why'd the chicken cross the threshhold?

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June 13, 2001

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this review of _The Argyle Heir_ by The Ladybug Transistor first appeared at earpollution, but for some reason they "corrected" it. Here, then, it is ,again, the way nature intended...

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i'm driving a truckload of cluckers to a chinese restaurant in brooklyn when a song i've never heard before comes on the radio. now, what's unusual about this is i didn't have the radio turned on, but there all of a sudden is a song that's all flutes and coconuts and seaside hammock daydreams, automobiles without doors, the kind of tune syd barrett and brian wilson might have written had they met on a south seas cruise. i've been running live chickens to brooklyn from iowa for years and it just occurs i've never seen the ocean. i close my eyes and run a red light. it doesn't matter. the song ends, i open my eyes, i'm on an unfamiliar street: argyle. how long had i been driving blind? that was fires on the ocean from the ladybug transistor's new album, the argyle heir, the dj says, and he tells me to take a left on marlborough. who am i to argue? for the first time since we loaded up in iowa, the chickens are silent. i roll down the window and turn the music up. a feather lands in my hair and i leave it there. there it is: marlborough farms. i've never been here before but it looks like the music i've been listening to: a pocket of perfection in an otherwise noisy and crowded place. the ladybugs are on the porch, sipping lemonade. i heard your song on the radio, i say, and begin singing. i don't normally sing but there it is. but we just finished recording that song a few minutes ago, they say, you couldn't possibly have heard it on the radio. i borrow a guitar and sing them the rest of what i heard. i don't play guitar, but the notes come and the voice i hear is not my own. i finish and the only sound is ice settling in a glass. they look at each other and smile. this hasn't happened before, but maybe it is a sign of things to come? they ask, where are you taking these chickens? a chinese restaurant in brooklyn. jennifer smiles and shakes her head. pull your truck around back.... the backyard is small, grown over with all manner of garden plants and tall vegetables; it's hard to see in, there could be anything in there. the truck beeps as i reverse the trailer into place, a trailer full of chicken crates. the gate swings on rusty hinges, opening on fields and trees and rivers as far as the eye can see. we start unloading the chickens. i'm gonna lose my job for this, i say. the band consults a minute, then presses the master into my hand. this is for you to do with as you please, they tell me. and the chickens run over the hill.