Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toot the horns, me!


Felt, Forever Breathes the Lonely Word and Poem of the River
Blut Aus Nord, 777 - Sect(s)
and 777 - The Desanctification
Julian Cope, Jehovahkill
Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

  • The big news is that my forthcoming book Louisiana Saturday Night: Looking for a Good Time in South Louisiana's Juke Joints, Honky Tonks, and Dance Halls is featured (or rather the sumptuous cover photo of Teddy's Juke Joint, taken by Frank McMains) is featured on the cover of the LSU Press Spring 2012 catalog. Then, four pages in, the book is included as well! Top of the world! Toot the horns, me!
  • One of my students interviewed me for the student paper about Google Maps stealing peoples numbers with their little camera cars. I hope I got the bit about packets right.
  • Then, HTMLGiant ran a thing I wrote about Joshua Cohen's writing that proved to be surprisingly contentious. The wrecking ball always completes its parabola.
  • I was thinking about Felt, the worlds greatest cult band, and the phrase "forever breathes the lonely word" and the crematory smoke in my Cohen piece and where words go when they leave your mouth or the printers or in a digital sense, the submit button.  I was thinking about how Lawrence from Felt came up with a plan to do ten (10) albums and ten (10) singles and then dissolved the project and stuck with plan and for the most part clammed up about the whole thing, and how that says so much more than saying something does. Then I was thinking about what a perfect little world "Declaration" is.

    Felt, "Declaration"
  • The gentlest of 80's English bedsit pop (Felt) and contemporary French obscuro metal (Blut Aus Nord) may be indeed curious bedfellows, but they both speak to me from the depths of their respective hermetic lairs. Each act has a tentacle in the circle of the mystic.

    Blut Aus Nord, "Epitome IV"

    Speaking of strange bedfellows, in the December 2012 issue of OffBeat, I have a profile of Finnish, accordion-and-fiddle-wielding folk metal horde Korpiklaani, appearing at the Hangar on Dec. 11.  Surely that is something we can all get behind.

    Korpiklaani, "Surma"

Monday, November 28, 2011

I need to scratch my head

Image of Ken Russell from "A Ken Russell Interlude" by Kimberly Linbergs in Cinebeats.

Wild Billy Childish's the Buff Medways, The Medway Wheelers
Coco Robicheaux, Hoodoo Party

The Prisoners, The Last Fourfathers
The Nightingales, Out of True
The Nectarine No. 9, It's Just the Way Things are, Joe. It's Just the Way They Are

  • RIP Coco Robicheaux. I talked to Coco a couple of times but never in a professional hipster-interfacing capacity and somehow never saw him perform, which I will now forever regret. But his incense smokin', voodoo talkin', Stagger Lee walkin' demeanor was for real, the New Orleans thing that gives the city its shimmer.

    Coco Robicheaux, "Time Has Come Today"
  • RIP Ken Russell. Ken Russell's films were a revelation to me in my early film snob days. They possessed a Felini level of brittle charmed ennui with a late night Skinemax level of depravity, all wrapped up in absurd magic. It was the kind of film practice that you couldn't fence in as "good" or "bad" but more just "wow."
  • Altered States, Tommy and Gothic are probably the best known of his films, but I particularly loved The Music Lovers, a histrionic biopic about Tchaikovsky. More pointedly, the train scene where Richard Chamberlain and Glenda Jackson don't get it on in the most hallucinatory manner. (NSFW)

  • There is a short essay about Ken Russell in my first book Darkness, Racket and Twang (Only $5.99 for the Kindle version)

    Ken Russell's In Search of the English Folksong on OvationYou might know Ken from his cult faves "Gothic" or "Lair of the White Worm" or from odder affairs such as "The Lovers," his hallucinatory soap-operatic feature about Tchaikovsky. Ken operates on a weird plane at the corner of Fellini and Pee Wee Herman, with a little Argento thrown in for flava, in a tea-and-crumpets English pomp stylee. 
    It opened with a dream sequence with Ken wearing these square sunglasses that had the word "falling" built into the frame. He was seated in a Lawrence Welk-vivid garden gazebo, where a dowdy English soprano is lolling out a sea shanty. He awakes, plays some 78's for his dog, and then announces, pushing his face through a bouquet of flowers, that he was going to go in search of folk music among the folk.He stumbles through some Teletubbies countryside to a pub, where a metal outfit named "So What" appears and breaks into song. Ken focuses a camcorder on the trashy/foxy lead singer, and then they are all of a sudden outside, with the band playing atop picnic tables. Throngs of English youth appear from the bushes to do what seems a modified frug around them. Ken then has a drink with the guitarist and follows him home, where he poses in front of a corvette festooned with a rebel flag license plate and sings a country-ish song. Then, here come the fruggers again...This was all in the first ten minutes. And I fear that I'm not making it sound random enough. After the first commercial break, it seems that he's calmed down and is now documenting actual folksingers, sadly sans frug. Eventually it has Fairport Convention frolicking in a church under a disco ball, but nothing else so far is up to par with the opening sequence. Ken Russell has a particular talent for walking that fine line between the perverse and the asinine, and this BBC budget affair captures it better than anything I've ever seen of his.

