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A cartoon depiction of the author, wearing a hoodie and smiling



I'm playing through Disco Elysium for the first time, a group play via Discord streams/Youtube recordings. Having people that I'm playing through a long narrative game with via events that are on the calendar is a fantastic way to keep me honest about sticking with something that I know I like, but might not have the attention span/mood to stick with on my own. I will say, though, playing the game as a weekend evening event leads to me having a couple drinks with it, and that can really make the Electrochemistry "aspect" of the game sound very wise. Anyway.


While talking with people about their music listening habits last month because of the latest news story that had people feeling guilty for relying on all-you-can-stream services, I was spurred to try out "Plexamp", a private-music-streaming app that lets you listen to music from a Plex library. I was already using Plex to get some movies from my computer onto my TV, so I found my old iTunes Music Library pre-the big Apple Music switchover and imported it along with a few dozen Bandcamp albums that I've actually bothered to download to my computer (on the one hand, I understand why there's no mass download button in the Bandcamp interface, but wow, if I ever wanted to get all of these albums onto my computer, it would take hours to click through the download process on each of them). I've been taking it for a spin here and there and... it's very compelling. The interface is compact, fast, works well on desktop and phone, and decent at combining local & remote metadata for things like album art and whatnot. Also, all of 28-year-old me's favorite songs are there. I've already rediscovered a few gems. The "shuffle"/"radio" features all work well because, well, it's all curated by the ultimate music genius: me!


Discovering a bunch of songs that feel good makes me want to start up a new Amplifier volume. I wound it down last year as I got busy with the holidays and tried to think about how I wanted to do end-of-the-year music lists. The year before I had done actual Instagram stories, and the translation of that idea onto the web was what became Amplifier Vol. 4. I was hoping to have a new format idea for the New Year, and start building the site, but things never really slowed down after the holidays? There's a lot happening but it all has felt like work, work in the dark of early Portland sunsets, and I'm starting to feel hopeful for a spring or summer that feels less like work and also less like the night. Anyway, Amplifier Vol. 5 will happen, I believe that now. And if you want to see what I wish more people were doing in relationship to the web and to music, look no further than Matt's 2021 year-end site. If I had a bitmoji version of me I could put here, it'd be biting its hand or getting an anime nosebleed or something.


I get this itch sometimes, when I'm not finding new songs that I really get obsessed with. Being obsessed with a new (to me) song is quite possibly my favorite sensation. The push and pull of allowing yourself to indulge and actually put something on repeat, or digging up an old favorite specifically because you feel weird for finding yourself on the verge of hitting play on it for what seems like the fiftieth time this week. tweeting a link to it and being disappointed when only two people like it. finding yourself singing it in your head by accident. But I can't always do it, for whatever reason. And yet, when I can't, I get these weird twinges, like I'm hurting myself by not forcing myself into trying more, finding more bands, reading more reviews.


In that spirit, here are a few songs I've come across for the first time that I've really liked already in 2022.

Sadurn - Dirt May

Bartees Strange - Heavy Heart

Cliffdiver - New Vegas Bomb f. Skatune Network

Toro y Moi - The Loop

fka twigs - jealous f. rema