Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fall Checklist: Returning to School (for Job not studies)

2012/perpetual edition.

* Smell of rain on concrete, generally.

* The gears in your head slowly shifting from drunk-wrangling to grammar-wrangling sorts of intelligence.

* The part where the Rock Dude who works for student services remains compellingly all-purpose. Zeppelin hat, DK t-shirt, crystal castles hoodie. This figures continued existence in spite, or because, of dubstep, etc.

* Being glad that the one barista still works there-- at nearly three quarter's worth of experience, she is closest the campus cafe gets to simulating the coffee of the outside world.

* New teachers, no sleep. Old teachers, all sleep.

* Reflecting that it hasn't changed much since I was a student, that I reflect that every year.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

_________I never left?

synthy instrumentals and guinness. it's like ___________________

Saturday, 22 September 2012

I'm not invisible

In an effort to stave the effects of internet-wide trolling, I've avoided saying much political, here or elsewhere. With forty eight (?) days left in the cycle, I've given myself permission for five posts. Watch for them, or don't.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

15 Years of Listening to the same band.

There were about fifteen of us in a barn-converted loft in Snohomish, Wa with shag carpet, card tables and scatterings of chips and soda, passing around a portable landline. My buddy Cliff gets through.

"1077 The End."

"Hi. I'm part of the vast conspiracy trying to get you to play Local H." 

"Oh, Jesus. We've talked to a lot of you tonight."

* * * * *

In college, when people related their prom stories with equal parts instant nostalgia and maturity-based distance, this was always when I had to explain to them that I was Home-Schooled, and it worked differently for me, that instead of the go/don't go binary, I got a Third Option-- I was the DJ. And in my cool-music-kid stories, the one about playing the Pixies' "Where is My Mind" as a final slowdance got loads of "oh, man, that's awesome."
And it was, in that record-store clerk sort of way. Very few people cared; it was slow enough they could rub their thighs against one another in what was (theoretically) as close as any of us would come to sex before God came down from the Heavens with a Ring and The One and we were bathed in glorious copulative light.

The REAL cool moment, though, had come the year before, when, after a frenzy-producing "backstreet's back," I popped on "Fritz's Corner."
Rather than dividing the room into Rockers and Preppies (or whatever highschool movie thing you're into) the whole room was stomping, shouting and basically going nuts in their lipstick and prom-dresses and tuxes. It's one of the few times I've seen music work exactly like it feels it should-- grabbing people by the ears and taking them with it, no matter. Trying to convey this moment to people unfamiliar with Local H, or too cool, required too many explanations of context.
Immediately following the song, a Perpetually Concerned Mother scampered up to the DJ Booth.

"You are doing a GREAT JOB. Really wonderful job, I-- we, the other chaperones-- just have one request. Please, no more songs like that last one."

* * * *
I think I was sort of annoyed at Cliff that night, because I actually thought it would "work."
I later got into a long argument with Marco Collins, the DJ at 107.7 the end, about his refusal to play the group after listening to Hamfisted, which he threw against the wall for sounding so much like Bleach. 

Yeah, I said. But who the hell rips off "Bleach?!" You play Bush ALL THE TIME.

(aside: there's something pretty cool about a Radio Personality who will devote 15 minutes to arguing with a16 year old. everyone was sad when he left, even if we were a bit skeptical about his love of British Electronic Music.)
* * * *

It was during my scarf-phase and green fuzzy jacket phase and hair nice and fluffy phase, and arguably H's
punkest phase they stopped at Graceland, in Seattle, touring on the No Fun EP, which was great, but I was already ready for a new album, to the point where I could name songs from this theoretical record.
"Hey, play everyone alive!"

"Oh man. You're a pretty girl. Just the sort I'd take home to my mom. . . ."
 * * * * *

 (there is a VHS copy of Local H's 1998 show at RCKNDY sitting somewhere next to some Darkwing Duck cartoons I taped off TV when I was 10.)

* * * * *
Here Comes the Zoo-- arguably the band's last real stab at recapturing/continuing radio/mainstream success, came out the same week Jason and Alina died in car accident. there was nothing on Zoo that spoke to that, directly, but a new release from my favorite band, and the discussions/analyzations of it with close friends, provided something to enjoy, and be good at talking about, when there wasn't much else of either.

* * * *
arguably, I tend to rep 1998's Pack Up the Cats the hardest, though it was As Good As Dead that first introduced me to their basic thing. The basic thing being a grim underdog sensibility, blue collar angst, angst-angst, sarcasm, humor, sensitivity, and not-to-be-underestimated-- hard, catchy rock.
though I might say that 2004's Whatever Happened to PJ Soles? has the group's best 3-song run in the whole catalogue.

* * * *

you know this year was a blur; I only thought it was fun at first.

* * * *
Yes, I've hung out with Scott Lucas a few times. He's always been pretty drunk.
-- Elizabeth, from The Reputation, at the same afterparty that yielded "Mayonaise and mustard" and arguably my most performed poem.

for a while, the lyric in PUTC's song "Hit the Skids. . . or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Rock" about wanting to go to parties where you knew people, have friends who were doing things, and feeling completely fucking out of place, that was me. Then, at some point, I realized I was at afterparties with touring bands, getting free drinks at Caps (oh, man. Caps.) and free passes to shows. The relevant lyric then became . . . I'm in love with Rock and roll, but that'll change eventually.

