Chat Pile
Gods Country

Begrimed, blackened, cruddy, fecal, feculent, foul, impure, loathsome, miry, mucky, putrid, repulsive, revolting, scummy, slimy, slipshod, slovenly, soily, sooty, unclean, unkempt, unwashed, verminous, vile. This album is if Randy Newman suffered from lead-poisoning-induced psychosis, shaved his head and started the country's greatest noise metal band. Album of the year?

Flacco's Bizarre Adventure

A guitar-centered jazz quintet project of total mayhem that is also knee deep in formalism and something close to melody. If you told me it was two quintets playing at once I'd believe you. It's very much receives my common grade of This Often Isn't My Thing But I Can't Stop Coming Back To It.

Young Guv

It's only been a few months, but I already have to update my GUV rankings!

1. GUV I

The Great Awakening

This is the first Shearwater album that I'm just not sure what to do with. Don't know where to slot it in, what exactly to make of it. I'll definitely give it a few more laps and see what happens though.


Sunrise Patriot Motion
Black Fellflower Stream

This band sounds like The Cure if The Cure was a noise metal band, and it totally rules. There's a lot of metal bands out there these days doing this sort of romantic-new-wave thing, but it usually comes off as a novelty. But these guys somehow figured out how to make it work.

Although holy shit I wish they had a better name than Sunrise Patriot Motion. Like a truly awful band name.

Kendrick Lamar
Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

I've made the comment about Kendrick's previous albums that I will almost never go back to listen to them; they're simply so good, so heavy, so profound, that it's too much of an investment to sit and take them in. Like a good novel.

Likewise, I will probably not go back to listen to Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers more than a couple times this year. But this time it's just because it's kinda a sloppy mess that I have no interest in trudging through again.

Cruel Country

I know I said this about the last one, but I really think this might be the best Wilco album since Sky Blue Sky.

Moon Tooth

My gut is that this is the worst of Moon Tooth's 3 albums so far. It's not bad by any means; I've probably listened to it a dozen times already, and honestly it's fun as hell, lots of super rad lead guitar, interesting little bits popping up here and there like any good Moon Tooth collection. But there's something smoothed-over about it—I'd say that it was their most commercial, radio-friendly album so far, if hard rock radio was still a thing. Is it a thing? Maybe it is. But there's a rote verse-chorus-verse mood to all these songs that is sucking a bit of the adventurousness out of what is usually a totally freewheeling band.

At the same time, I get this feeling that this is going to be a case where, 3 years from now, I'll suddenly be calling this "secretly their best."

Five Hundred Bucks

This album somehow became an obsession of mine in the last week. First of all, A+ band name. Love it. Second, that cover art. It all works. Thirdly, they have some songs that sound so much like Green Day that I was actually taken aback at first. Put off, even; it's actually weird in 2022 to hear a band go deep into Green Day veneration. For as much pop punk is still out there in the world, it's actually rare to hear a band that makes you say, "Oh shit, that sounds like Green Day!"

But it wasn't the Green Day references that ultimately won me over, it was the Superchunk references. Because, like Superchunk's last decade of work, this is adult pop punk, written by adults and for adults. What I mean is they're not afraid of chords. Good songs, good vibes, performed like total pros. There's really very little to dislike here.


This is Warthog's 4th EP that's simply called Warthog. I'm pretty sure posting is this going to break my site. It already broke my iTunes library. But that's probably part of the plan for Warthog, because they are a spike studded steamroller powering forward with the intention of eviscerating everything in their path, even if it's just three songs at a time, once every four years. One of these days maybe they'll release a full length, call it Warthog, and finally stand in their rightful place atop the smoldering rubble of New York City.

Billy Woods

I haven't listened to all of this album yet. It might take me another year. But this is a Billy Woods album we're talking about, so that's actually a compliment. This man writes and he writes dense, and you don't exactly breeze through William Faulkner novels at the beach, yknow?

It's Time... To Rise From The Grave!

Every year lately it seems that there's one death metal album that becomes a surprise critical darling, embraced and championed in the wider music blog-o-world rather than just in dirty little metal circles. Blood Incantation maybe started the trend a few years ago, but after that we had Necrot, Tomb Mold, uh okay maybe those are the only ones. But 2022 is the year of Undeath.

The talk about Undeath is how funny they are. Like yes they're very serious and accomplished death metal musicians, but they're doing it all with a smirk and tongue in their cheeks. And I can see that I guess, in that death metal has a long history of bands trying to be as ridiculous as possible, and here it's mostly in the lyrical content. Even just the song titles: "Fiend For Corpses," "Head Splattered Seven Ways," "Human Chandelier." And the title of the album, It's Time... To Rise From The Grave!, places that ellipsis and exclamation point for maximum goofiness.

