Today is Independence Day here in the United States, a day on which many Americans celebrate the beginning of the country’s great (and occasionally bizarre) experiment in democracy with vast quantities of cold beer, cookouts, and ardent efforts to blow off their own digits with equally vast quantities of illegally deployed explosives. Here in the metallic realms of NCS, however, it’s just another day (partly in consideration of the fact that more than half our readers are located outside the U.S.).
We have a couple of good song premieres coming your way, and maybe the second part of a SHADES OF BLACK post I began on Sunday, and who knows what else.
But to begin the day I want to talk about hot dogs, and then I want to ask our readers for your opinions about the best metal releases of 2017 so far.
There is an organization in the U.S. known as the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. I imagine something like the Round Table from the days of King Arthur, at which an array of large wieners are seated, draped in sauerkraut and secretly plotting and planning the course of our lives. How could this be any worse than the people who are actually doing that from D.C. and Wall Street?
Sadly, the Council is instead an industry trade association. Whatever else they do, they are a source of data about the American consumption of hot dogs.
They tell us, not surprisingly, that the Fourth of July weekend (which has extended well into the work-week this year), is when Americans consume the most hot dogs. Depending on where we live, we might choose to top the dogs with mustard, coleslaw, cream cheese, chili, or peppers. This year, the Council estimates that Americans will celebrate their independence by eating 150 million hot dogs (and the number would undoubtedly be higher if they included vegetarian and vegan dogs, which of course they don’t).
During the peak hot dog season lasting from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Council estimates that Americans typically consumer 7 billion hot dogs, which on average breaks down to 818 hot dogs being consumed every second. You probably can’t guess which U.S. city eats the most hot dogs.
Because you probably can’t guess, I’ll tell you: it’s Los Angeles. (This particular study of rankings by the Nielsen survey organization may be skewed because it includes only purchases from grocery stores and doesn’t include consumption from hot dog carts or restaurants).
Metal has also delivered a large quantity of tasty musical hot dogs for our hungry ear holes this year (how’s that for a transition?). With the month of June reaching an end, many print and on-line publications have been rolling out lists of the best releases from the first half of 2017. Such lists have been popping up on metal sites as they have in locations devoted to other genres of music. We, however, did not do this — mainly because I didn’t get my act together in time to canvass all our writers for their picks. But I almost never do that anyway…
…because I’m even more interested in finding out what our readers have heard, and what’s gotten all of you excited. So, as I’ve done in other years, I would like to invite you to use the Comment section as a vehicle for sharing with us (and anyone else who drops by for a visit) your list of what you deem to be the best metal albums, EPs, or splits you’ve heard during the first 6 months of 2017.
I’d like to suggest that it be a Top 10 list, in an effort to ensure that some serious thought and winnowing has taken place, to make the lists more valuable as a guide to other people hunting for new things to hear. But if you want to make it a Top 5 list or a Top 20 or a Top Any Other Number, no one is going to berate you. I mean, shit, I’m not capable of making a list at all, so I’m not exactly in the best position to criticize.
SO, please give us your hot dogs.
The flag above made of black smoke is an art installation called Western Flag by John Gerrard (details here). It is set in a simulation of Spindletop, Texas, a site considered to be the birthplace of the modern oil industry, but it is in face located at Somerset House in London, England. The installation was opened to commemorate World Earth Day in April of this year, and “will stand as a symbol of climate change and modern society’s dependence on oil”. I just thought it looked metal AF.