    Here is a scene with his dog..

  • Somebody asked me if I was serious when I said I actually liked Lulu, the almost categorically panned recent collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica and my answer can be found at the end of the Ken Russell piece. It walks a line between perverse and asinine. It is a risky flailing of artistic emotion from a group of people who have long paid their dues, crafting personae. Sure, Lulu is head scratcher, but good. I need to scratch my head. I wish more art made me scratch my head rather than does the absurdity of the news. I wish there were more guys like Coco around about whom I wondered if the voodoo thing was for real than demon-scared politicians about whom I'm compelled to ask the same question.

    I wish there were more Ken Russells steering the vast resources of the BBC into the choppy waters of the puzzling. I'm thrilled Lou Reed convinced the most boring metal band in the world to bellow "I AM THE TABLET" with the confidence of a madman. The more I listen to music of the 70's, like even the hugely popular music like Chicago, I'm struck how weird it all is. How surprising things were. The world could fall apart any minute back then, just like it can now.  I am glad a few people are willing to keep it appropriately weird.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"I might enjoy falconry"

Black Butler
Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

I reviewed A Time of Gifts over at the Goodreads and offer it here for your reading pleasure:
A Time of GiftsA Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Patrick Fermor possesses in this text a conversational way with history that I openly envy. He can talk about the first Apostlic King of Christian Hungary as easily and normally as we might allude to so-and-so from the office. Plus, I am a sucker for any book where someone walks from one place to a distant other - in the is case, from Holland to the Danube; this book details the first half of a trek to Constantinople at the eve of World War II. He captures the all-encompassing hallucinatory intake of a walk. He leaves no little musings out, which can make a reader glaze over pretty quickly. It did so to me enough times that I had to thumb back plenty of times just to remember where we actually were in the trip.

So, if the destination and the expediency of getting there are the key points to your travelling, this book is not for you. If you need to grasp everything that is said in a conversation, read elsewhere. But, if you believe that life's literal and literary journeys are like auditing an infinitude of brilliant lectures, and that each traveller arrives at their own destinations on said journeys, then this will beckon you down the road. I have BETWEEN THE WOODS AND THE WATER, volume two of this set waiting for me in my bag just as soon as I'm ready to resume our walk.

There is a great joint profile of Fermor and similar writer Bruce Chatwin in the Decembe 2011 Harper's that led me to his cuious doorstep.

View all my reviews
Maya is immediately deep into this anime series she saw at a friend's house called Black Butler. I am relieved that it is not about the exploits of an wisecracking African-American servant, but is instead a Victorian, Jack the Ripper mystery being solved by a moody boy with hair dangling over one of his giant glistening eyes and a tall Anime-English unflappable butler who wears all black. The best part in each episode is the 3-second intermission.

Black Butler intermission.
Like, that's it. It us actually two little scenes with the weird clarinet ditty, but still only a few seconds. Is it a meta-intermission, or do they just have like a flash screen when they originally appeared n TV in Japan. Does anime appear n TV in japan first? The main thing I like about anime is that I don't really get it. Otherwise, it's not my bag. Maya has watched about 20 episodes of it and is right now indoctrinating a friend and about to corrupt another as soon as they get here.

I am pecking this out on an Android tablet I have for work, partially so I can surrender my iPad to them so they can watch 20 more episodes on Netflix later, and partially because I am under the iSpell and am curious how life is hunched over an Android. After the robot wars and post the Age of Man, we will be all too familiar with such a feeling.

It's not so bad; some things are better, like the Spotify layout is better and I like how they do the text cursor, but overall it is still a little counterintuitive. Immediate understanding is how the iPad gets you. It's like you muse, "I might enjoy falconry" into the air and suddenly you have this gorgeous falcon looking badass on your wrist, awaiting your silent command. Android is a little more like a cool remote control car from Radio Shack. Plus, the whole design ethos is very Space Mountain on Android vs. the antiseptic HAL-like sociopathic calm of the iPad.

Ugh. I'm even boring myself with this. I'm going to embark on a more meaningful product comparison as displayed below.

Don't get me started on the camera.

Friday, November 25, 2011

the curvature of the earth

I always forget how flat it is when I drive down to Houma, where I grew up one of those times I grew up.

The Clash, Sandinista!
Duke Ellington, Live at Newport
Radiohead, OK Computer

My favorite part of my favorite route there is this marshy, palmetto festooned stretch of LA 20 around Vacherie. I half expect a dinosaur to emerge from either side of the road.

I was going to say something about the curvature of the earth in regards to the first photograph, but I think this photo better demonstrates the phenomenon of charting one's fleeting existence at one point in the warp of time-space. Stare at the deviled egg spiral atop the potato salad and learn the secrets of the Freemasons. My mom said it this is how her mom always served it. I'm certain my grandma served this same dish at many a function of Eastern Star, the Masonic Ladies Auxiliary.

Some people are members of cabals, the nature of whose activities remain obscured.

