Every week the contributors to The Irrelevant will share the one thing we've been into this week. It can be a movie, a book, a song, an album, some youtube video, a random meme, or twitter user, anything that's been taking up more space in our mind than it should. We want to share this with you because we like sharing things we're into. Also these are perfect things that you can consume over the weekend, so here they are:
No Vacation's 'Amo XO'
It’s funny when I think back to my early twenties and my almost insane constant need to find “new music”. I was coming out of my “hardcore phase”, still having a bright, bleached streak in my hair to help me look as skunklike as possible. This time shaped my music taste a lot as I discovered the likes of Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, Whitest Boy Alive, Citizen Cope, and dove greedily into La Blogotheque’s beautiful cinematography of simplified, live music videos. These days I tend not to search very long for new stuff. I fall back a lot on what I know, listening to old favorites or waiting for bands to release new albums. But, every once in a while I get that itch again.
This brings us to my current “thing”. Thanks to good ole Spotify and how they like to recommend artists to you, I discovered No Vacation this week. The album I have currently on repeat, “Amo XO”, is from 2015 and I fell almost instantly in love. They’re a mellow duo that has that coffee shop vibe with a bright beat and a breezy guitar behind it. To risk sounding like an indie hipster stereotype, think a combination of Washed Out, Read Estate, The XX, and a touch of Two Door Cinema Club. One song is eerily reminiscent to a Volcano Choir song and “Pillowcase” has a very Nico “These Days” and Bon Iver “Towers” feel. If none of those bands are familiar to you, errrrm, you could just check them out and see if you’re into it. See what you think and be ready for some chill music that would be great for your car stereo on a calm spring day. I’d start here:
I can't stand Mason Jars.
Surefire way to get me to dislike something? Put it in a mason jar. So imagine how I felt when for years every time someone recommended overnight oats to me I'd google it and was bombarded with super artsy fartsy pictures of people's concoctions in mason jars. Naturally I was in full hater mode against them. This week though I decided I was gonna stop hitting up McDonald's on the way to work so I needed something that was easy to make, delicious,and filling. Overnight Oats checks all those boxes.
First things first you don't need a mason jar, secondly it doesn't need to be fancy artisanal oatmeal. Get a plastic or glass container that has a top that seals and fill it up with whatever generic brand oatmeal you have, quick oats or old fashioned or steel cut it doesn't matter. After that put some milk in there. Top it with some apples and anything else you like, I add a little bit of peanut butter. Put it in the fridge and go to sleep. The following morning bust that bad boy out pour some honey in there mix it all up and enjoy. The texture of the oatmeal is great, and it's super easy to make.
Best of all...no mason jars.
The Bear Coat
I recently started listening to a 7 year old baseball podcast named “Up and In” again. The impact this podcast has had on my baseball acumen is immeasurable but it is not what I’m obsessing about this week. The reason I mention it is because it introduced me to The Bear Coat, a music project by one of the baseball scouts who co-hosts the show, now a Special Assistant to the Chicago Cubs President and General Manager, Jason Parks. The music has a lo-fi sound and is heavily influenced by The Beatles and The Beach Boys which comes across pretty clearly. I recently expressed interest in a modern day Beach Boys type band and then this serendipitously found be through this obscure podcast. Though the sound is lo-fi, the production quality rivals anything I’ve heard this year which is remarkable considering it’s age and it was recorded in a home studio. The songs are all really interesting and the performances are pretty great, the lyrics are a little ridiculous at times but interesting nonetheless. The layered vocal harmonies and atypical melodies bring a unique sound to your ear drums that leave you wanting more.
When I really like music I become consumed; I listen on any speaker/headphone combo I can find and try to tune into and dissect every part I can. With this there is so much to unwrap and I am still finding little things I like throughout the two available albums, a self titled and one titled “Adding Mass.” The second album has the “band” assume the persona of a fictional band named Teddy High and a has different tone than the debut but is equally as good. On the podcast Parks discusses, possibly facetiously, future plans for 10 total albums consisting of 9 fictional bands all with different styles. The tenth album planned as cover album of the self-titled in all of the bands’ individual sounds. Alas, Jason Parks is now a fancy baseball exec helping run one of the best baseball organizations in MLB, current results of the 2017 MLB season notwithstanding, so we will never get to hear what could have been. Spotify has less than a thousand plays on every song and only around 16 monthly listeners so there isn’t a big demand however, I think they/he deserve some more play so give it a listen if you’re interested maybe he can get a $.08 royalty check next month.