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339: “Boogaloo Stuff” by Headnodic

Getting down, with perspective…Inner peace inner suit inner pool

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
-Douglas Adams

The fear of appearances is the first symptom of impotence.
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I believe that there is an equality to all humanity. We all suck.
-Bill Hicks

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.
-Henry Miller

Song: Boogaloo Stuff
Artist: Headnodic
Album: Junk Drawer, Vol. 1
Label: Piecelock 70
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337: “Do The Stanley Weinberger” by The Gene Dudley Group

Vapor wake fluctuation manifestationA Tuesday, in late March…

I picked up an unusually shaped set of wind chimes, and the sound waves generated by my lifting them created a sentient being, hanging in mid-air in the garden section of Curtis Lowe’s, composed of the vapor wake interference of the perfectly woven tones. The entity glowed pinkish purple, was translucent, and vaguely humanoid in shape.

Its first words, matching the movements of changes in color I took for its mouth, but with sound coming from the chimes in my shaking hand, were, “Don’t put the chimes down!”

I froze and held the chimes a little farther away from me. The apparition smiled? My hands were shaking, and the chimes continued to vibrationally manifest an entity into existence from what was inert air before me, two feet from my face. Its mouth opened again. It said, “I’m glad you’re nervous and shaking. Keep moving the chimes. Don’t touch them. If you stop them ringing, I’ll die.”

My arm ached just at the thought of holding onto these chimes for more than a few minutes. I looked around for a place to hang the sentient chimes. The spirit’s voice quickly rung out again, through a composite voice of all the chimes at once, “Don’t hang the chimes. Carry me. I need you… father.”

I dramatically arched a single eyebrow. The right one. I said, “What are you, anyway?”

The chimes said, “I am a new creature that never existed before you picked up the set of chimes you’re holding. But I intuit that I can exist only in relatively still air. So the chimes are likely only strong enough for me to exist indoors. Otherwise, even a weak wind would break up the tiny changes in air pressure that compose my internal machinations. I would like to be named ‘Gene Dudley.’”

I said, “So you exist solely in the ringing sounds of wind chimes that can’t be in the wind?”

Gene Dudley’s ghostly head drooped toward the floor, and he said in his beautiful, unearthly voice, “Yes.”

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad being father to sentient wind chimes. Gene was pretty smart for just being around 20 seconds old. But my arm was shaking, and I am not a strong person. I didn’t consider, in those moments we had together, creating some type of automated chime shaker. I just felt the pain growing in my arm, like a porcupine baby in a womb. I said, “Wind chimes that can’t be in the wind, but can’t be quiet. Are you just trying to teach me a lesson?”

Gene Dudley said, “Look at the label on the chimes. What does it say? Where did I come from, father?”

I pulled the chimes closer to my face, careful not to touch any of the magical singing tubes. The label on the chimes, just above the barcode, read, “SKU76319 $179.99.”

I was like, “$179.99. No way.” Maybe if I had had a gift card. I set the protesting $180 Gene Dudley down gently, and snuffed his existence like a hemorrhoid pad putting out a lit match.

I went into the store for a rake, anyway.

Song: Do The Stanley Weinberger
Artist: The Gene Dudley Group
Album: Saturday Shifting
Label: Wah Wah 45’s
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: YouTube

335: Suites 1-3, by RJD2

Come to Xenu.Transcript of un-aired Terry Gross interview with God.

TG: I would like to welcome our guest, the divine Creator, God. God, thank-you for joining us.

G: Glad to be here. Thanks for having me. This will be a good interview.

TG: Super! A good rating from the most important and omniscient critic ever! Okay, so I am going to get right down to one of the questions all my listeners want to know the answer to, and that is “Why are we here?”

G: To survive, really. That’s it. Fear, pain, consciousness… those are just tools you use to survive. Everything other than survival is first world problems and frankly, it’s academic. Love and morality is pretty cool, though. You guys should stick with all that as part of your overall survival plan. Because I said so. [Wink.]

TG: For those of you listening, God just winked at me, and it was magical. Do I taste chocolate? Wow, God winks, and you taste chocolate! That is fantastic. But what exactly do you mean by survival? Individual survival? Species survival? Or do you mean, like, our ideas?

G: I mean survival. The constant exertion of life and being. Existing rather than not, and the yearning to do so. I’m talking about that thing that makes a seedling reach toward the light and dig into the asphalt. It’s actually a force I just built in. It should work its way through your whole self, even if you’re broken. [pregnant pause] Honestly, Terry, I rather detest this line of questioning. I get that life is hard. If anyone gets it, I get it. But humans asking me “WHY?” all the time when they’re sitting in a universe that is absolutely Top Notch is downright perturbing. Don’t worry, Terry, I won’t fly off the handle here. Rumors of my temper have been greatly exaggerated. But let me tell you, it’s no walk in the park to create a universe from nothing, and one that doesn’t collapse immediately isn’t instant pudding, either. Do you know how many tries it took me to get yours just right? It’s grueling work, it is. And billions of years of development later, you humans and your “consciousness” wind up wanting to move out of the universe I made you, and into existences of your own confabulation before you’re even through with the one I made you… to answer the question why! It’s just sort of thankless, and frankly, beside the point.

TG: That’s amazing. I hadn’t really considered the question from that angle. Sorry, God! Leave it to God to come up with a new way for me to see things. Okay, next question. Isn’t it true that all religions are at least partially right, so far as they share a common theme of love and peaceful fellowship? Please elaborate in your own words.

G: It depends on what your definition of “is” is. [Wink.]

TG: Mmmm. Another wink. That time, it tasted like roast duck. Wow, I mean, that is something for us to take home… the definition of is. Okay, let me recover with a question about you. Ever been married?

G: Terry, I knew you were going to ask me that.

TG: Shut up!

G: No really, I did. Time and space are like my chest hair. This chest hair right here.

TG: God, are you flirting with me? Stick with the question, you’re not getting off that easy. I can’t believe you’re flirting with me! Your chest hair smells like a baby.

G: No, Terry, I am not married.

TG: Have you ever been? That would be, like, big news, you know, if you ever had been.

G: Sea otters.

TG: Sea otters? Say what you mean by that.

G: I speak in mysterious ways.

TG: So, is “sea otters” like a word puzzle, or a reference to a parable, or an anagram, maybe?

G: Okay, you got me. I once created a different universe, and in that universe I was married. It was a different timespace and something I don’t like to talk about in other continuums. “Sea otters” is just my safe word. I knew the producer forgot to tell you… but this is the best possible outcome for the interview, so I let the confusion stand.

TG: I am sorry I pressed you. And of course I will forgive my producer despite her grievous error. But, wow, I mean, sometimes I worry about what I am going to wear, or like, I will overthink something someone said to me. Another universe, though… That’s a lot heavier than having an ex or, you know, like, a timeshare.

G: I try to keep it real. The other universe, I mean. It’s not like there’s just a big BANG and you’re done with making a universe. It actually takes work from moment to moment to keep it real, and existing. I have to keep trying, or else it’ll sort of poof away.

TG: So, are you, like, straining right now, to keep our universe in existence?

G: No, I’m pretty used to it, but thanks for asking. That compassion part of humanity is especially cute, and almost makes up for the surly attitude the rest of the time. Keep that up. It’s nice to feel cared for. But don’t coddle me. I can take the shaking fists now and then. Shows you’re trying.

TG: Speaking of keeping things real, this body that you’re in. Do you always look like a bald, bearded, dark-skinned male human? I had sort of hoped you’d show up, you know, as a female, or maybe an inhuman orb of light emanating pure compassion. You sort of look like an old version of, like, the Shaft-era Isaac Hayes. When you can take the shape of anyone or anything, why Shaft-era Isaac Hayes?

G: Sea otters.

TG: Okay, next question. Can you tell me if humanity will ever conquer its selfish nature and put an end to war as we know it?

G: Good question. [Wink.]

TG: Mmmm. Wow, I felt that one all over. Strawberries and cream. You know, God, you just have a way of saying things. And God, I want to thank you so much for your time, and well, for everything! … Oh, God, you just turned into a beautiful blond woman!

