“You won’t fiiiiind me.” It doesn’t matter how many times i’ve listened to Silent Signs I will always automatically chime in with the harmonies that pop out of nowhere on the third track, ‘love long gone’. Not soon after ‘bones’ is playing and i’m chanting “I’m so far from not caring!” while drumming the strum of the guitar on whatever’s next to me. Then, finally, I try to touch each of the imaginary piano keys from ‘Time to Know’ before I ultimately listen to the whole album again.
This is my perfect album. There isn’t a song that feels out of place. Its lyrical themes bounce between subjects that ultimately allude to distorted feelings of hope, regret, and sometimes even despair. These are all themes Justin Vernon, lead of DeYarmond Edison, comfortably tackles in whatever project he’s a part of. Having such a strong vocal presence can often overshadow the members of the band that bring the idea to a whole. Silent Signs, however, feels like a true team effort. There’s so much happening in each song with very little sign of production which ends up giving the whole album a rich feeling of authenticity. I’ve listened to this album for over a decade and now, living far from home, Silent Signs feels like an incredible collection of memories I get to keep with me.
‘An honest man is always a child’ is a sourceless quote often attributed to either Socrates or Plato. I really don’t know. I had a notebook made of limestone paper and the quote was written on the front. I’ve seen this quote before, maybe you have too, and whenever I see it it’s connected to the faith or understanding of a child being something of a purity you should try to attain. Maybe.
Child. instead compares, contrasts, and pokes fun at the process of growing old. Child. was one of the things that I needed to write. There’s no creative structure, no real aesthetic, and it’s mostly void of any clear line that you could call poetry. It’s more like four thoughts that share some similarity with each other. But these four thoughts are interesting to me because there’s no honest beginning or end. To me, this reflects the journey of understanding anything. The first line is the first line but it may as well be the third or second. The same goes for any other line; understanding is an endless journey. The natural conclusion at any age is that to be man you must be honest. To be honest you must accept your own limited understanding and begin again as a child.
Sallie Harrison, LA based UI designer and photographer, infects her work with a tonal simplicity that is characteristically LA. If you’ve ever been to LA, it’s got almost none of the beauty any magazine cover would allude to. However, what it lacks in beauty, the city makes up for in a unique and again, characteristic, charm. I think of all the American cities, none is more self-aware than the great and sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, California and i’ve found the photography of Sallie Harrison to capture the exact representation of a city that LA needs.
Pastel colors, sharp and angular lines, and the overall feeling of sunshine act as an accent and compliment to the plain asphalt and broken pieces of concrete you can find in LA. It’s a beautiful blend of surrealism and realism that really does well to create a beautiful representation of the cheap architecture of the city. Harrison’s color pallet alludes to the open desert while also acknowledging how man-made each of these structures are. This, to me, is the overwhelming satisfaction that comes with these photos of Los Angeles. That, while it is subjectless, there is a message and a worldview that speaks through each photo.
When I was thirteen my parents got me a little Sandisk mp3 player with 512mb of storage. It was loaded with some of the best Christian rock money could buy but more importantly it had a radio. I’d fall asleep to KISS fm playing the hits from 2007 and at that time Float On was still making its rounds on some of the late-night playlists. I’d lay there and cross my fingers hoping Float On would miraculously play next although Chris Brown and other late 00’s R&B would invariably take up the majority of the air time. The real game-changer was when my friend Travis gave me his old iPod shuffle. It too was filled with Justin Timberlake, T.I., and plenty of other stuff I didn’t really care about but most importantly it had the entire album, ‘Good News for People Who Love Bad News’, including Float On. That was when I first heard The World At Large, the second full-length track on the album that serves as a lyrical prelude to Float On. The World At Large introduces an incredible depth and vulnerability of the author that going forward influences the tone of the entire album. Albums like this formed my music taste and even now The World At Large remains one of my favorite songs to keep on repeat. Isaac Brock’s vocals brought something new to indie rock that I still look for when i’m listening to new artists. Some songs, like The World At Large or Blame it On the Tetons, he slurs through as if he’s drunkenly summoning memories. In other songs like Bury Me With It or Dance Hall he accesses an intensity that feels childish varying between falsettos, midrange, or just yelling through inflections. While bands like Modest Mouse may have already lived through their heyday and the album itself is nearing fifteen years old you can still occasionally hear Float On if you turn on the radio.
