atomicules

Push propelled program tinkerer and picture maker.

April Audio

But not really only in April, it’s just for the title and because I haven’t had time yet to write anything else up this year.

Let’s see what albums and EPs have been released so far this year…

  • The Mysterines: Reeling. I was expecting it to be my album of the year, but despite being really good and me playing it a LOT there just wasn’t enough that I hadn’t already heard before. I like Hung Up, Dangerous, On The Run and In My Head, but I’m just not that excited about the rest. Would probably be a thousand percent better live though and I would love to see them.
  • Carolesdaughter: please put me in a medically induced coma. The closest here to “all killer, no filler”, but it’s an EP, not an album so can’t be my album of the year. This is so on the edge of being a bit too teen girly for me, but just the right side of it. I love it a lot.
  • Newdad: Banshee. Glad I got to see these live last year. Say It, Banshee and Ladybird are (probably) my favourites. Another EP.
  • Pillow Queens: Leave the Light On. No Good Woman is pretty good, but the rest is not really my thing.
  • Wet leg: Wet Leg. It’s good. I’ve had a few listens, but I don’t know. Chaise Lounge stands out of course, as do the other singles I’ve already heard (Angelica, Ur Mum, Wet Dream, etc) and I guess in that regard it’s a bit like The Mysterines: I’d already heard the good stuff.
  • Alt J: The Dream. U&ME is good and Get Better is just utterly beautiful.
  • Charli XCX: Crash. Could also have been my album of the year. Maybe one of these will end up that anyway? I love Beg For You a silly amount. My favourite song of the year so far. Baby is sooo good too.
  • Wilkinson: Cognition. I was hoping for an album full of Decompressions. Release Valve is probably my favourite.
  • CMAT: If My Wife New, I’d Be Dead. I do not know how I ended up listening to this, must be due to ChillDaBeats? I Don’t Really Care for You is class. Reminds me a little bit of First Aid Kit. Some of the lyrics and song titles are great.
  • Kojey Radical: Reason to Smile. I was secretly hoping everything* was going to be like War Outside, but it isn’t.
  • Spinn: Outside The Blue. These lot should be a lot bigger than they are. Stargazing is superb - a proper indie anthem. People Should Know Better is good too. Billie also. Actually this is a really good album.
  • Mitski: Laurel Hell. Should’ve Been Me is my favourite. On paper I should love Mitski, but it’s not quite my thing.
  • Yard Act: The Overload. Yorkshire lads so what’s not to like? The Overload is by far my favourite track though and a bit more upbeat than anything else on there.
  • FKA Twigs: CAPRISONGS. Tears in the Club is good; I was listening to The Weeknd before they were cool. Not really my thing though.
  • AURORA: The Gods We Can Touch. Everything Matters matters. The Innocent is more lively than I thought I’d find on this album. Actually, the whole album is more lively than I thought it’d be.

This reads like I’ve listened to a lot, which surprises me as I actually struggle to find the time nowadays unless I’m out running; Which I also struggle to find the time to do unless I get up early.

* - on the album, not in real life of course.

Liliths Brood

Liliths Brood

Beautiful re-issue of this set that I got for my birthday. These come with reading group questions at the back - there’s definitely a lot in here to get you thinking. Although it was also quite unfortunate and depressing timing.

You Didnt Give Him Power

"...how could they let insane people gain control of devices that could do so much harm? If you knew a man was out of his mind, you restrained him. You didn't give him power"

Adulthood Rites by Octavia E. Butler

I revisited my youth recently and read some Octavia E. Butler. I don’t actually recall reading the Lilith’s Brood series before, but my youth was a long time ago so I don’t know for sure as I read a lot of her work. I definitely want to (re)read some more now.

I was interested to see how Octavia E. Butler held up from memory as she was my favourite author before I discovered Virginia Woolf: Perhaps not as literary complex as something by Virginia Woolf, and more young-adult than “adult” - absolutely no derogation intended by that, that was just my observation whilst reading these which I found interesting as that’s exactly when I was last reading Octavia E. Butler in anger. She’s an excellent storyteller and it’s easy to become engrossed and as such I was making good headway through the three novels (I’ve said before how hard it is to find time to read nowadays). But then the whole Ukraine thing kicked off and it really put a brake on me finishing the last novel given the whole premise of the books.

Anyway, this quote is the obvious pick.

LINK: My Music Picks Of 2021

Skipping an end of year review this year (although kind of doing one by stealth). It’s not really that things have been bad. If I look at things objectively I am still incredibly fortunate: Family all healthy and as a family we are considered well off; That tool doesn’t consider dependent children not living at home, but the very fact we are able to do that at all makes us well off. But I just feel worn down with the past two years of work and home (even with a relatively easy life). I don’t care so much about what I’ve achieved (or not) this year - and especially as the end of the year has approached I’ve just kind of given in.

So instead of a big end of review post I’m going to do something I should have done ages ago and link to this playlist of my favourite tracks from 2021 (either singles released in 2021 or tracks from albums released in 2021). The music has been great.

Web Services Worth Paying For

The same as last year, but things are starting to slip backwards.

