Reading, Listening, Watching, etc.

book-eye-glasses-ipod-love-music-Favim.com-1342041Welcome to this very irregular series where I chronicle some of what I’ve been reading and listening to lately. I like to be very intentional about the things I spend my time with and I also try to be very intentional about reflecting on those things. Yes, you might call it nerdy. Whatever. Don’t be mean. I’m a very sensitive soul.

Anyway, here’s what’s been going in lately:

Listening:

Several new albums have worked their way into my earholes this week:

SturgillSimpsonArt_zpsk5o3to2rA Salior’s Guide to Earth by Sturgill Simpson.

Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music was one of my top-five favorite albums of 2014. Having already established himself as one of the top voices in “outsider country” music, Simpson could have repeated himself and very few people would have batted an eye. Instead Simpson builds on his foundation with strings, horns and moody hooks. Perhaps what strikes most people is the cover of Nirvana‘s “In Bloom”. A well-done cover song is not only recognizable but becomes something new. The song takes on new life as its sung with a different voice and Simpson definitely has an ear for picking the right cover. His cover of When in Rome’s “The Promise” blew as many people away as his Nirvana cover has polarized. But trust me, it works exceedingly well in the context of the album as a whole. Themes of fatherhood, life, death and the days in between provide the groundwork for an artist clearly pushing himself and his audience. Highly recommended.

Check out the Nirvana cover in question:



Check out ‘Brace For Impact (Live A Little)’ live on Colbert:



woodsCity Sun Eater In The River Of Light by Woods

Woods is one of those bands that I’ve always thought highly of but never listened to deeply. No reason why. There are just some of those bands in our worlds, right? I’ve listened to a couple of their albums but never really spent significant time with any of them. That’s changed with their newest release, City Sun Eater In The River of Light. Highly influenced by Ethiopiques series, especially Ethiopian jazz, not many bands could make the jump from psychedelic folk to world music quite so seamlessly. In the words of Pitchfork, “Turns out Woods is one of them.”

Here’s the lead “single” “Sun City Creeps”:



tmr339_front_550Midwest Farmers Daughter by Margo Price

Reminding us that the resurgence of “real” and/or “outlaw” or “outsider” country (whatever you want to call it) doesn’t just belong to men, Price has fashioned a timeless album full of all the heartwarming heartbreak a great country album should deliver. With tales of personal struggle and sometimes victory, Price reminds us that country music is far from dead, despite what the charts tells us is popular.

Here’s “Hurtin’ (On The Bottle)” live at the Grand Ol’ Opry:



Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 2.57.13 PMMix From the Dashboard by Various Artists

Read my post about this mix that I happened across in my dashboard crap-hole. Featuring Anathallo, Ramsay Midwood and others, it’s a mix I have no recollection of making and seems to be a fairly random collection of songs. But I dig it.

Reading:

9780312373511_p0_v2_s192x300The Time Quintent by Madeleine L’Engle

So, for some reason, I never read L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when I was younger. I don’t remember it ever being assigned reading though I always remember being aware of the book. So, I finally decided to read it and lo and behold, it’s the first of a five-book series! So I read the whole series. A great young adult fantasy/science-fiction series with lots of theological fodder for reflection. An entertaining and worthwhile read if you haven’t.

71qLnZuj5SL_zpsaqyp1mmzThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I actually picked up this book at a garage sale only to find out later that its considered a classic by many and was in fact, assigned reading for many. Another case where the Glendale, AZ school system failed me with their assigned reading lists? Maybe I’m just too old and I was in school before it became assigned reading? Anyhow, I’m about half-way through it so far and its quite a good read and does what much of the best fiction does, draws you in to a world unlike your own.

gutierrez-theology-of-liberation-9780883445426-crop-325x325A Theology of Liberation by Gustavo Gutierrez

I don’t question the validity of penal substitutionary atonement nor its importance (and vital place) as a theory of the atonement. Perhaps even the primary theory but I am not sure it is the totality of the Gospel. I have long wanted to read authors and viewpoints outside of my normal traveling circles on this issue for quite some time and I’m starting with what many to consider to be a classic. Have you read it? Thoughts?

downloadBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I’ve heard great things about this book for quite some time and I’m finally getting a chance to read it. Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” it just shows to go you that its never too late to get around to all that “required reading”.

