Nothing really gets me more interested in music than listening to musicians talk about music. And nothing wakes me up from being down in the dumps than music.

I'd abandon words, and writing, I'd abandon it all if I could simply say, "I'm having a hard time," and have that mean something to anyone. Because I lay my words down like bridges but I'm the only person crossing them.

In my dreams, all my fathers forsake me. It leaves clots in my veins and a pounding in my head.

It's the same winter coat, with the same dead leaves and the same cloying grey. If, for half a moment, I can walk on a stretch of sidewalk soaked in the sun and imitate Christopher Owens' walk while singing "Honey Bunny", if I can listen to "Surf Solar" by Fuck Buttons on repeat with the volume turned up, it feels remotely like conversation.

In the end, the people I remember most in the last year aren't the ones that I've told, "I'm having a hard time". It's the Noah Lennoxes, the Avey Tares, the Owen Palletts, the Bradford Coxes, the Christopher Owenses and Peter Silbermans of the world that tuck me into bed at night and whisper, "Sometimes it's like that."


this is starting to fuck with my head (you can count on me)

At 21 it seems a little irresponsible to have already lost two fathers.

As if I might lift up the couch cushions and find him there, arms wrapped around my mother, spreading peanut butter on a saltine still.

You'll have to excuse the language, because I was 6 when I started saying "bastard" and I'd ride in my father's truck and ask the meaning of every curse word I could think of as he drove me to school.

There are certain things that I can't believe are truly over. I still feel like you'll be there, as you always were. Because that's what fathers do, right?

I guess I wouldn't know.


cuckoo, cuckoo

If I think about the last few years before the end of the world and can press my lips in a straight line, it feels remotely like staying.

I used to try and clean the driveway with a toothbrush, until the bristles wore down and the skin on my knuckles rubbed off on the pavement. You used to smile as you walked by.

If I sit with my head against the window of the bus and I remember you swinging me across the surface of the water, it feels exactly like we lost you.

I don't want to remember you like I'm trying to prove you were ever here.

Was there ever a good way to lose a father?


i wasn't made for anyone

I wasn't made for you, like the smiling doll with a set of pearls around her neck like a dog collar. A million little dollhouses, I pass them every night. I used to call my heart a home but that suburban dream was washed down the sink, along with the frog that she blended and every other problem we couldn't solve.

I want you to understand things. I've been standing with the suitcases packed since I was six but I've stayed because if one of us wasn't committed we would never have made it this far.

For your birthday I painted my favorite picture of the two of you, but my hands were shaky and I was tired and soon enough I mispainted, your lips transformed from a carelessly captured smile to a red smudge. I wanted to start over, to get it right, but I cut you apart with my own hands.

When I look closely enough, I can see the cracks now. If we stand far enough away, everything looks alright.

I wasn't made for anyone. I was made to stand far enough away until everything looks alright.


as young as yesterday

When I was a child I used to have a nasty habit of scratching myself. My arms and legs were covered in scabs, which I'd pick off to create even bigger scabs. Or, if I'd picked them all already, I'd scratch myself until I bled.

There was never any rhyme or reason to it; I did it because I needed to keep my fingers busy. Soon enough, my body was covered in a hundred scars, little circles, like someone had put a polka dot pattern on my skin.

It took me years to quit the habit, to turn the pages of a book rather than pick myself to pieces. It took even longer for the scars to fade.

Sometimes, at night, busy fingers scratch skin, until I wake up with new scars. Maybe I've just always wanted to tear myself apart.


I did it, I guess

Congratulations are in order, but unfortunately there aren't many people joining in the celebrations. I was reinstated at the University of Washington! It's a happy day, and a testament to how hard I worked this year and how much it sucked, but because I've been keeping most of that to myself, news of my return to school has had a fairly lukewarm reception.

Anyways, I'm happy for myself. And since I need to share this with somebody, I thought I'd share it with everyone that's been with me this whole long way, from being in college to being kicked to coming back. Thanks guys!


never tear us apart

If I could write my own ending to this story, I wouldn't be so damaged. We'd probably be talking, instead of the awkward silence between us that only I seem to notice.

The fact is, mistakes were made. Things were done that can't be undone. But my soul is weak, and things worth having require standing up for, and lord knows I don't have solid knees.

When you hold me it's the only time I can feel my old heart beating. More than anything I'd want to tell you that I've only felt alive when you run your fingers across my skin. But I've been spending my time suppressing screams, I've been living with ghosts and getting strangled every night.

