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Wednesday
Apr272016

Small Hours

Paul Almasy

The wet thump in your chest,
pogoing my skull,
slowing to a muted meter.
Sound of you drifting.
 
Peel the sheet,
feel the fan that I only like now.
You’re a monolith of skin and sweat,
long exhales through your nostrils.
 
I think of the butt of your palm against my labia.
Painful. Thrilling.
Like the way you stood
too close to me two nights ago,
 
laughing jollily at something I said,
while I didn’t think about
my husband
rambling about the bar.

--

Prints by Paul Almasy [L & R].

Saturday
Apr022016

BUSHWOOD CC

There's a moment in every neighborhood bar where the chatter rises above the juke and the bartender disappears to the office of no-tells to flip the ambiance once more. That moment where the third whiskey squeezes between the temples, fills the cheeks and fattens the palms.

Owen arrives at twilight, before the couples show, to sit with men seeking daughter, mother, girlfriend, waitress. He hates Tuesdays, when the service industry flood with their first apartment problems on the driving range out back. Sitting in the aforementioned moment, he folds his arms tighter, waits patiently as Caro shakes her hips with a tin full of Cheap Fucks for boys behaving badly in large groups.

At 11:00, with the music up and the walls down, Owen turns down a fourth Blue Label, closes his tab and shuffles past a woman out back who tells her boyfriend that swinging clubs is already not fun anymore.

Owen hired a promising manager so he can finally just count the money and meet with an accountant sometimes. He doesn't know what he wants Caro to say but he wants the money out.

Thursday
Feb182016

Concerning Yearning

The times spent solitary
on a night lit porch with spirit
or smoke, thinking of
almosts, shoulds and unknown knowns.
 
The longing,
pang above the plexus.
Wipe your eyes and wrap your
fingers and clench back.
 
For longing is when the heart sees every shade,
blinded, but unable to crane the corneas,
open as potential,
fearless as a moment before death.
It is living by a growl that won’t be crowded out
until every hue has been inhaled.
 
Longing is the heart knowing
it could move, but remaining
for love accepted is sweeter than
love taken. Damn the
risk of sitting still.
 
Longing is choosing an unknown
danger over a known doldrum
A possible victory over
a sure draw.
It is the charm and wisdom of broken glass
when a moronic vase tied the room together.
Longing is not now over never.
Maybe over no.
 
Longing is living as if death is inevitable
and joy missed is
joy mourned. 
 
Longing is a friend.
The hunger that heals.
The emptiness that exalts.
The blunt edge that opens valleys
and lets rain quench the river soul.
 
May we be sated only when we are spiritless.

Tuesday
Feb162016

Honoraries

“What?” says Will. “He’s into country music and votes Republican?”
Before he croons “Sara Smile” karaoke.
He’s a natural on the mic,
and his birthday at the Parched Marlin is a hit.
 
Cherie yells above the juke,
“And I told him, ‘I know how to do a fucking
timing belt, dude!’ I thought
Autozone guy was going to propose right there.”
 
Hurley laughs hardily and orders
another pair of Dos’ dressed.
He’ll offer his ears now
and his tears when the moment is right.

Tuesday
Jan192016

Transitional Climate

Claire adjusted her cheongsam dress from Value Village.
Felt the rush of gooseflesh.
“I’m not new to you anymore,” she said in their cabin.
His bags packed and brain somewhere in the lower 48.

 

Wednesday
Oct072015

Your Love, Unrequited

Daniel Bystedt

Never not valiant at first.
Your declarations feel
mighty as you take a bruised love into your mind.

Heel in wait with impaired eyes—
you sell as wounded—
smelling your paramour fleshy 
with discord and doubt.

She threatens to fall into your jowls,
supple with suffering, ripe with rapture;
you just need a boa's patience
and a poacher's heart.

The problem is that you are no predator.
Only a toothless scavenger
who confuses low-hanging fruit with
the toils, failings and ecstasies 
of feral devotion on the burning plain.

--

Hire Daniel Bystedt [L&R].

Thursday
Sep172015

The Cost

Standing in my old room, iron
in hand, sweat beads
that are okay because the morning comes
through the blinds in pearl shards.
 
