Ahead on Differential

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  1. Blaseball, the little baseball idle game that could. Watching the community around this game develop and grow was one of the things that brought me the most joy this year. Go Garages!

  2. My favourite Blaseball game of the year was on Season 7, Day 10: a newly-revived Jaylen Hotdogfingers leads my beloved Seattle Garages to a 6-5 12-inning win over the Canada Moist Talkers and their first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher PolkaDot Patterson. LANG GANG!

  3. Jon Bois had another banner year: the co-founding of the Secret Base imprint, joining Kofie Yeobah in the continuing madness that is Fumble Dimension, a sequel to 17776 called 20020, and of course, a towering directorial achievement in The History of the Seattle Mariners, which he co-wrote with Alex Rubenstein.

  4. Rewatching John Berger's seminal miniseries Ways of Seeing.

  5. The unkillable cultural behemoth known as Jank City, the dollar-store pack Magic: The Gathering draft I hold every six weeks or so. We haven't been to the LGS in a minute, but the event continues in cyberspace.

  6. Finally got a big-ass TV. So many pixels! Naturally, I broke it in with Heat on Blu-ray.

  7. Introducing three local poets to dril's Betsy Ross Museum tweet over post-reading poutines.

  8. Writing 29 capsule reviews of 29 new-to-me albums as part of Gary Suarez's Music Writer Exercise (#MWE). Here's a thread of them.

  9. Parasite winning four Oscars, including Best Picture.

  10. A 42-year-old Zamboni driver named David Ayres coming into a Canes/Leafs game as an emergency goalie and getting the W. He's even got a Hockey Reference page now!

  11. Celebrating 11 years with my lovely partner Steph.

  12. Starview HCT-5808, a weird sci-fi relic from the Laserdisc era that I stumbled upon on YouTube. It's just... stills set to a jazz fusion score. It rules.

  13. All Fantasy Everything, still the podcast I look forward to hearing the most on a weekly basis. Their Sneakers draft is a perfect episode because I don't know shit about sneakers, but these dudes are so funny that it doesn't matter.

  14. The ongoing adventures of my Mastodon instance, laserdisc.party.

  15. Related: #VerseThursday. (Also here.)

  16. Four words: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. A balm in a year where we couldn't get together IRL.

  17. Speaking of New Horizons: Nicky Flowers's mashup of the game's 12pm theme and Nelly's "Country Grammar (Hot Shit)."

  18. Fleet Foxes' Shore, my absolute favourite record of the year. It's a brilliant synthesis of the cinematic folk and jazzbo accents present on both Helplessness Blues and Crack-Up, and the result is my favourite record of theirs since their self-titled one.

  19. Every day I record an episode of Middlebrow Madness with my pal Isabelle is a great day. The show has become weirder and more digressive in 2020, and I think it's better for it.

  20. Speaking of Isabelle, I loved this piece she wrote about M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, published on the still-chugging Dim the House Lights.

  21. I watched some bangers for the first time thanks to the podcast: La haine, Wild Strawberries, Das Boot, The Wages of Fear, Sunrise, Amadeus, Before Sunset, Diabolique.

  22. I didn't see a ton of movies from 2020 last year, but I did see a bunch of great movies for the first time even outside my homework for the show: Bringing Out the Dead, Bait, Ocean's Eleven, the Lord of the Rings trilogy (theatrical cuts only), Local Legends, The Big Easy, Tombstone, Yes, Madam, Righting Wrongs, Glass Chin, Gemini.

  23. Incidentally, I bought my copy of Local Legends from Toronto's Gold Ninja Video, the Criterion Collection of regional whatsits, forgotten kung fu movies, and public domain junk.

  24. Justin Decloux, the head honcho of Gold Ninja Video, and fellow Torontonian Will Sloan have a wonderful podcast called The Important Cinema Club, where they talk about everything from classic Hollywood films to Hong Kong Category III joints to vintage porn.

  25. Poetry night on Wednesdays. I didn't write as much this year, but I think the output was better overall.

  26. The good people over at Cactus Press were kind enough to publish three of my poems ("Oxblood," "Brain Sieve," and "Dream #9") in their online magazine, Lantern.

  27. Two of my closest poet friends put out chapbooks on Cactus last year: James Dunnigan with Wine and Fire, and Frances Pope with The Brazen Forecast.

  28. Game night every Friday, without fail. Lots of Codenames, lots of Jackbox. Like Animal Crossing, Jackbox Party Pack 7 could not have come out at a more opportune time.

  29. We did trivia a couple of times for game night. I miss pub trivia. I miss bar nachos.

  30. This is not really the way I wanted it to happen, but I did solidify my friendship with the game night regulars. You know who you are.

  31. I made a pepperoni pizza from scratch and it tasted amazing.

  32. I became an Instant Pot true believer. I made so many soups and stews. It's become my favourite tool for making mashed potatoes. I made eggplant parmesan once, I mean, fuck.

  33. Saturday night Commander. So many degenerate brews.

  34. You know what Magic format was super fun? Jumpstart.

  35. Super Mega Baseball 3 on Switch. Easy to pick up, ridiculously customizable, very fun.

  36. The Omnibus podcast, hosted by indie-rock luminary John Roderick and Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings.

  37. Revisiting the catalog of the late, great John Prine. I love this set he cut for Sessions at West 54th in 2000.

  38. "City Pop Films."

  39. The 8-bit-styled statistical esoterica of Foolish Baseball.

  40. Writing secret songs.

  41. Seeing The Irishman with friends in the dead of winter at a run-down theatre in a failing mall after having filled our bellies with Korean food.

  42. Making all kinds of playlists on Spotify. There are the Quarantunes lists (a series hour-long songs-of-the-month digest; here's the ninth and final one I put together), some 10-track artist primers (including Rush [RIP Neal Peart], Deerhoof, and Tom Waits), and my favourite, a collaborative playlist with some friends that is now 600+ songs strong.

  43. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who has a very real claim to being my favourite film writer, wrote a eulogy for Chicago cinephile institution Odd Obsession.

  44. New favourite writing tool: paint markers.

  45. The Merlin Mann Podcast Universe (Back to Work, Do By Friday, Reconcilable Differences, Roderick on the Line, and a returning You Look Nice Today called California King) continues to deliver.

