Fun with levees

December 26th, 2007

We’re currently on the road in Mississippi, en route to Nashville. Even though I was against it before the trip, the bros convinced me that we ought to go New Orleans. And go to New Orleans we did. We even made it to the levees. (Yes that is a levee in the following picture).

Then look who I came upon at this… pumping station?

They walked like robots!

Bye for now!

This post dedicated to Ilsa

December 24th, 2007

We spent yesterday afternoon walking around Decatur, Atlanta, with Ethan’s brother Jared, sister-in-law Heather and baby niece Ilsa. My god, Ilsa was cute. We went to CVS where we showered her with gifts.

That was when we realized that what this trip needed was a baby.

But where will we find a baby to push in a stroller through the American south? The Feuer household? Craigslist? Perhaps this question is the true challenge of our roadtrip.

Or perhaps we are getting a decade ahead of ourselves. As one member of roadtrips past commented, we have already gone from recklessness in the West 18 months ago to pushing around babies in the South today. Maybe that is enough change for 1 and a half years. We sure wouldn’t want to crimp our style in our next stop, New Orleans.

Cough, Prologue!

December 22nd, 2007

(So Jesse forgot to explain what trip we are exactly, on, though his observations on 95 is quite accurate…thus, a very very very quick explanation!)

So on this roadtrip we are attempting to explore the South, stopping in random towns, playing in church playgrounds and running around the big cities!

Itinerary. Dec 21st to December 30th.

Googlepus. (thats a joke from Jesse?)
Return on the 30th. Then onwards to NYC for new years, if we’re still healthy!

But yes, the roads here are absurd. They change name at least once every 5 miles and the amount of huge 30 foot crosses/american flags we see randomly next to billboards continue to increase exponentially.

I think we aren’t lost, not sure…but at least we are blasting Crystal Method and being nostalgic.

Back to Jesse’s post. Hurrah!

Fuck you, Interstate 95

December 22nd, 2007

We’ve been had. The holiday roads are greedy sons of bitches, filling their bellies with as many hunks of gas, metal, rubber, and flesh. Traffic bleeding into the vanishing point along the horizon and our plans put through the shredder.Trying to make it from Silver Springs, Marlyand to Asheville, North Carolina in seven hours has became as impossible as enjoying sex while listening to Neil Diamond. The possibility and endless permuatations that spawn from a saturday night in the hippy haven of the east coast; the opportunity to prey on the kindness of their hearts for a night of carefree, barefoot love was set aflame by the inadequecies of america’s roadways and the commercial success of Christmas. So now, to avoid further road complications tomorrow and to score free lodging courtesy of Jared Feuer, we (Sacarny, Ethan and I) trek on through the night and the early morning, and with only six hours to go, we are bloodthirsty hellhounds and we’ve picked up a scent, and that scent is Atlanta.

Also, much love to Momma Patton, Coach, Itzel, and her mystery baby, for letting us crash at their place and compose the most symphonic breakfast and stimulating conversations and letting us dismember their cat and bury it in the backyard. One of those events did not actually transpire.

Music: My Latest Novel, Phil Collins, Blind Willie McTell, Jackson 5, The Monkees
Books: Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns”, Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep”

Yr gonna have to wait for pictures because instant gratification spoils all.
(To come: Nashville, Louisville, insane anti-darwinian nazis, pterodactyl copulation, Birmingham lynch mobs? and the steel mills of Pittsburgh…stay tuned.)

Glory Hope Mountain

November 25th, 2007

Glory Hope Mountain

The Acorn
Paper Bag Records (2007)

I don’t live in Montreal anymore, however I am continually curious as to what’s happening there. I don’t listen to much Canadian music form day to day either, its not all-around me as it used to be, but I write about it. And this removal from the context in which a lot of the music I write about, is coming from, has really pushed me to try to imagine these albums magically popping up out of nowhere, as opposed to being predicted, anticipated or appearing as the undeniable next-step in an artists’ career. Now, this is already starting to sound like the self-indulgent ramblings of an mp3 blogger, unfortunately it only gets worse.

The Acorn’s Glory Hope Mountain is an album that confidently and maturely removes itself from much of its inevitable contexts, which might hold back the magic within it; Montreal/Ottawa, indie-folk, related music or close friends’ bands that create unnecessary associations. And thus, this is a truly important album to any music fan, and not just to those of us who cling onto the snowy needles of broken phonographs, which sew the streets of Montreal on some lonely nights.

I love The Acorn. I always have. I’ve always considered their four-song EP Blankets! to be one of the most beautifully concise musical statements in Montreal-related indie music since the ‘90s. And Tin Fist kept me content while I eagerly waited for them to release something longer, more substantial. And it’s finally arrived, Glory Hope Mountain is serious substance! The back-story alone is enough to bring tears to your eyes, and when you hear the music blossoming with more ideas then you can catch with a shark net, it all comes together.

An artful and intimate project that retells the childhood stories of singer Rolf Klausener’s mother Gloria Esperanza Montoya, growing up in Honduras. This concept album combines the indie-folk sound that The Acorn is known for and the musical folk traditions of the Garifuna and Miskito people of Honduras and Nicaragua, which Klausener researched. The lyrics cover highly personal stories of the death of Montoya’s own mother during childbirth, a near-escape from a flash flood and the migration to a new life in Canada.

Klausener‘s voice deeply croons like Eric Bachmann of the Crooked Fingers on “Glory” when he repeats, with subtle backing harmony, “I’ve know glory all my life”. He’s channeling the unheard words of an incredible woman looking back, while making a simple pun on her translated Spanish name, which gives the album it’s title. This delicate weaving of the words of a mother, spoken and sung by her son, perhaps blurs the lines between biography and autobiography, especially when it is set to the music of two different cultures.

I must admit that when I listened to “Flood Pt. 1” for the first time, it sounded like an Akron/Family cop-out (group growling, tribal rhythmic cacophony, a Afro-jazz barrage of staccato electric guitar notes) but the song moves forward in a direction that only The Acorn could take. From the bridge, Klausener and company throw hints back at doubtful listeners, that this is not a band searching for masks to hide behind, but a band who has a signature, and even if they digress for the sake of experimentation, they are loyal. Hence, the revitalizing beauty of Glory Hope Mountain is that it showcases a band who had the courage to take on the risk of bending away from their woodsy folk-origins, when their definable qualities were still at stake. In doing so, I think they’ve successfully proved their comfortability with balancing the tightrope jeopardy of the concept album and the certainty of their musical strengths.

So finally, I take back my comment about The Acorn removing themselves from their contexts. They’ve clearly grown into this realization of their sound, and it fits them well. I hope they wear it for a long time. In fact, sometimes context can move backwards in time. When a band releases an incredible testament of work which defines their place in a scene, such as this hectic Canadian playground of indie-music, it can recontextualize their previous releases as appropriate steps to finding a strong enough landing. I don’t even feel comfortable using the word “potential” here. The Acorn had it, now they’ve got momentum.

ps: Ethan, if you could track down some mp3s and post them, that’d be really nice.

Circle of Chairs

September 26th, 2007

Circle of Chairs

In a circle of a thousand empty, wooden chairs,
I sat alone
And weapt.
Two lamps cradle the darkness in their solemn palms for me.
I died to have still been alive,
Whilst leaving all my friends behind.
I played the ghost,
And nothing was dearer to me
Than the happiness of my most precious and closest loved ones.
A carriage awaited me and I looked forward
Only forward.
Twenty-two years forward,
never twenty-two years behind.
The lamplight dimming as if fragility had taught it to do so,
I died in a circle of empty chairs.
Not scared.
Not confident.
Not naked.


Kamikaze HeartsSo we’re back from a very long break, and well, we’re coming back with a vengeance!

Anyway, so I usually avoid using track names for titles of posts, but, well, I just found this fitting. The Kamikaze Hearts are a band that I’ve wanted to review since I heard them over half a year ago. I stumbled upon them when I saw their name at a random venue outside Boston, and, well, honestly thought, based on their name, they were either going to be an a)terribly cliche emo band or a b)shoegazer band keeping with the traditions of Lush (which will be reviewed/highlighted/profiled later).

