Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the slope of the Pleistocene terrace

I got a lamp for my office.

Champion Jack Dupree, Blues from the Gutter
janus, i am not
Jesse Fuller, Brother Lowdown
John Cale, Fear
Henry Flynt, Dharma Warriors
Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databank Vol. 2

Media Announcement: My review of Scott Tennent's Spiderland, the latest in 33 1/3's series of perfectly concise books about beloved and/or underappreciated albums, is up on outsideleft.com.

Here's a better look at the goth vixen trio Maya drew on my white board.

Jerri and I went to a lecture at the Old Governor's Mansion (top) on the topic of the 6,000-year old LSU Indian Mounds (bottom) over lunch. Scientists did their awesome tedious best demonstrating the scientific nature of gathering facts with complicated devices and laid into my brain forever that the hill that goes from the mounds down to the football stadium is the slope of the Pleistocene terrace and the attendees sought the narrative from these things. What about the place where they found a consistently used fire pit? Did they signal other mounds from this one? I kept hoping someon would mention UFO's or at least the obvious context of these ancient mounds as a pair of breasts. Jerri noted in the car that the ancient fire pit they found on one of the mounds would be where the heart is! Lectures, huh? It was more illuminating than any old discarded lamp and a more sustaining than any club sandwich.

John Cale, "Barracuda". THE OCEAN'LL HAVE US ALL!

Henry Flynt and the Flynts. I like the guy that keeps turning back to the camera.

Atlas Sound, "Autumn Intro Cascading Into University Courtyard"

Monday, November 29, 2010

spiders on the keys; whiporwills as pets

Mr. James Booker:

YouTube caption: James Carroll Booker the 3rd ,Hard drinking New Orleans Piano player, who died 10 days after this performance.

Nicholas Payton, Bitches (free download, hat tip to OffBeat)
Earl King, A Part of Me
James Booker, Spiders on the Keys: Recorded Live at the Maple Leaf
William Gay, "The Man Who Knew Dylan" from I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down

Mr. William Gay:
Crosswaithe drove the company pickup into the far southern part of the county. A waste of a country ravaged and scarred by open-pit mines and virtually abandoned, leftover remnants of landscape, the tailings of a world no one would have. At a beer joint called Big Mama's he stopped and asked directions and set out again. He drove on and on over rutted switchback roads. Jesus Christ, he said. He was driving into a world where the owls roosted with chickens, where folks kept whiporwills as pets and didn't get the Saturday Night Opry till Monday morning.

She brought me a plate of leftovers today

It froze over the weekend, and is back up to the mid 70's today.

Sandro Perri, Plays Polmo Polmo
Current 93, Baalstorm, Sing Omega and How He Loved the Moon (Moonsongs for Jhonn Balance)
Deerhunter, Cryptograms and Weird Era Cont
Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databank, Vol 4

RIP Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson. Besides sort of inventing the experimental pop music with Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV that fed my brain in college, it turns out he also designed the covers of those first three Peter Gabriel solo albums at which I stared all through high school. As far as I know, he wasn't in Current 93 (but was the other half of Coil with Jhonn Balance, duly eulogized by the band). All of his stuff seems to have fallen off Rhapsody.

And how come nobody told me I would really like Deerhunter and all the associated sub-bands, particularly Atlas Sound? That they did that throwaway look-Ma-I-got-effect-pedals thing but instead of that being the terminus of their engagement with songcraft, it was only a departure point? Why does Deerhunter lead me to ask a bunch of questions every time? It is bubblegum made from dust, stolen beer and dreams. Better get all his Atlas Sound home recording stuff while you can.

But whatever, boring, I know. How about this? I asked one of the cleaning ladies at work what she was making for Thanksgiving - she always tells me what she's barbequeing every weekend - and then I asked if I can come to her house instead. She brought me a plate of leftovers today. Those greens were perfectly vegetal sour with big hunks of pork and the chop was so tender it pulled apart with a plastic fork. I got a good thing going.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So, where is Roosevelt?

I found this giant mounted and framed map of the Gulf, particularly a chart of "soundings in fathoms" as it is labeled, in the trash on my way to meet my buddy Charles at the coffee shop. It was a bit of a walk to lug this thing, but I saw another car stop to comb through a different pile of trash up the block and thought with alarm, they'll get my treasure, so I picked it up.

Charles is a mythology expert, deep reader of Russian literature, amateur historian of Socialism, and works at the neighborhood grocery store, and the topics of discussion included: Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, e. e. cummings, World War I, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Trotsky, Lincoln, Grant, Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Hart Benton, Isamu Noguchi, "kids these days", streakers, libraries, record stores, and the concept of "cool". I was delighted that he opened with Teddy Roosevelt because I'd just read this (the review, not the book) and could proffer up on my phone the accompanying picture.

I headed back, hauling this giant map the ten blocks back to the house, considering calling for a ride and then thought, would Teddy Roosevelt call for a ride? Not the Teddy Roosevelt discussed over coffee.

As if on cosmic ironic cue, a couple holding a stack of real estate flyers pulled along side our one-way street while I held a giant map, asking "So, where is Roosevelt?" Roosevelt St. in Baton Rouge is a less-than-savory strip forming the porous membrane between campus and the poor black neighborhood to the north and I asked if that's what they really wanted, feeling like the total classist/racist I probably am. Plus, it's not far but a bit of a complicated route to get there from my neighborhood (see previous parenthetical). What would either Roosevelt or any of those kindly old Russian comrades we so vehemently lauded at our little cafe society meeting think of me?

