Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Scientists Discover the Saddest Song Ever

Following the recent death of his wife,  the illustrator and musician Geneviève Castrée, Phil Elverum, who records as Mount Eerie, wrote a whole album of songs expressing his grief and his processing of the loss.  This song opens the LP and it's hard to listen to without choking up at least a little, if not downright bawling.   It's actually not a song so much as a direct and honest expression of the rawest of emotions.

I honestly can't think of a song sadder than this.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I finally got through the basic story line of Fallout 4 for real last week, and spent last week shoring up some settlements and running through some of the quests I missed on the first pass through.

I'm now on to Far Harbor.  Started yesterday (Saturday), and I'm already hooked. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017


In 1862, the British journal Westminster Review defined Bohemianism as, "To be young, to be fond of pleasure, to care nothing for worldly prosperity, to scorn mere respectability, and to rebel against rigid rule,—these are the qualities which alone may be regarded as essential to constitute the Bohemian.”

I'm way past the point of anyone considering me "young," and while I may care nothing for worldly prosperity, I've become inordinately fond of certain bourgeois comforts.  But otherwise, the Westminster description can apply to me, a Bohemian elder.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Everyone I meet, everyone I see on the street, everyone I pass in traffic or who passes me going in the opposite direction, all my cashiers and waiters and shopkeepers and clerks, the traffic cops and toll booth attendants and highway workers, my business colleagues and my clients and their extended circles of first-, second- and third-degree contacts, the talking heads and bloviators and lovely actors and actress I see on the television, everyone I meet or see or can even conceive of.  Everybody.

They're all going through some sort of shit about which I know nothing.  Personal matters, health issues, lost loves, or deaths in the family - they're all dealing with something.  Financial problems, marital problems, sickness, old age, or death.  And I have no idea.

Realizing this, we should all be kinder to one another.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Washed Out at Variety Playhouse, Atlanta

Last night,  Georgia's own Washed Out, perhaps best known for the theme song from Portlandia, played a triumphant set at Atlanta's Variety Playhouse.   Dega, another band of ATLiens currently residing in Joshua Tree, opened.

Dega are a male-female synthpop duo who play in a style reminiscent of Sylvan Esso and Purity Ring - she sings, he produces the beats.  It was a pleasant if formulaic sound, but we were turned off by the stage lighting, which consisted for their entire set of a single beam of light bounced off a static disco ball that shone directly into our eyes.  We could barely see the band for the glare.  It might have been an effective, attention-getting set-up in a small club, but if they want to tour and play the big stages, they need to up their game and engage the audience visually and not only sonically.  

Visually engaging the audience was not a problem for Ernest Greene (Washed Out).  Greene collaborated with Microsoft for this tour to blend his music with graphic effects using the Microsoft Kinect to produce an immersive live performance and a unique, psychedelic experience.

On top of that, Greene has revamped Washed Out's sound, amping up the former dreamy, chillwave sound to more energetic dance music.  It's still definitely identifiable as Washed Out, but more awake and immediate that we've ever heard him before.  

The band is now a trio, with Greene singing and playing pads, accompanied by a drummer and another pad player/guitarist.  Both musically and visually, Washed Out now has more in common with Todd Terje or the current incarnation of Animal Collective than his former chillwave companions.

It was a great show. The songs were all tight and often surprisingly short - just when it sounded like they were about to launch into an extended jam-based exploration of some riff, the song would abruptly end and the band would jump into the next song.  It was impossible not to be mesmerized by the kaleidoscopic, ever-changing visuals.  It was hard to stay still and not start dancing to the music. A great show.

Here's a little taste of what Washed Out sound like now, and to compare and contrast, a sample from their earlier sound.