Thursday, September 29, 2011

An American Hero: The Flaming Lips

                Ah, yes, the Flaming Lips, a venerable institution of acid-fried weirdness. I am more than pleased with their mind-bending efforts this year. Songs in Gummy Fetuses’, working with Neon Indian (even if I didn’t exactly enjoy that recording), they’ve been doing unusual stuff even by their standards. You know, having naked bike rides and performing in a literal bubble can only take you so far. 

                To those who think they haven’t been strange enough, I present to you their latest creation: a recording encased in a human skull. Out in time for Halloween, they want everyone to get ready for the death/life cycle the songs are about. Apparently there are only a few songs, which is cool. So far a short two-hour clip has been posted of the first song. Each song will be encased in a small hard drive, representing our consciousness being connected to technology. Or the Flaming Lips probably weren’t able to put a 6 hour song out on any other format. 

                Most of the two hour clip is heavily repetitive, drone-based stuff. As someone who sort of lives off of that music, I decided to give it a listen. Actually I’m digging it a bit. It has all those trippy bits I wanted to see on the Neon Indian collaboration. Well, better late than never. I mean, by now it has been decades with these guys, and they’ve been doing a great job of making the world a consistently weirder place. 

                I’m happy to see so far into their career they’ve decided to help out human skulls. For forever they’ve been marketing their music to people who are currently alive. By placing their music into human skulls, they can now reach the lucrative Zombie and Ghoul market. Though some would argue Wayne Coyne already feasts on the flesh of the living, I’d retort that’s just another quirk of his lifestyle. 

                Thank you Flaming Lips for making good use of perfectly good human skulls.

Movie Review: Citizen Kane: Michael Bay’s Remake.

This photo has not been edited. He really looks like that.
                Michael Bay sat on his private island in Indonesia. As he watched the Komodo Dragons lazily make their way up his beach, he wondered what more could he do. Thinking to himself, he already had some of the most negative press around, yet still made money. For his entire career, he trolled movie theaters, taunting them with terrible movie after terrible movie. Yet he still made some of the most financially successful movies of all time. Where was the fairness in that?

                When would the masses wake up and realize he hated movies? Didn’t creating a third “Transformers” movie convince them of that? In case someone didn’t get it, he used a lame Pink Floyd reference “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” in order to see if he could offend music fans too. No use, nobody understood how horrible his movies were. Constantly he heard the refrain given about all his movies: they are ‘mindless’ fun. 

                Obviously he needed to step up his game. Michael needed to find a movie so beloved by the masses that no one could doubt his intent. A venerable institution of cinematography needed to be defecated upon. Looking through books filled with the best movies (thankfully his movies had been excluded from those lists) he saw a movie which got mentioned over and over again. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Mr. Bay’s personal favorite “Weekend at Bernie’s” it was some movie called “Citizen Kane”.

                Immediately Michael Bay thought “Citizen Kane” was about a vigilante candy cane that helped people discover the true meaning of Christmas through violence. Upon doing an unusual thing and researching the movie, he discovered the plot. Realizing this might be his chance to truly display his contempt for art and culture, he diligently worked for 15 minutes re-writing the plot and figuring out who to cast, along with taking some ‘creative freedoms’. Below is the new version:

                Charles Foster Kane (the Jersey Shore’s ‘The Situation’), a wealthy sex doll manufacturer, dies after saying “Bros” and dropping a bottle of Axe Body Spray. News circulates around the web, with people creating Memes of how “that sucks” with a naked picture of himself with a sex doll. A revered journalist Glen Beck (played by Ashton Kutcher) tries to find out the truth behind the phrase.

                The deeper he goes, the more he’s confronted by cars transforming into giant robots. Slowly he realizes how Kane manipulated politicians to create endless wars. Working with newspapers now extinct, he gave these robots literally fighting chances. Wars take place in countries as far flung as Belgium, Argentina, Brunei, Grenada, and Uzbekistan. Fighting scenes take up about 70% of the movie. People from all races and creeds get ingloriously blown up. 

