This is my newest album and it's called "The Filter Bubble Blues" because a "Filter Bubble" is:
"a situation in which an internet user encounters only information and opinions that conform to and reinforce their own beliefs, caused by algorithms that personalize an individual’s online experience.
"the personalization of the web could gradually isolate individual users into their own filter bubbles" It's been giving me "the filter bubble blues"
It's been happening and evolving all around me over the past decade or so. I know i've been swept up in it as well. Being caught up in my own echo chamber. This album was written during the dark days of the terrible trump years. It's my reaction and reflection of what i saw during that time. It's not a very fun album but i tried to find the light and a little bit of humor. It was nearly impossible.
The album was released just before the pandemic started. I was actually beginning a lengthy tour for it in mid March of 2020 when it all got shut down.
It was recorded/engineered with my good friend Dan Potthast of MU330 down in Santa Cruz, CA 2018- 2019. We recorded in the living room of he Shannon Toombs apartment on Franklin St. I actually lived there for awhile during the pandemic. Shannon sang backups and so did Hod Hulphers. Dave Mihaly played marimba and percussion. Dan played piano and bass. Some guitar and noise samples. I played some drums as well but mostly guitar and voice.
"Easy Chair" is a post apocalyptic tune about narcissism and choosing to embrace ignorance and a false narrative. Seeking out what you want to hear from the mind numbing comfort of the easy chair. Blind patriots swept up in the politics of rage. Lost within' the tidal bore of a media stoking the fears of the vulnerable and paranoid. Taking a selfie with mushroom cloud with one last gasp of selfish vanity before you die. Hoping for those precious "likes" for validation.
"When the Pendulum Swings" is a hopeful tune written from the dregs of despair. Wishing for the pendulum to swing from a budding fascism. Hoping the criminal gets locked away after the fat lady sings. Will they put him away? Will they eventually lock the criminal conman up? Mueller built a case and left it up to the partisan politics of the congress. The madman still runs free holed up in his insane asylum mansion in Florida without his twitter toys. A big fat baby man playing in a sand box alone. Lock the bastard away when the pendulum swings. At least that's what i hoped for but it hasn't yet come true.
"The Underwater Sculpture Garden" is a happy tune. It was inspiring to see the racist statues of America finally being taken down. Thrown into the bay. Still many more to go. The statues have no place but in a museum of hatred and bigotry or better yet at the bottom of the sea. Those that still embrace bigotry could learn how to scuba dive and perhaps find a new direction in life. Embrace the environmental movement. Fall in love with the ocean. Take a hateful ideology and teach em about something new. What about marine biology ? What about the ocean blue?
"Laying at your Feet" is a love song to a dear friend who's been recovering from a brain injury. It takes so much time. It takes years for those synapses to heal if ever. The amazing piano player she is. The brilliant sculptor. She carries the world in her finger tips. I sent her jars of honey from all over the country. Strengthen all your ties. Live a life that's soothing. The meticulous work of restoration.
Heather Heyer lost her life when a coward racist in a car plowed into a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, VA. I spoke to her mother Susan Bro and she gave me her blessing for this song. She told me Heather wouldn't have wanted a monument in her honor. She was a social activist. She was a humanist. This song is a hopeful song to shine light on what happened. She lost her life for equality. She wanted an inclusive community. Heather Heyer magnify her!
"The Presidential Palace of Pornography" is a song about the anti intellectual. The mob mentality insurrectionist thinking they're making it great again. Just for them. The pizza gate army of imbeciles. I wanted it to have a sedated feel like some rich old white man driving to the golf course high on prescription drugs. After filling his mind with a steady dose of reality tv and confirmation bias. Paranoia pulses from his veins. one half of one percent grab the loot and keep the boot on the rest. Privatized prisons and no restrictions on anything preventing maximum profit. They're making it great again. Just for them. Getting golden showers in the casino tower built on Pennsylvania Ave where the White House once stood.
"Like" what is the new meaning of like? It's not as simple as it used to be. It's the button people click which creates the data driven advertising and algorithms. Like shapes the new virtual world. Like can be given and taken away.
"Empty Gesture". It's just another thought and a prayer. Blathering on and on through the numbness of the horror show that America has become. Identity politics makes no room for compromise or gun control. The weaponry of warfare is in the hands of 12 year olds. The Blood bath and the callaced refusal to reason. 58 killed in Las Vegas at the country music show is just another advertisement to keep the bullets flying. So they can sell more guns and more and more.. Just keep arming everyone in the name of freedom and personal protection. It's protection paranoia, protection gone insane. I need protection from protection, who's to win in this dumb game? My hollow heart goes out to them. Thoughts and prayers too. Empty gesturing blathering but nothin's what we do.
"I thought i was a hurricane" but i was just a tropical depression. I couldn't take the high pressure system. It ate the eyeball to my brain. The music biz is a cone of uncertainty. I rain myself out on stage flooding a river with my tears and i did it to myself. I thought i was a potent storm but i was wrong. The chief taste maker for hurricanes, now deceased "John Hope of the weather channel" said "nope! you're not a storm." but John, I'm a tropical depression watching the Scorpions in Tampa tonight. Slowly raining myself out to be a forgotten remnant of a squall. Ha ha ha. but i ain't quitin'
"All the empty houses" while so many live in boxes by the interstate. So many can't afford the rent that has tripled and quadrupled. High rises of apartments sit empty as corporate investments. Investment properties. Homes are designed to flip and gain value not to live in. Manicured the lawn that no one's ever on. Where have all the people gone? The rich vilify the homeless. Hiring the cops to beat them away from their back doors. Property has more value than people it seems. All the empty houses sitting lonely by the sea. All the empty houses sitting free.
The front cover was painted by Peter Orr. The statue i'm sitting at in the painting is a memorial for Heather Heyer.