March 14, 2022

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

March 9, 2022

Hain’s Point 2022.1.9 is out – added initial support for On This Day and a toggle for the Plausible Analytics button tracking code, since it was breaking the form in some browsers. See the readme for more. Thanks to @toddgrotenhuis for the reports and help debugging.

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

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. 🤪

March 8, 2022

Theme update! Hain’s Point 2022.1.7 was just checked in to Github. New feature: the ability to customize colors: header/footer background, subscribe/about backgrounds, buttons, and text colors. See the readme for more. Let me know if you run into issues!

On a hot streak! Hain’s Point is now at 2022.1.8 – just loaded to Github with support for the Reply by Email plugin. I added a setting to enable it in the theme (once the plugin is installed), since not everyone will want it. See the readme for more!

March 1, 2022

Mail day! Dischord’s first six records box set arrived. Worth the wait.

My Hain’s Point theme is almost ready! I just need to figure out why the Photos page isn’t working and finish up adding all of the settings to the Plugin setup. You’ll be able to customize the logo, a couple blurbs, newsletter name, and a few other things. Soon!

Hain’s Point is available in the plugins section for all users! Details on the theme and install instructions here. My site is using the plugin-based theme. Note: the Photos page is unsupported at this time, until I can troubleshoot that more. Feedback/ideas welcome!

February 28, 2022

I’m excited about the progress, so here we go! I am working on a theme for called Hain’s Point. Still a lot to do with styling, testing, etc but the homepage and one post I brought over from WordPress and cleaned up look decent in Safari. More to come!

December 18, 2021

Our weekly make pizza and watch the Mandalorian came to an awesome end this week. 🤯. We want to continue the tradition - what series should we watch next? Preferably something 12/13 year olds would like. Have Disney+, HBO, Hulu, and Netflix.

December 1, 2021

Apple Music users: get yourself a account and a sweet iOS music app like Marvis or Soor to track your listening next year and you too can have reports galore.

November 27, 2021

My favorite albums from 2021

What a year for music! SO many good albums came out this year – it made it difficult to narrow it down to the finalists (see the playlist below) and then to the final 25. A handful of records could have easily fit in the #1 slot, but there’s one that has remained in heavy rotation for a majority of the year: Ian Sweet’s Show Me How You Disappear. It’s a criminally underrated album that I haven’t seen on any “best of” lists this year and I don’t understand why – so I’m changing that!

Ian Sweet is the stage name of songwriter Jilian Medford, who had released two albums prior to Show Me How You Disappear: the quirky, angular debut album Shapeshifter (Listen) and the more confident, yet still melodically discordant, Crush Crusher (Listen). The song “#23” off Shapeshifter was my introduction to Ian Sweet back in 2016 and I’ve been a fan ever since – seeing them open for Ted Leo in November of that year:

Medford has pushed boundaries and her sound with each album and her latest is no different. Released in March on Polyvinyl Records, Show Me How You Disappear is Ian Sweet’s most complete collection of songs to date. This time Medford moves from discordant guitar-based songs on previous albums to dreamy, minimalist beauty. The songs on Show Me How You Disappear flow and swell, build up and fade away, producing an almost dream-like state with Medford’s sweet (and unique) melodies layered on top – it’s a fantastic listening experience.

Medford’s lyrics have always been heavily personal, but this album took that to a new level after she spent two months in intensive therapy following multiple severe panic attacks in January 2020. The journaling and self reflection process from those therapy sessions are the lyrical foundation of the album.

From Polyvinyl:

Mesmeric and kaleidoscopic, shimmering with electrified unease, Show Me How You Disappear is both an exercise in self-forgiveness and an eventual understanding of unresolved trauma. Medford’s third record as IAN SWEET unfolds at an acute juncture in her life, charting from a mental health crisis to an intensive healing process and what comes after. How do you control the thoughts that control you? What does it mean to get better? What does it mean to have a relationship with yourself?

Medford via Apple Music:

“I don't think I would have written this kind of record or had the strength to keep writing if I didn't go to treatment,” she says. “I was processing things in real time. It is exactly what was happening in my life—I just made it to these songs.”

