moments before the wind.

November 29, 2006

the roof will bear your burden

Filed under: architecture, authenticity, music, writing — alimarcus @ 10:12 am

PATTY GRIFFIN – Living With Ghosts

“Moses” (everywhere is somewhere)
“Let Him Fly” (i already tried all that)
“Every Little Bit” (this is freedom, now i know)
“Time Will Do The Talking” (the world won’t wait on politics or indecision)
“Mad Mission” (sign me up)
“Poor Man’s House” (he will be poor forever)
“Forgiveness” (we are not snakes)
“You Never Get What You Want” (i don’t think it’s my fault)
“Sweet Lorraine” (someone who never really wanted you)
“Not Alone” (go and make some other plans)


November 28, 2006

we are not snakes

Filed under: architecture, authenticity, music, writing — alimarcus @ 9:07 am

THE NIELDS – Bob On The Ceiling

“Be Nice To Me” (it’s good for my art)
“If This Were A Movie” (i play the villain even though i don’t want to)
“James” (they’re all so spineless)
“Ash Wednesday” (i’m not weeping, i think i’m keeping)
“Black Boys On Mopeds” (margaret thatcher on tv)
“Merry Christmas, Mr. Jones” (these 2000 years of quality time, well, that much i can believe in)
“Memory Leaves Town” (im going with him)
“Boys Will Be Boys” (stole money from a fat kid)
“Where Did It Go?” (is it really a surprise to find)
“Just Like Christopher Columbus” (when so many others drown)

This is truly fun, though I’m not sure why I have so much fun doing it.

November 27, 2006

oh my eye

Filed under: architecture, authenticity, folk, music, writing — alimarcus @ 9:04 am

That was so much fun, let’s do it with some of my favorites. First.

BOB DYLAN – Highway 61 Revisited

“Like A Rolling Stone” (he really wasn’t where it’s at)
“Tombstone Blues” (the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken)
“It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry” (if i don’t make it, you know my baby will)
“From A Buick 6” (bound to put a blanket on my bed)
“Ballad Of A Thin Man” (you’ve been through all of f. scott fitzgerald’s books)
“Queen Jane Approximately” (you’re sick of all this repetition)
“Highway 61 Revisited” (the second mother was with the seventh son)
“Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues” (i do believe i’ve had enough)
“Desolation Row” (the circus is in town)

November 19, 2006

it’s night time the whole world can see

Filed under: architecture, authenticity, country, folk, music, producers, recording, writing — alimarcus @ 6:16 pm

Making a mixtape is meditation. Who could be so lucky to have three hours to spend doing something like this? Maybe Turtle Rock should start distributing mixtapes. Here’s the Thanksgiving 2006 setlist:

The Eels – “It’s A Motherfucker” (being here without you)
David Gray – “December” (what happened to the time?)
Sheryl Crow – “Members Only” (all the politicians shake their asses)
Eric Clapton – “Running On Faith” (what else can a poor boy do?)
No Doubt – “In My Head” (only in my head)
R.E.M. – “Swan Swan Hummingbird” (hurrah we are all free now)
Tracy Chapman – “Gimme One Reason” (baby i got your number)
Elvis Costello – “Tramp The Dirt Down” (all of the glory and none of the shame)
Joni Mitchell – “California” (will you take me as i am?)
Lisa Loeb – “Dance With The Angels” (well then embroider me in gold)
Jonatha Brooke – “Sally” (i do believe you can save me)
Bob Dylan – “Song To Woody” (hey hey woody guthrie i wrote you a song)
The Nields – “Memory Leaves Town” (leaving memory)
Sarah Harmer – “Oleander” (i think you’d better)
Barenaked Ladies – “Break Your Heart” (you arrogant man)
Fiona Apple – “Red Red Red” (what’s coming is already on its way)
Counting Crows – “Long December” (and there’s reason to believe)
Dar Williams – “The Beauty Of The Rain” (is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls)

Happy Thanksgiving.

November 18, 2006

and it made me feel better

Filed under: architecture, authenticity, music — alimarcus @ 6:26 pm

One reason why people get so bent out of shape talking music is because it involves often a quite personal sense of self. Challenging someone’s musical tastes challenges their very identity. Or, even more to the point, a person’s inability to articulate why they identify with one sound or another reflects a perceived inability to articulate a very part of themselves. It’s threatening.

It’s also thrilling.

I had a professor once who said that identity was chasing the ideal. One’s concept of the ideal is actually appropriated within the self – something to both be and to strive for. This was in the context of a Baudelaire-heavy term, constant talk about the real and the ideal and the dichotomies of modern living. But think about it this way: if someone’s musical ideas is so closely tied to their identity, and their identity is partially based on a perception of something that doesn’t actually exist, the musical ideas are partly wishful thinking. Wanting something badly enough as to believe it is the truth. Does this discount their validity? I should hope not.

