Tag Archives: GLONO Update

Wrapping Up 2023

This is the year the pandemic officially ended when the WHO declared the global health emergency to be over in May. I had managed to avoid infection until this March when I got it exactly six months after my updated booster. It sucked. I survived. So it goes. 2023 was the year we realized we’ll probably all end up catching covid if we ever leave the house. Pretty much everybody I know has had it, even my friends who are still super careful and wearing masks to the grocery store and avoiding indoor concerts altogether. It’s a bummer.

The virus seems to have warped our sense of time. Events might have happened five months ago or five years ago and you can never really remember which off the top of your head. Can you believe that the Chinese spy balloon thing happened in 2023? It did. Weird, right?

Lots of other stuff happened this year, believe it or not, such as Finland joining NATO and Donald fucking Trump getting criminally indicted multiple times. King Charles was crowned. Canadian wildfire smoke messed up our skies all summer. A homemade submarine imploded near the wreckage of the Titanic. Maui burned down. Taylor Swift got people interested in football. Taylor Swift got people interested in life. The Detroit Lions won games. Ukraine held on. Gaza, not so much. Elon Musk killed Twitter. That was all this year. Hope you were wearing a seatbelt. It’s crazy out there.

As always, lots of great music came out. Several of my longtime faves released solid new albums: Robbie Fulks, the Hives, the Handsome Family, Mustard Plug, Wilco, the Mountain Goats. Plus, lots of good new stuff by youngsters: boygenius, Gracie Abrams, Olivia Rodrigo. Some surprising remixes, reissues and posthumous releases: Replacements, Ben Kweller, Sparklehorse. And then there was Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick, 1958–1971, full of mindblowing artifacts, sort of like a sequel to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music except instead of just being curated and compiled by one crazy guy, this collection was all recorded by one crazy guy. If you’re unfamiliar with McCormick, you won’t regret looking into him. Fascinating story.

I’m excited for 2024. In regards to music anyway. Not excited for another election cycle, which regardless of the outcome is guaranteed to be another shitshow. Who knows if we’ll survive it? But hey, I’m trying to be hopeful…and maybe even optimistic. I’m trying.

Continue reading Wrapping Up 2023

Wrapping Up 2022

It’s been a weird year. Last year around this time I asked, “Do things just keep getting worse and worse, year after year after year? Is there any good reason to think that 2022 will be any better in any way than 2021?” Now I think 2022 actually was a little better than 2021.

There was still plenty of bad shit going down (Supreme Court, Ukraine, the climate, Afghanistan, Elon Musk, etc.), but on the other hand there seemed to be something of a reversion to sanity. Things like the midterm results (particularly in the Senate), the Alex Jones verdict, and the raid on Maralago suggest that the arc of the moral universe might be bending toward justice after all. But who knows? Right around 50% of the population is still willing to vote for Republicans despite everything that has happened over the past six years. (Or 40+ years, depending on your tolerance for oligarchy.) So it goes.

The Covid situation is getting better, although not as quickly as we’d all hoped. Comparing Covid to the Spanish Flu, it seems we haven’t gotten much smarter in a hundred years. They wrapped their shit up by 1921, while we continue to experience excess deaths with no end in sight. I still haven’t gotten it, but my wife tested positive right before Riot Fest and we had to miss it this year. Boo!

I fell down a deep rabbit hole when I discovered I could access my local newspaper’s historical archives and spent a bunch of time reading accounts of influenza in Michigan. After I had enough of the flu I started looking up my grandparents. My grandpa was apparently quite a bowler. This led me to researching my genealogy which became one of my big obsessions of 2022. Turns out I may qualify for Italian citizenship jure sanguinis on my mother’s side (although it sounds like an expensive pain in the ass to prove it). It can be a weird and disturbing journey, tracing your ancestors through the past. But it’s fascinating. And fun.

So that’s part of why I’ve shared way less new music in 2022 than in years past. I’ve been spending my “goof around” time getting Polish birth records translated into English and scouring old census data for people whose names aren’t indexed correctly. Thankfully, once again, Stephen Macaulay tireless filed a feature-length piece every Saturday for publication on Monday to keep the site alive.