Wrap your brain around this process: strawberries in peach Jell-O over a layer of sweetened cream cheese over a layer of crushed pretzels. Church picnic good.

Somehow I dislodged the memory battery of my camera and it reset the date to Jan. 1, 1980, and this photo, enhanced with Snapseed's more dramatic filers, likely depicts my feelings about the place mid that decade. Put on a New Order tape and you'd nail it. I've come to appreciate Houma in a new light, having grown up a few times since then.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is exciting!

Happy Anniversary to us! Thirteen years!

Beecher's Issue One
Various Artists, Zabriskie Point: Original Soundtrack
Sandy Denny, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens

Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts

She's in charge of getting the turkey this year.

The lumpia meat is asmimmer! The banana ketchup is at the ready! The ham is in the crock pot! The world famous jalapeño sausage cheese bread from Bourque's Supermarket is in the little foil thing it comes in! Someone else is doing pies! Thanksgiving is exciting!

William S. Burroughs, "A Thanksgiving Prayer"

Seems like last Thanksgiving I read "Howl" for some reason. You want to apply reasons for going back to the classics. Instead, I wanted to be the first to post "A Thanksgiving Prayer" on Facebook, but one other up beat me to it. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Watch out for those in philanderer's ties and murderer's shoes! Eat through your imperialist shame! Did I mention banana ketchup? I did!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Look at the pretty flower!

Abutilon × hybridum. Lantern Tree or, Flowering Maple

Chicago, Chicago III
Charles Mingus, The Clown

National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Varèse: Orchestral Works, Vol 1 

Matthew Dear, Black City
YACHT, Shangri-La
Terry Riley, A Rainbow in Curved Air and In C

Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time of Gifts (via this profile in Harper's, which I guess you can't see unless you already have the magazine, but its a good article anyway.)

Klaus Schulze, X
Future Sound of London/Amorphous Androgynous, The Otherness

It's been a busy week. I did the NYT puzzle everyday. I got ~2,000 words down on a new possible book project. A student just showed up. Gotta go. Look at the pretty flower!

R.I.P. David Rush

David Rush, "Free Radicals" 2006. More of David's art can be seen at his Flickr page.

Back in the early 1990's I hosted a radio show for experimental music on KLSU with one of my friends. It ran late Saturday nights when no one was listening, a perfect place for Geoff and I to vent our needs for aural weirdness. We had our preferences: Geoff went for highly textured sample-driven pieces; I was all about 60's free jazz loft catharsis and dada art pranks. It worked because these puzzle-less pieces started to find a way to fit together.

This show attracted like-minded disparate thinkers. A grad student with a difficult personality and even more difficult jazz records started showing up. One of our regular callers resided in a halfway house. Another was a sixteen year old misfit who we met in person one evening when her dad dropped her off at the back door of the station at 11 PM and drove off. It also attracted David Rush.

David was then, and on into adulthood, a calming influence. His deep voice, always deeper than you expected to be coming out of his sweet, round head, took on the mannered hush of an air conditioner kicking on when he spoke. While the rest of us were turning our personal manifestos into unlistenable playlists, David played calm music. Music that moved but stood still. Stuff woven of calm methodologies and a willingness to wonder. There were clashes among this gaggle of radio hosts with something to prove to our no listeners, so much so that another friend did an ethnography of this late night dysfunctional family. David just quietly waited until he could play his records. The last conversation David and I had in person was about Klaus Schultze.

Klaus Schultze, "Floating"

I lost touch with David over the years until I encountered him at a local art show, or more correctly, encountered his work. His paintings are joyous, curious things, as dense and methodical as the music he loved. They are fantasies and sci-fi landscapes and computational grids, vivid and purposed, but not looking bully your eye. He believed in science and process and philosophy and I gathered that those things coalesced into a form of spirituality for him, which is how a spirituality should form.

The circumstances of his passing are unclear, but it seems that he had an ongoing medical problem that overcame him and and he died in his sleep. So, wherever/whatever that spirit is now, here's hoping the sky is filled with nice, round stars and the wind makes a low electronic throb through the trees.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

cracklins and pies

The only things to get in Krotz Springs are cracklins and speeding tickets. Fortunately it was only the former for me today on this research trip. That and a boudin ball from Kartchner's Grocery got me rolling.

My destination was Lecompte up near the middle of the state. It has pies on all its insignia solely because of Lea's Lunchroom, the center of the Louisiana pie vortex. Somebody needs to turn this sign into a t-shirt quick.

The general. It's like a Wayne Thiebald painting come to life.

The specific. It's like what sweet potatoes dream about being.

The town has a typical Louisiana history. Like, I'm surprised there is not a parenthetical in there saying "(not that Thomas Jefferson)". Unless it is.

It was gorgeous and iconic out there in Acadiana. This is coming back across the Krotz Springs bridge, floating on a clowd of cracklins and pies, into the autumnal bosom. Love it here.



