Chayed Out, Dreams

Mount Kimbie – Break Well

It’s the first day of fall. Not technically, but last night a crisp air flooded NYC and turned the leaves in Queens. From the Ridgewood M station platform, the flat roofs give way to the treetops in Highland Park.

Usually, I’ll throw on the headphones and avoid shifting eyes for the 48-minute commute into the city. Today, I actually see the other passengers: a boy running a toy truck along the window, a quiet woman juggling papers, coffee, and a cell phone, a brace-faced teen laughing with her friend while studying for a test.

Between the weather, the view, the unusually serene train ride, and the following song, my mind saves this memory as the mark of a new season.

Chayed Out

Alexander – Truth

Alexander, aka Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert (aka lead singer of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) has a unique background, which might explain the odd mixture of influences and distinctiveness of his music.

According to his wiki page, his father, Michael Ebert, would take him on long trips through the desert, where his mother took footage of him chanting while cradling his daughter. One of his names, Tahquitz, is an homage to his father’s favorite climbing rock. His influences include Johnny Cash, R&B and a South African elementary school teacher, Ruth.

He has all the requisites of an artist: Wikipedia even makes note of his troubled teen relationship with his father.

Of course, good music is more than a series of check boxes or a troubled childhood resume. So, just listen and see if his story resonates:

Chayed Out

Animal Collective – Girls

It is scientifically proven that salted caramel chocolates are delicious. I mean it – researchers have actually determined that sweet tastes sweeter when paired with salt. Well, like salt on a chocolate caramel, Animal Collective’s Girls makes a good day better.

Awkward analogies aside, there’s something about this classic tune that violently slaps the tired off me.

Bangers and Mash

Lotus – Colorado

Somewhere in East Village, a recent grad wakes up, hungover and late for his first real job. Meanwhile, at the 23rd M stop, a portly, elderly man from Harlem clears his throat as his backup guitarist, a 28-year-old from Koreatown, adjusts the treble on his amp. A man is screaming at a cashier in Chelsea. On the second car of the A train, a struggling actor falls in love with the woman across from him but doesn’t get the courage to say hello. The guy beside her thinks he’s staring at him and gets annoyed. On the fifth car of that same A train, an elderly woman bumps into her high school boyfriend – they’re both surprised that they’re still awkward. Moments later, a boy gets “doored” on the way to work, bruises his knees and shoulders, and verbally announces he’ll wear a helmet more often.

At any given moment, New York City resembles an oversized pinball machine with far too many balls in play: constant and utterly unpredictable interactions.

The grid design creates massive, endless, parallel halls. It feels like there are only two directions: where you’re going and where you came from.

Yet in rare moments, even the most seasoned New Yorker is derailed from the unidirectional march. These moments present a third option: pause. It’s a treasonous word in the city that never sleeps but truly it takes a moment of observing, rather than acting, to notice the beauty that quietly trumps the frictions in all chaos.

Chayed Out

Von af – Lazy Sunday

Throwback Thursday: A Road Trip to Bolinas

A drive from San Francisco to Bolinas promises to include enough planning, packing, and bumper-to-bumper traffic to discourage anyone who is not utterly compelled by the prospect of a beach. It’s Sunday and it’s Sunday Night Blues. The weekend is fading fast and the 9-to-5 march is nearing. Grappling to an increasingly distant childhood while attempting to approach the “real world” with a feigned poise, a song seems to grease the gears enough to scare the sunday scares. The panic of a twenty-something is laughable in the context of a good song, especially this one.

Bangers and Mash

Objekt – The Goose that Got Away

Somewhere in the world right now, sweaty bodies wiggle under the subtle vibrations of sound pressure and the cool shimmer of lights. Hands defiantly carve through the fog in that cool yet barbaric manner that can only be found in a dingy club. The crowd’s energy is electric, not in an explosive Ultra Music Festival way, but rather with the calm understanding of a good time.

Berlin-based Objekt’s The Goose that Got Away brings me back to nights spent stomping away in a dark cement bunker full of sound. Imagine yourself there, and the song will force you to into a shimmying frenzy. Also, take note of the woodblock.

