Friday, May 31, 2013

Top Twenty Albums.

Assignment: exchange top twenty albums with coworker/friend Evan. And now more information than you ever wanted to know about me and my relationship to these twenty albums (in no particular order).


sarah mclachlan // fumbling towards ecstasy -- This album slays me still, 20 years after its inception, around 17 since I first discovered its divine beauty. It's breathtaking, gorgeous, and my #1 makeout album of all time. Forget Barry White, THIS is all you need to get down. I'm pretty sure this album has never been played in its entirety in front of a man I like without something interesting happening, is all I'm sayin'. It's sexy. It takes you through all stages of well, fumbling towards ecstasy. Best named album ever. I don't know what to say...I couldn't love this album more, from start to finish. 

portishead // dummy -- A pioneer in the trip-hop genre, this album is indispensable to my life. Without the soundtrack within the sleeve, if you will, I would not be who I am today. I have a black and white music video of me and my Xine doing "sour times" on VHS if you ever want to see it. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. One of the requirements of my top twenty is that I have to be able to listen to the entire album almost without tiring of it, and this one stands the test, for sure. I could probably listen to this album on repeat for a week.

cibo matto // viva! la woman -- One of my most vivid memories of this album was listening to it, Garbage's s/t, and Frente!'s "shape" on shuffle on my three disc CD changer (later when I had a 5-discer, Fiona Apple's Tidal and Tori Amos' Boys for Pele won the other two spots). I can barely remember a time before this album was on my top ten, at least. These first few albums really have become a part of me at this point, knowing them for so long...each at least 15 years. Another album I've NEVER gotten tired of listening to...that's pretty freakin' serious, man!

pj harvey // to bring you my love -- This is one of those serendipitous albums. I saw it at Hastings, having never heard of PJ Harvey, and fell in love with the cover, took it home, and loved it, obviously. This is one of those singular experiences, hardly ever duplicated (happened with Ani DiFranco's Dilate, too) in my whole history of listening to music. These days, listening to something on Google or Spotify is just a momentary click, but back in the '90s living in a small Midwest town, you had to shell out the bucks to experience an album with an intriguing cover, and often, VERY often, they sucked. PJ Harvey does not suck, and I still think this is her best album, bluesy, emotional, and dark.

tori amos // boys for pele -- Pele is a Hawaiian volcano goddess, and she requires boys to be sacrificed to her, like Tom Hanks maybe, in order to calm her lava rage. Yes, my Pele (the cat) is named after her. This is my #1 breakup album ("I shaved every place where you been, boy"). Despite my more recent disillusionment with Amos, this album holds up and was the album that started my scary-intense obsession with her. It's so angry and demonic and dark and scary. Love the harpsichord.

garbage // garbage -- Garbage never really moved past how amazing their debut album truly was. It's legendary, in my mind, at least. It's just good rock. I also have many music videos of me emulating Shirley Manson. Manson (Shirley, not Marilyn, though I sooooo had a crush on him too) and Geena Davis from "The Long Kiss Goodnight" inspired my emergence into goth at 14, and I never looked back. This album is partially responsible for me becoming ME. 

grimes // visions -- This is the newest album on the list (though I briefly considered Lana Del Rey's Born to Die), only from last year, so I wasn't sure if it counted as one of my top twenty, but I think it does because according to my profile I've listened to Grimes 1,182 times since I discovered this enchanting songstress in February of last year. That's almost three songs a day every day since I discovered her. Yeah. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Grimes is what my brainwaves sound like. Her and her bf have really insightful posts on their tumblrs too.

cure // pornography -- This album was made the year I was born (1982). #1 bathtub album of all time. It was hard not to have at least three Cure albums on this list, but I decided I only get one per artist. I can get sucked into a Cure-hole easily. I could spend an entire evening listening to this, Faith, and Disintegration. Disintegration is the #1 driving-around-in-the-rain album of all time, in case you were wondering. I just can't get enough of the wall of sound of The Cure, the dark and twisted vocals of Robert Smith, and the atmosphere. I could get lost in The Cure for days...

depeche mode // violator -- Depeche Mode is another artist I can get lost inside. If you want to know what MixtressRae considers a love song, it's Depeche Mode. Their lyrics are honest love songs. I get the impression that the songwriters (Gahan and Gore are kind of indistinguishable to me) are kind of dicks, but if I'm directing a love song at someone, I'm a little bit of a dick too, so I empathize, I guess is what I'm saying. I'd like to be more like Sarah McLachlan, but I'm more like Dave Gahan. I feel like Depeche Mode is my "cosmic" connection to my dad too, because he was kind of a dick too. He he.

brian eno // here come the warm jets -- Glam. '70s rock. Androgyny. Hot men in eyeliner. Most of the time people think of Bowie, I think of Eno. The Eno in my head based on the sound of his resonant voice, because his face isn't that attractive, but that VOICE. Why did he stop singing? Why? This is the first record I go to when I listen to LPs. Every song is an island.

talking heads // fear of music -- Produced by Brian Eno. The Talking Heads' most atmospheric album. Kind of psychedelic, even, in that world music/punk/new wave way. Contains two of my favorite Talking Heads songs; Air and Animals.

fiona apple // tidal -- Listening to Fiona Apple has always been like reading my diary, if my diary were incredibly, ingeniously lyrical. Again, every song here is an island. So perfectly singular, yet fits within the whole seamlessly. Sullen Girl is my theme song. This is one case in which the critics are right. She really is everything they say she is. My initial music crush on Ms. Apple started in 1996 and it still feels as fresh as it did then. Somewhere in a landfill (or an undisclosed location chosen by weather) is a scrap of sketchbook paper wherein a 15-yr old girl drew Fiona as an angel. I'd never call ANYONE an angel but you, dear sweet Fiona. Incidentally, my best music video ever was my lipsync to Sleep to Dream. I nailed it!

roxy music // country life -- Another album that feels like a world you step into for an hour. I keep characterizing albums as "atmospheric" and this is what I mean. I like fantasy worlds, and albums create that for me if they're worth their salt as ALBUMS. Some songs do it by themselves and I aim to make my mixes sound like worlds unto themselves, but nothing does it like a well-constructed album. Country Life is my #1 ennui-in-the-bedroom-at-2am album ("I'll find myself if it takes all night").

queens of the stone age // lullabies to paralyze -- #1 summer album of all time. Reminds me of drinking bad beer and canoeing, of general sun-soaked drunken debauchery, of long sweaty drives with my hands catching the wind out the open window. Love it. Just good fun rock with a pretty ginger boy on vocals. Honey voice, that one. I'd drink a summer shandy with Homme any July.  

sneaker pimps // becoming x -- Another trip-hop essential that was on constant repeat back in the days of frente!, Fiona, and Cibo Matto. Never get tired of this album. Sad they didn't keep this lead singer longer than one album. She was just too wild to tame, baby.

kate bush // the dreaming -- Kate Bush is way more important than most people know. I can't tell you why (because you have to feel it), and most people I know can't handle her voice (she uses it as a weapon, and most people are just too scared to embrace the hammer), but she's creative and interesting and goddamnit, she's amazing. This album was made in 1982, my birth year. If you ever need to exorcise a demon, play Get Out Of My House and that sucker will leave screaming. Kate Bush is a witch and she's crazy empowering. "Can I have it all now?"

metric // live it out -- When rock and electronic meet. You have the headbanging, all the headbanging, but also the synthesizers. This is the #1 I'm-better-than-the-asshole-I'm-dating-and-he's-never-going-to-understand-me-and-neither-does-society album. And that's all I have to say about that.

cake // fashion nugget -- I have sooooo many stories about this album. The first time I heard it I was cuddling with one of my first boyfriends, so that's a pleasant memory. He also later used Friend is a Four Letter Word as a fuck-you break-up song to me over the phone, so that's a little less pleasant memory. Nugget was playing when my mom told me "fuck" was her favorite word. Frank Sinatra is the name of my iPad with lyrics engraved on the back, not because of the person Frank Sinatra, but the song, you see. All Cake albums are created (mostly) equal, but this is THE Cake album for me. The Distance still brings the house down when I sing it karaoke. I suppose this album is a story of each individual song, and I like it for nostalgia.

nirvana // unplugged in new york -- It was hard for me to pick a live album (because I hate applause), though this is the ONLY live album I listen to in its entirety often, and it's my favorite Nirvana album, so I had to choose it. Every song breaks my soul in half, and I'm into that. "I cannot see the end of me. My whole expanse, I cannot see." What a lot of people don't remember is that Kurt was a feminist and a really spiritual, intuitive, NICE person. I say this like I knew him, but look into those eyes, man. Those Pisces can you not know him? I once wrote a pornographic poem about Kurt Cobain. Not because of his face, but his delicate Pisces soul. I love a delicate Pisces soul, for sho.

bjork // post -- Electronic pioneer, she is. Army of Me is the most perfect "buck up" song. I named a mixtape Army of Me once. So many great songs on this one. I don't even know what to say about this one. I like its isolation. It feels like a girl sitting in a beautiful landscape of circuit boards hacking her way through someone's mainframe just to dance on the 1s and 0s. There's a childlike destruction in the joy of Post. 

Too tired to proofread! so there it is.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Perennial Philosophy, abstraction no.2

Stinky planet E-arrrrrrth.
Chapter 2: "Nature of the Ground"

I'm literally two pages into this chapter (this book is so heady--it may take me some time in the desert to finish it) and the "ground" I take to be the thou in "that art thou". It's like if you cut off one of your arms.

Ok, wait. This is about Atman and Brahman, concepts in Hinduism that are also kinda the basis of Jesus' relationship to God in stinky Christianity. Atman is the "individual soul" and Brahman is the "universal soul". Kind of like how Jesus is meant to be the personified version of God (he IS God). That's each and every person in the universe, but Christianity, like it does with most things, perverted the ancient concept making it all about JESUS and not about each and every one of us, like it should have been.

Ok, so like you cut off your arm and your arm contains all the DNA of you. It used to be part of the whole of you, but now it's a spurting-blood separate piece. Part of our spiritual job on this Earth is to recognize that we are the same as "god" (Brahman). Atman art Brahman, yeah? So that's what I read today. You're supposed to recognize that you are of the source and not separate from the source, if you want to get all Matrix about it. Again, I just interpret this as another way of thinking about everything being made of the same stuff (carbon, stars, DNA, etc). If the concept of "god" is just the universe and everything in it, then I get it, but why call it god? God has such yucky connotations in our culture. I won't ever be able to say the word with a straight face.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Perennial Philosophy: abstraction 1.

Been feeling like I'm in an "inbetween" stage, listless and depressed, after I finished my Buffy, I think I may have thought of my next writing project. I'm going to reread everything on my bookshelf (I have two shelves, but I'll be reading the shelf that does NOT contain textbooks and reference materials--so the fiction and the more narrative forms of nonfiction) and a few things that I own as ebooks too. I think how I'll do it is I'll blog reflections about what I read whenever I feel like it, so that may be daily and that may just be a review at the end of the reread. Before my first abstraction, here is the list of books I plan to include in this project, in the order they appear on my shelf (probably not at ALL the order I'll read them, however):

1. Pride and Prejudice // Jane Austen
2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies // Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
3. Sense and Sensibility // Jane Austen
4. Drawing Blood // Poppy Z Brite
5. Jane Eyre // Charlotte Bronte
6. Wuthering Heights // Emily Bronte
7. Ready Player One // Ernest Cline
8. High Fidelity // Nick Hornby
9. Party Monster (I still think of it as "Disco Bloodbath") // James St. James
10. Freak Show // James St. James
11. Carrie // Stephen King
12. short story collection // Edgar Allan Poe
13. Queen of the Damned // Anne Rice
14. Frankenstein // Mary Shelley
15. Dracula // Bram Stoker
16. The Picture of Dorian Gray // Oscar Wilde
17. IV // Chuck Klosterman
18. Courtney Love: The Real Story // Poppy Z Brite
19. Grrrls: Viva Rock Divas // various
20. Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life // Steve Almond
21. This is Your Brain On Music // Daniel J. Levitin
22. Love is a Mixtape // Rob Sheffield
23. Talking to Girls about Duran Duran // Rob Sheffield
24. Songbook // Nick Hornby
25. Cassette from my Ex // various
26. Candyfreak // Steve Almond
27. Introduction to Quantum Theory
28. The Great Funk // Thomas Hine
29. Flow: A Cultural History of Menstruation // Elissa Stein
30. Flow // Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
31. The Female Brain // Louann Brizendine
32. Haunted Joplin // Lisa Livingston-Martin
33. Goth // Paul Hodkinson
34. Buffy and Philosophy
35. Seven Seasons of Buffy // various
36. What Would Buffy Do? // Jana Riess
37. Why Buffy Matters // Rhonda Wilcox
38. Sex and the Slayer // Lorna Jowett
39. Journal to the Self // Kathleen Adams
40. The Perennial Philosophy // Aldous Huxley
41. Tao Te Ching // Lao Tsu
42. Hardcore Zen // Brad Warner

on my Nook:
43. How Not to Write, by Someone Who Doesn't // Delilah Des Anges
44. The Nerdist Way // Chris Hardwick
45. Pass the Parcel // Delilah Des Anges
46. Invisible Monsters // Chuck Palahniuk

on my iPad:
47. The Perks of Being a Wallflower // Stephen Chbosky
48. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs // Chuck Klosterman
49. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance // Robert Pirsig
50. Record Collecting for Girls // Courtney Smith

The purpose in doing this is threefold, as most things are: so that I may rid myself of books that maybe don't deserve a spot on my shelf (several of these books exist on my Nook and/or iPad anyway, so do I neeeed two physical copies of "Frankenstein"?), to reevaluate why I love these 50 books enough to own them, and to rediscover my love of each of these books. I never took serious literature classes in college, so I will teach myself to understand these great books.

***First up is "The Perennial Philosophy" by Aldous Huxley. My history with this book is kind of sordid and tawdry. I first encountered this book in the collection of a boyfriend in the year 2005. I was most likely high on a substance I in no way endorse ever, but it made me feel invincible and contemplative. Everything makes me feel contemplative, but the thing about this book that sticks with me is the phrase "that art thou".

Let me back up a sec. Basically this book is like that album that you start to listen to and never make it past the first song, ever, because you love it so much and don't see any point in letting yourself be let down by future tracks on the album. The Perennial Philosophy is the idea that all major world religions basically have the same tenants and ideas, they're just told differently based on culture, time, audience, etc. I've believed this to be true since my extensive studies in high school looking for my perfect religion (never found it, obvs), though I didn't realize until the sober me TODAY read the first chapter of this book that this is what this is called.

So each chapter deals with a different concept in religion that most religions share, and then sights a bunch of text and is all fancy and shit.

The first chapter is about various versions of the concept "that art thou" which I really identify with. I'm not a religious person, but I'm wayyy existential and philosophical. I love it. "That art thou" basically means you are me and we are me and I am the walrus, or whatever. That we are all essentially made of the same stuff and from the same stuff. We're all versions of "god" as it's usually interpreted, but I see this as everyone being made of carbon and starstuff with almost the same DNA, etc. So "that art thou" is a flowery way of saying "we are all starstuff". You are that tree and that car and that pile of dog poo on the sidewalk. We're all breathing Einstein air particles and living together, part of a whole, a whole that's inconceeeeeeeeeivable to us all.

I kind of feel like I may have to be on acid to understand this book, but I like the ideas within, once I finally sort through all the wordiness to get to these ideas. This book makes my head hurt, but that just means it's working, right? I'm also highly distracted by the highlighting and annotations written in the book by the owner before me (I bought it used on Amazon), but like most annotated books, this dies off after the first couple of chapters, so I just have to make it that far...

I've wanted a "that art thou" tattoo for a long time, and it's been done....a LOT, but I am reinvigorated every time I pick up this book and I think my collarbone might be the eventual place for this tattoo. I really like the concept a lot. This is the idea that draws me to Buddhism. The idea that we are all essentially variations of the same thing makes me feel really connected to everyone. It's a very positive message.

Whoa, I'm listening to an Austra album (for the first time, btw) and the lyrics were just NOW "We are all stardust, we are billion year old carbon". See? That's totally a sign, man! To get the tattoo and keep reading this heady book...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Disaster Porn.

DISCLAIMER: This blog may be triggering for victims of natural disasters. I won't be discussing details of the event I experienced, but I'll be discussing blunt feelings and reactions related to themes of natural disasters. I'll be cussing a lot as well.

At the moment, I'm livid.

Let's just get the porn out of the way here. Yes, I lost my home two years ago today. Yes, my childhood home and my sister's home and my grandparents' home and the homes of many of my friends and coworkers were also in various states of completely fucking obliterated. By nature. Two years ago today. Yes.

But it's a beautiful spring day that has nothing to do with that day. Of course I know what this day is an anniversary of...

I don't even know where to start. I'd like to say intelligent things, but it may be more of a livid rant. Whatever, I am a voice for a minority that feels the way I feel, but because there are new people dealing with a similar issue (Moore, OK), there will be more people that feel like me. There has to be.

So, ok. You know how when something really really awful happens to a person like war, murder of loved ones, rape, kidnapping, etc, there are things that trigger that person? On lots of websites if an article is something that might trigger a person who has dealt with tragedy or mental health concerns related to what is about to be said in the article, they will have a disclaimer. For example, "The following article deals with subjects of sexual abuse and violence against children and may be triggering for victims of child abuse, rape, and incest." So those that know they have issues with the following subject matter can NOT READ THE ARTICLE. But it seems that people are not having the same respect on Facebook toward survivors of disaster. I'm sure survivors of Hurricane Katrina can relate and survivors of tsunamis and many other disasters. It's not fair that I know I would be totally ok today if it wasn't for my friends and family posting pictures on Facebook and reminding us of what they were doing at exactly this moment two years ago.

I also want to say that I do understand that the majority of people are getting something out of this. Somehow it helps a lot of people to view these pictures and post these pictures and rehash all the old shit. I don't get it, but if people are doing it en masse, they must be benefitting from it somehow.

For me, however, it makes me extremely upset. I go back to that place. I feel scared and trapped and have to poop (and please don't mention this to me, for fuck's sake) and just really AWFUL. I have a few friends that feel the same and it's just not fair to have people we love shoving it in our faces. I don't want to "walk the path of the tornado" to remember the fucking awfulness of 2011. I don't want to be subjected to profile pictures (they CANNOT be avoided if you go to the site at all) of destroyed houses. I don't want to be tagged in pictures of my once-beautiful house ravaged by nature.

What I'm asking here is that the whole subject be treated with a little bit more delicacy and respect. A lot of us can handle questions about what happened to us, but some can't. If you'd like to post images of destruction, warn people that the following pictures may be triggering to those that have dealt with tragedy of this nature. I can't imagine how the people in Moore feel right now if they're aware of the social media vibe in Joplin right now. I am extremely upset by it all two years later and for them it's been TWO DAYS.

*If you don't know someone and want to ask them about this subject, ask how they feel about talking about it FIRST.

*If you know someone has gone through tragedy (of any kind) and want to talk to them about it, ask how they feel about talking about it FIRST.

*If you have gone through tragedy and feel comforted by posting pictures and rehashing details, put a small disclaimer before you disclose FIRST. I would never want to begrudge anyone else their healing process, but I would also like mine respected.

*NEVER volunteer information about others that have dealt personally with tragedy. It is not your place to disclose their private information.

*DO NOT ASK THE REFERENCE DESK at a ravaged-by-nature town for a map of their town's destruction. Find it online or somewhere else. Don't ask someone that may have lost homes and/or loved ones for a map of places their lives may have been destroyed. That's just not polite. Have some empathy and respect for the feelings of others.

*DO NOT TAKE PICTURES of someone's destroyed property. Just don't. Not even if they give you permission in tears to take photos of you cleaning off your Star Trek DVDs, because they're really not in the right mind to give you permission. Leave them alone if you'r not offering your help. And if they don't want your help, leave them alone anyway.

Anyway, I am angry, but I'm not angry AT people I love because I know that they're not doing these things to be hurtful. They just don't know how I feel, so here's how I feel and I'm not alone. Some of us are very triggered by images and videos and retellings of events. I'm sure a lot of people in Moore would appreciate a little bit of disclaimers and respect as well, so let's treat them better when it's been two years for them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Helpless.

I'm actually writing during the commentary of this episode, but I'm needing to create a whole new entry because I was immediately post-tornado when I watched this episode and didn't technically write an entire entry about it.

The commentary is by David Fury, writer of the episode. 

Buffy and Angel are dealing with the fact that they really can't ever consummate their relationship, and then he disappears for the rest of the episode inexplicably. 

This episode deals a lot with father figures betraying you. The patriarchy oppressing you, and in this case Buffy's father really never talks to her again and Giles ends up betraying "The Man" instead and choosing Buffy. He subverts the system, derails a tradition that's really just cruel and shitty (rendering the Slayer helpless with drugs in order to "test" her mental abilities? The premise doesn't even make sense. The fact that they're doing this to all Slayers on their 18th birthday is just a reassertion of their power over the Slayer. It's sick and gross and not cool at all. It's intensely dangerous to make a Slayer, someone who is used to having superpowers, suddenly helpless. But again, patriarchy of the Council...bullshit bullshit. They probably genuinely don't care if Buffy dies on her 18th birthday because if she does, a new Slayer will be called and everything will remain the same for them...wilted little boys not in danger ever. They're evil. 

Urgh. There's a severe thunderstorm happening right now and a tornado watch and Michael just packed an Apocalypse bag and the puppies are a little worried and there are the words "storm cell" and "squall line" in my vocabulary and I hate it. It's also kind of the tornado anniversary in that it's a Sunday, like 5.22.11 and today was the high school graduation like 5.22.11 and I'm on my period like 5.22.11. It's all very scary and I'm trying to watch Buffy instead of think about it but when I saw Michael packing the Apocalypse bag I started to freak out. *deep breath* Buffy is strong, even in her helplessness. She can save me. Only an hour until the watch has passed and then I'll really relax. 

I don't like that Buffy acts as helpless as she is. I realize she's really freaked out, but I think she would have acted a bit more fearless because even though the Slayer-strength is no longer there, she still has learned fighting techniques and has the memories of kicking ass for the last 3+ years. I just think the total helplessness is a bit exaggerated here. 

Apparently, the fact that the vampire took Buffy's red-hooded jacket is a Red Riding Hood thing. Not sure if I'd noticed that before or not. Maybe the image, but not necessarily thinking so far as to call the vampire the wolf in the scenario. 

I wonder if the reason B is more empowered at the end when she defeats the vamp is because she knows what's going on now or because she has just gotten used to the feeling of helplessness...or is she beginning to regain her prowess since she hasn't been dosed in awhile. This episode would have been way better if Joss had written it. The fact that Buffy is in overalls is pretty degrading too. It really denotes MORE of her lack of power. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

A coupla reviews...

originally published in The Current, Etc.

I need to talk about how I feel...

about Thom Yorke. I know a lot of people have used an onslaught of professional, musical, and philosophical words to describe Yorke, such as:

utterly excruciating”,
 and “the most over-analyzed rock band in the world” (in reference to Radiohead here) and these are just the words written on

The descriptors above are all well and good but you see, I want to talk about how I feeeeeeel when I listen to Yorke. 

He, alongside some other musicians (including another oft-worshipped soul, Flea) that most certainly (and written about ad nauseum, as well) cowed to his expertise and allowed his spasmodic movements and reclusive man-with-a-laptop work-style take over, just put out an album under the name Atoms For Peace called AMOK. The good people over at NPR Music say the lyrics are too simple, citing examples such as “Guess that’s it. I’ve made my bed, I’ll lie in it.” Pitchfork (again, they’re pretty much my music review gurus) says, “over the entirety of AMOK, you get the overwhelming sense that, this time, his sheets are tucked in too tight.” 

But you see, the thing is, I feeeeel like I need to listen to “Default” over and over and over until the cyclical-click rhythms are imbedded in my bone marrow. And I really feeeeel like I need to dance like a lurching wraith through the downtown streets of Joplin at 2am, ephemeral, yet unnerving like the sound of the song itself. The thing that Thom usually makes me feel is resonant-dissonance. His magical placid wisp of a voice (often criticized for this very wispiness) is so often (in Radiohead, in his solo work, in this Atoms for Peace album) layered over unsettling electronic noise organized into potent rhythms...and I feel like this particular combination of madness calms my jangled nerves into a jelly of flatlined ambience.

“For all the rhythmic chicanery at play, AMOK feels strangely static and contained, giving a perpetual sense of jogging in place. “ again says Stuart Berman from Pitchfork,  complaining that the album seems to build and build and then go nowhere. But...but, I like it, this static. This album is a particular brand of intoxicating white noise like Brian Eno’s ambient albums. You listen as you’re writing, working, doing the dishes and then suddenly you realize the music has unexpectedly become a part of you. You begin to listen more closely as the pulse infiltrates your sleeping brainwaves. Thom whispers in your ear (“push plaaaaaay”) at the most random moments in your day again and again until AMOK’s play counts have surpassed two digits into three and you’re lost down the rabbit hole. 

There aren’t many artists that have the quality of quietly sucking you into their subdural existence. When you live below the beat with Robert Smith, Grimes, and Thom Yorke, you no longer live in reality. And I feeeel like I can stay here beneath the soil for a bit longer, so press “repeat” because I haven’t heard AMOK three times yet today. 

Thank you, Atoms for Peace.

The Knife // Shaking the Habitual (2013)

The Knife’s (Swedish electronic duo) new album delivers on its title. This album questions how you feel about gender (a lyric on “Full of Fire”: “let’s talk about gender baby, let’s talk about you and me”), attention (most of the 13 tracks are at least 9 minutes long and some of them sound like you have headphones on while walking down a street and your Spotify app has disconnected from the LTE--yes, this happened to me. I was confused, then intrigued), and genre. As you’re trying to pinpoint where this album fits into electronic music, it suddenly dawns...this is EVERY kind of electronic music. Ambient (“Old Dreams Waiting to Be Realized”), industrial (“Full of Fire”), noise (“A Cherry On Top”), tribal (“Without You My Life Would Be Boring”), witch house (“Wrap Your Arms Around Me”), Krautrock (“Networking”), club dance (“Stay Out of Here”), etc. I could go on, but I’ve already named over half the tracks.

This album, as Zoladz (I have a music critic crush on this fabulous female over at Pitchfork) states in her review, “has ‘inaccessible’ etched into every fibre of its DNA”. She’s right: it is inaccessible, but the reasons to attempt to access it anyway are overpowering. Chances are, you haven’t heard anything like this album, even if you’ve heard The Knife before. The first track hearkens to a remnant of their past work, enough to draw you into warm familiarity before they rip your soul out in track 2 and rebuild it piece by piece throughout the rest of the 98 minute album. If you want to go on a journey with your music, this is the album to put on...over a two day period. As Zoladz also mentions, the album demands different parts of your attention at different times. There are meditative breaks within the industrial soul-shattering core of the album. In other words, you’ll have plenty of breathing room as the Knife-vice slowly, deliciously, tightens down on everything you ever knew. Once you’re able to finish the album, finally (and I still haven’t, so I’m only guessing the outcome), you will emerge a changed genderless being, and this is really what we all need to do anyway, yes? Allow yourself to be terrified by “Shaking the Habitual”. It’ll be good for you. 

You can find “Shaking the Habitual” on Spotify.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I seek it at a perverse level of intensity. I seek acknowledgement to the point of need.

If I suggest a plan for the day to my husband, I expect thoughts and a clear-cut, verbalized "Yes" or "No" as to preference of action.

If I, PURELY hypothetically of course, seek an Aspergers diagnosis with my therapist, I expect him to respect automatically that I am answering the questions provided to the best of my ability and not tell me he thinks I was answering them to get diagnosis. That offends me! I've been his client/patient/whatever-you-call-it for many years now, and he immediately invalidates this thing that I am. This thing he very reluctantly agreed I am, after much prodding. Then he didn't want to talk about it anymore. When I took the autism indicator I spent much time and effort making sure I was answering the questions truthfully, but still he doesn't believe me when I say I controlled for my biases. Normally, this assessment would make me question myself, but this time, no.

I'm tired of being the one that's expected to tell others how to treat me. I've spent my whole life knowing and advocating for people telling others how to treat them, and I do think this is incredibly valuable. You have to be assertive to get what you want, or even to know what you want, in this life. However, it is also very important to treat others with respect. Every single action I make that concerns other human being is weighed in my mind before taken. If I were this other person right now, how would this make me feel? Yes, I understand that I think too much...but I have an innate respect for other humans and I expect the same in return. I also understand that a lot of my assumptions on how others will feel in response to my actions is based upon how I would feel, and I'm a weirdo, so...

but again, I'm invalidating myself based upon the response I expect others will give me from these words. I'm just so sick of all the thought and all the screaming into the void I feel I am always engaging in...

I just want someone to get me. Really get me, without all these words in the way. Without me trying to explain. I want it so badly. To be understood. I feel it in small doses on rare occasions. And other occasions I defiantly DON'T CARE. But it's difficult to feel like you're the only one in a room reacting to a thing (a thing everyone in the room is also experiencing) the way you're reacting to it. Singular, alone, other.

The frustration doesn't come from feeling different so much as not being able to use words to tell others my point of view, and even when those words come, people in general do not want to discuss the fact that one weirdo has a reaction and wants to philosophize about a thing.

Again, the metaphor of screaming into the void comes. I'm screaming by blogging, by zine-ing, by art, by self-expression, by conversation, and I feel like I'm looking into a sea of zombie faces. Why doesn't anyone want to talk about feminism, religious dogma oppression, drag queens, Buffy, etc etc? My passions are isolated. I want to THINK and society wants to tamp me down into a tasteless powder.

I'm reading this book by Caitlin Moran called "How to Be a Woman" and one of the things I read yesterday was that she used to talk about the nuance of boys and her relationships constantly, every tiny detail analyzed, until a relationship is working...when something works, you shut up about it. I don't want to talk about boys, 'cause I got a good man...but the reason it's good is because we work at it and we demand respect from one another and give respect TO one another.

I've had cognitive dissonance with regard to the topic of prostitution and stripping for a long time. On the one hand, I've always thought it would take incredible courage to do either of those things and fuck, if dumbasses want to give you money for showing some skin and/or having some sex, take advantage of their stupidity....but, the truth is that these professions exist in their current form of disrespect and degradation BECAUSE of these idiots. I realized yesterday that it's not the professions of stripper and prostitute that bother me at all. I do still have admiration for sex-based professions (porn actors, strippers, prostitutes, etc), but they need to be in COMPLETE control of what they do. If all strippers were like burlesque performers (in their approach, not their look), in control of what they're doing and enjoying their sexuality WITH others who are respectfully (for the most part in burlesque, it's like a drag show. Everything's light-hearted, sexy AND fun...not dark and scary like regular strip clubs.) enjoying the show, then that would be wonderful. If all prostitutes could be like Inara on "Firefly" (she was a high-ranking member of society and she chose her clients carefully and was in complete control of her life and her job), that would be wonderful. If all porn actors could make films they enjoy making on their own terms without merely being objects for the men to fuck on film, then maybe more women would enjoy pornography. Maybe sex could be celebrated in a culture where women were free to feel ok about their sexuality. Perhaps we'd all get more tail if we respected one another and all that.

At this point, I'm all over the place. Starting my period in the next few days, finally. There's another subject: I use it as an initiation for men I know. If a man balks at talk of periods, he's gettin' an earful from me and no man I have EVER dated seriously has had any flinching reaction to my talk of periods. If he did, I wouldn't have dated him. 50% of the human population will have periods at some point in their lives. At any given time, several females you encounter are on their periods. Why can't we talk about it? Well, we can. Our brains are dosed in hormonal fluctuations to an extent that men don't have to endure. We go to work with cramps that would keep an unsuspecting man (you know, the ones who've never had a period, were they suddenly to get one, not that I think they couldn't handle cramps were they used to them as we are) on the couch wailing all day. My last period I endured cramps so bad that I couldn't walk for an hour. That's a pretty big deal, but I'm supposed to be quiet about it. Next time, I'm posting a status update about it. There's a shit-ton of mean-culture surrounding our periods....something we endure 30+ years of our lives 1/4 of that time. 25% of my child-possible (though not child-probable) time on this earth will be spent BLEEDING. From the crotch. This is something to talk about.

I'm sick of being quiet.