Everything this person has written for TUNETHEPROLETARIAT

These streets will make you feel brand new

Written by

Aldenbarton – I Am New Yorker

I told myself if I ever tired of looking at Lower Manhattan as the D train groaned across the Manhattan Bridge, I would leave New York.

Thirteen months ago, I tired of that view so I left.


“Moving to New York” soundtracked late 2006 as we grew comfortable in our adopted city and celebrated as old friends arrived, expanding the bubble of our new world. Tom traded Ohio for a Bushwick loft located in a converted factory that’s ground zero for the city’s bedbug infestation. He appeared on McKibbin St. weary from the day’s drive and a detour to Ikea. He looked horrified by his new surroundings, but happy. (Tom’s father, understandably, was straight horrified. He departed almost before we transferred his son’s limited possession from the backseat and trunk to sidewalk.) We blasted music loudly enough to drown out the skateboards of our upstairs neighbors, held poorly attended Red Bull-vodka parities, got in fights with the hallway trashcan, and wondered what the rock factory down the street produced.


I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge yesterday. It seemed like something one should do before one leaves San Francisco. I spent more time dodging tourists than jogging, but this is the price you pay when you choose iconic vistas over empty paths.

Eventually, I reached the other side. Bridges in San Francisco seem to lead away from the city. The Golden Gate brings you to Marin County where you can choose Highway 1 to Stinson Beach, Point Reyes, and beyond, or take 101 through redwood forests. Either way, you’ll be fine as you drive further from SF.

The Bay Bridge ends at a seaport whose cranes provided George Lucas with the inspiration for Imperial Walkers. From there, it’s north to the genuine, overwhelming self-righteousness of Berkeley or south to Hayward and the Oakland International Airport. Either way, you aren’t in San Francisco anymore. [Buy.]


The Wombats – Moving To New York

An 8’x6’x5′ storage unit arrived today. The young black guy who forklifted it off his flatbed truck laughed when I told him I moved to San Francisco last year with only two suitcases. He told me he threw out most of his belongings the last time he changed apartments. We bonded over purchasing new possessions we liked. “I bought a new computer table. I’m not getting rid of it, you know?” I smiled and didn’t mention I’m abandoning the perfectly-sized desk I bought for last year for $125.


Tomorrow, a couple friends and I will cram all my worldly possessions into less than nine cubic yards. Throwing your life into a dark wooden box is both depressing and liberating. Try it sometime.


I will, at some point, tire of the view once again. But not Tuesday morning when I arrive in JFK on a red eye and make my way to Brooklyn. Not next week. Not next month.


I am not a New Yorker, but I think I’ll play one for most of my 20s. [Buy.]

Yes, we aim to please

Written by

Lo-Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag

Here’s a fact anyone I’ve ever met (also: everyone, everywhere) almost certainly doesn’t know: “Battle Flag” (or “Battleflag”; Wikipedia is non-committal or, more likely, all-encompassing), the only song you might recognize as Lo Fidelity Allstars, isn’t theirs. Pigeonhed, a Seattle-based, Subpop-signed collaboration between Shawn Smith and Steve Fisk, penned the original, and the duo released its version on 1997’s The Full Sentence. (If you’re so inclined, you can pay Steve Jobs $.99 to confirm what listening to iTunes’ 30-second clip will hint: it sucks. I come at this discussion from a place of experience; I’d suggest saving your money.)

Lo Fidelity Allstars remixed the song for Pigeonhed’s horrendously titled Flash Bulb Emergency Overflow Cavalcade of Remixes (seriously, what?) before including the version on its own wonderfully monikered How to Operate With A Blown Mind. The second iteration of “Battle Flag” peaked at No. 6 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock Tracks and is the only song off Lo Fi’s 1998 debut or, for that matter, in the band’s entire catalogue, worth mentioning. But at least the second group – featuring a lead singer credited in the linear notes of Blown Mind under the name The Wrekked Train – earned some acclaim for its effort, even if that means being relegated to the footnotes of history. Pigeonhed, the creator, finds itself scrubbed even from those.

It took two bands to create one “Battle Flag.” The first built the house. The latter moved in, demoed the existing walls, added its own superior details, and answered the phone when a producer for Cribs came calling. [Buy.]

Love is defying

Written by

The Airborne Toxic Event – All I Ever Wanted

I’m in Los Angeles because of a failing relationship. The City of Angels lies an easy 350-mile flight from San Francisco, a city where I now live for reasons that have more to do with her than I’m willing to admit but less than my friends and family back east believe. I didn’t have to see about a girl. Well, at least not entirely.

We worked wonderfully in theory when she and I lived in Brooklyn and we were dating other people. In practice, we’re a fatally flawed couple. Neither of us says anything, but it’s over. She’s known for a while. I held on to the slowly yet inevitably unwinding thread for longer – which explains why I bought us tickets to The Airborne Toxic Event’s homecoming show at the resplendent The Walt Disney Concert Hall and flew south – but I’m now letting it slip from of my grasp, too. “We lie to each other like they do and say we’re so happy / It’s easy when you’re young and you still want it so badly.”

