I’ve been working as a bike courier for about a month now. It’s really fun and really challenging – probably the most physically hard work I’ll ever do (besides that time I shucked oysters for 15hrs straight at the PDX convention center).
I’m getting faster, long rides are getting easier, and it’s all coming down to energy. If I get frustrated (which totally happened the other night) I pedal sporadically fast, not really gaining much speed, and getting hella tired by the time I make my delivery. I’m figuring out going with the flow of my energy and bike makes for faster times and less fatigue. It’s equally mental and physical.
I started making this comparison to daily life. If we expel a bunch of shit energy on the world, ourselves, or someone we love, we experience real fatigue that holds us back from our potential for a bit. If we cruise through our day openly and positively, moving at a pace that fits our mental and physical demands, we’ll have a much better chance of facing the next challenge with calm clarity.
I’m mostly writing this as a reminder to myself to keep the energy right, holler if you give it a try and it works for you too 🙂
The 4th installment of The Jam of the Week is a track that came to mind instantly when the idea of starting the playlist hit me – J Dilla’s Nothing Like This from his Ruff Draft LP.
Dilla is one of if not the best rap producers ever, no question. This is why this track’s simplicity and vibe carry such huge weight! It’s a massive flex and testament to his creativity and ability to shine beyond any expections or even loose ideas of what music can sound like.
I’m straight up scared to look up the sample because I don’t want to question the magic it’s laced me with on every listen since Stones Throw reissued the record in 2007 (OG came out in 2003, fuck!)
Nothing Like This is a timeless, genre-free love song to someone or something he felt really good about. Let’s take this love to something we care about too y’all and party to it, honoring the incredible legacy Dilla left on this planet 🎉❤️ 🙏🏽
Peep the full Church of Hype: Jam of the Week playlist here
The other night at dinner with my bandmate and best friend, label-owner and mentor, and one of LA’s raddest musical minds I learned greyliens are aliens that live among us in another dimension. No other details were shared, and I only Googled far enough to get the spelling right.
It doesn’t really matter to me if greyliens exist or not. I just find being open to stretched out and irregular ideas helpful. Not saying go ham searching conspiracy theories online, but what if we use avant-garde concepts like greyliens to open up our perspective in other more concrete parts of life, basically giving us infinite options to situations that seemed simple or already out of our hands?
Why not spend time digging into ideas that can lead to things we never even considered a possibility? Like greyliens, or changing your career, or taking a life-changing road trip through Canada to Alaska, or visiting Instanbul to see all the cats, or being the family/crew member you’ve always wanted to be. ❤️👽
This week’s Jam of the Week is Could Heaven Ever Be Like This from the legendary drummer Idris Muhammad. It’s a ridiculously uplifting journey, full of bouncing positivity and an intro that completely changes your day (try it)!
I first heard it on this jazz cassette comp I thrifted in the early 2000’s. I’d bump it on a boom box in my Ford Ranger while driving around rural Minnesota doing lawn care saving the money to move to Portland.
Eventually I hit rewind too many times trying to hear Could Heaven Be Like This and the tape snapped : (
Still on the hunt for another copy!
I was reintroduced to the song last year on Today’s Good News (RIP), the XRAY.fm radio show hosted by legendary Portland DJ Rev Shines and All Night Tong. I hit him up about it and he said you gotta get the extended 12″, the 45 version is too short!
Hope you dig this track as much as I do – Check out the full Church of Hype: Jam of the Week playlist here
Yo if you want to feel humbled for a sec check out space! I just copped this paperback at my wife and I’s favorite thrift spot in Tucson.
Dude breaks down all the ways people looked at space (thru 88′) in a way that’s mostly understandable.
It’s facintating to learn about astronomers who were 100% sure they knew what was happening in our sky – only to be completely disproven, or in many cases, there ideas were built upon discovering the truth decades or centuries later!
Also that star you’re looking at might not be where it seems. Light can bend around objects like the sun, making stars appear in the sky far from where they actually are. #questioneverything
- Space is massive and elusive and we are tiny.
- What you see isn’t always what you see.
- Absolute facts can and will later be disproven.
This context is helpful for me – hope you get something from it too.
Give me a shout if you’d like to borrow my copy of A Brief History of Time, I’m happy to send it you. 🚀
PS Writing this outside the local planetarium so you know how serious I am about space! You can tell it’s legit because they’re showing Dark Side and a crew of college kids are playing light-up frisbee to the sounds of a playlist featuring dubstep, country, & punk with bag pipes (back to back to back) in the grass behind me. All love, have fun kidos!
Ever get stuck thinking about things you don’t want to? Gossip from work you honestly don’t care about keeps coming up in your head, or anger towards a person or group of people for something that already happened and doesn’t really matter right now… You know these aren’t the healthiest thoughts, but it’s hard to let them go.
