Rage, rage

Saturday, December 31. 2005
Here is the remains of the year. What hope may we find, what light will shine from these last few hours. Time bends and displays itself to our human eyes and hearts in such a form we cannot tell how he feels. Is he crippled, or strong, or does his posture tell us if he is just or cruel? Maybe out human thoughts dont even fit in his body. So are these last few hours fair remains of a proud year or the last sorry, sorrowful remnants or a hateful husk of a year best left unspoken? We cannot tell.

I hope the world learns to hold its own and the voice is heard. This one will not. I hope more people come to listen and read. See you on the other side.

And if anyone has seen the J, email me. There is a reward.

Tiny prayers to father time, little offerings to the beast that carves our lives apart second by second, ever so slowly, ever so steadily; a little further away from where we came and another plan further toward the end. A carefully planned existence, the perfect sacrifice to the eternal march of this rock around its sun. The different plans that we make that take us from here to there.

Swinging freely, taking the breeze as your only road or carefully laying your feet one after the other along a path you mapped out. Two kinds of people on this rock, or is it any number of infinite variations lying in between that make up our human number? Could it be that the same things are all there, we all just have a different name for everything and something makes us all understand the parts in-between. I always used to think that we all see the world differently but because we al start from the same place, we all call these things by the same name. What if I am right? Theres no way to tell, if you follow me all the way to the end, so I want to jump out and tell you its the only way, the only way.

These times when something we always look at that factory over the hill we can see every day on the way home, that corner of the room after we turn the light on, the shape of the picket fence outside your house. Every day, it passes by as the routines play themselves out again the plans of life but maybe one day, you feel different and that grey building suddenly looks like it might be more. The corner could hold some little secret. The fence looks like a mouth. And those plans change. Life and the course it holds turns away from oblivion and eternity of a sunset and you drive away. Plans to come back are a one-way ticket after that, because you shouldnt look behind you when you leave.

My red is your blue, to him its closer to purple and it could be the way I see black to that kid over there. I wonder how these things that look black to me look to him. Maybe its the most intense colour, so amazing youll never comprehend, maybe its so brilliant in that daze that everything else looks like nothing in comparison. Not that they reach an invalid point, its just he never had reason to look at them long enough to define them in his head. This is why he always looks so lost in a white textbook, so pained on a bright beach but once the lights go out he might feel some kind of happy. The dark and the call. People grow up after that. But the call, does it stop? It is our ultimate destination. I hope that someone lived a little harder after seeing the dark and coming away, I hope that a life became brighter than the rest somehow.

Hope. Into the dark, out of the dark. The different plans we never make that take us from one place to another, even when we never intend. If hope can float along somewhere nearby, all the better, if that hope peels away like burned layers of skin where are we? The freckles that might blemish our shoulders, the marks that carry memories of time and space and just maybe, things we dont want to carry. Scars where hope seeped out from our very skin, razed by a summer sun or flayed by a windy beach. Just times we cant re-capture or cant ever feel up to recollecting because the hope goes away whenever we think, cant go back. Three words, three freckles on my shoulder, memories of dehydrated exhilaration and a longing to follow the stream of thought into the dark.

Fixing it all, making it right; or not even, replacing the empty room over there with another room because filling up the first one would just remind you what you used to do there and that just poisons everything new.

Dripping through a pinhole, steady but surely to overwhelm even the biggest of hearts if left unchecked. A desperate comfort where none other exists like an elixir that will help you struggle to your feet and keep going but will eventually kill you anyway. A love so big you just have to shout it as loud as your voice can hope to carry it, to the world, to the world who might not care but you dont feel that, you just feel the need, you just feel the love. Just dont throw it away, just dont misuse it or that might be your heart with a pinhole.

Plans at least frame our lives and even though we might not like to make them, even when we become so addicted to having their governance that life cannot proceed without the daily prayer sessions the times our diaries turn to religious books, keeping track of every precious second and the act of structure becomes ritual. Sacrifice your world to the god of order or devote it to the god of rambling, either way something needs to guide you in the dark that exists where hope forgets to light the way.

2005 didnt have any one outstanding album. Last year found me struggling with some truly monumental releases, that all meant a lot for me and in the end was only distinguished by the higher play count. This year nothing grabbed me as fully but there was still plenty to chew on, plenty to bide my time. There was no gospel but there was Plans and it succeeds via its honesty and devotion to a true voice. Nothing goes asunder in the production, musically the diversity keeps my ears attuned without blurring any lines. The lyrics are the kind of clumsy that could be called earnest but not enough people had the courage to label them beautiful. Too many judges became caught up in terms like transition and major label while missing the point. Let this music speak and if you cant hear it above the bands old records, it is only your loss.

Death Cab For Cutie Plans
Album of the Year 2005

The Second Last Day of the Year

Friday, December 30. 2005
The last shots before the big one, tomorrow. Like so many fireworks, it will be over before you know it.

Just got back from the most laid back, crashed out road trip of all time. I got on a train. For a mere three hours. This is nothing to me. I went to the Banchos house where we sat under his kotatsu and played pirated Playstation games. For almost three days solid. But more on that later when I have time. The lasers are calling my name and I have to run, run, run and catch them So read on.

The wrap up, round up and summary all in one. I didnt feel like going on at length about these ones because my enthusiasm was spent on the other four I wrote about; the ashes were summarily pissed on, so I figured Id just get it over and done with. Then we could all move on with our lives.

I used to review a lot of music, once upon a time. Given I get my hands on just about everything worthy (one way or another) and get really worked up about simple things like a great tune quite easily, it didnt work out so great. If I was going to set out to write about everything that comes along, Id never get anything else done.

But you suffer for now!

Majestic and listenable (if unpronounceable) was the album I liked the best but couldnt talk to about, not to anyone. Sigur Ros just blow me away. How the fuck do you make sounds like that? I dont know. Then turn them into such incredible tunes? Goddamn. Please come to town so I can fully appreciate that its not just some trick requiring a studio. I have to know this is real. Takk is the name and if a glacier melted every time a glacier melting reference was made in a review of this record, we would all be swimming right now.

The initial assessment that Demon Days was made out of pure Rock was, at first listen, a little foolhardy. Repeated exposure revealed it to be 100% truth. Is Gorillaz the side act or the whole frigging carnival? Who cares.

To appraise the once-indie-now-emo-but-might-have-once-been-alternative scene, please refer to Atticus: Dragging the Lake. Volume three appeared this year and yes, Punk-o-Rama is no longer relevant, we have a new barometer. Good luck and run your ears over the selection, buy the t-shirt to ensure plus five cred at any underage show, anywhere. If you like it all, youre too easy, if you like none of it, fuck off and call me when puberty starts.

The Fall always did it, Kaiser Chiefs must have learnt it from a text book. Both win acclaim from me because they managed to drag musical evolution back at least 15 years, possibly further. For albums that came out this year neither Fall Heads Roll or Employment would sound out of place in an episode of Young Ones. I can just see Vivian doing a run-by.

Everyone loves Sufjan Stevens, the hippie. Hippies should not be allowed to use orchestras to make 71+ minutes of music because the world wont get it; perhaps Im wrong. Because I cant help myself and I just want to Come on, Feel the Illinoise! Grandiose. Spare, quiet, a voice into oblivion itself. Good and it knows it, but wont show off. And beats Fall Out Boy for best collection of song titles.

I almost changed my mind on best album of the year after my little brother told me to check out Panic! At The Disco. Fuck this is good. Just listen and you are, officially, allowed to dance.

Single of the year is the sole property of one Ben Folds, I never knew Dr. Dre could write such an emotion-filled lyric. Maybe the addition of 100% pure irony helps? I dont know, but now it is certain, bitches just cant hang with the streets. Sham on!

Friday, Kings and Lords

Friday, December 23. 2005
This is the second bit. There will be two more.

How quick they turned! Indie darling, better not have anyone else look at you Shit, the vultures out there who get paid to do this are worse then the most paranoid of jealous boyfriends. I was once accused of being an Indie Rock Pete by our Brother J, and despite the fact I own a few t-shirts worth of his advice, I dont really follow Through. But I saw one site give Broken Social Scene a eight-point-four out of ten and less than a month later the indirect slag-offs were too numerous to count. Oh, how fast you turn! I sit and laugh, knowing that sales figures wont detract from the delirium, from the giddiness, from the eighty plus tracks layered into each song. The last ten great indie albums played simultaneously? You said it was unabashed! Ecstatic! Fuck, you were right! Then Rolling Stone listed them on the cover and suddenly they were fodder for jokes in news items about Death Cab For Cutie and Slowdive re-release reviews. I said the whole time they put the Youth back into Sonic Youth and the Verve back into Richard Ashcroft. This is staggering stuff, people. Like looking at a Dali painting, or Geurnica, you hear something new every time it rolls over the speakers. Fuck yes! Were allowed to be grandiose and precise, with actual song structures and horn sections and the kind of time sequencing that Sum 41 would be proud of. Of course, veering away from ten minute tracks makes it easier to fit into radio slots superconnected, just dont expect those hipster jealousy peddlers to call you. You call them, cause theres always in interview in it, just expect to be listed under Wolf Parade. At least youll still be above Modest Mouse!