The woman shuffled through her papers and said, "Oh! Where's Franklin St., I mean!" I pointed to the part of my street on the other side of a busy thoroughfare bisecting it, a block nearly identical to the one in which we stood and she scrunched her nose. "Over there?" she asked with the singularly naked, snobbish disappointment one adopts during house-hunting. I should have sent them where they originally asked if that's how they are gonna act. It might have redeemed me in Teddy's eyes.

Buffy Sainte-Marie on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest TV program, circa 1965

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What kind of man reads Oxford American?

This kind. By the way, you should pre-order the 12th annual music issue which I'm in. I'll remind you.

Glissandro 70, Glissandro 70
Richard Youngs, Sapphie
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems
Scott Tennent, Spiderland
Slint, Spiderland

I took Maya and her friend to go see the late(ish) show of HP7.1 and we sorta got in trouble clowning around Urban Outfitters beforehand. And that place looks like such fun...

As for the movie and in general, Harry Potter is not for me so I don't need or expect to have an interface with it. Maya is all up in it and had read the books and thinks about it and breathes it, though not like she does the Beatles. If I'm gonna lose that girl, ooh la la I'm gonna lose that girl to the mop-headed classics, not Twilight Jr. + which is how this movie struck me. More magic, less tragic, y'all. I did appreciate that they have given Hermione some depth in this one, and I liked the fight in the coffee shop. And dang, Helena Bonham Carter, way to represent the mid-forties.

I read bits of Jerri's copy of Howl, bought at City Lights itself, for it seemed the right thing for the season. So many people on my lists up at 5am shopping, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix. Though I don't know how well Wal-Mart fits in with the 1955 hipster sense of negro. Even I succumbed and got a sweater from the Gap, seen modeled above.  I might read Howl every Thanksgiving from now on if I think of it, put it up next to the traditional William S. Burroughs reading.

William S. Burroughs, "A Thanksgiving Prayer"

Instead of by madness per se, Jerri's hand got a little destroyed by my mother's cat during a freak episode, but we made it. We ate very well, possibly one of the best Thanksgiving dinners my mom has made, so, thanks.

Covet with me my mom's three compartment crockpot/warming aparatus.

I read Spiderland by Scott Tennent, proprietor of Pretty Goes with Pretty, while listening to Spiderland by Slint at the laundromat this morning. The laundromat is the perfect place for Slint: chatter competing with cyclic rhythm all interlaced with subsumed desperation, a lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills off Empire State out of the moon. Except it was Louisville in the case of Slint. I have more formalized pronouncements about Tennent's Spiderland forthcoming.

Oh, at the above pictured table, my mom used the word ho in the course of telling a story about the neighbors. Didn't see that one coming. I suppose she could've said the daughter of whoever was one who copulated ecstatic and insatiate and fell off the bed, and continued along the floor and down the hall and ended fainting on the wall with a vision of ultimate cunt and come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness, so it could have been weirder.

C'mon, get yr Howl on and buy a sweater! The economy is at stake! Family and America too! A-rooooooo!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

remember the back half

Maya and I saw inconspicuous written in chalk under a stairwell near the LSU Sculpture Garden. There's hope for these kids yet.

Zadie Smith, White Teeth
The Drones, Havilah

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Tender Prey
Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databan Vol. 3 and Logos
Glissandro 70, Glissandro 70

If Atlas Sound has Bedroom Databanks, I have time. Also I don't remember the back half of Tender Prey being so sweet. Not much else to offer but the songs.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, "Slowly Goes the Night"

The Drones, "Penumbra"

Glissandro 70, "Bolan Muppets"

Atlas Sound, "Sheila." I've listened to this song 6x this morning. My darling sister-in-law Sheila is organizing and covering almost all of our Christmas of Englanding so she's been in our minds a lot this week but she is awesome in her own right and so is this song and happy thanksgiving, mf-er's one and all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This one little leaf is about as autumnal as it gets around here. This was shot through an open-screened window while wearing shorts in late November.

The Lovely Bones
Zadie Smith, White Teeth
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databank Vol. 1  
Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databank Vol. 2
Butthole Surfers, Pioughd + Widowmaker! (only because I don't have that Beme Seed tape anymore)

Pretty good at making records, that Kanye West is. This new album sounds like an artisan version of all the boilerplate pop music to which I listened at the pool this summer. Atlas Sound is riveting stuff; I really dont; know whty I never latched onto it before. It is temporarily riveting, passing like a breeze or a fever, but that's my favorite kind of rivet lately.

Atlas Sound's cover of Kurt Vile's "Freak Train" via BDv2.

While I'm taking the air out of accolades, Zadie Smith sure can write a book. The four pages I've read so far of White Teeth are in full repeat in my brain. The Lovely Bones started out sweet and then got magical and I thought: this is how you make a movie! and then the magical part went on and on and turned into a Gap ad or a musical number or a Blind Melon video or something and I thought: oh yeah, this is how they make movies. I hate movies. So much expense to bleed the story so dry for so many people. Jackson's pointless take on King Kong was more delicately handled. How is it that Lord of the Rings the more understated line of his oeuvre?