I was wrong on both accounts.

To my surprise I found a band that has a truly unique sound that fit perfectly well with my most recent soft-spot in music: americana-lo-fi-rock. This genre doesn’t really exist, and chances are doesn’t adequately classify this band in the least, but they really remind me of a combination of Low, Great Lakes Myth Society and Midlake.

Hailing from Albany, the Kamikaze Hearts’ most recent album “Oneida Road” is a beautifully composed album, especially the first four tracks. They seem unable to decide on vision, but thats half of its appeal. While listening, you can see the band searching for their voice…and not caring while you are taken along for the ride. This becomes apparent with the first opening notes of “Defender”, a mysterious mandolin infused track. Sounding akin to a Scottish folktale of encroaching anonymous ransackers on a small, isolated village. Then, on the other side of the spectrum there is the beautiful “No One Called You a Failure”, a sincerely composed and written song speaking of their love for Albany (”no one locks their doors up here/and now one feels the need/and all night their key chains in their ignitions”). Opening up with the lyrics “if you see your breath in the window, draw an arrow pointing north/it will re-appear when the frost sticks to the highway”, its a track that shows just how talented these guys are at painting pictures with their lyrics. Even more so, its how they weave these lyrics between their moaning voices and mandolin bridges that makes it intensely difficult to not shudder while listening to it.

And thats what makes this album such a beautiful piece of work…Their wailing, harmonizing vocals mixed with rhythmic guitar/mandolin plucking combined with their story like lyrics.

Though the album just comes in under 36 minutes, its worth a listen…or two, or three, etc.

Defender (MP3)
No One Called You a Failure (MP3)
Guyana Central High School Class of 78 (MP3)

Greetings from Berlin

June 23rd, 2007

Why hello everyone from sunny and rainy Berlin. I know we’ve faltered a bit on the updates but that’s because we were so busy in Amsterdam…

But seriously, about Amsterdam. If you ignore all the stoned tourists sexing it up with the prostitutes, it’s a complete paradise. The transportation system there is unlike anything I have ever seen. Businesspeople bike to get to work. Trolleys run on tracks along the most important roads — and they actually move quickly. There’s very little traffic due to the biking and trolley alternatives.

On the other hand, everything is expensive. Our hostel was overpriced and charged for minutiae, which gave us a bad feeling even before our stoned roommates kept us awake with their poor coordination and heavy snoring.

We also managed to secure a pretty good deal for a train from Amsterdam to Berlin. The trip was fast and we befriended the other travelers in our car. I definitely prefer the train travel experience to the bus travel experience, but trains are unfortunately too expensive to be the main mode of transportation for this trip.

Stay tuned for updates on Berlin. Ethan continues to take pictures so those will surely be up soon.

Hello everyone!
This post comes to you from lovely Brussels, where Sacarny and I are sitting on a nice bed, in a nice house, courtesy of Bregman and Sonia (man the beer is amazing here!)

Aye, sorry about our lack of positng. The issue is that the nature of this trip doesn’t really lend itself towards a updated travel log. Its quite hard to upload pictures and write when you are only saying in a city for 48 hours. Time is of the essence and all that garb.

(For those of you who don’t know, our itinerary is quite intense…something like this: Dublin –> San Sebastian –> Barcelona –> Paris –> Belgium –> Amsterdam –> Berlin –> Pargue –> Florence –> Rome (at this point sacarny leaves, and I continue onwards) –> London –> Conwy, Wales –> Dublin)

So yes. Enough rambling, lets shake some dust and start at the beginning!!!

Below are some updates with pictures on Dublin, San Sebastian and Barcelona. Please don’t mind the probably great deal of grammatical and spelling mistakes. They were written in pieces, at different times, in different states of mind and on different levels of sleep. So, yah, hopefully they make sense and are somewhat fluid.

(Also, as per Jeremy’s smart request, the sidebar on your right now displays a random image from the Europe photo gallery)