...and I'm still alive, thank you for asking. And Marlie picked up her kiddie harmonica today and I showed her a Bob Dylan video on YouTube and now she knows who Bob Dylan is. She also knows that Barack Obama is the next president, thank you very much.
Now it's all about naming the twins, and that's easier said than done. Especially when nostalgic people get offended. Nostalgia is the opium of the people who can't remember tomorrow.
The Globe and Mailprofiles Nick Cave, who, it appears, has just finished work on a novel:
The book, which Cave finished mere days ago, is called The Death of Bunny Munro, and it grew out of a screenplay that never got made. Munro is "just not a good guy," Cave says.
"But I've always liked things like those Jim Thompson novels, where you've just got [a protagonist who's] flat-out evil. But there's always something a little endearing about him. And Thompson would draw you, chapter by chapter, into this vortex, where your sympathies are stretched finer and finer. I've always found that interesting in his books."
Curiously, Cave says the biggest difference between songwriting and novel writing is that "I find the writing of novels and stuff easier. It's because you're pursuing one idea for a sustained amount of time.
"My problem always is coming up with the original idea - that 'What am I going to write about?' And you have to do that over and over and over again with songs. Every time you finish one, you just have to work out what the next one will be. What's your theme?
"To write a novel, you only need to get a basic idea and run with it. It's the same with scriptwriting. Scriptwriting is even easier, because in most cases you're supplied your theme. Someone says. 'Will you write an Australian western?' Well, yeah, why not? It's not rocket science to do that - you get some archetypes, stick 'em on their head, and do this and that with them.
"But songwriting - I mean, the amount of times I've rung up my friends and said, 'Right, look, will someone tell me what to write a song about?' And someone will go, 'Well, what about trains?' And you go, 'Oh, all right.' "
Once upon a time, you couldn't go more than a few hours without seeing this video played on one of your music television channels. Nowadays, you can't even find this on YouTube. What gives? I still love this song after all of these years; in fact, I would place this solidly in the Syntax of Things Top 10 songs and videos ever.
"You Are All My People," which comes out today on Bloodshot Records,
is the first album by I'm Not Jim, a collaboration featuring the vocals
and guitar of Walter Salas-Humara, more widely known as the front man
of the Silos, a highly literate and slyly humorous rock act that also
happens to be a favorite of Mr. Lethem. The writer penned most of the
lyrics for the unusual assortment of songs and spoken-word interludes
that appear on the new record, but he doesn't actually sing or
otherwise perform — unlike some of his peers.
"Rick [Moody] is a musician; he can play," Mr. Lethem, sitting at a
table in a coffee shop around the corner from his Boerum Hill home,
said recently. "I'm at pains to make it clear that I'm not pretending
to be that."
Can't wait to have a few minutes to myself to be able to listen to the new Okkervil River album, The Stand Ins, in its entirety. If "Singer Songwriter" is any indication of what its like, I may have found my favorite album of the year.
This coming Spring is shaping up to be a big one around here (more on that in due time) and today I have even more reason to look forward to it:
Rock band Wilco hopes to have its seventh studio album out by spring 2009, frontman Jeff Tweedy told Albany, N.Y., radio station WAMC recently.
After opting for a highly performance-oriented recording approach on 2007's "Sky Blue Sky," Tweedy said he expects that Wilco will "allow ourselves a little bit more leeway in terms of sculpting the sound in the studio and doing overdubs and using the studio as another instrument. Last time around, it was more of a document."
At recent live shows, Wilco has played two new songs: "One Wing" recalls the melancholy, slowly building "Sky Blue Sky" closer "On and On and On," while "Sunny Feeling" has a sly main riff in keeping with loose jams from the last album.
It's not hard to get excited about the always great music issue of the Oxford American. The CD alone is worth the price of a year's subscription to the magazine. And now comes word from the good folks at OA that they now have a sponsor for this year's 10th anniversary music issue and, get this, it will include a double CD of music!
CMT [Country Music Television] will be the exclusive sponsor of The Oxford American magazine's 10th anniversary Music issue.
The sponsorship will be used to produce the first-ever double CD of Southern music that will accompany this special edition of the magazine, which will be released in November.
Since its introduction in 1998, the Music issue has been the best-selling issue of The Oxford American each year. It has twice won the National Magazine Award for single-topic issue, in 1999 and 2004, and it consistently has received wide critical acclaim.
The Oxford American's Music issue always is accompanied by a CD featuring a diverse mix of great Southern music identified by the magazine's editor, Marc Smirnoff. This year will be the first time a double CD is offered.