Oh shit, I almost forgot. This new Barry Hannah story emerged and it is unquestionably fantastic. It trickles out day by day and I love it even more for that. Thanks Five Chapters! From part two:
 Goodie was from California with a different voice or he couldn’t bear her, but even she was affected and went into a drawling mush-mouthed countryese when she needed more charm. In the service he’d known pleasant, smart, efficient Southerners. But their voices were an agony, a ball of grub worms in the throat.
Today, by the way, is the 12th anniversary of the marriage to my wonderful California-voiced wife Jerri and myself, gooder than any Goodie ever told in song or story. I'm a lucky guy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"What's your favorite bird?"

Moth mandala at the LSU Natural History Museum

Saturday & Sunday:
The Abyssinians, Satta Massagna
Illachime Quartet, Illachime Quartet
Atlas Sound, Logos
The Court & Spark, Witch Season
Wilco, Sky Blue Sky

Bonnie Jo Campbell, Women & Other Animals
Five Dials #15
White Rainbow, Prism of the Eternal Now
The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (all four days, actually)
The Who, Quadrophenia
Guru Guru, Wah Wah 
Atlas Sound, Bedroom Databank Vol. 1

White Rainbow, "Middle"

"On Bear-Spotting" by Anne Cloutier in Five Dials #15 is a great little story. 
But in the end, they fell immediately in love with the house we’d rented in the Charlevoix mountains. There were video games (Wii, PlayStation, PSP), piles of high-definition DVDs (Harry Potter, Petit-pied, Les princesses au bal and Avatar) and an enormous spa in which they splashed for hours as if they were in a swimming pool, bare naked because I’d forgotten the swimsuits. My mother brought Oreos, Gatorade, Doritos and Froot Loops for breakfast, and they hadn’t eaten anything except dry packaged food since yesterday evening.
and later...
I tried to meet her eyes. I didn’t know if that was the thing to do or not.
Please. Don’t devour me.

Bonnie Jo Campbell is killing me. I'm at the point in the collection where patterns emerge: men around are drunks, men not around are sensitive and dimly heroic, mothers are distant, women and girls are lost where they stand and learn to live lost. The brightest stars in this downtrodden constellation are "The Fishing Dog" and "The Perfect Lawn" sandwiched conveniently together right there in the middle. From the former
Gwen felt drunk but blinked her eyes open. "What's your favorite bird?" she asked.
"My favorite bird? Let's see. How about the great blue heron?"
"There's herons on Willow Island." Gwen was dizzy from standing. "A campment of herons, living way up in the trees." She put one hand against the doorframe to steady herself. "Hundreds of them. One came so close it brushed me with a wing."
"I don't suppose you know the story about Leda and the swan?"
Gwen wondered if she'd get used to Michael.

Sgt. Pepper's is in the heaviest of rotations around our house. Last night the wee Beatlemaniac and I were walking the dog and talking about the Beatles and she said, "I know why Paul and Ringo are the only ones left. It's because they are best friends, and best friends die hard..." and then she clutched my arm and started crying.

It is possible I've never listened to Quadrophenia in toto. I came to the Who late in life. I am into Atlas Sound, though first time around I thought there wasn't anything there. I'm not yet convinced there is. The Beatlemaniac came up to hang at work today and was excited to spy at the campus Natural History Museum...


Friday, November 19, 2010

"bring back the glove"

The thing and the representation of the thing and the (re)presenter.

Gang of Four, Free EP and Return the Gift
Generationals, Trust EP

Video comprised of found footage on YouTube regarding the abandoned six flags in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, set to Generationals' "Victim of Trap" (thanks @Alex_Rawls)

Chrysalis! Loosely defined boundaries! Competing vectors!

Gang of Four, "I Love a Man In Uniform."

Chrysalis maker!

During all this, in the service of a message board reference, I watched the extended MC Hammer "2 Legit 2 Quit" video, a lesson in exposition where James Brown asks Hammer to mysteriously "bring back the glove." From Michael Jackson? And why the plug for Alf at the end? Was that in the original video? Embedding is thankfully disabled by request. I want to say it clashed with Gang of Four in their punk-disco years more than it did.

Hey! Tao Lin and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge are both reading in Baton Rouge tonight for free

Cover of Lin's Richard Yates; one of Berssenbrugge's meticulously rendered pages

Hey! Tao Lin and Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge are both reading in Baton Rouge tonight for free at 6:00 PM at the LSU Museum of Art, on the third floor of the Shaw Center downtown. That's one one of the floors between the Manship Theatre on the ground floor and Tsunami up there on the roof. You can find it. You should go.

Normally I don't give over this blog's totally valuable real estate to unsolicited and uncompensated local PR but I'm very excited about this reading and think y'all should get y'all's asses over to it. I checked out Ms. Berssenbrugge's work, with which I was previously and woefully unfamiliar, on the YouTube and found her crystalline imagery cast in that calmest of voices beguiling. It's like a head of a dinosaur poking up through the placid water of a still lake and then slipping ripple-free back into the dark.

