Y'all ever lost a dog? It is exhausting. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Our 12-year-old pup Cocoa Bean slipped out a gate on Saturday, confirmed by a neighbor's backyard cam. We hung signs. I called animal shelters. We knocked on doors. My wife heard a dog barking that sounded exactly like Cocoa Bean, assumed the worst and made awkward conversation with the owner. I kept it together until we crossed our home's threshold at the end of Saturday night. We slept in the living room just in case Cocoa Bean came back and scratched on the door. We felt lost.
Cocoa Bean can be sweet, and can be an asshole, but – as the saying goes – she's our asshole. Her grumpy-old-lady disposition has gotten to the point where friends and family request that she stay home when we visit 🙃 But our neighbors showed up, laminating signs, texting and posting on nearby neighborhood groups, dropping off sympathy cookies. Feel extremely blessed by how quickly our little community rallied around us.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending: We got a phone call on Sunday morning from a family in Maryland (we live right on the D.C./Maryland border) who found Cocoa Bean! She'd wandered off, almost got hit by a car just down our street, and jumped into a different car of a sweet family who just wanted to help. Tears of joy were shed, treats were had. You can see a blurry photo of our reunion at the bottom. So happy to have our Cocoa Bean home. –Lars Gotrich
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Fabuloso Telesistema Psíquico Silvia Pineal, Bebé Banana Radio Eomisión (Cocotero Deluxe) (Anhedonia): Not entirely sure how I came across this Mexican label – likely through Stupid Decisions (RIP) – but holy hell everything's got that twitchy third-eye 13th Floor Elevators zonk. Fabuloso Telesistema Psíquico Silvia Pineal, in particular, mines Nuggets-y garage-rock, wobbly coconut exotica, outer-world Joe Meek sound experiments, freaky sound collage and funky wah-wah stank in a way that's psychedelic without all the hand-me-down psych signifiers.
Chris Williams Quintet, 'Live' (cow: Music): Trumpeter Chris Williams is a new name to me, but I perked up at 1) a quintet including saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi, pianist Joshua White, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Guillermo Brown, and 2) cow: Music as a new subsidiary from the always reliable Astral Spirits. Space is the place on this free-jazz session culled from two hours of improv, cut up with dubby electronics, hence the quotations around 'Live.' There are echoes of Chicago Underground Duo's electro-jazz innovations and Don Cherry's Blue Note years, all kinda smooshed together.
Inyección, Porquería (Discos Enfermos / Educación Cínica): Razor-thin street punk from Chile/Argentina that will nevertheless buzzsaw your skull. Porquería introduces some studded hooks and a bit more parity to the dueling raspy/grunted vocals, but the sound quality remains about the same as last year's tape, so basically a 5th generation dub of a Hellhammer demo!
Squad Five-O, Solid Gold (Daddio): Welp, didn't see this one coming: seven new tracks from the late '90s ska-punks-turned-glam-rockers. Georgia's Squad Five-O was a lynchpin in my home state's Christian punk scene – started on a local label, toured like hell (but always came home to sold-out shows), moved to Tooth & Nail, then signed with Capitol Records in the midst of early '00s Rock Revival. Eighteen years since the last album (and 25 since the band formed), Solid Gold sounds like a photo album of Squad's best moments – namely, when the wheels were about to come off a freewheeling anthem, but were miraculously held together by duct tape and gang vocals. The Replacements' ragged rock and roll glory rules the album's roost – with nary a whiff of Mötley Crüe's crunchy riffs – but there are some skankin' moments that underpin songs like "Lose My Mind" and "Here to Stay."
Tuluum Shimmering, Cinnamon Girl (self-released): Neil Young's off Spotify (for now), but don't think Shakey will make the jump to Bandcamp anytime soon. So here's entry No. 16 in Tuluum Shimmering's requests series, wherein Jake Webster takes cult faves and stretches them to the cosmos. This one meditates and mutates on Everybody Knows This is Nowhere's opening melody ("I want to live with a cinnamon girl"), taking Neil's quivering delivery and showering it in a waterfall of synths, harmonium and droning fiddle. This "Cinnamon Girl" climaxes with Dead-y guitar delay, mystic flute and ritualistic bells to manifest "a dreamer of pictures."
Lady Wray, Piece of Me (Big Crown): Sharp, yet oh so smooth – that's exactly my speed when it comes to soul music. Lady Wray's got a voice made for crackly samples – vintage, but present – so it stands to reason that a full-band boom-bap girds a stark, piercing take on R&B/soul.
Stream the Viking's Choice playlist via BNDCMPR. Track list below:
Fabuloso Telesistema Psíquico Silvia Pineal, "Supercocotericanízame"
Chris Williams Quintet, "'Live' Side Aye"
Squad Five-O, "We Are the Dead, Darling"
Tuluum Shimmering, "Cinnamon Girl"
Lady Wray, "Through It All"
Absent in Body, "The Acres/The Ache"
Surgeryhead, "Non Grata"
The Linda Lindas, "Growing Up"
Glacier Veins, "Autonomy"
The Bokarski, "Empty Days"
Kinlaw, "200 Poets (Jlin Remix)"
Tapani Rinne & Juha Mäki-Patola, "Fall"
Narrow Adventure, "I Hate Lying to Mom"
Axe Rash, "Wrath"
.357 Homicide, "Revolting Accumulation of Mouldered Testes (feat. Larry Wang Fatuous Rump)"
NAPPYNAPPA, "Project Heroes"
GEL, "MENTAL STATIC"
Kanonenfieber, "The Yankee Division March"
George Crumb, "Makrokosmos III: Music For A Summer Evening (1974) - The Advent"
Circuit des Yeux, "The Manatee (A Story of This World Pt. III)"
Wet Tuna, "Sweet Chump Change"
Brace ! Brace !, "Places"
Lady Dan, "Not in Love"
Abbath, "Dread Reaver"
No Souls Saved, "Behold"
Armory, "The Hunters from Beyond"
Albert Ayler, "Prophecy"
Matmos, "Flight to Sodom / Lot do Salo"
Sleeping Dogs, "Pinang Juice"
Viking's Choice will no longer appear on Spotify and Apple Music going forward. Call it virtue signaling if you want, but I've been wanting to get off major streaming platforms for a while – the last few weeks have only exacerbated that feeling. I'll leave the full Spotify archives active for a few weeks, so copy and paste the playlists you like before I delete my personal account.