"Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait" -Longfellow

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Favorite Albums of 2013

15. Volcano Choir - Repave 
14. Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience pt 1
13. Deerhunter - Monomania
12. Salvia Plath - The Bardo Story
11. Mazzy Star - Seasons of Your Day 
10. Forest Swords - Engravings
8. Danny Brown - Old 
7. Blouse - Imperium 
6. White Denim - Corsican Lemonade 
5. Courtney Barnett - The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas 
4. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
3. Kanye West - Yeezus
2. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
1. Earl Sweatshirt - Doris

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thought Tantrums OR The Tragedy of Missing the Fucking Point

(Note: This poem was composed at a recent lecture by Reverend Spitzer. In the lecture he referred frequently to the above debate. Thus, the poem was composed without full knowledge of the debate and thus the line "a debate i never saw." My sentiments are unchanged by having actually watched the debate.)

trying to understand and to remain ignorant at once
i sit imagining a debate i never saw.
(spitzer v. hawking)
a god so frightened as to need vehement verbal defense
and a science so small, reduced to bullying
the childlike empire of faith, engorged with the vapid numbers
of the pragmatic imagination.

are you ready to choose between the vibrating
potential energy of no-bullshit-nothingness
and the bland call to love an entity
of which you are already a manifestation?

all this and the dishes still need doing.
all this and the hordes of the hungry.
all this and 7am demanding obedience for life.
all this and the machine guns that howl and sharpen their lightning
against the olive-blue sky.

Friday, September 13, 2013

After All This

image by John Carling

it's just a sleeve tug, just a rumor of shocking purple spirits up in the cobwebs
to intrude on your dreams of ordered sterility.
and those dancing projections came from her eyes, not from the moon
or the moon's sisters weeping for the barren fields.

torpid and tattered, the flag of dispositions past
can't re-position this fast as we outlast our bravest
and divest skin from skin, scents of banana trees from the mild throat
of morning with her gumption.

from the mouths of real fucking wolves 
we dangle over the fires
of the great cities grown tired. you can only, lonely,
cultivate your garden
and massage your fondness for the accepting of Uruk
teeming with the speed of noise
hollow in the paper light,
a city of blind unbound love and wise naivete.

the symbolic mirror is a mirror of imitations,
self of self,
other of other,
this of this is this as this,
that masquerading as that.
nothing grows in the forlorn darkness between darkness. 
even the roses in the closet you've imagined
are far from far from far:
removed in form and smudged against the actual substitute
for the actual.

who is that sitting at your feet?

vomit pretending vomit in molecule and meaning.
a song of mantles and dismantling,
of fences sad as portraits and ghosts twice dead.
the you from forever, here,
to sit in protest of a drowning.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Pill Wonder "Mag & Kev & Rad"

how far orange is the walk to a flower's operatic heart?
how many purple Nerudas defend the philosopher's pomp of question?
how does the vamp follow the vamp's ascent, tail to tail?

aren't we all waking up to the springtime of our lives in eyes unknowing?
what magnitudes for prayer and peace-making?
is the mote of dust a crystal pattern of the epic return of famous boots?

if birth is a beginning, then how come it lasts forever?
where are the darkmatter hands that will remake this flesh from the compassionate ether?
how many warm faces must a father have to save his daughter from the one coldest visage?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sky Blue

Dive bars for churches.
Inseparability, entanglement,
theories of cowabunga and conjectures of gonzo.

Bottle caps and musks of old wood
and old man wood too.
Loneliness as triumph, smoke as possession,
as the thin touch of connection to now, as a damn good Bloody Mary recipe, 
as morning confusing night for brother,
As peaceful turmoil on the rocks
because: easy come, easy go.
I think of Jerry Jeff and Dad.
I think of addictions conquered and torture borrowed,
liquor bravado become meek smiles — drooping like the reddest roses burned by the Texas sun.

There aren't blue jeans big enough for this package, this existential ass
Smoothed by hill country dirt and made shiny by imagination's tendency 
to flirt with truth and loosen her...
Oh what we owe the beery humidity trapped in the distance between ears!
Here's not dysfunction, because there's no such thing. 
Here's not a breaking heart, because our hearts are already broken:

sky blue. run through.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ourselves and Each Other / The Art of Science

