Songs of the month... aka Women are fucking awesome; and so is bourbon...

As I sit here, trying to decide if I like Buffalo Trace bourbon and where it might fit in my family of bourbons (topped by Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace’s older, rye-ier brother), I realize that I cannot stop watching “Corner Gas;” that quirky, Canadian “Friends”-like show, except all the characters kind of hate-love each other. Brent’s mom is easily the worst character in the show, making her husband, Oscar, seem palatable by nature. Besides Brent, the main character, my favorite character is Hank, the dumb sidekick. He rarely is mean, cruel, sarcastic, vengeful, plotting or any of the other adjectives that describe literally everyone else. Anyways, maybe I do like Buffalo Trace as didn’t I already recommend “Corner Gas” on Amazon Prime? And when you’re finished with its 6 season, watch “Spaced.” My god, what an amazing show from the guys who did “Shaun of the Dead” (watch for some callbacks in “Shaun”), one of my favorite movies and my personal inspiration for my zombie character in the music video for “Let’s Go Out Tonight” along with “Thriller,” obviously. Wait, what am I talking about?

The past few weeks have been very trying for ‘ol Bradley Wik. I’m not sure what the root cause is but I’m sure it’s some degree of being back home in Portland, OR more the past month or the lack of motivation I’ve had to write/record new shit. It’s hard to describe what depression feels like but I’d say it feels sort of like be hungover everyday, with slightly less headaches. The malaise, the feeling of worthlessness, the stomach aches, the self-critique of being a lazy piece of shit, the counting down of hours until you can effectively put on your PJ’s, grab a glass of bourbon, lay in bed and watch reruns of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” until midnight then switching to BET for reruns of “Martin” until you pass out from exhaustion/booze. I always wonder how much should be attributed to the Asperger’s, how much to just plain ‘ol depression or how much to the lack of sleep/booze (Kanye advocated for the latter) over the years. Sound fun, right?

In good news, as I mentioned previously, I have my typewriter back in working order. It’s a Royal Quiet De Luxe (in case you give a shit about such things). It gives me such joy to peck away as I work through my backlog of songs that aren’t typed out yet. It’s been amazing to go back and read some of the lyrics from my folk songs. They’re equally entertaining and ridiculous and semi-autobiographical, somehow. I posted some a couple weeks ago, check it out HERE. I love to sit with a glass of bourbon (and sometimes a cigarette) and clack those keys. It’s a weirdly satisfying experience and a fun way to wallow in nostalgia.

Excuse the shitty quality (it’s not mine) but I couldn’t find a better clip of ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS EVER ON FAMILY GUY.

As far as music goes this week, I’ve been combing back through old Spotify playlists and here are the highlights:

“No Country” - The Jezabels

I’m not sure what to say other than this song get’s me misty eyed every time I put it on. The guitar flourishes sound like something I would write 99 times out of 100. I love trills and repeating lines. God bless Asperger’s, it makes music like math; which I also love.

“Antabus” - Makthaverskan

I think I spelled that right, jesus. Pure fun, and sadness. Incredible. “Fuck You. Fuck You.”

“We are what you say” - Dead Sara

Jesus fuck, what a fucking tune. Got to see Dead Sara not too long ago and motherfucker what a show. Incredible. I was fucking entertained from minute one until the high fives as she ran through the crowd at the end. Just fuck yeah.

“Cost of the Cold” - Joan Shelley

Fuck me sideways. Few people can pull off what Joan does on this song. I feel like I’m living in a different world while I listen to this. That’s the biggest compliment I can give. If a song can create an entire world where I can reside, without connection to my own reality for four minutes and not even realize that I’ve left. I hate coming back…

“Teeth” - Lisa Hannigan

There was a time (maybe I still do now upon revisiting) in which I led the coalition of those who found Lisa Hannigan to be the most attractive woman on the planet due to her combination of talent and beauty. This is such a Damien Rice-like tune that I can’t help but weep when I listen to it. I could listen to Lisa sing all day, every day; and look at her much the same. There’s a delicate pain and reactive anger in this tune I can’t get enough of. Not sure why I like that kind of thing, but boy, do I.

“Irene” - Courtney Marie Andrews

This song once saved my life. True story. I was driving back to Portland, OR from Boise, ID after a show and got caught in a snowstorm just outside Baker City, OR. I-84 went straight from drive-able to a fucking shitshow. I was sliding all over the road and could barely see. Of course, I didn’t have chains (growing up in WI, the city/state actually takes care of the roads and salts/clears the fucking roads). I was trapped between a couple semi-trucks so I could slow down or speed up too much as we weaved through the mountainous region, complete with various cliffs (remember: I will die by driving over a cliff. I’ve dreamt it so many times I know it to be true. It is my worst fear, but also a reality; but not on this day) and treacherous curves. Right before I got to this stretch of highway (which lasted about 100 miles and nearly 6 hours) I had set my Spotify to repeat on this song. Once I hit the rough patch, every time I reached to change the song, my car would swerve or I’d lose traction to remind me to fucking leave it be. I decided I would not go off the cliff or get run over by the semi-trucks who seemed intent on driving much faster than me but with far less control by focusing on this song and this song only until I was back into safety. Courtney Marie Andrews, without this song, I probably would’ve freaked out or made a driving mistake which could have led to my demise. Thank you.

