Arms of Tripoli – Dream in Tongues 8.5

                Dream in Tongues” Arms of Tripoli’s debut album is about as emotional as post-rock gets. This is the highest kind of praise. From their humble beginnings of “all the fallen embers” they have moved forward closer to the listener. Rather than serve as yet another distant band jamming from a safe distance their music is quite intimate. Pieces on “Dream in Tongues” manage to create a true feeling of warmth. How this is done without any vocals whatsoever is pretty incredible. At times “Dream in Tongues” displays the sunniness of Arms of Tripoli’s hometown of San Diego. 

                “Miniature Habitats” opens up shinning with optimism. They allow it to build up extremely slowly letting every piece fall into place. By the time the song gets swinging (because honestly they do owe a lot to jazz) it becomes a great big celebratory event. Following this is one of the album’s highlights the unusually titled “Velcro Thunder Fuck” which veers nicely from pure cheer to uncertainty. One of their most passionate songs is “Canna”. Starting off rather quickly it moves quickly. Eventually the thing resembles less a song and more a force unable to stop. Rhythmically a juggernaut it plays with multiple styles allowing nothing to get too comfortable. 

                 Towards the end Arms of Tripoli get much louder. “Addendum” displays this nicely with soaring guitars and an overall sense of purpose. Finishing things off on a relatively epic note is the beast of “Ahs a Vahs a Vae” which neatly summarizes all that preceded it. “Dream in Tongues” is a strong debut album for a strong band.

Mostly Font Size 48 by Ana Carrete    

                 Glad to see fonts are getting their own genre. I thought Steve Roggenbuck was the only guy doing this, dedicating chapbooks to fonts with his now-famous book ‘Download Helvetica for Free’. Ana doesn’t mess around. Much of the chapbook is indeed in font size 48. And the book feels somewhat similar to ‘Pinky Promise Me This’ only more internets focused.


               The first line proclaims Ana’s addicted to the internet. Good job Ana, acceptance is the first step. I don’t think I’m addicted to the internet though. No I only have my entire life on it. Plus I occasionally sleep. I also can’t check the internet while I shower, so that’s already a third of my day away from the internet. Feel I’m pretty ‘free’ of the internet’s siren call. Or maybe I am the siren. 



                I do get upset being away from the internet for so long. I remember January. January was a ‘rough time’ without the internet. I couldn’t even tweet for days. I had some really good tweets too, tweets gone forever, out of mind. So when Ana says she acts like an asshole when away from the internet I believe her. She seems really nice but then I only know her from the internet. Offline Ana Carrete may be an ‘out-of-control’ asshole. Hope that’s not the case but I can neither confirm nor deny her self-imposed accusation.



                She wants to visit people. She wants to visit you. You probably lack money. Actually, if you’re interested in alt lit you definitely lack money. Any wealthy alt lit writers please send me large sums of money. I need money. But I agree with Ana. It isn’t the first thing I check in the morning. If I checked my money in the morning that would be a bleak wake-up call so I avoid it. It only declines anyway. Normally I check if anybody re-tweeted me, followed me on twitter, and did something ‘Facebook-ish’ on my Facebook or re-blogged me. These are things likely to happen. 



                Nobody is standing or sitting behind me. Yet Ana flirts with them. Can’t believe Ana does that, flirts with ghosts. Ana is the ghost-winker. I generally don’t flirt with ghosts because they generally lack the ability to buy me food/drinks. Also they are dead. Dead people suck. Ana states she’s not a playa, but I don’t know. Ghost flirting generally means you are a playa. 



                Peeing doesn’t have to be better than the internet. You can bring your laptop to the bathroom. I don’t understand this part. Why does Ana need to leave her computer behind when she pees? Ana needs a laptop.  When you have the internet on a laptop you can have the internet anytime. The internet is a cult that requires large amounts of time in exchange for little to no money. 



                I am happy Ana Carrete internet high-fived me. All the smiley faces embedded in the poetry is wonderful. It makes me smile and I’m not an easy smile. At the very end Ana states ‘Thanks for reading’. To which my reply is: ‘Thanks for creating this chapbook Ana!’

