Two Poems In One. (For the Short-of-Attention-Span.)

"Or:  Poetry, With Commentary. 
(no. 1)

I'm going to regret this later. 

I secretly have a crush on this girl i sit next to. on the bus. every day.
(but i'm writing it online so as not to actively draw it to your attention.)

She doesn't know me.
(but i wish she did. i stalk her on facebook.)

(just kidding.)
(or am i.)


I listen to Classic Rock just a little too loud on my iPod.
(maybe she'll hear it and think i'm cool.)

She gets off on the same stop as me.
(as there are no coincidences.)

And walks across the street.
Then heads towards 14th,
I walk down to 11th.

(too much?)
Every day.

"Title Pending. 
(i'm not creative enough to think of one.)"
(no. 2)

I have a thing for French singers.
(je n'avais jamais pas parler français.)

(¿está correcto?)

Some Piaf albums in my collection.
(that's record collection, ladies.)

I really like that one song she does.
(you know, the french one.)



Been in Colorado since last Friday.  
I've bought records but no CDs, perhaps a music update a little later.



It’s something else how one great night can redeem so many bad, bland ones; how what were bruise-colored sidewalks are suddenly juicy-brown, how grays go all grandma’s sweater on you.

I saw Black Mountain and Bon Iver tonight at Portland’s Space Gallery. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’ve been looking forward to this show for the past few weeks, you know how I’ve been listening to Bon Iver, tattooing the songs on my mind. You know how those songs have gotten me through a lonesome winter. In a single night, all traces of winter were swept away, ‘til I saw it all through a rosy spring-sprinkled spectrum – ‘til loneliness seemed downright altogether muthafuckin’ foreign. (It don’t hurt that it’s getting warmer here. That’s just serendipity.)

It’s not enough that Bon Iver’s songs put shivers in this spine of mine, or that Black Mountain’s grooves put a twitchin’ in my eyelids, a pounding on my chest and a permanent wave in my neck-head. It’s not just that: it’s the sheer pleasure of seeing people do what they really love, what they want to do; and being along for the ride, a part of the crowd, everyone feeding off that pleasure. This is good work, s’all very wonderful - yea, but the best kind of wonderful.

If you get a chance, check them out when they come to your town. Highest recommendation possible.

Black Mountain - 2008 Tour Dates
02/26- Moncton, NB - The Manhattan w/ Bon Iver + Nordic Nomadic
02/27- Halifax, NS - The Marquee Club w/ Bon Iver + Nordic Nomadic
02/29- Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa w/ Bon Iver + Quest for Fire
03/05- Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace w/ Bon Iver + Quest for Fire
03/06- Cleveland, OH - The Grog Shop w/ Bon Iver + Nordic Nomadic
03/07- Louisville, KY - Headliners w/ Bon Iver
03/08- Cincinnati, OH - Southgate House w/ Bon Iver
03/09- Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light w/ Bon Iver + Nordic Nomadic
03/10- Nashville, TN - Exit/In w/ Bon Iver + Nordic Nomadic
03/11- Little Rock, AR - Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack w/ Bon Iver + Nordic Nomadic
03/19- Norman, OK - The Opolis w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/20- Kansas City, MO - Record Bar w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/21- St. Louis, MO - Bluebird w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/22- Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/23- Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/24- Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/25- Fargo, ND - Aquarium w/ Birds of Avalon + Nordic Nomadic
03/27- Winnipeg, MB - Pyramid Cabaret w/ Ladyhawk + Nordic Nomadic
03/28- Regina, SK - The Distrikt w/ Ladyhawk + Nordic Nomadic
03/29- Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's w/ Ladyhawk + Nordic Nomadic
03/31- Edmonton, AB - Starlite Room w/ Ladyhawk + Nordic Nomadic
04/01- Calgary, AB - The Warehouse w/ Ladyhawk + Nordic Nomadic
04/02- Kelowna, BC - Habitat w/ Ladyhawk
04/05- Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom w/ Ladyhawk + Nordic Nomadic
05/09- Camber Sands, UK - Pontins @ ATP vs. Pitchfork Festival
05/10- Camber Sands, UK - Pontins @ ATP vs. Pitchfork Festival
05/11- Camber Sands, UK - Pontins @ ATP vs. Pitchfork Festival
05/15- Brighton, UK - Mojo Stage @ The Great Escape Festival
05/16- Brighton, UK - Mojo Stage @ The Great Escape Festival
05/17- Brighton, UK - Mojo Stage @ The Great Escape Festival

