Monday, December 13, 2010

Hey all, sorry about the absence

My keyboard has been busted lately. Occasionally it will inexplicably start working again for a short time. I'm taking advantage of one of those times to let you know that I will be back as soon as I get a working keyboard.


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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Strike Hard, Young Diamond on iTunes!

If you missed it, go back and check out my earlier post on Wildlife and their debut album, Strike Hard, Young Diamond. If you did see the earlier post, here is your reminder as promised.

If you live in Canada, download the album on iTunes right now (seriously, do it). If you live outside of Canada, download the album from their Bandcamp page.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

The "I'm Feeling Autumnal" Folk Mini-Mixtape

So I know I said I was gonna post about the new Talib Kweli stuff, but its cloudy outside and I'm feeling rather autumnal, so I thought I would share some of my favorite folk tracks of the moment.

Update: After several listens, I've decided that this is my ultimate peace of mind mix as well. So kick back, hit play, and relax. Also, here is a zip file of all the songs if you're into that sort of thing:

"I'm Feeling Autumnal" Folk Mini-Mixtape (.zip file)

My Own Sinking Ship - Good Old War: These guys are masters of upbeat melancholy. There music tells you that maybe things aren't going so well, but hey, thats the way it is, keep your head up. They also know how to kill with the vocal harmonies.

The Dreamer - The Tallest Man On Earth: The line "sometimes the blues is just a passing bird/why can't that always be" sticks out in my head as one of the most poignant and poetic that I've heard in quite a while, and that stripped down guitar tone makes me feel like I'm sitting in someones living room with Kristian Matsson only 5 feet away. It's so earthy and exposed, you can't help but connect with the emotions he's singing about.

Unknown Legend - Ox: I love me some desert folk (a la Calexico), and Ox really knows how to do it. Many folk songs convey a sense of very insular loneliness, a feeling of being stuck in a small space, bundled up against the cold both in body and mind. This song instead channels the bittersweet loneliness of wide open spaces, of being the only person for miles and miles and miles.

The Jump Start - Nat Lefkoff: I've said it before and I'll say it again, Nat is one of the best singer-songwriters around today, and he's only 16. He has that rare ability to write songs that really makes you feel, not to mention the guitar chops and outstanding voice needed to really get the most out of those songs. It's hard to listen to this song and think that he has anything other than a very bright musical career ahead.

November Blue - Scott Avett: I don't know if any song has ever captured the essence of fall like this one does. Everything about this song tells you that summer is over, the trees are shedding their leaves, and the snow is soon to arrive.

In the Summertime (Live Backstage) - The Rural Alberta Advantage: This is one of the most amazingly heartbreaking songs I've ever heard, gets me every time. I can just imagine the singer staring out his window over a cold, snowy expanse and fondly remembering the warm summer months passed.

Thanks to I Am Fuel, You Are Friends for the inspiration and two of the tracks.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let Freedom Reign feat. Talib Kweli and Black Thought

Chrisette Michele is a soul singer who just dropped her 3rd album, Let Freedom Reign. At first listen, I thought the album was definitely too lite R&B/Soul for me, but I'm starting to reconsider that. Currently I'd say I'm very much on the fence about it. One thing I'm definitely not on the fence about is the title track, which has an awesome hook and features killer verses from Talib Kweli and Black Thought (pretty much as star studded as you can get in terms of guest appearances in my opinion).

Let Freedom Reign (ft. Talib Kweli and Black Thought) - Chrisette Michele

Check out the whole album Amazon MP3 or iTunes, and let me know what you think.

And check back tomorrow (or maybe Friday) for another two awesome new tracks from Talib Kweli!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Everliven Sound Review on Silence Nogood

I've done a review of the album Freedom II by Everliven Sound. It is by far my favorite hip-hop album of the year, so don't miss it!

Check it out

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

There is virtually no information to be found about Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but he/them/it is cranking out some very fine tunes, all over the map genre-wise. This particular song is a lo-fi psych rock gem.
Thought Balune - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Also very much worth checking out is his Screwed Tape #1, a psychedelic 20 minute mixtape brought to my attention by the lovely Catbirdseat.
Screwed Tape #1 - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Pre-order the limited edition Unknown Mortal Orchestra EP or just listen to the other tracks on his Bandcamp.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wildlife: Strike Hard, Young Diamond

Did you ever wish that Wolf Parade was just a bit poppier? Do you dig some indie-poppers that aren't afraid to rock? Then I have got a band for you.

