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Articles written by John Avery

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  • Audio Farm:Scary Science

    John Avery, The Times|Aug 26, 2021

    I tend to lean into things when I shouldn't. When I feel sad, I overdo the mopey ballads and let the blues wash over me. When I'm home alone and already feeling tense, I find it the perfect time for a horror movie and start jumping at every creak of the floorboards. It would be smarter to avoid exacerbating these negative feelings, but I can't help myself. Appropriately, as COVID numbers have been taking off again, I've decided to lean into my anxious hypochondria by listening to a delightfully...

  • Homegrown Homebrew

    John Avery, The Times|Jul 15, 2021

    Touring through wine country or some of our region's wonderful microbreweries might leave the impression that the production of adult beverages should be left to the experts. With kegs, tanks, and other fermentation equipment larger than many cars, one might reasonably conclude that a small-scale homebrew operation is costly and infeasible. Not the case. Homebrewing is relatively inexpensive, straightforward, and leaves ample room to experiment with flavors grown right in your backyard. As any...

  • Audio Farm: Big, Big, Big Thief

    John Avery, The Times|Jul 8, 2021

    Few bands making music today have as impeccable a discography as the Brooklyn-based quartet, Big Thief. Starting with their 2016 debut, Masterpiece, they have pumped out a total of four studio records in the past five years, all met with near-universal acclaim. Their music is pure rock and roll, a refreshingly raw mix of the basics: wailing guitars, energetic drums, and a vocalist that gives every song her all. The ingredients are all familiar, but Big Thief is a master chef of rock music,...

  • Audio Farm: All About Bob

    John Avery, The Times|Jun 17, 2021

    Memorial Day weekend passed last month, and for me, it will always be associated with concerts at the Gorge Amphitheater. Home to the now-defunct Sasquatch Music Festival, which I attended many times during my college days, it is one of the most stunning concert venues in the Northwest. Featuring multiple stages, spectacular views, and wildly overpriced food and drinks, it is an iconic landmark of Washington State and the undoubted host of many folks’ wildest memories. It was also the venue o...

  • Comedy That Rocks!

    John Avery, The Times|May 13, 2021

    Some of the best comedy comes from pain. A great comedian knows how to build tension around life’s hardships and release it for a cathartic laugh. This intersection between comedy and pain is at the heart of a new album by Tim Heidecker, an actor and comedian better known as half of the duo behind Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Featured on Adult Swim, this show was a hallmark of absurdist comedy. Featuring quick sketches that usually didn’t make any sense, intentionally shoddy ani...

  • Sounds and Visions

    John Avery, The Times|Apr 22, 2021

    On a recent late-night drive home, I was taken by a particular piece of imagery: dozens and dozens of red wind turbine lights pulsating through the darkness. Every few seconds, a unique rhythm of out-of-sync lights fluttered through the void of the night sky. The perpetual loop was hypnotizing, as if the shadowy hillside had a pulse, flickering on, dying out, and coming alive again. That visual imagery is what I picture when listening to Promises, a breathtaking new album from legendary jazz...

  • Remembering John Prine

    John Avery, The Times|Apr 8, 2021

    With vaccinations in full force, we appear to be in the last stretch of the painful COVID-19 era. It has been just over a year since we began gradually shutting down and going into relative hibernation. This week, we will pass the anniversary of one of COVID’s first household-name victims. John Prine, the legendary country and folk singer-songwriter, left us on April 7th of last year, passing away from complications due to the rapidly spreading virus. As we approach the anniversary of his d...

  • AudioFarm | Music Review

    John Avery, The Tims|Mar 25, 2021

    Coming of age in the '90s, I had an unfair bias against the saxophone. The once-hip instrument of jazz and early rock and roll had become associated with cheesy 80's hits like "Careless Whisper," talk-show politicking, and forgettable, soporific elevator music. How wrong I was. Liberally employed by the band Destroyer in their widely acclaimed 2011 masterpiece, Kaputt, the saxophone imbued an album of cryptic synth-rock with cool, jazzy detachment. Destroyer's lyrics have always been poetic,...

  • AudioFarm | Music Review

    John Avery, The Times|Mar 18, 2021

    Spring is just around the corner, and though my garden might not look like much more than barren winter scraps, it’s certainly starting to sound like a new season. The birds are chirping again, a delight so lovely that it competes for valuable ear-time with my headphones. The days of monotonous yardwork are upon us, and I am here to recommend listening material to keep your ears happy as you work. In honor of our returning avian friends, today’s theme is all about birds. First up, a new alb...