I want to have something to offer you, but I don't have anything to offer myself.



The word comes heavily, sitting in the back of my throat like a thick syrup.

Tonight I tried to bury you again. I washed you down the sink, I tucked you in a page of a book I never read, I clawed your throat of soil and gravel. Out, damned spot.

When I speak your name, the sound catches and I can feel all the times I drew you near, only to hear you whisper "Bitch" behind my back. Where I might have had gentle words, it takes all I can do to keep from shutting down completely.

Memories of you remind me just how much I don't want to be in love.


tell me what's the difference if i go back to normal again?

Things might be different in a house with a patio, sliding glass doors and vases.

Maybe if my parents held hands when I was little I'd know the way you and I could fit together. Instead I saw the suitcases packed every night, I recited the old dark stories, I remembered to run away.

I'd like nothing more than to hear you ask me to stay. I only wish I had an idea how.


or something like it

So I am winding up my clock, backwards. This time, M. will be jumping backwards, up onto the bus, unsaying my name. The blood will be flowing into wounds, the pills will be put back in the bottles. I will go through shrink spurts, the hair will un-grow from my skin. And I will wake up, happy and free and clean. All the things I ever did wrong, or ever will do, will fall up into the sky, they will clear up the stormy clouds in my life, they will un-evaporate and add their weight to the ocean. My exhales will be inhales, my rights will be lefts, my laughing and crying will be the same thing.
She says this is progress, we should keep the forward momentum. I can't tell if I'm just a really good liar or if this is real. This is happiness, or something like it.

My happiness is a firework. The synapses ignite, then go dark.

If this is happiness, I'd rather have something like it.


master of none

When I started writing in late 2009, I felt myself on the edge of something sinister. Writing became one of the few lifelines left to me; in the years that followed, I worked through complex emotions that I otherwise had no venue for exploring.

I've been considerably more lax towards posting, as my sanity does not depend so heavily on it. Sometimes, like remembering a kiss, I can feel myself begin to disengage in that old familiar way, but it's more difficult to tempt me back into closed and stifled rooms.

Though I'll forever be hesitant to say that I have healed from all that has happened in just the last three to four years, I have to say that for the first time in my life, things are truly looking up. It might have taken me over a year to shake the sound of the paramedics on the other side of the phone, the skin of my eyelids may forever be purple-tinted from the day she gave me a black eye and told me to pack my things. I may still be holding myself and sobbing in the basement of the library, or I may be slamming my head against the floor, screaming to get out. But these are only memories that have little to do with my present.

As always, I will not take down my website. It's important to work through whatever you may be facing, whether it is severe depression or anxiety disorders, whether it is just the hassle of growing up or growing apart. I look forward to starting a new chapter, and we will see whether or not that includes writing.

Sometimes I'm afraid I'll only write when I'm unhappy.


the universe is going to catch you

It's a very simple truth but it is hard to accept. The universe is going to catch you.

We tried once to do trust falls in the kitchen, but I could only think of the linoleum and I wouldn't let you catch me. You yelled at me, I am going to catch you, but I started to cry and you said that we could play something else.

I have been thinking lately about friends that I haven't seen in a while and friends that won't see me anymore, the ones I miss that don't miss me. As much as I'd like to make this about me, that isn't always the point.

You can blame yourself for building walls and drawing lines, for all the times you didn't answer the phones compared to all the times that you did. But in the end, you aren't the only person in the conversation. It's as much your choice as it is theirs, too.

There are reasons why I'd like to take the blame. I think to myself, if this is your fault, you can still fix it. If I can take all the blame, I'll have all the responsibility, and things that I don't like about my life will change if I can only change myself.

But changing yourself will only take you so far. You can still find yourself walking down a street in the University District crying by yourself when all of your plans fall through.

In the end, it isn't about how much people can like you, because as Facebook has demonstrated, liking something is simply not being committed enough to get to somewhere real. It isn't about changing yourself to be the type of person that appeals to others. It's about accepting that the universe is going to catch you, about leaving space for love to come into your life, about room for forgiveness and second chances. It's about doing trust falls in the kitchen when someone tells you they love you.


out of step

Things aren't ending exactly as I'd hope they would, but I'm getting more used to the disappointment.

As people may have read in the very few posts I have written since this year has started, I am struggling to "get better". I can't write anything without saying that phrase because I can't go a single moment without asking myself if I am still getting better. The answer isn't always no, but it isn't yes as often as I would like.

