12/17/10

#4 Album of 2010: Lifejackets by Mimas


Mimas has already ushered in a new era with Lifejackets, their sophomore album. The loud, unhinged aspect of the band has nearly vanished in favor of control. In the realm of indie music, restraining this type of indulgence is admirable, and it's why this album ranks high on my year-end list.

My favorite part of both Mimas LPs, one of the only things that feels as if it has remained constant between albums, are the lyrics. No other band devises such quirky lyrics as this one. Just to give you an idea of the scope, the topics on Lifejackets range from failed bloggers to growing a moustache to crime scenes. At one point, Albertsson sings "The state stated that they will start stopping stalkers/stalking girls standing at stands asking for still water". Let's just take a moment to marvel at that brilliantly constructed alliteration.

Alright, moving on.

Just because they've eschewed their post-rock tendencies doesn't mean that they've dulled down any. The instrumentation is vibrant-as-ever. Drums skitter more than crash, guitars frolic instead of explode. Horns, handclaps, and "HEY!"s pop their heads in from time to time. It almost feels like the band is playing on a playground in your backyard, and inviting you to join them. That's how fun this album can get in spots.

When the Danes take it down a notch and expose a more serious side, the result is just as affecting. On "Relationship", a piano comes in to accompany Albertsson's unique squawk of a voice as he croons of a failing relationship, and how people should always remember the things that keep us going, the things that keep us afloat like lifejackets. It's a thoughtful, mature ending to an otherwise festive and youthful album, but like the rest of the tracks, it puts a smile on your face. Mimas is pretty good at doing that.

~-~

12/14/10

#5 Album of 2010: Melted by Ty Segall


Ty Segall knows how to melt your face. He has perfected the formula for doing so: hyperinfectious, in-and-out garage-psych jams.

The product is Melted, Ty's third release in 18 months. Although the man is highly prolific, how surprising is this? There's really not much complexity to what he does: the songs, on the surface, sound like they could have been written in 10 minutes. But who's to say that good music has to be deep, complex, and rich in meaning? This album's sole purpose is to kick ass, and I love it for that.

Now I mentioned the term "garage" a little earlier, and I want to make this clear: this album doesn't suffer from repetition, a terminal illness that so many garage-rock LPs fall victim to. There is an undeniable air of similarity between each song, but each track on Melted takes on a life of its own and has its own distinct identity. It's impossible, for example, to mistake the crunchy sludge of "Finger" with the happy-go-lucky stomp "Caesar" that follows it, or to mix up the pseudo-blues of "Mrs." with the British Invasion textures of "My Sunshine". The album is carefully constructed to equalize the energetic with the laid-back, allowing the minute versatility to shine in the background while Ty frenetically pumps out hook after hook in the foreground.

This album's not afraid to get weird, either. The majority of lo-fi rock tends to be straightforward and recorded on the worst equipment imaginable to create that bedroom aesthetic, without frills or anything of the like. There is a surprising amount of experimentation to be found on this album. The end of "Bees" goes from steady to highly volatile in the span of two seconds, in which pitch and speed are distorted into a clattering mess of a climax that somehow returns to its ground state in the final seconds. There is a flute outro on "Caesar", an uncharacteristically brooding intro on "Imaginary Person" and creepy vocalizations thrown in "Girlfriend" and "Alone" for good measure. All of this gives you something to sink your teeth into after each listen. This is a little bit more than the straight-up rock and roll of yesteryear.

Melted isn't a masterpiece. It's not intended to be. Instead, it chooses to be a hell of a good ride, and an innovative one at that.

~-~

12/8/10

Plans for the rest of the year

There are a measly (checks calendar, counts days) 23 days left in this year, so I figure I'll lay out how I plan on spending them.

Firstly, the blog. The next 5 posts are going to be my top 5 albums of the year, with a little write-up for each. That should be plenty exciting (for me in particular, who has, for the first time ever, downloaded enough current albums to compile such a list).

Secondly, the YouTube. Yes. The YouTube. Since I'm bound to have a lot of downtime between the end of college applications and the start of college, I'm gonna start making vidjas again. I made a picture to celebrate the occasion:
I imagine you enjoyed that.

Thirdly, I'm finishing up applying to colleges. Sent in my first application last night to Middlebury College (WHEE!). I'm powering through the rest of the supplemental material over the course of the next couple of weeks and then I'll be ALL DONE. (Not at all, of course. I have to fill out my part of the financial aid stuff immediately after, which will take forever and a day, but will obviously be worth it in the end)

So that's the rest of my year. Yours?

~-~

11/30/10

Snowman in the Sidecar of a Motorcycle

For the starving minstrel.

I have seen the dead and dying,
The personless open-mic Sunday nights,
The musicians playing to bar stools and dust.

And I have seen the dead and dying,
The free-form empty death,
The poets shouting to themselves.

And I have seen the dead and dying,
The stocked-shelf wasteland,
The authors composing messages in bottles.

And I have seen the dead and dying,
The future furniture outlets,
The homeless artists with homeless art.

And I have seen,
The dead and dying,
The lack of fervor,
The unwillingness to listen.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you,
The inimitable,
The lethargic,
The self-obsessed,

Us! Crickets.

~-~

11/27/10

A post about Black Friday (part the 2nd).

So I opened up the CD case to find that there was no CD. For a brief instant, I wanted to go back into the store and return it, but I quickly decided to just throw it out. It was 69 cents. I wasn't going to cause a scene for that amount of money. Others certainly would.

So then Bobina and I went into a Borders, where I got a copy of Looking for Alaska with a gift card. I'd been wanting to read it ever since I finished Paper Towns, but only now just got around to it.

I'll admit I'm more than behind the times with this one.