Chayed Out

The Gaslamp Killer – Nissim (with Amir Yaghmai)

Adventure: a weekend spent mountain biking, camping and surfing. With the right attitude, landscape, friends and soundtrack, the space between Friday and Monday expands. We left work clean cut, we returned mangy vagabonds.

Eventually, our mind discards the routine, earmarking the highs and lows that represent the pivotal moments in our story. Through adventure, we add the chapters to turn short stories into epics.

While the weekend warrior recognizes that time will always pass and the important responsibilities of Monday are inevitable, he or she also knows that the weekend’s length is only confined by the ability to create memories – to expand time by writing new chapters.

Music is a backdrop to adventure. But it also provides an index for the memories that mark the unusual turns in our path. Hopefully, the following song inspires the impetus, setting or index to a memorable adventure in your story.

Bangers and Mash

NYC Show: MSDOS, Ted Ganung & Anthony Granata

In 2013, fellow Aftermath founder D-Man and I had the opportunity to study abroad in Cape Town. Of the many meaningful and exciting aspects of that adventure, the music still stands out. The South African scene, without the level of commercial background in the US or UK, has a distinctly raw sound. I recall many nights, after a long day of surfing, going to the Drum n’ Bass sets at Fiction on Long Street. That was the first time I had heard Drum n’ Bass at a club, and something about the genre’s pace fit perfectly with my lifestyle at the time.

Averaging around 150 – 180 BPM, Drum n’ Bass is fast. However, as I recall from my time sweaty and dancing in the crowd at Fiction, there’s another way to hear it. Nodding on the 1st and 3rd beat, the song feels like 160 BPM, but by nodding only on the kick on the 1st beat, the song suddenly is cut in half, feeling like an old Dubstep tune at 80 BPM – try it. Listening in this way, it’s easy to transition from a restless fidget into a calm sway. That ability to seamlessly transition my pace at will, is why Drum n’ Bass fit that adventurous and self-determined lifestyle so well.

Recently, in an effort to temporarily relive my experience at Fiction, I went on a hunt for a good DnB show in NYC – that is how I found Ted Ganung & Anthony Granata. Founders of Deeper Vision Recordings, the duo are responsible for bringing many great acts to NYC, working hard to maintain a vibrant DnB scene here. When I found out about their upcoming MSDOS event, I reached out to them immediately to learn more about the event and Deeper Vision, hoping to reach farther into what this genre means.

According to Anthony, Deeper Vision’s philosophy is to “produce and release music we love and work with people to create a synergy that elevates us all.” Their focus is specifically on Jungle / Drum n’ Bass, but he acknowledged that they’re not confined to those genres or tempos. They believe that “music is a powerful vehicle that communicates a message.” Anthony noted that, having “defined his own liquid Drum n Bass sound” in Europe, this is MSDOS’s first US appearance.

The show, hosted on April 24th at Drom, promises good tunes, good times. Come along, enjoy the music, and take it your own pace.

Chayed Out, Thinker

TM Juke

Thursday afternoon. The monitors have been on at full force all week and the colors are now fading from beautiful vibrant hues to a shorter spectrum of grays and browns. I’ve explored every eatery on this block and today all they’re selling is oatmeal – they ran out of brown sugar yesterday.

Yet just before my periphery vision fades and I’m sucked into the computer wormhole, the gentle hand of a woodwind instrument confidently and casually turns my chin, bringing my eyes just to the left of my screen, out a window by the back room, through the railings of the fire escape staircase, past the edge of the neighboring building, and deep into a corner of exposed sky. As TM Juke’s tune carries on, I’m opened up into that small fraction of sky, and can now see the city line, and more importantly, the infinite spectrum of colors that paint the sky behind it. The strong blues directly above me slowly fade into a shallower hue of tangerine just before they hit the top of the flatiron buildings. From my current vantage I can see the office, secured on the 11th floor, neatly stacked against another one, similarly shaped. I see just such buildings organized along the grid of NYC and from this angle it’s easier to understand the concept of it all. I turn back to my screen and write a note to myself: Listen to more TM Juke. Now, my periphery vision is working just fine.

Get it Together (ft. Bread and Water)