Archive for December, 2012

The First Snow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 30, 2012 by sethdellinger

It snowed a little bit on my commute to work this afternoon; granted, it was already gone by the time I got off work, but it seemed significant enough to qualify as this area’s “first snow” of the year. So what could I do but cobble together this insufferably pretentious video of the snow event? Enjoy it, you heathens.

The Gods in Oranges

Posted in My Poetry with tags on December 28, 2012 by sethdellinger

Continued to be soggy emotionally today
even though two people I didn’t know smiled at me,
one because I couldn’t open a bag of dried mango,
the other because I stepped aside
as if I was holding the door for her
even though it was an automatic door.
The mangoes, tiny slivers, were soft
and powerful as baby rattlesnakes.
A branch had blown into my parking spot
by the time I got home like a friendly arm
over a shoulder so I sat in the car
listening to the rain finding its melody,
not wanting to send an angry text message
back to that prick ex-friend of mine who keeps
wanting to prove his life is more worthwhile than mine.
You’re singing every time you talk to someone,
I remind myself again and again, don’t forget you’re singing.
Even in the peel of an orange, there’s probably a god.
Energy is stored in there and then released
once the bonds are broken, once the juice runs
down your chin, everything
(even the gods in oranges)
gets blown apart in the end,
but still you’ve got to keep singing,
keep singing to those damn pricks
otherwise what the hell are we here for?

My 20th Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , on December 28, 2012 by sethdellinger

First, let’s recap what has come so far:

100.  “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
99.  “Jack & Diane” by John Mellencamp
98.  “Hotel California” by The Eagles
97.  “American Pie” by Don McLean
96.  “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson
95.  “Nuthin’ but a G Thang” by Dr. Dre
94.  “Bushwick Blues” by Delta Spirit
93.  “For the Workforce, Drowning” by Thursday
92.  “Fish Heads” by Barnes and Barnes
91.  “Shimmer” by Fuel
90.  “Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers
89.  “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
88.  “Asleep at the Wheel” by Working For a Nuclear-Free City
87.  “There’s an Arc” by Hey Rosetta!
86.  “Steam Engine” by My Morning Jacket
85.  “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest
84.  “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane
83.  “Fits” by Stone Gossard
82.  “Spring Flight to the Land of Fire” by The Cape May 81. “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” by The Postal Service
80.  “Sober” by Tool
79.  “Dream is Collapsing” by Hans Zimmer
78.  “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?” by The Beatles
77.  “In This Light and on This Evening” by Editors
76.  “Lemonworld” by The National
75.  “Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamente
74.  “A Comet Appears” by The Sins
73.  “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists
72.  “Pepper” by Butthole Surfers
71.  “Life Wasted” by Pearl Jam
70.  “Jetstream” by Doves
69.  “Trieste” by Gifts From Enola
68.  “Oh My God” by Kaiser Chiefs
67.  “The Righteous Path” by Drive-By Truckers
66.  “Innocence” by The Airborne Toxic Event
65.  “There, There” by Radiohead
64.  “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band
63.  “Symphony 1: In the Barrel of a Gun” by Emily Wells
62.  “The Best of What’s Around” by Dave Matthews Band
61.  “Old Man” by Neil Young
60.  “Cumbersome” by Seven Mary Three
59.  “Knocked Up” by Kings of Leon
58.  “Machine Head” by Bush
57.  “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States of America
56.  “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones
55.  “Fell on Black Days” by Soundgarden
54.  “The New Year” by Death Cab for Cutie
53.  “Call Me Al” by Paul Simon
52.  “Real Muthaphuckin’ Gs” by Eazy E
51..  “Evening Kitchen” by Band of Horses
50.  “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods
49.  “Top Drawer” by Man Man
48.  “Locomotive Breath” by Jethro Tull
47.  “We Used to Vacation” by Cold War Kids
46.  “Easy Money” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
45.  “Two-fifty” by Chris Walla
44.  “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles
43.  “Another Pilot” by Hey Rosetta!
42.  “Revelate” by The Frames
41.  “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann
40.  “Sample in a Jar” by Phish
39.  “Spitting Venom” by Modest Mouse
38.  “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow” by Nice & Smooth
37.  “I Shall Be Released” by The Band
36.  “When I Fall” by Barenaked Ladies
35.  “East Hastings” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
34.  “Terrible Love” by The National
33.  “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
32.  “Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event
31.  “This Train Revised” by Indigo Girls
30.  “Mad World” by Gary Jules
29.  “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes
28.  “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads
27.  “Growing Old is Getting Old” by Silversun Pickups
26.  “Brian and Robert” by Phish
25.  “Is There a Ghost?” by Band of Horses
24.  “Be Safe” by The Cribs
23.  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland, Hugh Martin, and Ralph Blane
22.  “Ashes in the Fall” by Rage Against the Machine
21.  “We Laugh Indoors” by Death Cab For Cutie

and my 20th favorite song of all-time is:

“Dondante” by My Morning Jacket

My Morning Jacket are an impossible band to pin down: they write some straight-forward country songs, some songs that are eerily close to being Seventies standards, some hard rockers, and then what I think of in my head as “loneliness space fusion”, although I’m sure music people might have a more appropriate name for it.  “Dondante” falls into this latter category.

Starting out at a low, creeping, spacey drawl, the song builds musically into an explosive yawp of yawning sadness.  It might not sound inviting, but I’ll admit to thinking it is the sound of a decent portion of my inner life—and I suspect the inner lives of many.

The lyrics are like many of frontman Jim James’ lyrics: mysterious, almost nonsense masterful setpieces that leave the listener to provide the context of a specific story which nonetheless appears to be universal.  There are very few words to “Dondante” (the meaning of the title we are also left to guess at).  James is telling a story of someone he used to know.  They seem to be dead, he seems to have warned them about something, he seems to have made his peace with it.  But elements of the story are left unresolved.  As a listener who has had his share of massively depressing departures, I can’t help but place my own experiences onto James’ specific dread nightmare.  Here are all the lyrics to “Dondante”:

In a dream I saw you walkin’,
like a kid, alive and talkin’,
that was you.

In the classroom you were teachin’,
on the streets you were policin’,
that was you.

To the ones that I know most
I will tell them of your ghost
like a thing that never, ever was.

And all that ever mattered
will some day turn back to batter
like a joke.

Behind thin walls you hid your feelings.
Takes four legs to make a ceiling,
like a thing.

In a dream I saw you walkin’
with your friends, alive and talkin’.
That was you.

Well I saw it in your movement,
even though you never knew it.
Well, I knew how sweet it could be
if you’d never left these streets.

You had me worried—
so worried—
that this would last.
But now I’m learning—
learning—
that this will pass.

 

OK, it’s Seth again.  Below is the studio version of “Dondante”.  Below that is one of the many, many live versions out there.  If you at all like the studio version, try the live version, it really cannot be stressed enough how much of a difference the live version of this particular song makes.  It’s like the difference of viewing something in two dimensions and suddenly seeing it in three dimensions.  Yes, the live version I’ve included is 15 minutes long, but it will rip your fucking heart out.

Hydrologic Cycle

Posted in My Poetry with tags , on December 17, 2012 by sethdellinger

Now you’re a pal hunching
ten yards away with a cigarette,
identical to buttered popcorn
to the birds overhead
who don’t know a goddamned thing,
and next thing you know
you’ll be saying hello darkness.
Now you see,
now you don’t.
Is anyone ever ready?
Do you get an explanation?
An apology?
Or does the water that was you
(that was 70% of you)
reenter the cycle and shed your name?
Evaporating, condensing, purifying,
quenching, forming ice crystals,
and rainbows, the same water
for billions of years recycled
in the planet’s breathing helix
(it’s absolutely true: no new water
is ever made and none ever stops
being water):
molecules of this shape-shifting skyscape
must once have been you,
Monika, Steve, Bonnie.
Allen, Ricky, Nate,
all of you.

Everything’s Gonna Be Undone, part 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 15, 2012 by sethdellinger

Some video I cobbled together to Band of Horses’ “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” as I was walking around the city, killing time before the concert:

 

Everything’s Gonna Be Undone

Posted in Photography, Rant/ Rave with tags , , , on December 15, 2012 by sethdellinger

You may or may not know that one of the unstated goals I had when moving to New Jersey and hence ending the “living-alone-very-far-away-from-everyone-I-know” experiment, was to try to be less of an asshole.  Living so solitary, as I did for two years in Erie, hastened an already alarming trend within me that caused me to be cynical, unkind, and judgmental.  And nowhere was this more evident than when I went to concerts.

I was alone, and everyone around me wasn’t.  Generally speaking, the type of people who go to concerts are nice, gregarious, outgoing folks who want to make friends.  I hated them, I ignored them, I went as far as to be mean to them.  I hated strangers, but I hated strangers at concerts the most.

