12.31.2008

THE END

I'm lazy and it's late and all I want to say now to finish what was kind of a weak year-in-review:

- get Lykke Li's debut, it's the best happy-sad music in the world; great when you're lonely and even better when you're not
- get Sun Kil Moon's new album, even though it's no Ghosts of the Great Highway
- Damien Jurado inspires me, confounds me, mesmerizes me, I hope he does the same for you and frankly I wouldn't be one bit surprized
- it's tasking to post mp3s when yr laptop is broken, but I'm working on it
- I can't wait for the new J. Tillman record
- music is good for living things

--------------------

It was a good year, a lot changed for me. I'm hoping the wheels keep turning. Good night. See you next year.

12.28.2008

2K8 In Review

Why did so many people care about Amy Winehouse?

12.19.2008

PART III of Tyler's YEAR-IN-REVIEW!

4. FLEET FOXES.

At first, I was infatuated, bowled-over, stupefied with glee as though deep-down I'd been waiting for a band just like this -- chamber music, hymns and west-coast blissed-out prettiness and bits and pieces of American folk music and artrock, these are all things I like quite a bit from time to time and it's all there.

So why am I so indifferent to this band now?

And why -- I mean, REALLY? WHY? -- is their self-titled record so many people's favorite album of the year?

I don't have answers for the second question, and only a scattershot guessing mess of reasons for the first one.

Maybe I got bored of the record; I listened to it a lot, and while everything is very neatly arranged, it's not deep, not the kind of record where you notice something new every time. It's not filled with subtleties. It just is what it is. It's also terribly monotonous; when I first discovered them early in the year, I noticed on their Myspace that they'd made it a point to describe themselves as "not a rock band" and while at first I thought that slightly misleading, it turns out to be true in an unfortunate way: they are hardly exciting. (Anyone else notice that the bassist always and I mean always looks bored?) They are content to make pretty music with pretty harmonies, and too rarely do they push the decibel meter. It makes all the very-hushed parts in their songs feel cheaper for the lack of dynamic. (Quiet is the new loud? Again?)

Most of all, I get tired of wading through songs with uninspired segments. Off the top of my head, there's moments in "Ragged Wood", "Quiet Houses" and "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" that actually annoy me, passages that seem to try too hard to be melodic or weird, instead of just sounding good, instead of really waiting for inspiration -- and these are three of my favorite songs on the record, in spite of their flaws, which only makes it more maddening. The album is absolutely thick with ideas, most of its songs have more ideas than some whole albums, and most of the melodicism is highly sophisticated. Yet it gets too melodic, as if they don't know anything else, as if they think music can only be carefully composed, as if chance doesn't belong.

I think it was Clay who said that the album almost sounds like an assignment. I wish that didn't sound right, but it does.

With all of that said, the fact of the matter is that Robin Pecknold is oftentimes very inspired -- take "Blue Ridge Mountains", "White Winter Hymnal", "Oliver James", all of which are vivid and warm, melodic and ageless. And it's a mightily impressive debut record, despite its flaws (again). I think the main reason I've fallen out of touch with Fleet Foxes partly has to do with what I thought they were when I first heard them. Nowadays, I hear The Beach Boys, sun-baked and immaculate, and brilliant. Before, I heard The Band in all their early glory, in their strange still-unmatched way of singing through and above and past one another. Back then -- think Music From Big Pink -- The Band was both crazy-loose and crazy-tight. While I like The Beach Boys, I hardly ever listen to them -- mostly I admire and respect what they could do, but really enjoying it, or more importantly loving it? Not-so-much. The Band is a different story. (Go on YouTube, check out Fleet Foxes' video for "He Doesn't Know Why". See the resemblance?)

I've got a prediction. Whether or not Fleet Foxes trims the fat and comes up with something truly great next time around, a lot of folks will at some point in the next few years re-scan their best-of-2008 lists and wonder, When was the last time I listened to this album?

12.17.2008

AMALGAMATION. ASSIMILATION. ACCUMULATION.


"eyes glueup sittin in dark sun peekup" - Oliver Ignatius

Can you make out what those ethereal, hints of whispers you can't be sure you hear in the early morning are saying?  They echo silently before the rain lets up and the sun rises, leaving no trace they were ever there.

Every morning, the witching hours fall slave to the sun, and every night the sun sinks in tiresome defeat. The Aztecs, at the height of civilization, were never quite sure if the sun would rise again once it had set.  Blood offerings were made to assure existence would continue as normal.

Can you imagine?  Every day could very well be everybody's last?  Everyone believes this?  And you're all OKAY with that?

The lonely distortion at the very beginning of everything begins to tell me my fortune until it's drowned out by the brief stints of rain.  It appears again and again, but suddenly the rain stops.  Predictions of my unclear future reverberate in my head.  

The guitar continues to sing cryptic messages.  A tarot spread, a crystal ball.  A cell phone rings somewhere.

Over and over, I can hear you talking in your sleep.  "And we called it lightning," you seem to say between even breaths.  To dream of something so powerful!  

I envy the world you find in your reveries.


I don't care if this song is just a demo: it's beautiful in it's imperfections.  I hear T. Rex behind the veil, and hints of John Lennon's soulful swagger in the delicate melody.


Oliver has continued to create.  I've failed to post.



 -________________________________-


on another note:
Did you know the term "bling bling" apparently originates from this song?


"Bling Bling"  - Juvenile & Lil Wayne

12.11.2008

PART II OF TYLER'S YEAR-IN-REVIEW

3. AUTO-TUNE.

I don't really know where it began in earnest. Of course it's been going on for a long time, but I don't know when it really took off, when people started to take notice -- I remember reading about it a few months ago in The New Yorker, and before that in a profile of T-Pain.

