I flew to Minneapolis. I saw things and ate things. It was wonderful and extraordinarily harrowing at points, like:
Riding in the shuttle from the airport to the hotel. It was so green, and the grass was far higher than back east. Thick stemmed and wispy at top, it reminded me that on the East coast, we tend to not allow that sort of ambition in our greenery, which is tightly regulated and all business. I bounced along in a van with four strangers.
Getting into my room and turning on the air-conditioning almost as low as the guage would allow. This later proved to be an insane mistake. But the bed was huge, and I was warm from excitement, and I needed to stare out the window and have cold air blow on my shoulders. The window split the skyline into a triptych. The center pane featured a tiny drama involving two pairs of cranes, two in the foreground above a parking garage, and two off in the distance behind what looked like a steeple. Three of these cranes, which had been abandoned for the weekend, pointed east, and the fourth, which was on the extreme lefthand side of the group, pointed west. I was struck by how weird it was to see industrial equipment that appeared to be reenacting some sort of morality play. This centerpiece was bracketed by the streaming highway on the right and a billboard from Progressive auto insurance which kindly let me know that they were doing their level best to make car insurance easier, on the left. In the drawers of the various furnitures around the room, there was: a Bible, the biography of Hilton's founder (which I thought was unnecessary, but nice) and something called a "Guest Informant" that had a lot of pictures and very large type.
On Sunday night there was an open reception. So I had about 8 or so hours to kill between when I got there and then. I wandered around Minneapolis, tried to find food (which I did at this restaurant called Bombay Bistro, that had a snazzy buffet and polite people working there) and cigarettes, which I found out were pretty much illegal on Sunday nights, as all the convenience stores in the walkable area were closed. I finally got some from the gift shop of the hotel for about the price of a good steak. Nicollet Mall looked like a nice place to be, and it was, I found out later on. I ate dinner at an open-air place that bordered on the Orchestra place, during some kind of Sommerfest (this is how they spelled it I think). The sandwich was good and there was a nice cool breeze blowing, and I watched couples stagger in and out of the music hall to get dessert and drinks and food.
I went back to the room and got dressed for the reception, which was to be held downstairs and in business casual dress. I showed up and was immediately sorry I had. There were tons of people, and everyone seemed to know everyone else, except me. I gingerly took my drink tickets from the (super-pretty) receptionist and went inside to the hall. There was a huge dessert table set up in the middle of the room, and multiple dinner tables scattered throughout. I searched frantically for the open bar. It was protected by a garrison of people who were talking loudly and animatedly and looked as if the last thing in the world they needed was to be asked to excuse a tall kid with red hair and glasses who was sheepishly trying as hard as he could to sort of politely shoulder-tackle his way to the bartender. So I just snuck my way over there and ordered a Heinecken. Which I then drained so hard and fast that I felt like I was going to die. So I went back up to my room and watched some television and thought about how, downstairs, there were wonderful people having fun and laughing and asking themselves "my God, could we even *have* more fun? Good lord, this is amazing!", etc. So I sort of went back to the reception, talked to a few people who were much much much older than me and male and got so depressed that I went back to the room and fell asleep.
The next day was more of the same feeling- that I really should be making more of an effort with this whole mingling thing, but that it just wasn't going to happen. I pictured myself walking up to someone and doing what I pretty much always do when confronted with the brute force of not-knowing-someone, which is making totally inane and repetitive comments which are, to most English-hearing ears, almost perfectly devoid of meaning, i.e. "Yeah, so how do you like it out there? (person answers) Wow, that's cool. I've always wanted to visit. I think it would be fun. That would be nice, you know? That would be good." ad infinitum.
Cleaner than a broke-dick dog. Miles. Everything in the world lies on the Motherfucking Spectrum, but he was the determinant of where motherfucker g (good) stopped, and where motherfucker b (bad) started, because he saw it all, from the midpoint, I guess, as the motherfucking zero. "Little Church" is full of his sunspot moments, when the trumpet flares out beyond the usual corona tones. Sometimes I think this track feels like a celebration, and other times it sounds like a last breath. Tough to get over it, whatever it is.
There aren't a lot of positive adjectives to describe lips. "Full" is the pairing that comes up most often, almost like a standard epithet, but that seems bland, and the alternatives mostly run to the sensual or downright pornographic. You can't say someone has "perfectly labial lips," because it sounds insane, first of all, and it's confusing, bringing to mind something like Magritte's "Le Viol." The lips mentioned in Lucky Soul's song, though, aren't really described at all apart from being unhappy. They're upset, one assumes, because of the distinct lack of kisses. These lips want the 1,000 basia of Catullus 5, kiss upon kiss upon kiss.
There was, after all, a dog who had witnessed the murder too. All the other witnesses had been hunted down and killed. No one who had seen the actual slaughter occur could still speak about it to anyone. Except this dog. Word on the street was that the dog was a mixed breed, half lab, half Rottweiler, and that it had been hiding out near some of the warehouses on the edge of the desert. When the head of the cartel heard that a dog, and a witness, was still alive, he flew into a rage, undid his tie, threw it on the ground, and stomped on it. "Find that dog of a dog," he said, "and bring him to me." Several crews spent a number of weeks trying to track down the dog, but with no results. The dog, whose name no one knew, but whom the people called "Fantasma," eluded capture, and became a sort of folk hero.
