Back with a megamix grab bag blog. If a grab bag's your bag, go on 'n' grab it.

I ♥ Big Dumb EDM

It was a few minute to midnight on a Sunday night, and the second-to-last song of Coachella was playing in the Sahara tent. A heady combination of livestream-induced FOMO and reasonably priced resale wristbands (thank u, r/Coachella buy/sell thread) had flung Chris and I into the desert yet again. We embarked on a two-day whirlwind that ran the gamut from Renee Rapp to Boy Harsher, as well as a range of temperatures from 66°F to 99°F, and now this was it. "This" being the Barack Obama-approved DJ John Summit, playing his song "Shiver," with guest Hayla appearing in the flesh to deliver her shimmering vocals live. (She sounded awesome.)

Everyone in our group was carrying a fat green glow stick. This assemblage made a great communal beacon for not losing each other in the throng, and was a far less antisocial option than those infernal daisy chains of people who'd snake through a crowd without so much as a s'cuse me.

Next to us danced another group, mostly dudes. One dude was also holding a green glow stick. We made eye contact, in the way you do at things like this, smiled simultaneously, and reached toward each other to clink our glow sticks as if they were champagne flutes.

"Green glow stick gang," I said solemnly. "Green glow stick gang," he said back.

His was a slimmer model than ours, which his friend helpfully pointed out: "Yours is way girthier." At which point Chris pulled out a spare uncracked glow stick and handed it to the dude. The ohhhhhs started to rise from their group as they realized the upgrade that had occurred.

garbage pic in the dregs of the Sahara. i am holding a crushed can of Red Bull. I RECYCLE!

The Sahara tent gets kind of a bad rap, at a fest that already has kind of a bad rap. It's where Coachella stashes a good deal of its EDM offerings, and as they've significantly expanded their electronic bookings, the Yuma tent and the new Burning Man-esque Quasar stage lineups end up looking a little more cute and curated and rarified, and the Sahara ends up as the gigantic arena for the freakish drop-hungry fan-clacking hoi polloi.

Coachella keeps making the Sahara stage area larger every year, and every year it gets packed to the gills regardless. (I still remember the distinct sock-like smell that started to emanate when young Dutch phenom Martin Garrix played there in 2017.) It's where Grimes bombed, and where your phone will probably get stolen. The bathrooms are unspeakable. The crowd is generally young and, as Far East Movement would put it, slizzered.

But there's something delish about committing to the Sahara scene, even just to close out your night (it tends to be the last stage running 'til curfew). I was an indie rock dipshit for so many years, deeply confused about what my little sisters could possibly find appealing about the EDM golden age producers they'd blast during pregames in our apartment. Then I saw the light and now sometimes I just want to dance to some slick, fun, dumb music. And like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, or maybe the Airpod in the subway grate, experiencing moments of true PLUR in the Sahara makes wading through the muck—literally, a fire hydrant burst near the tent and created a Woodstock '99-like mud pit on Sunday—worth it. Shout out to the green glow stick gang.

Also Summit ended with a song that went from trance to DRUM AND BASS!!!! Let's GOOOOOOO.

a tiny hand that someone gave me in the Sahara in 2022 before Duck Sauce

That's all we got

I want to reshare a beautiful song that Meaghan Garvey posted on her SCARY COOL SAD GOODBYE newsletter as part of a remembrance for her late ex-fiancé Tony, who recorded music as letta. I read her interview with Tony when it first got posted in 2021 and it's one of the most incredible pieces of personal journalism I've ever read. I can't even describe it other than to say you should just read it, it's worth it:

An interview with Tony, my craziest ex-fiancé.

Meaghan shared Tony's edit of the David Bowie song "Five Years." Stripped of its jaunty glam rock varnish, with only raw apocalyptic animal grief left to ponder, it made me tear up.

5 Years (Rest In Peace Edit), by letta
from the album 5 years

"Five Years" holds a special place in my heart. The first time I read about the song was in Rob Sheffield's Love Is A Mix Tape, a memoir about the relationship and music he shared with his late wife Renee:

On our fifth anniversary, we drove out to Afton Mountain and checked into a motel. We got righteously wasted and blasted David Bowie's "Five Years" over and over. It's a song about how the world is going to end in five years, which forces everybody to seize the freedom to do whatever they want, to act out their craziest desires and devour the moment and not even think about the future.

"Five years!" we screamed in unison. "That's aaaooowwwlll we got!"

It was all we got. That was a good night. There were a lot of good nights. We got more of those than we had any right to expect, five years' world, but I wanted more, anyway.

Years and years later, I rented a party bus for my 30th birthday. We didn't have a destination. I just told the driver to drive around NYC for a couple of hours; these non-directions seemed to confuse him. The bus had a karaoke machine and we all got, well, righteously wasted and started howling into the cheap microphone. My friend Gabe sang "Five Years" and I swear had a weird vision as he sang it, looking around at all my buds packed into a very small space, hurtling toward an unknown destination: that this would probably be the last birthday like this, with everyone existing in this way. Maybe it was the cheap bubbly wine or the traditional morose feelings associated with Birthday, especially such a big one. Maybe it was just the tragic air of the song...but that feeling was distinct.

It was November 2019. A couple months later, the idea of screaming Bowie in each others' faces on a bus was unthinkable. And then people started having kids, and people moved out of town, and Chris and I moved out of town too.

And all the nobody people
And all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people

I also never thought I'd need so many people. I figured I would move through the world in a solitary fashion, like a moose. Alas, if I don't connect with people on a daily basis, I flip out. Hey, that party was almost five years ago. I should be grateful, I am grateful. RIP letta, that is one hell of an edit.

Ambulatory April

Yesterday was the last day of Ambulatory April, the month in which I decided to ditch my haphazard exercise methods and do something consistent: going for a walk every weekday morning. The experiment was a success: not only did I cut down significantly on my horizontal brainmelting social media scrolls in the morn and feel generally more energized throughout the day, I got to listen to a new (or newish, or new to me) album every morning. You all know I think walking around listening to music is usually a good idea—it was great to use the relatively quiet and often rather gloomy Los Angeles mornings as New Music Time.

did you forget? don't forget

Anyway, thought I'd share my month of morning listening habits. Some of these were just the mega-pop releases of the moment, some of these were recommendations from social media or newsletters (Schoolboy Q came from a young lady hyping it up on TikTok; Bladee from seeing some absolutely nutty lyrics screencapped on Twitter by trustworthy individuals; Holiday Sidewinder from Drowned In Sound), some were albums I covered on the blog (like Magana), and some were simply old faves of mine putting out new work (Maggie Rogers, Justice, Vampy Weeks).

I only missed two days of walks because I was returning from and then recovering from Coachella, and if you ask nicely I will show you my "step count" from the festival so you can see that I earned those days of 'foot vacation.' On to Marching May I suppose...

week 1ScHoolboy Q - Blue LipsBeyoncé - Cowboy CarterWaxahatchee - Tigers BloodHoliday Sidewinder - The Last ResortVampire Weekend - Only God Was Above Us week 2Sierra Hull - Weighted Mind Magana - TeethFeist - MultitudesVampire Weekend x Goose - 30 minute "Cape Cod"Nia Archives - Silence Is Loud week 3Maggie Rogers - Don't Forget MeFearDorian - FearDorianEkko Astral - pink balloonsTaylor Swift - The Tortured Poets Departmentclaire rousay - sentiment week 4Blunt Chunks - The Butterfly MythBladee - Cold VisionsJustice - Hyperdrama week 5Planet 81 - Escape!! to…Planet 81Liv.e - Girl In The Half Pearl


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