MELISSA AND NICK’S WEDDING SONG BRACKET: ROUND 3

Please vote here! Thank you.

https://nicholascicale.survey.fm/melissa-nicks-wedding-song-bracket-round-3

And follow Scott Cat on Instagram.

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MELISSA AND NICK’S WEDDING SONG BRACKET: ROUND 2

After a couple of weeks of voting, we’re back with round 2! There were some close calls—mainly Rick Ross versus Radiohead—but also some blowouts (Hamilton Leithauser didn’t stand a chance).

Vote now for your favorites! Check out the playlist and vote for your eight. We’re getting close!

VOTE HERE: https://nicholascicale.survey.fm/round-2-melissa-nick-s-wedding-song-bracket

Melissa and Nick’s wedding song bracket: Round 1

Melissa and I are getting married on Feb. 15, 2020, and we would like our friends to help us pick our wedding song!

We set up a March Madness-style bracket with 32 songs and will open up a different survey every week or so with the next round of match ups. The last song standing will be our wedding song!

You can find the survey for the first round of voting below, as well as a link to a playlist with the original 32 songs. Thank you for voting!

My favorite songs of 2018

Here are my favorite songs that came out in 2018, separated into lists for the 50 best Alternative, Hip-hop, and Pop song. Full playlists can be found on Spotify, are updated frequently and include additional songs. As always, thanks for listening!

Alternative/rock songs

  1. Cute Thing – Car Seat Headrest
  2. Ullswater – Hookworms
  3. Your Dog – Soccer Mommy
  4. Last Ride – Beach House
  5. Bodys – Car Seat Headrest
  6. Art of Doubt – Metric
  7. We’re Not Done (End Title) – Mogwai
  8. Breadwinner – Everything Everything
  9. Nobody – Mitski
  10. Six Wave Hold-Down – Hot Snakes
  11. Nameless, Faceless – Courtney Barnett
  12. If You Really Love Nothing – Interpol
  13. Fly – Low
  14. Silhouettes – American Football
  15. Noid – Yves Tumor
  16. Suspirium – Thom Yorke
  17. Let Them Win – Jeff Rosenstock
  18. Fast Slow Disco – St. Vincent
  19. Lemon Glow – Beach House
  20. Dark Saturday – Metric
  21. When You Die – MGMT
  22. Sober to Death – Car Seat Headrest
  23. Leave It In My Dreams – The Voids
  24. Now or Never Now – Metric
  25. Dancing and Fire – Low
  26. Need a Little Time – Courtney Barnett
  27. Right Now – Dirty Projectors, Syd
  28. Drunk In LA – Beach House
  29. Tenderness – Parquet Courts
  30. Decompose – Preoccupations
  31. I Need a Doctor – Hot Snakes
  32. Burn – The Soft Moon
  33. Wide Awake – Parquet Courts
  34. Talking Straight – Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
  35. Far Away Truths – Albert Hammond, Jr.
  36. Risk – Metric
  37. She Works Out Too Much – MGMT
  38. Pain Killer – Iceage, Sky Ferreira
  39. Mardi Gras Beads – Parquet Courts
  40. Never Fight A Man With A Perm – IDLES
  41. Two Slow Dancers – Mitski
  42. Loading Zones – Kurt Vile
  43. 60 & Punk – Death Cab of Cutie
  44. Danny Nedelko – IDLES
  45. Dissarray – Preoccupations
  46. Funeral Singers – Sylvan Esso, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees
  47. Honeycomb – Deafheaven
  48. Science Fiction – Arctic Monkeys
  49. Pontiac 87 – Preoccupations
  50. Never Ever – Lord Huron

Hip-hop/R&B songs

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My 11 favorite albums of 2018

I don’t think 2018 produced nearly as many great albums as the previous 3 years had, making it an average or somewhat below average year. It felt like there was an endless supply of albums that I felt were fine but didn’t fully capture my attention. That said, there were 11 that stood out to me over the crowd. For a Spotify playlist of highlights from each album, scroll to the end of the article.