Ah, T-Pain. Maybe I don't know exactly what it is I love so much about you, maybe I never will. Yr music conjures drinks and dancefloors and the nighttime-as-the-righttime and excess and indulgence and fun -- little to none of the hazards, and when things go wrong it's funny, like "that'll be sixty bucks" and the one-drink-too-many. I think when I first heard you I must have thought This is so not me and at the same time I love this to death, what the fuck? In some crucial ways it is me because -- how do I say this -- I like being taken out of my element, I want to be bewildered once in a while.*

And "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" is absolutely bewildering because it never lets up and yes it has hooks but it's more than that, it bleeds you to death before you even hit the bridge (which is AWESOME) and it's like everything I loved about that Basement Jaxx record Kish Kash condensed into one perfect pop song (almost?), a song that if it doesn't get you going it makes you feel helpless because what else could possibly get you going if not this? The first time I heard it was after they made fun of it on Saturday Night Live and all I could focus on was the dancing and how they looked like weird mechanized bird-humans running around in circles and WOW THIS RHYTHM IS HYPED UP and it was all very funny to me but now I hear this song on the radio and it feels like exploding non-stop for three-and-a-half too-short minutes. And when the hooks pile on at the end it's like Beyoncé is telling you this weird secret, unraveling this mystery: It's fabulously easy, you just need to sing all the best notes in the best way.

And then Kanye West comes in and he's melancholic and he's the biggest pop star in the world (right?) but he's a hip-hop star, I thought; and he's making a record about death and break-ups and fame and disappointment but none of that matters so much as the example he's setting as a pop star. And it's a good example: make what you want, what you're feeling. Get away from yr bread-and-butter, pivot toward yr milk-and-honey. West's first three albums are genius and he's always made it look easy, but this is more than just great music, this is his Sgt. Pepper, his Bringing it All Back Home, his middle finger to Nashville, his true colors in other words; and maybe the best part is the irrational distaste so many people are going to have for it and how he knew that and did it anyway. (Unbridled emotion and simplicity don't sit too well with the in-crowd. Or the critics. All the better.) This is what "psychedelic" should mean because it's an out-sized, out-of-body, larger-than-life thing that's going on and forget about wishing that Kanye was more humble or down to earth -- shine on, you crazy diamond.

*Addendum: On second glance that sounds like a shallow appreciation, and the last thing I want to suggest about this music is that it's somehow shallow, or that I think it's shallow. So let me clarify: I think it's GRAND, particularly because it does so completely what all my favorite music does, it transports you into a not-real-until-right-now place, and in T-Pain's case it's the club-circus, the bar-sitcom. Like a dreamy Alice-in-Wonderland vision of the best party ever. That's what it does for me. Down the rabbit hole...

--------------------

More later this week! Finished with finals today, so I'll have more time.

12.08.2008

Long After an Accident Outside Rio Gallegos: A Haiku

Smashed truck by God-crushed,
Huge Sky, Sun-side, His target
Poor Driver, life-road.

Ushuaia



We landed running at the end of the world
It was too cold to camp at the end of the world
so I stayed in a hostel at the end of the world
I met familiar faces at the end of the world
The sun set late and rose very early at the end of the world
I climbed a glacier at the end of the world 
and ate snow at the top of that glacier at the end of the world
I ate king crab and drank beer at the end of the world

Mountains towered over us at the end of the world
I met two Basque brothers at the end of the world
Who spoke strongly about their struggle for independence, at the end of the world

I found an apocalyptic safe haven at the end of the world
People live in the wilderness at the end of the world
(whatever that means) at the end of the world

Shipwrecks, stray dogs, and abandoned outposts at the end of the world
The water frothed under us,
Clouds moved in and out and passed over us,
Then I, too, passed over the end of the world.

12.07.2008

THE GOALS WE NEVER MEET

I found this "Life plan" I wrote for myself on October 27, 2006.

Let's see what I've accomplished in two years.

1. Learn Carpentry
2. Graduate College
i. Learn Spanish
3. Go into the Peace Corps
4. Record Songs, Make Music for fun.
5. Direct a film I've been writing. If it succeeds, become a film maker. If it flops, do something else.
6. Possibly get married (i suppose that depends on the circumstances)
7. Open a photography business- either become a freelance or journalisitic photographer, hopefully for National Geographic. Possibly a photography firm. Shoot and sell fine art prints.
8. If photography and film making fail, become a carpenter
9. Travel and create.
10. Retire. Travel more. Create more. Die.



Nothing.



Now, let's look at the revised one.

1. Graduate College by May 2011
i. Learn Spanish.
2. Learn some kind of trade. Carpentry? Teach Yoga maybe?
3. Grad school, Montreal, Fine Arts.
4. Find some way to pay back my student loans.
5. ???
6. Die.

12.03.2008

The Year, Sorta Discussed

(Subtitle: Favorite albums of 2008?!)

THE PROBLEM: Digitalageayedeeachedee. Trends galore. Broken laptop. Singles-prominence. Googlepediatube. Autotune/T-Pain.

THE SOLUTION: Listen to the radio. Leave the house. Buy music MAKE MUSIC. Unplug the stereo when you're not using it. Autotune/T-Pain.

--------------------

I couldn't even begin to give you an honest Top-5 or Top-10 or Top-Multipleof10 list this year. I just didn't listen to that many albums. Maybe I'm losing patience like everyone else, or maybe it was just that kind of year; music and I fall in and out of love. (Sometimes, for months at a time, it's nuthin but lust.) But I could really only name you six or seven albums I even listened to the whole way through, and while they're all worthy, I bet that if I'd been more adventurous, if I'd soaked up more content (digital sponge) those 6-or-7 would be in considerably hotter water.

So instead, I'm just going to list, in no particular order, new music that I loved, whether it be an album, a show, a song, or a video. What-fucking-ev-fucking-er. While I am utterly ambivalent about the structure this list takes, all the music is earnestly and passionately loved from the bottom of my heart, music I savored and learned inside and out and will keep listening to for -- well, let's be honest, at least months to come. (But probably more.)

Today is PART I. As you'll see, each entry is a little long, so I'm going to space this out over the next week or two. As of now, I don't know exactly where this list will go or who/what it will include -- you'll know when it's over around the same time as I do.

------------------------

1. BON IVER.

I went to two "shows" this year -- quotations meaning I'm not counting shows I played or shows my friends played; only two shows where I went to see a band whose record I liked. The first one was Bon Iver, back in February. (Here's what I wrote about it.)