(acoustic version for maximum lyric accessibility.)
Likewise, for someone who takes on musical taste as such a large part of their identity, as I spent less time in my room and more time in crowded clubs, or hyper-catered sorts of gatherings, I always assumed I'd get over it. That the designated "cool" bands from highschool/early college-- your Sonic Youths, Far, Radiohead, etc-- would be the ones whose banner I'd wave in the parade of evolving musical identity. Because it's really exhausting to try to explain to your friends why you like a band that they don't care about, let alone over the course of years.
Because this isn't some canonized cult-- "Wait, you like THE FALL? I also like THE FALL," "Dude, Trout Mask Replica"-- nor was it a "quirky' pop-love ("It's embarrassing but I am SO INTO Christina Aguilera!") or a nostalgia-based taste. Plenty of folks were like "oh yeah! I remember (all the kids are right)(bound for the floor) (high fiving mf)" but few wanted to hear about the NEW album. Crowded rooms where large, bearded men who listened to BOTH types of music-- Heavy AND Metal-- "playfully" shoved me in my So/So t-shirt and turned back to the bar with a "what are you, new?" Kids for whom music was invented by the Beatles in 1966, ceased to exist around 1973, then started existing again with Kid A doing that indie-rock self-hug and openjawed sneer.
Though, to be fair, 2004's Whatever happened to PJ Soles? had a more than a few plays at Lobster House parties and a few converts at that.

(interestingly enough, have the same problems with Mudhoney, a far more conventionally "credible" act. maybe it's a grunge thing.)
* * * *
Everytime I listen to Local H I marvel that Graham managed to pick a band out in 1997 that essentially nobody else cared about and that was arguably already irrelevant and somehow,15 years later they're one of the only bands that existed then who are still making good music. Either it was incredibly genius or complete luck.-- Josh Adams.

* * * *

So what brings this up?

today is the guys' 7th record release and I'm fucking stoked. I'm still into these guys; every time I think i'm done, that hey, I have McLusky now, I'll just throw on the new Queens of the Stone Age, it's really all about Future of the Left for me now, H do what they do, and do it a little bit better each time. Seeing the new single for a band I've been into since highschool and the guys looking kind of like cool uncles, with grey beards and all, that's not an "I'm getting old" moment, that's rad. Of course I'm getting older, -- linear time, hello-- but there's a comfort in seeing them own it, do their thing and, frankly, keep kicking ass. This blog was originally going to do a lot more of the music-reviewing; why Here Comes the Zoo suffered under Jack Douglas' hand, the strength of the concept behind 12 Angry Months and how it'd have been devastating to me if it'd come out when I was in Bham instead of Swansea, but that's not the point. I got out of music writing for a reason, and I'm not trying to convince anyone any more.
I don't know if Hallelujah! I'm a Bum will be their best album, or what it'll do commercially, but I'm about to hop on a bus and go pick it up.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Man In a Light Brown Coat is Coming Back For Me


Do you remember those 5 am mornings? No coke, no parties, no one else, even, just the wind down, the heartbeat slowing after a barshift, making sure you don't forget to polish straws or whatnot. This, someday, will be the opening sentence(s) to my largely autobiographical novel. It will be a terrible novel, full of dudes having sex with girls and then feeling bad about it and girls who fall in love with guys who are clearly horrible for them, as they aren't the protagonist, and perhaps a move to a "new city" and then someone will kill someone just to keep the action rising, and perhaps then an asian drug cartel will get involved, but don't worry, one of the girls -- or maybe best friends-- of the protagonist is also asian so this particular plot development is not, in fact, racist.

like i said, this is going to be one fucking stinker of a novel, and as such will probably be well loved on literary blogs, for it's plot development, like when I-- I mean "the protagonist"-- drinks ten dark beers one night because he can't get to sleep, dammit, then vomits at church.

it's a statement about religion, baby. I just gotta be me.

*always sort of wished that in the last chorus of this song, it didn't go back to the melodic part, but they just yelled and broke stuff.
No. Sorry.

Friday, 14 September 2012


Been annoyed at "the grid" lately. partly because technology is less useful when you're working on hand-drawing, collage art, etc. I've got a booth tomorrow at the Rainier Beach Artwalk and I'd like to have some new stuff to display, but the time limits I've put on myself (through procrastination, largely) lead to stress, to confusion, to more procrastination. Pictures up later if I don't hate what I've got.

Even if I crash and burn (which i don't plan) this'll be a good experience for me.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

don't call it an anniversary!

The sheer number of bros, back in the day, who took up the chant "This IS SPARTA," was one of the many factors that played into my never seeing 300. Also, the fact that despite the spectacle and women in leather, Sin City left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

all this is appropos only because this is, in fact, post #300 on this particular corner of the internet. Vast importance. To think, it was a mere five years ago, that, with bitterness in my fingers and bile in my heart, I created a refuge away from prying eyes and lurking lovers, a spot where I could say "whatever the fuck I wanted" and did, sometimes. Of course, over time, this has become a staid affair, as my own interest in my life has waned quite a bit, and many of those whom I'd once sought privacy from found me, either of my own accord or by happenstance, and the reaction from the universe was, as it often is, a resounding "okay," shrug, and wander off to get some pizza.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Semi-live blogging old news. Undead blogging old news? Politics.

So I'm just now getting around to watching Clint Eastwood's speech at the Republican National Convention.

Honestly, so far, it's kinda bizarre, but it's also kinda charming. The Afghanistan joke may have been off-base factually (in terms of who started what) but the joke about Russia was pretty right on. Oh wait, now it's kinda getting weird. But it's still funny. I think people-- especially on the left-- underestimate (misunderestimate?) -- the capacity for humor, especially from an old movie star; after actually watching it, I'm sorta bummed on the media's response-- is that really as weird as things can get?

I was less reminded of a callow hollywood millionaire who shamelessly supports a ayn-randian agenda (as it was being painted on my facebook feed for the last week) than a friend of the family who would bend over backwards to help you, hand good words for everyone, but voted for a different ticket than you.

That said, this is also really funny.