Eventually the United States’ economy collapses due to debt brought on by the conflicts; people are no longer able to afford to raise families. Men purchase blow-up dolls for their longer and longer tours overseas. When they returned to a wrecked economy, they are unable to support their families and turn to sex dolls to make them feel important.

Charles’ part in betting against the US economy is discovered and his influence is destroyed. In front of Congress, he cries a lot. Various congressmen berate him. After being publicly embarrassed, he hides in his palatial estate, never to be heard from again, receiving various tax breaks since he’s wealthy. Never again does he have friends, just mere servants. The transformers decide to work as Livery drivers in New York City to make ends meet. 

Upon doing research, Glen Beck realizes Charles grew up in a working class family in New Jersey. Though he lived a poor existence, he banged ‘mad bitches’ on that state’s very shore. Glen theorizes “bros” refers to when Charles had friends. Oddly, Glen is right and the movie ends with Panda Bear’s “Bros” playing in full as the camera focuses in on a bottle of Axe body spray.

At its release, thesaurus sales increase as critic look for new ways to describe rubbish. Each review is meaner than the last. Wall Street Journal says about the plot: “It makes ‘Go Dog Go” seem like ‘Infinite Jest’.” Those in charge of the “Razzies” nominate it for 87 different categories, including ‘new circle of hell’.

Word of mouth calls it ‘Good Fun’. After its international release, the movie makes an unheard-of $57 billion. People celebrate its fun across the globe. World peace ensues due to the fantastically awful movie. Yet again, failure and sarcasm has eluded Michael Bay.

Keith Fullerton Whitman/Alien Radio – Untitled 7.9

                Ah yes, how I adore this split. I have one familiar artist (Keith Fullerton Whitman) and one newcomer (Alien Radio). The two nicely balance one another out. Keith decides to focus on a heavy onslaught of sound. Alien Radio on the other hand has a very quieter, much more minimal approach to sound. What brings the two of them together is a love for old synthesizers. 

                “101105” starts things off in an epic fashion. A field recording is playing. Slowly behind it Keith’s wonderful noises bubble up from the murk. This is a happy, optimistic recording. More than a few times it rushes into a jubilant climax. It is beautiful. Eventually it peaks into a high pitch before breaking down altogether in a glorious haze of electronics. 

                I’ve never encountered Alien Radio’s work before. Based off my limited knowledge, I think he’s done a few limited cassette releases. For him, this is his largest offering. Compared to Keith’s work, it is far more modest. That’s not a bad thing. Whereas Keith worked on an expansive range, Alien focuses on quieter aspects of sound. One can hear the tiny textures set forth in the recording. Beats are incorporated in this, as are simple, delicate melodies. 

                This is a good mixture of quiet and loud in equal doses. Starting giant and contracting into the microscopic, it is a good view of what happens when artists not only use vintage equipment, but understand it as well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who the Eff is Peterbd?

                Peterbd is a mysterious internet presence currently residing in internet city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty. Occasionally he sends out emails which make the recipient’s day. No one has ever met or heard of Peterbd. Speculation exists he may or may not be working hard on his anonymous presence in order to bring out his true title: 2018 Poet Laureate. I could be wrong, I just don’t know. 

                I wonder though: why would be anonymous on the internet? What value do you get from hiding yourself from screaming throngs of fans? As Sisqo once said “That throng, th throng throng throng” Sisqo has moved on since that song, becoming an ambassador for peace, a near-modern day Robin Hood, stealing booty from the rich in booty and giving it to the booty-less. Truly Sisqo is a man of our times, a man who, unlike Peterbd, has allowed himself to face his adoring public.

                This is the first time anyone’s really focused on Peterbd. Personally, that’s a shame. Any contact I’ve had with Peter has been beyond engaging. It became Post-Engaging, when I get so engaged I don’t even know how I lived before that email. Yep, Peterbd changed my life. He can change yours too. Or so I’d imagine, except if you’re Peterbd. 

                Going onto Peter’s only known information outside of emails we arrive at his Tumblr. It is filled with countless literary references to such giants as Shaun Gannon, Justin Carter, and others. Even among his contacts there has been some confusion. Justin Carter couldn’t decipher Peter’s tone or intention. Peterbd doesn’t have an intention or tone. Peterbd simply is. 