I realize that I am still a long ways away from being someone that is self sufficient. If given a chance, I would very likely spend all of my money on dark chocolate and secondhand books, which is a sign that I am still struggling to function normally. Every once in a while I just want to stop and stay at home, like I used to.

But it's been a year between then and now. When I couldn't leave the house and when I could. The difference is huge, and it isn't lost on me.

There are still mistakes that I have made, small missteps that have yet to be corrected. But there is a lot more to my life than before. A whole year has passed, something I am not sure I expected to see. I have yet to forgive myself the small mistakes, I have yet to lose that feeling that I'm already at the end and that I won't see anymore, I have yet to "get better".

In any case, I am quitting my job as soon as I am nearly out of debt, and switching from Cookies by Design to Specialty's. I will be volunteering, I won't be in school until fall. My life is opening up, not shutting down.


abner jay

The gestures are empty; I can't feel anything but anger. I can't let this go, afraid that if the anger is gone I won't feel anything anymore. My life demands more urgency.

I can't yet understand how you can be here one day, and then gone. I miss the way you used to make me hate my insides. I continue to hate myself, but I'm standing alone anyways. Nothing will bring you back.

I want to go back to park benches. I want leaves in my pocket, I want botanical gardens and unreality. I want cold winter days and music. I want to go back to feeling like someone knows me, I want to go back to feeling like I know myself. I miss my friends, the ones that hurt me and the ones that didn't.

Day to day, if I am lucky, I work myself so hard that I distract myself from all this. And then you are sitting in a car in the parking lot of Home Depot when it hits you all at once and you beat your head and sob. I tell myself that I am getting better, but my therapist turns to me and says "Challenge yourself" because I am obviously not.


it's never been like that, it's never been like that

Not my idea of God, but God. Not my idea of H., but H. Yes, and also not my idea of my neighbor, but my neighbor. For don't we often make this mistake as regards people who are still alive — who are with us in the same room? Talking and acting not to the man himself but to the picture — almost the precis — we've made of him in our own minds? And he has to depart from it pretty widely before we even notice the fact. In real life — that's one way it differs from novels — his words and acts are, if we observe closely, hardly ever quite "in character", that is, in what we call his character. There's always a card in his hand that we didn't know about...My reason for assuming that I do this to other people is the fact that so often I find them obviously doing it to me. We all think we've got one another taped. — A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis


"Mamihlapinatapai: A look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin."

I don't know how to cross that border. I wouldn't want to, either.

You say "Hi" loud enough to be heard over the headphones I'm always wearing whenever I walk in. I never say anything back, barely capable of twisting my facial features into something as close to a smile as I can manage. I turn into the bookshelves, hoping that a wall of titles can save me from making eye contact.

The whole thing plays out before it even starts. It happens in that space between heartbeats when I turn the corner, trying to rush out, and you are right there. "When I bump you an accident's a truth gate", Tare sings, and I back away, afraid to hear the truth.

Last time, you and I both turned away. I don't know if it was just you, or if it was mostly me (I always assume that it is), but I tug bitterly at books I want, hiding them all over the store and then walking away. Why start something you can't finish, I tell myself as I push open the door.


why can't you just tell the truth?

I reach for your hand but let it go in the same instant. Everything is wrong here.

In my mind, you never look me in the eye, always down and to the side. It used to be because you were shy, afraid of not impressing me. Eventually it was because we just weren't capable of seeing each other as we were, so afraid to look over and discover that the person next to us was only human, as that would take away our excuse to hold the other person responsible for happiness.

Things haven't changed in a year, they won't change any time soon. Things don't always get better, you tell me. You don't deserve to have anything better, you add.

I might miss my friend, but I don't miss this. I don't miss how you tried to pass the cruel things you'd say off as all just "a joke", as if I weren't smart enough to tell the difference between humor and cruelty. I don't miss the way you took everything I said and turned it against me, I don't miss feeling responsible for you.

I don't miss you. And it hurts the most that you never gave me anything to miss, but I still feel as if it's my fault.

You scream that I'm a liar, but why can't you just tell the truth?


i don't want to be free

I like arm's length. At arm's length, there is no disappointment. At arm's length, you can't see the scars from when I literally tear myself apart. At arm's length, I'm not responsible for anyone.

Don't ask me to love you, don't tell me I can do no wrong. I don't want unconditional love. I want boundaries, I want to know that I've actually earned something worth having.