"We are pleased to be the exclusive sponsor of The Oxford American's 10th anniversary Music issue and double CD, which is sure to be the best yet," said Andy Holeman, Vice President of Marketing at CMT. "CMT's partnership with The Oxford American's Music issue goes back several years, and we are very proud to continue our support of this wonderful effort highlighting such a great and diverse landscape of music."
"The Oxford American is extremely grateful for CMT's generous support of our 10th anniversary Music issue," said Warwick Sabin, publisher of The Oxford American. "CMT's exclusive sponsorship will ensure a high-quality, unique and groundbreaking Music issue and double CD for our readers and fans."
I know I don't talk enough about local (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) events, but this one caught my eye and has me scrambling to do some schedule arranging in order to attend to tomorrow night:
Merge will be hosting Town of Mirrors, a collection of collages by Robert Pollard. Town of Mirrors is the inaugural art show in our downtown Durham office on August 15th.
The inspiration behind the art show is the forthcoming coffee-table book entitled, Town of Mirrors which will be released by Fantagraphics on August 6, 2008. Town of Mirrors collects the very best of Pollard’s visual art and lyrics/poetry. Featuring over 180 of Pollard’s favorite collages, hand-picked by the artist, as well as over a dozen new collages produced exclusively for this book, the first comprehensive collection of Pollard’s visual art ever released. The Durham show will include collages from the book as well as newer pieces. Original artwork and copies of the book will be available for purchase.
In addition to being a revered songwriter and recording artist, Pollard is a gifted and prolific visual artist, working mostly in the medium of collage. His work has been exhibited at Michael Imperioli’s Studio Dante in New York and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He has created the covers to almost every Guided By Voices record and countless other Pollard-related releases.
And there are unconfirmed rumors that Mr. Pollard will be there.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to reserve any of my always limited time in late September/early October to check out Choke on the big screen. After all, I was sorely disappointed in Fight Club save the final credits. I will say that having Radiohead score the movie might help move it from the "Rent DVD" category to "see at theater":
Speaking to BBC 6 Music on the Shaun Keaveny Breakfast Show, Palahniuk explained it all came from his love of the band’s music, saying: “Clark Gregg, who directed the movie version of Choke
which comes out on September 26 (in the US), he knew that I’d written
Choke while listening to Radiohead’s Pablo Honey, with Creep, over and
over and over.
“So Clark got Radiohead to contribute a song; to write a song for
the very end of the movie, the final credits. Apparently Radiohead
liked the movie so much, they’ve written the score, most of the ambient
music throughout it. So it’s ‘Choke – with the music of Radiohead’“
When asked if he felt honoured to have such a respected band write
music solely for his film, the author laughed, “I quit believing in my
own life at this point! My life is just too incredible to be believable
anymore. It’s a living dream.”
NPR has graciously given us an interview with Unitarian Universalist pastor Jeffrey Symynkywicz and an excerpt from his book The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen: Rock and Redemption from Asbury Park to Magic. Because it's Monday and I'm off to a bad start to my day, I'm posting the Boss' Ten Suggestions for Spiritual Living here so that we can all memorize and hopefully make the world a better place:
There's something called the Revolve Film and Music Festival going on in Winston-Salem (I prefer the formers) this weekend. I just found out about it today. Winston-Salem isn't that far but far enough that I'd have to do some serious schedule juggling to attend, thus it seems unlikely that I'll be able to go. Normally, I'm not the festival type so normally the fact that I can't go to this would be no big shakes, but damn, check out this little nugget from the schedule for Friday night:
SPECIAL MUSICAL EVENT: NEW WAVE NIGHT!
The legendary band PYLON from Athens, GA, will be playing at the Wherehouse, 211 East Third St., in
Opening will be GRAVEL TRUCK, featuring local celebrity producer Mitch Easter playing songs of his beloved '80s band Let's Active with a special line-up of musicians.
Tickets: $10 at the door; cash only at club day of show... like the 80s.
I think I may cry. Pylon and essentially what amounts to Let's Active? Holy F'n Mother of 120 Minutes!
For those of us too broke (or cheap) to pay the high price to see Tom Waits on tour here in the U.S., NPR is giving us a chance to stream his July 5th show from Atlanta's Fox Theater beginning tonight at midnight. And it's free. More details here.
I'm going to see Raleigh's legendary The Connells tomorrow night, opening for the Old 97s in a free downtown Raleigh event. I was never a big fan of The Connells back in their heyday; in fact, truth be known, I couldn't stand them. But now that I'm here living in their hometown, it seems fitting to give them another chance, so I've been listening to a few of their albums of late. I still don't like them but at least they don't cause my ears to bleed quite as much as they once did.
Anyway, while Googling around, I found this Old Grey Whistle Test segment on the Raleigh music scene, circa 1985.
"Christmas on Mars," which stars Coyne and his Lips bandmates Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins, was shot on the cheap in and around the band's native Oklahoma City. It revolves around the first holiday season on the freshly colonized Red Planet; Drozd is Major Sytris, who aims to marshall Christmas cheer with a big pageant, but a series of events threaten the survival of the colonists, much less their holiday plans. Coyne plays a friendly Martian who offers his assistance.
"If you were to watch a David Lynch movie with someone, you'd experience these moments where music, story and abstract bullshit came together," Coyne says by way of comparison. "You'd understand it, but you couldn't explain it to somebody else. It's like an unspeakable language."
And I love this quote:
"Originally it was going to be shown on an outdoor inflatable screen,
but then we started getting bits of information like, 'Wayne just
bought a circus tent to show the movie,' 'Wayne is making custom
popcorn containers' and 'Wayne will be showing up a day early to
supervise the set-up of the movie and hand out custom tickets to the
crowd,'" [Sasquatch Festival founder Adam Zacks] says. "It just kept getting better and better. Instead of
asking, 'Why?,' which is where most people would stop, Wayne asks 'Why
In case you haven't seen it, here's the trailer. For all of you parents of wee ones out there, be on the look out for Steve Burns of Blue's Clues fame at around the 2:05 mark:
Walk across the courtyard, towards the library.
I can hear the insects buzz and the leaves 'neath my feet...
Ramble up the stairwell, into the hall of books...
Since we got the interweb these hardly get used.
Duck into the men's room... combing thru my hair...
When god gave us mirrors he had no idea...
Looking for a lesson in the periodicals...
There I spy you listening to the AM radio...
Karen of the Carpenters, singing in the rain...
Another lovely victim of the mirror's evil way.
It's not like you're not trying, with a pencil in your hair
To defy the beauty the good lord put in there...
Simple little bookworm, buried underneath...
Is the sexiest librarian, take off those glasses and let down your hair for me.
So I watch you thru the bookcase,imaging a scene:
You and I at dinner, spending time, then to sleep.
And what then would I say to you, lying there in bed?
These words, with a kiss, I would plant in your head:
"What is it inside our heads that makes us do the opposite?
Makes us do the opposite of what's right for us?
Cause everything'd be great... and everything'd be good...
If everybody gave... like everybody could."
Sweetest little bookworm. hidden underneath...
Is the sexiest librarian...
Take off those glasses and let your hair down for me.
Take off those glasses and let your hair down for me.
Simple little beauty, heaven in your breath.
The simplest of pleasures, the world at it's best.
With the records — and I love them all as I would my own
learning-disabled children — they were deeply alternative in terms of
the market, put out on a $300 budget by a very small label. To have a
book published by Random House is very different. I took songwriting
seriously but there is an inadvertently ephemeral aspect to music. With
a book it feels much more significant and permanent.
With anything, you spend your time doing all these things and
everything you do leads you to a network of people. Maybe they latch
onto one of those things and if it becomes a cultural phenomenon to any
degree, it does reinforce the other littler things you’ve done, so I
think in the long term, having a successful novel, given that it shares
the theme of so many of my songs, will draw attention to them and they
will reinforce each other.
I mentioned last week that one of the highlights of seeing centro-matic live was hearing them finish their set with a great The English Beat cover. Well, now you can hear the cover, courtesy of captains dead (and me, of course).
I'm almost tempted to check my frequent flyer miles and vacation days remaining for this one:
New L.A. Bus Tour and Book Follows in Tom Waits' Youthful Footsteps
WHAT: Esotouric debuts "Crawling Down Cahuenga: Tom Waits' Los Angeles" bus tour, followed by a group reading and signing of host David Smay's new book "Tom Waits Swordfishtrombones" (Continuum's 33 1/3 series) WHEN: Bus tour is Saturday August 30, noon-4pm, reading follows at 6pm WHERE: Bus tour departs from The King Edward Saloon, 131 E 5th Street, reading at Metropolis Books, 440 S. Main Street COST: $62/person MORE INFO: visit esotouric or call 323-223-2767
Of course, I'm the same person who wouldn't pay $100 to see the man himself in person.