  46. Not only super-niche, but also in French: the oral history of Roller Hockey International's Montreal Roadrunners.

  47. The fried chicken at Poulet Bronzé, the site of my last social outing before the world ground to a halt.

  48. Hot on the heels of their wonderful 2019 album Oncle Jazz and a few great singles this year, Men I Trust may very well be my new favourite Montreal band.

  49. Another band I fell in love with this year was Chicago's Beach Bunny. Honeymoon is one of my favourite records from this year. Very feels, very 90s.

  50. Speaking of music from Illinois: 2020 featured the return of Champaign's mighty Hum. Inlet was their first album in over two decades, and it was worth every second of the wait. An hour of crunchy, shoegaze-y space rock.

  51. Stasis Sounds for Long-Distance Space Travel by 36 and Zakè, a 96-minute sci-fi drone/ambient concept album about the loneliness and majesty of outer space.

  52. The melancholic bedroom pop of Su Lee.

  53. My mom got our cats a cat tree for Christmas. It's exactly as adorable as it sounds.

  54. Graeme Laird, aka Doc Destructo, late of the great WCW podcast The Greatest Podcast in the History of Our Sport, only put out two YouTube videos this year, but they're both incredibly written and fucking hilarious. One is about the notorious Charles Bronson vehicle Death Wish 3, and the other is about the gloriously cheap Italian Star Wars knockoff Starcrash.

  55. I started running and minding what I ate and I lost nearly 25 pounds.

  56. For Interview magazine, Marilyn Manson interviews Nicolas Cage.

  57. Dan Deacon's album Mystic Familiar. This manages to be very introspective without sacrificing the sugar-rush highs of his older work.

  58. I'd like to plug the work of one Nathan Smith, a writer from Knoxville currently based in New York. I like his Letterboxd lists (i.e. "Movies for Adults: Studio Auteur Oddities, 2004-2018" and "Aughts Eurotrash Special Effects Spectacle Cinema"), and he wrote a ton of good shit this year. My two faves of his were his piece for Pitchfork about Phantom of the Paradise and his piece for Waypoint on the DJing video game Fuser.

  59. One of the few times I've braved the outside this year was to check out the new Uniqlo store downtown, and I might have found the greatest T-shirt ever made.

  60. San Francisco noise-pop institution Deerhoof put out two great records this year: the post-apocalyptic Future Teenage Cave Artists and the kaleidoscopic covers album Love-Lore.

  61. For Vanity Fair, David Kushner on prog legend Rick Wakeman.

  62. Getting the 'rona buzz (aka #3 all over) four months after it was cool.

  63. Good Italian toothpaste.

  64. For Current Affairs, Lyta Gold on the fake nerd boys of Silicon Valley.

  65. Punisher, the newest album by Phoebe Bridgers. A good chunk of my favourite lyrics and song details of 2020 are on this.

  66. Getting a smaller desk and a better chair for my tiny computer nook.

  67. "The Docked Yacht: AOR Cinema 1979-85."

  68. Kayla Czaga's wonderful poetry collection For Your Safety Please Hold On.

  69. The continuing excellence of Blank Check with Griffin and David.

  70. The great Magic YouTube channel Rhystic Studies put out "1995: The Season of the Witch," a great video contextualizing early Magic's depiction of witchcraft within the Satanic Panic hangover.

  71. Speaking of Magic stuff on YouTube: my brothers in playing with crappy cards on purpose, Quest for the Janklord, the pride of Roseville, Minnesota.

  72. RTJ4, another fireball of a record courtesy of the the formidable indie-rap tag team Run the Jewels.

  73. Chef Sohla El-Waylly rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Bon Appétit fiasco to land a plum gig with the Babish Culinary Universe.

  74. Related: the great Claire Saffitz starting her own YouTube channel and dropping her cookbook Dessert Person.

  75. For the New York Times, Dave Itzkoff on Martin Scorsese.

  76. Repurposing a big birdcage for my rats.

  77. During my vacation towards the end of the year, I defaulted into a lounging uniform: black t-shirt, black running tights, black hoodie, black slippers. Not gonna lie, it kind of rules.

  78. Taking pictures of neighbourhood cats.

  79. Finally springing for a copy of the gorgeous movie-nerd card game Cinephile.

  80. Virtual board game night with my pal Adam.

  81. City Girl's continued run as the nea plus ultra of chill lo-fi beats to study to, with the release of the fizzy Goddess of the Hollow and, my favourite, the delicate Siren of the Formless.

  82. This year in chillhop: Kupla's Kingdom in Blue and Life Forms; Sleepy Fish's Beneath Your Waves and Everything Fades to Blue.

  83. Sending out a ton of custom-made postcards to friends and family for the holidays.

  84. Not one, not two, but three dope Mountain Goats albums this year: Songs for Pierre Chuvin, Getting Into Knives, and The Jordan Lake Sessions.

  85. For the New York Times Magazine, Sam Anderson profiles the man, the myth, the legend, "Weird Al" Yankovic.

  86. Two audiobooks on the creative process: Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist Trilogy (dude has been a source of inspiration for some years now) and Jeff Tweedy's How to Write One Song.

  87. Speaking of Austin Kleon, I really like his newsletter. (For the record: I just out and out lifted the idea for this very list from him like five years ago).

  88. Speaking of newsletters, another one I look forward to every week is Laura Olin's.

  89. The great William Tyler, one of my favourite guitarists, put out two bangers this year: Music from First Cow and New Vanitas.

  90. Some pals from Mastodon started a very funny podcast about advice columns called We'll Take This One.

  91. One of the hosts of We'll Take This One, my pal Amelia, has a very funny funny newsletter where she talks about Lifetime Original movies at length. It's called, awesomely, Don't Threaten Me with a Good Lifetime.

  92. I updated my 200 favourite albums list! New entries include the Blasters' rip-roaring self-titled album, Scott Gilmore's yard-sale Balearic beat missive Subtle Vertigo, and the Blue Nile's melancholic sophisti-pop masterpiece Hats.

  93. The meta-bro comedy stylings of Chad Kroeger (not his real name) and JT Parr. Their Going Deep with Chad and JT podcast is a digressive delight, and this profile in Vice gets to the heart of their appeal.

  94. I watched a ton of Todd in the Shadows videos, so I learned a lot of stuff about one-hit wonders and major flop records.

