Favourite bestest tracks of 2018 in one list. Designed to be listened to in order.
A few people have asked me what the outro music of the podcast was. I have no clue how the idea came to me when it did, but somehow the Nels Cline 4-minute guitar solo during Wilco's Impossible Germany seemed to, and perhaps always will, be the perfect outro for anything, ever.
Each episode of the podcast ends with us giving some calls to action to follow and subscribe to our little side project called The Lazy Couch podcast - this, along with any reflective thoughts about what we had just discussed over the past 45 minutes. Having this track played in the background while doing so just works.
It's wild how expressive Nels can get with the guitar in hand and I can only imagine what sort of flow he needs to experience, before he can string those buttery notes together. Rolling Stone once ranked him the 82nd best guitarist ever, but Nels - you are indeed my number one.
To promote their upcoming tour, Wilco posted footage of said song performed on KCRW last year. It prompted me to re-post here - because some things are just too perfect not to share.
As I try to revive this blog in 2017, I'm constantly sizing up candidate topics or some form of a thread in my head. The latest incarnation has been Radiohead's eponymous album Ok Computer. It is now 20 years old. No surprises on how that makes me feel.
Ever since Fairgrounds in Berry late last year, Middle Kids' Edge of Town has been a constant ear worm. I instantly fell in love with the rolling rhythms with country vibes, the at-times Malkmus-esque guitars, and that voice -- what a refreshing voice!
Although still very young as a band, their tracks have that special warm quality where you feel like you've known them for quite some time. Hannah's song writing is striking yet understated, and best of all it all sounds effortless. The band may be young but Hannah Joy and Tim Fitz have been kicking around in Sydney for quite some time now. Both established solo artists, it wasn't until they got together to co-create this thing they call Middle Kids, to really break out and get noticed by the likes Triple J and Sir Elton John!
When I heard they were playing at The OAF in April, I jumped at the chance to see them again. I'm now wondering whether the venue will be big enough for them after lighting up the stage on Conan earlier in the week as they prepare for a 5 week long tour of America.
The US tour officially kicks off on Tuesday in Seattle. It includes a KCRW showcase at SXSW in Austin an that is fantastic for them. Aside from the usual stops in SF, Seattle, NYC and the like, Middle Kids will also be playing in Nashville, Baton Rouge and Saxapahaw - That appeared a little weird until I realised that some of these dates are to support Cold War Kids.
Speaking of KCRW, just a few hours ago they appeared on Jason Bentley's legendary Morning Becomes Eclectic show and played a 40 minute-odd set in the LA studios. If you want to get a feel for the sound, I highly recommend you watch. Start from the 1:30 mark.
My first days in VR have til now, delivered on its promise to surprise and delight. I have not spent much time in the hardcore shooting games just yet as I settle in slowly and adjust to the various ways of teleporting myself around a room and picking up all kinds of objects. Baby steps for now.
The social experience in VR - while it fascinates, it terrifies at the same time, as it's something completely new and you're just not sure how you're suppose to act or behave in a common space made only of pixels. Are you meant to introduce yourself? Tell everyone your age, sex and location? What is the small talk etiquette??
It's embarrassing to admit it but for a while I did not realise that the microphone came built-in with the Rift headset. I went for hours being a complete mute while wondering how I ended up spending all of that bonus money on a you-beaut-PC and not have an external mic.
Your voice is actually just as important as your hands in VR. Without it, you might as well be just a head on a stick. That feeling of presence is infinitely enhanced with the communication tools that we all take for granted.
Rec Room is such a place where you can socialise with randoms from all around the world and generally muck about in. Cnet called it VR's killer app. While that's debatable, it was certainly an eye-opening experience.
First you go through the process of setting up an avatar, then you are required to take a virtual selfie to set up an account. Then you are taken into your private 'dorm' where you dress yourself to go into the 'locker room' where other avatars are hanging out. If they're not taking a virtual video of the scene, they're most likely putting virtual buckets on their virtual heads, shooting confetti pistols, while picking a fight with a punching bag mannequin guy. And that was my first 60 seconds in Rec Room.
One can also partake in group activities like Frisbee golf, paddle ball, or what can be described as Rocket League where you are basically a teleporting car. I have not tried the other activities but the paintball game sounds like a real treat.
I captured the moment I went in for the second time for your viewing pleasure.