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Entry date: 4-21-2024 – Sleepy -Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

 

What a nice Saturday. It had a little bit of everything.

 

If I never shop for bathroom stuff again, I will be happy. I don’t want to see anymore vanity stuff or tile. We settled on tile for my bathroom yesterday, which was nice. It’s going to look good; I hope.

 

I watched that stupid Suns game. They got our hopes up with how they finished. If they don’t get their act together on Tuesday, Minnesota might sweep them. Take it to the bank.

 

After the game, I worked on my first drywall hanging experience. There was a lot of cussing, but I think it’ll be okay. It was a good learning experience and I plan on hanging some more up today.  

 

When I finally pulled myself away from the closet ceiling I was working on, we headed over to The Calvano on 7th Street to celebrate my buddy, Todd, who recently turned the big 6-0. It was a trip seeing a bunch of old friends that I don’t see very often. There were also a ton of faces that I kind of recognized. Fun was had, I believe, and I wasn’t even the slightest bit inclined to drink.

 

A year ago, I would have downed way too many beers, I’m sure. What a difference long hair makes.

 

The last time I grew my hair out I was sober for six years.

 

 

*****

 

There is this dude, Larry Bridges, who I respect a lot. When Hillbilly Devilspeak was gearing up to do our thing, we went to a bunch of shows where Larry’s band at the time, Fork, was one of the openers. They would get all the cool gigs with bands coming through town that I liked. I knew they were going to be a problem.

 

The thing was, I liked Fork a lot, so the only problem was that I had to accept they were way better than Hillbilly was at the time and deserved to get the cool shows. I watched Larry and his bandmates do their thing pretty closely, picking up things here and there about being a weird, noisy band in a town that didn’t give a shit if you were weird, noisy, purple, or amazing.  I wanted to do what they were doing.

 

The guys in Fork were also interesting, cool dudes in their own way, and it was easy to be a fan. We even played a really fun show together early on where I almost felt like we kind of belonged if that makes sense. My respect for Larry was growing, but damn if they didn’t get a lot of the shows I wanted to play.

 

After Fork was all done, Larry went on to be in several cool bands. I had always hoped that maybe we would play together one day, but it never happened. In the early 2000s, though, he had a band I really liked called Affirmative Action Figure. They put out one of my all-time favorite local records, Peer-to-Peer Pressure.

 

I’ve been trying to look up more information on them but haven’t been coming up with much. Oh well, Larry’s bandmates, according to the CD, are Mike and John. I’ve been searching my memory banks to remember which Mike and John they are, too, because I’m pretty sure I know at least one of them.

 

Either way, though, I listened to Peer-to-Peer Pressure a lot after getting it. When I rediscovered it recently as I mined my CD collection for albums I love but have forgotten about, I was super stoked. I’ve been listening to it non-stop for the last week or so. It’s some great noisy, post-punk stuff that still sounds completely relevant, at least to my ears, today.

 

Great music lasts.

 

“Bushywinks” kicks things off with some nice, noisy guitar and drums before Larry’s bass joins the fray about 30 seconds in. It’s abrasive and a jolt to the system, but then John’s guitar riff decides to do this cool counter-melody kind of thing that hits you right in that little bone thingy in your ear that helps you maintain balance.

 

The next thing you know, you’re stepping back unsure of yourself as a listener and whoever does the vocals on this one starts shouting at you in a very Sam McPheeters (Born Against) kind of way. It’s fucking great. The song comes to a close with the weird, off-kilter guitar part and you’re thrust right into the wonderfully titled “Hard-On For War.”

 

This one has a Gang of Fork kind of thing going on because Larry is singing (I’m pretty sure) and the beginning sounds a lot like Gang of Four. The song evolves, though, into its own thing. Peer-to-Peer Pressure sounds so great to me after all these years of forgetting about it.

 

These guys would fit in so well right now with bands like Idles, Shame, and their ilk. Pure power and well-crafted tunes. “Unproud” has a similar feel to the new wave of British post-punk. Just twenty years before.

 

According to the liner notes on the CD, the recording was done at Osborn Middle School. I’d love to know the story behind that. I used to do programs there for kids around the time they would have recorded the record. I had no idea.

 

There is an almost delicate nature to some of the guitar riffs that I really like. “Ham Epic” has this almost happy feel to it during the first third of the song because of how John played it. Good stuff. I think it goes on for well over 2 minutes before the vocals kick in.

 

“Digital Gamera” is a fun song title and another really cool riff. Reminds me a little bit of Archers of Loaf. I also really like “The Man Who Takes Long Walks on Candy Wrappers.” Whoever titled that one deserves a high five.

 

Peer-to-Peer Pressure ends strong, too. “Own Your Depression” hits you like a sledge hammer until becomes a bit more melodic and becomes a bit like a And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead song from their early records.

 

You can find this on Spotify. Give it a spin.

 

*****

 

See you tomorrow.



Sometimes I feel this way.

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