dad.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2015 by darryl zero

I think the reality of my being a parent hasn’t truly felt like “parenting” because, at this point, my son (whom I love with an irrational passion that makes me wake up happy even when shit is going painfully sour in the rest of my life) is little more than a small, helpless creature who can’t really communicate that well and who relies upon me to read his mind to determine exactly what he wants, an act that I fucking hate on all levels regardless of who’s doing it to me, and even when I’m getting paid to do that shit (as part of my job), I can’t fucking stand it, but he’s a baby, y’know, so you kinda just have to keep doing the circuit and maybe eventually you’ll be able to put two and two together, right?

But then I put him on my shoulder and he falls asleep, or I walk into the room after being gone for a bit and his face brightens up, or I sit with him on the porch swing or listen to metal albums with him (which he tolerates with surprising aplomb given the steady in utero diet of abysmally shitty fucking pop music one hears in a trendy upscale hair salon he received) and I realize this is pretty much the most important thing I could be doing in my day.

Although I kind of miss watching Aliens all the time.

public service announcement.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2015 by darryl zero

Okay, so I know I may have some people in my friends list that buy into certain levels of right-wing nonsense–White Privilege deniers, anti-Affirmative Action activists, “Reverse-Racism” screamers, ish like that.

When you step to my page, carbon-copying right-wing nutjobbery without proofreading it, don’t expect me to be as lazy with my arguments as you are.  I read things–shit, I have a degree that says I’m pretty damn good at it.

When your nutjobbery that you blindly copy-and-paste includes the words “killed by n*****,” you DO NOT have the right to say things like “that’s not me” when I call you on it.  Because, guess what?  THAT IS YOU.

If your dogma is conducive to people that hold those ideals, guess what?  THAT IS YOU.

There’s more to being a racist scumbag than calling Black people bad names or being involved in the KKK.  If I sound “hateful” or “angry” to you, it’s because I’m sick and fucking tired of having to point out what is obvious for most non-white people in this country.

If your response to obvious racial disparities is to try and spout statistics about illegal immigrants or city-dwelling Blackfolk committing crimes, you might as well be saying “killed by n******,” because THAT IS YOU.

If you try to say “well, why can’t I be ‘transracial’ because I don’t feel ‘white’,” you might as well be saying “killed by n*****,” because THAT IS YOU.

If you allow injustice to exist, if you throw technicalities up to try and cherry-pick which aspects of white supremacy are the most obviously pernicious, THAT IS YOU.

Chuck D said it best: “when we see the real side, they hide behind a vote.”  Sorry to say, white folks, but we cannot trust you.  We cannot look at you with anything other than trepidation and tension because, for all the shit we hear about how things are “better than they were back in [insert time when white people were less polite than they are now],” THE SAME SHIT KEEPS HAPPENING, and people trying to piss it away with bullshit, privilege-oriented platitudes like “vengeance isn’t justice” doesn’t help.

You want us to think “that isn’t you?”

We demand justice.  We demand respect.

We will be treated with it.

And you goddamn better well thank your lucky stars that I’m good with words, because that’s the only reason why I’m using them instead of something more permanent.

a collection of thoughts.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 8, 2015 by darryl zero

At this point, I’ve been at work for sixteen hours.  With a little over six hours left to go, I’m trying as hard as I can to care about doing the rest of the things required for me on this shift and not simply just be a warm body, because the person I’m replacing was little more than that.

In the days leading up to my son’s birth, I resolved I was going to be here more often and, like always, I haven’t held up my end of the bargain.  The long-and-short of it is that being a dad and being a husband have both been completely different from what I expected them to be.  I expected being a husband to make me feel completely different, like there was some kind of new pathway opening up to me, making me feel comfortable with monogamy not long after I realized I could comfortably and functionally live without it.  I expected being a father to feel only negligibly different from my normal method of operating.

The reality of being a husband is basically the same as being a boyfriend, only your insurance costs a shitload more.  I stand by my confusion and annoyance with why She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed decreed marriage to be a prerequisite of having kids, BUT, on the other hand, there’s probably some kind of upside, right?  I mean, the wedding presents were nice–the wedding itself was fucking awesome–but the practical reality of being someone’s husband so far is just having to factor someone else’s income into my own legal wranglings.

