Now today is here
With it some newfound fears
I look at yesterday
Through cracked lenses; unclear
Word count: 17
Now today is here
With it some newfound fears
I look at yesterday
Through cracked lenses; unclear
Word count: 17
The shy empty pages of this book
Stare back in anxious waiting.
After a forever in a dark nook
It has done its hibernating.
The blank tome stares
At the old and tired forebearer,
Worn, with more than a few tears,
Cover to cover filled- its answered prayer.
Now its turn has come
to aid in the author’s trade.
It longed the scribbling hum-
The sound of ideas being made.
But the author can’t seem
To make pen find paper.
To start with the year – too much for a dream.
Word count: 92
Happy New Year! This is technically the first post of the year since I wrote the review for Padstow’s Farewell before the holiday break last year. It’s a brand new year and I’m planning to post twice as often as I did last year. It’s a rough start, but a start nonetheless. I’ll be busier this year but I still want to put out at least a review and a writing post weekly. I’m also planning to make my chapbook, Precognition, available for free download, with online-exclusive pieces, for a limited time.
Sea Shanties are maritime work songs sung to keep rhythm and make ship work pleasant. These usually talked of a sailor’s everyday life including work, bottles of rum, and longing for home and girls. They are usually sung in a call-and-response format with simple lyrics. With the dream of finding your fortune across the vast sea, communal singing, and musical story telling I don’t see what’s not to like about shanties.
This particular shanty, called Padstow’s Farewell, is about sailing away. I thought it appropriate as we sail away from the past year and into the new one.
It is time to go now
Haul away your anchor
Haul away your anchor
It’s our sailing time
This particular version is from Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. It is my favorite game in the series because of the sailing and naval mechanic and you get to play as a pirate captain and commandeer your own ship.
As you brave this vast new sea that is 2017, remember – like the sailors of old, that there is music to keep you in rhythm as you haul and shove to keep your ship afloat.
When your sailing’s over
Haul away for Heaven
Haul away for Heaven
God be by your side
Here’s a rendition of another shanty by a group called The Eskies.
I first came across Elizabeth Grace on her cover of Pierce The Veil’s King for a day. She is one of my favorite YouTube musicians and I thought that this cover would be a great holiday treat for those who have yet to hear it.
I’ve talked about my appreciation for Relient K and their music on my review for Come Right Out And Say It, and In Like A Lion (Always Winter) is one of the many amazing tracks of theirs I’d like to talk about.
The title alone is evidence or Relient K’s amazing wordwork. In like a lion is the first half of an adage that is often used to describe March and how it begins cold and harsh like lion but ends mild and pleasant like a lamb.
The song was written during development of the film adaptation for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, with the intention to have it included in the Inspired By album. Instead, when the band wasn’t asked, they included it on their Apathetic EP.
And everything it changed overnight
This dying world you brought it back to life
And deep inside I felt things shifting
Everything was melting away
And you gave us the most beautiful of days
The melancholy lyrics might leave your heart breaking but your soul will definitely be warmed.
What I like about this cover, more than the original, is the slightly slower tempo. Also, Grace’s vocals peaks a bit sharper on the highs and are much softer on the verses.
Cause when it’s always winter but never Christmas
Sometimes it feels like you’re not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That you are here and we will not lose hope
I wake up to sounds of him getting ready. Well, it’s not waking up if you haven’t slept a wink. I peek at my bedside clock; almost time for me to get up myself. Then, silence – he’s done. I could see him in my mind’s eye standing behind me.
“Kate?” he whispers, doubting if he should disturb my nonexistent slumber. I get up to put my clothes on.
“You know,” he hesitates, “I can always take a cab. You should get some more rest.”
“I promised I’d take you and I will.” I say as I walk into the bathroom. I hear the wheels of his trolley roll out the door. Never was there a more depressing sight than my lone toothbrush in a cup where there used to be two.
I walk into the kitchen. He doesn’t even look away from the window when he says, “I made coffee.” I pour myself a mug. It’s too watered down – the way he likes it. I set it half empty down his untouched cup. He finally looks at me. “Too weak?” he asks.
I shake my head, “It’s perfect,” I say and down my cup. “We should get going.” He stands and we start for the door.
“I’ll call you when I get there.” He says as we near the airport. “Janna’s going to miss you at her party.”