                Of course Peter isn’t alone in remaining anonymous on the internet. Plenty of dwellers from internet city choose anonymity. In fact, one of those dwellers may be really close to you right now. They may have typed out something extremely relevant. Yep, I’m talking about none other than Carles, the famous blogger from Hipster Runoff. Isn’t it interesting how we’ve never seen Carles and Peterbd in the same place? Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Why don’t the two of them have some kind of joint Podcast deal where they respond to curious online lookers? I could tell you why, but that would leave you even more confused. 

                A few other queries about Peterbd: does he live in Houston, Texas? Does he play the guitar, abet in a strange, uniquely personal way? Could Peterbd be a pseudonym for Jandek, since Jandek hasn’t gotten around to creating a website yet and wanted to comment on people’s blogs anonymously? I think that’s the best idea I’ve had so far. Also, why does Peterbd enjoy elaaiine’s twitter so much, besides it being uniformly excellent?

                Really, there are no answers to these questions. I know the truth is out there, kind of like the truth about space aliens but way more important to my life. Right now the only thing I know for certain is Peterbd will probably be sending me a lengthy email after this.

Little Dragon – Ritual Union 6.5

                Little Dragon has two elements. There are the wonderful, crystal-clear vocals. I have no problem at all with the vocals. Any voice that smooth is fine with me. My concern has to do with the back-up. Sometimes the arrangements are a bit thin to me or a tad bit too eccentric (hence awkward). When these arrangements match up with the vocals I’m given a vision of a potentially better sound.

                Now I’m a huge fan of repetition. Love it. I can’t get enough of it. A main component in repetition is: is it worth repeating? “Summertearz” does not meet the criteria. It’s awkward, slow-moving, and a bit too odd for its own good. “Please Turn” barely evolves at all; it feels like an endless loop which greatly outstays its welcome. Same goes for the song “Crystalfilm” which lasts for nearly five uneventful minutes. Meanwhile, songs with a thicker, more fleshed out song are simply grand. 

Songs like “Shuffle a dream” have a bouncy, fun feel to them. I like the playful sound. Build-ups, when they do occur (which isn’t too often, quite a shame) are my favorites. “Nightlife” possesses a nice groove to it. Here the vocals and loops match up wonderfully. Had “Ritual Union” had more songs like this one I’d be more than happy. It sounds terrific. 

Overall, this is a strange album. The times where they appear to hit their stride are fleeting. Much of the album employs a thin, overly-repetitive sound. Vocal-wise it is wonderful. Perhaps next time they’ll do a better job of creating something a tad more engaging.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“Four” by Carolyn DeCarlo and Jackson Nieuwland

                ‘Fore’ is what golfers say when they swing those bats after they get a touchdown. At least that’s what I think happens. I don’t really know, most people get into golf sometime in their late 60s after they’ve saved enough money to stop caring about important things. Right now I’m not in my late 60s and I don’t plan on being in my late 60s for a long time.

                “Four” is what happens when Carolyn DeCarlos and Jackson Nieuwlands come together via the internet to create their own language. Carolyn is no strange to collaborations: she worked extensively on her “Down” project over the summer with the wonderful Ras Mashramani. Now she’s decided to follow her heart all the way to New Zealand. Hopefully if she’s able to accumulate enough American currency she can visit one Jackson Nieuwland. 

                Jackson Nieuwland has been having a great week. What more can I say? First he rejoins Facebook, then gets in a Facebook relationship, and now he may have a potential visitor from halfway across the world (note: all places are halfway across the world in relation to New Zealand. New Zealand is near nothing.) Yep, things are pretty sweet for Mr. Nieuwland.

                Their chapbook convinces me of their affection for the English language. Going through the euphemism for the word “four letter word” they quickly proceed onward to each contributor’s quirks. Carolyn focuses on a more sexually charged vocabulary, similar to her work on “Down”. Jackson follows up with his attention to repetition in his work. 

                Nor do they stop with mere words. Pictures of Swag, Slugs, and smiling pills adorn the pages. They want you to be happy. Words themselves are multi-colored in a scheme similar to Jackson’s famous Tumblr page. Stories veer from extreme darkness “Pill” to erect fun “Swag” and in between. 

