Day 306: Bloodbook On The Halfshell

I was so pleased that Danielson played Shakemore. The whole family was there all day. Then when it was time, they put on their uniforms and did a great set. It was a really joy to see them live. Their kids stood on one side of the stage singing along with all the singalongs like all of us did. What a great family.

Earlier in the day, I introduced myself to Daniel Smith. He was wearing a Best Show T-shirt.

I found out recently that Half Japanese toured with Neutral Milk Hotel. Everything is coming together.

I had a great time at Shakemore. It’s like finding members of my tribe.

Day 156: Daughters Will Tune You

I have boys. I do not know much about having daughters, but I know it is a different experience, raising daughters. Two boys in our house growing up and all their friends set a tone that boys set.

One time we were at a house and Miles was a little over one year old. We were talking to the owners because we wee touring the house to buy it. They had a daughter about Miles’s age. We were standing in their dining room. They had a grandfather clock and we were standing next to it talking about how different boys were from girls. Miles walked up to it without prompting and kicked the grandfather clock, illustrating our point.

Boys tune you too, but in a different way.

Day 155: This Day Is A Loaf

One thing I like about Danielson is that their lyrics are not easy to hear much of the time. They are Christians and they sing about religious and spiritual themes, but they are not nagging you with them. It takes an effort to hear the words, to listen and to understand. I like the music. I love the compositions. This is a waltz, so of course I like it more than most of their songs.

“Worry creeps in like a thief in the night time.
That plague of flies will be denied
With renewing minds”

It’ good. I like Danielson. It is sometimes what you need. Danielson.


Day 154: No No

I have said before that I am not religious, and I’m not spiritual. I do not believe in much and I am not sure why we insist on beliefs so much. It just doesn’t make sense to me. There are many ways to make sense of the world, and structuring it within the framework of a religious belief system just doesn’t make sense to me. Ultimately, I think it doesn’t make sense. But we try to make sense. I do it. Things come and go. Maybe I will change my mind, but I don’t know.

I do like a lot of things about religious practices. For example, I like the way they sound. Danielson is a Christian band. Often their beliefs are subtle. They sing about themes like faith and trust and family and love, but they don’t hit you over the head with a dogma. This song is one of their more explicitly religious songs. I like it because of how it sounds more than anything. The chant-like lyrics, “I love my Lord, I love my Lord, I love my Lord, I love my Lord,” simply sounds great. Do we need more than that? I don’t.

Over time, the center gets lost. It gets submerged. It gets erased or it fades. It gets subsumed. It gets taken over by the everyday.

Day 153: Quiet Time

I spent a lot of time by myself immediately after Miles died. I would take long walks in the woods, the autumn woods that turned from green to brown and orange and red very quickly as I remember it. I would sit in my apartment. I would look through books and journals and photo albums. I would ponder items. A shirt. A journal. A folder on the computer full of photographs. Negatives. Black and white pictures. A drawer full of pencils and undeveloped film. A bookshelf. I walked through Miles’s room and I filmed it, slowly panning across his bed and dresser and and desk where he had his computer. I panned the floor where he had stacked some papers. His backpack on the floor. His trumpet case and bedside table. I captured what it looked like hat day, that week after. I took in the world. I taught my self to sit quietly and clear my mind, eliminate myself. I taught myself the value of quiet time as a way to remember and as a way to forget. As a way to diminish myself in the world and lightens myself so that everything was lifted from me for a time.

Day 152: Hosanna in the Forest

I think of Danielson’s music as this– if someone grew up loving music but only ever hearing “Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite” by the Beatles, I think their music would sound like Danielson.

I wonder if I tried to get Miles to listen to them. I do not think I did and I am pretty sure he never found them on his own. I did not hear them until I was 40.

This song is mostly an instrumental. It is pretty, atmospheric. These days, sometimes the world seems more like an atmosphere, like a place with suggestions of being real but not real. It is like there is an emptiness in it all. It is like we are in the post-apocalypse and now we are just trying to get by. We are struggling, struggling to get our food and gas and clean water, struggling to trust the right people who will take care of us and protect us and carry us when we need carried, give us a break when we need to be carried. And who we are strong enough to carry on our own when we need to.

Is it too much metaphor? Is everything displaced from where it should be, everything slightly off? I know things change but I am used to them changing gradually and imperceptibly. I wake up every day and remind myself of what is different, and every day the day seems new but lesser too.

“Hosanna!” A cry of joy. There is joy. Things fall apart, but they come together. Things dissolve, but they reassemble. Some things come back. Some are gone forever.

Day 151: Cast It At the Setting Sail

I like the sea and the ocean, but only really in books and music. I love Moby Dick.  It is one of my favorite books, and like I said before I do not usually pick favorites.

I am not sure what the lyrics of this song means. I have not studied it. I do not think I need to decipher the words.  I like the music well enough. I like the music a lot. Maybe I can ponder these lyrics a while:

“So look alive
Wake up and ride on
Thrive on the downsize
Our yokes are ease
And cares a breeze
Our enemies”

I neglected to say that Danielson dresses in nurse uniforms. They are healing your spirit, and I like that.

An image occurred to me, maybe inspired by the Danielson vibe. I don’t know. Promtheus. But instead of a rock in the mist of the crashing seashore, he is strapped to his desk. And instead of an eagle, a lot of little sparrows pecking at him to eat his liver.

Day 150: Hammers Sitting Still

I mentioned in yesterday’s post how I would walk through the forest. I would take long walks with Toby and I would listen to music, sometimes with headphones and sometimes just with the speaker blaring from my pocket. I would walk in the woods and think about things and sometimes talk to myself. The summer of 2013 seems so long ago. I would walk in the woods and think about the future– Miles going to college and what I could do to help him get ready. There seemed so much ahead of us all. So much.

This song is one I listened to a lot on my walks, another Danielson song. It is about working. The culture of working. What work does to you, and what it gives you. Labor and building, making and creating.

Danielson are Christians, but they sing about faith and Christianity in ways different than most faith music. It is not proselytizing or simple evangelical hit-you-over-the-head simple messages of redemption. They look deeply into questions and produce beautiful songs both lyrically and musically about complex ideas that have no simple solutions.

“I feel (pause)(pause)
held back (You don’t have to understand)
and frustrated, (Papa will turn things for good)
insecure and (For daughters sons sakes)
I’m annoyed. (For Papa is love)”

Day 149: He Who Flattened Your Flame

I discovered Danielson a few years ago. Tom Scharpling interviewed the leader of the band, Daniel Smith, for the Low Times podcast. I was surprised by it all–I had never heard of them and they seemed like a band I would have stumbled upon at some point.

The band consists of a bunch of brothers and sisters from a big family. They are Christians, and they sing about Christian themes. Their music is unusual– strange rhythms, unusual instruments, and Smith sings in a squeaky falsetto. When they started out, the Christian music venues wouldn’t let them play because they were too weird. The indie music venues did not let them play because they were too Christian. I bought one of their albums and loved it. I bought more and more.

It was February 2013 when I heard that interview. All that summer, Toby and I took walks in the woods around Lewisburg, just us two. I could never talk the kids to joining me. We walked for miles on the midstate trail. One path we walked is near where Miles crashed. I am not sure I could go back. I listened to Danielson and took in the heat and shade of the forest and the trees and boggy trails that followed streams. Toby and I explored. We saw turkeys and rattlesnakes and at the end of the summer we saw the leaves turn a little red and gold around the edges and knew that the seasons were ready to change.