Margin Notes

by on July 18, 2014

When the air is thick with damp and pollen and damp pollen, and my lungs go “wheez-hack-crackle-popless with each breath, and I’m huffing HELLbuterol just to not be dashing dead boy, I think to myself often that life would be infinitely better if I’d have only chosen to be born a pepper-mill. The satisfaction of crunching and grinding things all day… of making hungry people, too eager, sneeze their innards out into their no-longer-vegan supper, the way that I’m large and sturday and made of oak and could easily split a man’s skull that one time he talked back last summer. Yeah… Next time I wont choose the asthma… I dunno what kinda snake oil peddler’s spin got me saddled up with Kersee and Piggie…

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Hi.
My name is Cazz.
I’m afraid of permanence.
I’m afraid of doing something I can’t take back.
Afraid of regret,
Afraid of being stuck.
Afraid to give too much to the wrong thing
and not enough to the right thing.
Afraid to wait when I should go,
Afraid to go when I should stand still.
I’m afraid I’m going too fast when I should slow down,
…or not fast enough.
I’m afraid of addiction,
afraid of dependence,
afraid to give in when I should take out….
Most of all I’m afraid i could hurt someone because I’m scared.
Afraid of being left behind,
Afraid of running out of time
Afraid of never finding a way,
Afraid I might not make it through the day
Afraid of being lonely.
…Afraid of loss
My name is Cazz
and I’m afraid of permanence

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Post image for Damon Frost “tHE eXPLAIN mY dRIVE eP” (2014 Accidental Records)

tHE eXPLAIN mY dRIVE eP, the oddly capitalized EP by London’s Damon Frost, is truly hard to classify. Between lo-fi downtempo beats and glitchy, freaky synth, Damon Frost finds a niche that I find both interesting and satisfying. I love chopped-up, nonsensical samples and this EP has plenty of that, along with some truly sick fucking bass to boot. Full of elements of dubstep and glitch, ambient and downtempo synth, this EP is both fun to listen to and an absolutely unique experience.

Is it dark and minimal? Is it poppy and funky? It’s all of that and a whole hell of a lot more. The second track really stands out with its explosive 8-bit glitch and hip hop samples, but this entire EP is really fucking rad. It’s not easy to make something that is at once genreless and totally listenable, but Damon Frost does just that. Peep this weird-ass shit. – Bryun J Van Hyning

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Post image for “No World Peace: The Return Of Morrissey” By William Kennedy

World Peace is None of Your Business is Morrissey’s best record since—Kill Uncle. I bet you didn’t think I was going to say that. While Morrissey’s underrated 2nd solo studio album is at times musically underwhelming and quickly dated, Kill Uncle is in many ways Morrissey at his best: dyspeptic humor (“Our Frank”, “King Leer”), quirky character sketches (“Mute Witness”, “Asian Rut” and “Driving Your Girlfriend Home”) and romantic self-absorption (“Found, Found, Found” and “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends”.)

Since then, Moz has done great work, Vauxhall and I being arguably his best record either solo or with The Smiths. Kill Uncle in many ways marks the end of Morrissey the shy, neurotic, unknowable bedsit poet of Salford and the beginning of Morrissey the rock star—albeit a cult level rock star in most of America—but internationally a bona-fide megastar by any standard.

Morrissey’s recent albums: You Are The Quarry, Ringleader of The Tormentors, and Years of Refusal form the Moz Angeles trilogy: when Morrissey got tan, laid (allegedly) and happy(er). For the devoted, and there are many, any Morrissey record is better than no Morrissey record, but these albums—despite many high points—have been largely forgotten for the man’s still formidable live show.

And lyrically, the Moz Angeles trilogy still outwit the vast majority of pop songwriters, but on-balance slip into camp theatricality at best and self-parody at worst. Which brings us now to World Peace.

After a 5-year break, and at the not so tender age of 55, the record demarcates the turning of another page in the artist’s career—bringing back some familiar things, and introducing a gentle—in a word “older”—perspective on the man’s usual list of gripes and inspirations; an autumnal-tone not heard since the aforementioned Vauxhall, this time scented authentic with actual age.

Track one: “World Peace is None Of Your Business” finds Moz at his most didactically political over a Phil Spektor-era Righteous Brothers shuffle. The track is a tightly and lushly produced mini-orchestra that kicks the record off emphatically. Moz doesn’t mince words (at this point I don’t blame him) and the bluntness sometimes clangs; but Morrissey still sings for the underdog (Egypt, Ukraine) and you can’t fault him that.

Elsewhere, the sludgy and mysterious “Neal Cassady Drops Dead”, the fantastic “Staircase at the University” (only Moz could make a student’s suicide funny), and “Mountjoy” (referencing the jail Irish poet Brenden Behan served time in) are the return of the narrative character sketch.

After years in LA and a respite in Rome, Morrissey again is in love with Europe—though his love/hate relationship with England is entirely absent. World Peace was recorded in France, and Istanbul shows Mozzer’s way with words can still astound: “I lean into a box of pine/Identify the kid is mine.” And with “Oboe Concerto” and “I Am Not A Man”, the confessional self-absorption returns without resorting to the usual “nobody loves me” refrain.

Musically, Boz Boorer, Jesse Tobias and Gustavo Manzur give Morrissey his most delicate and varied backdrop the singer’s had in ages. Moz even tips his hat to his Latin fanbase (“The Bullfighter Dies” and “Earth is The Loneliest Planet”) while steering well clear of pandering. The production on the record supplied by Joe Chiccarelli allows for an autumnal, contemplative quiet not heard in years.

From Staircase: “Crammin’, jammin’, pack-em-in rammin’ Chock-a-block box, power study, polish up”—not high poetry, but shows the man still loves words, and he reels them off with charm in a voice as good as ever. These days, Moz seems content to be less pop’s poet laureate and more the aging, clever rhymer—a few pints in at the bar—amusing his audience with wordplay and making them weep with some frequently still devastating zingers: “Victim or life’s adventurer, which of the two are you?” he sings in “Neal Cassady”. And with a simple: “We all lose” over synthesized cello and acoustic guitar in “Mountjoy”, Morrissey is as emotionally wrenching as he’s ever been.

Years ago, after the success of the brilliant Viva Hate and the sting of The Smiths demise still fresh, Kill Uncle was exactly what we didn’t expect to hear from Morrissey. And at this point the strange, off kilter, emotionally upended World Peace might just be what we didn’t know we wanted from him now. And like the great, cantankerous and antagonistic artists of the past: he gave it to us anyway.

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Eugene area punk, indie, folk, metal and rock shows. Get some. Click once for save-able file, twice to view BIG.July16cal

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