Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I had entered into a marriage
In the summer of my twenty-first year
And the bells rang for our wedding
Only now do I remember it clear
Alright, alright, alright

E: Throughout history mankind has wondered about donuts.

A: No.

E: Right. Throughout history humans have wondered about donuts.

A: No.

E: Have you ever wondered about donuts?

A: Still no.

E: Webster’s defines donuts as…

A: Stop.

E: If you looked up “donuts” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of…

A: Can’t I get away from work for just a short time?

No more a rake and no more a bachelor
I was wedded and it whetted my thirst
Until her womb start spilling out babies
Only then did I reckon my curse
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

E: Let’s play the analogy game.

A: What do you mean?

E: Think back to when we thought we knew all of the cool music. Maybe the 90s.

A: This isn’t going to be another exercise in cliché, is it?

E: Bear with me. Let’s say we were doing the Death Match then.

A: OK…but I’m still not on board.

E: We could have had “Doolittle” or “Fallow” or “Nevermind” or “OK Computer” or even “Out of Range.”

A: How did “Nevermind” get in there?

E: Never…

A: Stop.

E: Anyway…we got “Throwing Copper.” Or “A Pocketful of Kryptonite.”

A: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

E: Exactly.

A: I still don’t know what you’re talking about.

First came Isaiah with his crinkled little fingers
Then came Charlotte and that wretched girl Dawn
Ugly Myfanwy died on delivery
Mercifully taking her mother along
Alright, alright, alright

A: Did you put The Decemberists on your list?

E: No.

A: Why not?

E: I don’t know. But this show rocks.

A: Seriously.

E: Know what “The Rake’s Song” reminds me of?

A: What?

E: Total ripoff of Anathallo…in a good way. Love the synchronized percussion.

A: It’s kind of sad that all these bands we played with have made it big.

E: We?

A: We—circle of friends.

E: Sad?

A: Well…not sad…but…it’s hard to describe. Feist. Anathallo. Breathe Owl Breathe. The Beatles.

E: I’m going to vote for The Decemberists.

A: You can’t.

E: I don’t care…I’m going to. You want Beatrice to grow up asking, “Why did you vote for this crap when you could have picked The Decemberists?”

A: If zombie Brian Wilson walked out on stage to jam, then you could convince me, but until they put out a song to top “Help Me Rhonda,” I can’t go along with it.

E: It looks like it’s going to be a split decision then.

What can one do when one is widower
Shamefully saddled with three little pests
All that I wanted was the freedom of a new life
So my burden I began to divest
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

E: Let’s try the numbering system then.

A: OK.

E: Alright…“Donuts”…30 tracks? Are you kidding me? I read enough essays composed in the hope that I find the right answer hidden in there someone.

A: Now that I’ve told you what I think about donuts, what do *you* think about donuts?

E: Stop.

A: It’s like the wine box, “First of all, I’d like to thank you for buying our wine. Now that I have thanked you, let me introduce myself.”

E: Stop.

A: Fine. It wasn’t funny when you did it, either.

E: We’re doing the Death Match…let’s be serious for a minute.

A: Fine.

E: Let’s try Walkmen. Track 1: Dónde Está la Playa

A: I’m trying to listen to Low…don’t spoil it.

E: Track 1: Too much dissonance. Too little interest. 2/5.

A: I’d rather grade this essay.

E: Track 2…what the…did I repeat track 1? Nope. 2/5

A: I feel like I’ve heard all of this before. I’m voting for Low.

E: You can’t.

A: “Drums and Guns” slides in under the 5 year deadline.

E: You can’t. It’s not one of our choices.

A: I don’t care. I’m voting for it.

E: If they had a track with Clarence Clemons and Kenny G, I’d be on board…but I can’t.

A: It looks like it’s going to be a split decision.

Charlotte I buried after feeding her foxglove
Dawn was easy, she was drowned in the bath
Isaiah fought but was easily bested
Burned his body for incurring my wrath
Alright, alright, alright

A: Are we going to saying anything about the bands in our review?

E: Nobody else has.

A: Really?

E: I don’t remember…it’s been about a month since the last review. What’s taking everyone so long?

A: Ummm…

E: Oh. Bad question.

A: Yeah.

E: I bet we beat Joe and Brooke.

A: Yeah, but they’re review will be good.

E: What do you want, quality or slightly less slowness?

A: And fix that. I know the difference between “there” “their” and “they’re.”

E: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

A: This is like going to the Vac Shack only to find that the choices are limited to dirty, used models that have bugs on them.

E: We could have had the ElectroLux.

A: But that’s a thousand bucks.

E: I thought you said you wanted a good vacuum?

