Afterschool Rerun – Waiting For You

Afterschool Rerun – Waiting For You

Stephen Hawking theorized that, when the universe reaches the furthest extent of its Big Bang powered expansion and begins to contract back upon itself to eventually implode in a massive hole of blackness, the movie of each person’s life will run in reverse, each of our presumably-dead selves exhumed from the grave to walk backwards from the point of our death, becoming younger each day until we are thrust screaming into our mother’s womb. The horror of this projection is that, on a fateful day in the distant future, I will re-enter my home town by backing a VW Beetle down the originally eastbound – now inexplicably westbound – lanes of I-40, walk backwards across the stage of my high school auditorium, hand over my diploma to Mr. Holloway, and spend the next twelve years re-engaged in massive boredom, daily indignity, and occasional sadness during which I will unlearn everything, becoming stupider by the day as I once again rub shoulders with the semi-literate and massively inbred denizens of Middle Tennessee from which I had previously desperately sought to escape. If there is even the slightest chance that Hawking’s postulation is correct, if there is a 0.0000001% chance that I will someday return to Cookeville, Tennessee as an actual resident, then I propose that every country in the world pool its intellectual and monetary resources in the search for a solution to this incipient catastrophe. I can live with Global Warming (I plan to take my shirt off). But I can’t rewind through my childhood without massive doses of the anti-depressants that had yet to be prescribed for me. The only potential plus side to the Hawking Scenario is that I look forward to chasing a bully down a middle school hallway, catching him, and then forcibly expelling his foot from my butt.

In their self-named new album, Afterschool Rerun describes with starkly realistic lyrics the trials of a boy, a young adult, or a young adult trapped in his childhood surroundings. “Waiting For You” presents the child lying on his bed, alone in the house as ten o’clock approaches, the headlights of the passing cars crawling across the walls of the room to illuminate in turn the toy box, the fish bowl, the frog-covered poster board above the bed as the waiting child longs to hear a car slow then turn into the driveway, its headlights sweeping a fast arc across the room before focusing on the unopened garage door. Or in a alternative universe, the soul is in his twenties, trapped amid the detritus of his early days, anticipating not the return of a parent but the arrival of a lover, one who is willing to accept a partner with demonstrably limited prospects for advancement and Coca-Cola bed sheets.

“Waiting For You” opens with a poppy yet darkly nostalgic organ line populating an introduction that stretches for a full one-minute-twelve as Afterschool Rerun eschews the Eric Carmen “Hurry Up And Get To The Chorus” aesthetic. Energetic drumming and solid guitars drive the song along, but the real star of the show is the lead vocal, delivered by someone with a great voice who knows how to use it for subtle expressiveness.

Afterschool Rerun is Nick (no last name), who “lives in Philadephia and spends most of his time listening to REM.” He has been recording music for a decade, but Afterschool Rerun represents his first attempt at a cohesive album. “I thought it would be interesting to arrange the songs in roughly chronological order, based on the age I was in the lyrics,” he told me. “It fell into place from there, I think. The album cover is actually a photo from my 2nd birthday party, the same party the audio clips bookending the album are from.”

Bonus Songs of the Day: The aforementioned audio clips from Nick’s birthday, plus “Pudding,” a spritely song about driving four hours to be present for a loved-one’s surgery, and drawing comfort from pudding purchased in the hospital cafeteria. Nick’s ability to address a painful memory through the medium of memorable pop music marks Afterschool Rerun as an adventuresome concept album worthy of critical attention.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Afterschool Rerun (Nick) by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to his songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. Or buy the entire album. I’m sure no one will mind. And be sure to follow Afterschool Rerun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Faux Faulkner

Faux Faulkner

The old man squinted at the sun and spat. He spat and squinted and the time of his grandmother’s sister’s children rolled across the land and settled at the feet of Noah’s father’s progeny, the very inhabitants of the Kingdom of Iketombe. Out there across the field was the boy. And the old man knowed that the boy knowed and the boy knowed he knowed and he knowed the boy knowed and the boy knowed that he knowed the boy knowed and he knowed the boy knowed that he knowed he knowed. And old Iketombe knowed and Noah knowed and his great-grandmother’s sister knowed.

