Chayed Out, D-Man, Music

Sound Starved

I’m marooned at my desk. Sound starved. My headphones are at home so I sit with the toxic mixture of noise that leaks out of the office speakers like steam from a manhole.

What I want is a sonic Equinox. A place where I can work my neurons, sweat out the boredom, scrape off the plasticity. I crave wavelengths of sound. Release!

But as the end of the day approaches I begin to understand something. Resisting the impulse gives me a sense of control. I’m a general deploying troops.

The impulse changes and it’s no longer just sound I crave, but music. And hours later after I’ve biked home in silence, I turn on Tame Impala and skate through a misty neighborhood. Quite possibly the music sounds better than before. It’s more substantial. Louder. It jolts me into a mood.

And for the rest of the night I’m entranced by music. FKJ, Maribou State, Galimatias. A friend puts on Tor’s Origin Mix 01 and whatever plays seems to fit the scene.


Chayed Out, D-Man, Music

Roosevelt – Fever

It’s hard to believe but The Aftermath is over four years old. Four years? That’s surprising considering my attention span rarely lasts more than a few hours. Countless ideas have been dropped, switched out, forgotten. But for whatever reason The Aftermath prevails.

In that four years I’ve started to notice patterns. Which artists consistently pop up on news feeds? Who’s still around four years later effortlessly churning out music?


We’ve blogged them again and again and again. And they show no signs of dissapearing. I give you Fever.


Adventure of the Weeks, Chayed Out, Jamboys

Sweet Alchemy

I bought a girl a rose this weekend. It was on impulse, a last-minute apology, a chance to stick out from the other glassy eyed guys offering her shots. It was also her birthday.

I gave her the rose, any edge of embarrassment blunted by the requisite surge of shots I slugged before the Uber. She inhaled, smiled, thanked. We talked, she laughed, I drank.

The night sped and the bar surged around us. Around her. But she remained motionless, rose gripped in one hand, clutch in the other. Friends and strangers extended dancing hands and clouded drinks, but she reproached all comers.

Behind pretty eyes, hesitation scintillated. The ugly trio of self-pessimism: doubt, fear and loathing guarded her every movement. Those bastards seep through even the heaviest masks of makeup.

Thirty minutes later she was gone. What she’s looking for I do not know, but it won’t be wrought from the sweet alchemy of another night, another bar, another round. This, at least, we have in common.

As my roommate and I made to leave, I saw the rose, slightly battered and entirely forgotten on the sticky bar top. I took it with me and gave it to the Mexican girl working the midnight shift at the burger joint down the road. She tucked it behind her ear.


Chayed Out, D-Man, Music

Moderat – Running

“Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play. And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate.”

Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” plays over the office speakers for the third time. We have the top 40 Pandora station going and underneath the cyclical chorus you can hear bursts of typing on bouncy keyboards and the click, click, click of tabs being closed, emails opened.

Boredom can be lethal. It sinks into your bones and makes you soft with complacency.

But fuck, there are anecdotes for this madness! For me, it’s music and writing. A thought provoking paragraph or an unexpected house beat lets creativity seep back into my brain and cools off my head.

And one sound that I can always count on for revival is Berlin-based, Moderat.

Back in February 2015 WalterCronkTight broke down Moderat’s sound, attributing it to their Berlin roots – a lingering culture desire to perfect the synthesizer, fine tune the reverberations of a speaker, and push sound beyond its auditory boundaries.

In March Moderat released their third album, III and I approached it with caution. I didn’t want any preconceived notions to color my experience. Was Moderat really that good?


Once again they defy conventional sound. It’s house-y, trance-y, a tribute to the purest form of German techno. But it’s also fucking catchy, and I find myself singing along in a Taylor Swift-like falsetto.

