Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!





Are You Decent
Rich Baiocco


Have you ever wanted to give someone you care about an orgasm, but it just wasn't really "on" for whatever reason? (no? liar!) Well, this story kind of hangs out in that headspace as newlywed couple Mitty and Soobs struggle beneath the sheets. When Soobs intimates to her flailing husband that she's kind of turned on by the idea of a faux-rape roleplay, Mitty chickens out and then drives himself crazy fretting over the type of man he thinks his wife wants. The story is narrated by their cat, Madeleine.

This is another story from my collection 'Julie In Mittens'. For more info, check out

He was a nice guy, but kind of a total pussy-don't you think? Maybe a touch clingy, too. Oh yeah, just a touch. I knew Mitty didn't really like having me around, but we were stuck together, 'cause she liked me, and he was in love with her. I'd puke in his slippers. I'd shit all over his sofa. He just doesn't know where the litter box is yet she'd say. C'mon, I knew where the litter box was.

I'd sit in front of his wife and lick my balls, so vulgar. It drove him crazy.

Mitty would say things like make love , and not just for posterity-he believed in it, which gave me a big softie. I bet you want to know how I know that? We know what you're thinking; we sense things. Even when we're not there, we're there, sensing. And we're everywhere. In fact, there's a lot about us that you don't know. We don't have 9 lives; we have 41. We like dogs; we just think they're crude when they're drunk. And we don't like when you blow bong hits in our face, but we eat your drugs while you're at work.

The temperature inside Mitty's idea of love was pleasant. A rare string of those occasional spring days where he finds himself outside in the sun at some early afternoon hour, no more work, and nothing he's committed to except the pleasure of wandering into her soft lips sometime later that evening. A string of those afternoons where the sun isn't just a color, but a feeling, warmth, like baby's breath on his cheeks. The geometry of the rooftops radiates distinctly, and the sky is less a ceiling and more a swirl of breezes and light. His mind uncluttered, and energized and somewhere she's thinking of him. Secretly, he discovers that time is a lovely thing to waste.

And deep in the hue of those occasional spring days, up in the corner bedroom of the second floor of the white house with the blue shutters, halfway down Montgomery Lane, Mitty and Soobs 'made love' over and over beneath the crocheted blanket that Soobs' grandmother made for her when she was just a girl. And the bed was tucked beneath the slanted ceiling, making the room feel small, like a birdhouse. Their books shared shelves around their walls, yet even though they were surrounded by wise words and ancient worldly wisdom, no page contained the answer to Mitty's redundant concern:

"Did you?"

"Did I what?"

"You know.orgasm."

"Jesus Christ, Matt. NO! I told you, I don't just do that. It doesn't just."

"I thought this time."

Soobs rolled Mitty's body off of her and got up from the bed. She pulled on her underwear as if embarrassed to let Mitty see her naked even though they'd been married for almost two years. He knew the minute he had opened his mouth that he would say the wrong thing, and wanted to go over and console her but felt weird with the condom still on his flaccid penis so he stayed beneath the covers.

"I'm sorry," he called impotently as she slammed the bathroom door and turned on the shower. The snooze button on the alarm went off again. Sam Cooke: Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha.

The tangle of sheets made the bed look ruined, and Mitty reluctantly got up and shuffled over to the bedroom door while I jumped up into the covers and nestled in his warm failures. I'm sure he hated that. In the far mirror he looked small. His hunched shoulders, his drooping belly, his limp dick. He slid the condom off, holding his orgasm in his palm as it spilled over the rubber rim. The shower hissed and he bent forward to tilt his ear against the door. He twisted the knob but it was locked. That meant shower in the guest room. The locked door replaced conversation. The locked door was the most painful reminder of Mitty's inadequacy. And behind it she was probably crying.

He waited there, his fingertips searching for the right words in the grooves of the oak, but he was going to be late for work. He knew the door wouldn't unlock until he left. It never did.