Mostly Font Size 48 by Ana Carrete    

                 Glad to see fonts are getting their own genre. I thought Steve Roggenbuck was the only guy doing this, dedicating chapbooks to fonts with his now-famous book ‘Download Helvetica for Free’. Ana doesn’t mess around. Much of the chapbook is indeed in font size 48. And the book feels somewhat similar to ‘Pinky Promise Me This’ only more internets focused.

               The first line proclaims Ana’s addicted to the internet. Good job Ana, acceptance is the first step. I don’t think I’m addicted to the internet though. No I only have my entire life on it. Plus I occasionally sleep. I also can’t check the internet while I shower, so that’s already a third of my day away from the internet. Feel I’m pretty ‘free’ of the internet’s siren call. Or maybe I am the siren. 

                I do get upset being away from the internet for so long. I remember January. January was a ‘rough time’ without the internet. I couldn’t even tweet for days. I had some really good tweets too, tweets gone forever, out of mind. So when Ana says she acts like an asshole when away from the internet I believe her. She seems really nice but then I only know her from the internet. Offline Ana Carrete may be an ‘out-of-control’ asshole. Hope that’s not the case but I can neither confirm nor deny her self-imposed accusation.

                She wants to visit people. She wants to visit you. You probably lack money. Actually, if you’re interested in alt lit you definitely lack money. Any wealthy alt lit writers please send me large sums of money. I need money. But I agree with Ana. It isn’t the first thing I check in the morning. If I checked my money in the morning that would be a bleak wake-up call so I avoid it. It only declines anyway. Normally I check if anybody re-tweeted me, followed me on twitter, and did something ‘Facebook-ish’ on my Facebook or re-blogged me. These are things likely to happen. 

                Nobody is standing or sitting behind me. Yet Ana flirts with them. Can’t believe Ana does that, flirts with ghosts. Ana is the ghost-winker. I generally don’t flirt with ghosts because they generally lack the ability to buy me food/drinks. Also they are dead. Dead people suck. Ana states she’s not a playa, but I don’t know. Ghost flirting generally means you are a playa. 

                Peeing doesn’t have to be better than the internet. You can bring your laptop to the bathroom. I don’t understand this part. Why does Ana need to leave her computer behind when she pees? Ana needs a laptop.  When you have the internet on a laptop you can have the internet anytime. The internet is a cult that requires large amounts of time in exchange for little to no money. 

                I am happy Ana Carrete internet high-fived me. All the smiley faces embedded in the poetry is wonderful. It makes me smile and I’m not an easy smile. At the very end Ana states ‘Thanks for reading’. To which my reply is: ‘Thanks for creating this chapbook Ana!’

Bodhi Syurfs – Midnight Premiere 7.0

                Bodhi Syurfs, a tip of my hat to you: I love how otherworldly this feels. At no point do I know what’s about to happen. I tried to feel my way around these songs or sonic pieces. To no avail, I was still relatively confused. Just as a word of advice, let Midnight Premiere do to your mind what it needs to do and you’ll be fine.

                The singer comes from far out, trying to reach you. Don’t worry, he never get that close, he always keeps his distance. Samples are abundant particularly in the shorter tracks. By the third song, you’re given a guitar as a friendly reminder that you’re not alone in this hall with this voice. Drums appear here and there throughout the recording, the only reminder that time is passing. For excluding those drums, this is an extremely ambient recording, more about mood than melody. 

                It is technically surf music. Not in the fast-playing but in the sounds and titles. Personally my favorites are “Palm Trees” and “Night Traffic”. Whoever is in this band does know a thing or two about surf, they are from San Diego.

                Throughout “Midnight Premiere” I was reminded of the most gone, ambient elements of No Age. Personally I think they do a great job representing the casual laid-back quality of Southern California.

Bodhi Syurfs – Midnight Premiere 7.0

                Bodhi Syurfs, a tip of my hat to you: I love how otherworldly this feels. At no point do I know what’s about to happen. I tried to feel my way around these songs or sonic pieces. To no avail, I was still relatively confused. Just as a word of advice, let Midnight Premiere do to your mind what it needs to do and you’ll be fine.

