Last year I started tweeted a Music Writer Exercise created by Gary Suarez. It happens every February all month long, here are the details:
I figured that I shouldn’t keep to just the 280 characters If I wanted to, so here goes for week one:
Television – Marquee Moon : The title track is a dizzying piece that mesmerizes you, while the remaining songs are improvisational post-punk to their core. Decades onward, and there’s still a lot on the album that’s fresh. “Venus”, “Friction”, and “Elevation” are standout of Verlaine’s poetic lyrics over unrestrained riffs. You can hear the influences its made on LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, The Strokes, and countless classic attacks like R.E.M. among others. Even Joy Division fans can’t deny that Television’s album, which came out years before Unknown Pleasures, is a bedrock to the genre and many that came after.
Doves – The Universal Want: Long time since Kingdom of Rust, and the sound is like they shook off a lot of it. Not overly ornate, but the expansive melody and Goodwin’s anguish (“Prisoners” and “Broken Eyes” come to mind) makes a luster that washes out the dull. It’s difficult to pull off a decent album after an eleven-year hiatus, many stumble on the comeback swing. yet Doves pulls the uplifting from the melodrama as the adept veterans they have become.
PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea: A love letter to urban life that reaches out to you. Nightlife, seediness, longing – Polly Jean makes the alt-rock strumming intimate, even with that widespread appeal. The Thom Yorke tracks are amazing, but you can’t overlook “Good Fortune”, “Kamikaze”, and “This Is Love”. On a more personal note, I feel a slight pang of guilt because I should have listened to this album DECADES ago when I heard her live when she opened for U2 back in 2001.
White Zombie – La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One: Slick, primal sleaze-metal w/ trashy intensity oozing out of every song. The monotony is saved by the punctuations of exploitation movie samples like the devil’s ad-libs. There’s nothing to be lost from an Iggy Pop spoken word bit in the middle of “Black Sunshine”, either. The crunch in”Cosmic Monster Inc.” and unrelenting “Grindhouse (A Go-Go) ” are of note, along with “Thunder Kiss 65”, of course. Faster, slimebag, kill!
Death – …For The Whole World to See: Some archeologists fight about the origins of musical instruments. It’s not the same for this album and Death’s mark on punk rock when you listen. From start (“Keep On Knocking”) to finish (“Politicians In My Eyes”) it is a burst of vibrant, nonconformist rock that should have been respected at release, but alas.
Animal Collective – Sung Tongs: What an offbeat little symbol of emergent 2000s weirdness. Veering on the twee at times, it’s a psych-folk album that takes you on a jaunt through an indie idyll. Whether it’s back to normal or down to hipsterdom, that would depend if you went on to listen to Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Actress – Karma & Desire: Certain hypnagogic melodies permeate this album. It has a Selected Ambient Works Vol II vibe, evolved into something organic, energetic, and cybernetic. Whispers slip into pulsating beats on “Angels Pharmacy”. There are haunting piano pieces throughout, but “Many Seas, Many River” with Sampha’s soulful vocals is a standout. Actress’ house roots still emerge on the bottom half of the album, and the T-909 special guesting.
I hate doing the “oh I’ve been away” part of this entry. Makes me feel like a chump, but I haven’t been. I dropped a new issue of Cram, got a poem published, found employment, and in a sense regained the part of myself I had been missing for a while. Vagueness of that last part aside, I feel and think clearer now than I have in a long time. Now, for the details.
Things did slow down a bit, mainly because both Cindy was busy with her new gig and I was in a state of flux for a good chunk of 2012. I’m still really grateful that we have been able to pull this off as much as we can, but I’m still hungry. I’ve been researching to write an essay for the blog, seeing as we need more content than the weekly Crams. Also trying to make moves with other ideas stirring in my head. also doing a project with Phil and Cindy with me on, of course, story duty.
I’m Going Going, Back Back, To Jersey Jersey
In I’m officially back in the mother country of New Jerusalem. The best way to describe my feelings is this: picture an archaeologist trying find his oldest tomb. Then picture that person now trying to ship ancient relics to a mausoleum, only to return and find out no matter how much you can move, the haul is endless and makes it a Sisyphean nightmare. That was just in the second week alone. I’m lucky I have a place to stand in my old room.
However, it has its moment of greatness. Holding my sister’s and her husband’s wedding rings as my part as her witness to her civil wedding was something worth being home for. That was a while back now, after reunions with old friends and abusing my ability at reconnecting with the newer ones, and blacking out for a good portion of the summer due to helping preparing for the (happy) clusterfuck that was my sister’s wedding party. I actually got back into the swing of writing because of this. and made up a magic realism story about a pilgrim coming home to a family of gods. A the moment there’s only one entry, but I’m cleaning up the next part which is an epic poem about the family dog.
The Job, Or How How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Become A Woman on the Internet
I finally found employment after a year of not having any. It’s not at all like what I was doing in SF. I’m still staring at Excel sheets, of course, but that’s interspersed with a crap-load of comments I put up under the pseudonym of Jamie. To date, Jamie is a mother, dancer, crafts and superbike enthusiast, nurse, customer sales rep, and recently Portuguese. I’ve had the opportunity to write blog posts, which is great. There’s a serious difficulty with the distractions of working from a home office however. I’m sure I’ll get it down right.
Badass and Published
That’s what I said I’ll be a few years back. Out of a lark it finally happened, thanks to Saul Williams and his Chorus book. Of the 97 poems in the book I’m number 21. To see a poem that I wrote in my sleep-deprived night owl phase back in 05 come to light in 2012 is crazy. I’ve been dabbling in poetry again, to see if I still have it. I probably don’t but you never know.
That’s it for now. you can find me on Twitter (@TheJesusGaray) and Tumblr (jesusgaray.tumblr.com), fyi. I’ll put up some of the content I put up there here.