Holy cow, this is the kind of record that ought not be made. Its too much fun, too well easily listened too lightly and so open for inspection, introspection, discussion. All well being packaged like a comic book, so easily digested it is, so named are the tracks. The enthusiasm is there, the energy and the talent. What a package.

Just Keep It Like A Secret, or people might Actually Buy It.

The self titled Broken Social Scene album was called album of the year by Jeph himself (he did change his mind later). When it came out. Apologies to Robert Pollard, and thanks for the rocking good fun.

Now the big one. Hit after rollicking hit! Was it? I was spared cause I dont watch no TV but I know this had to be all over the FM dial worldwide. I dig that it rocks good. Simple things work all too well. Slick and bass filled, tight. Like that guy who was so well dressed you kind of forgot exactly what he looked like, it blends with the rest of the Top 40 but I forgive the boys, because I really dont think it was intentional.

I like the tunes. Dig that rhythm section and let the vocals grow on you. I didnt like Jimmy Page the first time I heard him either.

You probably already have heard Bloc Partys Silent Alarm. Just checking.

Dodging Work

Monday, December 19. 2005
Here I am. The last Monday of the year I have to sit in this office and this day I have nothing to do and no-one here to give me a task to occupy these meager hours. Shit, I really have nothing to do I hate having nothing genuine to do because I start imagining, imagining wonderful things, things that could never be and other castles in the clouds. Never be? That is outrageous. Nothing is out of reach from these arms, nothing can be held away if I just try.

But sitting and daydreaming about it, that makes the coming train ride and afternoon of real work all the harder to handle. When did t his all become so ready-made? Challenge is never far away but adventure, that has gone south for the winter.

Truly, it went a long time before that. I admit that. Time to go chase it down, wrestle it into submission and take my hard won prize.

You hear that, princess? Wherever you are, I will not be far away. Fear whispers to me at night, you see, and it tells me that some other hero-look-a-like will be there before I can reach the icy frontier that starts the final flight from boredom and monotony to the golden pastures at your feet.

Calling into the night, dodging work; boredom is such a bad excuse to write this down.

Roped and cold
Bound, frozen to my own machine
I can only wonder what might have happened if we had been told
What would really happen
When all those tales instilled a sense of wonder and journey
To deepen; when as children we heard and floated away
What would come to pass should we ever desire so hard
That we create Our own quest and actually try to follow it to the end?

How far, how far might I roam
So far, so far away,
Fill that bag with all your dreams
Chase the golden glow and take anything that gets in your way.

This world holds no dragons, just villains, just ogres
Evil bastards, they did this!
Life rolled flat,
With all their little lectures.

The first swing

Sunday, December 18. 2005
Static in my ears, round and round.

Heres my happy fun tunes for the year we still and always will call 2005. Listen up, listen good, it listened oh so well, now read on There are no lists here, just talk. No numbers, no props and no goddamn elitism.

Sounding like REM is something so rare, such an unusual description that it took little more to get my attention. Better yet, when I listened, it turned out that it was New Adventures In Hi-Fi era REM and that is something I doubt even REM themselves can pull off these days. So hats off there, you managed to create something so complex and driven it took one of the finer alternative bands of out time the better part of two decades to reach the appropriate headspace and even though it required double the membership, dear God it nearly made me cry.

The spectrum of New Adventures isnt fully replicated and on repeated listens I cant think that they werent trying to emulate, but its okay because it makes its own stand so well, theres still a head and shoulders above the rest. Even when the competition isnt so hot, that is quite remarkable.

Enough about REM. Dense and layered, verses buried under just enough guitar and mumbled to perfection, all the breaths in the right place. Close your eyes.

