Sunday, January 22, 2012

the adoration of the conjurer

Mountain Goat revival

Tod Goldberg, Where You Lived: Stories
Palace Music, Lost Blues and Other Songs
Brian Eno, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
The Mountain Goats and Nurses at Tipitina's, New Orleans, LA
The Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree and Heretic Pride
Alabama Shakes, Alabama Shakes
Simon Joyner, Out into the Snow
Fred Eaglesmith, The Boy that Went Away and Balin

A review of Tod Goldberg's free ebook Where You Lived: Stories (cross-posted to Goodreads)

A free ebook from Amazon, easily worth ten times the price. I hope the young lions embrace the short ebook as a platform and make it their own. This three-story set from the author of the Burn Notice series is sharp yet breezy. The second-person narrative of the opening story is effortless in how it injects you into the life of a loser teenager becoming a successful adult; it's almost as if the narrator is the childhood home the protagonist revisits, though, if that is the case, it's not glaringly so. The second story, about the twilight of a golf pro, is like Wells Tower titrated for television, but the third, a glowing tableau of jerkwater ennui, is worth a look. I have yet to delve into the extra "the story behind the story" end material, but I'm kinda thrilled it's there. It speaks to the potential of the platform and how a good story or three with dimension aren't going to be fenced in by something as flat as a page.


John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats makes me like music a little more after hearing him/them play. Which is not an easy feat for me, since there's only a few things I like more than music, things too intimate to my heart to detail, and his/their music details those things, hence the magic and the adoration of the conjurer.

It was great, though it wasn't even the best tMG show, probably in the middle of what I've seen. JD spent a lot of time at the piano, which cool and all, but I remarked that each of those piano songs sound like there are going to turn into "Theme from 'The Greatest American Hero'" any second and they don't. My nephew Shannon said on Facebook that JD's likely got a cassette somewhere with twelve versions of that song. I defer to Shannon's insight into the Mountain Goats - he's actually been the teenager from "Dance Music" even down to literally living in those apartments in San Luis Obispo and etc.

But when JD leads the masses in a singalong of "No Children", it's like church for people like me, bitterness and sarcasm at its wittiest yet transcending itself into love. And when the girl standing in front of me broke into a full pep rally cheer routine to "This Year", it's like there's hope simmering in the world, ready to bubble over at the striking of the right note.

I'm trying to get Maya into the Mountain Goats; it seems a good fit for an adolescent who in her band interview explained that she likes to draw owls and birds of prey. I am all into Fred Eaglesmith at the moment. He's like those old country-fringe classic singer-songwriters, or rather, is one, whose albums actually rise in quality to meet those countless desperate sunsets. He's at the Red Dragon in Baton Rouge this Wednesday if you're into good music and all.


Duck confit club at Capdeville

Thanks to Brannon for driving, and Robbi and Tim for indulging my need to try the duck confit club at Capdeville, which was smoky and funky and distinctive, befitting the excess of its makeup, but Brannon's pork cakes over cheese grits was the thing. Savory and rich and with just the right sharp tang; it was upscale church picnic good.

Our two vegetarian companions suffered their grilled cheese and marinara/soup with pluck. I took a whirl with the fried red beans and rice balls appetizer, which like the opening band for the Mountain Goats, would've been so much better if it was, you know, better, or at least prepared to fit the parameters of its aspirations. I like truth they were aiming for in the distance - a boudin ball made out of red beans and rice, two-for-one Louisiana Appetizerganza, but the facts don't bear out that truth. Really, it'd been better without the beans. They dry up in the fryer.

Fried red bean and rice balls with a green onion aioli and reduced hot sauce

They should change the wording on the menu description from "reduced hot sauce" to "hot sauce reduction". Otherwise, it sounds like "Hey! I got half-price hot sauce from Dollar Tree!" Nothing against Dollar Tree, and hot sauce is hot sauce once it's in the bottle, but it detracts from the tony, we-get-you,-young-professional vibe the place is trying to put out there - e.g. the serving staff all wear concert tees; Talking Heads and the Clash on the jukebox, playing against the otherwise semi-posh, hotel-restaurantesque decor. I like how the menus were made from the nice filing folders; the ones with the metal clips. Coveted by office jockeys everywhere.

I am chalking up this indulgence of their and your patience as preliminary research on the next big project, which will never come to fruition if I don't get that proposal done, so off I go. Cheers!

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