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Catch music / no. 1 / winter 2013


Here’s to the songs that catch us. The songs that come to shape our lives and give our worlds definition. The songs that come out of nowhere and catch us unguarded and hold us still, the breath knocked out of us completely - that flood our faces warm with blood and make the hairs stand up and it doesn’t matter much how crappy our headphones are or if our speakers aren’t loud enough because by then the song is part of us, and our brains, knowing the music by heart, trembling wide awake, will fill in all the blanks, and, if only for those few minutes, we’ll forget all the rest of all the bullshit.


Some songs to listen to on a mid-winter Sunday evening when you have not much else to do or at least you’ve already decided that you’re not going to do anything else, when it’s quiet outside and the passing of time has become all but imperceptible and you cannot find any other thoughts in your head. Nina Simone / Just In Time Yo La Tengo / More Stars Than There Are In Heaven Alec Ounsworth / What Fun The Walkmen / I Lost You The Zombies / The Way I Feel Inside Wye Oak / Wealth Sufjan Stevens / Vesuvius Nicola Di Bari / Corazon Gitano How To Dress Well / Us in the Sense of Forever Hooray for Earth / Surrounded By Your Friends Girls / Broken Dreams Club Sharon Van Etten / Love More Don Byas / Gloomy Sunday Nirvana / Jesus Don’t Want Me For A Sunbeam Karen Dalton / Something On Your Mind The Raspberries / Go All The Way Future Islands / The Great Fire Jens Lekman / Sky Phenomenon Gil Scott Heron, Jamie XX / My Cloud The Drums / What We Had John Maus / Believer Beach Boys / I Can Hear Music Gavin Bryars / Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet Paolo Conte / Blue Tangos James Blake / A Case of You Holly Golightly & The Greenhornes / There Is An End

The Stone Roses / This Is The One


Yo La Tengo’s Long History of Making Believers Out of Us {J. Wilson} There are times in life when, for one reason or for several reasons, we find it hard to focus on the best things in life. At times we find it difficult to believe in things like true love and friendship and romantic adventures of the heart and soul - or we forget that life is really just a neverending adventure and we’re all here to see things and feel things and grow old and grow wiser with each passing day and in the end there’s really only this quite simple set of meaningful things that we should care about with the utmost sincerity and so much else that we can just forget about because those things mean nothing. The pricelessness of music is that it helps us remember these things we ought not to ever forget. We remember that true love does really exist every time we hear one of those Yo La Tengo songs - the ones that are whispered to us -the ones that say so many things with very little words - the ones that start quiet and slow and build themselves up over long heartbreaking stretches into something a bit louder - the ones that buzz with raw emotion drawn out as huge warm reverberating spaces for us to hide out in. A few songs in particular: The Story of Yo La Tengo, More Stars Than There Are In Heaven, Deeper Into Movies, Our Way To Fall…. These are the sort of songs that are loud in a quiet way.


Or songs like The Fireside, which feels like a quiet and empty but not lonely room to sit and wait and think in. The song feels like it’s dripping with memory and nostalgia - but the peacefully happy kind of remembrances, with maybe the slightest tinge of melancholy mixed in there. That’s the growing older and wiser sound I find in so many of these songs. There’s no rushing to conclusions here, but patient waiting, letting things happen in their own time. There are songs like One PM Again too - songs that make us believe, somehow, that everything will be alright, no matter what. These songs are like the good friends in our lives - the friends who know how to calm us down and make us feel safe again by offering the right advice at the right moment. “Let’s not make any sudden movements...” We listen to these songs and find ourselves believing again that we are not alone in any of this - there are others out there who know exactly what we know, who feel how we feel, who get worried like we get worried.There are others out there who find things to believe in again whenever they hear a good song. We stared at the sun, too long until the shapes before our eyes turned into the sun, in our eyes We lied to ourselves for awhile in our usual style


