mix xxii. what you’ve been, where you are.
dikembe – scottie spliffin i’ve been having a hard time with communication lately. in the last couple of months. I’ve been saying one thing, people taking it in another direction. and I feel an instant tail spin. I think the dialogue between Lindsay and Nick from Freaks and Geeks completely sums up exactly what I have been getting met with in a lot of conversations I’ve been trying to have. on top of that, this song is the kind of aggressive and starry style that I’ve been trying to push on you guys for years. and dikembe is a great band capable of big and little sounds. they’re good. trust.
foals – miami remember I lived in Miami? da fuck. foals, though, is a band out of London. they have a very supercool vibe going for them. they have a little bit of a The Cure sound, with a more positive, less “I’ma kill myself with this icicle I’m so goddamned sad” spin. these guys have a new record dropping next month and the two songs that have been shown from it have a very similar, if not even smoother tone to it. but the record this comes from, total love forever, is very pretty. it sounds like very expensive shoes on dudes with styled hair. right?
HEALTH – tears this song is the backdrop for one of the coolest scenes in one of the coolest games that dropped last year. max payne 3’s airport scene. yo. SO REAL. I’ve also had health on a previous mix, and there’s something about the way that the guy runs his voice through the pedal system and their guitar/key tone is ice cold, emotionless and uncaring that reminds me of Los Angeles in all its glory. seeing this band with crystal castles (see: track 7!) was probably the best show I went to last year, and maybe top five show experiences of my life.
forest swords – visits there is something so feudal japan about this band’s record. I envision a crushed earth, simultaneously stripped and overloaded of its technology fetish. geared up hacker samurais traveling from village to village to megacity in search of mercenary work, temporary love and eventually peace. I can’t hear this stuff without having pictures painted in massive kanji strokes. all in the color and style of classic Japanese folding screens. but holographic and steel.
black moth super rainbow – hairspray heart more pedal, roboty stuff. clearly, this seems to be my motif as of late. easy to get lost in with the headphones on. lots of speaker panning stuff, lots of layers.
purity ring – fineshrine i sent this exact text, which I then quoted via wrankmusic in my records of the year list. “you know i’m in a weird mood today. i listened to purity ring’s ‘fineshrine’ and was almost brought to tears. don’t get it.” it has become less about a current mood that I find myself in and more about a simple truth about this song. a feeling I can relate to in an almost entirely feminine way. a love so grand and real that you cannot express it openly and verbally. you can only open up your entire body and want to pull this person into your chest, to keep them in next to your heart, enshrined and safe and hopefully they can keep step and pace with you. this beautiful feeling is the feeling this song gives me. I think it sort of carries through in the next four songs as well. just a very positive, overglowing feeling.
crystal castles – kerosene to continue the thoughts about the health/crystal castles show last year. I just remember darkness and strobe lights. a room filled with people fucking dancing and feeling. I went alone and I experienced the entire night in an almost different character. I never opened up my mind or soul as much as I did this past year and I think it was on this night, during this show, that I really experienced what it was to be completely liberated and free from any weird perceptions or hang ups about dancing and being in tune with the music AND the band and not the people in the band but ALSO the people in the band. I don’t remember this song specifically being played, but this song inspires the unbelievable groove that I hit during that show. “I’ll protect you from all the things I’ve seen.”
the ice choir – a vision of hell, 1996 this came out in 2012, not 1982 or 1992. it comes off of one of my favorite records of last year, this band’s afar. there’s such a good feeling not only about the song itself, but about the fact that a group of young people was able to pull off this sound in such a modern way. it’s a testament to how choice but also niche and ridiculous that the music that came from the neon era was and still is.
yeasayer – madder red not going to lie. this is pretty much all about that hook. the almost native American chant. and just how massive and powerful that makes you feel. I almost get the same kind of vibe from these kinds of things that I do from punishing breakdowns (as seen later in tracks 13 and 15). there’s almost an enya thing going on? I couldn’t tell you. what I can confirm is that the video for this song, starring Kristen bell is one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen and it only endears this track more to me. this whole record actually kind of rules.
