We buried my maternal grandmother, the Matriarch, on Saturday in my hometown of Milwaukee.

There’s a certain peace that comes from the finality of a long life lived that slowly faded out.

But then of course, there comes the crashing agony of the absence of that person and you are reminded that the passage of time has moved onward and that you are somehow robbed of another person in your life.

I spent a lot of time on my bereavement leave writing. None of it very good, to be honest.

My mother’s grief blog covered her own thoughts on the profound sadness that comes at losing your last parent. It would be offensive to say that I could write of that experience in the same marked way.

Instead, I will say only that she saw the world in a happier way and lived mostly contented with the choices she made. If I envy any part of her life it would be that she made life choices and then owned them with an unapologetic smile.

Everybody has ‘that band’ that he or she feels strongly protective of and provided a kind of soundtrack to late teens early twenties. Or maybe that is just me or the audiophiles I was friends with.

The release of Bloc Party’s EP Nextwave Sessions causes me to reflect on the storied brief career of an English export that never really became as big as promoters had hoped and supporters feared.

The relationship between enigmatic front man Kele Okereke and his fellow band mates appears to have begun to decompose as soon as their debut album, Silent Alarm, was released.  Either because of this or in spite of it, the band produced an impressive amount of material in a relatively short time. In between their debut and their follow-up, “A Weekend in the City”, the band released several EP’s of new material. After AWITC, a second set of B sides were released that in my opinion is almost better than the A side material.

Intimacy, the third record, showed a maturity and expansion into electronica that explored the same themes as both previous albums, but utilized a whole new set of tools to craft their message.

After Intimacy, the band went their separate ways, with Okereke recording his own electronica/hip-hop album and the other band members picking up side projects they had put aside while in Bloc Party.

Last year, Four, a tour divorce, was released. Okereke reportedly said that after Four it was all over, and that he had nothing left to give.

Not so, it appears. The Nextwave Sessions are a kind of double-down by Okereke and his band mates; as if to say, ‘no, this time we’re serious.”

This time I truly do think the band will never get back together, and while they call it an ‘indefinite hiatus’, I think the word divorce better describes the emotions behind the parting. Not a divorce in the modern context in America, but a Galsworthy-style breaking of a relationship between people who woke up and realize they can’t talk to each other anymore. It is an especially English divorce.

The final lyrics of the final track, “Children of the future,” are hopeful and mournful at the same time, a gift Okereke has used his whole career.

“be all that you can be/ be all that we never were/ succeed where we failed.”

Bloc Party’s last album is a gift to me personally. Whenever I had a truly existential moment (I am aware how pretentious that sounds), it was always their music in the background. From riding the tube in Brixton and hearing ‘This Modern Love’, to walking in East Berlin with Kreuzberg in my headphones, the band has been a gift.

I am feeling pretty manic this week, and I go to #BeachWeeend12 on Friday, so I may or may not be blogging a bunch.

That said, I was in a bad place this morning and Les Savy Fav sort of shook me out of it, so I thought I would share with the rest of you

A fun, great tune  from Passion Pit

http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F45336010&show_artwork=true

Today is record store day. Go out and support your local vinyl seller.

Find your info here.

 

 

Consider yourselves warned, Minneapolis hipsters. I will not put up with any pretentious crap at this show tonight.

 

I am a well known fan of nostalgia. When hearing the soundtrack to the film Drive the other night I was blow awayy by Desire’s song Under Your Spell. In the film it is used in an apartment setting set between two of the protagonists on either side of a wall. For me it brings back memories of nights in clubs and bars in Salzburg.

But thats just me. I think the song has an inherent trippy-nostalgic vibe.