So I'm starting in on it tonight.

WOOP!

After I came home and said bye to Bobina, I was invited by some friends to return to the same mall I just had been at less than an hour ago. Just for kicks, not to buy anything. So I went, because I would've been bored out of my tree at home anyways. We went to Best Buy, which is without a doubt one of the craziest places to be at for Black Friday. But like with the other stores I had previously visited, this one was already pretty calm by the time I got there. Which was good, I didn't want to witness the obsessive shoppers first-hand at all. Just from a distance.

Upon reaching the store, the five of us went into the musical instruments section. I sat down in front of a piano, and played it with no intention of buying it. I'd say maybe .01% of the people who play the keyboards there ever intend on buying them. I improvised, loud enough to only let the music reach my ears, because the most annoying people of all time are those tools who crank up the volume in music stores because THEY NEED TO BE HEARD. I KNOW SMOKE ON THE WATER LISTEN *sour note*

Then out of nowhere, just when I was certain I was playing quietly enough, some guy came up to me saying that he liked what he heard. He wore a yellow cap, short greying hair, trimmed beard. Probably in his 40s. His son, I assume his son, was at his side, tugging subtly on his forearm in an act of quiet, defiant impatience. He asked me if I knew how to play this song or that song, and I said no, I just play my own stuff, mostly. I asked him if he played. He didn't. Just guitar. Asked me if I knew any Pink Floyd, I said "I tried once to learn Great Gig in the Sky", which wasn't even true, but I didn't want the guy to walk away hopeless, crestfallen. He seemed too nice. His act of just coming up and talking was so unexpectedly wonderful to me that I had to return the favor in some small way, shape or form. A pause, a beat. And then the break.

"Alright man, good luck." were his parting words. "You too." I said, nearly inaudible over the music being blasted overhead.

I wish more people were like that guy. He showed me that not everyone is a soulless nothing on this bleak day. And maybe that I shouldn't be so quick to judge everyone. And maybe that there are still humans out there.

~-~

11/26/10

A post about Black Friday (Part 1).

I was going to post about how the US military shouldn't be holding joint exercises with the South Korean military and how that has the potential to escalate the North Korean conflict to the point of a devastating war. But instead I'm going to talk about how I got two books for $1.99.

This is America's fastest rising tradition I'm talking about: Black Friday.

Bloodthirsty consumers stay up all night to form one big line outside of their store of choice, which will open at some ungodly hour in the morning. Why the stores open this early is so beyond me, because regardless of how early they open, there are still going to be herds of sheep who worry themselves more over that discounted pair of jeans then their disrupted sleep patterns. Now that they've heard the phrase "big savings", these people are determined: the hour of the day is irrelevant. Now they just HAVE to get that 84" LCD for their den. They just HAVE to get that red lounge chair that will NOT gather dust in the attic. IT WILL NOT GATHER DUST IN THE ATTIC

Spending = happiness. Profit = exuberance. The doors open and the United States is even uglier than it was before.

---
And yet I participated in this mess, twice in one day.

The first time was with Bobina. We went hours after the opening madness, but cars were still everywhere in the Fox Run plaza. We went to Savers to get something for her sister, but we ended up shopping for ourselves. She got a suitcase for some reason, a bag for her laptop, and a sweater that I thought was tacky but she insisted she'd wear. I had to dig to find something worth buying, but finally wound up with a book of short stories by Guy de Maupassant for $1.99 and a used copy of Talib Kweli's "The Beautiful Struggle" for 69¢.

When I got in the car, I opened up the CD case to find...

~-~
I'll finish that tale tomorrow. Nothing like a good ol' cliffhanger.

In response to Dave:
The thing with the Kanye West album is that I tried to approach the album as a piece of music, not a piece of his precious ego. It was hard to separate the two, but with a bit of a struggle, I managed. And I think it's possible for everyone to listen to it that way. So I say, although it's tempting, don't knock it until you try it.

Song of the post: Gong by Sigur Ros (video's not too bad itself)






11/25/10

A post about Kanye West.


Look, I know I'm a white kid. I know I'm a white kid who has spent little to no time listening to hip-hop (the one hip-hop album I can really get into is The Score by The Fugees). But all of the buzz about Kanye's new album made me too curious; people left and right, critics and amateur listeners alike, proclaiming that he is now the prophet of modern music, or something. So I got a copy of it from my brother, uploaded it to iTunes, and listened.

Verdict: It's good. But I don't. get. the universal praise.


The production of "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" is oft-immense and always ambitious, because of course, Kanye's first love was producing. A lot can be said about the varied styles from song to song:
no two songs are alike (unless you count Lost in the World/Who Will Survive in America). The subject matter is pretty much unique to this album, half candid autobiography, half satire of the modern rap industry, but multiple verses border on typical hip-hop fare. There are some good beats (POWER, Devil in a New Dress, and Runaway will be in my head for a long time to come) that are unfortunately offset by some less memorable ones (Lost in the World, Gorgeous).

But.


Some of the lyrics were seriously lacking. In particular, "Look like a fat booty Celine Dion/ sex is on fire, I’m the King of Leon-a Lewis" (Dark Fantasy) and "The way you look should be a sin, you my sen(sin)sation" (Devil in a New Dress) and "Baby, I'm magic, ta-da" (So Appalled). Now, to be fair, these are only three lyrics out of a
ton, but I don't want to make this post entirely about lyrics I don't like. There are definitely some memorable verses. Nikki Minaj's in Monster and Pusha T's in So Appalled were my two favorites. Kanye's never really wowed me. I found that he was never really consistent throughout a verse.