* * *

Showers in the guest bedroom were never pleasant. Mitty used Novocain-tipped condoms that were advertised as "stamina-increasing", but he could barely stay fully erect the whole time and he was always chafed, which burned in the hot shower jet streams. He began to doubt that going longer was getting him anywhere closer to his goal: to make Soobs gush. Of course he never said make her gush when they talked about it, but IT was always on his mind.

"You deserve it, Soobs. They're part of love."

"But I love you , Mitty. I love making love with you, and I don't care about some stupid orgasm. Really. Believe me; it has nothing to do with you."

Mitty wanted to believe her--to just let IT go. But there was something about that close, sweaty moment when they were in bed together. When he fumbled inexpertly beneath her panties and clumsily humped his way into her, trying for the life of him to keep some sort of pace with her until that point hit where he knew it would be over for him so he tried to fit as many thrusts as possible, like a blindfolded pugilist, before he lost his whole game plan through the tip of his dick. She just lay there--breath shortened maybe only from bearing the weight of her husband's body--comforting his shuddering, sweaty head. Her eyes, her mind, her expectations fixed on such distant, and lofty, and private plateaus Mitty thought, and feared, and shivered in his uselessness.

But maybe, he wondered, those were just thoughts you have if you're showering in the guest bedroom of your own house?

* * *

"Decent," repeated Mitty, unsatisfied.

"Yeah Matt, Decent," said the female voice on the other end of the phone. "You weren't bad."

"But not great?"

"Sometimes, yeah.I don't know. Good. Decent."

"Is that good?"

"Fuck, Matt, yes. Decent is fine. Decent is good. A decent person is a good person. Jesus Christ we dated like 8 years ago!"

"Okay, okay. Look, I appreciate your honesty." Mitty parted the blinds in the bathroom window and checked if Soobs had pulled into the driveway yet. "It's just that decent seems so.nice."

"Well you are nice. That's not a bad thing, Matt."

"Sure but do think I'm", he paused, "dangerous?"

She covered up her knee-jerk laugh with two quick coughs.

"Maybe not dangerous like I would hurt you, but dangerous like I could hurt you."

"You did hurt me. You broke up with me."

Mitty knew the problem with talking to ex-girlfriends was that you could never escape subjectivity. But he needed answers.

"Well when you knew that I could hurt you, do you think the sex would have been better? I mean, if we ever did it again?"

"That's really sick Matt. I think you're really sick in the head. I'm going to hang up now."

"No wait, I'm sorry. I'm out of my head. Don't hang up."

"See Matt, you're too nice to be dangerous. You care. That's why girls like you." Mitty shrunk in embarrassment, sitting back on the ledge of the bathtub. Were all women smarter than him, or just the ones he dated?

"What's this whole dangerous thing anyway?"

Mitty started to bluff, but felt like she had already seen his cards.

"I don't know. Sue started tutoring this thuggish kid after school-Jason. She's completely fascinated with him. 'Cause he's dangerous ."

"Matt, how old is this boy?"

"16 or 17 I think. He stabbed his uncle though. Or got stabbed by his uncle. He's dangerous."

There was a pause on the other end of the phone, as if she wanted to let what he just said linger, out of context, so he could hear how stupid it sounded.

"Are you worried about Sue?"

"That she might be chea-- ?"

"No! Her safety, you dick! I can't believe you were thinking that. Sue is a teacher, a professional, and on top of that, a decent human being, which is much more than I can say for you right now."

The bathroom vibrated as the garage door opened below. Startled, Mitty dropped the phone, and the plastic casing broke into three pieces on the tile floor. This wasn't how he wanted to end this conversation, but Soobs wouldn't be thrilled to know that he talked to his ex-girlfriend. He scrambled on his knees to piece together the phone, but it was useless so he leaned into the part that most resembled the mouthpiece and whispered:

"Got a call on the other end, gotta go," just as he heard the bedroom door creak open.

Mitty walked out of the bathroom, holding the mess of phone shambles in two hands. That morning's awkward departure was still unresolved, and Mitty took the afflicted look on Soobs' brow as a cue to apologize.