Try dreaming. Literally start making stuff up in your head. Your dream scenario. Wherever you want to be. You’re in total control and its all imaginary so go deep! I’m thinking about being on a cross country bike ride on a bike I don’t own with skills and gear I don’t have yet. I’m visiting new communities and making rad connections to keep doing the things I love!
Dreaming is harder than staying stuck on unnecessary and mostly irrelevant issues, which is why I love doing it! It exercises the mind in a really cool way, while getting you closer to your totally attainable, realistic, and ok-to-dream-about goals!
It’s also harder to dream – like street hard. I’m way more into someone thinking about doing incredible shit than being a big ole bummer.
Obvious right? Dream!
I was gifted a massage as a wedding present from my friend Kerrie at Sun of Metal Body Work (who you should totally call if you’re ever near Tucson)!
Before my session I started having those awesome thoughts about starting a new and more intentional life, making this massage my catalyst to be a better human – for myself, my fam, and the world.
Then I thought why not have these revitalizing feelings around anything and everything? What if you put that much thought and energy into eating dinner with a friend, taking a walk, or just straight up spitting on the ground?
Try it and let me know if it works. Just go spit outside your door (or even better the door of the cafe you’re at) and start being the new you you’ve been dreaming of.
I’ll go do the same right now – each of us putting a little effort into making our lives and the lives we touch better ✌🏽
This week’s ultra-hype, ultra-positive jam is Koushik’s Lying In The Sun from his 2008 release Out My Window on Stones Throw Records.
I count on this track to pop in my head when I need a heavy dose of uplifting sound, and it has -at least monthly – since buying the record in 08′.
Koushik adds layers of unidentifiable qualities (live instruments, singing, samples, whistling) to his tracks, creating a mystery that feeds the magic of his timeless sound.
Lying In The Sun samples the famous lip-smacking drum break from The Stooges Dirt, the horns from Bernard Wright’s Spinnin’ (also borrowed by this little hit from 95′), and probably 20-30 other elements we just get to enjoy without totally nerding out!
I was lucky enough to meet Koushik last month in Hamilton, Ontario while visiting my friend MOTËM at the Gebbz Steelo Research Center for the Arts. Grateful for the opportunity, I thanked him for his music saying it has always been an uplifting listen for me. He humbly returned the gratitude for listening and feeling his intention behind the art. THEN I WENT AROUND THE CORNER AND FREAKED THE FUCK OUT BECAUSE I JUST MET KOUSHIK!
Hope you enjoy this tune 🙂
Here’s a link to the full Church of Hype: Jam of the Week playlist on Spotify.
^Back to the office…
BEARDOWN ERICA L O V E U
I used to bike by this sign everyday on my way to work at the best arthouse in the world. At first I thought it was some funny college sports art, then I actually started getting bugged out by it. How is this thing still in the window?
Then I realized I love this fucking sign! BEARDOWN ERICA L O V E U is my neighborhood good luck charm. It became an unchanged part of the world, something I can count on. There’s a group of people really down for their friend Erica killing it at some sport. So down, this has been blocking the sun in their window for over 2 years.
Finding your good luck charm means discovering something on your daily route you connect with. It might be funny, sad, beautiful, living, rotting and old – anything that makes you turn your head and check in about your day, reminding you the world is crazy, but this small part is unchanged.
Some of my favorite good luck charms have been an old work van with a homemade wooden exterior paint job (if you’ve lived in NE Portland you’ve probably seen it), a rad purple low rider for sale in West Tucson, and a beautiful old sign for a defunct painting service – which I later got tattooed on my right arm!
Think about the piece of the world you count on on your daily route, I’m sure you have one already. It isn’t necessary to interact with it (don’t break the 4th wall!), just rest in the grounded feeling you get when you see it.
L O V E U
Welcome to the Jam of the Week! (((so much echo)))
I’ll be posting one ultra-hype and positive song weekly, adding some backstory if I have one.
Our first Jam of the Week is Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now by McFadden & Whitehead off their self-titled 1979 release.
I was first introduced to this song by Biz Markie on the disco ballad(?) Let Me Turn You On, which samples from Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now. I loved that track and didn’t really know why it was so powerful – unaware of the original at the time.
Then one day I was out thrifting with my friend The Manimal in St. Paul, MN. He was playing KMD’s Mr. Hood in the huge 1980’s Mercedes Benz his dad had him driving at the time. Hearing the intro track to that record was totally life-changing for me, and as hip-hop coincidences and days of good vibes would have it, I walked into the thrift and immediately saw McFadden & Whitehead on the shelf!
I don’t remember anything else about that day besides putting my scratched copy of the album on the turntables and for the first time, in my little DJ room in my parent’s basement in the suburbs, hearing Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.
Check out the Church of Hype: Jam of the Week Spotify playlist here