07 November, 2014

Haloes Curios - HC06 and HC07 - Haloeween V.5 and V.6

Distributed on Halloween, in a rush. The items respectively contain: Haloeween, Volume 5 and Haloeween, Volume 6. Each release were created for Halloween 2013 and distributed to friends and family. Not sure which package went where, but I decided to hit two locations I've missed thus far; Frenchman and Bywater. Traffic dictated where the Frenchman package was placed, and adoration for Euclid Records determined the other drop. Both of the discs contain some of my favorite Haloeween selections so far, and as a whole, these two volumes comprise my favorites among the series. I hope the individuals that found these packages found some tracks they enjoyed and most importantly, had a very Happy Halloween!

Haloes Curios - HC05 - Haloeween V.7


Congrats on finding this item. The first, and to date, the only item stashed outside of the Greater New Orleans area. Left in my favorite destination in Rochester, Lux. Had an awesome night with friends and their friends, and it was sad that the night had to end. During my time in Lux, the item had been touched, moved, opened but confusingly, not taken. So, the item was retrieved and stashed on a vehicle parked just outside the door. Hopefully it was found rather quickly, before travel?

Inside, was Haloeween, Volume 7. Haloeween is an annual effort of mine to create a unique collection of Halloween-inspired tunes to share with friends around the country. Volume 7 was this years installment. There was a handful of tracks that I love on this years' collection, but the one that lodged itself in my cerebellum was by The Hives. Anyway, I hope you found some tracks you enjoyed and shared the find with friends. And most of all, I hope you had a wonderful Halloween!

30 September, 2014

Haloe's Curios - HC04 - Time For A Bavarian Death Waltz


There's not a lot of hunting or luck that was needed in finding this item. I fully intended to hide it with The Civic Theatre to be found by some random Afghan Whigs fan. However, I left it in the car, and once I had passed security, there was no going back to retrieve it. I was relegated to do what I could to ensure it made it into another fan's hands - so it was left lovingly underneath the windshield wipers of the vehicle parked next to ours.

Enclosed was the Home Records bootleg of The Afghan Whigs entitled, "Time For A Bavarian Death Waltz", recorded at The Paradise Club, in Boston on 5 April 1994. Not a stellar recording as far as quality goes, but unique to the performance were some stunning covers of The Supremes, Prince, and New Order. It's the only bootleg recording I have of The Afghan Whigs, so I thought this would be the proper moment to share it with another fan. Now, if they happened to purchase the performance from London offered at the merch booth, than they probably weren't all that impressed. But I hope they enjoyed it anyway...

13 September, 2014

Haloe's Curios - HC03

Congrats on finding HC03. Little Daggers - Undug. I wanted to put this item out in the world as a thank you and as a promotional item for this phenomenal band. I've collected over the years, everything I could get my hands on. My initial exposure to them happened in Orlando, Florida at a tiny venue named, WigglyWorld Records. The experience was so amazing, that I saw them at every opportunity. They've exploded in the European music scene, and I've done everything I can to spread the word in The States, Critical darlings of the Miami press, and anyone lucky enough to have caught their performances. Please check them out and purchase their new release on Song By Toad Records.

Lil Daggers Official Site:Lil Daggers

24 August, 2014

HC02 - Mister Terry

HC02 - Mister Terry

Congratulations on finding the second item in this treasure hunt I've created. So, let me give you a little background on this item:

This was a project I embarked upon several months ago, the idea was to sift thru a decade's worth of material shared with me by my closest friend, Shawn Terry, and compile that into a retrospective to share with him on his birthday. Hours of audio, and nearly an hour of video material were digitized, cleaned-up and the only thing I had left to do was create some packaging to accompany the collection. Unfortunately, as that process began, events unfolded that suggested, to complete the project would be unheeded at this time. So, a generic cover was made and I decided to put this out in the world because it does present a musician and artist of such great talent and diversity, that it's almost criminal to lock it away. I hope this finds a good, music-loving home among people who love to share.

