On October 18th, I was supposed to go with my friend Tyler to see MDC at Belvederes. I was really excited to go because I don't go to a lot of straightforward punk shows. The day before the show, or maybe the day before that, I realized there was a major conflict for me: Arto Lindsay was playing at the Warhol Museum on the same day and around the same time. Since I've already seen MDC, a while ago with Subhumans at the Rex Theater, I knew I had to see Arto's band. His creepy-crawly, slashed guitar sound was a huge inspiration for me when I was in high school and inspired my playing in the band Belt of Venus. Also, when was he ever here on tour?

I got to the show right when it started. Beauty Pill had just begun to play. I had only heard of this band when I first saw this show was announced a few months before, so I had no existing experience with them. Beauty Pill reminds me of dance-punk bands from a decade ago or artists that morph between several genres like Beck or Björk. They sound like a band that could be on WYEP but might be a little too out there at the same time; it straddled the line between academic middle-of-the-road and weird art-punk. The songs were somewhat subdued but often pushed forth as they played longer into it. I really enjoyed the strange samples played by the frontwoman, but the bass was a little loud. Beauty Pill definitely set the mood for the main event.

The second and final act was Arto Lindsay himself, accompanied by a percussionist, bass player, drummer, and keyboardist. Arto handled the vocals and outbursts of his wild guitar, a sparse seasoning for each song that primarily relied on the other members. The bass player, the legendary Melvin Gibbs, provided heavy, pulsing rhythms and squirming electro-worm sounds via what appeared to be Moogerfooger Ring Modulator with an expression pedal. I really need to get one of those pedals for mine! The keyboard player had some trouble hearing the bass player at the beginning, but his playing never off. Constantly smiling, he provided an upbeat counterpoint to the rest. The percussionist and drummer made the coolest rhythms, not the standard 4/4 that I love; this was something unique, at least to me. Arto's guitar sounded as dangerous as ever, even with a full band behind him playing soulful songs far from the dread dead zone of DNA. It was a great show. I felt like I transcended my normal anxiety into a very aware state of bliss.

After the show, I talked with Arto for a second and thanked him for his work with DNA and the show that night. I got the setlist from Melvin Gibbs too! It's written in such a fanciful cursive, some of the songs in Portuguese. I talked with some friends for a bit, and I wondered if I could, or should have, asked Arto for a picture or autograph, but I really didn't want to bother him. It sounds kind of cliche, but really seeing his band meant a lot to me, and that was enough.

I went to a Halloween covers show on Saturday, October 14th. I usually miss these for various reasons, but I really wanted to see the bands at this show. Also, many of my friends were playing, so I knew it would be fun.

I wore a costume that was like a vampire/sorcerer/masquerade attendee. I brought a red masquerade mask, but I did not wear it. Someone compared me to a character from The Lost Boys, which was kind of what I was going for. Originally, I had wanted to create this alien costume I had in mind, but I could not find most of my makeup or some of the prosthetics I would need. It was interesting to ride my bike wearing a cape, skirt, and high-heeled boots.

I got to the show right on time, and the first band to play covered the Cranberries. I am not a huge fan of the Cranberries, though I don't hate them either; I'm just neutral on them. I felt the same way about this. They did a good job with the covers, though I wish there was a full band to add to the sound, especially for songs like "Zombie". Instead it was just two acoustic guitars and two singers. It's tough to get Dolores O'Riordan's vocal style right.

The second band (SFX + Weird Paul and Greg Cislon) covered Pavement.I actually didn't really know any of the songs, or I at least couldn't make them out. I have only heard the first Pavement album though. I liked seeing Weird Paul as a shout-y background vocalist. It was a fun set to see even if I didn't know what they were playing.

The third band was like a supergroup and covered The Donnas. I liked this set. The Donnas have the same kind of sound as The Ramones, The Runaways, and Shonen Knife, all of whom I like a lot. Everybody looked the part here, and they had funny stage banter. I will have to check out the real Donnas more.

The fourth band covered Ween. Their bass player didn't show up, so my friend Mae filled in. She was flawless. The band was really exciting to watch, and I liked the goofy costume and the spot-on vocals. It was another really fun set.

The fifth band (holy cow! and there is still one more!) covered Def Leppard. This band was The Telephone Line, whom I had first seen at Ladyfest this year. They had some really funny costumes with the big hair that everybody expects for a band like Def Leppard. The singer sounded amazing! I was so impressed when she hit all of the high notes, low notes, long notes, and all of the other notes.

Finally, Dumplings (and friends) covered The Damned! This was the set I was most excited to see, and it did not disappoint. It even exceeded my expectations. Jon looked very, very much like Dave Vanian, and the band sounded very good, very close to the real Damned whom members of Dumplings and I saw earlier this year. The crowd was so energized by this performance. People sang along and slam danced and all of that stuff. I hope that Dumplings cover some of these songs in their normal sets.

The Halloween cover show was really fun. It was very laid back and just generally a good time with all very good bands. It was fun to wear a costume too. I had some ideas for playing at this show actually, earlier in the year, but they all fell thru. Maybe next year I will get something together.

