – I’m thinking we’ll be stuck here for the next few issues, as there are a number of crucial records I really need to include in this project and it just happens to be the 30th anniversary. Nirvana’s Nevermind and A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory will definitely make the cut for me.

Other classic records out that year: My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Pearl Jam’s Ten, Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, Slint’s Spiderland, The Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish, Fugazi’s Steady Diet of Nothing, Sepultura’s Arise, Geto Boy’s We Can’t Be Stopped, De La Soul’s De La Soul is Dead, my most underrated album of the 90s: God Fodder by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, and many more — I could keep going.

This issue I’ll focus on the album that made the biggest impact of all those listed above: Nirvana’s Nevermind. Released on September 24th, the album knocked pop music off the charts – taking over the #1 slot from Michael Jackson on the Billboard 200 in early 1992. Over 24 million copies have been sold and it’s obviously on many “best of” lists – including #17 on Rolling Stone’s all-time top 500 list. Beyond the mainstream success of Nirvana, this album inspired and opened the gateway to success for many, many alternative rock bands from that point forward.

I received the cassette version for Christmas that year. It turns out, I wasn’t alone:

Nevermind had its best sales period during Christmas week of 1991, when it sold a spectacular 374,000 copies in a mere seven-day frame

Like most of us at the time, I was sucked in by “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the short ride. Overall, I think Nirvana epitomized the Gen X experience: noisy, angsty sly sarcasm, and enough hooks to get you through it all. As a teenager, you couldn’t ask for anything more.

Beyond music, Nirvana obviously wasn’t the reason we moved to Seattle in 1999, but the introduction to the Seattle music scene was a huge selling point. We lived in Seattle for five years and enjoyed many bands during that time at some of the classic Seattle venues: The Crocodile, Showbox, Paramount, Rock Candy, Neumos, El Corazon/Graceland/many other names, Cha Cha Lounge, The Comet, Paradox, and many more. The 1999 to 2004 period was amazing for us in terms of shows – I can’t imagine experiencing all of the scene history that pre-dated that time.

Anyway, enough of the blathering – we all know Nirvana and Nevermind – let’s get on to the focused listen! (I just hope I can do it justice – so much has been written about this band.)

Focused Listen

Smells Like Teen Spirit

The debut single off Nevermind, it was certainly the song (and regularly played video) that jumpstarted the success of the album. Not to mention help it become one of the most recognizable songs of the last 30 years. In fact, Rolling Stone named it #9 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Turns out, Nirvana was trying to rip off The Pixies (another of my favorite bands). Cobain in a Rolling Stone interview from January 1994:

I was trying to write the ultimate pop song. I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.

Lyrically, Nirvana is one of those bands that seem to have two distinct camps: one group that think it’s all non-sensical to fit the melodies and cadence and another group that dissects every single line for meaning. To me, I think the non-sensical has a purpose for Cobain, so I lean toward the “find meaning” camp in most songs. (When this project is complete, you’ll notice I tend to love bands that have meaningful lyrics, if you haven’t already.)

As a shy introvert, my favorite part of this song has to be:

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous  
Here we are now, entertain us  
I feel stupid and contagious  
Here we are now, entertain us

I don’t think there are many songs that sum up that feeling for me as well as this one does… the constant feeling of having to entertain others just to be heard, the feeling of failure when you aren’t heard, and finding those “dark” places where you can feel comfortable being yourself. It’s quite perfect.

In the end, it’s hard to not say this is the best song on the album, given all of the accolades, though I think “Drain You” is a very close second.

In Bloom

Another video I remember seeing a lot on MTV. The song was an ode to the fans the jumped on the Nirvana bandwagon, yet didn’t understand anything about them – which became commonplace for alternative/underground rock bands in the 90s, think Rage Against the Machine, Fugazi, and the like…

The best part is the song is so damn catchy and easy to sing-a-long to — it’s the perfect honey trap.

He’s the one who likes all our pretty songs  
And he likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun  
But he don’t knows not what it means  
Don’t knows what it means, when I say  
He’s the one who likes all our pretty songs  
And he likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun  
But he don’t know what it means, don’t know what it means, and I say, “Yeah”

Come As You Are

Originally intended to be the main single on Nevermind, it was put on the backburner after the surprise success of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.

I get why “management” picked this song as the lead single, since it has a low key, catchy almost sonic feel to it. It’s a good, safe song. Though in context of the rest of the album and Bleach before it, I think it’s a pretty non-representative sample of who Nirvana was at the time. Maybe I am wrong – I’m not a millionaire music executive after all. 🙂

Come as you are, as you were  
As I want you to be  
As a friend, as a friend  
As an old enemy  
Take your time, hurry up  
Choice is yours, don’t be late  
Take a rest as a friend  
As an old memoria


This song could be on Bleach – it’s certainly the most caustic, aggressive song on the album. Lyrically, Cobain focuses on getting stuck in the stereotypical “middle America” life:

Even if you have, even if you need  
I don’t mean to stare, we don’t have to breed  
We could plant a house, we could build a tree  
I don’t even care, we could have all three


From Genius.com:

“Lithium” is a perfect description of manic depression, where every line is both happy and sad, up and down, while having references to God recalling when Kurt lived with a devout Christian family.

Musically, Cobain once again goes the Pixies route – I’d argue even more so than “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It’s certainly catchy.

My favorite section of lyrics:

I’m so happy ’cause today I found my friends, they’re in my head  
I’m so ugly, that’s okay, ’cause so are you, we broke our mirrors  
Sunday mornin’ is every day for all I care and I’m not scared  
Light my candles in a daze ’cause I’ve found God


This is probably my least favorite song on the album, though I learned something new about it:

This song is about the actual kidnapping of a 14-year-old girl. In 1987, she was returning from a concert in Tacoma, Washington when she was abducted by a man named Gerald Friend. He took her back to his mobile home and raped her. The girl, whose name was not released, was tortured with a whip, a razor, and a blowtorch. She managed to escape when Friend took her for a ride and stopped for gas. He was arrested and sent to jail.

Lyrically, you can certainly hear that story after learning of the background.

Territorial Pissings

The most traditional punk song on the record – fast and aggressive. Lyrically, Cobain stuck with that theme as well, focusing the rage on the mistreatment of Native Americans and women. From Cobain:

On one hand “Territorial Pissings” references Native Americans – people smashed by raging attacks. And at the same time it’s about appreciating woman.. I hate the violence they suffer, the daily injustices for belonging to a different sex.