The Tedeschi Trucks Band, Revelator
Otis Rush, Otis's Blues
Buddy Guy, Blue on Blues
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

  • I could listen to Susan Tedeschi do ahhhohhhwaaahoooo blues inflection 50x in a song and love it. Problem is, she does ~60x on every song on Revelator. The album is smooth as God's own artisan bourbon and it did get the bathroom scrubbed but I don't know that is the highest praise I can give a record.

  • Otis's Blues, though, I was into every micron of that one. Anyone know who the female singer on "Maybe the Last Time" is? Blues aficionados can probably ID her from a mile away but I will cozy up to my ignorance. The Internet seems devoid of this crucial bit of info.

  • I sent my query into the cloud, or to the hive - which is it when you ask Facebook? I was talking social media and Spotify and digital stuff at that party last night - do not let that detail besmirch the image of a "party"; there was beer and girls there too - with a couple professorial types - if one is an adjunct, can one consider oneself in that type? The conversation turned to tenure, which is outside whatever professorial purview I might claim. Anyway, someone said, "yeah, but aren't all these websites fads?" and yes, they are, but the information strategies aren't.

  • One fellow traveller thought the singer in question might be Little Walter. I thought it was a woman. I mean, generally, all those Little guys can rock a mean falsetto, but some spot checks through the Little Walter catalog confirms it ain't him. I'm going to eat some black eyed peas and see if the answer doesn't appear to me.

  • Turns out it was not even Otis Rush on the album. The song is Big Momma Thornton, the rest of the record is Muddy Waters and B. B. King. The Internet proper was all wrong, but the Internet improper through crowd sourcing got it right. Like I said, it's the strategy that matters. This crowd sourcing, even though it was among people I knew in real life, would have never have happened without the connective tissue of Facebook. And I'm already tired of this point. Maybe that's why I don't get invited to very many parties.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This year's night


  • White Light Night! Mid-city Baton Rouge has a number of these artwalk things throughout the year - there is a "Hot Art, Cool Nights", another "lights" of some sort I think - all in the past trying to be a thing. I go, I like walking around at night and lemon squares and mini sandwiches more than the next guy, and take it for what it is. This year however, it crossed a bridge into becoming a Thing. There was more to do within walking distance from my house than I was able to take in.

  • At one point I was attacking a free clamshell of jambalaya while Maya and her friend were attacking fresh spun cotton candy outside the neighborhood vintage record store while a surf band tore through "Apache", and the promise of navigating the place involved a second batch of jambalaya.

  • I will from this point measure the breadth of a civic event by the number of jambalayas on offer. This year's night, a two-jambalaya success with a chi-chi law office open house shrimp salad bonus allotment. And bite size pecan pies. Nice work, Baton Rouge!

  • At that stop, some artisan had a table of little clay balls on which you were instructed to Sharpie the cause of your psychic distress and then hurl it at a wall. Very satisfying. Maya went with "mean people", for truly they do suck as the ancients once declared.


  • Then I went back out by bike past the food trucks and the gallery gatherings devolving into back patio debauchery to a party at a friend's great house in the adjacent neighborhood where social and professional circles overlapped around a fire pit and a vintage ice chest and a crockpot of hot chocolate and people I don't see enough and some I know secrets about and writers I like and sweet drunks I didn't already know and and and... I like all these ands. Sometimes I struggle to find five things to fill the bullet holes of a post; it's kinda awesome that my sleepy old neighborhood did it for me.

    I will start today with jalapeño cheese bread from Ambrosia and a second pot of coffee and see what today holds.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

do anything

Sukie is on alert for any encroachment on our scene by The Man. Photo by Maya Cook.

Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
The Avett Brothers, Carolina Jubilee

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain
Yuck, Yuck
The Tallest Man on Earth, The Wild Hunt


Laura Viers, Tumble Bee
Nektar, Retrospective (Deluxe Edition)

  • The main reason I love Oasis and Oasis-sourced product is that they take that moment when you are alone in your room or car or shower and put some dumb lyrics together (e.g. if I had a gun/I'd shoot a hole into the sun) and strum on a tennis racket and have your eyes closed and all and turn that into the real song. I like how he can end any couplet with "for you". As if there's any other reason to do anything.
  • My Zooey Deschanel-heavy post from yesterday was prematurely published and quickly obscured from view, should you be wondering what happened to it. It was an experiment in making this blog do more than it already does, whatever that is.

    Edited to add:
    and now I think I overlaid previous post with this one. That's OK, this one is better.
  • OK, me and my insomnia cozied up with an episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman last night. It was a satire of soap operas from Norman Lear, the guy who basically laid the template for the modern sitcom. MHMH is weird as hell, almost abstract in its stilted sense of drama, its hyper-flattened comedy. And it was on every day in the markets that would carry it. Dig the "Chicken Soup" episode.

  • I remember my parents watching it. MHMH is like Beckett and like the Jeffersons all at once, which makes me want to explore how Beckettian the Jeffersons actually was. I mean, what was with George always walking on the English neighbor's back? The maid that never cleans? Was the Jeffersons an anti-colonial reversal thesis with a laugh track and fantastic leisure wear?  Was the Void just outside those sliding patio doors?
  • Also,  Sherman Hemsley was pretty out there himself. I've posted this before but it's worth rereading how the TV star brought English out-rock band Gong to L.A. to do some sort of project involving installing flying teapots on Sunset Boulevard. Also worth reading for the descriptions of Mr. Jefferson's drug lair.

