The geometry of memory
Flatland - Red Leaf Black Bird
A voice like Kelly Nyland's, a glum gluey-tongued twang, can convince you that something terrible has happened out there on those desperate plains (that cruel geometry where the earth meets the horizon at brute angles). Some Cold Blood, some Badlands. But "Flatland" isn't that kind of story. In fact, it may be Holly Sargis' alternative life script -- if she had instead grown up ordinary and attended high school and on national holidays led the marching band with her silver baton on crepe-papered parade routes. If she had dated a trumpet player and gone with him to keg parties and got more than a little tipsy on beer. And sitting on the floor (cross-legged, picking at the frayed hems of her jeans) in a tight, warm circle of friends listened to records all night (songs like this, with rippling arpeggios, soft sad sweeping country cousins to "House of the Rising Sun") and plotted escape from her small town til dawn. And if she had escaped and settled in a Big City (one with glowing hills and salt air that turns hair thick and tacky-to-the-touch -- San Francisco or Los Angeles) and sometimes thought of home, with indefinite longing (for four fucking seasons), but with no desire to go back for good. Maybe to visit. Maybe just so she might thumb through memories for every corner I pass, personal origin stories of small-time debauch and the things people do when they're young, so young. Made two-dimensional by time and distance and the retelling. Flatlanded.
Red Leaf Black Bird recently finished recording an LP with Scott Solter but don't yet have a release date. In the meantime, visit their Myspace. You can also hear Kelly Nyland and Trevor Montgomery in their other band, Lazarus.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you (but just in case): Moistworks is hosting another Writers Week, starting yesterday with Jenny Offill's bittersweet rumination on the music of young motherhood.
I like Jona Bechtolt's (The Blow, Yacht) Dusted list of "mildly embarrassing to deeply embarrassing" influences -- especially his entry on Hole's Live Through This.
Oh, and an apology. Sorry for the technical difficulties around here the past few days. We finally surrendered to the increasingly frequent prompts (um, lockouts) and migrated to the "new" version of Blogger, which (surprise, surprise) is all kinds of buggy.