For the Young Sophisticate

1. I’ve had Che Guevara T-Shirt’s New Young Guns of the Angular Wooden in high-repeat mode on my iPod recently. The Albany-bred trio (K. Sonin on guitar, bass and vocals; Matthew Heuston on bass, guitar and vocals; Sean Meddler on drums) are ostensibly rooted in the math-rock pot of the post-rock garden, but they’re growing some shaggy, potent stuff out there in that all-too-often arid loam. Their second full-length disc finds the Che T’s mining a rich vein between thick slabs of heavy King Crimson and Black Flag, where orderly and ornate composed musical figures are stretched and bent in ways where you think they might break, but they never do . . . leaving you marveling at their tensile strength and elasticity. When I listen to Che Guevara T-Shirt today, I’m often reminded of the glory days of SST Records in the early-to-mid-’80s, when the label embraced and promoted such genre-melting fare as Saccharine Trust, October Faction and seminal releases from the Minutemen, Meat Puppets and Husker Du. K. Sonin’s guitar work, in particular, evokes the fractured near-jazz that Joe Baiza used to spray across so many SST albums, and it’s a delight to hear him work his magic atop the tight, locked, intricate rhythms laid down by Heuston and Meddler. A worthy disc from an under-appreciated band. You can get the entire album here at K. Sonin’s website, and I’d also encourage you to check out Sonin’s challenging back catalog, which offers ample rewards for the discerning listener. Start with We Take the Dead and the Snow and Make Soup, and then explore further from there.

2. I’ve pretty much had it with Facebook at this point. Haven’t you? As an early adopter, I found it entertaining to see folks from all phases of my life show up and reconnect, but then after the initial blush wore off, I often found myself having to actively work to block content that I didn’t want to see (“Mafia Wars” anybody?), or protecting myself from less-savvy Internet denizens who thought that they were proving something when they clicked on those hacker-placed “Most People Can Only Watch This Video For Ten Seconds” spam-bombs. A few months ago, as part of my vanishing program, I cut back from about 600 friends to about 100 friends, and didn’t have a noticeably inferior experience over at Facebook. So today I took it to the next level: from 100 friends to about 30 friends. I figure that in this day and age, if the other ~570 folks that I’ve cut loose want to chat with me (or me with them), I’m pretty freakin’ easy to find if you know how to operate Google, and if you don’t then, well, we probably don’t have a lot to talk about anyway. I’m going to continue to maintain a Facebook presence so that I can tend to the Indie Albany page there (please subscribe), as well as manage my Naval Academy class reunion in October, but beyond that, I’m seeing LinkedIn and (maybe) Google+ as being the preferable platforms for my social media needs in the months and years ahead. If you follow me there, please don’t invite me to help with your Farm or your Town. Thank you.

3. I have decided to un-vanish one facet of my online presence, reviving my self named domain: jericsmith.com. I’ve had that domain registered since the late ’90s, and I’ve got it locked down until 2020 at this point, so it seemed a shame not to use it in some capacity. For a long time, it served as an archival destination for my 20+ years online, but I think this year, rather than just re-posting all of the old stuff, I’m going to re-brand it as a destination for my professionally-oriented writing, while Indie Albany serves as my primary repository for creative work. So feel free to bookmark or subscribe to jericsmith.com, and as things reach ripeness in my frontal lobe, I’ll make decisions about whether they belong there or here, while still providing all of the infrastructure and “back-of-house” support for both operations. I think Indie Albany has reached a self-sustaining level of maturity and readership where I won’t be competing with myself or the other writers by reclaiming my own named brand in parallel . . . but if you find two sites of me exhausting, let me know, and I’ll reconsider if necessary.

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