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Cincinnati, Ohio, 1st Midwest

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I Was There The Day America DIED!

"Hope you got your things together. 
Hope you are quite prepared to die.

Looks like we're in for nasty weather. 
One eye is taken for an eye."
—from "Bad Moon on The Rise" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

I fully expected Donald Trump to be victorious in the 2016 Republican Primaries giving him momentum to his eventual election. It's not what I want, but what I expect. America is mad, violent and pissed-off place—in one way or the other. Compassion is an endangered idea. Deceit is rampant. Socialism is a 'bad word' and often confused with Communism and Fascist principles. The Anti-PC backlash gives permission to be mean, rude and when used in relation with ageism, racism and the class system—has the people more divided than ever. Money, gold and oil hold even more importantance. George Orwells 'Two-Minutes of Hate' concept from his novel 1984 seems far surpassed in the amount of time spent on such a thing. Just two-minutes would appear to be a blessing!

Although this shit-storm presidential election process is just getting started, and Trump maybe victorious after-all, the sense of doom amoung myself and most of my peers has already set in deep and quite possibly may have nothing to do with Trumps election, but just part of the current American Zeigeist. In trying to capture that feeling, I fashioned the Trump Doom image from an image found on the Internet in the same vein as then famous Obama Hope image from the 2008 election. Use this image freely and accordingly.

Below is a fresh belles-lettrest writing encompanasing many of the foreboding doomness that I'm feeling. In reference to one of my favorite parts in one of my favorite movies Woodstock "Get off the towers, man... A storm is coming... Get off the towers!  Hold onto your neighbor everybody... Everybody chant: No Rain! No Rain! No Rain!"

The rainstorm of course came, but the storm was weathered...


On the horizon of a stereo-moon... Kiss yourself goodnight and say "See you soon!" [Please] Note: the species of imaginative screens and the way they seem... It's been days since crime has been privatized and no one can see the difference! Their bloodshot greedy, glazed eyes don't miss a thing. The expiration date of a secret is your attention span divided by two. Do the math if you have too.

Terror fills the heights, in disguise of flying knives.

Attention-Slaves of the lowly hum... Together as a sum; the same way the tribes played their drums... The age of distraction has no hold on the dream of traction. The sea of possibility leaves you stranded hundreds of miles inland turning the turnstiles of a new plastic flavored path... Written in a cryptic note found inside a bag of potato chips "My super weapons can beat up your super weapons." 

All of it withheld, soft-licks provide you just a taste of you are... Evil finds a way. The worst is sometimes the best that's offered. Get a beer or two... Watch the news.  Every time you hear the word 'Hero' take a drink... The solem rainbows... The hissing rainbows... The contemptuous rainbows. High on promise, low on proof... Travelling at the speed of a Dollar-Menu meal-deal twisted like a shining wheel. "Do you want fries with that?"

Double-down when the bubble drowns and declare this zone free from trouble. Just as doomed as the Ravens squeal... XXXX, with their belly full on the doves in-flight, in spite of everything—It's gonna be alright! If we have to die, we die in plain sight. Then leave it up to the zeros, posng in bent light. Armed with a bitter pill and drinking swill... Without a fight... It will go down, at a meter of alright.

Evil always needs an audience, so please take your seats. You are currently the 8th most terrifying vampire in a list of seven. Good try though... I was there when America died and it smelled like fried chicken.

Monday, February 1, 2016

At The Comet on January 30th 2016...

"My Son, he rents when he should be buying. 
My son, he rides a bus when he should be driving."
—from "My Son" by B.P.A. on Maybe Use My Knife" CD

I hate the first really warm day of the year. The fickleness of Greater Cincinnati's citizens leads to wearing shorts, buying ice cream, washing cars and drive haphazardly. You know, it's just basically going outside. It's sooo typical.

If not for my all-time local favorite art-punk heroes By Products of America (BPA) playing the book release for a new Aurore Press offering titled Blue Jay Slayer, I would have stayed home; inside, drinking ice coffee and watching re-runs of/and Baskets and The Expanse; two TV shows that I can't get enough of—just like Arbys Curley Fries.

It's been a while since I've been 'out in the scene' or seen BPA. In fact, too long. Their set was near-flawless. Loud, droning, noisy and chaotic; I was invigorated that they included older hits like "My Son" and the best live version of "Forensic Dentist" I've yet to hear, but newer songs that are developing into prospects of a completely new full-length that should be ready, according to Tim Benz, by 2036. Immediately, their new songs reeked of a heavy influence of The Fall—with slight leanings toward a refined take of reggae dub that BPA pushed forward into uncharted territory. There's a reason why BPA are 'Top5' in my Thwart Top 40 Influential Punk Songs and on this night, BPA proved why!

