Saturday, December 06, 2014

a hot breath.

it's depressing.
I have to make a concerted effort to get out of the house more on my days off. because really, it feels like a chore. I'm feeling shut in. I'm not even talking about going for a walk or stretching my legs. not even for anything health related. just life related. thinking about any moment that I'm not working I want to be home and when I'm home, barely wanting to move.

it's not right. it's not Right.
it's not healthy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

mix xxv. send fire, good god the offering.

mix xxv. send fire, good god the offering.

miley cyrus – wrecking ball (caked up remix) i want to open up with this statement: NO ONE is better at dancing to this song than me, alone in my living room while no one is home. [this statement written BEFORE proof was leaked onto the net on instagram. jus’ sayin’.] hands down. that being said, a coworker introduced me to the caked up dudes. and while I really like what they’re doing, the treatment works so much better when you’re familiar with the track that they chopped up. and this track right here is one that I ended up really liking off of miley’s record. she nudely catapulted herself into the spotlight and into the eyes of so many who never would have otherwise even taken a look. and that’s a feat. this song sounds best when the bass is turned higher than it should be, and the beats are giving you a massage and you’re annoying neighbors or others in traffic. this song sets me off. hype.

their/they’re/there – new blood this is a track that had such an incredible noodly positive vibe that I had to throw it on here and early. it gets a little bit of that “downerhood” somewhere halfway through, but what compilation of mine wouldn’t? evan weiss is one of the most constant and hardest working dudes in all of music right now, and the fact that he jumped into a project with mike kinsella got me so stoked. and their work shreds. I really like what they’re doing there. but this song is one of those moments that in the opening of it all gave me chills. june? September? that type of weather. not enormously hot or sweaty. sun and green. I do a weird dance in the beginning of this track that’s kind of like a guy in a tim & eric video, along with lionel Richie. and furthermore, anyone else hear protoman’s whistle up in here?

the war on drugs – red eyes and this track right here brings me to the night of that aforementioned pre/post summer day. a dream in open land. the reverb on the vocals gives it that spiderwebbing fractal vibe. and the synth rolls on. this whole record holds this same vibe. I remember driving home on 26 to 526 during my half hour commute. open roads, no one in the way, just cruising. this was the perfect soundtrack for just those rides.

…and you will know us by the trail of dead – all white this record was actually my favorite of that year when it came out. sort of outside my wheelhouse. OR SO I THOUGHT. when I sent it out to the homey jeff roche, he came out and called it exactly what it was: the stoner movielife. blew my mind, changed the whole sound. even if only for the better. please check out the record ‘worlds apart’. as I described it, it was a massively heady undertaking. really ambitious. soundtrack moments, weird dialogue. (what does the whispered voice even say in the beginning?) and all this from a band that I was turned onto by searching on a website for bands that I thought I would like if I liked ‘at the drive-in’. whoa. but yeah, there’s a lot going on even on this straight forward track. THIS particular track reminds me a lot of ‘the snake the cross the crown’ in the classic rock style that it employs. could have just been the moment and headspace I was in while listening to this, but there’s something about the brief story that this song tells that reminds me of jack kerouac’s poetry readings that used to be complete disasters. but hey, whatever gets you there.

fairweather – carte blanche favorite band. first track off of their first record in ten years. hearing this for the first time literally made me stand up out of the chair I was sitting at and start throwing ‘gang vocal hands’ without knowing any of the words. I was so happy. so happy. they still had it. and the full record is still a product that as a fan I can hold high with the rest of their library and I’m sure as a band they’re endlessly pleased with. the one thing about fairweather that was terrifying is that they did three PERFECT records. well. two full lengths and an ep. all EXACTLY what a fan of a band would want them to be. twenty four songs, all listenable, none skippable. nonstop. you are happy with that output for so long. and then they announce that they’re coming BACK and the possibility of anything short of something you’d love is something that made me brace for impact. no brace needed. this song also opens the crack into the portion of the mix cd that brings some aggression to the fold.

code orange – i am king so. heavy. the opening sounds like something out of a raging industrial act. but make no mistake the angle these guys are coming with. this is a hardcore band. and they are painting a pitch black canvas. I’m sure even mentioning it is probably something that they’re tired of hearing about, but the lead singer is a chick. and she gets a DOPE sound out of that voice of hers. full record is dark as fuck.

every time I die – el dorado I’m really mad that the lyrics in this song don’t say “my homeboy’s backing me.” because I could have sworn that out of the ENTIRE list of incredible buckley lyrics, THAT might have been my favorite. but no, the one imprinted on my wallet over and over and over [and over] remains the best (and most accurate). these guys always bring the party. and I think this might end up being my favorite record of the year when all’s said and done. but it’s got some stiff competition. this whiskey rock vibe is just so good and fucking nasty. but somewhere in the middle of this song, they break out a RIPPER of a riff. and it punishes. it’s so gnarly. it’s the sound of a city being overwhelmed. it’s what I want to walk down the aisle at my wedding to and then water slide INTO my funeral. SO WILD. it’s the best [thing I’ve ever heard]. also, this song is on the soundtrack for NHL 15. DONE[EEE].

my iron lung – in defense of drowning another band in something that I’ve heard referred to as ‘The Wave’. a lot of bands in that honest post-hardcore movement are really getting their stuff together and being noticed by the right people. it’s really getting out there. this is just a well performed song with its highs and lows illustrated and arranged in the perfect places at the perfect pace. that weird almost robot vocal part towards the beginning? chills, man. plus, the ending lyrics ‘I tried my best to let go’ are… whoa. you know.

st. lucia – elevate so now that we’re over being angry people, this song goes back to a place of bobby brown, prince, lionel richie (referenced twice now? hell yeah) levels of giant sunglasses and palm tree shirts and music videos with boats and cartoon alligators. it’s just catchy. writing this has to be something you do by mistake. or maybe something you work your entire career towards? I’m not sure. it sounds like it was written by inhabitants of ferngully. the hook is a whistler I keep coming back to.

the guru – barracuda hands these guys remind me so much of the more irreverent days of modest mouse. this song is definitely from a different mindset when bands like bloc party were writing songs to dance around house shows to. if I’m not mistaken, I believe the lyrics include simply stating MARIO PARTY. I’m not sure why or how one ends up at this decision. but it’s fine. the song is fun.