Something also has to be said about the drawn out song lengths. Some of these songs could have been trimmed down by a couple of minutes without any damage to the end result. Particularly the end of Blame Game: a two and a half minute monologue by Chris Rock in which he obsesses over a woman's vagina would be the lowest point of any album. It just didn't stop. The incessant auto-tuned moaning at the end of Runaway is also dragged out to a miserable length, as is a gratuitous gap between Kanye's verse and Rick Ross's verse in Devil in a New Dress. When the music underneath is virtually unchanged, it just leaves you checking your watch. It dwells. It dwells a lot. And this is coming from a guy who enjoys meandering 15-minute post-rock songs.

That's about all I have to say. There is more to like than there is to hate, but all things considered, I'd give it a 7 to 7.5. Not a 10. It's far from a 10. But maybe I'm biased or undereducated on the hip-hop business. Like I said, I'm just a white kid.


Thoughts?

---

Also, it took me about 10 minutes to format the "FREE DOWNLOAD!" from the last post. It was almost as fun as decorating for Christmas. Almost as fun.

SONG OF THE POST: So Appalled by Kanye West, Jay Z, Pusha T, CyHi da Prince, Swizz Beatz, and the RZA.


~-~

11/24/10

A post about squirrels.

First and foremost, I forgot to mention something of importance yesterday! I have a couple of new songs up! They're available for streaming and FReE dOWnLOaD OMG WHAT'S BETTER THAN FREE RITE: http://www.thesixtyone.com/artist/videosforpictures#/ofarevolution441/

If you have an account on thesixtyone, it would make my day if you hearted either one of the two. <3

I pitch my music oh-so-well.
----

Bobina's sister made this. Since her name is Tiffany, this is dubbed a tifgif. ^
(Clicking gets you to the video this is derived from)

Squirrels are great creatures. As long as they don't get into your house, or have rabies, or get seen by your dog who then proceeds to freak out until they skitter up a tree for their very lives.
---
In other, I'm running a 5k tomorrow, only to ruin every single second of the exercise by eating three tons of food for the Thanksgivings. I am giving most thanks this year to Thanksgiving itself. Is that a paradox? Yes.

I'm still centered on the page.

Let's fix that.

I've been reading a lot of poetry lately, particularly T.S. Eliot and e.e. cummings. These two lines in particular have stuck with me:

"Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance" (Portrait of a Lady, Eliot)
"the/moon rattles like a fragment of angry candy" (the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls, Cummings)

SONG OF THE POST: Hotel Orlando by Atlas Sound (Over the last three days, Bradford Cox has released 41 Atlas Sound songs in 3 albums dubbed the "Bedroom Databank" demos, for free download on his blog. I just downloaded the first one, will be getting the other two later.)




~-~





11/23/10

A post about nothing

The mind is interesting when you wait for someone to show up who ultimately won't show up. This happened today while I was waiting for Nesbit to drop off a notebook at my house: The first five minutes he was late, I thought nothing of it. He's late, sometimes people aren't on time, he had to pick up his brother from basketball after all. Somewhere between five minutes to twenty minutes in, the anxiety starts to mount. In the back of your mind, and this is hyperbole at this point, factor trees form to sort out every single permutation of where that person is. Could they have gotten in an accident? If so, what type of accident, was it his fault? Was he not in an accident and did he just go home? If so, why didn't he stop at my house? Did he forget? Is he just going to get that notebook to me in the morning? And so on and so on. You keep looking out the window in hopes that a car will show up, but it doesn't.

Eventually you gather up the common sense to try and contact the person. All of these combinations in your head become too much and you have no choice but to resolve it instead of forcing yourself into further contemplative hell. There has to be a reasonable reason for this lateness. Then you find it out. Your mind, content, circles one of its permutations, or scolds itself for not having figured out why the person didn't show.

In my case, Nesbit's just gonna get the notebook to me tomorrow when we go to see the new Harry Potter with Bobina. Strangely enough, this won't be the first time the three of us have gone to the movies, despite it seeming like we would be an awkward combination, Nesbit being a "third wheel". In all honesty, we mix together really well. And it's Nesbit's birthday, and it's the first time I'll have seen Bobina in SIX WEEKS, so I have to make sure both people are attended to. It should be good. Chipotle after the movie.

Simple burrito pleasures.

I made a card for Nesbit. Here's the image on its cover. (via Hyperbole and a Half, great blog, check it)
Nesbit will appreciate it. Nesbit likes weird things. Like this:



Song of the post, Polvo's Time Isn't on My Side:



~-~

11/18/10

A Rekindled Love for Everything

Now am I removed from a walking paralysis.
My name once more on that glowing roster that grew dim the more I Fell;
Now of crowd a)
Instead of b)
Or c)
Or god forbid d).
I think it's right.
The Answer lies between the
3rd, second, and first.
The fifth rests rigid on slow-yellowing surfaces,
The fourth removed by vermilion streams.
Too much to witness, impossible commitments.

Now, nous nageons à l'avenir,
Même si l'eau est trop froid.
So strike up a fire.
A passion for this.
While we're young, remiss, removed.
And still have too much to learn this much to learn.

I have learned this with nothing more -

While we're young,-

This I've learned with nothing more
Than a stick
and synapses.

Indeed, my love. There is still more to learn.
Not much to lose but ever more to earn.

I am removed.

10/31/10

A couplet

Where we will sit gently 'round a fire;
Entranced by orange light.

10/29/10

Post #543

Yes, that's how many times I've hit "Publish Post" on this blog. I saw that figure and was kind of astounded.

This blog IS, after all, approaching 4 years old... time is the scariest thing ever.

