Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Edge of her Dress

It took up most of the room inside Jaime’s purse. The dangerous black curves of a gun she couldn’t identify. It bullied its way amongst the neglected lip gloss, rose colored wallet, and expired shampoo coupons. It was only there because that’s what girls kept in their purses. There was a CD in there, too, some generic hardcore band with a name probably taken from a William Faulkner novel. The cartridge in the pistol was backwards, sheltering the only bullet inside. She wants to shoot something, to hurt it. She puts on her prettiest dress and a failed attempt at makeup, balancing herself. There is a pain in her neck. She can’t turn her head left or right, her peripherals teasing her with the beauty of a side glance.              
            She set out to the patch of land behind her high school football field. They used to hold paintball games there. She regrets not having tried it. It was barren and brown with desolation and streaks of packed dirt from the games they used to play. She looked for a can, a squirrel, an abandoned car, something to take her two faced anger out on. The field was as bare as her decision. Would she cause pain through violence or with the hem of her dress?
            She finds it. She finds it and it’s something living. Well, not really. It wouldn’t get hurt, well, it wouldn’t scream, is what she meant. It’s a tree, about four feet tall, and a little wider than her forearm. It has a small amount of leaves, enough that she could count them if she really wanted to. She didn’t want to. She turns around and faces the judgmental horizon, the wind teasing the pink fabric of her dress with gentle licks. She reaches into her purse, ignoring the sticky lip gloss and feels the handle of the gun. This...I’ll do this, I guess, she whispers. Her nails skip over the staccato grip of the handle, plucking the delicate one note instrument.  Step by step she readies the gun. Safety off, gun up, feet locked, shoulders strong, one eye closed, gun cocked, breath held. Now, aim.
            She wonders if the tree actually will scream. Dear God, please, let it be mute, she prays. Her feet begin to dance, awkwardly without music. Is she sweating? Doesn’t matter. She wants to do this. She pulls the trigger, harder and harder, with the strength of a child, but it’s so heavy. The moisture between her finger and the metal scared her, making her think this may be too much for her. She lets out a yelp, something in between an “eee!” and a “no, no,” and does it. She pulls the taunting trigger, and lets the bullet kill something.
            Except the gun doesn’t shoot. The cartridge. It wasn’t set right. And the crescendo she wrote in the wind is the only thing that dies.
            She lets the gun drop to the ground. What a damn shame, she sighs. She goes home, her dress following her, flowing like a stream. Her purse still holding the burden of the lip gloss and wallet, though there is another bullet lying hidden in the inside pocket, asleep. She forgets about it and saves it for later. Her neck still hurts.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The city may be burnt, but the ashes aren't so bad.

Some odd years ago I came across a band known as As Cities Burn. Hearing Cody and his brother TJ trading off vocals like a firecracker tennis match floored me. After the next few hours--time I spent lifting myself from the carpet--I listened and listened until I could recite the music note for note, stanza by stanza. Then news came of their breakup, and my little heart shattered. I trudged through countless albums and bands hoping to light that old flame, but nope, nothing. Until they came back! TJ had gotten married and Cody took over vocals. Skeptical, I hesitantly clicked play. And wow. The next two albums demonstrated the band's dynamic musicianship so well that it felt like  I had three favorite bands. After Hell and High Water they officialy called it quits, leaving me with a trio of incredible albums.

Then, I heard something called Hawkboy which apparently has Cody and Aaron (drummer of ACB) in it. Wha?

Which brings me to this: a reunion with the carpet. Hawkboy, to me, did what Miles Davis did to the Jazz scene. Album after album, they blew me away. After the country-laden screamo debut album, the cool, ethereal, and bluesy tones of their sophomore attempt, and the uncompromising final cd, my expectations were definitely up there. 

Their new album, titled King Folly (which will include their previous 5 song ep), is a storm. The songs have that long sought after raw feeling, making it seem like you're in the room as they record. Tracks like "Wide Road" and "Gotta Get Out" have a crisp, homegrown aura, using acoustic guitar and drum tones so rich that you can feel the grains on the wood. Balancing out the track list, "Two Bit" and "Scoundrel" provide that eclectic, country-meets-computer sound, juxtaposing southern tone with synth and what sounds like a digital bass line. Then comes the remodeled version of "Pirate Blues" cleverly titled "Irate Blues." Kay, maybe it's not too clever, but I liked it. The latter sounds like a softened version of its predecessor, swapping screams for a muted guitar. It may seem like a simple change at first, until it hits the solo. Originally, I adored the well executed riff; it was nice. Now, I freak out because of how it seems to utilize every inch of my car stereo with a euphoric blend of wittiness and drive, as well as crisper than ice tone. You'll feel it.

Soooo yes, go listen to this band. It may take a few listens, but from my experience, those usually end up being the best bands. I promise I won't bore you with back story next time, and I'll even spend some time on the lyrics. This one seemed long enough without it. But still, goooo listen to Hawkboy. Or As Cities Burn. Every album is different, but they've all got something that's bound to get you hooked. Promise.