Fuck it dog, life’s a risk
            FIDLAR stands for “Fuck It Dog, Life’s A Risk,” a mantra I should perhaps live out more. Since 2009, these guys have ben screamin’ up and down the Los Angeles area; a whine of surf punk. I listen to them every day and I don’t think I will stop, they’re chaotic and disjointing–warm and somber– a sonic parasite– mutual. FIDLAR has this incredible ability to translate a drugged-out swarm of human experience into affectual songs that extracts intrapersonal relation. Their buzzes of melancholy, distortional chaos, and beachy riffs manifest a punk that has come to terms with addiction and failure and enjoying the proceeding change.
            FIDLAR records their music in such a Ramones way. The Ramones recorded in a deliberate manner so that when they’re played, even at the lowest volume setting, it’s loud. FIDLAR’s cover of Sublime’s “Caress Me Down” transforms a chill song into a speaker breaking, ear drum punching, chaos– an epitome of FIDLAR’s dramatic punk take on the tamer world.
            Hidden out there on the internet are unofficial gems of audible joy– these uncertain spots of previously unknown emotion and creativity are what change an artist in your mind. FIDLAR has quite a bit of unofficial discography on YouTube that isn’t found elsewhere, those are my favorite songs. Perhaps it’s the ones that don’t have many plays that are the ones we latch onto the most; it’s unique, singular– chained. They become a comfort, or a friend, and form a connected relationship. I immediately think of a few songs: “Untitled (Sad Song) :(,” the subsequent emotional manifestation of the lead singer whose girlfriend had overdosed on heroin, “Wasted (Demo),” an ode to being absurdly drunk, and “AWWWKKWAARRRDDD” featuring Kate Nash, the common story of being awkward and messing everything up with someone.
            They’re the ultimate skate band– total embodiments of the culture. My friend, Jack, and I avoid the weird look at me scene–the scene where kids are more caught up in getting a picture for Instagram than actually skating–of the waterfront park in favor of the secluded and relaxed abandoned highway in South Burlington. The whole road is pretty unnoticeable and I’m not sure anyone’s even supposed to be there. It probably has a different name too, though I just call it what everyone else does. It’s unremarkable right when you get in but just further down it’s a home-grown park encased in thick layers of graffiti.
            Most of my favorite FIDLAR tracks aren’t on Spotify, so I use to SoundCloud to find those deep tracks to listen to while I skate. By somewhat of an unconscious designation, I select “Cheap Beer” from my liked songs playlist first without hesitation. It’s an absolutely shredding song. It feels like you’re in a tripped out alternate reality where everything is unimaginably faster and more aggressive causing a total body surge of adrenaline. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to beat someone up just because you could. It radiates that feeling of punk selfishness in an aggressive shout of fuck you.
            The front man Zac Carper has a gritty and booming sound that cannot fathomably come from such a small person. Yet, by some cosmic miracle he can scream harder than some death metal front men. At the abandoned highway I try and take it seriously for the first few runs. Hit a frontside boardslide– try and land a varial heelflip. FIDLAR blares in my ears, killing off the remaining undamaged parts of my ear drums. “Cheap Beer” doesn’t start off soft in any manner– a beachy riff that smells of punk rock builds up to a Beach Boys-like vocal spurts of “ba ba ba,” bopped out with an aura of evil. The song immediately pierces your ears with analog distortion and casts a rotten doom upon the wavy riffs that would have been heard on Huntington Beach. Screams and distorted voices can be heard in the background creating this hauntingly surf image just before the vocals screech in. A collision of instruments and bastardly hollers of the feral culminate to that gritty voice that projects from the small front man. The highway demands this be an idyllic moment of skate and musical happiness, mixing to one emotional climax fueled on a common desire to retain a false adulthood.
I finish my run– out of breath, out of shape, and out of beer. It’s pretty easy to go through a few beers while skating and not even realize it. Hitting a few of the handmade ramps– nose stall, drop in, manual out– cheap beer in. There’s always that blunt sound that your board makes when the grip tape and edge of the board grind into the asphalt. It doesn’t exist while listening to FIDLAR, the world drowns out in a crying chant of “I drink cheap beer, so what, fuck you!”
            Connectivity to FIDLAR throughout their fans is pretty remarkable for such a small punk band. It’s for those degenerates, the outcasts, the I don’t give a fuck’s, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the eternally depressed, the morbidly unhappy, and the never grown-ups. There’s a cosmic energy that radiates and has a special ability to make so many different people feel so similar. It’s the only band I have connected to the pathos of.
            It’s strange that we can arrange a musician’s emotional outpouring of creativity into a feeling of perhaps elation and enjoyment. It’s weird that I can play a song about being awkward with someone you like and still shred around on my board. Though, when I listen alone, I languish in relation. For now, I can just keep chanting on, enjoying that moment of happiness and maybe go out of my comfort zone. After all, fuck it dog, life’s a risk.  
