Monster Monster

Every couple of years I get an urge for contemporary music in different genres. Sometimes, once I have enough I don’t need more 🙂 Imagine enough can be enough. So this mp3 collection that starts with ‘i monster’ is one of those contemporary forays.

I don’t recall where I heard about i monster (British) but I do have their  Neveroddoreven, A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars. This is electronica pop – a more dance version of Underworld. Dense, crisp engineering & quite enjoyable. The pretentious titles are a part of the fun & nod to their sense of humour. In this collection are two by MRF: Elevator Music, Mob Music. Mike Flanagan’s sax grounds these lps full of emotionally appealing adult music. He friended me on FB as a result of one my past music posts that tagged #gaymusic. Worth searching out.

Mark Ronson is radio fodder. I have Uptown Special, & Version – fun, perky, appealing sort of a modern Stevie Wonder that could be music by any of the Jonas brothers. Enjoyable all the same. Black Rivers  is an off shoot of Doves one of my favorite bands. This is multilayered adult rock. Emotionally resonant & sonically satisfying & a nice extension of Doves. If you like Dove you’ll love this – if you don’t know Doves – shame on you 🙂

Hands up – who remembers the B52s? Their Kate Pierson released an lp. few years ago: Guitars & Microphones which captures some of that bouncy retro energy. Her voice is still fine & this is a welcome refresher of those fun days.

Flight Facilities is an Australian electronic duo whose 2014 Down To Earth is a pleasant variation on the electrodance pop. 

Finally on this mp3 collection is another retro memory – of the Bronski Beat. Their lead singer Jimmy Somerville, has released several solo lp.  Homage is a fine homage to old school disco. A voice that hasn’t lost its power & songs that delight as you dance.

Now to a pair of stand-alone cds by Monster Magnet: Powertrip, God Says No – from the turn of the century. These are both over 20 years old! The music is metal muscular masculine. Updated Deep Purple. I love the thick sinuous sound with great slick psychedelic guitar & production values. Their look is so defiantly biker masculine it borders on parody. Looking at the art work on these cds now the kitch imagery almost overpowers the music. But the music is worth listening to regardless. 

This story goes back, way back, to the 1970s when I was living in Cape Breton. I have done minimal editing for things like spellings, punctuation & name consistency. As you may gather I was not out at the time but clearly wrestling with the process. Part 1 was last week.

No Fanfare

2

It had been an easy meeting, almost casual, except we both knew & understood from the initial eye-contact just what was intended. I’d been in the park for about twenty minutes, moodily watching the snow, wonder how I’d waste another night when I spotted him, on the other side of the iced-over fountain, watching me. His navy blue overcoat a sudden solid in the falling snow.

I sauntered towards him, frantically searching for that perfect opening line. None of my fantasy meetings had been in the park, none of them out of doors. They were always in dim, close rooms, over a little wine & a subtle offer. This was real, two strangers on a cold day, overcast, a backdrop of grey buildings, a soundtrack of traffic. It all felt so bare, I would have walked past him, but the green of his eyes held mine, daring me to take another step. I stopped awkwardly, watching my breath cloud the air between us.

“Looking a lot like Christmas.” His first words after the eye contact. “You look like an Everest.” He teased, brushing the snow off my left shoulder.

“Hardly. Being motionless for ten minutes usually gives me that effect.” I shook the other shoulder clear, my heart skipping beats, knowing I that I had been hoping he would see me but once seen, I didn’t have any was of following through except to shrug the snow off my shoulders. “I shouldn’t be as difficult to climb.” I teased back, trusting the metaphor to be verbal confirmation enough of the eye-implied intent.

“Care for a drink?” He asked cautiously, pushing a black curl back under his red stocking cap.

“Where?” I blurted, fleetingly seeing a horror of crowded bars & men in drag.

“My place isn’t far from here. How would that be?”

Kicking the side of fountain with the toe of my boot I tried to avoid further eye contact but couldn’t resist responding to the dare in his green eyes.

“Super,” I accepted. “Lead on Hilary.”