Bon Iver - 2008 Tour Dates
02/26/08 Muncton, NB - The Manhattan w/ Black Mountain + Nordic Nomadic
02/27/08 Halifax, NS - The Marquee Club w/ Black Mountain + Nordic Nomadic
02/29/08 Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa w/ Black Mountain + Quest for Fire
03/05/08 Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace w/ Black Mountain + Quest for Fire
03/06/08 Cleveland, OH - The Grog Shop w/ Black Mountain + Nordic Nomadic
03/07/08 Louisville, KY - Headliners w/ Black Mountain
03/08/08 Cincinnati, OH - Southgate House w/ Black Mountain
03/09/08 Knoxville, TN - The Pilot Light w/ Black Mountain + Nordic Nomadic
03/10/08 Nashville, TN - Exit/In w/ Black Mountain + Nordic Nomadic
03/11/08 Little Rock, AR - Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack w/ Black Mountain + Nordic Nomadic
03/18/08 Tucson, AZ - Plush w/ Phosphorescent
03/19/08 San Diego, CA - Che Cafe w/ Phosphorescent
03/20/08 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo w/ Phosphorescent
03/21/08 Santa Barbara, CA - Muddy Waters w/ Phosphorescent
03/22/08 Visalia, CA - Cellar Door w/ Phosphorescent
03/23/08 San Francisco, CA - The Independent w/ Phosphorescent
03/24/08 Portland, OR - Holocene w/ Phosphorescent
03/25/08 Vancouver, BC - Media Club
03/26/08 Seattle, WA - Nectar

Thanks to the Space Gallery, thanks to Black Mountain (whose guitarist was dead-on when he said, “Sorry we didn't come sooner”), thanks to Bon Iver. Because of y’all, tonight, this city was on my side.

(And thanks, too, to the Brooklyn Vegan [sincerely!] for all their hard work; here’s hoping they don’t mind my jacking those tour dates*! Convenience, y'know.)

*Oh, who are we kidding...



(I hope Neatorama don’t mind)

Chatting with my old pal Chris,* listening to songs we loved in high school, and I, discovering I still love them:

tyler (10:17:17 PM): okay, almost over, calvin krime’s
up next
tyler (10:18:48 PM): actually no, garrison first, “focus, focus, focus”
tyler (10:18:53 PM): this song is way better than I remember it
tyler (10:19:15 PM): this is evil pop!
tyler (10:19:18 PM): CORPSES FOR CANNIBALS!
tyler (10:19:22 PM): DA-NA-NA-NA
tyler (10:19:41 PM): oh man this outro is killer
tyler (10:20:00 PM): my bad that was just a bridge!
tyler (10:20:01 PM): haha!

At this point, I begin my slow descent into madness.


*Only now with formatting!


Okay, enough messing around...

You might not know J. Robbins by name, but you’re probably familiar with his work. The man’s musical achievements are too many to list – fronting the legendary Jawbox, producing tons of amazing records (including the subject of today’s post). To put it more succinctly, he’s given us a hell of a lot.

And there’s probably no better way to give back than by contributing to the care of his son. I don’t have the articulation; just read for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

(And yes - I recognize there's not many people reading this. But something’s better than nothing.)


Posting about posting

Hey! How've you been? Too long, I know. I have been all over the Northeast this week, without a computer to call my own - been bumming off friends and family. Something to be thankful for, for sure, but not conducive to updating this sort of blog. (All my music's on my laptop, and I'm not about to install or download anything onto someone else's, right?)

But I have some things prepared for next week, so stay tuned. And truly sorry about the slow week, although if you haven't read Will's posts, you should. They're rich and smokey. (Smoky? Can't decide anymore!!)