Enclosed on the disc are various bands that San Antonio-based, Shawn Terry has been involved with prior to and during our friendship. First is Berlin Black. Very little material exists from this deathrock ensemble, but it's clear that they had rehearsed and begun to perfect their influences. The time between Berlin Black and the next project I was exposed to, Veronica's Veil is a grey area for me - but in that time span it's evident that Shawn had explored a lot of new material. VV touches upon elements of The Cure, Pixies, some deathrock, and some fringes of metal. Though the band was on the cusp of expanding their reach, only one track emerged officially before the band became defunct. Please note, that if you scour the web looking for more material from Veronica's Veil, you are likely only to find a band of the same name that emerged a few years after, and musically they are on a much less impressive plane of existence. In the years following, Shawn performed and recorded with Hammered (featuring Suzy Bravo), and The Mechanical Walking Robot Boy. Each new partnership garnered different interests throughout the music scene, but it was the work of Guilty Strangers that spread across the U.S. and Europe that ushered the praise of music lovers and critics alike. The band were stalwarts of the San Antonio scene and opened for national acts including Christian Death and Peter Murphy. Shawn's creativity and talents weren't only bound within Guilty Strangers, collaborative efforts with Madame B and a stunning demo session featuring Heidi Buchhorn on vocals resulted in some of the most stunning and strong material to date; it also further illustrated the diverse musical background from which Shawn's mind operates. Rounding out the collection are the solo efforts that Shawn dubbed, Green Building, an ambient, guitar-driven recording, and Dusklands - an effort that channels Shawn's inner Sisters Of Mercy and Mission.

You are unlikely to find a more eclectic mix than is what's presented on this disc, though I do hope you find something you enjoy; something you wish to share; and possible something you will want to seek out more of.

22 August, 2014

HC01 - Haloe's Curios


Congratulations on finding the first hidden item from Haloe's Curios. Enclosed is a reproduced letter that was meant to further a story line I had developed for a trio of Halloween boxes that went out to my friends last year. Each box contained a fragment of the story, and each recipient received correspondence from one of the characters in this developed story line. Anyway, this particular item was not used. The reprinted photo is that of Miss Mataja to lure in her lover Severin. Miss Mataja will lead you to much in unraveling many puzzles behind the creator of this project, as well as her ties to so many remarkable figures through history.

The final musical piece of this gift is from Guilty Strangers.Sadly, it may be the final release of this San Antonio-based band that made quite an impact on the deathrock, goth rock scene over the past 5 years. Though often compared musically and vocally to Lydia Lunch, the no-wave aspect is but one facet of Guilty Strangers. One can easily cite a dozen influences on their sound, but the blending from the decades of their idols is a creation that stands completely unique and powerful. Much of their material is available thru: Bandcamp, so check them out. They may be gone, but they shall not be lost, at least if I have anything to do with it.

A new, little game of hide & seek.

I've decided that what the world needs now are lovely little surprises. So, the game will work as such:

1. I will create a small little bundle of joy. It might be a small parcel (that hopefully won't require further investigation by a bomb squad one day). This might be a duplicate of some piece of music I own; this might be a bootleg concert cd-r or dvd-r; this might be art; this might be meaningful; and it might be received as utter crap. I've always loved the idea of leaving gems for others to find, so I hope this catches on. So, again, the item(s) will be created and assigned a number. For example: below is HC01 - the first item Hannah and I will be hiding. Generally - the contents will not be photographed, my wish is that people will photograph and share the contents they've found here or on Instagram using hashtags.

2. The clues to the whereabouts of the hidden items will be announced here: Haloe's Curios at Instagram

3. The retrieved item will provide the web address or the name of this blog, to which the recipient of the gift can go to and find more details about what they've discovered.

4. Hopefully they will become a follower and I can start a little trend of treasure seekers. If I'm lucky, these items will fall into the hands of individuals that appreciate the find for what it is - a hidden treasure, whether the contents are something they would typically seek out for themselves or not. If they are like me - they will hang on to the item forever exactly as they found it. Hopefully they will photograph their finds.

So, that's it. I'm hoping this catches on.... so let's get started. Hannah and I will be hiding the first items tomorrow.

