How To Succeed In Supporting The ACLU Without Really Trying, Part 2

Let’s get to it! Go buy some great music and support liberty. But not too much liberty – you should buy exactly what I tell you to.

Bowman

Picking up where we left off, Michael Guy Bowman is a Homestuck alum, and one of the most prestigious and talented alumni from the music team whose name isn’t Toby Fox. Accomplished with both instrumental tracks and singer-songwriter work, Bowman has focused on the latter in his solo career, releasing consistently good and often great albums. His music stylings range from album to album, but never drift too far from some semblance of folk and/or rock.

What You Should Buy:

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His debut album, Ithaca might not be perfect, but it’s damn, damn close. A youthful optimism infects the whole album, and it’s chock-full of toe-tapping tunes and good times. From the first song to the last, there’s a relentlessly fun driving energy, and this disc easily ranks up with Fishboy when it comes to my favorite albums to belt along to. It’s hard to recommend single tracks without recommending the whole album, but “Come With Me” has the incessantly catchy quality beholden to all great folk ditties, “Cerulean Skies” has a wonderful 70’s rock feel and is a delightfully pissed off and anarchic view of the music industry, and “Rodeo Clown” is one of those songs that captures something about yourself you always knew but could never put into words. It’s 7 bucks, I guarantee you will have a good time. Buy it.

What I’m Buying:

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Despite his more youthful appearance on the album cover, Hush is Bowman grown up, his optimism traded for a jaded sense of resignation. The music has shifted accordingly, becoming less Elton John, more David Bowie. His songs still go on weird tangents, but instead of a love song to an experimental airplane like in his debut album, there’s a song about anger from the point of view of a baby who hasn’t yet learned object permanence. Where songs would be hopeful, now they are worried; songs about relationships are now about paranoia and desperation, rather than the easy fall of first romance.

Hush is not nearly as fun of an album, but Bowman ultimately has more to say and holy fucking shit I just noticed for the first time that the hand is semi transparent and i never noticed his lips before and that is freaking me out dude

But yeah, this album has some great shit – I especially love “Synchronize” – and I’ve devoured it via streaming services, but now I’m finally gonna buy it. In fact, I’m considering just going whole hog and buying the whole discography. I already own one of the albums, but what the heck. Enough of the things I’m planning to buy are less new music and more music I am guiltily finally purchasing for reals, so might as well blind buy myself some new tunes.

The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats may not be strictly nerdy, but they are kind of like a more somber, melancholy TMBG in terms of having an equally enthusiastic cult following. I also learned of them through Moral Orel, a fantastic short-lived Adult Swim show (the third season really has to be seen to be believed) created by the guy who played Starburns on Community, and writing this sentence is so nerdy I’m going to have to give myself a wedgie.

What You Should Buy:

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Beat The Champ is a concept album about professional wrestling, but this is a Mountain Goats joint, so it’s actually about death and mistakes and lost love and abusive fathers. Because Mountain Goats. And it’s absolutely wonderful. It might not have the same emotional resonance that the tightly focused arc of The Sunset Tree had, but it’s brimming with passion and ideas. Each track is a character study and a vignette, sometimes of real wrestlers, sometimes of true archetypes. There is a very cohesive sound to the music, but many different feelings are found, from the unapologetic blood luster of “Werewolf Gimmick ” to the unapologetic hero worship of “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero” to the unapologetic wistful reverie of “The Ballad of Bull Ramos“. This album may not quite be stubborn and relentless, but it’s relentless stubborn in being unapologetic. This album is also

What I’m Going To Buy

I’ve devoured this album via streaming, so I’m gonna splurge and get the big fancy vinyl edition. I can’t wait to wear out my needles playing the first half of “Heel Turn 2 ” over and over, a song which, coincidentally, debuted on an episode of…

Welcome To Night Vale

While not music per se, internationally famed podcast WTNV sells recordings of their live shows through Bandcamp.

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The Debate is an essential piece of Night Vale weirdness, and not a bad place to start if you want to get a taste. While there are technically some spoilers if you intend to start from the beginning, there’s really nothing too major, and there’s not that much back story needed – there’s a strange town that is currently having an election. The candidates include a literal five-headed dragon and the faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home (played by Mara Wilson, the kid who was Matilda in 199 ). Strange, sad, and funny things happen during the course of the debate. Also, the main host, Cecil, has a terrifying doppelganger who may or may not show up at some point.

It’s a great hour of radio play, and the musical interlude is one of the very best of the whole series. I’ve found that it contains just the right mix of political satire, political optimism, and pure bizarre fantasy escapism in these trying times. Also it’s literally a buck. What are you doing. It’s literally a dollar for well over an hour of great content. Just do it already, you’re making me look bad.

What I’m Buying:

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The Investigators is pretty much the only Night Vale live show I haven’t experienced yet in some way! No idea why I never got around to this one, but whateva. I have no idea if it will be good or not! But Welcome To Night Vale has such consistent quality that I’m betting it’ll be a pretty good time.

Mammoth Thunderpower

A band I accidentally found years ago when trawling through the “wizard rock” tag on Bandcamp.

What You Should Buy:

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This album has a song on it called “BONE THRONE”, and another track called “DEATH OF THE WIZARD”. In case you couldn’t guess, this is a metal band. I have said many times before that I am not nearly well-versed enough in metal to distinguish the good from the band, all I know is that the I AM THUNDER EP is cheesy goofy fun, and well worth your three bucks.

What I Will Buy:

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I may have bought this already! Or maybe my old roommate did. I don’t know. I’m gonna buy it again, because BONE THRONE. Wait, no, they have merch, okay, instead, I’m gonna buy this incredible “Death of The Wizard” t-shirt that comes with a free download of the EP, and probably never wear it in public unless I am dragged to our local satanist-themed vegan strip club again by my well-meaning friends:

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Yes, all of that is really happening.

Aaaaaand that brings about the end of Part 2. Part 3, the final part, should be up in a few hours! Go out there and get buying, my wand carriers.

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