  • Linode - As per last time: Still using it. Still continues to be solid for me for NetBSD.
  • Tarsnap - And still costing me around £30 a year at the moment to backup my server and desktop.
  • Teuxdeux - I might not get everything done on my list, but I’d stand no chance without it.
  • Flickr - I want to get rid of it, because I dislike paying more for photo storage than I do on film and film development, but I’m stuck since I’m over the one thousand limit and Flickr is my backup; Despite what people say it’s been years now since it made more sense having the cloud as your backup opposed to a local drive; I have loads of photos on local drives… I haven’t been able to access them for years.
  • Strava - I like it. I’m still serious enough about running that it feels like it’s benefitting me. Also I think my mind needs it whilst we are still mid-pandemic.

On the chopping block for next year:

  • Pinboard - I seriously thought about ditching it for Pocket, because Pinboard seems dead in the water and it’d be nice to support Mozilla, but the lack of descriptions for items was a blocker. I might cancel the archiving though. Or maybe just decide I don’t need almost ten thousand bookmarks at all.
  • Guardian - I had the digital subscription last year, very much enjoyed it, but I’m shelving it because I need to rein in my spending.
  • 1Password - I’m going to cheapskate it and piggyback on my employer’s plan.

I am still being a cheapskate with Duolingo and likely will be forever now. Sorry.

In 2018 I gave myself my first allowance since forever of two percent of my pay. I increased that in 2019 to three percent so the extra one percent could cover money I spent on others. In 2020 I kept it at three percent, tried to be more explicit about that separation, but ended up spending a lot of “my” money on charity due to the pandemic. So in 2021 I went (wild!) to four percent, but keeping two percent for me, one percent for me to spend on others, and a dedicated one percent for charity. Having an explicit charity budget was beautiful. I really liked that.

However, I can only control what I control and although four percent is a small amount, two percent is smaller still so I’m going to drop back down to that for 2022 (since that seems fair and I can’t see how anyone can argue otherwise) and make that cover me, others and charity.

As a result most of my charitable outgoings have been culled. And the only “other people” I will spend on from that budget will be my Mum and Dad for birthdays and Christmases.

Sigh.

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped

A welcome return for the Freestylers.

My minutes are up on last year, probably thanks to the headphones I got from my daughter last Christmas which meant I started listening to music when running again.

I still listen to the radio way more though.

November Noise

To kind of go with May Music. Just can’t find the time to do anything else so that I have something to write about. Plus, Storm Arwen has scuppered things.

There’s lots I’ve listened to since May, but I’ll stick to what I’ve listened to in November (not necessarily released in November).

  • Ladyhawke: Time Flies
  • Courtney Barnett: Things Take Time, Take Time
  • The Reytons: Kids off the Estate
  • Snail Mail: Valentine
  • Matt Maltese: Good Morning It’s Now Tomorrow
  • Rejjie Snow: Baw Baw Black Sheep
  • Nova Twins: Who Are The Girls
  • Damon Albarn: The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Ladyhawke remains ace. The Courtney Barnett album I don’t like as much as the albums “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I just Sit” and “Lotta Sea Lice”. Missing The Reytons gig in Aberdeen is going to be a sour point for years to come. Snail Mail’s Valentine was a welcome return after Lush. Matt Maltese I would never had heard if it weren’t for ChillDaBeats. Similarly Rejjie Snow although that is less up my street. The Nova twins album was released last year, but completely passed me by until they released their recent Antagonist single and it made me go and check them out. I like them a lot. Damon we are going to see soon all being well (but I’ll remain bitter we didn’t see The Reytons).

Stole Six Untouched Biggles Books

"Early in the Summer, Melanie stole six untouched Biggles books from his room, smuggled them to a town on a cheap day excursion and sold them at a secondhand bookshop in order to buy a set of false eyelashes with the proceeds."

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

I had Nights At The Circus on my reading list, but found A had this on our bathroom reading shelf. This is brilliant, but quite bonkers.

At least I’ve finished reading one book and read another this holiday so feel like they’ve not been completely wasted (it has rained nearly everyday). I’ll probably not read anything else until Christmas (although even off work it’s hard to find uninterrupted reading time).

His Eyes Become A Cliff Of Snow

"His eyes become a cliff of snow threatening to avalanche; his eyebrows bend back like black limbs of leafless trees."

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

There are more commonly quoted (and pertinent) bits from this book than this, but I really like the expressiveness here.

Has taken me an age to read this book. Basically waiting until I had a week off work to find the time to finish reading it - the first morning of the first day off

Album of the Year - Freestylers: Other Worlds

When I found out this was coming out this year it was a case of “how could it not be my album of the year?”. There has been a lot of good stuff so far this year and still to come (Self-Esteem and Little Simz are two obvious ones), but IT’S THE FREESTYLERS!!!

To me, this album sounds more grown up. There’s a more gentle, chilled out intro to the album, different, but still unmistakeably the Freestylers.

My absolute favourites are:

  • Black and Blue. Which is also probably the least grown-up. Laura Steel though… she probably gets the best two tracks on The Coming Storm as well. It’s too sad that I’m too old to ever end up in a club dancing to this.
  • Fabulous. Which is just Fabulous; The remix of this song on the single release is great too.

The track I’m least keen on is Puffin Da Herb. It’s just a bit too much DJ Qbert Wave Twisters for me. I can appreciate it, but my enjoying DJ mix albums phase is many years past.

Everything else I really like and I think I will grow to like even more (All Your Fears for instance).

I’ve been listening to the Fabric Live 19 album a lot recently… “to be honest I’m not a bit bored of that shit”… Freestylers are stil making me happy.

These are the ten most recent posts, for older posts see the Archive.