  95. Secret Santa by mail.

  96. Last and First Men, the late great Jóhann Jóhannsson's wonderful minimalistic post-apocalyptic sci-fi opus. Tilda Swinton narrates our ruins.

  97. Someone uploaded all of Orson Welles Sketchbook, the great director's BBC series from 1955, to YouTube. I could listen to this man talk for days.

  98. So there's this Korean YouTube channel called Yummyboy, and all they show is street food being made. That's it, that's the gimmick. It's riveting.

  99. Starting a daily writing practice in the dying days of the year.

  100. Getting through this Year of Pestilence in one piece.

#top100

  • Grocery lists
  • Diagrams of the change I need for the laundry
  • Chores (one of them is “Watch Vince Vaughan beat the piss out of a whole prison”)
  • Pen tests
  • Lists of movies
  • Lists of lists of movies
  • FOOD IN ALL CAPS
  • A single lament about my colour blindness
  • Magic: The Gathering Two-Headed Giant results, likely Battlebond (2-1, not bad)
  • Vehicles Brawl deck (speaking of Magic)
  • A podcast idea I'm still trying to crack
  • Another list of movies
  • “Sweaters?”
  • The results for Jank City III (if you know, you know)
  • A three-year absence

#miscellany #lists

Jaylen Hotdogfingers's blaseball card, with art by the homie M. Lee Lunsford art by M. Lee Lunsford

When I created my account on blaseball.com six weeks ago, the words “Jaylen Hotdogfingers” didn't mean anything. It was a silly placeholder name given to a collection of numerical attributes that, like all the players in Internet League Blaseball, were the little LED lights a gussied-up version of that handheld baseball game Mattel made in the late 70s. Hotdogfingers's team, the team I chose to root for, was the Seattle Garages. I chose them in part because I was still high off the brilliant Jon Bois/Alex Rubenstein documentary about the Seattle Mariners that came out this year.

Now, Blaseball is at its core a weighed RNG that the bored, baseball-starved developers of the Game Band could bet virtual funny money on; a clicker game you didn't click, but watched. It's a modern Playograph, broadcasting baseball from a parallel universe using only the most rudimentary baseball signifiers to tell the story. The players, the score, the runners, the count; the rest is details.

But then, at the end of the first season, the Blaseball faithful opened the Forbidden Book. This is, after all, a game, and the devs are de facto GMs. They know full well that if you dangle a carrot like “Open the Forbidden Book” in front of your players, they will bite. And so, to the consternation of many, the Book was opened and its pages incinerated Jaylen Hotdogfingers. The seeds of a legend were thus sowed.

A culture grew among the Garages fan base, steeped in the time-honoured Seattle baseball tradition of diminished expectations and hard luck. The grief of Hotdogfingers's teammates was made manifest through fan works, including zines and songs. Player personalities were fleshed out. In the macro fiction of the sport, the laws of time and physics were increasingly disposed of. Bugs and outages were incorporated into the game's mechanics. The newly opened Book spoke of ascension and atonement. This is precisely why this lo-fi eldritch spin on Out of the Park Baseball is such a vital and vibrant game: the Game Band recognized that baseball is the most mythopoetic of the team sports, and thus the most susceptible to be mutated into strange and wonderful shapes by the forces of collaborative fiction. I saw someone in the Blaseball Discord refer to the game as the most important development in emergent storytelling since Twitch Plays Pokémon, and I'm inclined to agree.

Case in point: through a little bit of vote manipulation and digital necromancy, Jaylen Hotdogfingers, the first victim of the so-called Discipline Era, was brought back from the other side to lead the Garages to victory once again. Mike Townsend, a mediocre Garages pitcher who went from team pariah to folk hero over the course of six seasons, ceded his place in the rotation to his revived friend, and now slinks in the shadows until the mechanics of the game catch up to the story the Garages faithful have woven. As for Hotdogfingers, she has to pay an ill-defined debt, as all Faustian bargains incur, and her time in the Void has apparently made her develop taste for beanballs (6 HB in her first two starts back, introducing a new stat and a new player status, “unstable,” in the process).

Now, Jaylen Hotdogfingers is not just a name. She's an entity. She has a cascade of wavy black hair, or has Terminator eyes, or throws Randy Johnson's cutter, or has actual literal hot dogs for fingers, depending on whom you ask. And this is just Jaylen. There are 280 players active in Blaseball at any given time, plus all those who have been lost to incineration, and each of them is a Cubist portrait of their respective fan bases. We celebrate in these players what we want to celebrate in ourselves, the uniqueness of our personalities and the strength of our characters. They are avatars for our joys and sorrows. Each and every one of them is someone's protagonist.

#sports #baseball #blaseball

Here's a bit of Derek lore for you: during my senior year of high school, no piece of writing had a greater influence on me than J. Eric Smith's collected March of the Mellotrons series. Not a novelist or a poet, but some guy in Albany with some spicy takes about Jethro Tull.

Smith, a blogger and self-avowed internet old-timer, had a few of these musical brackets up on his website at the time, and in retrospect was way ahead of the curve in the field of pop-culture bracketology, a trend which would crest towards the tail end of the 2000s and is having a bit of a renaissance now. Smith was, like a lot of my pre-YouTube guys, just someone with specific interests and perspectives, written for benefit of anyone who happened to land on their page. So a very hearty shout-out to him, to George Starostin, to Andrew Lampert of the Cosmic Baseball Association, to the wiped-clean-from-the-face-of-the-web Emergency League!, for doing your things. This is the internet I aspire to recreate in my own small way.

OK, that's enough weird soapboxing for one post.

So why was this prog rock bracket so important to yours truly? Among other things, it was my first exposure to a lot of "expansion pack" progressive rock, like Caravan's In the Land of Grey and Pink and Steven Hackett's Voyage of the Acolyte. But it's the form that has stayed with me ever since. My back pages are full of these brackets: the two Dim the House Lights Tournaments of Films, the Middlebrow Madness podcast, even the backburnered Ebert Cup on this very blog. Plus, I love writing them!

So why lo-fi hip hop then? Like many, when I want music to write to, I'll often throw on some low-impact instrumental music as background noise, so I'm a fan of the genre . But it recently occurred to me that, beyond a few favourites I know by name, I can't contextualize any of it. The world of lo-fi hip hop is a constellation of obscure Bandcamps run by bedroom producers and Ableton artisans that have a clear vocabulary but, due to the way the work is consumed, not a clear voice. I am, in a way, trying to view the quintessential "playlist" musical form through the dead lens of the "album." This is my way of paying closer attention to something that, by accident or design, is relegated to the background.

