Thursday, October 14, 2010

Where we're going we don't need roads

I'm still at a bit of a loss for how to address the fact that my upstairs neighbor told me he was going to throw me down a flight of stairs this morning after I woke him up at 10:30 playing guitar.

Stuck between laying low for a couple days or blasting copious amounts of Andrew WK at 3 am all weekend.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rebel Without a Cosby

I know I'm a little late on this one, but The Suburbs is really fucking good.

Also, despite an entire summer of reading about how the Rangers are gonna be shit this season, I'm getting my hopes up.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How does it feel to be an asshole Niedermeyer?

Lately after I finish a book I take a walk to a liquor store and come to a conclusion on how I felt about said book.

And last night after twenty minutes and half a bottle of Andre I decided that the end of A Farewell to Arms was both fitting and necessary.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some nights I get so bored I just cut my hair

Both my guitar have dull strings and I'm in no position to think about going out into the world to make a purchase.

Living in a single apartment is quite an adjustment and I've been heavily leaning on The Critic and King of the Hill for moral support.

For the first time in my life I've actually written down a summer reading list and it's actually going well. A couple minutes into explaining The Razor's Edge to a friend I stumbled on the fact that I really think it's great.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm only here out of obligation

It's been a while but things have been coasting by smoothly so my need to discuss white boy blues has been dwindling. I'm reading regularly again which will make you feel a lot better about yourself than sitting around looking at the internet.

Yesterday I walked past the Center for Visual Arts on campus and someone spray painted "Imprison Perception" on the side of the building and I thought to myself, "what the fuck does that even mean." (The answer is nothing). And then I thought about the D4 song "Putting the 'F' back in 'Art'" and I think they're onto something. People are taking this shit way too seriously. All of them. Everything.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The National - High Violet

When you’re in love with a band, there is always this thick tension that comes with a new album. Is it better for a new album to show a band that’s trying to change or is it better to hear more of the same? It is impossible to reach any sort of consensus because of the different reasons there are to fall in love with a band. Bands continue to write the same exact record over again because of that shared emotional attachment between author and listener. You want the same songs from certain people. You want Alkaline Trio to stay the same because you can’t wait for that new song that hit you like “Bleeder” what you look for with each new Trio album is that song that hits your heart strings. The Replacements are the same way.

But what about the moment when that band branches out and tries for something new? The Replacements are giving you something like “Alex Chilton” and a music video and you’re thinking “fuck you, this is not ‘Unsatisfied.’” Sometimes you’ll never get over that “fuck you” reaction. You dump Against Me! and then get really really pissed off about all the people that love New Wave. This band has pissed you off enough to where you hate everything about them. I fucking hate Tom Gabel. Fuck that guy. I have heard multiple sources providing solid, justifiable reasons for why they’re cool with Tom Gabel doing what he’s doing right now, but fuck him. He sold out.

And people hated so many bands that have now become accepted into the lexicon. Kids love the Replacements now, even though Don’t Tell A Soul was an attempt to get famous and, at the time, ostracized them from whatever longstanding fan base they still had left. And while there are those guys who get famous and get to move on based on record sales: Green Day. Against Me! There are the guys that struck out. Paul Westerberg. Those guys get nothing, everyone turned on them. And now people get it and Westerberg throws his hands up in the air because he’s done with that band. [The Replacements will never re-unite. Chris Mars will never feel the need to do it, and Paul Westerberg knows that. That’s why he keeps saying “there’s no Mats without Chris Mars.” Asshole.]

The National’s 2007 release Boxer is a record that I care about like nothing else. Matt Berninger has continued to explain the last three years of my life to me as I’m going through it. And it comes in the most gorgeous delivery. His voice is one of the most distinct, strong, and commanding in music today. His surrealist imagery and affinity for killer one-liners is fucking gorgeous:

Looking for somewhere to stand and stay
I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away
Can I get a minute of not being nervous
and not thinking of my dick
My leg is sparkles, my leg is pins
I better get my shit together, better gather my shit in
You could drive a car through my head in five minutes
from one side of it to the other

The fourth through ninth tracks on that album are all absolutely perfect. I don’t see a single flaw in lyric, muscial compliment, sequence. The prodcution of this album was without flaw. Well thought out layers, it sounds big, but not too big. Perfection.

I figured that this band had absolutely found their peak. This sound, the sound of those five songs was the point where they had everything they could possibly have down. Everything you hear on Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers and Alligator is just a prologue to that moment in my opinion. For twenty minutes, they have everything down. In their pockets. They knew what they were doing and how to do it.

Then I saw them at Pitchfork and they opened their set with “The Runaway” and I was nearly in tears watching this song that I had never heard before. It was everything that was beautiful about “Start A War” only even more perfectly contained. The imagery. The repetition (there is nothing but one-liners in the song repeated over and over. Every fucking line is something that a good writer would cream their pants over. You would try and base a song around any one of them.) The sound swells so well with those interweaving base guitar tracks, the rhythm section floats and coming in and out are horns and strings and all of this comes together slowly. It’s the most steady and moving build up that I think I’ve ever heard.

