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Archive for the ‘Stephen King’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DO MAKE SAY THINK-Other Truths [CST062] (2009).

I’ve always enjoyed Do Make Say Think’s CDs.  They play instrumentals that are always intriguing and which never get dull.

But this CD far exceeds anything they have done so far (and  they’ve done some great work).   There are only four tracks, and they range from 8 to 12 minutes long.  Each track is named for a word in the band’s name: Do, Make, Say, Think.  And each one is a fully realized mini epic.

“Do” sounds like a gorgeous Mogwai track.  While “Make” has wonderfully diverse elements: a cool percussion midsection and a horn-fueled end section that works perfectly with the maniacal drumming.  “Say” is another Mogwai-like exploration, although it is nicely complemented by horns.  It also ends with a slow jazzy section that works in context but is somewhat unexpected. Finally, “Think” closes the disc with a delightful denouement.  It’s the slowest (and shortest) track, and it shows that even slowing down their instrumentals doesn’t make them dull.

It’s a fantastic record from start to finish.  This is hands down my favorite Constellation release in quite some time.

[READ: December 2009 – January 13, 2010] McSweeney’s #33.

The ever-evolving McSweeney’s has set out to do the unlikely: they printed Issue #33 as a Sunday Newspaper.  It is called The San Francisco Panorama and, indeed, it is just like a huge Sunday newspaper. It has real news in (it is meant to be current as of December 7, 2009).  As well as a Sports section, a magazine section and even comics!

[DIGRESSION] I stopped reading newspapers quite some time ago.  I worked for one in college and have long been aware that the news is just something to fill the space between ads.  I do like newspapers in theory, and certainly hope they don’t all go away but print issues are a dying breed.  When I think about the waste that accompanies a newspaper, I’m horrified.  Sarah and I even did a Sunday New York Times subscription for a while, but there were half a dozen sections that we would simply discard unopened.  And, realistically that’s understandable.  Given how long it took me  to read all of the Panorama, if you actually tried to read the whole Sunday paper, you’d be finished the following Sunday (or even two Sundays later).

Their lofty goal here was to show what print journalism can still do. And with that I concur heartily.  Even if I don’t read the newspaper, the newspapers as entities are worth saving.  Because it is pretty much only print journalism that finds real, honest to God, worthy news stories.  TV news is a joke.  There is virtually nothing of value on network TV.  Fox News is beyond a joke.  CNBC is sad (although Rachel Maddow is awesome!) and even CNN, the originator of all of this 24 hour news nonsense still can’t fill their airtime with non-sensationalized news.

Obviously, there are some decent internet sites, but for the most part they don’t have the budget to support real news investigation.  You either get sensationalized crap like Drudge or rebroadcasts of real news.

So, print is the last bastion of news.  And you can see that in journalistic pieces in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Walrus, Prospect and, yes, in newspapers.

But enough.  What about THIS newspaper?  Oh and unlike other McSweeney’s reviews I’ve done, there is NO WAY that I am writing a thorough comment on everything in here.  There’s just way too much.  Plus, there are many sections that are just news blurbs.  Larger articles and familiar authors will be addressed, however.  [UPDATE: January 18]: If, however, like Alia Malek below, you bring it to my attention that I’ve left you out (or gotten something wrong!) drop me a line, and I’ll correct things.

There is in fact a Panorama Information Pamphlet which answers a lot of basic questions, like why, how and how often (just this once, they promise!). There’s also a Numbers section which details the size, scope and cost of making this (it shows that with an initial start up, anyone could make a newspaper if they talked enough about what the readers were interested in). (more…)

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17Many many years ago, I discovered Might magazine.  It was a funny, silly magazine that spoofed everything (but had a serious backbone, too).  (You can order back issues here).  And so, I subscribed around issue 13.  When the magazine folded (with issue 16–and you can read a little bit about that in the intro to Shiny Adidas Track Suits) it somehow morphed into McSweeney‘s, and much of the creative team behind Might went with them.

