Thursday, September 30, 2010

My next one: "i am setting your heart on fire."

Hey, Myrtle!

Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest
Buckingham Nicks, Buckingham Nicks 
Songs: Ohia, Axxess & Ace
The Twilight Singers featuring Ani Difranco, "Blackbird & the Fox" (via MBV)
The Afghan Whigs, Gentlemen

Media Announcement: I like this new Deerhunter album so much it reminded me that I review albums occasionally and that I should do so with this one. It felt good to bang that one out; I should do that more often. There is no Record Crate for this week, for my day job has had the audacity of taking up my days lately.

Deerhunter, "Desire Lines"

After yammering about it here, my friend Roby Rameauxn gave me his parents' vinyl copy of Buckingham Nicks post the Richard Buckner and the three of us nerded out over the cover for a bit, and my rude ego has precluded me from thanking him for it publicly until now. Thanks, Rob! This record totally does it for me. I hope I never get to a state of bitter decrepitude where records don't do it for me any more.

Throw me like a magnet to the sea.

I saw the phrase "captain gorgeous" somewhere on Facebook and it made me think of "Captain Badass" by Songs:Ohia. Great song; best song title. If I had unlimited time and mad fiction skills, I would crank out a zillion hipster short story collections titled all with vague song lines in lowercase on the cover like the kids do these days. My next one: "i am setting your heart on fire."

Wait... do we get a second chance or not in this life?

I love Greg Dulli. I wrote this thing about him and his bands years ago, and it might not be my favorite thing I ever wrote, but it is my favorite title.

The Afghan Whigs, "Be Sweet" (Live)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

to crest the top was thrilling

Pepper Rabbit getting their clarinet loop on last night at Spanish Moon.

Richard Youngs, Beyond the Valley of the Superhits
Pepper Rabbit, Clicks and Shakes
Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz
Belle & Sebastian, Write About Love

I caught my new favorite band Cotton Jones in the wee hours at the local last night and lo, they were epic in their landscapes for what I stayed of them

More Pepper Rabbit.

but the real treat of the evening was opener Pepper Rabbit. Fronted by a very New Music kid who played clarinet, ukulele, piano and guitar and sang through a well appointed orchestra of pedals and loops. They had me by the collar the whole time.

Cotton Jones, AKA Crosby, Stills, Nash & Yardbirds

So what if their tunes seemed mostly to consist of structural setups from within which the our haircutted genius may lovingly frame himself? It worked. I love these music student types that form bands now. Please, put in a clarinet loop part and two types of ukuleles because it is what your soul commands to be present at that point in the song.

Then, once you get your experiment side worked over you can become Kid Arron Copland like Sufjan Stevens or better yet a relaxed fuck-all-ateer like Richard Youngs, whose new(ish) album putters around the roots of the tree of pop without ever climbing. I dunno, maybe you, dear reader, hate all this precious music because you were reared different, but I was nurtured on Depeche Mode so an earnest croon over a patter of synthesis feels like home to me.

We've been watching Son of Rambow in spurts during dinner lately and the scene of the teen club (1:20 mark in the trailer) made me swoon a little. In my hometown, I would have given anything to stumble on unknown gaggle of goth girls licking temporary tattoos on our arms while an expressionless French kid led us in dance moves to "Just Can't Get Enough." We did find a gay nightclub that would play New Order and the Smiths for us, but that went downhill quickly when one of my friends got duly propositioned after being bought four or more screwdrivers and we never went back.

I thought about all this with all that bubbling in my ears when I walked over the Perkins Road overpass at lunch. I'm writing an article about grocery store lunch plates and needed a walk after devouring one, and standing in the shade on the other side of the bridge, watching for my bus to crest the top was thrilling in a kid-meets-life way. It might have been the turkey dope from lunch talking, or perhaps my old man bones being tired from staying out until 12-goddamn-30 on a work night or that one Belle & Sebastian song on the new album where he goes "Make me dance/I want to surrender" over and over and I want to slug him for singing so stupid a line that totally has me hooked because it exposes a maudlin side of myself I'd rather keep dormant, or even the way my daughter is a kid that's not a kid anymore or whatever, but it was all a little breathtaking.

Photos from the deli and the overpass.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(OK, computer)

Maya brought this pad home from school - elementary school, mind you. Suicide is no joke, let's be clear on that, yet I'm tempted to write people cheery, innocuous notes on this stationary. "Hey! What's up? Isn't Bored to Death hilarious? I suddenly want a trench-coat and some white wine."

