Tag Archives: Oklahoma

Concert Photos: Montu and Rad Shades

In this age of diminishing print media sales, blogging has snowballed into an ever increasing alternate source of information.  It kind of horrifies me to think that people look to blogs for, like, real journalism.  If you want further proof that bloggers just don’t quite cut it as fully legit journalists, consider this: I had every intention of documenting last Friday’s Montu/Rad Shades/Digital Beatdown show in a semi-professional manner.  However, when it became clear that I wouldn’t be required to drive that night, all hope of sobriety (and good photography…and totally coherent thinking) gave way to gin & Sprite.  And goofy dance movez.

Digital Beatdown got things off to a good start, from what I saw, but I have to admit that I was preoccupied with getting my order taken at the bar.  And my other order.   Bartenders rarely recognize my beauty and always seem to take orders from girls in short skirts first.  Whatever.

Montu actually played two sets, broken up by an intermission patrolled by Rad Shade’s beat dropping.  Brother’s is not a huge venue, but every spare inch of space was filled with sweaty, grooving collegiate body parts.  Montu’s dexterous, intricate instrumental fusion seemed even more on-point than the last time I saw them.  My friend Colby Cowart happens to be their drummer, so maybe I’m not completely without bias, but this is a group well deserving of bigger and better things in the near future.  They already appear to have quite a local following, and for very legit reasons.

Rad Shades is the DJing duo Miles Compton and Will Krause, two other friends of mine.  Before the show they warned me that they had thrown the night’s mix together about an hour prior, but to my ears (and my shaking drunk ass), it was a tightly performed set.  The crowd was completely won over by their charismatic presence and solid mixing abilities.  Even when Will’s laptop crashed to the floor with an Apple-smashing thud, momentum was quickly regained (and said computer seemed to recover from the tumble).

Fortunately, our friend (and expert artist/photographer) Zay Shaeffer was there to pick up the visual slack, capturing some dope shots for you cats.

Rad Shades (By Zay):

rad1

rad2

rad3

rad4

Rad Shades (By Chris):

rad5

rad6

rad7

Montu (By Zay):

montu1

montu2

montu3

Montu (By Chris):

dsc00921

dsc00926

dsc00929

Chris

Advertisements

“Do You Realize that Oklahoma Is Home to People Other than Toby Keith and Garth Brooks??”

Suck it, Oral Roberts.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives doesn’t have a very impressive track record when it comes to progressive legislation, so it should come as no surprise that they don’t have very good taste in music either. Senate Joint Resolution 24, which would have immortalized the Flaming Lips transcendent Yoshimi cut “Do You Realize??” as the state’s official rock song, was defeated in the House yesterday by a vote of 48 to 39.

Mike Reynolds (R-OKC) took issue with the band’s “reputation for obscene language,” while rep. Corey Holland’s delicate sensibilities were offended by Michael Ivins’ pinko wardrobe.  On a related note, neither Holland nor Reynolds have ever heard rock music.

Luckily, Oklahoma governer Brad Henry (D) plans to sign an executive order next Tuesday honoring the will of his constituents, who voted overwhelmingly for the Lips in an online poll, and officially recognize that everyone you know someday will die:

“The music of the Flaming Lips has earned Grammys, glowing critical acclaim and fans all over the world,” the governor said. “A truly iconic rock n’ roll band, they are proud ambassadors of their home state.

“They were clearly the people’s choice, and I intend to honor that vote.”

[Courtesy of NewsOK.com]

I was born and raised in Oklahoma and, while it may seem insignificant, I truly feel a sense of real victory from a executive measure like this. It’s high time that Oklahoma rightly honor its significant creative voices. Oklahomans — and residents of the South, in general — have a hard enough time battling the stereotype that we’re know-nothing, uncultured rednecks with disdain for the “faggier” elements of society (i.e. the Arts).

The truth is that Oklahoma has given to the world the likes of Ralph Ellison, Woody Guthrie, N. Scott Momaday, Bill Moyers, and — of course — The Lips. These people have respectively made the world a better, stranger and more creative place; we should celebrate that.  Yet, if you were to walk the halls of any given public school during Oklahoma History Month, you’d think the state produced nothing but country singers and cowboys.

While most fellow Okies might not give the proper respect to the merits of Momaday’s House Made of Dawn or Ellison’s Invisible Man as opposed to, say, the staggering idiocy of Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” I for one am thrilled to think that symbolic measures are being taken to remind us all that artistry isn’t dead in the South.

