TS10

TS10: Glitches

I’m so thankful that my mind was opened to electronic music a while back. I had lived with the perception that it wasn’t “real music” for years. Now, electronically-oriented music is some of my favorite stuff. This week’s playlist contains a couple of “bookend” songs that represent my progression from dismissing this music to fully embracing it: SOLA-MI’s Mother Mother and Bon Iver’s 29 #Strafford Apts. Aside from these two songs, there is plenty of emotion to be felt in this playlist. So, take a listen and engage, my friend!

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Humbling

A long time ago, I experienced a little five-year chapter in my life, beginning on August 14, 1993 and ending on August 14, 1998. In ’93, I left home and headed to India for an internship. I was supposed to be there for nine months, but only lasted about three. From the moment I arrived, I was ready to get back on the plane and head home. It wasn’t because of India, per se. No, I was consumed with homesickness and culture shock.

Now, if I’d have paid attention during my training, I would have known to expected to feel that way. But I didn’t pay attention. In fact, I did very little to prepare for this nine-month experience. Why? Well, because, in my arrogance, I had everything under control. Yeah, I mean, I knew it would be hard at times, but I just knew I could handle it.

But then I landed in Mumbai. And then I traveled from the international airport to the domestic airport, passing by a profoundly large slum area on the way. As I observed the extreme poverty there from the safety of my bus, I sunk down in my seat and was ready to jump right back on the plane.

I lived with a beautiful family when I was there, but I sorely missed my family back in the States. I was a sorry mess. Within the first month, I already had decided to come back home early. My pride had taken an important, deep, and necessary blow.

As the years have passed, and as I get older and hopefully a little wiser, I’m seeing more and more how there is no room for pride. I am seeing more and more how incredibly limited and broken I am. And this is not a bad thing. It’s an important self-awareness that I sorely need. My guess is I’m not the only one.

Oh by the way, in 1998, I had the opportunity to go back. I went with a better sense of my own limitations and my need to lean on my Creator if the trip was going to be a success. And, it was a beautiful experience… restorative… redemptive.

I’ve been thinking about these realities as I was putting together this week’s TS10 and especially while listening to the last four songs. There is a definite heaviness here. I invite you to engage in that heaviness as you listen. Maybe consider your own limitations and brokenness over the next hour or so. And remember, while you are limited and broken, just like me, there is hope and you are not alone.

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Falling

Tomme Suab was officially launched in 2013, but 2012 was an important year in it’s development. During 2012, I was engaging with local and indie music for the first time and it was like a personal renaissance for me. I was discovering new-to-me music left and right by attending local events like Volume One’s Sounds Like Summer and through NoiseTrade. If you’re not familiar with NoiseTrade, it’s a site where you can download music for free, legally, from a multitude of artists. During 2012, I dove into NoiseTrade and began discovering a variety of musicians for the first time. One of the bands I first heard on NoiseTrade was The Civil Wars.

The star-crossed duo of John Paul White and Joy Williams were in their heyday in 2012, winning a variety of awards with their debut album, Barton Hollow. I was immediately captivated by their sound. I’m sure the “southern-ness” of it was part of the reason. I also loved the blend of their two very distinct voices. But there was something else at work in their music that grabbed a hold of me.

The record I downloaded from The Civil Wars was a live album and at the start of the show, John Paul White told the crowd, “If you’re not sad yet, you’re gonna be.” That sadness, that deep, deep melancholy pervading their music was, for some reason, resonating with a deep sadness living in me. It was that sorrow that drew me to their music in the first place, and it was the sorrow that helped me process some of my own sorrow during that time.

2012 was a pivotal year for me. As I was engaging in the sadness of The Civil Wars’ music, I was simultaneously dealing with some very difficult relational struggles. I was going through a period in which I realized some relationships which had always been central to me were changing. I was seeing, for the first time, how dysfunctional and toxic these relationships really were. Their song Falling especially spoke to me.

I’m glad to share that song with you on this week’s TS10, along with nine other potentially emotive tracks. Falling has been a part of my healing process, maybe one or more of these songs can be part of yours.

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Firewood

“Firewood” is the approximate English translation for “Hluav Taws,” the title of Pagnia Xiong’s song on this week’s TS10. I’m excited to share her music once again with you this week. Along with that song, there are nine other potentially emotive tracks for you to dig into here.

As usual, as you listen, I encourage you to listen with open heart and open mind.

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Another Mother’s Son

I don’t know Phil Cook, but I wish I did. Considering everything I’ve heard from and of him, he seems like a good dude. I caught the last half of his performance at Eaux Claires this year, and I couldn’t help but smile. I guess that makes sense when the guy has an album entitled People Are My Drug. That may sound like a nice catchy name, but I think it’s likely a reliable indicator of the kind of guy Cook is.

