Videotape

I heard this song while working through an anxiety attack in a coffee shop and it stirred me; I couldn’t fully concentrate on it because of all the other noise, but it was calming and resonant.

I’ve been listening to it all day. It’s one of those pleasant surprises, a thing of beauty that strikes out of nowhere.

I am sure I would have heard this song months or years ago if I used things like Pandora, but, this is why I tend to abstain from such measures. It just feels right and significant now, adding a sense of uncertain bliss to life in all of the saddest and best ways. The unknown and unplanned of life, striking you up and down from time to time.

I don’t know, it made me want to paint the way only random and sustained beauty can. Art can be quite remarkable like that.


Sunday Morning

Jesus Christ, that’s a pretty face. The kind you’d find on someone that could save. If they don’t put me away, it’ll be a miracle. Do you believe you’re missing out, that everything good is happening somewhere else? With nobody in your bed, the night’s hard to get through.

And I will die all alone and when I arrive I won’t know anyone.

Well Jesus Christ, I’m alone again, so what did you do those three days you were dead? Because this problem’s going to last more than the weekend. Jesus Christ I’m not scared to die, but I’m a little bit scared of what comes after. Do I get the gold chariot, do I float through the ceiling? Do I divide and pull apart? ‘Cause my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark. And the ship went down at the sight of land. And at the gates, does Thomas ask to see my hands?

I know you’re coming in the night like a theif, but I’ve had some time, o Lord, to hone my lying technique. I know you think that I’m someone you can trust but I’m scared I’ll get scared and I’ll try to nail you back up. So do you think that we could work out a sign so that I’ll know it’s you and that it’s over so I won’t even try. I know you’re coming for the people like me; we’ve all got wood nails and we turn out hate in factories.

We’ve all got wood and nails and we sleep inside of this machine.

I’ll always have to tip my hat to Jesse of Brand New and Dustin of Thrice for being able to write songs that have religious connotations that anyone can get down with. The same way anyone can find value in art, or should be able to, I don’t see why nonbelievers can’t still get down with songs that use religious themes as a vehicle for telling a story.


Sunday Mornings at the Studio

There will always be a certain ache.


Once and Future Rock Stars

Lunch

Lunch · PDX Pop Now 2014 · Click to Enlarge

Lunch

Lunch · PDX Pop Now 2014 · Click to Enlarge

Lunch

Lunch · PDX Pop Now 2014 · Click to Enlarge

Lunch

Lunch · PDX Pop Now 2014 · Click to Enlarge

My pals in Lunch are one of Portland’s better punk bands right now. They’re in the studio and so look for a new LP to kill your face off dead soon. They are not used to playing on giant stages (or stages at all, really), and so I thought it would be funny and awkward to try and shoot them under the Hawthorne Bridge during Pop Now!


The Thundering Anthems of Despair

This is probably the best rendition of “The Sad Mafioso” I’ve heard. The best part about this show was that it was the day after this show:

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Godspeed You! Black Emperor · Big Sur, California · April, 2012

… which was four days before this show, featuring probably the best set list one could ask for. All in all, the middle of April in 2012 was not a bad time to live in the Bay Area.

I don’t know. This band sounds like the way it feels in my head most of the time. And people only really care about art when it resonates with them; that way it’s poetry, otherwise it’s self-indulgent.

We drift, like trembling fire …


To The Barricades Again

Normally I would wait until November before I start ranting and raving about it being too early for needless ‘end of the year’ lists, but fortunately Pitchfork has given reason to bring this insanity to light even sooner. 2010-2014: The Best Music of The Decade So Far is a real thing. Like, I had to check first that I wasn’t on BuzzFeed or that it wasn’t April 1. No, this is real and it is insane.

Pitchfork is a glorified PR machine as it stands.1 They try to be the modern Rolling Stone (in terms of relevance, at least), but the fact of the matter is Pitchfork isn’t doing any actual journalism. It’s all interviews and reviews and press circus bullshit. There’s some in-depth writing, but there’s no relevance.

It could be argued that modern entertainment has strayed from art and moved too far toward capitalism, sacrificing the relevance it had in the 0s. With this would then be the criticism that parallels any creative endeavor.2 And with all of this is the necessary issue of content: the grease that keeps the machine going and the people clicking and buying.

Zoom in a bit and thus, we have a list issue. We have lists upon lists, with some websites just making fuck tons of money for dumb fucking lists that secretaries and mid-level managers at box stores and offices in Dayton can forward to everyone in the office. People care about talking about how their opinions stack up against others, giving so much power to the audience in terms of what their influence3 is over the art world.

And, of course, in capitalism that influence is quite real. An audience in general is a valuable asset, and so it leads websites like Pitchfork to do increasingly lowbrow, click bait publishing in order to retain them. Meanwhile, artists see all these lists and think, “Man, this is what people talk about, this is where I should be.” Really, though, artists should be thinking, “Fuck these lists and these people who write them.”