But the music is very serious, and it's very much good enough to become the annual death metal darling. I can't even get into that much detail about it, because really it's "just" death metal. They're not expanding its cosmic psych boundaries like Blood Incantation, they're not injecting mathy mania into it like Tomb Mold. They're just very good at making death metal music. The riffs are hooky brain nuggets, the solos are melodic and memorable and rad, it just comes together in ways that death metal bands always want to come together but usually miss an element or two. Much like the protagonist of "Fiend For Corpses," it goes down real smooth.

Turn It On!

Speaking of bands from Philadelphia...

Upon hearing the first song or two, I was totally smitten with this band. Power pop melodicism, Thin Lizzie guitar licks, pure energy, awesome. Then about halfway through, I realized they sounded exactly like Sheer Mag. Also, it should be noted, a Philadelphia band.

Ecstasies Of Never Ending Night

This album fucking rips so fucking hard. Black Metal horror with punk rock energy and NWOBHM licks. And most importantly: memorable hooks and genuine musicianship. There's this melding of black metal and punk that's been happening for a couple years (or has been happening since Venom existed, really), random bands from Belgium and wherever else popping up on Bandcamp mixing and matching but always recording to tape and photocopying their artwork to death—but this is the first time I've heard it really work. And it really, really works.

I just want to add, too, that this band is from Philadelphia. There's something going on in Philadelphia in the last few years. Like, if I see a band is from Philly, I'll be way more likely to give it a listen.

Pillow Queens
Leave the Light On

This album is good, but in the last year I've decided that In Waiting is actually one of my favorite albums of all time. So yeah, this isn't quite as good.

Walter Martin
The Bear

Walter Martin does it again. Although he doesn't do it quite as well as he did with Arts + Leisure, which remains one of my favorite albums of the last 10 years. Still. This guy.

Red RoosterHarlem
Shrimp and grits, fried chicken

This is something of a Music & Food first—or at least a most. I don't really feel like going all the way back, but I happen to know that Harlem's Red Rooster is one of the first posts on this site, way way way way way back over 10 years ago. Long enough ago that I don't really care to go back and figure it out. But here I am again, posting about Red Rooster, easily the longest amount of time in between posting about the same place twice on here.

The reason why I want to, is that, unlike that first trip a decade ago, this time I found myself completely unimpressed, and even a little sad about the state of Red Rooster. As far as I can tell, Marcus Samuelsson is still involved (at least in name), and I've never really heard any specific gossip about the place going through any dramatic changes or anything. But it feels like they've spent these years casualizing the place. I think I just made up that word, but I think you might know what I mean. Here was this Swedish-Ethiopian celebrity chef, opening one of Harlem's first real modern fine dining establishments, making a cool, modern take on soul food. Great! It was great! But the menu this time just felt plain. No spins, nothing modern, just the absolute basics. Fried chicken, shrimp and grits, some basic pasta, a burger and a chicken sandwich. That's about it. Maybe that's what the menu used to be, too! I don't remember. But I just felt deeply uninspired trying to decide what I wanted. Although I did specifically note the lack of Samuelsson's famous Swedish meatballs.

This is all well and good if the food blows you away, but it mostly didn't. It was totally average. Acceptable, sure, although maybe just slightly too expensive for what you were getting. But nothing a about the entire experience felt special at this point in 2022. Did Red Rooster lose its mojo? Did some investor or another make them dumb it down? Did the popularity of Sylvia's down the block make them want to go more traditional? Or did time and food and Harlem finally catch up with Red Rooster?

Red RoosterHarlem
Swedish meatballs

So Marcus Sammuelson is a celebrity chef. I know this because we saw him competing on a TV celebrity chef competition. He kicked everyone's butt, and his food looked amazing. Turns out that he's the man behind Red Rooster, which I guess has been a bit of a hot spot, in the sense that I'd heard of it before seeing the guy on TV. So even though our New York trip was done mostly off-the-cuff, I was sure to get a reservation for this place (which proved a little difficult, but 5:30 on a Wednesday night was good enough for us). Turns out that, Sammuelson being an Ethiopean-born Swede, Red Rooster is actually a soul food restaurant with a good amount of Scandanavian twist. Corn bread with tomato jam and honey butter was amazing. Lox were very good. Libby's roasted chicken was okay-ish, but definitely not the thing to order at a place like this. My Swedish meatballs were by far the best Swedish meatballs I've ever eaten, and probably the best single plate I had in New York. Take a look at the photo and imagine the best you can possibly imagine them tasting. That's how they tasted. Totally awesome. To top it off, the service was great, the atmosphere was nice but not too cool or fancy, and the location is close enough to the Apollo that you can walk there after dinner with enough time left to not go to see Cedric the Entertainer.