Stand in the Water - Wildlife

Their debut album, Strike Hard, Young Diamond is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of the year, so check it out! Download two more free songs on their Bandcamp page, and pick up the whole album when it hits iTunes on December 7th (I'll be sure to post a reminder). Or, if you would prefer a physical copy, those are available now via Paypall.

They currently only have one show (in their hometown Toronto) posted, but their music sounds like it would be absolutely phenomenal live, so if they come to your town, don't miss it!

Here's their Myspace if you would prefer to check them out that way.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Matthew and the Atlas

From the same London scene as Mumford & Sons, Matthew and the Atlas have a much more organic sound than their more well known brethren. Good full instrumentation and a couple of gorgeous voices. Definitely worth your listen.
I Will Remain - Matthew and the Atlas

Buy both their EPs on Amazon MP3 or iTunes, or stream both of them on their Myspace.

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Fitz and the Tantrums

Mayer Hawthorne fans, theres a new retro-soul band on the block, and they kick ass too. Also, they make sick videos.

Check out Pickin' Up the Pieces, truly a rock solid soul album without a single bad track.
Buy on Amazon MP3 or iTunes, or stream it first.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Cymarshall Law's Freedom Express Line

New favorite MC Cymarshall Law raps over reggae samples from his Jamaican dad's vinyl collection. It's definitely one of the two best hip-hop albums of the year (he released the other one too, look for that in a day or two).

Buy on Amazon MP3 or iTunes, or stream it first if you would like.

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The Funk League

Hip-hop production team from Paris, use lots of sick jazz samples. They're awesome.

You're Gonna Learn (feat. Andy C) - The Funk League


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Changing format, yet again

I know I suck at this, but such is life. There's way more music that I want to recommend than I have time to really research and write about, so I'm gonna try just posting videos or mp3s and a sentence or two about them. It's easy to do, so I will pretty much recommend music as often as I find it. As mentioned below, I'm writing full length posts for Silence Nogood (look for the posts by "McIntyre"), and I'll continue to link to the posts as they go up.

It's less in depth this way, but I'm still getting the music to you, which is the most important part.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of Scottish Hip-hop crew The Being on Silence Nogood

I've got another post up on Silence Nogood, this time about The Being, a hip-hop group out of Glasgow.

Read it here and poke around the rest of the site while you're at it, there's some damn good stuff on there.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review of "Mos Dub" on Silence Nogood

I've started writing for the blog Silence Nogood, so look there for my writing in the future.
Mos Dub review

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

On Vacation

Sorry everybody, I've been a terrible blogger.
I neglected to post regarding the fact that I am on vacation until August 7th, and have barely any access to internet! So yeah, thats why there's been no posts. Blog'll be fully operational again the 2nd week of August. See you then.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tightrope Wondamix: aka My God, What Can This Woman Not Do!

She's blown me away with her singing, she's blown me away with her dancing, she's even blown me away with her hair, and now, on this new "Wondamix" of her song "Tightrope", Janelle Monae has proven herself to be a mean rapper too. Her latest feat of genre blending features rappers B.O.B. and Lupe Fiasco, whose verses are not bad, but not particularly interesting, although you do get a nice close look at the song's sweet bass line. Once they've had their turn, Monae sings the familiar chorus, and then launches into a few verses of her own, putting the guys to shame.

Tightrope (Wondamix) - Janelle Monae feat. B.O.B. and Lupe Fiasco

She really can do it all, and she does it all magnificintly. If for some reason you haven't heard The ArchAndoird, her fantasticly genre-bending debut album yet, do so as soon as humanly possible.

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Rehab" Cover by The Jolly Boys, Jamaican Mento Band

Check out this fantastic cover of Amy Winehouse's song "Rehab" by The Jolly Boys, a Jamaican mento band formed in 1955 (talk about longevity!). It's a cool video they made for it too, the lead singer (Albert Minott) has got some pretty sweet moves.

(Thanks Dancehall USA for the tip)

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Couplet (Kid Cudi and Mayer Hawthorne)

These two songs are together like this on my main iTunes playlist, and for some reason listening to the two of them in sequence just works. See what you think.

