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I’ve moved

The new home of Everything Hits at Once can be found at http://alexanderburgess.mygdala.com. There’s just too much flexibility on a self-hosted site to pass up. I figured I better move before I had any substantial archives here or readers. If you have been reading, thank you for being an early adopter, you can say you were there. I’ll think of some other prizes and swag for you to lord over the n00bs when they start claiming cred.

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The word is a bird

Foals – Antidotes
vs.
The National – Boxer

Foals

Wrath has been on me like a terrier for more than a week now about the new Foals album, Antidotes. He has used my recent obsession with The National to goad me into listening to and discussing what he has in heavy rotation, as if my opinion would give him additional credibility with himself on just how good his music taste is. Or he’s trying to pick a fight. After listening, I suspect the latter.

I think it’s a ridiculous comparison—these are two very different bands with different sounds and arguably different musical goals, but I’ll persist in the charade because I love a good argument about nothing.

Foals are working in an area of music that owes a debt to early 80s nightclub punk acts like A Certain Ratio, Gang of Four, and Public Image Ltd. It’s also a sound that has been mined with notable effect by such acts as Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and even Les Savy Fav. I’m not as immediately taken with this album as I was with either Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm or Franz Ferdinand’s first. Though the layers of sound are well-executed and smart, they’re a bit too upbeat and lacking a sharp enough edge for my personal taste. Most significant for me, the vocal style falls flat on my ears. I’m not drawn into it—there are as yet no words or lines that jump out at me. It’s a good sound, but there doesn’t seem to be much there there. Unlike the other groups in this indie subgenre, I’m not getting the sense of a song that surpasses the initial musical idea. Foals are worth continued attention, but they’ve got a lot of competion and they haven’t closed the sale with me.

Those critical points aside, the third through fifth tracks, “Red Socks Pugie,” “Olympic Airways,” and “Electric Bloom,” capture the mood better than the rest of the album for me and have made it into regular rotation. It’s those songs that lead me to say that, after a close listen, Antidotes may indeed be one of those albums that grows on me, and in a few weeks or months I’ll be raving about it. It has some potential. And if it does, I’ll post my revised opinion.

The National

On the other hand, The National’s Boxer grabbed me the first time I heard “Fake Empire.” Shortly after that, I heard “Mistaken for Strangers,” a song I needed to play everyday for about six months and have yet to really tire of, though I’ve moved on to “Brainy” and more recently, “Squalor Victoria.” Oddly enough, that’s the song order on the album. While I still think the later songs are somewhat weaker overall—either because they are too quiet for my personal taste or lack the lyric impact of the earlier tracks—they continue to grow on me. That’s the real difference for me between these bands. I’d be more likely to be taken with Foals if I thought they were saying something, either lyrically or musically, that was significantly original. I can forgive The National for playing it safe sonically, or Matt Berninger’s occasional dangerous veering toward Crash Test Dummies territory, when he is singing things like the first verse and chorus of “Mistaken for Strangers:”

Berninger

You have to do it running but you do everything that they ask you to
cause you don’t mind seeing yourself in a picture
as long as you look faraway, as long as you look removed
showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters
showered and blue-blazered, fill yourself with quarters

You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery citibank lights
arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under
oh you wouldn’t want an angel watching over
surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wanna watch
another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults

It’s that last line that Berninger sings almost as an afterthought in the post-chorus bridge that bears repeating:

another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults

Lyrics, meet literature.

Dog daze

That video is a condensed view of every late afternoon around the Burgess-March household. For the one or two of you that haven’t heard me talk about him, Myg and I have a dog, a black Labrador retriever named Mason. He’s the best animal friend I’ve ever had, and he ranks in my top five all-time friends period. I’d put him higher, but I don’t want to offend a few other people who are dear to me. Those of you with important pets know what I’m talking about, the rest of you should have clicked away from this post by now. It’s only going to get worse.

It wasn’t always this way. Two years ago, Myg started pushing to get a dog. No, I said. Yes, I loved dogs, but it wasn’t time. My father had just died and I was wrapped up in mourning and in the middle of my first year in graduate school. Dogs would come later. Myg gave me a weekly litany of good reasons for a dog. I held my ground. No dogs, I said. Not until we have kids. Kids first, then dogs. Practical. The kid(s) would grow up a little, and reach an appropriate age for a dog, and we would get one. By that point we would live in a home with a yard big enough for a dog to run around. (We own a nice home today, but the “back yard” is smaller than the exercise yard at the county jail, half deck and half gravel and not enclosed.) Dogs need room. So what that we lived next to a park with a large fenced-in dog run? (Where that video was taken.) It was not time for us to have a dog. Still, every few days, Myg would remind me she wanted a dog. I was intransigent. No, we were not getting a dog. She began calling me “Mr. No Not.”

Mason as he was back then

Continue Reading »

(n)eXt

Clockwork presents:

(n)eXt

Three hours of (mostly) new music
6-9 pm SL time
Topgol (205, 144, 65)

I used to spin on Mondays for an hour. Now it’s Thursdays for three. Lots of new indie rock, most of it good. Plenty of old faves and tarnished gems. Come on out and start the weekend early. Cross posted at M is for Myg.