geographer – shell beach just another cool track that seems like it’s coming out of that brooklyn music scene from the early 2000s. the loop of that asian influenced hook throughout the track makes it. that’s all there is to it. it’s the spine and nerves of all of it. and the rest thrown on top of it is just a real set of marvelous direction. a lot of what this mix and what these songs ended up being to me are representations of summer. outside on the porch with a beer reading. or just being out in a new place, complete in some type of alienation and/or isolation. this track, though? such a good groove.

caribou – odessa had the opportunity to catch these guys opening up for radiohead last year. and while the radiohead set was one of the most memorable and interpretive experiences of my show-going life, this performance that these guys put together was a blast to watch them throw together. really minimal but lots of great loops, and a great warm up to get the body moving in just that small way that’s required for a show like that. the little sounds and echoes and audio droplets that trickle through really make this song a great headphone track.

wet – you’re the best stumbled upon this track completely by accident. but the entire ep was a really fantastic surprise. dark and female in a lot of great ways. honest and sad lyrics.

sky ferreira – everything is embarrassing this is that token BEING A GIRL IN THE 80s IS FUN track. though complete revivalist stuff brought sometime in 2012. I mean, honestly, I’m not a fan of sky, but after this track, I’m absolutely interested.

jungle – lucky I got what I want their record is so good. so fun. and I think their single’s video really went somewhere big in a viral way. listening to it as a whole, though, this song seemed like it had more of a voice that resonated with me. kind of that laid back funk. the layered vocals has something to it that’s got a real anthemic feel to it without getting massive in any scale. I knew that when I heard this track, I wanted this to be the end of the mix. one of those that sort of wraps everything up. that cooled out jam that tones it all down. but more and more new music kept rolling out and I really wanted to share so much more in this phase of the mix. one thing I’ve found about this mix is that it seems to have a completely different soul than so many of the past ones. it’s comprised almost entirely of a different beast. the falsetto lyrics on this track kind of give me the same vibe of watching that video of marvin gaye lounging on the couch and crooning a dope song and jamming with his band. the snaps? perfect.

grails – corridors of power rediscovered this track at a really interesting time that I was going through in august. I’d hit a really desperate point where I couldn’t focus any of my thought, any of my energy into a positive place or direction. I was letting myself get buried by work, by family, by people I loved. this came on during a rare shuffle with the ear buds on and walking and i couldn’t do what I usually do when I first truly connect with a song. I couldn’t check the artist, I couldn’t just the song title. I just had to let it be its own character, its own song, its own nameless entity. and during the time I heard this, I was following a bunch of really basic, really simple relaxation and breathing techniques suggested by the help of a friend. just really getting back to a zero place a few times a day. and this song delivered me there. it got me to the empty and swollen safe place that I needed to be in. when I finally went back to see what the name of the song was, it really blew me away. not that a title can make a work any better or worse, but it was completely appropriate that it’d come to that. slide.

four tet – angel echoes a song built on a loop that’s always really resonated with me. that chopped up voice reminds me of a beautiful car wreck in a dream. the terrible and angular lights of a glorious color. it builds in a subtle way. and I’ve gotten lost in this cycle several times, each time thinking that I hear different voices chiming in at different times. it definitely plays tricks on me. aural mirage.

phantogram – bad dreams the full album is so good. SO good. in fact, there’s a song I think I like more on that record that just didn’t fit on here as well as this one did. but this one’s chorus and vocal lines just filled what I loved about the theme of this mix so well. it’s a feeling of almost complete abandon. really gorgeous. and not overwhelming or overwrought. just a big feeling. I also really like the guitar tone they use in the second verse. very ‘xx’.

the fauns – 4am just a well written, fuzzy, cool vibe. shoe gaze, you know, that’s the first thing that comes to mind. I ended up importing this record I liked it so much. it reminded me of a band I hadn’t heard in YEARS called ‘last days of april’. just the subdued nature of it. that synth sawing through the background the entire time. the somber vocals. that fairly consistent revisiting of the color lavender. the title of this track, again, just a title, but it makes perfect sense. I think there must be something extraordinary that I never pinpointed in my late teens and early twenties, but it brings me back to a real nostalgia for that era, the snow on the ground, the age of ‘driving around’ with a hope that someone will call or text you. stupid and young anonymous love. ‘wonderful.’

portugal. the man – tommy it’s weird. this song translates to me in perfect, deeply resonating ways sometimes. and others, it just sort of feels like I put the wrong song on here. but going back to their initial album and hearing what I loved so so much about this band in this sound that they departed as early as the very next album. just so many weird ideas swirling around in the microscope lens like viruses without purpose. endless concepts. especially knowing the talent that these dudes were holstering when coming through with this record. the “chorus” (I guess?) around 1:28 comes in with no warning, just sort of fades in. but that part is probably what speaks so clearly to me. it comes back again, just like someone changing the record in a jukebox. that’s really what shows what portugal’s vibe is all about in their later records. from the point it reprises until the end. really a deep dive into the mind of john gourley. wild.

la dispute – woman (in mirror) this album, though. listened to it on repeat while driving home from Orangeburg, over an hour away. and I got lost, past midnight, drove down an unlit road in THE COUNTRY. eventually hit “End of Paved Road”. so fucking crazy. unreal experience. but yeah, I spent a lot of time with this record. it entranced me. parts of it feel a little silly. just not right. (see, if you can, ‘morning after snowstorm’. ugh. what a joke.) but there are two tracks, this one included, that I’d describe as perfect songs. the way that these tracks are built on a percussion track and build from there. almost simple like spoken word, a jam of a band really vibing it all out together. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

but away.

dreamed of a really dark old west. shoot out in a saloon. but all of the characters were anthropomorphic dogs, like mcgruff the crime dog. there was a character named Sergio Rosa, but the last name pronounced Rasa (tabula rasa).

homer simpson with a skinned pig face, but still in the same cartoon style. homer simpson with his face removed, just showing his skull and bald head.