Another a.m. I’d still be sleeping
off a headache, thirst and misery after feeling your
lips lucid to me before your work.
Later awaking like a specter sucking
caffeine and active cultures in
a race to normal.
 
But today I left when you did, sipped
fresh coffee, bought groceries in a desolate
market, picked up weekend whiskey, fried
an egg, ate a bear
claw and looked with dry
eyes out the window and thought
to write down these things before
I had no time to remember them.

Sunday
Sep132015

Addict Haiku

We fear just two things:
Feeling everything at once
or nothing at all. 

Friday
Sep112015

Observation #12

When the silver roadwhale flipped, Marcus laughed.
He said the wayward Oldsmobile reminded him of
stumbling out of Bennigan’s into a
backseat full of ass and limbs.
 
We stopped fishtailing and
Martin was losing his shit,
pounding the wheel and ranting about bucketlists,
journals to unborn children, and unfinished screenplays.
 
I realized we would probably miss the 10:20
No Country for Old Men when we left the ground.
But I’m more likely to be standing
on a seaside cliff going,
“shit—I could jump right now,” anyway.
 
It’s Martin who’s living
in a studio with a bike and a MacBook
and my copy of Catcher in the Rye
 
He’s read it five times.

Sunday
Jul062014

My Missus, The Hairstylist

My missus, the hairstylist
revives me from follicle to foot.
Her wifely words are the gospels of
drunken debauchery, where
Jager begot Jacob and Patron, Patty,
one short of a trinity.
Dad, (someone else’s husband now)
helped conceive them over
the armoire, between meth runs and
hole-y pokes.
After their lab closed, she melted Jesus
in her mouth and found him
a silhouette breathing in the moonlit curtains.
My missus, I hope
your dreams of managing
strip clubs or Christian hair salons
are all raised up.
Please, just put your
working hands on my hairy
neck and cut me clean again.
--
Hire Kristin Proctor [L&R].

Monday
Jun302014

What Occurred to Me on a Hillside In Sonoma County

Adam Villela Coronado

I.
People don't like alone.
Least of all in people who seem to enjoy it.

They'll walk right up to a body plumbing the brainy cosmos,
Say, "What are you doing off by yourself?"
Existential hall monitors.
Troubling.

II.
The vines, hills, and breezes of Sonoma are ambrosial serendipity.

Butte-side, overlooking a reticent pond.
The soft burn of sunset.
Wind crisp as truth in a lover's mouth.
Wet yearning from the tongue of the vineyard hound.

Even this moment, random as weather, came from a fortuitous handwringing.

Friday
Jun202014

SONG OF THE SELF

Ploughing in the Iron Age, as illustrated by Neils Bach.

Supreme energy. Cosmic force. The Dao.

Alive in all things, you unite me with the world and the world with me. Thank you for this cup of boundless vigor.

Every breath, thought and deed I draw from your measureless temporal waters. I employ your absolute zeal in all things loving. I accept that I am complete and perfect, my worth embedded in neither my greatest deed nor my most vile failure.

I am fortified with infinite potential, free to be anything that my will allows. This agency, resting in my soul’s seat, is my divine gift to an empirical world. I am not my work, wealth or possessions. Nor my friends, family or lovers. Nor my desires, deeds or mind. I am the celestial grounded, quickening through vessels, sinew and gray matter, forged in eternal ardor.

We are us. Our perfection frees us of the pain of yesterdays and the uncertainty of tomorrows. We occur as we choose, trading on all the experience, knowledge and love that we sense at will.

May we remain present in this body, this moment until we depart.

--

More by Neils Bach. [L&R]

Wednesday
Dec042013

THINK ABOUT THIS

Zen PencilsThe comic with its original color palette, drawn by Zen Pencils and based on a quote by Bill Watterson, can be found here

Friday
Nov292013

TEXAS IS FUNNY FALL SHOWCASE GOES HARD AND NOT SO HARD OVER TWO NIGHTS

Vetter Kids. Courtesy.

The Texas is Funny Records Fall Showcase kicks off tonight at The Ten Eleven (1011 Ave. B) at 9 pm for $5 at the door (all ages). Night two is at Hi-Tones (621 E. Dewey) at 9 pm for $5 (21+ only). Before you head out to the show tonight, check out this interview I had with label owner Scott Andreu on expanding the showcase, signing bands both here and out of state, and also the ongoing mission of the Bands I Know collective.

Adam Villela Coronado: So are you switching from annual to seasonal as far as Texas is Funny Showcases are concerned?

Scott Andreu: Possibly it will turn seasonal. We have a lot of stuff going on in early 2014 release wise and we wanted to have a showcase featuring bands that will be a part of those releases: Deer Vibes, Glish, Vetter Kids, and Young /// Savage. Plus we have big plans for what will be our normal yearly showcase. It will expand to being about much more than just us. 

So this Fall Showcase seems to be marrying with or at least overlapping with the annual "Black Friday Blowout" show at 1011. Was it supposed to be this way?

Not originally. We had the showcase planned for 11/30 at Hi-tones and I had actually completely forgotten about the annual Black Friday Blowout. When I told James from Grasshopper Lies Heavy about 11/30, we decided to combine the two nights and promote them together. After we decided to combine the events, we separated the bands by the level of heaviness because some on Friday night play too loudly for Hi-Tones.

The showcase from January 2012 (at the White Rabbit) struck me for its wide swath of musical styles. The event repped indie country, art metal, space folk and all were either on the same label or part of the TIFR family. This weekend the lineup will be no different, featuring nu-gaze, post grunge pop and post punk. What is it that strings the TIF roster together? 

All these styles of music are basically off-shoots of the punk/hardcore genre. When TIFR first started, I pretty much just worked with my friends and the genres were even more “all over the board.” We did a split for Grasshopper and God Townes and that's when I met Marcos Gossi. Since his joining, we have molded the label into something a little more focused, something along the lines of labels like Matador or Sub Pop.  

TIFR has also begun featuring some out of state acts like Glish. Talk to me about deciding to support bands from outside of Texas.

Our first band from out of state was Heat Dust from New Orleans. We have also released albums from out of state bands American Thunder Band [KS] and Sixteen [KY]. Glish, from New Orleans, and Cherry Cola Champions, of Ohio, will be added to that list early next year. I know the label has the word “Texas” in it but I never had the idea that I would only put out Texas bands.

Now that isn't to say we don't care about San Antonio or Texas in general. We host as many bands as we can that are coming through town by either booking shows for them ourselves or supporting booking companies like Bexar Naked Booking. We want some of these national touring bands to leave Texas saying, "San Antonio was our best Texas date."

Deer Vibes. Courtesy.

In July, the Bands I Know media collective (that you are a member of) scored a weekly spot on KRTU 91.7 [airing Sundays and Mondays at midnight]. How has that been going? 

It has been going great. We pitched the show idea to the KRTU operations manager over a lunch at EZ’s in the Quarry last spring and he was intrigued. He asked us to do a demo show and he loved it. We won second place in best local radio program in the San Antonio Current, which was cool because we didn't know it was a category people could vote for.

BIK seems like it's been a little de-centralized since its 2011 inception. A few Youtubes here, a few blog posts there. Is the concept coagulating on KRTU?

I had the idea for BIK while floating on my back in a pool in New Orleans in the summer of 2011. I was still doing TIFR by myself and wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go with it. I did know I wanted to work with more bands than I wanted to sign to contracts.

At first, BIK was going to be a subscription-based 7" record club but morphed into a video project. It was a way to work with bands that had nothing to do with the label and was a fun project that I did with my brother Stephen. It did have the side effect of people finding out about the label because I was at their show filming them.  

The radio show, however, is about giving voice to styles of music that are being heavily covered by Spin, Brooklyn Vegan, Vice and being booked in San Antonio by smaller booking companies. It's a way for smaller labels in the region (Crowquil, Trends Die, Crime Fighter, Community, Better Days Will Haunt You) and national independent labels to get some coverage in San Antonio. We want the radio program to be an anchor piece to an overall puzzle being put together by a very dedicated group of people.

What do you hope people take away from this weekend's shows regarding TIFR?

I want them to see these new bands we are supporting and get pumped up about them. We are staying true to ourselves, doing our thing and putting out music that we love.