Help wanted

more bomb

The club I started 18 months ago, Clockwork, is doing well (limping is better than crawling, I say), but there are only three of us dj’ing at the moment and we could use some assistance and promotions. So this is an open call for djs and a manager.

In terms of djs, I’m picky. Could be that’s why there’s only three of us at the moment. I want either college radio geeks or club freaks. It’s all right with me if you went to college in the 80s, I just want someone who was at some point obsessed with indie or punk rock, or serious about dance music. I want people who can both please a crowd and turn people on to rare gems and fresh tracks. I’m not interested in FM Pop, what passes for R&B these days, or the same house hits and industrial trance that three-quarters of all SL clubs spew forth 24/7. You work for tips. The club doesn’t take a cut. Drop a notecard on me, Alexander Burgess, with a short 12-song set or IM me inworld to talk about it. Impress me. Non-North Americans welcome.

If you think you’d like to help manage the club, you should to be able to:

– Be there a few nights a week, particularly when I’m not there, just to check that things are running smoothly, help bring people in, chat with the crowd
– Help find new talent and devise ways to promote the scene at the club without running the same pajama-and-peanut butter contests we see elsewhere. Okay, maybe a pajama-and-peanut butter contest or two, but nothing less ridiculous.
– Share my vision of a club that combines good conversation and serious music appreciation
– Get along with—or at least put up with—me and my occasionally crabby flakiness

I know that’s asking a lot, but it would be a paying job for the right person.

Please let your friends and enemies know and sic them on me. Thanks. As the Dread Pirate Roberts once said, “Good night, Westley, sleep well. I shall probably kill you in the morning.”

About about

I wrote an actual “about” page and deleted the Lucie Brock-Broido poem I was using as a placeholder. So for lack of anything better to post to the front page at the moment, here it is. About Everything Hits at Once (the title was taken from Spoon, for those of you it’s not obviously banging over the head):

Welcome reader.

This blog is an indulgence, a semi-public banner proclaiming my devotion to wit, confusion, and contradiction.

I have previously blogged about Second Life at M is for Myg and Are We Not Men. Anyone who has read there will know to have low expectations of my blogging potential. This blog is likely to have a nearly flat trajectory, a good thing in ballistics, not great for an attention hog. Everything Hits at Once is a divestiture of any sense of responsibility to take into account anyone else’s ideas about what this is about when I post. Not that such self-censure happens much with me. It should also not suggest that my fellow bloggers who have generously offered me places to post have ever asked me to limit my expression, or even to conform to some idea or standard with which I did not agree. If there has been any restraint in my limited forays into the SL blogging discourse, it has been of my own design.

With those thoughts in mind, I don’t intend to limit much here, except to maintain some slight anonymity. Posts are likely to be as random as I can make them and topics subject to whim alone. I’m as likely to write about my impending fatherhood and my great loves—literature, music, and politics—as I am SL drama and culture.

Part of me will be humbled if anyone actually reads it, the other part will make much more of your support than it actually means. Welcome to my divided world.

To paraphrase and quote e. e. cummings:

What is to come is for you and for me and not for mostpeople.

—it’s no use trying to pretend that mostpeople and ourselves are alike.  Mostpeople have less in common with ourselves than the squarerootofminusplusone.  You and I are human beings;mostpeople are snobs.

Take the matter of being born.  What does being born mean to mostpeople?  Catastrophe unmitigated.  Socialrevolution.  The cultured aristocrat yanked out of his hyperexclusivity ultravoluptuous superpalazzo,and dumped into an incredibly vulgar detentioncamp swarming with every conceivable species of undesirable organism.  Mostpeople fancy a guaranteed birthproof safetysuit of nondestructable selflessness.  If most people were born twice they’d probably call it dying—

Those of us who are denizens of the metaverse know this better than most.

The fuck of Fuck

Fuck the fucking fuckers, you fucks, you’re fucking fucked. Because you fucking fucked the fuck, you think that you’re the fuck. Every fucking day you fuck. You fuck and fuck and fuck. Your fucking with the fuckers is so fucked I want to fuck.

To every fucking fucker who fucks like you’re the fuck: You may fuck like fucking Fuck itself, but in the end you’re fucked. All you fucking fucks who fuck too fucking much, fuck off and fuck another fuck, but fucking heed this, fuck: The fuck will fuck your fuck.

I know some fuck is thinking “Fuck no, I’m not fucking fucked. I’m the motherfucker who can fucking fuck the fuck.”  Fuck you, you cannot fuck the fuck, and here’s the fucking fuck. When you fuck like you’re the fucking Fuck of Fuck, then you are really fucked. The fuck will fuck you fucking hard and fuck you fucking good. So fucking fuck, you fucks, and fuck a couple more, then fuck the fucking fucker just to fuck the fucking score, because when you’re fucking fucked, you are really fucking fucked. The fuck will fuck you faster than you can fucking fuck. You’ve fucking fucked up and the fuck has fucked your fuck. Once you fucking fucked the fuck and now you’re fucked, you fuck.

Tip o’ the hat to Jack Wagner.