Jim Trainer

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Give Us Your Heart

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

The kids today, maybe they the like the smug “joke on everybody” that contemporary rock bands perpetrate.  Rock and roll is serious business for me though.  The joke ain’t funny, rather, it feels like the joke is on me when I have to suffer some of the acts kickin it in the underground postNevermind.  Conversely, I am profoundly affected and appreciate rock and roll with the element essential of any great band: heart.  I want the heart and I need it bad.  I don’t care about fashion or irony when it comes to rock and roll.  Give us your heart or go home.
What gripped me the first time I saw NOLA’s Lovey Dovies was their heart.  They play LOUD.  There must be something in the water in New Orleans because the Lovey Dovies have that big, thick&ominous, sludge-like sound so common in bands from the Big Easy.  The guitar is thick, crunchy, distorted, heavy.  The drummer is just bashing his kit. He lays down some of that sloppy, destructo-swing that comes naturally when you’re playing from the heart.  The bass has a high, trebly and punchy tone.  Its melodic and obnoxious in a pop punk way.
I was riveted by their set during SXSW last March but it wasn’t until I got home and listened to their CD that I discovered what I love so much about the Lovey Dovies.  They could be a pop-punk band, if said pop-punk band had to trek through the ruin&mire of the swamp state to play a show to 10 people in the Live Music Capital of the World and mean it.
They’re raucous and loud but underneath it all is a real vulnerability.  The melodies this band plays, that guitarist/frontman James Hayes sings, that the underground could dismiss as pop in disgust, they’re full-on and out in the open.  It’s not campy or sentimental.  It’s not weak.
These guys sing about heartbreak the same way that bands like Tad from Seattle did before that Great White Hype of grunge in the 90s. They come and bleed with a sincerity that reminds me of Promise Ring warehouse shows back in Philly.  These guys are the real deal. James lays his heart out for her.  She doesn’t want it, he gets hurt.  Then the band explodes into it.  They bore through sadness in such a punk rock and adolescent way, without a hint of irony and couldn’t care less how it looks to be heartbroken.
Their eponymous debut is the soundtrack to the end of my lonely summer.  I had just got back from the pool when I put the CD on.  I took off my summer shirt, my shorts.  I hung them with the towels on the terrace outside.  It was getting cold out there and the sun was setting.  I put on my longsleeve blue sailor’s undershirt and my black knit cap.  The summer was over and I’d lost the only person who meant anything to me in the whole damn town.  That’s what the Lovey Dovies sound like to me: the sound of summer being over with no one around to care.

(Please read the interview I did with the Lovey Dovies here.)

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where’ve you been

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2011 at 5:45 pm

if you listen to your illness
and its tracing a line
drink the water from the temple
and hear mistakes in the chimes
-KJV

I wrapped the russets in foil.  I pricked my thumb with the fork I was stabbing them with.  Avril lie on the couch, inconsolate, dejected. I looked to the bottle.  It stood on the counter with its staid black letters embossed on thick-green glass. It reflected a prism and a talisman on our dark day.  The oven was giving off the only heat in the cold apartment.  An eerie wind blew through the ginkgo outside.
I infused the potatoes with rosemary and pale ale.  I cut up two Maine apples and fried a couple of eggs.  I sucked the blood from my thumb while she lay on the couch, drunk and starving, watching TV shows on her iPad.  We sat down to eat but she barely ate.
We were out at the lake in late afternoon.  We were the only ones walking down the wooded path.  The twigs snapped and crunched beneath our feet.  The light was coming down through the dying red, yellow, and purple leaves.  Darkness came and I lost her.  Darkness came and I lost Avril out at the lake.
I am at Camilla’s.  I pour two from the bottle of breakup whisky with only 5 minutes of Halloween left.  We sat on her red velour couch in the yellow lamp light.  Her eyes demurred hazel, opaque.  I stuck my tongue in her mouth, it was November 1st and the whisky was gone.  Camilla put down her iPad and mixed vodka with Italian soda.  The white cubes turned the milky liquid in a thick crystal glass.
I am out at the lake and on the wooded path again.  I can taste the blood from my pricked thumb and I smell sage burning and smokes coming down the wind.  Avril turns on her heels, somewhere there, and her face is anemic and blue.

I wake on our bed filled with books open face down.  The smell of  lilac from your white neck and sage is in the air.  There is a cool, dark space between where we lay.  Outside the wind bats against the huge panes.  Charles the Maine Coon appears in the doorway and his eyes demure hazel, opaque.
“What is it?,” you ask, barely awake and still dreaming.
“Nothing,” I whisper.  ”I’m here.”