Media announcement: The new issue of OffBeat is ready for your digital perusal and contains my quick profile of sacred steel maestro Robert Randolph playing Tipitina's in New Orleans on Oct. 9 and the Varsity in Baton Rouge on the 11th. Editor Alex Rawls has an illuminating interview with one of my favorite contemporary blues artists, Ruthie Foster in this issue as well.

Belle & Sebastian, Write About Love (out 10/12)

Like the dog upon any arrival, I nearly yipped with excitement when the new Belle & Sebastian showed up yesterday afternoon, for they are my latest loves. I couldn't wait to catch the bus in the crisp alien autumn we are suddenly having - I suppose 85 is approaching ghastly for some but it has been a sweaty armpit of a summer here and 85 feels like an icecube sliding down the back of your sundress - because the bus is the perfect place to listen to Belle & Sebastian, gazing out the tinted windows at the houses and the trees and the people and their collective hypnotic array just as some really wry line lights a match in your melancholy heart. And in the same tinny headphones where "The Stars of Track and Field" are frequently declared beautiful people, I was having a bad first date with this new record. I could hear it sounded good even though it didn't in these headphones and the songs just weren't funny. Like not at all. They were good, but any idiot can write a good song, B&S write good, funny songs! I was heartbroken, prepared to tweet my disgust with a rapier wit I found this album markedly lacking, but this morning, on proper (OK, computer) speakers, I see it for what it is and not what I want it to be. It is a man's writing about love, not a boy's, and the sharp edges are rubbed smooth and the glow is a subtle candle and not a firecracker's spark. I'm still not totally sold on it; I got bitten by premature enthusiasm for the God Help the Girl project so I'm cautious. When Write About Love finished I had to put on The BBC Sessions to right my toppled teenage soul but my grown-folk heart is willing to give it a roll in the hay.

Monday, September 27, 2010

it didn't work out for Odin

The story of the eye doctor. A little Georges Bataille joke to get your week started.

The United States of America, The United States of America
Callithumpian Consort of New England Conservatory and New England Conservatory Orchestra, John Cage: Etcetera; Etcetra 2/4 Orchestras
The Flaming Lips, Embryonic
Douglas Leedy, Entropic Paradise 
Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz (streaming at NPR)

I am, naively perhaps, a doctor truster in practice. I don't want to be there, they are indifferent to my presence as long as the obscure clockwork of insurance in in place, so where could any conflict arise? The eye doctor is contentious though, the whole of their analysis relying on "Which is better: 1 or 2, 1 or 2?" when neither is better and what does better mean. If it made me see clearly than it would not be better, it would be perhaps a baseline of satisfaction. Better would entail my being able to see through time (though it didn't work out for Odin; for all he saw was Ragnarok, the battle where the gods get their ass kicked. Check out the Ledberg Stone, depicting Odin being devoured by the battle wolf Fenrir who, earlier in the battle, the god swallowed whole for some reason. Norse mythology is awesome.)

or maybe Bozeman's Simplex as suffered by Blinky Watts in David Lynch's short-lived On the Air TV show. That might be cool.

So anyway, my expectations are not high with an eye doctor: just make it so I can read and see enough to do my thing, but this new one on the new insurance was ghastly, rude, impatient with the patient, etc. I feel petty complaining about customer service, I do,  but....

She announced early on in the exam that I have cataracts and seemed offended when I showed dismay at this. And then later retracted that diagnosis. And on top of it, their glasses department used to suck and now (I had to go for a follow up visit - to an eye doctor!) is torn out and being renovated. Her insult to my infirmity was to say it is totally normal to need bifocals at forty, which OK maybe it is, but what next, an ear horn? Artificial hip? All I really want is new frames, yo. (like these, maybe, which I know they won't carry) She also got mad at my non-committal but honest answers at "3 or 4, 3 or 4" because neither were better and she put hand on hip and declared "Look, whatever you tell me is what I'll put on your prescription and you'll be stuck with that." Doctors suck, but this one sucks by doctor standards. Basically after all that, my prescription stays the same and I need new frames.

Anyway. Glad I got that off my chest so I can go back to telling you what I read, eat and listen to. Happy Monday!

The United States of America, " I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife for You, Sugar"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Epistle to Dippy

Glowstick orbitals.