I was pretty convinced by the end of hearing this song that I was watching the new “best band in America” on stage at one of the biggest music festivals in the country. And while Pitchfork had lauded the band in their reviews, they weren’t nearly as popular with the fans. And when they came out and played that song, I was in awe both at the progress and (what seemed to me) like a general consensus that this band had hit one of the most excited strides any of us had seen since The Arcade Fire showed up.

And I sat and waited for months to hear what they could possibly come up with at this point. They were on such a run coming off of Boxer and with the promise of “The Runaway” behind them and “Bloodbuzz Ohio” came and kicked us all in the dick. What a fucking killer song.

And now, finally I have the new National album and I’m only now, after 8 or 9 listens, just realizing that this is not Boxer and it never tried to be.

“Runaway” and “Bloodbuzz” are the absolute peak of the National that I know. Those songs are the sound of the National perfected. I texted my Dad and I said “The national are setting themselves up to be the best band in america.” “After spoon?” “No. Spoon isn’t even close, no one is.”

I was so excited to hear an entire album of this. These songs, this perfected sound and when it finally leaked I was so excited to have it. But when I listened to the album the first night I got it I was really mad that after several listens, there was no “Apartment Story pt. 2.” “The Runaway” and “Bloodbuzz Ohio” are the only songs that really sound like the National and I’m mad as hell about it.

But the more I listen to this record, the more I realize that there doesn’t need be a “Fake Empire pt. 2” to start the next album and the band isn’t interested in writing “Fake Empire pt. 2.” They want us to hear this song they wrote “Terrible Love.” A song that is so heavily layered and complex that listening to it, I feel slightly uncomfortable. I can’t point out instruments, the layers of percussion and noise are so dense and it keeps getting bigger. Berninger’s vocals start out confident, but they give way to the addition of layers of piano, strings, percussion, and guitar. When the band finally reaches the song’s refrain (after 2:15 of build-up) the vocals become faint and they’re pleading and desperate sounding, the command of “Fake Empire” is yielded to a discomforting, bleeding panic. By the end of this song, it doesn’t even sound like music anymore. It sounds like the end of the world. When I listen to it loud on headphones, I get nauseous.

The album is very disorienting. It’s difficult. There aren’t many standouts, hardly any singalongs, a couple songs I couldn’t give a shit about, but I’m finding little moments on the record, but it’s not The National I know, the National I know is over. They’re done writing “Fake Empire” because, even though it would be great to hear another one, what’s the fucking point? This is the record they’re supposed to make, even though everyone would have loved another Boxer, but that would have been too easy. This band is evolving and growing and my suggestion is that you do everything you can to try and grow along with them because they’re a band that consistently rewards a person who listens to their records over and over again—and that may be the most important trait for any great band. I’m still waiting to completely fall in love with High Violet. But I’m convinced that this is the album that has effectively made them the best band in America, just not for the reasons I was expecting.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Waking Up Drunk

I've been campaigning this theory lately to friends and drunkards that I've developed over the past few weeks. Essentially, it goes like this: everything comes down to that feeling you get when you're in on a joke that no one around you gets. That feeling when you're laughing really hard with a couple people about some inside joke. No one around you gets it, they never will and that sucks for them because you know how good this joke is. They will probably never get it and that's half the appeal.

This concept applies to everything that I find important. Relationships. Music. Learning to cope with the emotionless mediocricies of day to day living.

Me and my lady went to this very awkward gathering of older people that we didn't know very well for her job. We were younger than the adults by a good ten years, older than the kids by a good ten years. We coped. Stayed for about an hour and then took off and laughed the whole car ride home at the situation we were in all around. We came the conclusion that we're always gonna be weirdos and we were cool with that ["you will always be a loser and that's okay" - thanks Patrick Stickles]. We're alright.

Me and my friends talk about Dads and buttsacks and we are so out of place in this absurd college town, but shit we have a good time. In our minds we get it and nobody else does. We're also emotional wrecks who drink too much and have way too many feelings. So it goes, I guess. I think that's part of the appeal to...we have a lot of feelings. But we get that and we're happy the way we are, even when we're really pissed about the way we are.

And here's why The Replacements are the best band in the world: they were in on a joke that no one ever got to be in on except them, but it seemed so fucking funny. Getting drunk and making dicks of themselves and writing these phenomenal sloppy songs that were SO good and it didn't even seem like they were trying. They never seemed like they were trying to make anything happen up through Let It Be. It just happened and it was so beautiful and smart and witty and stupid.

[I'm going to stop here, because I have a lot to say about this subject. I'm going to come back to it, but this is going to turn into a lengthy dissertation about The Replacements.]

Like any joke, there is a life and death. Jokes get old and unfunny, sometimes to the point that you get annoyed or even angered. Friendships rust. You get pissed when Against Me! sells out or you just realize that you don't need any more than five Alkaline Trio albums, so everything after Good Mourning is pretty much negligible. You lose sight with a friend and suddenly after seeing everything eye to eye, you're just lost on each other and you're never gonna return to where you were. The joke's run its course, but hopefully you still can listen to Maybe I'll Catch Fire and say "fuck yeah" about it or see an old friend at a party and do nothing but talk to him or her for three hours and not give a shit about what's happening around you.

But there are also the jokes that continue to stay funny or the ones that open up an entire world to you and those are the ones that you hold onto.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Don't worry brother this will blow over

The New York Rangers are like a member of my family. I love them in a way that cannot be compared or explained. It's unconditional. I will love them no matter what happens, which I've only recently realized is something I can't say about many of the people I'm closest to. That's not to say that I don't have friends I wouldn't do anything for, let's just put it this way:
--In 2001 the Rangers acquired Eric Lindros from the Philadelphia Flyers. This mother fucker was one of the most hated people of my youth. The Rangers could not beat the Flyers for a solid 4 years, they had our number and this piece of shit was the face of the organization. In 1997 the Flyers dominated the Rangers in the Conference Finals and that series loss still stands as the most depressing loss I've ever felt from a game I wasn't involved in. And Lindros was at his best in that series. Then, after concussion problems, with everyone under the general agreement that his career was pretty much over, the Rangers traded for him. And they traded three great young guys for him, two of them are still in the NHL I think (Kim Johnsson and Jan Hlavac). It's your girlfriend sleeping with your enemy and then telling you how great it was. And I accepted it. I tried to like Eric Lindros. This shit would not stand if it were anyone else. I will always love this team.

And today I watched a stream of their last regular season game today. They win and they get the eighth spot in the playoffs, they lose and that's it. That big game that only happens in lame sports movies [question: have you ever noticed how in baseball movies the last game is always for the pennant and not the World Series? Check it. Major League, Angels In The Outfield, Rookie of The Year. Why is that?]. Henrik Lunqvist was unbelievable, 46 saves. Jody Shelley stepped up and scored the lone Rangers goal, his second of the season and the Rangers' 4th line was easily the best line on the ice for either team. Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik, Wade Redden, Michael Rosival, Ollie Jokinen--these guys who are making millions of dollars to carry this team--were complete non-factors. A couple had decent games, but not by the standards their contracts should hold them to.

And this game was a personification of every Rangers team since 2000 sans 2007 when they went to the Conference SemiFinals. Great goaltending (which wasn't really consistent til 2006), a couple role guys step up with big goals, and disappointing performances by the big names. This team has been built around big name mother fuckers that they bring in and pay a ridiculous amount of money to and get no results. Theo Fluery, Valerie Kamensky, Lindros, Jaromir Jagr (the one exception), Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik (who had a solid year, but was no where to be found today).

The formula doesn't work and I'm sick of all these attempts to try and make it happen. They need to fully rebuild. Their lineup is so top-heavy. All anyone needs to do is shut down the first two lines and they're fine. My favorite players for the past ten years (with the exception of King Henry) have been guys like Jed Ortmeyer, Blair Betts (now a Flyer, haha), Peter Pruca, Ryan Hollweg, Michael Nylander, Ryan Callahan. Guys that are carrying their weight in any way they can and producing while the spotlight is on the guys pissing their pants under the pressure. It's ridiculous and I'm not happy.

A change needs to happen and his name is Glen Sather. I want my team back, I want character. I want Mark Messier and Adam Graves and Pat Verbeek and Darren Langdon and Kim Johnsson.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Donkey Lips

I'm starting to get into panic mode about the very near future. God damn job (or lack thereof). God damn place to live (or lack thereof). God damn future (you get the idea...while were on the subject of No Future, did you hear Malcolom McLaren died today? ).

Why can't someone just pay me to write about the representation of American Government in big budget action movies? I'm really good at pointing that shit out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Whenever I get bad luck I think about everything I've done leading up to this moment which could've triggered this...

...and vow never to do those things again. So that means I will never shave my head to a triple zero, listen to 1372 Overton Park by Lucero, eat lamb, and not go to church when I feel like I ought to.

Because I got a flat tire in the pouring rain heading home on 55 and after a frustrating half an hour got to drive the last 40 miles of my trip home going about 50 since I was on a donut [or is it doughnut?]. Cool.

But all's well that ends well cause my roommates are watching Street Fighter, so Ima go join em.

Friday, April 2, 2010

I was carried to Ohio in a swarm on bees

I went to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame today and saw pieces of Otis Redding's aeroplane. A little bit much doncha think?

Also, two nights ago was Boiling Over's last show and they played the perfect last set. 8 or so minutes. Sloppy as shit. They didn't finish their last song because Tyler did a dive off his drum set during the breakdown of "American Dream". It made me feel alive.

And it was cool hanging around a bunch of friends who are in their first year out of college. "This shit's weird, isn't it?" "I know, it's really fucking weird."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

There’s this strange urge that lies in my body that I sometimes can’t help but water. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I am utterly helpless when it comes to the desire to write about music. Now this is one of the most self-indulgent forms of expression there is. Music itself is bad enough, but the idea that what I have to say about someone else’s art…fuck. Obviously, the rebuttal to what anyone has to say about a pop song is “what the fuck difference does your opinion make?” Because that’s all any of this is. Opinions. But somehow the opinions of a select few are seen as worthwhile. Music journalists are allowed to even give their readers a grade, to let you know the tangible worth of someone else’s creation in their notatallhumble opinions.

For the most part music journalists focus on what it is about a song or an album that makes it good, but I never got into that sort of thing. People have always told me that (since I don’t stop talking about it) I should write about music for a living, but I find that to be too mathematical of a process. Reviews tend to focus on mathematics. The C to A Minor fall. The build up to the chorus. A key change. The layers of instrumentation. All of these are calculated, tested formulas that any good musician fully understands. The journalists are just telling you about the methods.

I focus on why I like it, which is the ultimate form of self-indulgence because all I’m really trying to do is talk about myself. This is also why no one will ever give a shit about my opinion and anyone who would be interested in something like that has already read Lester Bangs.

However, when a certain record or a certain song comes around, I have to tell anyone who will listen why it’s important.

When it comes to my favorite albums, the ones that I always hold closest are the ones that were there at a certain time in my life. Goddamnit by the Alkaline Trio when I was 15. I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning by Bright Eyes when I got my heart broken. Tim by the Replacements when I turned 21. “Thunder Road” when you fall in love. Music has always been closest to me when I feel distant from the people around me. You see I like to live by this idea that I’m special, that I have feelings no one else can really understand, that I feel things differently from others (I also try to make music too, if you hadn’t already guessed) and when a song comes on that makes me think “wow, I know exactly what that guy is going through” I fall in love. And when you’re 15 or heartbroken or 21 or falling in love, there are a lot of people singing songs for you.

When I turned 23, a recent college graduate working a minimum wage food service job, stuck in a town that was (and still is) growing less and less charming each day, I didn’t really hear many people singing songs for me. “Dan’s Song” by Frank Turner and “Intransit” by the Lawrence Arms are a couple that I’ve found (“Unsatisfied” is in a league of its own—I wish I had heard that song for the first time two months ago, I’d still have it on repeat…sometimes you just hear them too early), but this is generally an uncharted territory in the realm of topics for singers to sing about. I’m not sad, not unhappy, just unsure. It’s cool to get drunk whenever I want to and sleep til noon but I feel like I’m forgetting everything I’ve learned. You have no idea how much I would love to write a fucking reading response to one of the four books I’ve read in the past 6 months. But there really isn’t much to be explored here because it doesn’t feel like anything. Not like a broken heart or being head over heels in love (though I am head over heels in love). It’s just an emptiness that’s hard to pass through.

And for the last few months of that emptiness, I’d been striking out on music. Listening to a lot of bands that I thought were absolutely great, but emotionally distant. It’s great to listen to Revolver but I don’t relate to Lennon and McCartney the way I relate to Kelly and McCaughan. New bands like the Drive-By Truckers and Richmond Fontaine were cool, but I had nothing in common with these people, I’ll never feel close to them

I was nearing the point of panic, wondering if I had started to reach the point where I wasn’t going to relate to music the way I once had. There’s that quote from The Breakfast Club, “when you grow up, your heart dies” and I had started to feel like this was a reality. That music, and the love for music, the only part of my life that had stayed consistent over the past 10 years, was slowly starting to change. That it was becoming purely aesthetic. That what a song said was beginning to lose precedence to the way it sounded. Might as well start to settle into emotionless classic rock now, right?

Then I listened to The Monitor again. And again. And again.

When it leaked my roommate and I were both a little underwhelmed but he was eventually converted. And I let my copy sit in the car for a couple weeks before giving it a listen, knowing a couple of the songs a bit. After that I was hooked and when it did leave the CD player in my car it was always on the top my stack, ready to be put back in at a moments notice.

Soon I was driving with the windows down, faster than hell, my stereo at a decibel of loud reserved for the likes of the Lawrence Arms and Jawbreaker, screaming “TRAMPS LIKE US BABY WE WERE BORN TO DIE!!!” Holding an invisible microphone to my mouth for the entirety of “Richard II,” pointing straight ahead with my right index finger as I growled “WHERE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS NOW?? AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” wishing that I could only be pointing to the asshole that this song is about for me. And saying aloud, to myself, “holy fuck,” when I heard the line “I’m sorry Dad, no, I’m not making this up.” [I’m well aware of how ridiculous this sound, but…] I felt young again.

This album, by a band that I had known only a little bit about before, had effectively become the soundtrack to the past 8 months of my life and there is a song for every long car ride, drunken argument, panic attack, massive night, laugh, cry, disappointment, and tender moment with the girl who somehow hasn’t given up on me yet.

It really is that good.