Jezy

Interview: Death Knelly

l_0ed5f3dea79c4106bc1b651cfa209eab

Chase Jackson is a dear friend of us here at Silence in Architecture, but he’s also the brains and balls behind one of our favorite local musical institutions, performing under the moniker Death Knelly.  Seriously, if you haven’t heard him yet, quit slagging off and visit his MySpace or download one of the tracks at the end of this interview.  Wait…slag off for just a few minutes longer and read this.  Chase talks about woman-eating tigers, homosexual-hating State Representatives, and PJ Harvey.  Quite a bit about PJ Harvey, actually.  But I certainly can’t blame him for that.

SiA: It seems that, in a relatively short period of time, Death Knelly went from seeming like a just-for-fun (if still really interesting) diversion to something much more substantial. What were your intentions starting out and how was that altered by the response the music received?

Chase: My friend Brock came up to Durant last spring break and he has been recording music and posting it under the name Brock Rabbitt on MySpace for a couple years and I had always wanted to start a music page on MySpace, but didn’t have the technological prowess or know how. Brock and I had always talked about collaborating musically, so one day during that break he brought over his laptop and we improvised about 6 songs in 15 minutes and called it “The Concept EP: A Very Brief Engagement”. It was a completely free form, child-like/ish experiment that was just for shits and giggles, but after that encounter with Brock he showed me how easy it was to record a song on my computer and upload it to MySpace. He lives in Allen, Texas, which makes it hard for us to collaborate, so I decided to continue with the project solo and the songs became more thought-out but stayed just as rough. Once I started to take the idea of actually writing songs more seriously, people started to take me more seriously. After I uploaded the song “Child ‘O’ God” and “Don’t Shoot Out the Light”, I think people went “Oh, maybe he isn’t just fucking around”, which isn’t to say I have any idea what I’m doing, because I don’t. I think that’s what makes it fun for me and hopefully others.

SiA: Explain to our readers where the name “Death Knelly” came from.

Chase: The name Death Knelly originated during spring break of ’08. It was not too long after the media got a hold of a recording of Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern’s rant where she claimed that homosexuality was a bigger threat to America than Terrorism. I was really pissed off about the whole thing. I was telling Brock that she referred to homosexuality as “…the death knell of this country”, to which he replied, “Does that make us death knellies?” and I started laughing really hard and it was like that moment in “Boogie Nights” when Eddy tells Jack Horner his idea for the name Dirk Diggler and it flashes up in neon lights and then becomes obscured by fire. I was like, “That’s it! That will be the name of the band.”

SiA: Do you think Sally Kern is a fan of your music?

Chase: If she is, I’m doing something wrong.

SiA: On your MySpace page you cite John Waters, David Lynch, and Pedro Almodovar as your favorite filmmakers. How do you think their work has influenced you, both as an individual and as a musician? All three directors seem to share a rare gift for being able to find a human core within the most absurd aspects of life, and when I listen to your music I feel that there is a similar emotional center within your music.

Chase: I think all these directors have influenced me in different ways. David Lynch’s films achieve balance without being symmetrical, which is something I also aspire to do with my own life and work. I love Pedro Almodovar because his films teach us that compassion, humility, and a sense of humor will help us overcome all the shit that life dishes out. John Waters’ movies celebrate the freaks and make us laugh at our own perversions, which is something we should all do more often.

SiA: You currently attend Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma. Have you lived in Oklahoma your whole life? I know that for me, growing up in rural Oklahoma was a somewhat surreal experience at times, as there is a sense of cultural detachment from the rest of the world. What are your feelings about living in what many people would consider a culturally backwards area of the country?

Chase: I was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma and moved to Durant when I was 4 and I have lived here ever since. It didn’t really occur to me how different I was from other kids, until I moved to Durant and started attending school. It didn’t help that I was a total child of television, MTV in particular, at an age when most kids were limited to one hour of Nickelodeon a day. I got involved with Theatre and Dance, which made it a lot easier to deal with my surroundings. Once I finally came out of the closet in High School it was even harder not to feel an overwhelming sense of alienation. I got my ass beat a couple of times, went through a hardcore drug phase, and all the other shit that comes along with that. I eventually learned that cowering down and giving into a shitty situation would be unrewarding, so I got my shit together, graduated high school, took a year off, developed an alcohol problem and decided I’d better go to college where alcoholism is encouraged. But seriously, I think if I didn’t have such a supportive family and group of friends I would be a bigger mess than I already am. I also think no matter how small a town you live in, good music will find you if you are willing to listen. If you read enough and search for things that interest you. You just have to have your antennas out and ready. If I had all the technological capabilities in high school that I have now, I would have probably downloaded music all day and never left my house. That’s probably why it’s taking me so long to graduate college.

