The King Is Dead + Whiskey and Wine

My week has been uneventful except for occassional errands here and there devoting a huge amount of my time cooped up inside my room. It’s either I’m tinkering with my guitar, listening to music, making chess moves, skimming through amusing book passages of “The Writer’s Portable Therapist” (something I picked up on the sale section of National Bookstore) or doing different types of record label duties online and offline.

I missed two outings in Manila where I was counting on my presence. Ahmad Tanji’s (frontman of Your Imaginary Friends) psuedo-surprise birthday party last Wednesday and their Friday gig at the Craft for Taken By Cars’ listening party. A week ago I was invited by an American friend from Wisconsin named Steve Schwerbel. He said he picked up the new album of The Decemberists and offered to raise glasses while listening to “The King Is Dead”. ¬†(He is a big fan and even jokingly admitted to a relationship breakdown with a former girlfriend because of his overindulgence to Colin Meloy’s music). I would have missed that one too had it not been for the host’s timely reminder that same night.

I arrived at the Renaissance Tower fifteen minutes before midnight. I was able to catch a glimpse of the haunting perigee moon and wondered of any worldwide mishap brought about it as predicted by theorist. I gladly joined Steve and a British-Filipino guest named Karl De’Claro who’s visiting from London. We all met each other at The Camerawalls‘ gigs and it is quite nice to spend time with them in the quietude of a living room as opposed to the raucous setting of a bar.



I recognized the harmonica intro of “Don’t Carry It All” blasting from Steve’s laptop as I was able to preview the whole album in one particular site online more than a month ago. My favourite Decemberists album is “Cutouts and Castaways” and even performed a track for the covers section of my blog. I find their last album “Hazards of Love” (2009) difficult to listen. It somehow requires a certain mood (or substance) to appreciate the record. With “The King Is Dead,” I was happy to hear a milder and more traditional approach, putting Colin Meloy’s singing and acoustic guitar up front. Not as lyrically and musically ambitious as the older catalogue but it is still a great record, uplifting, and has a nostalgic feel into it. At some point I can even hear REM references largely contributed by Peter Buck’s jangling influence.

What better way to listen to this impressive record if not with wine and good chatter. We downed two bottles I think and then poured ourselves a glass of whiskey each before taking leave past witching hour and thanking Steve for a great night of music and alcohol. I learned from Karl he was suppose to leave for Japan for a teaching job but failed to do so on account of the recent disaster. Lucky timing for him. Because of that, I will end this post with a song from The King Is Dead, by virtue of its relevance.

Had a dream
You and me and the war of the end-times
And I believe
California succumbed to the fault line
We heaved relief
As scores of innocents died
– “Calamity Song”

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