- Still don’t have much to write about in essay form.
- Kate and I are still in Atlanta, in a cute cottage in Grant Park. We recently celebrated ten years together.
- Have started teaching myself Ableton and Music Production. You can here some of my (not very good at at this point) music on SoundCloud. Feel free not to share it.
- Managing my depression pharmaceutically and behaviorally.
- Donating resources to a collection of non-profits dedicated to fighting white supremacy and creating a more equitable society.
- Generally avoiding social media other than Instagram (and a few topic-specific sites). I dip in and out of the others.
- Do not have a full-time job but will occasionally freelance projects in a variety of categories.
- Still listen to a ton of music.
- Is my life where I want it or where I thought it would be? No. But I am very blessed in many areas and am grateful to be here.
Ben Frost – All That You Love Will Be Eviscerated (Mute) – A supplemental EP to 2017’s dark political album “The Centre Cannot Hold”, this is dark melancholy cinematic crusty electronica.
Penya – Super Liminal (On The Corner Records) – Afro-Cuban (And therefore percussion groove-heavy) deliciousness plus just a little bit of electronics.
V/A – 1+1=X (Erased Tapes) – A collection of exclusive music from each of the artists on the Erased Tapes, created around a single recording session with the same instruments. the Kiasmos track is a standout
Ocean Wisdom – Wizville (High Focus Records): Twista-style vocal gymnastic hip-hop with boom bap beats from Camden, featuring guest spots from Dizzee Rascal, Meth, Roots Manuva and others.
Logistics – Hologram (Hospital Records) : Neurofunk Drum & Bass (slightly jazzy and shiny rather than gruff) from a vet.
Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy (Atlantic): Is she still okay? I can’t keep track. Have listened to this more than almost any other album this year tho.
Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer (Bad Boy): Not sure I can add anything to the discourse about this other than to say that its relistenable as hell.
The Summer Kills – Last Night We Became Swans (Self-released): Hammock + Matthew Ryan. So like… post-rock but also anthem-y.
Findlay Brown – Not Everything Beautiful Is Good (Nettwerk): This years’s heartbreaking guy-with-acoustic guitar selection. His voice makes me sad.
HAERTS – New Compassion (Arts & Crafts): In the way that their first album was super Synth-forward, this one integrates real percussion and guitar to make for a more balanced indie dance experience.
Editors – Violence (PIAS): Editors are basically targeted specifically at me at this point. Baritone vocals over dark guitar synthpop and big choruses. Yes please.
CHVRCHES – Love is Dead (Virgin/Glassnote): Shiny 80sy Femme Vocal Synth Goodness (there’s a reason i’m not a music writer) Meant for big speakers.
Solar Fields – Ourdom (Sidereal): Spacey New Age but intense and atmospheric. (also if you haven’t heard his Mirror’s Edge soundtracks, get on that)
Andy Cooper – The Layered Effect (Rocafort): The DJ/Producer of Ugly Duckling. Clever rhymes, funky production, silly verses. Mostly about how “old rap used to be better but theres still some good stuff out there”
Marcin Wasilewski Trio – Live (ECM): One of my favorite current pianists in great form with part of the Tomasz Stanko (RIP) band. Includes a cover of “message in a bottle” and herbie’s “Actual Proof”
This unruly body
shows the scars of invisibility
stores retaliations too dangerous to speak
attempts to numb instead of feel
to translate dismissal into love
when feeling was too dangerous
and I was in the way
This unruly body
elicits strong feelings
a thing to be contended with
the disgust with the pity mask
the discomfort with the worry mask
the problem and the problem
too much seen-ness
to be less is to be better
This unruly body
strength and resilience
shield, sword and hearth
my home and my shelter
a reminder of what I survive
contains all of this
This unruly body
warm and engulfing
strong, sturdy, solid, sexy
source of comfort and pleasure
a smile, a squeeze, a moan
loved and seen
and seen and seen and seen
(Inspired by Roxanne Gay’s project Unruly Bodies)
This is your regular reminder that the culture war we are experiencing (with body count and all) is bought and paid for by the wealthiest class as a way to distract from them draining the country and the planet in order to overfill their coffers.
They own the media shaping people’s minds and opinions on both sides, they own (and sometimes are) the politicians. They are defining “normal” and “acceptable” and it’s all nonsense, and that nonsense kills people.
I am well aware that my presentation to most of the world (a fair-skinned male-bodied bearded bespectacled lefty-leaning person with a long-term exclusive opposite-sex partner, amongst other “normal” signifiers) affords me some cultural advantages that my fellow non-straight and otherwise atypical folks do not enjoy.