It all starts with the classic opening – spontaneously included by Krist Novoselic – which was directed at the Baby Boomer generation since they seem to have forgotten the ideals The Youngbloods sang about in the classic hippie anthem “Get Together” from the 60s:

Come on, people, now  
Smile on your brother  
Everybody get together  
Try to love one another right now

Drain You

My second favorite song on the album. The chorus just ripping through while Cobain sings:

One baby to another says, “I’m lucky to have met you”  
I don’t care what you think unless it is about me  
It is now my duty to completely drain you  
I travel through a tube and end up in your infection

It’s the classic Nirvana sound that I love.

Lounge Act

The next two songs kind of do the same thing for me – similar vibe (generally a loud, catchy ripper) – though I probably prefer Lounge Act of the two, since it’s got more dynamics and better lyrics:

And I’ve got this friend, you see who makes me feel  
And I wanted more than I could steal  
I’ll arrest myself, I’ll wear a shield  
I’ll go out of my way to make you a deal  
We’ll make a pact to learn from who  
Ever we want without new rules  
And we’ll share what’s lost and what we grew  
They’ll go out of their way to prove they still  
Smell her on you  
They still smell her on you  
Smell her on you

In fact the lyrics from Lounge Act are probably the most straightforward on the album – almost traditional, well as traditional as Cobain would get on this album.

Stay Away

Another ripper, with the controversial ending: “God is gay.”

From Genius:

In a 1993 interview with The Advocate, Cobain claimed that he was “gay in spirit” and “probably could be bisexual.” He also stated that he used to spray paint “God Is Gay” on pickup trucks in the Aberdeen area—he did attend church throughout his youth, but became dissatisfied with religion.

On A Plain

Another one of my favorites, with some of the catchiest riffs on the album. It definitely lays the foundation for many alternative bands to come. I can hear bits of Weezer and The Posies to name just a few.

I’ll start this off without any words  
I got so high, I scratched till I bled  
I love myself better than you  
I know it’s wrong so what should I do?  
The finest day that I’ve ever had  
Was when I learned to cry on command  
Love myself better than you  
I know it’s wrong so what should I do? (Ooh, ooh)

Something In The Way

A mellow and mournful end to the official track listing.

Underneath the bridge  
Tarp has sprung a leak  
And the animals I’ve trapped  
Have all become my pets  
And I’m living off of grass  
And the drippings from the ceiling  
It’s okay to eat fish  
‘Cause they don’t have any feelings

Overall, I’m pleasently surprised how well this album held up over the years. It’s a classic for sure and definitely one of most important albums of my generation.

Since this album had such a huge impact, I also asked some internet friends for a tweet-length reaction from their 1991 self:

P.J. Hagerty (@aspleenic on Twitter)

This is something different. Do I like this? It’s so messy, but at the same time precise at channeling emotion. I think I like this. Someone understands my rage and confusion!

Odd-Egil Auran (@odd on Micro.blog)

I was excited like I hadn’t since about 1988 about something that sounded heavy, although at the time I didn’t know it was the death of Heavy Metal as I knew it.

Guillaume Barillot (@gbarillot on Twitter)

Honestly, my first impression was: “mmmh, fine, nothing fancy but I like the songs. This album won’t change the world, I dont get all that hype”(disclaimer: for me in 1991 the revolution was RHCP blood sugar sex magic)

Patrick Rhone (@patrickrhone on Micro.blog and Twitter)

As someone who spent his teenage years in and around the NYC punk scene of the early 1980’s, my first thought was “See, I knew punk wasn’t dead!”

Hjalmer Duenow (@hjalm on Micro.blog)

1991 I worked in a record store. I didn’t get why lightning struck for Nirvana over many other bands that sounded similar on the same record label or from the same scene. They had some nice hooks and that Butch Vig sound.


Since Nirvana is this month’s featured artist, we’ll focus on rock music from 1991 – such a diverse mix of sounds in the (mostly) alternative scene. Enjoy! Listen on Apple Music.

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  2. Rusty Cage – Soundgarden
  3. Reclamation – Fugazi
  4. When You Sleep – My Bloody Valentine
  5. I Am One – The Smashing Pumpkins
  6. Alive – Pearl Jam
  7. Arise – Sepulture
  8. Underlord – Into Another
  9. P.S. New York is Burning – Jawbreaker
  10. Impossible Figure – Jawbox
  11. Spectra Sonic Sound – Nation of Ulysses
  12. Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
  13. Strong Reaction – Pegboy
  14. Selfish – Seaweed
  15. Red House – Shudder to Think
  16. Seed Toss – Superchunk
  17. Gun – Uncle Tupelo
  18. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  19. One – U2
  20. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
  21. Alec Eiffel – Pixies
  22. Mouth Breather – The Jesus Lizard
  23. The Concept – Teenage Fanclub
  24. Rave Down – Swervedriver
  25. Counting Backwards – Throwing Muses
  26. Stickin in My Eye – NOFX
  27. Alice Said – Screaming Trees
  28. Little Bones – The Tragically Hip
  29. Whatever’s Cool With Me – Dinosaur Jr.
  30. Running Like Thieves – Bold
  31. Nosferatu Man – Slint
  32. Those Who Fear Tomorrow – Integrity
  33. Values and Instabilities – 4 Walls Falling

Totally Digging

Here are some new releases I’ve been listening to and enjoying:

  • Today We’re the Greatest by Middle Kids (Listen)
  • Life in Your Glass World by Citizen (Listen)
  • The Seed, The Vessel, The Roots and All by New Pagans (Listen)
  • Selective Punches: A Collection of Ballads & Battle Hymns by No Escape (Listen)
  • Sweep It Into Space by Dinosaur Jr. (Listen)
  • The Million Masks of God by Manchester Orchestra (Listen)
  • Follow my Best of 2021 playlist on Apple Music

And some older releases that have made it back into regular rotation:

  • Floral Green by Title Fight (Listen)
  • 500wattburner@seven by Sparkmarker (Listen)
  • Brutalism by IDLES (Listen)

Musical Moving Pictures

Middle Kids – Live on KEXP at Home** Black Train Jack – Syracuse – RIP Rob Vitale - I was at this show – up front on right with blue hat on… Pics: [Black Train Jack](https://www.flickr.com/photos/endonend/46265149624/in/album-72157623621854836/), [Texas is the Reason](https://www.flickr.com/photos/endonend/4434231478/in/album-72157623621854836/) and [Threadbare](https://www.flickr.com/photos/endonend/4436546567/in/album-72157623621854836/) – what a show. TV Priest – Live on KEXP at Home The Lost Art of Album Sequencing Dry Cleaning – Live on KEXP at Home The Weather Station – Live on KEXP at Home Manchester Orchesta – Keel Timing - off their upcoming album. Pre-ordered!


🔗 What Had Happened Was – Season Two with El-P

Open Mike Eagle and El-P talk about El-P’s career from Company Flow to Run the Jewels. I was super into Def Jux back in the early 2000s, especially El-P, Mr. Lif, and Aesop Rock, so it was amazing to hear about it first hand. A must listen if you are into indie hip hop.

Promise Ring – Toronto, ON – [taken by me](https://flic.kr/p/7KQcYs)

That wraps up the sixth issue. Feel free to send me feedback, questions, ideas — anything. I’d also love if you shared this newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy and encourage them to subscribe.

See you next time.

— Jason

New additions 04.07.21

I picked up these two albums this week:

  • TV Priest’s Uppers (Listen)
  • Nirvana’s Nevermind (Listen)

One will be this month’s featured album. I’m sure you can guess which one it is!

Corning Museum of Glass

Corning Museum of Glass Corning Museum of Glass Corning Museum of Glass Corning Museum of Glass Corning Museum of Glass Corning Museum of Glass Corning Museum of Glass

New additions 03.21.21

Added a few new slabs of vinyl to my collection:

  • Soft Sounds from Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast (Listen)
  • Songs of Praise by Shame (Listen)
  • Brutalism by IDLES (Listen)
  • Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes (Listen)

Most important, my daughter bought her first record: the Prom Queen EP (Listen) from Beach Bunny. Someone will be getting a turntable for the birthday in May. 🙂

Fight the Power

Quick Note from Jason: This month is the first issue published from my brand new site. If you subscribed to the email via Substack you are all set – no need to re-subscribe, in fact you can manage your subscription by clicking Login on the new site.

If you subcribed via RSS or read issues by visiting the Substack site, you will need to update your links. This will be the permanent home for One Last Wish from here on out.

I’m super excited about this for a few main reasons:

  • I can own my content and not worry about Substack going away or changing for the worse.
  • I can publish other posts, without having to include it in a newsletter.
  • I can offer a way to support the site through Cash App and PayPal tips.
  • I am looking into offering perks for supporters, including record giveaways and other benefits. (More on that once I can finalize details.)

The monthly issues will always be free and found here on this site.

Thanks for reading and following along. Last month was the most successful issue to date, so I really appreciate all of the interest.

Onward to issue five! (I hope it’s worth the wait – it’s a long one.)

Believe the Hype: Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet

While Living Colour was my first true experience with overtly political lyrics, the next logical step, given my love for hip hop, had to be Public Enemy. My first PE purchase (and the focus of this issue) was the cassette version of Fear of a Black Planet – released in April of 1990.

Public Enemy was formed in 1985 by Chuck D and Flavor Flav. Fear of a Black Planet was Public Enemy’s third studio album — a followup to 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and 1987’s debut Yo! Bum Rush the Show. The album is certified platinum by the RIAA and both “Fight the Power” and “911 is a Joke” both reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart.

My first exposure to Public Enemy was music videos off the It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album via MTV’s Yo! MTV Raps. Songs like “Bring the Noise”, “Don’t Believe the Hype” and “Rebel Without a Pause” certainly sold me on Public Enemy – they were the real deal.

In addition to MTV and their first two releases, Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee had a big impact on me – not only as the debut of “Fight the Power”, but the overall message and power of the Lee’s work. It’s still one of my favorite movies to this day.

The absolute peak of my Public Enemy experience was at the 1994 University at Buffalo Fall Fest during my freshman year of college. There you would have seen eighteen year old me, up front for PE, getting a high five from Flavor Flav after he came to life out of a casket on stage early in their set. It was an otherworldly experience I will never forget.

Now that we have a little backstory, let’s dig in to my focused listen:

1. Contract on the World Love Jam

PE was no stranger to criticism, so what better way than to open your third album with samples of that criticism. Face it head on.

From Genius.com:

“A lot of the samples on ‘Contract’ came from me taping radio stations, taking bites of interviews and commercials. Sometimes I might go through the dial, just sampling at random, keeping it on a cassette, listen to the cassette, and say, ‘Well, being that I’m the lyric writer, how should I arrange these fragments so they’ll add up to a kind of a song?’ That’s how ‘Contract’ came along.

2. Brothers Gonna Work it Out

The first full song kicks off Fear with PE’s classic sound – driving bass, borderline caucaphonic noise, and that classic hip hop beat. Chuck D’s lyrics don’t hold back either:

History shouldn’t be a mystery  
Our stories real history  
Not ***his*** story


In 1995, you’ll twist to this  
As you raise your fist to the music  
United we stand, yes divided we fall  
Together we can stand tall  
Brothers that try to work it out  
They get mad, revolt, revise, realize  
They’re super bad  
Small chance a smart brother’s  
Gonna be a victim of his own circumstance  
Sabotaged, shell-shocked, rocked and ruled  
Day in the life of a fool

At almost 14 and questioning everything I’d been taught, Public Enemy could get you hyped and teach at the same time. It’s exactly what I needed at that age… and still enjoy today.

3. 911 is a Joke

Probably one of PE’s most recognizable songs (and video) – this was Flavor Flav at the top of his game. Only he could deliver this message:

4. Incident at 66.6 FM

Chuck D on this track:

“Incident At 66.6 FM’ was actually a live radio interview that I did at WNBC in New York before a show we did with Run-DMC at Nassau Coliseum. Those people you hear in the record actually called the station.

5. Welcome to the Terrordome

This song was Chuck D’s response to the Professor Griff anti-semitism controversy and the media focus.

Never be a brother like, “Me go solo”  
Laser, anesthesia, maze ya  
Ways to blaze your brain and train ya  
The way I’m livin’, forgiven, what I’m givin’ up  
X on the flex, hit me now  
I don’t know about later  
As for now, I know how to avoid the paranoid  
Man, I’ve had it up to here  
Yeah, I wear got ’em going in fear  
Rhetoric said and read just a bit ago  
Not quitting, though signed the hard rhymer

Musically the song is a banger, with samples from James Brown, The Temptations, Kool & the Gang, and The Jackson 5. So damn good. Chuck D is in attack mode lyrically the whole damn song too. It’s a treat.

