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Deus Ex Malcontent



"Making a Mockery of Mockery"



Updated: 2017-12-07T12:40:01.914-05:00

 



15 Years On: 9/11 in Two Parts

2016-09-11T13:09:38.899-04:00

Where were you on the morning of September 11th, 2001?If you live in the states, it's a question you've no doubt heard several times over the last 14 years. That's because the attacks of 9/11 stand as the defining moment of this American generation. I remember where I was all too well, and I remember the days and months that followed because it changed me incalculably, as it did so many people. The events of 9/11 became the focal point of the book I wrote, Dead Star Twilight, and, in a way that even now seems utterly surreal and ironic, may very well have wound up saving me from absolute self-destruction.A decade ago, I wrote two pieces for this newly minted site to mark the anniversary of the single most epochal event in modern American history. Looking back on them now, it's still shocking to see how much has changed even since that first posting -- in our country and in my own life. But it's a tradition on this day each year that I republish those two pieces back-to-back, in their entirety. And today, given that it's the 15th anniversary of the tragedy that ended so many lives and changed so many others, it seems especially important. Never forget?It would be impossible to -- no matter who you are.Part I: The Best of Times, the Worst of TimesI miss the days and months immediately following September 11th, 2001.Although it may seem incomprehensible to make such a statement, it's a fact that I have no choice but to own up to. In spite of my belief in man's unparalleled ability to consistently make bad situations worse, I honestly never thought that I'd look back on the initial aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in history and quietly pine for that time. Years later, however -- as we mark the anniversary of 9/11 -- I realize with more certainty than ever before that the violence which claimed so many lives on that day, unwittingly and for a short time, created a city, country and world of which I could say that I was proud to be a part.I admit that I had an often overwhelming front-row seat for the constant display of pain and perseverance by being in New York City following the attack. Covering the story from the area which would in short order become universally known as "Ground Zero," and from the Armory at 25th and Lexington -- the area where families of the victims were sent in an often futile and heartbreaking search for answers about their lost loved ones -- gave me a perspective not everyone else may have had. Still, I'm certain that you didn't need to wade knee-deep in the indescribable human suffering to see that an equally indescribable human spirit was also asserting itself -- and proving to be far more powerful than many believed possible.In those first months after the attack, a wounded America found its heart and its soul.We put aside the trivial concerns that divided us -- the inane distractions that casually connected us. We were shown in an excruciating way the true meaning and value of words which up until that point had only been used as disposable ad-campaign hyperbole: heroism, compassion, sacrifice, family, strength, unity -- even love. We saw constant displays of these because after all that we witnessed on that day -- after the hideous destruction caused by a few, and the selfless response of so many -- after the bar for human emotion was raised so high, it was almost as if it was our responsibility to act in kind. To follow the example set by those who were no longer with us.We were stripped down to our raw nerve, and in spite of the chaos and terror that caused it, what we found there was beautiful.The world seemed to follow suit. On September 12th, 2001 -- the morning after the attack -- the headline of France's Le Monde newspaper read "We Are All Americans Now." The crew of a German ship manned the rails when it came alongside an American destroyer -- a show of respect and solidarity. Billions across the planet felt our anguish, believed in the dream that was America, and stood with us.When we struck back with a mighty fury at those who killed our [...]



