Monday, February 12, 2018

What I've Been Listening To (Part 3)

So with a lot of things out of the way, I've been unwinding by listening to music again. I figure I'd blog about some of the songs I've been listening to since I'm running out of post ideas (that I can actually use in a pinch).

Only this time I'm adding cards to go along with the songs. Usually these songs are for Tony of Off Hiatus Baseball Cards to review using the rectangles I (or someone else) sent him, but I figure I'd do it myself. Especially since Tony recently gifted me a nice stack of Yankees cards from a free hobby box of 2018 Topps he won.

Before we start, let me just say that the Severino silver pack refractor is one of my favorite refractor designs (it was previously used for the Japan exclusive Japan fractor) and I like the card a lot.

Artist: Chance The Rapper
Song: Same Drugs

Chance the Rapper (born Chancelor Jonathan Bennett) is a Grammy Award winning rapper who's gotten a lot of buzz in recent times, especially in 2016 with the release of his mixtape Coloring Book.

I used to be super into hip hop back in the late 2000's and early 2010's, I'd always keep an eye on up and coming rappers because prospecting is in my genes apparently lol. I first heard about Chance The Rapper in like 2012 as a guy who had really good lyrics, but a zany delivery. Then I kind of forgot about him for a few years, and now here in 2018 he's basically one of the biggest names in hip hop, if not mainstream music in general. Which is pretty interesting since the guy is an independent artist with no major label backing behind him.

The whole Coloring Book mixtape is a gem in my book, focusing on Chance's growth as a person now that he's a father and has responsibilities. I picked Same Drugs since it's basically one of the best songs on the ensemble. A song about how Chance and a girl from his childhood have drifted apart as the years have passed. A song about remembering fondly on days gone by and yet accepting that life moves on. Love it.

If I were to equate this song to my collecting life I'd have to say that I don't really collect the same things I used to back when I first started, or even how I used to collect in 2015 for that matter. Gone are the days where I just plucked out Yankees or Yankees prospects in general. Now I'm all about the autograph, Luis Torrens and a few other PC guys for various reasons (mainly because I'm cheap). Dellin Betances there represents a part of my collecting past.

Artist: The Tartan Rascals
Song: Looking At You

The Tartan Rascals are a very unknown band from Lennoxtown, Scotland. It was formed by Stephen Young and Alex Scott back in 2006 and although they've largely been MIA since the 2010's started, the experimental rock group does have some gems in their small but impressive discography. As best I can tell, the group underwent a transformation near the end of the 2000's, adding new members Paul McInnes, James Travers and Steven Craven and reinventing themselves as "The Felz". Their song Looking At You is what appears to be the one people know the most. I mean, who can resist that riff?

The song is sort of like the Same Drugs song from before in that it's about a female the singer knew about in the past. Although it sounds like this was more along the lines of a crush or an ex-girlfriend. The lyrics are oblique and somewhat generic enough to apply to the experiences of a lot of men. They messed up in the past, want to give things another go, but at the same time just thinking/looking at the person they're infatuated with is what they love best. Doesn't sound like a second attempt at a relationship would go any better TBH but hey what do I know? If you liked the song and want to hear more you can stream some more from their discography at ReverbNation.

A card to accompany it? How about a card where the player is actually looking at you.
This is one of those work out jersey photo variation SPs. Tony pulled it and sent it my way. I'll admit that I'm kind of glad he did.

Artist: The Detroit Emeralds
Song: Feel The Need In Me

The 70's were a wonderful time for funk-music and produced some of the best R&B you'll ever hear. This jam is by a short lived group called the Detroit Emeralds and is one of the few popular/successful songs they made during their brief run. Sounds great honestly. Unfortunately the band broke up before they could really build on the success of this song. Some of the members went on to form another ensemble called The Floaters who made an even more successful song called "Float On" before Modest Mouse made the best song ever called Float On decades later. Feel The Need In Me is still great though.

The card? Um, I don't care, figure out your own reason I added this, I'm dancing here!