So here we are, starring down at the foursome, their assorted friends and lovers, and the rest of the audience from our seats 20 feet above stage left. It’s fine; the concert, a charming celebration of the band’s remarkable success, is the type of event that calls for a date, even one with no future.

Later that night, she falls asleep on my arm in her bed. “I stare out the window and I think that I might scream.” I don’t. Sometimes you smile, gaze into the sky, and let things wordlessly fall apart. [Buy.]

Hints, allegations, and things left unsaid

Written by

Kaiser Chiefs – Oh My God

You spend the fall of 2005 and the winter of 2006 happily confused. You didn’t know what to expect when you moved to New York City, and it’s better that way; Even if you had, you would have been wrong. Everything is harder than it should be. This is why so many would-be residents depart soon after arriving; they either burn out and move on or quietly fade into the larger canvas of New York. You won’t figure it all out, but you resolve to haltingly inch closer.

October 7, 2005, the day you add the Kaiser Chiefs “Oh My God” to your iTunes library, marks roughly your quarter-year anniversary in Brooklyn. No one celebrates. In that amount of time, you learn the basic ebbs and flows of New York, which you unironically begin calling “The City” as if it adds gravitas to your largely anonymous presence. New York is; therefore you are.

You find a job at a restaurant in midtown that requires you to clear martini glasses until 2 a.m., 3 a.m., sometimes 4:30 a.m. The bar sits far enough off Broadway that the patrons are actors, not tourists. They tip well. The successful ones come for a drink after their seventh performance of the week as Sir Robin in Spamalot, and then depart. The “actors” drink Jack Daniels and Amstel Light until your manager, fueled by cigarettes, anger, and the eternal frustration of being a New York Mets fan, finally tells them to leave.

Because the myth of being poor drives your decision-making more than reality – you will take a 50 percent pay cut when you get a full-time editing job – you eschew cabs to take the subway home to Brooklyn, behavior that’s partially fueled, you suspect, by the implied romance of the venture. Isn’t the promise of a 4 a.m. trip on public transportation why you’re here?

Invariably, somewhere between 14th street and the Broadway-Nassau station, a debate ensues in your buzzed brain: take the C to Clinton/Washington or the G to Classon? The latter stop almost certainly requires a long wait on the platform but leaves you a block and a half from the duplex apartment you share with two friends from college and a high school buddy who won’t get along in six months; the former doesn’t necessitate a transfer but drops you more than half a mile away.

Inevitably, you stay on the C, emerging above ground on a leafy street in Brownstone Brooklyn that’s ominous when it’s dark and you’re new to the city. You wear stained black clothes that signify you work in the service industry. You’re obviously carrying cash. “Oh my god I can’t believe it / I’ve never been this far away from home,” Ricky Wilson screams out of your white iPod earbuds, the only thing separating you from the blackness. It strikes you that you are rather far from home. And that it’s probably your own fault if you get mugged.

Just as quickly, you and Wilson begin to disagree: “Cos all I wanted to be / was a million miles from here.

Sure, you may walk a little faster, but you’re happy where you are. [Buy.]

idea for a short story

Written by

Bloc Party – Your Visits Are Getting Shorter

This song makes me want to wear sunglasses indoors and generally wander around aimlessly reveling in my own awesomeness. [Buy.]

Dress me down and liquor me up

Written by

The National – Available

Webster Hall, February 2, 2006, New York, NY – The National are angry.

The band – touring in support of a wonderful Alligator album that hasn’t made them rich as they think it should – are headlining the Plug Music Awards, a made-up ceremony in which the “awards” are handed out during set changes. They play last, surrounded by devil heads on the walls and indie kids on the floor.

They are the same band that will write Boxer and High Violet, be subject of a fawning New York Times Magazine story, and play a high-minded show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. They are the same band that will eventually become successful enough that others accuse them of being boring, a claim that’s both driven by equal parts jealousy and fact. They are the same band that will get paid, find love, have children.

They are a band on the way, but right now, in this moment, they are pissed.

This show, it’s clear almost immediately, means everything to the group of five. They destroy their bodies on stage. They are desperate. Hungry. Vital. Overpowering. At one point, Matt Berninger sings so violently that he shakes the microphone cord out its slot.

A year from now, the lead singer will offer, “I think everything counts a little more than we think,” on Boxer’s “Ada.” Tonight, however, he has a different mind set: Nothing matters, except killing this show, even if it kills them.

Amtrak, October 26, 2010, Somewhere between Providence, RI and New York, NY – I have no idea if The National played “Available” on that February night four years ago. They might have – they didn’t have a huge catalog back then – but it’s not a great song. At this point, it wouldn’t make a two-disc “Best Of… The National” album. For 200 seconds, Berninger finds himself battling an alt-rock wall of noise in an effort to locate the slow, dark, melodic songs that the world associates with his band. He’ll get there – Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers cut “90-Mile Water Wall” provided the roadmap, and he inched closer on Alligator before perfecting the form on Boxer – but “Available” is a messy mix of ideas. I don’t know why they would have played the song.

But if you could compress the hopeless feeling overwhelming the room at Webster Hall – the frustration of knowing you’re good enough to succeed and but knowing that you aren’t – into 25 seconds, it would sound exactly like the stretch from 2:20 through 2:45.

Today, the National are a far superior band. They doused the fire present onstage at Webster and created magic from the smoke and the embers. But I’m allowed to miss the inferno. [Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers.]

The one where we stumble around friendship

Written by

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends (Radio Edit)

My friend Tom is the only guy I know who can successfully pull off a tight vest and scarf combination without looking like an absolute Park Slope jackass. He’s also the person who showed me I can organize my iTunes collection by the number of times I’ve skipped a song. These two facts are unrelated. They merely functioning as a way into a story about how yesterday (Tuesday) I learned that “All My Friends (Radio Edit)” was the most-skipped song (38x) in my 4,150 item, 19.48 GB music library.

(When I stumbled upon this information, I wasn’t wearing a vest. I was sporting Tom’s Cincinnati Reds hat that’s black with the a white “C.” It’s much too large for my head.)

If your friends are like my friends, “All My Friends” has at some point since its UK release on May 28, 2007 played a prominent role in your life. If you’re really like my friends (maybe even are my friends), you may still jump around like happy idiots when it comes on, yell the chorus along with James Murphy, and occasionally get thrown out of Brooklyn bars for repeatedly demanding that the man pouring drinks play it. It’s all in good fun, barkeep.

Here’s another fact: I don’t really like “All My Friends.” Hence, I think, the skips. I enjoy the idea of it – the jumping, the yelling, the friendship – but as an actual song: eh? “North American Scum” strikes me as more poignant; “Around the World” and “Daft Punk Is Playing In My House” more important; “Dance Yrslf Clean” flat-out better.

Pitchfork, the blogsphere, and most of my friends would disagree. But my iTunes skip counter doesn’t lie. Neither does the play counter, which hit 78 as I typed. Over and over, again. [Buy.]


Written by

First Rate People – American Life

Is it possible that a pair of 20 year olds from Toronto, Canada best captured what it feels like to be American in 2010?

Yes. In fact, it’s not only possible; they did.

Jon Lawless and Jess Kropf are two impossibly cute kids in an impossibly cute band. (There are three other adorable members in First Rate People, but their presence isn’t required for our purposes here.)

On “American Life,” they trade verses while a simple piano riff carries the song. It’s an elegant formula: Take a track, strip it down, build it back, and press record.

The American dream was never intended to be so complex. Sam Adams didn’t fight Tea Partiers; he threw tea. Now he brews beer.

Less so: “I never find the words for what I want to say / My head always wanders off the other way / Don’t ask and I won’t tell you / It’s better off that way.”

We’d all be better off if two Twilight fans (probably?) from the Great White North explained this great country to us.

[Where on Earth can you buy this?]

“Where are your friends tonight?”

Written by

The Strokes – Reptilia

Despite the hype, “Reptilla” failed to set the world on fire. A friend who spends time considering details of this nature argues the second single off The Strokes’ second album arrived on the airwaves too close on the heels of the Franz Ferdinand two-part anthem “Take Me Out.”

He has a point: Room On Fire dropped four months before Franz Ferdinand, but the former album’s original single, “12:51,” distracted the listening population long enough for “Take Me Out” to take root; “Reptilla” arrived later as the underfed, unwanted triplet. There wasn’t room, which is a damn shame considering its chorus is more compelling than anything in either of its predecessors.

We find our narrator (Julian Casablancas) moving on from the girl in “12:51” who was happy to purchase 40s and return to her parents’ abandoned pad. Now, however, the evening is young; he wants to go to that party. Albert Hammond Jr.’s guitar shreds the darkness. A statement of purpose for anyone of a certain mindset: “Yeah the night’s not over / You’re not trying hard enough.”

“Take Me Out” begins, “So if you’re lonely, you know I’m here waiting for you.” “Reptilla” isn’t so solitary. The Strokes tried to find you. Now it’s your turn to return the favor.

[Room On Fire.]


Written by

The Smashing Pumpkins – Love

True love has many faces. Andy Roddick loves Brooklyn Decker for different reasons than the guy paging through her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition does. (You have to imagine she feels differently about each member of that duo as well.) A mother loves a daughter in a different way than she does an ex-husband. Eminem loved rap, then Kim, then Vicodin. And always Hailie. The teen on the R train who wrote “I love me” in fading Sharpie on her too-tight pink yoga pants is categorically correct, if grammatically false. Brick Tamlin loves lamp, unconditionally.

So when Billy Corgan sings “love, love – it’s who you know,” who the fuck knows what he means. But those fuzzed out guitars sure are lovely, right? [Purchase.]