Thursday, February 26, 2009

moving and such

so, the move is basically complete! my brother and i are now the proud owners of a two floor, three bedroom apartment in Wilmington, DE, right around 7th and Bancroft. he wets the bed and tends to run around naked, but we'll take care of all of that with sound parenting and an eye for detail. the good part is that we are mere blocks from the Blue Parrot and Dead Presidents, two of the least pretentious bars in all of Wilmington. the bad part is, well...moving fucking sucks. we sat outside for thirty minutes today trying to figure out how to fit our reclining couch through the obviously too small doorway. we eventually discovered that if you unscrew two very specific (and totally unassuming) plastic parts buried amongst all of the normal looking hardware, the backs came off...hurray for couch engineering and our ability to decipher it.

i made a partially disastrous dinner for Heather last night...did anyone else know that Morning Star meat crumbles burned if you grilled them?!?! cause i didn't :o( times like last night make me miss my digital camera because i would have loved to have captured a portrait of my poor, charred veggie patties in all of their abysmal glory. at least the spicy potatoes and the spaghetti squash were good. ohh!! i almost forgot!! Mom met Heather, and she was downright delightful and adorable. we had a delicious dinner at Dome in Hockessin, DE where we ordered a bottle of the Chehalem i mentioned in one of my previous posts. it was a wonderful evening that finally united two of the more important women in my life (one has been around for a pretty long time and the other is still fairly new). all in all, i just can't imagine a scenario in which the fooding session could have gone any better, given the excellent quality of the company, the food, and the wine (and the dark and stormy i had when we first got there; god i miss that drink, it reminds me of Brent).

i'm at work and almost completely unmotivated...this is due to the stress of moving, not work; i actually look forward to coming into the wine store each and every time i am here, but tonight i'm just not in it. i need some drinks and some time to relax. ahh, i need to get back to work...i get my Blackberry Storm tomorrow!! i'll leave you with a poem, one which is actually new...well, written within the last few months. there is definitely a Naruda-esque nature to it, especially his Book of Questions. Enjoy!

Measure Me

Forensics and numbers offer nothing but the awkward realization that there are things we will never be able to measure: the air behind eyelids, the surface area of a cloud, the height of an imaginary friend.

I dream in short bursts, legs kicking and tongue wagging at the thoughts that bounce through the deepest parts of my evening – simply put, it’s violent, and equations and microscopes are poor tools.

How do you measure the surprise of a tourist; the hospitality of a southerner; the life of a candle?

In the angle of photographs?
In whispered thank yous?
In heartbeats?

I wish we knew how to measure the pause of a comma, cause I hate getting it wrong.
I wish we knew how to measure importance, cause we’d get more done.
Even words are often too thin for the feel of blood, electricity, and bone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

i really should have...

...thought about this whole apartment thing a bit more; all these utilities are gonna be expensive and why the hell do i HAVE to get internet, cable, and phone services in order to receive a price break...goddamn comcast! but hey, at least i'm finally getting out of my mom's house.

...gotten into The Ergs! sooner; what a blast their new compilation is! it's a shame that they are leaving us now, just as i begin to understand what all the fuss is about. look for a review of this record very soon.

...called nadjya in the past week; we're gonna have quite a bit to talk about.

...started playing guitar again; it kills me that my calluses are basically gone. it's definately time to pick the old axe back up.

i'm trying to plan this trip to chicago on sunday...and by plan i mean decide which days we are going because i definately have to do this before school starts back up. i'm becoming more and more nervous about my workload and how i'll handle it. my music program for the library was fun, even if only four people showed up. two local newspapers ran stories on it and i'll try and get them scanned in and posted. if nothing else, they'll probably let me do it again.

the show went really well the other night. we took a lot of good footage (most of it making fun of A Modern Love Story) and we're going to try and compile a short video to post. once it goes up, i'll let you know. until then, here are some photos my buddy Max took. you should check out his photo blog right here.

i really love that last photo. Max informed me that there are more shots he did with film forthcoming, so i'm stoked on those as well...we really should hire him to do a photoshoot.

to keep with the pictures theme, here are two short poems. the first is inspired by a William Carlos Williams poem and then a painting by cubist Fernand Leger, the second was inspired by Man Ray.
The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

and then the painting...

and finally, my poem:

Even Williams
(on Fernand Leger’s The Red Table)

I believe even Williams,
who wrote upon which
so much depends,
would have agreed with
what was truly red –
the table –
white –
the mortar and pestle.

and here is the second painting and corresponding poem...