    Inside the front door of Sherman’s house was a sign saying, ‘Don’t answer the door because it might be the man.’ There were two Puerto Ricans that had a LSD laboratory in his basement, so they were really paranoid. They also had little crack/freebase depots on every floor. Then Sherman says, ‘Come on upstairs and I’ll show you the Flying Teapot room.’ Sherman was very sweet but was surrounded by these really crazy people.

    Here he is working a dance to prog rock band Nektar into the show. Because he wanted to, again, as if there is any better reason to do anything

Monday, November 14, 2011

get your hipster doomsday cult on

Photo by Maya Cook

This weekend:
Atlas Sound, Parallax
Korpiklaani, Ukon Wacka
Goatwhore, Eclipse Into Ages of Black

Grinderman, Grinderman 2
The Kills, Blood Pressures
The Last Shadow Puppets, The Age of The Understatement
Julian Cope, Autogeddon
Faust, Faust IV
and Something Dirty

Composers Quartet, Elliott Carter: String Quartets 1 & 2
WU LYF (World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation), Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

  • Monday: I am having an exceptional author day. I saw the final sketch of the cover of this book and started laying groundwork for what will possibly be the next and maybe possibly another. I feel oddly anthemic and triumphant inside, like how this sounds:

    Faust, "Something Dirty"
  • This week I'm gonna use photographs Maya took over her weekend of being grounded. I might outsource the whole Visual Arts Department to her.
  • The Age of Understatement by the Last Shadow Puppets makes me want to stage a bullfight in a record store. Provided one can find a record store. It might be easier to source the bullfight.

    Honestly, I've never really given the Arctic Monkeys the time of day  - mostly because having one dude with first name of Alex and another with the last of Cook means they bung up my ego-Googling  - and know naught of the other band whose member comprise the Last Shadow Puppets, but this record has my number.
  • Tuesday: Man, everybody on my network is suffering this morning, like the shit planet is in retrograde and spawning off shit comets aimed straight at us. So we'll get covered in shit from outer space! Big whoop. No reason to ruin Facebook over it. Just get your hipster doomsday cult on and revel in it.

    World United! Lucifer Youth Foundation, "Split It Concrete Like The Colden Sun God"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the world is not so boring

Mì Xào Tôm, Bò Hoặc Gà, Egg Noodle Stir-fried W/ Bean Sprout, Vege, and Beef, Shrimp or Chicken Meat, also known as #100 from Pho Quynh


a medio litro of Mexican Fresca from La Morenita Meat Market


This weather! Earlier today, Maya was outside playing with the hose as yellowed leaves blew off the trees and whipped around her.

is not helping this situation

Articles waiting to be written.

Plus, the world is so interesting, and used to be one where we as a mass entity were nominally interested in it. I was reading these mid-70's articles from the Robert Palmer collection Blues & Chaos while not writing these articles and saw where "Glamour called [Terry Riley's In C] 'the global village's first ritual symphonic piece'" Now, either Glamour is a lot hipper than I give it credit, or the interests up in their high cotton readership have changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Was this profile about hippie/Indian/drone composition next to the multi-page treatment of watches?

But then, one of the things I had to write today was about this

Korpiklaani, "Louhen Yhdeksäs Polka"

So I suppose the world is not so boring now either. This other article involves injecting a turkey with pork fat before you fry it, meaning I have nothing to complain about.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Real! Look!


  • I tailgated the eventual trouncing of Western Kentucky by LSU with my friends and editors at the LSU Press and got to see the cover for my book! I wish I could share it, but I'm sworn to secrecy. It looks great, and I'm not just saying that because this makes it one more notch toward being real - it really does look good. I feel safe showing you the page from the Press' Spring 2012 catalog. Real! Look!

  • 42-9. I mean, LSU is a nuclear pit bull with laser claws this season and it was the homecoming game and what's a Hilltopper anyway, but man. That's an ass kicking.

  • One wishes the marauder mindset from which college football draws its fire would have put the monstrosities at Penn State in their crosshairs. I live in a coach worshipping city, so I know for a fact that Joe Paterno could have made one phone call and had that guy drawn and quartered in the Quad. He could've made a single speech on behalf of the victims, this case and generally, and people would be talking Nobel peace prize. And you know he thought of that, because that's what those guys do, think of things, and he didn't do it.

  • It's why people hate the 1% - not because the have power and privilege, it's because they are cowards at using that power when the horrible world calls them to. They can't even call each other out as cowards because there is some .01%-er instructing them not to. I mean, read this story about a girl who is appeared from a cruise ship.

  • Bummer city. Onto trivial matters: Jessica Lange's character in American Horror Story is the best thing on TV. The show is trash-good, but she is the smoldering ember on its cigarette. She'd fuck a child molester up. Just saying.