Check out the music video for Moderat’s single, Running, and let it push you to the creative brink…


D-Man, Deep Cuts, Music

Strumming the 6 String

Last Halloween I tied a rope around my six-string as a make shift guitar strap and threw together a last minute Kurt Cobain costume. I used what was at my disposal – an orange flannel, ripped jeans and dirty high tops. But without his white bug eyed glasses, a blonde wig, or a pack of smokes, I made a terrible Cobain.

It was Halloween and everyone was drunk, so no one cared much. And after several hours of sipping PBR’s and 1800 at a friends house, we headed off to a bar. Rather than haul my dusty old Ibanez from bar to bar (kidplay us a song!), I left my guitar in the corner of the living room, planning to retrieve it later. And there it sat for six months. Alone. A decorative piece in someone’s living room. Upright and still. Unplayed and underutilized.

The Ibanez and I have some history. She was a birthday present from my parents when I turned thirteen. Right away I took to her, learning the basics from My mom used to find stacks of printed sheets next to the printer – future songs to learn.

As a kid I secretly wished I had a Gibson Les Paul or a genuine Fender Stratocaster. The Ibanez was part of any “learn to play guitar” starter kit. But as we’ve grown older, making trips to Upstate New York for College, California for lord knows what, she’s become weathered. There are a few chips on the topboard from scraping up against doors and chairs and the strings are rusty and worn and easily slip out of tune. The body feels familiar on my knee.

Last weekend, my girlfriend retrieved my dusty old 6 string while helping a roommate move out her stuff from the Halloween apartment. Me and the Ibanez were reunited and it felt like rediscovering a long lost color, your favorite in fact – one that you hadn’t painted with for months. Old songs and pentatonic scales began flowing out of my fingertips and I smiled as my brain stretched relearning the old pathways of G, D, C, Em, A, Am.

Once again I was in front of the computer screen, looking up guitar tabs. This time it was the Bahamas, a self taught guitarist from Canada who has reinvigorated my love for acoustic music.


Chayed Out, D-Man, Music

A song for strolling

There’s a phrase in the film industry you may be familiar with – location scouting. It’s the process of actively seeking out unique and interesting settings during pre-production. It’s difficult work and requires a keen eye. Maybe a scene opens at a pet shop/aquarium in San Francisco’s Richmond district? Maybe our hero lives in an abandoned lighthouse on an island in Maine? Whatever it is, location scouting is not something that passively happens – it requires action.

The same thing can be said about discovering characters. It’s difficult to create someone from scratch, relying on the limiting perspective of your own thoughts. And to capture just how interesting, just how strange, just how dynamic and unpredictable human beings really are, we need to get outside of ourselves and experience the raw, true source of all the details that make characters live and breath – we need to wander and observe the strangeness all around us.

Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do― to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.” – Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

So, recently I’ve used my lunch breaks to go character scouting. I stroll down the streets and alleys of the financial district with my hands in my pockets and my earbuds set to Back Seat Loungin’and look for people wandering from point a to point b.

A homeless man flicks a cigarette in my direction. A stylish black man tells me in a cheery voice, “Keep on goin’ man!” A tattooed man silently gets arrested. A middle aged woman cries on her phone.

There’s so many people here that would make excellent characters. And every day I seem to notice more, as I start to actively look and not just see.

Here’s a great song for strolling:

Adventure of the Weeks, Chayed Out, D-Man, Mixed Bag, Stuff Besides Music

The HNNY Challenge

I’d like to do something unusual with this post. Something we’ve never done here on The Aftermath. I’d like to challenge you – the listener, the reader.

Earlier this week I was listening to a song on my Spotify discovery weekly playlist as I ran laps around Alamo Square park. Halfway through I found myself in a trance, my mind blank and limbs moving swiftly. For any runner this feeling is the pinnacle – effortless movement. Your legs lead the way and your body follows.