And while the old man stood there squinting at the sun with his feet like two tanned bear hides planted in the dust, the dust of the Kingdom of Iketombe, the boy came shuffling across the field just like he knowed (he knowed!) the old man would be there because he knowed the old man would stop at the end of the furrow and squint into the sun and spit the dust of Iketombe back into the dust of his great-grandmother’s sister’s children, the very children beguiled by the progeny of Noah, and by Noah’s father and by Noah’s father’s father. And Noah knowed and the boy knowed and his great-grandmother’s sister’s children knowed and Iketombe knowed and the dust knowed.

Personal Note: I used to know William Faulkner’s great niece. She had her grandfather’s desk.

Steven Lipsticks and His Magic Band – The Nest

Steven Lipsticks and His Magic Band – The Nest

In “The Nest,” Steven Lipsticks explores those metaphysical Van der Waals forces that bind us to whomever, whatever, or wherever we are bound. Your nest may be your job, your town, your addiction, your guitar, or the tent in the room upstairs in your mother’s house on Archer Avenue that was bought in the winter of your father’s thirty-fifth year, where you lie awake on the sleeping bag that binds you to the girl who will forever step off the Green Line bus as the guitar plays beneath muted strings and the world passes by in a slow-motion dance of memory. Steven Lipsticks’ nest may be that Relationship that remains obliviously seated on the two-person love seat long after the dropping of pointed hints such as “I’ve got to get up early” and “My, we really must do this again sometime” because you will ALWAYS do this again sometime long after your nest has ceased to be a source of comfort and has become the Devil’s Island from which Steve McQueen sought to escape but that Dustin Hoffman eventually accepted as his fate.

“The Nest” opens politely enough with restrained guitars and murmured vocals before exploding like a cherry bomb from Little Tokyo into a thrashing buzzsaw of noise and feedback, guitar piled upon guitar, an effort that required the entirety of a hot Italian summer, as our man stands before a mirror and attempts to talk himself into taking that great leap from the nest and learn with immediate certainty whether he will fly or plummet to the earth like a thawed out yet uncooked Thanksgiving turkey dropped from a hovering helicopter.

Speak to these clever, flashing eyes
It’s up to you to find out why
Will you ever let her waste some other time?

Steven Lipsticks and His Magic Band is Stefano Rossetti of Bologna, Italy. “The Nest” is included on his ? EP, an ever-growing collection of singles that includes “Opinions” and “Steven’s Problems.” Stefano, who provides all instruments and vocals, describes his music as “domestic recordings that blend, with a lo-fi attitude, 60s garage and punk-rock, britpop and psychedelic folk.” This post marks the fifth time Stefano has appeared in these virtual pages, which breaks the four-appearance record previously held by Mike Herz and theCatherines. Hey, I know a good thing when I see one and I’ll keep flogging this horse until Steven Lipsticks is a household word more than 50 paces from his front door, which I admit may require more energetic flogging than I’ve devoted to the project thus far. But who knows? If the Yodeling Walmart Kid can score a contract with Atlantic Records and the Cash Me Outside girl has over 15 million Instagram followers, then Steven Lipsticks should be able to walk into a bar in, say, Florence and have at least three drunks clamoring to buy him a drink. What’s that? You say that already happens when he walks into bars in Florence? Well, I guess I’ve done some good after all.

Recordings by Steven Lipsticks and His Magic Band are available for streaming and download on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. And be sure to follow Steven Lipsticks and His Magic Band on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. For a more in-depth view into the world of Steven Lipsticks and His Magic Band, check out our 2015 feature of his previous album, which includes an extensive Q and A. Stefano was kind enough to answer our questions about everything from influences to equipment, to recording methods.

Atomic Cafe – Juniper (feat. Anamaya Shore)

Atomic Cafe – Juniper (feat. Anamaya Shore)
Guest post by Fluffy

Hi, it’s me again. Fluffy the Cat. The Food Guy has a scheduling conflict today. He was supposed to write the log post this morning, but he was also booked to shovel compost in the back yard. So he said he would shovel the dirt and I could write the log post. I told him I would be happy to trade jobs but I don’t have opposable thumbs which makes it difficult to hold garden implements.