One of the songs from that album is featured on this week’s TS10. It’s called Another Mother’s Son. I read a little about that song on Cook’s website and it immediately resonated with me. If you read my post, Every Son Is My Son, about the slaying of young Jordan Edwards, you would know why. Cook’s song is a heartbreaking (and perhaps a little defiant) anthem proclaiming the value of every mother’s son and highlighting the tragedy of black lives senselessly cut short by a police officer’s gun.

As you listen to this week’s TS10, I invite you to feel deeply. There’s a lot here. I love the premise of Naked GiantsEverybody Thinks They Know… Damn, it sure feels like that sometimes, and I wish we could all admit that, mostly, we don’t “really know.” You have the raw emotion of serpentwithfeet’s invoice, along with two exciting new songs from Matthew Perryman Jones and Big Red Machine respectively.

However, I would invite you to engage especially with the content and feel of Cook’s Another Mother’s Son. Go deep and let yourself feel through the tragic truth there. To help that process, here are the lyrics to the song:

Did you know?

That the moment I first held you in my arms

I held you close and felt your beating heart

Like a hummingbird’s wings

Did you know, son?

There’s a prayer that I offer to the moon

Watching sleep slowly wrap you in its womb

Like a hummingbird’s wings

Heaven keep him safe

May he always find his way

He didn’t make it

He didn’t make it home, it’s like she always feared

Will we whitewash our fences with her tears

Like we always do?

Will we find it?

Will we find another way to empathize?

Will we open up and see it eye to eye

Or will we all run away?

And another one is gone

Another mother’s son is gone away

Police man let his pistol free

Poet ran to write a eulogy

Po’ Mama, all her cries are drowned by sirens

Rifle man calls it liberty

Preacher trusts the Trinity

But only Mama, she holds all that silence

You can find it

You can find it anywhere their laughter lives

Ain’t it sacred as a prayer on your lips

Say no more, say no more

Another one is gone

Another mother’s son is gone away

Police man let his pistol free

Poet ran to write a eulogy

Po’ Mama, all her cries are drowned by sirens

Rifle man calls it liberty

Preacher trusts the Trinity

But only Mama, she holds all that…

SILENCE!    

SILENCE!

SILENCE!

SILENCE!

No more silence! (Everybody)

No more silence! (Everybody)

No more fathers! (Everybody)

No more mothers! (Everybody)

No more daughters! (Everybody)

No more sons! (Everybody)

No more sisters! (Everybody)

No more brothers! (Everybody)

No more daughters! (Everybody)

No more sons! (Everybody)

Anymore!  (No more bodies)

Anymore! (No more bodies)

Never anymore! (No more bodies)

No more bodies

No more bodies

No more bodies

No more bodies

No more bodies

 

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TS10

TS10: Converge

Today is a special day in TS world. This week’s TS10, and every one for the foreseeable future, debuted shortly ago on Converge Radio 99.9 FM here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This is an exciting development!

Lots of great and emotive stuff here. Take it in. Feel it (if you want to).

-Ed

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TS10

TS10: Eaux4Pools

Welcome to a special edition of the TS10. It’s special in that there are several strains running through this playlist which carry different kinds of significance. Eaux Claires is this week and I’m excited to partake in that incredible event once again (I’ve undergone something of an evolution in my thinking about the festival over the last couple of years, which I will likely share more about later). With the impending “return to the river,” the playlist kicks off with Bon Iver and The National, a small nod to the creators of Eaux Claires, Justin Vernon and Aaron Desner. J.E. Sunde is also included because of the festival, not because of his involvement, but because in my opinion he really ought to be involved!

Independence Day is also upon us here in the States. I am quite ambivalent about the 4th of July. While I’m grateful for the immense freedom we possess here, I am also aware of the racist and bloody past (and present) we tend to whitewash not only this time of year, but pretty much all the time. As a follower of Jesus, it’s hard for me to be excited about celebrating rebellion from our governing authority (wink wink, Jeff Sessions) and the facilitators of that rebellion who were, by and large, slaveholders and/or proponents of the slavery as well as the subjugation and dehumanizing of indigenous peoples. I find the  4th to be a prime opportunity to grieve and repent, personally.

Based on this approach to July 4th, we have Derek Webb’s King and a Kingdom, an anthem from what has become a functional time-capsule in Webb’s 2005 album, Mockingbird. Even though Webb disavows what he once believed, the truth in this song stands: “My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man…” Sylvan Esso’s Parad(w/m)e adds a little political commentary regarding current events. Muse’s Uprising is a call to stand up against the bullies. Marvin Gaye invites us to sit at the table, have a conversation, and bring “a little love in here today.” Lastly, Jimi Hendrix’s legendary version of The Star-Spangled Banner closes out this “Americana” aspect of the TS10.

