how’d you get into jazz anyways?

What opened my ears to jazz? Funny you should ask. Hard to pin down exactly. But in an effort to oversimplify the unquantifiable, I think having the Minutemen and Sonic Youth in heavy rotation for years and then getting into the chord changes in drum and bass songs and then hearing Squarepusher’s Music is Rotted One Note when it came out helped.

Bonus Squarepusher cuz it’s so good –

radio loways – september 2014

01. sympathy for the strawberry – sonic youth
02. watch that grandad go – bauhaus
03. 122 hours of fear – the screamers
04. un uomo da rispettare (titoli) – ennio morricone
05. the autumn wind is a pirate – cheer accident
06. sombre reptiles – brian eno
07. more than a feeling – sleater kinney
08. side b – aluk todolo

radio loways

the songs that took my attention in september of 2014. listen, won’t you?

unhelpful notes –

sympathy for the strawberry – yeah, that’s a sonic youth song two months in a row. i love this one. mellow noise constraint action. and i think my absolute favorite part of the song is lee ranaldo’s organ bit. i love that.

watch that grandad go – i first heard bauhaus on a tape that i found in one of the art rooms in high school. perfect, right? i think it was the sky’s gone out on one side and burning from the inside on the other side. i was curious and listened to it and eventually it grew on me. then i didn’t listen to them for like ten years and it wasn’t until the last five years or so that i’ve been really listening to bauhaus. i like most of their output – but i really like when they get kinda dubbed out and danceish. so this track is actually one of my favorite songs of theirs.

122 hours of fear – you’ll have to turn this one up, cuz it’s quiet. and it should be loud. i’m so fascinated by singers/front people who so completely believe in their part and can put on this amazing entertaining show. it’s so not how i am. i can play guitar in a band and just kinda be the guitar player in a band in the background. but i can’t conceive of being the focal point of the show. and yet there are all these people who can do it. who can emote and act and embody characters and have a particular persona on stage. aside from being an awesome band – the screamer’s singer is definitely one of those front people types.

the autumn wind is a pirate – for years i had been trying to figure out which song it was that i loved so much by cheer accident. ever since i saw them play at the hideout on the occasion of dylan posa’s last show with them. they had a horn section. and all these insane tech-prog parts. and yet they were goofing around and doing silly dances and laughing and making faces and laughing. very un-prog. or maybe very chicago prog or something. but anyways. they played this song and i loved it. completely. and in that fade part where the guitar gets quieter and quieter and then it’s gone – when they did that live they got completely quiet and all you could hear was the sound of people talking through the doors at the bar. and yet the musicians kept moving and playing their parts just so quietly you couldn’t hear them. and then they brought it all back. it was a brilliant set. brilliant song. i’m gonna say it’s one of my all time favorite songs of all time.

more than a feeling – not my favorite sleater kinney, but i’d never heard this before until i stumbled across it a couple weeks ago. i hate the original version of this song. mostly cuz it’s such a fucking earworm. it’s always in my head. always. always when i’m doing dishes. or cooking. or walking home from work. or at work. i’m always – more than a feeling, that i’m feeling for you! bah bah – bahm bahm – bahm bahm bahm bahm bahm – bah bah. just like that. annoying.

side b – i seem to like french metal. it’s interesting. and yeah – that’s aluk todolo up on top.

and yeah – that’s the screamers down below.

radio loways – august 2014

01. 90s music – kimbra
02. ambitious people – negative scanner
03. everytime you touch me (1995 nyc jungle mix) – moby
04. balada de la trompeta – raphael
05. deo – amon tobin
06. jazz – mick jenkins
07. jams run free – sonic youth
08. voodoo ray – a guy called gerald
09. lodge freeway – eddie “flashin” fowlkes
10. wear clean draws – the coup
11. push it – the chalice

radio loways

the songs that took my attention in august of 2014. listen, won’t you?

unhelpful notes –

90s music. i am straight up out of my mind full on fucking obsessed with this song. the whole album is good, but this song is fiercely good. i have such a small window of tolerance for pop music that very few things sneak in, but when they do, they do. and this did. i wish more pop music was musically interesting, but maybe that’s what makes interesting pop good and interesting in the first place – that it exists within and against a backdrop of boring standardness. and the interesting is made interesting by playing against that standardness. maybe if it was all like this, i wouldn’t be into it anyways. who knows. what i do know, is that i like this song. way to go kimbra.

ambitious people. negative scanner is from chicago. they have a good sound. they have a good chicago sound. garagey, post-punk-ish, rough, stripped down. also – i like the shout singy thing that’s going on.

everytime you touch me (1995 nyc jungle mix). speaking of 90’s music. i used to be so into moby. specifically his output from like 1991 to 1997. i was way into techno and electronic music and his happy vibes were always welcome. i also finally figured out what constituted jungle and drum and bass from this particular version of (1995 nyc jungle mix). and i realized that i loved jungle. it was something that i had read about and was fascinated by even though i hadn’t heard anything. and then, once i heard this, i had a point of entry. access. and i began to explore it – feverishly tracking down comps and solo works of jungle/drum and bass artists. the beats and rhythms sounded so random and crazy at the time. i couldn’t figure them out and couldn’t imagine how anyone could dance to it. after almost twenty years of hearing the rhythm and hearing the evolution of the beat patterns, it doesn’t sound quite so insane, but i still love it. and i have a massive place in my heart for the breakbeats of the early nineties.

balada de la trompeta. holy shit is raphael dramatic. i love dramatic crooners. he seems to be kind of like a spanish jacques brel chanson interpreter. as with most dramatic crooners his output is all over the place and a lot of it isn’t to my liking. a lot of it veers into schmaltz, corn and cheese. but some of it is right on perfection. and this is one of them.

deo. i told you i like breakbeats.

jazz. i’m always happy to discover truly awesome hip hop that comes from chicago. and mick jenkins seems to be onto something. this song is truly awesome. when i first heard this one i had to listen to it five times in a row cuz it was so good.

jams run free. if you’ve known me for a long time, you already know that i’ve loved sonic youth since i was fourteen. and while i was sad that they broke up, i realize it was prolly for the best artistically cuz this second to last album of theirs was something of a stinker by their standards – or my standards for their output. very safe and npr edgy. yawn. but this track has a great sound. i do like this one.

voodoo ray and lodge freeway. did i already mention that i like acid house/techno? i do. so here’s two more.

wear clean draws. here’s some corniness – i always liked this song cuz of the positive dad to daughter words, but then after my partner and i had our son, it resonated even more and now i get a little emotional every time i hear this one. i can’t help it.

push it . i like the chalice, i played them on here before. i don’t have too much to say about them right now, but i wanted to write something since i did for all the other tracks. word.

ps – that’s mick jenkins up there. you can download the mixtape that includes jazz here.

futbol, sonic youth, collectors…

a couple of things.

1. the united states beat spain in the confederations cup. that’s crazy! spain was/is this invincible juggernaut. i have mixed feelings about this, cuz the us dominates in so many other ways, soccer was one of the few things where most other countries could walk all over the states. but, now united states soccer is ascending. which is good, cuz then soccer might start to get taken seriously here. which would be nice. this is not to say that the us is the best in the world at this point. far from it. they will prolly face brazil in the final and will prolly get creamed. but as an underdog story, and i love to root for the underdog, i’m into this.

UPDATE of course I posted this late. the us did lose to brazil. just so you know.

also, if anyone knows any good soccer blogs, let me know.

2. just listened to the new sonic youth album, the eternal. really not feeling it. i know it’s easy to slag on them at this point, and i’m not slagging, cuz it’s still a decent record, but I think my mega love affair with them is kinda over. which is cool. it lasted a long time. it is interesting that the most out stuff they do now is when they do their side projects. and now when they get together as sonic youth, it’s like this mellow indy rock vibe. occasionally there are the slight noise departures, but on the whole, it’s just mellow. which is fine, they’re allowed to be mellow after 30 years. it’s pleasant enough to listen to. but so not crucial. i wanted to love it, feel what i used to feel when i listened to them, as recently as sonic nurse, but i had the same feeling as when i listened to rather ripped (how was that three years ago already?).