But my genealogical diversions haven’t totally been in vain. There have been a few rock and roll correlations. When the 1950 census dropped I was able to find Muddy Waters living with Little Walter in Chicago, Elvis in Memphis, and John Lee Hooker in Detroit. It’s enthralling to work backwards and try to find their families in earlier censuses and other public records like marriage licenses, World War II draft registration documents, etc.

Speaking of world wars, another thing that distracted me from seeking out new music this year was the Ukrainian people’s heroic resistance to Russia’s invasion of their country. Like many people I was pretty pessimistic about the chances of a former Soviet republic standing up to the mighty Russian Bear. Being totally wrong about that made me question my tendency toward negativity in several other areas of my life. Maybe hope is a good thing after all? Who knew! In addition to forcing me to reframe my entire worldview, the war in Ukraine also inspired me to read into a bunch of military crap that had never interested me before: tactics, logistics, crossing bridges, truck tire maintenance, combined arms, attrition, ground lines of communication, all kinds of boring old-man-in-a-recliner stuff. (For the record, I don’t own a recliner. Yet!)

Of course, just like every year since the phonograph was invented, there were plenty of great records released in 2022. Some of my favorite artists put out albums that seemed to be aimed directly at me. The Mountain Goats’ Bleed Out was a whole album of up-tempo, guitar-driven vignettes of violence and crime. And although Wilco’s Cruel Country was not the country album its publicist claimed it was, it was a fine collection of well-crafted pop songs without the skronk and artsy-fartsiness of a lot of much of their 21st-century output.

This was made obvious by the expanded reissue of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the last Wilco album featuring Jay Bennett. I just got the 8-CD version for Christmas (CDs nuts!) and haven’t had a chance to listen to the three discs that aren’t available on streaming services, but I can’t wait to dive in.

Another twentieth anniversary expanded release I enjoyed was the Libertines’ Up the Bracket with over three hours of demos, outtakes, and radio sessions. And we can’t forget to mention the Beatles’ expanded Revolver box. Not a ton of new stuff if you already had Anthology 2 but it all sounds great, and the original-speed “Rain” instrumental is as mind-blowing as Take 1 of “Tomorrow Never Knows” was when we heard it 25 years ago.

The album I kept going back to over and over has been Taylor Swift’s Midnights. I dismissed it initially as a step back from the direction she had taken on folklore and evermore, but I’ve since realized it’s as good as anything she’s done. It’s embarrassing for a grownup man to admit this, but she’s my favorite songwriter working today.

The other big lifestyle change in addition to my newfound optimism was that I finally got off Twitter. At the end of April I took a few weeks off after the initial talk of Elon Musk taking over and re-instating Donald Trump’s account. I survived without it, but was back to my old ways by the middle of June. I gave it up for good in November. Deleted my apps. Removed the embedded timeline in the sidebar over there –>. Stopped auto-tweeting GLONO posts. Dunzo. But now I’m on Mastodon. Which will probably become equally addictive. But at least it’s not owned by a loon-enabling oligarch! It’s still a little complicated to get going on, but if you’re interested and need any help, feel free to hit me up.

Have a happy, hopeful new year, everybody!

Apple Music: GLONO 2022

Spotify: GLONO 2022

Note: Some songs may be missing from these playlists either due to human error, unavailability at the time, or being yanked by the streaming services after we added them to the playlist. Also, both Spotify and Apple only show the first 100 songs in the embedded player; click through for the whole playlist.

Previous fins d’année: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.

Wrapping up 2021

Looking back I guess it was naive to think 2021 would be better. In reality, January 6 set the tone for the year. The kooks are mad and they’re going to fuck it up for the rest of us. Whether it’s democracy, public health, education, the environment, or basic civil rights, there’s a deplorable 15% of this country that throws a hissy fit whenever the reasonable majority doesn’t bow to their fragile feelings. And there’s an even larger number of people who are willing to either just ignore the lunatics or give them exactly whatever bullshit they’re demanding. Like eliminating mask requirements in schools and overturning Roe v. Wade.