"Look Soobs, about this morning, I'm sorry I keep F'ing things up."

Nothing registered in her eyes except a squint, as if trying to remember, and she knelt down to scratch me under the chin. We love that. "This morning.what happened to the phone?"

"Huh, oh it broke"-as he said it, he hoped the caller ID broke as well.


"Anyway, I'm sorry about the sex this morning."

"Mitty, enough! You don't have to apologize about the sex. The sex was fine. It's the interrogation, and the scrutiny afterwards that I can't stand. God, I'm only 29 and I already hate the word orgasm ." She struggled to pull her coat off but her arm was snagged on her wristwatch-she wiggled and wormed with more violence.

"And in case you haven't been listening to me for the past few days, Midterms are coming up and Jason is failing. And I'm his tutor and I'm failing him." She finally whipped the jacket off fwapp as it swathed through the space between her and Mitty.

He'd never seen Soobs this emotional, and even though it turned him on in a new and primal way, he knew he had to back off. Not only did he know, but he wanted to. He really hadn't been paying attention to Soobs' teaching issues. She was a humanitarian-the same passionate, compassionate, selfless Mother Teresa that he fell in love with-and now her own husband couldn't even recognize that. A dry guilty pang sucked the inside of his stomach and caused his jaw to shudder.

He picked the jacket up off the floor and hung it on the back of the door.

"Everyone is ready to give up on this kid, and the worst part is that he knows it. But I'm sure I can connect with him, I can just feel it." She sat down on the bed, her eyes looking deep into the floorboards, determined to find an answer. Mitty sat down next to her, wanting to put his arm around her, but hesitant to do so. Instead he sat back a foot on the bed so his feet hung over the edge, and he held his hands in his lap. They looked like children on a swing set.

"If anyone can get through to him it'd be you baby." His voice spoke soft.

She looked up into his eyes.

"I can make this work. I don't want to be a kindergarten teacher for the rest of my life, babysitting 5 -year-olds all day-I want to get through to kids who really need help. But I need you, Mitty. I need you to be on my side with this."

Mitty nodded, but inside he was a gooey glaze of elation. He loved hearing Soobs say she needed him, and soon the feelings on his inside gooped into a sloppy grin on his face that he couldn't hold back. Soobs like Mitty. Soobs need Mitty. Mitty happy now.

They kissed, but it quickly slipped into a hug and he massaged away the tension from her neck and shoulders, to which she purred. Mitty drew Soobs a warm bath and went to get dinner ready.

Naked, from the tub, she watched me hop from the tile floor to the toilet and then to the rim of the bathtub. She dried her hand on a towel and scruffed the back of my head, behind my ear-another wonder spot. Soobs was good.

Then she noticed the gook on the inside of my left eye, gave me a curious look, and tried to wipe it away with some toilet paper.

"Hey Mitty," she called out.

He appeared in the doorway.

"Have you noticed Madeleine's eye lately?"

"No, not really."

"He has this goo around it, like puss. I hope it's not conjunctivitis."

As Mitty looked at me and thought of a diagnosis, a small piece of plastic floated into Soobs' kneecap. She picked it up.

"Were you on the phone in the shower?"

"Yes." He blew her a kiss and drifted back into the kitchen, buzzing with honesty.

* * *

Later that evening, Mitty tried to read in bed as Soobs slept, but was distracted by her smell. After a bath she was always dreamy, a touch of hyacinth with a hint of milk. She was close once, he reminisced, and she told him so: this time in Colorado-hiking-on vacation.

It was raining and they found this great hill off the trail for mud sliding. She was on top of him and they kissed in the cold rain and slid on his back down the side of this moist hill, mud and fern plowing up around them. At the bottom of the hill, they remained on an angle, kissing each other in the downpour. The mud had given her a deep wedgie, and they were both on their sides. It was so unexpected, so natural, and they wrestled each other passionately, her strong small legs and their perfectly laced dirty brown boots climbed all over his body. Their hips rotated in short wavy patterns and for an instant she said she felt.