Double Negative, Low

It’s rare, but ever once in a while you find an album that for whatever reason hits on everything you’re looking for in music, even if you can’t explain why. Double Negative did that for me, and reminded me a lot of how I felt the first time I listened to Radiohead’s Kid A in high school. The sparse and vast soundscapes Low is able to create are powerful and awe-inspiring. I don’t think any of the individual songs are classics on their own, but as a collection the record really works on a level that’s different than any album in a long time. Double Negative is not an album I would ever call fun or uplifting, but its one I’ve loved listening to and appreciating, and are a cut above the rest of the 2018 pack in my book.  

Cocoa Sugar, Young Fathers

Young Fathers is a group that really can’t be defined by a standard genre—they loosely make songs that mix hip-hop and R&B over alternative and electronic beats—so it’s hard to describe their appeal to someone who’s never listened to them. I hate using the words “unique” or “experimental” when talking about music, but there really isn’t much out there like them. On Cocoa Sugar pianos, organs, MIDI horns, and vocal harmonies and rounds create the melodies, while drum machines and samples drive the music. Frantic songs like “Wow,” “Wire,” and “Toy” are panicked-sounding dance tracks with fantastic beats and telling lyrics.  “In My View” and “Lord” are tortured-sounding gospel songs, with grand instrumentals and subdued, reflective vocals.  Cocoa Sugar also made me appreciate how creative the trio has been since day one. I love when an album forces me to go back and listen to an artist’s older works I hadn’t really given much of a chance. Ever since hearing “LOW” on Minnesota Public Radio back in 2014 I’ve liked most of the Young Fathers songs I had heard but never bothered with their albums. That was a mistake I rectified in 2018.

7, Beach House

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List: All the concerts I’ve ever been to

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By Nicholas Cicale

I love going to concerts, and this article lists every concert I’ve ever been to!

2019

3/29/19: Taking Back Sunday with Frank Lero and the Patience at Emos Austin

3/15/2019: SXSW Day Party-Japanese Breakfast with Cherry Glazerr, Nothing, The Nude Party

3/15/2019: SXSW Alex Di Leo at Tiniest Bar in Texas

2/23/2019: Car Seat Headrest with Naked Giants at The Otpheum, Tampa

2/8/2019: Vince Staples with Buddy and PNTHN at Emo’s Austin

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The People of Lady Bird Lake

Written by Melissa Hall

It’s not the hardcore bikers you need to worry about when you decide to take a stroll around Lady Bird Lake, one of the nicest places in Austin to take your dog, or go for a jog, or walk around with your friend, mocha lattes in hand, claiming that you’re “getting some exercise” but really exerting as little energy as possible. It’s a place for people of all ages and all sizes–for those who are serious about running, or those who are looking to get that 90 minutes of cardio we’re all supposed to get every week, or those who are outside to escape the subzero air-conditioned buildings that populate Austin.

Everyone knows that “lake” is a misnomer, since it’s really a “river-like reservoir” created by a couple of dams on the Colorado River, but that doesn’t take away from its beauty. Miles of great walking/jogging/riding right along the water. You can go every day to the lake and experience a different section of the trail. Trees align part of the path while other parts lead you up to a boardwalk where you can see lines of turtles lounging on fallen trees jutting out of the water. Ducks float atop the surface while cranes try to catch fish. People boat and canoe and kayak and paddle board and take ridiculous swan pedal boats out onto the lake. It’s easy to get lost in the tranquility of the trail and the lake. Located in the middle of downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is beautiful during sunset, a great time to watch the pinks and oranges of the sky as you walk along the pedestrian bridge into the heart of the city.

The lake is nice. And always busy. And always full of moms with strollers.

Those hardcore bikers though, wearing all that Spandex, probably all the Spandex that’s ever been created in this world, with its highlighter-colored accents down the chest and thighs. The serious runners sometimes wear this same uniform, but only when it’s cold outside. Every other time it’s a pair of loose shorts that covers as little groin area as allowable in public.