Listen on Apple Music

Official Videos

Show Me How You Disappear (Official Short Film) Drink the Lake Sword

The Top 25 of 2021

  1. Ian Sweet - Show Me How You Disappear (Listen)
  2. Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee (Listen)
  3. IDLES - Crawler (Listen)
  4. Pip Blom - Welcome Break (Listen)
  5. Dinosaur Jr - Sweep it into Space (Listen)
  6. Quicksand - Distant Populations (Listen)
  7. Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks of God (Listen)
  8. Fiddlehead - Between the Richness (Listen)
  9. Turnstile - GLOW ON (Listen)
  10. Snail Mail - Valentine (Listen)
  11. Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams (Listen)
  12. Middle Kids - Today We're the Greatest (Listen)
  13. Shame - Drunk Tank Pink (Listen)
  14. TV Priest - Uppers (Listen)
  15. Topaz Jones - Don't Go Telling Your Momma (Listen)
  16. Porches - All Day Gentle Hold! (Listen)
  17. Jelani Aryah - I’ve Got Some Living to Do (Listen)
  18. FRITZ - Pastel (Listen)
  19. Wiki - Half God (Listen)
  20. Iceage - Seek Shelter (Listen)
  21. Cursetheknife - Thank You for Being Here (Listen)
  22. Tyler, the Creator - CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST (Listen)
  23. Rostam - Changephobia (Listen)
  24. Isaiah Rashad - The House is Burning (Listen)
  25. Remember Sports - Like a Stone (Listen)

Guilty Pleasure of the Year

  1. Olivia Rodrigo - SOUR (Listen)

Listen to the Finalists

2021 - Best of - Finalists by Jason Dettbarn

Best of 2021 - The Songs

If albums aren’t your thing and you like a little more diversity, here’s a collection of almost 200 songs that I’ve collected over the year. Follow me on to see more of what I’m listening to each week.

Doing these year-end recaps is a great way to reflect on how important music is to our lives. I’ve really enjoyed focusing on music again through these One Last Wish posts – the intentionality that’s necessary to dig in a little deeper on these albums really makes me appreciate everything about the process of creating music and the power these songs can have on the artist AND the listener. It’s certainly made a huge impact on my life and I’m now seeing that play out as I take my kids to their first shows – seeing them sing along with Beach Bunny in Cleveland or be blown away by Mannequin Pussy in Rochester. It’s amazing to see and I’m thankful to be able to give that experience to them at the same age I experienced those same feelings and excitement for the first time.

Well, I can only hope 2022 brings more joy to our ears. I’m certain it will and I look forward to every Friday to pour over those new releases to find my next favorite album. In the meantime, next up for One Last Wish is the year 1993. See you in a few weeks!

November 1, 2021

So What'Cha Want

The year was 1992. Half of the year was me finishing 10th grade and the other half, the start of 11th grade. A critical time in any teenager’s life, as you transition to an upperclassman in high school. Music, of course, was still a huge part of my life as I started to branch out into new genres, including punk and hardcore music.

The new releases that meant the most to me that year (in the moment) were the Beastie Boys' Check Your Head, Smeared by Sloan, Predator by Ice Cube, Sweet Oblivion by Screaming Trees, and Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled debut. Shortly after, other 1992 releases like Sugar’s Copper Blue, Jawbreaker’s Bivouac, Farside’s Rochambeau, Shudder to Think’s Get Your Goat, and Sonic Youth’s self-titled album would be added to the list. It was certainly a good and diverse/creative year for music.

Picking this issue’s focus was a challenge! I narrowed it down by selecting two “in the moment” albums: Check Your Head and Rage Against the Machine. From the “later” records, I would pick Copper Blue and Rochambeau – maybe even Bivouac. To compromise, I decided to focus on Check Your Head, but I will also comment on the three “later” albums, since they ended up being pretty crucial in the grand scheme of my life.

The Beasties

The Beastie Boys are the group that combined the genres that have impacted my life the most: hip hop, punk, and hardcore. (As well as some other genres I came to like: funk, jazz, soul, etc.) In fact, Check Your Head was the first album where they connected all of these styles and influences to create a collection of songs that would ultimately define the group for the remainder of their careers. They played instruments on many songs, weaved in a political/social consciousness, and did it all unapologetically as only the Beastie Boys can do. They proved they could do anything. This album might not get the cult attention of Paul’s Boutique or the massive hits of Ill Communication, but Check Your Head is just as important for this fact alone: you could tell they were finally exactly who they wanted to be as musicians.