He wanted to go down on her. Now. He couldn't think of anything more perfect. The two of them had just reached a new level of intimacy this evening. She dreamed softly, secure and warm in trusting how supportive her husband was towards her job. She'd awaken slowly to waves of pleasure surging between her hips, her husband's sweaty hair clenched between her fingers. Imagine the mood she'd be in the next morning at school! Mitty had triumphant thoughts: This is how I can help. I'm your husband and I can satisfy you.

* * *

What Mitty didn't know was that I made Soobs come all the time; it wasn't hard. She was never awake for it, but she was able. She was already cool with me sleeping in the bed each night and I usually lay right on her chest. My purr was killer. Deep, rumbling, undulating her dreamy subconscious-sometimes I'd even lick at her neck. The first time I didn't even notice except for the smell, and maybe a slight moan. More like a wet dream and I just coaxed her along. Sure enough, when I sauntered down to investigate her pajamas were damp; her sheets were moist and sticky.

It felt good against my nose, slick, but for some reason it would usually coagulate into this gook around my eye and I couldn't get it out for the life of me.

* * *

Mitty and Soobs agreed that most people were at least, at heart, decent human beings, but most teachers at Bronxville High felt Jason Devillar wasn't even decent. Kids, even older seniors, feared him-thought he was straight trouble. There were fights, acts of intimidation, stolen cars. He ran dog track numbers for his uncle for a few months but stopped abruptly when his uncle suspected him of pocketing side bets. He was, of course, but denied it, and their partnership dissolved in a single violent act that permutated through the high school gossip wire from a mere menacing black eye to a mythical shank in the abdomen. Fact or fiction irrelevant, a scar nevertheless ran from the 17-year-olds navel to his hip in case you were one of those people who needed proof.

Soobs was one of those people who needed proof. Not necessarily proof that a high school kid was as evil as 'they say', but she needed to find out for herself that a child couldn't be saved. And she didn't mean that in a religious sense, but more in a motherly sense, although she had no experience with either.

I never had a problem with Jason-he kept to himself, wasn't very agreeable, but did his own thing and let me do mine. It was his younger sister, Cheryl, who got on my nerves. For one, she dyed my fur blue and then painted bright orange flames on me. She was one of those creative types, although if she really wanted to 'get creative' she could've brushed my teeth once in a while-I tasted like asshole. The flames were pretty cool though, different, kind of punk. I found myself looking in the mirror more often. But what really got me was that she named me Madeleine.

I'd dangle my balls in her breakfast cereal to get back at her for that one.

She'd bring me to the library and we'd hang out while Jason got tutored. Maybe not hang out-I had to stay in her backpack, but she unzipped it enough so I could peek around. He made us keep a distance, and I don't even think any of the kids knew they were related.

That's when I first saw Soobs.

Some kids wearing letterman jackets entered the library and pointed at him. Jason's face reddened and he stopped reading, his lips stitched closed, his eyes hidden beneath his hood.

"Just take it slow," whispered Soobs. She couldn't help but feel his embarrassment and she wanted to tell the boys to leave but she didn't want to embarrass Jason anymore. With no telltale sign, he stood up and grabbed the heaviest thing he could find-a large dictionary-and hurled it like a disc towards one of the jocks, clipping him hard just above the eye.

"What the fuck?" said one of the other kids, but Jason pounced and tackled him into the bookshelf. Shocked, Soobs stood up but Charlie-horsed her thigh on the edge of the table, hard. The school security guards rushed in and it took two of them to pull Jason off, pulling his sweatshirt off and holding his arms behind his body. He didn't even say a word, just huffed like a bull, and glared at the kids through his dead blue eyes.

* * *

Some nights Mitty would absolutely go to town on her pussy. It'd be wet and moist for a little bit, and then it would kind of prune out or she'd take his head after a little while and pull him up to at least look at her. He'd read in those men's magazines about guys not spending enough time down there, getting the woman ready; he'd spent the time.