SiA: I know that you’re in the Theater Arts program…what are your future aspirations with that? I haven’t had the opportunity to see you in any plays, but from what I hear you are a pretty talented actor.

Chase: I love acting and performing, but lately I’ve been more interested in what I can do with music, especially in terms of performance. I’ve always been drawn to musicians that have a certain amount of theatricality or a performance art sensibility to them, like David Bowie, PJ Harvey, Diamanda Galas etc. The thing that’s so inhibiting with theatre is that after working on a show for a certain amount of time it can start to become stale and predictable, whereas with live music you have the ability to tweak things nightly and keep it fresh. I’d like to be able to act and do music, but who knows.

death

SiA: Last year I organized the first Happyland Music Festival and you were kind enough to play a set for us. This also happened to be your first live performance. Everyone I talked to afterward seemed to really enjoy Death Knelly. You are planning on performing again at this year’s festival, but I was wondering where you stand on booking more shows?

Chase: When I graduate in May and finish my Summer job, I plan to start focusing on Death Knelly more. I love performing live, especially in that context. I’m used to being on stage performing someone else’s work, but when you are playing your own music live in front of people, some whom have never heard your stuff before, you realize you don’t have anyone else to depend on and you have to steer the ship. It’s like a feeling of extreme vulnerability and complete exhilaration.

SiA: Death Knelly has, up to this point, really been a solo project, but do you have any plans of expanding into a full band?

Chase: I would love that! It would make things so much easier. Besides, I’m a big fan of collaboration. Sometimes it can feel like I’m playing a game of ping-pong by myself.

SiA: You have a demo CD out now, which is quite excellent. Are you currently working on any new material?

Chase: Well, the demo CD is kind of on hiatus right now, since my computer crashed. I’m going to try and extract all my music from the hard drive, so hopefully I’ll be back in business soon. Things have kind of slowed to a halt at the moment, since graduation is coming up. I’ve been playing around more on the electric guitar these days. All the songs on the “Ruff Demoz” CD were recorded on a Fender acoustic that is missing the bottom e string. I’m trying to do new things, because I grow bored easily. I’d like for Death Knelly to be a little more electronic and have some beats, but I haven’t learned how to do any of that shit yet.

SiA: How does the process of creating a song usually happen for you?

Chase: I usually come up with the music on guitar first, then I walk around with that in my head until something inspires me lyrically. Lyrics are always the most difficult part for me. I am overly critical of my lyrics. The best thing is when they just come to you. “White Tigers” was that way. I had watched this documentary on HBO called “Cat Dancers” about this man who trained wild cats to do tricks with his wife, kind of like Siegfried & Roy and one day he decides to get a white tiger for their act, even after his wife warns him it will be a terrible idea. Eventually, his wife and male lover are killed by the white tiger. After I watched it I was puzzled by how this beautiful animal could be so savage and predatory. And then I started thinking about how people are sometimes magnetically drawn to something that they know will be harmful to them in the long run, but the allure of it overshadows all logical thinking. I sat down and came up with the riff and the lyrics pretty much wrote themselves. It probably took me 5 minutes to write and record that song.

SiA: One lyric of yours that I really love is: “Went to bed drunk in the back of a Lexus/I woke up to a continental breakfast/in a discount motel in Austin, Texas” (from “Don’t Shoot Out the Lights”). It manages to contain a lot of concrete information in a short amount of space, and it’s filled with both humor and sadness. What’s your biggest lyrical inspiration?

Chase: I either like lyricists that don’t fully paint the picture and leave room for dissection or lyricists that are unflinchingly honest and get right to the point. I always liked Kim Deal and David Bowie because sometimes you feel like you need a decoder ring to interpret their lyrics. Then again, Leonard Cohen and PJ Harvey have this way of saying some of the most honest and soul-shattering shit you’ve ever heard. If I can find a medium between those two extremes, then I’ll be happy.

SiA: If you could collaborate with any musician who would you choose?

Chase: PJ Harvey. ‘Nuff Said.