I went on Bandcramp and found a good song called “Juniper” by Atomic Cafe with help from Anamaya Shore. When the Food Guy writes his log post he does this thing called alliter-something where he uses words that start with the same letter. Like “Meow Meow Meow” would be that alliter-thingy. So I will say that “Juniper” is pretty pleasant pure pop. How’s that, Food Guy? What’s that? He’s out in the back yard so I’m not sure what he said. “Juniper” is a little bit folky and a little bit jazzy. I like it because the guys in the band don’t play too many notes and they don’t play them too loud. I especially like the piano player because he knows when not to play and the singer has a very nice voice. “Juniper” is about sitting in the front window and watching the people on the street and thinking about how I used to live on the street in a cardboard box but now I have a nice home and people who take care of me. All of the best songs are about sitting in the front window and watching the people on the street.

When the Food Guy writes his log post he usually puts an Obscure Reference after the Bandcramp thingy. He uses the Obscure Reference to show the world that he has spent way too much time listening to music and that he can be kind of a dick about it sometimes. My Obscure Reference for “Juniper” is that in the chorus when the singer says “I-I-I-I” it sounds like the part in Santana’s “Game of Love” where Michelle Branch sings “Whyyyy” and “Cryyyy.” What’s that, Food Guy? He came in to check on me and said the guitar line at the end sounds like Yes or maybe a bit like that song by Wilco about Germany. Thanks, Food Guy, but I think my Obscure Reference is better.

So that is my log post about “Juniper” by Atomic Cafe with help from Anamaya Shore. I like this song and I think you will like it too. You can support musicians like Atomic Cafe by visiting their Bandcramp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. The Food Guy paid $1.33 for “Juniper” which isn’t very much and when Bandcramp and PenPal take their slice Atomic Cafe might have enough left to buy a can of cheapass Little Friskies at Walmart. So everyone needs to chip in and download their music so that Atomic Cafe and Anamaya Shore won’t have to live in a box on the street like I did.

And be sure to follow Atomic Cafe on FacecrookInstantgram, and Tweeter.

theCatherines – If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line

theCatherines – If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line

Eli: I’m not in love with you any more.
Margot: I didn’t know you ever were.
Eli: Let’s not make this any more difficult than it already is.
Margot: OK.
Eli: OK, what?
Margot: OK, I’m not in love with you either.
— The Royal Tenenbaums

Breakups are easy in the movies, that once-celluloid Neverland where couples part bearing wistful half smiles and Meet Cute five years later without bitterness or the long-held desire to kick the other party in a rather painful place. theCatherines’ latest life lesson is a love letter to that lover who wouldn’t leave, that special someone who hates you yet hates to break up, who refuses to get out of the line and let you get on with your life, sending your relationship into that limbo of the Undead where it drifts unhelmed like the Mary Celeste, a ghost ship with no life boat and the oakum leaking just slowly enough to let you foresee your fate long before the gunnels are awash and the rats swarm out of the hold and up the ironically-named ratlines. It all sounds very dark until you throw in a pile of jangly guitars and harmonies, which is why we all end up there someday, lured in by a Sweet Siren Sound then boiled alive slowly like the proverbial frog in the pot of water.

theCatherines have a My Sharonian knack for taking a simple idea and transforming it into the wonderfully witty pop that the world needs for daily sustenance. Every song does not need to be “The Revealing Science of God (Dance of the Dawn)” aka Side 1 of Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes. Sometimes, as my Nana used to say, “All you need is a good pop song” which my Nana never said as her idea of Good Music was “Bringing in the Sheaves” performed without accompaniment after the guy who led the singing got kicked out for using a pitch pipe. But I’m sure she would have enjoyed “If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line” by theCatherines.

theCatherines are Heiko Schneider and Sandra Ost of Hamburg, Germany. Describing the making of “If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line,” they tell us: “So we were kinda in a powerpoppy mood last nite… writing and recording so fast we sang some ad-libbed nonsensical silly English… but it sounded good so we let it stay.” The result immediately brought to mind “Windy” by The Association but backed by Billy Bremner on guitar, and of course the line Honest i do and i cherish you all is a hidden clue that they had been listening to The Association: Greatest Hits. Right?

