Cold Cave and Hot Snakes warming my black heart

It takes a special kind of one-handed man to rip off one of my nearest and dearest artists, NewOrder, and get away with it, in my books.

Thanks to you Wesley Eisold, for putting out a new release from one of my favourite artists that I can get behind this year.

Thanks to the Hot Snakes for the same! Can’t wait to see both of them live in June.

Cold Cave gets bonus points for his stellar style. Looking forward to his outfit! That says a lot, it’s rare for me to start a sentence with those three words.

Transitions are always tricky. Goodbyes are too. As I stand at the precipice (lame expression somehow to me) of this next chapter of my life, I’m optimistic and having a soundtrack to go along with it always helps.

The only thing standing in my way is freaking Adobe and my PC ways. Damnit. Typical that the thing I stand behind and am most comfortable with has to infinitely complicate things. So typical there should be another word for it (and I’m fairly certain there is).

As for the Hot Snakes, thanks for coming to Toronto again. Not thrilled about the Phoenix (one of my least favourite venues thanks to my stature and the layout of the place) but I don’t blame you for not wanting stick around these here parts for two nights to do the Horseshoe again. My therapist would not like that my favourite song on your new album has to do with drinking too much either. Not my fault. I guess that’s on you. Booze fuelling the best track.

Thankfully I have someone to accompany me to this show, so that I can get there all early ass to claim a decent spot and still get to go get drinks and go to the washroom when I have to.

Hot Snakes get bonus points for how much their music ‘slays’ live and how Rick Froberg is the perfect embodiment of looking like he’s been to Hell and back (and probably has). Legit mofo, that one.

While we’re on the topic of summer releases, thanks to the Get Up Kids for probably not disappointing me with their first EP in seven years. The lead single may sound a bit more like it’s for kids than I’d like, but I remain optimistic there too. There Are Rules was a surprising success for me.

No thank you to WordPress for whatever the heck is going on with my good ole blog. Making me work for it! It refuses to put in the line breaks I beg it to and it won’t embed my videos like it’s supposed to. Manually making me put in the HTML code, come on. Thankfully I have a coding class, so I knew to look into it. The videos… I have to now copy all the code from YouTube too.

I refuse to pay for this site that no one reads when I don’t even use it much and I’m already paying for my ‘professional’ one. This is even more vexing now that I’m a technical writer and know the value of white space and line breaks etc. Thank goodness I’m not being evaluated on this and I’m likely the only one reading it!
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Define reality

Reality: A thing that is harsh and cold. Destined to hit. Mostly unwavering. The rare and brief wavering only makes its ferocity all the worse once it sets back in.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it is this. More so in the past two years than ever before in my life. I hope it doesn’t continue this way, but fear it is destined to.

New albums from most of my current favourite bands (APTBS, Odonis Odonis, Soft Moon, Hot Snakes, Preoccupations) may all disappoint. The albums that have come out or the preceding singles have not done it for me. What to do when all your favourite things cease to impress? When all the people who once did, on the same niche page as you, are long gone too?

Pervasive disappointment and a wish to resign (not an option, of course). Your aging body aching all over. And time-consuming, frustrating work. That only reveals itself to take the time and effort it does once you get in there and poke around. And no one understands the complexity of it. You’d like to see them do it quicker. Is this the future? Well, you need to make a living, somehow.

You’re born into this life. You don’t choose it. Then you’re forced to trudge away. Until one day it trudges over you one final time.

Some may think the turmoil of their 20s could be the worst of things. But as you age, try to face facts, try to get out of ruts, things get increasingly difficult. Sometimes with no chosen family of friends. You have no time and choose the isolation eventually, even when options come about. Can’t be bothered. Prefer your freedom.

Negative connotation all over positive feeling. Maybe it’s good if they’ve worn you down over time though. Shaking your head at your younger self. Invested too much too often. Given years of one’s young life to things that didn’t give back. At least coming out eventually with standards, even if you know most men, scratch that, boys, can’t meet them. Or even come close. At least you know the respect you deserve. Unfettered and free to be who you choose. Listen to what you choose. Not be pressured into anything for fear some immature brat (who only gives half of himself and doesn’t value the 1.5 selves you give) will get cranky.

But then years can go by with a shortage of people you care immensely about to share experiences, excitement, opinions or laughs with. Few can live up to what you once had, at any rate. No one with time and then one day it’s you that thinks it’s no longer worth the time. As your own family ages and you fear the loss of them.