Friday, November 11, 2011



The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You
Atlas Sound, Parallax
The Flaming Lips, At War With the Mystics
The Magnetic Fields, House of Tomorrow
Kitchener Waterloo Symphony, Nico Muhly, Jonny Greenwood, Richard Reed Parry: From Here on Out
Zoe Keating, One Cello x 16: Natoma

  • This above scene almost blinded me while taking a shot; the sun suddenly lasered through when the flag fluttered, momentarily lifting the shield I took for granted.
  • This week, I can't stop listening to Atlas Sound. My wife can't stop listening to the Avett Brothers. I suspect this is how Friday Night Lights was conceived.
  • This unreleased documentary on the Fall is worth your hip priest eyeballin'.

    Unreleased documentary on the Fall.
  • This airing of my unpopular opinions about the Beach Boys comprises most of this week's Record Crate for 225 Magazine. Also included: the Decemberists and Florence + the Machine, both of whom I do like.
  • This day's highlight was a PR agent from England emailing for an advanced copy of my book! No such thing exists, though another email says the proofs are forthcoming and another email indicates they might want another! Email! Nice work!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"I got wild mushrooms growin' in my yard"

"I got wild mushrooms growin' in my yard"

Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, Mainstream
The Blue Nile, A Walk Across the Rooftops
Papa M: November 18, 2009 Knitting Factory (via NYCTaper)
Morton Subotnick, Volume 2: Electronic Works
Roedelius, Geschenk des Augenblicks 
(ht Pretty Goes With Pretty)

  • I actually don't - those are from a neighbor's yard this morning - but it reminded me of the best line (caption above) from the greatest cocaine song of all time.

    Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, "My Bag"
  • The fire escape open window led me here. One of the first album reviews I ever wrote for outsideleft was for a Blue Nile record, to which I would link but it appears we've run behind on our hosting bill. Here it is at the Wayback Machine.

    Best line: See, we in that pre-alternative era had to get excited about something, otherwise Mario Van Peebles would've lobbied congress to have the entire nation soundtracked with fat drum machines and sub-Cameo synth washes.

    The Blue Nile, "From Rags to Riches"

    Best line: "I write a new book everyday, the love theme for the wilderness."
    Note to self: write a book called "The Love Theme for the Wilderness"
  • But speaking of hosting and vanished and "the first" and notes to self, I found my first website on the Wayback Machine. Dig this great animations I made for the "life" section.

    There are no best lines here. This general statement is pretty precious. This 1996 artist statement is better than I remember it being, but like most artist statements, doesn't say much. My mid-1990's was all about making statements. Evidently I was into Ed Paschke back then, but I couldn't remember who that is until I looked him up. I like how I left convenient blank spots for future interests.
  • I got pulled into a friend's class to talk about writing artist statements, which turned into my general lecture about writing about art, which involves an onion/layers-of-the-earth diagram and some dramatic scribbling, but here is the general advice on artist statements:
    Say what your art is about. You want your art to do all the talking, and unfortunately, it doesn't. Either your art isn't good enough, or the viewers aren't good enough, or the setting isn't good enough, or some combination of factors keeps your art from generating a pearl of understanding in the viewer's mind, so you provide an artist statement. You want that statement to cleanly and most expediently bridge that gap that exists between your art and the viewing of that art. If you say you don't know what your art is about, you are full of shit; you just don't want to say what your art is about, or conversely, your art might not be about much, which puts you in a tough position. But, if your art is about something, if there is a reason you made it, say that.
    If your art is really all about -isms and theory, say that, but honestly, I doubt that it is. So, then, what is it really about? Say that. And if possible, make it funny. People like things that are funny.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


picture : 1,000 words :: blurry picture : 140 characters

Surfer Blood, Tarot Classics

  • I've been thinking about social media and electronic communications platforms as technoörganic means of storytelling, ironically enabling us to be immediate through the supposed artifice of digitalization. We appear a lot more clearly through the filters. Plus, I like the idea of a writer being "good at Twitter." Not everybody is. I certainly haven't found my groove with it; conversations on Twitter feel like I am shouting to another person across a crowded room. They gain unintended theatricality.
  • I end up deleting and retyping a tweet (I cringe when "tweet" is spoken as a noun) over and over. Like this

    Alex V. Cook
    (insert Andy Rooney joke about why they are called pearly gates when they are made of wrought iron like normal gates)
    5 Nov via Twitter for iPhone
    took me three tries to get it right. Too mannered. I suspect Andy Rooney could rattle these things off all day. Being good at Twitter is a similarly specific skill.
  • Bret Easton Ellis is great at Twitter. I think he might be better at Twitter than at writing novels. See this little interchange about Joan Didion's new book

  • I thought these three tweets made a great story when I read them the other morning - funny, a little too intimate, a little too creepy, what I like about BEE compressed into bite-size Snickers format -  and then felt validation when Choire Sicha (whose own writing I like) at the Awl reposted/Storify-ed it.  
  • I love the folk transmission of embedding things online.  It seems like the most natural form of storytelling there is. It's all "come see what I see." I love that I can see that my wife is listening to the Mountain Goats and that a friend across town is listening to Big Star, and I love what everybody is eating and doing. The people that complain about that filling up their Facebook page - what are you going to your page for? To hear people complain about customer service? To announce they too support the local football team? Farmville? People still do Farmville?