                The singer comes from far out, trying to reach you. Don’t worry, he never get that close, he always keeps his distance. Samples are abundant particularly in the shorter tracks. By the third song, you’re given a guitar as a friendly reminder that you’re not alone in this hall with this voice. Drums appear here and there throughout the recording, the only reminder that time is passing. For excluding those drums, this is an extremely ambient recording, more about mood than melody. 

                It is technically surf music. Not in the fast-playing but in the sounds and titles. Personally my favorites are “Palm Trees” and “Night Traffic”. Whoever is in this band does know a thing or two about surf, they are from San Diego.

                Throughout “Midnight Premiere” I was reminded of the most gone, ambient elements of No Age. Personally I think they do a great job representing the casual laid-back quality of Southern California.

KIDS. – Summer Frights 7.6

KIDS are young. I mean it. All of them are under the age of 20 living in San Diego, California. Southern California’s sound does come across through these six songs. Elements of surf, pop, and punk shine on through. No Age clearly had some influence on these young kids. Though “Summer Frights” fast tempo and messiness may have more to do with their age than any actual influences, I’m not entirely certain.

They burn through this EP. Only on the beginning of “Melt” and the cover “Be My Baby” do they stop to catch their breath. Kids manage to win you over with their extreme enthusiasm. On “Blind Eels” they create a bubbly atmosphere. Really, if you can’t smile to that hooks or the carefree attitude, you may not have a pulse. Their singer matches up perfectly with this giddy attitude. At times it sounds the drummer wants to do more than is physically possible. Most of the songs are around the four minute mark, though they never really relent in their pursuit for garage pop perfection.

“Summer Frights” the title track is my personal favorite. Things are a little bit quieter, and the keyboard gets a wee bit more attention. Everything comes together nicely on this song. I’m reminded of early Unicorns tracks. Yeah, it’s that darn catchy.

I’m glad KIDS appear to have started off on the right foot. Really I’m digging this EP a whole lot. The singer, the catchiness, and the general summer vibe make “Summer Frights” a perfect EP for a hot, lazy summer day. Get the whole thing here.

Richard Chiem

   When I first met heard of Richard Chiem, I noticed he began following me on Twitter.  Then he invaded my blog with a question for Steve Roggenbuck for an  interview called the “Pseudo-Social Scavenger Hunt” for the (Youth is  Write Series). After I discovered why a question was on my blog for  someone named Steve Roggenbuck, I told him it was awesome. He thanked me  for using my site. 

                 “Old Tampons” is the first short story of Richard’s I’ve encountered.  It is about long distance relationships. Richard originally submitted it  on “NewWaveVomit” and it resonated with a lot of people. First he read it aloud and you can hear it here.  Personally, I enjoy his delivery of it. If it is possible for someone  to sound like a poet, Richard Chiem sounds like one. He sounds similar  to my college poetry teacher. Though my college poetry teacher was  called “Mr. Beardsley” (which he might have legally done in order to  teach poetry more ironically) one of the most ridiculous names I’ve  encountered in my entire life besides “Bea Trout”. Richard’s work is  well-thought out with an emotional core that makes the effort more than  worth it. 

                 A few fine individuals created a short film based off of his poem.  Michael Inscoe, Meggie Green, and Melinda Wheeler star in it. All of  them match the energy I get from reading the poem. If you’re more of a  visual person, or don’t enjoy reading poetry, then you can watch the  Youtube video right here. They have a well-chosen soundtrack as well, which is important to someone as obsessed with music as I. 

                “Long distance relationships are like believing in God and do you want to believe in God again?”

                 The above introduces you to the poem. For me, it was strong. I’ve never  been in a long-distance relationship. I wonder; what if I fell in love  with someone. Could I manage to have the faith needed to let that  connection stay strong, or would I just let it be, parting with one last  hurrah as I moved away. I’m happy then that Richard’s story basically  ruminates on that very emotional decision.

                 A lot of religious metaphors are in the poem as well. They are  beautiful. Using “Christ” in two different situations gives both the  absolute highs and lows of a single word with all the baggage it  entails. Having it mean the hurt and suffering Christ had at being so  alone. Having it mean the pure joy and kindness he literally embodied as  he embraced others to make them whole again. 