So here we are. Is it me, or do things just keep getting worse and worse, year after year after year? Is there any good reason to think that 2022 will be any better in any way than 2021?

Who knows?

Once again, I got so bummed out that I often couldn’t bring myself up to the task of finding good new music to share with you all. And once again, every week without fail, Stephen Macaulay filed a new post every Saturday, keeping the site alive, and inspiring us all to keep on keeping on.

The thing other than doomscrolling that kept me from seeking out new music was spending an inordinate amount of time researching and compiling my ridiculous playlist of 94 years of rock and roll, wherein I selected one song per year going all the way back to 1927. That was a fun project but exhausting. (If you only listen to one song from it, at least check out Bessie Smith’s “I’m Wild About That Thing” from 1929. It’s awesome, hilarious, and dirrrrrty.)

Like every year, a lot of great music came out in 2021. An Overview on Phenomenal Nature by Cassandra Jenkins blew me away, and I listened to it non-stop on a loop in February. I loved the new Lucy Dacus, Lorde, and Liz Phair albums. And there were dozens of great singles, perhaps nothing quite as unexpected as Taylor Swift’s 10-minute version of “All Too Well.” I had never even heard the original version! But wow.

I enjoyed Todd Haynes’ visually stunning Velvet Underground documentary, although it gave short shrift to the Doug Yule era, which I made up for by digging back into The Complete Matrix Tapes and the deluxe editions of the self-titled album and Loaded.

And of course we Beatlemaniacs got the best Thanksgiving treat we could’ve ever hoped for with Peter Jackson’s 8-hour edit of the Get Back footage. I’ve been studying the Beatles since I was 15 — I’ve read countless books and watched countless documentaries — but this was the first time I’ve felt like I really understood them as human beings.

Another bit of overdoing it came in the form of Andrew Sandoval’s enormous, 740-page The Monkees: The Day-By-Day Story. I’m so happy I ordered this because it’s sold out now. But it’s bittersweet because it makes me regret not venturing out to catch Micky and Mike on their farewell tour. They played Detroit in November and then Nesmith died a month later. I had a few opportunities to see Nez in concert over the years and sadly I blew them all.

I only managed to get out to two concerts in 2021: my homies Mustard Plug at the Pyramid Scheme in August and then four days of Riot Fest in Chicago in September. Being in a small club like the Pyramid Scheme with a bunch of sweaty young people jumping around and screaming along to the songs was probably the riskiest thing I did all year. Sure, I was vaccinated — we all were, the band and venue required proof — but yikes we were all breathing the same dank air, and while some of us put our masks back on when we weren’t drinking, we were drinking most of the time we were there. Of course, back in August things weren’t nearly as bad as they’d get. Riot Fest, being 100% outdoors and requiring vax or negative tests, felt pretty safe.

So I managed to get through 2021 without getting covid. So that’s good.

And we did manage to share over 100 new songs in 2021. Six hours of music. That’s not a ton, but it’s not nothing. It’s something. Something good. And there’s always good new stuff coming out. Which gives you something to look forward to. It might even contribute to making 2022 better than 2021… But let’s not get carried away.

Continue reading Wrapping up 2021

Twenty Years Ago Today… Well, Tomorrow

On February 6, 2021, Glorious Noise will have been online for twenty years. Twenty!

I’m trying to remember what life was like twenty years ago. 2001. So long ago. The world wide web was still pretty new. You could buy used records for a buck or two. Good stuff, too, in good condition!

No smart phones. How did we coordinate anything? How did we know where we were going? I guess a lot of times we didn’t know. We just stumbled around until we found what we were looking for.

We’ve seen a lot of changes over these twenty years. The music industry, especially. With everybody streaming now, we’re finally hooked into that “celestial jukebox” that filesharing originally had us thinking about back then. Pretty much. There’s still tons of stuff that’s not available on streaming services.

While announcing our tenth anniversary in 2011, we went on hiatus for a while. That was ten years ago now. There were a lot of reasons for it, but we needed a break. At the time, I wasn’t totally sure if we would come back. But we did and we’ve kept it going ever since. Looking back, 2013-2016 were pretty slow, averaging just 35 posts a year. That’s as dead as we got. But in 2017 and 2018 we recommitted and posted something new every weekday. We’ve grown a little lazier since then, but the goal is still to find as much good stuff to share as we can.

