Last week I had the opportunity to reconnect with a very good old friend of mine named Don Chaffer. Don is a songwriter/singer/artist/explorer/writer/poet and I caught his show in Naperville and had the opportunity to hear him play some new songs and read some very very good poems. He’s a fascinating and talented human and an artist down to his soul. His latest two EPs are the beginning of a six-part series called “An Unfinished Tale” and they are really quite something. The first volume is “Beauty” and it contains this song: Beauty Will Break My Heart. (The second EP is called “Truth” and it is also very good).
There’s a sentiment in “Beauty Will Break My Heart” that resonates with me but it also reminds me of another good friend of mine, Brian Leli - so much that I can’t hear the song without thinking of him.
Brian is a photographer/thinker/observer/journalist/wanderer/writer and he is currently embarking on an ambitious project called “London and a Year: A Photo and Essay Book” through kickstarter (support him!). I am hoping against hope that he raises the money he needs because he is a remarkable human and the world needs his voice. Here are a couple of gorgeous photos he took in a recent trip to NYC.
“I think beauty will break my heart. I think I will finally fall apart. After all the leaves have fallen down on the ground and I’m done stalling, I will lean against a dying tree and let the beauty come break me.” - Don Chaffer
I opened my email this evening to find a very nice and unexpected message from my long-time good-friend Greg:
Happy new year! Here is a small gift of music and image that I made for you.
What it is: Toward the end of last year, I began to wonder what a name would sound like in musical terms. So I created an all-caps alphabet of musical notes where the horizontal lines of a letter are represented by longer notes (usually half notes), diagonal or curving lines by quarter notes and eighth notes, and vertical lines by short percussive events (a chimy sound for the treble clef, and a knocking sound for the bass clef). I placed first names in the treble clef and last names in the bass clef, stretching out the notes of the shorter name so it would last the same amount of time as the longer one.
I hope you like it. Your friend, Greg
p.s. To hear all of the namesongs I made, stitched together as one piece, visit grgptrsn.bandcamp.com/track/namesongs
I highly recommend listening to the full piece. I wonder sometimes about how I got so damned lucky to have the most talented, fascinating, and kind friends on the entire planet. Greg is certainly one of them, and so are YOU.
I’ve known Justin Stephenson for almost 10 years, and he’s always had great taste in music (He’s the handsome guy in the photo on the left). One of my favorite things in life is going over to his place to listen to great music from his ever-increasing collection. These days I just don’t have as much time to dedicate to seeking out new music so it’s always a treat to hear great new things, especially from such a crate-digging connoisseur. Yesterday he put this mix CD on my desk, and I’ve listened to it nonstop since then. Not only are there some great tunes on here, but the flow of the tracks is well considered and it’s the kind of thing you can listen to on repeat without skipping tracks or getting bored. In short, it’s wonderful. I asked him if I could post it on the interwebs, and I strongly recommend grabbing the whole thing in this handy zip file, but you can grab individual tracks below.
Justin’s Choice, Early 2010
- For Ex-Lovers Only - Black Tambourine
- Explode a View - Nothing People
- Jolene (Excel Disco Edit) - Dolly Parton
- Breathe the Fire - The Soft Moon
- I Can’t Go For That - The Bird and the Bee
- Funeral Song - Minks
- Say Goodbye to What - Bullion
- Daydream - Beach Fossils
- 7 and 7 is - Charlie and the Moonhearts
- Zebra - Beach House
- Fresh Hair - Bitchin Bajas
- Sweatmother - Tobacco
- H-Bomb - Night Beats
- Je Ne Suis Pas Trés Drogue - The Liminanas
- Sleepwalker - Nerve City
- Storm Cloud - Wolf People
- Nazi Gold - Grand Trine
- Burning Mirrors - Lumerians
- Bricks or Coconuts - Jacuzzi Boys
- Wet Cement - Eddy Current Suppression Ring
- One Hour - Viva L’American Death Ray Music
- Heaven Knows - Mr. Day
I have failed (so far) to compile my “best of” list for 2009, but this last week had me working on a mix CD for one of those big happy mix exchange things that gets coordinated over the internets. This particular mix consists of 17 songs, 1 hour of diverse ages and styles. It was fun making a mix for somebody I don’t know because it freed me up to just pick great songs without over-thinking it. I hope you enjoy it, but if you don’t that’s okay because This Ain’t Shit.
01. Backbone nuance give millions hope. — luc
02. Raising the Sparks — Akron
03. Death Is Forming — Jay Reatard
04. Monk Time — Monks
05. Funny like a clown — Six Finger Satellite
06. Million Dollars — TFUL 282
07. Jealous of Jesus — Sentridoh
08. All the Cash (feat. El-P, Glitch Mob Remix) — Evil Nine
09. Another Summer — 213
10. Say When — Tes
11. Star of Wonder / None Shall Pass — Tor/Sufjan Stevens/Aesop Rock
12. Lunar Mansions — The Alps
13. In The City — Nothing People
14. We Ask You To Ride — Wooden Shjips
15. Metal Heart — Pedro The Lion
16. Oh the Vampyre — A.A. Bondy
17. Flirted With You All My Life — Vic Chesnutt