Artist: Mint Condition
Song: That's The Way (It's Going Down)

90's R&B is not a genre I like, but in spite of that I still find some gems now and then. I mean listen to this track, woof. It's a banger! Actually a lot of the Good Burger soundtrack is pretty great, so much so that you end up with a Space Jam thing where the soundtrack is better than the movie it was made for. This little obscure song is exactly why the soundtrack is better than the movie. The bass, the groove, the rhythm, this is music you play at a club or dance to get people to move.
As for the group Mint Condition, they're an R&B band from Minnesota who've been active since the 1980's and still continue to be active today. Their peak was in the early-to-mid 90's in the era of Toni Toni Tone, Jodeci and Nate Dogg. Apparently all popular music from 1990-93 has been forgotten (rightly so because it was a horrible garbage pile with hundreds of bad Paula Abdul wannabes) but if you were alive and had a radio back then you might remember MC's Breakin' My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes).

As for a card, let's go with this. Gardner's going down in order to steal a run.

Artist: Electric Light Orchestra
Song: Don't Bring Me Down

ELO's a good bad with a lot of great songs but this is my favorite song of theirs. I first discovered ELO after researching Daft Punk samples, only to forgot about them, and then read Night Owl Cards' tribute post to them and remembered them all over again. I wasn't sure about which angle to take when looking at them but in doing research on this band apparently they were criticized as being Beatles clones or not being rock and roll. Over time they've gotten legend status (as they should), but yeesh, I don't think they're bad at all. I guess people in the 70's had more time to complain about music since it would be a good three decades before the internet came along and destroyed the entire print industry.

For an accompanying card we have the forgotten man, Gary Sanchez. Apparently being one of the best catchers in the MLB is only mildly interesting compared to gawking at how tall Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are. Anyway, he's looking all triumphant (probably snagged a double) but with a small glare to his left like someone's trying to bring him down. Don't do that, a ground rule double is still a double.

Artist: We Came As Romans
Song: Tear It Down

This post-hardcore/metalcore/emo metal type of rock music is a genre I've given so many chances to wow me, sometimes they can notch a hit but truth be told it's often bored me. The big problem with this brand of rock is that usually every song sounds the same. So if you buy an album (or multiple albums), you're essentially listening to the same song at least 11 times to diminishing returns. The even bigger problem is that the other bands in the genre don't sound that different either, so if you try and explore what similar acts are doing hoping for gems, you're bound to find that it's the same except the lead vocalist sings a different way. WCAR is no exception.

So for me the good songs in this genre come down to the more catchier and bouncier songs. This song is an example of a song with a catchy chorus. I like it for that reason. Even if it's like the billionth rock song about angst.

Gonna go with a rare Marlin I asked Tony to send me. J.T. Realmuto is basically the last man standing after the Marlins tore everything down. Given how valuable a catcher like him is on the open market, it'd be foolish to think he still isn't on the trade block and headed somewhere too. Also I'm kind of digging the gold parallel design here. Better than the random triangles we got last year in my opinion.

Artist: Hard-Fi
Song: Cash Machine

During my sophomore year of high school I fell in love with Hard-Fi's Stars of CCTV album. It was the first album I'd ever listened to from start to finish where I thought there wasn't a bad song in it. Now that said not everything on it was amazing, but overall I thought the album was incredibly solid from start to finish. By that time the third album was just about to come out but the end was near and the writing was on the walls. Their albums still slap though.

The song cash machine is more about being broke (or being a cog in the machine) but when taken in the literal sense, I found that the perfect embodiment of a cash machine is Aaron Judge. Judge is one of those players where if he wasn't a Yankee, chances are every other fan would like him a lot more. Tony (and others) rag on him a lot but it's more because of Topps and the media at large's Yankees-centered bias pissing everyone off again, rather than Judge personally. I hope.

Artist: Marina and The Diamonds
Song: Starring Role

Marina and The Diamonds is actually just one person, Marina Lambrini Diamandis (yes, that's her actual name). Back when pop music was trying to find the next Lana Del Rey she was one of the few that managed to break through and get some attention. Her songs are upbeat, poppy and chock full of synthesizer music. Even on her slow songs you'll notice that there's a lot going on. Personally I like busy songs so her style suits me just fine.

As for a card I went with cards of Clint Frazier. Frazier's become a whipping boy of sorts for the NY media now that A-Rod's gone. I think it's unfair to him but in the end it might not matter that much since no one believes in Frazier more than Frazier himself. I don't think he's the type who'll get hurt by words is my point. Anyway I think he has what it takes to be a real star or at least a good player for a long time. Unfortunately he's on a team where he is basically the fourth or fifth outfielder.

