DRDB! 3: Freaks in the Streets, in the Sheets, with the Beats

Don't Trust Nazi Magic, Do Trust Beastie Magic

It’s “best of” list season and what kind of hotshot media enterprise would this be without a “best of” list? I’ve done the research and it’s a fact that David Rees writes the actual best “best of” lists. I can’t hope to compete with his stellar work so all I’m going to do is write a little about music.

I loved The Royal They’s “Foreign Being” for improving on the Brooklyn band’s great debut album with their addictive alchemical mix of punk, grunge and rock. I loved The Internet’s “Hive Mind” for being cool and sexy and chill in a way that feels rare and refreshing. I loved Flasher’s “Constant Image” for doing the retro post-punk thing and having such catchy fun with it. I loved Hit Bargain’s “Potential Maximizer” for being good damn punk rock and for my favorite album art of 2018.

My favorite album of the year wasn’t fun or cool or like any of that stuff. Low’s “Double Negative” sometimes sounds like church music: spiritual, hopeful, full of sweeping choral harmonies and uplifting resonance. Other times it sounds like ambient noise or glitchy static or blood rushing through your head or a sound system destroying itself. It is, somehow, political. Plenty of bands responded to the Trump presidency this year but I don’t think any of them succeeded like this. Low created magic by drawing a direct, electrified line between personal depression and apocalyptic dread, between the local and the global. It’s an album about finding beauty amid darkness, about how hard it is to get through the day and how hard it is to see a better tomorrow. It also helps, which is a minor miracle in itself.


  1. Beastie Boys Live in Glasgow 1999 (YouTube, 46min)
    The Beastie Boys make life better, don’t overthink it.

  2. The Magical Thinking of the Far Right (The Ringer)
    ”Occultism gives its practitioners the feeling of having discovered a true, fixed, and unified cosmic order, which exists in secret beneath the false, unfixed, and disunified flux of everyday life. Occultism thus tends to thrive at moments of intense societal anxiety, when empires are falling, when cultures are changing in radical ways. The stories occult movements tell tend to relate directly to the external insecurities the occult movement exists to ameliorate.”

  3. Gross Giant Blood Clot Makes News, Is Gross (The Atlantic)
    From John: “In Lovecraftian stories, strange creatures come from deep space or from under the sea floor or in arcane, subterranean places. But maybe the most unspeakable horrors come from within our bodies.”

  4. Before Elon Musk and Other Showboating Celebrity Businessmen, There Was John DeLorean (The Outline)
    ”The cars don’t matter. They start out as an idea DeLorean can raise money behind and will become an asset he can trade on as the walls close in. That’s all they ever are, no matter what their present-day cargo cult might tell you. They’re not the future of anything. They’re standard parts in a beautiful shell. The man who puts his name on the cars is the future. A hungry ghost borrowing ever-more-boldly against ever-more-notional success. He understands that business in America is whatever you can get away with. He builds himself a gilded life and finds bigger and bigger suckers to pick up the tab.”

  5. Minnesota Moves to Eliminate Mandatory Parking Requirements (StreetsBlog)
    From John: “Minneapolis is undoing some of the worst parts of Midwest urbanism and shaping itself up as a city of the future in an area oft ignored.” This one’s for the NUMTOTs.

  6. Ben Schwartz Explains Sonic the Hedgehog to Larry King (Twitter, 1 minute video)
    Larry King: “Hedgehogs are interesting though, aren't they?”
    Ben Schwartz: “I can't WAIT to see where this goes”

  7. “Despite a sharp rise in emergency mental-health related visits, urgent care for non-suicidal patients doesn’t exist.” (The Outline)
    Our healthcare system is an ad hoc creation, something pieced together over decades by various entities: insurance companies, doctors, hospital administrators, politicians, and other groups with other agendas. I’d like to think that we would do better if given the chance to rebuild our healthcare system knowing what we know now. This is one way our system could improve, for the sake of millions.

  8. Take It Easy on Dads Making Dad Jokes, They Might Have a Neurological Condition (LitHub)
    Test me for a neurological disorder? I don’t mind. Whatever you think is best.

  9. How a Banana-Chicken Casserole Became a Beloved Swedish Comfort Food (The Takeout)
    Offer to cook a meal for your family. Tell them you’re making a classic Swedish recipe. Serve them a batch of Flying Jacob. Record video.

XOXO May you escape your jobs and families and other metaphorical kennels as heroically as this pup: