10 min read

on old playlists + new music

on old playlists + new music

A few days ago I decided to change my newsletter’s URL to just my name. It really doesn’t matter and the newsletter is still called the same thing, but I figured it could be fun to do a spin on the something old/something new format in celebration of my big URL change. Well, really I just want to talk about old playlists I’ve made and new music I really like because I just want to.

But first, today is the one year anniversary of the last gig I went to before everything shut down. It was Ratboys, Slow Mass, and Advance Base at Lincoln Hall. I’ve spoken a lot about that show and the poster from it is hanging in my living room and it feels like such a long time ago now. It’s the last show I got to go to while still living in Chicago and in hindsight it was sort of a really beautiful last show. A fully Chicago evening at one of the more reliably good venues in the city. Couldn’t have asked for anything better.

It just happened five months before I moved and that wasn’t ideal.

Anyway, here’s some photos of the evening and if you want to read more about that show by way of “review” of a Slow Mass EP you can do that.

Something Old

I’ve fallen into returning to old playlists I’ve made, specifically ones that I’ve just saved as a date. I listen to music that way a lot. I’ll like make a playlist of whatever I feel like listening to right now then listen to that for a few weeks as go-to music between new albums or whatever. They’re not really ever reflective of a certain mood or anything and they’re not anything I’d send to a friend. Usually there are only minimal changes between a 2/27 playlist and a 3/8 playlist as I fall out of favor with five or six songs and replace them with a different five songs but keep the other 20 the same.

It’s somewhat of a documentation of how the music I’m really into shifts and changes, so I thought it would be fun to go through some ghosts of playlists past and see what I was into in February of the last 4 years or so.

How have I changed? How have I developed? What was going on? Are there themes?

All of these questions and more to be addressed.

The first February playlist I have is 2/4. Apple Music doesn’t tell you when playlists were made, but this one is from 2020 because there’s songs off the Spanish Love Songs album from last year on it. There are also some Heart Attack Man songs. I remember at the time I was putting together a zine in which I looked at the appeal of that band and decided to listen to them. I think their music is fine. Boring is a song I’ll still listen to. Sitting on the Fringe is another one I like.

Charly Bliss makes an appearance here which is always welcome. I love Guppy so much. Foxing has some representation. At this time I was still working as a barista at a donut shop so everyday I’d just wake up at 3:45 miserable and exhausted and pissed. There was a period I couldn’t listen to anything quiet because I’d fall asleep or cry.

One time I threw up in the street listening to Gameshark walking to work because I was so unhappy. Good stuff folks.

As for the rest of it, the Jeff and PUP and Los Campesinos!, that’s playlist filler baby.

This playlist has to be from 2018. I think Acetone is the best indicator of that. The Jeff is back. I saw Martha play with Jeff Rosenstock that spring so that doesn’t surprise me. I wanted to go to that show because I was in the depth of my Martha obsession at this time, but I liked some of Jeff’s music too. Pash Rash was always a favorite. Ice Cream and Sunscreen is a classic. Some really great early 2018 go-tos. Like, all three of those Spook School tracks are beautiful, joyous, perfect songs.

On the other hand, I listened to that Donovan Wolfington song and it doesn’t even sound remotely familiar so I don’t know what’s with that.

The most confusing addition, however, is 1933 by Frank Turner. I cannot express to you how much I think that song blows. That album blows dude like in what world did I wake up and think to myself… Yes I would like to listen to some all time favorites.. Stand There Until You’re Sober, New North-Side Air, Exiles Among You, How Simple…. And liberal anthem, 1933 by Frank Turner.

What am I doing? God.

Folks it is Valentine’s day 2017 and I am making a playlist which includes The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.

I did get dumped early 2017, but it sure wasn’t in February! What was I going through!

What else do we have going on here? Well, after consulting with my photos app, I guess I saw Joyce Manor play earlier that month at Concord Music Hall. Had an awful time at that show, but I got into Ratboys via Postman Song on the way to and from that gig so it making it on this playlist tracks. I took a thousand photos of myself that month. After The Party had just been released. I made this tweet!

Which is a little confusing because I’m not sure I’ve ever “loved” Waxahatchee ? But Ratboys was playing a show with Gabby’s World (fka Eskimeaux) so maybe that’s where this comes from. But look at that sweet old twitter layout. So dope.

Also my long-distance boyfriend at the time did, in fact, send me flowers for v-day so this playlist is inexcusable. Loud One by Somnia still goes. Moving on.

This is a short one which I think means it’s an actually curated thing I intended to listen to all together? Maybe?

It’s from last year. RIP Ferret Bueller, but this song is still so lovely. I saw them play in January or February of last year at Schuba’s. Punk With an Ex is a great track off the Walter, Etc. record from last year that I reviewed inside that same zine as the Heart Attack Man article.

Sometimes I Cry at Work is a bit on the nose for how I was feeling. Don’t Open the Fridge remains an S tier Wonder Years song for me. Otherwise what we have is the same Jeff/PUP/LC! filler.