Water is my choice drink of the night but The Comets back deck ('Colorado') lured me. Eventually, I succumbed... Charged with a heightened sense of paranoia and released from the confines of my cinder-brick feet, I 'let go' and let the night degenerate into comics and random situationist sloganeering via pen and paper with myself, AB1 and Lo-Fi City's C.I.C. (commander-in-chief) Johnathan S. providing end results (of which follow in all their abstract-destructionist glory.

I can say that the rest of the bands kept the energy up, inspired more drawings and captured ears repeatedly. 

Louisville, Kentucky's Xerxes brought to mind early sped-up Interpol mixed with The Rakes. They played a great live show and sounded more interesting and held better attention than their bandcamp offerings—in my humble opinion. With over 11k likes on FB, I'd figure more than five guys in baseball caps bobbing their head in unison would have show up. This is a good spot to blame the warm day.

I had a difficult time keeping up with the other two bands and exactly who they were, but over-all, they were good listens. My lack of remembering their names is by no means a reflection of their impact or ability. I was literally on my own plane of existence. I was 'aiming high and floating low.' Really though, who needs a memory anyway when they can just look-up FB invites post-event?

I suppose it's even more cliché to say that 7 Speed Vortex (7SV) brought to mind early Go-Go's demo works , because of the lady fem-fronter and all—but they did—and that's a good thing! Reverbnation samplings of 7SVs' 1998 release Hard Luck Din are closer to their indie-noise pop label, but still—easy on the ears and something that I'd like to hear more of. I should have went and checked out the merch table but my negative bank account kept me rooted. Drawing like a madman. I really liked the energy and edgy-ness of 7SVs' live sound and look foreword to them (hopefully) playing lots more shows.

Clifford Nevernew, a band that I remember being a 90's precursor to Squirtgun, has refined their pop-punk sound into more of a oblation to the mighty return of power-pop. Their set was fast, tight and prophetic. I believe that power-pop and its return is imminent but in the meantime, Clifford Nevernew will serve as its local representatives.

The ride home was populated with thoughts and worries that the conspiracy theory known as Agenda 21 was beginning at Rinks Flea-Market in Mt. Healthy, while a really great song—which turned out to be a cut on (and form) a show called The Grateful Dead Hour (or something similar to that) on WNKU—gave the ride a sense of urgency. Yeah, it didn't mix well. My paranoia pulsed like a heartbeat as I was glad to have decided on the way to The Comet, take 'the back way' to my safe suburban home.

Negative bank account be dammed! This show was worth emptying the gas tank!



Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Tigerlillies - 123456

Always seemingly out of nowhere, Cincinnatis own 'Other Pop' enthusiast, College/Modern Rock/Alternative music survivors—whatever or however you want to call them—The Tigerlillies, once again acting with surprise in their favor, unleash a follow-up to their full-length In The Dark CD with 123456; their latest sonic offering in the form of an extended player.

Other-Pop (as I see it as the bastard evolution of The Embarrassments Blister-Pop) is the way I choose to describe (not label) this release: Another non-existent genre of music (that I just-now coined) that inevitably someone reading this will react by rolling their eyes about... Now. That is, if they already haven't. Not because Other-Pop dosent fit, or isn't witty enough, but because they didn't think of it first.

To call 123456 'Indie' seems wrong and out of place... Even, perhaps, an understatement. The Tigerlillies deserve better than that!

It's not a matter of respect for this bands longevity or their ability to weather and endure... Ever progressing still, the band (once again—in my own words) that always was, who I feel like I have always seen on flyers since my earliest days going to local shows, has earned it.

There's no reason why The Tigerlillies shouldn't be heard on the [new] 105.9 fm WNKU which is (thank the heavens above) sounding more and more like the sorely-missed [Old] Future of Rock and Roll™ 97.7 WOXY, and their local music promise to play a local band—at least one—every hour. 

If I can hear bands like Sacred Spirits, The Fairmount Girls and The Pomegranits more than once each in easy listening whilst completing chores around town—if I can read e-mails and Facebook™ post from comrades telling me they heard my name used in conjunction with a Buffalo Killers related radio-spot on said station—then why hear The Tigerlillies not WNKU?*

After all, 123456 does contain a tribute to David Bowie titled (be fittingly enough) "Bowie" pre-dating his demise.* Brian Driscoll (Tigerlillies bass-player) describes the stand-out jam "Our first ode to another musician." Which subtlety suggest that there will be more in the future.

Times come and go, and that includes real and even the BS genres I create, develop and continually alienate myself with. Just when Planet Cincinnati turns their head, The Tigerlillies prevail once again delivering beautifully excited Television-esq guitar riffs mixed with a delivery reminding me of Document era R.E.M. and the nearly forgotten Material Issue.