                My favorite part almost goes inside my head. “Tree” sounds eerily similar to my idea of reincarnation. In case that exists I’d like to be a tree since no one would expect anything more of me than for me to give them shade, warmth, and comfort. Jackson focuses on the Chestnut tree in his word due to his belief that chestnuts are the best nuts, a rap which went viral all over Uzbekistan and received serious airplay from major college radio stations. I do love trees and reading about their feelings on them I’m glad I’m not alone in my beliefs. Besides, this poem may also be a metaphor for Jackson’s extreme height. 

                “Five” ends the poem as it is the highest the numbers go. On that note they mention the joys of simplicity and spelling. Nothing is resolved, only a hope that more four letter words come about to make the world a better place. 

                Jackson and Carolyn have a positive, optimistic view of the world. I hope they get to see each other either this year or next. We need a little bit more positivity in the world. With “Four” I see there are people trying to bring it to the masses. Check it out. “Four” is a beautiful chapbook in myriad ways. Support their love. Give them money. Receive their love.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cosmos V – V 7.0

                Cosmos V is a trippy little group from Utrecht, the Netherlands. Other than that I know positively next to nothing about this group. For ‘V’ they have some seriously excellent, hazy songs that are dosed in lo-fi and detached vocals. Quite honestly, it is a fun, sort of sleazy trip. 

                The singer’s vocals mesh well with the blissful little melodies they put forth. Most of the sound is a mixture of rock and electronic. In “Roam” they have a guitar twanging in the background, probably the closest they get to being conventional. “Desire will bring you sorrow” is pure pop. Here the electronic effects take full effect as an efficient drum machine keeps time. Perhaps this may be my favorite song out of the whole bunch. Clocking at three minutes with a near-awake feel, it’s just pure joy. Actually most of these songs are around the perfect pop three minute mark, making remarkably enjoyable. 

                By the end of the EP, things go further out. The singer sounds far away. Songs are even more dream-like in delivery and sound. Cosmos V have a sound akin to a lo-fi shoegaze, right down to the deadpan vocalist. 

                Overall, this is a fun, somewhat dreamy release. It grows on you. There’s a certain charm Cosmos V have in their songs, perhaps it is the singer, perhaps the strung-out guitar or whacked-out drum machine, but it’s tangible and real. Get it here.

“This isn’t about Jon Ross it’s about art” by Jacob Steinberg

                Full disclosure: I have never met Jon Ross. West Palm Beach has and will never see the likes of me. As I’ve chronicled on this blog countless times my opinion on Florida is a bit less than endearing. Perhaps at some point I can be convinced of otherwise. I’m an open-minded sloth. Jon Ross may even be a wonderful, great person. Clearly he’s an inspiration for artists everywhere or at the very least, one Jacob Steinberg. 

                It was a hot and heavy night. There was our young hero, Jacob Steinberg, drinking in what I believe to be an ice cream social down on West Palm Beach. At this point in the night Jacob went up to the soda pop man and asked him to ‘hit me again’. Unfortunately the jerk behind the counter ran out of Jacob’s favorite non-alcoholic beverage. Dejected, Jacob stared at nothing in particular, probably thinking about Argentina or whatever it is Jacob Steinbergs think about. That’s when he saw him.

                Jon Ross and Jacob Steinberg met. Originally Jon wanted to go home with Jacob but that didn’t happen. Instead Jon and Jacob never saw each other again. A loser in the game of love, Jacob at first frowned but then proceeded to follow his muse and write a chapbook. Having been at the receiving end of so much rejection, I think this is probably healthier than my habit of queuing up Stars of the Lid and William Basinski albums for an entire weekend. But you know different strokes for different folks. 

                Over the course of several months we learn about their relationship that never was. Jacob goes through the stages of having a crush. I can relate to this, having been interested in countless people who were not even remotely interested in me. Like Mr. Steinberg, I tended to be more articulate, a better writer though we did have one major difference, in fact a bit of a flaw on my part: I made Mix CDs for anyone on the first date. As I typed that I felt a sharp pang in my head knowing how many people never listened to my well-selected playlist, choosing instead to gain a shiny coaster. While that isn’t exactly writing a chapbook of poetry, it is the closest I’ve gotten.