Science makes so many promises and breaks them over and over again. Everything's actually happening all the time at the same time, but not really, it's more like a hologram, but not in the way you think, more like a hologram that's made out of the secret dimensions (here are all six: stretch, sublimate, centrify, bend, patience, and tickle) of other dimensions, which are themselves part of a larger structure of membranes that come together and separate every couple trillion years, except if they're not, then who knows what's going on. Time might be a thing or it might be the byproduct of dark energy's radiation, i.e. super-dark energy. You can't ask what happened before, because there was no before--that's like asking what the color of zero is. The frame of human understanding can only encompass so much, and what's really interesting is probably what falls outside that frame.
Here is another guest post by Porter, last seen with this mix
It is fun to go to the beach. It is fun to think about surfing, even if you don't know how. It is fun to listen to music that makes you twitch. It is fun to feel free to feel fun.
Having said that: Tennis can be a little difficult to digest. I like the whole klangy-guitar revivalist tone of it, but I am a little suspicious of its sincerity. When Alaina Moore proclaims her love for the boat, I find it hard to believe her. I just don't hear it in her voice. Maybe it's the mix, which washes out her vocals a bit. Nonetheless, it is solid summer music.
No same problem with The Walkmen, though. Hamilton Leithauser is pretty much the King of Emoting. Angela Surf City succeeds here in pairing instrument and vocal to form a cohesive soundscape: Matt Barrick kicks off the song with a driving rolling beat and does not stop. Guitar comes in sparse and then Hamilton begins his plaintive case: "Angela...holds a grudge...over nothing". Surf lyrics or not, the sound itself is a wave. Just when you think it can't get more intense, The Walkmen give you a restive pause - long enough for you to catch your breath - and then plunge into another furious chorus. Much like pounding waves (that now, overhead, look a lot bigger than they appeared from the shore).
Wavves is pure enjoyment. The antagonism here is playful, adolescent, and completely warranted. Seriously: leave your posture pants on the sand. The water's perfect.
Post-Refrain: aloe on a slight sunburn, a cool ocean breeze at dusk, later in bed the way your body floats to the cadence of the sea's ebb and flow, rising and settling in sync with your breath as you slip into sleep.
Write yourself into Chekhov's "The Kiss." But are you the lonely soldier? Or the one who bestows the kiss? What would it even mean to bestow that kiss, and then realize your mistake--could you take it back? Would you wipe the stubbly cheeks of the soldier and his chapped lips? Or is it just another kiss expended, recorded in that column of your ledger, no return, a shell investment? If you're the lonely soldier, do you make more of an effort? Speak up! Do you, as the kissee, sprint out of that little dark room to try to find your kisser? Why let this be recorded as the saddest missed connection ever, when it is well within your power to seek out that source and spark of bright vitality? Why sulk like a dummkopf? If you really wanted happiness, you would search through all the drawing rooms in the world to find it.
"Schrapnell" has the bright-hued fluidity of a cartoon and the windblown bluster of a pre-storm evening. Cool. Robust. Unpredictable. Definitely imagining this as the theme song to a short-lived but outstanding animated series (like the Bots Master) about serious surfing detectives (they're serious about surfing and solving crimes) in Australia. Maybe there's a recurring villain too, an actor who used to be popular and very famous, but who's now at best forgotten and at worst reviled--he's sort of the Moriarty figure for a season or two, the one who's behind the most dastardly crimes. Speaking of which, there is a distinct set of words that occurs mostly within the world of cartoons--'dastardly' being one of those, I think. "Dunderhead" I remember from G.I. Joe, and I don't think I've ever heard that spoken aloud by any real person, ever. Also "blackguard," which may have it's most prominent use in He-Man or Transformers. I think these are words which were never really meant to be used by people in conversation with each other in the real world, only by flickering characters in worlds of painted splendor.
Killl (whose website should be avoided by epileptics) don't create stand-alone songs, but are more into making aggressive conjunctions of visual effects and music (as seen above). They are (finally) going to release a DVD of songs recorded live during performances from 2005-2009. The band contains members of Jaga Jazzist, Jr Ewing, Single Unit, etc. The first time I wrote about Killl was in September 2006; I've been looking forward to this DVD for a long time.
War & Peace Selections: Pierre and the Bear
In passing Prince Vasili seized Pierre's hand and said to Anna Pavlovna: "Educate this bear for me! He has been staying with me a whole month and this is the first time I have seen him in society. Nothing is so necessary for a young man as the society of clever women."
Cards and supper were over, but the visitors had not yet dispersed. Pierre threw off his cloak and entered the first room, in which were the remains of supper. A footman, thinking no one saw him, was drinking on the sly what was left in the glasses. From the third room came sounds of laughter, the shouting of familiar voices, the growling of a bear, and general commotion. Some eight or nine young men were crowding anxiously round an open window. Three others were romping with a young bear, one pulling him by the chain and trying to set him at the others.
"Come on then," cried Pierre. "Come on!... And we'll take Bruin with us."
And he caught the bear, took it in his arms, lifted it from the ground, and began dancing round the room with it.