SiA: Lo-fi music is currently back in style in a major way, and while I’m a huge fan of Sebadoh, Beat Happening, The Vaselines, and so on, a lot of this new wave of slacker rock seems like an extremely hollow affectation. Your music, while lo-fi, has a much more soulful charm to it, especially the vocals. I don’t want to read too much into anything, but I get the feeling this might be due to your female influences. Care to comment?

Chase: I think you may be on to something there. My cousin Lyndon said I sounded like Sade if she grew up to be PJ Harvey, which I took as the greatest complement ever. It’s true that I listen to more “female-heavy” music and I don’t know why that is. Not to say I don’t have musical influences that are male, but the X does outweigh the Y.

SiA: What kind of equipment do you use when you’re recording?

Chase: So far, I’ve used a program called Audacity for all my songs. It’s a program they also use at the SOSU radio station. I usually lay down the guitar with vocals and then after that I add back up vocals, weird droning and various other noises. I’m completely inexperienced with it and I pretty much work in a “trial & error” format. Some songs take 5 minutes and some take 5 hours. I’m interested in learning how to use other equipment and programs. That is, if I ever meet someone patient enough to show me how.

SiA: This is probably a silly question, but is there any kind of a music scene in Durant? About the only thing we get in Ada is fucking Red Dirt.

Chase: There is a small pond of people in Durant that work on music, but there isn’t really a scene. I know this guy named Ethan who has a couple of rad music projects (Cyber Panda, Dinosaur Eggs, and Wizards of Pterror) and my friend Corey Carpenter (Birdcoat, Static Ancestors, Roller Babies), who technically lives in Edmond now. Those two are crazy good. I wish they were in Death Knelly. If you two are reading this, the invitation is always open. Those are the only people I’m aware of. I wish there were more of a community, but alas, it just doesn’t appear to be so.

SiA: If you could have any kind of stage set-up, what would it look like?

Chase: I would have a four piece band, including myself. A drummer/vox, a keyboardist/guitarist/gadget-man/vox, and a bass/guitar player/vox and I would concentrate on vocals and occasionally play the guitar, while an enormous rainbow flag, with a huge skull and crossbones embroidered in the middle, wavers in the background… Yeah. Something like that.

SiA: What have you been into recently? Books? Movies? Music?

Chase: I was really blown away by “Synecdoche, New York“. It is such an ambitious mess that has been stuck in my brain ever since I first saw it and I can’t stop re-watching it. The song “Little Person” that plays at the end credits is so beautiful and tragic. Why wasn’t it nominated for Best Song at the Oscars? I can’t wait for Charlie Kaufman’s next film and I hope its darker and even more confusing. I don’t read as much as I should, so I don’t have any books to recommend. As for music, I have a huge crush on Perfume Genius. I don’t think he’s been signed, but I discovered his MySpace page earlier in the year and have been smitten ever since. He has this song called “Gay Angels” that sounds like a lost Twin Peaks-era Julee Cruise track. It’s fucking gorgeous. Go to his MySpace and check out his videos (and all the ridiculously stalker-ish comments I’ve left him). I still can’t stop listening to Grouper‘s “Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill” and Vivian Girls‘ self-titled album. I also really love the new Fever Ray album a lot. I know I’ve already praised PJ Harvey 400 times, but seriously. Her new album with John Parish, “A Woman A Man Walked By” is insanely wonderful. Especially the title track, where she gleefully growl/sings “Stick it up your fucking ass” before her and the band hop aboard a spooky train to a whimsical ghost town. It’s like I’m falling in love with her all over again.

SiA: Any parting wisdom to give our readers?

Chase: Celine Dion once said, “Some people they have everything, they have nothing. It’s wonderful.”, and I would have to agree with her.

Download:

White Tigers

The Next Time I Fall

Chris

Experiments in D’oh!: Oklahoma Politicians Do It Again

evolution2

Just when you think Oklahoma politicians might be learning to keep their mouths shut rather than risk embarrassing the state…Rep. Todd Thomsen writes a Resolution admonishing the University of Oklahoma for inviting Richard Dawkins to speak about *gasp* Evolution.