The hardcore bikers speed down the gravel and dirt path with ease, nimble enough to slide between a slow jogger and a couple with a wily puppy. Or the latte-holding hooligans. They yell “LEFT!” but never stop or slow down to watch the panic they induce. Do they want me to go left? Or are they coming from the left? They are unaware that yelling “LEFT” induces a brief moment of panic in most of the walkers. There’s not enough time to process what you’re supposed to do so you usually head left, and they race around on the right, without looking back.

The dog walkers pull their dogs close to them after this near hit, pat their fluffy heads or rub their sides, glare at the now half-a-mile-away biker. Why don’t they ride somewhere there aren’t any dogs? The dog walkers don’t realize, or fail to acknowledge, that dogs are everywhere in Austin—parks, stores, administrative buildings. In the rest of the country their dogs wouldn’t even be allowed to sit on patios at restaurants.

However, it’s not the hardcore bikers you have to worry about but the moms running with strollers. Yes, these ladies (and sometimes gentlemen, but mostly ladies) are the most dangerous people around Lady Bird Lake.

Not all of the moms are scary–there are the moms who push the single-kid strollers at a walking pace, maybe even a slight jog. They wear a pair of yoga pants or some leggings, something comfortable. They try to move out of the way when people pass, like the serious joggers with their tiny shorts and their bare-chested bodies. Their legs are so thin and there’s so little fat on their bodies that you wonder if they’ve even had a latte before. Do they eat real food or just load up on protein bars and Vitamin Water? They run through these moms with their single-kid strollers with no issue, though the moms are always trying to get out of the way, as if apologizing for bothering those around them with their presence and of their large, barely moveable stroller.

They don’t hog the path like the two-mom duets do. These moms, always in pairs, pushing their respective kid, yell-talk to the other person. There is no personal conversation between the two because if you’re anywhere around them–slightly behind, just in front, a mile in front–you’re hearing this conversation. Sometimes they laugh loudly, too loudly, cackle even. They’re trying too hard, maybe to be funny, maybe to seem like they’re having a fantastic time when really who wants to push a giant stroller in 80% humidity? They walk side-by-side with no regard for anyone around them, the behemoth strollers, with their easy-to-fold-extra-large-tires-for-rough-terrain bodies taking up well over half of the path in many areas. They’re either oblivious to the growing crowd of people behind them wanting to pass or they simply don’t give a shit. The hardcore bikers gather around them, standing on their pedals, looking left and right to see which side has the fewest obstacles, the fewest living creatures that can be killed. They don’t have the advantage the serious runners have–they squeeze through the tiniest of spaces, looking less and less like real human beings. When it’s clear that the two-mom duet will need to shift to the right or do a single stack of strollers, they make faces, huff and puff as they struggle to move the extra-cargo-space mammoths, and then grimace as you pass by. We’re moms and we’re getting exercise and this stroller is really heavy and have you ever birthed a child?

The latte-holding duos ignore the look because they’re too busy pretending to enjoy being outside when really one of them wanted to stay in the air conditioning but thought the “exercise” might be a better idea. Burn off those latte calories as we drink them, but in actuality they’re not moving fast enough or exerting enough energy to burn more than a few calories and definitely not enough to burn the calories from that mocha latte.

The slow joggers are especially cognizant of the two-mom duet disapproval. Your slow joggers are just that–slow. They’re maybe wearing some of that Spandex exercising clothing, or maybe they’re wearing an old t-shirt from a work convention they’ve found in their closet. Armpits soaking, back splotched haphazardly, they push away the hair that keeps falling into their faces and jog on. They’re a little self-conscious, either because of how sweaty they are or because of their slow jog (everyone thinks I’m so slow or look how many people need to pass me or wish I could run like those people in the small shorts ) or because of their size. They look especially hurt by the looks of the two-mom duet and will sometimes slow down to try to pass them, say “excuse me,” or some other appropriate behavior. They look longingly at the hardcore bikers, with their clearly defined calves, calves that are made for exercising.

But double-kid stroller moms? These are the moms you need to watch out for. There will be no apologies uttered by them.

The double-kid stroller mom is clad in Spandex similar to your hardcore bikers and serious runners. She’s in great shape too–smooth upper torso, sinewy legs. Her arms have got some power too because she’s probably into Crossfit or yoga for strength or some other fitness trend that most of us hear about but aren’t too motivated to try because damn it, it just seems way too hard.

