(Back in) Heavy Rotation: My Late Summer Jams

Since I’ve been doing more personal/general writing than the writing I do for TLF and at Cultural Pulse I was trying to figure out where to put it, Instead of starting a new blog, I figured I’d dump it all here, and it’s currently under the title Enjoy and Exciting, hearkening back to my old blog from about 10 years ago, where I mostly rambled about music and my boring daily life.

Me and rock/heavy music have kind of been on a bit of a hiatus in the past couple of years. I’ve been listening to stuff but very little has moved me. That kind of depressed me, because as much as I love k-pop and other types of music, rock and guitar-based music will always be jam and my first love.

I thought I was broken, I haven’t even had it in me to write music or play bass until recently, and I do think a lot of that was low level depression with me continuing to figure out my vision/contacts/health insurance situation and trying to keep some semblance of normalcy in life and my own mindset. Generally it’s hard to immerse yourself in the things that make you happy when you feel like your life is broken in other areas, and so for me, I have just been lacking inspiration. So I thought “maybe this is it, maybe rock music is over for me and I’ll just force myself to get into whatever YouTube kid has a single out.”

But no, this is not the case. 2016, for all of its stunning musical losses, has been a fantastic year for me and keeps getting better as we get into the fall. What’s more, in the second half of this year, a lot of heavier stuff keeps coming my way and impressing me and I’ve even gone back and listening to some great stuff I wasn’t quite in the mindset for back in spring.

In the past couple of  weeks TWO albums have come for my edges Norma Jean’s Polar Similar and Every Time I Die’s Low Teens. ETID was not so much of a surprise for me as Norma Jean, who I’ve been calling  “poor man’s Botch” for years (even though i do like Redeemer). Polar Similar has both a ferocity and a maturity that honestly shouldn’t be surprising when you think about it, the band’s been around for a minute, so yeah, that kind of growth is a logical next step. “1,000,000 Watts” is definitely one of my favorite singles this year, melodic, heavy, and hook-y. I will say straight up (and hilariously) that Polar Similar and Jonghyun’s She is are battling for my album of the year, based on repeat play, so Dillinger Escape Plan better bring it. (I know they will, see below)


Low Teens is not as much of a glo-up to me because ETID has always been consistent, in  my opinion. Low Teens just happens to sound like a perfect combination of everything ETID has ever sounded like in their history. I’m just all about world-weary metalcore at the moment and Low Teens is giving it to me in spades. I actually really love “It Remembers,” which actually has more of  a hard rock feel.

One of my fave “weird metal” vocalists, Julie Christmas, collaborated on an album with Cult of Luna called Mariner and somehow I just learned about it a couple of weeks ago. It’s SPACE THEMED!! I am a sucker for spaced themed music and this is good, sprawling stuff. I have nothing in common vocally with Julie Christmas, i am bellowy and deep-voiced and her voice I can only describe as “witchy”

I so wish I could do what she does, I think she’s so unique and puts a stamp on everything she does, and I love the way she plays off of male vocalists because she always comes off as more aggressive. Anyway, this is good moody, heavy stuff that’s fun for late night brooding, and I hope this means Julie Christmas will be gifting us with another solo record or collab soon.

When it comes to local stuff I’ve been bumping some Chicago post-punk: The Breathing Light, who I discovered at Black Dot Fest a few years ago when Chicago was lucky enough to have two rock festivals, and Ganser, who I just stumbled open going down the YouTube rabbit hole. Both bands have a Velvet Underground kinda thing going on, but personally, I think The Breathing Light adds something a little extra to it. Ganser feels like songs evolved into lush, lo-fi soundscapes while Breathing Light feels like spoken word poetry evolved into basement house party punk rock songs. They are doing different things, but if they haven’t done a show together yet they should.


For some reason, I’ve been listening to Sturgill Simpson, I discovered him because he wrote a blog post telling the Nashville music scene to go fuck itself, and I stayed because he writes songs about getting drunk and getting into fights and shit. I don’t even listen to country, all I know about country is what I see on the show Nashville, but I like his stuff.

Single-wise, I am shocked because I’ve been waiting years for CL to put out a proper single, and she did and I don’t care for it, but I do like the single whistle from Blackpink, which I will describe as Norma Jean to 2NE1’s Botch. I was denying to myself that i liked it for weeks, but then had to “dude if you don’t like it WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS SINGING IT?” So there’s that.

However, I will spend the money to see CL live this fall because she’s the queen.

Dillinger Escape Plan’s new (last) one isn’t out yet. I’m looking forward to it, and not, because I know once it’s out it will be over and i’m not ready to say goodbye to my favorite band. The first single,” Limerent Death” sounds like typical Dillinger, albeit with a slower groove. But I’m intrigued by the second single, “Symptom of Terminal Illness” because it barely sounds like them. Greg Puciato has grown as a vocalist so much and even though I’m not really in love with this other band, The Black Queen, I think we have that project to thank in part for the wonderful subtitles in his vocals. I’m gonna miss them but I am ready for what’s next, I think.







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