Our senses gather sound. Our minds attribute source and meaning to the sounds we hear. We begin to understand our environment, our world. Once we begin to understand our world we begin to develop the ability to affect our world with sounds of our own. Without understanding we are bound by chaos and powerless in an incomprehensible storm which raids and violates our senses, our minds, our bodies, our souls.
In our souls’ war against chaos, we seek to apprehend the comfort of order. Sometimes there is too much order. Sometimes there is too much chaos. Either excess strangles our souls.
We organize our chaos into order by doing various things. We place papers in piles. We paint the concrete with yellow and white lines which designate where we can safely park and where we can safely drive. We fold the clothes. We go to bed at night or in the morning and we wake up at night or in the morning. We feed our bodies at intervals when hunger begins to agitate us. We argue about policy then put an attempt in motion to overcome an injustice or a collective difficulty. We generate solutions by paying attention to a particular violence, identifying it, then dismantling its sources. Order becomes electrifying when it calmly annihilates injustice or a stale, lifeless existence and looks around as if to ask, “Why isn’t justice and teeming life the status quo, you boring, senseless idiots?”
When a certain order has been in place for a duration of time, we expect it. We depend upon it. Sometimes, it begins to bore or fail us. A wrestling match begins between it and a new order. When the gasping, shocked old order which we used to enjoy gets flipped on its back and pinned, we are excited by the prowess of the new order. Innovation and originality are always scanning and seeking the liberation of men and women from the oppressive scent of mundane death and senseless order which does not provide for the needs of souls.
A recent conduit in music where innovation, originality, and creativity have upended the old order is called Tilly and the Wall. It’s been four years since their last album. The band consists of the following ingredients: Kianna Alarid, Neely Jenkins, Derek Pressnall, Jamie Pressnal, and Nick White. Their albums are Wild Like Children (2004), Bottoms of Barrels (2006), O (2008), and Heavy Mood (2012) which was just released on October 2 by Team Love Records. They’re from Omaha, Nebraska. The name of the band came from the children’s book called “Tillie and the Wall” which was written by Leo Lionni.
When innovation, originality, and creativity migrate, they ride a thousand mechanisms. Sometimes it is by word of mouth through the tickle of tongue and teeth. Sometimes it’s through the thumbs of teenagers zapping social media with their new discoveries. Sometimes it’s by the tug on a sleeve from your children in your living room. Watching Sesame Street, for instance. Tilly and the Wall performed their version of the ABC’s on this show (1).
Very little is more foundational than the alphabet. This concept is one of the first articulates in the human mind no matter which language one receives. This band’s essence and origin appears the most comfortable nestling in at these most basic and raw human concepts. While so many bands try so hard to have substance by confusing themselves on purpose, this band channels the simplest concepts and is, by association, brilliant. Their music is generated in mutual respect and becomes something which mutually satisfies and mutually contributes (2). It is also a ton of fun. Congress should be forced by the American people to pay attention to their Constitution.
Some lyrics: “We will burn forever. We will never be apart. We have nothing to fear. Because we aren’t afraid to die. We aren’t afraid of anything. We aren’t afraid to be alive.” Tilly and the Wall is a birthday party, a tantrum, a garage sale, unrestrained giggling, a swear word said by a beautiful girl who melts your heart as she says it, as well as a dance where the whole class is invited. It is the awe-filled convert to religion before dogma buries the glory of God. It is an audio intoxicant. It is a child’s first steps making mom and dad’s eyes wet with universal gratitude. Who needs drums when you have your feet? (3) Who needs elaborate sets when you have a gymnasium? (4) Who needs digital when you have a camera you found on a shelf in one of your friend’s basements? This music has kept the corporate coasts away and settled in like Emily Dickinson in a kind of creative homeland. The females aren’t merely sex targets as they sing and dance on stage with the elderly ladies from the Elks Club behind them (5). There is a greater beauty which is that of being human, of being valuable an entire lifetime, and not simply being used and dismissed by a Hollywood attractive factory. It is a look around and a marveling at oneself, others, and ones’ surroundings. It is awe at breath. It is a mother who kisses your forehead and a father who tucks your hair behind your ear as you fall asleep. This band is males and females in power struggle-less celebration. This band pours music into a cup which is truthful going down. It asks you to be an honest human while at the same time being aware of all your faults. It tells you that you don’t have to tell lies.
It is extremely enjoyable to have musical artists such as these who produce but are not merely products. The humans who testified that Katy Perry’s recent movie was somehow great for young girls and families will be tempted to slap themselves in order to rid themselves of a shiny marketing delusion. While Katy Perry melts Snoop Lion’s popsicle in Los Angeles, musicians of Tilly and the Wall’s caliber detonate degrading concepts and reestablish human dignity to modern music. As they say, “Sometimes you just can’t hold back the river” when the dams are meaningless, petty, weak, and insignificant.
Buy any of their albums or watch the links below. You’ll become a better human being upon listening to any of them.
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