The new year always starts pretty slow for me. I don’t know what it is, but I find myself lacking in words to type, stories to tell, and music to discuss. It could be that those final couple weeks of December are a huge push to discuss the previous year’s triumphs and put them in some semblance of order or importance. Albums, movies, shows,…revisiting things I loved over the year and ranking how I loved them. It’s a weird concept, the list. It makes winners and losers of all, but not really. I listen to a lot of music over a year’s time, so to whittle that down to 50 records, those 50 meant something. Each one of those albums made an impact on me in some way or another, and to revisit those impacts and think on those songs and the time, creative energy, and that artist’s giving of themselves is a process that takes a lot out of you.
By January 1st my skull feels sort of dulled and empty. Concentrating on a year’s worth of musical enjoyment sort of insulates you from a year’s worth of tragedies, political upheavals, and just general bad juju. I start to think about all the mass shootings, hypocrisy in religion, people dying from disease and starvation in Yemen and Syria, people starving 45 minutes from my house in downtown South Bend, political divides that only seem to keep getting wider and more treacherous, and the willingness of some to put on blinders about it all. I don’t consider myself some political animal, but I do keep up with things. I have my beliefs regarding how things should run and how people should be treated, but I don’t extol my beliefs and values on others. I keep it to myself. I may not agree with you, but I’m not going to preach to you either. Let’s find something we can agree on and just go from there.
I do see some serious shucking and jiving going on regarding talk of state of emergencies in order to fulfill certain campaign promises and a newly-elected congresswoman talking about impeaching the “motherf****r”. Just a bunch of bloviating and posturing from both sides. Nothing feels real or genuine in politics anymore. Was it ever? I mean, people thought Lyndon Johnson was a good man for Christ’s sake. That Kennedy was a fine Catholic family man. That Ronald Reagan knew where he was half the time, let alone was running the country to the best of his ability. Nothing is as it seems. The system is broken and has been for years. Dunkin Donuts is rebranded as simply Dunkin. Nazis are re-branded White Nationalists. And somewhere in America a 7th grader is learning how to fire a 9mm as part of their gym requirement.
Jesus, no wonder I keep my head stuck in a turntable all year.
There’s some great things to look forward to this year here at Complex Distractions. Some incredible albums coming from Hunter Complex, Pentagram Home Video, and a new soundtrack from Burning Tapes for the film Black Lake that we’ll be talking about very soon. I’ll be talking to Hunter Complex’ Lars Meijer as well. I’ll be revisiting some older albums and reviewing some new ones. My buddy Kevin Hambrick has an amazing album coming out called Clitter and the Clatter that you will love. I also recently discovered PILOTPRIEST’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. That will be a discussion, too.
I live to grow with my family and experience the world with as open a mind and heart as I can. Empathy is an ingredient that lacks greatly in this world as of late, and open minds and hearts are the key to mining it. Music and film and books I feel are portals to expanding one’s perspective, too. So is smoking a some weed and hashing it out over a cup of coffee on a back porch at dusk. Where I’m at that’s still illegal(the weed, not the coffee), but hashing it out and listening is still a possibility no matter where you’re at. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and not everyone is going to get your point of view from a meme on your social media feed. And don’t judge others by something you found stupid that was posted. Social media can be a great thing, but it’s also a platform where nuance, winks, and nods don’t exist. You literally need to s-p-e-l-l i-t o-u-t. Sarcasm doesn’t really compute. Talk face to face. Have a cup of coffee, say your peace, and give ’em a hug. 2019 needs hugs. Hugs should be the new thing. More hugs. And more coffee. And definitely more music, folks. And if you can do it, maybe a little more weed(if it’s legal, that is.) Grab that coffee and check out the Mondo Mix 2019 below. A preview of what Death Waltz and Mondo have coming up. Great stuff.
I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2019. –The Management