 

Watching

91d053F2aKL._SY445_Kristi and I don’t get to watch a whole lot of television or movies for ourselves but sometimes we do like to watch something at bed-time. We watched Parks and Recreation all the way through and loved the characters. So it wasn’t a stretch to go back and watch The Office. We’re in season three and we’ve seen most but not all of the episodes up to this point but not much beyond that. As with any good television show, it’s the characters that keep you coming back for more. The Office is no exception, though you get a good idea pretty early on of what the characters are like, they are allowed to grow and grow on you from there.

 

Mix From the Dashboard

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 3.00.37 PMAs you, my friends are well aware, I love music. You, of course, are aware of this precisely because we are friends. And friends know one another.

This morning I had to take three of the boys with me on some errands and NPR was playing the weekly round-up edition of the Diane Rehm show. Now, I know that lots of people really like Diane Rehm. But I wanted to listen to some music. If you live in the Phoenix area, you know that radio was not really an option. So I reached into my dashboard’s crap-hole, you know that big gaping storage area where you throw all your crap? No? Just us? Well, in that crap-hole were several blank CDs. I grabbed one, popped it in and was greeted by a mix I don’t remember making.  It’s like Christmas for your ears when you have a mix of music you know you like (because you made it) but you don’t know what’s next!

I’m pretty sure I did in fact at some point make this mix because I’m not sure who else would put together this particular collection of artists. There doesn’t seem to be a real theme or even significance to the order of songs. The best I’ve got is that the most recent songs on the mix are from 2014 so it was made some time after that. Maybe for a roadtrip? I don’t know. I don’t know where it came from. But I liked it. I liked it enough to pass along to you. You know, for fun.

Download the mix with art and tracklisting here.

Here’s the tracklisting:

  1. Hanasakajijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash) by Anathallo
  2. Franklin’s Tower by the Grateful Dead
  3. Who Built the Moon by Shinyribs
  4. Rosalee by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood
  5. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking by the Rolling Stones
  6. Prophet Omega Riff by Ramsay Midwood
  7. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) by Talking Heads
  8. Excursions by A Tribe Called Quest
  9. Move On (Bloom Like The Sunlight In My Song by Mike Doughty
  10. Southern Grammar by Hiss Golden Messenger
  11. Homestead by Northern Hustle
  12. Walking On A Pretty Day by Kurt Vile
  13. Water Wheel by Steve Gunn
  14. Time To Move On by Tom Petty

Download the mix with art and tracklisting here.

the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierWell I’m not sure what you expect. This is the Weekly Town Crier, where I collect and pass along links If interest from the past week. Don’t call it a link-dump. Well, I suppose you could but that sounds so crass, now doesn’t it? I’d like to think of these links as somewhat thought-provoking.

R.I.P. the library card catalog.

R.I.P. Doris Roberts.

R.I.P. Prince.

Read as The Atlantic considers “The Unexpected Pleasure of Doing Things Alone”.

Read NPR’s coverage of “First-Ever Official Pastafarian Wedding”.

Browse “Six Habits Of People Who Know How To Bring Out The Best In Others” at Fast Company.

Read Revolver‘s interview with Daniel Johnston.

Read Christianity Today‘s report that the Bible is now among the most challenged books at libraries and schools.

Read AV Club‘s report that Thomas the Tank Engine is being re-worked for adults.

Read BBC‘s report about the recent study finding that, for those over 40, a 3-day work-week is optimal.

Read Pitchfork‘s report that “Axl Rose Is AC/DC‘s New Frontman”.

Browse AV Club‘s profile of “19 bands that have plowed through 3 or more frontmen without a name change”.

Read Quartz‘ report: “It’s true. Every music festival is starting to look the same”.

Read Techly‘s report that Chuck Palahniuk has re-worked Fight Club for children.