Last week, on Friday the 13th, 2017, I went to see a show at Howlers. I was excited to see Dorothy 6, Dan's country band that I have never seen before, and Aloe, a band that I enjoy a whole lot. However, when I was about to leave for the show, I saw that Dorothy 6 had already started and that the show was not starting an hour after the scheduled event time like most things do. I think this is actually not a good move; I always think of the event time as the time that the doors open. This was all in the event description on Facebook though, so I should have read it more thoroughly.

I zoomed out of the house, trying to rocket all the way to Howlers, but Aloe started before I got there. As I was parking my bike, I saw that they were playing a My Bloody Valentine-esque song. "Wow, I don't think I have ever heard this one before," I thought to myself, "and it sounds really great!" When I had got through the door and into the band room, they were done, pretty much right on the nose. Damn.

I did get to see Lady Bizness, the touring band from NYC, and The Park Plan. Lady Bizness is a really interesting band that I didn't like at first, though they really, really grew on me over the length of their set. The band is only guitar, drums, and vocals. The guitar had a grunge/hard-rock tone, which was the main thing that turned me off at first, playing simpler chord progressions with a lot of energetic fills. I liked the drums, and the singer had a cool style. The songs were tough with a Bikini Kill cover and that's a good benchmark for their sound, though Lady Bizness is its own band. I always enjoy seeing minimalism work out so well with all of the energy in these songs!

The Park Plan was also great. They had a few guest vocalists, including Steph from The Lopez. I really liked seeing those collaborations. A lot of their songs are about street harassment, and the singer mentioned that she wrote many of them while walking. I write most of my songs in the same way but not on that subject. It is an important subject and one that is obviously on many minds, as we can see from the "Me Too" posts about sexual assault and harassment on Facebook recently. I disagree if you are going to tell me that it's just people being political to be trendy. Anyway, I really enjoyed all of the instruments in this band, the house right guitar most of all with its jangly rhythms and flying solos. The bass was really good too. Also, I want to point out that the bass and house right guitar just look so cool, orange and metallic pink respectively.

I'm glad I saw Lady Bizness and The Park Plan. They were very enjoyable, cool bands to see that you should probably check out. I am disappointed to have missed Aloe and Dorothy 6, who you should both also check out; I still have to listen to the latter. The lesson here could be to always read events and stuff, but clearly, the fault lies on this notoriously unlucky day. Sometimes we are all cursed by the stars and the cosmic entities that lie beyond. Watch out for those things! And, yeah, always read the darn event!

Back in 2014, I played a show at Garfield Artworks with Guillermo Pizarro, Christopher Feltner, Stephen Palke, and Ali & the Haitians. I don't remember much about the show. Recently, in the last month or two, I saw that Guillermo Pizarro had released a new album that seemed to be semi-blowing up across the noise groups on Facebook or at least was being talked about by various friends in "the scene". I figured I'd check it out.

The cover art of Harmonic Poems brings the viewer to a strange barren cabin room, the kind that might exist in a modern horror film. There is a focus on the strange chair, perhaps the seating for a garrulous ghost. It's quite a bleak, ghastly image and a good display of what will be heard when the musick is set in motion.

Harmonic Poems starts with "My Guest", sounds the crackling of wood, the invitation to a dark house as pictured on the cover. It is a slow burn, erupting into booms and crashes that sub-octavely pained me to listen to. I had to take off my headphones to hear all the creaky, creepy sounds without like losing my hearing. This track is still incredibly painful and probably damaging to speakers. It's certainly going to an interesting level, but I kind of don't like it for the levels it goes to. The next track, "A Room With A View", scares me. The high-pitched tones and strange screeches made me fear what might come next, but then it just stopped. There were just the sounds of typing or rattling shutters or clicking buttons and switches before the tones returned with more monstrous sounds too. And then everything stopped, and a voice spoke amidst explosions. The voice creeped me out, talking directly to me. I really felt scared. It was dark at night, I was alone in my house, and I almost gave up listening to the album right there.

I'm glad I toughed it out. "Aokigahara" has a different kind of space. It is still a scary space filled with the murmurs of the unliving surrounded by rattling bells, but this one is not claustrophobic. There is air to breath, maybe at the risk of one's health, and there is a space to get lost into. It's really not a good place to get lost though - Aokigahara is the suicide forest of Japan. It really isn't good for your health to be there. The creaking sounds, lost violins on the winds of the damned, build as the track goes on. I became afraid again. "Aokigahara Pt. II" features more violin, more cries, and rain. The violin provides more of a song than before, but the samples are a little much. The cries, which become somewhat annoying by the end, and the storm, drown out the sound of the violin. I don't think it works particularly well.

"Wind Horn (Kaze no Denwa)" recalls another morbid Japanese cultural artifact - a disconnected rotary phone on the shores of the Pacific Ocean to call to those lost in the tsunami of 2011. This track was interesting but the harsh noise blows everything out again. It kind of works here, but I feel like it is strange to use these types of sounds when referencing something solemn like that. I really like the droning sounds that go thru the rest of the track; I wish that was the main focus. When this track ended, I became acutely aware of the fan blowing in the other room. It seemed so loud all of a sudden. I quickly went back to focusing on the album, somewhat unnerved again.