My Chemical Romance

2016-05-01T17:54:53.804-04:00

"When All I Want To Do Is Wrong"I want to fuck. Right now. This is a problem.Technically, it shouldn't be a problem that I want sex, given that I'm a 46-year-old man and not, say, a 76-year-old man. Despite my best efforts and some of the most powerful recreational chemicals created by man or nature, I'm not exactly in the ground just yet. So with that in mind, there's nothing wrong with still having a healthy appreciation for that unique thrill of being inside someone, making her feel good, making myself feel good. Sex is one of those profound experiences that not only reminds you that you're alive no matter your age, but, if you're older, has the ability to put you in touch on a primal level with the person you were in that glorious nascence of your experience. If you can vanish into that rare headspace where you completely let go and allow the passion and bliss to just wash over you, the feeling is nothing short of miraculous. It's spiritual, lovely, so abundantly human. But that's not what I'm talking about here. What I'm referring to -- what I want with every fiber of my being more and more these days -- is something else entirely. It goes beyond the flowery language or the clear-headed, rational explanation of what sex is and what it means. No, I want to fuck. I don't want to drift away on shit. I want to have the kind of sex where it feels like your very soul is shooting out of you when you come. I want insane. I want dangerous. I want the kind of fucking I remember from my early 20s. And here's why: Because chemically, I am in my early 20s. From a biological standpoint, I may as well be 22 all over again -- and this is only a recent development in my life. For years I wasn't simply my advancing age; I was in fact much, much older than that. Most men in their 40s see their vitality begin to slip away -- noticeably so. But I had something else working against me that a lot of men didn't. And it had effectively closed the door on who I was: who I used to be and even who I was meant to develop into in middle-age.Put simply, I wasn't who I was supposed to be in my 40s. Until a single shot changed all of that."Don't You Know How Sweet and Wonderful Life Can Be?"This week marks the tenth anniversary of the surgery that removed a tumor the size of a pinball from my head. I was diagnosed with it in early April of 2006 after spending five days in the unshakable grip of a headache that felt like something was eating its way out of my skull from the inside. I remember laying there in my apartment in Brooklyn with a cold washcloth over my face, literally in tears as I pleaded with some higher power for just a few hours of sleep -- a tiny slice of time away from the torment. I had made the mistake of telling my doctor at the outset of our relationship that I was a former heroin addict, which meant that under almost no circumstances would she prescribe me painkillers that actually work, certainly not for a supposedly excruciating pain that she couldn't confirm was the real deal. So that's how it went for days: me moaning and groaning in anguish with nothing but naproxen and a some codeine to supposedly -- but not really -- take the edge off and no idea what the hell was going on inside my head. It took three days of this before my doctor, suitably concerned, finally scheduled an MRI.I was led to believe that it wasn't the job of the MRI technician to tell you what he or she saw during the procedure, only to whisk the findings back to the doctors and let them break the bad news. My MRI technician, however, decided to take the initiative and met me in the dressing room as I slowly, painfully put my clothes back on. "I can tell you what's wrong with you," he said. I didn't respond, since speaking made my head pound so hard it had, on several occasions, nearly made me pass out from the agony. "You've got a tumor underneath your brain that's about that big," he continued, holding his fingers maybe an inch-and-a-quarter apart. "And it's bleeding." I just stared at him blankly for a second, then asked the o[...]