Not much has changed in my life since early October, other than the fact that the stress has been mounting. This weekend alone, for instance, I have 2 art projects, a civics project, an English essay, and research on North Korea to complete. I also have a cross-country meet, collecting cans for a can drive on the night of trick-or-treat (Happy Halloween), and a 5-hour shift at the storage facility. All one weekend. This two hour gap between what was potentially my last cross-country practice ever and a carb night at Trevor's house is pretty much the only time I'm gonna be doing nothing this weekend. Although I may be spending the night at Nesbit's as well to de-stress, which would be much, much appreciated.

(Update: Nesbit's house isn't happening tonight)

Like I said. Time is the scariest thing ever.

Anyways, enough about life and how overwhelming it is. Let's talk about music a little.

The two most recent things I've downloaded have been Efterklang's "Under Giant Trees" EP from 2007 and Marnie Stern's self-titled which came out earlier this month. Both are fantastic.

The overall feel of Under Giant Trees is of a really brooding, slow-paced march into hell. The longer pieces combine funereal percussion, strings, and horns that intertwine with electronic aspects flawlessly to produce a really full and immersing sound. The shorter pieces are starkly different from the long pieces and each other, and it's where the album breaks from its identity a little bit. "Hands Playing Butterfly" is a gentle piano-and-violin movement that would fit comfortably on a medical drama, and yet maintains a life of its own through its stark minimalism and forboding intro that completely contrasts the body of the song. "Towards the Bare Hill" is at first a particularly glitchy romp that later evolves into a mini-climax with immense tribal drumming. By the end of the album, you can't help but feel like you're lost in the woods. I strongly recommend.


Marnie Stern's album also has been a standout out of all the music that I've purchased and listened to this year. This was my introduction to her, really, although I had already read up a good amount. What kind of turned me off at first listen was the fact that the shredding I had been so anticipating wasn't all that present. There's a lot of focus on the rhythm section (reasonably so, Zach Hill drums for her for godsake) and her voice in the production. On further listening, it's there on most every song, but in some cases, like on For Ash, it's a little farther back in the mix. This is a triviality in the grand scheme of things. This girl produces some awesome music, and she's become one of my favorite math-rock artists as a result of this album. What sets this apart from a lot of other math-rock I've heard is that there is clear variation. The sound ranges from straight-up rockers (Nothing Left, Female Guitar Players are the New Black) to droning, tripped-out segments (Transparency is the New Mystery, Her Confidence), and it ends rather simply with just her on a couple of guitars and a few vocal tracks (The Things You Notice). There's a lot to sink your teeth into here, and for any fans of mathy rock, this is a must-have.


I somehow managed to get all that out in under an hour. And now it's time to go!

~-~

10/25/10

Mica Eyes

This is the first set of lyrics I've written in such a long time. The song itself borders on 7 minutes at the moment, but there's going to be some clear edits.

The inspiration originated from the phrase "mica eyes" showing up in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and me being like "hmm, that imagery alone is kind of gorgeous." So I stole it. Whatever.

LYRICS:
What a waste!
To be living here for thirty thousand days
Mica Eyes,
You are what is keeping me from signing off
On a bridge
There are wanderers and ghosts a million strong
We can watch
In this cardboard box for two a little longer.
Before the light fades.

If I live in filth
You're still clean when I'm around
If there's nothing beautiful
I'm lying to make sound
We're so useless we're so washed up
We're so prone to stealing drugs
Covered in our snowy armor
White coats, winter's code of honor
But I've still got.
My Mica Eyes.

Tomorrow
I'll start being someone better, I suppose
But for now,
I'll keep looking out upon South Seventh Road.
Watching half-caste boys
standing at the red light looking for some fun
Rich and grey.
MICA EYES!
Avert your gaze from all these hungry men!
I'm begging
I need you so much more than them.
But they've got cash and you are strapped.
They've got cash for you to go strapless.
They've got cash and we're that desperate
But let this pass we'll find other outlets.
You smile like you will never leave,
But your stare tells me that you are all packed up.

If I live in filth
You're still clean when I'm around
If there's nothing beautiful
I'm lying to make sound
We're so useless, we're washed up
We're so prone to stealing drugs
Covered in our snowy armor
White coats, winter's code of honor
But I've still got,
Or I once had,
My Mica Eyes.
Mica Eyes.

Where am I if you're not there?
Trapped inside concentric squares.
Where am I if you're not there?
Trapped inside concentric squares.
Where am I if you're not there?
Trapped inside concentric squares.
Where am I if you're not there?
Trapped inside.

~-~

10/9/10

Hey. Haven't seen you around in a while.

The short answer to where I've been is not here.
-
That's not sufficient. This blog has always been meant for my open-ended rants of various lengths in which I try to wax poetic about my relatively plain life.
-
The long answer is the following:
I'm starting the college application process.

Here's where I'm applying:

: Muhlenberg College
: Vassar College
: Connecticut College
: Middlebury College
: Amherst College
: Hampshire College
: University of New Hampshire

All are a little bit on the selective side/kinda far away, except for UNH.

I've once again wound up putting my face on public access television.

About three weeks ago now, I was asked by my former chemistry teacher/former Granite State Challenge coach to quickly assemble a team for another appearance on the show. I was ecstatic: having a second chance at this was literally a realized dream. Our first taping occurred only five days after we had assembled the team, which was without a doubt the least amount of preparation of any team this season. I'm legally obligated to keep the results a secret, but I can tell you that I felt a lot more confident this year, and I am infinitely more satisfied with the outcome.

I got my wisdom teeth pulled.

Outside of the terrible bedside manner, the operation went smoothly. Laughing gas is great. All I remember is repeating this phrase over and over again in my head while they drilled my teeth out:

"You're on a ship. Bring it on, doc. You're on a ship. Bring it on, doc."

