‘Core Classics – ‘The City’ by The Chariot

Lately I’ve been listening to The Chariot again. I hadn’t listened to them in ages, but when I was editing I got the urge again.

The Chariot never gets old. Every time I listen to them, their music grips me as much as the first time in 2011. It still sounds fresh and exciting.

I could go on about all their work, but the song that I’ve had on repeat is ‘The City’. Six years and it still gives me the chills, every time. When Josh Scogin screams “This is a revolution”, it goes straight through my soul. There is so much that I could feel I could say about this song, but I’ll leave you to listen and experience it yourself.

Lyrics:
This is only the start
You’re only opening the book
You’re only on the first line of what’s going to take a little while
I hope you don’t hold your breath because they revolt like a choir
They say the language is dead, well, then why do we speak
I hope you understand that my brain is fixed

Into the next town
This is only a revolt

Enough is enough because we cannot be late
Basically, you’ve been defined as “unworthy of love”
And I confess, I had placed in my heart the same address but I paint with my words
“You’re free, don’t fear, this is just a revolt”

Into the next town
This is only a revolt

Calm rose: violent wind
The only “surrender” tonight, shall not be our own
They cannot escape, one if by land, two if by sea
I saved my money, but it can’t save me
And maybe there is blood from the past, but that is not from me
They can take away one man, and they can take away his mic
But they cannot take us all
No, they can’t dig a hole the right size to fit all of our dreams
They can’t bury me, they can’t bury me
We can’t hope that somebody else take our place
No, we can’t hope that somebody else take our place

May the history book read of all of our names
Be it blood, be it ink, but at least we were free
This is only but a fraction of what I’ve got to say
But it must be said, it must be said
If I leave this earth tonight may it be said that I spoke my peace
I spoke with the wrath of his grace
Calm rose: come violent wind
Oh we stand hand in hand and we walk without fear
This is a revolution

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book review – the art of asking by amanda palmer

this week amanda palmer’s the art of asking was released in paperback. like when it first came out last year, she asked her fans to spread the word about it. i was already meaning to do a review on it, so here it is.

The_Art_Of_Asking_Book_Cover

i have been following amanda palmer & her work for years & years now. from the dresden dolls, to her solo album, evelyn evelyn, the grand theft orchestra, ukelele madness, ted talk… she has done so many wonderful things. i don’t love everything that she’s done, but this book is definitely one of the many things that i do.

the art of asking is basically about amanda’s experiences with asking & what she has learned from those experiences. it could be categorised as a self-help book, but it is so much more. it is also a meditation on human relationships, vulnerability, trust & art & all its facets. then it is partially a memoir of one of the greatest artists of our time.

in the art of asking amanda questions a lot of notions that most of us in the western world probably grew up with. like how we are supposed to be independent & never need help & distrust everyone else. how we think artists are supposed to earn money. fundamentally, how we are supposed to be embarrassed by asking for help. she shows that there is another way. she shows a glimpse of a better, more open & loving world.

the whole book filled me with such inspiration. it made me want to be better to other people, allow myself to be vulnerable, create more art. it changed my views on certain things, for the better. i would recommend everyone to read this.

some of the passages that i highlighted while reading the book:

Everybody struggles with asking.
From what I’ve seen, it isn’t so much the act of asking that paralyzes us–it’s what lies beneath: the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of rejection, the fear of looking needy or weak. The fear of being seen as a burdensome member of the community instead of a productive one.
It points, fundamentally, to our separation from one another.
American culture in particular has instilled in us the bizarre notion that to ask for help amounts to an admission of failure. But some of the most powerful, successful, admired people in the world seem, to me, to have something in common: they ask constantly, creatively, compassionately, and gracefully.”

“Those who can ask without shame are viewing themselves in collaboration with-rather than in competition with–the world.
Asking for help with shame says:
You have the power over me.
Asking with condescension says:
I have the power over you.
But asking for help with gratitude says:
We have the power to help each other.”

“Seeing each other is hard.
But I think when we truly see each other, we want to help each other.
I think human beings are fundamentally generous, but our instinct to be generous gets broken down.”

“I think the real risk is the choice to disconnect. To be afraid of one another.
We make countless choices every day whether to ask or to turn away from one another. Wondering whether it’s too much to ask the neighbor to feed the cat. The decision to turn away from a partner, to turn off the light instead of asking what’s wrong.
Asking for help requires authenticity, and vulnerability.
Those who ask without fear learn to say two things, with or without words, to those they are facing:
I deserve to ask
and
You are welcome to say no.
Because the ask that is conditional cannot be a gift.”

i think i need to go re-read this…

if you want to read it too, you can buy the paperback at amazon, barnes & noble, books-a-million, indiebound or porter square books. you can find a bunch of links for the hardcover, audiobook & ebook here.

music review – metanoia by iamx

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i wanted to wait until i had listened to the physical cd to write something about this, but it is taking longer than i expected, so the download it is.

i’ve already listened to metanoia a couple of times & it is nowhere near enough. it is such a hypnotic, addictive album. i can listen to this over & over & over again. every time i’ve listened to it so far i’ve been amazed by how good it is. definitely iamx’s best so far. also their most consistent to date. all the songs go together so perfectly; not one of them sounds out of place. yet they all have their own unique sound. it is clear that a lot of experimentation went into this album.

another one of the album’s great strengths is the rawness of it. the honesty. for example in the song ‘happiness’, in which both longing for & apprehension of happiness are expressed. content-wise i also find ‘look outside’ especially beautiful. that one is about looking beyond your own suffering & choosing to look at the beauty of the world around you.
then there is also the usual debauchery & questioning. ‘the background noise’ is a powerful example of the last. if i had to describe that in one word it would be haunting. the fragile vocal delivery & the toned down music & the celestial-sounding “oohoo” over it… amazing.
i’ve only mentioned slower songs so far, but of course there is more to metanoia. it has some fantastic catchy, danceable songs too, as one would expect from iamx. like their latest single, ‘oh cruel darkness embrace me’.

& lastly, i have to say something about the visual side. all of it, the album art, the promotional photos, the outfits, the makeup, the videoclips, even iamx’s website, forms a complete package around the album. visually iamx is also the most consistent they’ve ever been. it’s wonderful to behold.

i would give metanoia 9 stars out of 10. & strongly urge you to check it out.