All right, time for methodology.

  1. I've limited the field to albums from 2010 to 2019. This eliminates a bunch of the genre's foundational documents, including Nujabes's Spiritual State, J Dilla's Donuts, and Madlib's Beat Konducta series. I built this bracket with the intention on focusing on the first and second waves of performers that came in the wake of these guys, and not the progenitors themselves. But those records wouldn't have made the final cut anyways because...

  2. Only albums labelled as "Lo-Fi Hip Hop" on RateYourMusic were included in the final 64. Donuts, Spiritual State, and the Beat Konducta albums are all classified under the parent label of "Instrumental Hip-Hop," and we could argue about whether or not to include them (or, for that matter, more purely downtempo or plunderphonics albums) until the cows come home, but I needed to draw the line somewhere. So I have put my faith in the RYM hive mind to help populate the bracket. Also, seedings were determined by album ranking on RYM (as of 21 May 2020), and no artist could have more than four credits in the tournament.

  3. While part of this exercise is finding exemplary version of the form, I also want to find performers and records pushing the form forward or pulling them in strange, interesting directions. The genre goes down easy by design, so I'm looking for cool wrinkles in arrangement and production. Having vinyl crackles, clean jazz guitars, and a sturdy, square beat is all well and good, but if you also have some squiggly synths, some woodblock, or harmonizing clarinets or whatever? You'll do very well in this tournament.

  4. I am not a music historian, or music writer, or even all that smart, really. I'm just a curious enthusiast. And as with all media criticism, this whole thing is ultimately just my opinion. Any and all of my takes should be taken with heaping piles of salt. But know this: lo-fi hip hop is such a high-floor genre that there's a good chance I'm going to like 95% of the albums here.

  5. To preserve the spirit of the March Madness-style bracket: no reseeds, baby!

That said, here are our participants!

DILLA REGIONAL (1) Knxwledge, Skr∆wberries​.​Funr∆isrs Vol​. ​3 (2010) vs. (16) Engelwood, Boardwalk Bumps (2018) (8) moow, I Can't Tell You How Much It Hurts (2017) vs. (9) tomppabeats, Arcade (2017) (4) Wun Two, Rio (2014) v. (13) The Deli, Encounters (2017) (5) Birocratic, Beets 3 (2015) v. (12) NIKK BLVKK, Last Light (2017) (2) Saib., Bebop (2017) v. (15) Eevee, Eevee Beat Tape 01 (2016) (7) City Girl, Celestial Angel (2018) v. (10) Nitsua, Dayscape (2015) (3) jinsang, Confessions (2017) v. (14) Desired, Nineteen (2017) (6) glue70, After School (2016) v. (11) A L E X, Growing Up, Vol. 2 (2018)

NUJABES REGIONAL (1) Knxwledge, Kauliflower (2013) v. (16) Coubo, Selcouth (2015) (8) leon, re:treat (2018) v. (9) El Jazzy Chavo, Redirections (2018) (4) A L E X, Growing Up, Vol. 1 (2017) v. (13) Brrd / Wodoo Wolcan, Brrd / Wodoo Wolcan (2013) (5) potsu, ivy league (2019) v. (12) Saib., Around the World (2016) (2) Fanso, Música para Lagartos (2018) v. (15) Wun Two & CoryaYo, Waves (2015) (7) bsd.u, [Late Night Bumps] (2013) v. (10) jinsang & SwuM., Blossoms (2019) (3) City Girl, Neon Impasse (2018) v. (14) Eevee, Eevee Beat Tape 04 (2017) (6) Mndsgn, Exts (2012) v. (11) Nymano, Romance (2016)

MADLIB REGIONAL (1) tomppabeats, Harbour (2016) v. (16) barnes blvd., Last Summer (2018) (8) Fanso, Acid House (2015) v. (9) Outmind, champloo.lp (2013) (4) City Girl, Somnolent Nova (2019) v. (13) Greaf, Faceless (2017) (5) Birocratic, Beets 4 (2017) v. (12) Eevee, Eevee Beat Tape 02 (2017) (2) jinsang, Solitude. (2016) v. (15) Keys n Krates, A Beat Tape for Your Friends (2019) (7) FloFilz, Cenário (2016) vs. (10) Negroman, Negroman (2016) (3) Mounika, How Are You? (2017) v. (14) Knxwledge, relevnt​.​b​/​sdeLP._ (2013) (6) bsd.u, pook (2017) v. (11) Nymano, Short Stories (2015)

SHADOW REGIONAL (1) potsu, Just Friends (2018) vs. (16) Greaf, Looking Back (2014) (8) TMCT, Snow Beach Vol. 01 (2014) v. (9) Blackfist, World Manumission Defense (2019) (4) Andrew Huang, Lo-Fi (2017) v. (13) Eevee, Eevee Beat Tape 05 (2017) (5) City Girl, Snow Rose (2017) v. (12) Joey Pecoraro, Tired Boy (2017) (2) jinsang, Life (2016) vs. (15) Engelwood, Hotel Wood (2017) (7) Blackfist, Strapped 4 Survival (2018) vs. (10) Limes, Fresh Squeezed (2016) (3) Sam Wise, Winter Chill (2016) vs. (14) bsd.u, [late night bumps 2] (2017) (6) Saib., Sailing (2018) v. (11) AceMo, Boarders (2014)

Watch this space for the results from the Dilla Regional. Let the games begin!

#music #bracket

I don't say this lightly the man, the myth, the legend

Steve Dalkowski, a man who threw baseballs fast enough to scare Ted Williams and wildly enough to never make it to the majors, has passed away at the age of 80. He wasn't a stud athlete or a Hall of Famer, but the myth of his laser-like fastball made him a cult figure to people like me, people who are enamoured with the mythopoetic aura of baseball. And for my money, Dalko is the most mythopoetic figure in a sport teeming with them. The raw talent, the demons, the tall tales that may very well be true. Hell, I even wrote a poem about him back in October.