Josh Alan Friedman, Black Cracker
Unknown, The Book of Job (King James Version)
Fyodor Dostoevsky,  Notes from the Underground
Countless episodes of TLC prison shows 
Season One of Bored to Death
Donovan, Greatest Hits
Love, Forever Changes
Serge Gainsbourg, Monsieur Gainsbourg
Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood

I finished Black Cracker but it was maybe a tweet and/or an interview with Barry Hannah I read last week that sent me to Job. I have my grandma's Bible right over there on the table with all the other books though I'm certain it hasn't been cracked open in a decade or so. It a nice one, with the concordances in the back and pleasing gold on the edge but in the rare moments when I'm called to the LORD as they demonstratively say it there, I just Google it. Job is a corker, what with Satan's character developing like Anakin Skywalker in the first three Star Warses.

More unexpected than my reading the Bible is my reading the Russians, but while TLC told the same prison stories on into the night, I finally got sick of looking at Facebook, hoping for signs of life like a maroonee clinging to the crystal radio kit in his makeshift island shack, and the books were way over there across the room  and I went iPhone Project Gutenberging for Faulkner since it was his birthday and he's another like the Russians that I want to get into but avoid like a locust swarm, but Old Will skirted their net and I ended up with Fyodor. I don't really know exactly what the guy in the underground is going on about quite yet, but this little bit from Book I, Part I seemed a blogger's credo

But what can a decent man speak of with most pleasure?

Answer: Of himself.

Well, so I will talk about myself. 

Maybe that's why the Russians basically took over LiveJournal. Oh, and I watched all of Season One of Bored to Death and love it, and maybe that episode about the Russian nightclubs in Brighton Beach sent me to Dostoevsky. Like Ted Danson's remark, "Russian night club? I wanna go there!"

Today I conversed about Donovan a little online. I think he's a lovable magpie that occasionally stumbles onto genius like "Season of the Witch," (how to go from the Turtles to the Animals in one easy chord change)  "Epistle to Dippy" (a perfect song that invented twee twenty thirty years early), and most certainly, the join-inner that out join-ins "Hey Jude" - "Atlantis"

Then I did a little interpretive dance to Love's "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale" that my daughter found amusing

and while I was on a roll with my favorite songs, ate grilled cheese sandwiches to "Bonnie and Clyde" which I can't embed for some stupid reason. Here is the disaffected hot original version with Serge and Brigitte Bardot, and the equally or and then some hot use of it in Laurel Canyon when Frances McDormand gets Kate Beckinsale going, which I can't embed either. First world complaint, I know. All I'm sayin' is the comment section is all agog over Kate when Frances is the real dream girl there.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Two great lunches from this week

Smothered chicken plate with rice and gravy and greens from Zeeland Street Market. No improvements could possibly be ventured.

Ginormous pulled pork sandwich from @KickersBBQ. They are quick, friendly, on-the-streets, and most importantly, the pork is right at the perfect spot between dry and moist. Their sauce is tangy and flavorful, though I'm glad I asked for a light application; even then the sandwich was on the verge of becoming a sloppy joe. Accentuate your meat, BBQers of the world, for it is of meat that our hearts are made, not sauce. My suggestion, should you want it, is offer a simple, sharp Carolina-style vinegar sauce, cole slaw, and jalapeños (fresh preferred) and I will proclaim you the best $5 a person can spend in Baton Rouge. I will regret spending $5 on anything else if you do.

the French I took

Monarch caterpillar in our backyard. Maya's hand looks like mine in this picture.

Josh Alan Friedman, Black Cracker
John Coltrane,  The Classic Quartet: The Complete Impulse! Recordings

My wife, an amateur historian of rather piercing insight, remarked on how fired up I was yesterday about the Republic of West Florida on the day of its anniversary. Before then, I had a vague understanding of what went down even more vaguely when, but now I'm flummoxed that we don't embrace it more fervently. That shit is cool! At least put that one star on our flag, like on the pelican's chest, like Superman's logo or something.

I often joke that the Louisiana flag should instead feature a pelican shrugging its shoulders with those babies asking whatever French is for "Why didn't we just..." on a banner beneath their disintegrating nest.  It is noteworthy that I have long forgotten as much of the French I took as I have the Louisiana history.

But yeah, I got my Irish up as they say in Black Cracker. As I've said, its about the author's years as the one white kid in the last un-desegregated elementary school on Long Island in 1962. Friedman deals with race well, relying in Reality Then tempered with Perspective Now and renders all the characters with remarkable sympathy. Friedman also wrote the decadently thrilling Tales of Time Square, which I need to re-read, or rather read completely. It had me planted in a Barnes & Noble chair one afternoon until my legs hurt.

The racially charged language and incendiary title (Confession: I got very self-conscious the other day on the bus reading a book with "Black Cracker" emblazoned on the cover with an African-American man sitting across from me. The reason: I am an obvious racist that fears being pointed out, like most white people that wish they weren't. Some burden we white folks bear, self-consciousness about our unsavory aspects.) carried therein will probably get it banned if it gets noticed. Here's a Google map of other where books are banned, from here.

View Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2010 in a larger map

Speaking of books, noticed, banned or otherwise, I stayed up late working on mine, metamorphosing the anecdotal into something hopefully meaningful or at least usable. The target is somewhere in the triangulation of anecdotal, meaningful and usable. Having John Coltrane wailing and swooning in the background has been all three, so I'm a let all 8 CD's of his classic quartet ride. One of the many reasons I love the subscription music thing: I don't need to have this package taking up shelf space, didn't need to sweat buying it for an outrageous sum or feeling guilty for having bought it for an outrageous sum and never having listened to it or pretending to feel guilty because I downloaded it. And still didn't listen to it and then a year later deleted it from m hard drive, a most calloused form of theft.

I do miss that delicious record store coveting, or the way a fancy exhaustive boxed set feels at a friend's house, but otherwise, music is really for the listening for me. I am listening to it now and theoretically somewhere a nickel of thanks is jingling in the Coltrane family coffers every time I do. I'm sure the process will be idealistically improved with time and then some business model will screw it all up and we will revert to wax cylinders and traveling bards and that will be cool too. It takes caterpillars to make butterflies to make caterpillars all the while music is still the flowers.

Sam Cooke, "Wonderful World"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy 200th birthday, Republic of West Florida!

The "Bonnie Blue" of the Republic of West Florida. From Wiki: This flag was made by Melissa Johnson, wife of Major Isaac Johnson, the commander of the West Florida Dragoons

Happy 200th birthday, Republic of West Florida! So what if we were our own nation for only 90 days. How long was your multi-county area its own nation? Plus 90 days sounds about right; you can get a taste of power without having to change all the letterhead and print stamps and things like that. It's the same amount of time you are a vegetarian or a physics major in college. Or live in that one really dangerous apartment or declare yourself bisexual that one semester.

90 days is a temp work assignment where you get to see a project through as far as it was gonna go; just enough time where you sigh we did it as you pack up your desk tchotchkes and that ream of paper you stole in a cardboard box and head out smiling toward whatever the future holds. Dragoons, march!
West Floriday, that lovely nation,
Free from king and tyranny,
Thru’ the world shall be respected,
For her true love of Liberty.

Happy 84th birthday as well to John Coltrane. I'm gonna listen to you this afternoon and ponder the true love of liberty.

John Coltrane, Live In Stockholm - 1963
John Coltrane, In Europe (Disc 3) 
John Coltrane, Meditations

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

last day of summer

Sukie fixin' to send a butterfly to the graveyard if she has her way.

Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit
T. Rex, Electric Warrior
Roxy Music, Roxy Music

Media announcement: I put forth my five favorite CD's of Q3 2010 just so I can talk about how much I love the band Cotton Jones (who did one of them and is playing Baton Rouge on Tuesday) in this week's Record Crate blog for 225 Magazine.

The Life Pursuit is my favorite album of the 2000's, I think. It's the one I go back to more than any other. If I'd been a few years younger, it would be one of the important Radiohead records. Radiohead is a more "important" band of the era I suppose. What I like about B&S so much is their audacious attention to throwback detail - 70's filigree and 80's Smiths erudition and on top of that they are actually funny and all those things are synergistic toward creating great songs now.

Riding to the park with the sunroof open with the dog named from "Sukie in the Graveyard" was awesome at the perfunctory last day of summer. Louisiana is a late adopter to fall every year, if we take to it at all. Riding back with T. Rex going was even better. I am a jeepster for all y'all's love this autumn, the season resulting from the onset of Demeter's wrath for her teenage daughter's foolish/involuntary dalliances with the King of Hell and the patriarchy's insistence that her due be paid, when it really doesn't matter at all. Life's a gas.

Marc Bolan on the Cilia Black Show doing "Mad Donna" and "Life's a Gas".

Belle & Sebastian, "Sukie in the Graveyard"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

yellows to an organic glow

One of the murals in Allen hall.

Terry Southern, The Magic Christian 
Windy and Carl, Songs for the Broken Hearted
Carl Stone, Woo Lae Oak

I am going to hold my finger on the button this morning until it starts working like Carl and Wendy and Carl told me to do. I couldn't really take in The Magic Christian, though I enjoyed it while I was reading it. Same with Boardwalk Empire. I don't require much but I guess when that one little adhesive part is missing, the rest, no matter how cool or fun it all is, doesn't stick. This is all post-processing my talking out in the car what I'm doing or not doing with this dance hall book. Whatever it is, I need to get on it and the real Thing Being Done will emerge out of the doing. Keep pressing that button and eventually, the right thing will happen. I know it.

