Neglect

So, yea, my life has been a bit strange lately. I’m gonna be delivering news papers full-time for 14 days next week. As such I’ve been having a weird life. Didn’t Smart Went Crazy write that song “D(uke) C(ity) Will Do That To You” about this? I haven’t been playing nice with the bloggesphere or whatever you call it where all this stuff happens, you know, where I am supposedly supposed to tell you about music. To top it all off, not even sure when my next Error Vizion post is gonna happen. I think New Mexico melted my brain. It’s too sunny and hot to think about things. I kind of understand why there are no jobs in this state. Who the hell can work under these conditions?

So yea, sorry for the lack of attention here. I promise some more stuff will come up on this blog here soon. Or not. I can’t see into the future. Neither can you. Life is awesome. Listen to music. Make Love. Drink Coffee. Get a piercing, go here.

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A Letter To You

Dear Clark,

How are you doing? It’s been a long time since you and I actually talked but please know, first and foremost, that I speak about you all the time. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico now. I am not sure if you know that. It’s amazing here. I was not so sure that when I made the decision to uproot myself and move here that it was the right decision. Sometimes I still doubt myself, wondering if rejecting all the safety and stability and steady income was worth it, but then I think about how miserable it was trying to fit myself into some capitalist ideal of happiness and how it was such a waste of time and so detrimental to my existence that I know I made the right choice. It’s not always easy, and some of the old, familiar anxiety and worry seeps in. Some of it is probably valid, I don’t really know how long I can keep this up and I worry about running out of money, but mostly, I just say fuck it to that nonsense and figure I’ll figure it out.

I found myself here in Albuquerque, Clark. It’s a feeling I can’t describe with much articulation yet. I find myself very angry at where I came from, the types of anxiety I had to navigate in our shared hometown. I try not to resent it, for you and I both know how amazing and important and special growing up in the Washington DC region was. We were blessed with a privilege to grow up in DC at the time we did. We may have missed the beginning, the primordial chemistry and biology, but I think we got very lucky roaming around Virginia and Maryland and the District when so much amazing music, history, politics and people were around. But I can’t help be upset how so much of that was taken away from us as our government grew and got more powerful and paranoid. I know, this seems strange to talk about, but I think about it a lot. So many things, bigger than myself, I realize had an external effect on me that I wasn’t aware of. I don’t want to get too philosophical with you, but there is a truth. Capitalism, power, privilege, these things effected me and my decision making and put me in a bad spot. I lost focus on what was important, despite your awesome philosophy that you shared with me so many years ago, and I got fucked up. I’m trying to fix that now.

Clark, I’ve been reckless while keeping the best intentions possible. I’ve been trying to love with abandonment of reason, to be open to the world and to have as much damn fun as possible. I am eternally lucky to have met some wonderful people here in Albuquerque who are young in years and free in spirit. I have to keep myself in check sometimes and hope that the life lessons I have inherited can provide some reasonable guidance that is full of truth and does not gloss over the evils that we are often faced with in this world. But I try to cherish everyday, sometimes I do that with too much intellect and academic reference and framing, but every breath I take now has a purpose. I want to live, not just for my life span, but forever. Life is so amazing, such a great gift that we are granted. Sadly, we give so much of it over to other people, for their goals and rewards that are at detriment to who we are. It’s total fucking madness my friend. It’s something I know you fight against, so please just consider me an ally, ready to confront all these ills that cause all this sadness. I know that with love, compassion, companionship and fun we can make this world in the image and beauty it thrives to be.

I think about Rebecca everyday as well. I feel guilt sometimes when I think about her. She so often gets lost in my story, in your story, when I tell them to the people who I meet. She is such a saint and goddess on this earth. Leaving Washington D.C. was already difficult enough to do last winter, but leaving Rebecca was especially hard. While I know that she and I will be bound together always in our hearts and souls, her companionship, friendship and love was so new and encouraging in my day-to-day life, that leaving that prematurely stings. Further, though I know she doesn’t feel this way, I can’t help but think that I serve as a small reminder that she is not able to hold you and kiss you and dance with you in her arms. We met in your absence, and I can’t forgive myself for that. But I still can not thank you enough for introducing us to each other. There are so many strong, amazing, beautiful and awesome women in my life and I am so glad that among them, Rebecca is one that I can include in my personal celebration of them all.

There are scars I carry. Some that I carry are important. Some of them still hurt and sting, but I am trying to forgive them. Some of them will never fade and I am resolved to be okay with that. Some of them came from fun despite the consequences, the manifestations of which I have to live with. They are the gradients pulled across my garden, the place where I still find solitude, strength, redemption and love. I plant the seeds, like you told me to do. They are of passions, adventure, compassion and beauty. I embrace my work with my arms, trying to be careful and tender. But I never forget that not all seeds grow, not all plants survive, no matter my effort and best intentions. I still maintain and believe that the most important part of this process is that you plant the seeds. I know that the ones that do grow are so beautiful, precious and fragile. From there, my excitement and appetite are nourished. It’s amazing. Your guidance brought me so much clarity and relief.

It is a very late or very early hour now. The alluring charm of sleep finally calls to me once more. I will put myself down to bed, head facing south and sleep with calm abiding. I love you, Clark. You might never know how much you gave to me and what it is you mean to me. I am not sure I will truly ever understand the impact you have on my life. Some things are far too profound for words and fools like me chase that through a maze of language. But know I keep you close to my heart and spirit. I celebrate you in every victory and stumble. Thank you.

