May 15, 2022

Watson was so tired after our hike today he didn’t even mind Chet sitting on his head. 😂

May 14, 2022

Shhhh! 🤫

A good week for new music

Some really, really good releases out this week:

Read More →

I went to my first hardcore show in a while last night: Snapcase, Earth Crisis, Strife, One Step Closer, and Be Well. Here’s Strife playing “Lift” off their 1994 album, One Truth.

Read my Ode to Hardcore from earlier in the month for more on what the music means to me.

May 7, 2022

Making pickled beet deviled eggs for brunch tomorrow, so I whipped up a pickled beet egg salad with the extras. Did 4 eggs, 4 beets, mayo, mustard and a dash of curry powder. So tasty!

May 3, 2022

Was thinking through a web app idea, then realized it was pretty darn close to FriendFeed (which i loved) and upon doing more reminiscing, realized Micro.blog isn’t too far from FF. Just need the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds and other services beyond Mastodon.

May 2, 2022

1994 - An Ode to Hardcore

Welcome to issue #11 of One Last Wish – my regular series where I look back at records that changed my life. This issue: 1994. Thanks for reading!

I spent a good deal of time considering all of my favorite records that came out in 1994. I couldn’t pick one that impacted my life as much as the previous ten issues, but I did notice a theme: hardcore. Collectively, hardcore music definitely did change my life… and 1994 was the year I went all in on the music and scene. Let’s dig in…

With hardcore music, the shows are a huge part of the scene and experience. Sure, you can own some vinyl or cassettes and get the gist, but seeing those bands live, singing a long, dancing, and stage diving is where it’s at. Some of the bands I saw live that year:

  • Endpoint
  • Outspoken
  • Into Another
  • Snapcase
  • Unbroken
  • Undertow
  • Ricochet
  • Chokehold
  • Copper
  • Shift
  • Falling Forward
  • Empathy
  • Turmoil
  • Jasta 14
  • Green Day
  • Local bands: Against All Hope, IND, Redline, Envy, Fadeaway, Blend, Moment of Truth, and more…

Most of these shows are memorable for different reasons, but the two bands that absolutely sealed my interest were the Endpoint and Outspoken shows in June. The shows were about two weeks apart at the Icon in downtown Buffalo. Both bands were so powerful live and had a unique sound that really stood out. On top of that, both bands had the best lyrics of all the bands I was familiar with at the time.

Here’s Outspoken from their 2010 reunion show:

Outspoken - Sound and Fury set (2010)

Outspoken - Innocent

Alone. He doesn’t want to face the prejudice. Afraid. While the fear lies in the ignorant. All love is legitimate. It is hatred that is the enemy. An innocent man portrayed as being guilty. What crime is love between two people. The crime is hatred caused by ignorance of difference. Have to open my eyes to see a wider range. Have to open my mind. I’m the one that need to change.

And Endpoint from their 2010 reunion:

Endpoint reunion show in 2010

Endpoint - Caste

Hope is the savior, it will be the cure. It fuels them on. Dreams are the only escape from the rich man’s rape. So they still hold on. Equality: lies. Freedom: lies. But their spirit still shines. Justice: lies. Independence: lies. You cannot take their minds. All men are created equal? We’re not even born equal. One nation under God? God doesn’t have enough money.


Other bands that were crucial to me at the time included Strife, Chokehold, and Unbroken:

Strife

Strife - Gilman Street (2019)


Chokehold

Chokehold - Philly (2015)


Unbroken

Unbroken


Beyond the music, the hardcore scene introduced me to new friends and solidified friendships I’ve had since at least second grade. I went on many road trips all over the northeast United States — to festivals in Cleveland and Detroit, tours with both Despair and Union as the roadie/merch guy, and trips to meet Internet friends in Connecticut and Massachusetts when meeting people online meant IRC and Usenet newsgroups — all on an ASCII screen. Most importantly, I even met my wife through hardcore friends! For those things alone, the music has given me so much. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without those experiences.

Beyond that, the scene is also responsible for discovering and growing my belief system. If you’ve read the One Last Wish issues to date, you’ve probably noticed I’m drawn to lyrics — especially political lyrics – so it’s not a surprise that hardcore is the one genre that has meant the most to me over the years. It led me to vegetarianism, to books by Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and many beliefs that were radical and “far left” in a time of centrism and Bill Clinton. I’m thankful for that – it’s given me compassion, empathy, and critical thinking skills that I couldn’t get from a formal education.

