Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WRECKED

My brain hasn't been producing enough serotonin for me to have many feelings about events lately---SO WHY DO I FEEL SO EXCITED TODAY??? It's because a song from my latest EP closes out the latest episode of WRECKED.


WRECKED Season One, Episode Five: Plug It from Honey Toad Studio on Vimeo.

Incidentally, my friends who moved to Seattle to make WRECKED need your help raising money so that they can make a second season. Please consider helping them out, since you can plainly see that the show is so very good and ought to keep happening.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Do It Alone, Steve Subrizi



Here is my new four-track EP, which I did alone---except for the cover art, which is by Sophia Holtz. She drew that birthday cake for a poster advertising my show at Hampshire College in 2009.

The songs are all about being alone. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Calvin Coolidge Is Not a Wristwatch (August 1927)

Here is the poem that I performed at last night's Presidential Smackdown at Radio, from the perspective of Calvin Coolidge, the first president to be captured on film.



Soon after the Coolidge family Calvin Coolidge's 16-year-old son, Calvin Jr, got a blister on his foot from playing tennis without wearing socks. The blister got infected and he died. It's said that President Coolidge never fully recovered from the loss.

He chose not to run for reelection and made the announcement by passing reporters handwritten notes. The announcement inspired this novelty song.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Amethyst Arsenic

Two of my poems, "Dedication" and "The Million Little Lights," appear in Issue 2.2 of Amethyst Arsenic. It even includes a recording I made of "Dedication" that has some doom-y, dub-y guitar and synth on it. I intended it to sound like a voicemail message--left by a very lovelorn King Tubby-type character, I guess.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NAP

Two of my prose pieces, "New Mouths" and "The World's Strongest Goat," appear in NAP 2.5 alongside such heavy hitters as Amanda Laughtland and Russ Woods.

I wound up writing "The World's Strongest Goat" thanks to my good friend Sam Teitel telling me about this actual goat named Theodore.

The world of competition is an especially strange and stormy world.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Crazy Exes from Hell made a music video

"When You Stop the Moon Stops" (in which--SPOILER ALERT--Kirsten breaks my owl jar and punches me in the crotch. Yeah.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fields of Teeth

After brief toil, I am proud to announce Fields of Teeth, a live book of short poems to be tweeted, shared, and blogged on Mondays and Thursdays.

To say more would be to misrepresent the genre. Please read with care and retweet with abandon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Charley Pope's "Permanent Online Chapbook"

My dear friend Charley Pope just made this website, What the Dead Say, containing eight works of flash fiction--well, only eight so far. Charley calls What the Dead Say a "permanent online chapbook," which I can only hope means that we're in for more of these shiny bullets of magic.

These stories are a good loud laugh for the doomed. The first story is a description of Hell in which the damned just have to hang around and smoke pot with a total bummer Satan, a separate, lesser Hell for people who just "couldn't hold up in the real world" (try telling me that Hell isn't a real place). In other stories, we find a tollbooth operator who poops babies, a Godzilla sized baby--there are an unusual amount of giggling babies who appear mysteriously.

But we get some hearty slices of reality to go with the magic. The second story (unless he decides to move it), "The Women from His Country," is a snapshot of an old man at a bus stop talking to the young narrator about love--"One minute they’re delicate and sweet," he says, "and the next they’re burning your house down"--followed by a snapshot of that young man going on a first date. "Haywire" is a 58-word story about all the alarms going off in a city for no apparent reason, appropriately alarming, reading as if the author woke up startled from a dream and immediately wrote it down. Which, in a way, describes the overall aesthetic of the chapbook.

And so, to follow the motif, a beautiful bouncing baby book is born. Not only do you get to read this book for free, but when you finish reading it, don't worry, because there will be more book later. Seriously, bookmark this.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kristen Ford's Video-a-Week Thursday

If there's a slight glow about the Somerville/Cambridge area this week, it's because I finally moved back and I couldn't be happier about it. The boy is back in town--just in time for the grand reopening of Planet Records at its new location on Mt. Auburn!--and I owe it all to my friend Kristen Ford, who got me a job and offered me her couch for a few days.

Yesterday, Kristen had a few other musicians over, as is her wont on Thursdays, and I joined in the fun. Also joining us is Valerie Thompson, cellist of the uncannily dynamic duo Goli, Kirsten Lamb, upright-bassist-about-town, and Amigocito, Kristen's new little beta fish friend (he doesn't have a website yet). I make my entrance a little later, so don't worry if you can't spot me right away.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Burner Magazine

My poem "The World's First Kiss Was the Ocean Kissing a Rock" appears today on Issue 5 of Burner Magazine in the dark next to a really sweet photograph by Mikaela Kraus, pages 24-25.

The first time I read this poem, I interspersed it with melodica solos while backed by The Jeff Robinson Trio. After a thing like that, I didn't think the poem could ever be so cool ever again, but here you go--the power of photography.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Music for the Long Drives

Yesterday, a friend was asking everybody what music she should take on a road trip. Of course I started making a giant playlist in my head, but it also got me thinking about what makes good "road trip music."

The obvious and frankly very limiting approach is to pick out a million songs about travel. But when I hit the road, I don't just want a list of near-identical bouncy twangy songs about "hitting the road." I need more than "On the Road Again" and "Movin' Right Along." No, if I'm going on a trip of any length, I have more than one mood to set; I have a series of moods to set. It has to do with what parts of the country I'm traveling through, what times of the day or night I'm passing through them, and what I'm going through emotionally. It's not a road trip if it doesn't take a long time, and it's not a good road trip if the tone doesn't change.

But there are some rules, tonally.

The music should have some sense of place. The lyrics don't have to be about moving on down the line, or even about how the singers accept that they can't change themselves or their lovers--though a little of that is nice--but if I'm driving through New England, I want some Modern Lovers; if I'm driving through Texas, I want some Doug Sahm. It honestly does improve one's experience of the music and of the place.

The music needs to cut through the sound of the road--that means a severe limit on slow jams and nothing too ambient. Most Joy Division is off-limits. At the same time, there can't be too many sudden atmospheric sounds that might freak me out as a driver--that means that most Joy Division is off-limits.

Bounce is good. Twang is good. But I need some peaks and valleys. I need uptempo and then I need midtempo. I need rage and then I need whist. Classic country is great but so is glam rock. Reggae for the morning, Springsteen for the sunset. There are as many possibilities as there are billboards for diners in America. Mostly though, just save Unknown Pleasures for when you're brooding in your hotel room.

With all of that in mind, here, in no particular order (though, I'll admit, beginning and ending with huge "duhs"), is my top ten list of albums to listen to on the road:


Darkness on the Edge of Town, Bruce Springsteen

The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers

Raw Power, The Stooges

Take Offs & Landings, Rilo Kiley

Wonderful World, Beautiful People, Jimmy Cliff

More Fun in the New World, X

The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, Otis Redding

So Much for the City
, The Thrills

Sweet Revenge, John Prine

Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan


What am I leaving out?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fear of Swimming

This past week, Kirsten Opstad released a studio album. She's my bandmate and one of my best friends, so of course I'm going to write about how good it is. That's what I'm supposed to do. One might actually suspect that there was something shut off inside of me if I didn't leave some sort of internet-documented evidence that I enjoyed this album that my partner worked so hard to record.

Here's the thing though: it actually is seriously good.

For those who already know and love Kirsten, this is the album we all hoped she would make. For the uninitiated: do your heart a quick favor. This is a half hour of two- to three-minute songs that will almost definitely make you feel better than you feel right now.

Kirsten Opstad sings with the weathered yet energized charm of a hip young aunt who lets you drink her liquor, tucks you into her afghan after you pass out on the recliner, and makes you an omelet at noon. She's been through all the same bullshit you're going through, and while she'll promise to cut the bullshitters "in the throat," she seems to want nothing more than to lift the spirits of everyone close to her, even--maybe especially--the women she doesn't love anymore.

Fear of Swimming is the kind of album a depressed person can and should memorize. It starts with a burst of resigned frustration, bangs and soars through the usual barrage of guilt and loss, and ends with a wistful shrug on the way to the rest of the world. Each song is a note passed during class--some sweet, some cruel, some glum, some funny, but all desperately honest.

Stylistically, it sounds somewhere in between The Mountain Goats circa The Sunset Tree (with intended compliments to Jon Crawford's production) and Kimya Dawson at her least precious. But the songs are all Kirsten's; to hear these songs is to get to know the singer. And take it from her fake ex, Kirsten Opstad is a great person to know.