Happy Friday, friends! I am 33 today and ✨ambivalent about it✨
I didn't expect to make it this far or in this way. 20 years ago I was a sheltered Appalachian exurb altar boy and now I'm a genderless vegan with hand tattoos sending internet newsletters from Brooklyn. What.
I'm not particularly tied to cishet life milestones (my feelings on institutional marriage and kids best summed up via banshee scream), but who I am now and who I had vaguely assumed I would have to become are so far apart. There's a void between them and I'm staring into it and it's joyful and dizzying and alienating all at once.
Gosh I'm happy to be here—and tickled pink that you are, too.
Hoo this has been a week for intensity. Roaring vocals, frantic double bass kicks, teeth-grinding distortion. This week kicked off with Unearth's "The Wretched; The Ruinous," which veers further into death metal than they have on previous albums (though 2018's Extinction(s) flirted with death-y guitar licks)
(also inspired a lil metal lettering that I haven't done in so long)
Then we get into some more straightforward black metal, though with better production and depth of sound than feels typical—Akhlys builds a screeching wall of noise that barely stops for 8 minutes, veering and weaving in new sonic threads such that the intensity never gets monotonous.
But to end on a chiller note—somehow I missed Max Cooper's Unspoken Words last year and it's been a blessing. I never quite know where to place him. His stuff is contemplative and musically rich but also infectiously dance-y. "Electronic" might be technically correct but feels like it doesn't do justice to the breadth of what he can convey and how you experience it in a space. Immaculate stuff.
Anne Helen Peterson wrote on layoffs and precarity and tech's security facade. It'd be spoiling it to try to describe it further—she's incredible and so is this piece.
Also some guy made a data map/vis of (almost) every pizza slice in the five boroughs, catalogued over 4+ years, and I can only aspire to that kind of hyperfixation.
I went to see Skinamarink and it was the most viscerally upsetting thing I have sat through—like, it was physically distressing to sit through 100 slowly escalating minutes of dread. You remember having fever dreams when you were a little kid? Where everything is terrifyingly off and you can't escape, trapped in a half-waking haze? That's Skinamarink.
That's it for this week, friends. My birthday present to myself is to stay up past 11 PM and go dancing until 4—wish me luck! Hope you have a restful weekend and make good decisions 🖤