Monday, October 24, 2005

Heartburn Vs. "Fuck Yea!"

Heartburn Vs. "Fuck Yea!"
The debilitating heartburn has set in again. I haven't taken my pills in about a week now. I ran out of those little over-the-counter miracles and couldn't spare the cash for a new box. The first few days without is never too bad. I often think, against all experience, “maybe that's it, that maybe I've finally beaten this affliction.” Like it's a terminally treatable condition along the lines of athlete's foot or pinkeye or something. But sure enough, by the end of that third day the acidic, squeezing pain slowly sets in. It begins off in the background and grows almost hourly to the point where about 5 days in, I feel like I could retch a geyser of pure stomach acid. Devil's rain indeed.

And of course those goddamn little pills I rely on are not manufactured to cure anything. Just delay the symptoms for a little while until the medication wears off and the pilot light in my stomach flickers to life and I reach for another pill. And another and another until I don't even question why no one's come up with a permanent fix for this shit and I forget how much cash I and so many others throw down every year just trying to feel normal again.

It's days like this, when there are no pills and the billowing nausea swells to what's gotta be a breaking point that I remember in this great free market economy, in this brave new century of American hyper-capitalism that the fix is in, alright. There are too many people making far too much money off of other's prolonged misery. Why bother with a cure. It's bad for the bottom line.
And you thought the War on Drugs was all about South America, inner-city gangs and disposable income.

Anyway, I'm thinking about all that while hunkered down in my corner of cubicle town. It's Monday, so I tune in to the reliably brilliant DJ Leanna's broadcast on Boston's great WZBC radio. The second song in to the set nearly knocks me out of my fancy office chair. It's a wild, epic masterpiece by the Japanese band, KoenjiHyakkei. I picked up an album of theirs during a visit to San Francisco five or six years ago called Hundred Sights of Koenji. Only after admiring the great Japanese prints on the cover did I notice a little, handwritten sticker in the bottom corner reading, "Ruins Drummer." I bought it right away and sure enough, it turned out to be a side project from Ruins drummer/mastermind/mad scientist, Tatsuya Yoshida that had more in common with circus music than the post-hardcore sound of The Ruins. Male and female vocals alternately scream and coo atop keyboard drenched epics punctuated by Tatsuya-son's typically frenetic drumming. They flaunt their turn-on-a-dime song structures to the point that the album seems like some kinda A.D.D. rock opera. In a good way.

Needless to say, I loved it. Also needless to say, I was thrilled today to hear they had something new out. On "Angherr Shisspa," KoenHyakkei’s new sound is more measured and less bombastic but the carnival atmosphere still holds the songs together through all the unexpected twists and turns.

And yea, for a little while there I forgot all about my stomach troubles, the dark side of capitalism, or doing any work and quietly rocked out in the friendly confines of my cubicle.

The cut DJ Leanna played, Rattims Friezz, is available here courtesy Skin Graft records.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

New Lightning Bolt Album!

The new Lightning Bolt album, Hypermagic Mountain was officially released last week. I got ahold of a, um, promo copy last month and initially had mixed feelings about it. Now, after several listenings it's grown on me a bit. While I still don't think it tops 2003's jaw-dropping, mind-bending, Wonderful Rainbow ("Dracula Mountain" mp3), it's certainly got it's moments.

Trying to describe Lightning Bolt's sound is a chore, but their press release does a good a job as anyone... and probably a good deal funnier:
"All killer-no filler follow-up to 2003's Wonderful Rainbow, Hypermagic Mountain slams into hyperdrive for a full 60-minute ride. The songs are dense and constructed from an intense three week recording session in a psychic sweatbox. The band has blurred differences to any other sound pirates with a primal base and new musical vocabulary fueled by chemistry altering volume and SONGS! Throbbing low end played on a 300-foot long bass and kick drums the size of Exxon supertankers, all stretched into a triumphant war stomp all walks can love. With just bass and drums (a two piece band you see) they have constructed the densest sound imaginable."

Despite my nitpicking, it's still a great album by one of the most original bands in the history of rock and roll (and jazz?). I'll be picking up a copy of the double lp come payday.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Speaking of Fridays...

We’ve all got our favorite personal soundtracks, right? Favorite songs to wake up to or fall asleep to, favorite songs to drive to, to work out to, do drugs to, rock out or make out to. Well, I’ve also always had my favorite songs to leave work to. Like all my other favorite situational songs, they’re constantly moving in and out of heavy rotation and, for whatever reason, tend to appear on or near weekends.
As a high school lad in Orlando, I’d burn rubber away from Little Caesar’s Pizza in my 1980 Firebird with damn near any song from The Lemonheads damn near perfect punk-rock-lite album, Hate Your Friends. On the short ride home from work, I'd breathe deep and fill my teenage lungs with the intoxicating air of temporary freedom (and no doubt an unhealthy dose of carbon monoxide from the cracked exhaust line).
In college, I’d zip through the crowded Gainesville streets on my skateboard, sweaty and usually sticky, covered in some combination of cheese, beans and salsa. The cassette walkman could have been playing anything, but more often than not, I’d fly out of EL Indio high on adrenaline, Jarritos and any of a half a dozen songs by Japanese rock-and-roll freak out act, The Ruins.
As always, the list keeps changing, but right now, this minute at the very ass end of the work week, I’m all over Rocky Erickson’s, I Think of Demons. It still holds up as one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written. And, at least for today, it seems like the perfect soundtrack for flying out of cubicle town, down eleven flights, onto the train and off along the greatest urban theme park ride in the country, eagerly anticipating the comfortable me-ness of home.

Friday, Friday, Friday

Friday, Friday, Friday.......
Oh, the joys of the working stiff.
So, how's about a picture of somthing that's just not working?
(Pic nabbed from the Brian Jonestown Massacre's page)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005

Moving In...

I'll be unloading the truck here for a bit. Fixing things up. Letting the paint dry. Whatever.
So, in the meantime, keep up with my buddy Mike's Antarctic adventures at
He's made it to his first stop on the continent and should be leaving for 4 months at the South Pole in another week or so.