Sweeping, expansive, grand. Thats the place, grand. Like a piano, like a canyon, like a canyon sized piano turned all the way down and played over a hundred tracks. A very small dense creation; sometimes a very small intricate carving blown up to fifty times the size just long enough to see around every corner, so you can see theres still details you cant even make out. In you rush to see whats there and forget about what you just saw, it keeps coming, relentless in that good way.

Dense is a word I keep using, but its not thick, its not too much to handle. Theres no softer moments but the balance is made by keeping it clean and short. I hate admitting he benefits of brevity, but heres a stunning argument. Keep a good length, but dont outstay it. Dont be too light you float away, make yourself heard.

And sounds like New Adventures In Hi-Fi. Youll make my albums of the year list, easy.

Metropolis is the second album from US band Swords. Their first was under the name Swords Project.

Every step of the way. We walked together, times we ran, others we sat and just listened. From the Gorge to the House of Blues, and on to South America I am not the only one keeping track (and record) of Pearl Jam as they tour 2005, by way of their ongoing commitment to releasing every show they play to their desiring audience. Hit tenclub.net and youll see the download system details. Ten bucks a show, 192kbps mp3 and a slide show of photos document it all. The sheer volume of music, the sheer weight of it all and the absolute dedication. Plus I love Pearl Jam. The tour has been awesome and just being able to be there every second of the experience earns the place on this write up. Highlights? Trying to keep Tom Waits awake at the Gorge. The ongoing commentary as hurricanes sweep out the south. The constant reaction as fans who cant get enough see the band for the first time in what is always too long. The sheer dedication to playing Corduroy every single night. And Yellow Ledbetter every other. Harvest Moon with Sleater-Kinney on back up duty.

At the end, I dont know if Im feeling like the boxer or the bag.

Pearl Jam have made every show (with several notable exceptions) since 2000 available on CD or mp3 as high quality releases at reasonable prices. Being on of the most bootlegged band in recent times will do that; being a band with an overwhelming sense of empathy with their fans wont do any harm. Check tenclub dot net for the details. The North America leg of the tour weighs about 5GB, the South America just under 2GB.


Friday, December 16. 2005
You must see this, and you will never need to ask again.

Best of all, it's for real. The subtitles are eact translations of what's being said.

The burn and the rub

Sunday, December 11. 2005
Ever feel like sleep follows like a machine? Eating away at your sanity when you dont devote enough energy to just resting your brain? My ends are all stretched out. Times like this confusion reigns supreme and the words just dont melt into cohesion.

I hope you read this and think of me today. Happiness was lying next to you without our pants on and sleeping deeper than I might have for years. I told you half of that when I had you in front of me, it didnt feel right to give up the other half.

Weekends as graveyards. The tombstones read Sobriety, Sensibility, Contentment and the giant angel in the middle is Rest. I just wish I could predict in this space that sleep will become more prominent in the days coming up and it makes me feel weak because sleep is for pussies, man, or people who arent having any fun. Take that!

It snowed today. I knew it felt colder.

I didnt sit waiting for a message, which is good, because nothing came.

Goodnight from here
Free, simple, easy and like some magic
Live like you and turn the world so dear
Cant make head or tail
Of this because I dont think its playing by the rules
We both cheated somewhere and you taught me this trick,
This trick that lets me take more of
What I need,
That kind of little play
A plant growing without a seed.

So goodnight from here, I cant hide
How cold it is without you
But I accept, I accept and think
Of changing some more
Making all that somehow true,
But I never wanted to make a promise and then say I lied

Goodnight, hope I see you tomorrow.

I say that every night.

The situation is basically untenable

Sunday, December 11. 2005
As I draw closer and closer to collapsing under the vast gravitational pull at the centre of the singularity created by my own laziness and lack of motivation, one this has become clear. Things can't really go on the way they are. For one thing, I'm running out of titles which hint at massive lack of achievement week after week.

Here's this weekend in a wrap:

Friday I went to Jamie, Sumedha and Alex's farewell do. Alex left ATS some time ago, and Jamie and Sumedha are leaving pretty soon. Both Alex and Jamie are leaving Taiwan soon too. We had dinner at Outback Steakhouse. The last time I went there, with Aaron, they got all our orders screwed up. It didn't happen this time and the food was pretty good.

I convinced Jamie and Alex to come have a drink afterwards, and we knocked over a few at the Shannon, which I'm also pleased to report was much less crap than I remembered it. It's more than a year since I've been. A bar/restaurant that has non-smoking tables! Truly amazing.