    To the "I don't see why anybody cares what I am doing..." posts, er, you are the one sharing things. I think you actually do care. Just saying. Check out my blurry satsuma! You know you want to.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

only one moon


"What are you talking about? There's only one moon up there. Something must be wrong with your eyes."
Haruki Murakami, 1Q94, p. 196


"All I want to do is lift weights and praise Jesus all day."
Ramsay Midwood, "Jesus Is #1"


Saturday, November 5, 2011

coriander sauce


Chicago, Chicago III and Chicago II
Yes, Fragile
XTC, Apple Venus Volume One
David Bowie, Hunky Dory
Billy Squier, Emotions in Motion

  • Happy birthday, Jerri! You are the coriander sauce on my samosa!

  • I have almost completely switched over to Spotify from Rhapsody, a change nobody cares about except for Maya. For whatever reason, Apple Venus is not available on Spotify and is therefore, in her eyes, junk software.

  • A fella can get down with some early Chicago if a fella lets himself. I was looking for the Ramsay Midwood "Chicago" the other night while jetting across the expanse of the Atchafalaya bridge and landed in the realm of my departed stepbrother's Chicago records. I still have his vinyl copy of IV, the wood grain one, and played it for Maya when she got her turntable. After this morning's dad funk Chicago infusion, she's said they weren't half bad. She was kinda digging Yes, too. I still can't get her into my brother's copy of Tommy though.

  • "You don't read books because it takes time?" he asked, not quite sure he was understanding her properly.
    Haruki Murakami, 1Q94, page 95 out of 925.

  • Driving around to Chicago and Yes and XTC's new-wave hesitant embrace of progressive excess, it struck me how daring all this is. Go complicated, don't give them what they want. Give them what you want. I think that's what draws me to the outsize music of the 70's. Thing is, I don't feel that way when it comes to fiction. I prefer a short, punk rock 45 of a book to an epic opera of a thing. It really does take a lot of time! The short chapters of 1Q94 alternate back and forth between the two protagonists creating a strobe effect across the text. I would love this book if it was delivered a chapter at a time by daily email, which hits me as sort of a really good idea. Maybe not for me; I decided to not even talk about NaNoWriMo because I don't have time to commit to it and I'm not sure sure it's a No I wanna Wri anyway.

    Ed. to add: That was a dumb thing to say about NaNoWriMo. How about this instead: I had a dream last night that Stephen King was my new stepdad somehow, and we were having an awkward "getting to know you" interlude. I was trying to ease into saying I hadn't really read any of his books, but he picked up on it and said, whatever, millions of people have read my books. He was sorting through new titles of his that had just come back from the printers, massive hardbacks the size of dictionaries. I saw one of them was a book of writing exercises. It had these old woodcuts and you were supposed to write stories about each in various ways. He was lamenting that it ended up with a really long title. I told him I thought the title was funny, that it fit the struggle to make a story. He shrugged. Then I gave I'm a slim volume of writing advice I'd published in my dream. He flipped through it, and wrote "Seems like a juvenile work of nonfiction" inside the cover.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ramsay Midwood at Bourque's Social Club

Ramsay Midwood at Bourque's Social Club, Scott, LA 11/3/2011

I'm not trying to be overly arty here. The battery on my good camera was giving out and the lighting was too low for the iPhone. I tried to shoot one camera through the other to generally disastrous results. I don't advise that technique. If you want, you can read it as a meditation on cowboy hats.

Last night:
Chicago, V
Ramsay Midwood, Drew Landry, Sam Doores & the Tumbleweeds at Bourque's Social Club, Scott LA
Ramsay Midwood, Larry Bought a Lighter

Polly Pry, Two Warm Minutes
The Beach Boys, The Smile Sessions
The Decemberists, Long Live the King
John Fahey, Requia and Other Compositions
The Drew Landry Band, Sharecropper's Whine
Psychic Ills, Hazed Dream
Giant Sand, Chore of Enchantment

It was a pretty amazing show. At one point he was backed up by a fiddle, three guitars, drums, upright bass, keyboards (doubling on accordion), and a singing saw. And an old lady under an afghan playing a t-fer or Cajun triangle, though Ramsay pointed out there was no try, it was a do-angle.

Thanks to Ramsay for coming out and to Sam Doores and his band and Drew  "John Cougar Fishin' Camp" Landry for putting this on. Y'all should go but Ramsay's new CD Larry Buys a Lighter for no other reason that it a great name for a record. It's good music too, but really, that title.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

more American and more beautiful

What I'm saying is: if you are choosing between crockpot filled with taco soup or one selectively half-empty, you are mulling over the wrong choices in life.