The fact is, I'm not perfect. And I don't want to be.


i can't write a metaphor, but we're going to be okay

I don't know how to write a happy story. It could be because it always feels like bragging, but more likely it is because the only times I come close to happiness, the feeling is more akin to triumphant anger than to anything more familiar.

I heard that men seem more masculine when their head is raised, while women look more feminine when their face is lowered. Exactly when are we supposed to make eye contact, then? My own head finds it difficult to navigate these hemispheres of masculinity and femininity. The top of my head drops down to the pavement, but my chin refuses to give in, it raises itself above all of the hateful things in my chest. The result is like a ship slowly sinking.

The smell of your car tells me that nothing has changed, that nothing ever changes. The characters can change but we're still the same, waiting to make the same mistakes. I smile, content with the familiarity, reckless about what comes next. I wonder how we can take our mistakes and make them into second chances, but I just get impatient.



I'll be honest. I have no desire to write these days. Things have changed for me; I've left the house every day for four months. I've held a full time job, and I'm doing well in school. For the most part, the frustration and depression that fueled much of what I'd posted in the last year has been replaced by an extremely busy schedule.

I wouldn't rule out any posts completely, but I would say that anything I might post will be decidedly different from the ones preceding it. Less seriousness and more day-to-day. Hopefully people will still stick with me.



I am saving my words. The ones that I share should have meaning; I begrudgingly spare as few words as I can to those around me, to the point that people become angry. They can sense that I feel as if I am wasting my meanings on them.

These days are short, they pass by quickly, they take away the pieces of me that I can barely hold together. I stitch myself back together at night, only to be torn apart again through the course of the day. The parts of myself that I wish to fleece off, like a heavy coat from that "winter of our discontent", they hang on me shabbily, while the small parts of me, the tiny feeling inside that I can be strong for myself, that I can fall in love again, that my heart is not made of glass, a cold fragile thing that shatters and cuts everything around it, is easily crushed again and again, yet strangely never destroyed, so that I can feel that same crushing pain the next day and the day after that.

There is no "book" — which, in a moment of honesty and being half-asleep, was revealed to be a desire to validate my self-pity. It may not be for the sake of honesty, or for the sake of forgiveness, it is not a goodbye, it is not for validation. I am trying to be useful.

On separate note, I am simultaneously excited for and dreading the start of the Spring Quarter, when I will be starting school again. This will coincide with my working full time (accomplished by the fact that I will be taking online courses). I will appreciate the opportunity to consume my life with more natural ambitions, but at the same time I know how tapped out I shall feel, as if my very soul is being drained, or rather, is being numbed to the point of silence.


the situation goes from bad to catastrophic

At work, because there really isn't anything else to keep our minds from turning totally numb, we listen to the radio all day. Because I am the only person in the entire kitchen to listen to the kind of music that I do, the radio is usually tuned to some channel that only plays Rihanna and Katy Perry, along with the other popular musicians, which is something I have put up with five days a week for the last month and a half. Every once in a while, one of my coworkers will change the station; today, they chose a country music station. I didn't realize, until I was listening to a man sing "Tequila makes her clothes come off", that the bad situation with the radio could get any worse. So, in light of the fact that I was forced to listen to country music for eight hours, I have decided to do a quick little music post (literally, just links and maybe a sentence or two).

Wounded Rhymes - Lykke Li
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

Lykke Li has always been talented at expressing youthful romanticism, and Wounded Rhymes is no different. If Youth Novels was too girly or too young, Wounded Rhymes feels somewhat more mature.

Forget - Twin Shadow
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

It may seem that there are a lot of musicians that are revisiting the eighties these days, but when done well, these albums are incredibly worthwhile. Twin Shadow is no different, managing to be vaguely reminiscent of the 80s. The album is split between it's more dance-y moments and the slower, more thoughtful songs.

James Blake - James Blake
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

Though I haven't had much of a chance to listen to this album, it's quite obvious that Blake has fantastic vocals. The album and the songwriting is refined, and the whole thing definitely requires more than one listen in order to fully appreciate.


could you feel the fright of an age that was and could never be?

