Sunday, December 30, 2007

these are my five favourite albums that were released this year

this is the best year for new music i've had in a long time. i bought more albums right when they came out than i have in a very long time. possibly since the grunge era. here they are-

1. the warlocks- heavy deavy skull lover

this is easily my favourite record this year- and it seems to not be on anyone else's lists which is an unbelievable shame. it is an incredible record and one of the best warlocks records. i'm still seeking the vinyl version as it has 'worn thin' on it- which is an amazing song. seeing them live this year was one of the best shows i'd seen in a long time and i only caught half of the set. criminally overlooked. the whole album is locked solidly into my top 25 most played on my ipod- i've listened to it 24 times in about two months (and that's not counting how much i listened to the cd at home and during the visit from kc that we just got back from).
2. elliott smith- new moon

only elliott smith would 24 amazing songs sitting around in his closet that were all of such high quality. this record is miraculous. i'd already heard pretty much everything on it through the elliottsmithbsides website (which is where the astounding 'from a basement on a hill' extras were leaked) but hearing them here after they were given some much-deserved love and care and reverence by larry crane is wonderful. if only all posthumous releases were like this posthumous releases would not have a bad name. 'placeholder,' 'pretty mary k' (the version that's on here) and 'angel in the snow' are some of my favourites of any of elliott's songs.
3. deerhunter- cryptograms

i got into deerhunter because my friend diana got me into pitchfork fest for free this year. she had an extra wristband for sunday and she gave it to me. i tried to figure out who i wanted to see and saw that deerhunter had gotten the pitchfork seal of approval (which i am normally pretty suspicious of after what i call the 'serena maneesh incident') and checked them out and was really glad that i made it in time to catch their set as it was the best thing i saw the entire day. i bought this and 'fluorescent grey' (which i pretty much lump in with this as i listen to them both back to back) at the fest. i think that 'cryptograms' is second in my 25 most played. i think i've listened to it about 16 times now or so.
4. nina nastasia and jim white- you follow me

i only own this record digitally. i picked up the bulk of it through various mp3 blogs and bought the stragglers directly from ms. nastasia's snocap store. i think this album has had about 16 plays on my ipod as well. this is the first full album of hers that i owned and what prompted me to see her play at schuba's. i don't even know how to explain what i love so much about her songs, but whatever it is it's reeking and practically marinating in everything that i love about music that is completely intangible and unexplainable. she has such a wonderful voice, a wonderful way with tender, aching melodies and her chord progressions are just simple enough to absorb but just strange enough that you don't understand how she comes up with them. thank you ms. nastasia. i also do love jim white's drumming- i've loved the dirty three for a few years now and his drumming is a great addition to these songs. the concept of a duet album is quite striking as well- just voice, guitar and drums. lovely. 'late night' is the reason i love this album so much.
5. radiohead- in rainbows

this album reminded me that i still love radiohead. i forget sometimes. it's just a case of hearing so much from so many people about how awesome and experimental they are all the fucking time. the fact that occasionally i'll hear this from complete lunkheads doesn't help. all of that said i still love radiohead and this album is a good example why. it's distinctly them and still manages to pull elements from every single aspect of their career so far, but the songs carry it all as always and this batch is particularly strong. i can't believe that they FINALLY released 'nude' after 10 years. watching 'meeting people is easy' and getting upset that the whole song wasn't in it and then after waiting and waiting it wasn't on 'kid a,' 'amnesiac' or 'hail to the thief' and i'd given up hope that they ever release it and then here it is- 10 years on and sounding about a quajillion times better than it did back in 1998 (and that's really saying something- i always thought that it stood out amongst their strongest stuff at that time, which it is common knowledge that the late 90s were their salad days). and then there is also 'all i need' and 'weird fishes/arpeggi' which i think i might love even more than my favourite songs from their salad days. no shit. i paid about the equivalent of $5 for it. this is also something i'd long wished that more bands would do.