The early volumes (1-5 are reviewed in these pages, and the rest will come one of these days) are a more literary enterprise than Might was.  There’s still a lot of the same humor (and a lot of silliness), but there are also lengthy non-fiction pieces.  The big difference is that McSweeney’s was bound as a softcover book rather than as a magazine. And, I guess technically it is called Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern as opposed to Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. (more…)

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ny119SOUNDTRACK: SONIC-YOUTH-the eternal (2009).

eternalIt was the release of this disc that inspired me to see what they’ve been up to since the 80s.  And, sometimes it’s really fun to root through a band’s back catalog to see what kind of progression they’ve made over the years.

There are three things that set this disc apart from  many other SY discs.

The first is the dual/harmonized vocals. I don’t recall ever hearing Thurston and Kim split vocals duties in a song before, least of which in a half-line by half-line way.  There’s also some points where they sing (sort of) harmonies.  It’s a really interesting addition to their sounds.

The second is the staccato playing.  In the past I’ve always felt like SY ‘s sounds flowed over everything (even if it was noise, it was a continuous wash of noise).  On The Eternal, there’s three or four songs where the band plays a chug chug chug chug rhythm (with everyone playing along).  It’s most notable in “Anti-Orgasm,” where the chug chug part is accompanied by Thurston and Kim chanting uh uh uh on every beat.

The third is the bass.  The band has added Pavement bassist Mark Ibold to their lineup.  And as far as I can tell he does things on bass that Kim never did.  He seems to complement Steve Shelly as a rhythm section.  I always felt that Kim played something of a lead bass: she didn’t seem to go in for a notable steady bass rhythm (note on “Kool Thing” where her bass plays the main riff).  And since Thurston and Lee were often playing noise, it was essential for Kim’s bass to be more than just a rhythm instrument.  On this disc you have bass sections playing the song’s rhythm. Its a simple thing, something that all bands do, but it sounds so different for them.

They even mix up the song lengths quite a bit.  The opener is a two minute bit (with great lyrics from Kim: “What’s it like to be a girl in a band?  I just don’t understand.  That’s so quaint to hear.  I feel so faint my dear.”)   While “Anti-Orgasm” is over six minutes (three of the chug chug section and then three of an extended jam).  Lee’s awesome song, “What We Know” runs about 4 minutes.  And the final song, the very cool “Massage the History” runs over 9 minutes.

These elements give the band a revitalized sound.  And they sound like they’re really having a lot of fun. And boy are they rocking.  The band sounds heavy, they sound intense, and they sound great.  There’s not a bad track on the disc.

[READ: November 6, 2009] “Premium Harmony”

This story takes a look at a dysfunctional husband and wife on the way to Wal-Mart.  She wants to stop at the Quik-Pik on the way, to buy something that he thinks will be cheaper at Wal-Mart anyway.  This detour turns out to be significant, and nothing will be the same for them again.

I have to be this vague because saying anything more will give away too much of this rather simple story. (more…)

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ew2I’ve been reading Entertainment Weekly for years and years.  I think I subscribed back in like 1993 or so.  And I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with it.  I’ve canceled my subscription on a number of occasions, mostly because I believed that it didn’t cover enough of the indie stuff I enjoyed (which is still largely true).  But then I’d see an issue and realize that it is a fun magazine to flip through, so I’d re-subscribe.

Over the years, EW has morphed more and more.  And each change to the magazine makes me like it less.  And now in its current iteration, which happened about a year ago, I feel that they have removed all pretense to being a “smart” publication.  Although, at least they stopped including the bold line of text which presumably highlighted the best line of a reviewEvidently they thought we couldn’t ewread the entire half-a-column-length of an article.  But they removed that, and it’s back to simple reviews.

I’ve always been sort of iffy about their rating system (A through F).  It’s a simple guide, so it’s easy to see quickly whether they liked it or not, but as in school, it seems hard to pinpoint exactly what the difference is between say an A- and a B+.  But hey, that’s their thing, so it’s okay.

