Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mr. Fabulous

Teddy Thompson, Separate Ways (hat tip to Frank McMains)
Talk Talk, The Colour of Spring
Nathan Englander, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

Traffic, Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory
Ronny Elliott, Hep (thanks to Ed Smith for turning me onto him)
Cat Power, Moon Pix
Ramsay Midwood, Popular Delusions & the Madness of Cows

Meetings all day, so no music. I may have, at some point, quoted a Rolling Stones song while gesturing at a diagram on a plasma screen.

Maple St. Books @ Bayou St. John
Dio, "Rainbow in the Dark"
Megadeath, Countdown to Extinction

Motörhead, The Wörld is Yours
Electric Wizard, Black Masses
Crippled Black Phoenix, (Mankind) The Crafty Ape

I'll be reading from, talking about, and signing copies of  Louisiana Saturday Night at Maple St. Books' Bayou St, John location, 6pm

I'm serving on a panel "Got That Swing?" with
Alison Fensterstock, Keith Spera, and John Swenson, moderated by Tom Sancton, at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival in New Orleans, 2:30 PM in the Queen Anne Ballroom of the glamorous Hotel Monteleone.

Susan Larson wrote a nice blog post about the book and when Maya and I came up to WWNO to record an appearance on her program The Reading Life.


I'll take the morning off from being Mr. Fabulous only to attend a reception at Root in New Orleans LSU Press is throwing for some of their authors that evening. They are the best publishers a fella could want.

I'll be reading from, talking about, and signing copies for Louisiana Saturday Night at Baton Rouge Gallery, 4pm

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Scenes from the St. Patrick's Day Parade, Baton Rouge, LA, March 17, 2012

Thanks to my buddy Clarke for opening up his house and a portal to the ST PATRIX and, like every year, kicking off the crawfish eating season for me. Not pictured: the brisket, which I will say with a modicum of authority, might be the butteriest, richest brisket I've ever had. I'd be willing to judge any challengers.

This weekend also included laser tag, article writing, flowchart making, grocery shopping, endless episodes of The Killing Season 2 and I might buy a suit. May you all be kissed for whatever nationality you claim, and a mad saint drive all the snakes from your foggy little island. Cheers!

I vow to trot this one out every year: My favorite St. Patrick anecdote, courtesy of Antonin Artaud.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

your Wednesday afternoon music suggestion session

Leo Wyndham, "Veins" (via his Bandcamp site; hat tip to Augusta Wind)
Delta Spirit, Delta Spirit
Lindsey Buckingham, Gift of Screws
Steve Earle, Live at the BBC
Lucero, Women & Work
(streaming at JamBase)
Lee Fields & the Impressions, Faithful Man (hat tip to Todd Gautreaux) and My World (Instrumentals)

Let's get this show rolling with Mr. Leo Wyndham, blowing in on the request line from sunny Germany c/o Miss Augusta Wind. Pretty sure that is her real name.

Delta Spirit, "Tear it Up" off Delta Spirit

I was going to say the new album by Delta Spirit sounds like a fussy Lindsey Buckingham record

Lindsey Buckingham, "Great Day" off Gift of Screws

until I listened to a fussy Lindsey Buckingham record. No record is as fussy as a fussy Lindsey Buckingham record. Maya is up at the office today because school was canceled today - a mass of teachers called in sick so they could protest the Jindal administration's proposed changes to the Louisiana public school system. I don't want to get into it much deeper than saying I believe in public education, and less importantly, perhaps, that Lindsey Buckingham is great music by which to check math worksheets.

Lucero, "Juniper" off Women & Work

I never could get into Lucero before, too Young Man Earnest, lemme-tell-ya-about-me-boots-and-whiskey of a band. Suffering the alt-country fever which invariably can only be cured when your alt-country band happens upon some synthesizers and tries to sound like ELO. Thier new album sounds all the world like a Reigning Sound record, which is likely why I like it. The general consensus among Luceroites that it is has diverted heavily from the script. Same for this new Delta Spirit record. There are times in the past when that kind of thing has bothered me - a part of me is still holding out for Wilco to make AM II - but really, we all move on and find something else to do.

