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Living With Lemons

My dog is snoring, snug against my leg on the couch, and I’m listening to the boygenius album. I’ll probably put on some Miles Davis next. Or maybe I’ll rewatch an episode of Yellowjackets. I still can’t look at a regular TV without getting an immediate migraine, but I have a 16″ 4k monitor with an Amazon Fire TV stick that’s been working well for me. Honestly, I should probably go meditate right about now, but my body is tired, and I just can’t muster the effort.

Daniel of Black Eyes doing his thing just a few feet in front of me.

Earlier this month, I saw a live rock band for the first time since 2017, at a private house show with just a few others. Black Eyes was warming up for their recent reunion shows, in their practice space at my dear friend Hugh McElroy’s house. I wore both ear plugs and industrial strength ear muffs. It took a few days for me to recover, and I don’t think I’ll be going to another show soon, but it was worth it to finally see a band I’ve long admired, especially in such an intimate setting.

These diversions are the exception lately. Mostly I’ve been super focused on getting ready to put out this new Soft Punch album in September. The music is finished, but there’s so much left to do. I’m working on two music videos, one of which will debut in late June. I’m getting distribution deals in place, so the vinyl actually makes it into record stores. I’m working with a publicist and a college radio promoter. I’m refining a short bio to convey my life story in as few words as possible. I’d still like to take a few more promotional photos.

Sitting on the edge of a bathtub, holding lemons, in a blue-ish light, while Justin Gellerson is lying on the floor, taking photos of me.

When you pour yourself into an album, you have to do the work to make sure people actually hear it. I may post some live performances online at some point, but I won’t be going on tour anytime soon. Social media is my main mouthpiece. A few DC artist grants are the only reason I can afford to do promotion. I’m giving it all my best and trying not to overdo it. I crashed over the weekend for no particular reason–I have to take advantage of my productive days when I can, while simultaneously avoiding doing too much and triggering more crashes. It’s always a tightrope!

This record is objectively the best thing I’ve ever made. I’ve been grateful to get really flattering feedback from the folks that have listened to it so far. I’ve been telling people that the theme of the album is basically, “When life gives you lemons, sometimes you just have to live with fucking lemons.” In other words, it’s not about fully overcoming or fully succumbing to obstacles, it’s about finding joy alongside them. I’m still sick, and I’m still living, you know?

Black puppy eyes.

MolĂ©, my dog, is now requesting my attention. I’d better give him some pets and do a little more work prepping this record for release. For the melodically curious, maybe check out the latest serpentwithfeet single about going where the love is, or get into the hypnotic, throbbing dance-punk of Model/Actriz, or lose yourself in the blissed-out R&B electronica of Kelela‘s newest record. Until next time, if you’re reading this, I’d love to hear from you!


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