Because there is no need for this list. There is barely a need for year-end lists, and while I get that everyone has a right to their opinion, let’s face the fact that cultural criticism is a skill set that not all are blessed with. However, this not-even-mid-decade bullshit is just making a commodity of what’s already been selling. It’s a reaffirmation that, yes, Pitchfork has been influencing taste for the past few years just the way they did the years before that.

And it has nothing to do with being relevant or necessary or urgent or dangerous. It’s a trophy for the case, another encore for the reunion show.

Fuck it. And fuck the people who wrote it.

      Notes
  • Behind the scenes with how the Pitchfork operation works.
  • Art criticism is a controversial and rather indulgent field to begin with; if it’s not serving any purpose by providing a balance to relevant art, then why do we really care?
  • Perceived or actual.

Rooms And Gardens

Sowed a broken, blue ocean with old wire hands. Found in vacant lots the lonely shells of flowered plans. Outside, there for nothing, wives and lovers in ageless sorrow. On now to the wasted rooms and gardens and stricken yards.

Sight now changing. Sorrow building. Light now leaving. Our lives ending.

When I was collecting records I managed to find a pretty rare 3×12″ copy of this album, which remains as one of my top ten records ever. It’s just so fucking perfect; one of the records you may lose track of from time to time, but once you put it on you wonder why you ever stopped listening to it the last time.


After The Fact

In The Studio

In The Studio

In The Studio

In The Studio

Spending more time thinking about art. Call it pretentious bullshit as much as you like, it really is, but man I miss the days I used to spend with friends just arguing values of various art movements. I don’t know, maybe that makes me useless, but I’m sort of used to that.

(Needed some segue in to being a perpetual punchline.)

Either way, I’ve been spending much more time in the studio lately. Thinking beyond canvases.

Sidewalk Closed Ahead


Terror Starts At Home

Autonomous machete for hands. Warden and judge hide behind masks. Wet raindrop lull, small rationing, exhumed the rhetoric of. Break the weak in single file. Sanction this outbreak, a virus conspires. Push becomes shove, days become months. I seem to have forgotten the warmth of the sun.

Feeding frenzy, it’s contagious. Have trigger, will travel. Single sparks are spectral fires.

Shackled the grapple and the sentinels found. Binoculars watch cardboard towns. Strung up in webs, the net was flung over the auditorium. Slave trade the weak, no call to arms, sanction this outbreak; a virus conspires. Push becomes shove, days become months, and I seem to have forgotten the warmth of the sun.

A single spark can start a spectral fire.Have trigger, will travel.

I have been on a strange rotation of At The Drive-In, Lana Del Rey and Max Richter all week. But it’s a good cover-all-bases sort of mix, I think.


I Keep Living The Same Day

For as much as I often use it as a tool of development, I fucking hate blogs. And blogging. Really, that whole word. The word, and all the ways you can use it, just sound disgusting. Say it out loud. Blogger. That’s like the giant wad of green you hack up while trying to bike down Commonwealth Ave during a November in Boston.

I may loathe Twitter as a general medium, but at least it’s consistent. The set limit allows for expectations of publishing. The way the newspaper or any printed media had restricted page sizes, printing colors and typographic choices, the context helps determine a concept for a result. A good idea needs an associated medium to be executed as well as possible.

Blogs, though, can be anything. Back in the day1 whichever service you signed up for (LiveJournal, Blogger, Makeoutclub) sort of added to the concept of what you’d be blogging about (or, perhaps, how you’d be doing it).2 And—while the artist side of me is thinking, “Hey, every post can be something fucking crazy“—the logical designer side of me says, “There needs to be some sort of expectation for length, content, pacing, and visual appeal of posts.”

I mean, I’m this obsessive about the shit I do in real life, so it only makes sense to be this way about the digital version of it all.

This is all to say that I’ve started writing more and my essays I write up for the blog eventually become much longer pieces that I’m still developing. I think it’ll end up being I’ll use the pieces in full for large forthcoming projects3 and post pieces here and there as drafts get finished.

(So I’m not overly lazy, although I did find myself glancing over at The Hunger Games, and I can’t believe people like this shit. I don’t really fancy myself a writer4 but it’s like people don’t even try for a B- anymore.)

Anyway, I’ll try and make this shit more interesting as these projects progress, but living in Portland is increasingly sanity-testing. Also, fuck parking tickets.

      Notes
  • I know, I know.
  • The networks may have been the root of the more modern social framework, as they basically emulated real life as it’s executed by the person living it, not the system they’re signed on to.
  • Oooh, mysterious.
  • After all this being about writing, even.

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