We are refreshed.
The Foresters, “Swan Jeremy.” The Foresters have a brand new album, Sun Songs, out this month, and all of it is good. But I want to concentrate on this single song, as it’s been my binge-listen for the past few days and I keep playing it over and over and over. At 3 minutes 25 seconds, “Swan Jeremy” is not long yet sounds epic—a psychedelic garage rock swirl that would not be out of place on a ‘60s Nuggets-style comp. It’s got all the ingredients of a mesmerizer by Arthur Lee’s Love or Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd: a fuzzily memorable opening riff, ethereal vocals, lyrics about longing and doubt (“Everything we know is in freefall”), languorous pauses, a winding sliding guitar solo, a general sense of darkness and meditation. “Swan Jeremy” (named after a curious cat-related Tweet by Kimya Dawson of Moldy Peaches) is technically upbeat and rocking and jangling, yet has an incredible mellowness in its make-up. It’s a remarkable number, hard to resist yet as free-floating as a dream.
magic number: 65926
magic word: sheepshank
Convergence concluded a few weeks ago. I bought the multi-universe myth-remix, which consumed all the DC Comics titles for two months, diligently at the cost of around a dozen comics a week.
Each title featured its own superheroic battle, a fight predetermined by an evil god who announced his intentions via a declaration that could be understood by every sentient being in every city he addressed. These were cities he’d already imprisoned in sphere, Stephen King Under the Dome style, for a year. The fights offered escape. They also allowed heroes to regain the powers they’d lost while stuck in the spheres.
I’m a pacifist, but I nevertheless enjoyed Convergence as a series of shortform strategic exercises. Some of the battles even ended in willful surrenders, stalemates or truces, in order to avoid bloodshed.
In some ways, the Convergence stories were the essence of superhero comicdom, the protagonist’s standard myths boiled down to a two-issue arc. Their origin tales were retold, then rebirths were experienced. The year of powerlessness allowed each hero to reconsider the meaning of his or her life, before being ordered to fight a presumed foe. These super-scraps are undertaken in order to save cities, which gives Convergence a sense of civic duty. There’s also a lot of flying and hurtling. (under the domes which encapsulate these cities, it’s still possible to soar, apparently.)
There’s a lot of realignment of the DC universe implicit in Convergence. Some fat has been trimmed away—whole planetary systems of fat. There’s been some clarification and prioritizing as, post-Convergence, DC unleashes dozens of new titles which so far seem distinguished by a lighter tone and a greater sense of humor. Some churlish fanboys have written off the whole Convergence endeavor as an easy way to keep the punters happy while the DC editorial offices made a grand move from New York to California. That attitude is unnecessarily caustic even for comic-realm critics. First, there are so many easier ways to fill two months of a publishing schedule than to create an interlocking story involving over 50-titles, hundreds of characters and dozens of artists and writers. Second, Convergence holds up remarkably well on its own terms, as a full-scale mythology marked by many small adventures and a grand earth(s)-changing conclusion. I look forward to rereading the whole stack of comics and happily reconverging soon.
Sayx, king of Star’s soda shop, reigns in peace, with rainbow sprinkles. He glows like his dad—Mr. Cyrus Star of the decades-gone garage band Day-Star, who owns the joint. But Sayx has recently felt the need to undergo a quest that puts his current band Halcyone, and his current relationship with Halcyone’s lead singer Hailey, at risk.
Sayx says he has a chance to reunite yet another Star family band. His late brother Damion—“Day” of the cult psych-bubblegum band Dandelion Day, and also (as a newborn) the inspiration for the name of his dad’s band Day-Star—would’ve wanted it that way, Sayx insists, and recent events have made the other members of Dandelion Day amenable to a reunion, with Sayx as lead vox. But Hailey, who says Halcyone is on the verge of a record deal, feels this is about fear and anxiety rather than family loyalty. She’s even written a song about it, which she shared with us:
What have I done
to turn you from me?
Where is that love
That kept you here?
Have you learned to feel easy
In the absence of Halcyone?
Would you rather have me away?
Hailey is adamant that Sayx not venture westward on this quixotic odyssey. Which should make the Halcyone farewell gig Friday at Hamilton’s very interesting indeed.
Tonight: 69.16 (featuring DJ Atmospheric Pressure) at the Bullfinch, early show… Con Version back for more at Hamilton’s… An Evening With Evan Witz (how’s that for symmetry?) at D’Ollaire’s. Word is that EW’s doing more covers than his own hits these days…
Rhyming titles from Jughead With Archie Comics Double Digest #13:
Voice Your Choice
The Fender Benders
To an Antique Freak, It’s an Obsolete Treat
Mar loved the ice cream I brought her yesterday.
Jonny Polonsky, “Lay Down Your Arms.” I remember interviewing Jonny Polonsky a couple of time when his first album came out and he toured with his mentor Frank Black. It was a memorable talk. Polonsky had led the houseband for one of the earliest non-New York productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and he had learned a lot from the ‘90s Chicago indie scene. But he was to tainted by many critics for his devotion to Frank Black. The sonic influence was all too obvious, but at the same time there were countless lame Pixies pretenders out there then and Polonsky was one of the rare good ones. Over the years, he found his own sound and matured into a mellower form of dark heavy percussion-structured rock. There’s a new album out, The Other Side of Midnight, and a new video for the leisurely yet intense single “Lay Down Your Arms” at Clash Music here.