Podcast but different?

I did a review of one of my favourite independent albums! I want to make this a regular thing, so let me know if you have an album or piece of art available copyright free!

Finally!

My old band, The Twin, finally got out stuff on Spotify and Apple Music! If you only use one of those, and are curious, give it a listen!

Spotify

Apple Music

Why am I excited still, even though it has been almost a decade since the release? I just like having music that I was apart of around for everyone to listen to. Maybe even… enjoy?!

Accept Your Voice

This is something I am horrible at.

Realize that in your writing, whether the written word or audio, you have a voice. Escaping that void is possible, but you should not be ashamed if you cannot.

It was my pleasure recording with the ~4 bands I did. I may have had a drumming “style”, but I was never boxed in by the constant repetition of one writer. That is not a bad thing, but from a drummers perspective, it can be a bit hard to grow as an artist. The coolest dichotomy that I saw was Livestalk v ACU. It was the same writer, but he was not constrained by the “punk/metal” sound we cultivated in ACU. He had taken down all constraints and, therefore, was able to flex his creative sound.

That is not even delving into his creative contribution to Slender Loris. They will probably remain one of my favourite punk bands for the rest of my life.

Voice is more personal when it comes to writing. I have read back most of my works recently. I was taken back by how similar they all felt initially. It was not until I looked at them from objectively that I noticed how different they are.

You can be too close to appreciate the things you have done. When your style is a certain way, it is easy to write-off projects as “the same”, resulting in spiraling and not producing any further.

Accept that you may have a tone or “voice” in everything you do. It doesn’t make anything new too similar to what you did prior. Look at the narrative. There is a difference between those two projects, and a successful tone should not dissuade you from doing something.

Yes, it is possible to leave your comfort zone. It is possible to create works leaving behind atribute that you have relied on forever. It could be neat! This does NOT mean your old works are shit.

Don’t beat yourself up.
Don’t hate what you do if it brings you happiness today.

Old music V. New music

I am past the point of using music as a metric of age. What do I mean by that? Some of my favourite albums are over 20 years old, and “kids” no longer are interested in the bands I’m into. Therefore, music is not a metric that I can use to measure age.

It got me thinking: am I stuck in my comfort zone?

Is it bad that I listen to albums from the ’90s still, and appreciate them as if they came out yesterday?

A friend of mine showed me a new release today, and immediately I pointed out how the sound was early 2000’s emo. I loved every note played and was mostly correct on how the chord progression was going to go.

It got me questioning where I keep my mind, as far as the arts go. I started to worry if I was becoming one of those people who refused to keep up with modern trends in audio because I was convinced that it was done better in the past.

I did not stay on that thought long. I remembered that I appreciate new music, and my plethora of older influences shaped, not hindered, my appreciation for new things I found. I didn’t hold onto old sounds because I think they are better, I held onto them because I love them still.

Yes, some of the bands I enjoy are probably outdated. There probably someone else who has done, for example, Godspeed You! Black Emperor better since their magnum opus F# A# Infinity. Once I find it, I’m sure that I will binge it as much, if not more, than I do that album.

Anyway, my point is that holding onto old albums can be a good thing, as long as you aren’t closing your mind to experiencing new sounds. As I write this, I am listening to “…and You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead”‘s album Lost Songs, which was released in 2005. Part of me enjoys it as if it’s new. Part of me remembers that it is 15 years old, ignoring the fact that it is demos and unreleased songs that could be older.

Seriously, though: can we talk about how great F# A# Infinity is?

Music Analysis :: Queens of the Stone Age

I was initially going to write about “Songs for the Deaf” (SftD) when I realized that “Era Vulgaris” gets scrutinized for not being SftD. I will not argue with the fact that SftD one of my favourite albums of all time, but I really feel like Era Vulgaris is still fantastic.

Let’s start with a dissection of why SftD is so amazing.
Dave Grohl.
DISSECTION OVER.

No, that’s not fair. To hold an album as the pinnacle of a band’s career based on the efforts by one member inclusion is shallow. Though, it is true that Mr. Grohl does some amazing work on this album. I mean, just listen to the opening track and you can see what you’re in for. Once you get passed the mock-radio intro you are hit by a wave of pure Metal-Awesome. Track two was a fantastic single when it was released, and was my introduction to this band.

Track three, First It Giveth, is by far my favourite on the album. The punishing and driving beat over the corus mixed with the polyrhythmic verse drumline make it one of the more interesting endeavours I have ever witnessed in music. Then, track four, probably the coolest excuse for an extended drum solo ever.

My analysis of the first three songs on this album are what lead me to believe that it should not be held as high as it is in the QotSA catalogue. I mean, every instrument does amazing things all through this album. It feels like the “Dave Grohl” album we needed, instead of the Foo Fighters. Due to this fact, I refuse to give it the “QotSA best album” lable.

Then, the forgotten (and hated*) sequel, Era Vulgaris.
*it might not be as hated as I read into the discussion, but it was not received as well.

I feel bad for this album. It had to follow up one of the most interesting releases in “metal” that we have heard since “Destroy, Erase, Improve“. It got so many things right, it just could never live up to SftD produced.