“If you don’t have a clue please get out of the line” marks the twenty-second single by theCatherines, more than enough for an excellent album. And before you reach for the email link (which doesn’t work, anyway), I counted “Every time you say it’s okay I know it is okay / Yes you’re beautiful to look at but so ugly inside” as two releases. All were recorded “with one simple dogma: every song-recording should take no longer than one (sometimes two :-0 now even three) evening(s) of joy, wine and cigs… ;-)” This marks the fourth time we have featured theCatherines in these virtual pages, which ties them with Steven Lipsticks and Mike Herz for Most Appearances in a Music Blog Named for a North American Mammal. And in case you missed it, here is a Bonus Song of the Day from theCatherines, “Sorry, But Your Suicide Note Is Really Funny.”

You can support timelessly iridescent independent musicians like theCatherines by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to follow theCatherines on Facebook and Instagram.

LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike – BBB

bbbLittleBoyBigHeadOnBike is appearing Sunday evening, October 14, at the Bayou Lights Bookstore in Houston, TX. Or he may be across the street in the Art Yard. We aren’t really sure at this point and neither was the guy we spoke with in the bookstore.

Hi. This is Fluffy. The cat. The Food Guy is busy shoveling mulch out of the compost pile to put in a flower bed, so I am going to help him by writing his log post. A lot of the compost came from my litter box, so I guess I’ve contributed to that project. When I’ve written log posts before, the Food Guy helped me find a song to write about. This time I went on Bandcramp and found a song all by myself. The song I am going to write about is “BBB” by LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike. That name is a lot for a cat to type, so the Food Guy came in and showed me how to copy and paste.

“BBB” is the kind of music cats like, slow and quiet like it’s trying to sneak up on a mouse. The song starts with a guitar. The Food Guy plays a guitar but this one sounds better than when he plays his, so it must be more expensive. Then a piano plays some of the same notes as the guitar and then somebody sings and it kind of sounds the same as what the guitar and piano played, only with more notes. The Food Guy said LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike was “introducing a theme” and he seemed to think it was a good thing to do. Then the piano comes back and plays some different notes and then LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike sings something similar so I guess he was doing that “theme” thing again. The Food Guy said whoever wrote the song knows what he is doing. I would hope so. It would be bad if someone who didn’t know what they were doing wrote a song and put it on the Winternet.

On Bandcramp it says that the person who sings and writes the songs is named Will Orchard and he is from Rhode Island. I’ve never been on an island. I think it would be fun if there were no dogs on the island. Dogs are terrible music reviewers because they like everything. You can go on Facebook and write “my kid fell out of a tree and broke his arm” and a dog will “Like” it.

“BBB” is from an ablum called BIG BLUE BUTTERFLIES so I guess that is what “BBB” stands for. What’s that? Oh, album. The album will be released in June. I asked the Food Guy what “released” means and he said there will be more songs to listen to. I hope in June I can find another song by LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike to write a log post about.

LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike has released 99 ab – I mean, albums and BIG BLUE BUTTERFLIES will be number 100. You can listen to all of them on LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike’s Bandcramp page and you can buy the songs that you like. The Food Guy paid $1.29 for “BBB” which isn’t very much money. I found more than that under the bed the last time I crawled under there looking for my ball of green yarn.  The Food Guy likes to say that he is “supporting independent musicians.” I’m not sure how much support you can buy for $1.29.  Maybe millions of people will read this log post and they will all buy songs from LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike.

There are a lot of ways to find LittleBoyBigHeadOnBike on the Winternet. He has a web site, and a Facebook page, and a Twitter thing, and he has videos on YouTube, and songs on Soundcloud and Spotify.

OK that’s my log post. I hope you like it and not the way a dog would like it. Now I’m going to put it on the Winternet.