Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I'm Lazy. Enjoy Another Sample. Blah.


It is April 25th, 3:02 pm, and I am finally getting to what we ostensibly came here for: the music. We have traversed the sprawling grass expanse – on weekend leave from its day job as polo field – and now I’m standing in the middle of the Gobi Tent, smallest of the three giant white tents which dominate the South-East corner of the grounds, which means it’s still about half the size of a football field. On stage, the band Battles is doing their sound check – an even more complicated process than normal, given the thicket of guitars, MacBooks, keyboards, and amplifiers through which the band members are scurrying, plugging in a cable here, testing an effect pedal there, tuning this, tweaking that. A truly genre-defying group, Battles have been a favorite of mine since I first heard their robot-circus-instrumental-indie-math-rock (I said they were genre-defying) in high school, and their latest album, Mirrored, has been on heavy rotation on my iPod over the last month. No one else in the B.C.P. crew knows much about them, but we’re here at my behest, and I’m a little nervous as the set kicks off, wondering if my new friends are gonna like my taste in music… wondering if Laura will get it, and there goes the drummer, pounding away, his white polo shirt – buttoned all the way up – and black slacks shockingly out of place on his muscled, sweating frame, jaw clenched, neck bulging, as he just absolutely wails the holy living shit out the snare. That pounding, unceasing juggernaut of a beat holding everything together, as guitar riffs are looped and layered, vocals are distorted, crescendos of sound build and burst over and over again. Battles is as unique a band as we’ll see all weekend, and the smiles on Cody and Alice and B-Don’s faces affirms my decision to drag everyone out here, the bonds of friendship are slowly growing stronger as the lead singer, Sideshow Bob hair emitting a sweat halo, loops a guitar riff, leans into the mic, and exhales a haunting chant…


Drummer finally stops moving, tilts his tomato-red face towards the heavens, and drops his sticks. My ears are ringing, and everyone’s grinning, as we turn to each other and try to process what we just heard.



My ear drums are fucked. WHAT? WHAT DUDE? That’s right. This is the inevitable result of a adolescent passion for death metal, and a concordant disregard for any parentally recommended safety measures. Like ear plugs. Well, it might not have been inevitable – WHAT? WAIT, WHAT’D YOU SAY? – I mean, people mature, and it was no sure thing I’d maintain my death metal allegiance, right? Right! I didn’t – I moved on, to the fat bass and screeching synths of electro, house, drum & bass, dubstep, techno, fidget, and the like. From that point on I would eschewing the ear plugs for concerns of fashion rather than urges of rebellion, but my poor tympanic membrane couldn’t tell the difference – only that it was losing its ability to register a whole new segment of frequencies at the high and low end of the scale. Combine that with the drugs, and the fact that, once the damage started to set in, I naturally began turning up the volume at home – in my ipod earbuds on the way to class, on the subwoofer at my friends’ house parties – and soon I was that guy. Impossible to talk to on the phone. Mumbler extraordinaire. Often seen headbanging while riding my bike to class, music so loud that the friendly cries of “hello” and “fuck youuuu” bursting from my friends’ lips fall on ears that are, while not deaf, certainly working on it. That guy next to you in lecture, tinny noise spilling from the hood of his black zip-up – I’m sorry, I’m sure it’s annoying. I know it’s annoying when I’m on a plane, a bus, or a train – because I’ve had people, many times, tentatively tap me on the shoulder um excuse me could you please turn down your headphones and while my instinct is to go UM, NO, FUCK OFF, my desire not to get my ass beat, by man or by karma, restrains me. So I turn it down for a little bit, and as soon as I’m back in the open air, feet hitting the pavement, getting the city under me, the volume’s back at full blast, and I’m back in my head, in my world. It’s a tradeoff I’ll take.

I hope you like it (no one is reading this, but that's cool!). Coming as soon as I get some more coffee, that Trouble & Bass Party recap thing. And why Shaq to the Cavs is more meaningful in the abstract than in the concrete world of playing basketball. And the beauty of grilling Carne Asada. I got ideas, son.

Oh yeah, happy birthday to my good friend Alex Carillo. Tonight I am further delaying my writing to go celebrate it, as he further delays working on our comic adventure collaboration. As soon as we do something, you'll see it.


- Dan

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