it's like a bad day that never ends

Before I get to whining, here's some pure goodness to cleanse yr palette.

MP3 The Hold Steady - "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"
Here's a track (previously linked to/reviewed by Pitchfork last week) from the forthcoming Separation Sunday LP (out May 3rd) from Brooklyn-by-way-of-Mpls indie rockers The Hold Steady, courtesy of French Kiss. Above (right) is the poster I picked up when I saw the band last month, now available from Aesthetic Apparatus. Brooklyn Vegan has pix from their recent NYC gig at the Bowery Ballroom, and you can find more Hold Steady photos at Kathryn Yu's (thankyouthankyouthankyou) Flickr gallery.

CAVEAT: Here comes yet another pathetic pity party by yours truly, which I seem to be holding at an ever increasing frequency. You've been warned.

So this past Monday nite, Phoenix headlined a triple-bill at the Fine Line with Dogs Die in Hot Cars & Joy Zipper (who I have blogged about before). Sounds like a can't-miss show, right? But was I in attendance? Nope. Was it sold out, like the Decemberists/Okkervil River show at the same venue two nites earlier? Nah. Did I just have to stay home for the latest episode of 24? Not really. So what did I do? I stayed home, watched said episode of 24, listened to Patton Oswalt on Monday's edition of the Majority Report, and spent the rest of the nite generally being miserable.

BTW: Oswalt was on Carson Daly last nite (heads up via goldenfiddle) along with fellow comedian David Cross, who coincidentally co-hosted last nite's Majority Report with Sam Seder (since Janeane is shooting a pilot in LA). To no one's suprise, Cross' disdain for Daly was not all that thinly veiled.

My general lack of enthusiasm also kept me from roadtripping down to Chicago for the aforementioned midwestern RANA event, which normally I would never-never miss. Other recent musical frustrations include my mistakenly thinking the upcoming Out Hud gig at the Triple Rock was in May, when it is actually this weekend (I will be out of town), and a bone-headed error on my part that completely f**ked up my iTunes library of 25K+ songs, forcing me to reorganize from scratch (goodbye playlists).

But all of this is besides the point, which I suppose I should get around to:

MP3 The Deadly Snakes - "I Want To Die"
Relax, folks. I don't so much "want to die" as much as I just seem to have little interest in life. Yeah, I've been depressed on-and-off for over four years now (holy crap), but it's getting to the point where I'm having serious trouble enjoying much of anything, which may somewhat explain why my posting frequency on this blog has been so erratic of late. I've found myself taking off entire weeks at a time, despite having loads of presumably free time that I spend doing very very little. I've mooched off my folks for far too long (nearly three years), and they're rightfully giving me the boot at the end of the month. You would think that the looming threat of homelessness would jumpstart my survival instincts, kick my ass out the door toward work & shelter, but alas I'm still the same dumbass feeling sorry for myself, getting nothing done, amounting to jack-sh** or somewhere thereabouts.

I wish-wish-wish I had the intense enthusiasm that Toronto's The Deadly Snakes exude in this raucous track, from the band's befittingly-titled 2003 LP Ode To Joy. I sought out this album after Pitchfork granted it "best new music" status in fall '03 & was happily impressed with its balls-out rock peppered with "garage, early punk, roots/bluegrass, Stax soul, & Southern gospel," and it wound up on my best-of list at year's end. "I Want To Die" has always stuck out as a favorite for me, perhaps due to its call-and-response breakdown toward the end of the song that knocks everything out of its path, or maybe it's the level of excitement it generates while vocalist Andre Ethier yelps out lyrics about not "wanting to see a thing anymore" or "go out on Friday nite." Despite my shortcomings, in the past I have been able to muster up plenty of earnest passion about things that intrigue me, or that I care about, so I suppose I connect with the song's stark contrast between its downcast words & foot-stomping music.

MP3 K-Os - "Man I Used To Be"
So why am I so darn pitiful, and who cares anyway? Well, unfortunately for me I truly cannot stand myself. Do I have an okay sense of humor? I guess. Do I decent taste in music, movies, etc? Depends who you're asking, but I suppose I do care about aesthetics to some extent (I went to school for it, so I had better). But other than those measly attributes, I can't say I'm proud of much else that has to do with me, and that extreme low self-esteem & lack of self-confidence combines with nagging anxiety that has always plagued me to make for a surefire recipe for success (add your own sarcasm). Whatever, this is all just the same bullsh** that various shrinks have had to endure over the years, so I'll try to avoid being redundant & spare you as much tediousness as possible (yet I keep writing).

When I'm struggling like this, I get into nasty habits. Phone calls go unreturned. E-mails fail to garner responses. My semi-irrational, pervasive disdain for myself leads to this solitary anti-lifestyle, also known as being an "a**hole." Even my friends' company can become discomforting, with my suckiness inevitably (and selfishly) reflecting off their not-suckiness. As you can imagine, this all can make me an unpleasant individual to be around.

