Friday, June 24, 2016


Shortly after we put out Ecotone, Beat Noir started to kick around ideas for new songs. We started with three acoustic skeletons and then gradually added more and more until we had 11 full songs. Then we went to Niagara-on-the-Lake and started recording them with Davis. Considering that I didn't know Davis before, it was amazing that he turned out to be a great friend and amazing adviser on what we were making. In my mind, Davis is a member of the band and I'm sure that Mark, Duff, and Colin would agree. Once we started recording, we added even more to each of the songs. We took our time and wanted to make sure it came out sounding the way we wanted it to.

We spent about a week and a half and during that time crashed with Davis. We'd wake up, start making a record and then go to sleep. If you weren't recording, you were sitting with Davis and giving input and hanging out. We ate cereal out of the same bowl for breakfast every day and then ate breakfast for dinner at Silk's Diner down the street every day. Then we would fall asleep on couches and start the same process the next day. It was probably the most fun I've ever had in my life.

We wanted to take a long time mixing and we did. The idea wasn't to put down each track and then level it and put it out, the idea was to make the mix sound like we imagined being while we were writing the songs. I think we got there.

When we put out Ecotone, we got it out pretty quickly and then it just sort of disappeared after a little bit. I got tired of some of the songs pretty quickly. With Sovereignties, we waited and sat on it until we knew it should come out. We wanted to see how much we could do with it. I guess I don't what we ended up doing with it or what we were thinking, but I do know that waiting on it was the right decision. Absolutely the right decision.

So now, Sovereignties is out. Actually, if you were hip to the links that I add to words on this blog, you could have gotten it months ago. It pays to read this blog.

I am very proud of this record. I think we made a big progression from the last record and I think it is a much better showcase of what we are able to do as musicians, the influences each of us want to bring to the band, and, really, Duffer's strength as a songwriter.

I've got a sort of liner notes that I've been writing to exapnd on the songs that I'll put up here once I finish them, so keep an eye for that, but in the mean time I guess that all I can say is listen to the fruit of our labour and enjoy.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rocketman's Above All that Shit, Emil

Every year, I set a personal reading goal for myself, to encourage myself to keep reading and finding new novels and authors to enjoy. Because reading is good. For the last two years, my goal has been to finish 20 books in one year. There were periods in university where I would fall out of the practice of reading before bed, which is when I usually read. It was sometimes hard to stay committed to reading for pleasure when a big part of my program involved reading dense articles for classes.

While finishing my reading goal, there's also a few other goals I try to finish within my larger project. I might try to read a book from a famous author who I've never read before. Read more books by women. Read more books by people of colour. I don't just want to read more books, I want to broaden my perspective through this.

This year, I wanted to start the year off by reading a difficult book that was noted for its complexity. The one I chose was Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, because it, from what I had read about it, seemed like a book I would enjoy. It was long, it was dense, the narrative was extremely difficult to follow at times, and there were thousands of characters.

But I just finished it! It took me six goddamn months! I started this in January, when I was still commuting to EJ Pratt Library to finish my thesis, as it wasn't even close to finished. Now I've been done school for two months and have started a new job. I don't really know what else to say, so I'm just going to dump something I've been thinking about since I started Part 2 of the book.

Tyrone Slothrop's outfits ranked:

1. The Hawaiian shirt he wears while battling the octopus.
2. The Zoot Suit he wears while escaping France.
3. The "Rocketman" outfit he wears while stealing a huge supply of hash from the Potsdam Conference.
4. The Russian military uniform with the flags removed.
5. The pig costume.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

You're Invisible Now, You've Got No Secrets to Conceal

I am not normally one for the sentimental posts that my generation now uses to commemorate their loved ones on holidays or birthdays. Whenever Mother's or Father's Day rolls around, my Facebook and Instagram feeds are inevitably filled with people posting pictures of themselves as babies with their younger parents with a caption thanking them for their existence. I don't think this is a hokey trend or anything, far from it, please show affection to your loved ones as much as you can, but it's that my family has never really gone for public displays of affection like that. Even though I love my parents and would feel strongly enough to post something like that, it's just kind of not my style. That might seem like a flimsy excuse, but the truth is as simple as that.

To go with family's disinclination for PDA's, we also aren't the type of family to say "I love you" a lot. This is not to say that we don't love each other. Quite the opposite, as every member of my family is very close. We all know that we love each other and we show it often, but we just don't say it. Is there a need for us to say it after we've already shown it? Maybe for others, but not for us.

It also seems to me like everyone who publicly posts how much they love their families has way, way more familial conflicts than the Chandlers do. Just a quick observation there.

These feelings are probably most evident in my siblings', but more specifically my, relationships with our father. He never wanted to do anything special for Father's Day, and his birthday which usually falls on the following week, and eschews any sort of dinner or celebration for a day of gardening in the backyard with the Jays on the radio and a beer to follow. I guess that is the way he would prefer to celebrate. It feels odd because we always go out of our way to phone our mom on Mother's Day and her birthday, but our dad has never seemed to care too much about that sort of thing.

Last year my siblings planned a big birthday dinner for our mom. We got a nice dinner and big-ish present for her. Rebecca and I went out to my parents' for dinner for my dad's birthday about two weeks later and one of the first things he said to Rebecca was,

"I don't want you to get the wrong idea, we don't always celebrate birthdays like this."

Just immediately trying to strip away any sort of focus or spotlight on himself. I try my best to imitate him in this regard.

Today I received a Father's Day email from my dad, in which he described his father and his relationship with him. My grandfather died a long time before I was born, when my dad was 24. My grandfather's early death has been an omnipresent thing in my dad's personality and I know that it was instrumental in him becoming the person he became. Since he was gone so much earlier, I never got to meet him and know him, so this email was a makeshift introduction for the two of us.

Reading through Dad's relationship with his own dad, I immediately saw parallels between it and my relationship with my dad. Two narratives that were very similar and part of the same line, but also disconnected at the same time. This is reinforced by the fact that my grandfather's name, Melville, is my middle name. I carry him around with me always. He has now been dead for a long time and his body is gone. I live on as a physical symbol of the bond between Mel and Bill Chandler. I like that. Does my dad think about that when he looks at me? Maybe.

My dad is the biggest influence on my life. He's always supported me and said the right thing and guided me towards what I should be doing. He has always shown and taught me what the right thing to do is. I realized in my later teens that by watching him, I could learn what it means to be a man. Not in the macho sense of the word, not at all. But meaning how to be a mature adult. When to speak. When not to speak. How to treat your friends. How to treat your loved ones. What to value. What to reject. What is important in the world.

I hope that I am doing a good job of remembering the lessons I've learned.

I don't have many pictures of him and I on my computer and I should do a better job of collecting the ones that exist. In fact, I only have the one I've included below, from my undergrad graduation. I have a mohawk and look like a goof, but at least our mustaches match. He looks proud. I like it.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Even though the last thing that the world, and especially the internet, needs is another straight white guy's opinion on LGBTQ issues, I feel the need to say something on the issue. When it comes down to it, this blog is a reflection of my thoughts, which in turn makes it a reflection of my beliefs and my politics. It would be easy to remain silent and ignore sociopolitical issues, but, to be honest, I think that if you are scared to discuss them, then your opinion isn't worth shit anyways.

I don't even want to discuss issues of gun control, gun violence, and gun culture here. Aside from the very fucked up melting pot of those three issues in the United States right now, I think the much scarier part of this shooting is that it is very tangible proof of explicit homophobia and transphobia in mainstream culture. A lot of the time when LGBTQ issues and activism arises in conversation, people who aren't familiar with it, not even those who oppose it, say things like "It's not really that bad." or "It's just their sexual preference, they shouldn't make a big deal about it." This implies that vocal LGBTQ activists are fighting a fight that they don't really have to. Homophobia is fucking real and it permeates our society on every goddamn level, from people getting harassed on the street all the way up to legislation.

I would like to say that I am an ally and always will be an ally. If you don't like gays, or you think trans people are weird, or you think lesbians are man-haters or any of the other stupid fucking stereotypes that the media, our culture and our society have forced you to think and believe, then fuck you. All you are doing is propagating hate and being a negative force in the world.

LGBTQ people are trying to be the people they want to be. It is their own issue to deal with. If you are cis and it all doesn't make sense to you, then just fucking leave it alone.

I don't really even know what else to say. If you oppose LGBTQ people, then fuck you. Go read a goddamn book.

Start Sweet and Then Get Mean

Today is my 27th birthday.

This feels like a singular day in my life, but it's kind of hard to pinpoint why. The most obvious reason would be that I've now crossed the arbitrary threshold that separates your "mid 20s" from your "late 20s". 27 has to be the barrier right? 26 is the last year of your mid 20s, which I think is the last period of your life where you're allowed to be kind of a fuck up and not have a concrete plan. It's still okay to wake up late and smoke weed on a weekday. At least, this is the impression that I get from the media. Most of my friends are still kind of like this. Some got married and bought houses, but most still live with roommates.

But your late 20s signal that your fast approaching 30, and by then you're supposed to have shit figured out, right?

It's not so much that I buy into this, because I don't, really, it's just that this is all sort of weighing on my mind today. Not in a negative way, necessarily, it's just sort of there.

I try to approach the inevitability of aging in a healthy way. I know that what is most important is sticking to my own ideals and staying true to what my own vision of my life is. Part of this vision is that I don't worry too much about my age, acting my age, or anything like that. I think I'm doing well at this and have carved out a pretty swell path with my brain being the metaphorical machete. But I do not live in a bubble and society's expectations do weigh on me a little bit.

Like, soon I 'm gonna need to move into a bigger apartment. My parents are probably going to start asking about marriage.

Again, hard to say why, but 27 feels a little different. Am I officially an adult now. Is it gauche to eat an entire bag of Doritos while watching professional wrestling without pants on? Cause, like, I'm not going to stop doing that.

Mostly it feels different in a good way. I'm really lucky. I finished school without any major hiccups, got a good job more or less right out of my program. My partner is wonderful and just the best. I have many good friends, all of whom care about what I'm doing and how I'm doing. They all texted me "happy birthday" today and it feels nice to know they thought about me enough to do that. Things are going well, even though the world is all kinds of fucked up, so fucked up that I know any efforts I make will not make a big difference. I guess now that I am all sorted, for the most part, I can concentrate on what I can change.

This is the first birthday in a while that I actually feel older. It's a little odd, but thanks to everyone for sticking around.

Friday, June 3, 2016

What You Wanted

I've felt angry and unfocused lately. A little too much on my plate to think about each part of it. I'm just trying to keep my commitments straight and am moving unconsciously between each one. I don't really feel all that present lately.

This is not conducive to writing, which is bad. From being sick to first Power Plant shifts and last minute wedding stress, I'm just hopping from one thing to another. Not thinking about much. I briefly thought that once I finished school and lined up a job, which was taken care of pretty quickly, I would devote some serious time to writing some good, long entries here, but that drive never materialized. I didn't even think about coming on here while I was sick and haven't since either. One idea for a post was a eulogy for Gord Downie, but I'm not a Tragically Hip fan, just think the guy is cool, and that would have seemed hacky.

I can say that Fargo season 2 is quite excellent. Devoured that in this weird in between, ecotone-ish period I'm in right now.

Maybe this is all sounding a lot worse than it actually is. I'm stressed, but not having a hard time dealing, necessarily. Maybe I would just like things to settle a little bit. I guess that will come with the summer, I hope.

This past week I remembered that the arrival of June, my favourite month, and its hot temperatures means that The Stereo, one of the true underappreciated gems of our precious ~rock music~, will again be dominating my listening habits and I'll tune my guitar to Hendrix and spend a bunch of time learning solos.

That bridge that starts around 2:20? Bud.