November 16, 2006

it was a black cadillac that drove you away

Filed under: authenticity, business, distribution, marketing, music, news, radio — alimarcus @ 11:42 am

Clear Channel has been bought for 18.5 billion. Did you know that you can comment on articles on I just found out. And read this one comment on the situation:

As someone who has worked within the music business the past 30+ years, and watched how Clear Channel has greatly helped to systematically kill artistic diversity in my business, I’m not sure how this takeover could make much difference in the sorry state of broadcas[t]ing here in the USA. How can what we hear when we turn on our radios be anymore homogenized than it aleady is? Therefore I say, silence is a beautiful thing. Lets all just turn the damn things off.

— Posted by I. M. Sarcasticus

November 15, 2006

hurrah, we are all free now

Filed under: authenticity, business, music, news, reviews, rock — alimarcus @ 2:41 pm

In the same day that I discovered R.E.M. was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I did a complete inventory of my music collection and found that the very same band wins the prize in my own humble studio for occupying the most space on my shelves. This is pretty interesting, actually, that I have 10 of their albums. Second place comes in at a measly 7 albums, so it’s a strong lead. Double digits of R.E.M. Damn straight they should be in the Hall of Fame.

I have this untouchable admiration for the band, and no specific loyalty to the underground years, the pop years, or the mellowed out post-Berry years. Despite the changes, there’s an incredible consistency to their albums and it’s all I can do to hope for more. I was present at the show in Raleigh where Berry performed with the band for the first time since he’d left. I also have a pair of shoes that were a gift to me because of a photo in Rolling Stone in which Stipe sported the very same (pink hightop chucks). I have also not confirmed whether or not he and Natalie Merchant had a relationship back in the day, and as unlikely as it sounds, that would just be so cool too.

And don’t knock their last studio album, Around the Sun – it is an articulate and moving album about change. Next time you are skipping town, have another go and I promise you will enjoy.

November 12, 2006

i never went to egypt

Filed under: authenticity, folk, live shows, music, writing — alimarcus @ 11:49 am

Here’s something interesting I’ve been immersed in all week long. I am trying to figure out how it happened, a general shift in perspective regarding our politics, and how in the flash of an instant, a tally 3,000 miles away, we find ourselves in a different context. What I mean is, after Election Day, I think everyone has noticed the optimism and relief that seems to be everywhere. Over the last few months, years even, frustration and anger has been steadily growing, and now things have completely changed course. Theoretically, anyways, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the psychological effects of that are only now beginning to appear.

About a year ago, I decided to perform only protest songs, because I felt that it would be useful. Since then, I’ve been writing like crazy and putting the protest songs aside for a whole bunch of other things. Nevertheless, the political emotion crept into the songs I was writing, and the various ways that I performed them, or re-wrote covers. One night I read from Bush the First’s inauguration speech before playing a Mary Chapin Carpenter song that referenced it. Another time I played an angry version of Paul Simon’s “American Tune.” I sang a frantic version of “Ballad of a Thin Man,” and one day I wrote a song called “Titanic” that was basically all about anxiety and paranoid pessimism. It’s a long list of all these symbolic things, and the chorus repeats, “But that’s what they said about the great ol’ Titanic – made of the best stuff around – and now she’s layin’ in the ground.”

If I was pressed to define what exactly the Titanic was supposed to be a metaphor for, I would have had to say that it is a stand in for something American, and that the portentious chorus was a reflection of how things seem to be feeling for the country. But the day after the election, I performed the song, and I found myself on stage feeling like it meant something else entirely. All of a sudden, the metaphorical boat, buried underground, stood only for that part of America that was just ousted from the legistature. And the song became this positive force of protest. Which is not how I wrote it. But I like this too.

It fascinates me to think about, because I won’t be able to play the song in the context in which it was written. Not anytime soon, anyways. These things happen in cycles, so eventually I am sure it will return to it’s original color. But timeliness is key. I mean, what about this other song I’ve been writing – “House of marble, house of shame…” – all of a sudden I have to approach it in a totally different way. And I probably wont finish it for another few months, but the more I wait the more it will have to adapt. And maybe that’s why things take this long, because they just aren’t ready yet.

As a side note, I saw the strangest thing yesterday driving through the University. Imagine a frat house yard, the morning after a huge party, littered with cans and bottles and solo cups. And clothes, probably shoes, some chairs, some dirty couches, empty kegs, etc etc. The dirtiest, most Animal House image you can think of. Now, replace every single one of those objects with a signpost for an election candidate. The ones that have been lining all our streets. Picture hundreds of them, so thickly laid around the house that I can’t imagine how anyone can get in or out. Driving by, I couldn’t tell if it was party-affiliated or not, but it certainly was a sight. Maybe better left unexplained.

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