Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer came much too suddenly.
I'm pausing Badlands right now to post up this thing I found on my old computer, from 2008-ish, back when I was going to do a print zine called Werts Up. I had it in my head to review two records -- the Beekeeper/Ida split 7" and Unrest's Animal Park. I never finished the Beekeeper piece (might try to do that soon), but Animal Park was done and ready to go. So here it is, instead of a write-up about the Perfect Teeth vinyl re-ish. (Sidenote: I wasn't expecting that gold Shroud of Turin box, with Cath Carroll's ghost face staring at me--did I get some weird golden ticket version? I thought I was getting an exact replica of the one I saw in the Touchable Sound book.) Anyway, apologies for some rough, incomplete Unrest knowledge, and for tons of extra irrelevant info here. It was an odd time, maybe odd details felt appropriate. Although wildly adventurous and brave music soundtracking a lot of hesitation and deep car thought isn't all that strange:

Unrest were pretty weird.  Their Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl single had photos of Sammy Davis Jr. on the front and back covers -- one where he's whispering into the ear of a young blonde female, and another where he's standing next to Martin Luther King and they're both looking to their left -- and lyrics like "I want to fuck you all the time". Their Animal Park 7" has a shot of a guy heating up a tea kettle on the stove while his dick is hanging out.  They were really into Cath Carroll and Isabel Bishop and had an album called Kustom Karnal Blackxploitation.  This was while they were essentially an indie pop band that also did extended minimalist slow jams and atmospheric noise pieces and sometimes disjointed post-punk.  It's the kind of thing that can end up sounding too precious or sort of typical, and I guess they were that way a little bit.  But when I first started working in Phelps, I would listen to their Imperial f.f.r.r. record in my car before I had to go in, and get weirded out by how painfully honest and psychologically heavy they could be.  They have a song called "June" that starts out all bouncy and catchy with just the bass and drums, and Bridget Cross sings "As you lay dying/morphine and ice cream/staining your sheets and/confusing your mind/and it reminds me/they still get paid when you die".  About half-way through it switches to tropical, breezy '60s pop with her singing "Crawling through the snow/crawling through the blood".  On "Cherry Cream On", Mark Robinson sings rambling half-sentences that are part teen innocence and part graphic sex talk.  Everything they did on that record felt realer than real and almost embarrassing, like they didn't quite know when to stop, refusing to hold back on any thought they had.  And I would sit there listening and pore over the liner notes and notice stuff like how they listed the geographical coordinates for everyone involved with the record and the beats-per-minute for every song, which seemed like a Shellac thing to do or like something you'd find on a late '90s screamo record, and then suddenly realize I was about to be late for work.  Sometimes I could tell it was time to go in by looking out and seeing Bevin, the girl who did maintenance work in the morning, pulling into the parking lot or walking over to the office.  She was roughly my age and funny and insanely skinny, and in the wintertime she would wear this huge old coat (I think it was dark green) that went down to her knees, maybe past her knees, with a big hat and a big scarf, everything a different color.  She looked like an old-world peasant or something, walking down the street, but she really made it work.  She was also into Civil War re-enacting, and she managed to pull that off, too.  She could do basically anything.  I always thought she and I could probably be friends, but I could never come up with anything good to say to her, so we just said "Hey" to each other in the mornings, and she cleaned the floors and I delivered the mail awkwardly and that was that.  The first song on Animal Park has a chorus that goes "Why does anybody say anything they say anyway?", which reads kind of defeated or maybe disappointed, and it sounds a little like that when you listen to it.  But if you hear it at the right time, it just sounds like a good question.

Unrest - "Afternoon Train"
Unrest - "Light Command"

Sunday, May 13, 2012

it's Mother's Day, and this is always the first song that comes to mind, other than that song Tyler Farren would know, that's like 2 seconds long by some hardcore band that just goes "MOM!", with a quick count-in and one chord, a song that's essentially just a thud. I celebrated Ma's Day yesterday with the whole family, bought a young lilac plant at the Lilac Fest so my mom could add it to her garden-line, picked up chilled French chardonnay with a nice gold label so she could get buzzed on something light. Linda Werts does a million things with no-nonsense ease and laughs at my weird comments/surprise at the goings-on in Newark. She's a solid lady and does good work and I look a lot like her. So yeah, special wishes on this special day, again and again.