Marriage Story is about a couple who respect, love, and really seek to understand each other in the midst of a divorce. I was apprehensive and put off watching it only because it seemed like a clear ‘Oscar bait’ film The story however is really brought to life by its characters and almost relies upon the incredible acting of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. That’s not to say the film is flat without them. Noah Baumbach benefits having directing control over his script making sure all of his characters are sharp and incredibly human (I really felt like I could put a name to any one of the faces). Its aesthetic is wonderfully clear and the storytelling benefits from this sort of continuity of style. What I really appreciated about Marriage Story was that I at no point felt like the film was shoving a message down my throat. There are undeniable themes and some gender stereotypes are addressed but in a gracious context that invites understanding. It’s really a masterpiece of a story and is very much a contender for one of my favorite films of all time.
i hope i never stop writing. writing poetry for the past two years has been something i never thought i’d do but i’ve found some real enjoyment out of it. so here, now, are a few of the poems i’ve written that i consider to be my best.
1. -poems for Tanya two weeks before my wedding i wrote three poems for my wife. the first of the three i consider to be the best thing i’ve ever written. this is about the hidden beauty and peace i find being with my wife.
2. álas Blood, – an ekphrastic poem on Pieter Bruegel’s painting of Calvary. while most paintings of the subject focus on Christ, Bruegel’s painting highlights a scene that is comprised of individuals. i was, and always will be, fascinated with the human aspects of the gospel and ‘álas Blood’ reflects what i see from Bruegel’s painting as well my own experience with the gospel.
3. ATTA SOL i part two in a set of two poems; this poem acts as the beginning to the end of a semicolon which is part one. where part one, ‘MA FLORA i’, presents my relationship with God and nature as non-symbiotic, ‘ATTA SOL i’, ends the contrast with an ellipsis so as to say i am unsure of what to do from here.
4. -ANALOGOUS HYMNALS Pg. 03 another part in a set, this is the final part in a set of three. i started this set of poems with the first poem from the perspective of my current age (then 23). this, the final part, was from the youngest perspective of three years old where i imagine the bliss of Christmas with my family at an age where things were more clear.
5. The Lyric of a Shared Winter very simply, i wrote this about Tanya in May of 2017 while she and i were a world apart. a Winter separated us since we had last seen each other, metaphorically and literally.
‘Endors Toi’, the second song on Tame Impala’s Lonerism, is the middle section of a three-part song about anxiety, dreams, and reality. First off the album is ‘Be Above It’ which feels like a feverish and rhythmic ode to anxiety where the narrator incessantly repeats “I gotta be above it” for the entirety of the song. After a short pause ‘Endors Toi’ begins. From there it kicks off and it never really stops until the end of ‘Apocalypse Dreams’. ‘Endors Toi’, which is meant to mean something like “put yourself to sleep” in French, offers a retreat from the anxiety-inducing reality illustrated in ‘Be Above It’. While, musically, ‘Endors Toi’ feels like a trip down a rabbit hole, its lyrical composition alludes to a peaceful state of mind. Through the song both anxiety and peace live in a harmony that is calming to the narrator. It’s not until ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ where reality, dreams, and anxiety are allowed to share a space together. ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ acts as a stream of metaphors where the author presents ways they have been able to move past sources of stress. Even more so, the song gives explanations as to why there was no need to feel anxiety in the first place. Then, the song retreats and echoes opening the door to the remainder of the album to see where the author will go from here.
This is Tame Impala at their best. Kevin Parker with the help of Nick Allbrook is a devastating combination. Nick Allbrook seems to inject fear into a song. He’s responsible for the slashing guitars on ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ and those paired with the synth and drums of Kevin are what brings their Australian psychedelic charm to the main stage. It’s turbulent, unpretentious and just the right amount of careless.