I didn't really drink a lot but it ended up being a pretty late night which wrote a fair chunk of Saturday off. I got up around noon and despite the weather being fantastic, I didn't feel like being outside, and my only achievements for the day were taking the garbage out and taking some clothes to be dry cleaned.

Fast-forward to the evening and I've finished my English tutorial, and the money I earned from it should pay for anything thing I do for the weekend. I worked at Bob Wun Daye on Saturday and it turned out to be a shit of an evening.

It was dead quiet for a Saturday and I was looking forward to closing at one. One a.m. rolled around and Charles was the only person left in the place. We decided to have one drink before heading home. Big mistake. I should've closed the front door before I sat down, but I didn't.

Quarter past one, two Taiwanese guys walk in. Then about 15 minutes later some Danish sailors came in. Then Jason, an unemployed regular of Bob's came in just for trifecta from hell. There's really only one way things could've been worse, and that would've been if Steve had shown up. Cut a long story short, it's not until 4am when I get these guys out and not till after 4 that I'm heading home. Again, Sunday was mostly written off. The only consolation was making NT600 in tips and eating about a pound of cheddar cheese.

Today I've done nothing. I played Monkey Island 3 for a while (read half the damn time I've been awake) and spent the rest of the time contemplating cleaning up my room.

I might even get around to writing about some of the crap that has gone down at work last week. Oh, and I might write a review for a CD that was released, oh, about a year ago. So yeah, the situation is basically untenable. I hate my job, and I've got to get out of the rut that my weekends are. Something needs to happen.

Weekend Lessons

Sunday, December 4. 2005
I learned a lot this weekend.

I learned I don't have enough black T-shirts.
I have a lot of pimp-looking clothes I don't wear.
I don't have enough pimping clothes.
I don't have enough pimping shoes.
I love riding my motorbike.
I hate riding my motorbike in the rain.
My motorbike is fucked.

Sitting in your room for most of the weekend sucks.
Working in a bar, even a very casual bar where you know the owners, is not always a substitution for a night out, though it's pretty close.

I finished reading American Psycho, and now I never have to do it again.


Sunday, December 4. 2005
You got to hold on hope Some plastic emotion in a pop song. I wish it didnt haunt me right now, I wish I didnt need to be reminded of something so simple. But I guess it comes and goes, like this tide inside, and right now I feel like I need a rope to grab onto as the rip comes to get me.

Slipping away, bouncing, running, chasing, skipping. I no longer feel like I own the place, I dont want to own the place, Ill never rise above my roots, I wasted those years and locked myself out of the highest towers. Goddamn, youd think that would take more than these twenty odd years but Im thorough, it never takes me long unless it really matters. Then watch as I nearly let it all drain through the grate. The lights were low and floor spacious but neither of these things is any good to me. I know whats coming and I wish we could have it your way but theres the difference between me and you. How I dig it, how I love it; how I cant wait for you to come home and then for sleeping time to roll around, so we can be as close to alone as we might ever be able

Windows a few centimetres by a few centimetres, measured more accurately in pixels. You hear this talk and think, thats never real. Real like getting the courage to talk to that woman over the counter as you buy your morning bread. Real like laying out to that friend you always go drinking with. Real like When you never meet anyone but girls in clubs and drunk chicks at the bar, when I realise that it was you all along and I might be one of those sad bastards who sparked something off a web cam. Its never that simple.

Those few days, ever more distant, yet the ripples reach so far. This is the long awaited result. What happens next? My God, what a scary thought. Everything I am not, be for me; everything I can be, just dont say it cant come true. Go here, go there, go and get me, breakfast is ready.

The words dont come yet this rain is late
Torrential, sequential, overwhelming
Sorry it might not have made it out as fast as
The flood drowned me

Ill have all the words for you
Even the big ones, even the mean ones
And Ill make sure you know what I really mean
Could I have been simply waiting for you?

All this time, I hope Im not making an idiot of myself
In some dark place, some cold corner
Thinking its really a door that might open
To lead me out of these cold halls

That only remind me of the people who used to live here with me.

Now it sounds all sad. This is what happened to Sunday around here. The sun went away and its dark before five, I never manage to see it, even if I didnt get wasted the night before, especially if I did. I know Im missing something, I know Im missing.