The overzealous production centers around Patrick Stickles, a recent college graduate who has the same affinity for literature as he does for Seinfeld. But his favorite pastime is a shared loathing of both himself and his home state of New Jersey. He begins to describe his transitive state on “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future” stating “All I want for Christmas is no feelings now OR EVER AGAIN!!!” Stickles is very demanding on this song, forcing you to look uncomfortably at the state of mind he’s in for the first three minutes of the track. He is however, very rewarding for those of us paying attention as the final half of the song provides us with the singalong chorus of “You will always be a loser” as the end leads into “Richard II” the album’s most accessible track.

Stickles lyrics are brutal and his overzealous delivery is all too fitting. The album is chock full of one liners and spastic release (“I will not deny my humanity I will be ROLLING IN IT like a pig in feces”) and the overthetop instrumentation somehow works as is evident on “A Pot In Which To Piss” a song about the band’s history. “Nothing means anything anymore, everything is less than zero” Stickles drawls, before defiantly proclaiming “I’m at the end of my rope and I feel like swingin’.” The song has several movements all of which have their charm and all fitting with the matter at hand. Titus Andronicus, within the complete uncertainty of Stickles’ subject matter, has built a perfect understanding of how it should be presented. Springsteen would be proud.

As the album continues the predicament of being in transit is at times celebrated, looked at with utter helplessness, and defiant stood up to—many times within the same song. Drinks are poured in merriment at one moment and in defeat the next.

The last track, “The Battle of Hampton Roads,” begins with a sound clip from Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address which states, “I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends.” With this, Stickles begins to move forward, singing, “The things I used to love, I have come to reject/The things I used to hate I have learned to accept.” He exposes himself and his thought process, making overtly personal statements about the world around him, loneliness, and ultimately his solution (“I’ve destroyed everything that wouldn’t make me more like Bruce Springsteen.” Fuck. Yes). With his final thought, he makes peace with his enemies, acknowledging their purpose and his need for them. “Please don’t ever leave. Please don’t ever leave.”

And we’re left to move on. To live with our enemies and our friends. And that’s all this album makes me wanna do. Live. It makes wanna do a fucking car bomb, it makes me wanna drink keg beer til I throw up and make a dick out of myself. It makes me wanna read poetry and see movies I’ve never seen before. It makes me wanna stay up til 3 in the morning talking to my friends and wake up at 7 and get right out of bed and write about nothing and feel proud of myself for it. It makes me wanna make music if even just for the benefit of showing it to my friends (and hoping my enemies hear it too). It makes me wanna hear more music, more songs about heartbreak and hating yourself and being in love and hoping that you never grow up. It makes me wanna go out and live and drink and surround myself with people. When for the past six months I wanted nothing to do with any of those things.

That’s what this album is. It’s not “a concept album about the Civil War” it’s not “the enemy is everywhere.” It’s not an 8.7 and it’s certainly not 3 ½ fucking stars out of 5. It’s how you feel about it.

This 24 year old self-loathing prick made a record about being a 24 year old self-loathing prick and being a 23 year old self-loathing prick, I can't help but love him for it. I feel camaraderie, I feel like he’s said everything that I’ve been feeling way better than I ever could; and it gives me hope. Maybe to know that there is always room to make something that sounds new. Maybe to know that someone feels sorta the same way as me and to hear it expressed so uniquely in turn makes me feel like I am, in fact, different from everyone else. I am unique. I am special. I will always be a loser (and that's okay).

Or maybe it’s just nice to be reminded of the reason I fell in love with music in the first place. The way it can make you feel even when you’re not listening to it.

But who gives a shit about why I like it, right? I’m just saying that you might.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A thought or two on Alex Chilton

I remember where I was when Joe Strummer died. I wasn't too into the Clash but I knew enough to know (from my parents) and what I had read about punk rock that his passing was a big deal, the type of thing that you remember where you were and exactly what was going on at that moment. That was the closest thing that I've had to a musician that I genuinely adore pass away until now.

Like many people, I got into Alex Chilton, and Big Star, because the Replacements wrote a song about him.

What you often find when looking into Big Star is a lot of people saying something along the lines of "you have to understand that no one was doing anything like this before Big Star was doing it, you have to remember that they were the only band that sounded like this and they affected so much that followed."

Here's the thing about a statement like that: I usually end up not liking those bands nearly as much as I'm supposed to. "Oh, you like The Lawrence Arms, well they're just doing what Naked Raygun did twenty years ago." Okay, great, I can appreciate that BUT with twenty years of musical evolution, I find the descendants of Naked Raygun or Joy Division or even Gram Parsons to be more interesting than the fore bearers. Sorry, I know that makes me a terrible hipster.

Big Star is the exception to the rule. I found them a little primal at first. I wasn't too into the jangly guitars or the sound in general, but by the time I turned 20 I got it. And I love Big Star not because of their influence or what they're supposed to mean to the evolution of indie rock, but just because the songs are so fucking good. These were and are some of the best pop songs I've ever heard.

And their story is one that I find fascinating. The commercial flops, under-appreciation, tension, failure. And most of all I was always drawn to Alex Chilton for reasons that I still don't really understand. I mean, the Mats are rarely paying sincere respect to anyone. You know that they loved all those older songs they were covering, but they were also being dicks about playing them. Their respect for Alex Chilton was always without a shit-eating grin, which, when you look at the history of that band, there is rarely anything done without a shit-eating grin.