The Moment Immediately Following the Immaculate Conception

(on Man Ray’s Portrait or Invention)

Holy glow of acceptance surrounds her.
The severed tip of temptation;
a hint of wings,
of angels set in

The swell of stomach
now holds the imprint
of salvation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

listening extensively to...

both the new Thursday record and that friggin' Kings of Leon record...the one everyone has been cramming down my throat when i am incapable of fighting back (read: drunk...i'm looking at you A-Bear). the Thursday record should come as no surprise; i've been a fan for years and Full Collapse was the first independently released album i ever owned (and i still have my original copy, though it skips now because my brother spins it while he takes showers). so yeah, Common Existence is a phenomenal return to form. now, if i could just get my shit together and write the damned review.

the Kings of Leon record is something i've fought from day one. i feel like they emerged around the same time My Morning Jacket did and i definitely fell in the MMJ camp. over the years, though, as i've seen MMJ stray from their southern roots and go for a more atmospheric R&B sound, i find myself really only heading back to It Still Moves for repeated listens. the Kings of Leon record, on the other hand, sounds like old MMJ mixed with the best Coldplay songs. essentially; spacey, catchy, and encompassing some of that southern twang that i fall for every time.

some recent notes (though not 25 random things about me):

*i've got a show tonight and i'm popping cough drops and drinking water in an attempt to soften my gravelled throat. it might be time to switch from screamo to punk rock...i've been listening to the latter quite a bit lately.

*i've been finding myself more and more in the company of coffee...and not just any coffee, but some of the best for two.

*i registered for my first masters classes earlier this week...what a rush. i'm hoping to make it out to chicago as a last hurrah before school starts at the end of march; i hope i get to bring someone along.

*i taught my first computer class at the library. my students gave me perfect marks on my evaluation forms; they are far too nice. all of them signed up for my next session, which has reached it's maximum limit already.

*i'm rediscovering my love for vegetarian cuisine.

*my general dislike for children has slowly been fading. you'll certainly hear me spout horrible things on occasion, but they're often aimed at the poor parenting i encounter at both the wine store and the library. that being said, i think it's the beard; children have always responded better to me when i look like grizzly adams. and on that note, a poem from a short series i did about children:

America’s Pastime

He shuffles softly down the hallway
leading to and from his room,
across the rasping hardwood, and
gently passes down the stairs,
at a

Well past the eight ‘o clock ritual
of stories and sleeping, dressed in
patterns of celebrated superheroes,
his arms wrapped tightly about his
chest, clutching the teddy with the
weathered baseball jersey,
he continues his quest
shick shick shick
another half-awake angel
searching out arms
and a fresh tuck-me-in.

His father, moments ago, heard
the footfalls and has been waiting.
Creasing warm cotton, he sits
settled in the den, a muted TV
illuminating a simple room.
The shuffling stops in the doorway
with a final slide and creak. Turning
to greet his son, the father meets a
set of six year old eyes filled with
sleep and tiny, rubbing fists.
“Daddy, is it time for the game?”
“Not yet, soon.”

Carrying his son back to bed, he prays for
blue skies, home runs, and foul balls,
the kind that land in the outstretched
gloves of fathers as the angels sitting
next to them stare in awe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A comment, a review, and a poem...

okay, seriously, how can people bring back materials to the library in these types of conditions?! i just had to clean off the cover of Matchbox Twenty's Exile on Mainstream with Windex because it came back sticky...all-over-the-cover sticky...ugh. anyway, been crazy busy getting ready for the Valentine's Day show this Saturday. Julian Day is playing at the East End with The Last Dinosaur and Cut Short. I'm thinking about heading to the local drug store after work to get decorations to hang all around the bar...we'll see how motivated i am. it will also kill time in the evening while i wait to see someone.

i'm going to be posting a few record reviews on next week that i wrote as well as finally posting the review for the Julian Day EP. we're also gonna be the featured band for a week and we'll be offering our EP for free download. i know it's egotistical and completely unprofessional to use my website to promote my band, but fuck it, at least we're giving away the record! anyway, here is one of the reviews i wrote that's gonna appear on the site next week:

The Loved Ones – Ditractions

I’d like to happily welcome Dave Hause and company back to a position of relevance in today’s indie/punk rock scene. Their last full-length, Build & Burn, was a disappointment due mostly to a shift in songwriting styles as the blistering pace and excellent vocal delivery gave way to a confusing blend of poorly rendered, Hold Steady-esque poetics and a more grandiose approach. Hell, they even went so far as too include Franz Nicolay in the recording sessions. And Nicolay pops up again on this short and sweet EP, but much more as a textural player and not the spotlight hog he tended to be on the B&B.