A: Can you believe that guy?

E: I know. Doesn’t say a thing about the different models, and then points out that we should really buy the twelve hundred dollar model rather than his crappy fifty buck thing.

A: Too bad the twelve hundred dollar model was already knocked out by Ferraby Lionheart.

E: And the thousand dollar model was knocked out because it wasn’t quite as good as the twelve hundred dollar “Left and Leaving” model.

A: I don’t think anyone is going to get this.

E: See, this is what I like about marriage.

A: What are you talking about?

E: As Carol says, “Relationships are sustained jokes.”

A: Better explain that one.

E: Inside jokes. Things that become funny due to familiarity.

A: Are you saying we should listen to the albums again to see if we like them more and more with another listen?

E: We’ll never know. I’ve had enough of “Throwing Copper.”

And that's how I came your humble narrator
To be living so easy and free
Expect you think that I should be haunted
But it never really bothers me
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

E: Let’s make a choice.

A: Clarence Clemons.

E: Zombie Brian Wilson.

A: Or should we follow the rules?

E: Alright.

A: So?

E: You & Me?

A: Why?

E: There is some good stuff. I like “On the Water.”

A: That’s alright. What else?

E: I like “The Rake’s Song.”

A: Wrong band. You got it mixed in with your play list.

E: Donuts?

A: The songs are too short.

E: I swear, “Workinonit” has a sample from “Pole Position.” How cool is that?

A: Ummm…

E: Trust me. It’s cool.

A: Sure.

E: Though it does jump around too much for either of us to handle, the album is clever and creative.

A: I can buy that.

E: Still…30 tracks? Seriously?

A: Make up your mind.

E: Donuts?

A: Alright.

E: Alright.

A: Alright.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dark W. Might Unify

I was thirty-six going on thirty-seven the first time I spent a weekend in Hillsboro, Ohio. It happened in the spring of 2011 -- a long time ago.  But only if you measure in terms of micro-seconds. 2011 was a big year. The Charlie Sheen tour was just about to start. The Leafs almost made the playoffs. But most of all -- I found my soul mate. In many ways it started off as the worst day of my life; and in many ways it was the best. But we'll get to that.

phone ringing in the background
pageyHey man, what's up?
slippersWe gotta do that review together don't we?

That's how the weekend started. Innocently enough with a phone call to Dwight.
Dwight was the craziest guy we hung around with. And I was chosen to do a death match review with him.
Scary shit.

slippersYou gonna come over to do the review?
pageyI live a 1000 miles away from you. I thought we'd do it over the phone, or email.
slippersCan't do that, Andrew says we have to do it in bed together.

Dwight was like that. You couldn't quite tell if he was serious, or had a serious problem understanding directions. In this case, it turned out to be the latter. It was impossible to convince him that Andrew never said reviewing the albums had to be done in bed together.

slippersYes, we do.
pageyNo, we don't
slippersYes, we do.

This went on for hours. I'm not sure at which point I couldn't take it any longer, but I was there. Sometimes you just have to compromise, and by compromise, I mean give up. Of course by now we were pretty fucking pissed off at each other and both of us refused to travel to meet the other. Foreshadowing our deft skills at compromising, we agreed to meet halfway... In Hillsboro, Ohio. I shit you not.

slippersWhy don't we meet at Ye Old Tavern?
pageyAnother trip to Hillsboro, Ohio?
slippersYeah man, they're having a contest to win a cruise and I want to enter.
pageyI'm in. That place is da bomb.

Now, there is not much to Hillsboro, Ohio, but luckily, both Dwight and I are familiar with all the hotspots. Not known as a tourist destination I tend to go there to just 'get away from it all'. Dwight, on the other hand, loves to enter contests, and 'Ye Old' is known for its bevy of contests to get people in the door.

We've run into each other there on many occasions. Dwight always with a beer in one hand, and an entry form in the other.

The bar is pretty sweet. Lots of good people, and certainly good times. Like Dwight always says of the place: “With true friends...even water drunk together is sweet enough.”

After my long drive, I met Dwight at the signup table, just as he was finishing registering to win his trip.

slippersI'm gonna win, I can feel it!
pageyGood for you.

After such long drives, we caught up for a bit, and had a few beers. Our argument over travelling to do the review was still heavy in our hearts, and while we were civil to each other, the anger in the air was palpable. I was will willing to forgive and forget, confident, not in my being correct, but
rather Dwight's overly incorrect position. Dwight on the other hand, felt we still had a score to settle.

slippersDo you see the shirt I'm wearing?
slippersDo you see what it says?
pageyYeah, pretty funny.
slippersThis isn't a funny shirt. This is the shirt I always wear when I have a score to settle.
slippersTake it literally my friend. You made me drive all the way down here, now you pay!