Friday, September 19, 2014

guilded and atrophied fingers.

in a deep, deep thought wheel was intensely inspired to start reading about the french revolution. i don't remember a thing about it, but it seems to be one of the most influential and important pieces of the history of current man.

still writing the same short story from two weeks ago. it's a record.

a lot of music coming down the line to be interested in. haven't been this excited about new artists in a long time. could be finally opening up my mind again or could just be an incredibly satisfying end of an otherwise bleak year. maybe my heart isn't encased in gravel and gear anymore.


we thought we found the anatomy of a whole new person
disfigured and charred and praying in a pile of ash
so we dissected it and found a city and we dissected the city
until we found a single violin
wrapped in string made from shaved deer bone and wax.
the violin wouldn't play and the city had no books and the
dead have no voice so we buried in ash what had been buried
in ash.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

of one way or another.

caffeine dreams. like where the thoughts you're thinking won't word wrap. where they won't go to the next line. they shove each other to the end of the margin and start clustering up and rearranging themselves to fit. like a train crash.

dreams of large bugs squeezing behind the bed. trying over and over to get them before they're out of sight.

Friday, August 29, 2014


no dreams.
trying to figure out what goes wrong that loops back into me to zero out how you can feel.
not that it sticks.

dreams of swarms of bees. looking out the screen door, two to five bees hovering around each person, stinging. some people's faces turning purple and fat. little girl laying down in turtle position right outside the door, so I yell as hard as I can at the bees and it weakens them and I bring the girl inside. my "bedroom" is a full house with tons of people hanging out, watching tv, socializing.

homer Simpson is there with a red beard.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

it isn't gray if it's invisible.

i've not written in this blog for months. and it's mostly because i felt nothing until i felt some of the darkest energy i've experienced in my life. this real golden, bronze, copper void. horrible pulling and a wilting gravity. even talking to friends about it felt like i was exaggerating. i came out of it a bit. and then came out of it completely.

if i revisit it, i'd love to be able to share more on it. though it seemed strange to suddenly start throwing a blog up about how depressed and meaningless everything was feeling as the first shot out of the cannon in a long time. especially when i feel like so many of the sentiments here seem to be at the very least straightforward creative work.

though i think the lack of creativity contributed to the awfulness of it. the feeling of being trapped under ice. terrible movie reference here, but it reminded me a bit of the scene from the ewok movie where the kid is, yeah, trapped under the ice.

i do want to say that talking to a really close friend who was supremely in tune with the kinds of ideas i was experiencing and just with myself as a whole helped in a major way. really took me down a different path i didn't think i'd be able to get down, especially as easily as i thought i would. i had to address the problem and move on. that was it. that's always it. this simple concept that you don't think applies to you. right now i'm finding a wild alluring power in the mantra that "i have everything that i need to be happy and peaceful and alive." it feels a bit derived from a lot of things i've seen posted in memes all over the internet which is BASICALLY the modern scrolls of buddhism. but really. that concept is something that's is wildly empowering in a very basic and direct way. that's the kind of advice and instruction that my friend gave over to me and it was valuable. really a change in the path i was going down. enriched every day for me.


the other night, i had one of the most vivid and colorful dreams i've had in a while. i don't know if it's that i've had disturbed sleep or just haven't been spending a lot of time in thought or what the issue is. but i know i caught an extremely deep sleep and allowed myself to be set adrift in it. the dream wasn't all that incredible, mostly just the feeling of clearly being in a dream and not needing to wake up and not having a countdown to waking up. i got past the film of there being a clear divide between dreaming in a sleeping body and just allowing thought to engulf your entire person.

the dream centered around this enormous mosquito type creature with spindly legs and all, barely any body, but i knew that it was colored like a lady bug. red carapace, black highlights or dots. flecks of white. and i would see it landed on a flight of stairs or the edge of a lake or in other arenas i'd find myself in. and i would go over to try to catch it with a bag or a net. and as i'd approach, slowly, so as not to kill it or startle it, i would watch it pull its proboscis out of another insect. the most memorable being this very large wasp. and it would pull this long tongue out of its back or its head and the other insect would almost graciously unfurl its body that had been hidden under the body of that mosquito and fly away. i think every time i saw it, i didn't catch how the rest of that scene would pan out because a massive golden glow would encompass the whole 'screen' and i wouldn't be able to watch more and we'd transition to some other level of the dream. but that's a scene that i remember witnessing time and again.

but i remember the feeling of dreaming being so free. there was an ease of breathing that i haven't felt in a long time, within dreams. a looseness. a freedom of clear thought. just letting the dream experience itself. absolutely phenomenal, almost drug like.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

you get sent in such directions.

I had a dream last night that I had gone abroad to another country that was a strange blend of both Africa and southeast Asia. also possibly more mountainous rural areas of China. a completely freeing experience.

there was a lower area where the schools and classes were. the time I was spending there was unrelated to those schools, but I had access to the facilities including the knowledge there, I guess you could say. I wasn't in class, but I was learning from these computer consoles within cubicles. I guess it was kind of like reading the internet. down there felt like a city built of a college campus. lots of buildings with specific purpose, and always working. you go there when you're not sleeping or eating to work or learn. you're farming or reading or teaching or building or researching. twenty four seven this is happening.

just across this massive river is an upper level up on a mountain. and up there is a more village type of atmosphere. huts, trees, wicker baskets filled with fruits. dirt roads. very fresh rain, wet rainforest experience. and you'd sleep inside a hut built by using the jungle and forest around you. and within that structure, they would deem it acceptable or not to then furnish the inside with higher quality furniture or even rooms one you put in enough work to make it livable on your own.

after working one day on campus, I followed friends back to the boat that brought us back to the village half and we rode the boat across and didn't speak. the water was calm, it was hot weather but with a light cool breeze. the sun was setting creating this orange horizon, and everything looked like it was through an Instagram filter.

truly felt peaceful. 'going home'. arrived back at the island and walked up this very steep hill to get to the actual village. met a friend and we ate raw eggs out of a cup or out of actual egg shells. we were laughing about something, really relaxed. it was late and it felt like we'd just worked for a full day doing intense labor. really felt like we had arrived home and everything was safe and there was no countdown to tomorrow, just resting up. we drifted off to sleep, so heavily.

woke up looking out into the jungle or forest and saw the tops of mountains in front of a rich summer evening blue. lots of green leaves. the village floor like cool soil you buy at the hardware store. not rushing, but feeling ready to go to the other island. wearing light blue shorts and a white t shirt, and that's our uniform.

to go back to the other island, we have to walk to the edge of the water and jump off this cliff into the river and swim across. looking out, there are others swimming across, some boats coming back and forth. feeling fear at first, but almost accepting death or failure or danger to stay within this restful, peaceful, rewarding cycle. dive in and start swimming across, can't wait to get there..   

