Friday, July 13, 2007

Bound to wind up one lonely, twisted old man

I buy new music maybe once a year. I like new music, but it's usually just not my priority -- I'm happy to keep listening to the same Blues Brothers record if it means I can get a new book or two. But I made my annual purchase recently, for the sake of the new, for the sake of the blog...

The White Stripes -- Icky Thump

Every review I've read says the same things about it -- a return to form after Get Behind Me Satan, a return to their pre-Elephant sound, or at worst, a few good songs but mostly bloated ego. Well, I dunno, kids. The guitars that kick off "Icky Thump" are rockin' pretty hard, and there's not a lot more I require from my White Stripes records. I get the sense that Jack White might not have much of a sense of humor when it comes to his outfits/his music/his bands, so while I might not want to hang out with him when he's putting a record together, I'm happy to listen to it when he's done. "Conquest" inspires the cover's visuals, it thumps and it grooves, and of the batch, this is the record I play when The Librarian is at work I want to pretend to be a badass rock and roll singer.

Ryan Adams -- Easy Tiger

I love Ryan Adams so much. I don't even remember what got me into him in the first place -- I think I was on a mission for brand new music when Gold came out, and I picked it up on a whim. That led me backwards to Whiskeytown, which coincided with my realization that country music is rad, and from there I was insanely grateful that the dude puts out one (or two) records a year. The downside of his massive output is that not every song is a gem ... there's a lot to forget about on his recent releases, but the stuff in between is fantastic. What I've read about Easy Tiger says that it's unlike is other recent releases in that it's "all the good stuff" ... but I dunno. It's pretty standard Ryan Adams, I think. A few great songs, a few good ones, a few near-misses. But for songs like "Two" and "These Girls," it's definitely worth all the misses in the world.

Nick Lowe -- At My Age

Here we go. I found Nick Lowe a few years ago when he performed "She's Got Soul" on Conan O'Brien, and I was fascinated by this dapper old man with shock-white hair, smoking a cigarette and singing about girls. I bought The Convincer and played the shit out of it, only finding out later that Nick Lowe was Elvis Costello's producer back when he was, you know, Elvis Costello, and also the dude who sang "Cruel to be Kind." I guess he has quite the punky reputation, but I know him as the dude in the suit who sings blues/country-influenced pop songs, wears a suit, and has eyes that look ... not tired, but full. At My Age is the best new record I've bought since I Don't Know When. "Long Limbed Girl" is nostalgic for old loves, "I Trained Her to Love Me" is mean Nick Lowe at his best, and "Feel Again" brings it back to sweetness again. Thank god this man survived his youth.

Beastie Boys -- The Mix-Up

It's the album before their next great album! I'm not a big Beastie Boys fan, and I probably wouldn't have picked this up had it actually been their next great album. The Mix-Up is an instrumental, and I mostly bought it to serve as an alternative work record to The Prodigy's Dirtchamber Sessions. One review described it as future background music for countless frat parties, and that might be right. But it's good for what it is. Instead of putting it on while I wrote this paragraph, I kept listening to Nick Lowe.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Sort of taken from Laurenn McCubbin, who I do not know, but whose blog I enjoy...

Where I’m at:

5 movies I want to see:
Knocked Up
10 Canoes
that new Harry Potter thing

I've enjoyed the hell out of most of the movies I've seen this summer. PIRATES and SPIDER-MAN 3 were swell, despite what folks might tell you.

Things I want to eat:
Anything snack-like. We're going to get a new cookbook today.

For a good few weeks I was cooking supper a few times a week -- chopping onions and following cookbook instructions and such. Kind of fell away from it after I made the three or four things I liked from the cookbooks three or four times.

Music I want to listen to:
the new Ryan Adams
the new White Stripes
the new Nick Lowe

I'm basically going to be partying like it's 1999. I don't know how I feel about that.

TV I've been watching:
John from Cincinnati
Flight of the Conchords
Rescue Me, season 4
Doctor Who (almost)

I've heard the 3rd season of WHO was fantastic -- it just debuted on SciFi this past weekend, but I haven't watched it yet. I'm looking forward to it. I've come around the last two years or so to thinking good TV is almost always better than good movies. You have more room to tell stories, and you can do it in more varied ways than the standard 120-page rhythm. JOHN has me perplexed ... I like it ... but I don't really want to sit down and watch it. The first two episodes were TV gold (especially Ed O'Neil), but after that ... I dunno. I'm into it when it's in front of me. Part of that might have to do with CONCHORDS, which comes on after JOHN, and is such an enjoyable half hour of television. I give you: She's So Hot ... Boom!

Things I have been thinking about:
Abraham Lincoln, as usual: "I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Also, comics. I've been doing most of my blogging on Sequential Heart, and it's gotten me back into the habit of going to the comics shop every week or so. I knew I was digging the new CAPTAIN AMERICA comics, but I didn't realize how MUCH I loved them until I wrote a review on the new issue. Also: Paul Pope. THB is coming back, and it's got me really excited to look over the last THB that I never really read. San Diego is on the horizon, the first time I've gone, and I'm stupid excited.

Also also, Shakespeare. SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE has been on the cable TV lately -- man, I like it. I think I like it more than regular Shakespeare.

Things I have been working on:
I wrote a screenplay. A new one, with an idea I've been knocking around in my head and in the odd short story for about two years. It's hokey, but I used the How to Write a Movie in 21 Days method, and I'm currently on day 14. I have a full 122-page draft, and I'm working through the second draft now. I should have a readable version by the time I head back for a week of Ohio on the 16th.

The comic Amy and I are getting ready to pitch around at San Diego. More details to come, I'm sure. It's fun to write, and Amy draws pretty ladies.