For Emma, Forever Ago has nothing if not staying power: these are songs that have real emotional depth, by which I mean the more you listen to them, really listen to them, the more they reveal their insides, hurts and joys, hopes and wants, scars and mistakes. Musically it seems innovative and forward-thinking, but what it boils down to is that even if you stripped away the words, the stories you've heard about the album's maker -- its sound is startlingly, intensely personal -- and therefore unique. It's an album that gets better, which is really another way of saying it gets truer.

Justin Vernon self-released For Emma in 2007, but the record didn't see official release until February, through Jagjaguwar; anyone who has been paying attention since then already knows that it's been a huge year for Vernon. Bon Iver is now a band, and an exciting one at that: at this point, Mike and Sean are inextricable, as much a part of these songs as Justin -- I forget at times they're not on the album. Bon Iver was my first show this year, and they'll be my third in a week and a half -- and just to witness the journey this music has taken, to see its growths, has my head swelling with excitement.

Then again, that has a lot to do with who'll be opening for Bon Iver...

2. THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH. (Previously on TWSH.)

The day I heard Kris for the first time, I'd spent some time teaching myself one of my favorite folk songs: "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground". I stumbled on TTMOE the way I usually stumble on new music -- through browsing music blogs -- and these were the first words I heard: "If I ever see the morning / just like a lizard in the spring."

Now, I'm typically a rapt listener, I don't make up my mind about a song within the first few bars and turn it off if I don't like it. Songs hold and keep my interest, even bad ones, and unless it's physically hurting me I'm not going to reject it that quickly. With that said, I can't remember ever feeling so immediately attached to a piece of music as I was to "I Won't Be Found" that evening. It may have been the connection to "Mole in the Ground" in the lyrics, which admittedly made me feel what I guess you might call a fast kinship with Kris, like when the pretty girl on the bench has "over a cardboard sea" written on her shoes.

But in contrast with that feeling of closeness was the sense that this was something foreign, something unlike any folk music I'd ever heard. The singing has a lot to do with it: Kris doesn't sound distinctly Swedish or distinctly American, and his lyrics have (for me) no obvious lineage, though they are as rich and poetic as any I've heard. There's an air about him, a gulp of syrup and a handful of myth in that voice.

His debut album, Shallow Graves, might as well be legendary, considering how flabbergastingly great it is. It's the album I listened to most this year, at least in part because it's the most elliptical, the toughest egg to crack. It made me wonder: where are these songs coming from? How is he doing this, goddamnit?! Every melody so instantly infectious, not in the way pop music is, but the way it feels when you create something -- the way it feels in the exact moment something rises out of you, and then when you fall in love with what you (little strange unknowable you) made. Maybe that makes sense, maybe it doesn't, but that's what listening to these songs feels like for me now -- I'd probably hate Kris if I didn't love his music so much, because he's done exactly what I wish I could. In that way, it's strangely the most personal record of the year for me, for all its otherworldly strangeness. (Obviously, I'm especially excited to see him perform next Monday night.)

--------------------

MORE LATER THIS WEEK. Or next week. Expect words about Fleet Foxes, Lykke Li, Damien Jurado, Kanye, Sun Kil Moon . . . and . . . yes . . . T-Pain.

12.02.2008

A SADDENING DISCOVERY



so THIS is what I can expect to become in the next few years?
Croissant with eggs, croissant with coffee, croissant with soup, croissant on pizza.  
I was brought up bourgeois, and God damnit, to hell with me if i forget my roots.

Second day in a row in a cafe in the West Village where a friend works but isn't here, I'm sipping on black coffee and my new staple: a flaky, warm croissant with some jam.  Jazz emanates from the walls, the dimly light room lets me think straight or get things done.  

Actually, my procrastination is more productive.  I'm crossing things off of the other to-do list; the things that don't deal with homework, time, or paying bills.  The to-do list for the right-brain.

I suppose New York might be where you go if you want to get confronted with all your existential crises at once.  December here will only be more frenzied than the last few months.

This cafe is my quiet hideaway.


11.25.2008

lately I'm trying to write songs, so maybe that covers why writing about songs took a backseat. and I'm not going to write about songs for you tonight, just writing to stop the rumours of my death or whatever. I'll post again soon, I swear it.

11.14.2008

Water Treatment


An Experiment.

Question: How many times can I reuse a water bottle before the residue displaced from the inside of the bottle due to heat starts to hurt my stomach?

Result: 5 

Masculine/ Femenine, Earlier than the Train

The Climate, the Weather
The PLAnes
The SystEm
The ProbLem.

---

Like the purple fall of dusk,
Lifting the heat
off of
The city's corners
Changing the color of the graffiti.

11.12.2008

HAIKUS FOR A TIRED NEW YORKER

overslept this morn,
gotta be catchin' myself.
don't you rain on me

back and forth, L train.
twelve more stops 'till class begins
i did no homework.

early i'm awake,
New York City, let me sleep
work at eight ain't great.

busy busy bee,
up and down a train called V
sleep did forget me

sick as your old dog
mumbling 'till i can't no more
leave me to my self.

sometimes hear you say,
it don't smell like love to me.
i can't smell at all.

glass-bottle blues, babe.
stumblin' down this busy road,
hiccups a-plenty.

once the brown guitar
let me know not to forget
we're all folk singers.

11.10.2008

Great Twos





Two Men that I think 
show bravado, classical man-ness, and a redefined cool:
- Clint Eastwood 
- Sam Cooke













Two Companies I think show 
innovation, success, and are also cool:
-Jet Blue
-Apple















Two Toppings I think show superior food-altering capabilities:
- Franks Red Hot Hot Sauce (not necessarily cool)
- Peanut Butter




Any additions (examples or categories)?

11.06.2008

CECI N'EST PAS UNE THEORY




Prisoners are those who have offended the state (and usually some third party) in some punishable way (and been caught).

Within the Western Art world, we no longer (necessarily) consider the art we produce to be "good" for its beauty, composition, style, or form, but based on who it offends and how:

Art that is offensive for the sake of being offensive is not what I would call "good" art.

But art that is honest, art that raises important societal questions offends society in a way that aims to move it forward.