It had a much more polished sound, and played it safer by being both accessible and radio-friendly. It focuses more on Josh Homme’s guitar playing. The lyrics are more whimsicle, the bass much chunkier, and the drums are more conventional. Still bloody intricate, but less head-‘splody ridiculous.

The first single, “Sick, Sick, Sick“, focuses on more of a traditional song structure that QotSA have moved on from. More of journey as opposed to a song, the orchestration of layers and subtle changes leave the listener waiting to see what comes next. SftD was this strange combination of floaty-and-whimsical and brain-punch.

I know that I am making up words and phrases, but listening to these albums you quickly notice that my adjectives are apt.

Dehumanization

First off, I’d like to point out how awesome of a word that is. It almost looks like a death metal band name.

What do I mean by “dehumanization”, I pretend to hear you ask. I simply mean the actions of other reducing your self-esteem, whether that be by accident or on purpose. To be clear, I don’t mean reducing self-esteem like “I’m no pretty”, I am referring to no longer feeling worthy of any sort of human interaction. I mean the kind of state that makes someone no even ask for basic human needs because they don’t feel worth it. I mean locking yourself from the world because you feel like it would be better without you. And, before you ask, I am not talking about how depression and mental state could render that possible. I am talking about physical actions taken to reduce someone to a shell of a human, even if the actions are meant as an innocent gesture of goodwill.

Let’s start with an example: I use a commode. What is a commode? it is basically an indoor outhouse, which I realise how stupid that is to read. We are in the process of building a main floor bathroom, and I use that because I cannot make it to the second floor bathroom.

In order to maintain any semblance of cleanliness, my parents empty it into a traditional toilet. They insist, and continue to insist, that they don’t mind doing so. In fact: they insist that they are completely happy that I continue to do so, and constantly remind me that it is a temporary measure. When I implied one day that it is completely (yay! A proper use of the word of the day!) dehumanizing, they scolded me for being so proud.

Okay, so here is my issue with it. I have to announce when the commode has anything in it, regardless of whether or not there is a meal there. Regardless of whether or not someone is busy. Regardless or not if there is company over.

THERE IS NO NEGATIVE REPERCUSSION BROUGHT ON BY MY FAMILY.

It is a mandatory step that is temporary. I know this, but it does not change the fact that I hate it.

That’s right: I have taken away the burden from those around me and have internalized the shame. I am well aware that they are completely okay with the situation. I am well aware that this is temporary. I am well aware that the shame I feel is only because of my own pride.

It does not change the fact that I find it horrible.

That is one, and maybe the most extreme explanation I could use. I will now make things more general.

Let’s say that a group of friends are going to a festival. Jimmy is hesitant because the loud noise of the crowd, let alone the music, will set off his PTSD, and his reaction could ruin everyone’s time. His friends understand, and decide to not go. They are sympathetic, and kind to him. They constantly reassure him that it is not a big deal.

Nice story, right? Did you see where it went wrong?

Jimmy’s friends should not reassure him after the first time. He knows that he could not go, and he never intended for his friends not to go on his behalf. There constant reassurance makes things worse because he eventually would have just moved on, but now he is being told over and over again how “it’s fine” and that “he should not worry.” Now, he is left with the sinking feeling that it is far from fine. Even though they keep saying it, and they may actually mean it. He might just be running in his head for no reason.

Now, I am not saying that placating someone once, or twice, is not necessary. Quite the opposite, saying something is fine, and reassuring someone that everything is fine, can help. Just know when to move on.

I know that I use a strong example, siting PTSD as the cause for the mental anguish. This can be related to depression, physical limitation, or any other limiter in someone’s life. The best way to deal with it is to initially placate, then only mention things when brought up by the party affected.

Also: know the person. I am saying all of this in a general way, but it does all apply to people who think like me. I am not implying that it would be the same for everyone. I feel as though some over placate, which can be worse than anything.

I’m Not Dead

I hope this is a good idea: I have this thought that talking about mental stress, in any capacity, is a good thing. If I am wrong, I will pull this down.

My thought process is that more conversation about anyone with mental issues will help everyone who deals with them on some level.

I have, for a very long time, dealt with my own mortality. I actually feel guilt for being alive.

Now, that does not imply that I am depressed. I actually feel this way whether I am having a good day or not. I am constantly thinking about how I am squandering aspect of life, even when I am doing everything right. I have released more albums in a period of 10 years than most people will in their entire lives. I have written a book. I do a PodCast, and I have produced a number of songs. I am married to an amazing woman. I have three beautiful dogs, and a cat that is amazing. Even this blog could be seen as an accomplishment, though even on paper, I don’t see it as anything special.

I feel constantly hounded by the fact that I am heavily in debt. Things I do don’t get the attention that I think they should. A large part of that is my examples are ludacris to live up to. I have constant reminders from other YouTube personalities, musicians, and writers who have great success and reach limits unheard of by history.

The biggest component is my health status. I get daily reminders that I am not walking. A close relationship tells me often how my seizures are self inflicted, and I believe it even though I know that they are not.