01 May, 2014

The Desert Island Post or Life-Affected Albums - Part Four

This is likely the final installment of this thread. I've perused over my list endlessly, and revisited many of the notes I've etched upon it, and honestly, these are the most challenging of my choices thus far. While listening to the albums, I try to transport myself to that moment of discovery and then weigh that effect. I then realized there were an equal number of discoveries that have occurred since my life became intertwined with the world network. Perhaps that's a another list? But the web, and the friends discovered therein have brought Zola Jesus, Austra, Die Antwoord, A Place To Bury Strangers, The December Sound, San Antonio's Guilty Strangers and Veronica's Veil, Audra, Akubi Object and so many more. Often that has ignited the same kind of fervor that picking up something completely foreign in a record store can create, but I think it's different in the visceral effect. Nothing really compares to sitting down to something new and pondering over liner notes, lyrics, artwork, and photos; not to mention that all senses come into one succinct investigation: the smell of the packaging, the texture of the material, the etchings in dead wax, the mysterious lyric unfolding into the ears. Oh, but what about taste?! Well, if you are me, you're teeth make quick work of shrink wrap.

With all of that said, the final 5 (or is it 6)?

Discovery came via a friend of my ex-wife, and I was immediately scouring my old friend, Napster, for what it could share. The only complete album I succeeded in obtaining was Agaetis Byrjun, and if I had never heard anything else, Sigur Ros would still haunt me unyieldingly. I was lulled into a web that vibrated with familiar shoegaze textures, and as if a sedative, the breathy Jonsi desiccated my apprehension. I did not know what was being sung, it was Icelandic for all I knew, it was some years before I learned that it often wasn't lyrics at all. There is not a more intoxicating beauty than what  washes over this album. It at times recalls Pink Floyd, but they are subtle glimpses. In sharing this album with others, what I've come to realize is that it somehow evokes an emotional response particular to the listener. Whereas I might hear sadness and desolation, someone else finds warmth and beauty. In my experience, that's a remarkable and unique feat whether intended or not. Perhaps it's picking up on the different textures, translating rhythm as revisited memories. When I hear the percussion of "Staralfur", I am with Hannah and Ethan at Lake Eola watching 4th Of July fireworks. Up until their final moments, Sigur Ros remained inventive, unique, and a benchmark for being non-conformed.

I think this is the only entry precipitated by a live performance. I was essentially oblivious to the career of Bill Callahan, and barely cognizant of Smog. One chilly, Orlando night all of that changed quite profoundly. This seemingly annoyed, older gentleman in blue jeans with a beat acoustic guitar took the stage and unloaded glorious poetry that gave me chills. Every dormant creative synapse that lay languishing in my frontal lobe was lit aflame. Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle is perfectly executed to entice the dreamer; offer itself as a muse to the writer; provide the scenery on extended stays in the car; or present itself as the maitre'd to your romantic evening. This wasn't an album that lead me on a journey of other musical discoveries, but it was the barrister who unlocked my love of writing.

Late, very late to this party. This album was my introduction to JAMC. Sitting in Physics class, a kid I wasn't so fond of, had perfected the drum machine tempo of this entire album onto the cover of his textbook, it was pure coincidence that I would buy it a couple of weeks later and unravel the mystery of his epilepsy. You couldn't have baited me any quicker with lyrics like, "I got the junk-gun fever sinking to my brain", "I got my senses strung out to the sky", "come on little sugar let me get your soul".
Coupled with the frantic, unrelenting drum machine rhythms, I think I was in teenage boy shangri-la. Automatic may not be the finest or most respected release, but it was their shiniest and most decadent. They fell like acid rain on America's collegiate and helped usher the tidal wave that was to follow. The Reid Brothers were sugary enough to give you diabetes and vicious enough to give you cancer, but talented beyond their years and they influenced countless bands in the decades that followed. Bands like A Place To Bury Strangers, Ceremony, The December Sound owe a lion's share to JAMC, and I imagine, like myself and that kid I didn't like, they were beating out "Blues From A Gun" on a textbook somewhere.