Finally, the hardcore music scene also got me into making zines and taking photos. I’ve been sharing pictures of mine in each issue, but I also have two Flickr albums that collect many of these pictures in an easy-to-browse format. It’s the entire reason I’m writing these today.

Thanks for reading.


The 1994 Playlist

71 songs released in 1994 — a mix of hardcore, punk, alternative, hip hop and more…

Enjoy!


Totally Digging: New Releases

  • Wet Leg - s/t (Listen)
  • Syd - Broken Hearts Club (Listen)
  • oso oso - sore thumb (Listen)
  • PUP - THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND (Listen)
  • Camp Cope - Running with the Hurricane (Listen)
  • PLOSIVS - s/t (Listen)
  • Drug Church - Hygiene (Listen)
  • Superchunk - Wild Loneliness (Listen)
  • Vince Staples - RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART (Listen)
  • Denzel Curry - Melt My Eyez See Your Future (Listen)
  • Tomberlin - i don’t know who needs to hear this… (Listen)

Other playlists: Best of 2022 and 2022/365 (my song a day project - also on Spotify)


Moving Music Pictures

Kowloon Walled City - Lampblack


Deadguy


Botch - Transitions from Persona to Object - final show


Arlo Parks - live on KEXP


Wet Leg - Too Late Now


illuminati hotties - live on KEXP


IDLES - Lollapalooza Brazil


Nilufer Yanya - Midnight Sun


Where does tone come from in an electric guitar?


Los Campesinos! Tiny Desk


Los Campesinos! Knee Deep in ATP / My Year in Lists


Elsewhere

I had the pleasure of seeing Jawbreaker this month in Philly with my friends Chris and Amy. As I mentioned previously, Jawbreaker is one of my favorite bands of all time and a band I’ve never seen (I did see Jets to Brazil a few times after Jawbreaker broke up…) until this trip.

It was a dream come true.

And a video I posted on Instagram.


Thanks for reading this issue of One Last Wish! Next issue we’ll see you in 1995.

– Jason

April 30, 2022

This month I created a Shortcut to help with my 2022/365 playlist - my song-a-day project. The shortcut grabs all of the songs I listened to in the last 36 hours, puts them into a list, and adds my selection to the playlist. Simple, yet effective!

Two more album of the year candidates for me:

First up is Tomberlin with i don’t know who needs to hear this… (Listen)

One of her singles “happy accident” (Watch):

Next up is the ultra-hyped Wet Leg with their self-titled debut (Listen)

“Too Late Now” off the album (Watch):

Finished reading: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel 📚

April 29, 2022

Went to see the cherry blossoms at the Buffalo History Museum and Japanese Gardens. Beautiful night!

April 16, 2022

Currently reading: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel 📚

April 9, 2022

One season ends and another begins. Tryout week done and so thankful Zoey has finally landed in a good spot for hockey. Now for a couple week break and they are back at it!

April 4, 2022

Some recent vinyl pickups: Guilt, Endpoint, Small Brown Bike, Sunny Day Real Estate, Modest Mouse, Karate, Nilufer Yanya, and Ian Sweet.

March 28, 2022

Thanks to the suggestion from @alans, I now have a sync setup on Spotify to copy over my Apple Music song-a-day project. There are now two options: Spotify and Apple Music. Enjoy!

March 24, 2022

Two new favorite recent releases: the self-titled album by Plosivs (Listen) (ex Pinback, Drive Like Jehu, and Against Me) and sore thumb by Oso Oso (Listen).

One thing I’ve been doing this year, that I absolutely love, is adding one song to a playlist every day. We’ve listened on a few road trips and it sparks so many good memories. It’s pretty amazing. Follow along if you are interested!

March 22, 2022

One of my favorite things about having three teenagers is sharing the experience of live music. Tonight with the kids: Cavetown

March 21, 2022

Selling Girl Scout cookies with these two amazing ladies over the weekend.

March 19, 2022

Moved over a few more posts and my domain (back) to micro.blog. Good to be back with such a great community!

March 16, 2022

Earlier this week I posted the latest issue of One Last Wish, my regular look at an album or two that shaped my life. This issue we are in 1993. My picks: Fugazi’s In on the Kill Taker and Quicksand’s Slip .

