Pastoral Genocide

black and white cowboys
October 31, 2008, 5:59 am
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Download Black and White Cowboys: Ken Burns Does the Great Plains

elosie benicoeur was a very beautiful woman with a very intriguing accent. she told me this, once: sometimes i think about a friend that i used to have. her name was issendia and i haven’t known her since we were both 8 years old. she was my first friend and she moved to sweden with her father. he was a man with a big mustache and a diplomatic post. he smoked out of a pipe that made the air smell very sweet. issendia moved and i wrote her a letter that said issendia you have moved and i miss you. at christmas, her mother sent my mother a box of oranges. they had thick pulp and they tasted sour. we waited for them to ripen but they never did.


Minus the Bear – Cafe Paradiso, Champaign IL
June 27, 2008, 4:20 am
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Download Minus the Bear, Champaign IL, 27 May 2004.

Little Pictures, Tom Waits, and European Charm.
June 11, 2008, 10:22 pm
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Download John K. Sampsons “Little Pictures.”

Side Projects, omg. There’s something fundamentally interesting about the concept of a “side project.” The implication is, of course, that these projects take a back seat to an artist’s primary work. But if art is anchored to dedication, and dedication is anchored to the time continuum, then what is a side project? A release from the release? A harbinger of a soon-to-be altered future? Drivel? I’m not sure. I’ve always viewed the side-projects of my favorite of my artists to be something along the lines of bonus material: some of it might be wholly spectacular but, mostly, it’s little more than a mish-mash of potential punctuated by intermittent flashes of brilliance.

John K. Sampson’s “Little Pictures” accentuates such thought in remarkable fashion. Released in 1995 by Winnepeg’s G7 Welcoming Committee Records, the EP is composed of songs that Sampson wrote while serving as bass player for the surrealist/leftist/post-modern situationist punk band, Propagandhi. In Sampson’s case, “Little Pictures” served as a predecessor to his cerebral rock musings later popularized by The Weakerthans.

In its totality, “Little Pictures” is neither good nor bad nor mediocre. For everything that it’s not, however, “Little Pictures” contains a peculiar sort of depth, a half-actualized vision that – sometimes frustratingly – never fully emerges. At times, however, Sampson’s lyrics reach stunning heights, such as on the track Maryland Bridge, in which he sternly waxes: “I can be J Edger Hoover and you be JFK/As power hungry egocentrics, we’ll paper fight the night away.” In contrast, tracks such as Sunday Afternoon and Sympathetic Smile ramble and stumble along, searching for purpose without fruition.

Don’t misunderstand me, however: “Little Pictures” is worth listening to. And, for some, re-listening to. While the EP certainly doesn’t have the reach of either Sampson-era Propagandi or The Weakerthans, it does have subtle sense of imprecise self-awareness that flickers endearingly and, at times, meaningfully.

Tom Waits, omg. Individuality is stripped for the sense of collectivism. For better or worse, a collage emerges, a real time visualization of associated elements. Somehow, the product is a touching depiction of sand and water and hectic industry.

Do You Believe in Love After Life?

Cher creeps me the fuck out. I will say, however, “Updated Hair-era Cher” is a drastic improvement over “Big Hair-era Cher.” “Big Hair-era Cher” looked like a Merv Griffin mated with an giraffe and a Brillo Pad and wrapped the offspring in a casing of fishnet and black leather. If I ever meet Cher, the conversation will go like this:

Me: Hi Cher.

Cher: Oh hai there pumpkin, ur super cute.

Me: Thx. I’ve got a quick question for you.

Cher: O rly?

Me: Why the long face?

Me: lolololloolololoololooolool.

Fatherhood. I can remember being seven years old and staring bleakly at the television screen while Magic Johnson announced to the world that he was HIV positive. It was late afternoon on a gray fall day and I was sitting on the living room couch with my dad, unable to fully grasp either the gravity of the situation or the defeated mannerisms and slouching shoulders of Johnson. I asked my father how you got the HIV. He sighed stoutly and protractedly turned toward me. Seventeen years later, the verbatim of his reply is still etched in my cerebrum: “Magic Johnson got HIV because he fucked anything that moved for over ten years,” he said. “This is what happens, you get AIDS. It’s not rocket science. Wear a rubber, for chrissakes.”

The intended message was undoubtedly one of personal responsibility. I think thats what should count.

Anyway. The theme for today is… out of print emo discographies. O RLY? you say. Yes, really. Thank the good lord for the interwebs. Setting aside, of course, the fact that its wildly ironic to thank our purported creator for what’s tantamount to an overflowing fountain of delicious porn. I’m not 100% sure, but I think the road to hell is paved on the merits of ATMs filmed in dingy motel rooms.

Indian Summer: Science 1994. 2002: Don’t confuse this release with the slightly more comprehensive 2006 release “Hidden Arithmetic.” For what its worth, “Hidden Arithmetic” is comprised of a 12 song, live performance combination of 1993’s “Live @ Pitzer College” and 1994’s “Live @ Blue Universe” and it is exceptional. However, it’s still in print. “Science 1994,” for its part, features all nine of the band’s (supposedly) studio-mastered songs. Highlights include: Angry Son, Orchard, and Reflections on Milkweed.

Download Indian Summer’s “Science 1994.”

