Paper Pixels

I draw stuff a lot more than I write stuff.  To further avoid updating my blog with any real content, I will be making some of my doodles available to you, the dedicated dontfeedthemonkeyz reader, on the online.  If you like what you see, feel free to send money or gifts in the form of non-perishable food items and guitars.  I also accept foreign cars.

Superfluous Glowshoes

…thompthompthompthompthompthompthompWAAHHAAAAHHHAAAAHEEHAAAHAAHEEEE!!! Hysterical laughter rockets up the stairs. THWACK! The door bursts open, and a deranged man with wild, drug-crazed eyes stumbles into my living room. He reeks of a familiar lunacy.

“My body went all gung ho and all the sudden I’m running down the stairs to see if the world was like me…and it wasn’t.”

….WAAAHAHHAHHAHHAHEEEHAAHAAA!!!!!! FLOONK thompthompthompthompthompthompthomp… I’ve just sat down with Jeremy Koffarnus and Aaron Okenatez of the band Superfluous Glowshoes, and things have gotten more than a little weird.

…thompthompthompthompthompthompthomp BOOSH “This shit is not over! The world is awesome! A car drives by and you’re like ‘Is that a flying dragon?’” BAAAHAHHAHHAHHAHHAHHA!!!! FWACK thompthompthompthompthompthompthomp… AHAHAHHAAHAA!!!

Wherever the Superfluous Glowshoes go, chaos is never far behind them. Their music, like their home life, tends toward the absurd.  The group’s principal songwriters, Jeremy and Aaron, have been playing music together in some form or another since 2005, but their latest incarnation is just two years old. Glowshoes consists of Jeremy Koffarnus on vocals/guitar, Aaron Okenatez on guitar/electronic manipulation, Justin Leopold on bass guitar, Wesley Arenston on drums, and Brandon Broester on keyboards/trumpet. Like any other two year-old, The Glowshoes know how to make a mess. Debut demo “Mastercakes” is a freewheeling organ grinder of an album smeared with greasepaint and loaded on cough syrup. It pukes on the drapes and screws your old lady. It steals your car and drinks your beer, and if you feed it after midnight…well, you don’t want to feed it after midnight. The group’s sophisticated sense of melody and organic approach to songwriting are refreshing to say the least. In a world that’s all too often more concerned with style than substance, Superfluous Glowshoes stand apart as a band operating on their own terms and without pretense.  As is often the case with bands that have no easily identifiable cultural cues, the Glowshoes honed their chops in a socially isolated, podunk, Midwestern community.

Koffarnus: “We were living in a tiny town, you know? We thought Radiohead was an underground band.”

Both Jeremy and Aaron are from Colby, WI, not exactly Seattle ’92, and their music is as much indebted to their time spent in the confines of rural Wisconsin as it is to The Beatles or The Jesus Lizard.  None of the music that Jeremy and Aaron grew up listening to was contextualized.  There were no social implications associated with certain genres.  No in group/out group politics.  No rules.  And this isn’t to say that Jeremy or Aaron would have played by the rules even if they had existed.

Koffarnus: “One big thing is, my entire life, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been listening to The Ventures, and they’re the greatest group of all time. They’ve been writing the same song for the last 50,000 years, and it’s still awesome.” “We also have a shared passion for The Beatles. I like the White Album the best because it has the most songs.”

Okenatez: “I use classical music a lot. Counterpoint is very interesting. I like to use the structure of classical music to write rock songs. It gives it a nice, cross-genre feel.”

Since moving to Minneapolis and out of cultural quarantine, Jeremy and Aaron’s eclectic mix of divergent influences has expanded to include progressive rock and noise.

Koffarnus: “We’ve been listening to a lot of metal and noise music lately. Jesus Lizard, Melvins, (Don) Caballero, Battles, King Crimson.”  “When we first moved here, there was a showhouse called the Cockpit, and they had noise music. At first we were like “what the fuck”, and then we started to realize that we just like listening to sounds. And it doesn’t matter if they’re patterned as long as they’re vicious.” “The biggest reason we got into noise rock is ‘Then Comes Dudley’ by The Jesus Lizard.”

Okenatez:  “Noise music is very fun to play too. I’ve been getting into building oscillators from broken amps and equalizers. I also run (the signal) through a TV sometimes, and it forms colored lines.”

All of the shows the Superfluous Glowshoes have played in Minneapolis have been with other locals, with the exception of an opening gig for John Maus of Ariel Pink that only Jeremy and Aaron played, and the majority of these shows have been house shows.  Like many smoked-out basement warriors before them, Superfluous Glowshoes have made a name for themselves by combining their efforts with other independent artists’.

Koffarnus: “Moonstone, Velvet Davenport, Chickadee Mountain Martyrs, Skoal Kodiak, Tender Meat, Knife World, Sarah Johnson, Slapping Purses… We don’t know him or anything, but Dosh is pretty cool.” “Moonstone vibe together like an 80s dance band with a 70s raw punk rock feel. Like Yes “Fragile” album. They formed their own religion. It’s massively epic.”

“Honestly, the best shows are underground house shows. It’s always better to be able to smoke weed while you watch the band.”
The prog and noise influences on “Mastercakes” are balanced by a sincere appreciation for pop songwriting.  As unhinged as Superfluous Glowshoes are, there is always an underlying method to their madness.

Koffarnus: “We’re always going to be a pop rock band at our core.” “Sometimes I feel like music should be raw and simple and sometimes I feel like it should be complicated and ornate and superhuman. It depends on how you’re feeling. When you just go off into total explosive free form experimentation, some of the raw emotion that you get with a three chord song is lost.”

Although their demo clocks in at just twenty-three minutes, the Superfluous Glowshoes’ music is so dense it would seem ridiculous to add any more material to it.  The group swings from Pixies-fueled alternative rock to feedback-drenched drone with ease, and the gaps between overflow with prog rock freakouts and electronic noise bursts.  Three of the songs on the disc form a cluster which the band call “the holy trifecta.”

“They’re about success, hard work, and sex,” says Koffarnus.

“And arrogance,” adds Okenatez.

“The songs have a common theme of cruelty from one side to another.” says Koffarnus. “Maybe a touch of megalomania.”

Okenatez: “We like to write about megalomaniacs.”
Koffarnus: “I watched a lot of Disney movies when I was little, and I always liked the evil characters’ songs. So that informs a lot of our music.”

Superfluous Glowshoes are “currently closed for remodeling,” but Jeremy hopes to make their future music even more epic.

How?

Koffarnus: “Learning how to play guitar.” “Dynamics have been limited to the top end of the fast and loud spectrum.” “Loud and fast and louder and faster.” “I always wondered when I was younger why it took the Pixies to make people realize that, if you play the quiet part before the loud part, the loud part hits harder. I want to have more pastoral type feelings in the songs. Prim and proper.”

How does he feel about file sharing?

“They don’t tell you this in school, but you can download music for free, and you don’t have to pay anyone, not even Radiohead. By the way, if you want to download our music, feel free.”

What would he do without music?

“Well, instead of spending most of my time working and smoking weed, I’d spend all of my time working and smoking weed. I literally have no other skills.”

Their parting thoughts?

Aaron would like to thank God, Satan, and the mighty erection that brought him here. Jeremy would like to thank God, Satan, and the adequate erection that got him here. Also, they have a message for the kids, “Take drugs and drop out of school. Throbbing vaginas. Send us money. We’re way into money, and anytime people want to give us money, it’s cool.”

Superfluous Glowshoes on Myspace and Facebook.

Also, check out Aaron and Jeremy’s other project WizardBaby.  It will make you weep tears of sweet, sweet joy.