Interlude. This is actually the only long I seem to really like on this album, maybe because I’ve played it a bunch of times on YouTube when it comes up. I really like this video. Though this band sits weird with me with this chick’s recent allegations against that nasty man though. Men. Are they finally going to get some come upens for how poorly they’ve treated women? The accepted norm a whole gender was powerless against. I don’t even look like one of these chicks and I’ve been misused and abused for years. It’s part of why I’ve lost interest.

That’s some bleak stuff. This is what happens on a long weekend yearned for litrally (intentional spelling error, I want it said like some British people say it) ages that was meant for collapsing and socializing, turned instead into another complicated, time-consuming tech writing project. With a week of double work and dread ahead.

Change is supposed to be difficult. Change is supposed to be good. You can’t avoid anxiety, risk, progress, challenge. But it certainly would be nice if you could!

Wrists protesting all the while. Wishing they were on a beach or in some woods instead. Writing, lazing, sunbathing (in the shade preferably).

It would be better with some fantastic new music to get by on. But instead, no awesome new music to help ease the pain or pass time. It actually needs no help passing, but slowing it down would be magic I would pay many moneys for.

Damn bands these days and their only putting out 1-2 albums (if you’re lucky) before they no longer do the thing you loved them for doing. Devastating. Thinking back to my next tattoo being covered up this spring, I realize that love for a band is like any other relationship. You’ll likely no longer be a devoted follower, though you gave it all your heart and valued them so. And you’ll have to walk away, like you always do (at least it tends to be you, not them). Sure you’ll check out the new single, but eventually you won’t even download the whole album. Let alone drag your butt out to their shows. One day there will be no more shows I want to be in Toronto for, and then I can move out to the country.

At least there is this. The subject of what may very well be the last album review I trouble myself with trying to write. And can’t figure out how to phrase the essence of Interpol as there’s a lot more going on than that. Though I suppose I’ve already tackled the rest.

My Toronto theme song

Comes to mind, all the time. Then I listen to it like five times in a row. I love the clever irony in the la-da-da-da-‘s too. Swooning for that which kills your soul. Even as you declare how hard it is to forgive. Like it’s a walk in the park. An ice cream cone at the fair!

Here’s to wishing for the days when uncertainty and angst are behind me (if there is such a thing for those of us not engineered to be engineers). Days when I do the work I bring home. Or don’t bring work home (period). Either way, days on which I don’t have to feel guilty for seeming silly to infinitely cool boys (strike that, MEN, a concept I’m entirely unfamiliar with) lightyears beyond my years, galaxies beyond my leagues. In a way I absolutely deny entirely. And a way in which I haven’t in ages (and would prefer not to, thank you very much. So I admit to nothing. I admit.). Or squandering the evening way on drinks on an empty stomach and the building dread and anxiety of the day (and days, and weeks, and months) ahead. Even as things may be coming together. Looking up. What do these terms mean? Foreign as Greek. Italian. Not German (I know a smidgen of that still). Nazis aside, maybe that’s the best one.

 

My industrial age

Between walking through the tunnels between subway tracks and what is shaping up to be a year of (new) post-punk, I declare 2018 my industrial age. Lovin ma life for a moment, WTF.

My newfound affection for my super cool (yet comfy and cute) steel-toed work boots coupled with my contract at the TTC is reviving (or at least reminding me of) my (long dormant, like so many things within me) love of industrial things. So many doors I want to go through! So many mucky things I want to check out. So many rusty things I’d love to take pictures of. I referred to it recently as getting my first industrial-photography hard-on in a very long time.

I didn’t want to leave the tunnels, coated in soot, the dearly departed squirrel (from who knows how many years ago) was no deterrence. After two days of being traumatized by stories of injury and death due to subway unsafety, either from not following rules, or due to those yet to be developed, had put me off some. But once I was down there, it was a blast.

I don’t mind how dirty my hood got. I struggled for a moment with not clearing off my nifty new clean boots after they were intentionally stepped on by a coworker. A rite of passage, another told me! He looks like Bowie’s long-lost cousin, so I actually couldn’t possibly be more touched. The name of his retro-punk band is fantastic too. Suicide pact survivors. I bow to him with respect. My respect isn’t the easiest thing to earn (or maybe it’s too easy, I’m not exactly sure, though I do know I’m picky and particular when it comes to deciding if someone is seriously cool).