Read Salon‘s piece: ““I am the human being that I am today because of the Grateful Dead”: Bill Walton shares life lessons from 859 shows”

Read as First Things considers “Faith In Fiction”: “’I’m sick of Flannery O’Connor. I’m also sick of Walker Percy, G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Dostoevsky. Actually, I’m sick of hearing about them from religiously minded readers. These tend to be the only authors that come up when I ask them what they read for literature.”

Read Pitchfork‘s report that Johnny Marr has announced his autobiography, Set the Boy Free.

Read/Listen to NPR’s profile of Merge Records.

Read as N.D. Wilson writes for The Atlantic: “Why I Write Scary Stories for Children”.

Read as Brain Pickings considers “The Psychology of What Makes a Great Story”.

See a vending machine for books at BBC.

Read The Daily Beast‘s report that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill

Browse Fact Magazine‘s picks for “The 30 best post-rock albums of all time”. Did your favorite make their list?

See “the dying art of the film projectionist – in pictures” at The Guardian.

Read Smithsonian‘s piece: “Why Women Bring Their ‘I Voted’ Stickers to Susan B. Anthony’s Grave”.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report that Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks’ 2012 book, I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story Of The Music Video Revolution will be adapted for the screen.

Go “Behind The Scenes At Karlie Kloss’s New Coding Camp For Girls” with Fast Company.

Read as NME considers the new study considering “why everyone hates Nickelback so much”.

Take “A Peek Inside Harvard’s Collection of 2,500 Pigments” at Colossal.

Read Quartz‘ startling report: “One in 14 Americans will grow up with a parent in prison”.

Read as the New Yorker considers “The Unoriginal Originality of Led Zeppelin“.

ReadJack Kerouac on How to Meditate” at Brain Pickings.

Watch “Steve Reich reflects on his most significant works” at CBC.

Read as KQED considers “Why Kids Should Keep Using Their Fingers to do Math”.

Browse Paste‘s picks for “The 50 Best Movie Soundtracks”.

Read as The Atlantic considers “The Limits of the Late-Night Comedy Takedown”. What is really accomplished when late-night truth-tellers shine their spotlights?

Read Flavorwire‘s report that “HBO Is Making a New ‘Fahrenheit 451′ Movie”. Let’s hope they remember that the theme of the controversial book is not censorship but television itself, which, sort of ironically works against the re-make itself. How’s that for meta?

See “what happens inside a vinyl factory” at BBC.

Browse “A Graphic Guide to Cemetery Symbolism” at Atlas Obscura.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report: “Coachella organizers planning new festival with the Holy Grail of headliners McCartney, The Stones, Roger Waters, The Who, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young“.

Read “An Ode to Shakespeare from Kurt Vonnegut” at Signature.

Read/Listen as NPR considers why it’s time to put away the laptop and take hand-written notes.

Read the Los Angeles Times‘ report: “Under new Oregon law, all eligible voters are registered unless they opt out”.

Read as Quartz considers “Why the sweaty, crowded summer festival became the last sacred space in music”.

Read as Techly wonders “Is the Music You Listen to Affecting Your Brain Long-Term?”

Read: “Debunking the Myth of the 10,000-Hours Rule: What It Actually Takes to Reach Genius-Level Excellence” at Brain Pickings.

Browse “Six Habits of The Best Conversationalists” at Fast Company.

the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierYou know how it is. This is how we do it. Rollin’ deep, son.

And other cool catchphrases. And such.

Welcome to the Weekly Town Crier. This is the online space reserved for me to pass along links from the past week that I have found interesting. You may or may not find them interesting yourself. If you don’t find them interesting I don’t want to hear about it. Get your own website.

And have a great day.

Read as “Relevant” magazine considers the “Rise of the Cool Catholics”.

Read the Atlantic urges: “For a More Creative Brain, Travel”.

Read as Washington Post considers “How ‘All Songs Considered’s’ Bob Boilen went from Tiny Desk to tastemaker”.

Read as Reuters reports: “Microsoft sues U.S. government over data requests”.