I used to be able to better manage my depressive tendencies. I used to be responsible. I used to be dependable. I used to trust my own abilities. I used to have some ambition. I used to have more enthusiasm. I used to be a lot of things (or at least I think I was), but now I'm disgusted with the guy I've become after four years of basically wasting my life. And none of this means a damn thing. None of this complaining or self-abuse gets me anywhere.

This track, from Toronto-based MC K-Os, has been in my head for quite a while now - for obvious reasons, but it's also a great friggin' song. From last year's Joyful Rebellion album, "Man I Used To Be" has a groovy rhythm & a catchy-ass chorus supporting thoughtful lyrics about self-examination, regret & the nature of existence (sorta). I certainly feel the sentiment behind "I just wanna get back to me," though I know that my desire to do so is likley an exercise in pure vanity. I appreciate the acoustic interlude after the song, which tacks on an extra layer of authenticity & feeling IMO.

MOV K-Os - "Man I Used To Be" video (24.2mb)
MOV K-Os - "Superstarr Pt. 0" video (29.2mb)
MOV K-Os - "Heaven Only Knows" video (25.2mb)
MOV K-Os - "Crabbucket" video (24.3mb)
MOV Buck 65 - "4-6-3" video (24.5mb)

Director Micah Meisner has directed several music videos for K-Os (courtesy Revolver Films), as well as one for fellow Canadian hip-hop artist Buck 65.

MP3 Phoenix - "If I Ever Feel Better"
So anyway, I've been toying with the idea of ending this blog, or possibly putting it on hiatus. Or maybe somebody else could take it over in my absence. I dunno. I'm already posting at a scattershot pace, and I barely have the will to do so as it is. I'll likely need to focus my energies elsewhere in the near future & I don't know if I'll be able to keep up The Big Ticket for much longer. Heck, internet access may be an issue, with a potential lack thereof (if I'm living in my car, or something) becoming a major obstacle. I haven't made up my mind yet, but soon it may be made up for me.

And now I come back to Phoenix (not the city), whose local show I just couldn't drag myself out to earlier this week (check out their in-studio session at The Current). This track is from the French pop band's 2000 release United, and also appeared on Erlend Øye's much-lauded DJ Kicks mix, and was also posted way back when at the now tragically defunct gabbaPad. Much like the previous songs, its upbeat disco groove is juxtaposed with melancholy lyrics, many of which hit home for me:
Feels like I've been buried yet I'm still alive
It's like a bad day that never ends
I feel the chaos around me
A thing I don't try to deny
I'd better learn to accept that
There are things in my life that I can't control


But I'm feeding the enemy
I'm in league with the foe
Blame me for what's happening
I can't try, I can't try, I can't try...
No one knows the hard times I went through
If happiness came I missed the call


Someday all this mess will make me laugh
I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait...

Of course, all my so-called "suffering" is totally self-inflicted - I am my own worst enemy, just like the cliché says. I can only hope that I will somehow, someway get my sh** together & come out on the other side for the better, but from my vantage point it's very difficult to see how that outcome will come to fruition. And the clock is ticking, always ticking. But I'm trying not to think about that right now, since I have to get to packing ASAP. I'm going down to Naples, FL (oh, poor me) with my dad & my brother Alan for a long weekend, during which I will hopefully find a way to settle my nerves & unwind a little. I may do a post or two while I'm down there, but I kinda doubt it - especially since I'm considering shutting down this whole operation altogether. Again, I don't know what I'm gonna do.

Anyway, sorry to be so gloomy. I know that's not why anybody bothers to stop by this site. I also don't think I expressed myself very well, but then again I'm in a rush. However it's still my blog, so you'll have to indulge me.

I'll leave you with an encouraging image: David Cross @ Air America.
| catching up with the brain drain »
| where did he go? where did he go? »
| let's not bring ink & paper into this »
| i'm just as boring as everyone else »
| look at you with your mind reeling »
| listening w/loot i ain't got (pt 2) »
| listening w/loot i ain't got (pt 1) »
| we don't need to dream no more »
| everybody's singing along, come on »

Blogger solace @ 4/14/2005 08:47:00 AM:

funny you should post that K-Os track, as i've been listening to Joyful Rebellion the last week or two. wish he would have come here on this lil US tour he's on. The Love Song is so great.

damn dude, sorry to hear :-/

i definitely know how it feels to dig yourself into a rut, all the while totally realizing what you're doing to yourself and your own head. it's at least a good thing that you're aware of it though, that's the problem so many people have in my experience, is not even realizing it. i can't say i've got any suggestions or answers for you, other than it seems that you definitely want to change yourself, you just don't know where to start maybe.

last fall i had really started to let life kinda kick my ass for a good 6 months or so, it wasn't until my grandmother passed away in October that i really was able to stop and regain my focus a bit. i still go through bouts of feeling totally overwhelmed with just life in general (job, relationship, etc.), but i keep enough positive thoughts and interests going that it doesn't slow me down too much usually. i know one thing that helped me a lot was getting out and doing things that i normally would not do, to take me "out of my element" so to speak.

as for your blog, if you need to take 6 months off? so be it, but i def think you should at least keep the option open. sure you'll be missed, but i think most everyone would understand that we all just need a vacation from things from time to time, regardless of what it is.    