And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.

This is typically the time of year I ask myself what’s the point of doing this at all. I still don’t have a very good answer. I look around at other dads and they keep themselves busy with golf and…I don’t even really know. I still like to listen to music and I still get excited when I hear something new that’s good. And when that happens I want to tell people about it.

So here we are. Twenty years later. Doing it ourselves. For no good reason. A labor of love.

Let’s all hope this year is better than last year. Maybe we’ll get to experience live music again before 2022. I hope so. I miss going to shows. Yelling at bands. Drinking beers with pals. Buying t-shirts from the merch table. It’s been a really long time.

I can’t wait until we’re all vaccinated and we can kick off the Roaring Twenties for real. Until then, hang in there.

Previous birthdays: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

Continue reading Twenty Years Ago Today… Well, Tomorrow

Wrapping up 2020

Good riddance to what has been, objectively, a very bad year.

343,000+ Americans have died of a disease that can be carried by people without symptoms and spread to people who might die. Most people who get it don’t get too sick. Some never even know they had it. And yet it’s already killed 1 in 1,000 Americans.

The most disturbing thing about 2020 has been how this virus has exposed how little Americans care about each other. How easy it’s been to shrug off thousands of people dying every day. How unwilling people are to inconvenience themselves for the sake of protecting the vulnerable. Half the country refuses to believe that doctors and nurses are telling the truth about the situation they’re dealing with in hospitals.

It’s impossible to get the country to agree on solutions when people are living in alternate realities. No common set of facts.

We made the decision at the end of 2016 to try to stay positive and keep this site focused on the good things happening in the world. Music has the power to make you feel better, even in the shittiest of times. Especially in the shittiest of times.

Looking back over our annual wrap-ups of previous years, I can’t even remember now why we thought 2018 was so bad, but it’s sad to think I couldn’t imagine it getting worse. It could. Much, much worse.

And here we are. At the end of a very bad year. There is some hope on the horizon. A vaccine is being distributed…albeit far more slowly than we were led to believe. We will have a new administration on January 20 despite the efforts of an unamerican, anti-democratic wannabe autocrat. We should all be thankful that our orange fuhrer is as inept as he is; a competent fascist could have easily stolen this election. The fact that our entire democracy came down to the lawfulness of a handful of local officials should make us shudder. Make no mistake: those few decent Republicans will certainly be replaced by unscrupulous monsters in the near future. And then what? Let’s hope we won’t have to find out.

But we made it through. Personally, there were times (weeks, months) where I didn’t feel up to the task of seeking out good new music to share. I just couldn’t conjure the energy. But throughout the entire year, our intrepid Stephen Macaulay filed 1,000 words to me every Saturday along with an email summing up his week. These missives inspired me to keep this site alive during a year when it would’ve been excusable to let it lie fallow…or die off altogether.

If you’ve followed GLONO for any amount of time you may have caught on that Mac is of a generation that witnessed the Faces at Cobo Hall. He saw the Stones on the Exile tour. Mac subscribed to the Fifth Estate and to Rolling Stone back when it was printed on newsprint. That is to say, Mac is like the cool uncle we all wish we had growing up, which puts him in a demographic that is more at risk to the serious effects of COVID-19.

Locked down in stricter quarantine than anyone else I know, Mac has carried our site through this year, and for that I will always be grateful.

Let’s all hope the distribution and administration of the vaccine gets straightened out quickly so we can have a shot at seeing each other in real life some time next year. Stay safe, stay healthy, and try to stay positive!

Love,
Jake and the GLONO posse

Continue reading Wrapping up 2020

Hey Nineteen: Happy birthday to us!

She thinks I’m crazy
But I’m just growin’ old…

Sure, when you’re a grown-ass adult, 19 seems impossibly young. But when you’re a website? Well, 19 is old as dirt. C’est la vie.

2001 was a long time ago. A lifetime, really. It’s freaky to think how different the world was before Facebook, before Twitter, before YouTube, before iPhones…

Nineteen-year-olds today have no memories of life without a phone in everybody’s hand all the time.

