Gun Control Song of the Day – Ryan Adams “Halloween”

Last night on my way home from the Alex Cameron charm your face off experience I ducked into a cafe/bar that just started a new open mic night. Open mics are curious creatures, though uniformly named and conceptualized each is very different. Some are baby artist play pens, where one in ten songs might be originals, and three and ten songs are just trainwrecks of execution. Other nights are the last bastion of old rockers, men and women who at some point laid it all down and walked away, and then decided to come back now and again for people who like to play the dangerous game of open mic watching. They knew what the blues was, and could show you, if attention spans weren’t shredded to bits, salivating for the latest acoustic cover of that years bar anthem, which could be up to 30 years old.

Regardless, each Open Mic night becomes its own scene, with regulars who get to skip the queue and that special soul the regular weeknight drinker there to applaud with enthusiasm or politeness. I had never had the chance to experience and Open Mic night in it’s infant stage, where it hasn’t decided if reggae is OK, or if it’s a sit down affair. During the day the venue was a source of the cheapest and least pretentious coffee accessible from my office, so I was interested to see if I could turn Monday into a 12 hour gauntlet of activity with a free domestic Open Mic pint to cap it off.

I was a bit flustered upon entering. The rain had started to fall and my ancient leather jacket, that had belonged to my father when he was half my age wasn’t up for a good soaking, so I had been hustling from awning to awning along the 3 blocks from point A to point B. When I entered the venue a rapt audience sat silently in all the nooks and crannies. There wasn’t a bartender or a seat in sight. A lone woman, steadfast in her 20 somethingness, stood at the microphone next to a red guitar. What I presumed was the preamble to her set was being delivered with a conviction that seemed to be teetering on complete collapse as it reached out for the right words to set the scene. I settled in to a standing position that would make for the easiest pint once the bartender reappeared. Someone across the room I don’t know nodded to me as if he did know me. When there was no further movement I realized he wasn’t the bartender. I also realized this wasn’t the preamble. This was the amble.

“In the moment, amongst the brush, he looked at me, and I at him and like, I became certain that there was a connection here. Not just a fleeting moment, but a profound human connection that was just being amplified by the contrast in our conditions. I, someone out for a stroll in the park, and he, out for a supply run before returning to his woodland home where he fights to secure himself within nature safe from the city the doesn’t want him to be anywhere near it. It was just, so, so sad, and beautiful and profound, and compelled me to take this moment to tell you, a room full of friends and strangers about it, so we too might continue that connection.”

Conclusion and clapping. The thirst and awkwardness in the face of such earnestness had dried my mouth out to the morning after cigarettes for hours. Nonetheless, I had committed to examining this protoplasmic open mic, and as the host thanked the girl for taking advantage of this open concept stage, “where it doesn’t have to be music or poetry, but in fact can just be someone talking with the power of a captive audience and a microphone,” [paraphrased] I figured it would be worth seeing the next act.

Then I saw the fedora, obnoxious patterned shirt, and hollow-body guitar appear wielded by the rigs of daddiest mamma jamma I could have envisioned. The bartender was still nowhere in sight. The rain continued to fall and threaten my family heirloom, but the hypnotic refrain of the showman who begun the night reminded me that “It’s just water,” and I fled from a room full of people I did not understand.

Gun Control Song of the Day – Eboueurs by Croque Madame

 

A lifetime of laissez faire living was insufficient preparation for the griefing wave. Folk lore would have you believe bad things only came in threes before a period of respite. But if that were true then the qualifications for bad were jacked up by 137% and that meant the new normal was an experience in hyper vigilant sensitivity, or the 3 point clock reset a lot faster. Either way, as he sat by the personification of wet cigarettes in a bar with the most generic taps in town, he was unprepared for the warm spring breeze, bright summer colours, and taste of picnic fruit the song summoned forth. It remained to be seen if it was a prophetic vision or a day dream, but it was undeniably sunny.

Gun Control Song of the Day – Mitski “Townie”

The neck cramp used to be the distinct malady of the big reader or the overly ambitious and generous lover. Yet, almost instantly our spines curved downwards towards our phones.

How shocking one found this when they finally noticed directly corresponds with the degree of neck ache. To the shoulder blades? “Oh, so this is what the passage of time feel’s like. Interesting.”

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Gun Control Song of the Day – DUMB “Mustang Law”

There’s a phenomena in Canada, and probably any other cold place but the experiential science that informs the following only relate to Canada, in which the outside tries to kill you. Often this intent is obvious, windows scab over with a crystalline pattern that represents the end of entropy in death, doors refuse to open, and there’s a either a density to the air that encourages hibernation, or a crisp sharpness to it that alerts your skin to the predators that await it.

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Gun Control Song of the Day – Ben Folds Five “Evaporated”

Don’t you know that I’m young and I can’t feel a thing at all and it’s all smiles and business until I’m indifferent to the loss. They’re not the exact words but they’re the ones that came to mind and as I run the chords again and again they’re the ones that feel just right. Like something profound and sorry, it struck me in the throat and as soon as I began to hum-a-long I remembered trying to summon that soul and ask her what I was doing wrong? Today it doesn’t seem important, as I’d miss her signals through the noise, and I’m far less worried about myself then every mess in the headlines. Greeted by a bad joke each day, until someone loses their life, not an ear to argue, or a thing to do to teeter the ship back to upright. A million correct and useless thoughts, screaming between my eyes, I must admit to closing them hours before I try to sleep through the night.

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Gun Control Song of the Day – Liz Phair “Stratford-On-Guy”

Photo by Mark Payerl

Exile In Guyville by Liz Phair is a track by track response to The Rolling Stones Exile on Main St. Phair has said she tried to treat each track as a response to Mick Jagger’s corresponding track.

Phair elaborated with Rolling Stone in 2010:

So “6’1″ ” equates to “Rocks Off.”
In his lyrics he’s coming back from a night out, he’s doing the walk of shame. It’s early morning, and he runs into someone who he’s obviously had a relationship with. She’s up in the morning because she’s up in the morning like a normal person, and he’s coming home, probably still drugged and delirious — this is what I glean from the lyrics — and she’s giving him the uh huh, you’re obviously sleeping with someone and it isn’t me look, and he’s like, look man, I can’t even get into it because I’m kind of tripping out, I only get the rocks off in the morning — that’s how far gone he is. So I play the part of the woman he runs into on the street, and I’m going like, “Oh yeah, and I hated you, I bet you’ve fallen…” On other songs I would be in agreement instead of arguing with Mick, where I’d be like, yes, I too have seen a rock & roll hero who’s sort of a bum and I think he’s really tragic and beautiful — “Glory.”

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Gun Control Song of the Day – Sloan “People of the Sky”

While it wasn’t quite right, there was no more time to mess with the skinny red tie.

The last song had been written, recorded, and released 17 years prior. The last commercially relevant song had come out 14 years prior to that, as supply far outweighed demand, and no marketing could overcome the iron grip of nostalgia, precedence, and mass consensus. They were almost entirely remixes, whether man made or forged by neural nets, as the prior generation had looked at “real” instruments as being just as irrelevant a source of expression as the never decomposing plastic peripheral carcasses that followed the Guitar Hero/Rock Band revolution of the early 2000s. He saw the extinction level event retold in a senso while ignoring 7th grade holo rigging class. It became a source of regular nightmares.

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Gun Control Song of the Day – Molly Shannon, Molly Shannon “Jonestown Mascara”

Ugh I’ve been sick with the common cold for over a week. The neocitron haze is now descending, but alas I will not be standing by to give you the play by play where the sweats kick in, and my cold and flu drugged brain rationalizes the perfect geometry I must achieve between my head and pillow to unlock the secrets of wellness. Instead, just watch this start to finish and then share it. Consider it a congested man’s final request.

 

Gun Control Song of the Day – Moonface and Sinai “Risto’s Riff”

Off the back of the boat was an incredible wake. A swath of turbulent white, bringing the endless blue to a boiling rage that any had dared pass through it. White knuckled atop a nylon skinned inner-tube dragged behind 45 horses of suburban lakeside mid-life crises he once learned that there wasn’t much difference between the two colour’s of water, aside from a desire to get outside of the wake towards fun and reckless speed. It was the wake that got up your nose, through your sinuses and stung going past your tonsils down your throat our back out the mouth.

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Gun Control Song of the Day – Sjowgren “seventeen”

My feet are cold and my head aches in that slight way where if I focused hard enough I could convince myself I could feel my eyes. The edge is sharpened as the music reminds me of a summertime I’m not entirely sure I ever actually experienced, but that’s likely got more to do with good marketing then my inability to reach competence at any experience that involves attaching things to my feet. A succession of false feelings distract from the tight hamstrings over crossed legs as the endless scavenger hunt continues across a screen that can only ever give as good as it gets.

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