Blogger kathryn @ 4/14/2005 10:03:00 AM:

there's still a lot of wonderful things in life that can make the bad times seem slightly brighter.

take all the time you need. we'll still be here, waiting for you, should you decide to take a break.

good luck and godspeed, mr. g.    

Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/14/2005 02:32:00 PM:

i hope you realize that a lot of people reading this can completely identify/empathize. sometimes that doesn't particularly help, but sometimes it does.

shut down the blog sometime (temporarily or permanently) if that's best for you - i've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it since i started keeping up with it and i'm just happy that you've kept it going up to now.

i appreciate your effort to explain. i've been going through a bit of a tough time myself and it helps to be able to relate to someone in a similar situation.    

Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/14/2005 03:13:00 PM:

I hate to get all psycho-babble on you, but you're obviously experiencing a major depressive episode. Everything you describe fits: lack of interest in things, inability to be around people much, inability to help yourself.
You need to stop blaming yourself and get some help. Honestly, you're not going to be able to will yourself into feeling better. I know all this from personal experience and I sympathize from the bottom of my heart.

Serious depression is very similar to addiction. You're reluctant to admit you have a problem until your life is in shambles. I don't know if you're there yet, but I also don't think you want to wait and see what hitting bottom is like.

I bet your parents will be willing to help you out a bit longer if you find a therapist and get on antidepressants. Even if you've been in therapy in the past and tried drugs and feel like they don't work, you need to try again. Sometimes it takes trying several different meds before one helps.

And sometimes it takes being at the right stage in your life to finally take the problem seriously. I'm guessing you're in your mid 20s--that's about when I admitted the problem after feeling like shit for a really long time.

I enjoy your blog and believe you have a lot of talent and many things to offer the world. So stop kicking yourself and just do what you need to do to get better.    

Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/14/2005 04:39:00 PM:

hey, sorry about your life right now. if you do take a break/shut down this blog, we'll all really miss you, but g'luck with things.    

Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/14/2005 06:19:00 PM:

More people suffer from depression than you'd ever know. Believe me, nobody would think you're an ass for taking a break from this site until the static in your head clears. I know the feeling where absolutely everything feels like a huge chore. Take a break. We'll all still be here. I've got you bookmarked and will always be a fan.

Good luck, friend.    

Blogger James H. @ 4/14/2005 08:36:00 PM:

Hey there!

I had in my mind that I'd have something really eloquent and powerful to say to you, but I don't really. I just wanted to let you know that when I'm done I find joy in some of the music you post here. I'm really thankful for you taking time out of your day to post up an entry or two. Keep up the good work!

Your brother in music,


Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/14/2005 11:26:00 PM:


What Katherine and Amy and the rest said.

Nobody (except maybe Frank Chromewaves) matches you for the trifecta of good writing, attractive design, and unimpeachable music.

Take care.


Anonymous Anonymous @ 4/15/2005 12:10:00 AM:


I'd like to second many of the things that others have said here. I think your blog is great, you have good writing, excellent content, and a cool design. Your blog has turned me on to many great links to music and other blogs. I for one would totally understand if you need to take a little time off. You will be missed but you have to take care of yourself too.

Thanks for all your good work. I hope you can keep it up.    

Blogger James O'T. @ 4/15/2005 12:37:00 PM:

everyone's said it already, so i'll try to keep it short. this shit is TEMPORARY. no matter how bad it seems now. things will change. and that's not sunny bullshit optimism. it's pure pragmatic reality. life is way to random to remain crap forever. ups and downs, strikes and gutters. it's the f'd up roller coaster we call life. but the good times make it worth living, even if it doesn't seem like they happen a lot. i feel like shit about myself A LOT, so it's not like my life is a bed of roses. but as chessy as it sounds, i try to make the best of it and have as much fun as possible. you're blog is something to be proud of. lots of people have em' these days, but few are good at keeping things interesting and finding great music. speaking of music, that's probably one of the only things that keeps me staying on the afformentioned coaster. and it looks like you love it too, so hang in there. ok, so much for keeping it short, oh well...    

Blogger mr gilbert @ 4/16/2005 10:20:00 AM:

thanks for the supportive words, everybody (and i wasn't blogging for compliments, btw). i definitely appreciate them. i still haven't decided what i'm going to be doing, but i'd expect a few posts here & there before the end of the month. maybe i'll even write something while i'm down here in FL...

fyi amy, i do know that i'm in a major depressive episode - i've been in (and briefly out of) one for over four years. i've been seeing one shrink or another that whole time (boy, was that difficult at first) and have actually gone back on meds for the first time in about a year (still waiting for that zoloft to kick in after three months now). my folks & others have been trying their best to help me out for a long time now, to the point where they believe (and may be correct in doing so) that they're enabling my spoiled ass. they've tried their best to be supportive, but of course i'm the only one that can really change anything. so don't worry about the psychobabble - i have heard & spouted plenty of my own.    

Anonymous Anonymous @ 5/06/2005 02:51:00 PM:

I feel you, man. Sometimes I think life is too heavy for my to handle. Anyway, check out my lame self-pity song if you're feeling bored:    

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