                The poems go through the gamut of happy to sad to over it. I like the transitions. Adding text messages into the chapbook gave it a rawer feel, in case that was needed. Reading someone else’s text messages always feels really personal. People have pretty close connections to their phones so getting access to such personal information is akin to seeing someone naked. On phones people tend to be blunter, particularly with text messages and their limited forms of communication. The blog hit from Orlando helped me understand as well. Normally I never get any friends in real life to read my blog so I don’t worry about it. However, if a friend were to randomly discover all these tossed-about words I don’t know what I’d do. 

                After hearing about the failed relationship with Jon Ross, Jacob said he might write a chapbook about it, chronicling the story arc. I’m glad Jacob chose art over some random dude from Florida. This is a perfect chapbook for overcoming that boring or shitty relationship. It gets better.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reading my Chapbook

                Jacob Steinberg read his newest and greatest book tonight: Your Eyes saw my unformed limbs. On the cover was the picture of the saddest Golem I have ever seen. For those unaware of what Golems are, they are basically the precursors to Pokémon, those lovable creatures who will cherish your friendship forever. To follow up on this chapbook dedicated to golems, those ancient creatures, some random blogger may or may not decide to make a mini chapbook dedicated to those wonderful creatures. Among the titles thrown out there are “Pikachu: I choose you” and “The Electric Acid Pikachu Test”. Either way it could potentially change your life and all perceptions on the Pokémon lifestyle. Prepare yourselves if this comes to pass. 

                The reading started strong. Personally, I think Jacob has a great online presence. Reading his newest chapbook half-naked is usually a good way of attracting viewers. Even in the literary underground (above-ground) sex sells. That’s what happens. Due to his tactics he managed to sell one of his chapbooks to an interested overseas buyer. Of course you can go to his blog right here and snag one of them from the temporary Florida resident. 

                A few additional financial opportunities presented themselves. Jacob decided to take a page from the Golem playbook. In Golem culture, thousands of years ago, Golems used to hit on each other through the only way they could: through the exchange of underwear. Mr. Steinberg sold, or toyed with selling, his underwear to make ends meet (in more than one way). Chapbooks can’t pay the bills. Sometimes it takes a little bit more to bring in cash money. Sometimes it takes a blog to focus on underwear sales, to get all the gossip about alt lit writers. Of course you come here for that. 

                “This isn’t about Jon Ross it’s about art” received some sweet attention from Mr. Steinberg. His chapbook may or may not be reviewed at some point in the near future. Besides this Jacob became a boykitten, through his application of cat makeup onto his face. He did this in celebration of Kat Dixon’s greatness. 

                It ended with Jacob wishing us a fine night and becoming one with the boykitten internet movement through a complicated induction process.Welcome Jacob!


                Hello Muumuu House,

I would like a copy of the aforementioned book for review purposes only. While I have no actual right to do so I will do so anyway. Either way I have nothing to lose by asking you. Failure to send one to me will result in no ill-will or negative consequences for you whatsoever as I am powerless and survive off of low-calorie food. Kudos on all of your success whoever the recipient of this email may be!

Beach Sloth

                Megan Boyle’s book followed quickly after this email was sent. Whoever sent it to me is much more productive than I am. Normally I don’t move that fast. Once I got it I read it immediately, going over it piece by piece. Though I move slowly; I read quickly.

               I judged this book by its cover. The cover features some thoughtful-looking woman staring in front of her, probably at some glorious future, made me want to become a better sloth. Or she could be sleeping while standing up since her eyes are closed. Honestly, I’m not sure. Reading it though I realize I’m around average in terms of social anxiety. Perhaps I’m slightly more anxious than the character was during the creation of this cultural artifact, this testament to our times. 