6. Meet the G That Killed Me

From Genius:

Dabbling a little in the homophobic territory of early ‘90s rap on this controversial skit, Public Enemy speaks on the then recent subject of AIDS in the black community.

7. Pollywannacraka

8. Anti-N***** Machine

Chuck D’s commentary on how the police system, government, and laws work to censor Black Americans – whether it’s literally censoring music, voting, or the taking of one’s life at the hands of the police. Still very relevant 30+ years later, as we watch George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and sadly many others… as well as Republican controlled states rush to make voting more difficult after the 2020 election.

9. Burn Hollywood Burn

A criticim of Hollywood and the treatment (and stereotypes) of Blacks in media:

Hollywood or would they not  
Make us all look bad like I know they had  
But some things I’ll never forget, yeah  
So step and fetch this shit  
For all the years we looked like clowns  
The joke is over — smell the smoke from all around

And an interesting annotation from Genius.com taught me something new:

Stepin Fetchit (the name is a variation of the phrase “step and fetch it”) was the stage name of the black film actor Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry. He played the “laziest man in the world” in dozens of movies in the 1920’s and 30’s.

10. Power to the People

This feels like a song that was made to take the listener out of Side A. Not necessarily a throw away song, but not one I’d target to listen to on an album this good.

11. Who Stole the Soul?

PE jumps back into side two head first. The song focuses on the continued attack on Black people’s soul – their creativity, home, family and livelihood. All while having to experience holidays and other symbols of America that have some relation to slavery and the plight of Black Americans over the generations. That in itself has to be soul killing.

We choose to use their ways  
And holidays notice some of them are heller days  
Invented by those that never repented  
For the sins within that killed my kin

The song features samples of The Beatles, James Brown, and the Magic Disco Machine.

12. Fear of a Black Planet

The title track – another song that is still relevant today, with the increasing popularity of white nationalism and white supremicist ideas/policy.

13. Revolutionary Generation

This song deals with America and the black community’s poor treatment of women.

Cause I’m tired of America dissin’ my sisters  
(For example, like they dissed Tawana)  
And they try to say that she’s a liar  
My people don’t believe it, but even now they’re getting higher

Another historical tidbit from Genius:

Tawana Bawley is an African-American woman who accused 6 white men including police officers of raping her. The judgement and racial stereotypes that ensued from the media and, ahem, whitey caused people to think she lying.

14. Can’t Do Nuttin’ for Ya Man!

Another Flavor Flav jam. Love it – he was certainly on his A game this record.

Runnin’ for your life, by the knife  
Runnin’ from your wife, yikes!  
You should’ve stuck with home  
Off your mind to blow your dome  
It was you that chose your doom  
You built the maze you can’t get through  
I tried to help you all I can  
Now I can’t do nuttin’ for you man

15. Reggie Jax

A freestyle from Chuck D – very Run DMC in flow – with some references to previous songs and recycled themes/phrases.

I’m here to live for the love of my people  
Kickin’ it all about rebuildin’ so all the children  
Avoid the self-destruction  
So long I’m gonna do y’all a favor  
Cause I got the flavor yea yeah

16. Leave This Off Your Fu*ckin Charts

17. B Side Wins Again

Musically, a driving bass line and PE’s patented style help make this one of the better tracks on Fear. Featuring samples from Kool & the Gang and the Commodores. Lyrically, the song pulls no punches:

And the suckers on the right get cynical  
Cause the record’s to the left and political  
And you search the stores  
Attack the racks with your claws  
For the rebels without a pause

18. War at 33 1/3

This song aim to challenge the status quo and the history taught by schools and the media – whether it’s portraying Black people as the enemy in the media or simply not given them credit for playing a major part in building the country:

Can I live my life without ’em treatin’  
Every brother like me like I’m holdin’  
A knife alright time to smack Uncle Sam  
Who don’t give a damn, look at the flag  
My blood’s a flood  
Without credit  
Black and close to the edit  
I fed it, you read it, just remember who said it

There are a lot of theories as to why the song is titled the way it is – one is a reference to the speed of the song, which is way faster than most PE songs.

19. Final Count of the Collision Between Us and the Damned

20. Fight the Power

One of PE’s best and well known songs. Chuck D on what inspired it:

I wanted to have sorta like the same theme as the original ‘Fight the Power” by the Isley Brothers and fill it in with some kind of modernist views of what our surroundings were at that particular time.

The lyrics definitely hit hard:

As the rhythm’s designed to bounce  
What counts is that the rhyme’s  
Designed to fill your mind  
Now that you’ve realized the pride’s arrived  
We got to pump the stuff to make ya tough  
From the heart  
It’s a start, a work of art  
To revolutionize make a change nothing’s strange  
People, people we are the same  
No we’re not the same  
‘Cause we don’t know the game  
What we need is awareness, we can’t get careless  
You say what is this?  
My beloved let’s get down to business  
Mental self defensive fitness

The music is anthemic, featuring samples from James Brown, Bob Marley, Rick James, Sly and the Family Stone, Trouble Funk, Afrika Bambaataa, and many more. The classic PE sound.

Then there’s the video. I definitely remember watching that on Yo! MTV Raps:

Listening to these songs and prepping for this issue, I couldn’t believe how good this album was – even 30+ years later. This was Public Enemy at it’s creative peak. It Takes a Nation of Millions may be their breakthrough and an important album on it’s own, but the confidence PE exudes on Fear is just palpable.

One of my favorite things about Public Enemy and music in general is it’s ability to teach and experience empathy – whether it’s political in nature, a culture you may not have much exposure to, heartache, or immense joy. Listening to and experiencing someone else’s feelings is one of the most crucial life skills in my opinion. I imagine as this project ages, that will become even more clear with each new issue.

In terms of this album specifically, I know it set the stage for who I am in terms of my beliefs and interests. It’s certainly what helped open me up to punk/hardcore music, reading books by folks like James Baldwin, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and having an interest in politics/social justice in general. I know I will be forever grateful to Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and Public Enemy.


This issue’s theme is 1989 + 1990 — 30 of my favorite songs from these two years. Enjoy the playlist on Apple Music.