Interesting things to look at on the internet Aquarium Drunkard - Music from the Films of Jim Jarmusch www.aquariumdrunkard.com/2012/12/12/music-from-the-films-of-jimjarmusch/ Dezeen Music Project Archives www.dezeen.com/musicproject/ Radiolab - Musical Language www.radiolab.org/2007/sep/24/ Wired - Oliver Sacks on Earworms, Stevie Wonder and the View From Mescaline Mountain www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/15-10/ff_musicophilia BLDGBLOG - Soundtracks for Architecture bldgblog.blogspot.com/2006/02/soundtracks-for-architecture.html non-visual architecture: sketches, by GaudĂ­ nonvisualarch.tumblr.com/ Indie R&B indiernb.tumblr.com/ TED - Jared Ficklin: New ways to see music (with color! and fire!) www.ted.com/talks/jared_ficklin_new_ways_to_see_music_with_color_and_fire.html Moonface - Selected dreams, dreamt January - April 2009 moonface.ca/journal.php


Listen To This Song [Here] {The Walkmen _ No Christmas While I’m Talking.} [ www.tumblr.com/blog/thissonghere ]

Listen to this song on a laptop or a boom box while sitting tucked into the corner of a small empty closet on some warm quiet summer afternoon. Pull the door of the closet almost closed, so that there’s a thin crack of space between the door and the jamb that lets just a little bit of light in. Sit in the corner that’s deepest in, the corner furthest from the door, with your knees pulled up against your chest. Let the sounds of the song fill the small dim space so that the air seems to be shimmering and trembling around you. Pay very close attention as your eyes adjust to the lack of light, staring straight ahead into an opposite corner of the closet. Try to discern different colors of light and darkness suspended in the air.


I remember that time we sat together underneath an umbrella at night in the rain and listened to Beach House {J. Wilson}

There was lightning. We couldn’t see the stage, even if we stood, there were too many people in-between. So we sat on the ground and tried to find the best position to be closest to each other and stay dry at the same time underneath our overlapping umbrellas. The rain fell slowly and steadily and there was no wind. The raindrops on our umbrellas blended with the music. Every few minutes there would be a huge white flash of light in the sky above the stage area and the crowd would make a collective “whoa..oooohhhh� sound. Our ankles were wet and cold and there were raindrops trickling down my back. It smelled like mud and wet grass and spilled beer. Some girls danced in a new odd style nearby us, their hair and clothes soaked. There were tall orange-tinted lights around that made the space under our umbrellas glow slightly.


I was riding home on the subway very late one night and I saw something happen. I was sitting across from this younger looking guy wearing headphones. He seemed to be elsewhere - daydreaming I mean - I guess he must have been really absorbed in whatever song he was listening to. But anyway I remember thinking right away as soon as I saw his face that he must be a truly good, sincere person. I could kind of just tell from his eyes - there was a lot of kindness in them. After a while, another younger looking guy in a suit and tie gets on the train and sits near the guy with the headphones and you can tell right away that this guy in the suit has been crying - his eyes and nose are red and besides that he looks very sad - like maybe he might start crying again right there on the train. And so he keeps making these sniffling noises and hiding his face in his hands and stuff like that. And the guy with the headphones, I notice he’s looking at this sad guy in the suit and by the look on his face you can tell he really truly feels sad for him. It’s to the point where he looks like he’s about to maybe start crying too. But then he starts looking at his iPod really intently, like he’s searching for a specific song and then he stops and looks up with this thoughtful look on his face and then sorta just nods to himself and he gets up and walks over


to the guy in the suit who’s burying his face in his hands and you can tells he’s really trying hard to keep it together because his shoulders are kind of shuddering and shaking in this odd way, and the guy with the headphones taps him on the shoulder really gently and when the guy looks up you can see that there are tears running down his cheeks and he’s looking at the guy with the headphones waiting for him to say something but the guy with the headphones doesn’t say anything - just hands over his headphones to the guy in the suit and motions for him to put them on and the guy in the suit sort of hesitates for a second but then puts the headphones on but he’s got this bewildered look on his face and the guy with the iPod sits down next to him and starts a song playing and then watches the sad guy’s face and right away the sad guy in the suit with the headphones on - his face changes completely - the sadness doesn’t go away from his face entirely but you can tell that it’s becoming a different kind of sadness - it’s becoming like a more bearable sadness. And then I looked up and it was my stop so I got off the train and walked home.


{Sunset Rubdown _ A Day in The Graveyard} {J. Wilson}


A two-headed boy. {J. Wilson}

He was born with two heads and this freaked most people out so he had no friends. There was no one he had met who could see him as a single person. His parents tried their best. Of course they loved him very much but they were unable to ever really truly be a friend to him and that was just how it was. And because he had two sets of eyes, two sets of ears and two noses and two brains, he sensed everything twice as much as anyone else could. His two brains did not always act as one - sometimes he would put headphones on each of his two heads and listen to two songs at once - maybe a very sad song and a very happy song and the resulting emotions that swirled around inside his single body were overwhelming and even if he did have any real friends, he would have been unable to describe it to them. One of his brains would be thinking about war and the sadness of it all while his other brain was filled with thoughts of wonder at how gorgeous the trees look in fall.


drawn by J. Wilson


Lyrics {The Kinks _ Strangers} Where are you going I don’t mind I’ve killed my world and I’ve killed my time So where do I go what do I see I see many people coming after me So where are you going to I don’t mind If I live too long I’m afraid I’ll die So I will follow you wherever you go If your offered hand is still open to me Strangers on this road we are on We are not two we are one So you’ve been where I’ve just come From the land that brings losers on So we will share this road we walk And mind our mouths and beware our talk ‘Till peace we find tell you what I’ll do All the things I own I will share with you If I feel tomorrow like I feel today We’ll take what we want and give the rest away Strangers on this road we are on We are not two we are one Holy man and holy priest This love of life makes me weak at my knees And when we get there make your play ‘Cos soon I feel you’re gonna carry us away In a promised lie you made us believe For many men there is so much grief And my mind is proud but it aches with rage And if I live too long I’m afraid I’ll die Strangers on this road we are on We are not two we are one Strangers on this road we are on We are not two we are one


a dirty projection of a painting by Melanie Rocan


Come Together {Tim Krauss} Here come old flattop he come grooving up slowly like he’s got nothing to do but sit there, eyeing us heathens. We come up to his castle, all ten stories of it, with our clove cigarettes and Allen Ginsberg poetry pamphlets. Once we’ve mounted the parking garageno megaphone but height and the physics of sound- it’s not poetry we really want, it’s rock and roll. So we yell: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving for the brother they lost to a brain aneurysm when he was eight and a half and full of wild love for what we have bitterly named ‘the unforgiving.’ Or this world call it but no more playing baseball together in the green Sundays of quick childhood you brothers. “It’s nothing personal” says the myth holding a curved knife atop a staff. “Well then nothing is” I spit back and wonder why I never could cope with my far-less-than-tragic-death problems. A mind knot they say- mood disorder. The superego nods quietly from his chair in the corner, he has told me to tell them all along that something was wrong. But no one believed me (or no one perceived me), my frequency fell between the cracks. I was too normal not to have problems. I remember: I HAVE! Red riBbons red riBbons tied around my hemispheric emptiness that stands in a coffee shop in East Lansing Michigan attempting to convey my young angst and artistic essence to the audience of college students, washed up middle-aged poets and musicians who have nothing better to do than attend an open mic night. We all buy hot drinks and muffins. One man- long peppery gray dreadlocks hanging over his guitarplays a garden variety folk song. He’s billing himself incorrectly. He should be protesting something like the endless war on this planet or the rising price of weed.


Other people take the stage: angry poetry of lost love, sad poetry of lost love, poetry of loneliness, poetry of feminist ambition, poetry of nature with metaphors that don’t make sense. I’m eighteen, I smile and clap at it all- why would I say anything? I too long for the likely hollow praise. Me and Mike take the stage and I have ‘red ribbons.’ As I rant about Kerouac, alcohol, cigarettes, artistic insecurity and other things I don’t really understand I imagine that I am doing something original- or at least engaging. I HAVE! RED RIB-BONS RED Rye Bones tied inside my belly and I stain those rye bones- those ribbons they- tie me around me. they tie me- into being. red ribbons. they has me. Mike plays ‘expressionistic air guitar’ and head bangs to accompany my reading, his mass of red-brown curls flailing. And while this may be the main reason the audience accepts us and praises us it doesn’t bother me because for the moment I feel like a real artist. He’d kill ten thousand people with a sleight of his hand running far, running fast like a marathon track in his mind. It’s an exaggeration. The death. I don’t know if he did or could kill any living soul- that wounded animal. His brother died of a brain aneurysm. Closest in age in a big family. There were others to fill the gap, like when a tooth is pulled. But it never fits right, and the blood flows long. My friend Ian. Any words were liable to come out of his mouth. “Eric Clapton wrote ‘Last Train to Clarksville.” “Really? Eric Clapton?” “Yeah. Best song he ever wrote.” “Well... yeah but... why would he give a song to the Monkees?” “I don’t know.” Well in case you’re reading this Ian it was actually written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby hart.


And for the record I don’t know whether or not he was the victim of misinformation. Nor do I know if it was a malicious or even intentional lie. He’s a compulsive liar, he admitted as much: “I lie all the time. And about things that don’t even matter.” “Why?” “I don’t know...” He told me this in a six month period of candid connection between us that ended when he began to have reasons to lie to me. He owed me money. I am gullible I will admit, but it comes from a kind of altruism. I’d like to believe that everyone is telling the truth all the time. In fact when I discovered the word ‘disingenuous’ and what it meant the concept disturbed me so much that I thought it must be at the root of all the world’s problems. This ‘edenistic’ perspective has been shattered over the years by my own mountain of lies but especially my interactions with a certain narcissistic borderline sociopath (Ian, it’s just what the psychologists told me). He was so good at lying that I believed for over a year that one of our mutual friends was an egomaniac with vast delusions and either a terrible memory or a penchant for lying because of Ian’s misrepresentations of their chronic arguments and confrontations. Did he know he was lying to me about all of this? I’m not sure whether I want to know. I only grasped the depth and breadth of his deception when the drugs he was constantly taking affected his acting ability. When somebody is on Klonopin you can hear it in their voice- even over the phone. And when you are lied to, and you know you are being lied to while it’s happening, and the person lying to you is possessed by a pious anger that you would even question the truth of their statements... it’s a scary thing. Especially if they’re your friend.


He cried the first time he played me Funkadelic’s ‘Maggot Brain.’ It’s a beautiful song, both bombastic and serene. It features a ten minute guitar solo by Eddie Hazel that caused some people to claim he was the next Hendrix, but nothing he ever did lived up to it. When he died from liver failure twenty-one years later it was played at his funeral. On the day they recorded ‘Maggot Brain’ George Clinton told him to play like his mother had just died. Then George said: Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time for y’all have knocked her up. I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe- I was not offended. For I knew I had to rise above it all or drown in my own shit. Not that I have delusions of my own primacy in the cosmos. Nay, I am only a passenger and know this. I am a sinner and a stowaway. I have stood the frozen weekend nights, waiting for my allotment of smoke. Willing to brave singed fingers for the burning ember inside the roach. Got so high I believed I was the son of god. Not jesus but the nonjesus. The jesus we all are once we realize he’s only a man shrouded in myth and isn’t coming back. I spent what seemed like hours explaining this to Mike. “Well you see it’s- I know that I’m not the second coming of christ. And thatthere’s no way I could be and... since I know that with... since I know that it means that I am the second coming of christ! And I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry Mike that I have to be telling you this. But it’s true, so I can’t- I had to tell you. But you will be too once you realize! Don’t you see that Mike?” He sat there with a bemused look on his face, occasionally beginning a sentence that I would cut off, but mostly not speaking.