His stat lines boggle the mind: over nine seasons bouncing around the minors, we went 46-80, struck out 1,324 batters (that's an absurd 12.5 K/9 for those playing the home game) and walked 1,236 (an even more absurd 11.6 BB/9). He would routinely throw 200-plus pitches in a game and, people swear, still threw harder than Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, anybody. Writer/director Ron Shelton, who wrote about Dalko in 2009 for the Los Angeles Times, partially modelled Bull Durham's Nuke LaLoosh on the legendarily wild lefty.

He was a tragic figure. The magical arm that got him the nickname “White Lightning” went limp as he was about to make the jump to the Baltimore Orioles in 1963. Tommy John surgery was still a decade away at this point, so he never got his form back, hit the bottle, and more or less drifted for 30 years after he hung up his cleats in 1966. He couldn't remember most of that time because of alcohol-induced dementia.

The tale of Steve Dalkowski is mighty and sad, and I suggest you read every word written on him. There's a 1970 Sports Illustrated article by Pat Jordan that I recommend you start with, and this part near the end cuts right to why Dalko is an enduring figure in baseball lore:

Steve Dalkowski's real fame lies not in any list of statistics or legends but in all those low minor league towns like Wellsville and Leesburgand Yakima and Stockton, where young players still struggle toward the major leagues. To these minor-leaguers Dalkowski always symbolized every frustration and elation they had ever felt. His successes and failures were theirs and, though he failed, they looked with pride on that, too. Because his failure was not one of deficiency, but rather of excess. He was too fast. His ball moved too much. His talent was too superhuman. In a way, Dalkowski's failure softened the grimness of their own possible failure. [x]

#obit #baseball

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Sometimes when I'm bored at work, I pull up YouTube and start listening to a jazz fusion or City Pop album from the 70s or 80s, and just let the algorithm chain 40-minute blocks of sweet grooves. Here was the map for my latest journey.

Yuji Ohno, Cosmos (1981): Smooth. widescreen lava-lamp jazz with a few funkier, disco-styled numbers.

Masayoshi Takanaka, Alone (1981): The good shit. Tight, funky, furious. I've spoken highly of Takanaka's 1977 album An Insatiable High in an older post.

Hiromasa Suzuki – High-Flying (1976): The deepest, slimiest grooves of this particular quartet of albums.

Shigeo Sekito – Special Sound Series Vol. 2 (1975): Kind of an outlier. A loungy jazz record whose lead instrument is the Electone, which was Yamaha's line of electronic organs, that contains covers of “Yesterday” and “A Whiter Shade of Pale?” Kitschy? A little. Groovy? You bet your ass. Mac DeMarco is a fan.

#music

Last night I watched Jodie Mack's excellent Dusty Stacks of Mom: The Poster Project (elevator pitch: experimental stop-motion documentary about the rise and fall of a poster shop run by the director's mom and the history of the poster as cultural object, all set to a charming lo-fi rewrite of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon). I got to thinking about the decontextualization and recontextualization of pop imagery, of posters as contemporary icons; the Scarface posters used in Dusty Snacks of Mom mean something very different than a Scarface poster on a dorm room wall. The movie destroys the image and warps the soundtrack to shed light on both not as works of art, but as commodities.

Which got me thinking about Ways of Seeing. The 1972 BBC series hosted by John Berger is nearly 50 years old, but has lost none of its freshness and power. Having posters front of mind while rewatching it proved resonant. In the second episode, Berger breaks down the tradition of the classical nude, whose subjects Berger says “seen naked by others and yet not recognized for oneself.” The same can be applied to cheesecake posters. The fourth and final episode concerns the imagery of advertising (which is what poster is, ultimately, extending the tendrils of brand awareness one dorm wall at a time), whose chief purpose is, in Berger's words, manufacturing glamour.

blog_20200104

Says Berger in the preamble to the final episode:

Where do they exist, these fabulous rewards and objects and people? Where do they belong to? Here, there, or nowhere? They come with us everywhere. We take them away in our minds. We see them in our dreams.

#tv #movies #criticism

blog_20200102

On a recent episode of Back to Work, there was a passing mention of The Hacker's Diet, which more or less boils down weight loss to an engineering problem. Weight and calories are numbers, and getting one number to another is just math. This was part of a discussion of finding a “hook” to make a habit stick. I got to thinking about long-term goals in a wider sense, and was struck by the idea of maintaining a trend.

Per Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

[John] Walker presents techniques for Excel-aided or paper-and- pencil data smoothing to allow the dieter to adjust the diet for themselves using the long-term trend and to not be discouraged by short-term fluctuations based on water retention or other factors.

The success or failure of any one given day is almost beside the point. Fucked up your routine? No sweat. Overate? It's all good. Didn't write enough? You'll get 'em tomorrow. You're playing the long game. The ultimate goal is to maintain the trend. The immediate result matters way less than your deliberate efforts.

We just started a new decade, and I can see the trend bear fruit. In 2010, I was 22 and a dumbass. Now it's 2020, I'm still a dumbass, but I have two degrees under my belt1, I'm a kinder person than I was, and I'm a better writer to boot. Days and months and years do add up, even if they are non-consecutive.

Maintain the trend.

1: This doesn't mean anything per se, I'm just proud of the work I did in school.

#meta

  1. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say the pivot to poetry was the biggest event of the year for me. I got disillusioned with the grind of trying to be a film writer (I can't begin to imagine the grind of actually being a film writer) and wanted to write something for fun. So I gave poetry a shot. I started in the summer, wrote 31 poems in October, and I haven't looked back since.

  2. I also gave flash fiction a try.

  3. My podcast Middlebrow Madness, which I do with my pal Isabelle. We are two very different flavours of cinephile, and it's always a blast talking with her about the ins and outs of why a movie did or didn't work.

  4. The pod's conceit (the IMDb Top 250 fed through a single-elimination bracket) gave me the chance to rewatch several masterpieces this year: Seven Samurai, Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Chinatown, Perfect Blue, North by Northwest, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

  5. Jank City. Against all odds, my playgroup's dollar-store Magic: The Gathering draft (which I more or less run solo) has become something of an Event, drawing in more and more people into our ridiculous shenanigans. We have lore, a championship title lineage, feuds, and a Money in the Bank-style briefcase that has yet to be cashed in. It's great.

  6. The launch of the Criterion Channel, which continuously spoils us rotten with some of most brilliant and awesome movies of all time.

