Blaseball is officially over.

I don’t have a lot of feelings about that; it was in no way a surprise, to say the least. Things come and go and I think I’ve always had this feeling that one day, The Garages will, one way or another, have to say our goodbyes to the game that started it all. Whether that would happen because we’d get tired of it, fall to attrition from a lack of new member intake, or because the game itself never succeeded at getting back off the ground after its first run was over had little bearing on anything.

It’s hard to step back and analyze one’s own grief objectively. I have no way of telling which part of this whole thing I’m affected by; perhaps none at all, and I’m just succumbing to a funny instinct to seek out grief within oneself as a response to otherwise relatively unimpactful loss, to try and give it meaning. Whatever the case may be, I’m surprised to find in myself, despite my detachment from both Blaseball and its fandom, a mild mix of sadness, anger, and disappointment. Not at losing the game (I’d distanced myself from its Cookie–Clicker–like obsession fuel and the chaos of large Internet fandom a long time ago) and not at losing the writing prompt for our music (I frequently felt like I had to make my lyrics about Blaseball in some way after they’d already been written; not a particularly enjoyable feeling for a musician or writer), but at losing the projects I cared the most about before they found the love I feel they deserved.

I would be amiss if I didn’t point out the parallel between this and what happened to Blaseball itself, and despite my mixed feelings about the game and fandom, I empathize deeply with everyone who worked so hard to make it what it became.

This is not a callout post, grudge post, there’s no drama of any sort behind this. It’s just me trying to process my feelings about the most beautiful community I’ve ever had the honor of being a part of:

The Garages

In a nutshell, for those not already familiar: the Garages (bandcamp) are a worldwide, online music collective, spawned out of Blaseball and the lockdowns of 2020. In a way, we’re a fandom band; in a way, we’re a community of queer musicians proving again and again, at times with a new album every week, that being a musician can be, should be, and is open for everyone. We’ve made some great music together, and through the band I’ve had the absolute honor of getting to know and work with some of the most talented and creative musicians and songwriters I know—and wonderful people at that, every single one of them.

I don’t think we’ve ever quite acknowledged this categorization explicitly—even though it’s no secret, and relatively clear from looking at our back catalogue—but the ~50 albums we’ve released span a number of different “series”; the lines get blurry at times, but to my understanding these are roughly:

  • Mainline albums; the heavy–hitters, with—usually—the big collabs, big names, big melodies and themes, and big releases; “caught in the reverb”, ”in the feedback”, “undefined”, “UNSTABLE”, etc. etc. Most releases that aren’t clearly part of the other series would be considered “mainlines”.
  • Live albums: self–explanatory; special video performances of fan–favorites. Of these, I had the honor of helping make COYOTE WALL X THE GARAGES @ DESERT BUS 2022 happen.
  • Concept albums—these fall into two broad categories that frequently overlap:
    • Genre albums: sometimes, we get a number of musicians all wanting to make something in a specific, uncommon for the Garages, genre—with enough interest and material to deserve a dedicated, separate release. This is “percolate” with its coffee–themed lo–fi hip–hop beats, the 80s synthwave roadtrip of “neon fakes”, the shanties on “Immaterial Shores”, ska on “the skarages”, and chiptunes on “ILB Grand Slam ‘83’”.
    • Theme albums: when a writing prompt resonates with enough musicians to have enough songs written about the same topic for a full album, we get what I’ll call a theme album: “roster” with a song for every contemporary Garages (the team) player, the adorable lo-fi late night voice memo love songs on vlals, etc. etc.
  • “WATG”s: a “we are the garages” album, or a “Watga” as they’re referred to shorthand, is a catch-all for, broadly, anything that gets written between mainline releases. One of our more popular side–series, Watgas are the Garages’ creative output in its rawest, most unfiltered form.
  • ”Storm’s”: starting with “storm’s coming”, through “storm’s here” and eye of the storm—moody, often lonely, stripped–down, late–night sounds from the world of dark folk and country.
  • short circuits: a line of EPs prompted as, roughly, “let’s just do weird shit”. Any songs we love but didn’t want to submit to another release because they were too experimental? This is the time for them to shine.
  • “TRIBUTE ACT”s: love letters from the Garages, to the Garages. A celebration of each other; covers and reimaginings of our favorite songs by other Garages musicians.