Having a train go by less than a foot in front of your face is pretty invigorating. Only slightly terrifying, though if it was going faster I could see it being far moreso. Even at the 15 km/hr it got my heart rate up.

From other technical writers, to trainers, to the super green co-op students in my class, I have  enjoyed the many people I’ve already met. I like hearing their stories, how they got to where they are, their hopes and dreams (or what they once were) in addition to getting a sense of them personally. They all have unique personalities and it’s nothing like starting at a typical new office so far. The real work has yet to begin, and my real team yet to be met in the context of work (I’ve met a few of them already, me and my groundwork, anxiety’s best friend), but I’m hoping things keep rolling the way they are. Slick and smooth, or grimy and clunky, as they should be in a train-in-a-tunnel context, I suppose.

The Soft Moon has a new album out in February and a show in March.

Preoccupations have a new album in March and a show in April.

Cold Cave and Trust may also have new releases too.

And I’m doing my first review in well over half a year for these newcomers to the art-of-old-made-new game. They may not look the part at all, bunch of super-young super-hipsters, but they’ve got the sound down pat. Smack dab.

So there is no shortage of new atmopsheric, dark and gothy post-punk! Let’s just hope it doesn’t suck. A lot of these artists are on their third or fourth album, and they’ve managed to continue to hold a place in this difficult listener’s black heart thus far. All this coupled with my industrial looking wedge rubber boots is making this really feel like my industrial year.

Who says you need people to have fun? (Me, usually, actually).

Thankfully I’m well equipped for this industrial age, drenched in perpetual lonliness and cloaked in black and grey. And it’s a true Canadian winter, so painful cold and all-around dreary days abound. Dark tends to be my light, so I’m hoping for a bright (figuratively!) year ahead. Of course, this may not last, so I thought I should commemorate the sentiment while the surge of joy and optimism coarse through me, like that poor squirrel before the 600 V power traction rail got to him. Yeah I know what it’s called. It’s not always the third rail, so that term is inaccurate apparently. It’s cool knowing such things. I really look forward to learning more and hope I manage to crush my job and win my boss’s heart over with my wit, charm, and stellar work ethic. Just need to find my way around that nastiest of nasty softwares.

In a lot of ways, I’m more alone than I’ve ever been, and longer than I’ve ever been as such. Yet things seem to be turning around. Ramping up. Dare I say, soaring?

Here’s to hope (and dread and gloom too). The higher the heights, the harder the crash, bang, (ka)boom. But for now, I’ll coast along up here, trying to battle my usual theme song. Doing a decent job, but I’m old (and wise enough?) to recognize that it’s early. Yet.

 

some days, you feel like you must have been some kind of Hitler in your past life

petshopboys
I don’t know why these videos won’t embed today. It may be specific to Pet Shop Boys videos, I now realize. As it’s weeks later, I was able to post videos in my latest post, but these ones still won’t work. Even when I retried them. Kinda funny too, as today I feel more like I was some kind of a something-not-so-bad in a past life instead. Or like all my pain and suffering may be earning me something. Finally, but I digress…
What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?
My song today. My face looks as severe as Neil Tennant’s too. Our hair looks a bit similar today! The frizz is on over here. He pulls it off much better tho.
And then YouTube put on the song I was a one-time karaoke star to! “West End Girls”.
Annnnd “It’s a Sin”. My dad’s fave! Especially the part where he speeds up. “EverythingI’veeverdone,EverythingI’lleverdo”. Which is kinda funny, as later in life, that was something I got a kick out in 80s music too. I have realized or remembered so many things we have in common now that he’s no longer with us. I guess this song is fitting today too, for me to wonder what I have done to deserve this, everything I long to do, no matter when, or where, or who, must be a sin. So I look back upon my life, forever with a sense of shame. I’ve always been the one to blame.

New baby

Comes into the world and all this g-emo (cursed combo of goth+emo) can think to say is,”Tell it to cherish the years free of exams and before life brings out its crushing cynicism.”

Kid_goth

For me, those days probably ended shortly before (or after) R.E.M’s fantastic album Monster came out. In the golden year in music that was 1994. At the ripe old age of 11 for me. So long ago, I’d totally forgotten about it. Until the fated day I was distracted from studying from my first wretched mid-term exam in a decade, drenched in emo, and YouTube thought it was appropriate to mess with me further by taking me back.