Lee Fields & the Expressions " You're the Kind of Girl" off Faithful Man

Toddy G. From Dallas TX, mastermind behind his own luminous band Crushed Stars sent me sailing into the neo-retro-soul of Lee Fields and that sent me further into the instrumental sister album to Mr. Fields' My World.

Lee Fields & the Expressions, "Money I$ King (instrumental) off My World (Instrumentals)

This concludes your Wednesday afternoon music suggestion session. 'Til next time, be good to each other and be good to your self.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Modern physics

Mushrooms weird me out a little. This one came up on its own in just a day , like mushrooms do, defying modern physics.

Nathan Englander, What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank
The Replacements, Stink
Paul Weller, Sonik Kicks
Caetano Veloso & David Byrne, Live at Carnegie Hall
The Gossip, "Perfect World"
and That's Not What I Heard
Ray Charles and Billy Preston, "Agent Double-O Soul"
Hoodoo Gurus, Mars Needs Guitars!

Modern physics still cannot account for Billy Preston's dance moves or the color of his suit in this video.

Modern physics can account for my appearance on on Susan Larson's The Reading Life, where I talk about Louisiana Saturday Night. It airs this evening at 6:30 PM and Saturday at 12:30 on WWNO 89.9 FM in New Orleans and at

Monday, March 12, 2012

Except, funkier

Wow. OK, that was best book launch party ever. Thanks, LSU Press, Teddy's Juke Joint, Floyd Patterson and the OMT band, Danny over at Cottonwood Books and everybody that came and packed the house. I got up and spoke for only about a minute -  why compete with this kind of action? My phone was acting funny, otherwise I'd have shown you more than 17 seconds worth

They sold and I signed about sixty copies of Louisiana Saturday Night, which I say is a good first night out. More to come; particularly ones booked at Maple St. Books in Bayou St, John, New Orleans on March 22 and  Baton Rouge Gallery on March 25. They look to be slightly more sober affairs, but perhaps we can drop a few party gauntlets and see what we can do.

The Clash, "The Magnificent Seven"
LCD Soundsystem, London Sessions
The Fall, Levitate (via some kind soul's YouTube playlist)
Metronomy, Nights Out
M83, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

I'm listening to LCD Soundsystem's "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" as I type this, and I imagine the above video is what that song's experience actually feels like. Except, funkier.

I love the 1997 album Levitate by the Fall. It's one of the lesser-known of their storied (anti-)career but on of the treasures in that shadowed vein. It's the record where they simultaneously laid the groundwork for post-OK Computer Radiohead and LCD Soundstytem and never got their due. Which is fine; they would have just squandered said due had it been granted.. It contains their most fun cover tune (this side of "Mr. Pharmacist", anyway).

The Fall, "I'm a Mummy"

I heard the London Sessions version of LCD Soundsystem's "Pow Pow" on the radio while driving back from the book party.

It sounded electric, shouting "ADVANTAGES TO BOTH!" along with them, ablaze in the ego high of having one of the best parties you ever went to having been thrown in your honor and the unstoppable theory-funk of New Wave. Then, I looked off to each less-advantaged side of Scenic Highway flashing by at midnight, jetting from the gas refineries to the on-ramp to massive concrete Interstate that further disadvantaged the parts of those neighborhoods, the parts that were not leveled in the erecting of that interstate, which is in my experience mostly a ghost highway to the airport.  "ADVANTAGES TO BOTH!"   One's vantage is key in assessing the relative merit of one's advantage.

View Larger Map

I was floored and humbled we had such a great turnout. Teddy's is a great place and I think the book is a great book but there is a stretch of reality that prevents us from bridging out of our comfort zone, whatever that comfort zone is. Acknowledging how precious this sounds, I hope this book gets a few people on that bridge.

