Sometime back at the turn of the century, music like this existed. Lounge-rock lamentation. Sad-faced velvet bubble bath. For the young men and women in small separate bedrooms performing essential rituals of solitude and exuding nothing but fine-grained angst, this was the music that powered their emotional turbines (in the absence of actual drama, there is invented drama, hazily imagined and Potemkinned into place with the help of songs like this). In instrumentation, this is close to the vibe of the new Destroyer album, which is what brought it back to my mind. This song is a gem.
P.S. Two of my good friends, Yew Leong Lee and Tony Luebbert, edit Asymptote, which is a translation journal. Asymptote will be launching today, with pieces by Mary Gaitskill, Alain de Botton, and works by a whole host of other fantastic writers and translators. Go check it out.
Roy Harper is able to wrench packets of notes from his guitar. The songs on "Stormcock" aren't so much songs as they are mural landscape paintings. Wide and reticulated views of the countryside. Warms you right up.
At one time, I had a beard as long as a beard of bees. Speaking of which, even my bees had beards (I was an old-fashioned apiarist and my colonies were all mature). I played my guitar for them. I also played my guitar for the flowers in the field, the stars in the night, the leaves on the trees, the winds in the air, the clouds in the sky, the gnats in the firmament, the worms in the dirt, the cows in the barn, the pigs in the pen, the utensils in the drawers, the phlogiston in the vapors, the mutton in the sheep, the dye in the tie, the cream in the coffee, the thing in the thing-in-itself and many other things as well. Looping tunes. Spindly little ragas. Just—as in “right,”—ornaments for every time of the day.
Radio Spot for the League of Former College Radio DJs Turned Musical Fundmentalists
Voice One: Do you find yourself crying when someone mentions a new genre to you? Do you even know what rockism is anymore? Can you even locate the hole on a brand new limited edition wooden 7"?
Voice Two: Did you ever even like the things you professed to like? Or did you like them for the wrong reasons? (whispers) YOU DID. You wanted to throw out the canon, but it never crossed your mind that the canon might want to throw you out. And now that it has, where does that leave you? What can you do?
Voice One: Take it back to the 'beginning.' Appreciate Sabbath. Appreciate Hall & Oates so hard that people are scared of your sincerity. Appreciate chant. Appreciate older, unrecorded Fleetwood Mac. Appreciate only things that feel as real as possible. Tell everyone, "I'm starting to like things that I always should have liked. That other stuff I liked? Ha. I never really liked it. That was a trick." You claim Peter Gabriel as your guardian angel. Music now stopped existing for you past 2004.
Voice Two: You have a place with us, the League of Former College Radio DJs Turned Musical Fundamentalists. Come in from the cold. Bring tapes of your old shows. Bring your old playlists. We'll add them to the bonfire.
Escandalo is or was Viva Ruiz (who also sings in Gavin Russom's Crystal Ark project) and Desi Monster. Viva is present throughout the song in the form of an occasional banshee who drops in to break up some of the purling keyboard tones (which tones bear some slight resemblance to those heard in Delia and Gavin songs, etc.). Desi must be the guy intoning "La bruja" over and over again throughout the track (this is the kind of deduction that helped me solve the Case of the Paper Jam the other day at work) in a serious, workmanlike monotone. It actually sounds like the mechanical conductor announcements on subways or the matter-of-fact robot cashier on those self-checkout registers at the grocery store: zero insouciance; all control. I think Desi's restraint offers a nice contrast to Viva's actual howling. Could this song be classified as a member of the "witch house" family? It's a disco song about a witch, presumably, but I don't think that qualifies it as witch house. House In Re Witch, maybe, or House on Witch (first color scenes in Wizard of Oz would serve as the visual manifesto).
If I were a PR person who wanted to write a super-reductive tagline for Haus Arafna, I might say: Haus Arafna is something like Tennis if Tennis had gone on an eight-month sojourn to hell (old hell, the bad part) instead of sailing along the seaboard. Or like Tennis if Tennis decided to record using the same methods that Lightning Bolt uses. Or like Tennis if Kevin Drumm had produced their LP.
Haus Arafna is actually only like Tennis in the fact that this band is made up of a husband and wife. The Lightning Bolt and Kevin Drumm descriptions are apt though--this music is hard and dark and rough (and seductive). I suspect that contact mics play a big part in everything Haus Arafna does (recording, shopping, decorating, landscaping). Mr. Arafna sings on "You (You Without Yourself)," and he fluctuates between a kind of oratorical mania and listless mumbling, doing so in a way that complements the instrumentation. This is the type of singing that matches up with this type of song: these styles are married to each other. (I love this album)
Also the title of this post is taken from a line in Keston Sutherland's actually mind-blowing poem "The Stress Position".
My name is Eugene Sniddledrak, and I received your very good name from the classified ads posted on the Trustworthy Americans messageboard. I have decided to contact you based solely on the personal conviction of trust and confidence that we can co-operate and establish a lucrative business transaction which will surely not require my access to your checking account and routing/transit numbers.
On July 4th, 2010, Mr. John Abbey, an American oil contractor and corrections officer, was killed in a tragic automobile accident, even while fireworks fell on the Serengeti plains and everyone celebrated the Independence Anniversary of your country. Also unfortunately, his entire family was murdered in this accident as well, which was caused by a grossly negligent and intoxicated Tyrannosaurus Rex, who was piloting a Land Rover for which he was not licensed.