Both a blessing and a curse, like so many things as of late. And maybe like the baby too. I digress. People don’t like it when you’re down on babies. But no one reads this, so I shall speak my mind. Those poor babies, good luck to them down the line. Trying to learn the things they aren’t, tho they paid so much to, then trying to find jobs (through shameless self promotion, faking it, and people they ‘know’ vs. skills). Form meaningful, lasting connections with people they can trust, who aren’t looking to just gain something superficial or cruel from them. I imagine it will be infinitely worse than it already is. It’s gotten so much worse than it was several years ago. There’s that cynic tho. Maybe the baby will be JUST FINE (and who knows, maybe even dandy too).

And even if not. For now, baby has nothin to do… ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh!

off-topic (when everything is supposed to be on)

And particularly troublesome, as old-me has come back to haunt me. And old-me was not only almost always off-topic in a sense, but also proud of that overall sense of being.

Strike plus an odd encounter at a reunion show for a band I wanted to see for a decade and thought I never would, brought a lot of the past up. Near suffocating in intensity. There was nostalgia, regret, and a million other emotions all at once. Unsettling and off-kilter and balance obliterating – it was all of those. It felt like the umpteen-thousandth mid-life or identity crisis I’ve suffered. On the cusp of trying to reinvent myself to be successful. To pretend I’m not any of the creative or emotive things I once was, and am only the cold marketable ones I felt I should embrace.

And it makes me wonder, will such disconcerting crises ever end? Maybe if one day, certainty comes to pass. At this point, however, it’s kind of a myth to me.

Zombie of my former self is wreaking havoc on present-me’s best intentions. Rendered incapable of studying, I just spent some time justifying the (accidentally) inappropriate domain name for my professional blog.

damn-zombie-cat-lol_o_1907341

Starting with how my first gmail account (from back in the days when you had to be invited to Gmail by your uber-elite techy friend) took its name from a Stephen Malkmus song, “Vague Space.”

Do you want to know where it stands right now?
Do you really care what, when, why, or how?
I came to crave your spastic touch
The honest way you move is too much
Before we can change we could levitate
Erase mistakes of the forest greats
Fermented minds could make them shake
Permission granted for the wolverine stakes,
A Love to tear you off
The formless matters of the brain
Inequality of the drifting chain
A moment I could learn to love
The salutations to the levels above
We’ll split the difference, call it quits
This is no new romantic blitz-krieg
Pull off the foil and watch it break
A whisper’s crushing all the sympathy gates
A Love to tear you off

And from there, going on to include a link to one of my favourite Pavement songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inEf09Yh-84

Can you treat it like an oil well
When it’s underground, out of sight?
And if the sight is just a whore sign
Will it make enough sense to me?
Pretend the table is a trust knot
We’ll put our labels down, favors down
I’ll watch some yards of twine unravel
And you’ll never get it back
It’s what I want (it’s what I want)
It’s what I want (twine comes down)
It’s what I want, it’s what I want
Don’t you know, I could make you try
Make you try, make you try, make you try
Well, I’ve been down, the king of it
It is all I have, I’ve been down
And I could wait to hear the words
They’re diamond sharp today
I could open it up if it’s up and down
It’s what I want (it’s what I want)
It’s what I want (twine comes down)
It’s what I want, it’s what I want
Don’t you know, I could make you try
Make you try, make you try, make you try
Well, I’ve been down, the king of it
It is all I have, I’ve been down
And I could wait to hear the words
They’re diamond sharp today

Like so many things in the days that have recently come to pass and wreak havoc on poor, unsuspecting, me (with my over-functional messed up amygdala that hijacks and runs the rest of my brain to ruin), this domain-accident led to guilt. And that old familiar need to explain where I was coming from (despite knowing it never gets me anywhere anyway).

Malkmus’s lyrical abstractery is very anti-tech comm. And even more so, anything vague is supposedly the absolute antithesis of all things tech comm (which is what my blog is for). As is anything inconsistent, casual, cool etc.

Yet, to be honest, I’ve seen little evidence of other professionals in this field living up to such claims…. It seems like a lot of talk and little walk. I’m losing some of my faith.

Which makes me think of this song. Which my dad really loved.