• nateswinehart:

    Being good to each other is so important, guys.

    Aug
    30
    2014
  • A song about war. Specifically the Israel / Palestine conflict. Pick your side. This song is about all of them. Everyone knows they’re right, and everyone is wrong. War is what happens when a bunch of arrogant people convince a bunch of gullible people that it’s either us or them and a whole lot of innocent people die for no good reason in the middle.

    from my new EP “Plastic Army Men.”

    http://nathanleigh.bandcamp.com/album/plastic-army-men-ep

    Jul
    24
    2014
  • Things I’ve learned in the last 48 hours:

    Things I’ve learned in the last 48 hours:

    1. A medium gauge D’Addario B string can hold up a car’s exhaust system for 15 miles, on average. Whereas, a G can hold up the exhaust system for about 30 miles.
    2. If your exhaust system is being held up by a guitar string, it’s best to avoid dirt roads.
    3. Love is really complicated and awful sometimes, but it’s a much better painkiller than both Tramadol and Morphine.
    4. You will never experience anything more cathartic than smashing a guitar while it’s on fire.
    5. If you’re ever feeling really sad, listen to Less Than Jake (from their late 90’s prime). If you like it, it’ll make you happy. If you hate it, you can have a good laugh at ska kids.
    6. There’s nothing better than being able to recognize someone by their laugh.

    Jul
    15
    2014
  • Advice for Friends of the Chronically Ill

    It’s no secret that I have some chronic lung problems. The short of it is that I have too much lung for my body. While this has been a boon to me as a singer in terms of dynamic range and breath support, it also means that sometimes my lungs collapse, which is obviously (and fittingly ironically) less than useful as a singer… It’s a little bit like being a Stan Lee character (a Hemingway character, if you’re classy…), except I’m a folk singer and my nemesis is uh…capitalism? Mediocre art? I’m not really sure. After years of life saving surgeries to fix this, my right lung in particular is now covered in scar tissue which gets inflamed periodically, putting me in indescribable pain. It doesn’t have the same risk of serious harm as when my lung is collapsed, but it feels very similar. As far as my doctors and I are able to tell, this is due to stress which causes me to breathe agitatedly thus irritating the lining of my lung which then, like the Dashboard-loving emo kid it is, proceeds to selfishly overreact without consideration for anything other than itself and make everything worse for no damn reason.

    image

    When I post my occasional status updates with self-deprecating observations about my regular hospital stays and periodic dependence on serious painkillers in order to do anything more complicated than lie in the fetal position, I am absolutely and unequivocally crying out for attention. (At this point, picture my lungs with a Vulcan haircut, gauged ears, and a t-shirt for a band whose name you can’t quite discern because of poor font choice.) I’m usually in the hospital alone, and even when the X-rays come back that my lung hasn’t collapsed and I’m not in any sort of mortal danger, the pain coming out of my chest says otherwise. So I post something as a way of saying “man this really sucks, and I’m alone and could really use someone to hold my hand right now. In lieu of that, I’ll take ‘likes’ on a Facebook post.” What comes back are very sweet messages of support, and more well-intentioned but totally counterproductive advice than I know what to do with. I’m pretty lucky, all things considered, to be surrounded by so many people who care.

    Recent conversations with supportive friends, and with friends of mine with their own chronic medical conditions have made me realize that most people just don’t know what to do. So, I thought it’d be helpful (and self-serving!) to write this guide. It’s far from exhaustive, since everyone’s situation is different. Hell, mine is unique enough that my doctors can only really confirm what is happening, not why. But I hope this helps both the people suffering from chronic conditions and the people who care about them.

    1. Offer support, not advice.

      Unless proceeded by the phrase “my friend had the exact same thing, and it really helped them,” you should never use the phrase “have you tried…” Odds are good that if the person has been dealing with their condition for a while, they’ve tried a lot of things, and discussed a lot of options with their team of doctors. Your well-intentioned advice only serves to stress out someone who is already dealing with as much as they can handle. Unless they’ve explicitly solicited advice, the message it communicates is more judgmental than supportive.

    2. Keep them company.

      The hardest part about any chronic condition is the way it isolates you. Most of the time, the key to recovery is rest, which is pretty solitary, and pretty boring. That isolation can turn into loneliness and then into depression, which just slows down the recovery process. Both the simplest and the most supportive thing you can do for someone dealing with a chronic condition is to come over, keep them company, and watch movies or play games together. If they’ve been dealing with their condition for a while, they’ve probably already seen everything worth seeing and have long ago begun to dig into the 9th Circle of Hell known as the Direct-to-Netflix market. There’s nothing sadder than watching a bad movie alone. There are few things more fun than making fun of a bad movie with a friend.

    3. Let them lead, and respect that they know their limits.

      Recovery is never a straight line. It’s full of advances, oversteps, and retreats. Your friend will feel great one day and worse than ever the next. They’ll try to do something ambitious and it’ll set them back a week. But that’s an important part of recovery: testing boundaries. Your body recovers by getting stronger, and it gets stronger by being active. Unless you see your friend doing something clearly self-destructive, it’s important to simply stand back and encourage their optimism and ambition, rather than discourage it out of fear that it might hurt them. The phrase “are you sure you should do that?” is inherently discouraging and may prevent your friend from taking a necessary step forward.

    4. Offer help, then let them do it themselves

      This is a tricky one. You know what sucks? Feeling like an invalid. Even if, by all measures you sort of are one. As of this moment, I haven’t been out of bed for about 16 hours because as long as I don’t move, I actually feel OK. Nonetheless, I’m about to get up and make myself lunch, even though I know it’s going to hurt like hell. This is my own personal theory, but it’s borne out by a lot of anecdotal evidence. Being treated like they’re weak makes a person feel weak. Being treated like they’re strong makes them feel strong, and thus helps them recover faster. So, by all means, offer to make your friend a sandwich, or help them clean, or clone dinosaur eggs with frog DNA, but if they say “no, I’d rather do it myself,” let them. Feeling like they’re capable of doing normal every day things helps a person recover.