Saturday
Nov232013

THINK ABOUT THIS

"He was a small town hustler and would-be shaman with big dreams, a heart of gold and a silver tongue more suited to live at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th Century than in today’s world. He was a perpetual outsider and definitely the truest rebel I’ve ever been close to. Jukebox - I hope you find all the things that escaped you in this life on the other side. I hope you will forgive me for not letting you know that I understood and respected you for who you were while you were still on this earth. I will always carry some of you with me brother."

-Jeff Smith, Owner of Saustex Records, on the death of John Thomas Jackson aka "Jukebox" (pictured above). Jukebox was a founding member and guitarist of Texas cow punkers Hickoids. 

Read the full eulogy.

Download classic Hickoids' cuts with Jukebox on guitar.

 

Thursday
Nov072013

BAD BREAKS CRACKS WISE, GETS ALL THE FEELS 

Not an hour before I begin this review, Seattle transplant and Bad Breaks creative force Chuck Kerr tells me on the phone that he’s sorry he’s bad at giving good answers in interviews. I reply that you don’t have to say a lot to mean a lot. Case in point: the former San Antonio Current Art Director’s new Carry On EP begs the question, “What now?” without uttering the words. Being an SA scene vet in multiple bands, it’s no surprise Kerr was short on time and long on savvy when he logged these sessions over two days last December. In that time, he captured the sound of a scrappy talent in a victory lap that hopefully isn’t his last.

But if this were the end, what a way to go out. Carry On is 13 minutes of raucous, platinum-polished indie pop that flexes Kerr’s expanding musical charms. On “Feel It In My Bones,” Kerr waxes cynical about conspiracy theorists over spooky-cheeky grooves provided by bassist Ryan Teter (Mission Complete!), guitarist Jackson Floyd (Ronald Ray Gun) and pianist Alex Wash (Black Magic & the Full Expose). “Feel” is pure Kerr, all stomping snares, pounded keys and “Oooh-ooh-ooh!” choruses. When Kerr injects a joke about fucking corpses and Floyd shreds after verse two, the song becomes sing-songy mania. 

In line with that crack on scenes and necrophilia, Kerr’s strongest musical weapon seems to now be his wry, often caustic point of view. He spent last year’s Bad Breaks painting and re-painting himself in relationship meltdown, often making us laugh at his delivery as we cried over his (our?) realities. Where the macabre melodrama of “Feel” pokes fun at conspiracy theorist paranoia, Kerr also snipes suburbanites “who will never shut up/’bout how proudly they are digging a rut” on the EP’s title cut. He implores a certain someone to “carry on” before “they carry you out,” with pianos and hand claps bouncing in mockery. The biting words and campy sounds cast Kerr as snide but sweet, like April Ludgate attending a prom she secretly loves.

Meanwhile, “Tell The World” finds Kerr returning to the well of love gone wrong, but in a way we didn't see last LP. The music is stripped to just Kerr’s voice over a piano (his fingers, not Wash’s) and a tambourine (god knows how) and it becomes clear why all his facetiousness has been funneled into wry character critiques. When Kerr tells a failed love that it’s them not him and that it’s breaking his heart, he sounds like any funny man caught in a moment of arresting honesty. No punchlines. No smiles. Just inopportune, unrelenting feels.

The moment is sobering enough on its own merits, but is underscored by Bad Breaks’ uncertain future. Kerr plans to continue writing but admits to being paralyzingly picky about collaborators. The hope is that Carry On sees him doing just that in Seattle.

Hear/buy this album.

Bad Breaks celebrates the release of Carry On tonight at 502 Bar (502 Embassy Oaks) with Chris Maddin and We Leave At Midnight. Music begins at 10 p.m.

Thursday
Oct312013

LaJIT On the Rise

Poverty, survival, and chasing dreams are hardly new themes in rap. But the genre has shown us that, in the mouths of a raw talent, the ideas can reinvent themselves with striking conviction. Enter LaJIT, born John Isaac Torres (23), a fledgling San Antonio cloud rapper who’s struggled with a broken family, suicidal thoughts and minimum wage jobs. His 2012 Black Sun EP attempted to chronicle the pathos of such topics with mixed results. A year later he returns with Blue Sun, an EP tackling the same issues but with muscle, consistency and, most importantly, confidence.

All three elements are thrown into sharp relief on “Cards in Hand,” where LaJIT says no victories come without costs. He casts a portrait of his troubled nephew against his own recent successes as an artist. Then he links both tales by admitting that he hasn’t had much time “to be a dad.” By cloaking this inconvenient truth in staccato verses, ethereal synths and machine-gun snare fills, LaJIT makes “Cards in Hand” a tragic hero anthem. Credit his co-opting of beats by Lil B producer Keyboard Kid and the mixing/mastering of Creekside Sounds labelhead Ldotsdot. Both musicians give Blue Sun a spherical, subdued sound that underscores the EP’s late night character.

LaJIT has also become more aware of who he’s drawing on and what his limitations are, working within them always with the intent to expand his abilities.  On “That’s Life,” he updates the stoop-side musings of Nas’ “Life’s a Bitch” with the longing in Bone Thugz N Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads.”  His voice is on the softer side of grown, but his hyperawareness and speed make his meditations lean. When he exclaims, “Am I really doing something wrong?!” to his skeptical-of-art father, he’s channeling a generation low on prospects and high on discontent that doubles down against all doubters.

LaJIT’s hasty maturity gives the impression that he is onto something big, even on clumsier, too self-focused offerings like “Look Into My Eyes.” He has the lyrical chops and a gift for choosing collaborators. If he can expand his lyrical focus beyond himself, he may become San Antonio’s street storyteller in the style of Nas. 

--

Listen to Blue Sun single "Fear in Me."

Tuesday
Oct222013

THE BRUTE'S DAMN GOOD VIDEOS

Can't stop thinking about this song while prepping my review of LaJIT's forthcoming EP.

 

Thursday
Oct172013

THINK ABOUT THIS

Ultradialectics

"The dialogue from Spike Lee's Mo Better Blues rings true for all music art forms. All too often black people approach us after shows to apologise for the over abundance of...white people. As if it's a genuine surprise that black people would pass up the chance to spend $30-60 for a pair of concert tickets.

But with all music (created) by African people there's a dangerous pattern. We create it, nurture it, elevate it, and abandon it. For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, they [Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes] are speaking on the love/hate relationship relationship between Jazz artists and their jilted black audience (or lack thereof). But it's not only limited to Jazz: Blacks are a minority at Blues shows. Blacks are a minority at Rock shows (AND YES...WE CREATED ROCK N' ROLL). You see about 0 blacks at Raves (AS WELL AS HOUSE, JUNGLE/DRUM-N-BASS AND "ELECTRIC" MUSIC) and now my friends...surprise, surprise in 1986 in Long Beach, CA at a Run DMC show you might see about 20,000 Blacks...and 20,000,000 cops. But now?...it's more like 6 Blacks in attendance and Gary Coleman as security.

So those 'glory days' are over....On the other hand, the voice of Wesley Snipes represents the voice of non-traditionalists. I've been in many a debate with people who side with Wes. People who feel as though, if we get off the high horse and give 'em what they want, there would be no need for alarm...But what would happen if we gave 'em what they need? Hmmmm...."

-?uestlove, Things Fall Apart liner notes on the cut "Act Won (Things Fall Apart)."

More by Ultradialectics.

Saturday
Oct122013

Review Rewind: LaJIT's "Black Sun" EP

CourtesyLaJIT is John Isaac Torres, a 21-year-old SA resident who spent his high school years on fixed income living with with an alcoholic uncle after his parents divorced. In 2011, he refused Zoloft prescriptions after contemplating suicide. Expectedly, his debut EP Black Sun attempts to chronicle the pathos of family dysfunction and, in some ways, it is a wild success. Producer Nicodxmvs (pronounced "Nicodemus") paints a soundscape that is as macabre as it is anxious. Beats percolate with a palpable insanity alongside the skeletal synths and piano samples. Credit LaJIT for cherry-picking the songs from Nicodxmvs' vault and also rapping with a heart attack's seriousness. The problem is that his reflections lack impact. He thinks money is overrated and that the idea of thinking money is overrated is overrated. His pontificating leads him to lyrics like "I'm the type to question Life and if God's fake." Not startling realizations for most of us. Still, on "Strange Pleasures" he deftly equates his generation's soul-searching with numbing one's brain from too many search engine queries. The unfortunate truth about LaJIT's quest for the same is that time is often the only solution. The hope is that he doesn't cross the precipice before that happens.

Listen to this album.