We've got a quick break from practice this morning (our first in months!) - Matt's working on the theme for Miss Illinois, Jer's watching Georgia/LSU highlights, Seth and Erica are eating sharp cheddar, Danny's still in a daze from his overnight Pittsburgh-Chicago train adventure, Jamie's at an interview, and me? Well, it turns out I'm blogging.

We have a cd! (you know this)
We're making our way down south next week! (you probably know this)
And then Europe and Japan to round out the next month and a half. (ditto)

But! If your home happens to not be the aforementioned "Southern Half of the United States," vaguely put "Continent of Europe" or excitedly typed "Land of the Rising Sun," boy do we have a deal for you.

Pre-order? IT STARTS NOW.

Thirteen bucks in the US, seventeen bucks for our international friends. Shipping included. We'll be sending out orders on November 10th, so!...

If that sounds great, click here.
If you plan on catching us before November 10th (that's you Chicago, Calvin College, and most places that serve sweet tea), we'll have Canopy Glow with us!
And if you live in 日本, the cd comes out November 5th and can be ordered here.

I think that's it! Hope your Monday has been as fun... over here, it's been good to be back.


A Music Video of "Bells"

I just wanted to let everyone know that pitchfork posted a video, made by Danny Bracken of the-post-below-this fame. It accompanies the song "Bells" off of Canopy Glow. Hope you like it!


Stay Gold Ponyboy...Stay Gold

So I got an email from an old friend of mine the other day. Contained was simply a link to a youtube video and the comment: "a little weird...but still unbelievable".

The linked video is the one embedded above and stars Japanese pop sensation Chara. Born in 1968 Chara was a pioneer of the J-Pop phenomenon and a film star (or so wikipedia tells me). The video also showcases the talents of a certain Maxwell Olson.

Now, Maxwell Olson might not fall into the "household name" category but he is close to my heart. Max and I have known each other since 1988 and I can assure you that not once during our years at Christian Academy in Japan did I anticipate stumbling onto a music video of him necking with a 40 year old pop star.

One thing I worry about blogging this is that I'll give you reader a sense that while I'm typing I'm also shaking my head saying,

"max, max, max...when are you ever going to learn"

It's quite the contray! While it may be weird to watch an old friend make-out with a cougar by the glow of a computer screen it also makes me a little proud. Instead of that tsk-ing image I mentioned try to imagine me slightly squinting my eyes and pursing my lips (in a George W. Bush way, but emotional). I'm also nodding my head and whispering (not in a creepy way, but in the way they do in the movies to let you know that the actor doesn't care if anyone hears them...that's how close it is to their heart),

"That's it Max...kiss her good!"

I feel like an older brother in some movie watching his younger sibling rise above and succeed...

"You show 'em Max. They're no better than you"

Anyway, this is turning into a script for a 1960's coming of age movie instead of me telling you reader about my friends newly found fame. So I'll wrap it up by showing you where Max started on his road to glory. That's him right down there...he's got the that black turtleneck underneath what can only be a Gotcha or Ocean Pacific shirt.

I also included a picture of myself around the same area so that if Max drifts by this blog (in much the same way I drifted by his video) there won't be any hard feelings (I'm sure I'm wearing some horribly offensive Christian t-shirt).

ahhh...look how far we've come.

I'm proud of you Max!



Fully Engaged

Sorry I was absent from posting my usual mystical musings on Thursday (I'm sure you've all been grieving ever since, right?). I want to let you all know something really incredible that is/has been/and will be happening in my life: I got engaged! Heidi and I mutually proposed to one another on Ruby Beach in the Hoh National Rain forest! It feels wonderful, engrossing, and surreal. I contemplated whether or not it was appropriate to post these photos, but for those of you that are interested - you're my friends and I want to share life with you! Share yours with me too, ok?

you and me and everyone we know

Here's a link to my photo documents



Before you click away from this page!... I promise promise promise these will make you laugh. Both candidates at their best (to be honest, John McCain is FANTASTIC here), alternating between actual comedy and bouts of sincerity. I really liked these. An altogether different approach from what we'll be hearing the next two and a half weeks:

See! Who is this guy? And where has he been the last six months?

And there's your Senator from Illinois.

We'll be in Atlanta on election night so maybe our friends in O'Brother can sell their van and bring some flat screen goodness to the show. An electoral count without high definition is barely an electoral count at all.

Vote early! Vote often!



A pretty great/strange feeling, for sure.



I'm not sure how interesting this is to anyone, but we just had a bunch of pictures taken of us on Saturday. It was a bit strange for me since I'm not usually very good with the whole picture thing, and I blink pretty much every time a camera goes off. That said, it was an enjoyable day.