My difficulty with words got worse. I didn’t know which was proper or which was asking for trouble. I wasn’t ready, yet, to follow my instincts. Out of the park & into his apartment we managed to get through names, his was Steve; jobs, he taught piano & played, on & off, in a jazz quartet. Being heavily into the Romantics – Chopin & Debussy – my lack of jazz knowledge didn’t help me much & not knowing much more than his immediate clothing & certain tastes, I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t seem musically narrow minded or sound embarrassingly blunt. No common ground except that we both wanted this drink.

“If the bunch at the bank could see me now.” I shook my head, laughing inwardly at the image I projected to them.

“Now?” Steve baited. “You mean they’ve never see you drink?”

“No. Not that. I mean this situation.”

“With me, you mean?”

“Yeah. With another man, & me being so unsure. I’m usually a very self-confident person. I make decisions, pinch bottoms at the right time. Tease. Flirt with those fussy tellers. Some of them probably envied my girlfriend, Jean. I’m a catch. Yet, here I am.”  I quickly finished my drink.

“Defensive as hell & ready for anther drink?”

“Sure. Why not?” Handing him my glass I sat uneasily the bulky armchair beside the piano. “So how do we begin?” I asked as he left the room. “Do we have another drink & then lunge blindly at one another.” I spoke too fast, hoping to hide my doubts by hurrying the situation. I wanted to stumble over a thousand prying questions but needed the trust that I hoped intimacy would bring,

Impulsively I got up & sat at the piano again. I tried the same prelude, slower this time, trying to get my hands to function as a unit rather than as two random obstacles. It was no use. I settled for my memory if the melody line.

“Never taken lessons?” Steve asked, sliding beside me.

“Some as a kid. I learned the basics, forgot most of them. What you hear is all I recall.” I took my Scotch, more as an excuse to stop playing than to drink.

“What was this talk about blindness?”

“Nothing.” I laughed self-consciously. “Something about do we have this drink & lunge blindly at each other.” I shrugged, apologizing for what insensitivity or desperation such a remark might show.

next week part 3 – things get even more awkward 

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MRF I Monster

Next is an mp3 collection of over 7 hours is an assemblage of current electronica & pop. I sometimes get this urge for this decades cultural & this is the result: I Monster: Neveroddoreven, A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars; MRF: Elevator Music, Mob Music; Mark Ronson: Uptown Special, Version; Black Rivers; Kate Pierson: Guitars and Microphones; Flight Facilities: Down To Earth; Jimmy Somerville: Homage.

 

Someone on my Tumblr feed posted a couple of tracks by I Monster – electronica with some dance components, some experimental. Unsettling sonic landscapes, along with pretty, nearly new age moments plus a sense of humour. Good engaging music for Moby, Lemon Jelly fans.

I found MRF thanks to Facebook. The band responded to one of my music reviews a few years ago but sending me a link to a free mp3. Jazz, pop, emotional – sax centric music. A step above lounge with great covers, strong regional material. Lead by Mike Flanagan who is a very hot, gay, bearded talent on sax and keyboards – MRF is easy on the ears & worth downloading.

Mark Ronson is a consistent top 10 pop performer, – is he a remixer, a dj? These sets are mainly collaborations with the likes of Bruno Mars, Mystical, Santo Gold etc. Nicely structured songs, bouncy, a dash of rap, some electronica that is well produced & serves up those hits than become golden oldies. Music you can dance to at weddings.

Black Rivers is a side project by members of Doves – more of their dark, emotionally intense adult pop worth listening to. Flight Facilities is a pop-electronic group similar to Chicaine that I discovered via the Red Rocket Coffee FB page. Nice background music for sex.

Not all new music is made by ‘unknowns’ 🙂 Kate Pierson is/was a member of the B-52’s who has finally done her solo lp. Solid music but kind of faceless at the same time. I was hoping for a bit of the B52’s retro energy. Jimmy Summerville (of Bronski Beat ) pays Homage to the day of disco glitter with this fine, fun set. His voice is in good form & the songs are romantic, openly queer & here to stay.

Heart of the Morning

She could smell it. Fresh and sweet. Not to far away either. More than one.

‘Mmmm.’ She hummed to herself. Each breath made her pulse  beat a little faster. ‘Smells  so good.’

The morning mist over the park began to dissipate as the sun broke through the clouds. Reds, yellows, pinks infused the grey air around her.

‘Looks to be a good day.’ she said to no one in particular. ‘A good day indeed.’

She stretched, flexing her calves and ankles after the six laps around the park. Sweat soaked her T-shirt. She held her hand out and saw the sweat rise in a mist from herself. ‘Smokin’. I’m smokin’ today.’

She took several more deep breathes. ‘Mmmmm.’

She could smell it. Fresh and getting closer. Not what she had expected, at least not so early in the day.

Four children scampered into the park. Chasing each other and screaming. An adult followed close behind.

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’

Their shouts scattered the pigeons from the underpass. She breathed deep in their direction.

‘Ah, so it is them. Young too. Easier to handle.’

The adult with them was a man, one of their fathers? No, an older brother.

‘Morning.’ She spoke to the brother. ‘Good day to be up and out so early.’

‘Yep. Hey Greg slow down.’

‘Kids.’

‘Yeah.’ the brother flashed an amazing white smile. Dark black hair.

‘Enjoy.’ She wanted to follow them, follow the smell of their youth. Fresh and sweet. Blood that would taste so fresh if she could only get it. Just one heart would do. Didn’t matter which one, did it? The smell wasn’t as strong on the brother as it had been on the youngsters.

The sun was out full now. She pulled her hood up and did a couple of knee bends and started to trot off in the opposite direction. Or at least she thought it was the opposite direction.

‘I must be going in circles.’

She found herself round a corner and into the path of the galloping children. Two girls, two boys with the old brother not too far behind.

She lowered her hood and stopped to allow them to rush past her. Didn’t want to bump into one, not yet. What time was it? Did they make this take this route everyday? She’d have to come back here tomorrow morning. Get them comfortable with her. Time to feast and the gods were bringing the right sustenance at last. Fresh and sweet. Not ripe, not tired of anything and ready to leap into life.

Ready for her to reach out and scoop out their hearts. Mmmm breakfast of champions.

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January 10, Thursday: 8 p.m. Hot Damn! Its’ a Queer Slam – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre: feature Regie Cabico

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every Tuesday 2019


June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton 

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Beyoncé & Beyond

30door01Doing a step back in the alphabet for this recent mp3 collection addition filed under ‘b’ for Beyoncé: Beyoncé, Lemonade. While listening to Lemonade I decided to add her previous release to my collection. Self-titled, it is a fun set of songs which acts as a prelude for what comes later. Productions values are state of the art but it lacks identity – where as Lemonade is making a clear statement.30door02On this cd is Linda Martell’s Color Me Country. Steel guitars & country standards from the first African-American woman to appear on the Grand Ole Opry in 1969. Sweet stuff. On the cd is also Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson’s Lovers Holiday: a best of collection by this duo that falls between country folk and soul. I really love the sitar sound guitar work on several of the tracks here.30door03Also a full soul blast with Curtis Mayfield Live – he’s is fine form at the Bitter End. Hits, covers, some raps & an amazing version of People Darker Than Blue. To round things out I added a couple free ep downloads from EarthTone: GMale & New Balance -he’s a black, gay, hard spitting hip-hop rising star. No holds barred sexuality more political as opposed to raunch. Check him out on iTunes or here: (EarthTone) Added a couple of tracks by local rapper Nanu Alidina (he’s on iTunes). Solid, well recorded and proud to be in Toronto.30door04Finally MRF’s latest ep release Yasko Sensei. Jazzy sexy and worth tracking down. As you can tell this is another of my era/genre spanning cds. I love the mix of retro, obscure, sexualities, politics and ultra current.

sample

Reality 

The smell of food cooking drifted out to the street. I stopped to figure out if it was steak or chicken, mashed potato or cabbage roll, food for four or just a single little plate for one.

A door slammed.

A dog barked.

A baby cried.

Children rushed past. Their feet thumped the sidewalk around me. One brushed my arm. They didn’t look back in their happy chase around the block.

Someone came out a front door to put garbage bags by the curb. Must be garbage pick up in the morning. I’d better remember to bring mine out. Once I had cooked my little meal – for two.

A car pulled up and parked. A man, woman, teenage boy got out. Words must have been spoken. A stale air of unfinished conversation hovered in their glances. The boy followed them up the steps and to a house. Ding dong. Ding dong. Ding dong .

‘I told you there would be no one home.’

‘Try again for Christ sake. We didn’t drive all this way for nothing.’

The boy’s eyes catch mine. A plea? An apology? He is older than I thought. Maybe in his mid 20’s. A nice ripe age.

The door opens and they are sucked into the dark house out of the light of day.

His look stays with me as I climb the steps to my house. I unlock my door. Step in.

‘Hello?’

Empty. As I knew it would be but one always hopes the other will be home first. The first one home get the joy of privacy for a few minutes. The cost of that joy is of course the preparation of an evening meal.

My feet are warm from the walk, the all day travel from one point to another and back to here. A circle. A life in circles, intersecting circles.

I circle up the stairs to my room. It is at the front of the house. I can look out on the street and I undress, as I shuck off my work day skin for my real flesh. Bare flesh for a few moments. Feet happy for release, waist glad to shed the belt.

I look out the window. The boy is on the steps. He smokes and looks up and down the street.

I send him a message. ‘I’m up here. Naked. You want a quick escape from this family? Look up. Look up.’

He doesn’t.

Just as well. I have my own household to look after, to satisfy, to clean up after.

I sit on the bed for a moment to peel off the damp socks. Through the open window I hear phones, another rush of children scampers past, laughing, screaming, happy and free.

Thank God I don’t have that fierce worry. That reality.

construction vert

money

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I Monster, #MRF & Modern #Music

Someone asked me if I ever listen to modern music, which means radio/video pop. If I do that way it is by accident, but most likely by someone on my Tumblr feed posting a video or sound clip by a band they like. If I like it I may buy it. These are some bands/performers I’ve recently added to my collection:

sticks03

pick up sticks

A track by I Monster came up in my Tumblr feed: it had the feel of Avalanches/Lemon Jelly/Moby. Sample happy with fun, soul, and smooth flow. Mostly instrumental, lots of sweet synth work & danceable beats. Great cover art too. I have & totally love: Neveroddoreven; A Dense Swarm of Ancient Stars.

A jazzier version of I Monster is MRF. Less sample & more actual musician work – focus is piano & sax with lots of excellent sultry soulful stuff. Fine vocals, some good jazz cuts, a dash of rap. A tres gay video for Trying (posted on Tumblr) from their 2nd release sold me instantly – two handsome bear type men looking for an emotional connection. I have Elevator Music; Mob Music.

MRF slips nearly unnoticed into Mark Ronson. This I know is radio fodder dance stuff and goes down sweetly & makes for great writing tempo music. I have Version; Uptown Special

sticks02

tiny rebars?

Now for something different: Black Rivers with their first release Black Rivers. This is an offshoot of one of my favourite British bands, Doves, & is sonically very similar, with a bit for electronic in the mix. Strong vocals, great guitar work. This is what I’d call alternative adult pop. Capturing & emotionally resonant.

Kate Pierson isn’t new to the scene. perhaps you remember her & that voice from the B52’s? Guitars and Microphones is a great return to the music world – not that she’s actually been gone. Not as retro as the B52’s but as playful and energizing plus she still has those pipes.

My favourite coffee shop posted a twitter link to Flight Facilities. I gave them a listen: a great electronic dance band. A bit moody, a la Goldie, with a bit of Chicane for a more uptempo feeling. Down To Earth slips in easily with this set of recordings.

sticks01

flip sticks

Finally another throw back with Jimmy Somerville’s new Homage. The voice is angelic, the music is throw back old school disco: strings, bongos, but the lyrics are new school. This one should have come with a complimentary disco ball it is so perfectly old school. I’m a fan.

sample

Mi Admisión

I don’t want to admit

that I think of you all the time

my day is made when you call

when you say

it’s so good to hear your voice

I want to kiss you over the phone

maybe we should take

kiss pics

our lips puckered

so that when we talk

we can see each other

so ready willing needing

to kiss the other

is that romantic

or pathetically over-the-top

not that I care

because that’s how I feel

but please no pictures

of what I can’t have at the moment

it’s frustrating enough

to only hear you

when I want so to hold you

I know you know

how I feel

because I hold so little back

except I don’t want to admit

that I think about you all the time

red

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