Adventures in Selling Out

2015-07-07T12:59:08.538-04:00

I may not be doing much more than keeping the lights on here, but I'm glad this little home of mine exists on the internet so that I can still retreat here when I need to. Like, say, now. Since the days when I used to write here full-time a lot has happened. I made the decision to burn my proverbial ships and make a life in L.A. after driving out in late 2011. I got involved with someone and, even after all I'd gone through previously, gave in to the desire for human interaction with a woman I loved. Maybe most importantly in terms of my output here, I finally started getting paid to write full-time thanks to The Daily Banter. Being a professional writer was what I had been working toward since May of 2006, when I started this little experiment of mine and began cranking out material for it, so when the Banter offer came along I jumped at it. In some ways, even though it was the chance I'd waited for, I still felt like some kind of sell-out because I had always promised my readers that I would be completely independent. That's what DXM was. That's what I was so proud of. Over the past few years, Banter has done something extraordinary. With just a few regular columnists working their asses off and creating only as much as a few columnists could, the site grew to the point where even though it wasn't a household name, it was still pulling in upwards of five-million hits a month at one point. We broke stories, went to Ferguson, did some genuine good, and took absolutely no prisoners. It was and is the best job I've ever had and I have no doubt my fellow contributors would say the same thing. But running a website is a herculean task financially, especially if you've made a promise to readers not to talk down to them or inundate them with clickbait. Investors want a concept -- and no, creating decent content and making it your mission to slap down those who deserve it doesn't really count as one -- and in lieu of venture capital the best you can hope for is to pummel readers with ads and pray it's enough to keep the lights on and the writers paid. It's been a struggle and, as any regular reader has noticed, it's one that's had a drastic impact on output at the site lately and the roster of writers on the payroll. I don't write at Banter as much as I used to, but I still have to write. I want to write. But here's the thing: I can't come back here and do it for free anymore and I can't see this site, even with options like Patreon or GoFundMe, bringing in enough money for me to live off of. I need to keep myself out there both in terms of making a living and to keep my name in the conversation so that I'm helping to draw traffic to the Bob & Chez Show podcast I do with Bob Cesca. So in addition to the few pieces I post at Banter, I'm going to be branching out and pitching to other publications from this point forward. Which brings me to the thing I feel kind of shitty about. Thanks to a recommendation by my good friend Mary Beth Williams -- and with the knowledge that Cesca has taken to writing for them regularly -- I'm probably going to start writing for Salon. I feel like a hypocritical asshole for this considering the amount of criticism I've heaped upon Salon over the past couple of years, but the fact remains that the site pays shockingly well and has already agreed to accept my contributions. There will likely be other outlets where you'll be able to read me, but branching out to Salon is the immediate path of least resistance toward continuing to write and continuing to get paid for doing so. Maybe it seems like an odd choice considering, but really it's no choice at all: the pay is great, they're still a site that hosts a lot of really good writing, and they've even toned down the lunacy quite a bit as of late. As I sit here and type out these words at DXM, I think to myself how great it would be to just come back here full-time. To try to make this site into something that pays me well enough to be able to abandon almost everything else. I have no idea if that [...]



Listening Post: Band of Horses

2015-06-02T13:32:07.176-04:00

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Just really feeling this song right now.

Here's Band of Horses -- Laredo.

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It Goes On and On and On and On

2015-04-15T12:36:02.407-04:00

In an extraordinary extended essay for the Directors Guild of America, David Chase is now dissecting, shot by shot, the masterful final scene he created for The Sopranos. After eight years, the ending of The Sopranos is still controversial and wildly disputed and while Chase explains the mechanics of creating the tremendous suspense that led up to the final cut-to-black, the one question he doesn't answer is the one question everyone wants to know: did Tony die? Actually, Chase does answer it, alluding quite a bit to the possibility of Tony being killed, but still acknowledging that in the end it didn't matter. Regardless, the amount of skill and detail that went into that final scene is almost breathtaking. To hear Chase walk you through it, it becomes clear just what a master tactician he was as a director.In June of 2013, I wrote a lengthy piece pegged off of the ending of The Sopranos. I had been pondering it and the recent death of James Gandolfini, maybe to an unsettling degree given that both felt like they were saying something to me during a very dark period within my own head. Today I'm bringing that column back, possibly with the knowledge that even though I'm in a better place now the questions I raised within it are always there in the background, lurking. The knowledge of my relationship with the inevitability of death never goes away. As Chase says in the DGA piece, "The big moment is always out there waiting." "The Grand Finale" (Originally Published, 6.26.13)Act 1: "Try To Remember the Times That Were Good" Lately I've found myself obsessed with the ending of The Sopranos. Surely you remember it: Tony and two-thirds of his family, sitting in Holsten's diner, casually munching on onion rings while the tabletop jukebox played Journey's anthemic Don't Stop Believin', a song which suddenly seemed to take on an odd menace given the setting. Tony had just made an uneasy peace with the New York mob, but both he and we understood that threats to him still lurked in every shadow simply by virtue of the life he'd chosen, what had already killed off almost everyone around him, turning him, maybe through sheer good luck, into the Jersey crew's last man standing. So there he sat, grabbing a bite with the people he truly loved, the blood family he'd tried to protect but whom he had inadvertently poisoned via the same cycle of ruthless violence that created him. Only one person was missing at the table: his daughter, the one whose voice he had come back to at the beginning of the year after being shot by his uncle and put into a coma. She was trying to parallel park outside and once she finished she'd come in and sit next to her father and the Sopranos would be together again as it had always been. We watch her finally pull into the space after three tries, watch her stride across the street to the front door of Holsten's. Tony hears the bell ring on the front door and looks up. Then an abrupt cut-to-black. Nothing.At the time, the way The Sopranos ended felt like a cheap parlor trick, the final triumph of creator David Chase's more cynical tendencies and a big "fuck you" to the audience. At the time, the sudden cut-to-black felt like Chase telling us that life would go on for Tony; we simply wouldn't be around to see it. Of course, the reality of that ending was that nothing could be further from the truth because the reality was that Tony was killed at the end of The Sopranos, he simply wasn't around to see it and therefore neither were we. If you doubt this interpretation of what's gone on to be perhaps the most controversial finale in TV series history, go back and watch it again -- and this time, look closer. As Chase would say in a later interview, all you need to know about what really happened at the end of that iconic scene is there in the minutes, hour, and weeks that came before it. In the end, he practically spells it out on the walls. Watch the man in the gray Members Only jacket get up from his[...]