Returning with verily noticeable charm that The Tigerlillies unknowingly brandish, 123456 exhibits a sharp edge of optimistic energy. When asked, Brian responds "I think this group of songs may be slightly less angstly if you will. Take a song like "Darlin"... It's a slower song, think VU or even 50's style do-wop in structure and cadence."

Expanding inward and showing a deeper level of development, Brian adds: "Although the Tigerlilies 'thread' still runs through these songs, the tone and tempos are perhaps more varied."

On 123456 The Tigerlillies pierces your ears like a cleverly unsuspecting placed assassination shot to the ear. Bands like The Tigerlillies has provided examples of how to be a band in the sometimes insular Cincinnati scene that many musicians and fellow bands today utilize from the well-established, to the cut-your-teeth basement venues, without noticing or fully and truly understanding.

After all, it had to come from somewhere and with output like 123456, The Tigerlillies make it look easy. 

Even if it's not.


The Tigerlillies on Facebook

The Tigerlillies at MOTR Pub in Cincinnati

*This has been thankfully rectified. Thank you WNKU!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Day David Bowie Died.

I entered the morning of Monday, January 11th, originally, at approximately 4:30 am after hearing a garbage can, my garbage can, after its emptying and subsequent slamming to the ground, making a verily hearable THUD accompanied by the sound of the trash trucks compactor-motor whirring afterwards smashing the trash into its cargo-bay. A bit ago, I remember actually watching them from a spot in a warming-up pick-up truck some Monday mornings, but this morning of the 11th, I got up, took a raging piss, and got right back into the bed. Still, let the record show, that work-damage has left its mark. Even now, early in my golden retirement years, by instinct, I still wake-up at nearly the same time every morning reminiscent of the times I would drag myself from point A and onwards, for 10+ hours Monday thru Friday (and sometimes Saturday) bringing me full-circle from fatigue, frustration and self-loathing to even MORE fatigue, frustration and self-loathing—or I did... Now, I just get back in the bed and dread how cold it's gonna be when I actually do awaken and get bundled-up to bring in the empty trash-can(s).

I awaken again, still early even by my retirement standards, near 7am. I was dreaming about record shopping at an art show in the Akron Town Hall that was curated by Mark Mothersbaugh who is still selling 7"s for $3.00. Kenneth H.3 is there and we are both drinking beer—ice-cold Miller Lites— directly from the can.

"Hey! You! It's all over the internet that David Bowie has died of cancer and it appears to be true." Julie, my wife, whispering in another breathy-tone. Breaking news to me by arousing me from my sleep for a second (now documented) time since our union in 2006. This time though, unlike in my lettrest/prose written work Gentle Whispers, that talks of the time she broke the news to me that Osama Bin Laden was killed—no erection.

I recounted to myself, while still laying in bed, reluctant to release myself from its warmth, how just a few days ago Bowie had a birthday and album release. Like everyone else, we both watched the Ziggy Stardust concert on VH1 and made secret promises to each other of staying far, far away from his new album, Blackstar. After all, everyone has a Bowie album that becomes their personal border marking when they officially stopped buying Bowie records. Despite the occasional, exceptional good song... Like "Blue Jean" (my behind the border favourite) or my dads all-time favourite Bowie track, "Let's Dance"— A jam that solidified my Dads belief and declaration that David Bowie was one, of only a handful of musicians that could not only play a guitar with gloves on, but play so well that he could (in his own words) "Make the guitar talk." We all have a point of no Bowie return and sporadic exceptions.

Say what you want, but my Dad... Not only did he invent the term 'Hip-Hop' but also foreseen—while leaving the movie theatres in 1983 after seeing Return of the Jedi— that Hamill, Fischer and Ford would all be in their 60's and 70's when they would finish the movie series... A prophecy that has come-to-pass just recently with the re-birth of the Star Wars series as witnessed in The Force Awakens blockbuster brought to you by the fine folks at Disney.

Talking to the uber-honorful Troy T. over corporate coffee, I explained how watching what would become the last Bowie video(s) ever for Bowies jam "Lazarus" and the albums title track "Blackstar" that Bowie would give conspiracy theorist and Illuminati Exposers ample material to work with for years, if not decades, to come.

Monday afternoon, post Troy and myself and our post-corporate corporate-thrift store shopping, I still found myself reflecting heavily on Bowie. I'm not sure what I was originally thinking when I activated Siri and asked her about Bowies passing, but it doesn't really matter. Due to the beautiful failure of technology that is known as Abstract Dictation, I was led down yet another odd path due to its mysterious way of working.

Siri told me, with what I defined as confidence, that as far as it knew, David Bowie was still alive and given me a list of links to prove it! 

"SIRI!!!" I spoke louder, slower and clearer " I got bad news for you, David Bowie is DEAD! He has DIED!" 