Kurt Vile, Childish Prodigy
Ramsay Midwood, Shootout at the OK Chinese Restaurant
The Grateful Dead, The Closing of Winterland,: December 31, 1978
Reigning Sound, Abdication... For Your Love (free d/l via Scion)

  • I would be cool to own a jukebox that just had this one single in it. I'd have a bucket of quarters labeled "Play Hunchback #100"

    Kurt Vile, "Hunchback"
  • Ramsay Midwood is playing out at Bourque's Social Club tonight! His Shootout at the OK Chinese Restaurant is the greatest moonshine country burnout record of all time. Like American Beauty but more American and more beautiful.

    Ramsay Midwoiod, "Chicago
  • Really, I bought OK on a whim because some crazy Russian dude on some obscure Americana message board was going on about the Ramsay Midwood board he set up, so I joined and he was the only one there and still posted all the time. I've lost that CD at least three times and rebought it each time. And I generally get music for free.
  • I am blowing all my good lines here by posting them on Facebook first.
  • There is a concept of "saving it for that stage" to which I never adhere. It's the kind of thinking that keeps people from creating as a common practice, a fallacy of holding back for a non-existent later showcase. To be great when it counts, you have to be great when it doesn't. It's the thing I like about blogs and social media; you are always on and sure, you could spend time honing the finished message, or you could instead hone the you that produces and on some level, IS the message. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Or at least Slayer

Here is a link to the whole image

The Kills, Blood Pressures
Pretenders, "Louie Louie"/"In the Sticks"  and Learning to Crawl
Manic Street Preachers, Everything Must Go
Atlas Sound, Parallax (streaming from the New York Times)
Kurt Vile, Childish Prodigy

  • The above photo of Johnny Rotten doing the Huey Long at the Kingfish in Baton Rouge, 1978
    + Lou Reed/Metallica
    + Tom Waits
    = this week's
    Record Crate for 225 Magazine. The Baton Rouge Room of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library needs to make T-shirts of this immediately.
  • I'll add: While it is a trainwreck - it's the first time Lou Reed found backup singers that made *him* sound better - Lulu totally satisfied my desire for mainstream rock to be perverse. My biggest complaint is that Lou Reed didn't hire some Scandinavian church-burner types as his backing band. Or at least Slayer.
  • Also in the November issue of 225 you can find my interview with Ethan Holtzman of Dengue Fever. It's just like being there, which is good since they had to postpone their show.
  • Does the Rush Limbaugh Show still use "My City is Gone" by Pretenders as its bumper music? Never could figure that one out. Is Rush still on the air?
  • Parallax will rectify what plagues ya. Atlas Sound has made the best semi-music of the last 5 years I think. They are my favorite semi-band.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"now's the time"

What happens when you ask a  fortune teller for the time.

Lou Reed, New York
Jimmy Reed, Rockin' With Reed
Various Artists, The USA Records Blues Story
Charlie Parker, Cosmic Rays and Now's the Time
The East Village Other, Electronic Newspaper

  • The USA Records Blues Story is like accidentally landing on the greatest AM radio station, one of those moments where you are how have I never heard this song with every song, which is how I want my every art reaction to be.

    A.C. Reed, "I'd Rather Fight than Switch"

    I'll take the oh wow over the ah, yes any day. Incidentally I feel oh wow every time I hear the line "Caught between the twisted stars/the faulty line the twisted map/that brought Columbus to New York" all blurted out in a breath. Like I just got there and that line was waiting for me.

    Lou Reed, "Romeo Had Juliette"
  • It makes me wonder what other stories USA Records has. Is there a Disco story? There are always more stories. I never think to listen to bebop, particularly Charlie Parker, because where do you start? I feel I am slightly more well-versed in jazz than the average rhythmless yahoo, yet I never know where to go with the classic artists. There's so much stuff. I tend to throw darts, or in the case of this record, pick the one with the funny title and the cool cover.
  • Charlie Parker, thought about more than listened to, makes me think of Jean-Michel Basquiat, particularly

    I love that compulsion to list out the already listed. The zeal of the index. It's all there, but here, it's really there.
  • I read a story somewhere about a woman that worked for one of the big publishing houses as their genius index-maker. She set her own hours in an office in the basement,  enacting her magic with boxes of index cards (that is what they are for) in a manner that the then up-and-coming computers could not do. She revealed her process to no one. Once she passed away, or left, or whatever happened to her, the publisher gave up on the art and gave into the machines.
  • I would listen to this very Charlie Parker record and let Spotify and Facebook relist the overlisted, but I'm not sure this record even exists anymore. It doesn't in the aforementioned digital sphere, itself not-wholly existent but still omni-present.

    I've had visions of apps and eBooks and "the people" and the failings of the Human Microphone and "tomorrow's community newspaper" careening around my head all morning, all very "now's the time" thoughts and it sounds not unlike this

    Charlie Parker, "Now's The Time"

    and a little like

    The East Village Other, Electric Newspaper "Hiroshima Day USA vs Underground"

    and a little like this Tuxedomoon clip featuring Basquiat that @joegarden put up the other day.

    Just for good measure, here is something from Basquiat's band Gray.

    Gray, "Eight Hour Religion"