I am trying, but I feel as though that I have done this all to myself. I then start to feel horrible because there are people (friends and otherwise) who have died before they could do anything eternal. I feel as though the system wasting it’s time on me is for not. I am literally living my life because other people want me to for them.

That is something never talked about: how we don’t get reprise from life. Even on a day off, we have to make sure that we do X and Y for ourselves so we can get back to doing things to “better” humanity. It does not help that, because I am over 30 years old, I have signed a collection of confidentiality agreements to prevent my doctors explaining certain things to family and friends.

Couple this exhaustion from life with my disdain for existence, and I am having a hard time. I AM NOT DEPRESSED, but I am feeling trapped and pulled thin. I make morbid jokes because I find them hilarious. I talk about killing myself, NOT AS A CRY FOR HELP, as a way to express emotions at that time and date.

I tell everyone that I love them, because I genuinely do. I am going to start signing off every PodCast with “I love you” because I don’t hear that being uttered enough.

I know I said that I am taking a break, but I really needed to get that out.

I love you.

I think today is special…

Seven years ago, I opened my eyes after my 20-something day coma.

I say “I think” in the title, because I have been told this from my parents from very soon after I awoke. My friends tell me all sorts of days different from this. I like it being today because it’s easy to remember.

That makes me, by some accounts, seven years old. I think that’s kind of funny, seeing how I just turned 32 on the 12th.

Any-what-its… I recorded and published the next PodCast on my YouTube channel. Give it a listen, tell me I suck!

Yes, it’s posted as a video. There are no visuals. Feel free to just do something else whilst I drone on and on…

Remembrance Day

Today is a day I hold higher than any other day: even my birthday. I only learned recently that it is only recognized by the Commonwealth nations, and I find that sad.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about; Remembrance Day is a day put aside to remember military conflict, primarily the World Wars, but has extended out to any military action over the last 100 or so years. It is a day to remember the sacrifices made, the lives lost, and the peace gained.

The fact that it’s only celebrated by the Commonwealth nations makes me very upset. It is important to remember what we have achieved, both as nations and as people. I feel as though remembering the lives lost has garnered a kind of reverence in regards for life and a collective respect for the potential atrocities of war.

ANY-WHO, I just wanted to kind of explain why this day exists for those who have never heard of it before. I learned recently that it is far more than I imagined, and that makes me upset. Even if you don’t recognize it, for whatever reason, knowing what it is rates as very important: to me, anyway. The only thing that is asked is a moment of silence at 11am today.

TO MAKE IT CLEAR: Remembering the actions of the men and women who give their lives is NOT compliance with the military. I, myself, am very anti-conflict. I still recognize the importance of today because we need to learn about what went wrong in the past to make the future better.

(Tomorrow is my birthday, then starts the usual time off until the next year!)

…now for step two…

The results of the election are out. I am happy T*mp lost, but I feel that some people don’t share my sentiment for why.

I wanted T*mp out, but not to see a huge change in American policy. I think we’ll see one, but it will be mostly superficial. So many of the issues noticed by the populace have been things in place for over a century. Biden, though I honestly do think there will be huge changes, needed to take over T*mp because T*mp was the issue. The way he conducted himself just made it socially acceptable to be a bigot and a liar.

I would love to be proven wrong. Obviously, it is still way too soon to tell exactly what is going to happen. The racist and homophobic moron needed to be ousted. He was dangerous, stupid, buffoon-like, and fascist. I am not even pointing anything new out, and I was very isolated from a majority of his decisions because I don’t even live in the States.

That brings me heavy handed to my next point: well, it’s more a question. Do the States not realize just how poorly the world viewed his policies? Yes, he was just a figurehead, but his actions made that very clear to the rest of the world for the first time in my life. Even Bush Jr. seemed a better leader, and that’s saying something. He decisions were dangerous, he could be pointed at for the deaths that shadow 9/11, and he made stupid allegations when he lost the election that threatened democracy.

I’m not even a huge fan of democracy, but he challenged the populace on their voting tattics, questioned their validity, and seemed geared to make himself a “leader” for another term. The fact that the vote was so close just amplifies how stupid all of this is.

Okay, I’ve lost my point in the midst of my angry rants.

Oh, right! I wanted to say that Biden probably will not illicit huge changes on the ground floor, but his respect on the world stage is already making the difference. T*mp made politics a spectator sport, for lack of a better term. We, internationally, would read headlines to mock the States and the backwards bullshit that came to the forefront. Biden has become immediately famous because his VP is a black woman. Seriously: this is a fact that should not matter. Since it does, we see just how backward the American view on, not just race, but gender really and truly is.

Goddamn, I cannot even finish my paragraph about how I have reclaimed my opinion without going on another angry tangent about how archaic the American system is.

Okay, that’s it. I will now concede my rants and leave my American readers with this:
Your emotional support Canadians are still here, and fuck knows that people from other countries feel the same. Things will change. Kamila sounds amazing on paper, and we have great hopes for the upcoming year. T*mp was a dictator, and Biden sounds like he is going to be much better. The bar for improvement is very low, however. Things will not change overnight. We are here for you.

(Image in regards to Spec Ops: The Line. Fantastic commentary on war, the human psyche, and video games in general.)