Artist: Between Borders
Song: Free

By 2011, indie rock's status as jingle makers for advertising companies was starting to solidify. It was clear that record sales were never going to feed artists ever again and although touring was the go-to option at the time, how much attention could a no-name band from Portland or Austria really get? At the time the only real way for rock bands to have any sort of success was either having their songs used as an ad-jingle or by having it covered on Glee. This song I heard on some type of commercial at the beginning of the decade. I couldn't find it but YouTube suggests that it was a Bose commercial.

Between Borders is an Austrian/German indie rock band. Unfortunately they've been inactive for years. Their Twitter account hasn't tweeted anything since 2014, their Facebook page is gone and the last thing iTunes said they released was back in 2012. If I had to guess this project is probably over and the members have either moved on to other things.

I picked Todd Frazier as the accompanying card because for a while there he was free. As in he was a free agent. Before these cards came into my possession he managed to sign a nice deal with the Mets. Where all the people will be looking at him, not necessarily because he's free, but because he's the only new player the Mets seem to have lol.

Artist: Dutch
Song: Just Before The Rain

Dutch is a project by Jedi Mind Tricks producer Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind where he paired up with Philadelphia based singer Liz Fullerton. She sings and he produces all of the songs on the album. As of now A Bright Cold Day is the only album from the duo but man is it a good one. It's a great album to play in autumn, especially if you're in an area that actually starts getting cold around September.

Stoupe's been kind of inactive for the last few years, doing some production work on and off for various projects. Liz Fullerton released her own solo album called Honey Watts (available on BandCamp). It's an interesting LP which draws on the influence of folk, country, hip hop and a mesh of other genres.

For an accompanying card I went with this purple Prizm refractor thingy that Tony sent. It's limited to 99 copies and the design looks like static but if you squint hard enough it looks like rain. So close enough :P.

Artist: Polaris
Song: Waiting For October

Polaris is known nowadays as the band that made and performed the theme song to the Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete (which is a good show BTW). Mainly because of an unknown lyric in that song (which is called Hey Sandy for the record) that fans have speculated for years. While their discography as a whole is nice (and reeks of early 90's alt rock), I've always loved this song Waiting For October. The song itself is about the end of the world but it's probably one of the most upbeat songs the band has ever made. Yeah, this is what they mean why they say that the 90's were the era where irony reigned supreme.

Also quick note, apparently Polaris reunited back in 2014 and actually made some new music. A cassette called Great Big Happy Great Big Moon Face".

Garrett Cooper has no real ties to October or Polaris, but I just wanted to show this card of the former Yankee/current Miami Marlin. Also keep this card in mind because the photograph (the stance, the background, etc...) looks exactly the same as the next card I'm going to show below.

Artist: Socratic
Song: Haven't Seen You In Years

I'm a sucker for upbeat pop punk with catchy choruses. Socratic here was one of my go-to's back when Drive Through Records was still a thing. Even though it's a band out of New Jersey a lot of their songs manage to feel like a warm sunny day in Los Angeles. Schools out and we're all headed to Pacific Park to enjoy an afternoon of fun. That kind of vibe. Socratic the band has been active on and off since the 2010's started. The members have largely moved onto other projects and ventures and the last time they released an album was back in 2012.

The accompanying card is Miguel Andujar here. Because I haven't seen him on cardboard in years. The last time was around 2015 when I picked up a card of him celebrating his victory in the high-A All Star Game Home Run Derby. Obviously he's had cards since then issued by the Trenton Thunder and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders, but yeah, this is the first Andujar card that's fallen into my lap in three years. Also funnily enough, I remember pulling his 1st Bowman Chrome card back in 2013 too. Nearly five years ago!


You all knew that it was a matter of time before I added a foreign song. Usually I add a bunch of these into the lists intended for Tony to review because I like making things harder for him. But since I'm also partaking in this, I'm making this easy. Still, can't make it too easy for myself. So here's a foreign hip hop track courtesy of Grigovor & Gena. I'm fairly certain that this will be everybody's introduction to Bulgarian hip hop or possibly Bulgarian music in general. The Title roughly translates to "Aphrodisiacal Subconstruct" which probably means it's about edible drugs. I don't know, I'm not Bulgarian. What I do know is that it features a third rapper ЖЛЪЧ, pronounced Jluch.

For the accompanying cards I sent out a pair of Sevys to go up against a pair of MC's. I got nothing else!

Artist: 西野カナ
Song: もっと...

Trust me when I say that I wish I could feature a lot more Japanese songs on these lists. The really big and popular acts don't have their songs go on YouTube too often. Although a lot of the newer minor acts I like have managed to make their way to YouTube to promote their music, even then I have trouble finding the older stuff. The music industry in Japan is still in the 20th century. Record sales are still a thing and the industry has been at war with what killed their counterparts here in the west like online streaming. At some point physical media will die (even over there), but until that time comes they do have a strong grip on what makes it to the internet and what stays on CDs.

That's why I was surprised when I saw Kana Nishino's Motto on YouTube. Albeit in short form (the original is nearly six minutes long). The title of the song means "More..." and in the song she's singing about how uncaring and distant she feels her boyfriend is because he's not putting in as much effort as she'd like in their relationship. Although from my own perspective it sounds like the dude she's talking about is just lazy rather than uncaring lol.

In the spirit of the song I was going to go with wanting more but instead I went with getting more. As in, the Yankees got one more year of CC Sabathia and one more piece of depth for their rotation, while CC got one more year as a Yankee and a legitimate shot at another World Series ring. Good deal for both involved.

Artist: Jealkb
Song: makemagic

This band is a Japanese "visual band" which means they're a certain brand of rock band that wears makeup, crazy hairstyles and ridiculous fashions because it's all (usually, but not always) about the looks. As you can probably tell from various parts of the video. The kick here is that this band consists entirely of Japanese comedians making sincere rock music just because they feel like it. What a concept.

Anyway I first heard about this song when I saw a behind the scenes documentary for the music video on TV. You'd think that the cartoon characters and the band members were all animated in using editing software but I was surprised to learn that an animation crew actually drew each character and the various poses the characters needed to be in on a tablet, printed all of them out, made cutouts for the characters, moved them all around the set, and shot the whole video frame by frame via stop-motion. I was floored at how much effort had to go into this video. That knowledge also really makes the sequence at 03:04 to 03:24 all the more impressive to me.

Also apparently this was the main theme song for a Yu-Gi-Oh! movie but that wasn't something I knew until I actually did some research on the band. No joke. The world is small.

For a card I went with Didi Gregorius who only needs a glove to make magic happen.

There were a few other cards Tony sent along but they were things like the ToppsNow ad cards or some of the lesser members of the Yankees checklist.

All in all big thanks to Tony for the awesome Yankees. I hope you like this selection of music better than the songs I've made you listen to before.

And as always thank you (the readers) for stopping by :).

Take care.


  1. I always enjoy blog posts that combine music and baseball cards. I'm a little strapped for time this morning, so I was only able to listen to the first two videos, but I plan on coming back after work and listening (and reading) to the rest.

    1. Well thanks for stopping by Fuji.

    2. A. ELO always reminds me of Doctor Who

      B. We Came As Romans is my kind of band.

      C. That Bulgarian hip hop song is awesome. Didn't understand a word, but I like the sound.

      D. Didn't listen to the entire song, but Kana Nishino is hot.

      E. Can't imagine how long it took to make the makemagic video. Super creative.

      F. Great variety of music.

  2. Replies
    1. I do too. I can't get enough of that parallel.

  3. Now, I haven't listened to the music yet (I will tonight), but man...putting my favorite song on the list with Aaron Judge is a bit cruel.

    Also, you're 100% correct that I'd like Judge a lot more if Topps didn't take literally every excuse possible to jam another Judge card down our throats. You know -- the 108 different Aaron Judge cards that were a part of Topps Now last year versus the 13 that the last-team-eliminated-in-the-NL Brewers got was really the last straw for me and effectively killed any desire I have to collect current baseball cards past getting the "required" ones for my team collection.

    But hey, if it's not Judge, it would be Sanchez. And if it weren't Sanchez, Topps would find another Yankee to glom onto and promote in their effort to suck up to the multitudes of Yankees fans with more money than sense.

    1. Lol, well you have to admit that for Topps Judge is a literal cash machine. They printed Aaron Judge cards like they were printing money.

  4. Finding new music is something that has really fallen off for me since my daughter came along. What was once a weekly quest to find something new has now become a twice a year venture just to update playlists.

    1. I suppose that's life. Why spend time gambling on trying to see if you can find new music to appeal to you when you can spend that time with your family?