Listening Post: Genevieve

2015-03-27T14:42:39.449-04:00

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Genevieve Schatz used to sing in a band out of Chicago, which means that she knows big hooks and absolutely irresistible melodies since there's apparently something in the water in that town. Her old group, Company of Thieves, was a favorite of mine a few years back -- when they were active -- to the point where I chose their song Oscar Wilde as one of the best singles of 2009.

Well, Genevieve is back -- ditching her last name and going full-on pop queen. Normally, maybe this might be an unfortunate choice, but the thing is, not only does Genevieve display the same spectacular vocal authority she did in Company, but she's doing this as an independent so it's impossible not to feel good about supporting her. She moved out here to L.A. at some point, which for the love of all that's holy I hope doesn't ruin her -- but from what it looks like, so far, so good.

Here's her first single. Listen, share, that sort of thing.

Happy Friday -- this is Colors.

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Listening Post: Fink

2015-03-18T11:06:08.882-04:00

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Fink is the stage name of British singer-songwriter-DJ-producer Fin Greenall. With that kind of hyphenate you'd think his music would be overly complex, but actually Fink's best stuff is stripped down and deeply personal. He's collaborated with John Legend, Banks and Amy Winehouse in the past, but his solo material is where it's really obvious what he's capable of.

His most recent album, Hard Believer, is a current favorite of mine and when you hear the first couple of singles from it you'll understand why.

First up, it's a song that could easily be a lost track from Radiohead's OK Computer. This is Pilgrim.

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And here's Looking Too Closely.

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Listening Post: Wolf Alice

2015-03-17T13:03:40.680-04:00

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You should be listening to Wolf Alice for a number of reasons. They're out of London and they sound like a plane full of Seattle musicians circa '91 plunged into the venue where My Bloody Valentine and Elastica were playing a show together. They're basically kids and yet in just two years they've managed to become one of the most buzzed-about bands overseas. It feels like their stuff just keep getting better and more assured with each new song you hear.

Wolf Alice's new record, My Love Is Cool is set to land in June. Right now none of their material is available on iTunes in the U.S. but it looks like you can get it at Amazon. I have to imagine, since they're all over iTunes U.K., they'll eventually get Apple distribution here. They're also touring the U.S. right now. (If you happen to live in L.A., they're playing the Roxy on May 18th.)

Here now, three from Wolf Alice. First up it's Giant Peach.

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Next, Moaning Lisa Smile.

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Finally, this is Storms.

