An Ode to Displacement
Matthew Houck is thirty-one years old and has a head full of shaggy light-brown hair of which there is increasingly more in the back than the front. He's a musician, known best by the name Phosphorescent, although about ten years ago, he self-released one album as Fillup Shack. It was called Hipolit and maybe you can buy it somewhere online if you try hard enough.
It is springtime in Louisiana. Hot enough to bubble the water. Not yet noon and Carl Fitz is up to his waist in it, the dark bayou off Lake Verret, being brave and fishing the bottom for keepers. But now, his girl looking lonesome and his own legs aching, he comes ashore pulling at the neck of his thick clothing. A long stringer trails him, attached to his nylon belt. His lady Bess sits smiling on the soggy bank watching him, all cute and laid out on a cooling blanket, her dark shoulders blistered from the day's fun. They are both twenty-one and freshly in love.
“You just have to see” is always good advice in New Orleans, which is how I ended up at the 2007 premiere of Trixie and the Treetrunks, a ten-part puppet telenovela in which Trixie and her pal Marsha try to make sense of a post-apocalyptic world by starting a band to send secret messages from the center of the earth.
That’s why pop music is the art for our time: It’s an art of crap. And not in a self-conscious sense, not like a sculpture made of garbage and shown at the Whitney, which is only a way of saying that "low" materials can be made to serve the demands of "high" art. No, pop music really is crap. It’s about transcending through crap. It’s about standing there with your stupid guitar, and your stupid words, and your stupid band, and not being stupid.