Saturday, April 05, 2014

mix xxiv. i know my redeemer lives (REVISED)

mix xxiv. i know my redeemer lives (REVISED)

haim – falling I can only tell how old this mix was supposed to be by the date that I initially downloaded this track. and this might even be something of a late tell. but the creation of this file is found on the fourth of june of 2013. that’s how long it’s been that I’ve wanted to share this with you guys. and now, there they go, haim shows up in the top lists of a lot of the major music news outlets. the whole record is catchy as all hell, and gives that 80s vibe about it without ever resorting to any of those characteristic keyboards or samples of the time. it’s all just a solid, cyclic, exuberant hook, over and again. this just makes you feel awesome. I remember getting to work after this coming on and needing to completely replace the store audio with this song. maybe twice. what is this song even about? falling or something? into the fire feeling higher than the truth? COOL. LET’S DANCE.

letlive. – that fear fever I feel like letlive. is that perfect band to get you OFF. not in the sexual sense, where you’re physically orgasming. really, no, please. I’m not even going to give you a maybe on that one. but I feel like they’re all in and it’s very hard not to be all in when they’re throwing down. I feel like there’s something about what they’re doing here that gives them an element to ME at least of what the punk sound did to people before there was anything guttural and raw like that. it’s stripped down and kinetic but focused enough that it can only fit down one pipe, one channel, one tunnel directly to your face but there’s so much going on at once that you are having your eyes dart around in REM-like motions to be able to catch everything. clockwork orange film strips for your aurals. the production on this one is a little weird, a little low budget it feels? but get in it, surround yourself by it. flip tables. throw molotovs.

misery signals – shadows and depth heavy as shit, like handfuls of that black soil you’d use to plant trees or new landscape projects. so much denser and thicker and weighty than what you thought you were holding. the heft doesn’t match the volume. but then there are those wood grain textures in the background and in the in betweens. that’s what this band has always been for me. it’s the band that everyone has basketball shorts for and the fitteds and whatever the mosh kids where nowadays, but there’s something about all of it at once that doesn’t seem possible to reduce down to a two step or a mosh. when I saw them as one of the last things I did in NYC before coming down here to the swerve, even during the breakdowns, kids just stare at them and nod their head like they’re receiving some outerworldy transmission that is promoting rhythm through understanding. to wield the vastness that they incorporate their songs is something that I endlessly respect. they want to punch you down through a granite floor but into a dust that floats through the atmosphere and lands out on one of saturn’s moons. I’m down, they sound rad.

citizen – drawn out whereas a band like this is that band that plays the VFW to all of their friends that they’ve never met and make eye contact and donate the microphone to the crowd through the choruses and the hooks so that everyone can be the band can be the voice and can be the message. there isn’t much to the lyrics in this song personally, but there’s a flashback here to holding the shoulders of kids I didn’t know who drove the same streets to get here to celebrate the movement and the songs and the band and the record and the song. the faces that light up when they finally play the song that “they better play”. it’s joy. it’s that live performance euphoria that can’t be replaced. it’s small and singular and important. this song embodies it for me. air drumming on this one is furious, too. love that bass line too. asics. new balance. saucony. feel wild.

rookie town – valley lily there are bands like this that are derivative of the above movement. and they never really sound like their recordings when they play those little venues. and they’re playing to such small crowds of people who can only make out what the songs really sound like because they received the demo or streamed it on sound cloud and know the first few notes. but they play it too fast and they play it so energetically and frantically that it barely sounds the same. “I’M STILL AS STRONG AS I EVER WAS” is such a powerful thing to scream amidst the chaos that the whole song represents. it’s a beautiful thing to scream into any open space. it’s an absence of desperation. it’s an affirmation. but there are moments like that weird bridge in the middle that ONLY belong in the little bars and the wooden VFWs and never make it in the transition outside of that. but in those tableaus, they are the prism through which ONLY that light can shine.

bear vs. shark – bloodgiver I’m endlessly happy that I received an equal visions record sampler back at some warped tour that I’ve since forgotten. from the days when I was really into coheed and cambria’s first record and the second one was still kind of relevant to me and before I thought it was possible the third one could possibly lose me. because ON that sampler was the song by this band called ‘ma jolie’ that opened my eyes to them forever. and there’s that midwestern 90s vibe to them a la braid, but that same era post-hardcore nonchalance that at the drive-in brought that was a blend that grew deep into my bloodstream. seeing them live was dangerous. I love how misleading the lack of anything obvious going on in this song is. it shifts and folds and spreads like a flock of birds or a school of fish. one unit acting in multiple minds.

moneen – accidents are on purpose to open, yes. this is a cover. but not so much a cover as it is a reimagining. so if you’ve not heard the alexisonfire version of this track, it may make it more (or less) enjoyable based on your knowledge of that track. but this one is way slower, way less vicious, though all the elements are still there. it’s nothing like george’s wildcat, throat tearing scream. this is a song completely deconstructed and reassembled after years of water erosion. it compounds a different level of emotion into it. moneen has always been a band that seems to simply roll around on their guitar pedals so there are way more effects going on in the little spaces between the verses and the periods after the musical sentences. and there’s the spacial post-rock moment that they place in the middle of the song that rolls you through a river of illusion and empty galactic space that is placed where the original song had its musical break.