I find artists and criminals share this connection: both groups, if we can separate them, offend us: prisoners through negative action (rape, murder, theft) while artists (for the most part) through a more positive medium.

There are a lot of parenthetical comments and holes in this idea, yeah, but what's absolute or politically correct these days?

DO YOU AGREE?

10.30.2008

10.28.2008

DAMN YOU, THIEVES.

The universe must not want me to be in possession of a laptop.

I've bitten off more than I can chew.
I need a vacation.
I'm counting down the days until Thanksgiving.

Can anyone say bad timing?

10.22.2008

The Friars of Our Era

"Skyscrapers" - Detachment Kit

This Latin American metropolis is just like that North American metropolis, which is just like that Great Britain metropolis, which is just like an Ancient Roman metropolis.
As I walk in the morning past old faculty buildings and museums, people travel daily from residence to business. It is an age old routine. Wares and livelihood, family and household. 
---
Pigeons scuttle along their routes on the sidewalks, courtyards and windowsills. They are modern day's gregorian monks, diminished in size, and in sound and color's tone. They hobble, chanting early morning in a language everyday folk have trouble understanding. 

10.20.2008

So I saw you playing on SNL



Now I see you're on Youtube too and you've got your songvoice and your acoustic bass and your British accent.

10.15.2008

"Bad Ideas" In Contrast

"McCain's 10 Worst Ideas"
and
(according to Foreign Policy Magazine)

Pay homage to the God of Educated Opinion.

10.01.2008

The Decline of the American Empire? - Part 1

BBC - American Superpower Status is Shaken

I've been glued to news websites the past couple weeks, especially opinion sections. The current (whatNOUNbestdescribesmyparanoia?) in the US is unprecedented in my lifetime. As an International Affairs major living abroad in Buenos Aires, I find the foreign reaction to the recent events in the United States intriguing and also almost unanimously in favor of the promised democratic party nominee's "Change." But there is also a fear, almost unspoken, of this American economic crisis' extreme influence over the rest of the world's economies.

But is this really that surprising? Its definitely nothing new; the US has had unarguable influence over the rest of the world in many aspects for centuries. The global community is quick to criticize American Policy, whether it be social, economic, foreign, or domestic, but when a true threat of economic collapse appears as the wall streeters' pockets start coughing up moths there is almost a pleading sense in the foreign- at least argentine- sentiment of interest in not only our current economic crisis but also in the election coming up. 

And with the whole world depending on us to set our own problems right (who would've ever thought that a failure, a fissure, an abyss, would develop out of a system of borrowing money that doesn't always exist?- I say this as an abstraction), I am perplexed, no intrigued, no amazed, no wait, that isn't quite right either, I am horrified that Americans are still considering a VP who famously bases her foreign policy experience on Alaska's proximity to Russia. How can we hope to bail out our economies (emphasis on plural) if the GOP Presidential candidate stated he "doesn't really understand economics," and the VP candidate in question can only name one supreme court case
(To Be Continued)

9.26.2008

YES, I'M TALKING TO YOU

I'm sitting at Table 7 at the library, reading about music and thinking about music and the people who write about it. And there's just one thing I got to know.

Do you like what we're doing here?

I'm looking for ways to mix it up over here at the Honeyeater, ways we can make it better, more interesting, more adventurous, more creative, more fun. I attribute part of the problem to simply not having time and energy for it, and more specifically the fact that I'm just not as musically knowledgeable as a writer-about-music should be -- most of my friends have a much stronger handle on contemporary stuff, and as for my awareness of older music, well, I was going to use the word "grasp" in place of "awareness" but that sounded too strong, you dig?

One thing I think might help: SEND US SONGS. We will write about the things we love. Please and thanks! I think that right there takes care of the interesting-adventurous-and-fun parts; I guess you'll still have to trust us with the creative part. (And all I can give you there is a maybe. Have a little faith, though.)

If you'd like to send me anything, I'll always -- ALWAYS -- listen to it. My e-mail is:
tyler.bussey@gmail.com

I'll leave it up to Will and Clay to provide theirs.

And also, please, flood this post with comments -- constructive, derisive, knock-knock, anarchic, whatever. (In other words, the only way I'll know if this is working fine, or if it might be time to retreat, is from hearing your thoughts, dear reader.)

So. HOLLER BACK --------------------

UPDATE: Yo, ANYBODY?!

9.24.2008

BREAK A SWEAT, THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES


The Tallest Man on Earth - "The Gardner"

This song is about things we all share, even things we'd not-so-much admit to sharing. It's the lift and the ache of knowing that being just who we are makes even one someone want to try harder. It's the thrill, the glee of a good old-fashioned killing spree. (Figuratively, of course.) It's unbridled absurdity (love), it's separating the wheat from the chaff, it's casting yourself in a winnowing sliver of light. (Borrowed that one.) It's about everything we can't quite put our fingers on. We can't because we can only be in it: you can't be on music, on air, on her eyes. Even on time. (A river is not a line.) We're in this together, when we sing together it's the same time, the same air, we're seeing with the same swirls of twilight. "There is no need for suspicion / There ain't no frog kissing your hand / I won't be lying when I tell you / That I'm a gardner, I'm a man / In your eyes, babe."

--------------------

I don't know how Katy Horan would feel about me using her artwork for this post, but it's just SO PERFECT for the song; I'm almost surprised one didn't inspire the other. Though I'd assert it stands alone just fine, more than fine -- lately I'm just plum enamored with her work. Please give it a look. The piece I jacked is from her new solo exhibition (!) -- please check it out here.

If you haven't yet, check out Soirée à emporter n°2. All the videos are worth your time -- I'm partial to The Dodos and Fleet Foxes, of course, and Essie Jain was a welcome discovery -- but the real gem, the really real gem, is hidden in the really real sounds and smiles and stomps and clomps and shaking excitement of Vandaveer's all-too-brief performance. It's given me chills, welled up tears, made me miss my family. It's that good.

I wrote the man an e-mail, asking when and where a studio version of "A Mighty Leviathan of Old" might, um, surface, and here's what he said: "We actually have recorded that very tune for the next record, but we haven't set a release date yet ... most likely will be in early '09 ... but we may post it on Myspace or some other place before then to whet the collective whistle." WhoooooooOOOOooooo!