The only real misstep here is the inclusion of “Spy Diddley,” which has seen so many incarnations that I’ve lost count. But the other songs included here – especially “Distracted,” “Last Call,” and “Lovers Town Revisited” – offer a great look at what Hause can do when he compromises a bit between what he thinks works and what really does.

“Distracted” steals the show. A great middle ground between the energy of Keep Your Heart and the arrangement of some of the tunes on B&B, this track is the perfect opener and it really helps set the tone for the rest of the release. “Last Call” is a song that I would call “rousing.” Simply put, it gets me fired up. It overstays its welcome a bit, but I was sold on its earnest nature and fantastic performance. “Johnny 99” leaves me torn. I love the tone of the electric guitar – muddy and alone – but it’s hard to get psyched about a song that is so perfect in its original form. I really don’t think anyone should bother covering songs from Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska; face it folks, perfection is simply perfection.

The real surprises come at the end of the release. A cover of Billy Bragg’s “Lover’s Town Revisited,” is turned into a great punk rock anthem while Joe Strummer’s “Coma Girl” gets the torch song treatment with acoustic guitars and softer accompaniments from the rest of the band. The Bragg cover works great, the Strummer tune, not so much, but again, it seems as if Hause is trying too hard by covering a song that was pretty damn good already. Regardless, this EP is well worth the couple of bucks it costs and it helps support the notion that Build & Burn was merely a necessary misstep in the band’s young career.

you can download "Distracted" right here.


now, onto another poem. i feel like i write too much serious shit, so this was a chance to be a bit more comical in my approach, though the ending doesn't really support that idea. i have no clue where the inspiration for this came from (maybe just living in a city), but here it is:

The Alleyway Infantry

They were kneeling,
ears pressed to the pavement,
waiting for tremors which would trigger
the forming of ranks.

They are rising,
shrouded in mismatched patches
of cloth woven into quilts
of warmth.

They have gathered
in the space between the rusted shades
of brick that separate the buildings
and the units.

They snap their shoes of shredded newspaper
to attention, displaying their aluminum
stun guns with pointed bayonet ends for inspection.

They don plastic bag body armor,
knotted to form a protective fiber against
bullets and the sharp edges of dumpsters.

Hailing the arrival of commander-in-chief,
a man by the name and appearance of Grief,
they begin their lemming-march,


out of the alleyway and into the great
expanse of highway, falling quickly to
the legions of ruthless, speeding automobiles.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A bit on Second Nature Recordings and another poem

i've been in love with Second Nature Recordings for a while now. their artists always seem to slip into my stereo at the appropriate times. on my way into work, i was spinning The Casket Lottery's Moving Mountains; check out "Keep Searching", from that record. these guys feature Nathan Ellis and Nathan Richardson, both of whom were in the kickass Coalesce with Sean Ingram. they were one of my favorite bands during the latter years of college and i tried to see them on their farewell tour with Small Brown Bike in Chicago at the Fireside Bowl, but the weather was so bad that I had to bail. it's one of the few shows i will always regret not seeing.

anyway, SNR also has/had Rocky Votolato, who made it big enough to sign with Barsuk a few years back (home to Nada Surf's indie records as well as early Death Cab for Cutie releases), but he cut his eyeteeth on the the smaller, Kansas City label. i had the chance to preform an embarrassing, drunken interview with Rocky in Chicago at the Metro back in 2006, the transcript of which can be found here. so Rocky has put out some amazing records, including my personal favorite, Makers, which is another release that is constantly popping up at interesting times in my life. check out the tune "Portland is Leaving." So, while Rocky is great on his own, he was also TREMENDOUS in the spacey, post-hardcore band Waxwing. Their album One for the Ride is reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate mixed with a bit of southern influence; simply amazing and unique stuff. My personal favorite, and quite possibly one of my favorite songs of all time, would have to be "All My Prophets."

i guess, when you get down to it, i just miss how consistent some labels used to be. labels like Vagrant, Sub Pop and Equal Vision were always putting out quality releases, so much so, that you wanted to check out the entire roster. i feel like so few labels do that these days. ohh, well.

so, to round off this post, here's another poem. i think it's time resurrect these works and finally put together my long overdue chapbook...i've i actually sit down and edit the things i've done over the last few years, i should have enough. until then, there's this...about my mother:


I stood slightly left of
the bed, her distressed body,
turning on itself, lightly
creased in the middle, allowing
a view of the television.
My brother, sitting
silent at its foot, her feet,
suspending himself
in the moments on screen,
a tremor in his fingers
as he hurried them through his hair.