We just got some of the pictures back from the first shoot of the day, and I like 'em. They were taken in Berry UMC, where we practice, and a garden a few blocks away. A friend from Berry named Sarah took them. We have to pick some to potentially use later on, but I figured I'd leak the link to this unedited set of pictures! So, maybe I need to find some more exciting things to announce. If it adds to the excitement at all, in the first shot you see me with what would eventually become 10 books that I bought at the annual Berry book sale for a total of only $12! I know I was excited.




I just returned from a trip downtown to listen to David Sedaris. Maybe after I let the experience sink-in I'll have something insightful to say, but until then I'll just leave you with some video clippings of this truly funny and endearing man.


Canopy Preorder

A bit of Anathallo news to share with you all. We'll be doing a little preorder for Canopy Glow beginning October 27th and ending November 8th (as we won't be able to send out any orders from the Anathallo warehouse after we leave for Europe). Hopefully we'll be able to ship them out on November 10 (or a little sooner). The record will be in stores and downloadable November 18th. I know, about freaking time right?


Locked out with Studs Terkel

I got into our apartment building in Uptown, but there's no one in my place. My house keys mysteriously disappeared from my chain. Not sure. Hoping they're inside somewhere.

Where is my home? Or maybe even better, when am I home? I'm wondering what your answer might be. I'm reading Studs Terkel's memoir, Touch and Go, and it's giving me a very particular sense of imagination that I remember holding when I first moved here. There is a sense in the middle of my stomach like I'm eternally stuck 5 minutes before a first date.

[this just in... @#(*#($*%&&%^_ the neighbor started blasting "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel. Unbelievable!]

One thing that I know: I'm sort of in love with Chicago. We have a relationship like that of a parent who constantly excuses his child's erratic behavior, stained clothing, and constant need. No - maybe that's not right because I'm not wholly, or even partially capable of controlling this place outside of the weak parameters of internal narrative/perceptions.

I feel something akin to Nelson Algen, "Yet once you've come to be part of this particular patch, you'll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real." - Chicago: City on the Make

Last night when I got home (home?) I watched out the window for a few minutes as a cut-up sir gave a 'how I got mugged' play-by-play to the police. It's sad and ugly. This is happening in the world (on my block) and for unknown and unnamable reasons, I have an inclination to live shoulder to shoulder with it. For unknown/unnamable reasons, this is my home.

I'm curious to know, when are you home? How do you know?

Oh - also this:

I haven't listened to anything else for days:

Losing My Taste For The Night Life - Arthur Russell

Well I'm driving to town
But I'm on the same road that took me back home
Put me on the road
Now I'm heading to nothing 'cause its no more fun
Going down through the pines, what I'm doing I did before
And that's all I see
Driving, driving sixteen miles
I'm looking for something I don't want to do
Because my coming to town it took me from you
Now I'm losing my taste for the night life
Losing my taste for the night life
Losing my taste for the night life

Now I feel like an island
A man in a whorehouse
And I'm back again
I go back to the highway, I go back to the farmhouse
And the hills of grain
And I wonder at all
Where I would be
If I can't go and find you there
Well I wondered so long
Where to find you and how
I go standing in where I am right now
Losing my taste for the night life
Losing my taste for the night life

Try it once if you need to
Come back and then you can
Take it out on me
It's the same it could lead you
But all that is what two can do
and still be free
You've been gone such a long time
Now I know it's for real
And how sad or how good
And how I feel
Losing my taste for the night life



Well! Where to start? FIRST, this leaked today. And go ahead and click! Why not? But the next part is tricky because I don't want it to sound like a gimmick. I received both an e-mail (thanks Marah) and a facebook message (thanks Grant) letting me know that the record had found an internet home. I will admit - I was pretty excited by the news. I'm past ready for everyone to hear the thing. But! I also have to be honest. What you've been excitedly listening to is "Engine Glow." The first version of the final thing, masterfully mixed by Neil Strauch of Engine Studios. At least if you have your copy of the cd from the link above... well, first! We were planning on leaking it anyways. Matt and I talked about this tonight and we both agreed - Neil is too smart and too talented for his version of things not to have seen the light of day. We were thinking of it as a Christmas present. So consider this an early Christmas? And secondly - fortunately or unfortunately - what you have isn't the cd that will be coming out on Anticon.

Same tracks, different sound.

I promise promise promise we didn't plan it like this. And I'll also say, I fully expect the real "Canopy Glow" to leak between now and November 18th. That's how these things work, right? And when it does, I hope you listen to it! And that you pass it on to your friends. And hopefully you like it and they like it and you all decide to come see us between now and next spring. That's a fair deal, right?

I'd write more but I am sleepy. And not playfully sleepy but the "my eyes keep closing and reopening as I type this and it feels like college when I was writing papers at four in the morning except it is only eleven at night and I feel OLD" incoherent sleepy. Hopefully it doesn't show up in this post? Maybe I'll make an edit or two during my lunch break.

Goodnight all!