“I’ve talked to her, she knows I have work.” I say as I pull over to the curb. “You go have fun at your stag party.”
He reaches to open the door. “Babe,” I couldn’t stop myself. “I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll see you at the wedding, yeah?” He says to me as he gives me a big hug. He walks to the back of the car and I pop the trunk.
I dared not peek at the review mirror as he took out his bags. One of the things I learned was to never give that “last look” it makes goodbyes a lot harder. but as I drove away, I found myself looking at him wave goodbye through the side view mirror.
I did not look forward to going home from work that night. I walked into the kitchen and stared at the two mugs sitting at the counter, mine, completely empty and his, still full. I took a seat where he did this morning, stared out the window, and took a sip of his cold, watered-down coffee.
“Three more days of this.”
Faintlight is a QC-based five-piece alternative rock band. I first encountered them on the Rakrakan Festival’14 Rock Till You Drop Volume 1 sampler CD with their single You’re Fire.
Maybe I’ve been away from the scene too long, but from what I can tell, the band is partially underrated. Even after a couple of crucial roster changes, where other bands would probably have called it quits, the band continues to play; going as far as opening for big acts such as Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Franco, and Urbandub.
I may be a little late to the party, nevertheless I’d like to show my appreciation for the band and what they do for the scene by reviewing their latest EP, In Transit.
In Transit, released late October, is not far from their old material. Given that I’ve only listened to a handful of songs from their previous album, Flight, the EP still has that strong post-hardcore vibe to it.
She Knows Me Well
This track is not bad as an opening for the EP, especially considering that this is my first in-depth look of the band. It’s very hard not to notice the intense imagery the lyrics create. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taking a drag myself at the end of the track. The mild delay effect was an impressive technique that brightened up the track.
The band’s hardcore roots really show through the riffs as well as the technical drum fills on this track. Though it is another grim number, it is a great showcase of the band’s overall musicality.
Chase away is snappier compared to the previous tracks. With the heavily effected percussion and the pseudo-techno melodies, I had expected for glitch effects to jump in any time only to be disappointed with a tiny record-brake drop.
The ominous intro of this track is bound to give any listener chills. Rainfall gives us another peek at the band’s technicality with the entrancing lead phrase. The bassline on the second verse is definitely my favorite on the EP. One of the more lyrically poetic tracks on the EP, the intricate layers of the song is just as worth mentioning. The little addendum at the end was probably meant as a secret track and is a nice little follow-up.
On this track, I get the glitch effects that I’ve been expecting from the vibe the whole EP has been giving off. The warm musicality of the ballad makes for a great and chilled-out finish.
In Transit is a satisfying first listen for Fainlight. Though I was half-expecting their music to be closer to the prominent bands in the genre, it was a nice surprise that they have developed a sound that works from them and the local scene. If anything, the EP is evidence that the band can hold their own.
Listen to In Transit for free on Spotify. Follow them on Facebook for updates on this and future releases. Catch them live at Rakrakan Festival on the 14th of January 2017 at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.
Childish Gambino, also known as actor, comedian, and musician Donald Glover, released his third studio album, Awaken, My Love! earlier this month.
Awaken, My Love! is unmistakably a step away from Gambino’s previous musical style but it’s something I can well appreciate. Unlike the hip-hop-heavy sound of his previous releases, the record has a sharp funk and R&B mood. Expect a dose of fancy vocal work, sweet basslines, church pipes, choir chants, and intricate guitar leads from this release.
Me And Your Mama
One of the two lead singles of the album, this track establishes the sound and feel of the record. It starts off with a sweet entrancing intro before it shoehorns the heavy bass of the track. It is an in-your-face power track with a hook that sends chills down your spine.
Have Some Love
Have Some Love is a very upbeat blues-y track. A hot and heavy love track, maybe? Lyrically, it is a bit creepy and is made more so with the breakdown. This song has one of my favorite beats and percussion fills in the album.
A call-to-mind about the very real issue that is racism. Simple, compared to the first two songs, but it is striking. With a gun in your hand, I’m the boogieman/I’m gonna come and get you.
I get a lot of indie vibes from this track because of its (kind of) lyrical vagueness. If that amazing funky wailing guitar doesn’t get you maybe Kari Faux’s eerie chorus will. We’re coming out to get you/We’re oh, so glad we met you/We’re eating you for profit/There’s no way to stop it.