And as a sort of all-purpose guide to entertainment, it’s pretty useful.

The new design has largely changed the order of things in the magazine.  And so The Must List which used to be a small thing in the middle now opens the magazine as a full page extravaganza (highlighting in a nutshell what is wrong with this latest incarnation of the magazine–something that used to fill up a page at most is now a two page spread with bigger pictures!) (more…)

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esquireSOUNDTRACK: MOXY FRÜVOUS-Live Noise (1998).

livenoiseLive albums usually work as a “best of” and so, with Live Noise you get the crème de la crème of the Früvous catalog.  But, more than that, Früvous were amazing live.  I had the opportunity to see them once, and it was a fantastic show.

Just about every song I have mentioned in other reviews is here: “Michigan Militia,” “Horseshoes,” “Fly,” “King of Spain,” “Johnny Saucep’n” and “The Drinking Song” among many others.

They also do some interesting covers: Tom Wait’s “Jockey Full of Bourbon” and Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.”

And best of all, there’s a lot of between-song banter.  Interestingly, the banter is quite vulgar.  While Früvous is not a G rated band by any means, it’s a little surprising how many F bombs they drop (which is why it got a parental warning sticker).  But mostly they are funny bits, like the “Intra Pennsylvania Rivalry,” and the hilarious and factual crowd participation bit: “Lowest Highest Point.”

You can’t go wrong with this disc, it’s fantastic (although, I suppose I could do without the  second version of “King of Spain,” as it does go on a bit long), but aside from that?  Fantastic!

[READ: June 25, 2009] “Morality”

I’ve said a lot about Stephen King in the past, so I’ll just get right to the story.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to read this story or not.  I mean, it’s long, and I don’t jump at the chance to read Stephen King anymore.  But I read the first paragraph and I remembered why Stephen King is so popular, and why I liked him so much.  Whether or not he is a great writer or an artiste, he has a wondrous way with words.  With the first few paragraphs I was hooked into this story.  His prose is effortless, and before you know it you are engaged with the characters. (more…)

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3000030,000 views may not be a milestone for many blogs. But, for a blog like this which was intended mostly as a record of what I’ve read, the fact that I’ve had 30,000 views is pretty exciting. And it seems appropriate to let you, the readers know what you the other readers have been reading here. So, here is the top ten most read posts on I Just Read About That… with a director’s commentary tacked on.

1. 819 views
Gordon Korman–Son of the Mob (2002)
SOUNDTRACK: GORDON LIGHTFOOT-The Complete Greatest Hits
I’m pretty much 100% certain that Gordon Lightfoot is NOT the attraction that made this post my highest one. Son of the Mob is usually a summer reading book. However, I get hits on this throughout the year.  I’m guessing it’s just a popular book.

(more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE AIRBORNE TOXIC EVENT-4 songs from My Space (2008).

Since the author of one of the stories below is the singer in this band, I thought I’d listen to them and see what they were all about. With a name like that I was expecting some kind of hardcore band. And that is NOT this band! They don’t have a record out yet, but they have some songs on MySpace here. The first song “Sometime Around Midnight” made me think of a couple of bands from the 90s: The Church and Midnight Oil, and possibly The Alarm. The vocals are mixed loudly in the mix, and there is an earnestness about the vocals which made me think of those bands. The second one, “Papillion” has a keyboard solo (!) over some fairly raucous simple melodies. The third song “This is Nowhere” is a fun indie rocker with a good staccato riff and a cool/spooky chorus harmony. And the fourth song “Innocence” was rocking and bouncy. I can’t get over the use of keyboards on songs where you wouldn’t expect them. I enjoyed these songs quite a bit, and will certainly check out the CD when it’s released.

[READ: May 30, 2008]: McSweeneys #27

This volume contains three books in a slipcase. Even though each is a small paperback, the overall package is quite nice. The slipcase has many tiny holes in it to look like skyscraper windows (or Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti). (more…)

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