I had liked the Meat Puppets somewhat when I was into SST back in the 80s, then I really got into them in the late 90s (when Nirvana introduced us to them). I thought Too High to Die was a great album. But they kind of fell from those heights (and Cris Kirkwood fell into serious trouble–drugs and jail) by the end of the decade. So Curt Kirkwood continued without Cris and I kind of didn’t care anymore.
This session from 2009 sees the return of Cris (who came back for their 2007 album) with songs taken from their 2009 album, Sewn Together. I don’t know what the album sounds like but this session is heavy on the country feel. The new songs seem quite mellow, and a bit less bizarre than some of their earlier songs.
They sound good though. Even with the drummer playing garbage cans and recycling bins. As a sort of encore, they play “Plateau” (a Nirvana cover, ha ha). About midway through, Curt messes up the lyrics and gives up singing. But they play the extended coda regardless.
Curt doesn’t come across as the nicest guy in the world, but he’s been through enough to not give a toss what anyone thinks. I’m glad the Puppets are back together and recording, but I don’t think I’ll be delving too deeply into their new stuff.
[READ: April 19, 2011] Five Dials Number 3
Five Dials Number 3 ups the page quantity a bit (26 in total) and also includes several art print reproductions from Margaux Williamson, an artist who is mentioned in one of the articles. This issue really solidifies the quality of this magazine. It also introduces the possibility of correspondence with the readers.
CRAIG TAYLOR-On Alibis and Public Views
As mentioned, this letter introduces the idea that people are writing to the magazine. Sadly there is no letters column (even if Paul F. Tompkins hates letters to the editor, for this magazine, I thought they’d be interesting).
CHERYL WAGNER-Current-ish Event: “The Ballad of Black Van.”
This is a true account of Wagner’s life in post-Katrina New Orleans, where a man in a black van is squatting in abandoned properties and selling everything imaginable. And there’s no cops to help. It’s a sad look at the state of New Orleans.
DAVID RAKOFF-A Single Film: Annie Hall
I haven’t read much David Rakoff, but he persist in amusing me whenever I do (hint to self: read more by David Rakoff). This is an outstanding piece about the beloved film Annie Hall. It’ s outstanding and goes in an unexpected direction too.
SIMON PROSSER-Context: “The Life of R.B. Kitaj”
A detailed overview of the life of an artist whom I have never heard of.
JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER-Portraiture: “Something Else is Created”
Safran Foer also writes about R.B. Kitaj. This is a personal story about his relationship to the artist.
SHEILA HETI-Our Scattered Authors: A Very Practical Joke
This is a lengthy article in which Sheila Heti and the artist Margaux Williamson go to the Miami Art Fair. I enjoyed the piece for the humor and the insight into the art world. Several of Williamson’s prints end the magazine (they’re not really my style).
An enjoyable poem even if I don’t know what the title refers to.
BOB & ROBERTA SMITH-FAQ
An interview with (seemingly only Bob) regarding painting and the value of art. There’s some funny answers in the Q&A.
SOPHIA AL-MARIA-Memoir: “Nice Day for a Wahhabi Wedding”
A brief look at a Sophia nad her family. The back-end of the piece is about what it is like to go to a traditional wedding. It’s a fascinating look into a life that I’ll never experience.
ALAIN DE BOTTON-Help Pages: The Agony Uncle
Two problems in this issue: Can a boss be effective and friendly? (answer: read Machiavelli) and why do good things happen to bad people and vice versa. His answer is not terribly comforting but such a question doesn’t lead to comforting answers.
JEAN-PAUL SARTRE to Simone de Beauvoir-How to Write a Letter
Here are a few excerpts from his letters (where he calls her “Beaver”). It details the difficulty of their romance and how much he treasures hearing from her. It is remarkably sweet for such a notoriously dour man.
SUZANNE H, age 29-The Best Bit
This Best bit was very funny. It’s about The Sea Wolf and a book club. The book club was coed; the boys would choose something one month and the girls something the following month. The nascent sexuality really grabs Suzanne H, and it makes for a funny interaction for someone who didn’t really like The Sea Wolf (except for the honest depictions of the men on board).
Very dark and amateurish style. But they are quite evocative.
The art is a nice touch, although putting it at the end makes it seem like an afterthought. Nevertheless it’s nice to have pictures to accompany the story
Number Three has added some variety (and more authors that I’ve heard of!). Five Dials keeps getting better with each issue.