The Digital Outhouse

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An Interview with Norwegian Arms

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An Interview with Blackbird Blackbird

Interstellar sounds for an interstellar generation

The Digital Outhouse

Hello.

Kind of like clean air, sustainable agriculture and potable water, good dance music is something the world could always use more of. Emphasis on good because there’s plenty of shit dance music out there. 

But let’s stay positive, shall we? Body Language is so utterly competent at making music that makes your brain respond in the only logical way it can: to move your body. It may not be the answer to our planet’s rapidly depleting resources but in more instances than one, nu disco (or any reason to dance for that matter) seems like a pretty solid answer for many of life’s quandaries. 

I just wanted to share what could be my favorite track of all time from my favorite album of all time by my favorite band of all time. I don’t even listen to this song anymore because I’m afraid of what would happen if I was to get sick of it and I can’t let that happen. So I treat myself to this song when I’M REALLY FEELING A LOT OF FEELS, BRUH. 

Funeral encapsulates so many feels that I just bask in tears alone in my car sometimes listening to this album. I’m just kidding..

But even more exciting is that Arcade Fire has announced the release date of their next album so mark your calendars for SEPTEMBER 9, FOLKS! 

Unsurprisingly, the musical shift from (sort of) 60’s psychedelia to (sort of) 80’s synth pop is just another day in the office for the London based Still Corners. A day in the office for me consists of the consumption of a banana or two (maybe some yogurt if I’m feeling particularly adventurous), and the careful optimization of a handful of accounts for some of mobile gaming’s top publishers.

I’ll let you decide which is more impressive.

Regardless of what you decide, Strange Pleasuresthe duo’s second full-length release is a delightful romp through the hazy, synthetic landscapes of the human mind (which is just a creative way of saying “nowhere in particular”).

Now, fans of Creatures of an Hour should not agonize over this sudden (Although I’m not sure 2 years falls into the category of sudden) paradigm shift. Much of what made the eclectic pairing of Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray so satisfying remains present in their latest offering. Murray’s voice continues to float on with an ethereal flair, coupled intimately by layer after shadowy layer of rhythmic percussion. It’s damn good.

And you know those changes I was talking about? Those are damn good as well. Because where Creatures of an Hour felt right at home nestled in the dark caverns of your mind,  Strange Pleasures finds its repose somewhere a bit further away. Somewhere unobstructed by the engulfing darkness that often accompany cave-like ecosystems. You know, like a hazy, synthetic place. A landscape if you will.

Anyway, Murray probably puts it best in the opening lines of the song:

We can’t see what’s real, we don’t know the time. We only want to feel alive.

I sure do.

Joshua Tillman, the man behind Father John Misty, wrote a song about writing a novel. The song of course, is the story of a protagonist (presumably Tillman himself) who takes a precarious amount of drugs, and does a lot of interesting things.

Take a minute to read the lyrics. It might make you want to go outside and locate your own Canadian shaman. 

Change is a hell of a thing.

It’s a precarious thing to confront because it’s never really convenient (and I want my damn convenience). Humans, for better or worse, are creatures of habit. We don’t like change. It upsets us. It scares us. But ultimately, it consumes us.

And as with every other fundamental human complexity (love, hate, sex, and fuck it, love again), change makes for a great tune. Or album. Or whatever. “Weight”, off of Mikal Cronin’s latest release MCIIis a perfect example of this (which explains why I’d lead in with so such a musically deficient introduction). 

While it probably would have made a lot more sense to talk about another song on the album (called "Change"), I would rather take the harder route, because the harder route equates to more words. I like words. Anyway, all it takes is about 15 seconds to realize that “Weight” and most of MCII is concerned with change, and its often inconsistent role in our daily lives.

The song opens with a lovely piano melody, that quickly changes (see what I did there? it’s all symbolic) to a jangly, distortion infused pop song. Of course, I mean that in the best way possible way, as jangly, distortion infused pop songs are my favorite. And while “Weight” is full of aurally pleasing elements, I was most captivated by the sincerity of Cronin’s lyrics. 

Maybe that’s because I can relate. Change certainly has a very specific weight to it, and after a while, that weight gets a bit too overbearing. Especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Those are the worst. No, but really, they do take their toll. I’m no scientist, but I will boldly claim that weight of change in these situations eventually becomes too much to handle. Or maybe that’s not it. Maybe it’s the anticipation of having to reinvest so much of yourself into someone all over again.

Yeah, that sounds better. Or maybe I’ll change it later. Maybe.

I’m writing this from a cramped table at a local cafe here in San Francisco’s Mission District, sipping on what appears to be steamed milk with a hint of chai.

Why am I painting such a specific scene, with such an added emphasis on a meaningless cup of milky chai?

Well, if you haven’t noticed, I enjoy complementing my musical dissections with personal anecdotes. Just go with it. Anyway, I originally thought it would be a great idea to enjoy a chai latte, but since it was fairly late, I decided it would be better without the caffeine. Hence, the steamed milk with a touch of chai.

I bring this up not because I enjoy talking about Chai, or about San Francisco. No, I bring this up because listening to Mazes is a lot like sipping on my milky concoction. Take a deliciously diverse base, and add a hint of your favorite flavor and you’ve got a winner (or at the very least, something better than a loser). 

In this case, that delicious base is a choice blend of 60’s and 70’s rock melodies, with a touch of Dinosaur Jr. inspired vocals. Alright, so that may not be the best comparison I’ve ever made. But it does illustrate the point I was trying to make. 

This is my favorite song by them. This cup of chai? Not my favorite. But then again, I did ask for it.

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