With that, Ye Old Tavern fell silent, patrons quickly, but silently started to exit to the parking lot. I knew what it meant, and I now knew why we had to travel to Hillsboro...

The local Hillsoboro townsfolk, when faced with adversity and disagreement, settle their disputes with a dance off.
There is no better way to showcase one's strength, skill and logic than with a dance off.

slippersYou're going down.
pageyOh, it's on bitch.
slippersWhere the ghetto blaster?

With the tunes ready to go... we squared off...
Each showing our best moves...

after what seemed hours, we both collapsed.

I'm not sure by how much. But Dwight certainly won the dance off. Not necessarily because he excels at dance offs, and he does; but more-so because he thought of it. It was a good idea.

Worn out after our set, we decided to get down to the other reason we were here... getting into bed with each other the album reviews. We found a quaint, yet reasonably comfortable motel: The Cedar Hill Motel, which met our needs, and our limited budget.

slippersCome down and each chicken with me, beautiful. It's soooo dark!
pageyHa, no time for food, let's start listening to these albums.
slippersNot wine...men intoxicate themselves; Not vice...men entice themselves. Ah Fuck It!
pageyWhat does that mean?
slippersIt means, do you want to watch some motel porn before we get down to business?

It was during this time that I felt our scarred relationship just might be able to mend itself...

slippersYou're right, we don't have time for games, let's dream different dreams while on the same bed.

I was getting a little frustrated, it seemed like Dwight was just spewing random quotes, and I was having trouble understanding what he was getting at.  I had to remind myself that these games just didn't matter. As soon as we listened to these albums, I could get out of here.

So we hopped into bed and turned to face each other, the mood was much more relaxed, and words were spoken at a hush.
pageyAre you ready to press play?

The answer was given with perfect falsetto:

[Note: If you didn't have a shitty browser, you'd be listening right now]

That changed everything. Gone was the subconscious anger, the need for dance off's and the like.
We jumped on the bed and had a dance party instead.

There is only a single time that one knows that they themselves, in times past, were not yet themselves.
It was while dancing on this bed, in a sleepy town in Ohio, that both Dwight and I, came to discover this.
As you age, you have the tendency to fight your destiny; much like Dwight and I fought coming to Ohio.
Like we fought the interpretation of Andrew's simpleton writings. Like we fought during the dance off.
Like we fought for the right side of the bed.

But at some point in time, at that point, it just is. It was at this point, when Dark W. Might was born.

The rest of the weekend was really just a blur, and at the same time, a frozen moment.
With renewed vigor, we strapped on our listening gear, and prepared to give an honest rating to the sounds we heard.

Our first album was Vampire Weekend.

At first listen, this album seemed quite creative. We were both listening quite intensely, forgetting each other were in the room at times.  During certain moments, between tracks, or during a purposefully place lull in the music, we would give each other a quick look. Often times, a glimmer in one's eye, was met with half smile from the other.

But the glances toward each other soon faded. Was our destiny not to be? Or were we so in tune to the tunes,
that ignorance to the other was a signal of musical bliss?

Was our unity just a fading moment in time? Or were we intertwined in time?

While our headphones pounded the college-like beat of the Vampires, were our hearts beating out of time?
We must have both had that thought at the same moment, because we both looked up in sync, and

Dark W. MightStar Wars!
pageyAlas, what at first seems really rad, turns out to just be bad.

Well, it isn't that the album is bad. It's not. Certainly not Star Wars bad. Dwight and I had a compelling and thorough discussion as to the problems of this album. Well, maybe no so thorough. Since we were now Dark W. Might, we agreed on everything and really didn't attempt to question what we were thinking.

slippers"whatever is too interesting will lose my interest."
pages“the smörgåsbording of music”

It did get to a point, where we were slightly concerned Vampire were also on the same wavelength as we were...we were discussing how college they sounded, and then, as if to toy with us, they started singing about college.  I mean, if they wrote that song for us, that's pretty fucking cool. But if they didn't, they're just jerks.

We had a question and answer period after the album was over to help determine our overall feelings.
pageyWas this album creative?
slippersWhy yes, yes it was
slippersAre they technically proficient at workin' the musical instruments?
pageyWhy yes, yes they are
pageyDid the reggae shit suck Dwight's fortune cookies?
slippersWhy yes, yes it id

We decided to rate the albums like one can gauge their excursions to the mall.
Hanging out at the mall on the weekend can be a great thing, as you all know, but it can also suck.
Most trips end up somewhere in between.