REVOFEV - Kid Cudi
Held the Hand - Mayer Hawthorne

I love finding little one-two combos like this, its almost like a mini mixtape.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Stone Foxes new album, Bears and Bulls

San Fransisco band The Stone Foxes play a good solid blend of classic rock, country, blues, indie rock, and a little 90's alternative. It's nothing super groundbreaking, but from the heavy blues riffs to the classic rock jams to the wonderful slide guitar, their new album Bears and Bulls is a very enjoyable listen. "I Killed Robert Johnson" is a classic rocking murder ballad, complete with a fantastic heavy blues guitar solo towards the end, and "Stomp" shows off more of their country influence with a 'sung around the campfire' feel. If you dig juiced-up americana with a very live, unproduced feel, this album is for you.

I Killed Robert Johnson - The Stone Foxes
Stomp - The Stone Foxes

This kind of music is always great live, and seeing as they're just over in SF, hopefully they'll come around here sometime soon. Get more info and songs on their Myspace or blog, and pick up their album on iTunes or Amazon MP3 when it drops July 6th!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Gil Scott-Heron and Mos Def do "New York is Killing Me"

(image via Village Voice, from a 2008 show they did together)

Some genius has taken the Gil Scott-Heron classic "New York Is Killing Me" (best beat of all time, you'll see in a moment if you don't know yet) and seamlessly snuck in some fantastic verses from personal favorite Mos Def. He totally nailed the tone and feeling of the song, and his flow and lyrics complement the original song perfectly. Absolutely love it.

New York is Killing Me - Gil Scott-Heron feat. Mos Def

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mura Mura

I was surfing through my favorite blogs today, and while making my usual stop at You Ain't No Picasso I discovered the work of a certain Mura Mura. They've got a free EP, and apparently it's the product of some friends just getting together and recording some songs at their house. I very much hope they keep getting together, because they have produced four wonderful, slightly wistful pop songs. The music certainly has an air of a bunch of good friends just having fun together, the songs have a very natural feel, and everyone sounds like they're enjoying themselves. I can't help but think of Talking Through Tin Cans Morning Benders at some points, and a non-British Fanfarlo at others.

This House Is Burning Down - Mura Mura
Rabbit - Mura Mura

The genre is showing up as "Holiday", which I find very fitting, the music is a wonderfully enjoyable pick-me-up. Download the whole thing here and enjoy.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gonna Give This Another Go

Well folks, I'm back. I know that what reader base I had built up is gone, and little to nobody will read this, but getting it down will help. I apologize for my long absence, but the way Listening to the Song in My Head was working just didn't work for me. Basically, I became too focused on being a good blog, which sadly, I'm just not cut out for.

A good mp3 blog brings unknown artists to the attention of the masses, and serves as a tastemaker. In my efforts to do that, I ended up searching not necessarily for the bands I would enjoy listening to, but bands that I could "break", that no one had heard of. This ended up making music listening much less enjoyable than it had been previously. So this time around, I'm not gonna try to do any of that. I'm gonna tell you what I'm listening to, whether it be obscure or well known. It's not going to be the kind of blog that will have or should have very many readers, I'm just hoping to find some people out there who share my musical tastes, and serve them up what I'm listening to. While I won't be bringing anything new of value to the internet music community as a whole, hopefully I will be able to present a particular few with music that they will enjoy, that they would not have had the time or knowledge to discover otherwise. If I can succeed in that, then I think there is value.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

A mixtape for you

I'm not sure what the future of the blog is going to be, but here's a mixtape I made, it's mostly hip-hop with some reggae and African.

Road to Zion Mixtape

1. Road to Zion - Damian Marley feat. Nas
2. Patience - Nas & Damian Marley
3. Sabali - Amadou and Maraim
4. Africa - Amadou and Mariam feat. K'naan
5. Re: Definition - Black Star
6. Daylight - Aesop Rock
7. Beauty - Edan
8. Accordian - Madvillan
9. Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco feat. Jill Scott
10. Wonderful Life - Sean Faylon feat. Playboy Tre and Scar
11. Welcome to Jamrock - Damian Marley

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

New Fanfarlo track

Quick post today guys, but I've got a couple of new band type posts in the works, expect those soon. In the meantime, I've got a new Fanfarlo track, Fleetwood Mac cover "What Makes You Think You're the One". It's the B-side to their Record Store Day exclusive single, "You Are the One". If for some reason you haven't listened to Fanfarlo yet, check out their last year's debut album, Reservoir (stream a bunch of it here). Anyway, this cover is fantastic, check it out, and go buy the 7" at your local record store.
What Makes You Think You're the One?

Also, in even more exciting Fanfarlo news, they've got an EP of songs recorded at college radio stations available for free, just sign up for there mailing list. Get it here.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Jared Mees & The Grown Children

"I hate to say it, but these last few years have been hell/but patience/pays off/finally"

This song is prime earworm material, and a lot more upbeat than those lyrics make it sound. That opening line has been stuck in my head for a day running now, walking around whistling or humming it to myself. Jared Mees & The Grown Children are a Portland indie-pop group with 19 people listed as members, but 5 members is all of their pictures. They sort of fall into the genre that is popping up more and more these days, the acoustic indie-folk collective. They've got trumpet, glockenspiel, violin, banjo, keyboard, bass, guitar, great vocals, and lovely gang vocals on the chorus.

However, Jared Mees & the Grown Children have a much more pop sound than folk, unlike most of the bands who fit a similar mold instrumentation-wise. The same ideas that work so amazingly in the mellow folk setting for bands like Fanfarlo and the Freelance Whales plays out beautifully as a vehicle for catchy, up-beat pop music.

I have yet to fully explore their catalog, but everything I've heard is fantastic. They've got a full length called Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine, Money, released in '08, and from which this track is from. They've also got a 2007 called If You Want to Swim With the Sharks. As always, if you like what you're hearing, go buy it! (or if you're lucky enough to live in Portland, go to a show, they're playing 3 there this spring, check their Myspace.

The Tallest Building In Hell - Jared Mees & The Grown Children
Listen to more tracks on their Myspace.
Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine, Money on iTunes
...If You Want to Swim With the Sharks download or CD on CD Baby.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Posts Soon

I've found quite a few new bands lately, so expect to see a lot of posts of that variety in the very near future, I'm just waiting on permission to post their mp3s. Soon, I promise.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Portland Lo-Fi band Eat Skull

It's been a hell of a week. I saw Spoon at the Fox Theater in Oakland on Tuesday, and Passion Pit (with Mayer Hawthorne!) last night at UCDavis's Freeborn Hall. I started writing some show reviews, but a couple sentences in, it occurred to me that sitting here telling you about how awesome the concert that already happened was doesn't do anyone much good, and I should probably get back to the real purpose here, introducing you guys to new music. So here we go.

Eat Skull are a lo-fi band out of Portland, Oregon. Their music is heavy on noise and heavy on distortion, but it's way too catchy to be called anything other than pop, or even pop-punk at times. I'm very picky about lo-fi and other music which uses a ton of noise and distortion, and this definitely works. What sets it apart from most of the music like it is the great pop melodies, backed up some great jangly guitar riffs. I very much hope I get to see these guys in a garage or living room somewhere, and since they seem to have a good deal of association with some Sacramento bands, that could very likely happen. I'll be sure to let you guys know if they hit up the area, or if you live in Portland, go catch them this Sunday. They have a full length called Wild and Inside which you can order directly from them, and a 7" out on Woodsist Records (you gotta scroll down the page a bit). They've also got a split 7" with a Sacramento band called The Ganglians, who I will be reviewing in the very near future, which is sadly out of print. If you like what you're hearing, buy some vinyl! (or cds if you really must be that way).

Stick to the Formula - Eat Skull
Punk Trips - Eat Skull (From Wild and Inside)

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

2 rock solid tracks from the new Dr. Dog album, and some festival news

The jury is still out in my brain on Shame, Shame, the new Dr. Dog album, but I do know for a fact that "Stranger" and "Shadow People", the first two tracks, are amazingly fantastic. They have a sort of bouncing post-Americana sound that fills the space after Wild Mountain Nation ends, and that is always a very good thing. Post-Americana is a term that I pretty much pulled out of my ass, but it makes perfect sense once you hear it. It's indie rock, but with very heavy influences in the instrumentation and song structure from 19th/early 20th century Americana and folk music. The aforementioned Blitzen Trapper also does it quite well, and it's a sound I totally dig. Give them a listen, and check out the album to draw your own conclusions.
Shadow People - Dr. Dog
Stranger - Dr. Dog

And while we're mentioning Dr. Dog and Blitzen Trapper in the same breath, if you're in the Northern California area, you gotta go check out the High Sierra Music Festival, held in Quincy, CA from July 1st to July 4th. Highlights from the stellar line-up include The Black Crowes, The Avett Brothers, Dr. Dog, Blitzen Trapper, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Truth and Salvage Co. Full line-up here. Essentially it looks to be four days of fantastic music, largely in the vein of what we've been talking about today. Four day passes are only $175, pretty damn cheap for a big festival like that. If I can work it, I am there, and you should highly consider it as well.

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Janelle Monae video with crazy awesome dancing! (and a general Janelle Monae rant)

I love Janelle Monae, love her hair, her voice, I love this song, but HOLY SHIT these dance moves are amazing!!

(the embedding didn't work out, so watch it on Youtube, preferably in high quality, full screen)

That out of the way, time to rant about Janelle Monae in general. First off, the hair. I love it. Second, she doesn't even have a full album out yet, but a string of singles and an EP and some contributions to compilations have resulted in a large group of absolutely fantastic songs. Her songs range from total throwback R&B/Soul, to some great hip-hop (seen above). It really all comes down to her voice, its fantastic, and damn does she know how to use it. Her debut full length, The Archandroid comes out May 18th on Bad Boy Records. Everything she's done, including the two singles off the record ("Tightrope" and "Cold War") point to a fantastic album. I'm pumped.

Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) - Janelle Monae
Come Alive (War of the Roses) - Janelle Monae
Other songs to check out:
Sincerely, Jane (from Metropolis: The Chase Suite)
Cold War (from Cold War Single)

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Listening to the Song in My Head Podcast - Episode 1

Here it is, the first episode of the Listening to the Song In My Head Podcast, my venture into a new format. This inaugural show is 40 minutes long, and includes 9 songs. The tracklisting with download links is below. This is the first time I've tried anything like this, so feedback please!

Listening to the Song In My Head Podcast - Episode 1

1: Go Outside - Cults
2: The Curse - Cults. Download album for free on their Bandcamp page, and pre-order the vinyl 7" here.

3: Green Tops - Totally Nebular. Download the album for free here.

4: The High Road - Broken Bells. Download from Amazon MP3.

5: Getaway Car - The Luxury. Download from Amazon MP3.

6: I'll Go With You - Downhill From Here. Check out my review of the album for another track and information on how to get the album.

7: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - The Gaslight Anthem. Download the album on Amazon MP3.

8: Birthday Boy - The Drive-By Truckers. Download the album on Amazon MP3.

9: Easternization - Deskhop. Download the EP on a pay what you want basis on his website.

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Deskhop - Quite possibly the next master of the mashup

A junior at Cornell, Ian Wells, aka Deskhop, may very well be the next mashup master. Deskhop is from a different school of mashups that most of the artists I've listened too and posted about. Rather than weaving together two songs, or simply taking vocals from one and instrumentals from another, he takes samples from many different songs and crafts them into an opus of his own. He has a full length album and an EP (both availible for download on his website). I've only listened to the EP so far so I can't speak to the full length, but from what I've heard about all I can say is that this man is a genius. The music is almost hypnotic, a tremendously rewarding listen.
Easternization - Deskhop

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog Changes

I'm undergoing some significant changes in my personal habits and musical habits, and it's going to significantly impact the blog, so I thought I should let you guys know. First off, I've had a bit of a falling out with my computer, and have been spending much less time on it, reducing the amount of internet music digging I do. This is why posts have been so infrequent lately, I've simply been finding significantly less bands.

Second, and more excitingly, I have acquired a record player (actually, it's on its way, the first one i bought is being returned). This coming weekend, I'm planning on spending some quality time at some record stores in Sacramento with pretty extensive used vinyl collections, and hope to make some great discoveries.

The result all this will have on the blog: posts will most likely be less frequent, but more in depth, and more posts on older (but fairly obscure, no posting classic rock) artists. Definitely don't expect to see the posts on current indie bands go away, just more infrequent. Basically, I'm going to go for an approach of focusing more on the discoveries that I really like, rather than a brief daily post on a pretty good band.

I'm pretty excited about this new direction, and I hope all of you regular readers (all 10 of you) stay on board.


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