    5. Be respectful of your own limits.

      People with chronic conditions often need assistance that they won’t be able to reciprocate in the near future, if ever. Usually, these are little things, but they’ll add up. And that’s going to feel really unfair. It’s important that you know your own limits, and don’t offer to do something that you’ll resent the person for down the line. Simply not offering to help is actually more helpful in the long run than helping someone and then holding it against them. It’s important to protect yourself and respect your own boundaries and not let yourself get to a place where you feel taken advantage of. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling like you’ve given as much as you can give. That doesn’t make you a bad person. You shouldn’t feel guilty about what you can’t do. You can do only the things you can do. And that’s OK. Unless your friend is a total jerk (in which case, why are you friends with them?) they won’t hold that against you, and will in fact be grateful.

    A special note to employers:

    There was a theatre company I worked with for a number of years, which has recently become rather successful. 3 days before having invasive and risky surgery on my lung, I had a long conference call with the producers. In it, they wanted to know what my recovery process would be like, and wanted me to assure them that it wouldn’t impact their show. Because there was a small risk of death from the surgery, and the doctors quoted a recovery time with a pretty wide range, I couldn’t give them the definite time frame they were after. So, despite laying out a few possible scenarios which would ensure that my work on their show not drop in quality regardless of the recovery time, they fired me the next day. (Or, more accurately from a legal standpoint, they opted not to hire me for this stage of the project to which I was already attached in a significant creative role.)

    While I respect that employers have money on the line, and in the case of a small company, often don’t have someone else to step in and take over if someone is sick, firing someone because of their health, if not illegal, is at minimum shady and basically evil. If you find yourself in a position where an employee guarantees that their health won’t effect the ultimate quality of their work, even if it means a less than ideal time frame, the human thing to do is to figure out a way to accommodate them. You probably see it as unfair to your bottom line, or less than ideal, but I assure you that your employee sees their health as less than ideal and unfair to their bottom line too. In an ideal world, they’d probably quit and just focus on their recovery, but the reality is, being sick is expensive. A major difference between being an employer and being a slave holder (among other more obvious things…) is that as an employer, you are required to accommodate your employees basic human needs even when it’s inconvenient. Employers are in a privileged position of power, and thus it’s incumbent upon them to work with employees with medical problems to find a way to help them perform their job to the best of their abilities. While, legally, there are all sorts of loopholes and technicalities, morally, it’s the right thing to do.

    I hope that’s helpful. If anyone has suggestions for other things to add, I’d love to hear them.

    And now, because that was super depressing, here’s a Beastie Boys song.

    Jul
    15
    2014
  • a demo for a new song recorded on tour. please let me know what you think. it’s a bit different for me.

    Jun
    01
    2014
  • My new sounds:

    Oct
    07
    2013
  • Sep
    23
    2013
  • Like any two year old, now we’re learning to walk. We’ve taken some steps. Some, like Occupy Sandy, Strike Debt, and Occupy Our Homes have been incredibly successful. Other times we’ve stumbled. We’re finding our voice. We’re learning what we want to say and how best to say it. We’re not there yet. But we’ll get there. And we’re learning to create. For now, small things. But someday? Who knows. Many have written us off for failing to fix all the world’s problems in 2 short years. Would you write off your own 2 year old for the same faults? Happy Birthday Occupy Wall Street.

    Like any two year old, now we’re learning to walk. We’ve taken some steps. Some, like Occupy Sandy, Strike Debt, and Occupy Our Homes have been incredibly successful. Other times we’ve stumbled. We’re finding our voice. We’re learning what we want to say and how best to say it. We’re not there yet. But we’ll get there. And we’re learning to create. For now, small things. But someday? Who knows. Many have written us off for failing to fix all the world’s problems in 2 short years. Would you write off your own 2 year old for the same faults? Happy Birthday Occupy Wall Street.

    Sep
    17
    2013
  • My new sounds:

    Sep
    03
    2013
  • demo for a new song about DIY house shows.

    Aug
    04
    2013
  • The great Nina Simone. She was right then. She’s right now. Everybody knows about Florida Goddam…

    (Source: youtube.com)

    Jul
    14
    2013
  • Way Down In Gitmo by Attica! Attica!

    "if i don’t have my barbecue the terrorists have won,
    and if my neighbor brings his Arab friends, i’ll call the pentagon!”

    take the day off, spend time with family and friends, but don’t forget there are a lot of people in this country who are not “free.” 

    (Source: youtube.com)

    Jul
    04
    2013
  • somehow being super stressed inspires songs about cyborgs? wrote this last night when i couldn’t sleep.

    Jun
    08
    2013
  • a new song from my new EP I recorded during the lockdown in Boston.

    May
    09
    2013
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burn the whole scene down

keroscene records is a diy label run by nathan leigh

Nathan Leigh

A Life In Transit

August 2012

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Super Mirage

Pretty Lies

July 2010

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The Androgynous Androids

The Hang Nail

March 2010

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Glitch EP

Nathan Leigh

Glitch EP

Nov 2009

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A Thousand Ships

A Thousand Ships

A Thousand Ships

Sep 2009

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Tell Me Something Honey

Nathan Leigh

Tell Me Something Honey

Oct 2008

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This Drama EP

Sputnik Sweetheart
(Super Mirage)

This Drama EP

Mar 2008

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