Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel Milk Records/Mom and Pop/Marathon Courtney Barnett kind of came out of nowhere back in 2015 and just exploded onto the scene, at least in North America, with her début album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit. To call her a fresh voice is an understatement and she became the IT Girl of the moment. But she always came with a wry smile and knew very well that our tastes shift and her moment in the sun could be over tomorrow. The lyrics of the album’s hardest song, ‘Pedestrian At Best,’ noted that. But the thing is, Barnett didn’t just disappear. She won a bunch of awards in her native Australia for the album. She was also, at least to my eyes, the first of a new wave of Aussie artists to make it in North America. Of course, Australia has its own scene, and Aussie bands have been in fashion before, most notably in the 80s with Midnight Oil and the Church, as well as Crowded House, and others. But everything Aussie was cool in the late 80s, thanks to Michael J. ‘Crocodile’ Dundee. [Note to self, it might be time to watch Crocodile Dundee again]. We even got really crappy Australian beer out of it all, Foster’s Lager. And so maybe Australian music is cool again, with Barnett, her...Read More
Month: May 2018
Michael Caan’s tribute to incorrigible driving is our 22nd installment. Built on repetitions with a difference, “Sestina on Doing One Hundred and Forty on the 405” puts pedal to metal, dramatizing the risks that accrue value with time. *** Sestina On Doing One Hundred And Forty On The 405. The speedo pegged at 130 and man that felt fine. I was twenty-one, an age when a guy’s just got to speed. Forty-five years later I’m on the 405 again, same wide cut through the Valley where I’d gone so fast. The Sierra foothills frame the shimmering asphalt. The...Read More
Venetian Snares/Daniel Lanois Venetian Snares X Daniel Lanois Independent Oh boy, this is a weird album. Daniel Lanois is known for his esoteric production; his solo oeuvre is more of the same, veering at times into unlistenable experimentation with the guitar. Venetian Snares, aka. Aaron Funk is an EDM god, progenitor of the breakcore genre, and signee to influential electronic label, Planet Mu. Turns out Lanois is a fan of Funk’s, and they began messing around with their music in 2014. The resulting album, did I mention it’s weird? Repeated listens have convinced me this is excellent music. But...Read More
Czarface & MF DOOM Czarface Meets Metal Face Get on Down! When MF DOOM is on and dialled in, I don’t think there’s a greater rapper out there His lyrics are deft, subtle, and often funny. His delivery is smooth and rich. One of the most prolific rappers in the hip hip underground, DOOM bridges the gap between the underground and mainstream through his frequent collaborators, most notably with Ghostface from Wu-Tang Clan. Czarface is a collaboration between another member of the Wu-Tang, Inspectah Deck and Boston’s 7L & Esoteric. Like DOOM, Czarface exists in the hip hop underground...Read More
Laura Winton’s “Custom Car Parade” is our 21st installment. This is also our first installment featuring a recording of the poet reading their work. Deeply in touch with our age of precariousness, Winton’s driver dares us to risk what little mileage we have left–and possibly win back something much bigger, like freedom. *** Custom Car Parade Who knew we’d make it this far already who knew that our hearts wouldn’t wear out so much sooner than this that the big one was this far off that we could spiral down this far without hitting bottom so hard it knocked...Read More
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