Ourselves and Each Other
Riding the fog through a waking city, I endure the clammy clench and release of returning to that which truly matters, rudely courteous to the feigned reign of machine and warty madness. Maybe this means I'm finished paying respects to dead gods and washing my mystical hand in the spittle of paid dues, at the point of refusing to carve my heart out for the implacable behemoth of pragmatism. I won't continue erecting this defense against boyhood and blind joy, when all that's offered is mired expiring manhood and blind faith in safety in numbers. I'm exhausted and I haven't even begun to live, I've only carried a sad flag in a pointless and never-ending parade which must be the nightmare's way of proudly observing its own power through merciless intimations of unmastered malady. It's ok family. It's ok to sit close to me on this bus, to save up for a life you never get to live and plan a lasting love to begin after eternity. It's ok to be afraid with blood on your mouth and tears calming the ulcers in your stomach. It's ok too, to rage and consume, to work and sleep and dream of something more gigantic than work and sleep. It's ok if you forgot your favorite song, lost it in the hum of fluorescents or the din of need. It's ok because the utterances of desire checked at the imaginary gate of your misfortune are fresh and possessed of the glory of your pleasant wholeness. Watching you - my brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers - bent with a shallow purpose, I feel like screaming songs I knew before computer and waving a body I had before kingdoms and super sales, like standing on platforms crying and begging hugs, like going home to her clothed in a further nudity than nakedness and remembering how perfect everything already was before we got it in our restless heads to codify the tiny ecstatic logic of our love for ourselves and each other.

The Art of Science
The art of science is crush and pull. The art of science is distill and break down and purify into pragmatic nuggets. The art of science is not soul or glow but body and the hollow luminescence of a studied sun, figured to pointless supernova. The art of science is a pipette dream of a single perspective and a measured guard against the delight of significance. It's the myth of control and the pathetic arrogance of domination, the tired apparatus of progress slamming keyboards – examining probability in a beaker while life goes unchanced.

It's a never-ending argument for the excruciating necessity of war. It's a microscope when you wanted a moist eyeball. It's a cold vice grip while you're longing for the touch of warm hands. It's forward always, even when right here feels so right. It’s philosophy’s bastard child, come to take revenge against infinity’s elegant dance of endless possibility. It’s a master’s degree in place of self-mastery. It’s the pompous irrationality of rationality for your humble imagination and a blockade of prescriptions when you’re struggling for genuine wellness. It's a line for your squiggly visions and a defined spectrum for your wonder. It's the dry taste of "exactly" when you’re not permitted to feel "close enough."

The art of science is desolation named diversity and silence called the many voices. The art of science is the pressure of self-denial and the pleasure of disrobing Aphrodite to revel her plainness. The art of science is retreating into machines because being a human being just costs too damn much. It's refusal and a neutered song of intention, chasing chaos through the heavens, smoothing the perfectly imperfect eternal surface.

Images by Sara K. Byrne. Found at Escape Into Life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fiesta Forever

Big barrel bright bird broke in the black bleak blear of a beery evening spent moving. Small capacities, large capacities - room for everyone in the center of the mind. Alma y Cuerpo, truth and circus in the cussing tread of now. A black hole? So much color. A name for the future? Too many nights for noticing and forgetting. In fog, falling for fake fighting faithless fate in fugitive hours and towers like penises here to launch and posture-pose. I exhaust the softer roads, to go hard and wake up and explode.

To dance is to be wise. And to chance is to have further eyes, sometimes, than today. Are you content watching the ascending bird decay? There's mostly erupting, interrupting, and friendly corrupting left to welcome. But you can still choose to open elegant forevers and shake certainty like a stray blade of grass from your skirt.

If you can't start a battle of flowers, start a revolution of showers of love. There's no fiesta like your loud and confetti-frosted self-talks. No parades like the ones you dream, full of brights and blanknesses.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Show Tease: Bomba Estéreo, Échale! (4.5)

Bomba Estéreo: Julian Salazar, Liliana Saumet, Simón Mejía, Kike Egurrola. Photo by Rafael Piñeros - Mulato Films

SHOW: Échale! - Bomba Estéreo w/ M.A.K.U. Sound System @ Pearl Brewery, FRI 4.5.13, 7 PM
In the music of Bomba Estéreo the sounds of the Amazon blend with the din of the sometimes happy human apocalypse, the hope of the futuristic meets the yellow softness of the Earth's aboriginal delight. These elements are embodied in the sonic flourish of the music as well as in the singular voice of singer Liliana Saumet — now gently searching like a stretch just reaching the sweet spot, now rapid and coy like the enraged spirit of a flower caught between the fright of consciousness and beautiful numb bliss. This is cumbia, this is dance, this is tropical, this is city, this is heart, this is sky... This is one if the best bands in the world right now, playing their wonderful new album Elegancia Tropical, and you can catch them for free right on the banks of the Riverwalk, among the flowers in the shadow of a dead brewery.

I asked Bomba Estéreo founder, producer and bassist Simon Mejia a few questions in anticipation of the upcoming Échale! performance. Here are those questions and Simon's thoughtful responses.