See? That's why I didn't make a speech at the event.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I have a party only once every twenty years or so. Please come!

Here's the Facebook event if you roll that way

Sun Ra & His Arkestra, Strange Worlds in my Mind (Space Poetry Volume One)
Dizzy Gillespie, The Champ 
(though Milt Jackson is the MVP on this one)
Lalo Schifrin, Enter the Dragon soundtrack
Nicola Conte, The Modern Sound of Nicola Conte - Versions in Jazz-Dub
Nostalgia 77, The Sleepwalking Society
Nostalgia 77 Octet, Weapons of Jazz Destruction and Borderlands

I'm considering just showing this video instead of doing a reading. By the way, if you have this 45 just sitting around your house taking up space, I'll take it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

rabbit hole

I updated my iPhone's to iOS5.1 and though I don't quite know what the camera button on the lock screen does since it doesn't, like, take a picture, it seems like a bright new world anyway.

Eric Chenaux, Guitar & Voice
Robbie Basho, Bonn Ist Supreme
Henry Flynt, Hillbilly Tape Music
Peter Grudzien, Album No. One (in two sides): The Unicorn
Mark Fry, Dreaming with Alice
Van Dyke Parks, Discover America

No matter where I start the day, I can easily find myself spiraling down to some hidden corner of 1972.

Mark Fry, "The Witch"

Right next to the Gil Scott-Heron memoir on my living room table is Rob Young's Electric Eden, a detailed, obsessive account of "England's Visionary Music"  -  a rabbit hole from which I suspect I will never emerge.

American visionary music form Van Dyke Parks

Speaking of rabbit holes, I wrote a chapter for the new book. Not the first chapter I wrote, but the first one formatted right and put in the "book chapter" folder. Boom!

Henry Flynt, "Leather High in A"

Oh, wait! The camera button slides the phone open into camera mode so you don't stand there like a stupe waiting for your revolutionary lifestyle device to figure itself out while an amazing photo opportunity ducks right out of sight. Nice!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

how great and popular and well-represented in the media I am

Stacked up at Cottonwood Books. If you are the buy-books-from-a-bookstore-instead-of-a-website type, give Danny at Cottonwood a call. You might just be able to get your copy signed.

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, Yim Yames, New Multitudes 
John Martyn, London Conversation
Seu Jorge & Almaz, 
Seu Jorge & Almaz  
Gil Scott-Heron, Moving Target
Xiu Xiu, Always

The publicity trickle is a deluge today!

  • My appearance this morning on the Jim Engster Show is podcasted on WRKF's website, if you missed it.
  • Christie Matherne of Dig magazine gave Louisiana Saturday Night a very flattering review.
  • This week's 225 Select gave the book and the launch party a shout. You are coming, right? Saturday night at Teddy's Juke Joint in Zachary.
Outside of how great and popular and well-represented in the media I am: the Farrar/Johnson/Parker/Yames record is a gorgeously darker, heavier take on Wilco's effervescent, sunny take on Arlo Guthrie songs is a shimmering beauty of a record, The Sue Jorge is the best adult contemporary record I've heard in eons. The Xiu Xiu record is like dressing as a clown only to be beaten up by a circus. Gil Scott-Heron abides in my memory and in the memoir of his sitting on my living room table.

I'm slowly picking my way through Jujitsu for Christ which I thought was pretty good when there was a sudden, WHOA WHAT HAPPENED literary moment about adolescent sexual longing and then two pages later, another. It was like being tapped on the back of the head with a hammer. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The boundary between thing and not-the-thing

Maya soaked an egg in jar of vinegar for a couple days until its shell dissolved and it became this alien rubbery thing on which a camera cannot focus. The boundary between thing and not-the-thing has been obscured! By science!