Update: I finished The Magic Christian at lunch. Weird book - a succession of polite dinner conversations and then elaborate public pranks perpetrated by a millionaire named Grand. The best thing I can say about it and An American Dream is that they are both affronts to a literary propriety to which we no longer adhere and thereby seem a little corny now, and I like how they printed books in the late 60's. Thick heavy paper that yellows to an organic glow and large type spaced with room to breathe in wide margins. A body feels like he's reading the shit out of a book, tearing through all wildness in burly print.

Someone got worked up over a typo.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I drink wine with meals when it is appropriate

As promised, High Performance doing "The Creole Stomp."

Lil B, 6 Kiss
Terry Southern, The Magic Christian 
Film School, Fission
Robert Randolph & the Family Band, We Walk This Road  
Charalambides, Union

Careful readers might note I don't listen to much hip-hop; I like it, but it collides too much with whatever I'm trying to do while listening to it, which is a testament to its strength as an artform. Anyway, Lil B came up in three unrelated places in the last hour and I can read the signs when they make cross to make an *. Listening to Lil B is like the hallucinations one might experience if one fell asleep with the TV on while slathered in shockingly expired Vick's VapoRub.

I flipped through a couple of Terry Southern books after sending back Norman Mailer. The Magic Christian won me over with
When Grand finally drew himself back from the window and doffed his pig mask...

All I need, really.

Here are five exaggerated behaviors observed on the way back from the library that remind me why I love working on campus.
  1. A cute girl racing through the library's sliding doors to snake her arm around the neck of a twerpy dude in a stupid hat and plant one on him while he continued to yammer into his phone.
  2. An overstuffed backpack that had the word "ALL" burned into the leather. I'm guessing it was her initials and not an answer to "What do you have in that thing?"
  3. A beautiful Indian girl sitting on one of the benches as I rounded the corner, absolutely seething with barely contained rage.She's was fixin' to cut somebody that needed cutting.
  4. A half-lidded chuckling hippie dude with a wide bandanna headband and careful stubble making his way through the crowd  practicing his devil sticks while listening to a jam band going off the deep end loudly on his iPod. He was a one-man Bonnaroo.
  5. An older male professor in a very purposely chosen fishing hat thing explaining to a foreign grad student what he likes to drink in that careful, doesn't-play-well-with-others, professorial way. "I enjoy Scotch. I enjoy beer. I drink wine with meals when it is appropriate but it is not my favorite..." That guy is probably late for class now, still getting the contents of this guy's liquor cabinet.

The poem of ecstasy

Mural above Mulate's. The poem of ecstasy that was this weekend is best told in pictures.

Norman Mailer, An American Dream
Josh Alan Friedman, Black Cracker

Gloria Coates, String Quartet No. 9
Roberto Carlos Lange, Music for Memory
Beatrice Long, Scriabin: Mazurkas (Complete)
Scriabin, The Poem of Ecstasy
Konstantin Ivanov, Scriabin: Prometheus - The Poem of Fire
Paul Crossley, Scriabin: Late Piano Pieces

Friday night I took Maya and a friend to the observatory to look at Jupiter during its closest pass in 60 years. The astronomer let them press the buttons that open the hatch. When I win the lotto, I want to live in the observatory and will still open it up on the weekends for viewings and science, but we will have DJ's laying down retro-future space grooves under the lectures from the astronomy club.

Saturday morning brought me to my buddy John and the first tailgate breakfast of the season: Nicaraguan cross-cut ribs. Like across the slab with a bone saw. It is like bacon except it is ribs. You don't even know how existentially satisfying it is to gnaw away on one of those little circles of bone.

I left before this came to fruition: a pork butt marinated in lemon, soy sauce and Cristal, wrapped in banana leaves. We suggested that next time they further tenderize it by having a virgin use it as a loofah, a bodybuilder as a "surrogate" and Mike the Tiger a chew toy. Maya and I didn't attend the game because we usually don't and were full of meat.

Things started changing around here on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon's book research led me to High Performance at the Atchafalaya Club. High Performance recaptures the essence dance bands of the 60's where accordion meets pedal steel out in the lotus patches of the swamp hopped up on cheap beer and fishin' boat fumes. Video forthcoming.

It is kinda gorgeous out there. Even the wake of a small boat is  transcendent.


And they have a gator pond.

And a lighthouse.

