Archive for November, 2009

Tree Dream

Posted in Memoir, Prose with tags , , , , on November 29, 2009 by sethdellinger

When I was very young I played underneath a huge pine tree in our back yard.  It was a towering thing, the kind of tree that belongs in upstate Washington or something like that.  Birds flew from a dozen different hiding spots within it’s turquoise needles at all times of the day; it was bursting with life.

There wasn’t much grass below the tree.  It was mostly dirt, some sand (transported from my sandbox), pine needles and swaths of unidentifiable weeds.  More often than not, all I did under there was play with Matchbox cars, paving little roads with their little wheels, their imagined little drivers having life-or-death battles out on Arizona stretches of highway, where even the cops had a death wish.

But sometimes I would try to dig.  I’d dig a hole as deep as I could dig it, just to see.  I’d try to dig the tree out (I imagine I thought I was closer to success than I actually was), sometimes I’d just dig a series of holes in certain patterns—I could not tell you why.

One especially sunny afternoon I awoke from a dream that was indescribable in it’s joy.  In the dream, I had been out in the backyard, playing under the tree, when I began to dig a hole.  The hole was deep and had solid walls and was more perfect than I suspected I was capable of.  Looking at my handiwork, I decided to extend the hole in a circular trough around the tree.  It took me a long time (even in a dream) to complete this task.  When I was done, the only thing to do, to a kid too young for kindergarten, was this: to fill it with water.  Then, of course, I’d have my own moat!

Which is exactly what I did.  To the best of my memory, the moat simply filled with water, the moment I wished for it.  It was, after all, a dream.  The water was perfectly blue, not like a moat in a grayed out knight movie, but like the azure lake of a country summer day.  It calmly surrounded the hulking tree—now looking more and more like a grand wooden fortress—and I had never been so proud of myself.

What is the one and only thing I can remember doing, then?  Why, I made a boat out of newspaper and floated it across, watching the tiny ripples it made, and the reflection of the swaying pine needles above my head.

Six Picture Sunday, 11/29

Posted in Photography with tags , on November 29, 2009 by sethdellinger

Pearl Jam – Just Breathe

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2009 by sethdellinger

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Fake Band Name and Album Title, 11/27

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 27, 2009 by sethdellinger

This week, Cory brings you the band name, and I bring you the title of an album by that fake band:

 

Band:  The Appliance Namers

Album:  Almost Man-Feet

Black Friday Madness

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 27, 2009 by sethdellinger

Early this morning, Burke and I found ourselves awake in the wee early hours of Black Friday with nothing to do.  We realized we shuld probably go to the nearby hub of consumerism, Wal-Mart, and just see what all this hoopla was about.  This was the nightmare of humanity we encountered:

Posted in Snippet with tags , on November 26, 2009 by sethdellinger

Let’s all go back to MySpace now. They’ve made all the necessary changes to mimic Facebook, yet they’ve kept all the superior MySpace features. C’mon, pleeeeeeease everybody????

Seth’s Favorites of 2009: Music

Posted in Rant/ Rave, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by sethdellinger

Other favorites of 2009:

Concerts
Magazines
Poetry
Television

Aside from movies (which I am waiting till the last possible moment to do), this was definitely the most difficult year-end round up for me to accomplish.  There was a lot of great music this year!   But after much thought, I’ve come up with a list of albums released in 2009 (or in the last 2 months of 2008) that satisfies me.  And if you know what’s good for you, you’ll go buy all of them!

10.  Phish, Joy

I know what you’re saying…you hate Phish, even if you’ve never really listened to them.  But hey fuckers, even if you’ve listened to Phish before with an open mind and hated them, you may very well enjoy Joy.  The same carefree, love-life aesthetic has remained thematically from their previous work, as well as a lot of the “jam-y” musical elements, and the band has added a new, more serious “rock” sound that lurks behind the hippie jam, and some of the lyrics mask a more sinister, dark level underneath the groovy picnic.  Should please almost everyone.

9.  Cold War Kids, Loyalty to Loyalty

Cold War Kids’ sophomore album was, at first, disappointing.  Upon first listen, I was convinced it was boring.  But repeat attendance to the album proved otherwise.  The band is simply evolving, and rapidly, at that.  After their art-rock debut album, Loyalty to Loyalty gets even more arty while maintaining a rock edge; you just have to listen carefully, because they somehow manage to rock hardest when they stop playing their guitars entirely.  Vocalist and songwriter Nathan Willett continues to explore themes of the dark side of American life: alienation, mass-produced emotions, and the stark terror of celebrity culture.

