Wednesday, October 28, 2009

revelations and reality checks

So I turned 30 a couple of days ago. It does not feel any different. It worries me a little that it does not feel any different. I was warned of a very emo birthday morning. That I would spend my time reflecting, brooding, introspecting and enforcing some sort of reality check on myself.

None of that happened. It was business as usual.

Then I was told that it's hard for any of this to happen if you're basically chilling so now I'm waiting for a busy period in life when I will have suitable revelations tied in to my age.

So I figure I'll just chill and wait for it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

his last words

When you're 'high'
If you could see what I see
In your unfocused empty child-like eyes
You'd see my father's blue stare
And the horror
Of the loss of language of an educated man
He recited poems and Shakespeare,
Knew the name of every tree in Latin Memory
The unjust cruel sentencing of bewilderment
And the dying of the brain.

When you're 'high'
What do you see

His last words to me from surgery
His last words:

"Burning burning"
"Burning burning"
"Burning burning"

I'm in the flame

"Burning burning"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roots Rock Riot

Just as I was all sad to see that Intronaut wasn't playing Bangalore at GIR I learned that Skindred was playing Oktoberfest this Sunday. Not quite Intronaut but this band never fails to put a smile on my face and Benji has to be one of the best frontmen out there. This is the band doing Ratrace from Roots Rock Riot complete with backing from Cowboy Bebop.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Manipal

Something crazy happened last night. I was asleep by 10:30. I don't remember the last time that happened. Sure I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep for a couple of hours but going to sleep that early felt great. Only problem is I think I'll have to come here to sleep like a normal person.

Anyway, I'm off to the lighthouse and beach and anjal fry and beer.

Later dear diary.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Swans, in their lifetime as a band from 1982 to 1997 set up a template for heavy music that is being ripped off right left and centre in today’s post metal climate. If Neurosis is the one band that just about everybody in this genre has taken from, then Swans comes a close second. Neurosis themselves have been heavily influenced by this band so I guess it all comes down to this.

"Swans are majestic, beautiful looking creatures. With really ugly temperaments."

Michael Gira’s own words to describe why he chose the name Swans for his band. I’m not going to bother you with a factoid dear diary. Instead I hope to talk about the music that this band makes. Gira along with long time guitarist Norman Westberg and Jarboe who joined the band in 1984 made some of the most visceral, beautiful and consistently depressing music ever. The first four albums by the band Filth, Cop, Greed and Holy Money are intense work outs that focus on one hypnotic riff played out over the entirety of the song with Gira shrieking, screaming, ranting and simply speaking over the music. There were no real songs at this point although I think the change started showing itself on 1986s Holy Money with the inclusion of Jarboe and also the addition of acoustic elements into the band’s sound.

What came next is for me the pinnacle of the band’s sound. I prefer cold beautiful Swans to cold ugly Swans and with 1987s Children of God all the way through 1995s The Great Annihilator, Swans were untouchable. Sure, lots of die-hard fans say the band sold out with their one and only album for a major label The Burning World but man, it still has some terrific songs. Forget about Jarboe’s haunting vocal performance “Can’t find my Way Home” (written by Steve Winwood for Blind Faith originally). Instead, listen to the album from start to finish and let it take you on a trip like every Swans album does. Yes, they have proper songs on this one with proper verse chorus structures that are adhered to almost slavishly but the songs despite not really sounding like Swans.

Okay, that sounded like a justification for The Burning World and it probably is. The other albums in that period for the band were much better, particularly the trio of White Light from the Mouth of Infinity, Love of Life and The Great Annihilator. These three albums saw the band mix and match styles old and new where you had gentle acoustics sitting next to abrasive noisy sections with a sprinkling of world music including Trilok Gurtu playing the Tabla on The Burning World.

I guess the biggest difference for me between the first four albums and the next five is that early Swans could tire you out over the course of one song. The clanging industrial nature of the beast coupled with Gira’s vocal performance pushed these songs all too often into a sort of tolerance test. How long can you last before you throw your headphones in the corner, curl up and start to weep? Children of God onwards, the band became more organic and with it the music now lulled you with its beauty and it is only when the album gets over that you realize it’s drained you completely. Like I said, I prefer beautiful but sad Swans any day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A very late remembrance

I'm not sure how I went from Swans which I've been listening to non stop from last night to Grip Inc. but I did. Gus Chambers died last year thanks to a lethal mix of his medication with alcohol. Grip Inc. was a band that never got the love it deserved and while Lombardo's entry to the heavy metal hall of fame is unquestionable, Chambers should have got a bit more credit for his work with Grip Inc. Anyway, he's dead now but I would have liked at least one more album from the band. That's all.

This is from the band's last album "Incorporated" and has that guy from Apocalyptica guesting.

