This week I had a Deerhunter moment. Tweaking from overstimulation on all fronts, unable to find pleasure in anything, turning away from myself and my tasks in ever tinier right angle spirals of repeated procrastination, it was suggested to me that I give Chicago’s Bottomless Pit an innocent listen. Jaded and beyond hope and seeing no harm in it, I plugged them into my headsockets and set the tunes to “blast.”
O, would that I could have felt anything.
And at the first golden guitar notes and motorik drumbeats of “winter wind”, the first track off their 2010 record Blood Under the Bridge, I felt the wintry ache of spring awaken in my bones, and in those in the human ossuary loved by God most of all—the hammer, the stirrup, and the anvil—first.
That is the Deerhunter moment, by the by- the sudden epiphany that something mind-blowingly good can appear from nowhere and change everything.
As a friend recently put it to me, music is a disease. We wake to life innocent, and we take things to mean what they mean. Like the addict deserving of compassion, all men are too ready to love, or perhaps not well enough prepared for the repercussions of discovering the grand, immediate secret that cannot be shared. When we give openly of ourselves, of our time and full attention, how much more often we find ourselves asking whether the losses we have sustained by not instead investing in the funds more hedged is the result of our misunderstanding at a hopeless, inceptive stage the valuable things in life, or whether our constancy has been undermined by others who reframe the straightforward task of living as enterprise. Like Bottomless Pit sing on “Is it a Ditch”, whatever it is, “…We won’t find what it is before we stop.”
O, the loss of innocence, the passing, as it were, of our first vain and fallible sorrow.
Of course, music is not a disease, and, further, it is a testament to our small human spirits, drunk and ignorant and swelled up disproportionately most of the time on the wrong things, that it takes five angels with five trumpets (and probably Ke$ha) in the terrible amphitheater of humanity to provoke the crowd into such anomie and torpor as befits opening up for Abaddon. In that tired club, where the bouncers have scales like iron breastplates, teeth like lions’ teeth, and tails in which is the power to harm people for five months, I affirm that the saved are the ticketholders who only came because they heard they might get to see Bottomless Pit sing songs that redeem. Let’s face it, no one could learn these songs except those who have been redeemed— particularly not those of whom they sing on “Winterwind” who are “waiting on a winterwind like they’re gonna get something”, but only those who are “waiting on a Winterwind for free.”
As the Old Possum warned us, in order to possess what you do not possess, you must go by the way of dispossession. And as I have said before, you have to live with yourself if you are to live at all. Bottomless Pit remind us of that simply by making some of the best music that’s ever been heard in defiance of the apparent impossibility of anything in today’s world for the artistically inclined who would invest everything.
Music is not a disease, artist, but steel yourself if you are going to venture to that bad club and cling to the medicine of that organ-grinder’s monkey on your back- I read somewhere there are still two woes to come.
There’s plenty more Bottomless Pit live to be seen at the Union Rockyards Youtube channel, and plenty of recorded stuff to stream and buy at their website. The digital end of things (CD-only and download purchases) is being handled by NJ’s Comedy Minus One label.