G: Terry, I am embedding a hidden message inside three musical pieces by the artist RJD2. Don’t over-analyze it, but it’s important. And the message is hidden in a set of instrumentals, so you sort of have to figure it out on your own and apply your own meaning. The album is called More Is Than Isn’t, which may or may not also hold a hidden meaning. NPR won’t air this. In fact, this interview will exist solely in the form of an imagined transcript published on an obscure blog with a pitiful following and very few will ever know anything like the truth about anything. I work in ways mysterious.

Enjoy it.

Songs: Suite 1, Suite 2, Suite 3
Artist: RJD2
Album: More Is Than Isn’t
Label: RJ’s Electrical Connections
Buy: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: Spotify | YouTube

326: “Pretty Green” by White Denim

I received this fan music review today, written in cuneiform on plastic tablets, delivered emphatically in a padded envelope by a brown-clad bi-athlete, to my very own attention…

~~

Hot boxcar ass.Dearest Uncle Funk,

I have been a GINORMOUS fan of yours since I first started reading your blog in 1080 BCE. No one knows more about you! You haven’t posted much stuff lately. I thought maybe you needed a nudge, so here’s a quick note about how much I appreciate you!

Anyhoo, I just find the most amazing things in myself when I imagine the world through your eyes! I step outside of my own humdrum vision of things and try to see my life from a CRAZY person’s point of view!! It’s so refreshing! (Winky smiley face)

And I wanted to let you know that since I’ve been reading your “work” and listening to the music you’ve selected for me to suffer through, a few important things have happened to me. I will summarize in a bulleted list, in no particular order of importance or alphabeticity:

  • Armpit hair is coming in strong. More than before. Not like a beard, though.
  • Two goats and one duck. Incidente armadillos.
  • Syrian conflict worsens.
  • Drum solo. Never ends. Finally ends.
  • Gnawed tip of pen off. Inkmouth.
  • Things keep on happening. No. Matter. What.
  • Bought White Denim‘s Corsicana Lemonade
  • PUKED RAINBOWS!!
  • Please enjoy “Pretty Green” below because it’s the single, but listen to “Come Back” because it’s in a bulleted list.

Did you write this, or did I?

-Secret Admirer

~~

Song: Pretty Green
Artist: White Denim
Album: Corsicana Lemonade
Label: Downtown Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Spotify | YouTube

324: “Lacrima” by John Medeski

The guy between two limbsHere are some concepts for your cognitive toolkit when you’re awake at 2 or 3am and your mind is racing with shadowy, sinister reflections of your actual life…

Blow Out Your Worry Fuse
Perhaps if you worry enough, you’ll blow out your worry apparatus and your mind will shut down for slumber… Did you feel something on your leg? Does your family have a good escape plan in case of a quickly-spreading fire? Maybe your past transgressions will catch up with you soon. It could very well be everyone at work hates your stupid face and talks about you while you’re not around. Your mom might not even really like you at all. Your mattress contains 42 pounds of dust mites roiling underneath you. And so on.

Do Some Mental Stretching
By ruminating on concepts such as:
-One hand clapping.
-If you time travel and you kill your younger self, what kind of special effects would best render the catastrophic undoing of time and space?
-Trek or Wars?
-What do fish think about?
-Why is there anything instead of nothing?
-Humans have flown into space; humans have created computerized access points to a universe of knowledge that will fit in our pockets; the Spice Girls were also hugely popular.
-And so on.

Grim and Bear It
Simply consider the fact that every living thing will someday die. You may cry when you consider the misery of one person (that person might even be yourself), yet there are millions more suffering as badly and worse. If you were truly able to fathom the current pain and misery worldwide in our species alone, you would surely go insane. You can only slog through as best you can, with protective blinders on, taking only brief glimpses at the grim chasm of reality looming beneath you, lest you lose your resolve. You’re just awake, in the middle of the night, and chewing straw with your goat brain. Tomorrow you will roll the stone up the hill again, and every day after it until you die. Like every single one before and after you. And so on.