1. The music of Bomba Estéreo has been subtly expanding and morphing over the years. As a band, where do you all look for inspiration? How organic and how conscious are the changes and to what extent does your ever-growing audience play a part?
In my personal case the inspiration comes from different places, can be music I hear, a live performance I see, a movie, an old record, even a place...but usually it comes when I'm working some sound or some beat inspires me for the next one and then I develop the whole track. It's the very best moment of creation I think when the music just rides for itself and you are just there putting the color to it. Playing live and having the great opportunity to meet different places and people also gives you a perspective, in our case, of looking at the traditional Colombian music from a different angle. This is what basically happened with Elegancia.

2. How are the songwriting duties divided in Bomba Estéreo? Are both music and lyrics collaborative
processes or do each of the band members tend to have set roles?
It always starts with the music. A beat, a synth or guitar line, a bass line...then we develop it into a track, then the vocals make it a song finally. Usually I start the process, but in some other cases Julian [Salazar] comes in with a synth line or a guitar line also.

3. What is the significance of the title Elegancia Tropical? And to what extent do you consider decisions like titles important?
It's our new way of looking at the Caribbean! A different perspective, a new stage in our music and our life. In Colombia the term elegancia is used also to mention when something is "cool," so it's like the cool tropic. We like to use popular and kitsch aesthetics in our music and language.

4. As a band with growing worldwide influence, what message would you send to the aspiring music maker in a corner of the globe that maybe doesn't get the attention it deserves?
I think the most important thing is to be honest with the music you're making. Make the music you want to make, not what the market wants. And also work as twice as hard, art is a difficult one, maybe more difficult than any other.

5. What are your impressions of the San Antonio? Any favorite and/or least favorite aspects or places?
Sure we think San Antonio is a great city! We've had great shows over there and this one we hope is the best. Our favorite hotel in the world is in San Antonio, it's called Hotel Havana, if I'm not wrong.

6. Lastly, what can we expect from your upcoming performance? Any new live configurations or significant developments since you were last here?
Yes, sure, we're making the show just for Elegancia. It's a new set of songs, a new set of videos and new set of sounds! Hope people enjoy it! We're giving away all [our] energy!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Surreal Conjectures, Seed Creatures

way too long awakened in traps of light — too far open in the massive mass of night — too too deep in the shallow fallow womb of language, broke minded, counted down to absolute zero, ticking off in the trees of summer bleeding sappy into a night hairy with suspicion, emptiness is somthingess and somthingness is emptiness — void wasn't universe because something meant to change its ways — a reading of coward on godface, seven digits to infinity and the devil never got a word in edgewise. . . so the moments of divinity are measured in christbreaths and fishsighs alike, cradles are really graves to begin with in the tearful heaven where everything must occur — no matter.

the size of things makes the magnitude considerably less — more fabricated in the zone of moment and position, fragility surprised in the slippery shower of realization, which never resembles awakedness — the Buddha never existed luckily, because he needn't have.

the incident with the human soul at the crossroads of self and not was a manufactured death imposed by the willing witnesses of ego that consumes ego that does not — some symphony this is, eating and being the seeds of god becoming ideal, not-god.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Light in the Paw: 10 Questions with Cave Singers

Tapestries from the cave: Cave Singers release Naomi
Seattle foursome Cave Singers (Pete Quirk, Derek Fudesco, Marty Lund, and Morgan Henderson) may have flown under far too many radars, but they've been prolifically busy since their debut in 2007. Released today, Naomi is the indie folk-rock group's fourth LP. Like Invitation Songs, Welcome Joy, and No Witch before it, this record invokes the muddy blues-rock of CCR every bit as much as is does some nostalgic campfire folk reverie in yellows and blacks. Naomi finds Cave Singers sounding more sophisticated (read: more polish and less non-specific grit) and catchy (read: they're writing damn infectious songs) in their blending of heartland honey and hollering. Harmonica, melodica, bronzen crisp electric guitar, occasional coos, and comparatively reserved percussion surround the comfortingly sweet and nasal rasp of lead-singer Pete Quirk as he carries on about fading strands of maybe history, love, nature, and our vanishing natures for love. There are no hammer heavy songs on this record — like "Dancing on Our Graves" from Invitation Songs — but over the past few albums the band has moved to a brighter and fuller palette and doesn't have to rely on that kind of saturation to grab us. Particular album gems include "Have to Pretend" which slinks along dressed in a calm coo and a forceful lead vocal, "It's a Crime" which is a groovy steamroller of a track with a jagged 60's garage vibe, "Evergreens" which is Naomi's soul swaying in the moonlight candle of her restless eyes, and "Northern Lights" which is a gorgeously ornate song with soulful breakdowns and lyrics musing on isolation and triumph and love. Naomi is a statement in restraint, creative progress, and groundedness by a band that's doing what it does better than almost anyone else and that deservedly carries the freshwater purity of American folk-rock into a future full of electro-murk. 
Go get Naomi... And the Cave Singers other three albums if you don't have them already. Below read my 10 Questions with singer Pete Quirk and listen to "It's a Crime."
You can stream the album HERE.