hrvrd – timid scripts the first notes of this track always almost lift me inches off of the ground. I have a devotion to this record that is worn openly like an old hoodie or a pair of jeans that is completely threadbare. that weird guitar float away sound that happens right after the first vocals come in, the way the cymbals are recorded, just how much reverb is surrounding the singer… a lot of it. it’s all shaped like a halo to me. this is one of those songs that you’ve been asking for when you’ve gotten bored of every record you’ve bought, every recommendation and every song on the radio. this is the response to that silent telegraph. the missing brick to the foundation. the one that fits the new design, the new remodel. I talked about this record in sort of (read: extremely) over the top terms and this is the song that sort of encompasses all that the record makes me feel. it’s one of those songs that makes me feel like there’s no way that this song was written by human beings, that it was sort of a spiritual transmission that was received by a collective of people that united them at some temple or sudden canyon. really. I feel this way.

hrvrd – flaming creatures this is actually the first song from that record that called to me and made me realize that I was truly loving it, and that it had a voice that was speaking directly to me. a similar example is when you are trying to put together what a word or concept is with no prior recollection to it. like the native americans standing on the shores, unsure what they were seeing as the global explorers brought their massive ships to their banks. just not being able to mentally define or even outline these objects or ideas or in this case sounds. it took me a second to really grasp it. and it’s not that these guys are doing something that sounds like it’s in a completely different key or anything, it’s more that I had to really succumb to the idea that it was taking over as a brand new idea and that there was nothing really like it that I had liked. it’s in the nuance. the trumpet here, the high pitched vocal piece. it’s all captivating to me. the “loathing government” thing… wack. I get that. but the organ, the guitar lacing that goes over it… an anchor and a propulsion. I love it.

local natives – you & I the slow sweeping of the guitar and its amber hue is all that it would really take for me to be completely caged up by this song. but the hook is, on its own and in conjunction with this, terribly sad and sounds simple and pleading and yet is catchy and something I want to sing all day. somewhere in the three minute mark, there are notes that are filling up the whole landscape, like the type of blanket that fill your vision when you have your eyes closed but stare at a blinding light. little moments like that stacked with an already great song is what makes this stuff timeless and endless for me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now, some of these songs I get almost nervous to share with you because the song itself might only sound like a song to you, and what I want to do is have something like a séance where I hold your hands around a table and let you feel what I’m feeling and let these songs speak to you the way they speak to me.

into it. over it. – favor & fiction one of the most genuine and hardworking and believable dudes in all of music right now is evan weiss. hands down, such an approachable dude who just ‘gets it’, constantly. both in person and on television he has some kind of mission statement and work ethic that comes across in everything he does. and the talent he has on the guitar is something that makes him far more than just a figure head. he can deliver. the main riff on this track is something that can really speak for his entire discography. lots of angling and bending and fingerwork going up and down the neck of the guitar. and then another one of this incredible abilities as a songwriter and music player is the weight and heaviness of the songs that he’ll lay down without doing much of the palm muting and typical breakdown stylings that tend to come with songs that can be described as “heavy”. it’s the timing and the space that he places around the notes and in between the movements of the song that he’s tying together. take the part around 1:42 as an example, and on record you can possibly get the view as it would look on paper, but in his live performance the way that the notes ring out and the investment and reaction and delivery on his face makes it fathoms and tons heavier.

poliça – very cruel bass heavy and rhythm happy and head nodding. the almost sassy and loungy vocals. just on that level, this song is great. on loop endlessly. lots of really basic stuff coming together, but layering and building and frothing and getting whipped out at different intervals. really smart use of echoes. in one of those rare moments, one string of lyrics really hits directly close to home with me. a way of life I’ve had to leave behind, one that I was almost ignorantly walking through days with.

thom yorke – harrowdown hill one thing that has always stood out to me about this song since I played it on headphones for the first time is during that bed of high pitched almost digital keys, it has this weird warbly sound to it in this very light fashion that makes it sound like it’s coming off of some heavily used record that has been tried at the owner’s very best to keep it in good condition, but it is played so frequently, it just can’t help but be exposed to natural entropy. something about anything this man touches makes sense. I feel like I can type the lyrics a million times in many different fonts and beg you to look at it harder but it just won’t speak the same to you or even myself the same way. I’m staring at it like DON’T YOU GET IT??! like some kind of son of sam investigator. it’s weird, yeah, it gets weird. to get even more close to it, start listening to around 2:24, in the left channel, that weird choppy mumble that he uses as part of the beat to break up the loop cycle that he’s using. it appears and disappears. it’s little genius that reveals the iceberg of larger genius. I think of this song as an acknowledgment of a certain group of people in my life who I’m constantly and forever melded with, and twisted into a helix that never bends, warps, erases, or is destroyed. 1.

phosphorescent – muchacho’s tune oh, and this is just a sad song with a lap steel and lyrics that I can relate to from a certain point in my life. a longing and a reaching that held out for hours and endless Indiana miles. lots of staring out through solid walls as if they were glass windows or open fields. and while I’m past that sadness, it still was very real to me. and it’s still something that left a ravine in my existence. it’s healthy now, it’s got foliage and wildlife in and around it. but it’s still there because of the passing and crashing of events. and I’ll be able to use THOSE MOMENTS as very real inspiration both the prehistory, the history and aftermath and recovery from it. we all have these experiences that become educations for us, that seem so crucial and defining for us. and I really hope that all of you can openly choose to not let these framed moments rule your lives. to acknowledge them, take power over them, accept them and change them and change yourself in ways that only move you forward.

volcano choir – comrade more sadness on this track. this song really stood out to me, along with another track on that record. the other one just wasn’t as digestible to throw on the mix cd, but had one of the saddest lines I’ve heard in my entire life, quoted by mr. chinaski himself. there’s something cruel cruel cruel about singing sad songs with an uplifting sound. it opens up the creases in your lungs and your heart and your voice box and makes you let these little flakes of light in. real bite the bullet moments. I think the key that this song is written in is just inherently positive. there’s one line to me in here that sort of acknowledges that level of true rejection we’ve ever felt, though, better than any other. and I need to separate it from the rest of this description just so it can hopefully get a hold of you the way it did for me. there are a lot in here that are NOT this next line that really tear at me. but this next one feels universal. it’s in the song but you can’t make it out because it’s autotuned and flying away in all directions. but it says:


blonde redhead – spain STILL SAD! I want to plaster more lyrics, but that’s not really my style. this woman’s voice feels like a ghost to me. always has. this song is written about a personal struggle with trying to let someone go, despite your excuses and the small wants and desires and perfect scenarios you set up in your head. although all of your external voices are telling you to stay away, to stop to leave it to run. you can’t combat or defeat the missing of someone, the longing. the dialogue you want to have with someone when you are reunited, the next time that you see them, the way you think it was the one thing you could say to make them understand. the fact that you feel like you can’t speak enough to say the one thing so superbly and succinctly (and at that time, so effortlessly) to make them swoon and stay or come back or fall into you. the shape of one person’s voice or personality or handwriting to haunt you for the rest of your goddamn life.

