Attic Abasement

I first became aware of the band Attic Abasement mainly because their name caught my eye on YouTube. Their album Dancing is Depressing has some unforgettable tracks.

The opening song “Australia” is slow and somber. It feels like the kind of song you would write while sitting alone in the dark in front of a fire in the middle of fall. “How do I know that I’m alive?” is repeated over and over midway through the song. This is a powerful question to contemplate because the asker is basically wondering about his choices and examining his current life. He reaches a sudden solution (although perhaps a short-lived one) with “I think I’ll start a farm in Australia and take walks just to sit around blocking moonbeams on a desert or on a beach.” This section is then followed with “And that’s how I’ll know that I’m alive” repeated in the same way as before. It’s the kind of thought process someone goes through when sitting alone thinking or talking with a friend about his or her life. You know, maybe I’ll just start a farm somewhere…

This band’s lyrics generally seem to contain a good mix of blunt statements and metaphorical descriptions. “Sorry About Your Dick” starts with the lyrics “Lady, I’m sorry, but you married a dick, and you better just digest him before he turns to shit.”

“A Werewolf” has a great opening with a gradual buildup on the guitar and then proceeds to launch full force into the song with all the other instruments joining it. The first line “I distrust a mattress that smells like it feels” immediately grabs my attention and makes me wait eagerly for each successive line. During the chorus, the song slows down for the lines “I can be a werewolf if you want me to if you want me.” Slowing down for the chorus and then picking it back up for the verses really gives this song a momentum and feeling that keeps it vibrant. This is definitely my favorite song on this album. The lyrics mixed with the flow of the song and the subtle yet powerful guitar all make me keep coming back to it. “I know when it’s time to let the dog decide. When I find my hands tied, I let the dog decide. I can be a werewolf if you want me to if you want me.” It’s sad with an upbeat tempo and has a hint of humor to it, which almost seems to describe perfectly the ridiculous situations in which we find ourselves sometimes.

“Both of Me” starts with the verse “Some people these days spill all over the place and nothing at all is what they hoped things would become. They shrivel up and down they go to the very foam.” There is a sense of urgency in a lot of their songs that is similar to the urgency found in punk. Attic Abasement manages to create this urgency with more of a folk-based aesthetic, although they are certainly not a typical folk band nor are they a punk band.

This band is very unique in their approach and is definitely worth checking out. Their most recent album Dream News also has some great stuff on it. I just wanted to talk about this particular album because I connected the most with it after randomly finding it on YouTube. Give them a listen if you feel like it.


The Puppet Show

Last night, I had a dream I was in a puppet show. My puppet was giving a monologue, and it just kept going. The words kept coming out of my mouth and the puppet’s mouth, and the audience started to get restless.

I looked out into the auditorium and through the glare of the lights I could see the people shifting in their seats and whispering to each other. I just couldn’t stop it though. It was as if the puppet and I were possessed by something.

There were other acts waiting to go on stage. Someone was holding a guitar and looking at me without blinking. Every time I thought it was almost over, the puppet and I would start speaking again.

I don’t even know what we were saying. I guess it doesn’t really matter. It was just line after line of nonsense. I was trapped in the puppet show, and now that I think about it, that’s kind of what it’s like to live in central PA.

The Organ

I’ve probably been listening to The Organ for five years now despite the fact that they only had one full length album.

Grab that Gun, which came out in 2004, has a lot of songs I always return to like “Steven Smith,” which pulls you in with its organ intro and quickly gains momentum. It is a steady pace of wistful lyrics and riffs that I seem to be in the mood for whenever I see or think of that song.

“Basement Band Song” was the first song I ever heard from them. It’s catchy, desperate, and despondent. I remember listening to it over and over before giving any of the other songs a listen because I couldn’t stop. I too wanted a basement band and so it seemed appropriate in addition to the fact that it is a fantastic song.

The song I can never get enough of though is “There is Nothing I can do.” The opening starts with a bass line that is probably responsible for making me obsess over bass lines ever since. It was the first bass line that made me think, holy shit. There is also the sound of footsteps and windows being closed. Finally, some sort of curtain is drawn back and the bass becomes louder as if the listener is entering the venue. I think that’s ingenious because I always love how you can hear the distant sound of the bass when you are outside a venue while the band is playing.

When the guitar kicks in, it’s a bit shocking, but then you realize it’s the exact same riff only on the guitar and so it’s familiar. It’s hard for me to describe exactly why I like that, but I think it’s brilliant. In my opinion, the bass definitely makes that song, and I wish I could turn it up a bit more.

Most of their songs make me want to create my own music when I hear them. They are deeply meaningful but also very accessible in a way that inspires me to give it a try. A lot of their music just seems very fun to play. I love bands who have simple riffs but use them so effectively that they come across as intricate.

The Organ does this remarkably well, and they may have been one of the first bands I came across who did so. Mix that with Katie Sketch’s vocals, and you get a very intriguing band.

Unfortunately, they no longer play, but we still have their album to enjoy.