WizardBay “Wilderness Howls” at the Book House in Dinkytown March 25, 2010:

GORGATRON

Gorgatron
Torturetorium
Self-released

The sickening stench of cold, necrotic flesh infests my nostrils as rows of blood-splattered meat hooks gleam ominously above me.  I am surrounded by the mangled corpses of countless, nameless others who have found themselves ensnared in the icy death-grip of the Torturetorium.  When my time comes, there will be no reprieve.  With each passing second, my death grows nearer.  An army of mottled seaweed faces with vacant, death-clouded eyes peer hungrily at me from behind walls of decaying mortar, their crooked grins dripping with pieces of small intestine, fragmented bone, and black bile.  Their twisted minds alive only for the promise of mutilation.  As the steel door slams shut, I know my fate has been sealed.  A flurry of machine-gun blastbeats and serrated guitar riffs whip through the air–no doubt the work of percussive powerhouse Matt Johnson and shred demon Neal “The Real Deal Banana Peel” Stein.  My vision blurs as the unearthly incantations of Paul Harvey Johnson viciously shake the foundation of Torturetorium.  The undead groan their approval as the trio hammers its way through “Transplanting the Eminence.”  Somewhere, a child weeps.  The air grows thick with blood, and the fetid stench of death consumes the room.  Razor-sharp down-picking, emulsifying drum fills, mind-flaying solos, sledgehammer bass destruction, and gale-force growls are the order of the day.  There’s no escaping this three-pronged nuclear assault of zombie grind.  With combined elements of Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel, and Goatwhore, Gorgatron’s music leaves a path of unholy destruction in its wake.  The maggot-filled corpses sprawled out before me lurch back into life.  My pulse quickens as the band launches into a pulverizing rendition of “Visions Externalized.”

“Visions of serpents/Cataclysmic exploits/The blood moon/The great mountain crumbling/The black sun/Damned souls burning/Crucified as the beast ascends to be king…” bellows Johnson.  His feverish cries can mean only one thing: the zombie apocalypse draws nigh.  Flames leap from cracks in the floorboards as the tempo rises and a horde of the Undead swarms over me.  Warm blood pours down my face, and chunks of flesh are ripped from my limbs.  No man should be made to suffer these cruelties.  The gut-wrenching sounds of my own bones breaking fills my ears, and the aural terrorism of Gorgatron’s doom-laden “Haunted by Nothing” provides little consolation.  I pray that the life be drained from my body before I am finally hurled into the pit of hellfire waiting below me.  The band’s death march grows eerily faint as the flames swell.

Neal Stein, Paul Johnson, and Matt Johnson

Choosing a Web Host

Let’s face it, Bill.  Finding a good domain registrar/web hosting agent for your fledgling business can be a daunting prospect.  The web is crawling with bogus offers from dirty tricksters and no good swindlers.  It can be a little overwhelming!  Luckily, you’ve found my blog.  You’ll breathe a little easier with Dontfeedthemonkeyz.wordpress.com on your side, and together, we’ll separate the best from the rest.  Take my hand.  We’ve got a lot of learning to do.

1. Bluehost:  Bluehost.com came highly recommended to me.  Their rates are very reasonable ($6.95/month for their basic package), and they allow users to host multiple domain names on a single account.  Hosting packages include several acronym-heavy features such as multiple MySQL Databases, CGI/PERL, multiple FTP accounts, and PHP Support.  The registration process is pretty painless, and apart from the deceptively low $6.95/month rate displayed on their homepage, Bluehost do a great job explaining exactly what new users should expect.  Sure, they’re trying to scam you, but it’s the internet.  Everyone’s trying to scam you.  At least Bluehost will tell you the truth if you know what questions to ask them.

2.   Hostgator:  The assholes at Hostgator.com offer a $4.95/month rate on their homepage.  They’ve won some awards though, so it’s probably legit.  The pricing of Hostgator’s Baby Plan is comparable to Bluehost’s basic hosting plan, and Hostgator also offer an assortment of acronyms:  MySQL, CGI, POP3 email accounts with SMTP, PHP, SSI, etc.  Most of the other features are here as well (including 24/7 customer support).  If you ever have a problem with Hostgator’s customer support, you can request your ticket be assigned to the company’s owner, and he “will personally take the time to give you the VIP attention that you deserve.”  I don’t know about you, Bill, but I deserve the most extra special VIP treatment available.  Hostgator are willing to fulfill my every need, and if  I just can’t wait for “the VIP attention that I deserve”, they have 24 hour live chat available.