palms – antarctic handshake this song is simply a meditation broken into two stanzas. the sound of the universe and its shapes and children. the way the sounds of the guitars form perfect undulating waves rippling outward. this song feels like the description of a place described only as beyond. it feels like floating and fractals. the first portion of the song feels to me almost more of a portal, a slow pushing tunnel towards what ends up being the open experience of the second piece. like falling off of an upward escalator into a place with no gravity, into a sonic representation of an alex grey movement. I’ve had times with this record where I’ve listened so far into the background of this track where I can almost detect some kind of Tibetan throat chanting going on back there, or something even deeper, even bassier. it’s like a strand of light dissected. twinkles and trenches. the percussion part is so tribal, so simple but subdued and constrained. omega.


Friday, February 21, 2014

avoiding a bonfire.


I've been outlining a character to plug into the outline of a short story. lots of little things, notes and idiosyncrasies and things I'd like to include. taking "advantage" of the microcosm observational skills that I think I have. poking at the little things, expanding on the little things. feeling good about having a project to place thought into cumulatively. 

had a moment of terrifying, paralyzing analysis where I started seeing things in the character and the story that could be similar to a version of myself, felt like I was calling myself out on it. felt like a fraud, even a narcissist. wanted to throw the book into a house then burn the house down. 

I've not written at length for probably two years. maybe more. it's mostly been letters, short poems, and music analysis for the mixes and end of the year lists. I'm getting in my own way about something I love to do, something that comes really natural. and not even putting it out there for the paranoia of being called out on something. 

supremely weak. 
not listening to that voice.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Albums of the Year, 2013.

The Others

took a little bit, but…
night verses – lift your existence grew on me in a really incredible, massive way. when I first started listening to it, I’m probably like every other low interest, high artist count listener [especially from long island] that heard a few tracks from the record and thought, “oh cool, sounds like the sleeping, I’m down”, coasted through a few more songs then put it down without really giving the record the respect it deserved. I came back to this a few times and each time found something new and unique in it, and found that each song almost sounds like its own experiment and doug has his signature style throughout, but is almost trying something new at every chance he got. really incredible album, especially after knowing that these dudes are doing it for REAL when you see them live. each one of them are supreme instrumentalists. hate to point the one dude out, but hey, aric improta… killer. damn, son.

supremely weird, got something new every time…
shone – heat thing came out some time in February, I think. it was an album that had a lot of weird, mysterious hype about it involving brand new and robbers and a collective of musicians from other projects I’m not familiar with. either way, I knew Andrew had KILLED it with robbers and I was ready for more of the type of theatric, mod, twin peaks-style music and storytelling he had often offered up, so whoever surrounded him, I trusted would only add to the stew. it did. the tracks are all rad, all very terrifying in their own way. but the songs are orchestrated. they’re wide and vast. they’re the kinds of songs I can’t see performed in a bar but rather in a theater. great record.

wait, this is dope who what is this…
ether – human error apparently released an album this year. and when I was going back through all the records that I purchased or downloaded in 2013, it came on and blew me away. instantly caught my attention. it’s nothing new or revolutionary. in fact, telling you that it’s from at least one of the guys from remembering never will probably instantly give you a better idea of what this sounds like. the tracks are long and sludgy and it’s not as straight forward as the remembering never stuff, but it’s still heavy as shit. not much to say about it, but when it popped up as I was going through this year’s list, I was impressed. very happy I found them.

it’s good, but…
letlive. – the blackest beautiful came out and the hype and excitement I had for it was probably a little bit too high and unfair for what they were going to meet. at all, really. seeing them live gives me a very different image of their sound than what actually makes it onto their records and I often forget that. there’s still that weird ‘screamo’ vibe to them. they have the heavy and hard and smart stuff, but they do that pop punk hook thing, too. and this record does focus on a lot of that pop side while still remaining true to the dudes with tattoos who float around the hardcore scene aesthetic. each song is good, it’s fine, but didn’t blow me away. and something that stood directly out to me is the production quality and value of the songs. not exactly the same, but it almost felt like they did what metallica did with the album they recorded in a garage or something where they tried to strip everything down and make it sound shittier on purpose. I don’t know. cool album, and it grew on me, but I felt I had to be a little forgiving to it.


polica – shulamith was almost nothing like what their first album offered and that’s absolutely fine. for real. I’m not saying they needed to have a repeat performance. BUT. where the first record had a very cool, almost dub-inspired reggae tone to it. very chill, very two step, head nod friendly. this one came out and did a little of that, but not enough, and did new songs that left what seemed to be their apparent mission statement. their foray into upbeat stuff was great with ‘chain my name’ opening the record in a hyper, bumpy type of way. but they never came back in and found that unique center that made them stand all the way out for me.

too long…
into it. over it. – intersections I MEAN, c’mon. i don’t even know how long it actually was. it just started to all run together for me. a lot of it was great, and there were moments that would jump out at me and give me all of the feels, you know. but I found that every time I sat down to it or carried this album with me, I either forgot it was on or wanted to put something else on to break it all up. and it’s not even that the whole thing was too sad or anything or too much to deal with. it just sort of all mushed together. kind of how I feel when I’m walking through a museum or something and you’re staring at all of this art, this stuff that people come from HOWEVER far away for… and you’ve spent so much time around so much stuff that starts to look similar to It that it’s just getting lost so it looks like “Man”, “Woman”, “Woman with Fruit in Park at Dusk” and then just “Fruit” and then eventually just “Paint.”

started incredible but then lost me…
justin timberlake – the 20/20 experience (Part 1­) on this one, the same thing happened every time. turned it on and was blown away. this was the best thing this guy has ever done. did the direct JT pop thing with a cool song, but each track was interwoven with Timberland’s genius production to also make something completely bizarre and off the beaten path as well. to the point where through the first four tracks, I started wondering why he wasn’t credited as one of the headlining artists on this record. and then after a while, it, yeah, it just lost me. I forgot I was listening to an album and I just wanted to go back to the first few songs that got me really involved and inspired and excited about what I was getting down to.

this song just will not leave me and I don’t think I ever want it to…
paramore – still into you it’s supremely bubble gum and really fun and easy and has everything about a single that can captivate the anonymous. I’m very into it. that chorus though? son. genius. simple. dassit.

