Your Memory Is A Monster

Completely anonymous, letting the guilty live free and the interested live happily.

Death By Piano Wire. March 9, 2008

The Heartstring Stranglers, apparent wonder band of Denton’s only indie record store/cheap cement-floor venue Strawberry Fields, puts on too good a show to sell for $1 to a BYOB crowd of half-listeners and those too devoted to smoke outside than listen inside.

Hey, hey wait.

I love Strawberry Fields. Forever. (Last one, promise). It has books on anarchy, new and old vinyl. It has cassette tapes, actual fucking cassette tapes. New ones. It has documentaries and a curtained-off adult section.

I also love BYOB, tall boy style. I love cement floors, shows for a buck. (I saw Darlington for a buck in a record store in the suburbs once and it was, perhaps, one of those ten transformative moments in my life.) The Stranglers had one working mic, and there was no door guy. The same guy selling you records took your cover and gave you an armband. It’s a raw place, for real music. I can’t say it’s free of Denton’s own brand of pretension: unlike Dallas’s, Denton’s version involves admonishing those who look like they might be from Dallas.

What I’m saying about The Heartstring Stranglers isn’t that they are too good for the store, the smokers, the chatters in the back. I’m saying they’re too grand, too large. Their four members filled that room with sound, with energy, with genuine this-is-what-it-means-to-rock-in-Denton-ness.

The Stranglers need a stage. They need more than one mic. When they use their foot stomps as instruments (which they skillfully and selectively do) they need the boom. They are worthy of commanding attention, not haphazardly gaining it.

The band’s MySpace classifies them as Folk, Italian Pop and French Pop. They sing in several languages (though usually and most often in English–the French and Italian are highlights rather than stand-bys) mostly about sex, love and murder. In a delightful, detached, meaningful way.

They play again, for better or perhaps not, at Strawberry Fields, Saturday March 15.
Their MySpace:


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It’s Like This. March 7, 2008

When you find yourself shaking your ashtrays, digging through your ashtrays, fingers dusty with stale smoke, looking for any of his cigarettes in there, you should call for an intervention. The kind where your friends bring over a bottle of wine and you eat ice cream for dinner. Where you watch either stupid movies or tremendously sad ones, the kind with people who have problems bigger than yours.

You alternate between getting mad and missing him.

Between listing 100 of his flaws and thinking that he’s the only person you ever got along with so well, could talk to about so many different things. 

You listen to the CD he made you and then microwave it.

You roll your eyes at his lame jokes and remember how you’d never laughed so much before with someone.

You remember how he’d get drunk and forget to return your phone calls, but also that your conversations could last four hours.

You make a joke about his favorite movie being a musical, and then close your eyes and see the Saturday you spent in your bed together, loving all the same terrible shows.

You hate his shoes, you hate his haircut, you hate his stupid coat. You hope when you go home, your bed will still smell like him.The anger protects you, as it always has me, from feeling the loss and the fear too strongly for too long. But it’s not false. It’s genuine. You’ve always hated that damn suede jacket; it just never seemed to matter before.

Who else could introduce you to so many great bands, make you such great CDs, watch your favorite show for four hours, holding your hand the entire time, favor the same news anchor, mock the same presidential candidates, always vote for the same restaurant as a cure for hangovers, dissect the sociological implications of the reality shows you both have finally admitted to watching, and make you laugh–really laugh–in that way that hurts, that makes you jealous you didn’t make the joke first, that makes you like him more, saying things so funny and so clever that you want to write them down, remember them.Except now, you can’t remember his jokes, his commentary. You can’t even remember the kind of jokes he’d make.

Though you can remember that he’s the only guy who’d really let himself laugh at your jokes.But he was terrible at cards, he thought it was funny to hit on your friends, had a bizarre fascination with Zach Braff.