  7. The ongoing saga of Dim the House Lights, the little film-crit concern that could.

  8. The continuing excellence of SB Nation's Jon Bois. There was the search for the saddest punt in the world. There was The Bob Emergency, which was my favourite documentary of 2019 (the chapters on Bob Gibson and Bob Beamon alone are worth the price of admission). There's Fumble Dimension, his new collaboration with Kofie Yeobah (who also wrote the brilliant essay “Can a team of 25 Ichiros win the World Series?”. And there's the ongoing, slightly retooled, still excellent Dorktown, co-hosted by Alex Rubenstein.

  9. You know what? I'll just plug the rest of SB Nation here, especially their YouTube channel. Check out this episode of Rewinder, where they do a kayfabe deep dive into the closing moments of Space Jam.

  10. Fuck it, one more: SB Nation's Twitter thread of the best sports GIFs of the decade.

  11. Desert Bus 2019. Every November I take a week off work and live on west coast time to follow LoadingReadyRun's 160-hour-plus stream-a-thon, buzzer to buzzer.

  12. The aforementioned LoadingReadyRun had a banner year in 2019, thanks in no small part to Road Quest, an ambitious short-form series whose elevator pitch is more or less “Top Gear, but wholesome.”

  13. All Fantasy Everything. Still the podcast I look forward to the most every week. One of the few Patreons I donate to. Listening to Ian, David, and Sean go on a national tour this year was fantastic. Some of my favourite drafts from this year: road trips, things you yell after you dunk on someone, lies we tell ourselves, things to do on a rainy day, and bucket lists.

  14. The YouTube output of Bailey Fakelastname, aka Foolish Baseball. His Baseball Bits show is fun, charming stat-wonk stuff. As a long-suffering Expos fan, I appreciated his plea to elect Larry Walker to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  15. The Fantasia International Film Festival, the best god damn film festival on Earth. I got to see Phantom of the Paradise at the Imperial with Paul Williams in attendance. I also caught the beautiful restoration of the 1981 psychedelic classic Son of the White Mare and anime godhead Masaaki Yuasa's lastest Ride Your Wave.

  16. I saw this at Fantasia last year, but it only went wide this year: Relaxer. Joel Potrykus is one of the brightest, boldest voices in American indie cinema right now, and this might very well be this sweaty, sticky, milk-puke masterpiece. A Herculean physical performance by Joshua Burge. Awesome score by Neon Indian.

  17. Olivia Colman's Oscar speech.

  18. Upgraded my phone to a fancy-schmancy iPhone XR.

  19. Krispy Kreme opening a downtown location in Montreal, directly across the street from the local game store my Magic playgroup calls home. The Original Glazed might be the perfect donut. I ate many of them this year.

  20. Kawhi Lenoard and the Toronto Raptors bringing the hardware home.

  21. This Twitter thread of crazy Vince McMahon stories.

  22. Tokyo's Friday Night Plans and their cover of ur-City Pop jam “Plastic Love”.

  23. City Pop's eternal summer. By all accounts, City Pop proper died in the 1990s, but that hasn't stopped this ongoing resurgence the genre is having. Between intrepid YouTubers uploading LP rips and being used as the raw materials for vaporwave and future funk, City Pop is still in the midst of its moment. I wrote up six albums I felt were key to the genre in its heyday.

  24. Light in the Attic Records. This awesome Seattle label has reissued tons of classic and obscure country, folk, blues, R&B, and soul albums, plus avant-garde curios, film scores, and two of the best proto-ambient/New Age compliations I've ever heard. Oh, and they also released an awesome City Pop compliation called Pacific Breeze.

  25. The Lighthouse. A+ psychosexual chiller, funnier than I had anticipated. Both Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe go hard. Robert Eggers is the real deal.

  26. A full decade with my girlfriend Steph.

  27. For The New York Times, Jessa Crispin on Instagram, aphorisms, and the legend Dril.

  28. Hbomberguy revisits Transformers: The Movie as a grown-up and talks about nostalgia as a prism.

  29. Bringing my turntable out from storage. It still sounds like shit, but I'm working on it.

  30. For The Believer, Molly Brodak on Tim Heidecker.

  31. Speaking of Tim Heidecker, his LP What the Brokenhearted Do... is a great 70s-flavoured singer-songwriter album, like Warren Zevon or Harry Nilsson, but more fucked-up.

  32. The movie-centric podcasts from The Ringer, especially The Rewatchables. I'm kind of enamoured with the idea of a “cable canon” (i.e. movies that play really well at 3pm on a Sunday), and there's a lot of overlap between movies I would include in that particular canon and the movies they cover here. Chris Ryan 4 prez.

  33. Discovering the work of Bay Area power pop genius Tony Molina. I must have listened to “Nothing I Can Say” 300 times this year, because it's everything I want in a song compressed into 71 seconds. His rarities comp Songs from San Mateo County was one of my favourite albums of the year.

  34. I fell off the Pokémon train a while ago, but I was not immune to Wooloo Fever.

  35. Pivoting to poetry means reading more poetry, and one of the first people whose work I got acquainted with Kenneth Koch. His Selected Poems (edited by the homie Ron Padgett) was one of the best things I read all year. “The Art of Poetry” is about as good as a mission statement gets.

  36. Knives Out. Basically Rian Johnson's Clue, or his crack at a contemporary Agatha Christie story. A rip-roaring good time made all the better by Daniel Craig's goofy Southern drawl. Proves that there are few pleasures out there like listening to someone unspool a whodunit in the home stretch.

  37. Getting a promotion at work.

  38. A little live French-language comedy podcast called 70%. Imagine a local cable access variety show spliced with the more subversive and absurd tendencies of the best of late-night talk shows, but set at a bar in Rosemont and released as a podcast.

  39. Doing an escape room for the first time at Ezkapaz.

  40. RIP David Berman. That Purple Mountains album is now one of the great bittersweet musical documents of all time.

  41. Spotify's Cosmic Country playlist.

  42. Uncut Gems. I had high hopes for this one after Good Time topped my list of favourite movies in 2017, and boy did they come through. This movie is a nerve-eroding two-hour-long shouting match between all parties involved, and I could have watched it for another five. Adam Sandler doing some career-best work. Awesome score by Daniel “Oneohtrix Point Never” Lopatin. FYC Julia Fox. FYC Lakeith Stanfield. FYC Eric Bogosian. FYC Mike Francesa. FYC fuckin' everybody in this.

  43. The QAnon Anonymous podcast, an absurd political podcast for our absurd political climate.

  44. Covering the U.S. Open for work and watching Bianca Andreescu ascend to the highest ranks of tennisdom.

  45. Sturgill Simspon's Sound and Fury. A hard zag from his last two records. This time he channels Mad Max, Eliminator-era ZZ Top, and just a little bit of Black Mountain's synth revisionism and feeds his superior songwriting skills through those filters. My favourite record of the year.

  46. Re-upping my membership to the cult of Road House.

  47. The work of Jia Tolentino, who is uniquely perceptive about our cultural moment because she writes about it from the eye of the hurricane. Trick Mirror is required reading, and her New Yorker essays have a very high hit rate.

  48. Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing, a user's guide to navigating a splintering world devoid of decompression. Pair with Trick Mirror to have your very soul sand-blasted.

  49. Reading my poems in from of actual-ass human beings at the Argo and at the Accent Open Mic reading series.

  50. The Irishman. A master stares down the barrel. Grand and masterful. Death and legacy. “Who are you protecting?”

  51. Related: the Martin Scorsese-Marvel feud (Vox's Alex Abad-Santos has a pretty good breakdown of the whole ordeal here). His op-ed in the Times was great reading.

  52. Christopher McQuarrie's Twitter thread (archived here by No Film School) about getting started, applying ass to chair, and “playing the lottery.” Key quote: “The secret to knowledge is doing and failing – often and painfully – and letting everyone see.”

  53. The work of Austin Kleon. Keep Going was a key read this year. His blog is one of my favourite places to go when I'm feeling stuck. His newsletter is a joy. Hell, I nicked the idea for these lists from him! I owe that guy a beer, maybe several beers.

  54. Untitled Goose Game. Sometimes all you need in life is to honk at a motherfucker and steal his hat while Debussy plays.

  55. Parasite. Rhymes with Bong Joon-ho's previous film Snowpiercer, another bugfuck class-struggle whatsit. Only this time, it's operating as a dark-comic tightrope thriller. Galvanizing and infuriating. The odds-on favourite for title belt for this year.

  56. Dumping an aging, bloating iTunes for MediaMonkey.

  57. My friend Karen's newsletter Don't Threaten Me With a Good Lifetime, where she breaks down Lifetime movies in agonizing, hilarious detail.

  58. The Merlin Mann Podcast Universe, the load-bearing beam of my podcast feed: Back to Work, Do By Friday, Reconcilable Differences, and Roderick on the Line.

  59. People Dancing to Steely Dan.

  60. Speaking of, there was a mini Steely Dan retro at Pitchfork in November, which, as a dad rock lifer, I can appreciate. I quite liked Amanda Petrusich on Aja and Alex Pappademas on Gaucho.

  61. Live pro wrestling at a gay bar downtown.

  62. My beard and my temples have started to gray, so I'm taking baby steps towards becoming a silver fox, which sort of rules.

  63. The work of William Matthews, especially his poetry collection Time and Money. Some favourites: “The Bear at the Dump” and “Mingus at the Showplace” from Time and Money, and “In Memory of the Utah Stars” and “Foul Shots: A Clinic” from Rising and Falling.

  64. Seeing my friend Noah rip it up on clarinet live with Montreal-via-Ottawa rock band The Maximum Chill.

  65. Pivoting from Slack to Discord. Can't abide having the archives behind a paywall.

  66. The Bon Appétit YouTube channel. I jammed all the Gourmet Makes videos over the holidays.

  67. Werner Herzog x WrestleMania. “A poet must not avert his eyes.” Bonus Herzog content: the great man on his favourite cat videos.

  68. John Carpenter's weed-dad sci-fi opus Dark Star turned 45. I wrote it up here.

  69. Inspired by the case of a post office that shut down due to a snake infestation, my pal Justin made a zine called The Snake Post Office Post, which features a poem by yours truly.

  70. My friend Carl's poem about Vincent D'Onofrio.

  71. A Hidden Life. Beauty and despair, faith and cruelty. No one does it like Terrence Malick. James Newton howard brings the thunder.

  72. My coworker Emmanuel gamely rapping his way through Die Antwoord's “Enter the Ninja” at a karaoke dive bar in Villeray.

  73. Saying “fuck it” and buying a bright red Dickies suit and cuting off the shins. The “shoveralls” were thus born.

  74. The Suspense Is Killing Us. Three guys affiliated with the world's largest video store talk about trashy thrillers from the 80s and 90s. Probably the best podcast to debut this year.

  75. Playing Magic: The Gathering and crushing Palm Bays with the homies (because White Claw hasn't crossed the border yet).

  76. My Mastodon instance laserdisc.party trucks on!

  77. I joined a sports-themed Mastodon instance that my friend Thomas started, allpro.social.

  78. Related to the last: allpro watching the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros in the World Series together.

  79. Me and Steph's annual-ish summer jaunt to Toronto.

  80. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I am in the tank for Quentin, that much is known, but this shaggy-dog hangout movie/love letter to late-60s L.A. plays like his Inherent Vice. His best since Inglourious Basterds.

  81. Every year, there's one album I'm familiar with in passing that I get stuck on, listen to on repeat, and induct into my personal pantheon. And this year, that honour goes to the Clientele's Strange Geometry. Congratulations, fellas!

  82. Divided by Darkness, the latest from Phoenix metalheads Spirit Adrift. which filled a Preistess-shaped hole in my heart with it's NWOBHM worship, Thin Lizzy worship, soaring triumphant chorus worship. Riff city, baby.

  83. The video work of Adam Neely, an NYC-based bassist and YouTube. I'm kind of a music theory dunce, but his videos are approachable and the non-theory stuff, especially the vlogs detailing the life of a gigging musician, are fascinating. The video that hooked me was the one where he recounted his worst musical trainwreck, where he and his bandmates eviscerated “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”

  84. Make Do. A small podcast about the up and downs of making art.

  85. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. In a perfect world, the first entry in a trilogy sets up the world, the second entry expands the world, and the third entry subverts its rules. All three John Wick movies excel at each level. The superlative action franchise of the century continues.

  86. Jenny Lewis's On the Line. Rock album as liminal space. The chief vibe on this one is “I'm not drunk I'm sad (okay I'm a little drunk).”

  87. Ad Astra. What's the worse thing to be stuck in, unable to reach out from: the vacuum of space or inside your own head? Or: in space, no one can hear your abandonment issues. It's plays like an artier, sadder version of The Martian. Max Richter with the big assist on this one.

  88. Strand of Oaks's Eraserland. Giant, shimmering, weary heartland rock, pulling from a similar tetxtural well as fellow Philedelphians (and perennial Derek favourite) the War on Drugs.

  89. Reacquainting myself with the work of Richard Hugo. I bought his collection Making Certain It Goes On and his essay collection The Triggering Town and hoovered both of them. I read “Degrees of Grey in Philipsburg” at an open mic. I watched a documentary about his life. He was a working stiff for most of his 30s and only published his first book at age 38. I pull a lot of water from this particular well.

  90. Men I Trust's Oncle Jazz, the Montreal album of the year, a beefy, slinky, chill-as-shit post-vaporjazz dream-pop missive, 70 whole minutes of it. Drowning in a sea of reverb and hushed vocals. Sounds like having been awake for 30 hours in a city that's not your own. Amazing stuff.

  91. New kitchen appliances. My microwave was from the 1990s, so I was due.

  92. Sunn O)))'s Life Metal. Riffs like ziggurats meant to be played so loud your bones hum.

  93. The work of A. R. Ammons. By turns funny and cosmic, looking at nature with the eye of a biologist and the I devoured his Selected Poems (the Library of America coming in clutch again), and especially loved the excerpts from Tape for the Turn of the Year, which was typed on a roll of adding machine paper, and Garbage, an epic about the natural world and our place in it.

  94. Danny Brown's uknowhatimsayin¿, an inventive and kaleidascopic rap record. Brown might be the funniest MC currently working. The cameos by Run the Jewels and JPEGMAFIA don't hurt either.

  95. All Elite Wrestling, making good on the promise of All In last year. Chris Jericho's run as champion here bolsters his own claim that he's the GOAT.

  96. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds's Ghosteen. I made the mistake of listening to this beautiful, heartbreaking record at work. Word of advice: wait until you leave to office to jam a song like “Waiting for You”.

  97. Alita: Battle Angel. “Cyberpunk anime Rollerball” is the easiest sell of all time.

  98. Camino 84's Yacht Rock Breaks 2. Exactly what it says on the tin. Smooth as shit.

  99. Shout out to Ron Padgett. I read and loved Alone and Not Alone, and look forward to cracking open Big Cabin. Now that I think about it, the pivot to poetry might have been preipitated by his work on Jim Jarmusch's brilliant film Paterson.

  100. The teaming-up of director Jesse V. Johnson and actor Scott Adkins. Their work together this year, the DTV Action Movie All-Star Game that is Triple Threat and the gnarly, purple revenge jam Avengement, are both splendid additions to the disreputable action canon. There is currently no more fecund partnership in action cinema.

#top100

Illustration: Hiroshi Nagai

The awesome record label Light in the Attic has just released Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986, a compilation of (mostly) City Pop, the Japanese answer to the American “West Coast” sound of the late 70s and early 80s. It's a bright, fizzy brew of fusion, R&B, disco, AOR, funk, and exotica, tailor-made for cruising the city streets in your sweet Toyota Supra. And bedroom producers take note: this is where the raw materials of vaporwave and future funk come from.

A friend of mine asked me for a primer, so I obliged, and I thought I'd share it with all of you. One note: I didn't leave your favourite album off this list on purpose.

Tatsuro Yamashita, For You (1982) – There's no two ways about it: Tats is the king of City Pop. His first band Sugar Babe laid the groundwork for the genre with their album Songs. His collab with Tin Pan Alley alumni Shigeru Suzuki and Haruomi Hosono (who was also in Yellow Magic Orchestra) called Pacific brought in the sun-kissed exotica haze and the jazz-fusion chops. Dude also really loves old American R&B and the Beach Boys, so you know, hooks for days. For You is breezy and lithe and packed tight with bright melodies, but this slot could have just as well gone to the albums that bookend this one, 1980's Ride on Time and 1983's Melodies.

Makoto Matsushita, First Light (1981) – Matsushita is a hot shit guitar player and founding member of AB'S (who are on the more fusion-y side of the City Pop continuum). His first solo record is some smooth Miami Vice shit; more than any other record here, this sounds how a humid night in the big city feels. Matsushita's solo stuff gets more involved and proggier from here on out, so there's plenty of weird nuggets to discover, but First Light is his best and grooviest record, and maybe the most melancholic piece of work on this list.

Hiroshi Sato featuring Wendy Matthews, Awakening (1982) – Sato is a keyboard wizard, probably best known for his synth-funk-fusion album Orient. Matthews is a Montreal-born Australian singer who was kind of a big deal down under in the early 90s. This album is more in the smooth jazz/adult contemporary corner of the City Pop graph, but it's so weird in places. There's like... a weird vampy blues instrumental and a Beatles cover as well? In any case, this is my favourite Sato album, all Linn drums and slinky arrangements and keyboard flourishes. Imagine if Diamond Life was made in L.A. instead of London, and swap out everything but the electric guitar for synths and drum machines.

Seaside Lovers, Memories in Beach House (1983) – Another Sato project. This was a one-off record with Akira Inoue and Masataka Matsutoya released as part of the CBS/Sony Sound Image Series (as was the aforementioned Pacific and the pretty good fusion album New York). Lots of fluttering melodicas, aqueous piano, and awesome 80s gated drums on this one. Probably the moodiest of the records I have listed here on account of the unique synthetic timbre of the whole thing.

Toshiki Kadomatsu – Weekend Fly to the Sun (1982) – If I'm being honest with myself, any of Kadomatsu's 80s albums could have made the cut here, but this one gets the thumbs up from me because, in addition to being punchy and fun as hell, it's functionally a concept album about looking forward to the end of the work week so you can get away for the weekend. Also “Rush Hour” is one of the best “What a Fool Believes” ripoffs I've ever heard.

Taeko Ohnuki, Mignonne (1978) – Ohnuki was in Sugar Babe with Yamashita, and her output is more in the jazz-pop/sophisti-pop/Steely Dan-lite corner of City Pop. Of all the records here, this is the one I've spent the least amount of time with, so I don't have anything super clever or incisive to say about it. It's just great.

#music #citypop #picksix