I had another show lined up in Lafayette but had the time wrong, so I circled back down the old road to Breaux Bridge, looking for this fabled place called Desiree's Shangri-La and instead wound up at good ol' Mulate's

Note the cypress columns

the seafood gumbo

and the ubiquitous swamp mural. Mulate's is spoke of as the original Cajun restaurant and has been a landmark of Breaux Bridge for decades. It's been at least one of those decades since I've been there; it was closed for a long stretch after a fire but has been restored to its homey glory.

Everybody stops there.

I hollered at Dickie Landry to see if he wanted to tag along but his pan-Louisiana supergroup (in every sense of the word) Lil' Band O' Gold heads out for a New Zealand tour this morning.

On the way home, I got stuck in traffic heading toward the bridge and the bridge untethers some sort of nervousness in me. Normally I don't wallow in the what-if's of others' competencies that plague the average control freak, but I like to just get across this bridge without dying each time, TYVM, and snailing across it in the dark of night  is rattling. Somehow Scriabin's crazy ass countered all this, so I am tacking in his wind for the day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Look at this guy!

Teddy in one of his many capes. Photo by Frank McMains.

Norman Mailer, An American Dream
Cotton Jones, Paranoid Cocoon and Tall Hours in the Glowstream

Media Announcement Addendum: Look at this guy! In case you missed it, the Teddy's Juke Joint story is avaiable on the WRKF website, as is a slideshow of Frank's excellent photographs of the place.Thanks to Swede, Frank and Teddy, and the flu for my sonorous delivery.

Speaking of look at this guy, An American Dream is bananas. It was originally serialized Dickens-style in Esquire, which lends it a sort of mustache-twirling, cliff-hanger air. Here the moon begs our hero to throw himself off the balcony.
Something in the deep of that full moon, some tender and not so innocent radiance traveled fast as the thought of lightning across the sky, out from the depths of the dead in those caverns of the moon, out and a leap through space and into me. And suddenly I understood the moon. Believe it if you will. The only true journey of knowledge is from the depth of one being to the heart of another and I was nothing but open raw depths at that instant alone on the balcony, looking down on Sutton Place, the spirit of the food and drink I had ingested wrenched out of my belly and upper gut, leaving me in raw being, there were clefts and rents which cut like geological faults right through all the lead and concrete and kapok and leather of my ego, that mutilated piece of insulation, I could feel my Being , ridiculous enough, what!

It keeps going and going. He hoists out-of-control machismo, wrapped in the leather of his ego, aloft like he's Prometheus bringing light and wisdom down the mountain to the mortals. I've never read a Norman Mailer book before, was really more aware of him as a cultural figure, but I'm into this. Reading it is like boxing with your drunken id.

I can't get over Cotton Jones, they might be my favorite discovery of the year, and they are playing here next week. The moon smiles upon my Being.

"Up a Tree (Went This Heart I Have)"

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It's like a callus on the hand of a tree goddess.

Norman Mailer, An American Dream
Morton Feldman, "Madame Press Died Last Week At Ninety" (via Little Brother)
Aki Takahashi,  Feldman: Piano; Piano Piece 1955; Two Intermissions; Illusions; Extensions 3; Palais De Mari
Zeena Parkins, Necklace 

Media Announcements: I'm gonna be on the radio tonight talking about one of my favorite places in the world, Teddy's Juke Joint at 4:44 and 6:44 PM CST, 89.3 WRKF, Baton Rouge and online We talk about wearing capes, Star Hill Plantation, and the art of spinning records. I had the flu when we did the edits so I come off extra manly and sonorous. The full interview will be on their website along with some great photos by Frank McMains later today.

Also, my review of the Ted Hearne's chamber music song cycle Katrina Ballads on the Oxford American site. Nice to see Austin L. Ray, who I worked with on my few foray's at Paste, up in there laying it down about Justin Townes Earle. Also OA editor Marc Smirnoff goes double-half-nelson-meta on Steve Almond.

The reason it's called the Net is because it is woven from threads of us all talking about ourselves and each other. Welcome to the New Music-musing on the Internet to everyone and sometimes to no one but yourself blues, Little Brother. He's got a good profile of Morton Feldman up on his blog that you should check out if you are into that sort of thing, or even if you are not.

Numinous performing "Madame Press never had to Holler at Morty" which has some relation to the piece Little Brother played.

I never met Morton Feldman, but I did John Cage, Valentine's Day 1992 when I interviewed him on the radio. He told a story about himself and (I'm pretty sure it was) Morton Feldman walking through a park in NYC when they saw a fire truck with lights blaring but no sirens trying to push its way through the gridlock traffic. It was making such slow headway that they started trailing it on foot, until it turned down an alley and suddenly disappeared. "It was a quiet fire engine!" Mr. Cage excitedly and softly chuckled.