  1. It’s Funky Enough – The D.O.C.
  2. Turnover – Fugazi
  3. Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode
  4. Kool Thing – Sonic Youth
  5. Fight the Power – Public Enemy
  6. Velouria – Pixies
  7. Here’s Where the Story Ends – The Sundays
  8. Happiness is a Warm Gun – The Breeders
  9. Shake Your Rump – Beastie Boys
  10. Stop – Jane’s Addiction
  11. Cave-In – Codeine
  12. Fourth of July – Galaxie 500
  13. Modern Man – Bad Religion
  14. Sweetness and Light – Lush
  15. Slow Down – Brand Nubian
  16. Graveyard Shift – Uncle Tupelo
  17. Ball and Chain – Social Distortion
  18. Jackin’ for Beats – Ice Cube
  19. The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground
  20. Waiting Room – Fugazi
  21. I Left My Wallet in El Segundo – A Tribe Called Quest
  22. Wave of Mutilation – Pixies
  23. About a Girl – Nirvana
  24. I Wanna Be Adored – The Stone Roses
  25. So Wat Cha Sayin’ – EPMD
  26. Picture of You – The Cure
  27. Sound System – Operation Ivy
  28. Soul Craft – Bad Brains
  29. Gas Face – 3rd Bass
  30. Start Today – Gorilla Biscuits

Follow me on Apple Music.

Totally Digging

Here are a few recently released albums (well more than a few – it’s been a good few weeks!) I’ve been listening to:

  • Family Album by Lia Ices (Listen) — she returned to more of an indie folk sound on this album, but the great songwriting remains.
  • Clothbound by The Sonder Bombs (Listen) — for fans of Beach Bunny and Paramore. Solid all around.
  • Collapsed in Sunbeams by Arlo Parks (Listen) — awesome bedroom indie pop. Been looking forward to this for awhile.
  • Uppers by TV Priest (Listen) — post-punk in the vein of The Fall, Gang of Four, Nick Cave and newer bands like IDLES and Shame.
  • Ignorance by The Weather Station (Listen) — a mix of Broken Social Scene, Fleetwood Mac, and Talk Talk. Super good.
  • Stay Gone by Calyx (Listen) — a mix of Lemuria, Husker Du, and Swearin’. Fast, noisy, chaotic, and sometimes catchy punk. Like it a lot.
  • Pastel by FRITZ (Listen) — a little shoe gaze, dream pop, and alt-rock all mixed into one — think Alvvays crossed with Hatchie. Love it.
  • Little Oblivions by Julien Baker (Listen) – to be honest, I haven’t put as much time into this album and I really want to focus on it. The songs I have listened to are everything you would expect from someone as talented as Baker. I am pretty confident this will end up on my year end list.
  • Life is Not a Lesson by Glitterer (Listen) – fuzzy grunge pop from the bassist of Title Fight. One of my favorite releases from the last few weeks. Perfect spring time, driving with the window down, turn it up loud music.
  • The Shadow I Remember by Cloud Nothings (Listen) – sounds like Cloud Nothings and that’s perfectly fine by me. Saw them in 2017 opening for the New Pornographers. Super good band.
  • Show Me How You Disappear by IAN SWEET (Listen) – One of my favorite albums so far this year. I saw her in 2017 supporting Ted Leo. I liked her debut Shapeshifter a lot, but this one is better. Quirky, well done indie pop. Please check it out!
  • Driver by Adult Mom (Listen) – bedroom/indie pop similar to what the Crutchfield sisters do in their solo work, Waxahatchee, and PS Eliot. Like it a lot.
  • As the Love Continues by Mogwai (Listen) – one of their best albums in years.

And a few older ones on repeat:

  • Ices by Lia Ices (Listen) — more of an electronic sound than her other albums. The songs features lots of loops, a tropical feel at times, and general happy sound all highlighted by her awesome vocals. Perfect for the winter doldrums.
  • An End Has a Start by Editors (Listen) — Strangely I wasn’t familiar with this band prior to seeing it highlighted on an acquaintances Instagram feed. Interpol crossed with Frightened Rabbit and The National. Right up my alley.
  • Luca by Alex Maas (Listen) – psych-rock/indie folk from the singer of The Black Angels. Some really great moments on this album.
  • Left and Leaving by The Weakerthans (Listen) — a classic from one of my favorite bands. I picked up the vinyl as well.
  • Population by The Most Serene Republic (Listen) — one of my favorite live bands. Quirky indie-pop similar to Broken Social Scene.

Musical Moving Pictures

Arlo Parks Live on KEXP at Home

Beach Bunny – Good Girls (Don’t Get Used) on Jimmy Kimmel

Lemuria @ The Fest 17

Lia Ices – Live

Manchester Orchestra: A Black Mike to the Surface


The Most Serene Republic – 2008 – Buffalo, NY at Soundlab - [Taken by me](https://www.flickr.com/photos/endonend/2357387135/in/album-72157706404847525/)

Oh, live music. Someday.


That wraps up the fifth issue. Feel free to send me feedback, questions, ideas — anything. I’d also love if you shared this newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy and encourage them to subscribe.

See you next time.

— Jason

In the Days of My Youth

This story is as old as time: parents try to show their kids “good” music, kids roll their eyes and proceed to put their headphones back on / tune out / leave the room. Whatever that generation’s go-to “blow your parents off” move is… I did the same to my parents and my kids have done the same to me.

For me, my musical journey to date had involved discovering hip hop through Run DMC and rock music through Living Colour. Getting into rock music brought me to many new places, from liking Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue to INXS and Depeche Mode. One place I had yet to explore, mainly due to “hearing” it so often from my parents, was classic rock.

That all changed when my friend Brian continually talked about how good Led Zeppelin was and I did my best to pretend I knew exactly what he meant. Of course I knew the name Led Zeppelin. In fact, I heard them many times over the years, but I didn’t actually listen.

Luckily, my parents had a few records and tapes I could listen to when they weren’t home or paying attention. I got hooked. (I also listened to their Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, and Heart records while I was at it…)

My favorite Zeppelin album has to be their sixth, Physical Graffiti, the double album released in 1975. (Listen) It’s a long listen, but I also think it’s the band at their creative peak — exploring and combining many of their styles and influences like Middle Eastern music, funk, metal, jazz, pop, country, folk, blues, and prog rock. It’s quite the journey.

I was overjoyed to come across a used copy at Revolver Records a few years back, as I was browsing the “just in” used crates. It’s a regular spin that we like to enjoy — and by “we” I mean the entire family. Amazing how that worked out!