Being a dad is simultaneously exactly what I expected it to be and completely beyond my wildest dreams.  Being away from my son so much because of my job is…painful, actually.  Everything about my son has been a surprise, dating back to when I first heard my wife was pregnant.  His blue eyes, his calm demeanor, and his sheer cuteness–all things I probably could have foreseen, but nonetheless surprise me.  Holding him, I feel the kind of weird sense of rightness that would feel even better if it didn’t come at times at which I am either exhausted or in pain.  But he’s so cute, and when he looks at me and smiles, I cry a little, because he’s my son, my son, and it’s real, and I feel happy and calm.

I guess I need to get back to work.

who’s gonna take you home tonight?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18, 2015 by darryl zero

I got a new job, if you can believe that.

Hilariously, it’s another job requiring a level of discretion and confidentiality on my part, but not in the irrational, cover-your-ass-because-money-kinda way.

Even more hilarious: I’m the boss.

Most hilarious: integral to the job is learning the ability to sign, so I’ve been picking up sign language as I go along, meaning I’ve actually had to learn how to say “I’m the boss” in sign language.

That’s funny as eff.

If I were anything other than a Tumblr luddite, I’d be posting a gif right now of my satisfied, smirking self, signing “I’m the boss” over and over again but, as i often quote Hannibal Buress–I ain’t that dude.

I originally called this “not about the Grammys,” but it’s about the fucking Grammys. So there’s that.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 10, 2015 by darryl zero

The pop music industry is such that the Grammys are even more a corporate industry circle-jerk than the Oscars are (which is saying something), so I can say without irony or pride or anything other than indifference that there is absolutely nothing significant about Beck winning Album of the Year over Beyoncé.

Race might have had something to do with it, but probably not.

Gender might have had something to do with it, but probably not.

Kanye West is a corporate shill keeping his name in the news because he makes certain white people a whole lot of money and he can make a little off of them.  I can and do ignore him for the most part, even when he says something egregiously stupid, but I actually like Beck, and Morning Phase, while far from the most interesting Beck album, was not, by any means, any worse than Beyoncé.

I’m not going to shit-talk Kanye’s music here because, although I absolutely fucking hate it and have very strong opinions about it, it’s well-crafted pop music, and to suggest that there’s any lack-of-artistry there would be inaccurate.

But Ye’s imagined persecutions are getting really fucking old, and the fact that people keep thinking he’s anything other than a cooning charlatan is further proof that Black musicians can only be mega-stars if they shuck-and-jive.

and thunder is deafening.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2015 by darryl zero

My son’s due date is in ten days.

I wish I had a concrete idea for this post, but at this point I’m out of ideas.  I have the sketches there, the concepts, the bare bones of things to express, and I swear to gods they’re all halfway toward brilliant, but right now I’m struggling just to come up with answers or my internet connected for a couple more weeks.

the things that matter still matter, right?  I mean, I think they do and I want them to, but at this point I’m just like “can you please let me just put off paying this bill until I have the money to pay it, please?”

i am so sick of being stuck.

so un-stick myself.

I guess that’s why I’m back here.

Hi, folks.  I’m Darryl.  We’re going to be seeing a lot of each other in the coming months.

Te prometo.

Darryl Zero’s Albums of the Year 2014

Posted in best of lists with tags , on January 15, 2015 by darryl zero

Honorable Mention:

Indian, From All Purity

St. Vincent, St. Vincent

Pink Avalanche, The Luminous Heart Of Nowhere

Cloakroom, Lossed Over b/w Dream Warden

Actress, Ghettoville

Couch Slut, My Life As A Woman

10) Atari Teenage Riot – Reset

Atari Teenage Riot popped back up in 2010 with Is This Hyperreal?, a pleasant extension of the band’s distinctive sound that nonetheless stayed true to its simplistic beginnings.  The “new” line-up–founding member Alec Empire, his chief collaborator Nic Endo (part of the group since 1997) and American hip-hip iconoclast CX KiDTRONiK–only lasted one album, though.  CX left the group, and was replaced permanently by his European tour replacement–British electro-hopper Rowdy Superstar.  Reset is actually better than its immediate predecessor for this reason; Superstar is a full-fledged part of the group, and his energy actually comes across as, well, happy.  The band’s overall sound reflects the shift–emphasizing their dance influences more.

9) Uncommon Nasa – New York Telephone

East coast rapper Uncommon Nasa spits his lyrics with a cynical poet’s affinity for chaos.  While Telephone‘s production-by-committee leads to the predictable inconsistency of tone, Nasa’s flow (an unmistakably NYC, rhythmic drawl) is a great continuous thread.