                 Personally, I adored this poem. The hurt both of them feel is vividly  portrayed. I couldn’t have asked for more direct language. As I read it,  I feel sad at the amount of space and time countless others must have  felt as they started out on a long-distance relationship. Both parties  feel an unequal amount of hurt as they leave each other, her to go to  Boston, him to stay on the West Coast. It was well-paced and gorgeous.  Even as it was sad, it had hope for the times they met and were happy  together. 

                I’d strongly suggest checking him out. He’s number #23 on Online Literary Power along with the editor of Vertebrae, an online journal of literature and art. If none of this means anything to you, he’s also really nice. That counts the most.

Richard Chiem

   When I first met heard of Richard Chiem, I noticed he began following me on Twitter. Then he invaded my blog with a question for Steve Roggenbuck for an interview called the “Pseudo-Social Scavenger Hunt” for the (Youth is Write Series). After I discovered why a question was on my blog for someone named Steve Roggenbuck, I told him it was awesome. He thanked me for using my site. 

                “Old Tampons” is the first short story of Richard’s I’ve encountered. It is about long distance relationships. Richard originally submitted it on “NewWaveVomit” and it resonated with a lot of people. First he read it aloud and you can hear it here. Personally, I enjoy his delivery of it. If it is possible for someone to sound like a poet, Richard Chiem sounds like one. He sounds similar to my college poetry teacher. Though my college poetry teacher was called “Mr. Beardsley” (which he might have legally done in order to teach poetry more ironically) one of the most ridiculous names I’ve encountered in my entire life besides “Bea Trout”. Richard’s work is well-thought out with an emotional core that makes the effort more than worth it. 

                A few fine individuals created a short film based off of his poem. Michael Inscoe, Meggie Green, and Melinda Wheeler star in it. All of them match the energy I get from reading the poem. If you’re more of a visual person, or don’t enjoy reading poetry, then you can watch the Youtube video right here. They have a well-chosen soundtrack as well, which is important to someone as obsessed with music as I. 

                “Long distance relationships are like believing in God and do you want to believe in God again?”

                The above introduces you to the poem. For me, it was strong. I’ve never been in a long-distance relationship. I wonder; what if I fell in love with someone. Could I manage to have the faith needed to let that connection stay strong, or would I just let it be, parting with one last hurrah as I moved away. I’m happy then that Richard’s story basically ruminates on that very emotional decision.

                A lot of religious metaphors are in the poem as well. They are beautiful. Using “Christ” in two different situations gives both the absolute highs and lows of a single word with all the baggage it entails. Having it mean the hurt and suffering Christ had at being so alone. Having it mean the pure joy and kindness he literally embodied as he embraced others to make them whole again. 

                Personally, I adored this poem. The hurt both of them feel is vividly portrayed. I couldn’t have asked for more direct language. As I read it, I feel sad at the amount of space and time countless others must have felt as they started out on a long-distance relationship. Both parties feel an unequal amount of hurt as they leave each other, her to go to Boston, him to stay on the West Coast. It was well-paced and gorgeous. Even as it was sad, it had hope for the times they met and were happy together. 

                I’d strongly suggest checking him out. He’s number #23 on Online Literary Power along with the editor of Vertebrae, an online journal of literature and art. If none of this means anything to you, he’s also really nice. That counts the most.

    Mameshiba are not your ordinary advertising campaign. When Dentsu advertising agency unleashed this level of cuteness upon the world, we were not prepared. Without having anything to sell, they instead focused on having the bean dogs (Mame means bean, and Shiba means dog) mention random tidbits of trivia. They’d pop out of whatever you were eating and dispense such pearls of wisdom as:

                “An ostrich’s brain is smaller than its eye, so it quickly forgets what it just learned” – Lentil Bean.

                Besides giving out this sort of information, each bean dog has their own specific personality. Some are smarter, more willing to travel than others, whether it be by shell or pod. A few dabble in poetry and learning new things. Each one (or collective group in some cases) has their own mini-feature on their own website:

Mameshiba!

                According to Atsushi Higashiyama, their success is an unexpected surprise. They are everywhere in Japan. On the internet people have made their own tribute videos to the successful bean dogs. While the penetration into the American market has been somewhat limited (they showed up at the San Diego Comic Con, to give you an idea of the audience) they do have a certain universal appeal, even if their cartoons are still in Japanese. The subtitles help, and a few times they have put the cartoons fully into English, such as the case for the Jelly Beans.