It was my moment of awakening until the veil of dopamine began to recede. We were walking past a dorm on my college campus and the orange light in the night looked refracted through my eyelashes. I suddenly realized I had stopped talking mid-sentence. It seemed like hours had passed since then. I turned to Mike and asked “Did I really just tell you I was the son of god?” “Yes Tim, yes you did. Now lets talk about something else.” And then we went stumbling through my college campus, staring at the green lights inside the skeleton of the library imaging they were spaceships. Everything was wetter and had a different hueI know it was January but in my memory it was raining. It was my twenty-first birthday and I started to come down so we headed back to Ian’s house, where the trip had all started and where Mike would soon be singing: The only girl I’ve ever loved was born with roses in her eyes. But then they buried her alive one evening 1945 with just her sister at her side and only weeks before the guns all came and rained on everyone. And they did, with hellfire and insane malicious gestures. After Mike and I returned looking for more weed I came upon Ian and Keith- returning from the drug dealer’s- in a brawl in the front yard. Tension had been building between them as it does between friends in pursuit of constant distraction (chemical or otherwise). What set it off: Brian was doing them a favor and driving them to get the weed. He didn’t smoke and didn’t want his car smelling like weed. Ian started to light a joint on the way back and Keith reminded him of the situation. Not appreciating correction, Ian proceeded to taunt Keith by pretending to light the joint over and over. When they were just pulling in to the driveway, Ian lit the joint and Keith went ballistic. I should also mention: Ian can’t stand it when people are angry at him.


So there they were at my feet in the snow with Ian shoving it into Keith’s face. My stoned mind was quickly sobered by the gratuitous violence. “Ian! What the fuck are you doing?! Get off him!” I grabbed Ian and pulled him toward the house. “What happened?” Ian aired some grievance that I cannot remember and then turned his attention to Keith, who was licking his wounds in the snow. “Go home Keith. Unless you want me to beat the shit out of you again.” Did I mention Ian is Irish? “Fuck you bitch. You came at me from behind.” “Well go home because you’re not allowed here anymore.” At this Keith took special exception. He had been the alphamale at this college house for some months now. He was the funniest, and had been supplying all the weed. “Fuck you I’m not! Ask Marco or Carter!” Keith had been officially kicked off campus when he’d been found by an RA, underage, sleeping in their living room with a 40-ounce in his hand. As much as anyone might have wanted to disagree with Ian, Keith was a bit of a liability. And then there was Ian with his Olympian talent for pissing people off. “Nobody here likes you Keith. Why don’t you go buy some other friends?” At that Keith lunged up the four steps at Ian, but I was in the way. “Keith, just come back tomorrow man,” I said, trying to sound confident. But Keith didn’t really have respect for anyone either (and he was drunk and high).


“What and let this pathetic little twerp get out of an asswhuppin?” he said with nonchalant venom. Seconds later he broke the parley with a surprise slap to the side of Ian’s head. Ian reacted like an attack dog, trying to lunge through me at Keith yelling: “You fat fucking piece of shit! Why don’t you fight like a man?!” “Because you’re a little girl. Ian.” Then more yelling, more shoving. The fight moved into the house, all the while with me in between. They never entered a full brawl for the rest of the fight as I refused to allow it, keeping my body in the way as they hurled insults at one another and tried to throw punches around me. At one point I got them separated and shoved Ian into another room, trying to talk some sense into him. “Ian, it’s not worth it, he’s never coming back after tonight anyways.” But there was blood in his eyes. The only response he gave involved Keith’s name and a few choice curses. Then Keith appeared in the doorway, taunting Ian, and it started all over again. The fight lasted for about an hour, all the while with me in the middle, trying to calm down two semi-homicidal drunks. I was hit a few times, and some property was damaged. Sometimes people watched, sometimes they didn’t. Carter thought I should let them beat the shit out of each other, but I didn’t see the point. It would only leave wounds, it could only spark revenge. And besides, the house was owned by the college, and they had racked up so many violations they weren’t allowed to have visitors after 9pm. Not to mention the fact that most of us were underage and the place was full of alcohol and weed. No, I would have to let it die down, I would have to make it die down like a violent inmate in a padded room. And so it did.


Keith stormed around the house, gathering all of his possessions and insulting everyone. I caught him attempting to delete all of the music off of Ian’s computer, and he stole Zach’s guitar in the confusion but finally he was gone. I found Mike sitting by himself on the floor of Marco’s room drunk and singing along to Neutral Milk Hotel. Was there more weed? Yes there was. We got high.


Editor: James Wilson Publisher: Wilson & McAlistair’s Contact: wilsonmcalistairs@gmail.com Brooklyn, NY


WILSON & McAlistair’s


Catch #1