Sans You by Hannah Fantana


                ‘Sans You’ is Hannah Fantana’s growing of age story. While she grows up she gets further away from previous incarnations of herself. This is commonly referred to as aging. The story deals with this ‘aging’ in a non-linear fashion. From the present to further into the past to the present again Telsa lives a life of determining emotions. Every emotion is hyper-analyzed. Poor Telsa wants to live life to the fullest or something. People around Telsa seem to elicit only neutral emotions from young Telsa. Telsa is unable to handle human interaction in a real life manner. Often Telsa worries that others think she is a mean or not particularly responsive. This is reflected in how her parents encourage her to go out with friends. Sometimes her parents fail at this making her sad by asking questions like ‘Are you on drugs’ when she is in a good mood. 

                Much of the book deals with Telsa enjoying herself on the internet.  The internet lacks the intimacy or disappointment of real life. Hence why Hannah enjoys the interactions she has online more than those she has in real life. In real life people annoy her. Various people dislike her (Ari, etc.) for reasons she cannot accurately express or chooses not to divulge. Real life offers little in the way of enjoyment besides twee drugs and twee alcohol. Vodka is twee. However on the internet Telsa comes into her own happy planet of her own devising. Validation on the internet is a huge part of why people go on the internet. Feedback is instant on the internet. Hipster Runoff’s Carles approves of her look calling her cute. What she writes receives ‘likes’ on Facebook. YouTube videos of hers get comments. Why would she look for validation offline? Offline offers few benefits. Online offers many benefits. 

                Life off the internet hurts a little bit for Telsa. She wakes up without water. She fears for her life. During Halloween she drinks with people and blacks out often. People bore her during this time. Her friends hook up in front of her. Decorum is not much of a thing in real life, particularly high school. In high school people generally lack any form of ‘control’. Telsa makes this obvious. Her friends are bored most of the time. They drink. They walk to places for little to no reason eating horrible junk food or health food junk food (almond soy milk). 

                Before her current incarnation she went to Paris France. This trip is described in vivid detail. Apparently it was the first time Telsa imbibed alcohol. Her experience in France consists mostly of drinking, wandering around Paris, and getting hit on by French boys. Ultimately this is similar to her time in California, excluding the whole ‘speaking in French’ thing. Back into California she returns to the present. Then she gets to the ending.

                The ending is beautiful perfect amazing. Everything in the end feels like it is rushing down extremely quickly. Hannah switches the point of view from the third person ‘she’ to the first person ‘I’. Giving it an intimate, heart-felt touch to the story is particularly wonderful. For every little thing is slowed down to a barely moving pace. She learns how to feel. She experiences joy and the closest thing to happiness. Little things become great big things in ‘Sans You’. With these little things she adds up into a big person who appears to be going in the right direction, in a direction not unlike millions before her and millions after her. ‘Sans You’ is a tweenage riot by the cutest girl in alt lit.

Sans You by Hannah Fantana

                ‘Sans You’ is Hannah Fantana’s growing of age story. While she grows up she gets further away from previous incarnations of herself. This is commonly referred to as aging. The story deals with this ‘aging’ in a non-linear fashion. From the present to further into the past to the present again Telsa lives a life of determining emotions. Every emotion is hyper-analyzed. Poor Telsa wants to live life to the fullest or something. People around Telsa seem to elicit only neutral emotions from young Telsa. Telsa is unable to handle human interaction in a real life manner. Often Telsa worries that others think she is a mean or not particularly responsive. This is reflected in how her parents encourage her to go out with friends. Sometimes her parents fail at this making her sad by asking questions like ‘Are you on drugs’ when she is in a good mood. 

                Much of the book deals with Telsa enjoying herself on the internet.  The internet lacks the intimacy or disappointment of real life. Hence why Hannah enjoys the interactions she has online more than those she has in real life. In real life people annoy her. Various people dislike her (Ari, etc.) for reasons she cannot accurately express or chooses not to divulge. Real life offers little in the way of enjoyment besides twee drugs and twee alcohol. Vodka is twee. However on the internet Telsa comes into her own happy planet of her own devising. Validation on the internet is a huge part of why people go on the internet. Feedback is instant on the internet. Hipster Runoff’s Carles approves of her look calling her cute. What she writes receives ‘likes’ on Facebook. YouTube videos of hers get comments. Why would she look for validation offline? Offline offers few benefits. Online offers many benefits. 

                Life off the internet hurts a little bit for Telsa. She wakes up without water. She fears for her life. During Halloween she drinks with people and blacks out often. People bore her during this time. Her friends hook up in front of her. Decorum is not much of a thing in real life, particularly high school. In high school people generally lack any form of ‘control’. Telsa makes this obvious. Her friends are bored most of the time. They drink. They walk to places for little to no reason eating horrible junk food or health food junk food (almond soy milk). 

                Before her current incarnation she went to Paris France. This trip is described in vivid detail. Apparently it was the first time Telsa imbibed alcohol. Her experience in France consists mostly of drinking, wandering around Paris, and getting hit on by French boys. Ultimately this is similar to her time in California, excluding the whole ‘speaking in French’ thing. Back into California she returns to the present. Then she gets to the ending.

                The ending is beautiful perfect amazing. Everything in the end feels like it is rushing down extremely quickly. Hannah switches the point of view from the third person ‘she’ to the first person ‘I’. Giving it an intimate, heart-felt touch to the story is particularly wonderful. For every little thing is slowed down to a barely moving pace. She learns how to feel. She experiences joy and the closest thing to happiness. Little things become great big things in ‘Sans You’. With these little things she adds up into a big person who appears to be going in the right direction, in a direction not unlike millions before her and millions after her. ‘Sans You’ is a tweenage riot by the cutest girl in alt lit.

Jean Wilder – Nice Trash 7.5

At first you hear just the samples. Then you  hear what Andrew Caddick actually did with them. Is this chillwave? I  feel like if there ever was a dictionary-defined band for chillwave,  this would meet the criteria. Does it wax nostalgic using old samples?  Check. Does it bring up images of laziness and the beach? Check. Is  there distortion? Check.

                Obviously distortion is a soft spot of mine. Not all musicians can pull it off, but Jean Wilder does a pretty good job of making the sounds expand into the  stratosphere with “Blonde Beach”. If that doesn’t scream ‘summer fun’ at  you, then I’m sorry but you’re an idiot. 

                The  looped samples are not all treated the same. Sometimes they are  extremely obvious, but he does throw them into the digital wood chipper,  like for “Blanket Mountain” where the origin remains a bit more  mysterious. Other tracks show off a sense of humor, like the clipped 50s  vibe of “Sparkler”.

                Finally,  he shows (and this is important) good taste. Hearing the closer “Light  Sleeper” made me so happy. It samples Bedhead’s “The Present” one of my  all-time favorite songs. Andrew captures the mood of the original  without simply repeating it.

                Nice  Trash grows on you. After a few listens, you get what he was aiming  for. In case you like this, well, he’s doing what all the cool kids are  doing: touring Europe. He needs your help though and roughly $2900 of  your dollars. Apparently flying from California to Europe costs a bunch  of money. Here’s him on the surprisingly successful website “Kickstarter”.

Jean Wilder – Nice Trash 7.5

At first you hear just the samples. Then you hear what Andrew Caddick actually did with them. Is this chillwave? I feel like if there ever was a dictionary-defined band for chillwave, this would meet the criteria. Does it wax nostalgic using old samples? Check. Does it bring up images of laziness and the beach? Check. Is there distortion? Check.

                Obviously distortion is a soft spot of mine. Not all musicians can pull it off, but Jean Wilder does a pretty good job of making the sounds expand into the stratosphere with “Blonde Beach”. If that doesn’t scream ‘summer fun’ at you, then I’m sorry but you’re an idiot. 

                The looped samples are not all treated the same. Sometimes they are extremely obvious, but he does throw them into the digital wood chipper, like for “Blanket Mountain” where the origin remains a bit more mysterious. Other tracks show off a sense of humor, like the clipped 50s vibe of “Sparkler”.

                Finally, he shows (and this is important) good taste. Hearing the closer “Light Sleeper” made me so happy. It samples Bedhead’s “The Present” one of my all-time favorite songs. Andrew captures the mood of the original without simply repeating it.

                Nice Trash grows on you. After a few listens, you get what he was aiming for. In case you like this, well, he’s doing what all the cool kids are doing: touring Europe. He needs your help though and roughly $2900 of your dollars. Apparently flying from California to Europe costs a bunch of money. Here’s him on the surprisingly successful website “Kickstarter”.

Joseph Hammer – I love you, Please love me too 7.6

           This album is proof that the  original weird spirit of LAFMS (Los Angeles Free Music Society)  continues. Here we have Joseph Hammer engaging in some old-fashioned  weirdness. Plunderphonics would be a good description of what’s going on  here. However, that wouldn’t accurately describe what’s exactly going  on.

                Instead  of the usual abrupt edits prevalent in so many plunderphonics records,  this is much more spacey. Samples weave themselves in and out of the  mix, as various anchors (themes like the ongoing phrase “The Water  stops”) give it a sense of moving forward. Most artists would’ve  preferred a faster pace, by making the project more akin to  plunderphonic drone; he’s stumbled upon a surprisingly engrossing  method.

                Part  II offers even stranger samples. I think I can make out some of William  Basinski’s “Disintegration Loops” through the various levels of muck.  By having these diverse associations, it gives an otherworldly effect.  Towards the end of it you’re treated to a singer’s voice transformed  into crow form. 

                I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.  Perfect  music for a lazy afternoon; just let it play in the background. As it  plays, feel it come in and out of focus, that’s probably the best way to  experience its many charms.

Joseph Hammer – I love you, Please love me too 7.6

           This album is proof that the original weird spirit of LAFMS (Los Angeles Free Music Society) continues. Here we have Joseph Hammer engaging in some old-fashioned weirdness. Plunderphonics would be a good description of what’s going on here. However, that wouldn’t accurately describe what’s exactly going on.

                Instead of the usual abrupt edits prevalent in so many plunderphonics records, this is much more spacey. Samples weave themselves in and out of the mix, as various anchors (themes like the ongoing phrase “The Water stops”) give it a sense of moving forward. Most artists would’ve preferred a faster pace, by making the project more akin to plunderphonic drone; he’s stumbled upon a surprisingly engrossing method.

