[sounds] Stripped State: Laurel Canyon Recordings

Cat’s costume designing the series adaptation of the podcast Homecoming, shooting in L.A., so we’re living for six months in a 1930s cottage aerie perched halfway up Laurel Canyon. When I landed, I bought a knock around Seagull guitar at the perfect scaled All-In-One guitar shop in Koreatown. Figured I’d have the Gentleman of the Canyon adventure I always dreamt, and now I’m on a trip all the way back to my own time zero, stripped down and raw, to that place where I just sat and thought and wrote and strummed. And listened. And learned.

Putting the demos up as I go, embracing every mistake as an intention…


[img] Ellie, in from Brooklyn for the weekend, and already so L.A.

Ellie, in from Brooklyn for the weekend, and already so L.A.
May 25, 2018 at 08:23PM
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[img] Flim-Flam Flamingo Swanny Swan-Swan

Flim-Flam Flamingo turned to Swanny Swan Swan, pissed. “There’s more,’ you said. ‘Something, beyond this Mt. Olympus party house, beyond the infinity pool edge,’ you said. ‘Let’s float away to destiny…’ Well, Swanny, maybe the pool wasn’t such a bad place!”
May 20, 2018 at 07:16PM
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[img] Met The Queen tonight

Met The Queen tonight at the former Laurel Canyon home of Ursula Andress. She said, “The one in England’s my double for security purposes.” The crazy thing is me & her Highness are the only cut outs in the photo. // 📷: @catmthomas
May 20, 2018 at 12:41AM
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[img] polychrome spiritual superficiality

LA’s polychrome spiritual superficiality creates everyday paradoxes. Star maps don’t chart the sky. Freeways offer surge-priced fast lanes. Warnings come with smiles. The absurd is deep, yet blithe.
May 19, 2018 at 03:07PM
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[img] eaton canyon wilds

Xclnt today to meet @tzaddi53 in the wilds of Eaton Canyon. The spiral serves warning of the rattlesnake who lives under the rock. Rumor is the snake drew it first, and said, “I’m only warning you thissss oncssse.” So Richard now refreshes the symbol after rainstorms.
May 16, 2018 at 09:11PM
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[img] all the <3 today

Ever the dreamer. Courageous, tenacious, patient, and creative. A true inspiration. All the love today, Mom.
May 13, 2018 at 09:00PM
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[track] Canyon Bees, Birds, and a Chicken (20180509.1)

“A bee, a bird, and a chicken are hanging out in the Hollywood hills…” sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s just a field recording. The bees are pollinating a perpetual-blooming Echium Candicans (“pride of Madeira”) flowering shrub in our Laurel Canyon Garden, while a mockingbird, a scrub jay, a few other birds, and a chicken across the street join in the chorus. Live iPhone recording via a Shure MOTIV MV88.

Echium Candicans
pride of Madeira
subshrub invasive ornament
Spanish nectar
going-steady bees
soda jerk two-straw shake
canyon hillside date
10 minutes drive
from a retrofit-rail-car diner
off Sunset


[dispatch] thoughts 20180510.2118

May 10, 2018 at 09:18PM
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[aired] Between Stations: Yellow Dog Blues Backstory

Enlightening walk-through by Mississippi writer Suzassippi with some fantastic photos of the actual location where the “Southern cross the dog” in W.C. Handy’s Yellow Dog Blues.

In 2014, the Disquiet Junto participated in an NPR Studio360 project to record modern versions of Handy’s track in honor of its 100th anniversary. My track, Between Stations, “won” the event, and I ended up on air with host Kurt Anderson and musician Marc Anthony Thompson.

The Blues makes us aware of how the universe perceives harmony through our ears. Its “source material” is not so much sadness, but a universal alienation. Everyone fears loneliness from different directions. Handy’s song says to me, “There’s no use for home where you always lose who you are,” which was the launch point for my recording. Suzassippi lends wonderful visual, grounded context to all the tracks she highlights, and quotes me at the end of her article.

via: Suzassippi

Back a number of years ago, I first read about where the Southern Cross the Dog in a Farm Bureau magazine quiz. I had never heard of it, and it was an intriguing story about the town of Moorhead and the junction of the old Southern Railway system and the “Yellow Dog”–commonly thought to mean the Yazoo Delta Railway.

Winner: Westy Reflector cover of Yellow Dog Blues. Of it, the judge Marc Anthony Thompson said “I just wanted something that I really liked to listen to.” Westy Reflector said “no one in the story is in a fixed place” and “blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material.”

My faves: All of which, “I just really liked to listen to.”

Ari Swan cover of Yellow Dog Blues.

The City of Light cover of Yellow Dog Blues. I liked that he repeats the refrain ‘Southern cross the dog’ as did the original Handy heard.

Addieville featuring Sara Murphy cover of Yellow Dog Blues.


[img] Echium Candicans

Echium Candicans

pride of Madeira
subshrub invasive ornament
Spanish nectar
soda jerk two-straw shake
going-steady bees
canyon hillside date
10 minutes drive
from a retrofit-rail-car diner
off Sunset
May 09, 2018 at 04:46PM
via instagram


[img] dream state 20180506

dream state 20180506
wellmans divide
idyllwild, ca
elev.: 2985m / 9792ft
May 06, 2018 at 11:44PM
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[img] Chuck Walla, the wizard lizard

Chuck Walla, the wizard lizard, could make a blizzard, but his gizzard he likes hot.
May 05, 2018 at 10:44PM
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[img] dream state 20180504

dream state 20180504
May 04, 2018 at 11:11PM
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[dispatch] tracked vs found

May 02, 2018 at 04:33PM
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[img] Western Squirrels

“Western squirrels are bronzed like sunsets, Rodin’s The Thinker, and Orange County skin. They eat red walnuts and yellow loquats al-fresco.”
– Sir David Doñaburro, National Ponchographic Explorer
May 01, 2018 at 09:32PM
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[img] Human / Nature

Human: “Watch it, man!”
Nature: “Watch it, man.”
April 29, 2018 at 02:07PM
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[track] Every Light Leads (20180426.1)

all you’ve got is a feeling
and what i got won’t show
b/c our visions of love
only intersected long ago

gonna go where every light leads
if it only takes me round the block
i don’t care
at least i’m searching
at least i’m driving
where you’re still aching
to get somewhere

first time i knew luck was
the first time we laughed at the same truth
but there’s only so many lies
you can sell yourself and still pull through

“burning a bridge” burns one ahead,
not one already crossed.
those things you leave behind
are, anyways, already lost

lenses
filters
living as if reality
mirrors
windows
living as if we really see


[track] Quiet Nowhere (20180426.1)

the smarter you are today
the more you live in shadow
never giving up all you know
‘cos it’s

quiet nowhere
la la la la la la la la la
it’s quiet nowhere

to long for someday soon
is to long for days gone by
they’re both parallel paper streets
through a

quiet nowhere

the sound of things falling is the same sound
as things rising into the air
time spent afraid of what you might hear
well, that’s a quiet nowhere

that feel when the world lets you down
that feel when old friends freeze you out
when you’re seen as wrong when everyone’s not right

it’s quiet nowhere


[track] Love Your Self Any Way (20180426.1)

we were young
you were younger
never were to be in love
i should’ve known better
every price has a one

you wanted the world to burn
vanish into points of no return
‘cos hardest to learn
you never could say
love your self any way

afraid of truth
living in shadows
is no way to move through life
in the end, in this haunted future
you set yourself alight

saturation turns to gray
where there are only beautiful days

you found only
darkness in sunshine
you saw only one
way out