I have been out of town, thus I’m getting around to this a bit late, but below are the two bills he presented:

STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 52nd Legislature (2009)
HOUSE
RESOLUTION 1014
By: Thomsen todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov

AS INTRODUCED

< StartFT >A Resolution expressing disapproval of the actions of the University of Oklahoma to indoctrinate students in the theory of evolution; opposing the invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak on campus; and directing distribution.< EndFT >

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry, not indoctrinate students in one-sided study and thinking; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma has, as evidenced on the departmental homepage, been framing the Darwinian theory of evolution as doctrinal dogmatism rather than a hypothetical construction within the disciplines of the sciences; and

WHEREAS, not only has the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma been engaged in one-sided indoctrination of an unproven and unpopular theory but has made an effort to brand all thinking in dissent of this theory as anti-intellectual and backward rather than nurturing such free thinking and allowing a free discussion of all ideas which is the primary purpose of a university; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma has planned a year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s controversial theory of evolution, called the “Darwin 2009 Project”, which includes a series of lectures, public speakers, and a course on the history of evolution; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma; and

WHEREAS, the invitation for Richard Dawkins to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Friday, March 6, 2009, will only serve to further the indoctrination engaged in by the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma by presenting a biased philosophy on the theory of evolution to the exclusion of all other divergent considerations rather than teaching a scientific concept.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives hereby expresses its disapproval of the current indoctrination of the Darwinian theory of evolution at the University of Oklahoma and further requests that an open, dignified, and fair discussion of this idea and all other ideas be engaged in on campus which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

52-1-7145 < KB > < 03/02/09 >


STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 52nd Legislature (2009)
HOUSE RESOLUTION 1015
By: Thomsen todd.thomsen@okhouse.gov

AS INTRODUCED

< StartFT >A Resolution opposing the invitation to Richard Dawkins to speak on campus; encouraging the University of Oklahoma to engage in a certain discussion of certain scientific theories; and directing distribution.< EndFT >

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma has planned a year-long celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s theory of evolution, called the “Darwin 2009 Project”, which includes a series of lectures, public speakers, and a course on the history of evolution; and

WHEREAS, the University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma; and

WHEREAS, the invitation for Richard Dawkins to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma on Friday, March 6, 2009, will only serve to present a biased philosophy on the theory of evolution to the exclusion of all other divergent considerations rather than teaching a scientific concept.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT the Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion of the Darwinian theory of evolution and all other scientific theories which is the approach that a public institution should be engaged in and which represents the desire and interest of the citizens of Oklahoma.

THAT a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the University of Oklahoma, the Dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Oklahoma, and the Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma.

Here’s the introduction to Dawkins’ speech:

I suppose Mr. Thomsen has nothing better to do than write inconsequential bills that will assure him plenty of Baptist Bucks in the future.  Evolution appears to be stuck in a bar ditch next to Wal-Mart.

Chris

Blitzen Trapper Live in Norman (Tonight)

blitzentrapper01

This is kinda last minute on my part, but Blitzen Trapper and Alela Diane will be playing tonight in Norman at The Opolis.   Tickets are $10 and doors open at 9 p.m.  

MP3s:

Gold for Bread

Furr

Ryan McMahan For Pontotoc County Chair

l_6fb6ab948a92726361ec5e23db8509ed.jpg 

Ryan McMahan for County Chair – Pontotoc County!

Hello my fellow Americans,

I would like to take this time, to announce that I am officially running for the position of County Chair this Saturday in the Pontotoc District of Oklahoma, USA. I will be going up against current County Chairman, John McMahan.

We need your vote!

-This Saturday at 9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Ada Chamber of Commerce
300 W. Main St.
Ada OK 74820.
-If you vote for me all of your wildest dreams will come true.
-I promise to represent you, the tax paying citizens of Pontotoc County.

* Has never been “Lobbied”
* Believes in God
* Made an A in U.S. Government at ECU
* Understands social problems at the local level
* Never taken a Government Paid Junket
* Has Never voted to raise Taxes.
* Man of Principle and Honor

– This message has been approved and paid for by the McMahan campaign –

Mixtapes in Miniature

Banksy Drawing

Image: Banksy 

I try my best to keep up with the new hip swinging sounds the kids bop in their boomboxes.  Still, the constant pursuit of finding the next ________ can leave me feeling a bit overwhelmed by information and wanting for lasting impressions.  I just don’t have the time to keep up with bedroom demos of future One Blog Wonders. 

I think of this blog as more of a multimedia mixtape for friends and my mixtapes have always been filled with nostalgia and lost hymns. 

So, here are three songs by bands (The dB’s, The Go-Betweens, and Catherine Wheel) that are about a generation removed from SXSW photo-ops:

mp3: