In philadelphia, still ill with the Sickness. I'm waitin it out, man. I
have a remarkable cold sore under my left nostril and a magazine cover
shoot today. Time to bust out the fake hitler moustache and create
some controversy. Like rammstein.
Yesterday was a bruiser of a day, we had two shows back-to-back in DC
and baltimore, the first in an honest-to-god (no pun) synagogue and the
second in a club. The gigs were great, brian and I rejoiced in being
back on stage with each other and just played our asses off and enjoyed
being back in full dresden formation. Meow Meow blew the crowds away as
I knew she would and sat in with us on delilah. Her hot pianist lance
guested on mandy goes to med school. Our crew is back in full-force.
I'm not superstitious. But things have been happening. music,
especially certain songs, has been speaking from the beyond and indicating my
path like those emergency lights embedded in airplane aisles.
The point was.
I have a favorite Again cafe in philadelphia. I'm in it right now, its
called the chapterhouse; I stumbled across it the last time we played
here. I went out of my way to walk here for some thinking and writing
before soundcheck and as I entered I heard the sound of something I knew
coming from the speakers but I couldn't place it..... Sounded like low
air-raid sirens. Then the guitar started and it was "two-headed boy part
II" and I melted a bit.
When I was in scotland in august I went to my edinburgh Again cafe
(the forest) one afternoon and there was a girl (autumn ayers )from
philadelphia singing "oh comely" on a little stage with an acoustic
I'm starting to think that my life is just strung together moments
against the backdrop of this record album. If you don't know the record,
this is harder to explain. The record: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by
Neutral Milk Hotel and its music and songwriting: without equal. I had
been discussing with my favorite director-friend the possibility of
creating a stage production inspired by the record (it seems like getting
the rights might be impossible) but we agreed on one thing: the album
and songs have an internally magical power.
Wherever you go, you will meet people who know and love this record
with a passion that may seem unreasonable. The literally extra-ordinary
thing is that the album was never hyped in the mainstream, there was no
giant promotion. It was hyped for a while in the indie community (I
remember discovering the record, through brian, about a year after it came
out and mentioning it excitedly to one of my hip indie musician friends
who was like: yes amanda, that record is amazing but sooo last year),
but that means nothing to 99% of the american music-listening
population. So its ENTIRELY word of mouth outside of the indie-cult. And not
unlike the way the dolls grew in certain communities, the word-of-mouth on
this record has carried it year after year further and further. It
didn't hurt the magical momentum that jeff mangum, the creator of the
record, supposedly cracked immediately under the impending success and
disappeared, barely ever to be heard from again (rumors abound, I have no
idea what the actual deal is). But ask your average person and they'll
have no clue about this album. I'm still shocked when I talk with some
huge music fan or record industry heavyweight and they have never even
HEARD the bands name.
What makes this record so perfect? I heard someone say, or maybe I said
once, can't remember (I'm getting old): the record is like mainlining.
Its a direct transmission of soul through sound. That said, you might
listen to it and hate it. But watch the comments on this blog. That
will tell you everything.
Have to go to soundcheck.
Show was fantastic, we're in for a 6-hour van drive to boston. And
we're tirrrrred. These two angelic people, michael and shonda, brought us,
luminescnet and meow and the whole crew a gigantic vegan feast after
the show, complete with absinthe (which we're saving for new years). Food
Love. Bring it on. This tour is a perfect bill. Meow the anarchist
cabaret singer, luminscent the insane klezmer dance band and us. I wish
bills like this would last forever. Sxip played with us (I played drums!!
I love the drums.) And brian and I sat in with lumii. Meow and lance
both sang and played during our set. Its a full-on lovefest.
Festing more, Jenny owen youngs showed up and we snuck her on the bill
right before us to play "fuck was I" on brians acoustic. She's amazing.
I piggybacked her onto stage.
The photoshoot was fine. We ripped the long red curtains down from the
windows, got naked (poor brian has finally caught the Sickness too,
neither of us were feeling sexy so we figured we go for a weird naked art
photoshoot....) and wrapped ourselves up in them. I found a hat. The
shoot worked. Pictures are weird.
Autumn, the girl who I referred to in the above ramble - the one I stumbled upon singing neutral milk in edinburgh - she magically appeared at the end
of the show with her two sisters. When I told about my happy cafe
experience and the welcome song I got there this afternoon, her sister said:
that's so weird. I haven't listened to that album in years and I put
it on today.
You are starting to see what I mean.
Here's a link to some great photos of last night.
Here's a link to the neutral milk hotel CD.
Tomorrow: hometown throwdown in bosstown.