Here are the notes from my recent focused listens:

Custard Pie
Zeppelin kicks off their album with an upbeat groove — wound up, loud blues with lyrics chock full of Robert Plant’s patented sexual double-entendres.

The Rover
The band continues the high powered album opening with a combination of Southern rock, blues, and metal. Serious swagger. Some of Jimmy Page’s best guitar work, in my opinion.

In My Time of Dying
My oh my, John Bonham’s drum playing starting at around the 3:50 minute mark are some of the craziest beats — literally playing along with the guitar, matching Page’s riffs. The Bonham video I included in the video section below highlights many of the ways he was a unique, innovative, and powerful drummer at the time (and his legend has only grown since he passed away.) It’s a long song, but that passage alone is worth hearing.

Houses of the Holy
Originally recorded for Zeppelin’s previous album of the same name, it finally made the cut and we’re the better for it, as it’s one of their most popular songs. I hear some pop influence, which definitely carries over into the next song.

Trampled Under Foot
Influenced by Stevie Wonder’s Superstition, this song rocks the funk/Southern rock/blues crossover with serious swagger again — love it.

My favorite Zeppelin song. Absolutely epic in every way. Apparently it was written after a long trip down a straight, seemingly never ending road in the desert of Morocco. We played this song many times on our two cross-country road trips, so it makes total sense. A perfect song for driving. A perfect song.

In the Light
One of the few songs Zeppelin was never able to play live, as they couldn’t replicate the synthesizer sound outside the studio. It was also meant to be a follow-up to “Stairway to Heaven”. Almost orchestral, the psychedelic keys and slow groove would have surely been a crowd pleaser for the era.


Down by the Seaside
Another holdover from a previous recording session, this song slows things down even more after the instrumental interlude of Bron-Yr-Aur. Written almost 40 years ago, the lyrics are still so appropriate for today’s fast paced, over scheduled world:

Down in the city streets  
See all the folk go racing, racing  
No time left, oh no  
To pass the time of day

Ten Years Gone
Lyrically, one of my favorite songs. Like this opening verse:

Then, as it was, then again it will be  
And though the course may change sometimes  
Rivers always reach the sea  
Flying skies of fortune, each a separate way  
On the wings of maybe, downing birds of prey  
Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn’t have to go  
But as the eagle leaves the nest, got so far to go

Musically, there are little hints here and there of Zeppelin’s usual groove. The bulk of the song is slow with a pop and orchestral influence, which fits well with the break-up theme of the lyrics.

Night Flight
I’d put this as the weakest song on the album. Thankfully it closes out the slow section of the album, as tracks 7 through 11 really took things down a notch after the blistering opening.

The Wanton Song
Zeppelin is back with the loud, blues influence groove on this track. The song began as a sound check during the 1973 tour and eventually morphed into what it became on Physical Graffiti. I really dig the main riff.

Boogie With Stu
An impromptu jam with Ian Stewart who played piano on Zeppelin recordings (as well as with the Rolling Stones.) Stewart didn’t play live with Zeppelin, so this song was also never played in concert.

Black Country Woman
Another song intended for Houses of the Holy. An acoustic track recorded in Mick Jagger’s garden. Essentially another filler to extend the playing time to fit a double album.

Sick Again
The closing track — an uneven song about a groupie. The song shines in moments, but falls apart just as quickly.

And as a final note to parents out there: don’t give up. Most importantly keep listening to music together, no matter what. Music is such an important part of our world… it brings people together, it can teach empathy and love, it can be political on one end and it can be a mindless, fun release on the other.

I’ve been known to enjoy a few pop songs that my kids dig. Thankfully, my girls have done the same with musicians I like, in fact we took the family to see Snail Mail for one daughter’s 11th birthday, including a front row spot and a guitar pick / set list from Lindsey Jordan herself. Another daughter is learning Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for her bass recital and my third daughter is playing a Beach Bunny song for her drum recital. So proud.

Music is life. Give that to your kids.


To accompany this issue’s theme, here is a playlist of some of my favorite classic rock songs from the 60s and 70s.

  1. All Along the Watchtower – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  2. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
  3. Somebody to Love- Jefferson Airplane
  4. Fortunate Son – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  5. You Really Got Me – The Kinks
  6. Baba O’Riley – The Who
  7. Paranoid – Black Sabbath
  8. Barracuda – Heart
  9. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  10. T.N.T. – AC/DC
  11. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
  12. Runnin’ with the Devil – Van Halen
  13. Kashmir – Led Zeppelin
  14. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  15. Surrender- Cheap Trick
  16. Heart of Gold – Neil Young
  17. The Spirit of Radio – Rush
  18. Vitamin C – Can
  19. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
  20. Roadhouse Blues – The Doors
  21. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Follow me on Apple Music.

Totally Digging

Here are a few recent albums I’ve been listening to:

  • Drunk Tank Pink by Shame (Listen)
  • Uppers by TV Priest (Listen)
  • Welfare Jazz by Viagra Boys (Listen)
  • Blame Game (EP) by Beach Bunny (Listen)
  • Conflicted original motion picture soundtrack by Griselda & BSF (Listen)

And a few older ones on repeat:

  • Reconstruction Site by The Weakerthans (Listen)
  • Day for Night by The Tragically Hip (Listen)
  • O by Damien Rice (Listen)
  • Mean Everything to Nothing by Manchester Orchestra (Listen)

Musical Moving Pictures

Press Gang – TV Priest

Water in the Well – Shame

Julien Baker – Live on KEXP at Home

Snapcase – July 23, 1997 – Buffalo, NY

Broken Social Scene – House of Strombo (2019)

What makes John Bonham such a good drummer?


A text thread with some friends had us talking about underrated bands. My list included:

Doughboys, Garden Variety, Idlewild, Kerosene 454, McClusky, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, The Posies, Saintseneca, Shades Apart, Shudder to Think, Wintersleep, Verbal Assault, and The Van Pelt.

My friend Chris (AKA The Itinerant Printer) shared his:

Wampire, Jesca Hoop, Old Canes, The Good Life, Into Another, Owls, Bold, Dungen, Embrace, Deer Tick.

What bands do you think are underrated? Share in the comments!

That wraps up the fourth issue. Feel free to send me feedback, questions, ideas — anything. I’d also love if you shared this newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy and encourage them to subscribe.

See you next time.

