17 March 2010

The Bower Bird

I haven't posted here in months and I don't plan on reviving anything at the moment. However, I did resuscitate my other blog, Quietly Take To The Ship, as a home for a new poetry project called The Bower Bird.

The beloved Spaceship was sent to the hangar as I prepped for grad school and I haven't had the time or energy to drag her back out again. It will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future unless summer has other plans. We'll see. In the meantime constructing a bower of thoughts will be my primary focus and you're welcome to keep abreast of my progress. I have no idea where I'm going with it, only how I'm going about it.

Heh heh, I said "breast".

06 August 2009


Hey followers of haphazard bloggery, particularly those based in the Brooklyn area, come check out my band tonight, Thursday, August 6. Yeah, I said it. Mine. The other three bands that are playing are all seriously awesome and check-out worthy, but we, Warmth (or "Warmph" if you're so inclined, which I am), are opening. That means we get this party rolling and, boy, will we ever. Here's the sweet, sweet flier.

I know, I know, I should have posted this a few days ago for fair warning, but we were busy practicing! Practice is important if you want to be good at anything. Except for blogging, of course.

22 July 2009

Eagle Twin —The Unkindness of Crows

Back in March a few friends returned from SXSW with real good things to say about a couple bands they caught down in Austin. One of those bands was Eagle Twin, the new project from former Iceburn "collectivist" Gentry Densley. At the time I was not aware of the connection and, really, there isn't too much to suggest one—aesthetically anyway—between the two. The Iceburn Collective was, for the sake of brevity, a music-major's hardcore band that, over time, morphed into a sprawling avant-garde jazz ensemble. I'm not familiar with their whole catalogue, but what I know never ceases to impress; straight-up punishing, heady, hardcore jazz in the early days to free-form jazz improv later on. Good stuff that I need to get further into, but I digress...

Eagle Twin, on the other hand, is a far cry from the cerebral hardcore-cum-jazz of Densley's former work. Here, with his baritone guitar, he has teamed up with drummer Tyler Smith to form a wondrous hybrid of doom on their debut, The Unkindness of Crows. "A hybrid of 'doom' and what?" You may ask. That's where this duo gets interesting.

As they hail from Salt Lake City, there is a noticeable lack of the "sludginess" found in their peers from more humid climes. Eagle Twin, much like Kyuss or Earth's Hex album, is a strictly desert West affair. Wind howls, blows sand and tumbleweed and carries your scent off to the scavengers who've taken brief refuge from the sun. This is monolithic stone, canyons and salt flats; a harsh, yet majestic landscape that holds a deep echo of banditry, solitude, peace and foreboding. Think of the forgotten country Americana of Hex occasionally interspersed with Kyuss-ian grooves and you'll have a rudimentary idea of Eagle Twin.

While the Kyuss comparisons might be a bit of a stretch, their low-end fire rumble was always Dr. Gonzo tearing through Death Valley. Eagle Twin keeps toward a slower, Earth-like pace, but with more growl and grime—here a mixture of sand and motor oil—seeping through. These towers of doom happen to also be new labelmates, as The Unkindess of Crows is being released by Southern Lord. I highly, highly recommend picking this up and checking them out live, as they'll be touring with Earth (yay!) and Pelican (blehh, boring) later this fall.

YOB—The Great Cessation

Following the breakup of Middian after numerous hassles and setbacks, Mike Scheidt has returned with a reformed YOB and a new album. Though bassist Isamu Sato left for good following 2005's The Unreal Never Lived, drummer Travis Foster is back with new Middian (I'm an idiot) bassist Aaron Reiseberg filling Sato's spot. The result of this collaboration is The Great Cessation, an album that could just as easily been dubbed a Middian record (if not for those sue-happy jackasses in Wisconsin) as much as a YOB record.

Given that I can listen to The Unreal Never Lived repeatedly without ever remotely glimpsing boredom, it would take quite a feat for this trio to top that record with their new release. Still, I'm finding The Great Cessation to be a very enjoyable listen. It's not as demanding a listen, the riffs being generally more straightforward with less overt psychedelia, but there is something to be said for this record's simplicity.