There was one point while I was acclimating to the nitrous, where I felt my teeth getting really heavy. The heaviness spread to my head, and then later my entire body. My head was being pressed into the seat. I felt like screaming out for help. In fact, my mind was shrieking at me to call for help. Eventually, I managed the words "I'm feeling really... heavy." That's when they lessened it and I stopped feeling like I was going to be absorbed into my seat and never emerge.

Post-op has been awful. I've been lagging behind in school ever since, and my running ability has depreciated CONSIDERABLY. This is how it's gone:

- First 1.25 miles of race: Feels really good
- Mile 1.25-mile 2.5: Feels bad, man. I'm running in place and I can't get enough air to my head.
- Mile 2.5-finish: a random surge of energy takes over my entire system and I nearly sprint to the end.

My goal this year was to break 20 minutes, but that goal is unfortunately evaporating as quickly as my will to run.

Oh yeah, and music. I still make it, relatively.
Lately, as you can tell, I have been enormously busy and the album I had nearly finished has been put on the backburner. I hadn't written lyrics for about two months until today, when, after visiting Topsfield Fair, society frustrated me once again. I spent $30 doing almost nothing, and I felt so hollow by the end of it. Granted, being with Bobina made everything more or less the best, but the mindless, en masse consumerism I was witnessing all around me was actually sickening.

While the lyric department's been kind of stagnant, the music department's been flourishing. I've been working on developing more technicality in my playing, more notes, more complex melody, key change, tempo change, the whole nine. So there's been progress, just not the apparent type.
---

So that's what I've been doing. Everything.

I'm going to New York City tomorrow with my family to bring Bobina back down to college, and then I'm gonna be checking out Vassar early in the morning the next day. Hopefully this long, long trip affirms my decision to apply/potentially go there.


---
SONG OF THE DAY, Vader in Burgos by Mimas.




Mimas is one of those bands that really deserve widespread recognition. If you, by any small fraction of a chance, happen to live in Scandinavia or England, you can purchase their album either physically or on iTunes.

The album accidentally leaked onto the US iTunes store a few days ago, and I eagerly downloaded it without knowing that I wasn't supposed to. They've since taken the album off of the store (I tipped them off by posting to their facebook wall that I was downloading the album and was brimming with excitement and anticipation), but I still have my copy. I may be the only person in the United States to legally own this album at the moment, and I can say that this is a title that I hold proudly over my head.


This was a very long post.
Now it's over.
Guten nacht.

~-~

9/4/10

I can haz publicity?

A lot's happened in the last 24 hours.

For starters, I was asked to write about the music I make for a concert guide. A concert guide for Richmond, Virginia. I live about 12 hours away from that. Regardless of the randomness, I accepted and wrote.

(to read the article, click da pic)



On top of THAT, one of my new songs, Butcherbird, was featured on an Internet radio show. It's called Bandit Box Radio. Although I like the first episode a hell of a lot more than the one I was on, I'm still a pretty big fan of what these guys are doing, which is to bring totally underground music to peoples' attention.

(to listen to the new track, click da pic and skip to 5:52.)



Now, to get back to reading Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut. I'm only a chapter in so far, but it's just so great. Pretty much, this science-fiction writer drives someone insane by making him think that everyone else in existence is a machine except for him. Also, the US national anthem's a pile of lyrical nonsense. Seriously, if you hate reading, Vonnegut will make you love it. I always tell myself I'll never read for leisure, but I always find myself hooked whenever I read his works. I took down Slaughterhouse Five in less than a week. And Cat's Cradle is pretty awesome in its own right.

READ VONNEGUT.

~-~

8/27/10

Boobs and a Friend's Music

You know what bothers me? When people on the Internet, mostly YouTube, decide that, to garner more views, they'll put "boobs" either somewhere in their title or as their main focus. It's an exploitation of peoples' stupidity, so it's just completely wrong on both ends. I'm looking at you, Shane Dawson.

--

Speaking of boobs, I got a physical copy of Menomena's new album "Mines"
last week. It's cover is of a statue of a naked
woman with her legs blown off. It's been sitting next to my desktop since I got it last week. My parents share the desktop, so they've probably, at some point, glanced over and seen boobs.

I feel awkward, and should probably move that CD into my room. ASAP.

By the way, that album is totally awesome, definitely get it. Whoever you are. There's truly something for everyone on it.

--

Now to what I actually wanted to talk about! My friend, Eliot, has started to experiment with noise and has been recording these experiments (e.g. music). He sent me this song, entitled ACOSRIP, and a) I really like the title and b) it's actually pretty interesting to listen to. There's a lot of evolution throughout it, and there's nothing that really tethers it together. It's just a completely ambient, synth-drenched trip-out that's really fun and relaxing to listen to, and I feel like other people should give it a go.

STREAM BELOW!?

ACOSRIP (Eliot) by videosforpictures
--

I'm still looking at you, Shane Dawson.

~````-````~

8/26/10

NOT TALKING TO A WALL? K SWEET.

JC, I'm not totally set on a release date yet. I still have to record one more song and get everything fully organized before I get it online. I'd say probably by the end of October.
---
Today sucked. Today was also great. Overall, today falls somewhere inbetween the two.

Two years ago, I fell into a social circle, and it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. We called ourselves "The Society of Losers" on and off. The name was a little cheesy, and I can kind of feel everyone cringe when someone says it, but I coined it, and I'm still proud of it, so be it. We made music together, we made movies/videos together, and we went to restaurants almost constantly. We were around each other a lot.

Today was the last day I spent with them before a lot of them start to head off to college. We're still going to see each other on occasion, but it's really not gonna be the same. I'm gonna be left to suffer one more year of high school, and they'll be doing... well, what college kids do. There's a little bit of fear that I'm gonna be left in the dust, there's actually a significant chance that will happen, since we've always kind of been together in being separate. Independence kind of ruled supreme a lot of the time with us.