Eclipse Quartet plays Zeena Parkins's Visible/Invisible

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

cocksure bounce

A version of the dream.

Eno, Moebius, Roedelius, and Plank, Begegnungen and Begegnungen II (via ROOT BLOG)
John Vanderslice, Green Grow the Rushes (from his site)
Norman Mailer, An American Dream
Lloyd Cole, Rattlesnakes

Read Norman Mailer. Get a new tailor.
      - Lloyd Cole, "Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?"

I went and checked out An American Dream over lunch inspired by Lloyd Cole popping into my head (he and Richard Buckner ride the same elevated train around my thinking) and this most excellent dispatch from the Oxford American's The Part-Time Voyeur. It has occurred to me that nobody cares what makes me want to check out what books from the library, in case you among this blog's dwindling readership were wondering. And yet...

Anyway, I felt tough just walking across campus with it in my hand and these excellent Eno, Moebius, Roedelius, and Plank artifacts bleeping and throbbing in my ears, adding cocksure bounce to my gait.  I was ready to bite a fucker's ear off if it came to it, but I made it back to the office unchallenged in any way. I considered walking on to the Family Dollar to get a new belt in a half-hearted attempt to fulfill the second part of Mr. Cole's recommendations, but that can wait for another day. I'll keep you posted.

Norman Mailer and Rip Torn, the infamous Maidstone brawl.

Richard Buckner at the Shaw Center, Baton Rouge, 9/14/2010

Richard Buckner at the Shaw Center, Baton Rouge, 9/14/2010

I am given to hyperbole about him, I know, but Richard Buckner is an amazing and singular talent. Nuclear fusion takes place in the dash in his version of singer-songwriter. He rotated through three guitars and a decade plus of songs in with Swiss clock precision, letting the intricate fugues of one forlorn, elliptical tune evolve into that of the next, all the while towering, brooding into the mic with a soul-pained scowl. It was a little like having one of the heads on Mt. Rushmore sing to you.

E-Bow should give this guy an endorsement deal, for he seems to be the only owner of one that uses it in the service of music than against it. E-bow's  are fun - I have one - but they are generally best kept in the rare quiet hours of guitar solitude when you want to pretend you are a one man bad Santana. Buckner creates locust swarms on the fly using it and loop pedals, stark landscapes in which his tunes unfold. They should've had him soundtrack The Road with that thing.

The next day after a show like that I want it to rain all day and be situated so I can sit home and play guitar and listen to Felt records. Buckner namechecks the cult band in "Ocean Cliff Clearing", which he played that evening. The only song I didn't hear that I wanted was "Believer." 

Another dude was listing off to him after the show the songs he's never heard him sing, and Buckner, sitting with him at the edge of the stage said, "Oh yeah, I haven't played that in years. I oughta put a request wheel on my website or something. " I saw him once ten years ago, and tried to talk to him after and clammed up awestruck, and truthfully, he was in a bit of a state after that show, but last night,  after the locusts and heartbreak were sung out, he was jovial, even a little goofy when I talked to him. He talked about playing a little ancient opera house in a small town in Maryland or someplace where it was a bunch of farmer's and autistic kids at his show, and we talked about how disarming driving through that I-10 tunnel  outside of Mobile is. He said about Davie's Uptown, the club I saw him at many moons ago in Kansas City, "The best thing about playing there is that Gate's BBQ is right around the corner."  At Gate's you have to know your order the instant you walk in the door because the staff starts yelling at you for it and gets testy if you hesitate. I mentioned this and he said, "Oh yeah, man. Burnt end sandwich!"

I'm doing this post backwards because who wants to open for Richard Buckner? Drew Landry from Lafayette did a great job, laying out howling protests about the oil spill and a really good dirty song about a Baton Rouge roller rink during his set. Drew is the guy that played his guitar before the Presidential Commission on the BP Oil Spill a while back and has a tune "BP Blues" released on Warner Bros., available on iTunes with the bulk of proceeds go to Drew also blogs the oil spill cleanup efforts and lack thereof at and runs the spectacular Bourque's Social Club in Scott, LA, which I hit up anytime I can. Drew fights the good fight and is generally an awesome dude; he didn't take a swing at me when I called him "John Cougar Fishin' Camp."