Eternally, I plant the seed,

Erik Gamlem

Puerto Rico Flowers – 7

Puerto Rico Flowers
7
Fan Death Records

I blame Denman Anderson for ruining my life. Well, not all aspects of my life. Some parts I take responsibility for. Some I blame on the Government for exposing my dad to Agent Orange in Vietnam. A great deal of it I blame on capitalism for making it so I don’t get paid for the work I actually enjoy. Some of it I blame on the financial institution I worked at for ten years because, well seriously, fuck them. But when it comes to going totally ape shit about Puerto Rico Flowers, that’s totally Denman’s fault. He turned me on to this band, and I can’t shake the creepy feeling I have for them.

PRF, as we hip people like to refer to them because we are lazy and writing through a bout of stress, anxiety and depression with a fucked up sleep schedule while we wait for phone calls that don’t seem to come, put out their new “album”. It’s got seven songs. It’s called 7. I have a hard time calling something with 7 songs an album, but it is 40 minutes long because John Sharkey !!! (or Sharkey as he will be called henceforth in this review) likes to push the limits of my sanity.

Puerto Rico Flowers (see what I did there) is a maddening musical enchante (I probably didn’t spell or use that correctly, but I don’t speak french) that crawls into bed with you at night and seduces you. But it’s not sexy, it’s kinda gross and you’re a bit repulsed by the sight of this seductress. Yet you can’t help but submit to the pure sex their giving off because it’s totally getting you hot. And as this is the most Puerto Rico Flowers we have ever gotten in one sitting, it gets infectious.

We find Sharkey where we left him off on the previous two outings. He’s wallowing, endlessly, with a crushingly soothing voice that is delivered with a monotone like drawl. The bass is pushing your face into the pillow, with force, but still its hands are gentle and the drums thrust at your pelvis. It all seems okay, this uninvited visit, because a song of keyboards cuts the air.

Where things get problematic is track 3, “The Pain Comes Slowly”. There’s this total screaming in pain vocal track during the intro and while the song itself is not outside the formula that Sharkey normally employs. But if I found Nick Cave rocking this space ballad on one of his albums, I wouldn’t be shocked at all. Which is the kind of left turn awareness a good song writer employs.

“Keep Me Around” sounds like the bastardization of a Brett Easton Ellis story. Drenched in 80’s regret and slightly off kilter, this is what Patrick Bateman probably hears when Huey Lewis plays as he fantasizes or actually hacks up women. That plot point was never fully resolved for me in any satisfactory way and so Puerto Rico Flowers upends that emotional quandary. Thanks Sharkey.

But all in all Puerto Rico Flowers continues to work in the repetition of an idea and sound the same way that Lungfish did. To people who interact with music in a passive way, you know, guys that watch too much sports and neglect their wives/girlfriends, Puerto Rico Flowers would just sound like the same, repetitious, drone laden song on repeat. But it’s the nuance that each song has, that truly makes this shit genius. And it is genius, a musical language all its own, though it seems impossible, because it’s still just a standard set. The keyboards play the role of the melodic instrument, mostly, though the bass provides the gut punch and drives the songs. Then, just add thundering drums and some covered in sorrow sounding vocals. There’s nothing too complicated about how this music is made, but the way it comes at you is astonishing.

Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts

Thurston Moore
Demolished Thoughts
Matador Records

I’m kind of glad I am unemployed right now and my only way of getting music is groveling for shit from people with record labels or stealing it off the internet*. Because honestly, there are a lot of records that have come out that I just don’t care about after hearing them. This is the case with the new Thurston Moore album Demolished Thoughts. I grabbed this off the netz last night and stuck it on my ipod and listened to it while I started Choosing Death:The Unlikely History of Death Metal and Grindcore. I had already had some reservations about this, another solo album from the Dr. of Cool. I’d read too much about it and it just sounded like it was going to be boring.

And it is, a terribly boring record. It’s the kind of record you can put on at night while reading and totally ignore. There are moments when Moore utilizes the Sonic Youth aesthetic, but honestly, I don’t want the same old Sonic Youth aesthetic anymore. I didn’t realize I didn’t want that until there was some off-tune grinding drop in one of the songs. I am not going back for a listen to find out what song, because I am that uninterested. But basically, if you remember that song “Winner’s Blues” from like 1994 that opened the half-hearted Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star, then you know what this album sounds like. Seriously.

So maybe, in the 1990’s I would have welcomed this album. Perhaps since then I have even been waiting for this album. But he released the more jangly, electric Psychic Hearts in 1995 and maybe that should have been enough for the high-profile, solo albums. But all these front men, trying to get all chill on the acoustic guitar while failing to do anything remotely interesting or write songs outside of their comfort zone is just getting old. And when your Thurston Moore, the epitome of cool eternal, and despite the lines etched on your face, never seem to get old, this record shows your age.

The tricks seem to be all dried up. That’s how I feel. Add this to the pile of Chuck Regan, Tim Barry and who ever else put out an acoustic album that just sounds like a mild version of what they already do. This is not the same, stark contrast that we got on J Mascis’s Several Shades of Why. It’s just Sonic Youth Lite. And It’s less filling and less satisfying.

*Dear Matador Records. One, I bought the overly expensive David Comes to Life By Now Get Now or whatever you call it. So don’t act like I don’t give you money and shit. That was $42 dollars my unemployed ass doesn’t have. So don’t get bent out of shape because I didn’t buy this. I was never going to buy it, but I was curious. Also, don’t get bent out of shape about this bad review. It’s THURSTON FUCKING MOORE. I think we’ll be okay. TWO, besides, the review I will give of David Comes to Life will make you cum in your pants with joy. Send me my seven inches.