But yeah, today was the last day I spent with them. We played a Dumbledore's Army show that went smoothly although we were really late, and then we went out to eat. We ate like kings. Well, they did. I had a veggie burger with sweet potato fries. And then, home. We unpacked my stuff and I started getting really, really sad. Not to the point of tears, I've been kind of fighting them since. But as we were moving things in, I envisioned them moving their stuff into their dorms and just kept meditating on "This is truly the end of an era."

It's tough letting people go. But you have to. Life.

~-~

LOTS TO TALK ABOUT!

HEY GUISE (probably talking to a wall at this point)!

I have a lot of things that I want to talk about, but I'm just going to be doing separate blogs for each one of them. Simply because I miss writing.

So, first of these will be about the album. I've been throwing around ideas for the last few months, but it's finally nearly in fruition. Here's some information.

The album's name will be Deficit. These will be the tracks:

1) Scape and pedicel. (just under 6 minutes, unrecorded)
2. Prison Hotel (Für Dugout Dick) - 2:35

3) PTSD - 6:22

4. Slow Clap - 1:34

5) Butcherbird - 3:45

6. Stay Sweet - 1:14


So it'll be about 20 minutes along. I'm hopefully gonna push it to some small labels and see how far I get. Fingers crossed, eh?

Styles on this album that I explore are shoegaze, classical, ambient, lo-fi, and straightforward rock. All centered around the piano, course. But there's a little bit of drumming/percussion. And a lot of noise, almost unbearable at points. Also, toy accordion.

This will be the cover, more or less:



For once, I'm excited to release something instead of reluctant.

~-~

8/14/10

Partially Me

Well, news. I just recorded a song, and it's nearly finished being mixed. Just needs a little something more at the end. Might post it on the Internet.

Friends are going off to college in a couple weeks. "See you later"s are becoming increasingly more tentative, and I'm bummed about that. But it's life, and life's happening, and I have to face that.

I've been reading more Bukowski, but I've been looking at it from a more positive angle. This one poem as a message to blossoming writers, has these lines:

unless it comes out of your soul
like a rocket
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

It's gonna become a mantra for me. Only write when you're inspired, and you truly believe in what you're writing, otherwise you're not gonna like it and other people probably won't either. Oh, Bukowski. Maybe you weren't so bad after all.

Still a bit of an asshole though.
All of us are at some point or another.

8/11/10

USB

Tomorrow, i'm recording.
Everything.
Until I'm finished.

I've been formulating my speech for when I graduate. I'm pretty much locked in to be salutatorian, since I've been in that position for the past three years. And the salutatorian customarily makes a speech before the valedictorian. I guess I want my angle to be that by getting a diploma, we're evicted. We're evicted into this sea of sameness. And it's our job in life to fight that sea by finding our own voices, to kind of focus on what makes us unique entities. Otherwise, we'll lead bland lives, play-by-play, black and white. By doing what makes us us, whether it's creating something or possessing some unique talent, or whatever, we break free from the banes of everyday life, and pretty easily. Some people don't think they have this, and if you rack your brains and feel like you're incapable of creating something or incapable of possessing some unique talent, then do what Kurt Vonnegut told me to do: write a 6-line poem that rhymes, don't bother memorizing it, instead rip it up and throw it away in various trash cans, and be content with the fact that you have produced something that has x amount of value.

That's just the general idea thus far. I don't know.

Tomorrow, I'm recording the rest of this album.
Today, I painted concrete.
Tomorrow, I'll paint some more concrete.
Today, I played mini-golf.
Tomorrow, I'll not play mini-golf.
Today was spent in a stupor.
Tomorrow, I'll avoid inhaling paint fumes.
Today, I ran.
Tomorrow, I'll run further.
Today, there's been a song stuck in my head. it's called

7/30/10

Bombings.

Dave, you're right that people were saying the same thing I said one hundred years ago. I just find it impossible to envision what else could possibly be created.

I will admit that I'm pretty short-sighted.

More often than not.

I guess what I'm mostly worried about is that technology's getting progressively more dangerous. With the Large Hadron Collider, there were talks of this black hole that would envelop the Earth. With autonomous robots and supercomputers, there were and are and will be talks of them becoming overly self-aware, outsmarting us, and taking humans out of the equation. One hundred years ago, people weren't concerned that our world was going to overheat and then slip into an ice age, all caused by pollution and waste.

Sure, there have always been concerns about technology. I remember reading that when people saw the first steamboat moving down the river, they were positive that it was the product of Satan, what with the smoke coming out of the top and the loud noises that came out of it. But the concerns these days are too realistic to be taken for granted.

So that's where I stand on science.
---
In other news, I can't stop staring at this picture. I just finished Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, and it talks about the bombing of Dresden rather extensively, so I looked up some pictures of it, and this was my favorite by far.

Also, music's going well. Hopefully I'll have something finished by the end of the year.

~-~

7/29/10

a conversation

ofarevolution441 10:56 pm

now i'm arguing that there's so little in the world of math that's not already known and universally accepted as fact, so to pursue a career down that path would be rather pointless.