Friday, October 09, 2009


I hope I bleed out before I burn
I hope I bleed out before I burn
I hope I bleed out before I burn

I sat by myself. My usual corner at the bar. Alone, waiting for business to arrive. I noticed her walking towards me. Dominic was playing Yellow and this woman knew all the words. Danger, I thought to myself. As she came closer I knew business had arrived. I hoped Dominic wouldn't play any more Coldplay. She sat down, didn't say a word, lit an Ultra Mild and exhaled a thin stream of smoke. The job was simple enough. Something I'd done before, something I knew a few things about. The money wasn't great but I had a pending payment to make on my house. I took it, I did it, cleared the payment and officially became a home owner. All good.

The troubles started a week later. It was ladies night at the bar. I had an off day and the mood was good. Till I saw her. I don't like meeting my clients after a job. Invariably makes things awkward. She walked towards me. Sat down, lit her cigarette. Dominic started playing Yellow again. She sang for the next five minutes. Her cigarette grew ash and lay forgotten. She looked at me with that same dead expression. Said she had another job. Every instinct said no, this was a terrible idea. I shrugged and said sure. It's what I do.

Things were going to go to hell. She was going to screw me over. I knew the score and in knowing thought I'd be prepared. That was my second mistake. By the time I was through with her I'd make a few more.

It was simple enough. I was sure that the knife would try for my back when I set it up. It didn't. Proceeded like clockwork and by the time it was done I was even thinking that maybe I was wrong. Maybe there was no knife.

The Skoda parked outside my house was the first clue. No effort at hiding. I clearly had visitors and I knew who it was. She was sitting on my couch. Smoking her cigarette, listening to her I Pod. I wanted to ask if it was Yellow but the two heavies by her side distracted me. She took off the ear plugs and congratulated me on a job well done. I wanted to smack her across the face and throw her out of my house. I refrained. Stayed my hand. Waited to see if this was a warning, a “I know where you live” kind of deal or something a little more permanent. I never saw the third heavy behind me. Never saw the blow and didn't feel a thing.

I woke up tied to a pole. Head spinning, I could feel the hair at the back of my head matted and thick with dried blood. I heard the click of a zippo opening, a flame as the lighter came to life, the stench of her fuck all cigarette. The bitch was here. In this room.

I passed out again when she stubbed her cigarette out on me. Not very brave. I know.

I fucked up. This was the thought I regained consciousness to. My hands were tied to a pole, I was standing in a bucket of water and thoughts of torture came swiftly. The bitch was standing there. Smoking her cigarette, looking at me. I had a whole bunch of questions but this bitch didn't monologue. She didn't speak. Luckily, there was no torture. Just her heavies working me over. I can take a punch. I'm proud of it. Still, three fists pounding your guts in rotation isn't something you ever want to experience.

I woke up again sick to the stomach. Every heave hurt my insides. I wasn't tied up anymore but it didn't matter. I wouldn't be going anywhere. The shoe came out of nowhere. The contact to my nose was precise. Mashed potato with ketchup. I screamed. Asked her what the fuck she wanted. The next kick had me curled up and I saw Venus when her foot made contact with my head. I felt it bounce off the floor and I truly madly deeply wanted to die.
What happened next only happens in the movies. The hero making a last ditch comeback and managing to survive. Except, I wasn't a hero. Never was. Maybe I deserve everything this bitch is throwing at me. Doesn't mean I have to take it.

I grabbed her foot as she swung
I did the twist and turn till she spun
The heavies weren't around, gone for lunch
I smiled as head hit floor with a crunch

Standing up was difficult. My nose hurt like hell and my insides felt like jelly. The bitch was out. For now. All I wanted to do was get out of there. The questions could wait, she could wait. Get out of there before the gorillas arrive. Too late obviously. I managed to swing at the first guy but it was pretty pathetic. When he hit me, I returned to the floor with something like warm familiarity. The bitch was getting up. I was right back where I started and I was done.

I have no idea what I've done to her. Absolutely none. She seems certain enough and still in no mood to explain. She said it would take me a few hours to bleed out. She said it would give me time to reflect. It doesn't matter anymore. I'm tied up, my insides are slowly spilling out and this is it. When I smell the petrol and see the fire on the outside of the shed I know there are no more comebacks.

I hope I bleed out before I burn
I hope I bleed out before I burn
I hope I bleed out before I burn

Brother, go on

Black Water Rising's debut album has been on my playlist for a while now. This is infectious, catchy hard rock that sounds like the offspring of a three way gang bang between Black Label Society, Alice in Chains and Masters of Reality. This band could be huge.

Monday, October 05, 2009

One day, some day

One day I will give this up.
Not today, not tomorrow
Maybe not even the day after.
One day. Some day.

I hope that one day I'll come up with something absolutely - without a fucking doubt - brilliant to say. Till then, I'll simply have to make do.

... and there's so many many thoughts when I try to go to sleep but with you I start to feel a sort of temporary peace