                Parts of this book were surprisingly real to me. Right now I’m in Baltimore. Her posts take place in this allegedly ‘charming’ city. Oddly, her experience, as frustrating as it was, made me long for her cool set of friends. Down here I’ve found nearly no one with my same interests. Nay, I’ve found those boring tools who listen to Dave Matthews, who look like bros, and who are some of the least engaging people I’ve found on the entire planet. It is the rare moment that I see anything approximating a ‘cool kid’ on these streets, and when I do, I nearly want to hug the person, to say ‘thank god you exist’. 

                The book is funny. A few times it caught me completely off guard. Megan’s wit is sharp. I’m not an easy laugh. I’m not the sort of person who laughs uncontrollably at the sight of their own belly button lint. Putting it bluntly, let me quote Tristan Tzara “It is not for the sawed-off imps who still worship their navels.” You should pay close attention to the word choice and exact delivery. Getting humorous delivery down in the written word isn’t easy but Ms. Boyle excels at it.

                Relate-able moments are everywhere. You may be familiar with some of this, it is available on her sweet-ass blog, on various Thought Catalog articles, or any kind of conversation you may or may not have had with her. Seeing her comments about Bloggers were pretty close to home, I literally squirmed uncomfortably in my chair, knowing that the entire sentence basically summarized the slight embarrassment associated with blogging. At least that’s been my experience. 

                Upon finishing this book, I felt better. Reading it was like talking through my problems with an old friend. They are there, I know their quirks, they tell me about their experience, and we drink, we drink a whole lot. Megan’s approach to writing is easy, natural, and surprisingly universal. Muumuu House did a great job setting this upon the unsuspecting public. 

                It’s out on November 15th, 2011, a Tuesday. Go here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Leyland Kirby – Eager to Tear Apart the Stars 8.7

                Eager to Tear Apart the Stars tops off a great year for Mr. Kirby. Besides his two EPs under his own name, he also released an album under his Caretaker guise. All of those releases were something of a buildup for this album. For on “Eager to Tear Apart the Stars” he further refines his bleak compositions to conjure up images of long-lost David Lynch soundtracks. Gorgeous can’t even describe the dark twisted beauty on these mere seven tracks.

                The tracks are quite frankly, some of the best things he’s ever done. Sure he’d be toying around with these ideas for a while through his many aliases. None of those will prepare you for what these tracks behold. Right from “The Arrow of Time” you’re subjected to more nostalgia and wistfulness than may be healthy for one sitting. 

                Pieces of his previous work shine through here, fully realized. You can hear the crackles and pops from his Caretaker work. His previous approach for this project, more static-fused melodies, has been tuned-down for this considerably more serious work. On “This is the story of Paradise Lost” he has the smallest amount of elements he’s used for the project, yet the sound benefits tremendously from this trimming down. 

                For me the winner of the album has to be the surreal dreamscape of “They Are All Dead, There Are No Skip At All”. If I knew what was going on, I’d tell you. With this track Leyland Kirby ought to make a lot of bedroom producers intensely jealous. Samples weave in and out of the sound. Nothing appears to last for very long. The music itself wants to hide from you, wants to convince you it isn’t even happening.

                Will any of this change Leyland’s position in the music world? Quite frankly I don’t think Leyland Kirby gives a shit what anyone thinks about him. A true musical eccentric like Mr. Kirby is a rare find indeed. Eager to Tear Apart the Stars proves it.

Ganga Loners by Stephen Tully Dierks

                Pangur Ban Party got what is known as a get: Stephen Tully Dierks. Prepare yourselves. The going is going to get weird. “Ganga Loners” combines multiple aspects of Stephen’s very essence, from flarf to loving to living in your twenties with crippling anxiety. We’ve all been there. Everybody cries. Everybody flarfs. Maybe we have even had our own writing flarfed for the amusement of others. Sometimes I just, I just don’t know. Life feels so crazy sometimes especially when you listen to electro-acoustic experimental music like I do. But without further ado, let’s dive deep into Stephen’s internet word pile.