"13 Years - Deep Creek Blues" is the final track. It starts with one or more field recordings, seemingly someone walking through a creek bed surrounded by animals and flies. The same voice from earlier begins to talk, very low and rough. The man says something about going down to the creek, but it's hard to make out the rest amidst all of the other sounds. I don't particularly like the separation of the sounds, obviously sourced from multiple sources. The voice sounds so robotic; of course, that's kind of the big reveal I guess. The track ends in a flood of Iommi-esque guitar and black metal vox.

Harmonic Poems is really an interesting album. It really does try something experimental. There is a narrative, but it doesn't consume the entire album. There are a lot of different sounds in relatively few tracks as well, ambient to metal to harsh noise. Unfortunately the production gets in the way. I didn't like the harsh, blown-out, digital sound of the various samples and effects used. It felt claustrophobic and somewhat jarring with the rest of the track, though on "A Room With A View", it helped create a particular fear. The levels seem off to me; it's hard to hear various sections that seem important. I did enjoy the album, though I also find it hard to listen to. Harmonic Poems tries something different; I don't think it is totally successful, but it made a good effort. Harmonic Poems gets a Good.

I apologize for the lack of updates recently. There have been a few major, negative changes recently, so I'm not in the best mood. I also haven't actually gone to any shows in a bit. There are still plenty of albums and EPs and singles and videos to review for now, though. Today, let's talk about Water Your Waiting For by the Miami Dolphins.

The cover art is quite a thing of majesty. I think the band is standing in front of a greenscreen that displays industry overtaking a pleasant valley. The Springsteen-esque text and the umbrella really make this what it is. I also really enjoy the toxic colors.

The album starts with a short "Intro" that recalls the false 50s pleasantries of the same kind of intro from The Dead Kennedys' Plastic Surgery Disasters. "Flouride", the next track, warns us of conspiracy paranoia, the truth in the untruth. What can we really trust as true? I'm not worried about fluoride in water, but there is much to worry about that the government does do. Going from a rollicking, jumpy off-ness, the song turns into a more forward rocker with a more deadly message. "Connect the Dots" sounds like Björk fronting the Minutemen, and that might be a good summary of the majority of the album. There are nice melodies here amidst the chaotic musick. I like the staccato guitar attack in the middle and the remainder of the song's breaking down. "Kill Them All and Take Their Money" has a great chord progression. It recalls Bo Diddley with its asking of, "Who do you love?" This song makes me worried about my own future. The vocalist does a great job though. "Map Off" really sounds like the Minutemen, especially "Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing". I like the goofy doo-wop backing vocals, but the song is pretty dark, ricocheting back and forth. "Protect the Children and Drain Your Boat" starts so deathly - "Nobody wants to go to war! Doesn't mean we shouldn't do it." As I mentioned in my review of the show Miami Dolphins played at Roboto, this song heavily reminds me of the ancient Pittsburgh band The Cardboards. Eventually the band shifts to a collage of voices complaining about the dryness of a hamburger. This is a dense song with a lot to hear; you'll need to do some extra listens or fail the class.

"It Goes On" comes in much different than the earlier songs. It's like a straightforward punk song. "Let the roads crumble and rivers dry". "Kill our parents, take their money, more, more and more". These are true words for the world we live in, espoused as the song descends into wild guitar and fading feedback. "Speak Up" also comes in strong with heavy drums and rocking guitars. The vocals harmonies are strong and impressive here, self-conversing to where I feel like I gobbled a popsicle and am a little froze up. "Bootstraps" sounds like a cleaner Sonic Youth before it goes off dreamily into despair. "Great Deals" comes in like a wild boar, crunching, beating heaviness. Then it breaks off, seperating like a sea hewn in two by a legendary mystic talking about consumerism. The song ends back in the noise heavies. "Miami Oh Yeah" is a little piece of the repeated title phrase through a vocoder and maybe accompanied by a jaw harp. "Interlude"  has a bunch of people talking, mostly a somewhat naive male speaker who seems like he only started looking into different types of economic systems. The title track, "Water Your Waiting For", ends the album. It recalls the initial paranoia with talk of chemtrails. It's a dramatic piece, maybe with some kind of lap steel guitar or horns or something in the background. It makes a fitting end to a difficult album. "Too many dollars and not enough sense". Yep.

Water Your Waiting For is deep, deep water. An orange man would say something like "the deepest! we have the deepest depths! our depths are the best!" That is one of the few times that I agree with that orange man, even though it's just a thing I wrote. Really I'm just agreeing with myself, and that might be a very orange man thing to do. Miami Dolphins make some wild musick on this album that really makes you think hard, and yr brain might sink like a stone into those deep depths. These songs challenge what we know to be true and what we wonder about being true to come to a real conclusion. The production is good, the songs are excellent, and Water Your Waiting For gets a Good. It's one of my favorite albums of the year.

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