Riot is an awkward step from Zombies. It’s loud and fast that is over as soon as it starts. I think it could have been placed better elsewhere in the record. Musically, I think it’s one layer too many. I guess the Funkadelic screams redeem it, maybe?
Redbone is the second lead single for the album and one of my favorite tracks. Sultry guitars, yes. Falsetto, hell yes. Soul, definitely. If the vocals doesn’t get you sweating at the end of this track, you have a serious problem. The lyrics are inspired. They remind me of Letter Home and L.E.S. from Gambino’s first studio album, Camp. I have had this track on repeat since its release in mid-November and even until now that the album is out.
Another favorite of mine. No other track is a more perfect fit to follow Redbone than this one. I feel like there is a connection between California and Redbone; like, how it follows the same heroine who’s just trying to get her life straight.
It’s not hard to appreciate Gambino’s vocal ingenuity in this track especially at that breakdown, which is backed by a sick guitar solo. Sure it’s short, but it’s hella satisfying.
Baby Boy is a song to his newborn child. Though it also somehow hints at racial issues, this slow jam is a bittersweet love letter to a child to a father in crisis with himself and the world. It has one of the best basslines in the record.
The Night Me And Your Mama Met
This is what you play when you take your girl to Makeout Point. Though instrumental, it holds its own well among the other numbers.
Stand Tall is one of the more poetic tracks in the record. Though it still has that funk vibe to it, it’s not as blunt without being too plain. That chant breakdown is something to look forward to. Give me morning/When you’re gone to yourself.
Everybody’s calling Awaken, My Love! a more mature Gambino. They say the lyrics are deeper and more meaningful. However, I think that his previous material were just as intelligent and substantial it was just harder to read in between his witty and playful lines.
Overall, I enjoyed the record. It was fun seeing Childish Gambino take a different step with his material. Follow Donald Glover on Facebook, if you don’t already. Also, here’s a live version of Redbone.
Her smile met my eyes,
As I turned from reading the horizon.
The setting sun transformed her,
A bloodless deity.
I wouldn’t have noticed her come in,
If I wanted to.
She wouldn’t have,
Wanted me to.
She wanted me too.
Psychic, she shook her head,
Before I could ask my tired question.
“Stay as long as you need,”
I say with still lips instead.
Neither an approval nor a denial
I couldn’t remember,
The last time I’ve seen darkness.
Sleep isn’t for those,
I let the sun get bored,
Of our still play.
Statues on stage.
Ballet-ing to the silence in our stares,
To the beat of off-beat hearts.
I gave no permission to the moon.
The night was here
She had faded, but not her smile
All that remained were words unsaid.
Word count: 138
This piece was one of the entries in the first and currently only chapbook I’ve ever put out. The collection is called Precognition and it contains 12 poems. Hit me up if you are interested in a physical copy.
Reese Lansangan dropped a video for Grammar Nazi late last month. Directed by Gerard Lopez, the video is an apt projection of the song. Like the track, the video is fun and has tons of replay value. The video follows cutesy grammar girl scouts, The Grammar Patrol, and their campaign against bad grammar.
The video is well made in that it has a certain flow. Though some shots, I think, are awkward, the post-prod team did well to make the video cohesive. Also, film grain on pastel strangely works out pretty well.
Grammar Nazi is one of my favorite tracks from Arigato Internet. Click through for my review of the record. You can also follow Reese Lansangan on her Facebook and other social media for more updates on this and her future work.
Chris Riddell, British illustrator and political cartoonist, posted his take on Neil Gaiman’s Instructions earlier this month. The poem, previously published in books including Trigger Warning, Fragile Things, and its own self-titled picture book with illustrations by Charles Vess, is described by Gaiman as “What to do if you find yourself inside a fairy tale.”
The Instructions’ vagueness may lead readers to consider it as a sort of practical advice for real life, but I’ve found that it is best enjoyed as the fanciful adventure world Gaiman has meant it to be. Besides, I think the ambiguity is part of its charm. I had not seen or read any of the previous interpretations before coming across this one on Facebook, and I very much enjoyed it.
It is hard not to appreciate Chris Riddell’s take on the piece. The delicate lines of his almost-too-minimalistic art, I think, leaves more to the readers’ wonder and improves the overall experience. The hero’s curls- that grows ever wilder throughout the story and draws readers’ eyes to where the focus is at, is testament to smart character design.