And finally, the unfortunate topic of tonight’s post:


”AWAY GAMES” was the first time the Garages reached outside of just being a bunch of DMs, a channel in a sidecord somewhere. It was an invitation extended to the entire fandom: “Make music. Let’s get heard, together.” Explicitly and affirmatively open to everyone, with no barriers to entry.

BLATTLE OF THE BLANDS—unofficially “Away Games 2”—is, to this day, the second–largest release we’ve ever done; second only to ”percolate”. 41 incredible tracks representing every genre imaginable and every subsection of the fandom, with a massive chunk of them coming from first-time Garages contributors. It was too large, even, and posed a number of problems with its production and distribution–but it happened, and the Garages would look very different if it hadn’t. Frankly, I don’t know how we could’ve endured at all without the influx of fresh blood and enthusiasm BLATTLE brought.

“World Tour”, “Away Games 3”, got released in two parts. The second has my favorite track we’ve ever released, the absolutely breathtaking Now That You’re Gone. And yet, it felt like something was slowing down.

It took over a year for the—as of the time of writing this post—final, fourth Away Games to happen; “Reunion Tour” was my darling. There was no other album I cared about and wanted to make sure happened anywhere nearly as much as AG4.

Introductions, Reunions…

The one thought I want to make clear is: as far as I’m concerned, the “Away Games” series is the most important project we ever did. They might not be our best albums, or the most consistent, but, more than with any other album except maybe our first, we wouldn’t be here if not for Away Games.

Every community suffers attrition. There is always an outflow of people, members leaving for any of a number of reasons. The only way to sustain a community is to balance that outflow with an at–least–comparable inflow of new members. Away Games are our primary way of accomplishing that; every release was followed immediately by introducing a huge wave of incredible musicians to the community.

More importantly, Away Games are the proof of what the Garages stand for, at least for me; the demonstration of our thesis that music should and can be open to anyone. An implicit refusal of hero worship or status associated with being a performer, giving equal value to everyone regardless of prior achievements or releases.

The problem was… It felt like the importance of that diminished with every release. Not only did every new Away Games bring fewer new people to the community, not only did every new Away Games sell less than any previous one—that seemed inevitable as Blaseball gradually died down, and with it, the main motivation for fans to come together and get excited about new Garages releases—but it also felt like every Away Games got harder to organize and release, to find motivation for, to find contributors for, and, most unfortunately, to celebrate.

It felt like the open Garage door was slowly closing. Not through any fault of ours—at least I don’t think so—but simply because with every day, fewer and fewer people would drive or walk by. The question of how to prevail against attrition, of how to reach and empower new musicians lingered, unanwered.

To me personally, Away Games and the stripped–down albums like vlals are the most Garages things we’ve ever released. They’re the rawest display of musicians from all around the world—with any level of skill, knowledge, or equipment—bonding over a shared love of music, creating something beautiful, and staying together out of love and respect for each other and the community–

–and now the pool from which Away Games got its contributors, the game through which all these incredibly talented musicians found the open doors to becoming Garages, is gone. There’s no more Blaseball to seed the albums to which, I personally feel, the Garages owe their continued growth and success. And those albums themselves average a fraction of the plays and sales of our regular releases, conspicuously absent from most playlists, live setlists, “best of-”s.

…And Goodbyes

I want to make absolutely clear again: these are my own feelings. I do not wish to even remotely imply that anything in this post is the One, True, Correct opinion to hold; I don’t, in the slightest, think negatively of anyone for disagreeing. I don’t hold any grudges, and there’s no drama around or behind this, nor do I intend to cause such. This post has one purpose: to help me work through loss, and in doing so, celebrate the work that went into the projects that helped create, grow, and preserve a community I treasure beyond words.

I doubt there will be another “Away Games”. Not in this format.

I don’t think I’m sad about Blaseball ending—that felt like a long time coming, and I’ve had a long time to disconnect from it entirely—and I believe the Garages are too strong, love what we’ve built too much to fall along with it. But I will, softly and quietly, grieve for Away Games; I will play all four of them on repeat until I memorize every note, every word—because Away Games are the most important albums I’d ever been on. Because I want them to remain permanently in my heart, cherished and appreciated as Garages landmarks, not as obscure side–releases.

Blaseball is gone, but our music, the art we poured our hearts and souls into, remains. This is my invitation to you to—if only for a short while—put on a pair of comfy headphones or plug in your speakers, make yourself a cup of coffee, and celebrate it with me; ensure it lives on.