Read as Paste tries the Pogues branded Irish Whiskey: “The Pogues have created a whiskey that both befits the band’s legacy and offers something solid for lovers of classic blended Irish whiskey”

Read Relevant”‘s piece: “Study Finds Millennials Are Out-Reading Older Generations”.

Browse Bruce Springsteen’s reading list at Brain Pickings: “28 Favorite Books That Shaped His Mind and Music”.

Read “What a Good Book Can Be: An Interview with Edwin Frank” at Paris Review.

Browse NME‘s picks for the  “Top 10 Psychedelic Albums”.

Read as Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant says that “Taylor Swift is the “Margaret Thatcher of pop music” at Fact.

ReadAldous Huxley on the Transcendent Power of Music and Why It Sings to Our Souls” at Brain Pickings.

Read Fact‘s report that St. Vincent is “writing, directing upcoming horror film”.

Read Brain Pickings‘ profile of “Mark Rothko’s Little-Known Writings on Art, Artists, and What the Notion of Plasticity Reveals about Storytelling”.

Help the real J. Peterman make an Urban Sombrero“.

Read as Steve Earle considers “The Other Side of Merle Haggard” at the New York Times.

Read Boing Boings report: “Churchill got a doctor’s note requiring him to drink at least 8 doubles a day “for convalescence”.

See “Miniature Treehouse Sculptures Built Around Houseplants by Jedediah Voltz” at Colossal. 

Consider “Why Is It Important—Today—to Show and Look at Images of Destroyed Human Bodies?”

Read the Telegraphs piece about the study finding: “Attending live music events ‘reduces your levels of stress hormone’.

Read Wimp‘s piece: “What Hiking Does To The Brain Is Pretty Amazing”.

Browse Pitchfork‘s suggestions for “How to Buy the Best Turntable and Stereo System for Your Record Collection”.

Read Newser‘s report: “Go to Grid|Next Story Scientists Wowed by First Look at Brain on LSD”.

Read as New York magazine considers “The Psychological Cost of Boring Buildings”.

Read as Anonymous considers: “How Popular Music’s Lyrics Perpetuate American Idiocy”.

Read as Ars Technica reports on the recent court ruling finding that “Worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a real religion”.

Bob Dylan‘s been in the press some this week:

  • Read The Times Picayune‘s report that “Bob Dylan’s paintings to appear at the New Orleans Museum of Art”.
  • Read Uncut‘s report: “Bob Dylan’s childhood pal to publish memoir of their friendship”.
  • Read Rolling Stone‘s report: “Bob Dylan-Inspired TV Show Headed to Amazon”.

Stream Sturgill Simpson‘s fantastic new album, A Sailor’s Guide To Earth now at NPR Music. Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music was one of my top-five favorite albums of 2014.

Watch the video for “Conditions Wild”, the first single from Steve Gunn‘s new album, Eyes on the Lines, out June 03; his first album for Matador. Gunn’s Way Out Weather was one of my top ten favorite albums of 2014 and his collaboration with Blag Twig Pickers, Seasonal Hire was one of my favorites of last year. I dig this guy.

the Weekly Town Crier

towncrierAnd there you go. Just like sand in the hourglass, like waters under a troubled bridge, like the sound of silence. Another week gone by. And what do you have to show for it? Did you help someone this week? Did you do your part to make the world a better place or did you just complain? Did you encourage someone? Bear their burden? Come on now. What’s your problem? Get out there and do some good. Cultivate thanksgiving and let it fuel a life of blessing.

In the meantime, here’s a bunch of links you might or might not find interesting.

R.I.P. Patty Duke.

R.I.PGato Barbieri.

R.I.P. Merle Haggard.

Read Brooklyn Vegan‘s piece: “cult ’80s series ‘Night Flight’ is back as a streaming channel Read More: cult ’80s series ‘Night Flight’ is back as a streaming channel.”

Watch Spike Lee Interview Bernie Sanders.

Read as PopMatters considers the troubled legacy of the Replacements, profiled in Bob Mehr’s book Trouble Boys.