Tao Lin, I'm all about. I came to him thumbing through his Shoplifting From American Apparel at Urban Outfitters and enjoyed it on many levels, literary and contextual. When I read on his blog that he was considering doing a novella called Shoplifting Shoplifting From American Apparel From Urban Outfitters, I was hooked. I support fully this kind of thinking. I really like his latest novel Richard Yates, even more now in reflection than when I reviewed it. His deal is similarly soothing but is a cold balm. His dinosaur walks around the shore and fails to notice you and goes about its slow, singular dinosaur business and you sorta forget you are watching a dinosaur and wonder if you are not watching a reflection of yourself as a slow, methodical dinosaur in the sheen of the lake. His characters are also dinosaur funny and dinosaur cruel; not personal, but it's how it goes with thunder lizards.

Here's the Facebook invite thing. Thanks to Readers and Writers for putting this on!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cheap Trick Forever

My dinner plate last night. I live like a king.

Cheap Trick, Sgt. Pepper Live
Girl Talk, All Day 

The Psychedelic Aliens, Psycho African Beat 
The Collagist, Issue 16
Cotton Jones, Tall Hours in the Glowstream 

I have a soft spot for Cheap Trick. When I was in late grade school, they played a show at the Nicholls State football field (as did the Police) and everyone (but me) went. I don't harbor any real resentment about missing that, though my stepbrother evidently watched the Police from his apartment balcony and didn't think of calling, but whatev. My entire peer group was all about Cheap Trick Forever from fifth grade on.

I went to a wedding of one of my girl cousins once and she walked around the day before in a  Cheap Trick t-shirt. Her stock car racing husband-to-be said she was wearing that shirt when they met at a bar right near the track and he didn't know Cheap Trick was a band, and he said ... It was his favorite story that she took up with him anyway, which is corny and beautiful. Everything at their wedding was purple because his whole racing motif was purple and my aunt kept muttering the whole time "Purple! Makes me wanna erp." I want to say they played "I Want You to Want me" at the reception but I might be projecting that.

Maya's love of Sgt. Pepper is in lock repeat at our house and I'm tempted to slip Cheap Trick's corny and beautiful full-album remake into the mix but why mess with something so pure?

Girl Talk's All Day is a cassarole fulla 7-layer rap-white-people-like party dip, ten retro nites happening at once, a super fun-o-matic travesty of what we've become. It's synergy in action and possibly more fun than actual fun is. When you go, "That's from that Cyndi Lauper song!" what does that declaration really say?

That's Blue Öyster Cult!

That's Psychedelic Aliens!

Bonus: Here's Mandrill performing on Soul Train in 1973.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Have one!

Bonnie Jo Campbell, Women and Other Animals
Bruce Springsteen, The Promise
Kristian Hoffman, Fop
Jeremy Gluck, I Knew Buffalo Bill

Wow. An American Family --- CBGB's --- The Mumps --- The Contortions --- Bleeker St. anti-folker --- El Vez/Rufus Wainwright music director --- power pop gentleman. Kristian Hoffman has had quite the story which I would not have known had not Boogie Woogie Flu awoken this morning to tell it. Fop is affable grown-folks pop, piano ballads in the age of Radiohead which when you think about it, is what Radiohead really does: piano ballads with the piano found-and-replaced with not-pianos. And stuff like this.

Kristian Hoffman, "Hey Little Jesus, Get Out of That Hole"

This purports to be Kristian and his An American Family co-star Lance Loud sashaying through Dramarama's "Last Cigarette"

"The Promise" is worth the price of admission for The Promise.

The above live version is twilight's last gleaming, but the studio version on the boxed set with the strings and the full band and piano is the-flag-is-still-there. "Taxi Cab (City at Night)" is a winner too. It's making me wanna hear Bruce pop up on Lou Reed's "Street Hassle" again, so I will.

Lou Reed, "Street Hassle." One of my favorite things ever. The Boss staggers in at the 9:08 mark.

I'd like the whole of The Promise so much more if the band wasn't in jingle-bell mode the whole time. Jing...ja-jing...jing...ja-jing  that's like every Bruce Springsteen song it seems.

Jeremy Gluck, "Looking for a Place to Fall"

All I know about Jeremy Gluck (besides his being in the Barracudas) I learned from this article in Blurt this morning, but I'm going with it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Therein lies big money and my dashed dreams of spinning my way into it, just like in a Springsteen song.

The Beatles, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Bonnie Jo Campbell, Women and Other Animals
Bruce Springsteen, The Promise

They didn't have American Salvage at the library so I got Women and Other Animals, which if the first story is an indicator, about Big Joanie and the escaped tiger, is astounding.
Big Joanie can imagine Conroy - he has small hands and a bald spot the size of a copper pot scrubber - but that doesn't help her now.

There is little to salvage in the America of The Promise.

"Because the Night"

Neither character in the story nor the song knows how they feel under your command, or whose command it is. They just know it's not really theirs. And while they are both embroiled in a scene they are so alone, a spectacle alone at that, and yet they don't hear anything else but their own head saying "take me as I am."

Or something. Bruce Springsteen brings on maudlin pronouncement and sudden reflection in a manner similar to that of loosened prowling tigers.

My house is full of the Sgt. Pepper's song. The wee Beatlemaniac said to me, "I like to play it on repeat, I hope that's OK." Who is she asking?

Speaking of America, this came up on the Facebook today.

"Bi Centennial" by Vincent Collins

In 1976 I had a t-shirt with the ubiquitous Bicentennial logo (seen at 2:38;  it came free with something from the Hi-Vee across the river) and some red, white and blue-striped pants. America!

