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My brain is scrambled right now. I feel like I’ve been zapped by some warbling beam of crimson, deleterious energy, a Discombobulator Ray powered by current events and flipped on by the media, its photonic malevolence emanating in super-heated, enervating waves from an open window on my phone. What do you call this feeling, and is it a trope common to dystopian fiction? Did the old people in Logan’s Run feel like this when they were young? And what does this feeling have to do with a music column?

Not much, admittedly. Maybe I feel spun like that because living in the dystopia that is the United States of America: 2022 AD is not as sexy and exciting as fiction makes it out to be, and the soundtrack? I don’t even know what I should listen to.

Sometimes I walk around with John Carpenter scores pulsing in my headphones, because then at least I feel like I’m in a movie for a little bit, but I almost don’t want to revisit any old faves because I don’t want them tainted by this moment in time. But that’s even more depressing, because it makes me think that maybe I’m kind of grieving for a way-back-when that is actually only recently in the past. Tragedy + time = comedy, but that formula can’t be finished when there’s little room to breathe between yesterday’s national, existential crisis and whatever pillar of safety and personal autonomy is being undermined or overturned today. Everything sort of feels like two adjacent keys being mashed at the same time on an out-of-tune piano, the dissonance pounded upon repeatedly until everyone agrees to sing along to “God Bless the USA.”

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Of course, now that I think about it, John Carpenter’s greatest hits are rooted in those adjacent-key intervals, and jamming the Halloween soundtrack while out walking (or driving or cleaning my apartment) is probably not doing my brain any favors when the news is already ominous enough, but I don’t even know if sunnier music would help. I just imagined putting on Bob Marley right now, and the only three little birds that seem appropriate to the moment are crows, ravens, and vultures. If they’re on my doorstep, it’s because they found some lunch.

Does that sound heavy? Because that’s how I feel, and, frankly, heavy music is about all I want to hear these days, which brings me to Friday night’s show at Tulips FTW (112 St. Louis Av, 817-367-9798). Area apparel brand Bleach USA is debuting a new skate video, after which is a show headlined by the doomy, psychedelic, loud shoegaze band Clear Acid. Doors are at 7, and the video airs at 8, with the bands playing immediately after, starting with Washout — I watched a video clip of the band, and they reminded me of Bleach-era Nirvana — and North Texas hardcore destroyers Urn in the middle slot. The show is free if you click on the calendar at and RSVP at the Prekindle link that pops up.

I know having my eardrums caved in by a few loud bands won’t fix anything, but in the context of their music, maybe that feeling of being zapped will make more sense. — Steve Steward


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