— Jason



Only You Can Set You Free

Whereas Run D.M.C.’s Raising Hell was my first album and my first music purchase, Living Colour’s Vivid was my first rock album. Released in May 1988, I was just about to turn 12 years old and was finishing my 6th grade year. I started skateboarding that year, reading Thrasher magazine, and generally expanding my horizon through many new experiences.

One of my biggest memories from the 6th grade year was skating with my friend Chris in the church parking lot near my house, boom box on the curb, and blasting Vivid and Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction as we learned how to skate.

Looking back, Living Colour was the gateway that eventually got me interested in punk and hardcore music. In fact, I’ve come to realize it’s the keystone of my interests — hip-hop, punk, hardcore, pop music, and progressive politics.

The album has become so important to me, I was overjoyed when I came across a vinyl copy at my favorite local record store, Revolver Records, a couple years back. It’s a treasured part of my collection.

With that, I think it’s time to dive in and look back at each track. Here are some highlights from my focused listens over the last few weeks:

Cult of Personality
The Living Colour song everyone alive during that era knows… the iconic music video, the driving main riff, and my oh my the lyrics. It was certainly the first political song I liked and it hit at a perfect time. My daughters are currently 12 and 13 and this is exactly the time you start learning about injustice and what the world is really like in school. My parents weren’t as outwardly political as my wife and I are, but the social studies curriculum certainly starts to open eyes at this age.

You gave me fortune, you gave me fame
You gave me power in your god’s name
I’m every person you need to be
Oh, I’m the cult of personality

Couldn’t be any more appropriate 30+ years later.

I Want to Know
A love song with a heavy pop influence. I definitely enjoyed this song in the 80s, but not so much now. Other than nostalgia, of course.

Middle Man
An ode to being OK with who you are and not chasing other people’s expectations. I can certainly appreciate this song now as an adult, but at the time I wasn’t quite sure of the message.

‘Middle Man’ came from a suicide note Corey wrote when he was a teenager. “I was maybe 16, 17 years old, and I was just fed up with everything,” he said. “I was feeling just down and depressed. When I initially started writing it, it was going to be an open letter to anybody that found me, that I was tired of being caught up in everybody’s mess. I was tired of being in the middle of things. I’m tired of being the middle man. And then in the midst of me working this out in my head, it dawned on me that this was not a bad place to be in some cases, that at least I was somewhere. It doesn’t mean that it’s the best place in the world, but it doesn’t mean it’s the worst, either. So it actually got me out of the idea that I needed to stop being. It changed my life.”
– from Genius.com

Desperate People
Another favorite of mine. The main riff is so good. Glover’s lyrics focus on, what I assume is, the drug culture of the 80s and the lengths people went to in order to fit in. Between “Just Say No” of the Reagan era and my own personal beliefs to not drink or do drugs at the time (that lasted well into my college years), I could certainly relate to this song growing up.

You get your sunshine from a tab of paper
Then you’re sittin’ in a spinning room
The clock is tocking, it’s laughing at you
Your life’s a mystery without a clue
The crowd you’re in thinks you’re so amusin’
They’re oh so flattering and so sincere
They stand and laugh as they watch you crumble
And when you cry for help they don’t hear

Open Letter (to a Landlord)
This song is on the slower side, but it’s well written and I love the political lyrics. Glover addresses gentrification, capitalism, violence, and drugs in a very personal manner. Certainly my first exposure to these subjects as a white, suburban middle class 12-year old in 1988.

Funny Vibe
More political, funk/hip-hop-inspired thrash featuring Chuck D and Flavor Flav from one of my other faves: Public Enemy.

Memories Can’t Wait (Talking Heads cover)
I had no idea this was the Talking Heads song until a few years ago! It’s certainly a Living Colour-influenced take on this classic. The Talking Heads version is very post-apocalyptic and dark, so I can see why they (as a metal band) would be drawn to this song. Their version is very good and one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Broken Hearts
A slow, plodding love song that fit the era, but seems out of place in the grand scheme of the album.

Glamour Boys
I certainly remember this video and enjoying this song in 1988. The riff in the chorus is pretty solid, but in the end it’s a song that fits the 80’s well. Beyond the nostalgia it’s hard to sync songs like Broken Hearts and Glamour Boys with the band I remember and the influence it had on me as a 12 year old.

What’s Your Favorite Color? (Theme Song)

Which Way to America?
An overtly political song on inequality and racism. Another one of my favorites from the album and one of the songs, like Cult, that epitomizes the funk-influenced metal that is Living Colour. It’s also the most metal song on the record.

I look at the T.V
Your America’s doing well  
I look out the window
My America’s catching hell
I just wanna know  
Which way do I go
To get to your America?

Bonus: Should I Stay or Should I Go? (The Clash cover – CD bonus track)

I certainly wished I heard this version in 1988, if only to get me on to The Clash earlier. I did get into Big Audio Dynamite a few years later, mainly due to their song Rush, so the dots were already connecting in many ways.


Living Colour is Corey Glover on vocals, Vernon Reid on guitar, Muzz Skillings on bass, and Will Calhoun on drums. Vivid reached #6 on the Billboard 200 and “Cult of Personality” won a Grammy for best hard rock performance.


Continuing on with my recent newsletter theme, I put together a playlist of my favorite songs from 1986 to 1988.

  1. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses
  2. Bone Machine – Pixies
  3. Jane Says – Jane’s Addiction
  4. Desire – U2
  5. Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey
  6. You Are (The Government) – Bad Religion
  7. Teen Age Riot – Sonic Youth
  8. Orange Crush – R.E.M.
  9. Waiting Room – Fugazi
  10. Cult of Personality – Living Colour
  11. Children’s Story- Slick Rick
  12. Clean Sheets – Descendents
  13. Need You Tonight – INXS
  14. Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode
  15. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
  16. Paul Revere – Beastie Boys
  17. It’s Tricky – Run-DMC
  18. You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi
  19. Bigmouth Strikes Again – The Smiths
  20. In a Jar – Dinosaur Jr.
  21. Happy When It Rains – The Jesus and Mary Chain
  22. Alex Chilton – The Replacements
  23. Faith – George Michael
  24. Rebel Without a Pause – Public Enemy
  25. Ain’t No Half-Steppin’ – Big Daddy Kane
  26. Just Like Heaven – The Cure
  27. Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
  28. Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel
  29. Paid in Full – Eric B. & Rakim
  30. I Against I – Bad Brains
  31. You Gots To Chill – EPMD
  32. The Bridge Is Over – Boogie Down Productions
  33. Straight Outta Compton – N.W.A.
  34. One – Metallica

Follow me on Apple Music.

