Ouch, it’s been a long week on my end. Lot’s of work. Lot’s of driving. Been a bit of a struggle to get too deep into the stuff, but still it’s Sunday morning and the coffee is poured so I best get to answering the question: what have I been…
The big beautiful Game of Thrones seven book box set has arrived, and I’ve been cutting through the pages of the first book of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga like a knife through butter. It’s a smooth ride so far. I’m often put off by longer forms of storytelling, I like paperbacks which can slip into the sleeve on the back of a car seat, films which clock in under two hours, and TV shows which end in under five seasons – but so far the pace of G.R.R Martin’s epic makes me hopeful I won’t get disheartened too easily on this occasion.
Although I’d rather not spend my whole week behind the wheel of a car (on a particularly boring road I may add) it has given me a good opportunity to dive into some recently released albums which I, for the most part, can quite heartily recommend.
The National are a quintet specialised in suburban melancholia and moody, tender love songs, perhaps identified most easily by lead singer Matt Berringer’s baritone drawl, but on their latest, I Am Easy To Find, they have collaborated with 70+ artists to create a project which seeks to tackle the state of the gender divide in 2019, most notably by allowing Berringer’s voice to be joined, and sometimes even overshadowed, by a series of female vocalists (Gail Ann Dorsey, Sharon Van Etten, Mina Tindle, Lisa Hannigan, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus). From the outside I was initially a little cynical about this decision, but the fact is this is an excellent album and it is excellent because of its collaborative spirit. Berringer’s voice has so often been the spotlight, the gravitational centre of The National, it is a revelation to hear him work so well as just another star in the system, spiralled by the chorus of his guests.
With such sublime execution, all cynicism melts away.
From the sublime to the sublime, Injury Reserve have dropped some of my favourite singles of 2019, and this week they came together on their self-titled debut album. They already have a considerable back catalogue, with two EP’s and three mixtapes in the bag, but this album should be the moment they breakthrough into the mainstream. Should. The album is diverse collection of bone shaking bangers, see Koruna and Lime and Jailbreak the Tesla featuring Aminé – to confessional moodiness on Wax On featuring Freddie Gibbs, and What a Year It’s Been – to comically inclined observations on modern life on Jawbreaker featuring Rico Nasty & Pro Teens, and Rap Song Tutorial.
No one is doing what Injury Reserve is doing right now in hip-hop, and hopefully audiences respond.
Also have to give shout outs to Tyler, the Creator who dropped IGOR, Carly Rae Jepson’s Dedication, and Com Truise’s Persuasion System.
Like I said, it’s been a long week, and since GoT on Monday I’ve watched…nothing. So I guess I’ll talk about that? The hot take culture surrounding the show has weakened my will, as soon as I see petitions sprouting up, demanding that creators corrupt their creative vision, no matter how unpopular/divisive, in order to give fans what they perceive as being owed to them, my own defences go up because that is some stupid shit. I didn’t love the episode, although it did make me feel uncomfortable (which was almost definitely the intention). I think the execution overall was lacking. Still, for better or worse the show is ending the way it is ending and if it feels like what you’re seeing on screen is ruining your life, you may need to re-assess your priorities.
I’ve only played one game this week and that is Fallout 4. I can only apologise for my foolishness, and direct you towards my reflections on the game over this way.
I did find some time for a couple decent runs this week and as soon as I hit publish on this post, I’m heading out to knock out a sub-45-minute 10k, which was my goal when I initially began training in earnest again. I genuinely think I’m in better shape than a 45 already, but that was my goal and it’ll be nice to set that benchmark off my own back, knowing that in a more competitive run I’ll be able to comfortably get under that mark.
I’m off to smash that 45 minute mark, and then probably apologetically play more Fallout 4, despite the shameful list of deserving new releases which I have completely ignored.