3.  Godaddy: According to RegistrarSTATS.comGoDaddy.com is the “world’s No. 1 ICANN-accredited domain name registrar for .COM, .NET, .ORG, .INFO, .BIZ and .US domain extensions.”  This sounds terribly important, but it doesn’t really mean much.  What’s significant about Godaddy is that they chose a marginally talented Nascar driver named Danica Patrick to be their spokesperson.  This alone is reason enough to never use Godaddy.com’s web-hosting/domain registration services.  Ever.  Nascar drivers have no business being on the internet.

And there you have it.  Hostgator.com reigns supreme.

Yawn

This is Hell

Weight of the World preview
(Rise Records)

This is Hell.  No seriously.  Listening to this music is hell.  Nu-hardcore is a disease.  It was boring, rehashed tripe when it came on the scene 20 years ago, and it’s only gotten worse with age.  Let it go.  Remember Earth Crisis?  Me neither.  Cookie cutter riffs and cookie monster vocals–it’s the hardcore equivalent of hotel lobby muzak–uninspired drivel.  This is Hell are the latest addition to a long list of douche crew wannabes who have convinced themselves there’s nothing more crucial than playing in a Sick of it All cover band.  Thankfully, Atari Teenage Riot have reunited.  Mediocrity’s back in style, and someone needs to burn the whole fucking thing down again.

the cast of Jersey Shore

What do I do?

nothing.  Made in China  100% Polyester

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jk  A couple of my friends showed up at my house today with this Huggy Jesus.  They know that it’s IPR’s midterm week, and being the nice guys that they are, they bought me a plush Jesus doll to see me through these trying times.  He has flippers for feet (which explains that whole walking on water deal), and he’s already brought me good fortune.  What great friends I have!

.

When I moved to Minnesota, I had every intention of putting together a band.  Seven months have passed, and I’m not any closer to attaining that goal than I was when I first got here.  I do jam on occasion with my roommate and fellow Summers in Rangoon/Brown Noize veteran Tyrel, but we’re both really busy with school.  We make time to jam when we can; it’s just that, without a practice space or a rhythm section, our motivation is pretty low.  Lately, my main creative outlet has been writing.  Writing doesn’t come as easily to me as music does.  When I write, I feel like my ideas are frozen in giant blocks of ice, and only the right words will chisel them free.  When I play music, it just flows.  I don’t even think about it.  The writing of mine that I am most proud of is the stuff that just falls from the sky.  My best ideas are the unconscious ones.  Good writing, like all art, finds itself.

Literary Machine

Project Xanadu

In 1960, Ted Nelson envisioned a word processing system free from the archaic conventions of static text documents.  He called this software Project Xanadu, and with Xanadu’s Hypertext capabilities, Nelson hoped to revolutionize text-based communication; ultimately doing away with the inefficiencies of paper-modeled virtual text documents completely.

By creating easily accessible and universally connected, dynamic text tools, Project Xanadu intended to destroy what Nelson saw as outdated, linear modalities of text-based communication.  In this vision, ideas which were created by people belonged to the people and were made readily available to them through Hypertext linking.

“Xanadu was meant to be a universal library, a worldwide hypertext publishing tool, a system to resolve copyright disputes, and a meritocratic forum for discussion and debate. By putting all information within reach of all people, Xanadu was meant to eliminate scientific ignorance and cure political misunderstandings. And, on the very hackerish assumption that global catastrophes are caused by ignorance, stupidity, and communication failures, Xanadu was supposed to save the world.”  –The Curse of Xanadu

Unfortunately, it hasn’t.  One-way links and disembodied quotes still litter the internet, and virtual paper is still the bread and butter of online communication.  Apple’s iPad has done more in its brief existence to upend these tired institutions of text than any of  Nelson’s ideas ever have.  (To be fair, fluid navigation, extensively linked content, and 3-dimensional documents are all ideas pulled straight from Project Xanadu’s playbook, which really just reinforces it’s genius.)  Ted Nelson was smart enough to anticipate an oncoming paradigm shift in our methods of digital communication 50 years before it actually happened, and yet somehow he never figured out an effective way to monetize his ideas.  lol.

"You're being oppressed by the buggy whip. srsly."

Project Xanadu (www.xanadu.net)

Project Xanadu FAQ

Computer Lib/Dream Machines

Download XanaduSpace(TM) 1.0

Transliterature.org

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