He spent weeks on a strict masturbation regiment, building up stamina and desensitizing himself. They tried every position together, even some Asian fusion pretzel maneuvers they'd read about in the Karma Sutra, but they both laughed at some point. He would talk her through it, and she didn't like that at all. Are you feeling it? Are you loose? You want me to be faster? You want me to go down on you again? Your stomach? Your back? She felt like a science experiment.

* * *

Mitty kissed her stomach. His lips grazed the short, clear hairs just above her navel. He loved the way she smelled after a bath, a touch of hyacinth, a hint of milk. He wanted to go down on her right there until he saw the splotchy fist shaped bruise that stained her thigh.

* * *

The first time I met Mitty, proper, was awkward because he was trying to rape his wife, but failing.

They stumbled up onto the porch as I hid behind a flowerpot. The possibility of a downpour creaked above us. Soobs draped down his shoulders and back, planting wine-heavy kisses just beneath his earlobe as Mitty jabbed the house-key everywhere but in the lock hole. It finally slipped in and they crashed through the doorway together, a drunk tumble of laughter and I scampered in undetected. Jason was sick of the tutoring thing, the school thing, and he and Cheryl took off. Ditched me with an open tin of sardines and a bowl of tap water, but I didn't take those kind of things personally.

Soobs took off her sweater and poured herself a glass of water in the kitchen; her face red from the booze and sweat glazed the wisps of her bangs to her forehead. She propped her elbow against the counter, jutting her hip out. Mitty stood in the kitchen doorway watching her, his jaw slightly slack, his mind tunneled from the wine at the party. And at the other end of the tunnel, Soobs, Sue, Susan, her bra straps bleeding through her undershirt, begging to be snapped, or maybe torn apart.

It wasn't that Mitty ever forgot how attractive his wife was, but he couldn't remember the last time he wanted to give it to her so bad, to take her, forcefully; to have his way with her like she was a prey: he wanted to be vulgar. It was something about hearing Soobs' stories of Jason. Mitty wanted her to think he was vulgar. His mind quickly flipped through a card catalogue of vulgar images, settling on a pose from a Lou Reed record, and he struck it. His forearm above his head, leaning against the doorway, his other thumb tucked in his front belt loop.

Soobs arched an eyebrow.

"What is that look for Mr. Mittybird?"

"My sexy wife." He wanted to say sexy woman or dirty wife , but his confidence wasn't there yet. Soobs nearly snorted the water through her nose, and the naughty mood teetered as if to fall. If Mitty wanted this he would have to commit, to push it.

"C'mere." He said. He didn't take his eyes away from hers.


"C'mere." He wanted her to blush, but that, like an orgasm was something that Soobs just didn't do. Or didn't do around him.

She rolled her eyes, humoring him, and took a step towards him, and he with a big step met her at the island counter. With a swooping gesture he slipped a palm into her back pocket and pulled her lower body into his.

"Mitty," she laughed, but didn't resist. In a motion so smooth he even surprised himself he reached behind her for the liquor bottles, and pulled one, hoping it was tequila or whiskey. Nothing says vulgar bad boy like a half empty bottle of Merlot, but Mitty had to make it work. Jason wouldn't falter. He kept his eyes strong on her, managing a sly grin before biting into the cork and popping it out. He held the bottle slightly above her mouth.

"Uh.I don't think I need any more of this." She smiled.

"Shhh," he whispered. "I think you need a little more." He lowered the jug to her neck and gently grazed the bottlemouth up the underside of her chin, but he was cumbersome when he was drunk and accidentally jabbed her throat, and quickly fell out of character and mumbled an apology.

Soobs really didn't want or need any more alcohol, but she was amused by her husband's antics and wanted to play along. She tilted her chin back and Mitty resumed the bottle's ascent towards her lips, which she conveniently pursed. They teased each other briefly, her to swallow, him to pour, and then finally a taste into her mouth. The Merlot was maybe only an hour away from being vinegar, but she moaned softly.