I never really listened to Remo Drive much, but I know people didn’t like that record. I didn’t either, really, but I thought those two singles were great. The Grind sounds like it should be in a coming of age movie in the best way. Great song.

Alright so I have to say. This is the best playlist of everything represented today. Probably. At least the most indicative of where I was musically in what had to be 2019. Radiator Hospital, Martha, Japanese Breakfast, Fresh, Woahnows.

It’s questionable why I would put the original version of Cut Your Bangs and the Girlpool cover, but I was deep into Radiator Hospital at the time. I saw the guy from that band play solo at a DIY venue in Chicago called Empty Bliss. Dude was like top 5 drunkest I’d ever seen a performing musician. That place was cool though. It was obviously intended to be a store so the ground floor had a bunch of windows and a couple couches and cute plants. Very well kept bathroom. But I digress.

Stab Yer Dad is an all-timer. Nana Grizol is so good. Not gonna stand by I Like America and America Likes Me, but the other three 1975 tracks are my favorites of theirs. Could do without The National. I’m always trying to make The National a band I can put on playlists and it’s just not meant to be.

Fuckin dudes rock, am I right?

More Frank Turner? For what reason?

But really just Lots of Menzingers. Lots of The Wonder Years. I find The Wonder Years a difficult playlist band, too. I always go overboard. But this playlist really illustrates “this is just for me” and that’s cool. I don’t know if this was 2017 or 2018. Hell, I could make this playlist today. Replace the Vundabar with like.. Hop Along and you’ve got a 2021 Miranda private playlist. There’s been little to no growth. We’ve all seen my last fm charts. Abysmal.

Leap Day baby! Listening to DVP twice in a row and every Slow Mass song I’ve ever liked! Love that I forgot to add in Schemes so between LC! tracks and Joyce Manor I made sure to put it on there. Those are really all my favorite Joyce Manor tracks, too.

Don’t know what I was up to the last day of February 2020. It was a Saturday so I wasn’t working. But here are two photos from that day.

Now, let’s debrief. What have we (read: I) learned? What are the takeaways?

I’m gonna make the emotional assertion that February is typically so depressing and shitty I stray away from music that is slow. It’s interesting to consider that I fall more into comfort music in the winter than any other time. I think that makes sense.

However, I think the biggest takeaway here is that I should never make valentine’s playlists.

Something New

This year a lot of music I really love has been released already and there’s a lot I’m anticipating which is not always how I feel early in a year but first..

Tired and True was released independently in October 2020 so this isn’t new in terms of music journalism, but it’s new in the regular sense of the word. And also new to me.

Held Open Door is perfect shimmering, riff heavy indie pop. Every song is deep and winding and beautiful. It’s the kind of music I want to watch be performed on a KEXP set in that pretty room with all the lights on the walls. Nothing I could say could do it justice.

If you’re into stuff like Crisman or Vagabon I think you would like this too.

I’ve listened to stillhungry’s album every so often since it was sent to me back in November. I think it’s a perfect extension of music I was drawn to last year like Addy and Trace Mountains. I love the look of the art, I loved the game they made to promote the first singles, the vocals are cutting and beautiful. If you like the new Wild Pink record, you’ll like this one imo.

Liking The Hold Steady is probably my most pronounced change in music taste in the last 4 years or so. I was resistant to it because it just seemed like old dude rock music. And it is. It’s music made by six men who look like every white uncle I have. But I think they represent a cult band in a really interesting way. The reality in The Hold Steady isn’t so much listening to the songs and relating to Craig Finn’s words, necessarily. There’s a lot to love about the storytelling, but the reality in The Hold Steady is about the way the band is and the community culture that surrounds them.

They play into their own uncool mythology and their own self-reference. The story in the lyrics gets layered with a message direct to the people listening. You can just see Craig Finn singing, “I’m glad that you’re here” more in service of acknowledging a community around him at a show than in service of the story in A Prior Procedure. I love that. I love their capital R Rock bullshit.

maxwell stern @maxwellsternlistening to that new @theholdsteady like

February 24th 202124 Likes

Someone told me they wanted to hear my thoughts on Julien Baker so, despite knowing everybody and their cousin has published an opinion, my thoughts are: very cool. Happy to hear stuff from her that is a little less reliant on just the sheer power of her voice. I really loved the Tokyo EP she put out in 2019, too. Like with most of her music, it’s not often what I want I’m super drawn to listening to, but when it hits it’s exactly perfect. Time and place.


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Miranda Reinert is a music adjacent writer, zine maker, and law student based in Philadelphia. Follow me on Twitter for more on music and other things like when I get to be on the Endless Scroll Podcast: @mirandareinert. I also just opened up a paid tier of this newsletter which for $5 a month (or $40 a year! what a deal!) you’ll get free zines as I make them and one upon sign up! Wow! Click the button below to get in on that! But as always, thanks for reading!