Siri, being either a sentiment, living, thinking, loving but stubborn and mean life-form OR just another stupid dumb computer gimmick—shown me the sentence I asked as it heard:

"Siri I got bad news for you, do you could go is infected" which was totally wrong but its confident, snide answer.

"I'm just trying to help you."  Fuuuuckkkk! I thought quietly to myself trying to make a conscious effort to watch my 'bad' language around my seven-year old who, when frustrated with her seven-month old Great Pyrenees Mountain-Dog 'puppy' named Micanopy, liberally uses the words Boner, Rascal and Bastard to voice her frustration with him and his antics.

As they say on Project Runway, Vanderpump Rules and Below Deck, my discussion with Siri was getting serious... "Shit just got real!"

"NO SIRI. DAVID BOWIE IS DEAD! BOWIE! DEAD!" I spoke even louder and slower garnering full-attention from my nearby wife and daughter. 

Quick to respond, Siri stated "Here's what I found on the web for 'No Siri, David Billy is dead. David Billy Carter.'" Then provided more links with most of the links referencing President Billy Carter. 

Growing more frustrated, I continued my efforts justifying my repetitive attempts thinking that someone has to give Siri the bad news, so that someone might as well be me. "Siri, David Bowie: the Musician, is dead!" 

You know, its funny how some people, seemingly, like to be first to tell people bad news. It's not a bad trait. Julie, had first told me of Osama Bin Ladens death... She told me of David Bowies death... Inadvertently so, I was this person to Siri. 

"I don't know how to respond to that." FINALLY! I got through to Siri after-all! I seen this response from Siri as was what I thought of as a human type of response. Being left speechless seemed fitting concerning the sudden shock of Bowie dying. I left this part of the day feeling more on the arguments side of Siri being a sentient consciousness rather than just being dumb, mean or a ruse.

My procrastination of my grocery trip to Kroger was (still) imminent so I committed myself to cleaning the sparse, overnight snowfall from the trusty Cavalier, as well as retrieving those lingering trashcans before departing. I'd rather it be Bowies passing that left a gloomy feeling over the day as evening approached and my trip to Kroger, rather than the recent Bengals play-off loss and the looming threat of more (minuscule amounts) of snow a second night in the row. I lamented earlier to Tri-state transplant Raul K. of Aspen, Colorado (via Facebook) about the fragile state of the Cincinnati Community-Shared Psyche as a whole. The smallest incident; be it two more inches of snow or maybe even a broken shoe-string (as Bukowski had written via his prose) may seem minuscule (true) but as those seemingly faced with fine-print/un-winnable situations say: It is what it is. If Cincinnati was ready to snap in the way I told Raul that it already had, it would be the evening facing me and my beloved Cincinnati comrades that I feared could bring the total breakdown of our city-state.

The shopping trip to Kroger was terrible. Cincinnati comrades everywhere had sour moods at best, reflecting the nearly barren shelves of Krogers brought on by the looming, but still minuscule amounts of snowfall promised by major network affiliated weatherpersons of Cincinnati's news programming. In 1977 a blizzard of such epic proportions hit the area that two generations of Cincinnatians rush to stock-up on essentials just-in-case. By this point in my day, even I was quickly becoming a casualty of the public-at-large. I told the innocent cashier and bagger at Kroger that I applauded their tenacity and intestinal fortitude declaring them heroes because if I was in  their position I would probably go out to my car during my break and end my existence with a .38 caliber revolver.

Listening to the Bowie Tribute on WNKU 105.9 fm on the way to and from Fairfield Kroger, they were proving how torrential some Bowie songs were. It was honest though, I applaud them for that forgoing the brief, sporadic mentions during their regular, but drastically approved, programming.

I pondered, did Bowies bad songs define his good ones or did the good songs define which ones were bad? David Bowie may have been the only one left that could have answered my question and now he was gone.

So I asked Siri that question upon returning home... In return, Siri once again gave me a list of links that I interpreted as skirting around the question at hand and shown the minimum effort that could appear to be a hint of passive aggressiveness. In other words, another evolved response for a burgeoning computer 'Artificial Intelligence' that was once again removing the doubt from my thinking that it was just another rude, mean entity to deal with making anything involving it more difficult.

I really can't say that the day David Bowie died was a bad day just because he died. It was a rather shitty day without his death anyway. Truth to the matter, I'm a Cincinnati native and even though the Bengals play-off loss didn't really affect me and my own winter weather Blizzard of '77 induced phobia that's heavily fortified by a Socials related wreck on southbound Interstate 75 in Northern Kentucky, but January 11th was just doomed from its start. Because, as a whole, Cincinnati decided so.

But... That's how things roll in the 1st Midwest. Some may say that it is what it is, but more importantly, without the shitty days, the great days wouldn't be so good. I didn't need Siri to acknowledge that. I knew it already.

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