Friday, April 30, 2010


The songs for Trista and my tape are almost done.

Trista's side is finished. You can hear her songs, Dad Hat and Gift for a Funeral, on her myspace.

I have one more song to record and it will probably be a Beach Boys cover, but my two main songs are done.

The tape is being made on Sweat Power Records with the cool Fairfield doods in Utopia Park.

Whoa! Lots of links.

Here is basically what the tape is going to look like:

Let me know if you want one. ok.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Neat Zine

The first issue of Neat Zine is done.

It includes:

2 Stories
A couple of pictures
A spliced together comic strip
A conspiracy theory about Swine Flu
and some other cool stuff.

Let me know if you want one. You can also check it out online if you go the Neat Zine Blog to the right on my followers list. Also:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Portland (finally)

I am just now getting around to putting up pictures and some sentences about my trip to Portland. Sorry they are so late.

Either my parents are way good at booking flights or we just got lucky because we had very little standing-around-at-the-airport time. However, we were held up on our flight from Minneapolis to Portland for about an extra hour because they had to run all the way across the airport to find a spare exit sign to put over one of the wings because some hooligan probably stole it, which is both awesome and annoying.

This is Jackie. I sat by her on the plane. She didn't seem to mind--sitting by me or the exit sign fiasco. She was headed to Honolulu which is where our plane was going directly after it dropped a few of us off in Portland. This is kind of a creepy picture of her, but she was really nice and she read some Nora Roberts romance novel while I sat next to her reading The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian.

Trent and Dad got a beer at just about every place we stopped regardless of time of day. The Chili's in the airport at noon was no exception.

One of the many bridges over the Willamette River which runs right through the middle of Portland. The picture was taken from the Historic Waterfront District which, from what I can tell, is insanely beautiful for at least 250 days a year.

I went to the Japanese Garden on Friday which is quoted as being, and I'm reading from the official brochure here, "the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan."

It rained and shined and rained and shined the whole I time I was there.

I did a whole lot of other stuff too, but it is hard to lug a camera around everywhere without feeling like a huge tourist.

Every morning and evening I mooched a meal off of the company that my parents and brother were having their all-day meetings with. They were all very well dressed and I usually rolled down with bed hair and my crappy clothes. Saturday was the best because it was the big last meal of the weekend for the company gathering, so they took everyone to this French restaurant downtown which only made me look more haggard and out-of-place. We ate most of a decent three course meal which included an endless wine glass. My mind was blown. All the people in this company are really young (like mid to late 20's) and drive ridiculous cars that are always shiny (though that is probably because it rains everyday).

Trent and I went to two shows while we were out there. On Friday night, we saw Acid Mother's Temple at Mississippi Studios. We saw High Places, Bear in Heaven, and Cymbals Eat Guitars at Berbati's Pan on Saturday night. Berbati's has a really weird website for it being a restaurant/venue.

Other than that, I did a lot of wandering around and looking up and down and side to side.

The things I learned about Portland that are awesome:

1. It has one of the best public transportation systems in all of America
2. The whole city is incredibly bike friendly, and bikes even have their own lane (painted solid green) on most streets
3. There is no sales tax
4. You are not allowed to pump your own gas. Each station has people that do that for you
5. It typically snows less than half an inch a year
6. The city established a building height regulation in order to maintain the view of surrounding hills, bodies of water, and mountains
7. It is one of the top-ranked cities for public park concentration in the country
8. It has Powell's Books and Everyday Music which are probably the biggest book store and record store, respectively, I have ever seen

Yay, then I came home.

Still moving out there in August.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dum Dum Girls and The Morning Benders

I have two shows to talk about with you all. Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of my own to use.

Let's do this chronologically.

I saw The Morning Benders at the M-Shop on Saturday.

Because people I know keep getting jobs at the M-Shop, my opportunity to get into these shows for free keeps increasing, which is great. Thanks everyone!

I hadn't ever listened to this band, but I had heard them mentioned in a few places, and since the M-Shop schedule is usually pretty ignorable, I thought I would at least go to one of the only good shows it is going to get this semester.

Overall, I thought the whole thing was pretty mediocre. The Morning Benders, to me, are a perfect example of another one of those pop bands that I hear once, download, and never listen to again--similar to half of the bands that Pitchfork reviews between a 7.2 and an 8.3 rating. There are just entirely too many of these bands for me to keep up. If it doesn't stand out initially, I have a hard time rediscovering them in a manner that appeals to me. The Morning Benders show was not a rediscovery for me. While a few of the songs were pretty catchy, I enjoyed the noisy, feedbacking, vocal looped improvisation they used to end their set more than anything else. So, their new album Big Echo will probably sit on my iTunes with 0 listens until I go through and clear out my library like I tend to do once every few years. Judging by the crowd reactions, I feel like this will probably be the case for much of the audience.

