Pete Yorn, self-titled [2010]

Posted by Greg , Tuesday, September 28, 2010 9:45 PM

I'm almost disappointed that this wasn't called something like Fifth of Whiskey, after Yorn's last (and I'm sure coincidentally fourth) album was called Back & Fourth.  Sigh.  (By the way, I'm not counting his duet album with Scarlett Johansson, Break Up.  If I was, we could call this The Sixth Sense.  But, given that Break Up doesn't have anything to do with the number five, I suppose the numerical nomenclature fad is truly dead.  Sad, I think.)  Anyway, this was actually recorded over 5 days in 2008 during the B&F sessions.  Produced by Black Francis/Frank Black (of Pixies fame), the album is Yorn at his most raw.  It's somewhat interesting that, after calling his first three albums a trilogy, Yorn's latest three barely resemble each other.  Ya know, if you find that sort of thing interesting...

Velcro Shoes:

Paradise Cove I:

Reviews are about the reviewer, a Voxtrot retrospective

Posted by Greg , Thursday, September 16, 2010 9:48 PM

"Every day I picture things falling down..."

My job is not physically demanding, but it is exhausting nonetheless.  Nearly every day, I fall asleep around 5:00 on the car ride home.  I have a new home and plenty of things to fix in it, but I spend most of my evenings in front of a television or a computer monitor, because to stand up just takes too much energy.  I've put in a full day, after all.  And of course, when the weekend comes, who wants to work?  I put in a full week, after all.  Right?

Every day, I see ugliness of all shapes and forms, often in unintentional ways.  (I like to assume it's unintentional, at least; because if it wasn't, some people are really fucked up.)  I see fathers unwilling to take responsibility for their children.  Mental health agencies unwilling to help the seriously mentally ill.  Youth protection agencies trying to escape protecting youth.  Mothers looking to get paid (and paid well!) for taking care of their kids.  People who spend more energy working the phones to complain than actually working on their problems.

"We hear our lives inside these sounds..."

So, I've been a little bummed out lately.  I don't know if it's job-related, state-of-the-world related, or just my man-time of the month.  Still, I need a soundtrack to self-doubt and moodiness.  It's like I know when I need (want?) to be gloomy, but I can't fully get there without a morose tune to take me the rest of the way.

This has led me back to Voxtrot.

Their music is about the ugliness of human interaction, wrapped up in an often cheery exterior.  It's much like how we pretend we're fine, when everything is really, really falling apart.  Lead singer Ramesh Srivastava's lyrics unfold like journal entries, at times scribbled in rage, but always with the incisive precision of a scalpel.

In business (and incidentally, in Diablo 2 - which isn't related, but I'm just saying), I think they call this "synergy."  Mid way through "Kid Gloves," Srivastava bursts into self-awareness: "Cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a miserable fuck / Cheer me up, cheer me up, I'm a tireless bore."  And all I can think is: Yeah man, I am a miserable fuck.  And cheering me up is the last thing this is doing.  But in a weird way, it's comforting.

"Come steady my shaking knees..."

Still, even among all this reality-based pessimism, I think Srivastava found something positive in our relationships, as in songs such as "Every Day," a highlight of the band's lone full-length release (and from which all lyrics in this post were taken).  At a time when it'd be so easy to just let the disappointment and frustration wash over, this song gave me pause.  There is strength to be found in each other.  I see it in a woman who's beaten back cancer before, and still finds the courage to do it again, even when a doctor tells her there's nothing more he can do.  And every day I find it in my wife, who, watching me come home after another day of dealing with human ugliness, always finds a way to make me smile. 

"And these things come rushing from behind
Life is changing so fast and there's nothing I can do to stop it
But when I crane my neck to kiss your head, I know
That there is something that I can rely on
And when I strain my thoughts to push this thread I sew
Some kind of future that I can be sure of

Because I love you, because I love you

Because I love you, because I love you"

GTI on the move?

Posted by Greg , Monday, September 13, 2010 1:58 PM

Well, friends, we have reached the end of the road...or at least a road.  I had been using Google Sites to host song files, apparently unaware that I had a 100 MB maximum.  I exceeded that threshold with the previous post, and now have no more room to host files unless I start deleting old ones.

Furthermore, I've been advised that Google may not be the best place to host a music blog, since it's been known to shut them down without warning.  I was aware of this when I created Given and Taken in Ink, but I had experience with Wordpress for a previous (non-music) blog and wanted to try something new.  I think, in the back of my mind, I always knew I'd have to switch back at some point in the future.  Now may be that time.

I've also been advised that it's probably safest for me to self-host this blog, which will probably happen as soon as I pick a host.  If you have any suggestions about a good host, please leave a comment about it!  I've heard DreamHost is pretty decent, although it's been frustrating that all hosting sites seem to have very little information available.  I'm sure that has something to do with people's rush to get on the Internet; in our haste, we may neglect to read the fine print.  I don't generally operate that way, and I'm going to take a little time to do some research.

What this means is that GTI will eventually have a new address, although I can't reserve one until I have a host.  Stay tuned for more on that!