When he’s not writing for magazines, online publishers, or his own edification, Rob Goyanes spends much of his time curating for the artistically malnourished city of Miami. Malnourished, you might ask? How so? Well, for all intents and purposes, and for most independent touring acts, Miami’s at the end of the world—it’s a city you have to basically reverse out of—and as such, fewer bands pass through than a smaller city somewhere on the East Coast tour trajectory like Richmond or Chapel Hill. Though now a resident of New York City, Goyanes has maintained his hometown roots through the Miami Music Club—a short-lived showspace that became an events coordination agency and has continued flexing and spreading its swampy tendrils throughout the Miami area. That said, throughout the years, Goyanes has maintained a somewhat nomadic lifestyle—a birth in Miami, maybe a stint in Ohio… hell, maybe even a stopover in Europe.
On Pain Is a Language, Goyanes pairs his love for curation with his admirable travel/living itinerary, though he never quite forgets his South Florida home. For instance, the song “Franz Kafka’s Degreaser” references Miami party-rock boy-band Ben Katzman’s Degreaser in addition to, well, Franz Kafka. It’s a confounding combination, but in 2016—a time of transchronological wonder, expectancy, and even over-saturation—it’s only natural. I mean, surely someone who frequents garage rock shows has read at least a portion of The Trial, right?
That’s only a part of Rob’s absurdity-gone-wise routine. “Life is a dull creamsicle,” he mumbles at the tape’s opening, “watch it melt away.” Rob takes that scene from Forrest Gump—you know the one—and makes it both pessimistic and humorous. And then his hypnotic dance beat comes in, lurching and throbbing past the brain’s center of profundity and into whatever controls head bobs. As if nodding to his own projection of comedy meeting deep, radical thought, on “Every Other Day,” Goyanes inserts a long sample from the late, great Spalding Gray, full of expletives and pejoratives, that chronicles the symptoms of living in New York—a process with which he is no doubt familiar, and which, according to Mr. Gray, accepts the lexicon of “cunt,” “bitch,” and, most importantly, “Die, Die, Die!” Actually, maybe that’s not too far from the words he was used to hearing in Miami.
Pain Is a Language is a cassette about the effects of geography, and it’s one that excels at inspecting transience. It acknowledges that, while a living situation in flux can be somewhat perilous, it is also incomparably interesting, and the experiential or intellectual rewards of doing so may be quite splendid.
01) Dull Creamsicle
02) Pain Is a Language
03) Franz Kafka’s Degreaser
04) Every Other Day