Lastly, I am very pleased to debut a new song from what is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands, LASKA, rooted right here in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Their new track, Dirty Pools, is creative, a little mesmerizing at times, and rife with anger and pain. Those spill out throughout the song and eventually manifest in a few choice F-bombs at the end (you’ve been warned).

So, yeah, there’s a lot happening in this week’s TS10. So, take a listen and let yourself feel through it all!

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TS10

TS10: The Problem

Just recently, I heard a preacher speak on the New Testament book of James. He spoke with passion as he implored the audience to gain perspective, to see things from the proper viewpoint. During his discussion, he referred to a newspaper editorial from years ago in which the paper asked its readers to define what was wrong with the world. Things felt amiss. Something was wrong and the paper wanted to know what the problem was.

Renowned theologian G. K. Chesterton apparently sent an answer to that question. His response was simply “I am.” From what I understand, Chesterton was a good man and his writings have impacted lots of people. However, when considering the malaise hanging over the world, he saw himself as the cause. He was the problem. And so am I. And so are you.

Racism exists because we let it (and sometimes we facilitate it). Same with sexism, senseless gun violence, police brutality, and on and on and on. I am the problem. You are the problem.

While that seems heavy (and it is), that concept is also laced with hope. If the problem is in me, I can do something about it. I can’t control what anyone else will do. But, I can do something about the hideous stuff that lives in me.

-Ed

WARNING: This playlist contains some intense language here and there.

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TS10

TS10: Ain’t It Grand…

… when you’re living in La La Land? Ain’t talking about that movie from a couple of years back. No, it’s that head-in-the-sand, oblivious La La Land in which it’s so easy for us to take up residence, unaffected by things happening around us and the damage done to our neighbors. All Star United’s La La Land is a part of this week’s TS10 and it “celebrates” living in that space. It’s pretty scathing for church folks like me, actually.

Maybe that song won’t speak to you or challenge you, but I hope there’s something else here that will. Whatever it is, I invite you to feel it.

-Ed

 

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Uncategorized

A Glorious Love Letter

Whenever someone asks how long my wife Charlotte and I have been married, which happens a lot around our anniversary (June 16), I inevitably say something like “16 glorious years.” Truth be told, not all those years could be labeled “glorious.” Some were somewhat less than that.

This year, we complete year 17. When someone asks, and I provide my typical answer, at least that part “17 glorious years” will be accurate. But “glorious” … no. Now, I will say that the last ten or so have been getting closer. As God has peeled away selfishness and other crud that stood in the way of real intimacy, our marriage has become more and better than I could have ever imagined. The process has been hard, but so, so worth it.

Part of this ongoing growth of intimacy, of course, is how well we know each other. Sometimes, it’s quite annoying. I get tired of how right she is about how I can’t hold a conversation and drive at the same time. I wish she’d stop being right every once in a while. Truly though, how we know each other is an immense blessing. She knows when I’m not quite right. I know when she is, dare I say, a tinge irritable. And we know what each other needs when we’re in those spots.

I could provide many examples of how beautiful this marriage is and how intimately we know each other, but I’ll focus here on one… one that is directly related to Tomme Suab. Quite a few years ago, I was in love (I still am, really) with Over the Rhine’s Goodbye off the Roaring Lambs compilation album. If you would have asked me why, I couldn’t have told you. After all, as a child, I was taught “good music” was what was predictable and safe. Understanding the nature of music, or art overall, was never a high priority for me or for those around me.

Some time ago, Charlotte and I were discussing that particular song and she said, “I know why you like that song.” Now, this would also make sense, because Charlotte has an extensive musical background, formal education included. She mentioned something about a “step-wise” movement in the song and explained what that meant. Afterward, from time to time, she would help me understand why I was drawn to certain styles, artists, or songs.

Eventually, she made a pivotal statement which amounted to something like “you don’t listen to music the same way most people do.” She was telling me I wasn’t a casual music fan. That little statement was an epiphany for me. It started me on a journey in which I began to engage with local art and independent musicians, with her cheering me on. It led me down a path in which I became drawn to the fringe, the unpredictable, the non-mainstream. More to the point, it led me to the realization that music impacts me deeply, on an emotional level. It was the root of what has become this blog, these weekly playlists, my involvement with Blugold Radio (soon to be Verge 99.9), and even in other civic activities and efforts promoting the arts.

None of this would have ever happened had it not been for my bride. It is just one illustration of how, aside from my God, she’s the best part of me. She has my heart and to say I’m thankful for her would be a gross understatement.

I love you, Charlotte. May these songs, in some small way, remind you of that truth. 17 songs for 17 years. Like those 17 years, this playlist isn’t perfect (or glorious), but it’s pretty damned good.

 

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