Felt, The Pictorial Jackson Review, Crumbling the Antiseptic Beauty, and The Splendour of Fear

Felt, "The Optimist and the Poet"

Richard Buckner, "Ocean Cliff Clearing" from 2009 in Salt Lake City

Media Announcements: My review of Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story is up on the Oxford American site and the strings of your heart will go twaaaannnnnggg in this week's Record Crate with Bill Kircher, The Legendary Shack Shakers, Hank William's lookalikes and Whiskeytown's Caitlin Cary all appearing in town this week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sees the facets of himself playing out in the chambers of his gun

Catfish Lafayette at Zeeland's. I like to think I get two cornbreads because I am a big shot.

Justin Townes Earle, Harlem River Blues
Richard Buckner, Since
Mark Eitzel, Music for Courage & Confidence

Media Announcements: After that lunch, all I have is media announcements, but I have a lot of them. I forgot to link to this thing I wrote about Shooter Jennings for OffBeat, who played in New Orleans a couple nights ago. I'm right now writing a thing about Justin Townes Earle and trying to not have the same thing to say.

Also, Richard Buckner, profiled in panting adoration by yours truly in Country Roads recently, is playing at the Shaw Center, downtown baton Rouge tonight, and I'd love for alla y'all to come because he really is that good.

"Blue and Wonder"

Also, noted author Jack Pendarvis is on a multi-socially-networked mission to bring back Bronk, the detective show created by Carroll O'Connor starring Jack Palance, and I support this. Watch as Bronk sees the facets of himself playing out in the chambers of his gun.

The only way that intro could be better if Bronk had been a Quinn Martin Production, but I guess the lack of a narrator lends Bronk some mystery. I just wish my life's every incedent was introduced by Hank Simms, the Quinn Martin intro guy, Hank Simms. Imaging getting out of bed, flinging open the drapes with Hank Simms  and having Hank Simms declaring today's episode of your life to be "A Tangle of Vipers" or "An Admirer's Conundrum?" Anyone remember Banyon? Cannon?

Not a QM Production, but I watched Ironside religiously at my grandma's; she had a thing from Raymond Burr left over from his Perry Mason days, and I think she appreciated his characters growing feeble with her.  

I could go on, but I've never heard American Music Club dude Mark Eitzel's 2002 version of "Move On Up" before and he rocks it in his particular two steps forward, three steps back into the quicksand kind of way and it closes this rambling mess out nicely. Vote Bronk and vote often.

Monday, September 13, 2010

dusty awesomeness is waiting

Somedays I really like it around here.

D. L. Menard, Happy Go Lucky and Cajun Saturday Night

So does he.

William S. Burroughs on attending a 1975 Led Zeppelin concert:

It looks like a tome of Freemasonry.

protect your brain freedom

The Future can be yours!

Be Bop Deluxe, Axe Victim

If you are looking this morning to listen to that awesome glam record to which you've never listened before, I'd recommend Be Bop Deluxe's Axe Victim because I was looking for that very thing and there it was. If you are a true glam aficionado, you've heard this already and can disregard, but then you probably aren't even up yet and this will be 100 items down on your RSS feed or better yet you won't have an RSS feed because you are on cool, heavy substances and don't need TV when you have T. Rex, so no bother.

I responded thus to this Oxford American questionaire question:
If sleep becomes obsolete in the year 2050, what will you do with all that extra time?

Fret. Listen to even more obscure music from the 1970's. Write some terrible fiction. 
Way out here in the future, I feel good that at least the second part of that response holds true. You know, the Future of the South issue is not generating sufficient chatter considering how good it is and how smart it looks on your coffee table with that robot and all, so get yourself a copy. I understand the polymers with which the cover is printed will protect you from alien mind-control rays, so it might be a good idea to buy an extra copy to fashion into some sort of paper hat in order to protect your brain freedom.

I wouldn't normally be so shamelessly promotional like this (I would), but with my contribution to this issue I turned a lark into an idea into an article into a check into a new lawnmower and, if I was smart and took my clever nephew's advice, would turn that into an idea about lawnmowers into an article into a check into a gardener. Then I could commence to writing bad fiction about a gardener and get movies made from those fictions with groovy 70's glam rock soundtracks for no other reason that glam rock always sounds great in a movie soundtrack no matter the subject. It'll be swinging.

It seems like important alchemy is at play. American alchemy. Plus all this American Mercury fervor I have going has me sweet on this idiosyncratic rag and all the others that encourages such literary behavior in myself and others. Do the right thing and go buy a cool magazine today. You know it will fill your soul better than that pricey, crappy lunch you were going to buy will.

I'm gonna listen to Axe Victim over and over this morning. It's the Future from the past and it's lovely!