Totally Digging

Here are a few recent albums I’ve been listening to:

  • evermore by Taylor Swift (Listen) – another one?!
  • One More Day by Clearbody (Listen) – grunge influenced shoegaze
  • Closer Still by Change (Listen) – year’s best hardcore record
  • Inlet by Hum (Listen) – what a reunion. So good.

Musical Moving Pictures

Bartees Strange on KEXP

The Music Theory Behind Phoebe Bridgers

Hayley Williams Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Every Time I Die – Buffalo, NY (Go Bills)

Blu & Exile – KEXP at Home


Band of Horses – August 2018 – Buffalo, NY ([Taken by me](https://www.flickr.com/photos/endonend/43945020201/in/album-72157706404847525/))

That wraps up the third issue! Feel free to send me feedback, questions, ideas — anything. I’d also love if you shared this newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy and encourage them to subscribe.

See you next time.

— Jason

Awesome family hike today! So beautiful out.

family hike

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Merry Christmas

Awesome Chadwick Boseman tribute in Jingle Jangle on Netflix.

Chadwick Bozeman tribute

2020 was a Punisher

2020 was something else, right? Beyond the pandemic and resulting economic destruction, a lot has changed — some for the better and, unfortunately, a lot took a turn for the worse, including so many needless deaths from this virus.

Small businesses, including many of the bands and musicians I love, had to re-invent themselves when they relied so heavily on in-person commerce. Curbside pickup, contactless delivery, and paid livestreams all became commonplace during this year.

As an introvert, I couldn’t help but like a lot of these changes, though one thing I can’t imagine living without is live music. I’ve been to so many concerts and seen hundreds of bands since my teenage years — the experience of seeing live music is really hard to beat. (Though as I age, standing for such long periods of time is starting to be much less enjoyable!)

One of the artists that seemed to immediately jump in to this new world was Phoebe Bridgers. In many ways it was forced, as she kicked off the promotional efforts for her new album on February 26th with her video for Garden Song — right around the time everything got really bad in Italy, New York City, and other places around the world.

Since then, Bridgers has done many livestreams, whether it’s solo on Instagram or live performances with her band on talks shows, virtual festivals, and YouTube. She certainly isn’t letting the pandemic slow down her art.

A couple of my favorite live performances were her appearance on the Seth Meyers show:

And her Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Music:

The thing I enjoy and envy most about Phoebe Bridgers is her honesty and transparency — how comfortable she is with herself, doing whatever she’s doing. She not only bares all through her songwriting, but in interviews too. With humor and introspection. It’s a marvel to witness.

When I started this newsletter I was a little concerned that modern albums wouldn’t impact as me as much as older music or as quickly as I’d need to include them in an edition. Luckily, artists like Phoebe Bridgers exist and Punisher is not only good enough to be my top album for 2020, but one of my all-time favorites.

Let’s dig in to some highlights.


I was lucky enough to score the indie-exclusive version on “red and swirly” vinyl from Revolver Records in my hometown of Buffalo. The record came with this awesome, diary-like booklet that included lyrics, doodles, and drawings that accompany each song. Reading along with each song and taking in the artwork brought me back to my bedroom in college, when I poured over the inserts of my favorite hardcore records to learn every word of every song. Such a welcome addition in 2020. I wish more musicians put in as much effort.

The best part of the album are her lyrics, which compliment 2020 really well. As she told Apple Music, the theme is: “the idea of having these inner personal issues while there’s bigger turmoil in the world—like a diary about your crush during the apocalypse.”

Musically, my favorite songs are the upbeat Kyoto, which tells a story of both loving and hating something at the same time.

A less upbeat (but more upbeat than most of the songs on the album) ICU (aka I See You), which is about a relationship she had with her drummer. The feeling of being depressed, then falling in love and hoping the person can fix you. Then ultimately breaking up after developing a codependency.

And then she saves the best for last — the final song, I Know the End. The song starts out slow and meadering, then builds and builds into the final verse and releases with the glorious cacophony of the final chorus, including horns, noises, screaming… a perfect way to end a perfect album in 2020.

Over the coast, everyone’s convinced  
It’s a government drone or an alien spaceship  
Either way, we’re not alone  
I’ll find a new place to be from  
A haunted house with a picket fence  
To float around and ghost my friends  
No, I’m not afraid to disappear  
The billboard said “The End Is Near”  
I turned around, there was nothing there  
Yeah, I guess the end is here

Enough of me blabbering on about how great this record is — just go listen to it already, will you?!

My Top 20 from 2020

  1. Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers
  2. Saint Cloud by Waxahatchee
  3. RTJ4 by Run the Jewels
  4. Ultra Mono by Idles
  5. Honeymoon by Beach Bunny
  6. Spilligion by Spillage Village
  7. folklore by Taylor Swift
  8. Color Theory by Soccer Mommy
  9. Hannah by Lomelda
  10. Jump Rope Gazers by The Beths
  11. Miles by Blu and Exile
  12. Shore by Fleet Foxes
  13. Melee by Dogleg
  14. SUGAREGG by Bully
  15. Woman in Music Pt 3 by HAIM
  16. Off Off On by This Is The Kit
  17. Burst by Snarls
  18. Streams of Thought, Vol 3: Cane and Abel by Black Thought
  19. Likewise by Frances Quinlan
  20. A Written Testimony by Jay Electronica

To listen to these and more, check out my 2020 Album of the Year Finalists playlist on Apple Music. And while you are at it, check my tops songs from 2020 playlist.

What was your top album from 2020?

Musical Moving Pictures

This Is The Kit — Live on KEXP

Small Brown Bike live at Cake Shop

Slow Pulp – KEXP at Home


Waxahatchee - Toronto - May 2015 (Taken by me)

Remember live music?


Some other Best of 2020 lists to check out:

And I’m sure there will be a 100 more by the time I hit publish.

That wraps up the second issue! Feel free to send me feedback, questions, ideas — anything. I’d also love if you shared this newsletter with anyone you think would enjoy and encourage them to subscribe.

See you in 2021.

— Jason

Without saying your age, post 4 albums that came out when your were 14.

4 albums at 14

Lap puppers

lap puppers