yup. it was a weird year- started out really awesome, got really crappy in the middle there for a while and then started to get better towards the end. i would've updated from kansas city but i didn't want my mom to get this address in her autocomplete so i could continue to bitch freely here about my parents. there was only one blow-up and it was just at the beginning- my sister called me on my way home from the airport informing me that my dad wanted to groom me before we went out to dinner that night. my flight had been delayed for an hour and we'd landed just before a blizzard started, mind you and they hadn't even seen me yet. i'd gotten a hair cut and i was cleanly shaven and i have eliminated all clothes with holes for about two months. i got a bit upset and when they saw me they all apologized because i actually looked *gasp* really nice.
from then on the trip was very hectic. we determined that the marathon christmas just isn't possible anymore. i had eight drinks that day and i never got drunk at any point because they were all spread out over the course of the day. i had no access to caffeine of any kind despite being on only a handful of hours of sleep and having to sleep in the media room which was sweltering. i was awakened to the smell of bacon though- which was pretty sweet! i also got to have my mom's sausage souffle for the first time since i was in high school. that was most excellent as well.
after that it was just kind of a rushed push/pull kind of thing and i saw mike and billy a few times but we didn't really get any time to do just the three of us- it was usually in the context of large gatherings and parties, which i'm not so fond of. i just don't like parties that much.
the reader article came out while we were in kansas city, which i'm relieved of. i was pretty happy with how it came out. i even liked the pictures of us that they used. i particularly liked the picture that they put in the table of contents. miles was good to us- he highlighted a lot of things about us that i am really proud of.
anyway, it's really fucking late. i just waded through the entire smeast reunion pictures from a few months ago and oh my god what a festival of pain that was! i hardly even remembered who anyone was at all.

Friday, December 21, 2007

we're going to be in 'the reader' next week

we did the photo shoot to go with the interview from last week tonight. it was weird. i look like my dad with greasy hair and sideburns. end of story. i look like a giant burly grumpy freak. i hope that the picture comes out well. i just hope i don't look ridiculous. i almost wish that they would've asked us for a picture because i could've sent them this one-

click here to vue

we havea a non-floaty version too. i dunno. i'm just a little nervous- i don't know how the article will come out either- i think i might end up sounding like a buffoon. truth be known i'd be pretty surprised if it made a real huge difference as far as people buying our cds and coming to our shows. time will tell i guess...
i need to get all of my shit together for the trip back to kc. i haven't even packed yet at all. i have some string arrangements to write out too since the acoustic show isn't happening. billy has a hairy belafonte show on thursday and ad astra has a show on friday- which will be good i'm sure. i'm wondering what they've been working on lately- hopefully some new songs??
when i come back i will probably be starting work at beans and bagels immediately. two jobs. hopefully i will make the money that i want to finish the record the way that i want to. i think it will make a big difference...
i should go to bed now, though because i'm completely wiped- i was up at 7:30am today...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

ok. some perspective.

i lose this all the time.
we need to play a show i think. the problem this last year has mainly been the lack of live show activity. i was talking to stefanie about this the other day- how i wish i could just do recordings and release cds all the time and that that would be enough, but the live stuff is definitely necessary. definitely.
got the podcast sorted for the most part. just have to reserve a car and hopefully becca can play it as well- have to practise with her on saturday. hopefully she can do it (what i mean by this basically is that i hope she has the time and inclination to do it). i think i've found that i'd rather play with someone who is enthusiastic about playing music with me than someone who is fucking brilliant as a player but just not that into it.
i'll try to hold onto this for as long as i can. it might not last the rest of the day, but hopefully it will. i think i'm going to go home today and just work for the rest of the day. people give me a lot of flak for not taking breaks and working on tracks all the time, but read the entry below if you're one of those people. this is what i feel like when i'm not busy working on music stuff. this is why i fill up my vacations to kansas city with recording work and shows.
last night i wanted to try doing some open mic night solo shows just electric. i thought this would be a good way to start playing all of the newer stuff.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

there are a few things written on my forehead...