Monday afternoon:
Various Artists, The Minimal Wave Tapes: Vol. One and Two
That Super Morrissey Bros. "This Charming Man" mashup thing
Lightning Bolt,
Ride the Skies
No Age,
Everything In Between
Atlas Sound,
Parallax and Logos

Crushed Stars, In the Bright Rain (New album by my old friend Todd Gautreaux's band, spinning at Spinner)
White Rabbits, Milk Famous
Wire, Pink Flag
Prom Date, Prom Date EP
(via their Bandcamp site)
Ratatat, LP4
Rush, Moving Pictures
Helmet, Meantime
Queens of the Stone Age, Rated R

I'm going to be on the Jim Engtser Show, Wednesday morning at 9am CST to discuss my book Louisiana Saturday Night. 89.3 FM in baton Rouge, worldwide.

image (1)
Then, she poked it with a fork and it exploded! Take that, "things"!

Monday, March 5, 2012

endless, endless

The endless Causeway stretching across the endless Lake Ponchatrain.

The Who, Endless Wire and Who's Next
Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby, Two-Way Family Favorites
Black Dice, "Pinball Wizard" (purely coincidental, came across in the emails)

I have Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby's cover of the Who's "Endless Wire" and then the Who's version stuck in my head, orbiting fiery around other like hungry dying stars.

The cover version is from their Two-Way Family Favorites album from last year; the original, the title track from the Who's 2006 problematic but gloriously so comeback record. Among the problems: Rog does a Muppety Tom Waits impression (redundant?) on "In the Ether".  But, It has those Who's Next twinkling lights keyboards throughout the album, which saves it for me. Details don't matter; the Who are not beholden to modern man's criteria for greatness, for they are the "who" to whom we believe we abstractly compare ourselves.

No one cared about the Who's record, and no one cared about Eric & Amy's cover - so little care about the latter that it's not even on YouTube, and everything is on YouTube. Here's the lyrics of this unlinkable wonder

We found this pile of paper
Written by that ether man
He hatched a mad old caper
He had a mad old plan

He'd turn us into music
He'd show us to our portals
He gathered wire and angels
To entertain immortals

Out on the endless, endless
Out on the endless wire
Out on the endless, endless
Out on the endless wire

Eric & Amy settle into a rocking chair rhythm and how they creak "endless, endless" is a balm soothing temporality's itchy rash. "He gathered wire and angels/to entertain immortals" is epic enough a pompous sentiment to accompany a court beheading scene in Game of Thrones or something wonderful like that.

O, but the Who! I like "Fragments of Fragments" even better than "Fragments". There is a case to be made that Pete Townsend is the greatest minimalist composer, maybe up there with James Brown.

Anyway, the Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby album trades the Who's clouds of flaming neutrinos and system-crashing solar flares for two guitars and harmonies and its why it's the thing. They do some great stuff with "Fernando" if you want to track the album down.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

my next book


It was a gorgeous day to be out and about in New Orleans.


I felt pretty much the same way about the fries with gravy at Parasol's


Look deeper.


I opted for the roast beef po-boy, which is really the same as the above if you swap out fries for po-boy. Just to complicate things further, you can also get a fries and gravy po-boy. There is probably a further substitution one can make, like French bread made out of French fries. Whatever way you go, it is good.

My mission in the city was twofold: I was recording a segment for Susan Larson's The Reading Life (airing March 20 on WWNO) in support of my reading At Maple St. Books at Bayou St. John on Thursday the 22nd and panel appearance Friday at the Tennessee Williams Festival. Also...


This week I just signed the contract for my next book like Louisiana Saturday Night except about restaurants. It's kinda like substituting bread for fries, except with signatures and a two-year deadline. I was going to let the LSNight publicity machine wind down before I announced this new venture, but screw that. Fire away!


Today was the second official research trip for the new book, the first being the cracklin and pie foray a while back. Then I said, "The only things to get in Krotz Springs are cracklins and speeding tickets." and didn't get one. Today, I eased into St. John the Baptist parish at what I thought was flow-of-traffic speed and got one. Things are off to an auspicious start!