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Listening Post: Dead Sara

2015-03-13T11:15:46.633-04:00

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In 2012 I called Dead Sara's Weatherman the best single of the year. It was an absolutely ferocious track that heralded not only Dead Sara as maybe the next and potentially last great rock-and-roll band, but their single, Emily Armstrong, as the kind of voice that really does come only once in a generation.

I saw them live here in L.A. -- they're locals -- last year and it was sincerely one of the best shows I've ever seen: just an hour being smacked in the face by the raw fucking power of these guys.

Three years later, Dead Sara are back. Their new record's called Pleasure To Meet You and you can already download this first single from it on iTunes and so on.

Here's Mona Lisa.

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And another track from the album, Something Good.


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Listening Post: Ex Cops

2015-03-06T15:03:18.264-05:00

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Brooklyn indie-pop duo Ex Cops are in the news at the moment. The reason is that they're the latest to take up the fight for independent artists everywhere to get paid for their work.

It goes like this: Ex Cops were invited by McDonalds to play SXSW this year, but within the offer was this line, which should be very familiar to any up-and-coming musician, writer, filmmaker or artist these days: "There isn't a budget for an artist fee (unfortunately)." In other words, feel free to come out here and play, but you're not going to get paid for it. McDonalds did, however, assure them there would be free food, which sounds less like a promise than a threat.

Ex Cops responded with a scathing open letter to McDonalds on their Facebook page, pointing out that a company that made $90 billion in 2013 somehow couldn't afford a few bucks to pay an indie act to play on their behalf, an act the company would immediately brand and use for its own promotional purposes. McDonalds shot back saying that it was simply following protocol and tagged its response with "#slownewsday." "That's not true," says Ex Cops singer Amalie Bruun to Rolling Stone. "They're not following any guidelines because everyone else is offering money. They'll have to take that up with South by Southwest if they think they're following the guidelines...Other, much smaller corporations are offering us money."

The band also ridiculed McDonalds for being "an archaic company trying to be hip by putting a hashtag at the end of an e-mail."

Exposure and promotion are important. But when you're a struggling artist, exposure and promotion don't pay the rent. It's especially a problem when a mega-corporation is asking you to foot the bill for your own out-of-town gig.

And the thing is, Ex Cops are worth spending a little on.

Hear for yourself. This is Black Soap.

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Read me at The Daily Banter



Listening Post: Ibeyi

2015-03-04T11:35:59.501-05:00

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Ibeyi have a fascinating background and a genuinely remarkable sound. The duo is made up of 19-year-old twin sisters Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Diaz, who were born in Cuba and raised in France. Their father was legendary Cuban percussionist Anga Díaz of the Buena Vista Social Club, which means that he played with people like Ibrahim Ferrer and Rubén González.

As the Diaz sisters grew up, they took up their father's instruments as well as piano and guitar and began singing in English and Yoruba, which came to Cuba via the slave trade from Africa centuries ago. The music Ibeyi makes is such an amalgam of styles and cultures that it almost defies description. It's cool and minimalist but warm and delicate, part electronic and part traditional and percussive, Cuban jazz mixed with African rhythms and experimental Euro-pop.

No matter how you attempt to categorize it, though, it's absolutely mesmerizing.

Here's Ibeyi -- Oya.

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Listening Post: Gateway Drugs

2015-03-03T12:11:07.262-05:00

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So I can't promise that I'll be able to run this place on much more than impulse power given my heavy workload at The Daily Banter and beyond. But I've missed my internet home here so I think it's time to at least flip the lights back on, blow off some of the cobwebs and turn up some music. That's a decent start.

Today the new record from Gateway Drugs lands at iTunes and everywhere else and it's something you should definitely give a listen to. The band's a four-piece out of L.A. made up of three siblings who are the kids of Prescott Niles of The Knack and one hell of a powerhouse drummer, and their sound is a little like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club if you added a female voice into the mix.

I haven't stopped listening to the record, Magick Spells, since I got a hold of an advance copy of it a few weeks back. It's swirling, wall-of-sound fuzzy, propulsive and sensuously intoxicating stuff for the most part, even if the first single is a little more poppy than what you find on the rest of the album (which is to be expected).

My favorite track, if you care about such things, is I'm in Love with a Teenage Heartthrob, but this upbeat single will do nicely as an introduction.

Here's Fridays Are for Suckers.

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And one more -- Head.

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By the way, they're on tour with Swervedriver over the next month, so if you get a chance, see them live there or in here L.A. if you happen to be in the area. You certainly won't be disappointed.

Read me at The Daily Banter



Write Turn

2015-01-20T13:10:11.697-05:00

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Time to just come out and admit it: my workload is such these days that it's almost impossible to keep posting new material here. I can't really apologize for that anymore, simply because it's not as if I've stopped writing altogether -- it's just that I've moved damn-near permanently at this point.

And so, rather than keep a two-month old video clip up as the first thing stragglers see when they inadvertently wander in here, I think it's probably a good idea to at least point people in the direction of my new office. (I won't call it home, because while it may be neglected right now, this place is still home to me.)

When I have something personal to say, I promise I'll return here, but for now if you're looking for my wit, charm and generally worthless opinions, you can head over to The Daily Banter.

The Daily Banter: Chez Pazienza



Keep Breathing

2014-08-06T12:01:11.963-04:00

When someone you love, someone exceptional, is taken from you at a young age there's more than the standard grief and hurt. There's a quiet rage at the incomprehensible injustice of it all and an emptiness that feels like its own physical presence, because what was lost wasn't just the past but the long, bright future that was supposed to be ahead. On this very early morning one year ago, someone I loved and continue to love more than can be expressed in human language died of cancer. On paper, he was my former brother-in-law, the younger brother of my ex-wife. In the reality I came to believe and understand, he was my own brother. That's what he considered himself and what I was both humbled and proud to call him as well. While it may feel like a tired cliché to liken the attempt to survive cancer to a battle, there's simply no better analogy for what Michael Chobot endured. He fought. He battled. He waged war, for almost two years, showing a determination, humor, and grace that I could never in a million years imagine myself being capable of. When it ended -- when he said his goodbye and allowed himself to finally let go and drift away -- there was in some ways a sense of gratitude and appreciation both for the fact that he was with us for as long as he was, and that his suffering was, at least, over. But it's always in the ebbing aftermath where the real heartbreak of something like this lies, when the silence and shadow slowly move in to fill the space where the person you loved once was. It seems like no one who was close to Mike has been able to find true north in the wake of losing him. We've all just been adrift, going about our daily lives, sure, but always with the knowledge that something irreplaceable was missing, and always one stray, fleeting thought away from breaking down and screaming through hot tears that we needed that something back because we couldn't be without it. He was supposed to be here, dammit. He was supposed to laugh with us and cry with us and call us with absurd questions and make it a point to tell us he loved us every time we parted from him and always leave us wondering how we got so lucky to be able to say he was in our lives -- and he was supposed to become an Oscar-winning sound designer and marry and have children and grow old and be an inspiration to us in every single thing he did. The memory of him can do some of those things. It can't do all of them. But Mike would've hated it if I or anyone else couldn't get past the tragedy of his death and remember only the triumph of his life and his legacy. So even though I look at that picture above and can't help but cry -- because it's a reminder that at one time he was the same age as my own little girl, his niece, and I can't imagine the larger thought that even something so wonderful and innocent and flawless can't be guaranteed safe passage through this life -- I've got to keep looking up and moving forward. Because that's what he did. Always. Those whose lives he enriched in innumerable ways now take what he gave us and carry it in our hearts, our souls, our very marrow. And that's how his life goes on -- through us. Just before he died, Mike asked me to write something about him -- essentially, to write his obituary. I ached over it, unsure of what I could possibly say and how I could begin to say it. But I finally took a deep breath and let what was inside of me out. I published it just a few hours before he left, not long after midnight on the morning of August 6th.I'm reposting it this morning, on this anniversary. I miss you, Mike. I always will. "Higher and Farther Than Anybody in a Gray Place Dares To Dream" (Originally Published, 8.6.13)Any evening that begins with a car [...]



Listening Post

2014-03-11T11:22:33.404-04:00

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Sorry, folks, it's been a really rough couple of weeks so I know I've slacked off from my usual amount of slacking off.

Here's some new stuff from Blood Red Shoes, which are one of what feels like the few relatively new alt-rock bands making music these days. Yes, I seem to lament that kind of thing more and more as I get older and listen to what KROQ plays nonstop these days.

Here's The Perfect Mess



Listening Post

2014-02-26T11:34:44.217-05:00

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These guys are a slightly heavier Paramore and this song is an absolutely blast.

Here's We Are the In Crowd -- The Best Thing (That Never Happened).



Listening Post

2014-02-25T11:57:14.840-05:00

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Manchester Orchestra are back with an upcoming record, Cope. Frontman Andy Hull says it's going to be a quick, straightforward rock album, as opposed to the glorious, passionate and sprawling mosaic that was 2011's Simple Math.

Here's the first single from the new record. This is Top Notch.



Listening Post

2014-02-22T10:26:29.188-05:00

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More a hymn than a song, this is a current favorite.

Here's Half Moon Run -- Unofferable.



Listening Post

2014-02-19T09:55:31.528-05:00

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I was rightly scolded by a couple of people for missing this yesterday. Truth is a new song from the Afghan Whigs couldn't have come at a better time. I need it right now.

Here's the band's first new single in 16 years.

This is Algiers.



Listening Post

2014-02-18T11:38:07.354-05:00

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After all this time, I do still love this song.

Here's Keane's A Bad Dream.



Listening Post

2014-02-13T11:01:19.086-05:00

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German DJ/Producer Zedd's collaboration with Matthew Koma back in 2012 turned out to be one of the best songs of that year. I still can't stop listening to Spectrum.

Now they're back, adding vocalist Miriam Bryant into the mix. The result isn't as good as Spectrum but it's still a hell of an enjoyable pop-EDM track.

Here's Find You.



Listening Post

2014-02-12T11:28:53.344-05:00

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Whether he's fronting Red House Painters, Sun Kil Moon or simply working under his own name, Mark Kozelek makes some of the most beautiful and moving -- and sometimes darkly powerful -- acoustic music around.

His new album as Sun Kil Moon hit iTunes yesterday and it's his most personal release yet, with each song dealing not in universal themes but in very laser-point specific words about his life and feelings.

For most singer-songwriters this would feel terribly self-indulgent, but Kozelek makes it work because the entire record feels like a personal Psalm.

Here's the lovely I Can't Live Without My Mother's Love.



Listening Post

2014-02-11T11:02:04.386-05:00

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This song's actually a year old but these guys are playing at the El Rey here in L.A. tonight with St. Lucia and I'm trying to convince myself to go, so why not post it here, right? That'll have some kind of impact on my decision, I'm sure.

Here's Sir Sly -- Gold.



Pay to Play

2014-02-06T10:15:42.160-05:00

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Social media queen Geek Girl Diva has been a big supporter of this site for a long time, which is why when she needs help I'm always there.

She's started an Indiegogo drive aimed at recording a song, and you too should help out. Why? Because she's awesome, that's why.

Indiegogo: Help GGD Record Her Song



Listening Post

2014-02-06T10:05:12.608-05:00

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Been completely quiet the past few days mostly because I've been putting in insane hours, but that'll still happen from time to time.

The new Dum Dum Girls record is terrific, and this song in particular -- the first single from it -- sounds like so much of the post-punk I grew up with.

Here's Rimbaud Eyes.