Do what I do professionally.
To tell the truth I am exactly what I want to be. Mike D on "Pass the Mic"

Let’s dig in to my highlights!

Jimmy James

A funky, upbeat opening to the album (as well as the third single.) The song is a perfect opening to show off what the Beastie Boys were going to unleash with Check Your Head.

[MCA] This is a type of kinda like a formal dedication
[MD] Givin' out a shout
[AD] for much inspiration
[MD] All I ever really want to do is get nice
Get loose and goof a little slice of life
[MCA] Sendin' out love to all corners of the land
[AD] I jump up on the stage and take the mic in my hand
[MD] I'm not playin' the role
[AD] Just being who I am
[MCA] And if you try to dis me, I couldn't give a damn

Samples include:

  • “Surrender“ by Cheap Trick, from the album, Cheap Trick at Budokhan
  • “Happy Birthday“ by Jimi Hendrix, from the album, My Best Friend
  • “Foxy Lady" by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, from the album, Are You Experienced
  • “I’m Chief Kamanawanalea” by the Turtles, from the album, The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands

Originally an instrumental groove, Jimmy James was said to be a tribute to Jimi Hendrix.

Funky Boss

Not much to this song, but to a teenager working their first low paying jobs, some with questionable bosses, it was enough.

Samples include:

  • “Funky Worm“ by Ohio Players, from the album, Pleasure
  • “Under Mi Sensi“ by Barrington Levy, from the single, "Under Mi Sensi”
  • “Bicentennial Nigger“ by Richard Pryor, from the album, Bicentennial Nigger

Pass the Mic

A Beastie Boys classic and the first single off Check Your Head. One of my all-time favorites.

Well I’m on 'til the crack of dawn
Mowing down emcees like I’m mowing a lawn
I go off like nothing can faze me
You think we'll ever meet Stevie? one of these days, D
But I can stand my ground and I am down
To wax an emcee who acts like a clown
But for now, I’d like to ask you how
You like the feel of the bass in your face in the crowd?

Samples include:

  • Ron Carter
  • “The Black Prince Has Arrived“ by Jimmie Walker
  • “Big Take Over“ by Bad Brains, from the album, Bad Brains
  • “So What Cha Sayin’“ by EPMD, from the album, Unfinished Business
  • “Big Sur Suite“ by Johnny "Hammond” Smith
  • “I Walk on Guilded Splinters“ by Dr. John, from the album, Gris-Gris
  • “I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You“ by Funkadelic
  • “Choir” by James Newton, from the album, Axum


The fourth single off the album with it’s instantly recognizable fuzzed-out bass guitar line. Another of my favorites. Pretty sure I got my wah pedal because of this song too.

Good times gone, but you feed it
Hate's grown strong, you feel you need it
Just one thing, do you know you
What you think? That the world owes you?
What's gonna’ set you free
Look inside and you'll see
When you've got so much to say
It's called gratitude, and that's right

Lighten Up

Another song the Beasties played live as a band, with it’s funk, soul and African musical influences. Good stuff.

Finger Lickin' Good

The group returns to it’s more classic hip hop sound, though the did also play their instruments on the backing track.

Well they call me Mike D with the mad man style
I put the mic up to my lips and I can scream for a while
Created a sound at which many were shocked at
I’ve got a million ideas that I ain't even rocked yet
I’ve got the light bulb flashing on the top of my head
Never wake up on the wrong side of the bed

Samples include:

  • “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues“ by Bob Dylan, from the album, Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
  • “Breakout“ by Johnny "Hammond” Smith, from the album, Breakout (1971)
  • “Three for the Festival“ by Rashaan Roland Kirk, from the album, We Free Kings (1961)
  • “Dance to the Music“ by Sly & the Family Stone, from the single, "Dance to the Music/Sing a Simple Song” (1979)

An interesting aside on that Dylan sample:

Interviewed for a piece in Boston Rock, Mike D shed some light on clearing the Dylan sample: “Seven hundred bucks, but he asked for two thousand dollars. I thought it was kind of fly that he asked for $2000.00, and I bartered Bob Dylan down. That’s my proudest sampling deal.” via

So What’Cha Want

Another classic track and the second single off Check Your Head.

Y'all suckers write me checks and then they bounce
So I reach into my pocket for the fresh amount
See, I'm the long leaner Victor the Cleaner
I'm the illest motherfucker from here to Gardena

Samples include:

  • “I’ve Been Watching You“ by Southside Movement from their self-titled debut album (1973)
  • “Just Rhymin' with Biz“ by Big Daddy Kane from the album Long Live the Kane (1988)

Time for Livin'

The story behind this hardcore influenced track:

The music is by a really great but unknown, and I believe unreleased, early ‘80s New York hardcore band called Front Line. Yauch was particularly fond of this one song by them and had asked Miles Kelly, Front Line’s guitar player, to show it to him. I kind of remember Yauch would just play it on his bass every now and then when we would be messing around. One day after playing it a bit with Yauch showing me the arrangement, we decided [to] put it on tape. As usual for the time, Mario C. was ready to roll. I think we did a few takes, and then we had it. via

Something’s Got to Give

This mellow song has serious dub influences. From Ad Rock:

“Something’s Got to Give” is one of my all time favorites ‘cause of all the elements inside; mixing live music with samples of our live music, live vocals with samples of our vocals, the lyrics and their sentiment, and the fucked-up bass. Adam Horovitz, 1999, from Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science

The Maestro

Some skronk-y funk. Not sure if that’s even a word! I can picture this on a soundtrack for a 70s blaxploitation film.

Yeah, you motherfuckers, I'm all that
I see you lookin' at me sayin'
How can he be so skinny and live so phat?
You know why, cause I'm the maestro

Groove Holmes


Richard Arnold “Groove” Holmes was an American organist who performed in the genres of hard bop and soul jazz. His most notable recording is “Misty” (1965). With virtuoso groove and technique evident in “rapid, punctuating, and pulsating basslines,” Holmes’ work is regarded as antecedent of acid jazz. One year following his death, Beastie Boys paid tribute to Holmes on this track.

Live at PJs

Another super funky live-band-backed track with Ad Rock on vocals.

Well! Back to the back to the beat, y'all
Down with the sound so sweet, y'all
Just how fresh can you get, y'all?
Those that are blessed say yes y'all

Professor Booty

The fifth single off Check Your Head. Samples include:

  • “Give It Up“ by Kool & the Gang, from the album, Kool & the Gang (1969)
  • “Loose Booty“ by Willie Henderson, from the album, Dance With the Master (1974)
  • “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Babe“ by Jimmy Smith, from the album, Blacksmith (1974)

Interestingly enough, for being a single the song was only performed live twice.

In 3s

An instrumental, but a good one.


A smooth instrumental with MCA"s poetry over top.

To my mind I brought the image of light
And I expanded out of it
My fear was just a shadow
And then a voice spoke in my head
And she said, Dark is not the opposite of light
It's the absence of light
And I thought to myself
She knows what she's talking about
And for a moment I knew what it was all about

Listen to the whole record on Apple Music:

Beyond the music, the Beastie Boys were a big part of my friendship group, including road trips to see them at Lollapalooza in Saratoga in 1994 and later (1998) in Barrie, ON. We played in a very Beasties-like band in college called the Butter Cream Gang (named after we found this movie during a late night trip to Blockbuster) and jammed many times after that with my newly purchased wah pedal. Honestly, after probably Fugazi (more on them in a future issue!) and Run DMC, the Beastie Boys were one of the most influential bands in my life.

The Others

'Copper Blue by Sugar (Listen)

The first album from Sugar and Bob Mould’s first band (non solo work) after Husker Du. It’s an amazing collection of power pop breakup songs that only Bob Mould can write. It was one of those albums I fell in love with the first time I heard it from Chris Fritton on the bus ride to high school. Highlights include: “Changes”, “Hoover Dam”, “Fortune Teller”, and “A Good Idea”.

Funny enough, Husker Du had an influence on Nirvana, which in turn had an influence on Bob Mould and Sugar:

The popularity of Nevermind and its grunge sound had a profound impact on Mould. In an interview with NPR, Mould said: "When Nevermind came out, that album changed the way people listen to music. A lot of the songs that I had been writing in 1991 led up to my next group, Sugar — and had it not been for Nevermind, I don't know if Sugar's Copper Blue would have stood a chance in '92.

Rochambeau by Farside (Listen)

Farside’s debut full length. At the time, this record broke every assumption of what a “hardcore” band could be with acoustic guitar parts and well sung, emotional and thought provoking lyrics. At the time they were essentially an alternative band with former hardcore band members (even Zach de la Rocha was in the band early on!), which automatically put them in the hardcore scene. For me personally, this made for an excellent gateway into the classic record label, Revelation Records, and an entire music scene. Farside went on to release two more classic albums, Rigged and The Monroe Doctrine – both of which are must listens. They are one of my favorite all time bands, for sure.

Bivouac by Jawbreaker (Listen)

This was one of the first albums I bought based on a zine, more specifically Maximum Rock and Roll. I got it on cassette at the mall record store of all places. Jawbreaker is a top 10 band for me and this was the starting place. I started liking Jawbreaker because they were punk as fuck, but they weren’t stereotypical punks. They liked poetry and wrote music that wasn’t regular punk music - it was noisy, fast, aggressive, and poppy. Other releases to check out (all crucial in their own way): Unfun, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, Dear You.


With this issue’s focus on 1992, I put together a playlist of some great songs from that year. Listen on Apple Music.

Totally Digging

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

  • True Love by Hovvdy (Listen)
  • Wayfinder by Boy Scouts (Listen)
  • Piecework by Kowloon Walled City (Listen)
  • Half God by Wiki (Listen)
  • Distant Populations by Quicksand (Listen)
  • The Color Blu(e) by Blu (Listen)
  • This Place You Know by One Step Closer (Listen)
  • Where I'm at Now by S. Raekwon (Listen)
  • Puppies Forever by BLACKSTARKIDS (Listen)
  • I Don't Live Here Anymore by The War on Drugs (Listen)
  • Radical by Every Time I Die (Listen)
  • Fun House by Hand Habits (Listen)

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

  • American Nervoso by Botch (Listen)
  • We are Romans by Botch (Listen)
  • In Place of Real Insight by Karate (Listen)
  • s/t by Karate (Listen)
  • Like Nirvana by Cub Sport (Listen)
  • Being There by Wilco (Listen)
  • Closer Still by Change (Listen)
  • Mirrorland by Earthgang (Listen)
  • Trial by Verbal Assault (Listen)
  • The Pace is Glacial by Seam (Listen)

Follow me on to see more.

Musical Moving Pictures

Waxahatchee on KEXP
Fiddlehead - live in Philly
One Step Closer - live in Chicago
Did Olivia Rodrigo steal from Paramore? (analysis)
Bob Mould - What's in my bag?
"Valentine" by Snail Mail
Blurred Lines / Rape Me mashup
Waxahatchee and Lindsey Jordan cover Sheryl Crow
Verbal Assault - live in 1988


More live music! This time it was Hop Along at Mohawk Place in Buffalo, NY. The band and crowd were amazing. We need more shows like this so musicians leave our town and encourage others to visit. Too many touring musicians skip over Buffalo for no good reason.

Hop Along at Mohawk Place (photo by Jason)

🔗 Michelle Zauner (AKA Japanese Breakfast) on Sable’s Wistful Soundtrack

In her own words, Michelle Zauner, aka indie-pop artist Japanese Breakfast, didn’t grow up in a household of high culture. She wasn’t shown fine art, foreign directors, or classic literature by her parents in Oregon during the 1990s. What Zauner had was video games, first on a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and then on a PlayStation.

🔗 The 200 Best Albums of the Last 25 Years, According to Pitchfork Readers

A pretty solid list and ranking, in fact I own 20 of these on vinyl. A few albums that shockingly aren’t listed: Being There by Wilco, Black on Both Sides by Mos Def, 100 Broken Windows by Idlewild, Relationship of Command by At The Drive-in, Mass Romantic by The New Pornographers, The Argument by Fugazi, Fantastic Damage by El-P, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case for example.

Thanks for reading this issue of One Last Wish! Next issue we’ll see you in 1993.

September 26, 2021

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.

September 25, 2021

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.

September 17, 2021

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

September 15, 2021

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

September 13, 2021

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.

September 7, 2021

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!

September 3, 2021

WEIRD Pitbulls

Wonder who is eating dinner under there? #weirdpitbulls

September 2, 2021

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.

August 31, 2021

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


“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 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)

August 27, 2021

Sleater-Kinney tonight at Artpark

Sleater-Kinney tonight at Artpark

Wilco tonight at Artpark

Wilco at Artpark