March 15, 2022

I hope you find your niche someday soon

1993 was another good year for music, with Nirvana’s In Utero, Radiohead’s Pablo Honey, The Smashing Pumpkin’s Siamese Dream, and A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders, Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Fugazi’s In on the Kill Taker, Digable Planets' Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space), The Breeders' Last Splash, Dinosaur Jr.’s' Where You Been, Sepultura’s Chaos A.D., Archers of Loaf’s Icky Mettle, Swervedriver’s Mezcal Head, Quicksand’s Slip, Bad Religion’s Recipe for Hate, and The Posies' Frosting on the Beater – and I’m sure there are more I am missing!

All of these albums had a big impact on my musical taste, interests, and listening habits – though I’ll have to go with Fugazi and Quicksand as my selections to focus on this month. Just like last issue, I’ll include some brief words on a few other important albums – some of these are just too good to pass over completely.

Fugazi’s In on the Kill Taker (Listen) and Quicksand’s Slip (Listen) are both post-hardcore masterpieces. Both records acted as gateways into the world of hardcore for me – charting the course for some of the biggest changes in my life. (Even more on that in future issues!)

Fugazi led to their back catalog and all of the Dischord record label, while Quicksand led to Gorilla Biscuits, NY hardcore, and Revelation Records. To say that was life changing is an understatement.

Slip by Quicksand

Quicksand formed in 1990 with Walter Schreifels on guitar and vocals, Tom Capone on guitar, Sergio Vega on bass, and Alan Cage on drums. Schreifels was also in Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today, two of the biggest hardcore bands of the period. Capone spent time in Beyond and Bold. Cage played with Burn and Beyond. Vega played with Collapse and Absolution. A hardcore super group, no doubt.

Quicksand put out a 4-song EP on Revelation Records that year, which included three songs that would later appear on their first full length, Slip. That full length was released three years later on Polydor - a major label - which at the time was generally a controversial subject in underground music.

The album itself is amazing from start to finish. Every single song is good. Heavy, groove based riffs and a top notch bass/drum combo – the musicianship and song writing helped set Quicksand apart from the very beginning. Lyrically, Quicksand tends to focus on the personal: conflict, relationships, and identity. In many ways, it was a more refined and mature approach to classic hardcore song topics.

Let’s dive into some of my favorite songs on the album…

Fazer

What a way to start the album with drums kicking into a heavy groove. It immediately grabs your attention.

The lyrics of this song spoke to me because I felt out of place and awkward as a teenager - like most young people that find hardcore, punk, or some alternative means or outlet for creativity and expression. We’re looking for someplace to fit in and find others in a similar place.

Needing to find something
Is everything ok
I hope you find your niche, someday soon
Easy to change your phase
To move from where you stand
But you got to keep that face
Each change you plan

Wonder
Is everything ok
The problem is hesitation

And as an introvert, “the problem is hesitation” rang completely true and that led to a lot of second guessing.

Dine Alone

For me this song is about knowing and believing yourself – rejecting the societal pressure to fit in.

It's a cinch
To, pass the time with you
But hard to pass the time alone
Can you take it
And it's true
True, the couple next to you think you look strange
Alone, what are your aims
Or do you have any

Even this line: “No, I always go out eating with my best friends.” - can mean both knowing who your friends are and feeling comfortable with yourself - so even when you are alone, you are with a friend.

Unfullfilled

This is my favorite song on the album. Lyrically the entire song focuses on disappointment and regret:

Things you love but did not get
And all the times you've been upset by
Unfulfilled dreams and visions
And the guilt for your wrong decisions

But Walter ends it with some great advice:

Time to reach out for what's real,
It's easy to miss, insist,
That you shouldn't always follow the first thing you feel.

The first thing you feel when you miss out on something or make the wrong choice is always disappointment. What you do after that is always the most important.

Omission

This song is about the stories we tell ourselves to avoid pain and sadness – to the point of not even recognizing yourself.

I, said
Why do I always have to spell it out for you?
Our story is always changing
We change it to hide the pain
And when the truth rears
Its ugly head, it's all too late
Too late for the omission
That you kept inside and wished it wasn't you

More from Quicksand

I’ve seen Quicksand probably five times and they’ve always been an amazing live band. Here’s a set from 2017 after they re-united as a 3-piece:


In on the Kill Taker by Fugazi

Fugazi is my all-time favorite band and I have this album to thank. Steady Diet of Nothing was actually my first introduction to the band, but I just couldn’t get into it at the time – it sounded almost industrial to my ears. (I like it now, by the way!)

In on the Kill Taker was the album that broke Fugazi into the “mainstream” in a sense that it hit at the same time bands like Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth and others were redefining alternative music and creating fans all over the world.

Fugazi was formed in 1986 by Ian MacKaye (guitar, vocal - who was also in Minor Threat and Embrace), Joe Lally (bass), and Colin Sears (drums - who was also in Dag Nasty). Shortly after forming, Sears left to return to Dag Nasty and Brandan Canty (a member of Rites of Spring) replaced him on drums in 1987. Guy Picciotto (guitar, vocals - member of Rites of Spring and One Last Wish) would initially sing with them at early shows before officially joining the band in 1988.

Beyond their music, Fugazi was also famous for their business practices – releasing their own music, $5 shows, $10 albums, no other merchandise like t-shirts, and a staunch DIY work ethic. In reality, much of that came from the punk and hardcore scenes – they just were the face of a whole world that mainstream music fans weren’t aware of at the time.

The combination of this DIY work ethic and the political/social justice messaging in their lyrics won me over as a fan. Behind that, the angular guitar riffs, the reggae/dub influenced bass, and one of the best rock drummers of all time combined to make some of the most unique and creative punk music ever.

Let’s dive into some highlights from my favorite songs on the album…

Facet Squared

This song is about ugly nationalism – like patriotism used by default to cover for not even considering the impact of our country’s past/present actions or having a real solution to a present problem.

Pride no longer has definition  
Everybody wears it, it always fits  
A state invoked for the lack of position

Or this ending section, which I could read as either being so invested in the patriotism that we blindly follow along OR potentially the business investment in building a false image of our country that keeps us divided. Either one fits.

It's not worth, it's the investment
That keeps us tied up in all these strings
We draw lines and stand behind them
That's why flags are such ugly things
They should never
Touch the ground

Public Witness Program

This song takes on special importance in 2022, with the horrible laws passed in states like Texas, Idaho, Florida and others that encourage people to turn in already marginalized people in the LGBTQ+ community.

The eyes have it and the eyes always will  
The eyes have it and they're watching you still  
You'll see, you'll see tonight  
I'll be watching cause I want you tonight  
All right

I have a feeling the song was originally about undercover cops and other law enforcement agents that have historically infiltrated activist groups in the past.

Returning the Screw

This song seems to be about backstabbing someone and then hiding behind “humor”. The chorus seems to contemplate revenge. The phrase “turn the screw” generally refers to doing something to someone in order to force them into action – “re-turning the screw” would be reversing that back on the orginal party.

Fine disservice
Intended, too
Check for the sender
Sender was you

The point has been recorded
The malice has been revealed
When I stripped away the humour
From the arrow that it concealed

Smallpox Champion

This song is clearly about the U.S. government’s actions to spread disease amongst the Native American tribes as we expanded our footprint on the continent.

Smallpox Champion U S of A  
Give natives some blankets warm like the grave  
This is the pattern cut from the cloth  
This is the pattern designed to take you right out  
Right out, right out, right out, right out, right out  
Right out, right out, right out, right out, right out, right out

and

Bury your heart U S of A
History rears up to spit in your face
You saw what you wanted, you took what you saw
We know how you got it, your method equals wipe out
Wipe out, wipe out, wipe out, wipe out, wipe out
Wipe out, wipe out, wipe out, wipe out, wipe out, wipe out

23 Beats Off

There are a number of theories about the subject of this song, but I am in the camp of it being about Magic Johnson and HIV. Let’s look at the lyrics:

A name  
I recognise that name  
It was at the center  
Of some ticker tape parade

Championship teams have ticker tape parades (the Lakers won in 1987 and 1988 - just 3 years prior to Magic’s announcement and Magic was on the 1992 Olympic team that won a gold medal - after his announcement) and Magic was certainly a household name:

A name
I recognise that name
It was at the center
Of some magnifying glass

A classic sports trope/cliche is “going to war” and “battling” the other team:

