New Bowie EPs In 2020

As Stereogum helpfully explains …

It’s a little confusing, so bear with me. First, there’s an EP called Is It Any Wonder? featuring rare and previously unreleased tracks. That one is trickling out one song per week, starting with “The Man Who Sold The World (ChangesNowBowie Version).” It’s taken from a radio session that comprises the other new Bowie release, a limited edition nine-track LP and CD called ChangesNowBowie, which is coming on Record Store Day.

Here’s that first digital track, released yesterday on what would have been Bowie’s 73rd birthday.

Half Life: Alyx

It’s no exaggeration to say that Half Life is one of the best, most influential PC games ever made – maybe even the best, period. For my money, Half Life 2 is the best in the series; even though it came out in 2004, it still holds up. (I’m replaying it now, as a matter of fact.)

After HL2, Valve decided that episodic games was the way forward, so fans wouldn’t have to wait years and years for the next installment. Half Life 2: Episode One came out in June of 2006, then Half Life 2: Episode Two was included with several other games in October of 2008. It had a hell of a cliffhanger, and then … nothing.

Fans waited patiently – then impatiently – as rumors came and went. Every interview with Valve was an opportunity to inquire about the status of Half Life: Episode Three, but the company always politely declined to comment. Many years passed, and it never materialized. Interest slowed to a trickle as the game became an Internet punchline. So the announcement of Half Life: Alyx is HUGE.

To be clear, this isn’t Half Life 2: Episode Three. Events in this game are set between Half Life and Half Life 2. Hardcore fans will happily take anything – as long as it’s good – and Half Life: Alyx is the perfect game to launch the company’s VR platform. Rather than posting the short teaser trailer Valve released, I thought I’d include this guy’s take. See what you reckon.

This Is Excellent

If any of you bastards are into Audible books, this one is a must. I bought it a couple of years ago, making my second pass now. Riveting.

David Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the making.

For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.

Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.

Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there’s no such thing as a boring day.