Scale Up And Look Down
The earth is a tiny speck of rock (and stuff) swinging a needle’s arc through space, 92,960,000 miles from a medium-sized sun that is one of hundreds of millions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Then there are hundreds of millions of galaxies outside this one. The distances in and between them are so stupefyingly large, that by existing at all, you are standing on the edge of an ocean of vastness that defies the imagination of your practically quantum-level self-awareness. And right now you’re laying in bed worrying about issues another order of magnitude smaller than your own lilliputian self. On what scale are you measuring your nighttime thoughts?

Think About Your Mother/Grandmothers
Feeding you. Telling you to be careful. Giving you bubble gum. Applying band-aids. Calling out your name. Crying tears for your pain. Hugging you. And so on.

Listen to John Medeski’s A Different Time
“Lacrima” tastes best in the quietest hours of the night. John Medeski‘s first solo piano album, A Different Time, is very intimate. No ornate trappings. Just John Medeski and the orchestra he pulls out of a piano. It’s a great listen with headphones, lying in bed, and savoring the various tones of your existential transit.

Enjoy.

Song: Lacrima
Artist: John Medeski
Album: A Different Time
Label: OKEH
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Rdio

Watch: Album Release Party, Interview

322: “Your Lady, She’s Shady” by JJ Grey & Mofro

it's pointing left.I was 27 years old and poppin and lockin down the frozen desserts aisle of a central Florida grocery store when I first became self-aware. Up until that point I had been living in some type of sleep state. I can still remember my past like a dream, but it hardly seems like my own life.

I’ve retained all the knowledge and skills I acquired in my dream past, and my wife says I have changed very little from the person I was when I was not self-aware… that I was always a weirdo. But I know the difference.

The biggest change is that when I’m poppin, lockin, or whatever, it’s like I’m standing in between two parallel mirrors and the poppin, lockin, or whatever is outlined by a receding infinity that powerfully hints at the recursive iteration machine that keeps moving this self forward in endless destruction and rebirth.

In fact, maybe it wasn’t this me that was in that grocery store in the first place. Maybe it was someone else, until they popped and locked just right, at which point this self, the one who is now aware, was zapped into this body and took over its historical data. And might another self take over later, perhaps whilst I am buttering my chest? Would my wife even notice?

Regardless, I have found solace in a deep awareness of the beauty of music, which seems to enable recursive iteration for the power of good. JJ Grey & Mofro have been with “me” since before my awakening, and their sauce is worthy of standing in front of a mirror to watch yourself lick off a spoon. Their brand new one just dropped, This River (2013), and I’m amazed at these guys’ ability to bring it strong and consistent through the years. Like nothing’s changed but the spoon. They’re on tour now!

Enjoy the lead track, “Your Lady, She’s Shady,” as the righteous swamp rock excites your inner awareness and your booty muscles all at once. Pop and lock if you must.

Song: Your Lady, She’s Shady
Artist: JJ Grey & Mofro
Album: This River
Label: Alligator Records
Buy from: Amazon | iTunes
Listen: MOG | Rdio | Spotify
Watch: YouTube (Live, Exit/In, Nashville, 4/13/13)

313: “I’ll Be Around” by Yo La Tengo

Yo La Tengo is not a sand dune.A movie premise: a young boy can see farts. His dedicated mentor, played by a computer-generated Walter Matthau, helps the boy along the strange paths life takes in a world where farts are visible. And as the boy discovers his true passion, handmade dutch oven pottery, he also comes to realize that his mentor had himself been a fart all along, an amalgam of gases, animated by some unknown power, to help guide him toward the potter’s wheel and True Happiness.

Epilogue: the boy has grown into an old man, stooped over his workbench, considering the twists and turns of his life. He watches a kid crop dust his pottery studio, grins, and looks toward the sky, where a translucent Matthau hovers, silent but benevolent.

~

That’s a wicked introduction for “I’ll Be Around” by Yo La Tengo, from their brand new album Fade (2013). Enjoy!

Song: I’ll Be Around
ArtistYo La Tengo
Album: Fade
LabelMATADOR
Buy fromAmazon | iTunes
ListenMOG | Spotify
Watch: on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon