Everything this person has written for TUNETHEPROLETARIAT

Mad sounds in your ears

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Arctic Monkeys – Mad Sounds

Peering over her teal, leather-upholstered desk, Dr. Meier’s secretary found her attentions flickering between the several stacks of paper in front of her – assorted patient files, an order confirmation for new waiting room chairs, late wedding RSVPs – and the doctor’s next appointment, [redacted], seated at the far end of their moderate office. Dr. Meier had implored her not to pay much mind to their patients outside of the expected professional courtesy. In her second week he had stood in the hallway clasping a mug of tea, observing her as she locked the door behind the last patient of the evening, “You know, some of them have enough trouble focusing on their own space, never mind feeling like somebody is focusing on it for them.”

But it was a struggle this week. The wedding was two Saturdays away and she had been at the end of her tether, organising the finishing details for the biggest one-off event she would probably ever organise. Unsurprisingly, Callum had been little help. “You’re better at these kinds of things,” he had said, smiling wryly and gently brushing his thumb against her cheek. Sure. Better. All this experience I have with organising a few hundred people into a room where they’ll silently judge us, the entrees, the seating arrangements, everything – both sides of our families whispering amongst themselves. She hadn’t said that to him, instead grasping his thumb with hers. The mood between them had been stressed, but she hadn’t been sure if that was the impending date or the natural tensions that arose in day-to-day living. Either way, she found her mind wandering more often these last few months.

[redacted] was a returning patient. He had a younger man’s frame, gaunt and thin, but the deep, bluish bags around his eyes and ever-reaching crow’s feet surrendered his years. He sat quietly, playing with his thumbs. Through his headphones, she could hear some garbled instruments – maybe a guitar? – but she didn’t recognise the song. She had made it a point of principle not to look too deeply into patient files, worried that her eyes might betray a sense of concern or sympathy when she called them into the doctor’s office. She wondered what he was there to discuss and dissect. Most times [redacted] wouldn’t say much outside of hello, thank you, goodbye. He had once asked if she knew when the next bus into the city might be, to which she apologised, explaining that she drove most days and couldn’t be sure. “Thanks anyway,” he nodded, producing a thin-lipped smile.

Callum had never been much for music. She knew he liked it, sure, but they had never spoken about it in any meaningful way. Sometimes when they were driving he would tap the steering wheel in time with a song on the radio, humming under his breath. But he didn’t own a pair of headphones, rarely used the speakers in the living room. In fact, she couldn’t recall any songs that weren’t chosen by her on a playlist she kept for listening around the house.

The phone rang, shrill and demanding. “You can send … [redacted] in now, Samantha … thank you” mumbled Dr. Meier, having just finished lunch and audibly chewing on the remnants of the sandwich she had ordered in. Normally, she would call out to patients alerting them to their appointment, but she felt a twinge of guilt at the idea of pulling [redacted] away from his music. Walking over from her desk he hardly shifted as she approached, still playing with his hands. Coughing softly, she touched a hand to his shoulder. As he looked up, she motioned to the doctor’s office, offering a hand outwards. Pursing his lips, he stood, mouthed a silent “thank you” and strolled towards the office, closing the door behind him.

Returning to her desk, Samantha stared at the sum of her day waiting unfinished in front of her, wondering what song [redacted] had been listening to that had demanded his attention before anything else in that moment.


I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form

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Bob Dylan – Shelter From The Storm

The stretch of track lines from Wolli Creek all the way through to Central Station, Sydney, has sketchy cellular connectivity. If Spotify holds out, it’s a blessing. If not, aurally the landscape is largely sniffles and sighs and polite, blunted coughs. Visually business suits, freshly-ironed buttoned-down shirts, and backpacks span the carriages. The weary conductor, announcing the present and subsequent stops, crackles over the intercom. Suburb to suburb, he sounds less tired-guy-following-procedure and more like death itself.

I’m sure he’s a nice guy, the conductor. Once, of an afternoon, my friend James and I were shooting the shit at the Marlborough Hotel in Newtown, ordering lunch. Some portly, curly-haired bloke – whose name I can’t recall – was sitting with some people, practicing card tricks the table over. Catching our interest, we ate together. After the usual how-do-you-do’s, one of Curl’s friends discussed his life as a train driver. “Mostly routine,” he said, “but people jump in front of trains a lot. A fucking lot.” The media doesn’t report them all, fearing copycats I guess, and it’s common for drivers to quietly bear the horror and guilt, despite the wide range of support given to employees who experience it first-hand.

