I'm writing this to you at NIGHT in the DARK in my LIVING ROOM, instead of in the morning at my breakfast table. Its because I just saw one of the best shows I have ever seen in my many years of seeing shows like at least once a week, doesn't even matter who (it was Daniel Romano, appearing as Daniel Romano's Outfit). It was LOUD rock and roll stuff, like footage of the early Who or what I always imagine the band Quasi might sound like live circa 2010, but then they also had these utterly devastating country harmonies and they NEVER STOPPED they just kept playing, played the songs right back to back (very like the Who, but somehow way cooler, also?). Ended with a Ramones cover. I wrote one of those rental electric scooters as it started raining harder and harder and the rain was freezing, slapping against my face, stinging it, as I bore down faster and faster downhill, pushing the little wimpy engine as fast as it would go. I got home in eight minutes, I'm shivering, I feel like ripping apart all the furniture in my house with one arm tied behind my back. I'm very, very amped. I took a melatonin chewable and I poured a big sleepy time tea and hopefully this takes the spirit of the rhythm right outta me.
The music this week features a loop of pre-made shaker that I made too loud in the mix, but I like how it burbles in overdriven delay in the background. It also features guitar (a lot of these don’t) recorded with a special piece of gear that Will Stratton gave me - that cloud lifter substitute sounds really good, and really works! I took the picture I used for track art in my bedroom, which was being lit by a really goofy plexiglass peace sign lamp I bought from an electronic store in Greenpoint. It’s insanely bright.
The record comes out tomorrow (I’ll mention this to you again). Youth Pastoral, Feb 28, etc.
But before it comes out officially, you can preview the whole album right freaking now via Rumore, a music magazine from Italy I am very, very fond of. Here’s the link.
And if you’re in NYC ~ ~ come to the show ! ! ! Union Pool, with Gemma and Scree. I think you can still get the cheaper advanced tickets as of today. Here’s the info on that right there.
What are my hopes for Friday, what do I want to happen, why have I subjected so much of my time and energy and so much of your attention in making this album a thing (I imagine trying to fill a hot air ballon with a length of tube, blowing into it again and again in the hopes that it will rise - when Friday the 28th finally comes, does it lift?). I have been making and sharing albums for long enough to middling enough fanfare to have slightly tempered expectations. Don't get me wrong - I am very, very glad to have had some of the reception and some of the opportunities I have had. Playing music (doing work) has given my life real shape and meaning. But I'm realistic. Some people will listen, some people will buy, some people will come to the show, some nice things will be observed and vocalized. I will feel warm and satisfied, for a time. It could be months of placation, it could be a night. But I will feel good, to some degree, and we will triumph, to some degree. And anything less than that won't wreck me. I'm cool, I'm okay, I'm more or less satisfied in my life. But do I wish I could quit my day job the moment this goes live on Spotify, yes. Part of me can't help but desire a big fanfare, I want someone to bring me a cake when I wake up in the morning, there are sparklers in it, "we're proud of you" written in blue frosting. Impossible things, a big sack of money, passive income, sparklers in the doorway, waterfall of phone calls, members of my family at the gig. I want to be recognized as a musician by strangers on the street once again (as I have been on maybe 4 occasions), I want the swell of interest in what I do to continue to grow, I want it to become overwhelming and unwieldy, I want to have so many notifications on my phone that it will become a reasonable excuse not to look at it. I want the attention to break the hamster wheel of anticipation/dread I have been circling for the last few months, to crack it open as if hatching from an egg. I want to be successful enough that people no longe resent me for not quickly returning their emails. I want to lay all my anxieties on the cloud of the public's consideration for who I am and what I do, like a faberge egg atop a silk pillow. I want to stop worrying about money. I want the debt I took on to make this happen to vanish. I want to make more money than I make now at my kind of fancy job. I want to earn a dignified life by making work in my home and in different places, for and with a wide variety of folks. I want the folks who helped me make this to feel like they have been fairly compensated (a new paranoia I have developed all of a sudden). I want them to feel proud, I want them to feel COOL for being involved. I want to crowd surf. I want whatever cosmic force to manifest itself before me - an animate column of flame or a white stag in the middle of bushwick avenue - and give me that ultimate pat on the head, the one that will convince me finally of my intrinsic worth, of my being at least a little sort of cool. Little or none of this will come to fruition, and I am at peace with that. There is what you want, what you desire, and that for which you can reasonably hope. / / / / /
Knocked flat on my ass today by the kindness of a stranger taking the time to listen to what I’ve done with this thing. A review was posted, I was not aware it was happening, and it’s kind of a couple of days early. And the review was kind, very generous in what it said and even more generous in how deeply it listened - themes and motifs were noticed and explained for an audience that has not yet had a chance to listen. I was very touched. That would have been enough to knock me on my ass. It made the whole thing actually real, which all of the other stuff hasn’t done quite yet (somehow?). But. The review even went as far to include the story of Dev, whose name I spotted at a distance in the periphery of my vision. I started preparing myself. Oh jesus, what have they said, have they disrespected the departed in some way. But no, they understood the situation, the cruel dual quality of her voice remaining forever in the plastic of the LPs. It was reassuring that someone could get it right, someone I have not met, and in the large exhalation that followed the reading of that first review I let go of a lot of bad feelings I had been holding on to these past few months. I’m still very scared and very unsure of how to best include her in the narrative, to best hold space for her (while still making a valid artistic statement that just so fortunately happens to feature her beautiful singing voice). But this was a first step into seeing that it was possible and that I would not be unfairly judged for doing so. She could be acknowledged, she could be heard. I have talked about this. If you read this ever or if you know me at all you are aware of the tension within me. I wonder, have I played a show at Union Pool since her and I last shared a mic there? I can’t recall in this moment of mania. But perhaps what I want most of all is to feel a sliver of what we felt the night we sang on that stage, just a taste. That very pure friendship joy, and a little bit of feeling cooler than anyone watching from our ankles. I know better than to think I deserve a friendship like hers again - I was very lucky to have it in the first place - but it can be something I want. I want a lot.
What do you want? What do you want for me? What do you want from me?
Thanks for reading ~ ~