If there is anything I have learned from books, it could be that falling in love is a lot like vertigo. It could be that it takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place. It could be that losing that feeling of Being Loved and Becoming Real to someone feels a lot like dying.
What is vertigo? Fear of falling? Then why do we feel it even when the observation tower comes equipped with a sturdy handrail? No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves...We might also call vertigo the intoxication of the weak. Aware of his weakness, a man decides to give in rather than stand up to it. He is drunk with weakness, wishes to grow even weaker, wishes to fall down in the middle of the main square in front of everybody, wishes to be down, lower than down..."Pick me up," is the message of a person who keeps falling. — The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
I told you that it would be easier than this, but we know now how much I misrepresented things. That night I planned for us to walk to that park bench, where we would part as not even friends, as something a little bit less that could have been a little bit more. Terrified of becoming an "us" instead of an "I", I planned to strangle that future before it could strangle the future I had dreamt for myself. Instead we leaned against the handrail and you held me tightly (consequently, I avoided the park I had planned to use to leave you, up until the day it snowed, a white blanket that covered up the danger signs until it was too late and I was running away screaming "Fuck you" all over again).

Even after it had been established that there was a four-eyed monster with our eyes and our hands roaming the streets of Seattle, the fear didn't subside but instead took a different shape. With the death of "I" came the fear of a death of "us": I was coming face to face with the "emptiness...against which, terrified", I needed to defend myself. Laying in bed side-by-side, before our ballet of punishment, I buried my face in your bed and cried. In the front seat of your car I let my limbs fall to my side and sat lifeless until you breathed me back to life. Shaking behind the bleachers, I whispered "Let's break up", only to hear you say that you still wanted me around. I was falling apart.
Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying "Faster! Faster!" but Alice felt that she could not go faster, though she had no breath left to say so..."Are we nearly there?" Alice managed to pant out at last. "Nearly there!" the Queen repeated. "Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster!...Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." — Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll

The memories aren't quite so vivid; immediately after the fact, the memories shorted out, as if the neuron pathways that added up to "us" had suddenly become disconnected. I sat on the bus to school, watching Bellevue pass by like a film reel, and in the absence of you the city became the object of my love. This stretch of sidewalk, forever immortalized since the day you jumped off of the 271 bus and ran after me, if only to walk me to the street corner, whereas just a block away was the stage for our public fight, where I screamed and cried as you sat contemplating my breakdown. The city shouldered the burden you abandoned to go to California, and I loved and hated it alternately. In the clear light of the early morning, I loved the city in which we once existed; at night I dreamed of tearing down our favorite buildings and single-handedly breaking the pavement we once traversed daily.

The formulas that added up to me and you were suddenly filled with irrational numbers, inequalities and unknown variables I didn't know how to comprehend. The memories disentangled themselves from any timeline whatsoever, became fractal and incomprehensible. Tonight we are sitting at Yummy Bites. "I want to move to Japan" is a phrase that is hanging over our tiny table. I sip my water calmly and catch the look in your eyes, the one that says, "I am trying to get to a place where you can't follow me." The dinner between us sits untouched. Tonight you are gripping my hand as we walk down the streets of Capitol Hill, tonight I am kicking you in the stomach as you struggle to focus on not crashing the car. Tonight, tonight, tonight you are ignoring my phone calls, tonight you are my best friend, forever I am chasing you, always just a little bit behind and to your right as you walk down the street (we don't even walk like a couple, but two angry people trying to pass each other).
And so the little Rabbit was carried out to the garden. Nearby he could see the raspberry canes, in whose shadow he had played with the Boy, and a great sadness came over him. Of what use was it to be loved and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground. — The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
We are sitting in the car together for the last time. It was maybe the laptop, or the parking spaces again, or perhaps it was the fact that you were late and I wanted to walk away like I used to, until you were angry with me and told me to wait for you. You ask if there is still some time, and I nod and stare out the passenger window while you drive from Seattle to Bellevue to Redmond. I ask if we are going somewhere in particular, but you answer, "I just thought we'd go for a drive. Do you mind it?"

You park at the end of my neighborhood, near the house with the chain-link fence and a yard full of dog piss. We sit in the car, and soon enough we are kissing like it is goodbye. I used to worry until late into the night that this was the end and that I wouldn't remember where we had our last kiss, or what it felt like. I put my hand on your cheek, and I know that when I walk up that street and enter that house, that it will in fact be the death of "us". This is the only kiss that matters, small and defeated, rather than the tight-lipped, unhappy pecks that so frightened me, rather than the wide-eyed, inexperienced kisses that used to make you laugh.

"Everyday I walk these streets and feel like every door is closed on me. I start to wonder if I'm already homeless. I start to fear I'm the phantom, that he was real and I'm left behind, this ghost staining his city. So I scream, I cry, I laugh, I sing as I walk home, to prove to everyone that I'm the real one." We all know how the story ends. "Autumn passed and winter, and in the Spring, when the days grew warm and sunny"...The night that I was truly homeless, I sat on your couch with my suitcases by the door, and we laughed at one of our more harmless memories. My eye is swollen and bruised, and like a phoenix I have died and died again, but you look earnestly at me and I can tell that you can see "there was something familiar", that I had finally come back to look at the person that had first helped me to become Real.


do you want to be afraid?

She hooks her little fingers around my ankle and begs me not to leave. "It's not safe out there", she breathes. Eventually her fingers tire and she lets go of her own accord, dusts off her little blue sweater and watches me walk through the front door. She really is quite well-behaved.

She waves to me from the window. She leans too heavily onto the screen, which slides out of its grooves. I watch as she falls right out of the window, hanging onto the ledge with one hand as her body swings sickly from side to side. I walk past the corner and the blue hedges, the traditional boundary of my childhood, and she disappears, pulled back into the house and into my memories by her forever over-protective big sister.

At the bus stop, I ask her, "Don't you want to be happy?" I smile and thank the driver as I get on the bus and I know that she has reeled in the tether.


the night has opened my eyes

As of last month I have joined the ranks of the employed. Because I work all day and spend the entire night recuperating and otherwise being lazy, I haven't had much of a chance to catch up on 2011. You may think, it's only February, how much new music can a person really get behind on? Technically I'm still catching up on 2010. Luckily, I got off work early on Sunday, and was able to sit down and listen to some music.

As always, the mediafire links will only be up for about a month, or a little longer, depending on when I get around to it.

+ - Wise Blood
Bandcamp | Pitchfork Rising | Mediafire

Not my vote for best album art of the year, but a very strong EP. There are some obvious influences from Animal Collective and particularly Panda Bear, but on its own Wise Blood does an incredible job of reinventing pop songs. The songs are fairly short, and at only five songs the EP is just long enough to make a future release "highly anticipated". (And, I am aware that this is from 2010.)

Zonoscope - Cut Copy
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

I hesitated to review Zonoscope. That hesitation started post In Ghost Colours, when nearly anything from 2008 was suddenly tainted by memories I wanted to put behind me. So when I knew that I would have to listen to Zonoscope, I expected the worst. But after having listened to it all the way through (and then nonstop for the next few days), it's hard for me to remember exactly why I would ever hold anything against such an amazing band. Even if you are in the middle of battling snow, or hail, or whatever else winter is throwing at you, Cut Copy manages to bring a breezy, summery album that is easy to like.

Space is Only Noise - Nicolas Jaar
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

This album fell under my radar after hearing "I Got A Woman". For those that are already familiar with Nicolas Jaar, Space Is Only Noise may feel a little slower than his previous singles, and for those that have never heard of him before, it is easy enough to enjoy the album. The songs feel light and melodic, and is easier to take in all at once, rather than randomly or in pieces.

Dye it Blonde - Smith Westerns
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

This album appealed to me right from the opening track, with the whole album feeling drunken, joyful, and dreamy. The Smith Westerns find a perfect balance between 2011 and 90s Britpop influences. I feel like I might be selling the album short if I don't write more about it, but I'll be honest and just say that it would mean more to me if I had spent more time with it.

This is all I feel prepared to write for now, though I am sitting on quite a few more albums. I guess that will just be something for readers to look forward to.


everybody cares, everybody understands

I was planning on making a playlist for 2011's best music so far, as well as some of the albums I didn't get to in 2010. I also have big plans for making a Sasquatch sampler playlist. And even though today was my only day off for the rest of this week, I didn't have much of a chance to get to it, mainly because I am exhausted.

For those that don't know, I have joined the ranks of the employed, and full-time at that. I have been working at a cookie bouquet store, which sounds a lot nicer than the reality. The reality is, I just barely survived Valentine's day. So though I would love to spend a few hours struggling with a thesaurus, I am actually planning on spending the night studying some Chinese and eating noodles.


i think it's alright to feel inhuman, now

Lake Washington, c. 1912
Postcard: "Just a few words as I am real busy doing nothing.
I have nothing to do but eat and sleep but O,
I would rather have something to do."

Like Alexander before me, I set the city on fire before descending in my white-glass diving bell. As my city of friends and bright futures burned to ashes, I spent the summer in my diving bell, a locked, pressurized chamber full of borrowed air, with Bauby and Alexander. Historians will tell you that it is impossible for Alexander to have stayed in his diving bell for days, just as those around me had sat back, folded their arms and said, "You'll get better."

"Getting better" is as labored as the evolution of deep sea technology. It moves as slowly as "the speed of a hair growing from the base of the brain" (which made Jean-Do excellent company). As summer turned to fall, my diving bell turned to a benthoscope, capable of withstanding the higher pressure as people were losing their patience with me. "Life doesn't happen like this. You have to try harder to be normal."

Last month was the difference between the diving bell and the smoke helmet. It was the difference between a locked chamber and actual mobility, the difference between crying at the thought of leaving and actually packing my suitcases. But this diving suit was imperfect, I laid my head down in a bed that wasn't my own and the helmet soon flooded with the reality that I wouldn't be able to stay out like this. I left the apartment and went back to the safety of my diving bell.

These days I can put on an atmospheric diving suit, I can leave my diving bell. I can cross those railroad tracks and run past the school bus depository. I can watch the sun set over downtown Bellevue, I can believe that I will eventually see the surface again. But these days I am still tethered to my diving bell, I am still afraid to get on that bus and see Tyres in ruin.

I whisper to myself, "I think it's alright to feel inhuman, now" and continue to recover the wreckage that I wrought on my life.


new name, same blog

I've had this blog for a long time. But in the last year I feel I've moved farther away from whatever Hipsteradio used to be. This new name may be tentative, I have no idea what name will actually stick.

I'd change the web address as well, but I am fairly certain that it would screw up everyone's bookmarks. 


but their alarm vanished

I am trying to comfort you.

There are bandages on your fingers and you're telling me you can't write anymore. You are losing control of your body, all of your teeth fell out last night and you were afraid to get out of the elevator. You think that maybe if you had one good night's sleep the circles under your eyes would stop reminding you of the black eye you had just last week. Sometimes you think that the fingers are still gripping your neck, crushing your windpipe, because you look into her eyes and the fear is still there, the fear she has that you were a mistake.

You'd like to think that your existence is more substantial than a narrowly avoided abortion, you'd like to believe that there was a reason why you are afraid of leaving the house and why you are going blind and why you feel so angry that your insides melt from suppressing screams. You are cutting things away; first was the long hair you spent over a year with to remind you that you were losing your mind, then it was your belongings because you realized things need to fit into a suitcase, now it is your sleep and your health and writing and music and school and even the skin off your fingers. You want to keep going like this forever, you want it to end right now.

I've never been able to comfort you.


let's go surfing

I came home to an empty room. The Winnie-the-Pooh nightshirt that was ripped the night you broke up with me was not on the floor where I had left it yesterday morning — my mother always hated it, having to remember hearing me awake late at night crying into the phone, asking you not to leave me. The shelves, which had held so much of the memories I couldn't remember anymore, were ransacked, as was my bed. I started to inventory which old bears were missing, but realized it would hurt too much. I let the survivors retire on my now bare shelves and crawled into my empty bed.

Three years ago I must have left a piece of myself in your apartment. It was something I couldn't get back, because I didn't want to see the place that I loved so much. You neglected to put it in the bag of my belongings you returned to me just to see me hurt and ask you back again, though I doubt you would have found it in the first place: you never really knew how much I wanted to be with you. I sat on the couch that night, and she was there with me, making me anxious to see you, making me jealous and hurt and horny, all the emotions that made you call me "hysterical" and want me even more. And, just like back then, it wasn't right.

Even though I only had to hear it second-hand, I can imagine the biting tone of your voice as you ask angrily, "Why are you calling me?". I have to smile inside at the fact that my sister told you to fuck off, but more importantly I realized you probably wanted me to die. Or at least try to. It would have made us even, in a sick sort of way.

As I drag my body up the stairs, tired from being stared at, I can't help but wish to have someone in my life that isn't attracted to me at all. I want to be that old married couple that isn't quite old enough that everything is forgiven, or young enough that they are even remotely interested in sex with each other anymore. I don't want to be physical and crazy, I don't want to be held responsible for every single breath you take. I just want a friend to help me forget how empty my life is.


now that you're here

I am unsure of how many people actually noticed my thanking them for all the wonderful comments, sporadically clicking "like" at the bottom of my posts, and for following my blog. I could say that the end of the year list was my way of thanking everybody, but just in case people didn't realize it (and will therefore miss out on those previous downloads, since I'm taking down all the links), here are a few more things to download. After reviewing all the albums I listed, there are quite a few glaring omissions that I will fill in now.