Also, check out my friends:

The Patchwork Caravan

Subscribe to their feed. Shit'll be tight, I promise.

And pick up Bon Iver's album on Tuesday, I think that's the release date. He's performing in Portland on Monday night - with BLACK MOUNTAIN! SO PUMPED! (Holding onto an extra ticket for a friend; but no harm in asking, in case things with said friend fall through. Leave a comment, get in touch.)

See you next week!


Another Post About Driving, Kind of.

photo courtesy of Amano7.org

I work weekdays at a restaurant (making salads, answering phones, taking orders, waiting tables) from 11:00 AM to anytime between 3:00 and 4:30. Today was one of those "4:30" days. After punching out, I got a ride to the Volkswagen dealership where my* Jetta (very manly, I know) was being serviced.

I picked it up, and being sans iPod at that moment, I switched to the only halfway decent radio station in my area, 90.7 FM, W-FUV: the Fordham University Radio Station.

Occasionally, they feature live performances from up-and-comers like Fionn Regan, who did a live performance this past July before playing at Joe's Pub on Lafayette St.

Today, they featured a live interview with Keren Ann, as well as several performances done in the W-FUV studio. Before I even knew her full name, before I even heard her play, I learned Keren had grown up in Israel and the Netherlands, moved to Paris shortly after, and now lives in New York City.

She writes songs mainly in French and English, and has had no classical training (though i subsequently found out her music begs to differ.)

I liked the way she described her music: she writes songs about experiences, and generally in the language she was speaking at the time of said experiences: songs written while touring the states are generally in English, songs elsewhere are written in the tongues of elsewhere.

She then explained how the lyrics' language can dictate style. The French songs "go better with a glass of wine," she said, "as opposed to whisky."

I fell in love with this woman on that alone. But then!

Then! she played!

I quickly became smitten with Keren's diverse style, blending classical instruments with synths, standard guitars, basses, and drums with occasional claps that, all together give off an ethereal glow not dissimilar to Sigur Rós, the emotions she is able to convey in each song come alive like pop-up books.

The guitar playing on "It Ain't No Crime" is almost Nels Cline-like at parts, and her voice, OH that voice! You'll just have to listen to that.

Like I said, I am smitten with her music. I have a crush on her music. I'd like to pass her music love notes in a high school history class, or take it ice skating...maybe get some ice cream afterwards. I'd like to hold her music's hand awkwardly in a cheesy movie neither of us want to see, or send it text messages ending in lame smiley faces :-).

Most of the music I discover, or randomly harbor infatuation with has been in cars. Driving to work, home from work, or somewhere on hours of open highways, "I was listening to this record on this highway between these exits while driving to this place" and so on. Music to me is an extremely locative thing, and I must say I was in the right place at the right time for Keren Ann. A woman who has lived all over the world, and writes songs perfect for some of the places she's been.

You can catch a full interview with Keren and live, in-studio performances on W-FUV's website later tonight or tomorrow.
In the mean time, I don't have any MP3s to put up, but try her Myspace for now.

*by "my Jetta" I mean the car I'm using while I'm home. I don't technically own it.


In other news, my friend Sarah will be biking 4,000 miles cross country with 24 other students, alongside her twin sister, Katie, from Baltimore, MD to San Francisco, CA this summer in efforts to raise money for cancer research.  

You can help her raise money by donating.



Guitar Massage

I promised myself I wouldn't post twice in one day. In defense, that last post was before midnight. Now it's after midnight. so back off.

Monday Night:

Text message conversation
Ferrer: hey will, i'm in town tonight. what are you doing
Me: i'm swamped and i was going to bed im really tired
Ferrer: oh okay man i'll talk to you later
Me: sorry, night.

Well, I was tired, but not that tired. The stoic grandmother in me forbade driving in the snow this late, and I didn't want to make Matt.  I felt like an ass and really wanted to see (Matt) Ferrer, so I said "aw, fuck it", and called him:

(Matt) Ferrer: Hey Will
Me: Hey, What are you up to?
Matt: Nothing, man, just watching America's Funniest Home Videos.
Me: Cool, man. Hey, I'm not really that tired. Did you want to come over?
Matt: Sure! I'll be there in fiiiive minutes.
Me: See ya.