I can't help but liken the guy to Brian Wilson. A writer of gorgeous pop songs about youth and the passing of time, only Wilson's subject matter was always a youth that seemed too good to be true, too 50's sitcom, too ideal. Alex Chilton was certainly an idealist but you get the sense that he lived it more. Brian Wilson was talking about an ideal that he was always on the outside of--cool cars, surfing, girls. You can't help but get the sense though, that Alex was writing about himself on "Thirteen". Wilson was singing about what he heard kids were doing on "I Get Around," but Alex seeemed to be actively participating in the story of "Down The Street."

Brian Wilson sang about what he perceived to be the ideals of a youth he never really lived, but I think Alex Chilton was singing about the ideals of his own youth.

That's not to discredit Brian Wilson, I love Brian Wilson, and that may be buying a little too much into Big Star seeing as though Alex Chilton had a number one hit when he was thirteen, but I think the fact remains. For whatever reason (or reasons) it just never came together for Big Star but anyone that knows knows. We got the gift of three gorgeous albums, and each gets more interesting as you go along.

The news bummed me out pretty bad last night and I plan on listening to nothing but Big Star when I work tonight.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The search for used Otis Redding records means having to sift through many Lionel Richies.

Last night I laughed so hard buying a candy bar at the liquor store that I started to cry. Not tear up a little, I mean full on tears dropping down onto the lenses of my glasses as I'm signing the credit card slip.

I spent $75 on a free Titus Andronicus show. Or $79 on a corned beef sandwich. Or $76.29 on a Faygo.

I came to the conclusion that the movie Cobra provides what could be the most clear, concise dividing line on our country's political spectrum.

This town gets beautiful on me sometimes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Funny we're still doing car bombs after all these years

Yeah I'm still hammered and listening to Hootenany, fuck you.

Buy The Monitor. It's the first album I've been in love with since Boxer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One-upping a 14 year old at his birthday party

I just played paintball for the first time for my brother's birthday. It was a pretty good time and my brother and his friends had a lot of fun. But I'll tell you what, the best part of it was being surrounded by grown men who are really into paintball. We'd go out and play a few rounds then come back to reload or put air in the guns and these guys would just be sitting there talking about paintball. Grown up men, with salt and pepper hair and beer guts, decked out in gear talking about their guns and guys who sucked. The kids would come back and talk about the game amongst themselves and these guys would interject with "you think that sucks, well one time I got shot from ten feet away in the face" or "yeah, well your gun [the rental gun the place gave to us] sucks, check out this baby, it's an automatic, hairline trigger, I can shoot 30 balls a second. The gun cost me $800, the trigger was two, the airtank was 150, and the pod cost me a hundred bucks0."

Wow, cool man. What time is your mom picking you up?

To each his own, I suppose, but I couldn't stop thinking about that Chris Farley Weekend Update character where he uses the finger quotes.

"I haven't had sex with a woman."

Speaking of which I'm at my mom's house right now and I was up til 3 in the morning playing NHL 2000 on the Playstation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

God rest his guts

It seems like the end of February is always the one point in the year where "Here Comes A Regular" makes the most sense.

But now February is over and I got myself some big plans.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shutter Island was no Houseguest

People that have license plates that make reference to the car they are driving (i.e. someone driving a Mercedes whose plate says "MY BENZ 7") are assholes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

because tuna is gross.

Yesterday at work I helped myself to an enormous tuna sandwich. It was a sloppy mess that got all over my fingers and was falling all over the place and for the first time I thought about something: tuna sandwiches are gross.

I don't think there is anyone that doesn't agree with this statement. Whether you like tuna sandwiches or not (we'll get to this) you agree that when you think about it, it's a weird thing to eat. It looks nasty. It's sloppy. Think about it. Tuna mixed with mayonnaise and sometimes celery. I don't like mayonnaise and I rarely like celery. But I eat tuna sandwiches despite this fact.

Why? Well, I think it's because I ate it when I was younger. My mom made tuna fish sandwiches for me all the time and I knew that it was gross then, but the fact that my mom made it for me was enough assurance for me to think it was alright to eat. And I enjoyed it. If no one was making you tuna sandwiches growing up, you're probably not going to eat tuna when you're older. And you're not gonna give your kids tuna sandwiches and they're not gonna eat tuna when they're older.

Just so you know, Scott, Timmy Scott's will be serving tuna sandwiches. They'll be endorsed by Charlie Sheen. Or Charles Barkley.

Monday, February 22, 2010

But you talk like your mother

Hot damn I feel good. Today I got out of bed at about 6:30 to go to my place of employment. Notice that I didn't say I went "to work" because I went there to record some music. The bathroom at work has a natural reverb that I adore and could never recreate, so I've recorded several songs before the store opens.

I started playing shows by myself about a year ago and I've recorded two EPs under the name The Swingin' Party and I've been working on a third recording the past couple of months and I've never been this consistently excited about writing music and recording. I have 4 (maybe 5 songs) that I consider done at this point and they're all those songs that I've been wanting to write for a while but never really felt satisfied in any attempts. There's a 7 minute song about my hometown (among other things) that sounds like a more spastic Greetings From Asbury Park. A catchy little pop song about long winters that uses a couple vocal melodies I've been sitting on and some Spoon/Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-type layering (which is what I recorded today). There's more, but this seems a bit boring. Just know that I'm excited to record these songs and for the first time I'm also excited about the process of recording them and seeing how I can tailor them and make them a little more interesting.

These occasional early morning days are always exciting, I highly recommend them for those of us who rarely get up early. You feel alive. You feel like finally going to Meier to get toilet paper because you've been out since Thursday and have had to go next door every time you need to poop.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Humainty Is Fucked: A Boiling Over Tribute Post

When you spend an hour reading The Golem by Gustav Meyrink while listening to Another Green World by Brian Eno (on vinyl) it's hard to argue that you're anything other than a lame white person.

Oh coffee is done.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Sometimes I feel like I’m playing a part in my life—like I’m a spectator watching things pass me by. I think about the future with nothing but a strong sense of hope. I feel like one day I will reach a point where everything I do will make sense. And that state of mind, that point of consciousness, is what I look forward to.

But in the mean time, I’m stuck where I am and where I am is unbearably numb at times.

I feel like I watch the days pass and I watch the mechanics of day to day work and I understand the implications of time as they weigh on me, but I’m helpless in changing them. I watch them pass and I hate how I’ve acted and want to go back and change them, but I’m stuck so far in the past and dealing with regrets that when these things happen again, I simply let them pass and once again I’m disappointing myself and the people I care about.

I think about yesterday and it’s hard to picture how it happened and what the characters looked like.

I worry that this feeling will continue. I think about tomorrow daily. And it’s strange because for the first time in my life I look at tomorrow with very little fear. I always worried that I would end up broke, hungry, and alone. Today I don’t think that’s how it will turn out. But I worry that I will be stuck in this state of numb forever, that I won’t be able to fully enjoy this blessing that I’ve been given [without warrant].

I will always worry that I’m not good enough. That I’m not doing enough. But that fear is slowly starting to give way to something different. After being told repeatedly that I am, in fact, good enough, and that I do enough, what’s holding me back is not coming to terms with the concept that she is not lying to me, it’s fully being able to accept this as fact. My mind always holds me back from accepting that she is not only telling me the truth, but telling herself the truth.

I guess I’ll have to trust her on that.

If I don’t than I’m eventually going to convince her otherwise. Then where do I end up?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My leg is pins

I've developed this unfortunate habit of not being able to fall back asleep after a night of heavy drinking. I find this to be a more damaging habit than the actual habit of drinking.

But last night was entirely silly. Made some new friends which is something I don't do very often anymore. Played an unbelievably sloppy Blink 182 cover set with two of my favorite people in the world (our stage banter was the most impressive part). And my wiener made an unexpected public appearance.

Today I have the finishing touches to put on one of the all time greatest Valentine's Day presents (or at least a present that was fun to make) and I probably should clean the house. All the garbage that was neatly stacked at the top of the stairs is now strewn all over the house.

But for now I have a hangover to kick before my lady's parents get into town.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Photosynthesis at night

I keep waking up in the middle of the night excited to be alive. Excited to wake up next to my lady. Excited to brush my teeth and wash my face. Excited to hear music. It’s a strange, new feeling. Sorry to sound repetitive, but exciting is really the best adjective I could use to describe it (I believe synonyms are overrated sometimes—take that for what it’s worth).

While it’s a nice feeling to have I wish it would wait a few hours so I could sleep through for a decent period of time. These type of nights make it difficult to get through days and I can’t keep spending money on pickmeups during my breaks at work. I think that the worst part about being irresponsible with finances is when you are actually in the position of needing to save money. I toss around money I don’t have at shit I don’t need and now when I actually need to save a few hundred bucks for something I do need I realize that I don’t have groceries or gas in my car. Shit.

But I’m awake at this hour of the night with very good reason. It’s funny how sometimes the best nights are the ones that you don’t expect to turn out. My lady came home from work and I was watching the end of Eraser, a movie which became the victim of unfortunate timing a few days ago when I had to go to work 15 minutes before it was over. I was so mad. That movie kicks ass, a much underappreciated piece in the Schwarzenegger canon. I’d like to point out very quickly that Schwarzenegger is in spell check.

When she came home I wasn’t in a very good mood and [this is a rare occurrence] with good reason. My guitar got stolen this weekend. I’ve had that guitar since I was 17, I’ve written nearly every song of my life on that guitar. I’ve grown with that guitar and somehow somebody walked out with it during a show I played. I’m really bummed, it feels like I got my heart broken. In fact I wrote a break-up song today [on a shitty old guitar that I have—this guitar is like the girl you knew you could have sex with for years, but were in a relationship with a much hotter, cooler girl and when that relationship ended you went out and had sex with this chick and it didn’t really feel like anything at all but you were glad to find out that you were right about knowing you could’ve had sex with her whenever you wanted]. My conclusion is that I will love again, but my intentions are not to replace that guitar. I have a lot of memories with that guitar and I will have new memories (probably even better ones) with whichever I get next, but I’m still bummed that my guitar is gone. Either way that thing gave me a lot of songs that I will always be proud to have written and proud to sing and I know I’ll write new songs on a new guitar that I will like even better someday soon. That’s just how it goes.

But I was telling a story here…so my lady comes in and I’m moping a little, watching Eraser, and she’s talking about her day and says “Rakisha [a woman she works with] made a pass at me,” and I responded with a very flat “that’s nice.”

I got the blank, “are you seriously gonna shoot this down like that? You and I both know that this is, at the very least, pretty funny” look which is probably the worst look you can get from someone. I don’t care how stuck you are in being pissed off at anything, if you get this look from a person than you’re probably acting like a dick. That’s a look that never gets thrown around without justification.

So I smacked myself out of feeling like a mope and we drove to Meijer and bought bloody mary mix and came back here and had some really really good talking about shit we actually care about. Not school or sandwich delivery or living situations or my broken heart, just straight talk about what we believe in. The type of conversation that feels good from beginning to end.

We fell asleep early and shit it felt good. I woke up not too long ago and I don’t think I’m going back to sleep, but I feel as if I’m up for all the right reasons.

My lady makes this funny little moaning sound in response to everything I do in the middle of the night. I can’t describe it well, thus you will never come close to understanding but it’s one of the most adorable things I’ve heard.

I think Saved By The Bell is on now, I’ma go watch that if my neighbors kept their front door open.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When we're told that sports matter

So I work every Sunday from 4-9 meaning that while you were enjoying the Super Bowl I was bringing sandwiches to people's houses. It's alright though today was the sort of day where you notice the colors around you. A good day, as they tend to say.

But the Saints won and while I did not watch this happen, I know what was constantly discussed: how the Saints were playing for New Orleans, a city that is still far off of recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Far from recovery.

Everyone was pulling for the Saints tonight. If you aren't actually a Colts fan (or you put money on the Colts), you were pulling for the Saints to win because of the fact that we want to believe a Saints win is a win for New Orleans, a city that hasn't been on the winning end of anything for the past 5 years. This was a time when sports became intermingled with the outside world and was able to write a feel good story. The Saints winning tonight was a way for us to feel like good triumphed, that a disaster like Hurricane Katrina (which was so devastating that you wonder how and why it could have happened, how does something like this happen to so many innocent people), can't keep people down. Everyone from New Orleans won tonight.

This happens all the time in sports broadcasting. All the time. It's like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer tells that sick kid that Paul O'Neill will hit two home runs for him. Sick kids, natural disasters, third world countries will always be linked to stories about sports. Those little segments they run at half-time about how Warrick Dunn builds houses for single moms or how that 8 year old with leukemia spent an hour with David Wright, you've seen the story a hundred times. And it feels good. It always feels good. You get this distinct feelgood sense that only these type of stories can provide.

The Saints winning the Super Bowl is massive. Someone is going to publish a book about this and it's going to sell millions.

But sports don't matter. There have been so many people who have protested that they do (W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe, which became Field of Dreams, is the best example. One of the best parts in that story is when J.D. Salinger, or James Earl Jones, gives that monologue about how baseball binds this country. It's beautiful.) But I don't really agree. I still contend that sports really don't matter the way we're told they do. Sports matter to us personally. I'm tied to the New York Rangers like they're a member of my family. I consider Adam Graves to be one of my heroes. But sports are in our lives to free us of reality. Sometimes it works, but there are situations where they don't mean dick. And I don't think that people point that part of the story out enough. The Saints winning the Super Bowl does not fix New Orleans. I wish it did, but I think that fact shouldn't be ignored. Maybe we can feel a little bit better for some time but nothing has changed.

This isn't a post about what needs to be done about New Orleans or why people should scoff at these feel good stories. Really I'm in awe at how they function as narratives. These stories about how professional sports transcend from being "just a game" to something that effects our lives can be told over and over again with different people and different situations and it will always have an affect. But I think everyone should remember that the story isn't over. And while we feel good now, there's a lot of time left in the game.

A Briefing

Okay, so I'm back to the blogging world. Let's not discuss what happened before because the thing about reading anything you've written over six months ago is that it's usually painful. I have fond memories about many things that I've written. Some of them I've looked over again later on and (without fail) I thought it all sucked. Other things I have never looked back on, I just continue to think that it was awesome. Thinking that it's awesome is always better.

But I digress...

There's no real theme here. Sometimes I'll write about music I like, sometimes I'll write about sports, sometimes I'll write about how delivering sandwiches sucks, and sometime I'll give a detailed analysis as to why, against all odds, Terminator 2 is way better than The Terminator. Really I just miss sharing my thoughts about the things I enjoy. Cool.