Wednesday, August 2, 2017


It was always really hard picking out ringtones.  Remember?  Back in, like, 2005, when the technology finally arrived to PUT A SONG ON YOUR PHONE, it was the most amazing thing.  Hipster nerds like me suffered existentially about what type of person we wanted to project ourselves to be.  I was nervous about putting the cool indie song, because I didn't want to be seen as trying too hard.

Cut to maybe 8 or 9 years ago, when I settled on two songs that I've used ever since.  I switch between them when I need something new.

The first is the Jon Brion track 'Phone Call' from the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack/score.  I like to tell myself there's something Kaufmann-esque about using this track as the sound my phone makes when it rings.  It's not, but it's a thought that validates my belief that I, you know, "get" Charlie Kaufmann's movies.  I don't.  Nobody does.  He's better than us.  Nevertheless, this is the perfect track - it's filled with doubt and phone angst, but love.  Complicated emotions happen every time my phone rings, so why not illustrate that with a song reminder of that complicated emotions movie?  That crackle of nostalgia, that anxiety coming from each repetition, the warmth tying it all together?  Ok, phone company, I'll pay my bill.  <3 p="">

The second is 'Ceremony' by New Order, likely the last new Joy Division song before Ian Curtis died.  I knew this really well as a kid, in that somewhat truncated form on the 'Still' album, but didn't know until I was much older that New Order had formally recorded it.  It's, I don't know, a touching song?  Also filled with complex emotions, but there's a strength - a diving-in quality that's just lovely, given my phone angst.  'Fuck it, I'll just answer it,' I'll say.  Thanks, Ian?

I think these are both really solid picks for a fragile hipster douche like myself.  I hope strangers think I'm cool.

I mean, I would hope that, but usually I have my phone on vibrate.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Don't try to understand

Since moving to Seattle, I haven't really done the whole "Seattle music" scene.  What can I say?  I've been busy.  I'm an adult person and a grad student - and going to shows is a pain in the ass in this city.

We've seen the "Sound Garden" and the "Black Hole Sun" and Kurt Cobain's house and childhood home, and we lived about a long block from Layne Staley's place of death, but I haven't really invested in exploring the actual music that Seattle was known for.

Now that I'm (hopefully) a year out from leaving Seattle, it's starting to creep up a bit.  After this year, I'll have lived in Seattle longer than any other place I've ever lived.  That's nuts, right?  Only 6 years?

Jesus, where the hell am I even from?

The internet, clearly.

Anyway, in my thinking about Seattle music, I recalled the 'Home Alive' compilation from the mid-90s.  The compilation (and self-defense organization) came about after the rape and murder of Mia Zapata, singer of the (awesome) band the Gits.

After rediscovering this comp, I listened to this song and was instantly taken back to 1995.  I was 14, liked the catchier grunge songs and was on the verge of sinking deeply into a flannel-wrapped depression cocoon, only to emerge as a punk rock butterfly a year later.  I listened to a lot of music like this - we all remember Soul Asylum, right?

Although I'd remembered this song really well, I'd never listened to more from the band.  But now that I'm predicting future nostalgic feelings about Seattle, I need a soundtrack for them.  What better way than by digging back into the kind of sounds that I loved when I was 14?  Come to find out that this band was pretty solid.  I mean, I get why they're not famous, but it certainly sounds like a bunch of mid-90s indie film soundtracks.

It's so solidly early 90s, capturing everything great about that era.  I love it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Goodnight, kiddo.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What up?

I haven't posted in nearly 5 months.  Bigger things?

 - Politics has consumed my life.  Morning, noon, and night.
 - Moving is awful and I have a very angry story to tell about a shitty Seattle landlord douchebag motherfucker goddamn.  He took our home from us like some kind of 1950s Jimmy Stewart movie villain.  Who grows up to be that guy?
 - The new At the Drive-In is kinda balls, but also nostalgic.  Conflicted.
 - Jawbreaker is reuniting?  And I'm poor?  Man, rough year here in purgatory.
 - Getting prepared to dissertate for the next year, go on the job market, become some sort of academic elite like the TV keeps warning you about.
 - Working on multiple childhood trauma papers.  Light fare.
 - Might be teaching a poverty class in the fall?  Nice change from teaching research methods.
 - It's June and it's raining.  C'mon Seattle, get with the summer program.
 - Need working music suggestions.  I've run through my catalogue.  Usually prefer subtle, light... Cliff Martinez, Dixie Dirt, Six Parts Seven, or gentle songwriters... Malcolm Middleton, Eric Bachmann, Jason Molina.  I'd say Bon Iver but that new one is an acid trip on mushrooms.

 - I've been kind of obsessed with this John K. Samson song:

Friday, January 27, 2017


After this trainwreck of a week, thought I'd look back to the march last Saturday.  Multiple times I had to hold back tears, seeing men and women of all ages and backgrounds united in support of one another.  Durkheim had a phrase for this: "collective effervescence."  Yeah, it was almost spiritual - and it represented the best of humanity.  We are our best when we unite to support one another.

While I'll participate in as many of these as possible, please also consider all the marches that we should have, but won't.  Don't forget your many diverse neighbors who may need reassurance.

For now, I'm going to let the powerful feelings of unity from last week continue to propel me forward.  Go out and do good work, people.

March in Seattle, 2017/01/21

*For the record, I went to protest Milo Yiannopolous at UW.  Feelings of unity, not so much.  Someone took a bullet.  Hard to paint a pretty picture about that.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Modern Act

This is one of the few bands in a long time that I've been kind of excited about (or "about which I've been excited...")

You can disregard the video, if you'd like, although it does have that certain 90s low-budget quality that's just great.  Like an old Superchunk music video (that one with David Cross and Janeane Garofalo) or something we'd expect to see made fun of on Beavis and Butthead.

The music, though - these guys are on to something.  I'm excited about them because it's one of the first times in perhaps 10 years where I've been excited about a new band in the "post-hardcore" genre (read: bands that sound like Jawbreaker.)  We lost a bunch of them to that ridiculous fucking "screamo" sound - you know, the one where suburban white guys, drunk on their need for self-actualization, nonsensically scream their minor disappointments.  

For being as young as they are, Cloud Nothings find a way to tap into the nonsensical angst of MY youth.  Since I'm not longer in that "youth" demographic by a decade-plus, it's particularly impressive feat for a bunch of early-20s guys.  There's something energetic and uplifting to their music, which of course is part of the appeal, but there's something deeper and intangible about the way they're able to tap into my nostalgia.  It's not the lyrics, it's not the singer, it's most definitely the guitars.  The whole thing sounds like some vaguely punk beach party.  And all my old dogs are there.

Monday, December 19, 2016

How we have ranged

This fucker.  I was a fan for the 12 years before his death and it hasn't even been 4 years since.  Perhaps in 10 years I'll have made peace with it.  Perhaps by then I'll have seen and heard everything there is to see and hear.  Right now, though, I keep finding little gems like this.

15 years and a week prior to his death, this kid seems almost hopeful.  Almost.

is there any room for death even to try
the movement, were it granted,
is only going to go
you are not, as day follows day
to be forgot
you I have not, forgot
at least, we are touched upon
our last days at this place
this time you will not talk of risk
only of certain consequence
oh, you and Napoleon all of that ambition
you are not, as day follows day
to be forgot
you I have not, forgot