Every few minutes,
after a funny line
from one of the
characters, she tried to
laugh; forcing the air
from her lungs,
coughing, with a smile,
as it tumbled from behind
tired, tight lips – a leaden sound,
full of nothing but exhaustion.
Her burdened hand woke
slowly from the position
at her side, making its way
across the wool blanket
that kept in the warmth,
finding the relief it sought in the
metal button controlling the drip.

Eyes closed completely, she settled
her brown, matted hair against a
pillow, breath slowing and winding
its way down. Her free hand, searching
for mine, slid across the blanket –
a request, tattered and full of
static, whispering its way into
the air: “Take your brother home,
he’s seen enough. Sleep well angel.”
I lowered my own hand upon hers,
chattering of sitcoms filled the silence,
the feeling of not knowing, of being
helpless, finally rose,
like water,
above my head.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

An Old Poem

possibly one of my favorites. it started as an in-class exercise and morphed into this. been going over a lot of old writings and this is one of my best pieces.

Dreams from the Sun

I used to stand still
on cloudless days,
age eight on the
black top, looking up
at the sun.
I would first squint,
then shadow my eyes,
trying to focus on
that body hanging,
lit and bright,
in the afternoon sky.
I always swore I saw
someone; a dream of life
on the surface of a star.
I was never sure,
so I imagined a man.
He was dulled white,
like the frosted bulbs
in my basement –
an overcoat to protect
the years of shine.
He was always in
a room, millions of lamps
encircling him, every one,
switched on.
He stood at the center of
the circle, his eyes burning
yellow, his body the color
of dry sand. He never had
a bed, or a chair, or even a
wall to lean on.

Now, years later,
I still stare, and still
believe, that a man
inhabits the star
hanging above my
head. He has never
rested or slept, and his
dreams, both day and
night, are only possibilities,
never meant to be realized.
When I close my eyes now,
after staring as long as I can,
I imagine that the neon discs
hanging in the black of my eyelids
are actually his dreams, passing
from one body to another.
From rose colored -
a dream of passion -
to violet, - a dream
of colder weather -
to yellow, the color
of the sun - a dream
of watching himself
rise and set against
the blue of the sky.
I have dreamt
for that man
for years, and
I will dream
until his home
swallows itself,
collapsing inward
before exploding
outward, engulfing
me and my dreams.
He won’t need me then,
and though he may be
confused, adjusting to
the lack of light with
a set of blinking eyes,
he’ll find his way to a
soft spot and lie down.
Observing those he used
to be like, he’ll stare into
space and finally fall
asleep to the sound of
nothing, the first of an
infinite body of dreams
being dreamt.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Do You Ever Google Yourself...?

so, while rummaging around the internet today, i came across this photo. it's me playing in my band Gyre back in april of 2006. it was taken at the middle east in cambridge. we did a 10 date tour (the Intensity in Ten Cities Tour!) with our buddies A Modern Love, i miss those idiots. ohh well, Julian Day will be hopping on tour with them this summer (prolly in june), so i'll get more than my fill then.

it's also amazing that this site is still around. buntee productions was kind of a project i had while attending depaul. it was a DIY show promotion thingee...very technical. we threw shows in a classroom at depaul and i lost a lot of money because i always made sure the bands got paid. we booked some cool bands: as tall as lions, ryan's hope, the felix culpa, sally, etc. it was a good time in my life.

so, also, there's this "25 random things about me" survey that's been going around facebook land. i haven't filled it out yet, but i've been tagged in two. one of them is for my friend raechel. she takes one of the slots to talk about all of the bands that she has been in...and one of them was with me! The Glow of 1804! so, i found some old pictures of the two of us, though none of us actually playing. here are my favorites:

boy do i miss playing music with her. and i miss all of the cigarettes as well. our band was a chance to say all of the cute/awkwardly romantic things that i was never able to actually say out loud to someone. it was also an excuse for me to drink a lot of whiskey. she was always the face (and a pretty one at that) of the band...i just played guitar and sang in a gruffy voice. it was wonderful. sample lyrics follow:

"craving cecil county and its crapshoot of a town. the nights are always longer when the stars are out." - Petticoat Blues

"the weatherman calls for rough seas, i call for you and me and maybe, of both, i should be afraid" - The Pier is Closed

one of these days, i'm going to finally sit down with all of our old recordings and start going over them and re-recording them and adding more...then i'll fly raechel out here and we'll actually finish something that resembeles a record...cause i think those old songs deserve that.