“Ultrafluorescent” - Oshwa

Either I’m drunk or Squarespace’s spellcheck is fucking awful. It keeps flagging words I spell right motherfucker. I don’t get it.. But regardless, I can’t figure out why I like this song so much. I just do. I just do.

“Breakfast of Champions” - Rainer Maria

For those under 30, this is what the music of our teenage years sounded like. Perfectly beautiful, rough, melodic, angry, sad, hopeful and named after Kurt Vonnegut Jr. books. Brilliant. And one of the few bands from Wisconsin that kicked fucking ass. They were perfect for a moment and a place. And that moment is me and that place is wherever the fuck I am.

Just noticed every song is sung and/or written by women. Seems like I have a preference for my vocal presentations, songs and musical sensibilities. Anyone who thinks women don’t kick as much ass as (or more than) men can go fuck themselves. Just listen to these tunes and tell me different. Some of the best shit I’ve heard in the past couple years. I love it and I hope you enjoy these tunes. I don’t actually. I couldn’t care less, actually. God bless Asperger’s. God Bless Me. I think I’ve had enough pours to officially like Buffalo Trace bourbon by now. God Bless America.

(dictated but not read)

rainer maria look now look again.jpg

Spotify's "Your Top Songs of 2017" and more aka... I can't believe this year has passed me by aka... concussions suck...

Holy shit, it's almost 2018...  Let's recap this crazy year, in music of course...




Honestly (as if I've ever been anything less than honest with you people), the Packers probably had no business taking this game.  The "Battle of the Bays" was won by defense, special teams, some new plays and some lucky bounces.  I was texting my brother the entire game "we'll win if we just don't throw it."  This became the "just don't throw it" game.  Every first down, every third down, every big play "just don't throw it" showed up on my phone, either from Jobe or to Jobe from me.  It was our rallying cry, and... it fucking worked!  That Williams kid is a beast and had some 2013-2014 Lacy-esque, I'm-fucking-tougher-than-you big boy runs, like his touchdown carry.  And, of course, Aaron Jones, the rookie sensation who somehow is back only two weeks after hurting his knee, had one run for twenty yards, and, oh yeah, the fucking game winning score.  I love those kids and they're only going to get better...


For anyone who didn't know how brilliant Kenny Clark has been playing this year and was questioning Clay Matthews III and his abilities/impact, welcome back to the real world.  4 1/2 sacks between them, and an unreal impact on the running game.  Those kids just fucking know how to play ball.  I know people complain about Clay and his seemingly annual ailments but injuries happen and  we shouldn't hold it against him; though I do believe health is a skill, just look at Brett Favre.  Also, I remember Reggie White playing with a torn knee ligament and destroying the Bears after they tried to cut-block him on like the second snap or something, which fucking pissed him off, and he played the rest of the game like a hungry lion who only ate quarterbacks and running backs.  I can't remember who, but someone this week got a sack off the "hump move" which I haven't seen for years.  I don't know how a move could be so devastating yet so unachievable by anyone else.  Goddamn, Reggie was special.  Wait, he was a preacher, so I'll rephrase "man, Reggie was special."  God bless him and God rest his soul.  Truly one of a kind...  Anyhow, on to the music.



I wasn't able to post this on Monday like normal due to being out of town (and busy) at a show.  My good friend Jonathan Fickes' band A View of Earth from the Moon had an album release show and party over the weekend which I was fucking thrilled to attend.  That man is true talent and I got to see, and smoke way too many cigarettes with, some old friends.  Life's journey is funny, but never as predictable it seems.  Anywhosal...


One of the only good things about the internet is Spotify.  I find more new music on there than anywhere else.  Tastemakers and aggregate websites seem to be a dying breed.  No one reliably tells me who is good and who isn't anymore, like Pitchfork used to (or B-Sides in Madison, WI, one of my all-time favorite record stores).  I spend more money on Spotify recommendations (yes, I still buy music.  Hello?  Independent/struggling artist) than on music from anywhere else.