BeingBobina 10:57 pm
amen

ofarevolution441 10:57 pm
as your voice would never actually have a chance of being truly heard

BeingBobina 10:58 pm
the scientific community is all about using other people's ideas to further your own to let other's use it to further THEIR research

ofarevolution441 10:59 pm
towards such pointless technologies that answer pointless questions about how we scientifically got to this exact moment in time
idk. i feel like it's the absolute wrong way to go about perceiving the universe

BeingBobina 11:00 pm
it's useful, and we wouldn't live in this kind of society without it

BeingBobina 11:00 pm
I just don't prefer it for myself :p

ofarevolution441 11:01 pm
i feel like technology could have stopped advancing 10 years ago and the world would be better off. because now we're just entering this downward spiral of informationinformationinformation
things go obsolete as soon as they're produced, things like that

BeingBobina 11:01 pm
attention spans are shorter, I've noticed

ofarevolution441 11:02 pm
the technology leading UP to this point has been undeniably useful

BeingBobina 11:02 pm
but that's assuming all people will choose to go for the newnewnew all the time

ofarevolution441 11:02 pm
but it's time to stop.
it really is.

ofarevolution441 11:02 pm
any technologies from here on out are just masturbatory "look what we can do!" statements, i swear

BeingBobina 11:02 pm
well, it's also the choice of the person to be aware of the technology but not conform to it

ofarevolution441 11:03 pm
yes, well guess what the average person's going to do when they see a shiny new metal object? go towards it.

BeingBobina 11:03 pm
it's a advancement of convenience for the already convenient

ofarevolution441 11:03 pm
exactly.

BeingBobina 11:04 pm
I just have an iphone because it was the cheapest for the best value :p

ofarevolution441 11:04 pm
you consumer, you <3

BeingBobina 11:04 pm
but it's not like 'zomg iphone *downloads every app*'

ofarevolution441 11:04 pm
yeah.

BeingBobina 11:05 pm
I GOT SOLITAIRE AND MINESWEEPER FOR MY PHONE, how '90s desktop is that?

ofarevolution441 11:05 pm
it's pretty rad. but we're tangent-ing. the point is that english > science, as it allows people to realize their full potential, whereas science pushes towards goals that will always be toppled over and toppled over to infinity

BeingBobina 11:06 pm
well that could also be the appeal
that there is always something more concrete to reach for and discover

ofarevolution441 11:06 pm
well, if they're always toppled over to infinity, it's kind of pointless, innit?
but i guess we have to fill that quota of people who need to try hard to reach that infinity
otherwise it'll never be reached! and i rest my case.
circular logic, how does it work

BeingBobina 11:08 pm
the difference I see is that science is reaching for the next big thing, while literature is able to reach but also just be

ofarevolution441 11:09 pm
yes. and it's totally subjective, how you perceive it. i think that's it. that's why they're such opposites. science is completely objective, languages/arts are totally subjective.

BeingBobina 11:12 pm
humanities all the way
... across the sky


(and that's why i'm going to be an English major.)

~-~


7/24/10

the concept in this concept album


While I was in the shower, it just kind of hit me that all of the songs I've been writing fit together with a very loose thread. Here's my thought process song-by-song, although I won't tell you which song represents what part of the thought process, as that would kind of ruin the magic of it all.

Anyways, there's this kid who likes to dream. If he had things his way, he would always be sleeping and dreaming of things. His favorite part of the day is right before he goes to sleep, because he feels like his brain is the most active at that point. He likes all of the surreal imagery that's produced in dreams. So his love of dreams starts translating into real life, and his perception of what's happening and what's just a daydream nearly disappears, to the point where it starts to impact his ability to handle real-life situations and function normally. And this kind of dream-disease of his is worsening exponentially. But he likes it this way.

No one else likes it this way, so he becomes ostracized by nearly everyone he knows. Most of all, his long-time girlfriend, who decides to leave him since he promised her a while ago that he would grow up, but now it seems as though he's become more immature and childish.

The kid, although he usually has his head in the clouds, realizes his girlfriend has left him and this has a massive, devastating emotional impact on him. He goes to sleep that night looking for answers and he sees this war scene in which he dies. He interprets this as meaning that he should die in real life as well. So then he starts to go through with planning and leaving notes and everything, he's going to kill himself. But then all of a sudden, this massive beacon of light, reason, and hope just kind of beams down on him out of nowhere. And this beacon tells him that if he goes through with suicide, he would be sorely missed by so many more people than he thinks. It explains to the kid that there is an intrinsic love for everyone that exists in everyone, and he just has to open up that love in people by loving them in return, instead of himself. Realizing that he was, is, and will forever be truly loved, he stops the plans, and goes to a mountain where he just thinks and washes away his dream-disease. 15 years later, the birth of his son.

Yeah. I'm not sure how my subconscious managed to tie all of these songs together in that manner, but it happened. And I'm glad it did.

~-~

7/14/10

"Slow Motion" - Panda Bear - TrackReview


Score: 8

Going off of the fact that about 6,200 listeners have listened to the two Untitled tracks, and about 6,300 have listened to "Mich Mit Einer Mond", I estimate that around 10,000 decidedly hardcore fans of the Animal collective have listened to Noah Lennox's 1998 release Panda Bear, and well under 1/10th of that figure legally owns it. Released on the infinitesimal label Soccer Star, (now Paw Tracks) the album is a 14-track romp that genre-hops whenever it feels like it. The sound ranges from somber acoustic folk ("O Please Bring Her Back") to lo-fi, borderline disco ("We Built A Robot"). The first track, "Inside A Great Stadium And A Running Race" is a nearly six-minute exercise in minimalism that builds at a snail's pace until the song has just enough instrumentation for the vocals to finally come in and accompany the bare-bones soundscape.

This song, to me, is the most reflective on the album of the direction Panda Bear would later choose to delve into, although it hardly sounds like it stylistically. "Inside A Great Stadium And A Running Race" certainly wouldn't fit on Person Pitch, and definitely not Young Prayer. But it's the one instance on the album that I feel best represents Noah's lust for repetition and the art of minimalism, just having one or two ideas repeated ad infinitum. This is the one thread that has remained constant throughout his albums, and it's become increasingly more prevalent over time.

By now, it's beyond blatant. On "Slow Motion", the new track off of what will soon be his fourth LP, Tomboy, Panda drenches one- or two-word indistinguishable phrases in reverb, and repeats them... and repeats them... and repeats them. The vocals are placed atop a heavy, infectious, off-kilter drumline that remains unchanged for the duration of the song, but fades into the background stealthily, allowing the other elements to shine. The only thing that really brings change to the song is the dripping, rudimentary keyboard (or heavily-processed guitar?) line, as it establishes itself, shifts for a while, reprises, and then shifts once more. Outside of a few samples that only come to the listener's attention after a few listens, these three elements: the keyboard(?), the drums, and the singing, comprise the entire song. There's really just not much to it. But it works.

If the material on Person Pitch was sunny, then this song is an insight into what I expect will be its cloudy counterpart: sparse, a little bit darker, and more straightforward. I've been reading people say that this song is more of the same, and yes, to a certain extent, I see this song as a continuation. This song is actually scarily similar to "I'm Not" off of his last album. "Slow Motion", however, hints at a less sample-driven album. Still very echo-y, still very minimal, but without the samples pulled out of obscure songs. So it seems as though he's managed to figure out a way to maintain his old sound while keeping things fresh.

If you liked Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective or Person Pitch by Panda Bear, find a download of this.

~-~

7/13/10

You Are Loved Beyond Belief

Right now, there's just a fan going off.
Perpetual humming in your virgin ears
And your virgin heart, as it palpitates
To the arrhythmia of a different drum.

Right now, there's something drastic planned
Things are nowhere and you are nowhere
And all these horrible words and bad thoughts
Well, set aside the wine and put away the pills.
-----
Yeah, I know it's tough
And yeah, I get you're lonely
But how good it is, how good it is
To know you're loved beyond belief.

Yeah, I know it's tough
And yeah, I get you're lonely
But how good it is, how good it is
To know you're loved beyond belief.
-----
(oohs that become aahs)

So don't think for a second that
We're just things crossed out by infinity factorial
That there's no feeling in the heart of man
All enveloped by math and time.

Right now, there's a mountain
And it's covered in trees and granite
Even though there's thunder, go
And don't take your life, for granted.

Even though there's thunder, go
And don't take your life, for granted.
Even though there's thunder, go
And don't take your life, for granted.
-----
(oohs)

(loudness)

(fades into a choir of pitch pipes and perepelka)

I'm excited about this one. It's the first song I've written in a while.

To bed.

~-~

7/11/10

Mt. Percival

Bixby, me, Rob, Robert, Will took 2.25 hours to find this little hole-in-the-wall mountain in the absolute middle of nowhere. When we finally did, we were all at once excited and concerned to see that we were the only people parked at the bottom. We had seen a few people at the foot of another mountain a couple minutes prior, but this one was just ours, it seemed.

The plan was to go on a 4.5 hour hike up two mountains, Mt. Percival and Mt. Morgan. It started off great. It was hot and pretty beautiful out, and we were moving at a pretty brisk pace up some pretty daunting, near-vertical faces. I was getting immensely into it. I started running at a couple of points, just totally immersed in my surroundings while simultaneously focused on nothing but what was ahead of me on the trail.

At third break, we stopped on top of this huge rock in this little clearing. We were approaching the summit, maybe about another 10 minutes and we were there. We had been hiking for probably about an hour. While Will and I were catching up (Will had a bit of a headache, and I wanted to make sure he was alright, so I stayed behind with him for a spell), I heard Bixby point out a dark cloud and say

"It would SUCK if a thunderstorm came right now."

Not more than 30 seconds later, the first clap. Here we are, the five of us, high up, surrounded by trees and without any semblance of a clue of what to do. A flash, and then immediately a surrounding BOOM. it's right over our heads. And we're stuck on a mountain. For a few minutes, we all feel like our lives are in genuine danger. I look to Bennett for solace, but for once, he's as worried as I am. We stay put. We stay put for 10 minutes. We just sit and wait for another thunderclap and flash of lightning to tell whether it's receding or still present. it's still present after ten minutes, and we're getting progressively more concerned. My heart won't slow down, and I feel like I'm starting to shake.

Finally, a sign from God. A hiker comes rushing down the mountain, and we stop him dead in his tracks. Help us, we have no idea what to do in this situation. Well, I wouldn't keep going up because the rocks will be slippery. Ok, thanks.

He doesn't even mention the storm that's all around us, but we take this as a signal to go down the mountain. Rob and I scurry down ahead with the car keys, but he starts slowing down. I'm still in a panic, so I take the car keys and walk as quickly as possible. There's still lightning and thunder as I'm descending, and I'm all by myself. I'm drenched, my pants are weighing me down and preventing me from going faster. Still the thunder, still the lightning.

So I start praying, of all things. And I'm not a religious person, I'm agnostic. But I was desperate and scared. And almost as soon as I started praying, the rain and thunder start to subside. And I'm thankful to whatever God I'm now going to choose to believe in. And now I know there's a God. But there's still the occasional rumble, and my unnamed God's telling me to be careful. And I say that I'll walk with caution from now, God. And I turn into a mumbling fool.

Finally, I spot the overhang that was our first big obstacle, and I know I'm close. And the last faint rumble. I clamber into the van, and wait for my friends. They all show up. Rob and Nesbit shortly after me, followed by Bixby and Will a little while after. We're alive, and we celebrate that we're alive by going to a fried chicken place in town. Chester Fried.

~-~

i've determined that i'm giving up on the blog every day project.
quality > quantity from here on out.

7/7/10

AJJ

Listen to all of these immediately. But first read the poem below this post. Kthx.