Words From The Midwest VII

Good morning, all fantasied; all wondrous; all coddled and caring. Welcome to another edition of Words From The Midwest.

As usual, I’m listening to music as I write this. I don’t know why I do it. It’s much easier to write in silence. But when it comes to this series, I’m listening to music. And so it is. I’m sure I’ll need to go back and edit this when I’m done.

Spinning this morning is Beulah’s Handsome Western States. I don’t know it as well as I should but Beulah is one of those bands I tend to put on when I don’t feel like listening to Okkervil River or Bright Eyes or Neil Young or something. They’re a good band, Beulah. I believe they’re yet another extension of the Elephant 6 collective which is a group of bands that formed in the mid-90s and which dealt heavily with 60s inspired pop and psychedilia. The Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Of Montreal and Olivia Tremor Control are just a few examples of the expansive collective. Every six months or so I go into a phase where I listen to nothing but Elephant 6 and at least the last few times I’ve found other bands connected to it. As the whole, it’s responsible for some of the best indie rock of the last twenty years. Without it we at least wouldn’t have such brilliant artistic statements like In The Aeroplane Over The Sea for one, and The Gay Parade is pretty much the Sgt Pepper of indie rock. Not to mention The Apples’ Her Wallpaper Reverie which is one of my go-to albums to listen to in full.

I’m feeling a bit of the old ADD at the moment so I’ve changed the music to Elvis Costello’s King Of America which is another one of those records I should know a lot better than I do. I guess when it comes to Elvis, I generally turn on My Aim Is True which I know front to back. What a hell of a freshman release. Insane.

Now it’s Marshall Crenshaw.

Yesterday what was brought to my attention was a new song by Ezra Furman about the Ferguson police murder of Michael Brown.

Now, I will say that recently I’ve pretty much distracted myself from the news media, mostly because I generally get my news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and they’ve been on hiatus for the past two weeks. But this story specifically has caught my attention and has shown pretty clearly that we as a Country are dangerously close to living in a police state. The militarization of local police forces is ridiculous in so many ways I can’t begin to state. And the force and attitude of nearly every officer who has shown up on social media is absurdly close to psychotic. I watched a video of a cop pointing an automatic rifle of some kind directly at protesters and say quite plainly “I am going to fucking kill you.” First of all, this shouldn’t be on the tongue of anyone ever but that’s not the world we live in and it seems that with everything that’s happening in the world right now, from Iraq and Israel to Syria to the streets of fucking Missouri, it’s where people in power go to first. “I’m going to fucking kill you.” What an absolute drag that these people exist at all.

But what do I wish upon them? Clarity. Enlightenment. Empathy. Common Sense. Etcetera.

But oh well, I think. It’s not like my daily life here in Hinge Town is any different, considering. And that doesn’t make me feel safe. It makes me feel guilty. At least I’m poor. Poverty is very humbling.

I’ve turned on Islands. Have you heard of them? It’s the band that formed out of the ashes of The Unicorns. And right now, go somewhere and listen to The Unicorns. Cool as hell, in so many words.

I think I’ll leave you there. GoodLuck and GodBless and all that. I hope your weekend is passable.



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