So I went into the fridge, grabbed a few beers and shortly after, Matt arrived with a video camera. He proceeded to show me this:


What the hell is "prose"?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
1991 Toyota Corolla, 2005
8 x 10 Silver Gelatin Print

Six Organs of Admittance - "Eighth Cognition/All You've Left"

The sky couldn't decide
To cry or to smile?
Showing its bright, burning yellow teeth
Between hints of melancholy precipitation

Weaving that continuous
three-lane braid, 
the coffee-stained
the left-lanes,
the gas-guzzled,
Down the omnipresent asphalt,

Just driving to work,
Under the hungry hawks, seagulls and sparrows,
Over the dead squirrels, the skid marks, and diesel dust.
There is none but the vast, eternal face above, the crowded road,

And me.




(would credit the artist, if I knew)

Exploding Hearts – “I’m a Pretender”

Obviously, fuck Hallmark romance. Give me romance that feels like this sounds – like bondage pants with candy-stuffed pockets, like thorny roses clutched in bruised-knuckle hands. And babe, we’re on the boulevard, and it’s summertime, and you got yr combat boots, and I do too, and check it – I got an amphetamine spring in my step for you!!

buy (one of my favorite albums)


Happy Valentine’s Day, motherfuckers. Better late than never.

(As always, report broken links!)


Never been to Montreal, Recently

In all my few years at school, living so close / (so far?)  to / (away from) Montreal, seeing its sign on the 87, I never did have the balls to make that left turn onto its entrance. Maybe next year. (I always say that.)  I hope I do. I went to Montreal once before, but I lost all of my money to the "World's Third Largest Casino" and numerous contact strip sessions.

Anyways, a friend recommended MGMT to me today. Now, I may be a few years behind on the MGMT scene, but it certainly did strike a chord with me. I really can't take "Oracular Spectacular" (2007) off my imaginary turntable at the moment. "Kids" sounds familiar, in a good way. I'm sure it has been sampled here or there. 
I loves it. 
Also, Happy Valentines Day. And if you don't have a Valentine, well fuck it. There's always tomorrow. 

Bocce (The Band) and Montreal

Bocce- Again Again Again Again

(continuing with the Canada theme)

We all took a trip to Montreal for the weekend. Two cars full of excited people took 87 North through the Adirondacks pushing our way into new territory. It was this past fall that we went. We got there in the early evening, opened our doors, put on sweaters, smelled the Quebec air. 

We stayed in an apartment. The tenant was a classmate of Ben's friend and had recently moved out after his apartment was broken into by crack addicts several times (we found out that there was a Crack den that shared a wall with the room we slept in).
We smoked cigarettes indoors, slept on the floor, ate when we could, and didn't bathe for three days.

That night, after a Lebanese dinner we walked around, taking in the city. It had a European feel, but in a way that seemed developed out of heritage. Sleek stores and warm, kitschy bars lined the streets. We passed a club called Tokyo. We walked around, going from pub to pub. I felt welcome and that I had blended into to the Montreal culture, wearing my WNBA jersey and purple cardigan. We all drank Boreal Beer by the pitcher and bought wine and tall boys at the corner store. 

We were sitting/standing in a bar full of Americans. This wasn't the place for us. Mack, Charlie, and I looked at each other. It was so obvious what we had to do. We walked out into the street- we would meet up with everyone later. The three of us walked back the way we came. We stood outside a closed storefront, listening to the party in the apartment above. And then we walked down a hallway. There was a jamaican food stand at the end, but we turned and went up the corrugated stairs. We turned left and found a tattooed woman with a fish bowl asking for donations to go inside. We smelled floral marijuana, we smelled refreshing beer, we heard an excited band, we heard people laughing, and we heard people dancing- so we donated. 

We entered a loft apartment filled with people swaying and flowing, waves of hands above them. We watched guys with keyboards and basses and drums playing music in their underwear. They told us- they were telling everyone- what Canada could feel like. And it really felt like that to us- An echoey, cold expanse, but we were all inside an apartment, inside a district, inside a city. What a simple reflection! Yet it dug into us and pervaded around us, and we knew it to be true.  We danced and enjoyed. We were in another country and felt truly a part of it; inconspicuous and kind-hearted.

We left to meet our friends. We, the whole gang now, went again from bar to bar.

At the end of the night, Charlie and I went around the corner to have a drink and some conversation- we were feeling overwhelmed and needed a change of pace. We met a kind and pretty waitress named Hailey. She grew up in Toronto but  then moved to live and work and go to school in Montreal. She told us anecdotes from her life as we drank our beers on the patio on the side of the street. We felt a sense of compassion from her, each part of her life's history that she shared with us was told like she was speaking to long-time friends.We told her about our town, she told us about hers. We traded childhood experiences from each of our hometowns. 

Hailey's boss told her to go break down the tables and chairs as the pub closed. On our walk back in the dark, cool, early morning, Charlie and I agreed that she was the kind of girl you want to write post cards to.


A.A. Bondy – “Black Rain, Black Rain”

I’d like you to meet my brother. You know, there are innumerable songs out there that state, flat-out, You’re not alone, and sometimes, the sentiment is enough. Hey, Song, you’re right! What was I thinking, feeling so lonesome? Usually, it takes more than words, more than mellifluous tones. It takes a song like this, a song so full-blooded and spine-tingling – he sings, just slightly trembling, and I feel it, and I can’t mistake it. And brother, I’m wrecked.

And I wonder what exactly Bondy’s fearing, what exactly’s got a hold on him. I’m not sure he really knows. And you know, I wonder the same things about me, too.

A.A. Bondy – “Vice Rag”

Sweetness and muscle. An insatiable song, a human song. I want it all! NOW! (CLOMP!)

buy (you really should)



The birds have returned. Returned from where? It's a good question..

I've never given too much thought about the migratory patterns of geese vs. sparrows or bluejays, but it is true that the smaller birds always seem to be chirping in the trees overhead long before the warmer spring wave brings the ducks to the pond in the woods by my mother's house.

Staring out at the woods bordering my backyard, I couldn't help but hear the high-pitched call of dozens of birds in the foreground and the distance. Hopping around the naked trees on cold February mornings in Connecticut, they almost seemed intrusive on the quiet of winter.

Sometimes I wake up to the soothing birdcalls wondering if I've somehow hibernated through February and March, only to find the trees have not revived themselves, nor has the Earth's axis tilted the Northern Hemisphere back towards the sun.

How bears accomplish that feat, I'd like to know. Unfortunately Grizzly Man offers no worthwhile suggestions.

The other morning I saw a cat slyly slink out of the forest, in hot pursuit of a sparrow hopping around a bony looking bush. There seems to be some kind of lame internet obsession with adorable pictures of emotion-filled cats paired up with purposely misspelled phrases like

"I can has cheezburger?"

or things like that. Personally I've never found it funny, but 'to each, their own' I suppose.

A few years ago, a friend and former classmate of mine who now lives in Copenhagen introduced me to Mikael Simpson, yet up until...yesterday, I hadn't given him a second thought. I was sitting on my computer, spending far too much time on YouTube as usual, when I randomly decided to search for him.

Maybe the cat in my backyard triggered some kind of memory, but I found myself thinking about a video of his I've seen. You can find it on his website, but I can't speak or read Danish, and I'm assuming you probably can't either.

Simpson combines Blues-y, almost surf-rock (a la The Ventures) bass lines with echo-like whispering vocals, and catchy electronic beats and synth lines. The guitar is simple but fits really well with everything else. In a locative sense, I'd suggest Simpson for scenarios like the one I've been talking about, or maybe driving in the rain on a day off of work, or for a change in season.

A bit of false hope? Maybe, but at least I'll enjoy it in the moment, sipping my tea on brisk Connecticut mornings while the springbirds chirp in the dead of winter, and neighborhood cats attempt to shake out the domestication.