skrillex & Damien “jr. gong” marley – make it bun dem yeah! skrillex!! I did it. yeah I said it. I ain’t going to front. I think if you’ve heard the last couple of mix, you can kind of get an idea that I’ve been getting a little bit into the reggae stuff. or at least it’s kind of flocking to me in an interesting way. and dubstep is something that, in moderation, has a really good amount of potential. I will tell you this. if you aren’t fond of this song, then you’ll thank me for not putting a six minute Elephant Man track on here. but that shit is so right! um. but yes. this song is directly from the far cry 3 soundtrack. and it isn’t even something that plays regularly. only through one mission where you are burning down a massive marijuana crop. so. you get it. but once I realized the song was gone, I needed it back. wait. is that two songs from video games on this mix? ayyaaaa.
fenton robinson – I fell in love one time I thought this track was kind of interesting, seeing as it came off of a blues collection. it was surrounded by delta style contemporaries, and meanwhile this guy’s record jumps out at me sounding like a gil scott-heron except wielding a guitar. very smooth sound, but still very clearly lyrically and instrumentally influenced by the blues.
kanye west, big sean, pusha t & 2 chainz – mercy .1 I felt absurd being completely obsessed with this track when the record first dropped. but there’s that great great great hook, that wild Jamaican sample. that BASS, though. I kind of don’t care about the lyrics on this track, but if I’m going to pay any attention to it, it’s with a gigantic smile on my face with my entire hand over my eyes. there is something truly fucking cool about the dude just saying “swerve” behind the track throughout almost the entire song. I think around 3:13 during this song, you can skip it though. because it gets to be a little much and you don’t need it. but also around 3:13, you can kind of feel a Side B happening on this mix.
counterparts – the disconnect this record caught me simply by its unique breakdowns. it doesn’t really stand out to someone not into the genre until those moments. the guitar tone is actually kind of unique. they’re not doing anything truly heavy. very similar to a misery signals vibe, where they’re letting the actual notes speak instead of the heaviness of said notes. 1:23 into this is when it starts to show they’re going all over the place within this genre. the build up to the breakdown is solid and then the payoff at 2:10 makes me want to kick down shanty towns. such a cool, subdued sound. after that, they do some weird post rock stuff which is cool. I really can’t stand the lyrics towards the end of the song, though. usually not an issue, but bums me out. get stoked man. lemme give you a mix and tell you about how my soul and heart opened up, DAWG.
birds in row – pilori kineticsm. 28 seconds in. the growl. fuck. there’s something both honest and enormous about this song that grants it such an earnest power. the wall of sound they create through production is great as well. I feel like this is the sound of farmhouses being pushed to dirt by mushroom clouds.
solace – stockholm syndr(h)ome solace is the solo project of the lead singer from misery signals. and to be honest, the whole record was kind of a disappointment. not overall. I mean, it was fine. but this one seemed to be closest to what I really loved about the band that he comes from. attention to detail from all angles. still a heaviness in both tone and lyrical content. but then refrains and very cool production and glitch effects. worth noting, this entire record was done using a drum program (toontrack’s superior drummer 2.0). it sounds pitch perfect. well. maybe natoli would say otherwise. but. YA KNOW.
o’brother – malum I saw circa survive this past fall, and when I saw this band’s name as one of the openers, I instantly wanted to hit the NEXT button on my life’s discman. is it SKIP? I forget. but watching them was super dark, very impressive. super sludgy, super dense.
marriages – ride in my place hearse music. kind of another sludgy jam, but also with the type of vocals normally reserved for lower action styled trip hop music. this band’s five song ep was actually an outstanding release and their live performance opening up for russian circles actually was a brilliant translation of their sound.
polica – leading to death whole record rules. I think I made that blatantly clear in the description of the top ten list of 2012. this song has the best groove, though. there are songs where they show they are darker, there are songs where they get a bit more experimental. this doesn’t show the breadth of everything that they are capable of. but this song is a great strong heart of where and what they are as a band. simple and pretty and extremely unique.
fiona apple – valentine I’ve not been a fiona apple fan. I always kind of knew her as the girl in the video with the underwear who was super skinny and strange in that video that time. then the name of the girl who many girls I spoke to truly revered as an artist. then this album came out and at a mall, it was purchased. and listening to it, I really wanted to listen back through her catalogue and hear it be as completely untogether and distraught as this record is. like she sat down at a piano and demanded a divorce from her husband on his birthday in front of his friends. this song was chosen because it won’t scare you away, but might scare you in. she is some wild talent, and even if I don’t like everything she’s done, I kind of want to give her a nod when I pass her in the halls. respect.