Gorilla Manor - Local Natives
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

Not to be mean, but I'm honestly not surprised that I forgot about this album. Though Gorilla Manor does a lot of things right, even upon its first listen it feels extremely familiar. But this by far is no real criticism, Local Natives knows what works and goes with it. Gorilla Manor functions as a nice reminder that you don't need to force yourself to sit through an album just to spew some technical jargon to look smart.

Body Talk - Robyn
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

I don't know many people that admit to listening to Robyn, or even people that have heard of her before (we're not all in tune with Swedish pop). Though I've listened to Robyn, her self-titled album from 2005, I don't imagine her music to be something many people would admit to liking, as her beats are dangerously close to other, more laughable pop stars. Even so, Body Talk, much like Robyn before it, is much deeper than just dance floor music. Robyn is dimensional, and though her lyrics may not make you rip your heart out, it's hard not to relate, even if you might not be a pop star.

Love Remains - How To Dress Well
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

Growing up, my sister would take me into the back bedroom whenever our parents went out so we could sit by the radio and listen to music. Most of that time I spent studying the pattern in the couch while my sister stood next to the radio, waiting to hear her favorite songs. Through her influence, I listened to a lot of R&B as a child, and though today she will sometimes drag me into her room to listen to some old song we both heard together, the majority of those songs have already disintegrated in my memory, only a few strands of melodies actually triggering any memories (though, not surprisingly, I still remember that couch pretty vividly). Love Remains encapsulates that feeling of 1980s-1990s R&B, filtered through the years. Lyrics are half-mumbled, melodies hummed, and you can literally here vinyl crackling.

Gemini - Wild Nothing
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

I've only spent a small amount of time with this album, having a hard time really remembering this album because everything felt a bit too fleeting (and I'll be honest, the album cover kind of creeps me out if I stare at it too long). Like the album above, Gemini also remembers 1980s music fondly, this time paying tribute to guitar-pop, sometimes channeling Johnny Mar or the Cure. The album is ripe with sulky, the trials of young love, and just about every other adolescent experience you can possibly romanticize.

Treats - Sleigh Bells
Insound | Pitchfork Review | Mediafire

It was a huge surprise to me that I managed to forget this album. It's a small consolation to realize that I don't have this album on my iPod or computer anymore, which would explain why I never had it on my list, but even so, it seems like something as loud as Treats would be a little harder to forget. Though I can understand that many people might be repelled by the sheer loudness of the album, at the same time, there is something very special about it. The music isn't loud just to be abrasive, but is instead satisfying. As Mark Richardson puts it, "The visceral thrill of Treats may not last forever, but neither does life; right now, this feels like living it".

These links will only be up for about three weeks. Thanks, again, for all the people that actually read through all the depressing stuff I've written over the last year.


our bodies went missing in the night

At night, if I can arrange my blankets just right, there is a tunnel that I can slip into that leads straight into your bed. You grab me around the waist and pull me back under the covers. You whisper to me, "It's not right to be so miserable." I nod, because I know you're going to let me go again, and I'll wake up in my bed alone.

When I'm there, there are no more questions. When you hold my hand like that, it's hard to remember anything that's happened in the last year. 

I woke up this morning with blue ink on my thigh, it read "Why I'd rather dream than sit around bleakly with bores in 'real' life". I like to invent you, my own personal funny little frog, but sometimes I wake up and I am only talking to myself. I'd rather dream of you than sit around in real life.


ghost of yesterday

I found it behind a pile of books crammed into a corner of my room, untouched since I stopped writing three years ago. I thought it was empty, like the other half a dozen notebooks with beautiful covers that I refuse to write in. But reaching for a new notebook, the cover lifted and there it was, a snapshot of someone I was three years ago. It was like looking at an old friend that will never come back.

Three years hardly feel like any time at all, but I can't remember the last time I felt the way she did. I've been trying to resurrect a ghost, holding onto what I thought were feelings just in order to have something to write about. She doesn't say much; she doesn't need fancy words, or an endless string of metaphors, but it's easy enough to figure out that she's in love. There are only three entries, all before everything fell apart.

My fingers trace the juvenile handwriting, and I want so much to protect her from what's to come. I'd never let her go to the transit center that day, I'd tell her to hold onto that feeling just a little longer because you won't be happy again for a very long time. But all I have is an old notebook.