I do my best to use those traits to raise the voices of those who do not have that visibility rather than to bloviate about issues that may otherwise affect me.
I do this not for any sense of credit or ego, but because lived experience will always be more relevant and important than even the most compassionate speech by those not in as many positions of marginalization.
I’m pretty open about my identity in how I present to the world. I am a Queer person (which to me, defines a worldview as much as anything else). I am not a straight person. Ever more relevantly, I’m Jewish. My relationship is not traditional in many ways, though it is absolutely committed.
What I do know is that “Normal” feels super oppressive to me, rather than something I identify with. The prevailing culture is so toxic to intentionality, compassion, generosity, inclusion and wholeness and actively suppresses those things with violence and manipulation of narrative. It hurts women (cis and otherwise) especially, men in different ways and affords very little room for others along the spectrum.
Whenever possible, I strive to reject this “normalcy,” and avoid it. I am very much aware that I have the privilege to do so.
So what are some small things can we do in addition to the political acts of resistance we must take as people with privilege? What can we do as compassionate individuals desiring of a more whole human experience for all that is not afforded us by how things are right now? How can we move the needle?
Here are a few basic things. Fuck with the system. Make people uncomfortable. Make out in public. Hold hands with two people (don’t block the sidewalk). If you’re male-bodied / identified, hug your male friends without slapping them on the back. Be kind and uncompromising to individuals and merciless to systems and groups. Shut up and listen.
It’s even more radical, these days.
Airlands – So Much To Keep (Self-released)
ASC – Trans-Neptunian Objects (Auxiliary) – ASC keeps putting out wonderful dark spacey ambient and I keep adding it to my top lists. He’s very prolific, so this was basically just the first one I listened to.
Ben Lukas Boysen & Sebastien Plano – Everything (Soundtrack) (Erased Tapes) – A soundtrack to a game about literally everything. Somber and overwhelmingly lovely.
Bicep – Bicep (Ninja Tune) – Artificial Intelligence-style club music.
Casey Dienel – Imitation of a Woman To Love (Paddle Your Own Canoe Society) – Singer of White Hinterland’s solo debut, not so different from the WH stuff.
Feed Me – Feed Me’s Existential Crisis (Mau5trap Recordings) – Just a bunch of electro-house bangers
David Fray – Chopin: Piano Works (Erato/Warner Classics) – Gorgeously produced impeccably played versions of some of my favorite piano music.
Goldfrapp – Silver Eye (Mute) – You know, just another album of dark synthpop to poke my inner goth.
GQ – E 14th (Jamla) – Literate slightly political boom bap hip-hop produced by 9th Wonder.
Grails – Chalice Hymnal (Temporary Residence) – Wall of sound post-rock, very melodic and soundtrack-y.
Jeremy Enigk – Ghosts (Lewis Hollow Records) – Finally some Fire Theft-type output from the SDRE frontman
Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights (Matador) – Julien bleeds her heart out onto an album and offers it up to you, teary-eyed and hopeless. Plus strings. Jeff Buckley vibes.
Matthäus – Effigy (Ears And Eyes) Pretty electronic-tinged chamber pop is basically my cryptonite.
Partner – In Search Of Lost Time (You’ve Changed Records) – The best wryly funny Canadian queer indie rock album of 1994 except, you know, came out this year.
Peter Bradley Adams – A Face Like Mine (Self-Released) – One of like three guy-with-guitar artists that pretty much shortcut to my feels.
Rainer Maria – Rainer Maria (Polyvinyl) – The best indie grungey shoegaze album of 1992, except, you know… came out this year. A welcome return.
Starsailor – All This Life (Cooking Vinyl) – Another welcome return
Stumbleine – Static Bloom (Self-Released) – Slightly Burial-y atmospheric house.
SW. – The Album (Sued / Apollo)
Ten Walls – Queen (Runemark)
Úlfur Eldjárn – The Aristokrasia Project (One of the members of the Apparat Organ Quartet which is exactly as weird as it sounds makes
Waaktaar & Zoe – World of Trouble (Drabant Music) – The main dude from a-ha and the daughter of Jimmy Gnecco from Ours make lovely pop together)
Singles and EPs and such:
Sasha – Scene Delete Remixes 3 (Late Night Tales) – Plaid remixes can do no wrong in my book, even if I’ve always found Sasha to be boring.
SubtractiveLAD – Ritual (n5MD)
SUMS – SUMS (Berlin Atonal) – Side project of Barry from Mogwai and Kangding Ray
Lamb – Illumina (Self-Released) – Always look forward to more from this duo.
Nine Inch Nails – Add Violence EP (Nothing)