Lionel Loueke

There aren't many good videos of this guy online, but I figured I'd do a little post on Lionel Loueke, a sweet guitarist that I first heard playing with Herbie Hancock a few years ago. This guy is really great, and he writes some darn good songs. The video below is a bit too much in the freakyweirdtalent-solo-youtube genre for my tastes, but this guy has a great band, too. I just recently picked up his new album "Karibu," which has a full-band version of this song. Absolutely amazing.



I don't eat a whole lot of meat. Now this doesn't mean I'm a vegetarian, it just means that I don't eat a whole lot of meat. Mainly I cut down on the flesh intake for health reasons (I've pounded my stomach with so much red meat over the past 25 years I thought I could give it a break). Now, just because I don't eat meat very often doesn't mean I have lost my love for the taste of steak. I envy the people who don't like meat...it's probably a healthier way to live. But I love steak!

Anyway, all this back story and I haven't gotten to my point yet.

Yesterday I broke down and chomped down on a juicy London Broil from a new favorite place...Gibson's. When you sit down at this place they show you some of their cuts (uncooked) and give you a rundown...once I saw the London Broil I fell in love (it's the one right next to the lobster tail...and yes, we did get a lobster tail too).

They told me this particular steak was the leanest cut they had and was perfect for patrons who enjoy steak prepared rare or medium/rare. Good gracious were they right! I was glad I had gone so long without so my body's senses could be overwhelmed by this familiar but absent experience. I left satisfied and filled with enough steak to last me for at least a little while longer.


Sea of Love

I recently went to the Georgia Aquarium with my brother Justin. We found a small viewing window that sat at the bottom of an aquarium roughly the size of a football field and planted ourselves there for at least an hour watching the underwater world with our mouths open. Six Whale Sharks (the largest fish on earth... can get up to 40ft in length...no big deal) circled the top of the tank feeding on krill, a 13 ft. Manna Ray dove into schools of fish sucking them into it's mouth, small neon fish rested in the rocks below us, and we sat behind the child smudged glass making simultaneous awes. When I was a kid I loved animal facts and it was nice to see that not a lot has changed.

This was also the first time I had ever seen a Beluga Whale. It liked to catch it's own air bubbles.


Much Love

Thank You Biden. I wasn't sure about you, but now I see that you're the best version of a good-ol-boy. You put a smile upon my face.


Being Open to our Current Current

"Be open to the real forces that are around, instead of the images and the hype. It's such a lessening of the human being to go through winter hating winter and to go through summer hating summer." - Ken Dunn, Hyde Park Resident.

Ken was sited as Chicago's "resident with the smallest carbon emissions foot print" in the Trib last week. This quote is in response to being asked about riding his bike throughout the winter. This guy is pretty old (though obviously, not at heart), and he sees interactions with natural forces as an exciting meeting, not an opportunity to play victim. I've been carrying around a little yellow sticky note with this quote ever since. It's so fierce - the power of human perception. I get the sense that I'm scrubbing all of the film off of my thoughts when I start looking through this frame (it can pretty much apply to anything, right?). I've started thinking about this like current in the water, which is largely what comprises the content of our song "The River." It's not a new thought by any means... If you go against current and fight it, your muscles become tired, knotted, and worn. What happens if you hop? It takes you. You can loosen your tensions as it carries you down. It's giving in to the complete unknowns which we generally feel uncomfortable about because they take more constant attentiveness and mindfulness. Well, anyway, I won't go into a Buddhist diatribe (is that even possible?) but I wanted to post it here because I found it meaningful and encouraging.

Funny how the adjective and noun forms of current speak to one another.

Here are the lyrics for "The River." Erica and I wrote them after hearing about an experience that her mom had while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. She was crossing a river and the current swept her away. Due to the weight of her pack, she couldn't get to a bank and was certain that she was going to die. Upon that realization, she leaned back, calmed her senses and enjoyed what she thought would be her last living moments... she observed everything with a concentrated mindfulness as she passed underneath the glow of light pouring through the canopy of leaves. This is a half fictional retelling. (She was saved - just so you know)

The River

High water carried her down stream.
She watched the water’s living things.
She thought, it’s not a mound with six planks of wood,
The cardinal points to hold you up,
Or a mountain where a shed self could

Feed the roots and honor the tongues of the animals.
Drift into the moss and bloat where the pete bog pulls.

Rolled like a felled tree
With arms as useless as such.
Death’s panic came, a calmness stayed.
You couldn’t do much.

Just watch the water chip away
At the bank eroding.
Cut and crumbling through the spate.

It took a father.
It covered a daughter,
Took her down, down, down.
With the glass bottles, books, a tire,
Collected hair tufts
In the weeds
Snagged and wrapped,
In the petes
Dammed and trapped.

You said, is this the ceremony?
I don’t know, well I don’t mind.
The way we all fall in and roll down
Pushed through the veins and trafficked bi-s.

And when your ears sit under,
Head is half submerged down below,
Pooling all accounts of peace while passed beneath
The canopy glow.