The Top Ten (the playlist)

i kept a .txt file of all of the albums that I bought this year. whether it was physical or digital, whatever the case was, anything that I bought or anything that I listened to enough to get a listing got dropped in there and in a vague moment of trying to put together my list, I’d move it higher or lower based on just my gut instinct. and then in the last month or so of the year, I’ve been listening to everything on that list in alphabetical order just to get the last sweep through all of it and made an independent list based on how it was directly in the face of listening to all of it at once. and to be honest, the list is very close to what I expected it to be, but some stuff got completely rotated out in lieu of some stuff that really felt like it had more of a longer lasting feel to it. there was even one album that I realized sounded almost completely samey the entire time through and there were other ones that just fit what a great album needed to be.
but honestly, there’s no correct way to make a list like this. it’s whatever sounds good and it will change constantly from week to week and month to month and cup of coffee to cup of coffee. there’s no definition. all of these were great records and there are plenty more that could have made it throughout the year. but here it is. DAT LIST.

10. Local Natives – Hummingbird
this band is almost the epitome of modern American ‘indie’ music right now. it’s all that echo and all that fuzz. it sounds like they are the soundtrack for all of those modern car commercials with the quirky dads and their funny girlfriends and all-too-intelligent kids. but really, these songs are truly, truly beautiful. I think there’s something about the hooks here that are unforgettable. I remember pulling this album out and being shocked that song after song was holding my attention and it wasn’t just floating out into the nothing of run-together bands that have this very same sound and the very same tone of instagram photos faded but cool and new and autumny.  very pretty album.

Important Tracks: You & I, Heavy Feet, Ceilings.

9. Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
just the way this album opens up totally gave me such a great, full smiling vibe. it’s almost like Purity Ring’s little sister is getting out of school on the last day before summer vacation begins. where PR was completely devastating and gave me an introspective into a feminine side that I found hidden behind a layer of day-to-day existence as a Male, this record is girlie and fun but still synthy and almost steely enough to give that “aww, you’re angry and angsty, huh??” I love the synth palette they use here. they remind me of some of the great moments Metric and Paramore and even some of the stuff that’s going on in the background I can throw Crystal Castles into the mix. there’s a lot of sparkle to be found. it all just feels good. I like that so much of this is very easy and simple, too.

Important Tracks: The Mother We Share, Lies, Recover.

8. Portugal. the Man – Evil Friends
i never thought that this album would make it here. my relationship with this band has been nothing short of tumultuous. in 06, 07? this band was all I could talk about in terms of what they were capable of as a unit. they were doing things that I couldn’t be told about, things that I thought bands had never tried before. they were new to me, fresh to me, and had absolutely no qualms being weird and using sounds and echoes and pulling ideas from a whole new sphere of thought that I hadn’t yet ventured into. they came around at a perfect time, as I was slowly losing interest in bands that screamed at me and played breakdowns and played tiny venues. but everything after they dropped Church Mouth seemed less intricately put together, seemed less like an endeavor and more like a… regular album? I don’t know how to really explain what they were doing. the thoughts on these records felt incomplete. just written and recorded and packaged and sent. and I felt that even after watching them perform multiple times, it seemed that they were constantly performing their songs in the key and size and scale and LANGUAGE of Church Mouth, but when they hit the studio, they felt myopic and limited. and when I picked this record up, I sort of had my teeth clenched expecting another similar experience. HOWEVER. this record has a whole new feel to it. finally sounds like they have put together the neo-Portugal sound that they’ve been crafting over the course of the years. and the way I described it when I picked it up was that this was an emphatic apology and thank you for sticking with them while they were figuring it all out. great songs, recurring themes, and one that finally matches their new voice of their new live show. it feels like they’re finally comfortable in the skin they’re wearing. front to back, great.

Important Tracks: Creep In a T-Shirt, Modern Jesus, Purple Yellow Red and Blue.

7. Volcano Choir – Repave
I got duped by this record, kind of. first song I heard from it, I instantly perked up and was saying “yo. this is the new Bon Iver.” ACTUALLY DAWG, it is Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon along with some other homies. stoopit. but this is just a collection of sad sounding songs. whispy and light and at times even cosmic. organic. the lyrics sound incredibly personal and specific at times and have hit chords within me that song lyrics rarely will. some of the words call to mind very detailed rooms or interactions that went muted and wrong. the production is smart and layers some very hidden moments within the song structures that only work to highlight the mentality of the tracks. I feel like this album can feel like being lost in the mind and heart of a slighted lover. this album found me at the right place at the right angle. it also has some terribly sad moments without ever getting blatantly dark. things left unsaid. the shape of her face. I love some of the moments this record shares with you. makes me want to call my friends and make sure they’re okay or something. there’s a moment where they sample Bukowski himself that cripples me.

Important Tracks: Comrade, Alaskans, Keel.

6. Phosphorescent – Muchacho
there’s a weird line here. I don’t want to talk about the sense of being ‘forlorn ‘ in this record, because it’s almost the perfect word to describe it, though I don’t it ever gets to the point where you feel bad for it or understand that it’s having a hard time. does that make sense? it almost sounds like someone who’s moved away from someone or something or somewhere they really loved but talk about it in hindsight as someone who’s just as delighted to be bringing them up as they are a bit shook up about having to leave it behind. this personification is about the best I can explain how this record gets to me. the songs have a strange, haunted feeling to them, almost like stories around a campfire with a close group of friends who are learning about just what happened over the past forever. sounds tend to bounce around in here. the acoustics on all of it is perfectly designed. I love the country elements to the instruments and the little yips and yelps that seem like they had to be ad libbed. if they’re planned, there’s something almost corny and absurd about it, but if not, I mean, I guess there’s something genuine about it that I completely love. this is a back porch record, something to either avoid listening to or embrace while you’re tapping into your spirits. it’ll get you. the whole thing swells until you appreciate the cage that love has crafted.