That being said, all the dudes in the band were really nice. They were friendly and talkative on stage instead of playing some character like, say, the Dum Dum Girls.

I showed up at this show just in time to miss the two openers. Ten dollars at the door and 40 minutes later, I left the venue. While I am a sucker for the Dum Dum Girls throwback to two-minute, catchy-as-hell pop songs, it is hard to feel satisfied with my 10 dollar ticket when the band I came to see only played a 25-minute set (granted they were a great 25 minutes of song). Their show was...distant, and that is not a reference to the piles of reverb that their music does so well. One song led quickly into another and then it was over. There was a band on the stage and a crowd watching it, but the two never really connected. Normally, I don't really have a problem with this, but considering the pace of the whole event, I felt like I walked from my car, through the front doors to the venue and back to the parking lot where I got in my car and left without anything to remember or any song I had to go home and listen to.

On top of all that, the dude at Des Noise mentioned that the Dum Dum Girls were apparently so disinterested in the show that they didn't even put out any merchandise, which I didn't notice.

What is weird about this whole thing, is that, as far as my experience goes, this was actually a pretty well attended Vaudeville Mews show, and at $10 a head, it was probably a relatively worthwhile show for the band, financially speaking.

Oh well. Des Moines, Des Moines.

I am playing with Utopia Park and These Stains Is Us at the Ames Progressive on Saturday. Should be pretty cool. Both those bands will probably rip it really hard after I get my chance to chill everyone out.

Still haven't decided if I am going to any of the VEISHEA shows.

Friday, April 9, 2010

High Places vs. Mankind

So, the new High Places album, High Places vs. Mankind, came out on Tuesday.

To me, it is a disappointment.

I listened to High Places nearly every morning during the summer of 2009 on my bus ride to my campus job of delivering paper for printing services. If 03/07-09/07 and High Places can be described as morning bus rides when the sun is entering the sky through the cracks between the obstacles of the city horizon, then High Places vs. Mankind is the 3-month period of dull, sunless days that was this year's Iowa winter.

On previous albums, the noises and percussion of High Places bounced around the inside of your skull and kept the relatively short songs moving, as if the song were accompanying a sprint from the top of a mountain through an overgrown jungle and onto the long beach of some tropical island where the waves crash in slowly and everyone smiles and spins in circles all day as to not miss any of it. The lyrics varied from songs about trees and horticulture to songs about outer space.

The bouncing percussion and tropical noises still exist on High Places vs. Mankind but are often buried in repetitive guitars and somber lyrics that could represent the gray skies of boring days. The songs drag, the noises only bounce half as high, and the singing has replaced its youthful hopefulness with post-adolescent confusion and questioning.

If High Places were running just ahead of the storm clouds toward some lunar oasis in 03/07-09/07 and High Places then they have stopped to take a breathe as the storm caught up in High Places vs. Mankind.

You can listen to a few of their songs here:

In that link, you can hear the band at their best with From Stardust to Sentience, followed by a song showing where they are now with On Giving Up.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Music and Art and All the Different Ways to Take It In

This article by Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney is interesting.

Largely, she just repeats many of the things that have been said about bedroom music and the Internet, but she mentions a few bands who were amateurs and presented themselves as professionals (James Brown and Nation of Ulysses), and professional bands who present themselves as amateurs (Kings of Leon and The Strokes). While I have no real interest in any of these bands, and no interest whatsoever in musical presentation, her talk of how the Internet and technology have blurred the lines between the amateur and the professional is worth reading.

Particularly, it made me think about music on the internet versus art on the internet. Anyone can upload their music, and anyone can find it and listen to it exactly how it is supposed to sound. Anyone listening to those songs are hearing the exact version of the song that was created by the band.

When translating this into visual art (specifically paintings, drawings, etc.--anything not done digitally), it completely changes. Many artists post their work online, but in this case, the online versions of the art are not the art itself, they are copies of it. Visual art is meant to be seen on a wall (there are exceptions), not a computer screen. A piece of original art can really only hang in one gallery at a time, and can only reach the audience who enter it.

I wonder if people are accepting digital copies of art as originals.

Despite a post for this topic, I really do hate talking about this. People should just create because they have the desire to do so, and they should upload it to the web and put it on walls or play it on a stage if they want to, so others can like it or hate it, and no one should worry about what genre or style they fall into, because however they choose to make it is exactly how it should be made. Brain to paper. No thoughts about its transmission through wires or websites or cultures or time periods.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This is good.

It kind of sounds like The Books hit Aphex Twin with a baseball bat and then Washed Out came along and cleaned up the mess with a mop drenched in water from the Pacific Ocean.

You can listen to it at:

Or, you can download one of the songs from good ol' Pitchfork:

I hope you like this as much as I do.