This was another impulse buy, purely initiated by the cover art, and another deleted release that I was lucky enough to find at Tracks. I expected more goth-rock bliss a la Catastrophe Ballet, but instead, I was drawn into the world of deathrock. My purchase of this preceded Enigma Variations and Hell Comes To Your House and Only Theatre Of Pain, so it truly was a brand new landscape for my senses. Much unlike the 80's punk crawling out of valleys of Los Angeles, 45 Grave was a collective of seasoned and talented musicians. If the Hammer films deserved a soundtrack, then certainly the banshee-like wail of Dinah Cancer fit the bill. Recorded in musical history with a song about the rape and torture of a child, 45 Grave was a mocking sneer wrapped in a pop-horror freak show. They gave depravity an infectious heartbeat, and set the bar for the deathrock genre that still thrives today. It still fascinates me to see Pat Smear performing with rock's most successful bands, because my introduction to him came via 45 Grave. Paul B. Cutler was revered in his scene, but outside that, he remains a tremendous talent relatively unknown. Rob Graves, Don Bolles, Paul Roessler - brought pulsing depth, macabre instrumentation, and levity to the wickedness. Sleep In Safety, hardly... unless you were a 13 yr. old that sought the carnival leaving town. I met Dinah when I was 13, backstage, she gave me a pinback which I still have. She didn't bat an eyelash as to my presence, but did leave me with memories that exceeded anything a teenage boy can ponder.

I debated the inclusion of these albums on this list... repeatedly. They are, without any hesitation, two albums I love and will keep in my collection forever. What took time to determine was their effect on me, if any at all. I'd come home very late after a night at The Masquerade, and turned on MTV to wind down. You could do that then and see actual videos. As I relaxed, "Gonna Get Close To You" came on, and within seconds, I was transfixed. I really had no idea what to make of it, appearances aside, I don't think the thought, "metal" came to mind, it was just different. I had no concept of progressive metal, but it was the elements of romanticism and this bizarre song about stalking that propelled my intrigue. Geoff Tate's range was mesmerizing, and musically, Queensryche

weren't trying to beat me to death with guitars and flashy drum tricks. I decided waiting for Peaches to open was more important than the first 4 periods of school. As the vinyl spun, I was captivated; songs about revolution, an Ayn Rand imagined future, Victorian-era London, and the perils of war. This was not what I prepared for... a metal band more interested in musicianship as a whole and writing songs with substance instead of substance abuse and misogyny. I decided, going back to Peaches was more important than the next 4 periods of school and bought The Warning. Again, biting and complex, throwing in themes of a mechanized race, and embracing intelligence over brawn. If this album is the war, then Rage For Order is it's epilogue. I've tried for years to determine which album  I preferred, and I simply cannot choose. Both of them are simply remarkable with no flaws. When my collection was filling up with The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode, goth-rock and post-punk, these two albums served to remind me that I should leave the door ajar to the music I loved in my younger days. Seeking out other progressive metal acts led to King Diamond, Tool, Fate's Warning, Flotsam and Jetsam and a rekindling with Black Sabbath. So, thanks to MTV for helping keep me grounded and realizing that there's a place in my heart for all music, not just that narrow shelf of cassettes at Tracks of a whole host of bands I was just discovering. at $9.99 a pop.

So... there we are. Twenty (1) albums. Unfortunately, I have 5 more. Sorry... but there will be a Part 5. That will be it. But I overlooked some important releases, and this list is incomplete without them.

25 April, 2014

The Desert Island Post or Life Affected Albums - Part Three

It's getting a bit harder to pinpoint these. New one's keep creeping into my thoughts, and then I feel guilty because my intention was to keep this to a list of 10. I don't feel like I can keep this to a list of 15 at this point. I've been revisiting a lot of the albums I have on my hand-written list, and I don't know if I can simply say that I love them anymore, I think a few of these changed something, or introduced something for me. Let's just see what happens...

The world of blues, Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, wasn't foreign to me, I'd exposed myself to a variety of artists over the years that I'd appreciated. It was hearing, "Like A Bird Without A Feather" on WMNF late one night that shifted curiosity into passion. As painful or sad as all predecessors had been, nothing struck me like the lyrics and playing of R.L. Burnside. I was lucky enough to catch a documentary one afternoon, in which a young, white guy made it his passion to track down delta blues legends and record them. R.L. Burnside was prominently featured, and his captivity over me swelled into full blown infatuation. Stripped down, or electrified, his humble approach to a life most would consider not worth living, translates musically into a beautiful, rhythmic tragedy. It seethes and pulses, and probably made the ladies hungry. Maybe not a pioneer in the genre, but an inspiration to all that followed. His visceral retelling of pain via Son House, Bukka White and Robert Johnson is as if a man possessed by their wrecked ghosts.