sigur ros – rembihnútur honest. I get it. it’s a sigur ros song. you can probably imagine what it sounds like and be 80% right. but it’s got kind of a structure and sounds like a song. and is so pretty.
teen suicide – swallow sounds like weird, found footage cassette tape of a sort of apology, sort of confession. again, very honest, very authentic here. their record, I believe, is free online at this point. don’t visit their facebook because they come across as kind of mean and kind of very cool, so it mars up the suspense of disbelief pretty convincingly. it’ll be gone in an instant. but their stuff is very good.
Friday, January 11, 2013
write a letter a month. to someone you don't speak to anymore, to someone you love, to someone you live with, to someone you want to tell something, to someone you don't tell anything. it doesn't have to be deep and illustrative. just keep your thoughts fresh, keep your thoughts bare and easy to share. catch people up. feel okay about all of it. think hard over it or don't think at all.
if you hate your handwriting, put it in an email.
let people know you're still real, outside of your facebook check-ins and your tweets and your xbox achievements and your tumblr posts. let people know there's stuff going on in your head when you're out drinking with each other. there're things that you're just not thinking to say at any given time, and you are okay to put it out there when it is.
if you put it in a letter and not in a text, it shows you set the time aside to do it.
texts fall out of us and then off of us.
write it for them.
don't expect a response. but be grateful for one.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
i have always found it completely strange that when we interact in a positive way, when we try to be outwardly generous with good energy, we are looked at as "drinking the kool aid." i'm guilty of it as well. i'm not sure why we tend to disbelieve others who are operating in a positive, uplifting and ultimately eventually spiritual light as someone who is doing it wrong or being all the more unbelievable about their current outlook. i think because maybe there are times that said person doesn't look back. doesn't have the other side of the coin. the dark half.
i just wrote descriptions for the newest mix cd that i put together and i found myself feeling almost guilty for admitting a lot of the positive things it made me feel. mostly the things that didn't have specific physical actions that tied to it. feeling good on an inner level. again, a spiritual level. a soul level. even when writing about my favorite records of the year, i feel like i reached a place at times that felt almost too revealing. like giving away a little bit of light was going to make people feel that i was faking it. that was going to ruin my credibility.
i think i found a new place there. i did a lot of renovation over the course of last year and i think a lot of the negative stuff that i had all stored up was holding me hostage. i wasn't able to see a lot of what was fully incredible about a lot of specific situations. there are a lot of factors that were folded into it. but i think a major thing that i've made a staple of my personality and my discourse has been seating myself on a place of judgmentalism. i drew a lot of conclusions about a lot of things and a lot of people before i really allowed myself to experience or listen or learn from them. and i'm trying to take down a lot of those filters and gates that i put up in front of myself and just let things play themselves out and accept them a lot more without completely trying to remove the comedic and observational elements of myself that made the world that i was a part of so enjoyable. it's complicated and layered. i'm getting there.
going back to where it began, though. there are a lot of things i'm going to try to be more open and positive about. and publicly. i have a lot of voices and a lot of outlets and i'm going to try to use all of them and become all of them and join all of them. i'm powerful in my own way, even if for my own self. i'm going to try and change a lot of the ego and arrogance to positive self assurance and confidence. it's tough. it's a growing up type of thing. but it's a very standard fact that i'm not going to be able to ride a completely positive, divine wave without dipping into an undertow that can be just as severe. i'm not trying to reinvent myself and go out there speaking like a guidance counselor who keeps the blinders up.
i'm a realist and have always been a realist.
but i think the doubt and disbelief that comes with that is the heaviest lead vest i've ever had to shed.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
too many drinks. and the lights are too many drinks. they move around me in cages, in caged movements. like captors. everything is too beautiful and i've wanted to remember it for the longest time. i can barely hold it all inside me within the time that it's happening so i lean against a wall. it reminds me of high school hallways with the thirty to forty layers of paint, so thick and textured that it is smoothed and impersonal. i know this song over and over again. the band is playing from such a far distance. with my eyes closed, i can tell where the speakers are set up. when i talk about this night i'll want to say that i'm sorry for missing it. i did it wrong.