These moms are impressive because 1) it doesn’t look like they birthed the children they’re pushing and 2) they’re running with an extra 30 pounds. Her stroller, unlike your two-mom duet, seems to move with ease, as she guides it with just the tips of her fingers–she doesn’t grip the handle with white knuckles like you sometimes hold your latte as the hardcore bikers zoom by or when you try to get away from the wet dog that’s about to shake. She’s got this, and the way she moves tells us that. Her strides are balanced and lengthy, and she breathes with ease, pushing a baby with bow ties in her hair and a toddler with a tablet in his hands. Sometimes she’s even got a dog in tow, a labradoodle or goldendoodle or some other AKC champion breed that seems to run in time with her. The other dog walkers watch in awe wondering how they can get their dogs to run alongside them and not chase after the millions of squirrels that reside in Austin. How does she push the kids AND deal with the dog?

She sweats, but somehow it doesn’t look as wet and sticky as the rest of the Lady Bird Lake participants, definitely not as bad as the slow joggers. Even the latte-holders sweat at all times of the year–Austin isn’t “that humid” but still hot as hell, and the make-up you so thoroughly applied is sliding off your face like second skin. Her make-up looks perfect. Or maybe she’s not wearing anything and she’s somehow naturally gorgeous and thin and athletic. Maybe she doesn’t sweat because of the Spandex. Maybe we should all wear Spandex.

And yet while you admire what she’s doing, she’s unforgiving. The stroller she’s pushing is extra weight that she will use to run you the fuck down. The hardcore bikers will indicate when they’re coming, with their harsh “LEFT” or sometimes a bell. They maneuver (usually) effortlessly around the hordes of people trying to enjoy the once-in-the-year 75 degree weather. The slow joggers will slow or stop. The dog walkers will call their dogs and pull them in. Two-kid stroller moms have no warning sign and the only way to know they’re coming is to listen for them. Their measured breathing, the creaking of the wheels on the gravel. And when you hear them you better get out of the way because she “can’t” stop and she isn’t going to. She’s fit and beautiful and you know what? you don’t even have to work that hard to have a body like hers after giving birth, you just need to begin exercising and lifting weights a couple of years before you get pregnant and then continue to eat right and drink protein shakes and take walks at least twice a day during the pregnancy. It’s really not that hard at all.

You watch as she rolls on by the latte-holders, the dog walkers, the slow joggers. You envy the ease with which she not only exercises but how she runs her life as well. You know her cabinets are all labeled and that canned goods are stacked neatly to the left side of the pantry. You know she only feeds her kids organic fruits and they probably only watch PBS or “educational” programs. She wears heels and pencil skirts and at the end of the day her feet don’t hurt the way yours would. She probably doesn’t even put her make-up on, rather little creatures come in through her window in the morning and apply it for her as they sing cartoon songs.

And then the baby starts screaming and she has to stop to take care of him, and the other kid wants a snack, but no, he doesn’t want the apple slices she diligently cut for him this morning. He wants to go home because he’s hot, and the baby won’t stop crying. It’s not a diaper change and he doesn’t seem to be hungry but he won’t stop crying. He just won’t stop. You sip your latte and smirk. You’re exercising too, you know.

My 20 favorite albums of 2017

1. American Dream – LCD Soundsystem

From the first time I heard it (when it was released Sept. 1) to the last time (about 10 minutes before writing this), American Dream was my favorite album of the year. It’s rare I like something that much on first listen without getting sick of it, and coming from LCD Soundsystem, who’s albums and songs typically go on for a bit too long, this is easily their most concise and accessible. From the opener “oh baby”, a classic LCD Soundsystem slow-build track, through “tonight,” a classic dance-punk anthem, and the pulp-inspired single ‘call the police,” to the 12 minute electronic ballad that closes the album out, there isn’t a sour moment.