i think that they might include these phrases-

passive-aggressive assholes of the world- here is another victim
ignore my music

i'm really at the end of my rope here. i have absolutely no idea what to do now- i think that my best idea so far has been to have stefanie book shows for us. no one will respond to my emails at all. this has even extended to people who i consider my friends. i really can't think of any reasons apart from a fairly simple one- my presence in this world is incredibly pedestrian to a great number of people. i keep so many people at such a far distance that i am completely invisible to nearly everyone i come into contact with. i thought that this invisibility had lifted, but it hasn't. i think that this also applies to my music. as a friend of mine once told me (this is probably the only honest criticism anyone has ever given me) 'your music is great, but it just doesn't draw you in.' tony said something similar to this. i thought that i was starting to get to the point where i was giving people something that they can latch onto, but i think i'm wrong about that.
not sure what to do to improve my station in life. i think that there's very little that i can do. most people don't believe that this is true. i've heard pretty much all of the common catch-phrases, but it really just boils down to being completely invisible. i'm lester in 'american beauty.' i already quit my job, but then i just got a shittier-paying one to replace that put me right back to where i was financially back when i worked for starbuck's. the price of doing what you want and not compromising- that won't change the fact that nobody gives a shit. i'd like to think that this interview with the guy from sharp darts that we're trying to get together will change this fact, but i'm fairly certain that things will go largely unchanged.
believe me, i am aware that this reads like a pity-party, but it honestly isn't meant that way. i don't expect others to solve my problems, i just try and ruminate about what bothers me in the hopes that i can see things more clearly and figure out a solution. it just felt like i was getting ahead for a while there- this last year started out so well and it was probably a high-point in my life and it all just fell apart by about the july/august area. unfortunately it co-incided with me quitting my job, which i initially felt really great about. i just feel like i've been getting kicked a lot while i'm down- y'know with the brakes on the van having to be replaced, the popping of the tires, the crippling medical bills all culminating in a mountain of debt that gets chipped away decently for a while only to gain size all of a sudden. i think it might be time to sell my body to science.
a lot of the time my debt seems like it was caused only by releasing records. i am quite sure that i've paid back all of that money by now. it was about $3500. it's amazing how i can steadily pay any amount of money over the course of months and years and now the grand total stands at about $6000. when i switched to my washington mutual card back in april the total was $4400. it's december now and the tab is $4300. i've paid at least $120-200 every month since then. at this rate the balance will be paid off in about 60 years. i'll be 88.
i just feel like i'm being slowly whittled away out of existence by so much stifling indifference. that's what i inspire in people- complete and total indifference. fuck, my parents are even indifferent to me and they're the only people in this shitty world who are supposed to love me. i don't even know why i'm writing this here- it's like being suspended out in the middle of empty space with nowhere to go and nothing to see and no one to hear you and you're screaming your head off until your voice goes hoarse, your ears go dead, your brain turns to mush and leaks out your ears and your heart finally stops beating and you disappear...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

a self-loathing day repaired

today i had a really bad day at work. mostly it was because of all of the thinking about how i wasn't really able to get any shows together and all of that stuff. i got turned down for the empty bottle show that i really wanted. no one else has responded to any of my other messages either. this has been going on for months now and it's very discouraging. i'm beginning to think that i should look into my idea of having shows at churches. i don't know how much it costs to rent one out for a day/night whatever, but i'd imagine that it's quite expensive. i think i'm going to look into it finally because i'm really getting sick of trying to book shows. it's proving to be quite fruitless and quite a nuisance. i'm going to contact the people at the elbo room again to see if we could come back and play there again. i wasn't too nuts about the venue, but the sound was good, the sound man did what we asked him to and made us sound nice, we played well, etc. etc...
anyway, i got really deeply and darkly depressed. they also sent me home from work really really early- i left by about 8:45. this is not a good sign. this had better not happen all week. so far that's already almost half a day's worth of pay gone because i left at 10:15 last night. in a way it was good to leave because it snowed tonight and it looks really beautiful. i've been riding the brown line since the lasalle/van buren stop is right at the top of the street. it's quicker than taking the bus since i usually only have to wait 5 minutes for a train and it doesn't take me 10 minutes to walk there. the view was really beautiful and i couldn't read my book. i almost cried. i was also listening to 'victorialand' by the cocteau twins which has been a winter album for me since i first bought it during the winter of 2000 at the reckless records in notting hill. a few of my other favourite winter albums are 'five leaves left' by nick drake and 'ocean songs' by the dirty three. a few more escape me because of the winters i spent in portland- it never really felt like winter.