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.

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