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Today, I got up close and personal to one of Syracuse University's famed red-tailed hawks as it perched on a low-hanging ledge of an admissions building. After deliberating with a couple professors about whether it was an adult or child hawk, we decided it was a youngin, mostly based on how it was calling (or screeching) for help. Though I didn't hear the screech as lonely or abandoned, but as proud and content, like the more typical songbird melody. It seems that not even the birds are spared from our dirty projection. That said, the misleading nickname for this bird is "chickenhawk", meaning, hey, no matter what they say or think, this chicken can fly.
Howdy. It's June which means we've made it to the first of the summer months. The sun is shining and I'm sweating. I don't have shorts - a problem strangely common my social social circles.
I have a new album out. You can stream/download it here at no cost. It's free. It's music for you and me and us. It's socialist.
I like this one, a handbag of songs I've been accumulating since the new year. Mostly stripped-down, mostly short & sweet, mostly strange and contemplative musings on my recent life, loves, friendships, and experiences in this beautiful but oversaturated roller coaster tycoon of a city I call home. I tried to limit myself to just guitar and voice, and even though I couldn't stay true to that restriction, I learned a lot just from trying. Limitations can be helpful and ultimately expanding, whether utilized in your music, material possessions, diet, or media consumption. Heck, my living space is about the size of a small walk in refrigerator. But I guess the lack of space is what enables you to appreciate space. Same goes for emotions, happiness and sadness -- "the deeper sorrow carves in the heart of the your being, the more joy it can contain", says Judee Sill.
All this feels wrapped in these songs, so if you're at all interested in my thoughts and feelings over the last few months, have a listen and smash that download button. And if you've got a dollar or two to spare, it will help fund my upcoming semi-bi-coastal tour. Dates below. Thanks, see ya soon.
6/11 ~ New Haven, CT @ Noise Brunch
6/15 ~ Rochester, NY @ Meddlesome Lab
6/16 ~ Albany, NY @ Pauly’s Hotel
6/18 ~ Hadley, MA @ Asbestos Farm
6/19 ~ Burlington, VT @ Radiobean
6/20 ~ Bennington, VT @ South Street Cafe
6/21 ~ Boston, MA @ The Burren
6/22 ~ Philadelphia, PA @ The Fire
6/23 ~ Brooklyn, NY @ Unnameable Books
6/24 ~ Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Free Farm
6/25 ~ Washington, DC @ The Pinch
6/30 ~ Oakland, CA @ Monty’s Den
7/11 ~ Los Angeles, CA @ Ham and Eggs Tavern
April Fool year round.
Magnetic North now available on Bandcamp. What is that, you ask? I'm not sure! A collection of songs that I never really intended to release, mostly starting as reluctant attempts at writing songs on keyboard over silly electronic drum loops. Over time they evolved, musically and lyrically, becoming a small batch of songs that actually feels cohesive and representative of my life over the past few months: moving into a new apartment, 2017 election, struggles with my relationship to music, family, friends, and sleep, coming to terms with both American's criminal / imperialist history and Annie Dillard's comforting experiences in nature. It hasn't been all bad, but it hasn't been all good. It never ends. I'm tired.
The world is your oyster. Unless, of course, you're an oyster, in which case, good luck.
I forget how to sleep, sometimes. On alternating nights. Because when I forget, I get tired, and can remember again. Or at least remember how not to sleep, temporarily. So, the anticipation of sleep prevents its coming. The harder you try, the longer you remain awake. Obviously, right? But there's a lesson to be learned there, ya!? The less you actively want something, the more likely it is to come to you. Well gee of course! We all know that.
Then why is even this process of realization its own "anticipation of sleep" that prevents its coming. Sure, I get the conclusion, but the journey to that conclusion, again and again, is what keeps me up at night. Just that there's a conclusion at all, an arrival point of understanding, something to think about, is what keeps me awake. Don't think, sleep! But don't think about sleeping, just sleep...like how you breathe or blink or sneeze or stretch. Ok then, I'll think about something else. oh wait now that song is stuck in my head. Then her song. Then my song. oh god I'm stuck here lying awake with my own stupid song in my head. What chord is that though, what notes are those, what scale degrees, what chords could it be, what would a solo sound like over those chords? Maybe I'll get some practice done right now, mentally. or maybe I should turn a light on a read but then I'll really be awake instead of on the edge of sleep, on the brink of nothing how long has it been maybe I'll check my phone but NO not that the bright blinding light of technology is too much right now I don't like checking my phone even when I'm awake also that lights going to mess my brain up and trick it into thinking the sun is out and that I should wake up, like how the those baby beach turtles are tricked into walking towards the city and eventually their death because they think the city lights are the moonlight guiding them safely to the ocean
It's spring break for me because I'm in elementary school again. Off for two weeks. New Trees Take Ease recordings coming soon. I got a new microphone so my bedroom, despite being the size of a large refrigerator (and generally as cold as a warm one), is in full force. I'll be releasing 1 Ep and 1 full-length digital album sometime in the next couple months eventually.
The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were UNNECESSARY; US military officials knew this, given that Italy and Germany had already surrendered and Japan's military regime was weak and on the verge of. 150,000 Japanese civilians (and several US POWs, though the US gov't has not publicly recognized this) did not have to die so that US imperial capitalists could cement themselves as an "anti-fascist" "superpower".
Charles Dew, black physician and inventor of the blood blank system, was fired, ironically, for protesting the segregation of white and black blood sent to Europe from the US Red Cross during WWII.
oh hey ! writing to you from the city of angels, la la land, the big orange, lords' acres, etc. Market/Poppy Patica tour was a great great success, thanks to all the lovelies who housed and fed us, organized and came to the shows, played on the shows with us. Explored some new cities and made some new friends, so couldn't ask for more really. Above all, I'm inspired to get the heat working in my car! Someone should make an iPhone Heater App that somehow accesses and emanates the electric heat in your iPhone. Prospective names for this app: Heatr, Hawt, Heatergram, Hotbook, Hyt. Happy Holidays <3
wow ! what a joyful past few days. Hunkered down this past weekend in Figure 8 to record the new Drama Section album. 11 songs in 2.5 days and boy did engineer Sam Owens make them sound beautiful. Thanks to him and the whole Figure 8 family (guest stars Lilly and Albert) for providing such an important creative space. Got to use a super secret special drive pedal (made by some guy in MA who covers up the wiring inside the pedal so that no one can copy his electrical design) that makes your guitar glisten and sizzle like a tube-distorted asteroid belt disintegrating in the Earth's atmosphere. I hear Nels Cline like this pedal.
In other news, the long-awaited Market tape "Not Good At Spending Time Alone a.k.a. Cleanliness" comes out today. Listening to it as I update this blog for the first time in many months and dang, it's great! Nate's been working on this thing for 4 or 5 years so it's so pleasing to see it finally put out in the world. Nate writes some of my favorite songs - they're like diary entries sung over chord progressions that are somehow both immediately familiar and totally strange. I play drums in the live version of Market , and we're doing a little northeast tour with Poppy Patica this week, starting tonight at Trans Pecos. Hope to see you there ! (:
Heylo - just want to quickly check in and announce the release of my new tape: The Alternative is Nothing. It's a collection of songs written and recorded since the start of 2016. I'm real happy with how they turned out! Lots of drums, percussion, synths, weird auxiliary sounds. It's a roller coaster of sorts - a real slow and strange one. it's not really on a track. you're not even really sitting in anything. but there's definitely a seatbelt. it's unclear where the ride starts or ends. it moves along gently, rumbling every once in a while to remind that you are, in fact, on a ride, and hopefully having a good time. there are spins, flips, corkscrews, u-turns, though they are gentle, indiscernible. the ride moves forward, backwards, sideways, but you never notice. you fall asleep on this ride...it's sometimes boring, motionless. the lights suddenly burst on, you forget that they were off. this part is comforting, bright. climactic cathartic. the ride ends quickly, giving you ample opportunity to remove yourself, or stay on for another go. the best part about the ride? there's never a line.
Hello! Steve here. Just dropping in to give a quick update and celebrate a number of different firsts. Today is June 1st - the day that, to me, will always feel like the true beginning of summer (or at least the start of that sweet trifecta of summer months, hmm still feeling like I'm in school celebrating summer vacation...). Also, Idol Hour - psych rock trio with best buds Nathan and Duncan - released our first full-length tape today! We're extremely excited to have finally put out this album that encapsulates our last couple years of college. Many blissful memories wrapped up in these songs -- have a listen here. Windy Pines was an off-campus house we all lived in, a perfectly disheveled home with a porch and basement. Sean Mair - who engineered, mixed, and mastered the album (and also lived in Windy Pines years before us) - did a fantastic job at capturing the energy of our live shows and all the angst that we (or, at least I) felt about leaving Oberlin, getting older yet still wanting to play rock music! like shit...we're adults now? Wow what a strange-looking question mark! Another huge first is this post. I'll now be treating the homepage of my website like a blog-diary diary-blog, to be filled with all the thoughts and updates and strange-looking question marks I feel like offering every once in a while. You're welcome here any time! The last first (last first?) is that I cut my own hair yesterday. Feeling really good about it...didn't receive any startled looks from anybody upon walking into any rooms. Now when people say, "Nice haircut!", I can honestly say thank you and mean it cause I actually cut it. Most of the time we're taking credit for a haircut we didn't actually cut ourselves...In other news, my next tape as Trees Take Ease, titled The Alternative Is Nothing, is currently being mastered by the certified master himself Adam Hirsch over in Oakland, CA. Like Adam, it will be coming out this summer. Stay tuned!