8) Jucifer – District of Dystopia

It didn’t come out until the tail end of the year, but the 21-year-old band’s latest album continues the band’s continual metamorphosis into the grinding, roaring powerhouse on-record to match their deafening live show.  District‘s lo-fi recording (in the band’s own Nomadic Fortress) surprisingly makes the sonic blitzkrieg seem more intense.  While not as ambitious in scope or execution as 2013’s There Is No Land Beyond the Volga, the lyrics are even more focused, plainly skewering US politics past and present.

6) Electric Wizard – Time To Die

 Stoner metal gods revive their twenty-plus year formula by wisely sticking to it.  The band’s emancipation from longtime label Rise Above finds them DIYing it to the Nth degree, from production (handled by guitarist/only original and consistent member/frontman Jus Osborn) to release.  Not a lot new to note here–the same old crypto-satanic imagery, dark sense of humo(u)r, and bludgeoningly heavy riffs abound–but they’re delivered with new verve and power, perhaps because Osborn and company have more of a personal stake in it.  The album’s title track (presumably a reference to Blade Runner) is the head-nodder, but really every cut on the album is golden.

5) In The Mouth of Radness – Gone Rad With Power

Iowa City thrashers not only have a name referencing the greatest John Carpenter film not named They Live, but they also merge the frantic dirt of Motorhead with the funky soul of any Josh Homme project and the guitar shriekery of latter-era (think self-titled) Daughters.  While the band’s reluctance to take themselves too seriously undermines them at times (the wordplay on “Dude or Die” and “Envision the Bitchin'” is good for a couple of sideways glances), their hilarious lyrics, obscenely good drum work, lustworthy bass tone, and nutso guitar work combine to make a high-energy wall of sound equally proggy, punky, and headbangy.

4) Against Me! – Transgender Dysmorphia Blues

I never cared much about Against Me!, which is less an indictment of their music and more a reflection of the idea that straightforward punk rock has always seemed to be kind of anachronistic.  That’s never really changed about the band, even if their dalliances into slicker (read: Butch Vig) pop sounds have alienated some of their more fundamentalist followers.  Regardless, Laura Jane Grace coming out as transgender managed to make the band interesting to me–and, more importantly, added something to band beyond the affect of their punk roots.

Indeed, the earnestness and comfort Grace carries into the album is so unaffected, it’s surprising to know the band turmoil (with members coming in, members coming out, and members joining Slipknot) that went into the making of the album.  Still, Grace handles herself well, with riffs and lyrics telling great stories.  The punk anachronism is still there (further bolstered when, after the album was recorded, International Noise Conspiracy bassist Inge Johansson joined the band), but Against Me! sounds fresh and new.

3) Helms Alee – Sleepwalking Sailors

To be clear, my beloved Helms Alee’s album is actually the best of their three full-lengths, so the fact that it doesn’t top my list is less due to an drop in quality and more to how good the other releases in front of it are.  The Tacoma trio navigated the end of their former label (Hydra Head) by crowdfunding their recording sessions, then found a new home on Sargent House.

I’m not being hyperbolic; Sleepwalking Sailors is a masterpiece.  the band doesn’t modify their approach too much; three-part vocal harmonies, alternatingly jangly and mammoth-heavy guitars, and that extra gear Ben Verellen gets on his scream when he pulls from his gut and howls.  However, there’s an unmistakable triumphant glee to the songs on this album, something present atmospherically on the band’s previous releases but appears here in brazen glory.

2) Morgue Vanguard & Still – Fateh

Onetime Dälek turntable-destroyer Hsi-Chang Lin (still to the nasty) hasn’t gone away–he popped up a few years ago after a long absence with the Brutalist School and is still making music.  After being contacted by Indonesian political MC Morgue Vanguard, Lin applied his considerable talents to burning the fucking place down.

Seriously.  Fateh is only an EP, but the smoldering fury of Morgue Vanguard’s flow combined with the swirling roar of still’s production create a fucking avalanche of sonic brutality that recalls Faust as much as it does Public Enemy.

1) Emma Ruth Rundle – Some Heavy Ocean

Marriages/Red Sparowes guitarist Rundle’s inevitable solo album succeeds on multiple levels, avoiding the trap of heavy band frontwomen whose solo project invariably ends up being acoustic singer-songerwriter by simply being heavier than her other nominally metal projects despite being largely acoustic.  Ocean‘s somber airiness recalls, among others, Cold Specks or Julie Christmas, but with a snarl born and bred on PJ Harvey.  Frankly, this is the album I would have wanted Harvey to make instead of Let England Shake, only with Rundle’s distinctly stern voice.