Saturday, February 13, 2010

rocky mountain take me to the sky

One of the long term problems I have with personal blogging (that is, blogging with no specific aims or topics in mind) is that I put unnecessary pressure on myself to be entertaining. Everything I post has to be terse or funny or caustic or clever, or some combination of those things, and falling short of the bar means that I'm boring and plain, and will therefore be denied entry to the Writer's Club in the unlikely event that I become successful. Writers are expected, after all, to be good with words, and so many of them (Gaiman, Dave Eggers, Pratchett, even Stephen King on a good day) fill interviews with quirky banter that you (or, more accurately, I) wonder how it doesn't drain them to the point of exhaustion. Relatedly, it would be comforting to know that Neil Gaiman's private conversations limit themselves to sub-literate grunting because he burns up his daily wit allotment for the press.

Anyway, this wasn't what I came here to talk about; I wanted to share links to the stuff I listen to when I write. When going about the task of writing Serious Literary Output, one needs the right soundtrack. For me, it's experimental rock with plenty of groove, by which I mean repetitive rhythmic sequences that drill themselves into the ground.

One example of this is 1994!, who have a post-punk, Revolution Summer thing going on, but they're way better musicians than any of Ian McKaye's friends and they write wacked-out songs that are equal parts stoned jam band and frenzied punk. "New Holland 1995" is my favorite song of theirs to write to; the bridge is an extended jam that's intricate and catchy enough to put me into a trance, almost.

I'm also a big fan of Weekends, who are a local-to-Baltimore psychedelic punk duo; their music is loud, trippy, often catchy, and pickled in reverb. And while they play with toys in the studio, they can bring it live. "Camp Nowhere" and "Alligator Feet" are two songs I often put on when I'm writing.

Explosions In the Sky have certainly built a fanbase for their post-rock instrumental stylings, and I'm not really a fan of theirs unless I'm writing. Then songs like "Your Hand In Mine," which I've linked, hit me just the right way. I can almost build a story in my head just listening to this.

Ava Inferi are a gothic doom metal band by way of Portugal, and they simply make beautiful music that is powerful and heavy, but not distorted. "Dança Das Ondas" is a good example of how atmospheric their work is. I really like the images their singer's voice puts into my head, too. 

Finally, Bongzilla make up in sheer, balls-out intensity what they lack in not having a stupid name. "666 Lb. Bongsession" takes its time building to a furious, sludgy assault on the eardrums. And yet, the pacing and energy are kept. Love finishing a writing session with stuff like this.

I could go on all night with this, so I'll do the honorable thing and stop myself here. More later.

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