But we do. And here we are. Still going. Still finding good music and sharing it. Occasionally still digging deep into something we care about. Mostly, we’re trying to stay positive and convey joy in an environment where that’s getting increasingly difficult.

But music helps. And whether it’s the thrill of discovering some kid’s debut single or the comfort of replaying something you’ve heard a thousand times, music provides a salve for our battered souls.

Skate a little lower now…

Audio: Steely Dan – “Hey Nineteen”

From Gaucho (MCA, 1980).

Continue reading Hey Nineteen: Happy birthday to us!

Wrapping Up 2019

Happy new year, everybody! Sorry this is a little later coming out than usual but we closed down GLONO HQ for the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s and didn’t even look at a computer. Highly recommended. Next year maybe we’ll try to ignore the phones too.

While in 2018 we posted something new every single weekday, we were a little more lax in 2019. Our annual playlist of all the songs we posted about is only 119 tracks this year, compared to 202 in 2018 and 172 in 2017. Sorry (but not that sorry).

There was a ton of good music released in 2019, as there is every year. Sometimes it feels like it’s getting harder to find, and then sometimes good jams are unavoidable. “Old Town Road” was something else, huh?

My favorite album of the year, I’m You by Hallelujah the Hills, came out of nowhere and absolutely blew me away. It’s an album that explicitly deals with the stuff that Glorious Noise was founded on: exploring the convoluted relationship between musicians and listeners. I’m surprised and disappointed it hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

My favorite concert of the year was Sincere Engineer and the Hold Steady at Thalia Hall in Chicago. Both bands reminded me how good for your soul it is to get out and see bands with a bunch of other people. It’s church for people like us. I was going to write it up and then realized that back in 2014 I had already written exactly what I planned on saying. Still, I need to constantly remind myself to get out more. The older I get, the easier it is to retreat into my jammies and stay home.

My resolutions this year are to be nicer to the people I love and to go to more shows (and to eat better and exercise). If you’re reading this, feel free to hold me to it!

And what better way to do that than on our beloved old message board? I’d love to see message boards make a comeback. As much as I appreciate twitter for what it is, there’s something special about a bunch of likeminded community members yakking it up in their own space. Yeah, I know, #okboomer, ha ha, very funny, and while we’re at it, let’s bring back blogs in 2020, but seriously: get in there. We miss you. We mean it.

Take of yourself, try to stay sane, and let’s all hope things get better in 2020.

Love,
Jake and the GLONO posse

Continue reading Wrapping Up 2019

Glorious Noise is 18. And we like it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXZcJojTucg

Every year around this time I ask myself a question: Why are we doing this?

There’s no really good answer. I guess the hope is there’s somebody out there who likes rock and roll music but doesn’t want to have to seek out good new stuff. So we’re providing a service.

The reality, of course, is if you’re bothering to go to a web site like this you’re already seeking stuff out. You don’t need us.

So are we in it for the money? Well, let’s just say a couple weeks ago we started messing around with ads again for the first time in years, and so far the results would suggest no. Google tells me that in the last seven days we’ve made $1.08. We’ll see how it goes, but if it stays like that I’ll yank the ads. It’s not worth it to have to look at men’s underwear and stupid t-shirts every time I open a web browser.

It can be downright depressing if you dwell on it.

But it would be more depressing at this point to just quit. I like GLONO being the O.G. that’s been around since 2001, and we’ve published a bunch of good stuff over the years. I’m super proud of our small part in helping kick off the careers of some great writers.

Plus, it’s still exciting to have to meet the challenge of finding something new and good to post every day. There’s lots of great music being released all the time, and it’s fun to find it and share it.

One other thing that’s been cool this year was finally starting an instagram account in September. I had stubbornly and stupidly been opposed to it. Seemed a little too late/dollar short. But DP made the case: “People love photos! And we actually have an archive of some pretty dope ones.” I had never considered re-purposing our backlog of hundreds of photos from fests and shows over years.