oh, but the thing i will slag on is the $30 price tag for the vinyl of the new record. what the fuck? either what the fuck matador? or what the fuck sonic youth? or both. no extra tracks or anything, just fancy packaging and nice vinyl. but 30 dollars. no thanks. i bought the cd. 12 bucks. little packaging. minimal. barebones. production credits, thank yous. that’s it. and then i’m told there were 2 other pre order packages one for 40 and one for 50 dollars. with either one you get more shit (a live vinyl) and i’m guessing some other swag. at first i thought it was a decent idea, getting people interested in the upcoming release, by offering extras to people who preorder it, but I totally didn’t realize it cost more. that’s just collectorism and exploiting a nerdy fanbase. and I’m so not into collectorism. way to encourage that lame pasttime matador/sonic youth.

ps no offense to collectors, i know it’s a condition that you can’t help and that you are still good people.

pps if i’ve gotten my info wrong about how matador released this record, also let me know.


i wrote this right before i got off my ass and finished writing flotation device 12. i guess it helped motivate.


I need to demystify my writing process. I used to treat it like this divine sort of act. Invoking the writing spirits the mystic rulers of word rhythm the secret gods of sentence structure. I would reverentially play amazing music – depending on the phase of my life I was in. Different types of music were more spiritual at different times. For a while it was punk rock and for a while it was electronic and for a while it was experimental and for a while now it has been jazz. Punk generally meant dead kennedys. Electronic generally meant aphex twin. Experimental meant sonic youth and jazz meant fucking jazz. Of course I still listen to all of these things – especially jazz and in particular free jazz.

But I need to take my process off of the pedestal I put it on when I was 20. When I was writing my stories for fiction writing at Columbia. When I was writing late into the night into the early morning listening to amazing music in the glow of my little lamp. Warm and magic. That was when it was easy and words flowed and text fell out onto the paper of notebooks I didn’t have to much think about it.

That’s when I turned my writing into this lofty exercise this magical event that I could only perform under certain and ideal conditions. It worked for a while but then life happens and living situations change and you grow up a bit. But my thoughts about my writing stayed the same. I waited for mood to hit me for certain times of day for certain lighting for certain social arrangements for certain everything. And I stopped writing. It was too much. The circumstances were never right. I rarely wrote for three years – a long time when you consider yrself a writer. Painful and depressing and always in the back of yr head. In the back of my head.

I had grown and life had changed but my conception of writing and my process hadn’t. It was still back there where I left it. It was still in my room in my apartment at 2216 w Wilson. It was still there with me at 20 listening to xx play video games and cats meowing and xx slurring and xx fucking and amazing music in a warm glow at my desk at 2 in the morning feeling alive and magical. Magic. Magic. Spirit. Spirit. Invoke. Invoke. And the pedestal kept growing year after year. It got taller and taller rose higher and higher in the sky and it disappeared in the clouds and I thought that only on certain occasions at certain times of day in the right light with the right music could I touch it again, that magic glow on the pedestal in the clouds. And then I felt like I couldn’t do it at all.

How powerful the mind is. How amazing it is. How wonderful it is at convincing us that things are impossible and that an easier way should be sought after and found. What a son of a bitch the mind is. Telling us it’s easier to not do anything rather than work at something we enjoy so much. What a motherfucker.

I lived with my process existing on that fucking pedestal for 8 years the first half of which worked great, the last 4 didn’t work at all. And it’s only been in the past few months that I even saw the fucking pedestal at all. I kept blaming circumstances and far from ideal or sometimes just slightly unideal conditions.

But writing is writing and it’s not a spiritual act or magical. It just is what it is. Sometimes it comes easily sometimes it’s hard as shit but I have to just do it. I’m not a great writer. I’ll never be remembered as being amazing. Fuck, I’ll never be remembered. Everyone I read humbles me. Their words and grammar and sentence construction and narrative structure. They are amazing and I’m okay. I’m alright. And that’s fine. I’ll keep writing what I write, documenting what I can how I can. But my shit doesn’t have to be magical and it doesn’t come from some fucking magical place that I invented when I was young. It just comes from me and my voice and my brain. It is what it is. And I can fucking do that whenever or wherever I want. If it’s something I need to work on fine. If it’s difficult I just need to do it. I need to work through the difficult times. It’s a discipline. It’s work and I should treat it as such. It’s a mundane action and I just need to keep practicing.