For His New Album by Scott Pinkmountain


He’s got a whole new look for his new album. It’s crisp. His new album is going to be a game changer. It’s his fifth album. Or his sixth. Stylistically, it’s not what you’d expect. He’s much more mature than when he first hit the scene. He’s got a whole new look.

He recently came out of a break up. He’s gained a lot of perspective, lost a lot of weight. You can really hear it on his new album. He cut his hair short. The songs too, are short. He added some abstract chords on his new album. And female back up singers. The singers are possibly black. They sound like they are black. His music has evolved. He now tucks in his shirt. Occasionally he wears a narrow tie onstage. His new short hair reveals a heretofore unbeknownst gangliness of ear.

He’s got a whole new vibe. His new album reflects his new lease on life. He quit smoking for his new album. For his vocals. Also for his vocals he wore a scarf in the studio. The sound of the vocals on his new album is the sound of his new life. It is more concise. It is more expansive. It is more inclusive. It is more piquant. It is more comment dit-on? “It” being his vocal sound, his new album, his new life. There is a new girlfriend.

On his new album, you can smell his work ethic. He woke every day at 4am while making his new album. He napped in quarter-hour intervals periodically throughout the day. He hardly slept at all. He went on a sleep fast. He did a 3-week darkness retreat. There was wheatgrass, a nutritionist, a naturalist, a trainer, a Human Design Chart reader, and a guy named e-Glick who didn’t appear to bathe, blink or eat anything except Flamin’ Hot Cheetos™ for the 5-and-a-half months it took to record his new album.

His new album has more electric guitars. The electric guitars are more flangey. The flange is more harmonically rich. The flange is analog, vintage, and possibly built by Stanley Owsley. The flange evokes the sound of both the future and the past. His new pedal board has a whole new look.

His new album has a whole new feel. He sings in Urdu. He sings in pidgin Kurdish. He sings in his own patois. He overcame his speech impediment, addressed his “episodes” and hired a keyboard player. The keyboard player wears dark glasses, a fedora, and drinks Tab onstage with the label facing out prominently. It is a comment. The keyboard player plays only the cheapest, most widely-available synths on the market. It is another, related comment. It gives the album a whole new feel. There is little-to-no jamming on the new album. His new album can be danced to. It has dance. For him, this is new.

His new album was recorded entirely in flight. Aboard a decommissioned military personnel carrier from the early 50s. Chinese. It was transformed into a remote, mobile, on-the-fly, undisclosed location studio. The engineer – one of the best, a guy who worked on a Hendrix record, a Steely Dan single or two – struggled to cut the noise of the propellers. The engineer succeeded mostly. The engineer refers to Steely Dan as “Stalwart Daniel,” and to him as “kid.” The pilot of the plane referred to him as “sir.” His new album was recorded over the Bay of Pigs. It was recorded over an active volcano. It was recorded over the Lost White City of Gold. It was recorded over sand as far as the eye could see. It was recorded over an historic lightning storm. It was recorded in international, ungoverned airspace. His new album was recorded over LAX in large part. He wanted it to sound “aloft,” he said.

His new album was recorded in a new tempo. This gives the album a whole new feel. It is darker. He chose darker tempos for his new album. His new girlfriend is from a country where people hold darker worldviews. There is a likely correlation. The tempos are quicker, not mathematically so but feel-wise. The tempos feel quicker. They can be danced. He seems happier, but darker. In his voice, you can hear what might be dancing on his new album. Subdued, languorous dancing. It is because of his new girlfriend, likely.

He has a whole new look for his new album. He is sharper, more in focus. He seems more analog. Or his analogality has been enhanced by a pixel rate that far surpasses the norm, expensively, exponentially so. He appears expensively transparent. The sound of transparency is created by a hyper-intelligent, self-aware, constantly evolving algorithm. “Transparency” is part of his mantra, or motto, or mission statement, or agenda, or koan, or leitmotif, or PR copy for his new album. He is tired of being misunderstood. He has renounced ambiguity as immature on his new album. He wants to give people the gift of his true, “unmitigated pneuma sans any parsimony and niggardly obfuscation,” he said. On his new album. Which is new.

His new look, for his new album, features enhanced grooming and hygiene practices. He had to learn new breathing techniques for his new album; oxygenic ingress, he said. He studied Vedic toilet rituals. His new look for his new album required the development of new philosophies in grooming and hygiene by an outside consultant – an “advisor” of sorts. The advisor discovered and shared a blend of ancient practices with new technologies involving imported bath products, designer water, hypoallergenic room cleansings, UV depravation, high frequency sinusoidal sonic filtration, beta wave deglutenization, macro-physiognomic purges, renal cell regenerating transfusions, intravenous tinctures of pure baby tears, and salad. He is clean. He quit certain things for his new album.

For his new album he got his signs read. For his new album he got into boxing. For his new album he got a lot of proto-Doo Wop records. For his new album he got Rolfed. For his new album he got fed up with the industry. For his new album he got serious about commitment. For his new album he got saved. For his new album he got scabies. For his new album he got reversion, primal scream, hypnosis, immersion, role-playing, and Neo-Freudian therapy. For his new album he got beaten up by hoboes. For his new album he got in touch with his dead grandmother. For his new album he got into listening to motivational tapes at high speeds, not for the message, but for the “climate.” For his new album he got close to ending it all. For his new album he got out of his car. For his new album he got real. For his new album he got rid of his jazz collection. For his new album he got take-out from Zankou Chicken almost every night. For his new album he got a whole new look.

Various possible synergistic relationships for his new album may include (but are not limited to) a “download,” a beverage, a line of organic hemp clothing, an elderly craft center, a coffee-table book, a chapbook, a prestige book, a comic book, an artisanal ice cream flavor, an e-book, an iBook, a book book, a fingernail decal, a pornographic cartoon, a dance move, a barge, a hot pink assault rifle, a chat room, a children’s song/hand motion combination, a viral slogan, a marijuana varietal, an uncredited digitized cameo in the forthcoming re-release of Gone With the Wind, a themed casino gaming machine, a copyrighted thought process, a hot sauce, “Can-O-Music,” something that is a cross between a museum, a concert venue, a Hindu prayer temple and an amusement park, a throwback-style pin.

He’s got a whole new look for his new album. For his new album he prefers to not be referred to as a musician, an entertainer, or an artist. It is requested on the press release. The press release for his new album strongly requests the following words not be used to describe his new album: relaunch, reboot, reset, upgrade, refresh. They instead suggest the following synonymic phrases and images: phoenix-like, chrysalis, game changer, turning of the tides, new leaf, conceptual slam-dunk, sea change, Sea Change, soul searching, fresh start, spring, evolution (or general biologic register), cinnamon-scented, seeing through time, childlike wonder, cresting waves and/or clear lake water (depending on regionality of publication), metempsychosis, lotus blossom, cognitive harmony, new narrative, epiphanic, shedding of skin, lifting of veils, dancing out of womb, raw (emotionally, lyrically, dietetically), sunrise, new moon, rising star, super nova, galactic spume.

His new album isn’t boring, it’s understated. His new album isn’t rushed and sloppy, it’s immediate, urgent, spontaneous. His new album isn’t derivative or ironic, it’s subtly referential and slyly knowing. His new album isn’t vapid and emotionless, it’s a restrained parodic critique of masculine suppression. His new album isn’t crassly commercial and generic, it’s catchy, accessible and intentionally populist. His new album isn’t a random cobbling of scraps thrown together to meet contractual demands after a couple dry years, it’s a diverse stylistic romp showcasing his sprawling creative palette which has been maturing in creative gestation for many months. His new album isn’t a calculating, cynical, market-tested roll-out of manufactured product, it’s of-the-moment and in step with the times. His new album isn’t a rehash of stale ideas in shiny, contemporary packaging, his new album has a whole new look.

His new album is 43 minutes long, has 11 songs, and will be available on CD (digipak) and vinyl at most major outlets, including Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Walmart, and Urban Outfitters and as a download through iTunes and Amazon. It comes out next Tuesday.


Junior Prom

This girl I barely knew
asked me to the Junior Prom.
She said she’d pay and pick me up
at eight. “I guess,” I said
“as long as I don’t have to rent a tux.”

We crammed into the backseat
of her friend’s dad’s Cadillac,
passing joints and pipes and flasks
from hand to hand to hand to hand. She did that thing
where you inhale then had me
suck it from her lips.
Her name was Karen.

The dance was
whatever. We mostly drove around that night.

More people piled in the car
so Karen scooted up onto my lap.
She was hyper wired, rambling
to me and anyone.
In her ruffled light
blue thrift store dress she bounced and laughed
and squeezed my thigh.
Her small, sarcastic ass,
untrained and alert, it was enough.
I’ve mostly had
much less better actual sex.

Scott Pinkmountain is a writer and musician living in Pioneertown, CA. His writing has appeared on This American Life, in The Rumpus, A Public Space, HTMLGIANT, and other publications. Pinkmountain writes a blog column entitled “Work: Surviving the Arts” for PANK, and hosts a podcast of the same name. He has released dozens of albums of both instrumental music and songs, and is currently working on a book of interviews with indie rock songwriters.  Pinkmountain also works as a music analyst at Pandora Radio.

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