                What I wonder about as I see them is the science of cuteness. What makes us react almost uniformly to certain cues? Even Dentsu the creators stated they were shocked by the surprise, yet were confident enough in their creation to allow them to exist as characters first before selling any product. That’s considerably different from most advertising campaigns, where we bond with the character after knowing the product, like the Flo girl (from the Progressive commercials, another form of cuteness). 

                The New York Times had an article about the science of cute in 2005 (Article). According to the Times article, the cues of cute display extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness and need. Somehow we are wired to take care of the most pathetic and lowly. Originally this wiring was due to taking care of offspring, but the wiring is so strong that anything resembling extreme youth, whether panda bears, kittens, etc. can trigger this reaction. 

                Dentsu incorporated these images of vulnerability by using the beans. The beans come out food, out of soups, and are about to be eaten. You worry whether or not they are about to be eaten, and their tenuous situation after dispensing their information. Usually the recipients of said information are taken aback, as shown by black lines and drop-out of color. 

                Corporations increasing rely on this imagery to soften things up. Artists use it too, to get a more gut response to their work. A few artists I know explore the science of cuteness with very specific cute materials, such as knit teddy bears placed into various playful poses or hand puppets. Both of these examples use materials we’d recognize from our youth to form a greater bond with the art than would otherwise be the case.

                I’d strongly suggest to anyone to see these absolutely adorable clips. Each one shows off a certain flair for short story-telling.

    Mameshiba are not your ordinary advertising campaign. When Dentsu advertising agency unleashed this level of cuteness upon the world, we were not prepared. Without having anything to sell, they instead focused on having the bean dogs (Mame means bean, and Shiba means dog) mention random tidbits of trivia. They’d pop out of whatever you were eating and dispense such pearls of wisdom as:

                “An ostrich’s brain is smaller than its eye, so it quickly forgets what it just learned” – Lentil Bean.

                Besides giving out this sort of information, each bean dog has their own specific personality. Some are smarter, more willing to travel than others, whether it be by shell or pod. A few dabble in poetry and learning new things. Each one (or collective group in some cases) has their own mini-feature on their own website:

Mameshiba!

                According to Atsushi Higashiyama, their success is an unexpected surprise. They are everywhere in Japan. On the internet people have made their own tribute videos to the successful bean dogs. While the penetration into the American market has been somewhat limited (they showed up at the San Diego Comic Con, to give you an idea of the audience) they do have a certain universal appeal, even if their cartoons are still in Japanese. The subtitles help, and a few times they have put the cartoons fully into English, such as the case for the Jelly Beans.

                What I wonder about as I see them is the science of cuteness. What makes us react almost uniformly to certain cues? Even Dentsu the creators stated they were shocked by the surprise, yet were confident enough in their creation to allow them to exist as characters first before selling any product. That’s considerably different from most advertising campaigns, where we bond with the character after knowing the product, like the Flo girl (from the Progressive commercials, another form of cuteness). 

                The New York Times had an article about the science of cute in 2005 (Article). According to the Times article, the cues of cute display extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness and need. Somehow we are wired to take care of the most pathetic and lowly. Originally this wiring was due to taking care of offspring, but the wiring is so strong that anything resembling extreme youth, whether panda bears, kittens, etc. can trigger this reaction. 

                Dentsu incorporated these images of vulnerability by using the beans. The beans come out food, out of soups, and are about to be eaten. You worry whether or not they are about to be eaten, and their tenuous situation after dispensing their information. Usually the recipients of said information are taken aback, as shown by black lines and drop-out of color. 

                Corporations increasing rely on this imagery to soften things up. Artists use it too, to get a more gut response to their work. A few artists I know explore the science of cuteness with very specific cute materials, such as knit teddy bears placed into various playful poses or hand puppets. Both of these examples use materials we’d recognize from our youth to form a greater bond with the art than would otherwise be the case.

                I’d strongly suggest to anyone to see these absolutely adorable clips. Each one shows off a certain flair for short story-telling.

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.