Today we have two new tapes to announce, and then that will do it for the I Feel Ambitious batch, inaugural of 2016. I was going to maybe try to squeeze in a Musician tape and maybe something else but I decided to punt those to the next batch. After a little rest.

This round’s tapes are themed on being really cool ambient type stuff. By which I typically mean, prettier stuff than that harsh noise I announced a couple weeks back. I like to keep it a little eclectic.

Sleep Chrysalis is a collab among Zachary Corsa of Lost Trail, and a one Linden Pomeroy of the UK. Fits right in with Lost Trail’s super spooky Americana soundscapery, naturally, but Mr. Pomeroy gives it a spin. It’s noticeably guitar-heavy and even some beat to it at times. Recommended for folks who like Dementia And Hope Trails, or Distant Trains of a couple years ago but with much better melodic sense, or that Lost Trail/Kamrar split I put together a little while back, which I still have a few of by the way. Ghost guitars in a black Cadillac crawling through the agroindustrial wastes at 3 AM.

Next up is Leaaves with a piece called “Suite for Jaguar, Memory Man, and empty Jujyfruits box”. Pretty cool to get a vine from Leaaves to do a tape on Centipede Farm. All these guys, really. An honor. And that when artists of this caliber hit me up, they’re often looking to do a side project or something a little outside their usual, which I love. On that note, this is notably more atonal and sparse than Leaaves’ usual, more “static and voices in your head” and “lo-fi” as Nate puts it – really an experimental piece that just turned out great. Despite its humble presentation and instrumentation the sounds are positively cosmic. Shades of old-school musique concréte. For the cover, I tried to directly parody the Sony Essential Classical series, with a paint blob that came in the mail from Angel Marcloid as the annoyingly small focal artwork. Once printed, the brown came out noticeably more pink than hoped for, I think I used the wrong color encoding, but I don’t mind, it still works by looking that much more “modern”. The tapes themselves I tried to make look like something you’d dig out of a neglected corner of a university library and take back to your room and have your mind blown.

Big ups to Bryant and Violet of Blue Movies for putting together last weekend’s “Weirdtown 2” fest in Rock Island and to Rozz-Tox for hosting it and being a really amazing venue. They have a better sounding piano in their men’s room than most venues could dig up on 48 hours’ notice. One day I will play a solo set at that place where I open up the men’s-room door and just play that piano for the crowd. I was only able to make the second day of the two-day affair but much of the finest that Avant-Iowa and Thereabouts has to offer was in attendance and/or on stage, much of it new to me which is the best kind.

Going into the fest I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it at all and signaled ahead that a cancellation on the part of Cancer Lake was likely, and if so, so was one by Fleeting Breath because Dillon was going to be catching a ride with me. This was all owing to the mix of Midwestern winter pestilences that been visiting upon my house the previous couple weeks, one of which was previously thought to be some bad spinach. I was beginning to feel on the mend as Friday wore on but Leah was not looking good, and I wasn’t about to leave her to handle the house and both kids for 24 hours if what she really needed to do with that day was spend it in bed. Matt (“Murder O’Crowe”, drums in Cancer Lake) had already gone down with his lady and their dog so as to catch the first day. Things were looking up on Saturday health-wise, so after a morning free of digestive distress I decided to give it a go after all. Dillon dropped off to sleep on his couch as I was about to pick him up and wouldn’t answer his phone, but I eventually roused his still booze-smelling ass into my car and off we went to the beat of Morris Day and The Time.

Wanted to put in a quick word here for my man Tanner Babcock of Erases Eraser as he took some deserved static for shouting the “n-word” in his set. I’m not here to defend the action, only to defend the man. All disclaimers apply since I have an interest in this having released a cassette of his stuff. After this moment in his performance got called out on Facebook, and rightly so I should say, Tanner posted an apology that I thought was very mature and sincere. My take on it is that he’s a young artist still finding his voice, he wants to push people’s buttons, but he’s inexperienced and is working very much on impulse. What he does musically is very much built around complex programmed electronics, and makes the most sense in recorded form, so I get the feeling he’s struggling with how to give it an engaging live component, as evidenced by the fact that Erases Eraser gigs have mostly been him being obnoxious while tracks from his albums play from an iPod. The tracks hold up on their own though. His collaborations with Wild Whale and Culture Chester have been legit too. I know Tanner for a while now and prejudice isn’t something that’s in his heart. I know that he’s genuinely sorry, and I’d hate to see his artistry overshadowed by a moment of poorly-considered impromptu stage shenanigans. Art is dangerous (if you’re doing it right), and we all fail a lot, but Tanner’s good people and worth another chance, that’s all I’m saying.

Anyway Dillon and I and Matt and everybody really all ended up having a real good time, playing good sets, seeing good sets, meeting great people, and I think the trip cheered Dillon up a bit, he’d been feeling a little down, so I was extra happy that it all was able to come together. He told me tons of awesome crazy Austin stories on the drive home. I really hope we can all come back to Rozz-Tox again before too long because I’ve really never been anywhere quite like it.

I got a 4-gig stretch as Musician later this month, joining up with Matt in his other duo Sex Funeral with Dubuque’s inimitable Bob Bucko, it’s the second time in my life I’ve played anything that could be rightfully called a tour (not counting that one time as a merch guy) and I’m going to be hosted by and/or hang with a bunch of people I already know I like and will have fun with. See ya soon.

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