Flow is often fleeting. One second I’m wrapped in its embrace, and the next I’m huffing and puffing up a hill. And working in an office doesn’t help. After 8 hours huddled in front of a monitor, back arched, fingers rigidly perched on a keyboard, it’s hard to suddenly snap into a Zen-like state for the sake of a good workoutYou run the risk of bringing the action items and deliverables of the day right into your run. Two miles starts to feel like like another deadline – something you have to do, not want to do.

But on this particular run, I was cruisin’. Each step felt lighter than the last and I decided to veer from my typical route, exploring dimly lit streets and steep hills.

I glanced at my phone to see what track was playing. Who was responsible for this slow ebb?

Champagne Problems is 22:46. And no it’s not a mix. It’s one melody weaving in and out of a steady, calm beat.

Play it right now on your shitty computer speakers and you’ll quickly be bored. But, if you shake off everything that’s been trailing you all day, silence your iPhone, and focus your mind, HNNY’s remix can take flight.

Run, write, walk, lift, paint, draw, skateboard, bike, make love, think, cook – it doesn’t matter. The only rule is that you have to do it for the duration of HNNY’s Champagne Problems – 22 minutes – and seek some of the good stuff – effortless movement.

Chayed Out, D-Man

Honne – Didn’t I

Honne (本音) is Japanese for “true feelings.” It’s also the moniker for British electro-soul duo, James and Andy.

Newcomers to the electronic scene (their first EP was released in 2014) Honne have made quick work, locking in Super Recordings – the same label that launched heavyweights Bondax and AlunaGeorge.

Honne describes their own sound:

“Three points: warm and sensual, late night vibes, serious babymaking sounds.”

And although some of their tracks may reach a Frank Ocean’ish sensuality, it’s their cover of Darondo’s “Didnt I” that’s been on repeat for weeks. It’s a mournful track, relishing in its own anguish – didn’t I do everything to make you stay? 

But despite the notes of despair, “Didn’t I” feels comforting – fulfilling.  Honne bares it all, holds nothing back and brings us something intuitively fresh.

Chayed Out, D-Man

St Germain – Sure Thing

2016 is already abuzz with album announcements, surprising collaborations and rumors about upcoming festivals. Most notably, Coachella’s 2016 lineup drew a lot of attention after LCD Soundsystem announced a sudden comeback.

And it feels like a lot of older acts have made similar announcements early in 2016. Eclectic Philly producer RJD2 announced in January that he’ll be releasing a new album Dame Fortune. Two days ago Massive Attack unveiled that they’ll be releasing their first album in six years.

My point? The old-timers are back with a vengeance. It’s possible that every new year causes an annual resurgence, encouraging former stars to think, this is the year of the comeback. Or the sudden resurgence is reminiscent of something else – a nostalgic whirlwind, an irrepressible auditory craving for something authentic and real. sounds that break free from the tired rise and drop-formula and reinvigorate electronic music’s saturated landscape.

Check out old-timer St. Germain, a Frenchman who specializes in nu jazz. Last year he released his first album in 15 years. And you guessed it, he’ll also be performing at Coachella this year.

Chayed Out, D-Man

Hippo Campus – Suicide Saturday (JR JR Reeeeemix)

JR JR (formerly know as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.) is a funky, eccentric duo from Detroit, Michigan. Originally a basement recording project between two buddies, they gained a niche Indie following and turned their musical project into a career.

We’ve featured them here on the Aftermath previously, but last week I suddenly noticed that they underwent a name change – abandoning the moniker of everyone’s favorite race car driver.

From their Facebook page:

We’ve had people drive long distances to shows only to be disappointed when they realize it’s a neurotic Jew and wild haired gentile from Detroit they’ve paid to see. A number of times now we’ve received hope filled inquiries from people who have dying relatives that only want to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. (the driver) before they pass.  Those sorts of interactions feel a little voyeuristic and eerie, and even attempting to simply clarify the situation means you’ve added a moment of embarrassment to someone’s day when they’re already going through a lot.”

Understandable. Welcome JR JR!