9.23.2008

MUTO by Blu

A video of a local Buenos Aires graffiti Artist, Blu's work. Made with Stop- motion photography and a ton of murals around the city. Awesome.

9.22.2008

Welcome to the best thing I've seen in the past week.



yep.


clay and tyler, you owe me a post.

9.15.2008

I was catatonic the entire time.

Manjushri - Namasangiti
(item no. 65391)
1000 - 1099 Northern India
Buddhist Lineage, Stone
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art
(courtesy of himalayanart.org)





"Fill That World" - Oliver Ignatius




We got to talking amidst a brief break from class. Music, of course, was one of the first things we discussed.



"Do you write?" He asked.


"Kind of. Nothing I do really takes off... all really stays the same the whole time," I said between sips of lukewarm coffee.


"Sometimes, that's all you need."


I posed the same question back to Oliver, who had apparently just finished recording his second album. He'd done it all himself, he said, from recording the various harmonies and melodies, to instruments, to mixing and mastering.



About forty minutes later, after class, I asked him if he had anything he could show me.



"Sure," he said, "I guess you could call it the 'hit single' if anything." He proceeded to show me "Hop Skip and a Jump".



Decent, truly independent stuff is hard to find. Open-mic nights have lately bored me; almost as though nothing I've heard since the Summertime Potluck Hootennanies Tyler and I put on really excited me. By now you've probably heard us rant about Nicholas Beaven, Bruhder, Vikesh Kapoor, Whistle Jacket, and others. But if I may present to you all Oliver Ignatius.  Someone I'll probably be ranting about often from here on out.





You can download the rest of his album, Demos for Secund here.
Mac users get unrarx to download the songs. It's free and worth it.





On an unrelated note, if you haven't heard the Fleet Foxes BBC Radio 2 Session FM on Aquarium Drunkard, I suggest you do so now.

9.10.2008

The Brooklyn Social Scene, Part 1.

I was changing my sheets the other evening, which is not something I do on a regular basis.  Since moving to Brooklyn, my closet-sized bedroom has succumbed to my messy ways; most of my life has yet to be unpacked.  It was once shoved inside the back of a U-Haul, (clothes, couch, and all) and driven every-which-way around New York (Don't use Map Quest if you're driving a truck) until I finally landed in Bushwick, somewhere off the L or the M train.

It would have been easier if most of the roads I'd been advised to take hadn't been for "passenger cars only".  

Now, I find myself waking up every morning to redundant proclaimations of mediocre rappers, motorcycles, car horns, drug deals, skateboards, stick ball, arguments, and the occasional fly on my face...

Back to the other evening. 

Cleaning my room, changing my sheets, putting clean clothes away and the dirty ones in a hamper; making it nice and nice for any guests that might wander in some kind of drunken haze into my bedroom (and of course the inexplicable male expectation of some lady-friend), I couldn't help hearing random beeps, rhymes, and computer-generated keyboard sounds coming from Euna's (ooh-na's) room.

Twenty minutes later, Jacob (one of my other room mates) and Euna, henceforth to be known as Cucci (pronounced like the coarse slang word for vagina) & Coco (pronounced...well, i think you get it)  showed me their finished product.  It goes something like this...



I think it's just absolutely hilarious, to sum it up in a word.
please remix this song if you'd like and send it back.  I'll post my favorites.

ELEVATOR MUSIC


Ella Fitzgerald - "Stairway to the Stars"

You shouldn't destroy what you can't rebuild,

like the earth, or the stars,

a stairway from here to there.

(Maybe we could rebuild the stairway but personally I wouldn't risk it.

Because HEY!

That's where heaven is.

On rungs, on beams,

on hands and feet!

Perilous! Off-balance! Lovely, lovely!)

--------------------

It would be heaven to climb to heaven

with you.

Up there.

Up there there's a darkness so bright,

there's violence but it's not scary,

it's so blue, and it's just beginning.

And that moon (the same one, not the same as before)

and that driftdriftdrift, oh my -

and the rim of that hill, oh yes -

and the crest of that thrill, oh to be...

--------------------

I hear your o-so-slow,

seductive "let's" -

for heaven's sake, LET US! but you play it cool -

and good heavens the sound of your voice:

that's heaven

to you, heaven to me.

Shhh - that's heaven

and I'm clean-break fresh-out of waiting.

9.09.2008

La Bomba Del Tiempo


I went to a drum show last night. There were about 15-20 drummers playing traditional folk percussive instruments, including plastic, corrugated horns, a mass of shells, lots of bass-y, big drums hit with sticks, congas, shakers, metal, wood, and pelt drums. All with a conductor in front guiding everyone. 
It is improvised in a giant community center of a warehouse, complete with bar outside chilling area. This week they had a West African guitarist who looked like BB King 25 years ago- he even played the same guitar! Beer is cheap, even for Argentine standards, and everyone dan and ces, more and more as the music builds and people get into the rhythm. I saw a friend from school there who was on vacation in Buenos Aires (we had not been able to get in touch all weekend). We were so happy to see eachother one last time before he transfers to another school in a couple weeks. 
We vowed to get this whole thing started in US eventually. We were convinced it would take off back home. Songs last for half and hour; everyone sings and claps. We all dance. 
There is a pterodactyl guy who climbs up pillars and flaps his wings, always clothing covering his eyes (right). 
Everyone moves uniquely in sync. I'm going back every week.
This is the way everyone should dance. Everyone should do this.

Safety in Numbers

My study abroad program has recently provided us (the students) with a "Risk Matrix" based on country, with the categories, "Crime," "Terrorism," "Political," "Kidnap," "Infrastructure," and "Overall," on a frightening familiar spectrum of green, yellow, red, and black. 

Argentina, the country I am currently in, ranks HIGH, with red levels of "crime" and "kidnap."
Egypt, a country two friends are studying in, also ranks HIGH, with only "terrorism" reaching the dangerous red level.

Is it really necessary to base a country's supposed security on our perception of how dangerous it is to us? Granted, common sense and knowledge of safety is important- don't walk down an unlit street in the slums of Sudan (ranked extremely dangerous overall). But nations are way too complex to say the threat of being kidnapped here is a yellow amount of dangerous to you. 

I have learnt in the past month or so, that travel is about risk-taking and being unsure. You have to leave your comfort zone if you want to learn anything at all. You need to drop the guidebook; ask the locals. Walk down a road, just remember your way back. 
Of course you want to be smart, but a risk wouldn't be a risk if it wasn't a risk!

Travel safety isn't about compiling data. It's about being prepared to roll with whatever comes your way. Expectations are meant to be torn to shreds (in a great way or a horrifying way) for every moment a traveller is exploring... More later.

(Unfortunately, the link to the matrix I am describing requires you to be a member of the program in order to be safe...)

9.02.2008

Projections from Montevideo

"Pacific Rhythm" - Quiet Village
I was sitting across from Andrea who was cutting the vegetables we picked up at a market hours earlier as the sun set and the air debased itself even colder, the ocean breathing onto the mouth of the river, slowly overwhelming all and introducing a new sense of life, like the time it breathed on Will and I, shins given much attention, mists in our faces, looking out across a Forever shadowed by the same cold orange light from that same time of day, half way around the world in Old Orchard Beach. 
Andrea finished cutting the red bell peppers and started the spinach whic
h she insisted we get, her favorite and "it makes you strong." Keith, Andrea, Andrea's friend, and I took a trip over a long weekend to Uruguay, first to Colonia del Sacremento, then hopped a bus to Montevideo. Colonia is a sleepy town on the coast of the Rio del Plata, less colonial than foretold in the guidebooks, more reliant on the port connected to Buenos Aires and the modest Bus depot that sent customers to untold locations around the country and the continent and the world, one can only hypothesize half afraid, half in awe. 

Keith entered the kitchen, his mate gourd and thermos in-hand, borrowed from the funky, collective-feeling hostel we were staying in. He broke out a book I had read in high school and ended up borrowing later to reread. I resigned myself to our vino tinto and some parmesan-impersonating cheese called semi-duro. The kitchen was the warmest part of the hostel and we enjoyed spending downtime in there. I think it was agreed we all felt like strangers in Montevideo; we didn't really plan any part of the trip besides the hostels and we were cold, un-showered, in dirty clothes, poorly planned, and dumb about anything to do or see in the city. 

I still feel very stressed back here in Buenos Aires. Everyday I have to actively get excited about being abroad. I need to speak more Spanish, I need to stop going to school and home the same way each day. I need to get involved in the local music/art scene, maybe get a job off craigslist for efectivo (under the table cash). I need to make local friends. I need to exercise regularly, eat healthier, meditate more, smoke less. But in a way, I am feeling more comfortable than I was when I got here, already over a month ago.
 There is so much for me to do. Despite all the people who try to pickpocket me on the subte, the Great Wall of a language barrier I am slowly digging through Shawshank Redemption-style, I still have my instinctual urge to learn more and to explore more. I'm going to some shows this weekend. I'm going to try to strike up conversation with locals. I'm also going to try to keep an actual travel journal with more journey and less introspection because while I'm doing all this talking and reflecting, the world, Buenos Aires, is continuing perpetually in each moment. I need to keep jumping in, no matter how wet I get.

So sorry


Riding the L train to a class you've already missed can be disconcerting, overwhelming; anxiety-inducing.  There are few things today that I could say have gone right, but then again, I haven't really counted.  

It's the first day of classes for most Universities in New York City.


Finally out of Connecticut, I've spent the past two weeks in Brooklyn in a drunken haze, waking in the early afternoons, many nights without power.  Meeting women, yelling at kids throwing bottles off my roof.

I'm unemployed, somehow attempting to pay my way through college.

8.27.2008

HOW THINGS CHANGE, THEY CHANGE US

Sun Kil Moon - "Glenn Tipton"

Mark Kozelek sings I CAPitalized, an upright word, a word that matters - matters because I meant something to someone, now she's gone and "place ain't the same" and he's back in memory, he's singing for intimates past and (therefore) present - donut shops, cops at the table; the fighters, the guitar-flashers; the unsent letters & the heart-soft hours of the night. And these scenes just pass by, the hurts and the mends all know their time is coming and really, what can you do, what are love and sorrow anyway but lights and shadows, colors off the leaves, never remaining for long. Refusing to just repeat. The foggy-eyed awe of what next together, hand-in-hand, with the delirious stillness of what was.

Bowerbirds - "Bur Oak"

Remember those kids in grade school and the nicknames we came up with? Nick drank Sunkist, we called him Orange. Alex was a rascal, we called him Spanky. (Nobody remembers how Zack became Stella.) But we all know that these kids are grown, that they are trying to grow now - next time you see them, call them by the names we gave 'em. Maybe they'll say "no one's called me that in years" and maybe also swell a little and maybe, but only just barely-maybe, pine too for that shared impulse we had when we didn't need to search to impress or amaze: that stupid sudden spark that sticks and sticks and sticks.

8.13.2008

Language Rice

In my six or so years of studying the Spanish Language, this is my first time being immersed in a Spanish, or rather, Catelán-speaking country (I am spending the next four months in Argentina as a student). Saying that there is much about the language for me to learn is a vast understatement. Cooking came up in a conversation with a friend the other day. We talked about what the first things we learned to cook were. Mine was fried rice. We talked about the soothing qualities of cooking and the importance smell had in developing a sense of calm.
I decided to treat my learning of a language like fried rice. 
First the rice is cooked separately from the other ingredients. The vegetables are fried in another pan while the rice cooks. When the rice is ready, it is integrated into the pan that the vegetables are in along with different spices that add subtleties to the food. Once the flavors permeate each other, mix and beautifully contaminate each grain of rice and each pea or carrot slice, the rice and vegetables are moved away from the middle creating an exposed area in the center of the pan. This is the moment of opportunity and possibility. This is when the egg is introduced. The shells is cracked and the contents are poured into the center. As it cooks, the egg is slowly integrated into the rice and vegetables. The fried rice reclaims the middle of the pan, and cooks for a bit longer before its ready to eat. 
Well, I just cracked my egg and damn am I hungry.

Kids, Graffiti, and French Design












7.24.2008

Watermelons and Acoustic Guitars.


Tyler and I recently put together two potluck hootenannies in which we had touring bands, including a man named Michael from a band called Whistle Jacket.  

Michael showed up at my house with a friend, an acoustic guitar, and the biggest watermelon I'd ever seen.  We cut it up and savored its succulent flavor while he played, accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, in a sole photographer's spotlight I used to light up my backyard.  

The abrasive positivity of his music truly shows Michael is a "whimsical ambassador of good cheer."


7.23.2008

Select Images from my Travels To Date


Bay on Southeast side of Mount Desert Island, Maine, US - Summer 2008

Ascending Mount Cadillac, Mount Desert Island, Maine, US - Spring 2008

The Beehive, Mount Desert Island, Maine, US - Spring 2008

Kayaking Break, Bald Porcupine Island, Maine, US - Summer 2008

Stinson Beach, California, US - Spring 2008

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California - Spring 2008

San Francisco Bay from a Hill, California, US - Spring 2008

Los Angeles Seen from Hollywood Movie Theater Roof, California, US - Spring 2008

Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California, US - Spring 2008

Redwoods, Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California, US - Spring 2008

Two Birds of Prey, Stinson Beach, California, US - Spring 2008

Florence (East View from Bell Tower), Italy - Spring 2007
An Exemplary Meal at Restaurant in Florence, Italy - Spring 2007
The Duomo Looking South, Florence, Italy - Spring 2007
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, US - Spring 2008


7.11.2008

How Am I Supposed to Know that You're High?


So I realize that The Hold Steady has a new album out, and that this is at least two years old.
I also realize that I don't really like The Hold Steady- not a big fan of the deeper voices- thats another post though.

This song is a pop powerhouse. It's reminiscent of a decade ago. It's like wearing flannel, drinking beer and pretending to be into baseball. It's all a great frenzy and the nights just starting.

7.01.2008

Can't Shut 'Em

"I Can't Go to Sleep" - Wu-Tang Clan

This song is mysterious. The beat is totally unchanged from its original sample. It never has a chorus, just half a line "I Can't go to Sleep!" repeated in certain parts. The song changes unexpectedly. It has to be brought back, and done over, but its because of Ghostface and RZA's anxiety, not because of a mistake. They can't take a song straight through.
You're never allowed to get attached to a refrain or verse, replicating the inability to destress through the comfort of sleep.
Hip hop artists so rarely actually emphasize emotions other than bragging, but, especially in Ghostface's verse, you hear sincere distress, a proclamation, a demand for a release. Issaac Hayes's voice, warped and tectonically low, is the only comfort we hear telling us like a world-weary grandfather we admire, sitting on the stoop, telling us to just be a man. To get that jelly out of our spines, to keep growing, and take control of our lives and the world around us. We try.

6.30.2008

Purgatory



This song is probably about nothing.
This song probably won't move you in many ways,
but that's not really the point.

I recently perused Aquarium Drunkard for some music while I neglect going to RadioShack or something to find a missing cable for my external hard drive (which has most of my music), and came across a post about Fugazi's Peel Sessions, which were recorded on December 11, 1988.

I think "Waiting Room" might have been the first Fugazi song I ever heard, and was instantly hooked on the band.  Ian Mackaye has done things for punk rock we probably will never know.

This song here represents the past few months, really.  Just waiting, waiting, waiting in my hometown, at my mother's house to hear back from schools, friends, girlfriends, etc.  Now I'm not longer waiting.  Now I'm in, out...I've got my answer, I've been served.  No more places in line, the doctor's called, and I'm cured.

I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS FORTUNE

some things about me worth knowing:

- I hate receiving compliments because I generally disagree with them
- I am wrapped up in my own state of mind to the point that imagining someone else's perspective is harder than Chinese algebra
- I am genuinely surprised whenever good things happen
- I usually expect the worst

so when good fortune comes my way it gives me a lot of pause. the feeling produced is a mix of trepidation (expecting the worst) and at least a little bit of shock, not enough to bring it all to a halt but enough to slow me down some.

context: through a strange and bewildering chain of events I have organized two free potluck hootenannies scheduled to occur here, in Darien, the first on July 10th and the second on the 19th. strange and bewildering because of the bands scheduled to play these hoots.

on July 10th:

WHISTLE JACKET
THE BOSSETTES
MILO GREENE
MONSTERY

on July 19th:

HISTORY OF LOVERS
VIKESH KAPOOR
NICHOLAS BEAVEN
BRUHDER

and I keep wondering: how did something this great chance?!

last semester I created a myspace page for my music. (seems weird to plug it here, so I won't.) over the course of a few months, I corresponded with several of these people - in many cases, the bands initiated the contact, leaving me a comment or sending a message. it would be overlong to go into how I came across each of these performers, but let's just say that with the exception of History of Lovers (very old friends) everyone was either met randomly in person (at a party, for instance) or met randomly through the web. (I heard Whistle Jacket on Said the Gramophone, but my relationship with them began when Michael sent me a complimentary message, setting off a chain of back-and-forth messages. we won't meet in person until the hoot.) what this all amounts to: serendipity, and more flattery than I like to keep track of.

so I cannot believe this fortune. "whatever can go wrong, will" - some band will have to cancel, some equipment will break. that's the conventional wisdom, or my gut feeling, but fuck it - this is going to be spectacular. just listen to the music and you'll know. even though the shows are in the future, and the line of fortuitous events is far from reaching its eventual conclusion, already so much good has happened that I can't help but feel grateful.

like I said, the hoots are taking place in Darien, at 11 Holmes Court, in Will's backyard. and it's gonna be something else. flyers coming soon!