We ended up giving this an "at the mall" rating of

"we're bored at the food court dude!"

We didn't take a break after Vampire Weekend, we just switched the side of the bed we were on, and with eyes closed, dove right into Cat Power.

After the onset of the opening chords, and with first whisper of the vocals, we both opened our eyes and read each other's thoughts.

Dark W. Might *thinking*This is not pissing me off.

This album started out strong. And continued to hold its own as it progressed.
All of the gripes we held about Vampire Weekend, were not realized
during this listen.

pageyGood sound
pageyA Keeper
pageyFeels like I've listened to this forever

This album doesn't need much discussion, like all good albums, it speaks for itself.

We gave this the "at the mall" rating of

"dude, let's dance in front of the Orange Julius!

The verdict was in, Cat Power won.

After the albums were listened to, we popped in the Everly Brothers, because gee whiz, we had a hankering for it for some reason.

We weren't quite sure what to do after we were done with our task.
We were tired.
We had driven 100's of miles to meet in Hillsboro.
We had a dance off
We had a dance party.
We listened to music.
We drank beer.

We headed home - and although many thoughts raced through our minds, we barely spoke (we were in separate cars of course). We drove through the night and made it home a little past five o'clock on Sunday morning. We'd only been gone two days, but somehow our towns seemed different - smaller.

Did Death Match Die?

When I was younger, I played in the long grass with my brother and other boys that lived within 10 houses of me. We played till the lights came on. Street lights were the signal that it was time to go inside. Did the street lights go on?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In deep space... abandoned...

Gentlemen, you've both worked very hard. And in a way, you're both winners. But in another more accurate way, LCD Soundsystem is the winner.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Now you go, Joel

Well, everyone, it’s been quite Brucey. After coitus, and now that I’ve got my poo out of my eye, it’s on to a sucking choice between “Dwight” and DeerHunter, Halcyon Digest.

The choice here is easy: Andy Wilson.

Once, in high school, while I was listening to Dwight and making out with Dwight, it occurred to me that some music really is kind of Annesque, but only when you’re making out with Mark Vanderboom. Just like Dave Matthew’s Band.

Joe LaGrand is the same way. It’s worth listening to if you’re Deerhunter, but once you’re arrested for indecent exposure, forget it. You might has well hike up your skirt a little more, show the world to me, and keep making out with Joel “ruin the cobbler” Dodson, because you’re never going to procreate, until the damn album is over.

Sarah, on the other hand, is to music what The Clash is to being married and having a baby. That Weakerthans can all it wants to, but you know Eric Smithy Poo will never get in the way of Eric Arnoy poo (s), in the same way that The Beachboys rock earnestly, with great guitars, unpretentious vocals, an ambient sensibility, but also being able to soundtrack a movie with Tom Cruise mixin up cocktails (yeah!).

Speaking of saxophones, whoever said that Bruce Springsteen was like Bruce Springsteen (a) never woke up after having made out with Flavor Lavs , and (b) is unfamiliar with Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band. Brooke’s fine patterns are clearly a riff on that, but with you and me and everyone can keep their balls tucked under their hard-drives below their knees.

When I got my first (hot) Karl at age thirteen, I knew that oh no. One thing this tournament, and having to choose between Brad Allen’s beard and DJ Jazzy Fluff, has taught me is that you never can avoid a Candian band without hearing the end of it. At least with a shred of dignity.

Then again, D??? is such a good album on its own, that I’m okay with Joel choosing. And so is my wife.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I keeps it real tight...Arcade Fire vs. The XX

The following email exchange is almost totally real...

What to say, what to say…

Andy – March 22

so what do you think? should we wait until after we've fucked to start talking or what....

Eric – March 22

definitely let's get it on before we compare notes. i don't have "the suburbs", so i will have to grooveshark it. i need to review "xx", too...haven't listened to it for a bit. let's keep in touch. and let's touch...

Andy – March 28

i'll step up on the mound first...i listened to most of both of these albums over the weekend. i'm more inclined to go with arcade fire. it seems to be a warmer and more emotionally available bunch of songs. not as unhinged as their previous emo barking and shouting. do you want me to do a mathematical anal cyst like you do? Maybe we should.

Eric – March 28

We may have to go the math-y route, as I was going to vote for The XX. I've listened to them a lot over the past week. Their sound is so cool and sleek and sexy...It feels like something new, kind of like when I first heard Portishead. I love the male-female vocal exchanges, too. I think the album through "Heart Skipped a Beat" is just about flawless; things get a little too sleepy in spots on the second half, although "Basic Space" is a real keeper. This album makes me excited for what the band is going to do next. For being so young, their sound is amazingly mature.