I asked him if he had ever hit anybody. He had. He was working a wet line into the city circle and this guy was standing at the platform’s edge holding an umbrella, sheltered from the rain and watching the train approach. He said it was the detail that stayed with him. The man’s expression, watching this angled form of metal and gears and weight coming towards him, as if timing when it was going to be too late to stop. The slump of his shoulders as he fell. Most of all, he recalled that this particular person didn’t let go of the umbrella. It was one of a thousand things that made it difficult to comprehend, but it seemed ridiculous and inconsequential – “Who cares about the fucking umbrella?”

But, if you’re going to kill yourself, why bring it on to the platform? Why hold on to it when you jump? What does it matter?” He said those kinds of questions ring around the inside of your skull months and months later.

To this day I can still tell you the colour of the mohair jumper she was wearing, the colour of her jeans, what shoes she had on, and what injuries she had suffered.”

Curls’ friend also told the story of a former train driver, a man who – at least back then – spent his time far from the tracks. He would wear his conductor slacks and stayed on the payroll, preparing administrative papers mostly. He didn’t know the number of deaths or any more details, but he speculated it wouldn’t have to be many. Even one was already too much.

[Seek help. Find hope. For those in Australia, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 – for anything. Even if you just need somebody to talk to. Internationally, the IASP has a listing for crisis centres across the world. Reach out. You are not alone.]

You asked me to stay.

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The Strokes – One Way Trigger

A eunuch is on the gravel. Ceramic stalls on one side, clotheshorses on the other. The Eunuch sucks on a honey-lathered Filbert paintbrush. Aristocrats pass on his lefts and rights, mulling over chiffon ball gowns and Armani waistcoats. Softly, he mumbles into the backs of aristocratic knees, the kind made from freeze-dried couscous, “You asked me to stay, but I have a few reasons to leave.”

[Comedown Machine.]

fixtapes, number one
love (love love!)

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Download fixtapes, number one. (DropBox).

“I’m sorry that I fell so far and I hope that you still love me,” he mumbled. “Let’s just smoke cigarettes and pretend we’re not upset.” Burning embers lit the dried butts in the ashtray, flickered, went out. He recalled the days they wasted on love (love love!), how they faded from the winter onwards. Hoping their affections would maybe sprout wings, passing afternoons hiding in the forests, imagining that the songbirds’ calls were their own. Nerves normal, breath normal, speaking of love and life and other things they knew nothing about. Laughing as they yelled jumbled phrases they thought were funny: “I THINK ABOUT TAKING CARE OF YOU SOMETIMES!” “NOW THAT I’M OLDER, I FEEL DIFFERENT ABOUT THINGS!” “QUETZALCOATL EATS PLUMS!” She loved The Mountain Goats. He recalled the first time he saw the ocean. Her father offered to drive them to it, took a day off work to indulge in the frivolities of childish romance. Gazing outwards, he offered an aphorism: “This is where God does his laundry,” as the whitewash cuddled the sand.

She stood from her seat cross-legged on the ocher patio, ignoring the brunt of his recollections. She muttered, disdainfully, about how he was obsessed with Lost Memories and Things Being Their Thing and how tiring that was – a mental drain – for her. Turning, she offered her parting words – “it’s over” – and left.

I’m Sorry That I Fell So Far & I Hope That You Still Love Mecontron.
Let’s Just Smoke Cigarettes & Pretend We’re Not Upsetcontron.
Burning EmbersLou Reed.
The DaysFrench Club.
Love Love LoveOf Monsters & Men.
Faded From The Winter OnwardsIron & Wine.
Maybe Sprout WingsThe Mountain Goats.
Passing AfternoonsIron & Wine.
Nerves Normal, Breath NormalWintersleep.
Now That I’m OlderSufjan Stevens.
Quetzalcoatl Eats PlumsThe Mountain Goats.
Where God Does His LaundrySpanish Prisoners.
Lost MemoryLexie Roth.
Our ThingElliott Smith.
It’s OverTom Waits.

Download fixtapes, number one. (DropBox).


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Let’s not be friends.

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[free download: Stupid.]

The Eggs

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The Eggs – Disintegrate

The Eggs are a Brooklyn-based quintet comprised of Mike Britt (bass), Alex Cohen (drums, percussion), Roshan Reddy (guitar), Emma Sky (violin, viola) and Cynthia Wennstrom (vocals). I will make two claims related to this lovely batch of musicians: (i) their songs are aural patchwork quilts knit fresh from warm, loving hands, and (ii) they have no problem poking fun at themselves or giving confusing answers to questions. If you’re the kind of person that requires evidence for even lighthearted claims – fuck you, pedant! – well, read on!

Have you ever been in a fight?
RR: With Rihanna . . . (disclaimer: I’m a horrible person).
AC: Just with myself.

What is your favorite swear?
The Eggs: In no particular order: motherdamnit, shit-tits, cuntfish, Mitt Romney, poopie, Godfuckit, fuckethead, assmunch, slunt, clut.

If possible, which musician or band would you open for?
MB: Well I’m not sure, but I definitely think Metallica should open for us.
RR: Have you ever heard of this duo called Buke and Gase? They’re my favorite new band and the first project I’ve been excited by in a long time. I guess you could call them a noise-pop duo, but that would hardly do them justice.
CW: I think the Dirty Projectors would be a lot of fun to open for!
AC: Napalm Death. Easy.

Other honorable mentions include: Deerhoof, Battles.

What would you say to your first girlfriend/boyfriend?
RR: Thanks for introducing me to your wife.
MB: Do you still have that thirty bucks you owe me?
AC: I’m only half sorry for every dead baby joke I told.
ES: I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message.

What’s your most neurotic habit?
AC: Theft and arson.
ES: It’s probably the fact that if I don’t do yoga everyday I’ll explode.
RR: I . . . I see . . . dead people.
CW: Sometimes I stare off into the distance and imagine I’m riding Falcor from The NeverEnding Story and we solve mysteries together . . . then I snap back to reality and realize I left the oven on and smoke is now filling my apartment.

The Eggs – Patterns

What’s your worst experience from high school?
MB: I got suspended for self-defense once. Totally lame.
CW: I accidentally peed on myself during school. It was as horrible as everyone imagines it is, but in hindsight it’s pretty funny.
RR: This one only feels bad now that I’m a little bit older and have some perspective, but it was the few times where I watched or participated in making fun of someone who didn’t deserve it at all. I definitely feel like a chode for that.

Since starting in music, what has been your most frustrating moment?
MB: I find sympathy clapping and stiff audiences pretty frustrating.
AC: Heavy gear and being billed with other acts that don’t fit with the band I’m playing in that night definitely tend to be my main pet peeves.
RR: Watching artists succeed by producing trite and unoriginal garbage.

In the same vein, what has been the high point?
CW: Recording in a real studio for the first time when I was nineteen.
RR: Performing for over, or at least close to, a thousand people one time.
ES: I organized a benefit concert that raised a bunch of money for cancer research, which was an amazing experience for me.

Favorite emotion?
RR: What’s that?
CW: That weird feeling you get when you bump into someone on the street and you guys keep choosing the same direction to go and never get around each other . . . yeah, that’s the stuff.
ES: Does sweating count?
AC: Well, since I don’t have a soul I can’t really say . . .

What’s your earliest memory with or biggest impression of music from a young age?
MB: Knowing that music was a presence or a force, but that I couldn’t reach out and touch it [has] always baffled me. I guess that’s what hooked me as a kid and I’ve endeavored to figure out some way to perceive music visually ever since.
RR: Film music has always been a big source of inspiration for me and one of my earliest musical memories was me trying to squeak out the notes to the Jurassic Park theme song on my recorder. If it weren’t for the Star Wars or Jurassic Park soundtracks I don’t think I would be making music today. In other words: thank you, John Williams.

[Patterns EP.]

There’s more explaining I could do.

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I hear one thing: “I know.”

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Majical Cloudz – Turns Turns Turns

I hear one thing: “I know.”
I hear one thing: “I know.”
I hear one thing: “I know.”

The thing is: “I don’t know. I have never known. I have pretended to know, grasped at the fingertips of women and men who I thought knew, cried and begged for knowing, adopted the crushed posturing of somebody who knows. I have told people what to know, how to know, what it is to know. Angrily, I pointed fingers and shouted aphorisms in the name of Knowing. I believed Knowing was Power. Then, I believed Knowing was Peace. Neither held clean after the dishwashing. In the villages, I lusted for people to watch me stroll about my business. They would be hushed, wary. Whispering amongst themselves, ‘The Man Who Knows was known to walk these chalky paths.’ I have wished, dearly wished, to know, but all I know is the more I have known, or thought to have known, the less I have known in truth and the more confused I have become. Forever turning, never still.”

[Turns Turns Turns.]

“. . . because he’s Batman.”

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