                Part II offers even stranger samples. I think I can make out some of William Basinski’s “Disintegration Loops” through the various levels of muck. By having these diverse associations, it gives an otherworldly effect. Towards the end of it you’re treated to a singer’s voice transformed into crow form. 

                I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.  Perfect music for a lazy afternoon; just let it play in the background. As it plays, feel it come in and out of focus, that’s probably the best way to experience its many charms.

RIP Donald Glen Vliet (January 15th, 1941 – December 17th, 2010)

Captain Beefheart, probably one of my most adored musicians, passed away today from multiple sclerosis. Though I haven’t posted a review of his many albums on here, rest assured that will be amended. Trout Mask Replica is of particular importance, I think once I heard that album I listened to it solid for an entire month. 

                Besides his music, there was his attitude. How he operated was not how others operated. Some might see his weirdness as a put-on, but I think it was genuine. Growing up in the middle of nowhere and moving around can create a difficultly in relating to other people. Using art as a form of escape isn’t unusual, but he grew relatively obsessed with it.

                Rituals related to his sculpting continued strong as he created a band. Despite having no training playing a piano, he created songs on it to be translated into full-fledged songs. In case having multiple rhythms and intentionally loose playing wasn’t enough, there are the lyrics. The lyrics feel like the rants of a crazed lunatic on the street corner who used to be a Poet Laureate.

                Getting the pieces ready took forever. People had a hard time liking him. His music was one thing, but then he spread random information in order to create a myth. Members of his band stated he tried (and succeeded) in brainwashing them. He bullied the bejesus out of them, tormenting them, physically hurting them at times. Living in a house with the windows blacked out, he created his masterpiece “Trout Mask Replica”. 

                Nothing he did ever seemed understandable. It was as if he wanted to make music that could have an infinite number of responses. Delta Blues (back when rock referenced blues instead of itself), free jazz, and bits of the avant-garde came together in the most incoherent mess ever to create a career. Most of what he did escaped categorization, there’s really no way to describe the utterly bizarre nature of what he did. I’m personally shocked that people listened to this, enough of them to actually give Donald an actual career.

                After he ended his obsession with music, he went back to art. The music industry had nothing left to offer this iconoclast. Ending it in 82, he stated that he couldn’t take that world anymore. Plus, a lot of those ideas and sketches had been around in his head for some time, and he let them out. Nature and art were the only things left for him, and he quietly pursued them until his death.

                I’m going to miss this guy. One of the few weirdos who existed outside all norms, he truly was an American original, unwilling or unable to conform to some late hippie or mystical stereotype. By hiding himself in the California desert he maintained control of what other people’s perception was of him, something he could do more easily by keeping quiet than speaking.

LA Vampires featuring Matrix Metals – So Unreal 8.1

Having already been exposed to Matrix Metals and LA Vampires collaboration with Zola Jesus this year, I didn’t have high expectations. Both of those recording left me feeling a little left out in the cold. Amanda Brown was responsible for Pocahaunted (a band close to my heart) and the man behind Matrix Metals created a favorite Outer Limits Recordings, so I felt I owed them another chance. They proved my hope was not misplaced. 

                These two play off each other quite nicely. Matrix provides the narco background, and Amanda’s voice expands into nothing with her carefully honed hipness. Each one goes on far longer than you’d expect, but somehow the length of the tracks adds to what’s going on. Upon repeated listens, bizarre goings on between the loops becomes apparent. 

                “Make Me Over” serves as the single for the group. If you can’t get through this haze, then call it a day. Most of the album follows in the same vein of drugged out lo-fi. But the real winner on here (for me at least) is “How Would I Know”, where rhetorical questions are halfheartedly asked as pieces of sound float on by. The song gets stuck in your head and will never leave. It sounds like a pop song heard while asleep, just perfectly dreamy and almost graspable.

                In case you wondered whether or not they were dedicated to the 80s, or if you needed more evidence, there’s the song “Berlin Baby”. Your confirmation has arrived, the cheesy drum hits and Germany-coolness worship is complete. Things end with the vaguely upbeat “So Unreal”.

                Not Not Fun Records did a great thing with releasing this. Listening to this, I hope they decide to do it again.

Origin Story 4
California in the 60s embodied the best of  America: great schools, wonderful bands, nice clean beaches that  extended into infinity. I used to walk around the beach, hanging out,  practicing my voice for the choir. I felt blessed knowing that I had  been chosen to become a child actor, a career that had no negative side  effects whatsoever.                 Having so much power felt  great. I played Tommy in the hit TV show “Eight is Enough”. Eight was  more than enough, with me being the main attraction. The other children  were mere decorations compared to the grit and soul I gave to Tommy’s  character. Later in “Charles in Charge” I played Buddy, a cool bro with  Scott Baio. Together we changed the face of Television. 
                Off the set, I became a  buddy to many as well. My all-night parties are still talked about to  this very day. A few of them lasted for days, as I played the hell out  of my guitar for my indie rock band “Willie Ames & Paradise”.  Successfully I wooed many young starlets with my songs about drinking,  doing drugs, and having crazy amounts of sex.
                 Life felt great. I nearly  won an Oscar for my role in the hit movie “Zapped”. Work came to me like  the sun did in the morning. Everything would last forever in the 80s. I  was king of the world.
                Sadly, my reign got cut  short by the 90s. In the 90s, people stopped doing as many drugs.  Worried, I saw a therapist, but he didn’t help. Instead, my therapist  appeared to be enabling me with my bad behavior. So I continued doing a  ton of drugs and alcohol.                Things became real one day  though. As I stood in line at 7/11 at 4 in the afternoon, completely out  of my mind on Quaaludes, a little girl coming home from school began  singing:

Charles in Charge  Of our days and our nights  Charles in Charge  Of our wrongs and our rights  And I sing, I want,  I want Charles in Charge of me.
           I thought I was in charge of my life. But here I was, freaking out  heavily in the aisle of a 7/11, stealing pet food to eat. The song  reminded me of being younger, more responsible. Charles, I remembered  him well. He was the therapist I saw, who I stole his kid’s college fund  of $80,000 to buy more blow. Obviously he enabled me, by allowing me to  go on his computer while he went to the bathroom and removing funds  from his online checking account. It was a test of faith, and I passed.
           Rehab looked good. For a while, I thought I’d just try  methamphetamines, but Christianity appealed to me slightly more. Plus, I  didn’t really have enough money for any more drugs, so Christianity had  a lower money threshold.
           Being a born again Christian, I decided to repent for my wicked ways. I  wrote my former therapist Charles a thank you note for the $80,000 I  stole from him. It read:Dear Charles, Thank you for the $80,000.I used it to buy blow.Due to my large purchase I got a discount. It was good shit.           Around that time, I figured why not let other people understand the joy  I had in discovering the Lord. Watching Spiderman expose himself to  children, and Batman’s generally erratic behavior, I thought why not  create a more stable superhero. Too many superheroes harbored grunges.  Instead of that, I figured have a Superhero who gained his powers from  passages in the Bible. Someone told me that the superhero should be  named “Bibleman” but I told that ‘someone’ to get out of my face.
           Bibleman ended up a tremendous success. I not only got to reappear on  TV but taught children about the joys of worshipping Jesus. Then the  criticism came in. Rather than journalists taking hold of my comparison  to “High Budget Sunday School mixed with Batman” they instead described  it as “overweight man quotes passages from the Bible”. Others stated  that even though Veggietales were animated vegetables they had more soul  than the hallowed out shell I had. 
           I tried to not let it bother me. Moving to Kansas to escape it all, I  realized I couldn’t afford Kansas since I had no money. Quoting the  bible, I stated that “It is easier for a camel to pass through the hole  of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” – some dude  in the Bible. No matter what I did, becoming an ordained minister,  fighting evil doers with bible passages, nothing worked. Without anyone  to turn to, I moved back to Los Angeles.
           On Thanksgiving Day I thought about what I was thankful. I said quietly  to myself, tears welling up in my eyes “Nothing”. Mulling over what I  should do next, I looked at the Bible. Asking myself “What would Jesus  do?” I came to the answer “Kill Himself”. Disappointed at how dark the  Bible was, and how I didn’t really understand it so hot, I began to  prepare myself for suicide.   
        Trying to place a noose on the ceiling fan, the table broke beneath my  legs. Stupid table, I yelled at the inanimate object. Extracting its  revenge, a piece of the wooden table stuck itself in my ass. Calling the  hospital, I underwent emergency ass surgery.
           My doctor came in with a stoic expression on her face. Reading my  charts, she solemnly stated “You may never fart again.” Days went by as a  thought of a world without farts. Children played outside my room, I  watched them from my bed. One of the kids asked the other “Pull my  finger”. I literally broke down and shoved my head into my pillow,  uncontrollably sobbing. Luckily for me, the surgery was successful but  my farting situation remained tenuous at best.  
           For weeks I walked around with a cast around my ass, drawing all sorts  of unwanted attention. By staying inside, I avoided the taunts of  schoolchildren. Catching up on music, my last true salvation, I stumbled  upon music blogs. These music blogs offered various repeating links, to  Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes. One displayed a different sort of link,  to a place called “Hipster Runoff”. Reading it, I felt relevant for the  first time in years. His writing spoke to my soul. I re-wrote the  “Charles in Charge” theme song into “Carles in Charge”. Upon the  liquidation of my estate in Kansas, Carles suggested we meet up.
           Carles’s real name is Poindexter Dinkelhof the III, a 42 year old  accountant from Wichita, Kansas. Meeting him at a local Chili’s with his  wife, he explained to me how I could turn my life around. For him,  music gave him an outlet that he didn’t have in his real job. His  children loved him for it, he said. Do something that you’ve always  wanted to do, change your life he told me.
           Feeling inspired and bankrupt, I became a licensed financial advisor.  Since I went into bankruptcy and hit rock bottom, I decided my woes were  things others might learn from. Also, I got a job working as  entertainment for a cruise line, fulfilling my dreams of becoming a  true-blue traveler of the world.
           In my free time I created a music blog in the style of HRO, except not  as good. Naming it “Beach Sloth” it began late this summer. 
           Why the name, you might ask? Well, since I’m a big believer in  Christianity, I wanted to convert all beings into Christianity,  beginning with the animals. Since sloths are named after a sin, I wanted  to reach out to them first.
           Once I get enough money, I want to lure the sloths to the beach by  putting lots of comfy pillows on the sand. After they are lulled to  sleep, I will then baptize them. Upon their baptism, I’ll offer them  coffee so they might be more productive members of society.           Hopefully you’ve learned something about me today. I heart all of you.

Origin Story 4


California in the 60s embodied the best of America: great schools, wonderful bands, nice clean beaches that extended into infinity. I used to walk around the beach, hanging out, practicing my voice for the choir. I felt blessed knowing that I had been chosen to become a child actor, a career that had no negative side effects whatsoever. 

                Having so much power felt great. I played Tommy in the hit TV show “Eight is Enough”. Eight was more than enough, with me being the main attraction. The other children were mere decorations compared to the grit and soul I gave to Tommy’s character. Later in “Charles in Charge” I played Buddy, a cool bro with Scott Baio. Together we changed the face of Television. 


                Off the set, I became a buddy to many as well. My all-night parties are still talked about to this very day. A few of them lasted for days, as I played the hell out of my guitar for my indie rock band “Willie Ames & Paradise”. Successfully I wooed many young starlets with my songs about drinking, doing drugs, and having crazy amounts of sex.


                Life felt great. I nearly won an Oscar for my role in the hit movie “Zapped”. Work came to me like the sun did in the morning. Everything would last forever in the 80s. I was king of the world.


                Sadly, my reign got cut short by the 90s. In the 90s, people stopped doing as many drugs. Worried, I saw a therapist, but he didn’t help. Instead, my therapist appeared to be enabling me with my bad behavior. So I continued doing a ton of drugs and alcohol.

                Things became real one day though. As I stood in line at 7/11 at 4 in the afternoon, completely out of my mind on Quaaludes, a little girl coming home from school began singing:

Charles in Charge
Of our days and our nights
Charles in Charge
Of our wrongs and our rights

And I sing, I want,
I want Charles in Charge of me.


          I thought I was in charge of my life. But here I was, freaking out heavily in the aisle of a 7/11, stealing pet food to eat. The song reminded me of being younger, more responsible. Charles, I remembered him well. He was the therapist I saw, who I stole his kid’s college fund of $80,000 to buy more blow. Obviously he enabled me, by allowing me to go on his computer while he went to the bathroom and removing funds from his online checking account. It was a test of faith, and I passed.


          Rehab looked good. For a while, I thought I’d just try methamphetamines, but Christianity appealed to me slightly more. Plus, I didn’t really have enough money for any more drugs, so Christianity had a lower money threshold.


          Being a born again Christian, I decided to repent for my wicked ways. I wrote my former therapist Charles a thank you note for the $80,000 I stole from him. It read:


Dear Charles, Thank you for the $80,000.I used it to buy blow.Due to my large purchase I got a discount. It was good shit.


          Around that time, I figured why not let other people understand the joy I had in discovering the Lord. Watching Spiderman expose himself to children, and Batman’s generally erratic behavior, I thought why not create a more stable superhero. Too many superheroes harbored grunges. Instead of that, I figured have a Superhero who gained his powers from passages in the Bible. Someone told me that the superhero should be named “Bibleman” but I told that ‘someone’ to get out of my face.


          Bibleman ended up a tremendous success. I not only got to reappear on TV but taught children about the joys of worshipping Jesus. Then the criticism came in. Rather than journalists taking hold of my comparison to “High Budget Sunday School mixed with Batman” they instead described it as “overweight man quotes passages from the Bible”. Others stated that even though Veggietales were animated vegetables they had more soul than the hallowed out shell I had. 


          I tried to not let it bother me. Moving to Kansas to escape it all, I realized I couldn’t afford Kansas since I had no money. Quoting the bible, I stated that “It is easier for a camel to pass through the hole of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” – some dude in the Bible. No matter what I did, becoming an ordained minister, fighting evil doers with bible passages, nothing worked. Without anyone to turn to, I moved back to Los Angeles.


          On Thanksgiving Day I thought about what I was thankful. I said quietly to myself, tears welling up in my eyes “Nothing”. Mulling over what I should do next, I looked at the Bible. Asking myself “What would Jesus do?” I came to the answer “Kill Himself”. Disappointed at how dark the Bible was, and how I didn’t really understand it so hot, I began to prepare myself for suicide.

   

       Trying to place a noose on the ceiling fan, the table broke beneath my legs. Stupid table, I yelled at the inanimate object. Extracting its revenge, a piece of the wooden table stuck itself in my ass. Calling the hospital, I underwent emergency ass surgery.


          My doctor came in with a stoic expression on her face. Reading my charts, she solemnly stated “You may never fart again.” Days went by as a thought of a world without farts. Children played outside my room, I watched them from my bed. One of the kids asked the other “Pull my finger”. I literally broke down and shoved my head into my pillow, uncontrollably sobbing. Luckily for me, the surgery was successful but my farting situation remained tenuous at best.  


          For weeks I walked around with a cast around my ass, drawing all sorts of unwanted attention. By staying inside, I avoided the taunts of schoolchildren. Catching up on music, my last true salvation, I stumbled upon music blogs. These music blogs offered various repeating links, to Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes. One displayed a different sort of link, to a place called “Hipster Runoff”. Reading it, I felt relevant for the first time in years. His writing spoke to my soul. I re-wrote the “Charles in Charge” theme song into “Carles in Charge”. Upon the liquidation of my estate in Kansas, Carles suggested we meet up.


          Carles’s real name is Poindexter Dinkelhof the III, a 42 year old accountant from Wichita, Kansas. Meeting him at a local Chili’s with his wife, he explained to me how I could turn my life around. For him, music gave him an outlet that he didn’t have in his real job. His children loved him for it, he said. Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, change your life he told me.


          Feeling inspired and bankrupt, I became a licensed financial advisor. Since I went into bankruptcy and hit rock bottom, I decided my woes were things others might learn from. Also, I got a job working as entertainment for a cruise line, fulfilling my dreams of becoming a true-blue traveler of the world.


          In my free time I created a music blog in the style of HRO, except not as good. Naming it “Beach Sloth” it began late this summer. 


          Why the name, you might ask? Well, since I’m a big believer in Christianity, I wanted to convert all beings into Christianity, beginning with the animals. Since sloths are named after a sin, I wanted to reach out to them first.


          Once I get enough money, I want to lure the sloths to the beach by putting lots of comfy pillows on the sand. After they are lulled to sleep, I will then baptize them. Upon their baptism, I’ll offer them coffee so they might be more productive members of society. 

          Hopefully you’ve learned something about me today. I heart all of you.

Origin Story Number 2

I grew up in a beautiful town out in the Soviet countryside. The middle child, I nonetheless experienced the nourishing tender love and care from my good communist mother and father. My father worked as an engineer and served for many years in the local Communist party. Due to his heavy participation in the party, he was justly rewarded with a plum position working at a local power plant. Playing in the lush green fields, we were happy to call this ravishingly beautiful city home. Even now, I remember my friends being jealous of my good fortune of living in Chernobyl. 

One day I woke up and everything changed. Unbeknown to me, my parents were fighting against the Soviet occupation of their beloved Ukraine. Quickly we were rushed to live in an underground bunker and for several years we crossed between Ukraine and Belarus, seeking the liberation of each country. After the disaster in my old town, I understood why they did it. We were fighting against an evil empire, as Ronald Reagan stated over the radio. His voice reassured me that all was right with the world. Our father promised us that after Ukraine became independent, that we could head over to the US, to a land of milk and honey.

Milk and honey is what we lived off of from local farmers sympathetic to our cause. Finally when I was 12 I saw the empire keel over and die. Excitedly we packed our bags and headed over to America. Worried about the influence that a big city could have over my younger sibling my family moved to rural North Carolina. 

As I entered Middle School there, I realized I was different. I didn’t speak any English, so I forced myself into American culture. I bought Nirvana albums and dressed all Grunge. My parents worried about my style of dress, thinking that American culture would take over my Ukrainian roots. Upon my constant grouching about everything, they felt reassured that indeed I would fit their hopes of me growing up into an embittered, disillusioned, over-educated member of society, just like they did. According to them, the Ukrainian way involved being deeply weird and being kind of a dick, but acknowledging that you’re an asshole. I passed this test with flying colors after I hurled a beer bottle at someone at school, only to half-apologize to them in front of the principal.

Upon graduation from Edenton, North Carolina’s school system, I decided to move to a big city. I missed being around large groups of people. Telling my parents I was going to study Dentistry in Chicago, they initially were concerned. After I told them about the high suicide rate that Dentists suffered from, they gave me a thumbs-up of approval. 

Living in Chicago in the late nineties ended up being a magical time. Around that time, a record label called “Thrill Jockey” grew in importance. In order to pay for school, I did side gigs touring with the famous band Tortoise, playing the vibraphones. Since so many people were in the band, my name usually got mangled. More than a few times some of the musicians who opened up asked me for drugs, thinking I was a Russian gangster. Asking about this profession, I learned that apparently being a Russian gangster paid more than touring with a relevant indie-rock-jazz fusion band. I stood in disbelief, unable to comprehend crime paying so much better than underground rock.

Following my passion, I joined the Russian mob. Since I was technically Ukrainian, I had to pay a higher Union membership fee. My job consisted of manipulating stocks and setting bags of poop on fire. During my years with the Russian mob, I saw more money than I’d ever seen before. After the FBI raided my workplace, I was out of a job. Bored at being a dentist and having genuinely enjoyed my artistic experiences, I decided to write a show about my time with the mob. It was called “The Vakhovskayas” and the pilot was rejected for having too many philosophical references.  
 
Distraught at my attempt to create a hit TV show, I worked as a Dentist in the greater Los Angeles area, still pitching my ideas to whoever was interested. One day a dorky looking bald guy came into my practice. He stated that he read my work would fit his concept for a show. Intrigued, I asked him to proceed. Explaining how it would take place on a deserted island and would explore sci-fi and philosophical arguments, he told me how it could be one of the greatest shows that Television had ever seen. Throwing a few titles out there, he told me, they decided against “Airplane Crash” and went with the simple name “Lost”. 
 
After having wasted most of my afternoon listening to this, I told him to get the fuck out of my office. This idea he had, I said, would not earn him a dime. Plus, I cancelled several dental cleanings in order to hear him yammer on about his gibberish, money that would take hours to earn back. Later that evening, I left a flaming bag of dog shit on his doorstep with a note that said “This is what your show will be”. 
 
Even though the show ended up being mildly successful with tepid critical praise, I made the right decision. Instead of focusing on my writing, I turned to music. Working with James Ferraro, I helped the nascent hypnagogic pop and chillwave genres turn into the cultural powerhouses they are today. Due to my participation in this genre, I have made literally hundreds of dollars. However, after my street cred is converted into actual dollars, I’ll have enough money to buy a small Indonesian island.
 
My coverage of chillwave and hypnagogic pop on this blog isn’t exactly benign. I make no apologies for this, but rather ask what you would do in the same situation. Would you simply keep the good music for yourself, or would you share it with the world, like I have. Thank you for your continued support of this blog. It means a lot to me.

Origin Story Number 2

I grew up in a beautiful town out in the Soviet countryside. The middle child, I nonetheless experienced the nourishing tender love and care from my good communist mother and father. My father worked as an engineer and served for many years in the local Communist party. Due to his heavy participation in the party, he was justly rewarded with a plum position working at a local power plant. Playing in the lush green fields, we were happy to call this ravishingly beautiful city home. Even now, I remember my friends being jealous of my good fortune of living in Chernobyl. 

One day I woke up and everything changed. Unbeknown to me, my parents were fighting against the Soviet occupation of their beloved Ukraine. Quickly we were rushed to live in an underground bunker and for several years we crossed between Ukraine and Belarus, seeking the liberation of each country. After the disaster in my old town, I understood why they did it. We were fighting against an evil empire, as Ronald Reagan stated over the radio. His voice reassured me that all was right with the world. Our father promised us that after Ukraine became independent, that we could head over to the US, to a land of milk and honey.

Milk and honey is what we lived off of from local farmers sympathetic to our cause. Finally when I was 12 I saw the empire keel over and die. Excitedly we packed our bags and headed over to America. Worried about the influence that a big city could have over my younger sibling my family moved to rural North Carolina. 

As I entered Middle School there, I realized I was different. I didn’t speak any English, so I forced myself into American culture. I bought Nirvana albums and dressed all Grunge. My parents worried about my style of dress, thinking that American culture would take over my Ukrainian roots. Upon my constant grouching about everything, they felt reassured that indeed I would fit their hopes of me growing up into an embittered, disillusioned, over-educated member of society, just like they did. According to them, the Ukrainian way involved being deeply weird and being kind of a dick, but acknowledging that you’re an asshole. I passed this test with flying colors after I hurled a beer bottle at someone at school, only to half-apologize to them in front of the principal.

Upon graduation from Edenton, North Carolina’s school system, I decided to move to a big city. I missed being around large groups of people. Telling my parents I was going to study Dentistry in Chicago, they initially were concerned. After I told them about the high suicide rate that Dentists suffered from, they gave me a thumbs-up of approval. 

Living in Chicago in the late nineties ended up being a magical time. Around that time, a record label called “Thrill Jockey” grew in importance. In order to pay for school, I did side gigs touring with the famous band Tortoise, playing the vibraphones. Since so many people were in the band, my name usually got mangled. More than a few times some of the musicians who opened up asked me for drugs, thinking I was a Russian gangster. Asking about this profession, I learned that apparently being a Russian gangster paid more than touring with a relevant indie-rock-jazz fusion band. I stood in disbelief, unable to comprehend crime paying so much better than underground rock.

Following my passion, I joined the Russian mob. Since I was technically Ukrainian, I had to pay a higher Union membership fee. My job consisted of manipulating stocks and setting bags of poop on fire. During my years with the Russian mob, I saw more money than I’d ever seen before. After the FBI raided my workplace, I was out of a job. Bored at being a dentist and having genuinely enjoyed my artistic experiences, I decided to write a show about my time with the mob. It was called “The Vakhovskayas” and the pilot was rejected for having too many philosophical references.  

 

Distraught at my attempt to create a hit TV show, I worked as a Dentist in the greater Los Angeles area, still pitching my ideas to whoever was interested. One day a dorky looking bald guy came into my practice. He stated that he read my work would fit his concept for a show. Intrigued, I asked him to proceed. Explaining how it would take place on a deserted island and would explore sci-fi and philosophical arguments, he told me how it could be one of the greatest shows that Television had ever seen. Throwing a few titles out there, he told me, they decided against “Airplane Crash” and went with the simple name “Lost”. 

 

After having wasted most of my afternoon listening to this, I told him to get the fuck out of my office. This idea he had, I said, would not earn him a dime. Plus, I cancelled several dental cleanings in order to hear him yammer on about his gibberish, money that would take hours to earn back. Later that evening, I left a flaming bag of dog shit on his doorstep with a note that said “This is what your show will be”. 