So yeah, we’ve been posting to instagram every day since then and we’ve managed to attract 292 followers. So thanks to everybody who’s followed us. Again…worth it? I dunno. But it’s been fun to look through the photos. We’ve shot a lot of bands!

I apologize for the somewhat negative tone. The past two years have been mentally exhausting and psychically debilitating in a lot of ways. It’s tough to stay positive. There are signs of hope for the future, maybe, but it’s a slog to find them when you’re overwhelmed by soul-crushing news every fucking day for 748 days straight…and counting.

Then again, I’ve been through many times in which I thought I might lose it. The only thing that saved me has always been music. A wise man said that.

So the state of this web site, I guess, is alright.

Previous birthdays: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018.

Continue reading Glorious Noise is 18. And we like it.

2018: Good Riddance

What a year. How naive were we to think that 2016 was bad just because Prince and David Bowie died, Mitch McConnell was mean to President Obama, and Hillary Clinton lost the election to a game show host who made an entire career out of lying and cheating?

And then 2017 seemed bad too. But now 2018 had us actually locking children in cages and condoning the dismemberment of journalists, so it’s hard to imagine 2019 getting much worse, but who knows? There are 365 days to prove me wrong, and when crazy stuff happens literally every single day of the year, I’ll probably look back at this post and shake my head and think, awww, how cute, you didn’t think it could get worse…

I find myself wishing Hunter S. Thompson was around to help put our current events into context. His writing about the 70s still seems so relevant today. But then again, Nixon looks like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compared to today’s G.O.P. And Reagan looks like Beto O’Rourke.

But hey, at least the Dems won the House and there was a bunch of good music released this year.

We posted something every weekday for the whole year, a consistency we hadn’t achieved in the 17-year history of this website.

And as I said last year, “We are not an algorithm. We’re a few dudes with dayjobs and strong opinions who tend to gravitate toward guitar music with something to say. You can trust us.”

So once again, we’ve been compiling the songs we’ve posted into a massive playlist which you can stream for yourself to decide if our taste jibes with your own. Dig it.

And let’s hope things get better in 2019.

Continue reading 2018: Good Riddance

Hey What’s Up? Glorious Noise Is 17

Time flies. Seventeen years? Crazy. GLONO is the same age as the lead singer of my favorite band. There are kids in bands today who weren’t even born when we started this. That blows my mind.

I remember turning 17 the summer before my senior year of high school. John Cougar had told us to “hold on to 16 as long as you can” and I took that advice seriously. But that was almost 30 years ago. That blows my mind too.

Over the past year we’ve been trying to publish something every weekday, which has required seeking out a lot of new music. That’s been rewarding for me, personally. Too many grownups get stuck in the rut of feeling like there’s nothing good being made anymore. As if music peaked your senior year of high school. When you were 17. The same age as this website.

That’s baloney. Of course it is, but the older I get the more I realize that you have to consciously and actively look for good stuff. It doesn’t just fall in your lap like it used to when you were always hanging out with friends and listening to records together and going to bars and shows all the time. It’s work now to find new music.

Is it worth the effort? Yeah, for sure. It’s awesome. We’ve found tons of great new songs by artists I’d never heard before, and many of them happen to be young women. There’s still plenty of old dudes kicking out the jams (and GLONO will always love classic rock), but most of the exciting new music is being made by girls. (Neil Portnow’s a moron.) Look back at the past year’s worth of songs we’ve covered and you’ll see that about half are from bands fronted by women. And way more than half if we’re talking about brand new bands. So that’s cool.

But I get why my fellow grownups don’t want to put in the effort. That’s fine. I am happy to listen to 80s music and drink wine while our kids play videogames in the basement. That’s fun too.

On the other hand, if you want to be exposed to some good new music, we’re here for you. At Glorious Noise we work hard so you don’t have to. Like Scrubber Bubbles. Tune in, and we’ll turn you on to good music.

And if all goes well, we’ll be doing this for another 17 years. I hope I’m still digging new music in my sixties. I have no doubt that kids will still be picking up guitars and playing rock and roll. The only questions are: Will my ears still work, and if so, will they still be open to hearing new sounds?

We’ll see…

Continue reading Hey What’s Up? Glorious Noise Is 17