6.24.2008

"overnight indie stardom"

I was just over at Small Town Outside of Boston, reading the post about Pitchfork. Some thoughts:

- Colin's right about the effect of the "Best New Music" tag (he calls it "a coronation and an instant catalyst to overnight indie stardom", which is pretty hilarious). But it's not just that achieving "Best New Music" status is the equivalent to fast-lane hipster acceptance/reverance; that alone wouldn't bother me so much. The problem is that EVERY Pitchfork review counts, and not just the totally negative reviews, a la the new Weezer, but especially the middle-of-the-road ratings. If a band gets a 7.3, it seems as though that's an obstacle, not an advantage: you can only get so far with a score like that. I think it's because the rating system itself is totally fucking ARBITRARY and that the words themselves don't really count; I've read plenty of reviews that were very flattering and positive that haven't even made it into the "Recommended" column. So regardless of how flattering the written review itself might be, it all comes down to a stupid, arbitrary (at best) scoring contest.

Instead of giving musicians exposure, anything less than BNM status does zilch for most indie acts, because the majority of Pitchfork's viewers - which I imagine is a substantial portion of the indie scene - won't even read the review unless it's either no-holds-barred scathing or lavishly approbatory. (And why should they have to? It wasn't listed under "Best New Music"! And for the record, I'm certainly guilty of this.)

- Pitchfork is contributing to the inceasing homogeneity of the entire indie scene, or, you might say if you were being more blunt, its increasing BORINGNESS, by which I mean its increasing resemblance to the mainstream. It's not the music that makes this happen - the music's as great as it's ever been - but the attitudes and the cliques that cluster around the music. Unfortunately, you see Pitchfork syndrome wherever you go nowadays - the rigid, self-imposed (but culturally endorsed) confines of liking only the right music, only the right styles, knowing and saying only the right things. Didn't we worry about that enough in high school?

I guess this isn't so much about Pitchfork as the indie scene in general, but I was drawn to underground or "indie" music at least in part by the overall sense of inclusiveness. Now it seems more exclusive and status-driven than ever before, and worst of all, I don't think we really appreciate what we're losing.

- Have you ever actually READ most of their reviews? Maybe it's that there's too much to write too often (I think they should cut down to three reviews a day or less), and at least part of it is because writing about music is pretty fucking hard, you know, but nine times out of ten I can't even skim that shit.

- Since I don't want to be a negative nancy, I'll end on this note: they're doing a ton of cool shit with the whole Pitchfork TV thing so far, and the Forkcast feature is generally pretty great.

--------------------

What do y'all think?

6.18.2008

Byrne and the Building

David Byrne is still at it with a new installation in NYC involving an old piano that has keys controlling sounds found in the building. really cool stuff.

6.15.2008

The ever-lovely Katherine Stoeffel has gone public.
Broadcasting live from Eagles' Mere, PA, Milwaukee, WI, and Providence, RI.

6.14.2008

Black Cab Sessions with My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver



Yeah.


I have another post later coming up.  In preparation; think about the first song you can remember hearing.  Does that song act as the basis for all your music tastes, regardless of if it's your favorite song or not?  

Just something I've been thinking about.  More on that later.

6.09.2008

Snippets of Colbert Wisdom.

I would support the robbery of Paris Hilton. this is why:
make the most of robbing Paris Hilton.
HE WAS A NEGRO.
plant a pointing hand in the face of the United States.
Minnesota would be proud.
a river ran through that cold city, regressed, repressed, digressed, and far away from the east coast and far from the west coast, cold and blue-lit by the moon.
wings lit up by pill-bottle lights, orange, blue, cold, plastic.
he deserves it. little toy lights on the ground. hidden between paper hills.
Paris Hilton. he should see it. I bet her blinds are down when she flies.

--------------------

cities are not waiting for us, we're waiting for them.

6.08.2008

Why Not you Trie Sunshine Heirdryer

YET! and oh yet. Wave Cleanse, Half Pretzel twist hairMAN oldmaN
Horseshoes and the French eyeBAll. HULk HuKl HuLK ThE HULK
- the AND the WAlrus Man BeVested and Detesting.

5.26.2008

Memorial Day

Sometimes it's hard to choose between blogging and going outside. It's easier when the weather's this nice ... and you don't have a computer.

Emily Gould, are you reading this?

5.11.2008

L'été, verano, summer

Soundtracks for the seasons, eh? Well last summer was an interesting mix of reggae, Devendra Banhart, Kings of Leon, Iron & Wine, and various Trey Anastasio songs my friend tried to get me into on a drive from Colorado to Connecticut.

For the record, I strongly dislike Phish and anything musically involving Mr. Anastasio. (no offense, Phil.)

This summer is going to be a little different. The staples of summer will resume, of course, along with a recent finding of the Big Chill soundtrack on vinyl at a thrift store (Motown is most appropriate in warm weather).

I'm planning on late night listening sessions, my turntable running until it can't run anymore, iPod in the car, blasting Desmond Dekker, Derrick Harriott, driving downtown, too fast on highways, to and from work, etc.

As summer soundtracks are always the most memorable, feel free to comment with your favorite summer songs and I'll be sure to check them out.

Just a few from summers past:
Dereck Trucks Band - "Sahib Teri Bandi"
Wilco - "Sunken Treasure"
Cody ChesnuTT - "When I Find Time"
Derrick Harriott - "Let Me Down Easy"

5.08.2008

I'm gonna start putting the main subjects in bold. that way you'll know what it's about...

thanks, Rob.


The Beatles played, well, not really The Beatles, but they did play their hits.  Heck, they could have been BIGGER than The Beatles, read the sign behind them.  

I was on West 21st, at the SVA art studios between 5th and 6th aves., in to see a friend's art show.  People were smoking at every open window, in the middle of the studio, and in every secluded space.

"It's just part of the installations" they told me.

I was introduced to a group of girls, Alison, Jane, and Olivia, while they were attempting to gulp down what may have been the hardest tasting wine I've ever sampled.  They too were there to see the same friend, among others.  

We spoke of people we both knew, of schools, of New York, Connecticut, and the summer to come.  When I asked her plans for the summer, the girl named Olivia was more than happy to tell me about the traveling art collective in which she was participating, known as The Patchwork Caravan.

Loud so as to be heard over the live music that had encompassed the live performances that followed the reception,

"Do you have anything to write on?" She asked.

I handed her a matchbook.

and their Myspace


strangely enough, they're already filed under "links".