MIkael Simpson - Drømmer om et andet sted
(the cat video)

Mikael Simpson - Jeg sidder fast


Parisian Time Machine

Just came back from Paris a little while ago. 
Beautiful city, delicious food.
The entire time I was there, I couldn't get this song out of my head. 

I recommend it with a cigarette or a banquette. Or both, actually. 



(thanks, Alyssa)

Drive-By Truckers – “Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife”

Sarah: Anne! Oh my God. I just heard about Jack.

Anne: I know, I found out last night. It’s so terrible.

Sarah: And he’d been getting better, he was making so much progress…

Anne: Yes, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it?

Sarah: And those girls. My God. Have you talked to Lucy yet?

Anne: Me and some of the gals went by earlier. She’s gonna have some trouble with the bills of course, so we’re all pooling something together. Will you be at church tomorrow? They’re giving Lucy the collection. Probably announce something about the service, too, if they figure it by then.

Sarah: Of course, I’ll be there, I’ll bring John, and the kids. Oh, God… will she be there?

Anne: No, I don’t think so.

Sarah: Oh. … so… you saw her? How’s she…?

Anne: She’s someplace else, y’know?

Sarah: Lord… I would be absolutely beside myself.

Anne: Yes… she’s tryin’ to keep busy, and the girls’re always a handful, but she’s hardly keepin’ it together. I’m goin’ back there later to see if there’s anything I can do, you should come.

Sarah: Of course. I will. Hopefully this weather will let up some. … goodness, ain’t it somethin’ how an absence can have such a presence. … what about the girls, how’re they taking it?

Anne: Couldn’t say, I barely saw them. When I got there Luce said they were out back playin’, so I s’pose that’s where they were.

Sarah: Y’mean, in the yard…?

Anne: See, that’s the strange part. ‘Cause I saw them for just a moment as I was leavin’, they’d come into the kitchen, and you know how it’s been drizzlin’ all mornin’. There wasn’t a rain-drop on either one of ‘em, and they had on some pretty dresses. So I don’t know what Luce was thinkin’.

Sarah: What were they doing when you saw them?

Anne: Holding hands.


Have a great weekend! (I’ll be making a record. Wish me luck.)

Also - we fixed some broken links. Sorry. We're still getting the hang of this whole shebang.



Lykke Li - “Tonight”

Mouth goes: Hey!...

Head goes: Wow. She’s the prettiest flapper I’ve ever seen.

So! It’s been awhile!

Just say it, just say – “You know what I’ve been meaning to ask you, for a really long time now? If you’re into me at all, because I’m… well, I don’t know if I’m shy or introverted, necessarily…

Oh, just working; reading a lot…

I was almost to the door at the Shyness Research Institute, in fact, but I sorta got cold feet, I guess…

Listening to records. Yeah, I just got here, too. So… how long will you be here for?

… but if you have to ask, I guess that means you’re shy, y’know?”

Oh, I can get that for you!

If we start a dance… uh… what if we lose touch? Before the song ends?

AND THEN YOU NOTICE, then it hits your ears, not what she’s been sayin’ but how she’s been sayin’ it – then you know, and your eyes smile and her eyes smile back, as if to say “Took you long enough!!”


J.J.I. café, the tiny, Tibetan restaurant in North India was filled with travelers and tourists alike, smoking hand-rolled cigarettes and drinking a wide assortment of hot drinks. I sat with friends by the window, listening to the obscure French music playing overhead, glancing out the window every so often at the mountains that rose high above the sea of prayer flags that flew atop every home, hostel, and shop in McLeod Ganj. This particular morning we were trying to plan a trip to Nepal when Nima, the owner of the J.J.I. came up to our table and told us her son's band, known as the J.J.I. Exile Brothers (named for the members: Jigme, Jamyang, and Ingsel), would be playing that night at the café. Having been away from music as we knew it for quite some time, it felt like a godsend: I couldn't pass up a free concert and a $5 dinner, could you?

