Episode 133: Hostful!

Hey everyone – no guest or photo this week! You can listen to this week’s episode above, or download it right here.


  • No topic!
  • This week, we catch up on the things we’ve seen this week, make a bunch of dumb jokes, mine the depths of Yousef’s DVD collection, and a bunch more.


  • Destroyer – “Dream Lover”
  • Hot Chip – “Love is the Future”
  • Chance The Rapper – “Hiatus”
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LIVE: Torres, Barboza, Seattle, WA

By Gabriel Mathews

I’ll say this up front — The thing that excited me most when I heard Torres was coming out with a new album was the list of her collaborators. Sprinter features Rob Ellis and Ian Olliver of the PJ Harvey trio on drums/production and bass, respectively, and Portishead’s Adrian Utley on guitar. While McKenzie Scott’s debut as Torres featured a few near-perfect songs, it also tended to blur together and featured some really ham-fisted lyrics. My hope was that this band of luminaries (which, by the way, how the hell did a twenty-two year-old with a single self-released album to her name get these guys on board?) would help elevate her music to the rocking levels their names connote. I had heard they were touring with her, and was incredibly excited to see what this band could do together.

Sadly, after a strange set from Aero Flynn, who aside from having one of the worst pun names I’ve ever heard, are also awkwardly derivative of In Rainbows and In Rainbows alone, I had to face the fact that this band on stage with Torres was not the one I’d been expecting.

Once I got over the tragedy of not seeing Rob Ellis, I got pretty into Torres’ set. Coming out on stage, Scott lit a match and blessed her band, exhibiting the flair for the theatrical already evident in her lyrics. She then started into the calm, spooky “Son, You Are No Island,” which is easily one of the best songs she’s ever written. It showcases the awesome range of her voice, and features one of her better lyrics. I lost a bit of my enthusiasm, though, as the band moved through Sprinter’s obvious lead-off tracks “New Skin,” “Strange Hellos,” and “Sprinter.” While the fill-in band was actually really impressive—the guitarist expertly texturing the songs with e-bow and tone-knob twiddling, the drummer thundering on some huge floor toms—these songs display Torres’ biggest weakness, which somehow no one ever points out: Most of her songs are the same. She sticks to the same general chord progressions (“Major, major, minor,” my companion quipped), she strums exclusively on downbeats, and when she fingerpicks she fingerpicks in one pattern and one pattern only. And a lot of the lyrics are still pretty ham-fisted—“Strange Hellos” goes in particularly cringeworthy directions with phrases like “I was all for being real” and “strange hellos are not my bag.”

All that said, the sameyness of her catalog didn’t ruin Scott’s set for me, because she can still get by on her pipes and her ear for melody. The ever-incredible “Honey,” Torres’ breakout song, gave me just as many spine chills as it always has, particularly in the accenting of “ashing in your caw-fee.” “Cowboy Guilt” was more fun live than on record, feeling less like a weird toy-shop tune and more like a rough-eged piece of twisted pop. And the way Scott screamed on “Strange Hellos” was a righteous calling out of the assholes being loud in the back of the room.

As she closed the set with Torres’ gorgeous “November Baby,” I felt the criticisms leaving me. As she says on “New Skin,” “In January I’ll just be twenty-three.” Scott is young, and she has a lot of time to grow into the promise of her best songs.

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Episode 132: Dream Out Loud

Justin Kent 022

Thanks to Justin Kent for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download the episode right here. Topic:

  • U2!
  • Sophomore U2 superfan Justin Kent joins us for a discussion about our love of the band, where we started with their music, why it inspires such love from some people, but hatred from others.


  • BB King – “The Thrill is Gone”
  • U2 – “When Love Comes to Town”
  • Father John Misty – “The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment”
  • The Late Show With David Letterman Theme

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Episode 131: What’s The Score?

Michael and Matt 123

Thanks to Matt Singer and Michael Mannheimer for joining us this week! You can check out the episode above, or download it right here.