Yes, it was "Sour Times" that urged me to buy this disc. I was captivated by the atmospheric, film noir, haunted approach to the song. I really had no idea I was going to be treated to an entire album that essentially came from no recognizable direction. There was an element familiar to me, but that had been years earlier - and no part of me was ready to equate Portishead with Neneh Cherry's, "Homebrew". The only way I could describe Portishead to anyone, was to paint a picture of an immense space station floating through the nether regions of the galaxy, and Portishead as the lounge act that has performed every night for the past 20 years, playing the same songs, tired and withdrawn. I had no idea the achievement I unlocked was my own self-discovery of trip-hop. It was the moment I pieced it together, Geoff Barrow was the common denominator, producing many of the tracks for Neneh Cherry, and responsible for the inescapably beautiful and haunting, "Dummy". It wasn't just that the music was an alien lifeform to me, Beth Gibbons' vocals cut straight to the heart and stirred the phantoms of sorrow, loss, and love. I forgive the exhaustive brainwashing of "Sour Times", it gave foundation for the albums that followed, and without it, my path through the world of trip hop may never have been ventured.

This was a purchase on a whim. I had no idea the band was fronted by Kim Deal, or that the $19 I paid for it would translate into roughly 75 Cents per minute of listening time. What I immediately realized was that "Pod" was the most beautiful, cohesive collection of music I'd ever heard to that point. Every song was infectious, and the lyrics were a mysterious, innocent swathe that at times bore talons. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was so enamored with this release, that I shared it as my own music to friends and family. It's a devastatingly short album that tugs and tugs at you for more, and sadly, the band never came close to achieving such delicate brilliance again. I want there to be no other Breeders than what offered such intoxication as "Pod". It serves me as a beacon to which nothing could follow. Nothing else in my collection parallels what I discovered on "Pod", it stands alone in it's brilliant beauty.

I used to work with Mike Ness at a wind-chime factory. Well, not really, but he looked like him, and drove a '67 Falcon, and a Harley, and he loved music. And he was Scottish - which really was the only indicator that he may not be Mike Ness. We developed a report and began sharing music with one another. One Monday, he presented me with a stack of Caster U.S.M., Candyflip, a bunch of other horrid crap, and DCD's, "Aion". Until that moment, I'd had zero exposure to Neo-Classical, so needless to say, I was floored. I sat in my tiny bedroom playing the disc over and over. I couldn't figure out how I'd lived 20 years on the planet and didn't know about Dead Can Dance. It was a beautiful mélange of traditional (and not in the folk sense - but the medieval sense), dance, tribal, and the most powerful, chill-inducing voice my ears had ever heard. If Lisa Gerard isn't an immaculate conception of a choir of angels - then such a thing simply can't exist. Never before had such a procession of history and culture passed before me, leaving me to seriously question my love of music. If something so stunning existed without my ever knowing, then certainly my grasp of music was far too narrow and jaded. To this day, hearing Lisa Gerard sing ushers back the flood of emotion and wonder from my first listen to "Aion". This is a band that has it's mimics, some of them finding success, but no one presents history and culture with an authenticity that Dead Can Dance does. And more importantly - no one else can play with the same authenticity that Dead Can Dance does.

Paisley Underground: I was a fan. Redd Kross, Jellyfish, Rain Parade... it was a scene full of talent and influence. But it wasn't paisley I was seeking when I picked up this album, I was looking for something brooding and dark and I believed from the title and the cover photos, I might be on to something. Like many of the albums on this list, I was completely unprepared for what happened next. Opal was perfection at psychedelic and the elements that made up the paisley scene, but there were no rainbows or fields of marigolds here. "Happy Nightmare, Baby" was a black & white pictorial of loss, vices, and simply existing. If Opal were a mood ring, they'd be black and cracked. Fuck your incense, your body paint, your wanting to be naked in public - this is naked in a fetal position with a bottle of wine and the curtains drawn. Broadening your mind here means seeing the horrid reality by which we barely exist, withdrawn and unimpressed, which is exactly what solidified this album as a part of my self-awareness within the world around me.

Part four??

22 April, 2014

The Desert Island Post or Life-Affected Albums - Part Two

Picking up where we left off.