2. A Deeper Understanding – The War On Drugs

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My favorite songs of 2017

Here are my favorite songs that came out in 2017, separated into Alternative, Hip-hop, and Pop lists. Full playlists can be found on Spotify and are updated frequently. As always, thanks for listening!

Alternative/rock songs

  1. Cool Your Heart – Dirty Projectors
  2. call the police – LCD Soundsystem
  3. Star Roving – Slowdive
  4. Nothing To Find – The War On Drugs
  5. Something To Remember Me By – The Horrors
  6. Guilty Party – The National
  7. ameriacn dream – LCD Soundsystem
  8. Up All Night – The War On Drugs
  9. Funeral Pyre – Julien Baker
  10. Hologram – The Horrors
  11. The Body Is a Blade – Japanese Breakfast
  12. In Undertow – Alvvays
  13. emotional haircut – LCD Soundsystem
  14. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – The National
  15. 12 Steps – Japanese Breakfast
  16. Gwan – Rostam
  17. S.H.C. – Foster The People
  18. Up In Hudson – Dirty Projectors
  19. Song – Sylvan Esso
  20. Hot Thoughts – Spoon
  21. No Longer Making Time – Slowdive
  22. Beach Life-In-Death – Car Seat Headrest
  23. Machine – The Horrors
  24. Don’t Delete The Kisses – Wold Alice
  25. Darling – Real Estate
  26. Slip Away – Perfume Genius
  27. Thinking Of A Place – The War On Drugs
  28. Paradise – ANOHNI
  29. Diving Woman – Japanese Breakfast
  30. Villains of Circumstance – Queens of the Stone Age
  31. Never Been Wrong – Waxahatchee
  32. Lights of Home (St. Peter’s String Version) – U2
  33. I’m So Free – Beck
  34. Sometime/Someplace – Cornelius
  35. The Way You Used To Do – Queens of the Stone Age
  36. Up All Night – Beck
  37. Mourning Sound – Grizzly Bear
  38. Simple Season – Hippo Campus
  39. Friend Zone – Thundercat
  40. Pain – The War On Drugs
  41. Plimsoll Punks – Alvvays
  42. My Old Man – Mac DeMarco
  43. Road Head – Japanese Breakfast
  44. Espiritu Olimpico – Los Planetas
  45. Silver – Waxahatchee
  46. Little Bubbles – Dirty Projectors
  47. Tonya Harding (In D major) – Sufjan Stevens
  48. How to Boil an Egg – Courtney Barnett
  49. Feet Don’t Fail Me Now – Queens of the Stone Age
  50. Everything Now – Arcade Fire
  51. Dangerous – The XX
  52. The Little Things That Give You away – U2
  53. Wall Of Glass – Liam Gallagher
  54. The End Daughter
  55. Something For Your M.I.N.D. – Superorganism
  56. Explore – Sundara Karma
  57. Bike Dream – Rostam
  58. Still Beating – Mac DeMarco
  59. Evermore – Grandaddy
  60. The Economics of Emotion Labor – Wild Year

Hip-hop/R&B songs

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2017-18 MLB Offseason Rundown: A look at all of baseball’s free agent signings and trades since the World Series

With the conclusion of the Winter Meetings Dec. 15, here’s a rundown of all the notable free agent signings in the MLB offseason so far. I’m going to try to update this list once a week as the offseason goes on, and will be adding in notable trades at as well.

At the moment, most of the players who have signed have been relief pitchers, which doesn’t make for the most fun transaction log but could really alter a team’s outlook and can point to future moves to come.

Carlos Santana -3 years, $60 million to the Phillies

Santana has been one of the most reliable batters in the business since his first full season in 2011. He might not be as exciting a player to watch or as young as Eric Hosmer, but I’m a sucker for guys who can draw walks and would prefer Santana right now if choosing a first baseman or DH for the next few seasons.

He’s an asset that any team would be lucky to have, except the fit here with the Phillies doesn’t seem exactly logical for the club. Rhys Hoskins, the team’s most exciting player last season, already mans first base, and without a DH in the NL, it looks like he’ll have to learn the outfield or be dealt, neither of which should make fans too happy.

Zack Cozart – 3 years, $38 million to the Angels
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