Friday, March 2, 2012

(meth boogie jams for space aliens)

Pell Mell , Marburg (Not the moody indie rock 90's instrumental Pell Mell, a different Pell Mell. One of exuberant hippie jams from the 70's)
Eire Apparent, Sun Rise (Norther Irish hippie rock featuring Jimi Hendrix on a couple of tracks)
Pussy, Plays (another hippie rock band, info about which is pretty much impossible to search for at the office )
Tractor, Tractor (meth boogie jams for space aliens)
Zior, Zior (the dudes that sell meth to space aliens)

Pell Mell, "The Clown and the Queen"

Eire Apparent, "The Clown"

Pussy, "We Built the Sun". The whole album is pretty amazing, actually. Dig "Comets" if you dare.

Tractor, "All Ends Up"

Zior, "Quabala"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

party in the back

Stockyard crowd photo by Kim Ashford, taken right before I lost my recorder and had to do my interviews for the story all over again.

Like a mullet, this post is business up front, party in the back.

I have two pieces in the March 2012 issue of Country Roads magazine - one being a story about Dominique's Stockyard and Cafe in Baton Rouge. It answers the question "So, stockyards still exist?" Yes, they do.

The other is a profile on the fine upstanding people behind American Thrift and how they want to make a better world through low-key acoustic shows.

In the March 2012 issue of OffBeat, I dare to offer a defense of Skrillex (appearing at the Buku Art Festival on March 18) and the magazine kindly ran an excerpt of my book.

Speaking of which, Louisiana Saturday Night has been sighted in an actual independent bookstore. Like I was with stockyards, you might be surprised to find that they exist as well. Get over to Cottonwood Books  if you are in the Baton Rouge area and get you one!

Also, the book has its own Facebook page. Like away! Plus I'm going to film a TV spot for the book this afternoon! I even got a haircut! It's all so exciting!

The monolithic parts of today's selection of music paired well with the jackhammers tearing up the street across from my office.

I Shalt Become, "I Filled with Woes the Passing Wind"

Composer Nico Muhly was going on about Messiaen's Turangalîla on his blog, saying 

it’s a symphony (?) by Messiaen from the 40′s, but it sounds like it’s absolutely from the future. It operates in this puranic, insane timescale and is meant to be a love-song, but it’s really this kind of ecstatic tone-poem radio city decadent bollywood xxxtravaganza genius thing.

There are these great permanently futuristic space blaster whoops from the ondes Martenot amid the loon-lonely woodwinds and grand Romantic swanning in the third movement. It's a fever dream of a starship battle. Messiaen was so metal. Here's the story behind the stunning Quartet for the end of time, written while a prisoner-of-war in WWII.

The quartet was premiered in Stalag VIII-A in Görlitz, Germany (currently ZgorzelecPoland) outdoors in the rain on January 15, 1941, with old, broken instruments before an audience of about four hundred fellow prisoners of war and prison guards.[1] Messiaen later recalled: "Never was I listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension."[2]

up in smoke

The earth goes up in smoke.

Dirty Three, Toward the Low Sun (streaming from NPR)
Robert Glasper, Black Radio (also streaming at NPR)
Amp Fiddler with Sly & Robbie, Inspiration Information
Lee Perry & the Upsetters, High Plains Drifter
The Monkees, Head
Electric Light Orchestra, No Answer
The Flaming Lips, Hit to Death in the Future Head
Lurker of Chalice, Lurker of Chalice (on YouTube)
Blut Aus Nord, 777 - The Desanctification

There are a zillion Louisiana Saturday Night events in the coming month, detailed here and on the books brand-new Facebook page. Like me!


RIP Davy Jones.

The Monkees, "The Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)"

The Flaming Lips, "Hit Me Like You Did The First Time"

ELO, "Whisper in the Night"

Lurker of Chalice, "Pierce Where They Might"