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Crystal Ann Lea, Meg MacDonald, Rene Magallon 
Will Dailey
"Bad Behavior"
Static and Surrender
"Fall on the Blade"
Courtney Barnett
Dennis Lloyd
Amos Lee
"No More Darkness, No More Light"
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that June was bringing the end of an era, which was that my sister and her family are moving to Agoura Hills, ending our decade-long Mayberry existence of living just a few blocks from each other.

There is an end of another era as a result of this.  Since last September, I have been walking up the street to their son Dylan's school and picking him up every day.  This, too, has run its course.

This past Friday was Dylan's Kindergarten "graduation" (and we'll get into how ridiculous I think Kindergarten graduations are in another column, suffice it to say he passed, meaning he doesn't eat paste and can write his name).

For nine months I've heard all about what he had for lunch, what he played at recess and that Gregory cheats at UNO.  I've been called into the Principal's office twice due to little girls complaining Dylan was trying to kiss them (they're getting an early start on their #metoo story, thanks to our little Casanova).

I've watched him yell "HIYA" at the top of his lungs with 20 other mini-Cobra Kais in karate lessons and then spend 20 minutes trying to undo the unnecessarily tight knot in his belt.  I've inserted myself into an after-school kickball game where I knocked a first grader named Troy to the ground barreling over him as I stretched a double into a triple, and then spent a paranoid month wondering if his lawyer parents were going to sue me.

In the beginning I struggled with the after-school snacks my sister insisted be healthy.  My Gran always gave us cinnamon toast or heated donut holes after school which were both on his mom’s don’t-you-dare-list, so his first snack was an ear of corn and hummus.  We then settled into a routine of one protein bar and a Vitamin Water Zero (Lemonade flavor) when it's warm outside, and a mug of hot cocoa when it's cold.  Fridays were special - he would get an organic popsicle and an hour of cartoons.  He cleverly named it "Popsicle and Cartoon Day."

We played cards, sort of.  He always threw them in the air and I always threatened no popsicle & cartoon Friday but never followed through.  So he kept tossing them over his head and I kept picking them up.  I nixed playing cards in the second week.

I taught him chess, played about a hundred innings of baseball in our backyard, read him Curious George 800 times, made paper boats just like George and sailed them in the nearby pond.  We made hidden treasure maps and went on adventures in search of the trolls who live in the trees.

One day I was so desperate trying to come up with a new activity, I took him to Staples.  There were about 40 cops there as part of an out-reach program that takes inner-city kids shopping.  Dylan saw them, stopped us, pushed me back behind a tree and said in a panicky voice, "Aunt Meg, what did you DO?!!"

I've done more homework with him than I did throughout my entire Senior year in High School, and sometimes the High School stuff was easier.  Twice I've been stumped by his assignments.  The first time Dylan figured it out and explained it to me.  In my defense, I was simultaneously doing M:M Music work and Googling whether or not drinking while in charge of a child is grounds for arrest or just a warning ticket.  The second indecipherable assignment we both gave up on after 5 minutes.  So did his parents, which made me feel better.

The school year is over and so is my special time with Dylan. I don't know how many memories from his Kindergarten year he'll retain as he gets older, I just know I'll remember them all.

 “A great way to protect yourself from the sun is drinking wine in the shade.” 
– Someecards
"The New Gorillaz Songs Are Instant Summer Jams… great promise for their upcoming album, The Now Now” – GQ
“Vibrant… driving funk groove” – Rolling Stone
"a bright synthpop mood... a particularly good time to be a fan of Albarn’s” – Stereogum
Dave Matthews Band
“a quieting moment in an already overstuffed and overwhelming year.”
“Matthews’ vocals sweep you into a carpe diem fury”. – People
“a plea for unity.” – Billboard

Dr. Dog
"Driving, heartland rock-style choruses, but also some haunting trippiness and Beach Boys harmonies in the mix" – Brooklyn Vegan
“The perfect soundtrack for the hazy days of late spring/ early summer.” – Billboard
“A roiling caldron of psychedelia... infused with 21st-century dread and nerve.” – The New York Times
Static and Surrender
“Harnessing a stylized, punchy rock sound on their debut album, Static and Surrender captures the most vehement elements of songwriting with a fine balance between soft, dreamy ballads and melodic rockers.”
Innocent Words
"gripping, yet radio-friendly, roots-rock anthems.”
Riley Reed (Subba Cultcha)

Billy Raffoul  Acoustic Music Video
Michael Blume Eyes and Edge Feature
Death Cab For Cutie Official Video
Weezer Jimmy Kimmel Live!
GIVERS Music Video
 Ray LaMontagne Jimmy Kimmel Live!
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