Alt-J – RELAXER

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh


I feel like I’ve given English Indie Rock band, Alt-J, the fair one. Many of my friends are fans of them and hit me with the whole “You would love them!” thing. I’ve tried to like them and they have all the ingredients to be a band that I could rock with but there is just something missing. Their music doesn’t stick with me like Young The Giant’s or Hippo Campus’ or even Bon Iver’s does. In these instances where I’m barely a fan the foundation that I’m basing my judgement could be completely off base. In any case, they dropped RELAXER and ya know what, I’ll give them another chance.

*Sigh*

This was an odd listen for me. The front half of the album is comprised of mid tempo tracks while the back half is a lot more…relaxed (I’m so sorry, please forgive me). “In Cold Blood” and “Hit Me Like That Snare” are songs that I would more readily associate with the band’s sound. Multiple sections, the illusion of noise, that weird voice with harmonies and pretty interesting drum parts. They aiight.

I do want to talk about the mid album Jamie XX knock off “Deadcrush” for a sec because I really like it even if it sticks out like a sore thumb. The gritty, beat-driven track is juxtaposed with weird but fitting high pitched vocals. It’s the perfect length and probably my favorite songThe other favorite is the last song, “Pleader.” Alt-J orchestrated a very nice track with guitars, strings and woodwinds that at times feel hymnal (is that a word?). The chosen harmonies of the many layers of vocals add to that spiritual feel. Add in some cool drums and “Pleader” closes out the album quite nicely.  In form it is still very much an Alt-J song (See Above) but instead of quirky indie tropes it is lush and theatrical.

For the other half of the songs that I didn’t mention, go read a Bon Iver review but remove all the adoration and expectation; that’s what the rest of RELAXER provides. Aside from the aforementioned “Deadcrush” the rest of the songs are ambient and slowish, carried by vocals and ethereal instrumentals. I would assume the main voice is the lead vocals but I honestly don’t like his voice. Truthfully, a lot of the singing is layered and much more bearable but if it’s just him…I’d rather not. The woman’s voice who appears on a couple tracks is very nice which only makes my distaste for the other voice stronger. Other than that, there isn’t much interesting about these songs. You can be slow and soft but you better not be boring.

So wait, did I like half the album? Maybe. Unfortunately, I don’t see myself coming back to RELAXER let the songs grow on me. I could have missed the point; should I have taken the title of the album seriously? Maybe I just don’t get it? That’s too much thinking for something I only half enjoyed.  I think I have come to the conclusion that Alt-J might not be for me…and you know, that’s okay.

 

“Deadcrush” might end up on a playlist though.

 

Check it out and form your own opinion:

Food Rules, Portions Drool

What’s for lunch?


I’m a hungry person. As I’ve gotten older portions have really started to play a factor in my daily life. When I was younger I could eat a buttload of food and not feel bad. That ain’t the case anymore. Thanksgivings of the past would be a competition between the older dudes in my family, myself and my brother of who got the biggest plate. We would go in.

Recently I went to the Deke’s (RIP) and I was sure that I was gonna have at least four plates of their buffet. Not today. I had like two plates and after that I knew I was done. Couldn’t go any further. I was a little sad and a little glad because I’ve become substantially less active….which is bad. In my recent epiphany, I realized that generally I was eating too much. Drink more water, don’t get a full second plate, say no to the snack drawer at work.

SPEAKING OF WORK. I’ve never seen a place so consumed with food. There’s the aforementioned snack drawer filled with chips, Doritos, and cookies. On top of a file cabinet there are Swedish Fish and pretzels. Someone is always retiring, birthdaying, anniversarying and all those events are catered. “There’s food in the Large Conference Room.” Then like possessed robots, the entire office stands up and marches to our dooms free food. What I need to do is tell myself that just because it’s free doesn’t mean you have to eat it. Seems like you get hungrier as the price diminishes.

You could totally lose weight if you just controlled how much you took in; which is why meal prep is so poppin’. Also it’s cheaper if you eat less…that’s just like basic math.

Whatever, I need to get my food life together.

 

via Daily Prompt: Portion

Bedlam in Goliath is the Worst

That hurt to write.

I’m gonna try writing negative reviews of albums that I absolutely adore…for fun?


The Mars Volta’s Bedlam in Goliath is by far the Texas-based progressive rock band’s worst effort. As a fan of their earlier projects, this album is just jarring, loud and nonsensical. The biggest offender is the new drummer Thomas Pridgen, who, simply, does too much. I will delve more into him and his style in greater detail later.

The first thing you hear is Cedric Bixler-Zavala unintelligibly yelling at you in a weird high-pitched, electronically treated howl on the opener “Aberinkula.” For me, you can get the idea of the entire album by the first thirty seconds of the first song. It’s all pretty much one note. Very little variance in dynamics and tempo. Oddly enough, many songs have different parts or ideas that sound like they don’t fit together. In addition to all of this is the aforementioned screeching of the singer. It’s all in a super high register and you can barely understand what is being said. Basically, on top of all the noise (instrumentally or otherwise) you get another constant noise throughout every track.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala (left) and Omar Rodriquez Lopez(right)

The Mars Volta is influenced heavily by their Latin roots and on older projects this is abundantly clear. On Bedlam, we get the end of “Agadez”…… They also always offer a ballad that, on this project, should serve as a break for the monotonous noise. We are presented with “Tourniquet Man,” a strange, droning song with watery vocals, sparse drums and woodwinds. Eeeeehhhh. So what’s wrong with this project in comparison to older albums. Is the lengthy song times? Nope, fans are used to this. Is it the electronic sound effects that permeate the sound landscape? Nope, that’s a TMV staple. The problem is that there is no soul, no depth and too much of everything else.

Speaking of too much, the drumming is an egregious and indefensible error. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, eccentric mastermind and lead guitarist, introduced us to this young “phenom” Thomas Pridgen. We go from groove master and tastefully aggressive Jon Theodore to this supercharged, pocketless, fill machine. I’m not sure how much Pridgen’s style influenced the music but his style definitely changes the entire feel of the band’s music. I honestly don’t know who to blame. Omar is notoriously controlling over his creations but Thomas played the instrument. How would Bedlam In Goliath sound with another drummer? Would it even exist?

A few positives include the mixing. You can hear EVERYTHING clearly. The levels and clarity are pristine; smaller things like horns and ambient noise are not drown out by guitars. While annoying, even the vocals sit right in the middle of the mix. Also, out of context, the drumming is mind-blowingly impressive from a technical standpoint. Their Grammy-winning, “Wax Simulacra” is a blurb of drumming wizardry that honestly can’t be ignored. Otherwise, the song is a mess.


You know what, fuck this. I love this album. I love the aggressive musicality. I love the technical, balls to the wall drumming from Thomas Pridgen. Somehow between all the craziness, each song offers some quality, stank-faced, head noddingness. This album blew my mind and changed my life. Maybe I’ll review it in earnest one day.

IT’S SO GOOD

Survive

Yes, this is a short story of a cellphone named Darryl.


Hi, my name is Darryl. I’m a cell phone. My make and model don’t matter. All I know is that I have to do my job and survive for two years before I can retire in peace.

I belong to a young 26 year old man that is clearly just enjoying his life. We’ve been only been together for 5 months, 23 days and 19 hours and 39 minutes but he seems to care about me.  I’m usually in a warm pocket, a cool desk or a soft bed. Sometimes I get placed on new surfaces and there’s a little worry that I will be forgotten. So far so good though, unlike those pesky keys which sometimes get left inside (HA, That’s why I’m first in PKW). I would say that I vary between heavily used to utter nothingness pretty often. Like I said, I have a job to do but I do get a good amount of rest.

The biggest worry that us phones talk about is breaking and being replaced. We want to work and do our jobs but it’s like they keep making us thinner and more frail on purpose. WHY? Do you know how terrifying it is to see a wood floor or concrete sidewalk flying up at you through both of your cameras? First thought is always, “Welp, there goes my screen.” I’m just glad that we’ve evolved past the point where pieces of us were breaking off. Also, this dumb case I’m in thinks he’s sooo tough but I don’t trust him. One weird angle and I look like a colorful spiderweb. I’ve been dropped a couple times and luckily I haven’t broken but that sheer terror never goes away.

Survive the toss to the bed when he’s tired of me receiving messages (he doesn’t like you girl). Survive the drunken nights when the chance of a spilled drink rises exponentially (I hate rice). Survive time itself (Did you know they already made a 2nd Google Pixel???). Many of us don’t even make it to two years but the lucky few get to rest easy as grizzled vets prepared for our next journey.

I love the swiping, vibrating, the tickling of when a text is being typed. The warmth of my bottom when I’m charging up. I know that soon enough that I will lose functionality, get slower and newer models will be introduced. I’m okay with this but for as long as I’m around I will try my best.

But in the back of my CPU there will always be the thought: “Survive…survive…survive.”

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Impression: Personal Anecdotes Through Definition


1. an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.
I was on a road trip this past weekend and I saw two older white gentleman in a pickup truck with a “Trump/Pence” bumper sticker. My immediate impression: I can’t believe those dudes ruined their car with bumper stickers.
Pop-up Thought: Don’t be weirdo on Tinder. You get one chance to make a good impression.
2. an imitation of a person or thing, especially one done to entertain.
There were plenty of times that I did an impression of someone who cared about another person. I was a cashier at Walmart, I was pretty much a professional impressionist. Also, some Uber drivers just like to talk and I’m too kind to just not respond so I impersonate a participant in this conversation.
3. a mark impressed on a surface by something.
Screw office jobs forreal. Not because of the work but because of the negative affect on your body. I know there are options that can make it less bad but I think my desk is too tall for one of those ugly ball chairs. My current chair won’t stay up (I need to run) and the butt impressions have dimished comfort. Somewhat related, don’t sit on your wallet. Other than the indent that will be left on your leg/butt, it can seriously jack your back and hip up.

 

via Daily Prompt: Impression

Catapult

Eeehhhhh, read it anyway.


Think about it. What could have launched your life in a different direction? What small stroke of luck or extra minute of practice catapults you into stardom. For most of us there is nothing like this but for some it was close that you could almost taste it.

What are you good at? I believed everybody on the planet is good at something. You cannot exist not being good at anything. I don’t care whether it’s an instrument or sewing or like being a jerk. You could use what you’re good at to your benefit. What if one day you are doing something that you love and someone with some connections sees you. Just like that you are launched into a new world where what essentially was a hobby can now grow and be perfected.

Or not.

Not everybody wants to be famous. Some hobbies develop outta boredom and they have no desire to master a craft because it is just a good way to crush some time. For example, I suck at video games…like really suck. I play them waaay more than the average person though because they are fun and I have friends that play them. I’m not going to go pro and become the next Faker or Justin Wong but that’s not my goal. I do wish I was better but oh well.

 

 

 

 

Final thought: You remember that girl who got rocked by a watermelon when her catapult misfired. Her friend showed no sympathy. “You have to finish.” It was a hilarious.

via Daily Prompt: Catapult

Farcing the Issue

Have I talked about dating yet?


*Theme Song*

Dating is a farce. At least from my experience. It’s an absurd act of pageantry to get the chance to talk to a girl that you hope has similar goals. If not, maybe you can manipulate the situation to get what you need. You create a persona that you want to project into the world and for a majority of the people that come across you, it’s the real you. As long as that projection of yourself is interesting you can be whoever you want. Start talking to some people and lie your butt off about common interests. Boom, you’ve gotten this girl comfy enough to meet you at bar, perform like a monkey and then get them back to your place.

Pics are carefully chosen to make you seem way cooler. That one with you and your friends at a cool party last year despite you preferring to be in your undies, neck deep in Cheetos. A selfie you took five times to make sure you didn’t look too drunk. Another of you on that one trip out of the country to show that you are well traveled.

It’s a game mixed with performance art. It’s brilliant and deeply worrying. For example, on CMB, I have my occupation as: drummer. LOL. I definitely do play the drums and I am passionate about it but in no way is it my profession. It sounds a lot better than what I do full time and I know for a fact there is an attraction to musicians. Sometimes, I think of chatting with girls as an improv exercise. How can I contribute to this conversation despite the subject. It’s not always like this and many topics come up that I am actually interested in and then it’s way easier…but sometimes less fun. Can I be anything this girl wants while not compromising myself? Yup. You like cats? Cats are cool.  You’ve never been with a black guy? Hello, my name is Justin. You like to sew? I made this thing once in 8th grade and my grandma has made me countless blankets. What kind of stitch did you use? You’re super flirty? Get ready for sharp, sex-laden witticisms. Oh, you like slaughtering orphans? Ok, bye.

Oh shit, I’m a bad person.

Wait, no I’m not. Fuck you.

When it comes to what I want and what I’m looking to get out of this, I will ALWAYS be honest. Maybe I won’t be forthcoming with this but if you ask, I’ll tell you 100% of the time. A bad person would be your boyfriend until he gets the cheeks and then peace out of there.

It’s a song and dance and there’s a 74% (THIS IS A REAL NUMBER BACKED BY SCIENCE) chance you’ll be on the road to the Friendzone Dome. So do your best and play the game. Just realize it’s a farce.

That’s a picture of peacock…that seems relevant.

 

via Daily Prompt: Farce