  • Sports and music!
  • How and why do sports and music often intersect?
  • Which came first for us: a passion for music, or a passion for sports?
  • What bands are inextricably linked with the sports they’re fans of? What about sports-themed music?


  • Ben E. King – “Stand By Me”
  • The Baseball Project – “They Played Baseball”
  • Spice Girls – “Spice Up Your Life”
  • Hot Chocolate – “You Sexy Thing”

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LIVE: Mastodon, Clutch, Roseland Theater, Portland, OR

By Hollister Dixon

I’m not really a metal guy, at all, if I’m being honest. However, one metal band I love and respect is Mastodon. I first heard the band in the wake of Leviathan, their beautiful and angular take on the story of Moby Dick, which wormed its way into the hearts and minds of just about everyone who heard it more than a decade ago. My love was taken even further with Blood Mountain, a towering work of brilliant but insane storytelling, packed to the gills with genre-bending riffs and stories about vision quests and cysquatches. There are absurdist elements in the mix, sure, but the band’s made up of true craftsmen. And, when they announced a tour with hard rock mainstays Clutch, it seemed like the best possible time to finally see how both bands worked live. So: how did they sound?

Unfortunately, I started out the evening by completely missing Melvins offshoot Big Business, so my evening started with Maryland’s Clutch. Clutch have nearly a decade on Mastodon and, as a result, the crowd’s love, admiration, and energy was divided pretty evenly between both bands. Throughout the band’s hour on stage, frontman Neil Fallon paced around with bizarre, commanding energy, seeming less like a metal singer, and more like an unhinged stand-up comedian given the job of the frontman of a 20+ year old rock band. He picked up his guitar for just two songs, and a harmonica for a third, but for the rest of the performance stuck to riling up the ferociously loyal and loving crowd with just his yowling voice and his existence alone.

If we’re being honest, Clutch aren’t a revolutionary band at all. They’ve made a career out of steady, enjoyable albums that fall under the umbrella of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Don’t take this as a criticism, of course: there’s nothing wrong with a consistent band. And this is likely a large part of why people are so very excited to see a band that has, for 24 years and 10 (soon to be 11, I’m sure) albums, managed to perfect their own craft rather than push boundaries and potentially alienate people. And, as a novice in the world of Clutch, the set they played felt like the perfect showcase of everything the band does well, from the country-tinged swagger of set opener “The Gravel Road” to the stutter-stomp of “Electric Worry” (which saw the crowd at its most frenzied), and a couple new, fantastic sounding songs from their forthcoming Psychic Warfare. I may still be a newcomer to the band, but I’m more willing than ever to dig in deep and see what this band is really capable of.

Rounding out the night was Atlanta’s own Mastodon. Just like Clutch, they’ve become masters of subtle tinkering and perfecting, rather than truly pushing boundaries. The box Mastodon have built themselves has become bigger over time – the band that released Remission isn’t quite the same band as the one that released Crack the Skye – but they’ve chosen to build upon what works in very delicate, very fulfilling ways. Touring behind their latest record – Once More ‘Round the Sun, released last year – they’ve become masters of showmanship, the interplay between the four members tying every single element together perfectly. They’re also one of the few bands that feel like it lacks a frontman – everyone in the band shares vocal duties, meaning everyone feels totally essential.

15 years into their career, Mastodon now feels less like a band and more like a well-oiled machine, and getting to watch them work truly makes that clear. The crowd, so intensely happy to see Clutch put on their raucous show, were equally overjoyed to watch Mastodon perform their hyperfocused and thematically dense concoction (the evening was closed out by the gigantic, 10-minute “The Czar” from Crack the Skye, a song about a soul inhabiting the body of Grigori Rasputin and attempting to murder a Czar) as well as their more straightforward material (“Blasteroid”‘s appearance was definitely a blast), the moshpit growing and becoming more rowdy with every passing song. The set’s only glaring omission was the band’s closest thing to a real-live hit, “Blood & Thunder”, being absent from the band’s setlist despite touring with Neil Fallon, who provided guest vocals for the song on record. What gives, guys?