Monday, November 15, 2010

lookup the LOOKUP

Not me.

Eddy Current Suspension Ring, Rush to Relax

I do love the urgency of post-punk-pop; ECSR's bass is squeaky bedsprings, their guitar car alarms in the underpass, the drums are the breaking of all the dishes.

I am similarly urgent; I ate a cold barbecued pork chop with my fingers on a lunch break from teaching Excel to engineers. Considered typing this with sauced fingers just for my own amusement but my keyboard is gross enough. I see a morsel of cornbread working its way between the X and the Z, which is probably a metaphor.

I think I want to read American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell next; I read a poem of hers in the Southern Review that I liked, though I can't recall what it was about, and I remember I met her at a party for the Louisiana Book Festival two years ago, back when we still had one, and told her she was the one everyone was talking about, because she was. Her book had an awesome display in the lobby.

What I really want is a number of 36-hour days and some checks to come rolling in and this morning on the way in, I saw the Wheel of Fortune tryout-mobile lumbering around campus, so maybe after class I'll go buy a vowel and spin my way to fame and fortune. But now I gotta go lookup the LOOKUP across two non-contiguous vectors cuz that's what I do, yo.

Not me either.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


More cross-the-bone-cut Colombian ribs at tailgate. Like pornography or museum dinosaurs, every presentation of it is like brand new. It goes good with a powdered donut chaser.

Tom Franklin, Smonk    
The Southern Review, Vols. 46.4 (Autumn 2010) and 45.2 (Spring 2009)
Book of Love, Book of Love
Paul Burch, Last of My Kind

OK, remember Book of Love? I was stretching for something just out of reach in a review needing a writing this afternoon and there among the windchimes was Book of Love. This record doesn't exactly hold up, nor does it completely collapse under all those synth drums but it was one that hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe it was the half-asleep female vocals, insistent but not so insistent about its insistence; I was squarely tuned to the diva histrionics from DMode's David Gahan and Alison Moyet in her Yaz(oo) yearz, and not yet up for Siouxsie's caterwaul when this came round the mountain of bad old music that seperated my teenage years from all the new bad music. "I Touch Roses" was the big one, but, though it sounds a little Pointer Sisters "I'm So Excited" to me now, part of me is still all up in this song. So Good (good good good...)

Book of Love. "You Make me Feel so Good"

Smonk is dead! Long live the evil bastard in a corner of my brain that will be forever sullied by his beguiling, pestilent nature. What a great book, unending in hostile texture like the desert before homesteaders but with a  delicious flicker of snakebit human horror in everyone involved. Each planetary turn of the plot was a surprise but really, not anywhere are shocking as the surprise in Tony Earley's "Mr. Tall" in Southern Review Vol 45.2. I was never much of a Boy Scout, I never got further than Bobcat, but Earley wrote a true scout's manual in my heart with Jim the Boy years ago. The innocent wonder of boyhood has never been captured so well, except maybe on Paul Burch's Last of My Kind, an album of songs based on the novel. There's none of it on YouTube, but seek out "Polio" or "Harvey Harstell's Farm" or the whole damn thing. Anywho, Tony Early's story about mountain people and the inertia of loneliness takes such a shocking turn there were skid marks left on the page. That's writing!

I read a million other short things yesterday during the meaty lull after tailgating. I read some more of Muriel Spark but I don't know if I'm feeling it. I need to read something less than whiskey-bullet-fart manly after Smonk, but Spark might be too not-so for me. I will admit to being one of those white male readers that reads mostly white male authors, especially the ones that seem a touch uncomfortable being so. Who could? You have to practically be a cartoon character to be a man.

My wife made this amazing taco soup last night and it is better than any tacos or soup combined.

Friday, November 12, 2010

the spontaneous appearance of hearts


The Beatles, Rubber Soul and Help!

My daughter has entered the Beatles phase of her development so am re-entering one myself with a cache from the library. We got Help!, Rubber Soul, A Hard Day's Night (and the movies for both), Sgt. Peppers and Please Please Me to start with. Drummer she is, she has declared Ringo her favorite.

I don't push things onto her, plus what kid would share my musical taste? I can barely stand the music I like. She does however pick up on things I'm listening to and runs with them. She made an impromptu list of her favorite groups: Owl City, The Beatles, Joanna Newsom and "the guy that does 'Hydra Fancies'*" so I think she's in pretty good shape on her own

I'm certain I am not the first to publicly wonder if the boys are forming a swastika in this insert from Rubber Soul. I like the spontaneous appearance of hearts.

I'd kinda forgotten how much I like "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away."

* Of Montreal, from the 2010 Believer Music Issue CD with which she absconded and plays on repeat.

stupid computers

The 2010 Oxford American Music Issue, an actual magazine made of spirit and ink and shiny paper,  is now available for pre-order. I have a piece in it, but even I haven't seen the actual whole thing and I'm still excited about it, just from the sparse Blue Note style cover. I actually don't even know if that is the final cover design; I'm excited about the possible placeholder for the cover! Get excited with me!

The Halo Benders, The Rebel's Not In
Jonathan Richman, O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth
Tom Franklin, Smonk 
Chris Brokaw, VDQQ:Solo Acousitc Volume 3

I'm rather fond of the Newspeak CD. I love this music student band thing.