Generally, when it comes to compilations, it's an ugly affair. A hit or miss hodgepodge of artists of all genres that fit together like flat-head screwdrivers and Phillips head screws. If I was completely honest, this compilation probably falls precisely into my generalization. However, this label from El Segundo under the guise of Enigma, Restless, Pink Dust, Fever... provided an avenue for some of the earliest indie bands, and offered an array of such talent that they solidified a place in musical history (unfortunately, many have forgotten or chosen to ignore it). They were fearless in providing contracts to everyone from Stryper to GG Allin. It was precisely the focus on talent over image that made "Enigma Variations" such a tremendous collection. I was introduced to Redd Kross, Leaving Trains, Green On Red, Naked Prey, T.S.O.L., 45 Grave, cowpunk... on and on. It's at times hilarious (John Trubee), at times dark (T.S.O.L.), at times, mesmerizing (Redd Kross). This collection of music single-handedly started an expensive and tiring search for so much that was happening below the mainstream. This was my first glimpse at the undercurrent of music, and it was love at first sight. And any label responsible for the original release of "Daydream Nation", or The Dead Milkmen catalog, or bringing Poison into the world (scratch that) is worthy of my love and affection... I was so sad to see you go. And yes, the irony doesn't escape me - being the compiler of music that I am.

Eric Snyder was a local music journalist writing in the Tampa Bay Metro Area, and it was his review of this album that sent me seeking it out. Little did I know, how difficult a quest that would be. I wound up having to order it through a local chain, and when it arrived (a month later) - that moment was my "import prices deflowering". I took this home and listened to it 3 times without pause. My brain struggled to define it, though it's effect on me was quite palpable. Sparse and haunting, and emotion punctuated by the Scottish wail of Gordon Sharp. It was a number of years before I pieced together his participation in This Mortal Coil, even more years before I discovered he was invited to be the vocalist in Duran Duran. "In This World" presented a suggestion that poetry, abstract, and art can be textures within music; transforming the expression from just listening to also feeling, seeing, and hearing. Though, by no means "post rock", without Cindytalk, that exploratory journey into Mono, Sigur Ros, Godspeed You Black Emperor many years later may not have happened. Of all the items on my list, this truly has, is, and will likely always remain utterly and painfully unique. It's not beautiful journey; it's equal parts desolation, abandonment, and fear; but "In This World" is breathtaking in it's prolonged approach to illicit expression. Perhaps it's why it took 30 listens to piece it all together, but only 1 listen to know I didn't want it to end.

It was, oddly enough, my Dad that brought this home. It was likely a mistake or an auto ship from a music subscription club, but regardless, it was captivating to me. I was familiar with Billie Holiday, but not on an intimate level, and this recording brought me front and center to her live performances. Our relationship from that moment on tread a delicately woven line of fragile and fail. Understanding the tragedy of her life did not unravel a tapestry of admiration or respect, it did however serve as a muse to the bleakest aspects of my personality. A life-coach for self-loathing and self-destruction, and a love affair with absolution from heart. The disc transgresses, and initially, Billie Holiday's voice snuffs the clamor of the audience and ushers them deep beneath her wave. She is a siren that victimizes the heartless, and slays the wicked. As the recordings draw to a close, Holiday is a collapsing sun; a piercing light stretching across a blanket of darkness. Her voice impassioned by alcohol, sickness, and heroin; she steps away a much fiercer beast; beaten by the wounds but much less forgiving.  It was, incidentally, a very difficult choice here. MILES DAVIS': KIND OF BLUE perhaps had a greater impact upon me musically; but weighing that in comparison to how I physically wore Billie Holiday, and impressed her upon my veins made my decision.