The evening ended on a goofy and loving note, when the band left drummer Brann Dailor to grab a mic and address the crowd directly, thanking everyone in the audience for coming and going crazy with them. This burst of charisma was a small thing, but it felt like a big, beautiful cherry atop a great night of music. Touches like that are why this band is so highly respected both inside and outside of metal circles, and they’re what will, inevitably, bring be back next time around.

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Episode 130: B-Boys In The Cut!

Ryan Feigh 082

Thanks to Ryan Feigh for joining us this week! You can listen above, or download the episode right here.


  • The Beastie Boys!
  • In this episode, we talk about our shared love of The Beastie Boys, their importance in music, their impact on sampling culture, and about the late MCA.


  • The Kingsmen – “Louie Louie”
  • Beastie Boys – “Shake Your Rump”
  • Sleater-Kinney – “A New Wave”
  • Refused – “Elektra”
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LIVE: Lightning Bolt, Liturgy, Dante’s, Portland, OR


By Hollister Dixon

I’m gonna be totally honest with you: Dante’s isn’t my favorite room in the city to see music in. It has its charms, but if the show sells out, the room becomes an impossible-to-navigate blast furnace, with questionable sightlines and inconsistent lighting. Still, the right show makes it easy to overlook those things, and the one-two punch of Liturgy and Lightning Bolt is the definition of “can’t miss”.

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Episode 129: Unreleased!

Jose and Bob 246

A quick note: As you can hear from our disclaimer, this week’s episode was partially lost due to a malfunction with our recording device. We apologize for this! Please enjoy the discussion that was not lost!

Big thanks to Bob Ham for joining us this week! You can listen to the episode above, or download it right here.


  • Unreleased albums
  • What defines an “unreleased” album? Does an album still fall under this category if it is eventually released?
  • What long-awaited albums are we still hopeful for?
  • What are some albums that were never created as planned, or were never released, that we want to hear the most?
  • Why is the idea of the unreleased album so appealing?


  • HEALTH – “New Coke”
  • Beach Boys – “Vega-Tables”
  • Liturgy – “Quetzalcoatl”
  • Blur – “Lonesome Street”

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Episode 128: Revival With Jose Medeles

Jose and Bob 060

Big thanks to Jose Medeles for joining us this week! You can listen to this week’s episode above, and download it right here.


  • In this episode, we shine our spotlight on Jose Medeles, owner of Revival Drum Shop and leader of 1939 Ensemble, and talk with him about his creative process, his history as a musician, and the reasons he decided to open a drum shop in Portland.


  • The Wrens – “Three Types of Reading Ambiguity”
  • 1939 Ensemble – “Circles”
  • Mikal Cronin – “Made My Mind Up”
  • Elvis Costello – “(I Don’t Wanna Go To) Chelsea”

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LIVE: Pile, Black Lodge, Seattle, WA

By Gabriel Mathews

Having had a really awful time the last time I went to a show at ultra-covert squat venue the Black Lodge, I’ve been wary of shows there ever since. The place seems designed to draw the type of intentionally impoverished youths who sneer at the very notion of creature comforts while playing expensive guitars and smelling bad.

That said, there’s no way I was going to pass up this show. I discovered Pile’s music a few weeks back, and I’ve listened to almost nothing else since. The Boston band’s completely idiosyncratic style finds old country/blues basics trashed through a post-hardcore blender, and then spiced with classical-esque chord progressions that you just don’t really hear in contemporary music. Their two most recent albums (out of five, not three, as much of the music press seems to think), 2012’s Dripping and last month’s You’re Better Than This testify to their immense skill, while cementing their reputation as a “band’s band” — Pile have an incredibly devoted national following, made up largely of fellow musicians. Chalk it up to the ease with which they execute strikingly odd melodic turns, rhythmic shifts, and their incredible sense of dynamics. Add to this frontman Rick Maguire’s brilliantly deranged lyrics about playground perverts, demon lovers, and wet dreams about second grade teachers and you have a band with an immense amount of appeal to a very specific set of people. Those people care deeply about what Pile is up to, and have helped them achieve their reputation for transcendentally amazing shows.

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