Newspeak, David T. Little's "sweet light crude"

Calvin Johnson's detuned honk of a voice usually kills the charm of his 1000 bands for me after a couple songs, but his subwoofer patter on The Rebel's Not In is the sound the cheery porpoise's make as they push the surfboard of the sleeping Dick van Dyke that is my weary heart back safely to shore. This album churns through with surprising mechanistic precision, like a giant machine made out of eager teenagers united in sinister purpose, like the success of Senior Skip-Out day rests solely on the coordination of their efforts.

"Devil City Destiny"

I keep thinking I'm ready to ask the Lord to deliver me from Smonk's raptor clutch and then something happens like the whore Evavangeline turns 'round to see all them orphans in the woods and I'm hooked all over again. So instead I will appeal the deaf Lord to let me lick every wound in the book and watch every effortless-as-a-tumbleweed sentence trundle by. I'm sure the Lord is too busy for requests like this.

And Jonathan Richman does just that one thing, like an motor component for a model long discontinued and he does it so perfectly and succinct then there is no sense in upgrading or retooling or anything. This new album of his is a timeless treasure. Instead of going digital, I half expect his next release to be a whispered love note in a seashell, wrapped up in Christmas paper and set out on card tables in front of every closed record store.

Jonathan Richman, "O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth"

By the way, Baton Rougeans, the Compact Disc Store on Jefferson, one of the last one record stores standing is closing soon-ish and word is everything is on sale so get to it. Thanks go to Brad Pope for hanging onto the place all these years while we ruin everything with our stupid computers.

There's a good little article in Blurt about Chris Brokaw, a friend of a friend with whom I had lunch and politely disagreed over Michael McDonald. Shut up, I get that you all love fucking Michael McDonald and I bequeath my allocated portion of him to you, OK? Anyway, Chris Brokaw's albums are tight, understated, majestic.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Bears Acknowledgment

The Monster Club at Couyon's bears acknowledgment..

Peter Hammill/Roger Eno, The Appointed Hour
Newspeak, Sweet Light Crude
Michael Bach, John Cage: The Number Pieces 3: One8
Stephen Drury, Mayumi Miyata, Irvine Arditti, John Cage: The Works for Violin: Two4

Missy Mazzoli makes magic music.

It's three PM already? I wonder if there's coffee left. There is! And Cookies! Left over from, I don't know what they are left over from! When I worked a Major Software Concern in the Pacific Northwest, my office was around the corner from the media conference room, one in which the Concern's Media Personality CEO did TV appearances announcing things and those appearances were always catered and the unspoken rule was that 30 minutes after the meeting was over we could go scavenge whatever was left: largely bagels and fruit but OK! But once, during the announcement of a new version of a particular year's Important Software, they had omelet chefs out there for the press and dignitaries and I got in line anyway, hiding my security badge.

A friend got an invite to an orgy or a swinger's meet-up or something  like that once and on the invite it said there would be an omelet chef and she was mulling about whether she should go or not. I said, "Dude! Free omelets!" or something like that. I don't remember if she went. One of the early writers for OutsideLeft went to one and wrote a story about it and the whole things sounded like not my scene, omelet station or no.. .

I feel better with some coffee in me. And it's only two. I never reset my wall clock for the time change.

The Bears Acknowledgment is a pretty good band name deserving of a band, I think.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a spender of a life

Is this different...

Pastels/Tenniscoats, Two Sunsets
William S. Burroughs, Interzone
Tom Franklin, Smonk
Mark Richard, Charity

...from this?

How people can be in perpetual meetings day in an day out and not become over-processed nugget concentrations of their true pre-meeting forms is beyond me. Maybe that's the point. I do accept that some are better for the processing, and that the process yeilds results of some kind pretty much relaibly but, man. It is why I did not become a philosophy major, a spender of a life trying to be right about things about which no one involved cares. I go hyperbole when I'm brain-tired.

That Pastels record is just lovely. I think this is the song that led me to finally exhale when I got to the bus stop last night, but I'm not sure. I can't listen to it because I'm still in a meeting.


Monday, November 8, 2010



ARP, The Soft Wave
Brian Eno, Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
Bauhaus,  1979-1983, Volume One
The Birthday Party, Mutiny/The Bad Seed 
Tom Franklin, Smonk 

Media Announcement: My story "ATTENTION SHAMELESS OWNERS" appears in the freshly revamped Front Porch from the University of Texas. Texas State University at San Marcos. Ed to add: Sorry for saying you were UT, Texas State. Apologies to Bobcats everywhere.

Coming back from New Orleans last night, I rocked out without a shred of ironic distance to Bauhaus.

"Dark Entries"

I'm pressed for time today so here are some things I ate this weekend. Above: the lamb sliders with tomato chutney and herbed goat cheese at Three Muses. Below: barbecued chicken at tailgate.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Look! How blue the sky!

Media Announcement: Here is my contribution to HTMLGIANT's Literary Magazine Club discussions on the most recent issue of NYTrant: "A reaction to the letter Breece D’J Pancake wrote but did not send to his mother before his 1979 suicide." Enjoy!

