07 November 2007

The more truly I am awake, the more truly I am afraid

My dad came to visit over the weekend, and he was kind enough to let me snap some photos of him while we walked around the rock quarry near my house. The dry grass in the bottom shot reminds me of a field we used to walk through when I was a kid. We lived in town at that time, but there was a patch of woods behind the apartments where we lived, and beyond the patch of woods there was a large, abandoned field covered in broom-sage. On cold, windy days we would sometimes walk over to the field and lie down in the tall grass. The grass blocked the wind, making it warm and cozy.

The title for today’s post is from “Cocaine Nights,” by Phosphorescent, a band I discovered last week. After listening to the song a few times, I realized the line is actually “Lord, truly I am awake. Lord, truly I am afraid,” but I like the way I misheard it. Without occasionally closing our eyes to the many wounds of the world, it’s hard to avoid a paralyzing fear. Part of what I like about Phosphorescent is the vulnerability in lead singer Matthew Houk’s voice, a strained warble that works so well because it's often so close to breaking.

The video I’m including is from Phosphorescent’s second album Aw Come Aw Wry, a jauntier album than their recent release Pride (I bought Pride the day after checking out the songs on Houk’s myspace page). The horns in this song—reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel—are gone on Pride, replaced by softly plucked acoustic guitars, an occasional jagged electric guitar line, and various wails and whoops from Houk’s brute choir. If you like the song on the video (or even if you don't) you should check out Phosphorescent's Daytrotter Session--Daytrotter is an online site offering free music from some of the best "indie" musicians. Bands coming through on tours stop by the Daytrotter studios and record 3 or 4 songs, and those songs are offered on the site. There's a lot of great music in their archives.


Karen said...

The colors in these photographs are amazing. Give me time and I might have more to say, but the colors are so striking that I wanted to say it right away.

Anonymous said...

The picture of your father reminded me of this poem by Bukowski:

the aliens

you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
very little
friction or
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
their family
they have moments of
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
very good.
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their

you may not believe
but such people do

but I am not one of
oh no, I am not one
of them,
I am not even near
to being
one of

I decided to go over to the 7-11 after all.