Union of Uranus: To This Bearer of Truth. 2004: Hailing from the Canada’s unremarkable capital city, the illustriously nondescript Ottawa, Union of Uranus played chaotic, emotional punk from the early-1990’s through the mid-1990’s. Yes, I know thats vague. But DIY musical history – unlike most other white people-based recreational and or/artistic endeavors – is notoriously undocumented. The last label-released, non-discography effort was 1998’s 12′ split with His Hero Is Gone, but WOTS is that, for all intents and purposes, Union of Uranus became inactive at some point before that. Notably, Union of Uranus’ “To This Bearer of Truth” was the final release on the now-defunct The Great American Steak Religion.

Download Union of Uranus’ “To This Bearer of Truth”

This insanely dense, unofficial discography-slash-box set serves as a four disc chronological diary of The Hated’s recorded life. Additionally, the set includes alternate recordings of early sessions laid down by two post-The Hated projects, Three Shades Dirty and Slack. The Hated were from Annapolis, MD and existed just outside of the massive shadow of late-80’s groups such as Fugazi, Rites of Spring, and Hüsker Dü. Like the aforementioned, The Hated creatively explored the phenomena of emotion in rawly confrontational manner. As the band matured, they gradually – then suddenly – experimented with a range of mixed-tempo song structures which, today, serves as one of their distinctive hallmarks. At the time of the The Hated’s dissolution in 1990, they had released efforts on Vermin Scum, Simple Machines, Troubleman Unlimited,and Panx. Supposedly, Troubleman Unlimited is eventually going to release an “offical” discography, but the project has been delayed more times than a Yemeni in JFK International; I doubt it ever happens.

Download The Hated’s Unofficial Discography Disc 1

Download The Hated’s Unofficial Discography Disc 2

Download The Hated’s Unofficial Discography Disc 3

Download The Hated’s Unofficial Discography Disc 4

Moving Mountains – Pneuma
May 13, 2008, 7:38 pm
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Take some time away from everything and concentrate on the cognitive simplicity of muscle memory. Inhale. Exhale. We’re alive, somehow. In world that’s become lost in the foggy narrative of epistemological mechanics, there’s a small, worthwhile beauty in existence.

With such passive veracity, Moving Mountain’s “Pnuema” rises from the dust and the dirt and into the sky. It’s a lofty creation with meandering complexities and a penchant for stunning panoramas. The melodic elements of the album rise above the contours of the earth, the microscopically nondescript rug of green and brown, the checker board patterns of agriculture and history. Dots of towns and places. Places with doctors, preachers, murderers, clerks. Above, a ceiling of azure masks infinite black. But here, in this glass ball of sound and function, there’s a feeling that we – as the listener – are a part of something bigger than we could ever possibly hope to be. Simplicity is perfectly balanced by reverie and the only thing with any real importance is the criticality of breathing.

“Pnuema,” exerts melody that is comprehensive and sweeping. It’s a wildly panoptic album, a massive, emotive glacier that culminates in a gorgeous riptide of acquiescence. A reminiscent amalgamate of Eno’s “Music for Airports,” Sigur Ros’ touching falsetto, and Mono’s sweeping phantasma, the album – in its collectivity – is a gripping, powerful force that towers somewhere from the atmosphere above.

Comprised of Nick Pizzolato, Gregory Dunn, Mitchell Lee, and Frank Graniero, Moving Mountains’ sound belies its size. Stumbling outside the poppy gentrification of new-world musicianship, the band symphonically assails the glimmering infinity of ocean and sky. “Pangea” – which, not coincidently means “to breathe” in Latin – is the group’s first release. The ten movement (song) album possesses a pastoral architecture that forms a mosaic of textures and overtones. This is the world, set to a soundtrack of swirling melodies.

For all of its oversized beauty, however, “Pangea” never forgets to breathe. It’s a puddle of uncommon simplicity masked by an expansively evolving vanishing point. Undeniably, “Pangea’s” scope alternates cinematically from frame to frame, but in doing so, it retains a steadfastly dogmatic sense of auetership and recollection. The product is a touching harmonization of natural and mechanical semblances manifested in an oeuvre of mirrors and melodrama.

Listen, See, Download, Purchase, Youtube.

New Muxtape! 39:06
May 8, 2008, 9:24 pm
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I’ve uploaded a new muxape. You can listen to it here.

Tracklisting: (1)The Promise Ring – Jersey Shore (2)The Only Children – 1969 (3) Asleep in the Sea – Hunt Me (4)The Good fear – The Way That You Were (5) Will Sheff (live) – No Key, No Plan (6) The Hold Steady – You Can Make Him Like You (7) Defiance, Ohio – Petty Problems (8 ) John Samson – Saint Cecila (9) Fake Problems – Para Tu (10) Sundowner -Audio Geography (11) Kind of Like Spitting – Finishing (12)Tim Barry – Wait At Milano.

Ah, minutia. hackers torment the epileptic and reasons why the morally careless should – at least – take caution when distributing naked images of themselves.

This time next year, I’ll be two hundred feet tall and angry. I’ll be the ocean and the sky. I’ll be the grass but not the trees, I’ll be the smoke that flickers in the wind. I’ll be the memory of Thanksgivings past and the cruel reminder that what’s done is done.

Okkervil River – The Showbox, Seattle WA
May 6, 2008, 4:55 am
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Okkervil River, The Showbox, Seattle WA, 18 March 2005.