Important Tracks: A Charm / A Blade, Muchacho’s Tune, Down to Go.

5. Atoms for Peace – Amok
I mean. it’s thom yorke. this is layered and smart and tight and all kinds of warm and digital. the production is pitch perfect, down to the last sound and the last fade out. you don’t miss a note of a fade. there’s a cyclic pattern to the drum and the bass and the background elements that keep me entranced. but there’s still parts of this record that would lend itself to a stripped down or acoustic rerecording. no element of this record can’t stand on its own. it’s almost an understated power house that is wall to wall. its appearance on this list feels like an ‘of course’. this record is a meditation.

Important Tracks: Default, Ingenue, Judge Jury and Executioner.

4. The Strokes – Comedown Machine
seeing this band on any list of mine kind of blows my mind. but the first thing I can tell you is the same thing that I can say to the few people I started to pass it around to once it dropped. “I KNOW. trust me. it’s really good.” it’s kind of exactly that basic and just that simple. the guitars float around in the background and they have that Cool Guy vibe to them. the vocals stay falsetto and in that higher register that finds its way directly into my zone. every single moment of this record just feels incredibly catchy to me in a way that I would hate to admit. like. really?? the fucking strokes? I’m almost as mad about this as you think I am. i almost feel like I’ve been had, listening to this direct NYC Rock and Roll record with five good looking dudes in it and enjoying every single minute of it. I mean. really. they nailed it. even in a song that starts off like some kind of weird, cheapy video game introduction, they pull it all back together and tie it in a perfect little bow into a believable, backable chorus. why. how. I do not know. but I ended up loving this album until I questioned it and it responded in a very deliberate fashion, keeping it on this list.  I swear, though. enjoying this album kind of feels the way you feel when you actually genuinely understand your ex’s new partner. but it’s so good!

Important Tracks: Tap Out, One Way Trigger, Call It Fate Call It Karma.

3. Palms – Palms
chino, man. I could leave it at that. but my man is in a good amount of projects that he starts or becomes attached to. and his repertoire is so vast that whatever he becomes a part of, I kind of look off into the middle distance and say, “I can totally see it. I get it.” anything. he can do anything. and I think his level of quality control and creative input ends up taking most of his projects into what many call “that next level shit.” put him on board with guys from the dark-ish post rock band Isis, and you have what makes Palms so moody. there’s something really spaced out and droney and zen about what they’re putting together. even chino’s vocal input to it has kind of a loop to it that doesn’t take too much of the spotlight from the music and lends itself to the background, post vibe to it. there’s a lot of good energy on this record, a lot of stuff that can help you get grounded and centered. listening to this in the background is kind of where it finds its most approachable intake, but if you throw this on your headphones or your earbuds and allow its detail oriented nature to seep into your brain and behind your eyes, it’ll definitely play some brand new tricks for you. this one’s a journey into the ether. this is music to disappear into. I think I’ve listened to the last track on this record and woken up on different levels of the species. it hums a life into an inner god.

Important Tracks: Mission Sunset, Antarctic Handshake.

2. Citizen – Youth
I had a hard time finding music from directly within my wheel house that really entertained me to this capacity this year. and when this album sort of rotated its way into my lap, I thought that it’d be a cool band to mention in the conversation of what I discovered this year. but the less attention I paid to new music, the more I found myself unable to leave this band behind. even when I’d listen to the releases from last year like Title Fight and even when I was excited for this year’s Balance and Composure, this seemed to be the record that I’d throw on each and every time. I believe this record. even though my girlfriend decided to compare this to bands like A Perfect Circle and Daughtry and Nickelback, I still think that this band is doing something that sounds legitimate and not formulaic and they have their hooks in all of the right places. even though she said that this being in the #2 position declares that this “really MUST have been a shitty year in music”, I still am entirely engulfed in this. I think what this album does is take all of that missing stuff from all of the records I’ve been looking for during the year, all of those dudes in vans, all of those Thank Yous in the liner notes, all the hangs with the close friends, all of those moments and puts it perfectly into one record that is usually spread out across multiple albums in different elements and different ways and puts it all into one accessible format. this sounds to me like cheapish guitars and ugly drums and tiny venues. even if my girlfriend can’t decipher between these guys and Three Days Grace. I ‘ono. this gets me hype.

Important Tracks: Roam the Room, The Summer, The Night I Drove Alone, Drawn Out.

1. HRVRD – From the Bird’s Cage
I’m a little scared to write about this album, because I know I’m going to mess it up. this record is a work of art. it’s perfect. um. in years from now, I’ll describe it to you the way I can still talk about Hopesfall’s ‘Satellite Years’ for over an hour. the way that it’s not a recording of a group of men playing instruments and taking notes on a white board, but instead the construction and manifestation of a collective dream where space is infinite and you build your wildest creations by dragging your ideas directly out of your brain and meld them together in an interface much like the minority report. um. when I listen to this record, I feel a hot and numb burning in the center of my chest that I can only compare to tony stark’s iron man heart. um. I can’t listen to this album without enacting some new and genuine twitches which you can be seen in closest similarity in the Radiohead video for Lotus Flower. yeah, it’s like that. I can’t really describe this album in anything other than metaphor that either has you get it or hate it. “BRO, I DIDN’T GET NO NUCLEUH REACTUH IN MAH HAHHHHT.” yeah, you’re right. this record elevates me to a different place, to a level of understanding the message that the band was assembling in little pieces without having to listen to it individually, but rather comprehending as one massive character and one singular notion. and if not with this record, I hope that any of your favorite records make you feel this. because that’s what this has offered me and what I’ve accepted. this is this. and this is now in me. thank you, HRVRD.

Important Tracks: Timid Scripts, Futurist, Flaming Creatures, Kids With Fake Guns.