However, the silver lining on this cloud nine is that Mr. Abbey and his family had recently deposited well in excess of $8 Trillion USD cash, a few Picasso paintings, and several attractive and virginal members of your opposite sex into one of my bank’s safety deposit vaults. The problem that we are having is that Mr. Abbey seems to have no next of kin; ironically, he had inherited all of his possessions when a bus full of relatives on their way to a family reunion was sucked into a deep, yawning chasm, perhaps a gateway to the Land of the Lost(?), where myriad dinosaur-related deaths awaited them. The sum detailed above has remained unclaimed, and now is the part where you, my dear friend, MOTORBOATINSONUVABITCH@GMAIL.COM, come in.
The management of my bank, under the influence of our super-president and members of the board of emperors, has made an arrangement for the fund to be declared ‘SORT OF UNCLAIMABLE’, and subsequently commanded that Mr. Abbey’s account be turned over to the reserve office of the bank. It is against the background of the preceding text that two of my colleagues and I have decided to contact you, despite the prohibitive costs and life-endangering nature of electronic correspondence, for assistance and partnership, and for you to stand as the next of kin to Mr. Abbey. Surprisingly, our bank does not have need for identification forms, notarized certificates, or even familial resemblance in order to disburse such funds. We have taken care of everything: the Tyrannosaurus Rex has signed an affidavit claiming that you are the heir to Mr. Abbey’s fortune. You WILL, however, need to change your blood type to O-negative, for reasons which I cannot disclose herein. I am very skilled in home-surgery, and can assist you with this operation once you arrive.
Consequently, if you find this proposal agreeable, I expect your urgent response- upon receipt of that, we will discuss sharing ratios, exchange rates, and exit strategies for me and my colleagues. Please endeavor to include your phone number, private email, home address, mother and father’s phone numbers, credit card number (for security purposes), and those last three digits on the back of your credit card as well, just in case you fall into the wrong hands and we have to bail you out. Please keep this proposal VERY SECRET and CONFIDENTIAL. Please also do not let any of your friends in on the secret, especially those who might happen to be INTERPOL agents. It’ll be our special thing, okay?
Trustworthily and Integritally Yours,
P.S. Please also forward your checking account and routing number after all--one can’t be too careful. What if your plane is eaten by a carnivorous cloud? Who would kindly alert your next of kin and disburse your death-funds, if not us?
This new videogame is called I-BANKER. You play as a freshly-minted MBA who just acquired his or her first big time job, at an old and prestigious firm in New York. The company's interests extend in dendritic fashion to all forms of industry and enterprise: telecommunications, real estate, pharmaceuticals, precious metals and mining, health care, and emerging markets. For most of the first part of the game, you sit at your desk, working on the valuation of a company that makes contact lenses which render QR codes legible to the human eye. It's a tough valuation, with lots of problems, and a high degree of connectivity between those problems, so naturally the project is taking a while to complete. While you work on the valuation (in real time within the game) you have the opportunity to decide what sort of worker your character will be. You can make your worker a go-getter who eats lunch at her desk and stays at the office long after the lights have gone out, or you can make your worker a shiftless, lazy dreamer who spends hours on the internet reading golf blogs. Whichever style of work you choose for your employee, there are consequences. If you turn into a grind and spend 90 hours a week at the office, after a few pay periods you'll notice your character's hair turning gray at the temples or at the crown, and fine micro-wrinkles appearing around the eyes and forehead. If you turn into an inert wastrel, you'll retain your youthful looks but will be passed over for promotions and sink, after your performance review, into a depression akin to an oubliette from which you will never escape. It's a pretty fun game.
Please note that Molars has been bought out by a blog-conglomerate called Hazy Channel. This blog will now host only the freshest chillwave, whitefade, chaletio, dark step, and walpurgisnachtpop.
Half-remembered videogameplay memories filtered through beach surf summer sun atmosphere Polaroids. Like Duck Tales but with actual ducks wearing day-glo neon indian dresses from half-remembered Cross Colours clothing racks. Do you remember those half-remembered VHS basement tapes when Dylan sang the Mega Man theme through a kazoo and called it macaroni? I would post a video but it just keeps skipping. Because it's a vinyl video. Com Truise touring soon with Pwin Teaks on the Toonerists Spour.
Speaking of spoonerisms, I did want to mention that one of the best books I've read in the past few years is out in paperback now. "Spooner" by Pete Dexter is probably one of the most entertaining, insane, and absorbing novels I've ever encountered. Obviously I'm terrible at talking about books because this is sounding like a blurb you'd find in the Borders Staff Recommendations section. But: Dexter writes a lightly fictionalized autobiography, but in a way that will make you laugh perhaps an average of 20 times per chapter. There are lines and passages in this book that are so well written I had to put the physical thing down and take a breath. But it's not just funny and elegant, the book grips you in a way that's hard to pinpoint (maybe close to the experience of reading someone else's love letters or emails). "Spooner" features the following: a fraught birthing scene, a burial at sea, a dead mule thrown into a blast furnace, a shredded shoulder, newspaper adventure, a terrible scene at a bar in Philly, neighborhood wars, islands.
"Hit Cap" is a song made of dirty jazz fragments. It's a mosaic composed of paint chips, shards of old refrigerators, and the hatchbacks of a hundred maroon 1984 Plymouth Horizons. Giddy Motors traffic in rust, entropy, friction. For the first 1:38 of this song, Gaverick de Vis sounds like he's playing a guitar that's strung with bridge cable instead of nickel filament, and playing it with a straight-edge razor as a pick. There is a sax. Sometimes it goes with the groove, other times it seems more comfortable just dithering. The drums and bass are pretty unstoppable in this song though, switching between rock pounding and nimble jazz ellipses with (let's say) feigned casualness.
***Mr. Dream have two tracks from their forthcoming debut album, Trash Hit, over on soundcloud.***