8. The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love

The Hazards of Love is a legitimate rock opera, telling one unified (if bizarre) story.  Obviously, it is a love story, but one involving forest-dwelling shape-shifters, infanticide, and a children’s chorus.  It’s certainly not for everyone, especially not those with short attention spans, but the album, once appreciated in totality, can then be appreciated song-by-song, and you can even drop a few of the songs succesfully into a good mix disc.  And aside from being a complete work of genius, the album also marks an incredible shift in musical tone for the band: some of these crunchy rock riffs were nearly unimaginable on previous Decemberists albums, and it is exciting to hear a niche band reaching so far outside it’s comfort zone.

7. Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest

I first enountered Grizzly Bear when they opened for Radiohead on their 2008 tour.  I liked them but didn’t love them at the time–I found them a bit too ‘alt-country’ for me.  Then in 2009, they released Veckatimest (named after an island off of Massachusetts), an album that quickly became so critically acclaimed, I had no choice but to go buy it.  And guess what?  It seems their time with Radiohead paid off, as they seem to have borrowed the quiet, electronica-infused sound of Kid A or Amnesiac. When mixed with their already existing alt-country sound, the result is one of the most unique, entrancing albums I’ve ever been forced to buy by rock critics.  Perfect for setting that “romantic” mood, if ye know what I mean.

6.  Cage the Elephant, Cage the Elephant

Straight-up, balls-to-the-wall, cocky, messy, catchy, head-banging motherfucking old school rock and roll!

5.  Modest Mouse, No One’s First, and You’re Next

While technically a collection of B-Sides from their past 4 albums, No One’s First, and You’re Next plays like it’s own album, and for a collection of B-sides, it has more gems than most bands’ regular albums do.  There are more insane guitar sections than one could have hoped for, and Isaac Brock’s depraved, depressed guttural howl is on display in full barbaric force.  I just wish it was longer.

4.  Silversun Pickups, Swoon

Swoon actually has a somewhat lackluster second half, but it has such a gut-pounding, powerful first half that you can’t even hold the second half of the album against these California rockers, who know how to craft a seven-minute, swelling, crashing breaking holy shitting rock song better than anyone else.  Swoon requires patience from the listener on almost every track, but the payoffs are huge.

3.  The Trews, No Time For Later

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the most intellectual bar band in the world!  The Trews somehow manage to craft songs that sound (marvelously) like they belong on a tiny stage at your loal watering hole, while peppering them with insightful, socially concious lyrics and occasional genre-busting time signatures.  They score so high on the list for their pure catchiness that manages to hook you without being saccharine.

2.  The Cape May, Glass Mountain Roads

Wikipedia says this about The Cape May:

“The songs are cenetred around the poetic lyrics of vocalist Clinton St. John, and are lyrical stories of urban dystopia and a culture on the brink.”

Well, hell yes, that’s exactly what it is, and the eerie, shadowy music that backs these lyrics will haunt your dreams.  I knw how corny that sounds, but it’s true!  This is almost certainly the smartest album I’ve ever heard; the fact that it’s relatively emotionless is by design on the band’s part, but alas, is also the only thing keeping it from being #1…

1.  Hey Roestta!, Into Your Lungs and Around in Your Heart and On Through Your Blood

Hey Rosetta!  (the exlamation point is theirs, not mine) is everything I want in a band: smart, emotionally wrenching, serious and funny, rocking and quiet, incredibly poetic, with intense build-ups, prolonged quietudes, and lyrics that reveal our shared humanity.  This album–their second–just might change your life.  Mark my words: if this band isn’t famous in three years, I’ll eat a shoe.  A.  MAZ.  ING.

Some honorable mentions:

Doves, Kingdom of Rust
Death Cab For Cutie, The Open Door EP
Tegan and Sara, Sainthood

As in past years, I’ve made a kickass mix disc highlighting my favortie music of the year.  Want one?  I’ll mail it/bring it to you, just give me your address or let me know where to bring it.  This is the track list of the disc:

1.  “In One Ear” by Cage the Elephant

2.  “Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan” by Phish

3.  “Aint No Rest for the Wicked” by Cage the Elephant

4.  “Paranoid Freak” by The Trews

5.  “Against Privacy” by Cold War Kids

6.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May

7.  “New Goodbye” by Hey Rosetta!

8.  “The Wanting Comes in Waves” by The Decemberists

9.  “The Whale Song” by Modest Mouse

10. “Old and Early Numbers” by The Cape May

11. “Growing Old is Getting Old” by Silversun Pickups

12. “Lions For Scotty” by Hey Rosetta!

13. “The Rake’s Song” by The Decemberists

14. “Something is Not Right With Me” by Cold War Kids

15. “The Royal We” by Silversun Pickups

16. “I’ve Been Asleep For a Long, Long Time” by Hey Rosetta!

17. “Foreground” by Grizzly Bear

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