Read as Sojourners considers what happens “When Religion Makes People Worse”.

Read reports that Ron Perlman is confirmed to play Tom Waits in the upcoming biopic by David Lynch.

Read as Ozy considers “The Invention of the ‘American Dream'”.

Read AV Club‘s report that the Animaniacs are now on Netflix.

Read Pitchfork‘s report: “Here’s Why Musicians Won’t Stand for Illegal Uploads Anymore”.

Browse Tom Waits’ top 20 albums.

Read Uncut‘s report: “Keith Richards criticises modern artists for not writing their own music”.

Read The Guardian‘s profile of Richard Fariña, “lost genius who bridged the gap between beats and hippies”.

Browse The Brewer’s Associations‘s list of the U.S.’ ” top 50 breweries for 2015″.

Listen to NPR Music’s piece: “How A Stressful Night For Miles Davis Spawned Two Classic Albums”.

Read Paste‘s report: “John Oliver’s “Donald Drumpf” Segment Broke Every HBO Viewing Record”.

Read “An Interview with case/lang/veirs“.

Ever wonder “‘How Did This Song Get In That Commercial?’ NPR has your answer.

Browse Rolling Stone‘s picks for the 100 greatest drummers of all time.

Read Gizmodo’s report on the recent study finding that “People Who Point Out Typos Are Jerks”.

Read Okay Player‘s report that A Tribe Called Quest was working on a new album at the time of Phife Dawg‘s passing.

Listen to NPR Music’s tribute to the Stratocaster.

Browse Paste‘s list of “The 100 Best Movies on Netflix (April 2016)”.

Read NPR’s review of Don Cheadle‘s new Miles Davis biopic, Miles Ahead.

  • Read Paste‘s piece on the movie.

BrowseNeil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing” at Brain Pickings.

Browse Men’s Journal‘s picks for “The 101 Best Beers in America”.

Read The Guardian‘s profile of Shuggie Otis: ‘I could have been a millionaire, but that wasn’t on my mind’.

Read/Listen to NPR’s piece: “Alan Lomax‘s Massive Archive Goes Online”.

Read Fact‘s report that Fugazi has returned with a 5-song EP commenting on the “horrorshow” of our presidential election.

Read as the AV Club wonders: “Can the new wave of faith-based filmmaking transcend propaganda?”

Read Reuters‘ piece: “Tesla says Model 3 orders top $10 billion in first 36 hours”.

Read The Atlantic‘s “Case Against High-School Sports”.

Read as The New York Times investigates “the Minds of Mass Killers”.

Take a peek at 15 of the world’s most exquisite libraries” at CNN.

Read: “Beverly Cleary on turning 100: Kids today ‘don’t have the freedom’ I had” at the Washington Post.

Read as The Atlantic argues: “Liberal arts and the humanities aren’t just for the elite.”

Read Christianity Today‘s piece: “More Americans Agree Christians Face Intolerance But Complain Too Much About It,” arguing; “tone matters when advocating for religious liberty.”

Read as The New York Times considers the revival of PBR.

Read as The Atlantic considers “The Importance of Eating Together”.

Browse Flavorwire‘s picks for “The 10 Albums You Need to Hear in April”.

Read as Atlas Obscura considers “The Doomed Effort to Make Videos Go Vinyl”.

Read Rolling Stone‘s report that the Rolling Stones will release a new album this year.

Read as PopMatters considers Jon StewartThe Daily Show and “the Rise of Media Accountability”.

Spreadable Beer. Because.

Read the Art of Manliness‘ list of “9 Things a Grown Man Can Learn From the Hardy Boys“.

Read Slate‘s report: “After Seven Long Years, There’s a New Answering Machine Tape on Homestar Runner”.

Read Uncut‘s reflection on “Miles Davis, Hank Williams and the current crop of music biopics”.

Read FACT‘s report: “Bandcamp has made $150M in artist profits in the last eight years”.

Read a report finding “People Who Point Out Grammatical Errors Are JERKS, Says Science”.