Enthused by this he quickly splashed a dash at her collarbone and rushed in to lick it off, pressing her breasts tightly against his chest as he sucked the purple from her white cotton shirt.

Soobs laughed, genuinely, and was genuinely turned on by his outburst. They each took a giant swig of the awful wine and Mitty, the alcohol going straight to his already soused head, threw the bottle shattering against the refrigerator. They kissed hard and rough in the wine shambles.

Mitty hoisted Soobs onto the counter, her legs straddled him then knotted at his lower back. He took the back of her undershirt in two hands just below her nape and ripped it magnificently except that his nails raked across her back and she yipped, instinctively hitting his shoulder. But this time he didn't apologize. He clung to his game plan, to this character, like a sailor in a storm and wouldn't--couldn't--let go. Wasn't this what she wanted?

He took her up over his shoulder and navigated over the glass into the darker living room, tossing her onto couch and I followed silently. He didn't know if it was too hard, but he thought he saw her grin so he went in after her, pouncing on her soft body. They matched aggressive kisses. They wrestled, she sure to be pinned, he sure to keep his abs and biceps flexed to her touch. She never thought about ever having to defend herself from Mitty. Was she as strong as him? Could she get up if she weren't playing along? Her thoughts got tangled up in his arms; she was drunk too.

Neither of them were naked completely, but naked enough, and soon with her pinned beneath him, her forearms over the armrest, his fists, small, clutching hers, he was thrusting down into her; soon their sweat smacking between his stomach and her back; soon his panting heavy, drunk, dollops of saliva spilling just behind her ear. .

And then.

At first he couldn't make out what she was saying, or if she was actually saying anything at all. Words eeked out from her pressed lips. Small powerful words of encouragement, almost bit back, but then forced out.

"Mmmn. Mmm yea. Yea. Yes. Yes, just like that." She wrapped her left hand tightly around his index finger and began grinding her rear back into his thrusts. Mitty peered down at her, twisting to see her face--her eyes were clamped shut and her mouth writhed as if gnawing on a thick piece of rope.

He continued to thrust forcefully, to grope maniacally. He saw the finish from the eyes of this character he created, from the eyes of the man that she needed him to be. It was working.

"Just like that. I'm feeling it. I feel like I'm gonna." She pressed her own face into the cushion, the sofa creaking in time. She was feeling it, or feeling something. Feeling all this excitement, all of her abandonment, her eyes closed tighter. She was faking it, acting, but somewhere in all of the fake it felt absolutely real. It felt absolutely real her intentions to please her lover. She rolled her hips, the words he'd want to hear getting louder and quicker. Mitty pressed on, in his own altruistic fantasy.

His thrusts were lightning speed and she played it up, telling him to grab her hair. With a fistful of sweaty locks wrung between his fingers he realized he couldn't keep up; he couldn't do this.

"Harder," she murmured. "Don't be gentle."

But he was gentle. He couldn't fight it. He was Mitty and she was Soobs.

And in the afterglow of this realization, the wine rushed back to his head and he knew he would pass out soon. What he didn't know, or didn't expect to hear, was the strange sound Soobs made.

A sigh.

A sigh, and then a "nooo", mumblewhispered, then more definitive "No."

"C'mon, c'mon, don't stop," she moaned. The same words which once encouraged now just mocked him. And Mitty had nothing left. He stopped ramming into her, his dick losing form and purpose; he teetered on his knees as if he would fall off the couch.

The room spun wildly around Mitty, and he took Soobs firing hips between his hands and forced them to a trembling quiet beneath him. The soft sound of Soobs' sigh reverberated in his skull, more deliberate, more haunting, and more painful with each passing moment. He petted the back of her sweaty hair neatly down her sweaty back. He felt very distant as passed out into her, or onto her, or near or far from her body, he didn't really know.