This was another difficult choice. Torn between this release, and DAISY CHAINSAW'S: ELEVENTEEN, I chose "Taxidermy" for a handful of reasons. Both albums had a psychological effect on me, but it was Katie Jane Garside's acceptance of her sickness (whatever that may be); her seething swathe of ferocity; and utterly wrecked fragility that coaxed me to find this album iconic. I believe it was an utterance of Chris Graves, "check out Queenadreena" that pry loose the nails of this coffin. My first glance at, whatever video it was, wove a rather pernicious spell. The noisy, post-punk, glam Daisy Chainsaw had resurrected into a socially-conscious, lush, beautiful, noisy, post-punk Queenadreena. "What-the-fuck just happened?" was my only utterance. I really had no way to relate to what the band was doing - but I knew it was a musical amalgamation of many bands I adored (Daisy Chainsaw included), beyond that - I really had no where to go. Garside's anger was on par with Zach De La Rocha, but at times her vocals presented a serenity and calmness that could lull a child to sleep. They've been called riotgrrrl - which of course is a label I get. Perhaps Garside's stage persona does fringe upon the genre, but from an album standpoint, it can't be dumbed down to one easy answer. The lyrics are strikingly personal (or are they?) - presented with such passion and intensity, you simply can't believe it can be faked. That's part of the enigma: interviews that are few and are trainwrecks; a stage presence so self-deprecating it's resulted in being molested by the crowd; an artist that recalls innocence and the sort of renderings a child might do for a police investigation; and a vocalist whose other projects are borderline folk music. It refuses an understanding, and if you venture here, you accept the abuse, the beauty, the anger, and the fragility as a whole.

The most recent addition to this list. It's an album I've always loved despite the heavy rotation of singles on the radio and MTV, but it was always an album that would have traveled with me to the deserted island, not a selection that would be emotionally impactful. That transition came about on a Friday night, 2 years ago, sitting in I-Bar rather hurt, rather depressed, and mentally, a hundred miles away from the people I had journeyed with. "(I Am) The Resurrection" blared, quite unexpectedly into the crowded club - immediately, my already dour mood sunk to the point of tears. I knew quite certainly, that what I'd been forcing myself to not accept as real, was indeed my heart letting me know that I was in love; and quite unfortunately, not with that love. There hadn't been hours of bonding over The Stone Roses, but it was "our album", an offering upon which our paths merged. Lyrically, it's a poignant selection, the title's of each track alone could outline our time together. In that respect, it will always be a milestone upon which a new chapter was formed and continues to write itself.

I feel it's probably necessary to do a Part Three....

18 April, 2014

The Desert Island Post or Life-Affected Albums - Part One

Any music-lover, or casual music appreciator has them; those indispensable items in your music collection that either opened you to a whole new world of creativity, or profoundly developed into the soundtrack to an emotional span of time. I've tried for months (mentally for years) to pinpoint those releases for me; many were obvious, others far less. Then I found myself with a much-too-long list, and realized what I had created were albums that impacted me and changed me, and albums that I would carry with me forever (quite literally), and still yet, others that bled into both areas. Below; are those that presented a moment when my brain, my heart or my body were impacted and offered a new path of discovery, or a vessel within which to collect my pain. These aren't presented in any particular order, after all, who can catalogue the moments of their life into a top ten?

The story really begins here. Prior to this, I was sort of a non-musical child. Despite growing up in a household omnipresent with music, I didn't really identify with music personally until 1983. I think the first song I ever blared out of my father's stereo was "Shout", and I don't really feel at all embarrassed about it. But, I went to school one day (5th Grade) and met new student, Tony Boupha. A very tall for his age, Asian American, who murdered everyone on the dodgeball court. He was the first person I ever exchanged music with, and in our first encounter, he lay in front of me this album. I wasn't unfamiliar with metal or hard rock, but I certainly had no adolescent preparation for how much my world would be consumed by Motley Crue. My room was adorned with posters of "ugly women" (my dad's description), and I still have that collection today. Hearing Motley Crue didn't simply open a door of exploration, it kicked it in. In my early years of music collecting, it was hair metal heaven. Ratt, Quiet Riot, Loudness... the fondness for metal music has never waned. Granted, my tastes have changed quite a bit since 5th Grade, but I will never forget the mark the music of 5th Grade left with me, and if my passion for music had a prophet, it came in the form of Vince Neil's leather-bound crotch.

Wasn't my first Christian Death album, but it was the one that consumed my heart and soul. Rozz Williams' lyrics burned through me and ignited all of my passion and creativity. Large chucks of my life have in one capacity or another been linked to the artistry of Rozz Williams, and that tree is firmly rooted in and around my mind and heart. The difference between the impact of this album as opposed to the others in this list - is that it became much more to me than just music. It opened more doors into art and literary extremes than it ever did on a musical level. That's the brilliance of Rozz Williams - influenced by Dadaism, Surrealism, and stark reflections of hypocrisy, it was perhaps the most educational journey of my life. I was 15 and everything had just been changed. A piece of vinyl became more than anti-social, teen-angst, self-loathing rebellion. Love or hate me - this album became much of who I was and continue to be to this day.

