Friendship is underrated


Trust-and-Friendship-in-the-Renaissance-Florence.jpgLove is a lesson you learn your entire life.

It comes in many forms – but each iteration has a certain commonality or feel.

Like notes in a musical scale, different types of love play off each other. Harmonies help us define how this love differs from that love and how those loves differ from these loves.

Sometimes two (or three!) loves overlap, creating a new thing that you also love.

Sometimes one love gets quiet so another love can solo, and sometimes the whole thing devolves into noise.

Essentially, you’re navigating something intangible, willing it in to existence – for better or worse – simply by participating.


Of love’s many forms – romantic, familial, food-based – I find friendship to be the most underrated, and also the most mysterious.

Part of this mystery stems from my growing sense that friendships are so often a matter of perspective. Marriage and family are defined under the law (albeit poorly), whereas food can (and, perhaps, should) often feel down-right spiritual.

Friendship, meanwhile, is something of an island – and almost always optional. It is not inherently monogamous, nor polygamous. No vows are exchanged, and unless you’re friends with Tekashi 69, the government rarely gets involved.

Friendship’s only defining feature seems to be that it is entirely unique to the individuals involved. And like other forms of love, no two friendships are exactly alike.

This year, I have lost some friends but gained more than one person really deserves.

Like dating, you realize over time what you like, what makes you happy – and more importantly what doesn’t. You learn what sort of songs you want to hear, but also what songs you want to play.

Four years ago, two of my all-time favourite songs picked me up at the airport and helped me start a new life.

Tomorrow, one of those songs is getting a similar start at that same airport. I am so unbelievably happy for him, and so unbelievably in love with our soon-to-be-long-distance friendship.

Love is a lesson you learn your entire life, but if you’re lucky you start to figure it out.

I like to think we have.

The 27.2: Give Yourself A Try

A couple weeks ago, Britain’s top cultural export ushered in a new era using one of pop music’s oldest effects.

Building off the 1975’s affection for dance music, “Give Yourself A Try” sees the Manchester group paying obvious homage to their hometown’s post-punk roots. But while Adam Hann’s “blistering” lead could be considered par for the course, that distorted tone has also caused mass division between fans. Reaction to a lowquality leak of the record ranged from “ouch my ears” to “I hate this so much” to “holy shit yaaas” and not much has changed much since the proper mix was released online. A division that band seems to embrace.

Drummer/producer George Daniel addressed Hann’s fuzzed out tone in an interview with the BBC’s Annie Mac, joking “it’s pretty annoying isn’t it?” He went on to explain the decision saying “There’s a theory behind distortion… The guitar is so distorted it creates lots of harmonics and because it’s just a loop your ear picks up on different things every time – round and round and round”.

In other words, distortion occurs when you overload an amp’s circuit. This can be done physically by striking the strings harder, or mechanically using distortion pedals or the amp itself. Both approaches change how the sound wave looks, as well as the resulting tone. So while GYAT’s primary riff can be replicated with just 3 notes (F#, B, G#) the end result is more complicated. Each distorted note creates a spectrum of frequencies that  wouldn’t otherwise exist. And yet these phantom chords do exist, and beautifully embellish the quarter-life crisis described in the track.

Over the course of 3-minutes and 17 seconds, Matthew Healy outlines the obstacles he’s encountered since achieving international success. Some are entirely specific to his experience. But many more could be considered occupational hazards of simply being alive: depression, addiction, STDs, death. These are they very things that make life difficult, maybe even unbearable. And yet they reveal a lot if you survive them.

Give Yourself a Try may be centred around a distorted guitar, but it’s also centred on a distorted life. In the same way that an overloaded system reveals new musical frequencies, Healy suggests an overloaded life reveals new outlooks. The snapshots shared suggest the 29-year-old is prepared to bet on himself, on his band, but also on the listener. The only question that remains, then, is are we willing to listen?



Ian MacKaye: “If You Want To Rebel Against Society, Don’t Dull The Blade”

via Bandwidth:

So in some ways, the only way to get my music out, the only way I would feel comfortable doing it, is really by putting it out myself. But in terms of the business, I can’t stand it. Never used a contract on the label ever, no contracts. No lawyer. Don’t have a lawyer. Never had a lawyer. I think a lot of times people felt that Dischord—the approach we had, Dischord was too idealistic. But considering that the label is now 33 years old and we have a staff of four or five people who are at least reasonably paid with health care and so forth, I’m wondering if we’re real yet. I suspect we are.


The Sound of Settling

via Grantland:

And the last time Death Cab was truly on, it was Plans a heartsick record. Gibbard’s solo record hinted at post-divorce despair, but was caught up in his attempts to be fit in among Largo’s adult-contemporary singer-songwriters… Now, Gibbard is post-divorce, post-Walla, and there is no precedent for that. Death Cab might make their Ghost Stories. They might make their Up. They might make their Adore. They might make their Heartbreaker or Extraordinary Machine.

This is a fascinating perspective on Death Cab’s future, and one that I had not considered. While I consider myself a fair weather fan (love Transatlanticism and Plans, everything else is hit-or-miss), Chris Walla’s production was undeniably a cornerstone of the band’s sound. That said, I’m considerably more interested to hear what Gibbard and company produce after reading Ian’s thoughts.

Creating a style: How to stand out as a professional artist in L.A.

Joe Perri, in interview with deathandtaxes:

I’ve noticed how easy it is to fall into the pattern of what everyone else is doing and creating, mostly due to the fact that we all have access to the same resources. Being picky has been been a blind blessing for me, because it helped me refine my taste within this hub of inspiration, and helped me make lasting work. You can only develop and refine your tastes by going through the artist’s journey yourself and not following other people.

I’ve been following Joe’s career ever since he was doing promo photos for the Dangerous Summer (RIP). His approach to creating has always seemed organic (he only shoots on film) and it’s one that I really admire. A good representation of life influencing art.