Muriel Spark, All the Stories of Muriel Spark

Folks are abuzz about Spark! I like this first story about how she is a ghost selectively appearing to old friends and neatly relating that to reminiscence. Her eloquence and poised prose is a nice break from the rough man talk I've been all up in as of late. Were I a ghost, I'd probably choose to spend my limbo years fucking with people. Moving really stupid things like the lawnmower or turning a plant by a few degrees, the kinds of things that the living would notice but would feel silly remarking upon.

Look! How blue the sky! How big the country! I don't know why I'm so excited! Maybe I'll read Walt Whitman on my phone during the bus ride home!

Life is all abuzz! Edited a big magazine story! Or rather received edits and pretty much agreed with them! I decided I'm not going to do Sweet Tooth anymore! My darling wife's birthday tonight! Tailgating tomorrow! England, Christmas! Who knows what the weekend holds?!

I can only say "Yes!"

Steve Reich, Double Sextet/2x5
Yes, Tormato 
Liberty Ellman, Ophiuchus Butterfly

Happy birthday to my lovely, smart, and talented wife, Jerri. I could not have a better partner in life.

The second movement of 2x5 is Steve Reich's greatest pop concession, sounding like a skeleton track for a Supertramp or Sufjan Stevens workout, retaining some of his infinite texture business while conceding to the cozy-up immediacy of pop. The third has a bit of Yes to it, but Bang on  Can might be bringing that to the table. Whichever, the common recursive awarenesses going on here only serve the accessibility of the whole. Reich is still no Terry Riley in the marriage-of-high-n-low arena, but he's on his way.

Steve Reich, 2x5, II. Slow; III. Fast

Last night, I got called out via email over something I wrote in 225:
I need to know what you are smoking. If you think _______ is anything but a chaotic mess of musical errors and sour notes you are high, or have no clue.

to which I can only say "Yes!" Not to my being high (am not) or to not having a clue (debatable) but that somebody read something and followed up and decided I was full of shit enough to venture an opinion! About art in lil' old Baton Rouge! It only took five years. My plan is coming to fruition.

Yes, "Future Times/Rejoice"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'll come up with something

My secret agent name is "Stan Smith"

Charlotte Gainsbourg, IRM
Tom Franklin, Smonk
Steve Reich, Double Sextet/2x5
He struck a match with his thumbnail and lit another cigar.

Nobody cares, but I feel a clarification is nonetheless due: this on page two of Smonk is not where I got my similar comment about Mark Richard the other day, though reading Richard's Charity and then an excerpt of Smonk made me want to read Smonk, like immediately.

The match-thumbnail thing came from an incident in a friend's apartment in Thibodaux probably 20 years ago, when some small time Cajun drug dealer sat at my friend's table and was talking about how if Ian Curtis had lived, he'd be Jim Morrison today to which I though, OK, maybe, he kinda is anyway right? and then the guy opened a box of kitchen matches, the thick wooden ones and kept lighting them with his cocaine nail, over and over, smooth, letting them pile up like Abe Lincoln tossing together a log cabin in the ashtray. It was like I'd never seen a match before.

I tried to learn how to do it myself but gave up and let that be his. Which is what reading all these books lately is. Not that reading needs justification, but it does in a way. It takes up a lot of time, whittling away options, and I'm a little bummed that Tom Franklin already did the match on the thumbnail because I really wanted to use it in something I'm working on but that's OK. I'll come up with something.

I'm thinking about how Paul Harvey moved from topic to topic on his radio show. He'd just squawk "page TWO" and go there, gulping a fresh throat of air before diving into another story about a young Boy Scout that did a good deed and grew up to become a U.S. Senator or a Marx Brother or something. If Tom Franklin mentions Paul Harvey in this book, I'ma stop reading. But I probably won't.

Shatner does Cee-Lo's "Fuck You" on Lopez Tonight. Note they swap out the n-word for Shatner and bleep out the F-word, making a big show of his transgressive behavior while still observing some boundaries.

The A/C in my office was disconnected as a part of it being fixed so I open my windows and then wedge justbarelyopen the door with an old Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine I found in the hall. A story about a dognapper adorns the front cover and an ad for subscribing to the Stephen King library the back. It slides in perfectly tight in the gap under my door. I usually open it and then latch the deadbolt to keep it from swinging closed but now with natural air in the mix, the door likes to slam continually with each fluctuation of pressure. I just flipped through its, expecting to see Tom Franklin or Paul Harvey or Cee-Lo or someone else from this train ride through synchronicity and thought this format would make a great lit journal; cheap newsprint, quick stories that stay with you for a bus ride and then become doorstops until the pressure rips them to tatters and they are gone. Ready for new words telling the same stories.

may it be at the Electric Cinema

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Lost Bayou Ramblers, Vermillionaire

There is a good chance I will be Xmasing in cheery olde England this year, plodding around take-out tea in hand by the very pub depicted above. Yesterday I was walking down the stairs still aglow form the news wondering if when I spy the actual place I'll be all "I saw that on Google Sreet View!" and giddily so. I'm scoping out the Balti shops as we speak and must admit the teenage me inside the old crusty me's heart skipped a beat when I Google Street Viewed onto an actual British record store. I expect it will be the same crappy stuff as in a US record store now, but  it was the only place in the world I wanted to go in my formative stage. I will now start cultivating both an outrageous southern accent to amuse the locals and a similarly pronounced "British" one to effectively communicate. I'm also thinking a large foam cowboy hat with a Union Jack sticker stuck upon is in order. "What's that, love?"

Last night my pretty lady and I heard David Sedaris read here in town and he is a master of the form: funny, personable, a litte distant, and totally lovable.  I'm not completely sold on  his new book, Squirrel Meets Chipmunk, a cheeky bestiary verging on fablery. He read a few stories from it and read them well and even gave over a minute to play Broadway doyenne Elaine Stritch tearing through one of the tales from the audio book. Squirrel is a brave step for a guy who made his name writing about himself, even if he is basically casting himself into his animal characters, and he might be at the precipice of super fiction, but the night was won with this New Yorker story and excerpts from his diary.

Also, class act, he paused to leap praise on Wells Tower's Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, which I agree is the best book I've read in quite some time, at least until I got into Mark Richard. I have a Tom Franklin book sitting right here in my bag because I read a paragraph excerpted elsewhere that made me go dig a hole and drop in my preconceived notions of how to form a sentence. Also DS broke into anecdotes A'ing the Q's at the end of the show and they are the unmistakably the nuggets to his prose, which is a thrilling thing to witness. Also, also, fucking love David Sedaris.

But yeah, England. I don't expect to go to the movies while there but  if I did, may it be at the Electric Cinema.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"New Face in Hell"


The Fall, Grotesque (After the Gramme) and It's The New Thing! The Step Forward Years

"New Face in Hell" by the Fall seems a gleefully hyperbolic reaction to the mid-term elections, though it occurs to me that on Grotesque, originally titled After the Gramme - The Grotesque Peasants - Smith is kazoo-armed lacerating the whole of English politics circa 1980, exposing the partisan divide into which the poor are cast, and I feel that way myself about ours now. The whole election process is eely and I'm glad to have it slither back into the murk for a while. I always contest that I love Louisiana partly because it is a mess, so I should probably revel in having my fellow voters embrace a former exorcist governor with presidential delusions and a re-elected family values senator who has probably used the word "whoremonger" in a sentence while actually being one. So instead of railing against the new day in hell, I'll cozy up with the psycho mafia. Don't ask me who makes the Nazis, because I'm afraid of the answer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

a little forever

Somebody here in town become this band right now please. Prom Date, I'm looking at you.

Precious Bryant, My Name is Precious
John Fahey,  Twilight on Prince Georges Avenue
Elvis Costello, National Ransom
Prom Date, Clock Out
Iva Bittova,

Mahala Rai Banda, Mahalageasca
Giacinto Scelsi, Music for High Winds

I talked to guy on the phone yesterday that turned me on to Precious Bryant. How often does anything this surprising come out of a phone call? Most of my phone conversations can be corralled into "Where are you?", giving people money or explaining that I will give them money later. She's got a song called "Wrenched My Ankle!" C'mon! That's a brilliant thing to do a song about. Buck dancing is a good subject as well.

Precious Bryant, "Georgia Buck"

The above is not a protest vote against Elvis Costello. His new one failed on Rhapsody twice and that was just about as much effort as I'm willing to put in on it. I was just talking to somebody about when Bang on a Can All-Stars played here and nobody came and yet Iva Bittova was there and I got to see a sexorcism performance like the one below right here, mere steps from the crappy bagel place where we had lunch, and now I'm thinking about how it's easier to talk someone into eating a crappy bagel than it is bring to them to something that might affect their life a little forever.

Iva Bittova & Bang on a Can All-Stars

David Wegehaupt, Jean-Michel Goury and Friends performing Giacinto Scelsi's Tre Pezzi

Ed. to add: Someone came by my office this morning and mentioned Mississippi John Hurt when he heard sweet ol' Precious up there and 1) this person and I rarely agree on music and both agreed J-MS-H was an undisputed good in the world and 2) maybe I'm not so alone in loving things and 3) J-MS-H died on this day in 1966.

John Mississippi Hurt, "Stack-O-Lee"

(AKA Leather Tuscadero)

It looks like the sea monkey planet outside my office window.

Various artists, Julian Cope's DETROITROCKSAMPLER
Otis Rush, Groaning the Blues

Media announcement:  "I started my tenure with 225 out of frustration." is how I start my assessment of the Baton Rouge music scene over the last five years  with 225 Magazine. In the print issue I profile aggressive, progressive rockers Twin Killers about what makes them tick. This was written two months ago, but my fickle ass is still into their EP. Also, a profile of Justin Townes Earle and reviews of albums by Cajun country classic D.L. Menard and modern country crowd-pleasers the 484 South Band.Busy month.

I read Lester Bangs' take on this Otis Rush record while looking for his article about Brian Eno in Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung that I apparently made up because it isn't in there. And while rain is good Brian Eno weather, it's better Otis Rush weather.

Otis ich bin ein Berliners.

And speaking of reading, I didn't even read the Julian Cope article that accompanies the DETROITROCKSAMPLER mixtape on his website because I'll bet it is more genius than my deadlined mind can encompass. The jamz therein kick out.

The Pleasure Seekers (feat. a very young Suzi Quatro (AKA Leather Tuscadero) and her sisters), "What a Way to Die" as heard on DETOITROCKSAMPLER

Here she is as Leather doing "Johnny B. Goode" on Happy Days

Go vote.