A power-trio rock and roll band by definition influenced by an eclectic mix of music and politics, the J.J.I. Exile Brothers draw from 1960's counterculture rock (a la CCR, The Doors, & Pink Floyd) as well as traditional Tibetan Buddhist music. Now I know this kind of "fusion" or "world music" is for eccentric dads and hippies, but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the Exile Brothers style and political message. Having grown up in India as refugees, away from their home country of Tibet, The Exile Brothers sing about the freedom of their people and their homeland from Chinese occupation and oppression...like Asian punk rock, only good. Their style isn't what I imagined (politically saturated, punk rock know-it-all lyrics similar to Propaghandi), nor is it too vague to get the picture. At the show I attended, they hung a Tibetan flag and were more than open to speak on behalf of their people.

One thing I forgot to mention before I hit the "publish post" button a few days ago, J.J.I. Exile Brothers sing mostly in their native Tibetan, which is largely different than Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Nepali, or any other language in a thousand mile radius. It's a language developed by the Tibetan people thousands of years ago when Buddhism spread northward. I only learned two or three words such as "Tashi Delek" for "Hello", or "Toujeshe" for "Thank you". So, if you have trouble understanding the songs on their Myspace, you're not alone.

Website (under development)
Students for a Free Tibet

Photos courtesy of Chevstar Records


"The Fucking Mountains"

Traveling through what I imagine Western Canada to be like- which is based off an antique print of a Lake Louise Tourism Poster my friend has in his bathroom, and my weekend spent in Montreal, we pass crystal clear, tectonic rift-deep lakes, and yes, they're wedged between mountain after mountain. These mountains are so overwhelming as you make your way toward BC (Vancouver recently voted best city to live in), that you feel an extreme contempt for them. How could mother nature laugh in your face so unforgivingly about trumping all of man's triumphs? The sun illuminates them at an angle, making every stone and shrub-covered slope into weathered scar tissue on the jawline of an indifferent war veteran. Skyscrapers? Bah, Nature says, we have fucking mountains. Animals don't live here... But then we begin to marvel. "These Fucking Mountains! They're white-tipped with snow!" I could live here! We become awestruck as we pass in the train, drinking English Tea in the dining car, reading socially applicable novels. The world is a sunny place! In a few hours we will see our friends on the Western Coast of Canada. We will be tucked safely between these mountains and the sea and the sky. We will all go out to dinner and to a pub. I will be looking at the mountains the whole time, telling my friends to look too. 

New AmErykah and the death of the Maharishi

Album cover courtesy of Okayplayer.com

When I found out Erykah Badu has a new album entitled New AmErykah being released this month, I got so excited I think I posted the YouTube link to the video of her new single "Honey" on any Facebook wall or away message I could think of. It's the only song I've heard off the album so far, but if I know anything about Ms. Badu is that she never ceases to amaze me. I don't know how many other artists can really pull off the whole neo-soul/hip-hop thing, plus the new video makes me want to quit my job and work at a record store where all the album covers have Erykah Badu on them.

"Honey" is a real upbeat, fun track that right now I can't seem to get enough of.


When I was in India this past semester on a pseudo-study-abroad trip, I encountered the Maharishi's teachings while in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala (the site of the Tibetan Government in exile), and again in Rishikesh, one of the many famous spiritual havens in India. Both Rishikesh and Dharamsala are higher in elevation than most of India, as they are in the Himalayan foothills, but Rishikesh is located on the banks of the Northern Ganges, the holiest river in Hindu tradition. There, as opposed to Varanasi (Benares), the Ganges isn't so dirty, as dead bodies aren't burned on pyres and then swept into the river.

While in Rishikesh, I spent a lot of time doing yoga, meditations, &c. Your typical Westerner-seeking-enlightenment stuff, I guess. The whole time I kept asking myself WHY the West was so infatuated with Eastern spirituality during the height of Beatlemania. Though most ashrams and gurus don't have much celebrity support these days (except maybe Richard Gere if he's ever allowed back into the country), Westerners and Israelis alike flock to these places to relax and revitalize for a nominal fee (though the Rupee isn't the world's strongest currency). I have no explanation as to why, but I think a lot of Eastern philosophers and gurus may have caught onto something when they started sitting still instead of leading inquisitions. 