I know a few people whose major complaint with YOB had been their tendency to meander and repeat excessively. There is little of that here; the songs are shorter and more focused, much like those on Middian's sole release, Age Eternal. However, the tempos have slowed again to proper YOB levels, eliciting those strains of dread and feelings of being gradually dragged ever downward.

So far my only issues with this record is the lack of immediately memorable riffage. For all its supposed excesses, The Unreal Never Lived had these in spades and some of the major themes and phrases on The Great Cessation seem more like b-side material from those sessions. They're all still really good, but they don't blow me away. Perhaps with some time and a few more listens I'll find myself humming these at work or something, but at the moment it's still too new.

Despite any minor complaints that I have at the moment, I like the album and consider it a continuation of good form. It's not perfect, but I wouldn't have expected such right off the bat. If these guys gel—which, given their somewhat shared histories shouldn't take long (again, dumb by above implication)—a follow-up to this record could be the cat's tits. Regardless, I'm gonna keep my eye out for any tours because I've never seen YOB live and I wouldn't consider catching these songs any sort of disappointment. This may not end up being one of the top records of the year, but I highly recommend picking it up because it could be a rather impressive grower, if not an immediate "whoa!"

14 July 2009

Joyeux 14-Juillet!

Do something French, like burn a prison to the ground or dress up and clean stuff in a sexy way, like these darlings!

13 July 2009

Fun With Sports Headlines

Normally someone else points these things out to me. Not today, no, I got this one all on my own:

Ronaldinho promises to fill Milan's Kaka gap

Haha, that's funny.

09 July 2009

Bust Out Yr Tape Decks, The Dead Hand Is Here

Good ol' boy and local low-end superstar Tony Gedrich (he of STATS, Extra Life & Archaeopteryx notoriety) has a new cassette tape label called Damage Rituals. Forget vinyl as a lasting medium, you can put these mothers in your pocket (unless you're a giant fat person in which case you'll have to eat a few of those Snickers first) and have a legit excuse to use the forlorn and jilted ghetto blaster that's sitting in your closet.

Mr. Gedrich teamed up with John Delzoppo of Cleveland's Clan of the Cave Bear and put together Dead Hand: Human Machines: a righteous mix of 27 wacked out, awesome bands for your listening nightmares. Some of these bands I knew already but now there are a bunch more I'm going to have to check out because ALL of these tracks are awesome. That's right, there isn't a stinker among them. I'm not going to list all the bands and link to them—everyone is listed on the Damage Rituals myspace page—but among the greats here are VAZ, Yukon, Animal, Zs, Child Abuse and Drunkdriver.

If you're looking for mp3s or any shit like that you're outta luck. This is all magnetic tape lovingly contained in beautiful plastic: material of the future! It sounds like a tape, plays like a tape and if you treat it badly, it will unspool all over your significant other's leg (if you have one, which I highly doubt). Go dig $6.50 out of your digital couch before Billy Mays screams at you from the great beyond and paypal that shit to Tony & John, you will not be disappointed.

02 July 2009

Incredible Fireworks Crotch Fail

Oh man, this is great, just in time for the holiday!

via the consistently incredible Sportress of Blogitude [SoB]

01 July 2009

Sixty Symbols (of Physics & Astronomy)

Tonight I got one of the best assignments I've so far received writing for Tilzy.tv (My review is now up here); I got turned onto Sixty Symbols. A project by Brady Haran, filmmaker-in-residence at Nottingham Science City, Sixty Symbols is a series of short primers that explain the significance of some of the most important concepts in physics and astronomy. Let me tell you it's absolutely fascinating and completely brilliant. At the moment I've only had the time to watch a few of these (and there are still more being produced), but I'll be spending an inordinate amount of my upcoming free time checking the rest out.