1. With bands, as with all things, history is an important dimension to consider. Please tell me a bit about the Cave Singers' collective and individual histories.
As we are a collective of individuals, we are conjoined in the pupil of a metaphoric eye, that gazes upon life inquisitively. We are located under the gray blouse of the pacific Northwest, but a little history... Derek and myself originally hail from the East Coast, whereas Marty and Morgan are Washingtonian natives. In our previous lives we are convinced that as specks of light we shared the same leaf for an afternoon, but spoke none and went about our day.

2. As a follow up on the previous question, and by way of leading into the following one, what do you see as the tie between personal/cultural experience and creativity? In what ways do you see this element as a strength in a collective? To what extent is the band's sound collectively conceived?
As a plant needs water, creativity/art needs experience.
But I guess it is what we do with experience, do we learn from it? Or do we pile it up in the backyard never considering what lessons it may contain?

Friendship is at the core of our beliefs as a collective/band of mortals. Underneath the storm swells of the music, we are indebted to a peace we find in one another, that usually results in laughter and mockery. But do not fret, we have a safety word if things get too hot in the kitchen/van.

We experience as individuals; and process our days in different ways. As a band, we have found and continue to find a unified consciousness, that is a dimension we would not have access to on our own.

3. As the group's sound has gently grown and matured, from Invitation Songs to No Witch and now with Naomi, how has the process of creation changed and been refined? Musically? Lyrically? Has the gradual smoothing of the literal and figurative jagged edges been the result of a growing tranquility or a cleaner studio approach, or both?
A constant state of change is upon us whether we like it or not, as far as refined? I’m not sure about that one. We seem to dress better.
Tranquility, possibly from time to time. Also uncomfortability, heartsick, joy, wonder, agitation, lostness, redemption - happy to be there to endure, watching the sea chew on the shore.

4. What was the making of Naomi like? What interesting new challenges arose? What is the significance of the title? Also, will you address, from an aesthetic standpoint, the evolution in sound that this album represents.
Sort of like setting up camp. I guess the whole deal was one big challenge, but we were dedicated to the idea that we were going to work as diligently as possible, without much reservation. Less weed butter and arguments over appetizers? No basketball or soccer, but fondly remembering as the sun went down. An incredible amount of gyro boy. Espresso machine!

Essentially a disconnect from the world at large, to focus on the stage where our collective stories take place. Naomi laid on the tops of the trees at night burping out stars for us.

5. How would you describe this record, your previous records, and your music in general in terms of weather?
Cloudy with a chance...

6. There are certain unique lyrical opportunities with music like yours, that tends toward a folky heart. Cave Singers lyrics have contained a lot of material about home, love and death. Please explain your lyric writing process. What level of importance is placed on lyrics? What themes do you feel most compelled to address and why?
Overall, lyrics are very important to me. I find spoken language's relationship with music puzzling and ultimately fascinating. And I work at lyrics rather obsessively, with hopefully some economy and love. I gather they float somewhere between meaning and being and serve as human notes with some narrative purpose.

The music and its demeanor steers what words/phrases and images seem to materialize while we’re jamming/writing, there’s something mysterious in their arrival that I don’t tend to question.

If lyrics have a good sense of humor about themselves, they seem to be more likable.

7. I'm interested in musical influences, as well as other types of general influences. For this question  who are the strongest specifically musical influences on your work?
For me it’s a mixed bag of musicians and writers. And also friends and families are influences, everyone out in the world is pitching in, and I try to do my part to pour some color into the stream. But today, I was listening to Neutral Milk Hotel, Kurt Vile, Paul Simon and Jana Hunter. Talk radio about snow tires. The wrapping up of a basketball game and few seconds of static.  And I was reading some James Tate poems, the I Saw U’s in the weekly, some Pema Chodron and my electrical bill. What a day! Oh and I had a good to great Cobb Salad too! And I’m totally going bowling later...

8. Speaking more generally about influences, what other things influence how/what Cave Singers create? How have experiences with literature, philosophy, and the other arts shaped the music and the approach?
Everything’s an influence in one way or another. I have been to a few dance/art performances lately, very inspiring. Zoe/Juniper a particular favorite. Exceptional in the friend department too.

9. A topic I have resolved to start bringing up with all the folks I talk to  I wonder what y'all's thoughts are about music downloading and the changing face of the music biz, philosophically and practically...?
I don’t think about it much, to be honest.

10. I've always thought Cave Singers was a sweet band name. Will you talk about the meaning of that name.
It’s a little bit of light, that hides in the monkey’s paw.

CAVE SINGERS: facebook, amazon, twitter, Jagjaguar site, ALBUM STREAM