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Half-pod, half-punk


1:55 is a weekly newsletter for Patreon Gatekeepers.

Wow Punk June or Punk Month (the branding could use work) is already have over. Do you feel punker? Are you experiencing the intended effects of the pod? Maybe try taking twice as much next time?

Let’s go.

John Mayer “Last Train Home”

Not a Blink cover, unfortunately, but still the song of the summer and possibly of our lifetime (at least John Mayer’s lifetime). Like many bros, I’m guilty of finding The Groovy One charming and funny, but like those same bros, I have never cared for a bar of his music (it’s cool that he shreds but who listens to blues???). But please, vax me up and set me free to consensually hug and kiss everyone I see to a soundtrack of this song on an endless loop until the frost comes. How is this so good. How did John Mayer finally find a way to make music that sounds like the guy I love on Ridiculousness? Life is nice. See you on the streets 4 kissing.

Josiah: Uh oh, is subculture vulture Sammy about to discover John Mayer’s Dead and Co. dalliances? We need a paper doll of Sammy where we can try out different outfits on him. I too have tried to fight off a love of John Mayer, but mostly because he’s another epic content guy (listen to the new episode) but in the Instagram world. But this song is undeniably great, delivering neon-kissed mid-tempo slowdance tones. I’m swaying over here.

Lande Hekt “80 Days Of Rain”

As a noted Muncie Girls appreciator but slow cultural uptaker, the Lande Hekt solo album from early 2021 is just worming its way into my soul now. There’s no getting around the fact that “80 Days of Rain” basically sounds like a Muncie Girls demo, the minor flourishes of a typically minimalist band further reduced to the sparse sounds of one person working through some shit. In this case, that shit is both a decaying relation and our decaying climate, which is a pretty neat trick. Boiled down to its barest essentials but still melodically propulsive the way the best full-Muncie efforts are, “80 Days of Rain” feels both intimate and anthemic. Also Junior Battles were supposed to open for Muncie Girls in 2018 and they got sick or didn’t get into Canada or something, still pretty bummed about it tbh.

Josiah: IDK if I’ve heard of any of this stuff before but this is really nice, it kinda sounds like it would fit a great romantic montage in a poorly set-designed but still endlessly joyful ‘80s coming of age movie, right before one of the love interests starts sniffing glue and ends up with the wrong crowd. Some Act III shit. Speaking of movies like this, I keep telling myself God Help the Girl was good, and I keep revisiting it and trying to grit my teeth and sit through the whole thing. What a piece of shit.

Big Wreck “Middle of Nowhere” (feat. Chad Kroeger)

It’s my last week at Exclaim!, where I’ve worked in multiple capacities, both a freelancer and full-time editor, for 14 years. That means there are literally tens of thousands of posts with my name on them, and this Big Wreck/Nickelback collab will be one of the last songs I write about. And honestly? I’m glad. As I wrote in there, this song sounds like eating Spitz in the backseat of your friend’s Jeep (none of my friends had Jeeps but I’m imagining) and washing them down with a melted Chevron slurpee. It sounds like the songs I used to tape off of 99.3 the Fox with my cassette deck before I had any other way of listening to music. It sounds like the nastiest, stankiest Canadian culture. And it fucking sucks. But that’s what makes it special.

Sam: Did Dexter Holland’s company make this lyric video? I love my tiny Skeleton buddy. I genuinely think the first Big Wreck album goes, and while this absolutely does not, it is still perfect in all the ways Josiah has described. Also once I worked at a company where one of the editor’s had a massive framed Big Wreck tribute on the wall of his edit suite, like with ticket stubs from all his favourite Big Wreck concerts and live photos and posters. Despite thinking “That Song” is a genuine all-time, I had to admit that this was simply too much. Nice dude, though. 

Gawdie “Mountain” (lyric video)

Sometimes I am literally terrified of how talented my wife is. She bought her first MIDI controller in 2020 and, for the first time in her life, started writing and recording solo material. And of course it just came out fully formed, sounding exactly like what she wanted it to sound. That meant melancholy synth pop that was both dreamy and occasionally creepy. She’s just released EP2, and somehow expanded her sound even further. “Mountain” is an ethereal dream pop masterpiece that pairs her gentle singing voice with a robust synthscape, at once referencing SALEM and Angelo Badalamenti and Ruth Radelet. And it was dreamt up while I was in the other room talking about shitting myself. The lyric video is equally immersive, filmed while driving around Montreal. It’s about $60 worth of Communautos, which is terrible for a transportation budget but pretty good for a music video. Buy a tape and a hand mirror.

Sam: I love Josiah spends his time talking to me and Drew for hours on end about trains and epic content guys and this is what his wife is doing in the other room. It’s so beautiful. Relationships are remarkable. I am also a massive Gawdie fan (got the first tape, will brag) and am so stoked to hear Sara stepping out from Josiah’s long dumb songwriting shadow in the other bands they’ve played in together. Every time I listen I wonder how many of these songs are about him but that makes me feel super weird so I stop.

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