To get a taste watch this one one Jupiter:

29 June 2009

Margaret Atwood - Year of the Flood

Have you read Oryx & Crake yet? Well you have until September 22 to pull your head out of your ass and digest it. And while you're at it start taking survival courses because, if civilization continues to head in its current direction, we'll all be needing them. Atwood's near future feels a lot like the one whose soundtrack was written by GodspeedYou!BlackEmperor.

The coasts have drowned, deserts have expanded, urban zones have devolved into ghettoized brownfields and the upper echelons of society dwell in fear behind the heavily-surveiled walls of scattered corporate compounds. Governments are no longer relevant, if they even exist. Here, in the compounds, the brains work towards creating a plasticized, genetically-altered "utopia". To anyone who has read Oryx & Crake this landscape and the horror of the book's finale
is all too familiar.

While Jimmy and Glenn (of O&C notoriety) play out their destinies in the compounds, out in the "pleeblands"—the decimated, near-anarchic urban wastes—the tales within the Year of the Flood are being fleshed out. They reveal, over the course of twenty-five years, the first-person accounts of several people affiliated to various degrees with God's Gardeners, a religious sect whose leader, Adam One, has perfected a sort of squatter-punk synthesis of deep ecology and gnostic christianity. The gardeners are trying to preserve an unadulterated human relationship with nature and its mysteries, however misguided it may at first appear, though they may be the last hope when the technological world collapses.

Margaret Atwood, being Margaret Atwood, is going to make you think and at the same time make you incredibly uncomfortable with your own beliefs. Think religion is a sham and a waste of human energy? Prepare to loathe Adam One for his blatant hippie charlatanism whilst agreeing with some of the more radical tenets of the gardeners and the revelations of their theology. As an atheist who makes solid attempts to live in an ecologically-sound manner, this all gave me fits.

Fits are all well and good, but what about the causes of this near-future societal and natural collapse? Humans are clearly to blame, but not necessarily for the reasons so many would argue presently. Sure, warnings about climate change went unheeded as did those of overreliance on technological innovation to solve human problems. The main culprit of our problems has been an inexhaustible hubris; that we think we can outsmart and manipulate nature as we study its ways. There is clearly value in learning, studying and admiring nature and its processes, but it's when we begin to think we can control for an outcome we desire that the hydra appears.

Just as today too many people have an uncomfortable—if not downright hostile—attitude towards the presence of chaos in nature, Atwood's future of the "waterless flood" (which is better understood if you're already familiar with Oryx & Crake) is a security nightmare on account of this obsessive-compulsive disorder, much like if the first world suddenly plunged into the third. Frankly, the scenarios outlined here don't seem that far-fetched because there's no reason why it won't happen. Do-gooder organizations are constantly trying to plan for this type of future, but this future cannot be planned for and that is THE problem to which humanity has to acclimitize.

The easiest thing to do, of which I'm certainly guilty, is to laugh and shrug off the corny pseudo-religio-environmental spiritualists because most of their philosophies are half-baked and specious. However, as is clear with God's Gardeners there is merit in such philosophies (hence a major reason why religions are still around) because they allow people to act even when they don't fully understand why they're acting. If this makes sense then it should be clear why I was having fits and yet loving this book at the same time.

I'm not sure the last time I felt so completely intellectually challenged by a book that, simultaneously, so fully entertained me. There is constant action—often with disgustingly violent outcomes—and the ending never gives itself away, suspense building until the finale. This "review" does so little justice to a book that I hope receives major plaudits when it hits shelves. We were lucky enough to get an advance copy at work and I took my time reading it because I didn't really want it to end. I just read Oryx & Crake a few months ago and that blew me away. Now this arrives as a sort of companion volume. I'm not sure how they're going to market it, but it stands alone as a novel and there doesn't seem to be any indication that it will be marketed in connection with O&C.

So mark your calendars for September 22. I have to stop rambling because this will just get more and more disjointed if I continue. Margaret Atwood, you are an absolute genius. The type of genius that crushes my spirit by writing the best goddamn book (fiction or poetry) possible that, yet, inspires me to wrack my brain for something 1/10 as worthwhile and hope it means something to someone. Bravo. Again.