Good morning ~
Please enjoy this gentle electric piano cloud I have prepared for you - I made it after waking up at 4:30am (right after daylight savings time clicked over), driving to the beach in an enormous pickup truck, and then dancing aggressively in a pair of tilted mirror as the sun rose. Hopefully you’ll see the results of that soon, but in the meantime you can listen to my pleasant sandy keyboard exhaustion.
(by the way, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but you can enjoy every single My Big Break track in a playlist right here - nearly three hours long now!)
Strange days in the world, but the gig we have planned for Saturday in Manhattan is indeed happening (as of this writing!). Matt Evans (who just put out a really dope new single) and I will be playing a uncharacteristically quiet drone zone type set with a few songs in a beautiful art gallery space in a loft on the bowery around 7pm. Jeremy Ray - a wild vocal improviser from DC - will also play a set. It’s at two six eight space and I hope it’s a nice and slightly magical gathering opportunity and not like a scary thing that we’re doing. I think we’ll probably live stream it, too, if we can figure that out.
Among everything else, I got some good news this morning. My record is featured in a review on Pitchfork today.
It’s a really nice piece, written by a journalist who, while certainly an esoteric personality, really loves music and holds a particular place in the pantheon of record opinion-havers. In the review, he really understands the work, explicates a lot of nuance, and even goes further back into my catalog, kind of validating my other music that hasn’t ever previously been featured on the site. He gets it, and I think does a good job of expanding the world of the songs. There’s one thing I feel like I have to ask them to change - a hyperlink in bad taste - but I won’t get into that here. I’m very pleased with the review, and I’m glad that the hard work everyone (including me!) put into this has this opportunity to be seen, heard, and appreciated.
When I mentioned that this had happened to Matt this morning he said something I had been thinking but had dared not utter - “wow, man - 19 year old dreams coming true.” Which is accurate (and is embarrassing) but it has always been a semi-sincere hope that my music would be recognized in this particular way. The website is far from what it once was - though still probably the most popular music opinion location on Earth, it has lost its kingmaker status. It’s owned by Conde Nast and operates out of some extremely premium real estate. I think they do great work - and I also think the writing and journalism aspect has gotten a lot better recently. Ten years ago or so, though, a favorable review of this type would probably ensure that I could eke out a living as a touring musician. It might mean a record deal, whatever. This was the hurdle to clear. And now we’ve cleared it. Perhaps that’s still the case, but I’m definitely about to commute to my less-than-fulfilling desk job this morning. How much longer will the state of my life and the world at large require this?
I have written in this weekly newsletter previously about the time we almost died in a flooded basement at a Pitchfork Festival after party (No Age played a set of Black Flag covers, then Abe Vigoda started playing but halfway through their second song we had to pull ourselves out by the pipes on the ceiling). I think I’ve also written about the time I played a show at Shea Stadium and, during load out, my buddy got the good news that his album had been featured on the site. He cried big fat ugly tears into his girlfriend’s arms on the street in-between loading drum shit into his hatchback. And I think what he felt - although I was never brave enough to ask him - was relief, validation, a big exhale in knowing that all the work and sweat and suffering to make something meant something, that it was a big enough rock on a still enough pond to make a few ripples. That we aren’t totally powerless.
The review has been live for approximately 8 hours, as of this writing (they notoriously publish album reviews at 1am, NYC time). I have bragged to my closest buds and gotten a few notes of congratulations, but besides that, nothing really feels different. I often talk about how I illogically want and imagine talismanic, instantaneous change - I fantasize about immediate transformations, about everything altering itself in a single moment. But change is often hard to feel, it’s often invisible. And though websites and Spotify and sales reports can give you some hard data on what your work is doing out in the world, you can’t ever know for sure who it’s hitting how and when. Putting out a record is not unlike letting a cat out for the evening. They go about their lives, strutting down the block, and maybe - if you’re lucky - they return with a dead bird plopped on your doorstep.
I think that’s all I have for you today. I neglected to write anything in advance, so I’m banging this out quickly before I have to hop on my city’s infested metal tubes. I hope you don’t think I’m gloating about this review, or something. I’m just processing out loud. 19 year old dreams coming true. In a world where other impossible and improbable things seem to be manifesting faster and faster, why not me getting a p-fork review, too? Makes just as much sense as anything else.
And of course if you haven’t heard the record - it’s here:
Are you stuck at home? If you are feeling stir crazy, consider this reaching out - I’ll try to get back to you. Are you concerned about what the world will look like one week from now? Are you glad that it doesn’t get dark at 5pm anymore?