SO I'm doing a reading a week from tomorrow at KGB Bar on E 4th St at 7pm. I am super stoked because the last time I was there it was to see Sam Delany read so it's the same kind of corny "same stage as my heroes" moment as playing my first show at CBGBs was in high school except this time I'm not embarrassed to mention that I'm excited because I'm not a teenager.
Also, as usual, I just finished my submission for the new NUTS magazine, so I'm posting my submission from last issue of NUTS. I wrote this in August. Hope you enjoy.
MUSIC I HAVE LISTENED TO FOR HOURS STRAIGHT ON REPEAT WHILE WRITING MY BOOK by COLIN ATROPHY
Sinead O’Connor – Black Boys on Mopeds
Someone made a thread on a message board I look at with the goal of collectively determining the saddest song ever written. I don’t know what the outcome was and I didn’t listen to 99% of the songs posted, but this song was a contender and for whatever reason I looked it up on youtube and ended up listening to it over and over again for like, maybe three weeks. I don’t know if it’s the saddest song ever, but I do know that at the beginning of the first week it would make me just straight up like, WEEP for the first two or three repetitions. I think I liked crying while I was writing so that’s okay. I also cry really easily. Olympia, WA by Rancid made me cry for years. True story: the other day I was driving in a car listening to Hot 97 and “Stan” by Eminem came on and during the last verse, when Slim Shady is finally responding to Stan’s letter, there’s that part where he implores Stan to stop harming himself and maybe seek counseling and I had to pull over because I was so touched by it and couldn’t see the road through all my tears.
Pagans – (Us and) All Of Our Friends Are So Messed Up
What a title—excellent use of parentheses, and who doesn’t feel this way?!? I was determined to like this song before I even heard it, when I saw it posted on my friend Nathan’s facebook feed. That’s right. I’m writing a book and I don’t interact with humans and I find out about everything from the internet. I’m not punk anymore, get over it. ANYWAY, this song is so good. I didn’t realize the Pagans had even kept existing into the 90s, and I am totally pleasantly surprised that they released this, possibly their best song, during the band’s twilight. The part where Mike Hudson sings, “Yeah, I saw an old friend yesterday / It wasn’t easy, we stood and searched for things to say,” was maybe a little too real. And the song is totally a bummer, but there’s also a sense of triumph or celebration in still being a bunch of awkward freaks even now that we’re grownups! I love that! ALSO there are a couple of horror movie vampire laughs, which I shouldn’t have to tell you is AWESOME.
Bossy – Who Loves You Most -> Who Loves You More
This weird thing happened at the beginning of August where I got this totally impossible to control urge to listen to the Bossy record, and I found myself just listening to these two songs back and forth over and over. They are the last and first songs on The Best of Bossy and they are definitely cutesy poo little twee love jammers. It’s clear that Who Loves You Most is a home recording and Who Loves You More was the studio result. Listening to them back to back feels pretty seamless for this reason, because the chord progression is the same but the first one is way lower-fi, has slightly different lyrics, and is sung by Jamie, whereas the Who Loves You More has full instrumentation and Cassie is singing. This record came out right after Jamie died and I think the inclusion of Who Loves You Most was a sentimental nod to what a sweet dude he could be at times. A few days into my week of listening to these two songs over and over Kevin Morby reminded me that it was Jamie’s birthday and I remembered that every year at this time I get this totally overwhelming compulsion to listen to some songs of his. Last year it was Elizabethan Collar and Alabam from the Young Men tape Barker put out. It all comes back, I think, to the fact that I had been listening to Stray Dog Town over and over again for the first time in AGES the week that Jamie died and every night I meant to call him and tell him that I loved him and see how he was doing and every night I just went to the bar and got drunk and didn’t call. This year has been especially difficult, though. Listen: what are you gonna do? I am still so sad that my friend is gone, but I am also very grateful for his incredible body of work that I can remember him by and also grateful for the friends I still have.
Amps For Christ –Circuits / Sister Irene O’Connor – Fire of Gods Love
The cover of the other Amps For Christ album I have (Thorny Path, I think) actually looks way more like this record sounds than the cover of this record looks. This record has a picture of bugs standing on a scrabble board or something (I can’t even remember), whereas the cover of Thorny Path reminds me of playing Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny on the computer in my parents’ basement. The music on Circuits sounds like I am at some weird psychedelic Renn Faire. The Sister Irene O’Connor record is something I heard about from Francesca at MRR. It is this weird private pressing Catholic missionary record by this nun that is apparently impossible to find because record collectors know it rules. It sounds like Vashti Bunyan singing about teen abstinence over Castlevania music. Pairs well with Circuits, maybe because Amps for Christ is actually Christian music and the name isn’t a joke? At least that’s what Naters told me at the record store one day, but I can’t say for certain he wasn’t just yankin my crank. At one point I didn’t leave my house for like three or four straight days and just listened to these two records back and forth the whole time. I felt like I had to “get weird” or something because that’s what writers do, so I put on bizarre outfits and got super stoned and paced my apartment. None of the writing I did for those few days was any good, but it pushed me out of a nasty bit of writer’s block and I recorded an art film of just my mouth saying “Master P says, ‘Masterpieces!’” over and over again for like 15 or 20 minutes.
Albe Back feat Fabulous – Mira Mira Ven Aqui
I heard this song coming out of a car when I was sitting on my fire escape brooding one night and then I listened to it eighty million times. I incorrectly predicted that it would be the big summer jam of 2013, but I was wrong because this song actually sucks, and I can admit that and still love it. Albe Back is a terrible rapper, but he is really young and he is Big Pun’s nephew and his rap name is a PUN and a reference to Terminator so that’s cool. Also at this one part he says “BYE BYE” in a high pitched voice and sounds so vulnerable and adorable and it’s so cute and he says he is “older than a beeper,” but that would make him like, maybe 17? Also a secret about me is that I LOVE Fabolous but I can never remember how he spells his name and every time I write it down I have to do the “FA-BO-LO-US” he says in Holla Back in my head to remind myself. This song has a totally hypnotic, super corny synth loop that has been stuck in my head since before I heard it. It maybe seems like something Trick Daddy and Trina would have rapped on before they had any money to buy real beats. Whatever, I love this song and no one else does but fuck y’all.