But, one of my favorite things is when they send end of year playlists.  It's strange, and always surprising, to see what I listened to the most during the past year, so today I wanted to go over some of the highlights.  It's not what I expected but some strange events played into that, which I'll discuss.  Here are some of the songs I spun (nope, clicked) the most in 2017:

Courtney Marie Andrews - "Rookie Dreaming"


This song was high on the list from 2017 for two reasons:


1.  This is a phenomenal album that I could listen to front to back, many times over.

2.  I was forced to listen to this album front to back, many times over.


Why was I forced to listen to this album front to back, many times over?  That's a fair question.  Well, I heard "Not the End" on a Spotify playlist and listened to it over and over for an hour or so while driving.  Seeing as I had indulged in Courtney Marie Andrews' sweet melodies for that long, I purchased the album and popped it in for an upcoming five hour drive.  I brought along about five or six other CD's that I would switch out along the way but fate intervened.  As soon as I left Baker City, OR it began to snow.  As I approached La Grande, OR it began to snow, hard.  Soon, the freeways were being blocked off but I was already cruising.  I got stuck behind the snow plow trucks trying desperately to clear the roadways; at thirty miles per hour.  For the first six hours of my return trip, stuck behind those plows, the roads were still so treacherous that I was unable to change CD's as my car kept sliding around and I was trying desperately to not drive off one of the many cliffs I was passing.  So, for six hours straight I played "Honest Life" by Courtney on repeat, listening intently so I wouldn't notice my car sliding dangerously towards the edge, towards my impending death, time and time again, during what turned out to be my ten hour drive back to Portland.



Probably my favorite live show from 2017.  It's rare I get to just lose myself (in the music, the moment, you own it) and became an unabashed fan, yelling along to every word from the front of the pit with the other die-hards.  This show released my inner fan in a way I haven't experienced since watching maybe Ryan Adams, the Hold Steady, Jon Fickes (on Sunday) or Joanna Newsom (take your pick).


Land of Talk - "Loving"


Probably my second favorite live show from 2017.  There's just something about their albums "Life After Youth" and  "Some are Lakes" that just hit me where I need it.  Not sure exactly what it is, but I love it and want more of it.


Steve Forbert - "Romeo's Song"


I know I've posted this song before but it never gets any less impressive each time I listen to it.  Maybe Steve would never reach these heights again on a recording but, goddamn, did he nail it at least once on this beauty.  Also, I love the home movie style video linked above that has the "Classics Disco" tag in the corner...  Clearly shot when videographers thought VHS would supplant film in the movie world.  Boy, were they wrong...


Modern Baseball - "Wedding Singer"


I found this record last year and was moderately intrigued.  It popped back up on a Spotify playlist a few months later and I couldn't stop playing this on repeat.  Their incessant hipster-ing is borderline annoying but the tunes, especially this one, are just too good to hate.

Childish Gambino - "IV. Sweatpants"


Who knew an ex-writer from "30 Rock" had this in them?  Is he a brilliant MC?  No, but it's ridiculous and it's pure, silly fun.


Joan Shelley - "Cost of the Cold"


Couldn't find a decent live video for this one, but goddamn is this a beautiful song.  Again, Spotify said "Bradley, I think you're gonna like this shit muthafucker" and they were right.  The first time I heard this I was cleaning the house (which I do every Saturday) and played this song on repeat for the 1 1/2 hours it takes me to finish.  Almost every time, except for a couple moments when the vacuum was going, I found myself getting lost in the melodies and wonder of this song and completely forgetting that I was cleaning the fucking toilet or whatever.  I did this for three weeks straight, listening to this song probably, what is that, 70 times and never once got sick of it.  It landed on some playlists which pushed it up onto my 2017 most played tracks.

The Kinks - "Lola"


This one makes the list every year for sentimental reasons.  She knows why...


Bonus points since Ray Davies kind of looks like Casey Jones from the first Ninja Turtles movie in this video.


Paul Westerberg - "Things"


Again, no good live video but this song doesn't need any of my yammering or bullshit to make it brilliant.  Not sure why but "14 Songs" had a huge comeback this past year and I couldn't stop spinning, or clicking, or pushing the "track forward" button until #11 to hear this fucking song.

CHVRCHES - "We Sink"


Live from a stage I've graced more than once.  Fuck, is it just me or is the singer absurdly attractive?  It took until this past year to finally get on board with this band.  I can't remember why I wrote them off initially but I'm glad I gave them a second chance.  Damn, Scottish girls are hot...

Wesley Willis - "Rock N' Roll McDonalds"


I'll never forget the first time I heard this song and the asshole who played it for me.  He thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard.  He repeatedly called Wesley a retard and said this was the dumbest and most hilarious shit he'd ever heard.  It was obvious there was more going on and I was very interested in learning about Wesley.  I watched "The Daddy of Rock 'n' Roll" and my heart nearly exploded for this man.  His music never sounded the same to me after that.  All I hear now is the pain and the anger and the hurt and the love and the compassion and the desire and the beauty that isn't obviously clear.  Once I left my small town in southeastern Wisconsin, I found friends who felt the same and got this music for what it was:  tortured, more than anything else.


I don't know what else to say.  I could go on from my "Top Songs of 2017" playlist all night but these are the highlights.  Peace Bitches!


(dictated but not read.  Fuck, what do you expect?  It's goddamn 2:30 in the morning)