Strawberry Moon walker
            Strawberry jam crept out the mason jar and fumbled onto the toasted sourdough. It’d be strange to not find Flora hoarding all the jam; she never missed out on Mrs. Wilkes’ preserves. Above Flora was the two shelved refrigerated cabinet holding more preserves than she could ever eat in one week. Flavors of peach, strawberry,blackberry, and about half a dozen more wait for the tiny jam eating machine. Flora shoved another slice of bread and jam in her mouth, not even toasting it this time. The crimson jam dripped down to her chin and onto the floor, seeping into the crack between the floorboards that her father impulsively installed. The mason jars produced condensation as the heat became unbearable and melted whatever extraneous thing, Flora’s bucket for collecting rocks, Mrs. Wilkes’ bird feeder, and even the mailbox melt in the dry, unwell heat. The jam oozed easier now– liquefied. Wildfire’s had scorched the land for days at this point, though mostly in the northern territory. Smoke drifted down and it rained ash for almost all of Thursday.
             Languid and torpid, Flora smacked another glob of jam on sourdough completely apathetic to the precipitation of doom. The knife got stuck to Flora’s hand this time as the tacky jam jar neared emptiness. She tried to clean her hands at the sink and finally noticed the downpour of ash. Ash covered much of Flora’s small home. Smiley faces and flowers were drawn into the ash that blanketed the family car. Perhaps her siblings did that. An unworldly chill swamped the land. It was a dream world– It felt like the moon. Flora stepped outside and stared at the now grey and white tree line before her. Devoid of color and shape, the surrounding forest melted into a nebulized grey mess. Tight blips of green jetted out the ground in the imprints of Flora’s walk. It was more like a hop than a walk as she took greatly long and strenuous strides and slowly skipped up as if she was a moon walker. An entire extraterrestrial land awaited discovery.
            Carved and misshapen, dull yet dreamy, the chill subsided from Flora and its procession of death and doom didn’t affect the moon walker. Bits of ash floated and bobbed around Flora as she kicked up rotted tree branches. A deep purple hue was directly above Flora in the morning sky, cascading into a puddle of grey. Only one time before had Flora been in such a transient state. She and mother had gone to a shuttle launch at the Kennedy Space Center. Flora felt so small, so insignificant, so much disarray but yet marvelous. She couldn’t put it into words, well at least into words that she knew at the time. The dream world usurped the shuttle launch in every way possible. It was foreign and off putting but excited that same demeaning truth and the urge to indulge upon it.
            Flora walked along the brush, deeper past her house towards a flickering light. A television beamed a static of crushed and interpolated scenes of cartoons, it was powered by seemingly nothing, the power cord ran to a mushroom and still worked even if “unplugged”. Flora stared at the TV, entranced by its flickering. The static cleared and Mrs. Wilkes appeared on the TV. It was a commercial for preserves: “De-d-de-delicious preserves made by me, Mrs. Wilkes, available every day in downtown Juniper. Moon walkers and dreamers alike love my jams.” The TV flickered back to scattered cartoons and Flora emerged from Mrs. Wilkes’s pitch.
            Just beyond the television was a doorway. Crooked and overgrown, it sat deep in the Earth. The void of the blue door was ajar enough for only a small person to climb through. Flora was unfazed by the strangeness of the door and slid through it. As she did, the landscape saturated and the deep chill of a dream dissipated. Flora ended up about fifty feet away from her house, caught in the deep brush of the woods. The familiar clacking of a knife scraping the glass jar rang in Flora’s ears like when you hear a car approaching and you know exactly that it’s your parents from the sound alone, alerting you to spring into action and do your chores in milliseconds flat. Or perhaps when you hear your name being called in class and you aren’t paying attention– only attentive enough to know you don’t know what’s going on. Turning around she saw her mother some yards behind clinking a metal knife around a jam jar at the outdoor table.
            There was no ash, there was no chill, just Flora’s mother and jam. Her mother wore a blindingly red sundress, adorned with white flowers and tiny yellow bees. Flora looked at her mother incredulously. The feeling of smallness yet innumerable joy in the relaxing vat of stillness form the ethereal realm pressed on Flora. For what is only known is somewhat comforting and what might come is an unsettling pleasantry. Flora remained for now distanced to the dream world.
             Was it innocence that brought her here? Why is there a feeling that the world is covered in a film? A dark void can take over in an instant and wreak havoc on normalcy and can freely interrupt the small yet placid task of eating jam on bread? The soul sucking persuasion of tragedy and the enticing gloom of stillness; absurd yet inducing thoughts. That’s how it felt. The world on pause, subject to nothing and no one but Flora moon walking in a melancholic funk.
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