 

Even though the show ended up being mildly successful with tepid critical praise, I made the right decision. Instead of focusing on my writing, I turned to music. Working with James Ferraro, I helped the nascent hypnagogic pop and chillwave genres turn into the cultural powerhouses they are today. Due to my participation in this genre, I have made literally hundreds of dollars. However, after my street cred is converted into actual dollars, I’ll have enough money to buy a small Indonesian island.

 

My coverage of chillwave and hypnagogic pop on this blog isn’t exactly benign. I make no apologies for this, but rather ask what you would do in the same situation. Would you simply keep the good music for yourself, or would you share it with the world, like I have. Thank you for your continued support of this blog. It means a lot to me.

Out Hud – S.T.R.E.E.T D.A.D 8.4

Really, I have no idea what this acronym stands for. Nor do these California dance rockers offer any sort of insight either. But since (!!!) came out of this, you should probably realize that it is pretty good.


I prefer this album to their second one for a few reasons. For one, the best song on “Let Us Never Speak of It again” kind of harked back to the weird fests of this one (Dear Mr. Bush, There Are over 100 Words for Shit and Only 1 for Music. Fuck You, Out Hud). Plus, this one doesn’t feel the need to win you over with coy lyrics and other cutesy effects.
Actually, Street Dad has a large amount of instability running through its vein. The song structures in this album are unsound, which is truly a delight once dealing with dance music. Most dance music focuses purely on groove, and tends to avoid these strange sidesteps.  “Dad, There’s A Little Phrase Called Too Much Information”. Oh yes, that song sort of sums up their purpose. Grooves are built up only to be overwhelmed with additional blasts of over-distorted drum kicks.
Plus, there is that cello. Here they display it prominently. It adds to the groove, making it almost classical dance music, almost. “Hair Dude, You’re Stepping on My Mystique” shows off some very nice cello playing, along with their aforementioned love of instability.
“The L Train Is a Swell Train and I Don’t Want to Hear You Indies Complain” is the best track on here. First, it is kind of a funny name, especially considering how the L train has become the gentrification express rather than something to be worried about. But there’s everything they are good at here: abrupt shifts, actual emotion, grooves, cello, etc. It is amazing how much inspiration they drew for this from the awkwardly named great project “Peter Gordon and the Love of Life Orchestra”, right down to the length and classical influences.
I sort of wish that Out Hud continued with their project, but I know that (!!!) gained too much prominence for them to ignore that avenue. Also, many of these players ended up being in the even cooler LCD Soundsystem. Oh well, I guess we still have this to remember them by.

Experimental Dental School – Hideous Dance Attack 6.4

Sure, these guys are chaotic. I think after the first 5 seconds it is pretty hard to ignore that. Plus, some of their songs can be pretty catchy, getting stuck in your mind for a while. But even as they open for Deerhoof, they sort of lack the same level of charm and polish.
My problem with the album is for every experiment that works in the scatter shot approach (Kkkfc Serves Sparkily Squirl Meat) that something completely pointless without any merit (Some 4). The vocalist also sounds like they are trying a bit too hard to be like Mike Patton. Not that such ambition is bad, but if you fail, it kind of leaves a bad taste in the listener’s mouth.
Honestly, I’m not sure why there are so many ambient pieces to the music, especially in the latter half. Some bands are able to successfully integrate fast and slow, chaos and ambient, but these guys aren’t one of those bands. If you need a quick fix of skronk, these guys are alright. But otherwise this is just a “meh” experience.

Lesser/Kid606 – Split 8.8

Vinyl Communications probably did the best thing possible by releasing this split. Not only does it offer a snapshot at these two artists in their prime but it also ended up being ahead of the curve on this kind of chaos-ridden glitch music.
When I first heard this, I kind of got blown away by the quality and the sheer strangeness. It is like the most digital punk stuff I’d ever heard. Lesser began the split with two long and very abstract pieces. Random fragments of drum programming, shards of noise, all filed under the most obnoxious names he could think of. I mean, “Produced by Giorgio Moroder” for an abstract and repetitious noise track? Yeah, I think that disco purveyor really had something to do with this.
Years later, upon finding this little CD in one of my spindles, I decided to give it another listen, to see if it held up against the test of time. Listening to it now, I realize that is very much a yes. For both of the artists involved, this is probably some of my favorite material from either of them.
Lesser’s side stands up well, the “Speed for Gavin (AMF Cover)” being one of the weirdest things, mixing up industrial with ridiculous little samples. Example: “You sell fish here” and “Blessing some guy from San Diego”. There’s happier moments from Lesser as well, like “From-Ace Baby! To-Dad” and the surreal carnival of “Kid Tested, Mother Approved”. Jason Doerck sort of mixes together the high and low culture (drum machines and abstract noise) into some weird mix.
Kid606’s side is excellent. This is coming from his more abstract phase in his music before he took the lazy route of imitation dance music. Around this time he had “Down with the Scene” out and figured his life would be better off if he dropped out of school. Oddly, it was. Miguel includes some bizarre, distorted melodies like in “Hunting for Affection” and the demented ho-down of “Catch a Lucky Star”.  It was this release that even got me into a lot of other Tigerbeat6 stuff, before it descended down to just another boutique record label.
Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised that after revisiting this album over a decade later, it still works. This is an approach most electronic artists have failed to take. And why they haven’t is probably the million dollar question for me.