Friday Music

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I’ve managed to squeeze some time during work to listen to some music, and so here we go with another installment of Friday Music!

Most of the time, I’m discovering new music via my “Discovery Weekly” curated playlist on Spotify — so it occurs to me: would it be useful for you folks if, in addition to these blog entries, I also put together a “Friday Music” playlist on Spotify, regularly updated, with the link shared here? Are enough of you even using Spotify to make that worth doing?

Drop into the comments and let me know.

OK — this week’s music: The album cover up there is from our first selection, a London-based 80s-influenced electro-artpop quartet called Artificial Pleasure, whose debut album, The Bitter End, is now available. I read a review that described the band as “If ‘Let’s Dance’-era David Bowie fronted Talking Heads.” Throw in a bit of Georgio Moroder & Bryan Ferry…but they manage to do it without sounding like a pastiche. Seriously, this is SO GOOD. Artificial Pleasure – “Wound Up Tight.”

I haven’t shared any hip-hop since relaunching Friday Music, and thankfully, this week I get to remedy that. Long time readers will recall that I’m into the less-commercial stuff. This is an excellent example — a stomping amalgam of Jamaican dancehall and Brooklyn beats by way of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Apparently, this track was also featured on the TV show “How To Get Away With Murder,” so it looks like an alternative hip-hop act might be getting some attention. LLgL TNDR – “Enormous.”

And now, a drastic shift in gear. Charlotte Gainsbourg is the daughter of British actress Jane Birkin and legendary French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, and has followed in both her parent’s footsteps. She’s an actress (several Lars Von Trier films, among others) and a singer with five albums — this track is from her most recent album, Rest, which was released late last year. I love the disco-house bassline mixing with Gainsbourg’s breathy vocals and the unexpected rhythm of those vocals. I put this one on repeat for a few times when I first heard it. Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Deadly Valentine.”

Another shift in genre — this time into a more folk-country-tinged Indie track from the Canadian band Carmanah. The quintet from Victoria, British Columbia refer to their sound as “West Coast Soul.” Canadian music critics have called lead singer Laura Mina Mitic “the Stevie Nicks of our generation.” High praise — and honestly? Well-deserved. Carmanah – “Roots.”

And lastly, also from Canada, but from the other coast, an excellent example of what some of my friends call “Beep Boop Music.” Richard Aucoin is from Nova Scotia and creates alternative electronic music, mixing in experimental sounds and a pop sensibility. When this track began, I thought Spotify had given me some avant-garde electronic, but it graduatually shifted, blending those sounds into a pop structure, and I fell in love with it. Richard Aucoin – “Release.”

There you go, folks. I hope you enjoy them!

See you again next week.


Weekly FAR WEST Update

Another quick one this week, folks. Memorial Day Weekend snuck up on me.

(I’d like to say that I’m spending time with family, but nope — I’ll be working. I’m appearing as a panelist at ConQuest 49, just up the road in Kansas City. If you’re in the neighborhood, drop in and say hi — in between panels, I’ll be sitting in some quiet corner, hunched over a laptop, in all likelihood.)

For those of you who have contacted me about getting a look at the new rules doc, I expect to be sending that along next week.

In related news: I hate Styles in Microsoft Word. Just sayin’.

Also (as some of you who follow me on Twitter probably already saw): I am thankful as hell for Dropbox’s RESTORE function. I was an idiot. The ability to restore to a previously-saved version of the file saved me from myself. (Accidentally overwrote a critical file. Had a bit of a panic attack as a result. Things are better now.)

Like I said — quick one this week. Back to work. I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Gareth-Michael Skarka
Lawrence, KS
24 May 2018

“Two guns… good joss. Balanced.”

Far West Update, May 18th

Taking a brief moment to check back in with you fine folks — it’s been a very busy week: Not only have I been continuing to put the new D6Plus version of the rules together for the people who’ve asked to see them, but my oldest daughter has flown in from the coast to visit us (hitting between Mother’s Day and my upcoming birthday)! So I’m bouncing back and forth between “editorial mode” and “dad mode.” :)

Have any of you taken a look at those series on DramaFever that I mentioned last time? I’m curious to hear your impression. Also — if you have any other suggestions for material for our “Inspirography” — films, series, books, comics, music, what-have-you — by all means, drop me a line. There’s an appendix in the rulebook where I’m listing stuff (plus I’m always looking for new inspiration).

In the realm of old inspiration — I was pleased to discover that Robert Urich’s final TV series, The Lazarus Man, has been finally released on DVD. I barely remember it — a guy wearing a Confederate uniform claws his way out of a shallow grave, and can’t remember who he is, so searches for his identity, having adventures on the way — but I remember enjoying it. I haven’t picked it up yet (I put myself on a purchasing moratorium in the weeks leading up to my birthday, having previously “scooped” gift plans from family members), but I hope it’s as good as I remember.

I’ll leave you with another glimpse of interior art from the rulebook — I don’t think I’ve shown you this one before. Talk to you again next week.

A Blind Swordsman.


Gareth-Michael Skarka
Lawrence, Kansas
18 May, 2018