He used to pretend
He was fighting some war somewhere
Now everything depends
On fighting some war

And finally:

He never thought he'd be an
Exclamation point
A demonstration of his disease
A punctuation mark
A household name with HIV

Cassavetes

Fugazi’s homage to Cassavetes is basically related to the directors' DIY ethics, something the band always fully embraced – not only as a band, but for the record label their founder created, Dischord. Similarly, Cassavetes also formed a distribution company for his movies, Faces International. via Genius.com

In the lyrics:

Complete control, for Cassavetes
If it's not for sale you can't buy it - buy it
Sad-eyed mogul reaching for your wallet
Like hand to holster why don't you try it - try it

Great Cop

A song about betrayal and distrust:

Got a lot of questions for me
You got a lot of questions for me
Got your finger pointing at me

Distrusted
I look for wires when I'm talking to you
Distrusted
I look for wires when I'm talking to...
You'd make a great cop
Said you'd make a great cop
Said you'd make a great cop, you pig

Other Quick Highlights from 1993

Digable Planets' Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) (Listen) and A Tribe Called Quest Midnight Marauders (Listen)

Musically not too far apart with jazz and bebop based beats and loops. Digable Planets had the added layer of jazz influenced lyrics and style, which ATCQ were master storytellers and lyricists. These two albums were the soundtrack to my time on the high school track team. They were top notch to listen to while running. Both groups are still very high on my list of favorite hip hop artists.

The Posies' Frosting on the Beater (Listen) and The Smashing Pumpkin’s Siamese Dream (Listen)

I wore these two tapes out on a family trip out west in the summer of 1993 – in fact I bought the Siamese Dream tape in Bozeman, Montana before we headed south to Yellowstone National Park.

I was exposed to The Posies through listening to a great Canadian alternative radio station (102.1 CFNY-FM), particularly Alan Cross' radio show “The Ongoing History of New Music” and George Strombo. That station was my introduction to Sloan, Tragically Hip, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Doughboys, and many other alt-rock bands I would quickly love. I also honed my ‘quickly hit record on the tape deck’ skills listening to this station!


Totally Digging

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

(This issue took so long, some of these are actually older now!)

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

Follow me on Last.fm to see more.

I also have two 2022 playlists up on Apple Music:

  • Best of 2022 (newly released songs I’m digging)
  • 2022/365 (which is a song-a-day project I’m doing this year)

Enjoy.


Musical Moving Pictures

Cuffed Up - Live on KEXP Militarie Gun - Live in Chicago Wet Leg - Tiny Desk Concert Olivia Rodrigo - Tiny Desk Concert Mannequin Pussy - Live in Philly Farside - Into the Studio - documentary on the making of The Monroe Doctrine Weakened Friends - Live in Allston, MA One Step Closer - album release show Turnstile - Glow On record release show Cordae - Tiny Desk Concert

Elsewhere


Thanks for reading this issue of One Last Wish! Next issue we’ll see you in 1994.

– Jason

March 14, 2022

Foxing and Manchester Orchestra tonight in Buffalo. Such a good show.

March 9, 2022

Early album of the year contenders - early March edition

Two of my favorite releases from 2022 (so far) have been released in the past couple weeks. The albums are so opposite in style and substance – and I’ve been flipping back and forth – it’s keeping me sane in many ways.

Painless by Nilüfer Yanya

Some of the most unique indie songwriting I’ve heard in a while. Every song is good. Her last full length, Miss Universe, was a very good album – this is otherworldly. And, hey, Pitchfork agrees.


Your Neighbors are Failures by Bitter Branches

Featuring members of hardcore bands Deadguy, Kiss it Goodbye, No Escape, Lifetime, Paint it Black, Walleye, and others. It’s everything you’d expect from that group and more. It’s everything I need to get through the insanity that is our world right now.

I am a lonely one
But not a sad one
I am a broken one
But not a lacking one
I am proud one
And I know

I’m not the only one

Let’s be broken together
Let’s be ugly together
Let’s not talk of weather
Or speak of things mundane
Let’s celebrate
Being
Insane

Let’s take pride
In finding your lane
Let’s build some regrets
And wear them like tattoos

Let’s find
Some fears
Carry them like weights

“Show Me Yours” by Bitter Branches

Hockey season almost over. Just in time to start the next. 🤪