Jon and I decided 3rd period constituted a long enough school day. We drove in his 1983 baby blue Celica towards Tampa, and found ourselves at Fashion Square Mall. On that journey, my music mental checklist was the usual, but included a new entry. I had been struck by a promotional photo I'd seen some months ago of Jane's Addiction (a poster of which adorns my hallway), and an article mentioning their release on Warner Bros. After hitting all of our normal haunts, we arrived at Tracks, a music chain that provided me more rarities and gems than I've ever encountered in a chain store. I found my two choices for the afternoon, and waited in line to check out. Jon asked, "Did you find that one band you mentioned?" I almost let it go, but an especially slow register clerk prompted me to go find "that one band". My reaction to seeing the cover for the first time must have been a Kodak moment. I dropped what I was holding and proceeded back to the counter with "Nothing's Shocking". I really had zero idea what to expect, I'd heard nothing by this band - I just knew that they looked the way my head wanted to hear. We climbed into the baby blue Celica, which I feel compelled to mention was adorned with an Alpine deck and a back seat that basically consisted of a box containing to 18-inch Cerwin Vega woofers. In went the tape - lulling us into a false sense of bliss. We arrived at the main entrance to the mall just as the emotionally-soaked "HOME" tore across the asphalt: terrifying children, scattering pigeons,  and sending the elderly into cardiac arrest. The sincerity of Perry's vocals, and the ferocity of the music gave me chills. It was my first social commentary; "Nothing's Shocking" was my folk music. It was okay to not be A or B or C, and it's okay to present that awkwardness on a loud, spastic level. The other realization I had on that ride back home was that my emotional impact was my own... Jon was less than overwhelmed by Jane's Addiction - but I applaud him on allowing my weirdness to flow and have an outlet. "Hello, English Class taught by a former Catholic Nun - this is my new Jane's Addiction shirt, and yes that is Mary holding a plate with eyeballs on it, and that's okay." "By the way - I'm addicted to heroin now..."

Hello, life-crushing, emotional, hell of my own creation starring Julia Lewis. If your world revolved around someone unattainable or happened to value your heart on a sliding scale - then this was your soundtrack to that pain. Dripping with hurt, anger, lust - if an autopsy had been performed on my heart at the time - inside would have been this cassette. Not since very recently, has an album tied me so emotionally to a very finite period of my life, and so quickly transports me right back to it with even a passing listen. Trent made everything I was feeling so visceral, that I could only believe, that he too was dating Julia Lewis. It's not Nine Inch Nails' darkest, or purest, or most personal album, arguably, not their best album either - but it was at a perfect time in my life to give voice to feelings I felt consumed and suffocated by.

I sat in my living room late one night, going through a box of treasures that my closest friend, Shawn had sent me. I was, honestly, feeling a little jaded - nothing had profoundly impacted me musically on an emotional level in quite some time at this point. Certainly, I had found bands I liked, and others had shared amazing artists with me - but nothing that stuck me in the chest repeatedly like an inmate targeted by the Aryan Brotherhood. In this box lay a series of videos, the last of which I played, were two live performances of Shannon Wright. The first, at Coney Island, I believe, was a little underwhelming. The videographer was more interested in asses in the crowd than the show on stage (might I mention - he was there with a woman and a stroller-bound child). The second performance however took place in a small theater (Kentucky-I think) and then that assault on my senses happened. This banshee, beating the life out of her keyboard while drums thrashed violently made my blood run cold. I don't remember if Shawn sent me this album or if I obtained it on my own - but every emotion that was tore out my body watching Shannon Wright live was succinctly preserved on "Dyed In The Wool". Here again, a seemingly tortured, ravaged wreck of a human being, wrapped in this seething, pernicious ferocity was screaming out in an effort to exorcise pain and memory. If ever I could write again, I know it would be because of Shannon Wright. She's a muse for the fragility of weathered hearts. I missed my one (and apparently) only chance to see her live... I won't ever make that mistake again.

So, that's it for Part One. I'm going to try and piece together Part Two this weekend. Thanks for reading.