With the death of the Maharishi, it's possible a more publicized revival will come about, making celebrities flock again to India to fill their spiritual void. But who these days has the same success the Beatles had that might go over there? Can you imagine The Red Hot Chili Peppers or Wilco in orange homespuns?

BBC - Indian guru Maharishi Yogi dies


By now, you’ve heard of Bon Iver. And maybe you’ve heard about the cabin in Wisconsin, the whole backstory. But if you haven’t actually heard him, you’re missing the important parts: the atmosphere, the songs, that gorgeously rough-hewn falsetto. Frankly, there’s a reason it’s called the backstory, a reason why they say it’s the story behind the album – the music’s at the forefront, so it better be good.

And it is. It seems to me the album succeeds largely ‘cause Justin Vernon knows what to do with his voice. On “Blindsided”, he sings agony like he can barely lift the word, like he really is crippled and slow, like a crouching crow. “Creature Fear” sounds like a man begging for relief, ‘til he can’t make sense of it, ‘til he won't fight it, ‘til he’s just fa-fa’s and whistles. And “Lump Sum” – well, those strange, blossoming voices are the song’s raison d'être, if anything is.

And yet for all the textures, the home-spun sonic tricks, the intricacies Vernon weaves, his starkest composition is also, somehow, his most startling. “Re: Stacks” boasts an arrangement so bare – nothing more than six strings and two vocal tracks – but there’s something in that falsetto, something in the sudden flick of back and the racks and the stacks. Something approaching purity.

I discovered this music through a familiar morning routine: downloading tracks from various blogs, queuing them up and listening, mostly absent-mindedly, multitasking; I won’t pause from what I’m doing until a song grabs me. That morning, only “Skinny Love” managed the task. The Stylus review notes Vernon’s occasional bellicosity, and I hear it most here, in I told you to be patient, and I told you to be kind. (And I, and I.) Don’t want to spoil the proving for you, but I’m jostled each time I hear it.

Streaming: http://www.virb.com/boniver

Vernon has a blog, too: http://creaturefear.tumblr.com/


Animal Collective on Take Away Shows

Recently, the awesome website, Take Away Shows (see link) posted two videos with Animal Collective as their featured artists. This matters. I told a friend a month or so ago that if they weren't the most influential band of the decade, I would give him permission to kick my ass (on a purposefully undisclosed future date). The cohesion of their band and the sound they create is evident in the grassroots publications, if you will, of their most recent work (see once again the Take Away Show Link). But one doesn't even need to look to the new year to see the evidence. Take for instance, their show in DC on September 28th of this past year, which NPR recorded and released as a free live podcast (still readily available on iTunes), which features their most cohesive confluence of ideas and influences yet. Animal Collective has developed into a vector of a band, sucking in any and all influences, be it Caribbean and African instrumental melodies, hip hop-like volume bass, drum circle percussion, synthesizer manipulation, mantra-like acoustic guitar looping, or even Beach Boys singing. They breath in their lives, mince up ideas like wild children abandoned by society, living like wolves in the forests of the world, tearing up their food, unadulteratedly howling, chanting, and banging. They are excited about nature and the simplest of social constructs. They dress like homeless young men from the pacific northwest or canada. They forget about manners, but do it without punk vanity or cultural disdain. Manners are a societal salad fork: pretentious and unnecessary- and therefore impure. 
Animal Collective's enthusiasm for being original unto themselves streams out so inspiringly, they begin to seem more than original. They begin to seem objective. So optimistically objective. And its great.

More on them later.


Hey all. 
I'm starting a new blog to capture ideas and musings and to have a place to write them down. 
Kind of like Harry Potter and the Pensieve (spelling) that Dumbledore has. Except you can read it. And I promise not to keep you emerged in the silvery solid/liquid/gas/plasma ether for too long. I am going to try to focus mostly on music, but i also plan to talk about film, ideas, you know, those kinds of things. Also, I don't care about grammar that much.