Soobs' body exhaled an exhaustive gesture-she didn't know what happened either. I leapt up onto her husband's body, but when she saw me she wasn't startled. Her eyes had this glaze to them-not like she was expecting me, but she was expecting something-and there I was, at least soft, and impersonal, and there for her.

* * *

She set me up with a warm bowl of milk and some tuna fish, and was sweeping up the wine bottle shards when Mitty stumbled into the kitchen.

"We have company," she said. "This is Madeleine."

"What's wrong with it," said Mitty, scratching his head and bending down to examine my collar, my flames. His teeth were stained with wine and he scratched me without paying attention in all the wrong places. I was about to swipe a claw at him when he stood up.

He started to say something to her, an apology of sorts but she cut him off.

"Can you go to the store and get some kitty litter? I'll clean up this mess."

He lowered his head and obeyed.

* * *

Mitty had it in his head that he had to go down to the school and confront Jason. At least get a look at him to put something in perspective. I tried to distract him from that notion, convince him it was a terrible idea-pestered him to play with me instead-but it was no use. I stayed close, nudging into his ankles every few steps around the house until he finally threw me in the car and we were off.

His shitty Mitty car crept up to the library parking lot, then he circled around and parked on the street instead, but we could still see Soobs at a table through the glass windows. And Jason never showed. We waited a long time, watching her.

Soobs remained at her table pretending to go over her notes, but she would flinch every time someone knew entered the library. But it would never be Jason.

I kept my eyes on her, feeling something but not sure what it was so I just meowed. I felt Mitty's hand come behind my ears and scruff below my chin-it felt good. Then I heard him sniffling. Awkward. Cats don't understand crying. We understand too much to understand crying. But he didn't break down and start blubbering, at least, and I was thankful. Maybe he would've-he was on the brink, but his cell phone rang.

He snorted in a big drool of snot and cleared his throat.

-- Hello?

-- Oh.hey Dad. What's up?

-- Crying? No, nah. Allergies. Yeah, Sue and I got a cat.

--I don't know, it' It's weird, long story . He glared at me, I hacked up a hairball.

-- No I didn't forget. I was going to call you two later. Happy Anniversary. Is mom.

--The tub? No, don't bother. I'll call tonight.

--Shit, 35 years. How does it feel?

--That's what I thought.

-- Hey dad, can I ask you something.kind of personal.

Oh God, what is wrong with this dunce? Is he really going to ask? Doesn't he see his wife right in front of him?

-- You and mom are pretty fulfilled, right? I mean, you fulfill each other?

I'm jumping up and down like a madcat in the passenger seat, tearing apart the vinyl. What is wrong with him?

-- No, no, Sue and I are's just.


Just then Soobs leaves the library and walks to her car. Her posture was strong and a casual passerby wouldn't know anything was wrong. She got in and closed the door and then it all sloughed: her too with the crying. And we weren't supposed to see any of this, but we saw it all. And I hope it helped.

Then Mitty begins with the sniffles again, Jesus Christ! What is there a Morrissey song playing?

--What? No, I'm just distracted. You know what Dad, it's nothing. Really. I just. I just am proud of you and mom. Listen, we'll talk tonight. Tell mom I'll talk to her tonight, okay?

--Yeah, yup. Fine. I love you too. I'll talk to you tonight.

--No, nah. Allergies. I will.

* * *

I lay in Soobs' nocturnal emission and let it rub into the fur on my belly. She went to bed early tonight, bad mood, long day, right after dinner. Mitty came in a few hours later, thought of waking her then thought better of it. He snored next to us and I crept up to his face. My fur tickled him but he didn't wake, just stirred and sputtered my tail hair from his mouth. I wanted to help them, I did, but I didn't know how. It seemed so silly, but they were caught up in it. The drama. Humans.

I dragged my moist belly over his nose and forehead. I wanted him to know what was possible. I rested on his chest and began purring, deeply. I watched the bulge beneath the covers by his lap form as the two lovers dreamed quietly, separately, naturally. I wanted him to know that it was all so much easier than he was making it.

    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.

    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.


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