                “i luv you girl” starts up the series. The beginning discusses what constitutes a ‘jam’. According to the unknown subject, ‘dis a jam’. I think these might be fragments of G-chats. They feel G-chat-like to me. Stephen (or someone) says Chicago sucks, to which the reply is given “Move to San Diego”. Personally I have never been to Chicago so I have no rating criteria about how great/terrible the place may be. The person from San Diego may or may not be a famous writer. The person from Tijuana may or may not be another famous writer. Whoever this someone is remains single and hasn’t had the right girlfriend. Perhaps this person is looking for love in all the wrong places when it was right in front of them. Of course I’m talking about that movie “Weird Science” where a couple of bros make a girl using technology. “Weird Science” seems as relevant today as it was in the mid to late 80s. 

                “Stage Crew” discussed the bizarre cult of the stage crew. “Cleo ’07-‘08” answers all the questions you could ever want to know from 3 to 4 years ago. “are you that somebody?” explores online relationships. Will we ever find love on the internet it seems to ask us. Usually though it is easier to find porn online than your significant other, with porn searches outnumbering relationships searches by an absurd, near-depressing ratio. I think the ratio of “relationship advice” to “porn” is 1:1,997,586,987,098,321 roundabouts. 

                “Help! There's Somebody Who Looks Like Me Following Me Around Slapping Me in the Face” is my favorite. Love this one. Love it a lot. In this story we have a protagonist who is down on himself. He walks around, pitying himself, trying to avoid eye contact with unchill boss bros, the worst kind of bro. There he is trying to make himself Ramen noodles to compliment his bleak, unfulfilling life when he gets slapped in the face. I can relate to this person. Our protagonist suffers from low self-esteem, low twitter follower esteem, and low hit esteem. At least the low hit problem from his website is counterbalanced with in-real-life physical hits to the face. Facebook stalking is not approved by this nemesis that looks just like the protagonist. “in the flesh” ends it on a positive note. 

                Reading this cheered me up. I cordially thank Stephen for making my life less bleak.

Filardo – Enter the Edit Suite 8.0

                Filardo combines multiple genres into a satisfying whole. Indie rock pieces together the disparate little pieces: bossa nova here “I can love you more” to Elephant6 whimsy “Banana Cream Picture Frame” there. Those are just the ones I could pick out. Really the whole thing flies by so quickly in its 34 minutes. Sometimes there will be multiple pieces within a single song. I guess that’s why they named their name after the edit suite, since a quality project like this takes time. 

                The singing on here is clear. Normally I’m not a fan. I tend to enjoy my vocals blurred and disorientated. But the singer is so infinitely likable on here. You must like him. Most of the album is just as clear, just as instantly enjoyable. Filardo revels in its poppy sensibilities, in its fun little universe. Wherever this was recorded I’m sure had some unreasonable amount of sunshine. The sunshine is audible. Going through the 13 songs I didn’t encounter one dark or semi-dark thought. Everything is cheerful in this universe. 

                Enter the Edit Suite is genuine enough to pull off this happiness. They possess enough convince to go from synthesizer backed songs to acoustic songs such as “The Wind winds a prayer”. All of it comes together into a nice little package. Transitions are well done. Listening to this I do feel a wee bit of nostalgia for bands like Elf Power at their prime, Olivia Tremor Control at their poppy extreme, particularly on the song “It’s always a good time”. 

                You may have a hard time finding as laid-back and accomplished a band as Filardo. Don’t believe me, go listen here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

nEonsense by Neon Glittery

                Today is the day. Everything changed. I’m happy now. nEonsense arrived in the mail. For weeks I’ve awaited this great package, waiting for the Postal Service to take me to such great heights. My building is sick of me asking about it.  When I picked it up, they told me “But it doesn’t have your name on it.” I told them “Google me. I’m fucking great at blogging.” Actually I didn’t really say that as I’m a polite sloth. What I did do was eagerly pick it up and rush on back. Part of me wonders whether or not their curiosity got the best of them or if they decided I was weird and didn’t bother thinking more about it. Either way, I now have nEonsense in my little, sloth claws. Maybe they are reading this right now and they think I’m awesome. 

                nEonsense needs to be experienced in person. The level of care Neon Glittery took in this artifact is amazing. Obviously it is neon. Glitter is all over. But it’s an object of pure love, crafted by one Elizabeth Ashley Arnold. Perhaps her time spent in Germany has taught her the proper manufacturing methods. Every page is filled to the brim. Words hug the margins, splay themselves out, or just fall down. Binding is brought together by hand, and the attention to detail includes even a little smiley face, welcoming you to the work. If arts and crafts ever taught me to do something this infinitely excellent, I might have paid attention as an eight year old sloth. Thankfully Neon was able to master the art of design. 

