The Hyphen Across the Ocean


Always metal. Always.

Despite that like-able new Shearwater song (look “Rooks”) which laudably distills their longer excursions into single form, I’ve reached one of those twice-yearly attacks of a fetishistic need for metal, especially on earphones. I have theories, one being that metal delivers right away, as a genre, for time-pressed or attention-span-challenged listeners. I am the latter due to being exhausted by my daughter’s transition from crib to bed (all’s well, but she wanders for the first half hour, sometimes singing the Pixies’ “Motorway to Roswell,” so it’s hard to crack down) and the former due to the May-scheduled (or earlier?) arrival of child #2, who, around this household, is in-utero-named “Dos” by the somnambulatory older sister.

Metal playlist includes the forthcoming album by the (so-metal-they-should-be-from-Sweden) Sword, from TX(?), reminiscent of Fu Manchu and other stoner-metal progenitors of the late nineties but also leaving those in the crunchy-jam dust for the intricacies of Scandinavia and the darker urges of Ozzy Sabbath. Lyrics playout like D&D scenarios, but then I think they mean it. Imagine geeks with reality issues manning Corrosion of Conformity. Killing each other in caves and not entirely joking about the Spider Beast they see crawling from the aqueduct. Yeah.

The Sword – Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians

Metal playlist #2: the unfortunately (but very metal, and trust me; no irony will occur) named Dead Child’s new Attack, heady and science fiction-glommed but guitar-textured like a dream, courtesy of Dave Pajo, he of the Chicago-Kentucky noodling gang but then you know Slint was nu-metal at heart and then there’s further back the Squirrel Bait et al, and you go well: Pajo was bound to wail and chugga chugga sooner than retirement.

Dead Child – Sweet Chariot

This all spun me backward into time to my DC days fifteen years back (also possibly spurred by reading half last night of the debut novel by Dinaw Mengestu, drinker of drinks at my old watering hole. Say hi to Ray for me) when 14th street NW was still scabby hookers and vials like pine-cones in a spruce forest and vacant used car lots planted with syringes under multi-colored flapping flags in the spring breeze. You could get 6 vials for $25 on Florida, by U, and the fuzz used to ask me to empty my pockets on their hood becuase I had long hair (still do: metal) and looked like a heroin Wal-mart. But I knew better, kept the Stuff at the friends’ pad on Euclid. Had to walk fast down the 12th street hill in the wee hours, though, the hookers got aggressive on a slow night. I would listen on my way, pre-ipod, to the only song I liked, really, by Soundgarden:

Soundgarden – 4th of July

So: the Metal Spring (did the Soviets do this?). And add a healthy sprinkling of Melvins to keep me honest. See a be-hatted guy swerving uptown on Bway in his doc martens, shouldering into left-side-walking tourists for the fun of it, and you’ve got me, walking back into the belly of justice for hardly anyone.

5 thoughts on “The Hyphen Across the Ocean

  1. Hey I live in DC, up the road from 14th and U in Petworth. Shit man, the good old days of U St. Can you believe they had the balls to call the latest Yuppie Apt there The Ellington? Crazy to think the cops would fuck with anyone white down there, or anyone at all really. People still smoke at the corner of 14th and U, all day every day. Friends house on Euclid, classic. Move back…. it’s fun here

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  2. All the good head shops moved to around 18th and U into Adams Morgan. That theater isn’t there anymore, and PJ Harvey doesn’t play there –sadly. I guess the 9:30 club pushed it out.

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