I have listened to "The Suburbs" in its entirety at least twice now (which is saying something as it is definitely too long). It feels like a "sprawl"-ing (They like that word, don't they?) and uneven epic endeavour. There are definitely some catchy tracks: I like the title track, and I really like "Month of May" (which sounds like an indie cover of some lost Springsteen B-side). "The Blondie-esque "Sprawl II" is kind of fun, too.

Eric – March 28

The XX: 3.9
Songs rated 4 or above: "Intro", "VCR", "Crystallized", "Islands", "Heart Skipped a Beat", "Basic Space", "Infinity"
Songs rated 2 or below: None

Thoughts: Solid, steady, tight.

The Suburbs: 3.1
Songs rated 4 or above: "The Suburbs", Month of May", "Wasted Hours", "We Used to Wait", "Sprawl II"
Songs rated 2 or below: "Rococo", "City with No Children", "Half Light I", "Sprawl I"

Thoughts: Has some high points but is uneven, inconsistent, tries too many different moods/ styles.

Andy – March 28

i will do my math tomorrow and get back to you.

solid, steady, and tight. how could i not like it like that. especially that last one..."i keeps it real tight"*

(*this was actually said to me by someone at my old work and i think she was talking about her vagina. better than keeping it loose like sleeve of wizard. am i right? why did i quit that job again?)

Andy – March 29

here are my scores. i'm being kinda harsh. my overall feeling about both of these albums is that they don't stand up very well to detailed criticism and are probably best experienced outside of a death match scenario. i owned both of them prior to this assignment and had a generally favorable view of both (like maybe a B or B+). they both start strong and fizzle. kinda like that time we did it.

Arcade Fire

1. the suburbs - 3
2. ready to start - 4
3. modern man - 4
4. rococo - 3
5. empty room - 2
6. city with no children - 3
7. half light I - 3
8. half light II (no celebration) - 2
9. suburban war - 2
10. month of may - 2
11. wasted hours - 3
12. deep blue - 3
13. we used to wait - 4
14. sprawl (flatland) - 2
15. sprawl II (mountains beyond mountains) - 4
16. the suburbs (continued) - 3
total = 47

average - 2.9

The XX

1. intro - 4
2. VCR - 4
3. crystalised - 2
4. islands - 4
5. heart skipped a beat - 3
6. fantasy - 2
7. shelter - 3
8. basic space - 2
9. infinity - 3
10. night time - 2
11. stars - 2
total = 31

average - 2.8

Eric – March 31

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Natalie messed up the computer last night. Apparently, she bumped into the whole CPU, including knocking the external hard drive off the top. Afterwards, the computer only made weird noises when you tried to start it

Thanks for your scoring. The two albums really came out close, you know, as mediocre crap. I guess The XX gets the higher score when you add ours together, though, eh? The AF will be OK...They have some Grammys and Junos and dildos strapped under their belts now. I kind of feel like having them win the MDM would be hugely anti-climactic, since they are winning everything else right now.

Andy – March 31

sorry to hear about your computer. kids break stuff sometimes. i keep all my external hard drive’s tucked up under my balls. i'm pretty much the only one who ever goes there. you should think about it....

after i saw everyone's picks back in january, i thought arcade fire will win for sure. i thought that would be okay. i know you don't care for them, but i like 'em, i'm just not in like with 'em. as i've said many times, the death match, at least for me, encourages a type of critical thinking that makes it difficult for anything to come off well. you may recall my reviews of the kinks VGPS and the stones EOMS, where i made a semi-retarded, yet totally fuck-tarded attempt at taking down both albums even though i think they are both really good. that's where i am with these two. they are both good to me, but when i really sit down to listen and read the lyrics, they start to sound like a load of crap. i'm gonna go with the xx. i think you are right about too much sprawl to the suburbs album (dontcha think). i wish there we only nine or ten songs. that's ultimately what kills it for me. also, the subject matter is a little trite. as a concept album, it loses me. the xx win. may god have mercy on our holes (did i say holes, i meant assholes).

Eric – March 31

Good to hear from you, Andy. I hear you...I get where you are coming from. And maybe part of the problem is that the actual experience of music, in its broadest sense, affects part of us that isn't overly rational/ cerebral/ analytical. It kind of comes at us from the same place as visual art and spirituality and exercise and whatnot. A lot of times the thinking about the music and the talking about the music kind of dim the actual experience of the music, which was what got us excited in the first place. That being said, there is definitely a place for talking and thinking about music. But there is also a place for just listening and loving it, too. "To everything (Turn turn turn)"...

Andy – April 2

R.I.P. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs