Thirty Days of Music: #5

“day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone.”

OK, based on the high standard being held by Amusing the Amazing, I’ve decided to step my game up and add some more thought to this.  This song doesn’t so much remind me of someone, but more of a group of people sharing a kick-ass situation, time and place.

For just under a year, I got to live with Paul, one of my oldest and closest friends.  For about ten years, he’s been by partner in crime, comrade in arms, drinking buddy and bad influence.  Hopefully I’ve been the same over that time.  After the summer, our friend Josh moved into the same townhouse.  Being the fitness nut he was, he was out running one night while Paul and I drank beers and watched the start of the 2008-09 NHL season, as we tend to do.  We’re all big hockey fans, the three of us, so it was a good night, and one that got even better.

Josh comes in the door, sees us lounging and drinking, taking in a game.  “Hey,” he interrupts the boring game.  “I found a hockey rink.”

“What?”  Sometimes Josh doesn’t paint the full picture, so were dubious as to what the hell he was talking about.

“There’s a street hockey rink a few miles from here.  It’s lit up, has boards, fences, goals, a slick surface, and a bunch of guys were playing on it.”

That was all we needed to know.  I had played lots of street hockey as a kid, and still had some of my gear, including old recreational skates.  Paul and Josh didn’t, but we piled into his truck anyhow that moment and hauled ass up to Play it Again Sports, and spent several hundred bucks between us on getting our gear in order.  Thus began the Year of Hockey, where every single Friday night, most Sunday nights, and even a few weekday and Saturday nights as well were spent up at the rink.  Our numbers swelled with friends and family that we roped into it, and before long, we had a veritable army of hockey players up there.  Full-deck games took place for hours every night, skating to exhaustion and injury, finding our peace and entertainment through fatigue.

It wasn’t without risk, though… I went to the hospital once for my ankle, poor Josh was wrecked with regularity, and everyone sustained their bumps, bruises, personality conflicts and broken sticks.  But for my money, and for those close to us, it was the best way to spend our time.  A few hours spent working up a sweat at the rink, followed by a few hours of stinking up the local bar.  It can’t be beat.  This continued well into the following spring, and eventually tapered off due to moving, finding other pursuits, expenses and other reasons.  But for awhile, I spent every week looking forward to my Friday game, netting a few pucks, chasing down Josh, trading cross-checks with Paul, getting puck-stripped by Erik or working on skating and shooting with Dave.

You can’t understand what it’s like unless you’re willing to spend your limited free time with people just as crazy as you are, willing to go skate to exhaustion in single-digits with balaclavas pulled under helmets, or facing heatstroke and sunburn just to take advantage of a long day off.

And that is what the below song reminds me of.  I discovered it while living in Hockey House, and thought it was a perfect microcosm of what we do: get together with friends, talk shit, play hard, get pissed at each other, drink and forget about it.  It kept us happy, it kept us in shape, and it was rewarding as hell.  Now I live too far away from the old rink to make it out there frequently, but I’m still hoping to make it there for any big holiday games with the old crew.

But no matter what, the memories are there.  They aren’t going anywhere, and I remember those games fondly.

(Here’s a relatively sub-par but acceptable English translation.  A big fuck-you to UMG for pulling the subtitled video.)


Thirty Days of Music: #4

“day 04 – a song that makes you sad”

Well that’s kind of a simplistic theme, so I’m going to comment and interpret as I see fit.  The reason I love this song is because it really has a heavy emotional weight to it- a bleakness and barrenness that never fails to strike me.  It was the perfect opening to 28 Days Later, when Jim is wandering the abandoned London for the first time (where you may have heard it).  It slowly builds with an undercurrent of menace into that bone-chilling crescendo, which is as satisfying as it is dark.  So considering the weight and darkness of the song, this is my pick.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: East Hastings

Thirty Days of Music #2: The Worst

“day 02 – your least favorite song.”

Friends, it doesn’t get any worse than this.  I honestly believe that this is the end, the very end, of the spectrum of music from good to bad.  It is the black hole, the singularity, and there’s no going back once you’ve heard this song.  Unless you want to lose all faith in the young generations, and by extension the future of our civilization, Do Not Play This Song.

It’s the musical equivalent of a recycling center.  All the little micro-trends of the past decade (screamo, crunk, whatever else) that have mercifully moved out of my perception have been thrown into a bin, broken down into their essential parts, and squeezed into some Frankenstein monster of aural torture, with a generous helping of suburban privilege thrown on top.  If it were a living, breathing creature, it would be grasping at us, gasping for air, begging to be euthanized.  To me, and my ears, this is as low as it can go.  It’s not just the worst music in existence; it is the worst music that is possible.

I’m sorry you had to deal with that.  But rules are rules.  Day 3 tomorrow…

Thirty Days of Music!

Those that know me best know that music is central in my life- it adds color to to the gray, fixes moments and places in my memory, and fills in the gaps of my life.  It’s never in the background.  So when I saw the 30-Day Song Challenge on my friend Sewallis‘ blog, I knew I had to step up and do it myself.  Anyways, here’s the first one, so let’s dive in!

day 01 – your favorite song

I first heard this my freshman year of college, when I learned about the whole Low Desert scene- Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Brant Bjork, Mondo Generator, Yawning Man, all those guys.  I wish I could have gone to some of the generator parties that were thrown back when, but at least I can experience all these in it’s lo-fi, sludgy, rocking glory.  If I had to pick a favorite song, hard as a task as that is, I’ll go ahead and make it this one.

PS Screw you Atlantic Records for not letting me embed the proper music video.

More later…