snow-at-night

New York Part 2

D-man went to New York to see old homies and unhinge to the riffs of reverb-soaked guitar; I went to get laid. Too crass? I went to make some love that lasts. Better? Maybe.

h/t flowebro

It was a Thursday and it was snowing. Blizzarding, actually. I think we got two to three feet in as many days. Our bus driver plowed fearlessly through the storm, past rest stop scrums of eighteen wheelers and snow blasted billboards. My mom always says that some people were put on Earth for a reason. Well, I swear our bus driver was put on Earth to pilot Greyhound buses through blinding snow storms. After seven hours of certified rotten movies on mute and the intestinal cramps that accompany brake lock-ups, we were unceremoniously dropped off in the middle of Manhattan. That’s not true, the unceremonious bit, we – us riders – clapped when the bus slid to a final stop. Good job, boss, I got a lot riding on this.

I’d taken the weekend off. Sort of. I told my boss my grandfather was having a procedure done in New York City and needed me to accompany him. ‘Bad juju, man,’ D-man once said to me when I pulled the same stunt to beatjuice around San Francisco with him. It’s one thing to drag your brother’s health into the karmic doghouse, but now your grandfather’s as well? Shit. Whatever. I’d had New York and it’s… colorful potential circled on my mental calendar for months. Girls from college, one in particular. I must have choreographed the reunion thousands of times in my head, during the purgatory of early-morning commutes and late-night, stare-at-the-ceiling boredom. Time to act, BopPop would understand.

 

I am acutely aware that my daydreams are often less shapely and conclusive than the versions I conjure on the movie screen of my imagination. Especially the sexual ones. Oh, but it played so well in test screenings, my make-believe critics remark after each flop. I suppose that one scene was a little ambitious. The ice cube? That was never going to happen.

I pull my duffel bag from the snowbank where our bus driver had enthusiastically deposited it and begin down the street, blissfully ignorant of my location within the city, unabashed to be lost in the romance of no return ticket. Pulling out my phone, I announce my arrival in the city like a Cessna pilot carving a vapor trail message in the sky. Except by taciturnly worded text, not prop plane.

 

Wait, but that message wasn’t supposed to go out until later tonight, or even tomorrow, when forwardness is blunted by several scotch & sodas. Look at that, I’m already aberrating from the script. This screenwriter sucks anyway, I tell myself, hasn’t written a hit in years. Cars, plows, people, music, shouts, murmurs and light of all colors throb through the streets I tread like blood flow in our veins. Eight million heartbeats or just one? I can’t tell. I’m drunk on New York without taking a single sip. Time to be lucky.

The capacity to make such dubious gifts is a mysterious quality of New York. It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky. – E.B. White

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DIIV – Reverb and Delay Pedals

It’s been a week since I was in New York, but I still haven’t fully recovered. My body can only be nocturnal for so long. But NYC is truly great. It’s loud. It’s crowded. Unapologizing. And you can go from a boozy lounge to a filthy metal bar in just ten blocks.

The highlight of the trip was seeing old homies but the most lasting impression was being introduced to DIIV (Dive), a Brooklyn based band wrapped in controversy and intrigue.

The controversy is multifaceted – most notably 4chan message boards and substance addiction. Headman, Cole Smith, was arrested in 2013 with girlfriend / model / musician Sky Ferreira, on their way to Basilica Soundscape, after cops found a “plastic bag containing 42 decks of heroin.” Two weeks ago, Smith announced on Instagram that we was signing himself into long-haul inpatient treatment to beat his addiction – “mom. sorry.”

His absence is ill timed considering the band is getting a reputation in Brooklyn for wild, live shows. It’s their guitar, which is soaked in reverb and delay pedals, creating a dizzying, euphoric effect. Be mindful, the impact isn’t immediate. The songs start innocent enough and then the guitar starts chattering, circling around and around, picking up momentum, until you can practically hear DIIV getting carried away with their own sound.

francis

The last song

It was nearing the end of the night. Two more songs maybe? Just one? Ben looked around and could tell everyone was getting anxious to wrap it up and move onwards to their parties, their open houses…their freedom.

“Alright everyone, last song of the night. You know what that means..find that special someone one last time. Class of 2016, this is for you!”  Was it possible for the DJs at these dances not to sound corny?

Ben’s eyes flickered frantically around the dim room. His heart rate picked up. The time had come. In his mind, he’d put himself in this exact moment countless times. It was his last shot to impress her, to make a statement, to look into her eyes.  There was no afterparty for Ben. There was no next opportunity.  After tonight was a summer of lethargic boredom and the foreboding unknowns of college.

Where was she?

There. Her yellow dress caught his eye. She was laughing with a friend.  The colorful lights of the dance floor shimmered in her eyes; those eyes that first grabbed Ben’s attention sophomore year. He smiled.

Ben took a deep breath, walked over to her, and put his hand on her shoulder. She turned.

May I have this dance? 

 

future-islands-dance

Future Islands – Ran

It took an eccentric, chest-beating performance on Letterman to open people’s eyes to Future Islands’ sticky appeal. Slow and methodical, against drums that beat like a throbbing heart, people found solace in Future Islands’ emotive sound. Or maybe just stopped to stare and listen to Sam Herring’s ghoulish voice.

But since their rise in 2014, we haven’t heard any new music from the trio. Until now, after the band released a single from its upcoming album, The Far Field.

Ran, the new single, fits nicely into Future Islands’ gothic past, opening with a sweet, ambient soundscape, before turning to ascend into the oxygen depleted realms of the high country.

Mark those calendars! (4/7/17)

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Soft Hair – Lying Has to Stop

The image of two men plastered in green body paint holding a giant yellow boa constrictor dominated Cymbal for a week. But for some reason I kept scrolling past Soft Hair’s Lying Has to Stop. It was part sensory overload. Part nostalgic terror at their Emperor Palpatine-like eyes.

Soft Hair’s music is just as weird. Characterized by velvety synth, bubbly vocals and an undulating beat, Lying Has to Stop feels hyperbolic right from the first lyric, “You’ll find there’s never any time for babes and wine.” But Sam and Connan pick up steam and settle into a nice, perpetual groove.