So it was with great pleasure and not just a little surprise that I realized, as Band of Horses was about to start playing tonight, that I had made friends at this concert; I was first in line (that’s right, first), and I never gave a second thought to striking up good-natured temporary kinships with my front-of-the-line-mates.  I ended up on the railing next to two of them (a married couple from Wisconsin who are following the band) and we talked Band of Horses while we waited for the show to start.  They saved my spot for me when I needed to pee—one of the more complicated and worrisome aspects of attending General Admission concerts by yourself.  When the show was over we hung out together to try to get setlists (we didn’t) and it was just very pleasant.  I ran into some other line-mates after the show as we stood in line at the merchandise booth and we talked like we were old pals. It felt nice not to be an asshole.

Here is a picture of the line (from my vantage point at the very front!!) just before doors opened:

040

Band of Horses speak to my soul, whatever the fuck that means.  This band continues to evolve into a force in my life hitherto unfelt.  Tonight was my fourth time seeing them (still haven’t seen my Band of Horses white whale) and my emotional reaction keeps evolving (meaning I come close to crying like a baby a whole lot).  Ben Bridwell’s lyrics, coupled with the band’s live show–which is 100% exactly the kind of live show I want from a band–hit me in some secret place that even I can’t locate.

Here is tonight’s setlist:

01 Monsters >
02 Neighbors reprise
03 Compliments
04 Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
05 Laredo
06 The Great Salt Lake
07 Islands On the Coast
08 Northwest Apartment
09 Is There A Ghost?
10 Slow Cruel Hands of Time
11 Older
12 Electric Music
13 Dilly
14 Window Blues
15 Everything’s Gonna be Undone
16 Weed Party
17 Knock Knock
18 Ode to LRC
19 The Funeral

encore break

20 No One’s Gonna Love You More Than I Do (Ben & Tyler only)
21 A Song for You (Gram Parsons cover)
22 The General Specific

045

crowd

047

058

051

044

050

054

055

My 21st Favorite Song of All-Time

Posted in 100 Favorite Songs with tags , , , on December 11, 2012 by sethdellinger

is:

“We Laugh Indoors” by Death Cab For Cutie

I’m not going to waste too much time talking about how amazing this band is.  Heaven knows I’ve spent more than enough time trying to do that in the past ten years.  If you’re going to like them, you already do.  But if you have negative, silly notions about the band, allow me to dissuade you of them: they are not “weepy emo”, they are not for high schoolers, and they do not suck.

These are songs for grown-ups.  These are complex, layered songs about the intricacies of adult life.  Some Death Cab for Cutie songs haven’t fully cohered for me until after 20 listens.  There is a lot going on, both lyrically and musically.

“We Laugh Indoors” is a unique entry in Death Cab’s catalogue, but in fact, it would be a unique song in any band’s catalog.  It is, like many songs, about a relationship that has ended.  But it has a musical and a lyrical quirk that send it into the stratosphere for me.  Musically, it begins with an erie, creeping swagger, only to explode in an unforeseen middle section—all the more unforeseen for how uncharacteristic it is of this band.  Lyrically, singer and lyricist Ben Gibbard decides to communicate his obsession with this woman by using repetition in a way I’ve never heard it before.  It’s not a chorus, yet he repeats, I think twelves times, “I loved you, Guinevere.”  It makes the listener a little uncomfortable—almost certainly Gibbard’s intention.

I’ve posted the lyrics below, and below them, the studio version of the song, and below that, a live version that is interspersed with interviews with the band, from the superb movie about their life on the road, “Drive Well, Sleep Carefully”.  Seeing the fire and intensity with which the band plays this song should make believers out of anybody.

Look at his opening gambit here: he likes to imagine that the laughs he and Guinevere shared in the rooms they used to live in are still trapped somewhere under the hardwood floors, and he imagines “peeling the hardwoods back” to let the laughs back out, that he might hear them again.  But look at how he says it:

We Laugh Indoors

When we laugh indoors,
the blissful tones bounce off the walls
and fall to the ground.
Peel the hardwood back
to let them loose from decades trapped
and listen so still.

This city is my home,
construction noise all day long
and gutter punks are bumming change.
So I breed thicker skin
and let my lustrous coat fill in
and I’ll never admit that
I loved you guenivere.

I’ve always fallen fast
with too much trust in the promise that
“No one’s ever been here, so you can quell those wet fears.”
I want purity, I must have it here right now.
But don’t you get me started now.

December’s chill comes late,
the days get darker and we wait
for this direness to pass.
There are piles on the floor
of artifacts from dresser drawers,
and I’ll help you pack.

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