                Words explode inside. Stickers, pictures, and a mix CD are enclosed, giving you things to show your support. A little sticker states “stick me somewhere but you have to peel me 1st” reminding me of the Velvet Underground and Nico’s “Peel Slowly and See”. You see, Neon has this down. Don’t consider her a player in this, she wrote the gosh-darn name for Pete’s sake. A little bit of respect is due for this exquisite attention to detail. Each page I revisited multiple times, in awe of both the words and delivery. 

                I have wanted this book for a while. First there was all that hype I created because I think what Neon does is unique. Nobody I’ve read really incorporates design of where the words go alongside the poetry itself. Oftentimes there are ‘multiple scenarios’ for the poem. Usage of the [], (), //, -- give the words different potential meanings, feelings, and emotions. In a way nEonsense is a more honest approach to writing poetry. By capturing all these varying feelings it represents what goes on in our own minds. 

Whenever I’m doing anything I think up countless scenarios for how to do it. Most writing doesn’t bother to present these different meanings. Usually if it is does it is stated rather explicitly: “Jake didn’t know whether to eat a pizza or bludgeon the Purple Dinosaur to life.” For this book, Neon lets you pick your adventure to some degree. All those ‘choose your own’ adventure books from not that long ago (or perhaps I’m dating myself) had parts of this fun, but usually there were wrong answers. nEonsense’s world has everything as a potentially right answer. It depends on your mood and the way you want to read it. Your own interpretation is not just important, but required. This goes for every poem in the chapbook, no matter how big or small. Even in such a small size you get lost in the text. 

This delightful little collection can be found on Neon’s own website. Get stickers and get a mix CD if you’d like. As a personal side note it is well-selected. I’ve made countless mixes so I know a thing or two about how to select properly. Besides, anything that ends with a song as obscure as that, well you’ve just won me over in terms of music. Keeping it a secret as to what band it was but let’s just say: well done. 

Gladly get lost in the great glittering world of nEonsense.

R.E.M. break up, music critics pretend to care

                Let’s be honest: R.E.M. has sucked. Not in general but lately they’ve appeared to ‘give up the ghost’. I figure there’s something to be said for realizing when you’re completely irrelevant. Some of my co-workers once asked me if I heard the new R.E.M. and I unintentionally gave them a look saying: “Are you being ironic?” Upon which I was never questioned about music again. Those were sad times.

                So while I see all these statuses stating “I’m losing my religion” maybe you should have been an atheist. At their peak R.E.M. could have inspired you. Now if you’re inspired by new R.E.M perhaps I can interest you in being inspired by a blank piece or gum stuck to the pavement. To me then recent R.E.M. represented a great deal of bad: boring, generic radio filter that creates wallpaper sound. You couldn’t interact with it if you wanted. There’s nothing. All of it is terrible. Whenever I hear new REM songs in the dentist’s office I wonder when they are going to turn on those machines to drown out the boring sound with wonderfully hideous noise. 

                My only reason for caring is the gratification that there will be one less rock dinosaur pathetically trying to extend its lifespan. The time off may encourage them to get creative, try something new. I’ll be kind enough to say that they could re-discover a purpose, a reason for being. Perhaps going away from each other will unclog their minds and allow creative juices to flow. 

                R.E.M. had a certain talent, a flair for writing memorable songs, not even too long ago (think late 80s, early 90s). There’s a reason the Butthole Surfers stalked them for a couple of months while on dubious substances. It’s because at one point they were interesting, even dream-like (hence R.E.M.) Now R.E.M. stands for sleeping inducing, since there’s virtually nothing one would want to revisit. Better they realize they need to stop rather than continually chart their gradual decline. 

                To paraphrase the famous band Negativland’s hallmark recording:

                                “These guys are from America and who gives a shit.”

                                                RIP R.E.M. (1980-2011)