Shark Fin in Varna

Gabe Hascall – Absolutely


There are things that you will always love. Javier Marias wrote something about the possibilities you carry within yourself from your birth–to your detriment or benefit–and I often think it must be the same situation with whatever it is that you find yourself drawn to, whether it’s people, places, or art. I will always love people who are quick to laugh, and I will always love places that remind me, in one way or another, of my first hometown in Pennsylvania, and I will always love Gabe Hascall’s voice. Since the Impossibles, since Slowreader, he’s known how to handle a melody, and he never lost that skill, which is on full display here in “Absolutely.” This song first appeared on his myspace page following a long and frightening absence, and it was the most welcome sign: he was back, he was okay, he was writing again. Haunted, restless, a weird memory that springs forth without provocation.

[BUY Love It All]

Almost lost the whole pink kingdom of mouth

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Dynamic Calories


Reposting this old song and entry because I recently found a used copy of Pig Lib with the Dark Wave EP inside it–at Amoeba Records in Berkeley–and, well, one thing led to another and now I have this song stuck in my head once again.

I don’t think I loved Stephen Malkmus as a songwriter until I heard this song while driving around Richmond, VA, in 2005. Incredibly enough, I had heard only a few Pavement songs in my entire life at that point, and even that was due entirely to the efforts of one or two girlfriends or almost-girlfriends. Basically, I was lazy, and there was too much going on in the present for me to track back and investigate Pavement or Silver Jews or anything, really: there was a glut of new and exciting music to download, listen to, absorb. I remember ’05 feeling like a wild time, where it seemed as if all music was available all the time–all you had to do was think of it, and it existed, somewhere, and in only a matter of five or ten minutes of searching, you could find what you wanted. So Malkmus and his history were not a priority for me, I’m saying, until I heard this song, which startled the shit out of me, partly because it rises from silence, and partly because the music reminds me of songs I heard on the radio around the ages of 5-7. “Dynamic Calories” is different, too, from the other songs on both Pig Lib and the Dark Wave EP–a little more vibrant, a little less ponderous, and it has that wonderful moment when Malkmus changes the course of the music with his lyrics, as if by fiat, when he says, “and those wet, wet drums.” Who knew you could even do that?

[BUY the Dark Wave EP]