Reading and Listening (And Watching)

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 2.10.25 PMWell hidey ho there, neighboroony! How are you doing on this fine-feathered day? How is your physical health? Fine, I hope? And how is your spiritual health? How is your soul? Can you say, and mean it: it is well with my soul? If not, why not? If so, bully for you! What’s in the air tonight that makes it well with your soul? If not, what is blocking your soul from wellness and how can I help? Remember, kids, pain is just weakness leaving the body and, with apologies to Ron Swanson, crying is acceptable at more circumstances than simply funerals and the Grand Canyon, though it is certainly acceptable then too.

Whew.

Shake it off.

Leave it behind.

Keep.

Moving.

Forward.

Feel it?

Ahh, now that we’ve worked through some pretty heavy stuff, I’d like to share with you some of the things that I’ve been accepting into my cultural intake valves this week.

Reading:

download_zps5o9nfob7Ain’t no shame in my game; Yes I’m still working through Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov. Give me a break, it’s over 700 pages, for crying out loud! I’m around 450 pages in, which is the equivalent of several books! Plus, we’re 10 weeks into the year and I’ve already read 13 books, which puts me ahead of schedule for my desire to read 1 book/week during 2016. I know it’s an arbitrary goal and I am not willing to rush my reading simply to keep after an arbitrarily self-assigned goal.

So, with all that being said, I love this book. I have previously let its length dissuade me from tackling it. That, and in all honesty, I have been somewhat been put-off by the “Russian literature” thing. I envisioned it to be cold, stark and brutal, much like architecture of  Russian busstops. But this book is anything but cold, stark, or brutal. The characters brim with warmth and true personality. You may not like the Karamozov family but Dostoyevsky creates them with such depth that you are drawn in to their tragic tale. With with and wisdom, Dostoyevsky creates empathy for some truly horrible people, reminding us that, the greatest of these is love.

Listening:

Holy, Moly, Me Oh My, what a great week for music releases. I picked up several new releases that I’m really excited to listen to. In nothing more than alphabetical order, I am really enjoying this week:

downloadChris Forsyth & the Solar Motel BandThe Rarity of Experience. Guitar rock rocker Chris Forsyth continues with the band originally assembled for the Solar Motel Band album and the results are spectacular. Given the room of a double album, the band pushes further into some experimental psychedelic rock, including the addition of vocals. Given the room to stretch, the Solar Motel Band prove themselves to be a musical force. There are a few guitarists/songwriters that I would say are really at the top of their game right now dancing with the Dead‘s legacy: Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn, to name a couple. And, definitely Chris Forsyth. Great, straight-ahead, sometimes psychedelic guitar rock. Yes, and amen.

  • Read Tiny Mix Tapes‘ review of The Rarity of Experience.

homepage_large.31d39fa4Esperanza Spalding: Emily’s D+Evolution. Renowned bassist Esperanza Spalding has worked for her renown, paying her dues in overlapping worlds of jazz, soul, blues. But she seems to be an artist who realizes that as commercial success increases, the ability to truly be fueled by creativity often decreases. After taking two years away from the music business, Spalding emerges confidently to continue pushing boundaries. Soulful and artsy.

  • Read as Pitchfork names Emily’s D+Evolution “Best New Music”.

la-sera-music-for-listening-album-ryan-adamsLa Sera Music for Listening to Music to. Produced by Ryan AdamsMusic for Listening to Music to carries equal echoes of Adams’ alt. country and the Smiths. Plenty of jangly hooks and hints of soulful swagger with nonchalant but not entirely non-committal vocal deliveries. Not quite detached but also not entirely present.

  • Read The Guardian‘s review: “less garage rock, more Smiths”.

a3167971903_16Guerilla Toss: Eraser Stargazer: Existing somewhere in the ether of what many might call “n0 wave” (not so much a genre in and of itself as the intersection of dance, rock, pop, punk, funk and noise), Guerilla Toss have just released their follow-up to the 2015 Flood Dosed EPEraser Stargazer. Often subversive and usually danceable (not that I do much dancing myself, but if I were so inclined, this music would definitely work).

  • Read Sound Implosion‘s review: “To some, no-wave and dance-punk might not seem like things that should be mixed, but . . . Guerilla Toss definitely succeed”.

Watching:

outsiders_mountain_MWGN’s Outsiders. Ged, Ged-yeh. Part the Killing, Sons of Anarchy and Twin Peaks, the show starts out strong with plenty of mystery surrounding the Farrell clan, a family who has squatted on the same KY mountain for hundreds of years. The Big Bad Coal Company wants their land and all sorts of mayhem ensues. A morally ambiguous sheriff finds himself at the center of the conflict. All of this is fine but the show really succeeds on the strength of the characters. The show may not win any major awards but it is worth the time.

  • Read Variety‘s review of the show.

Reading and Listening

Alrighty there, cowgirls, cowboys and cowboy pups, here’s the lowdown on the downlow of what I’ve been reading and listening to this week.

Reading

Last week I read Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones . I picked it up because I love the movies of Hayao Miyazaki. Only after seeing his adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle did I come to find out that it was a book first. I know, I know, I’m just not that up-to-date on the young adult fiction department. Anyways, let me tell you something; as much as I love Miyazaki’s artistic vision, he really butchered this book. Though he made a fine movie, it fails to capture the emotion and tenderness of Howls relationship with Sophie. Clichés often have their root in the truth and this is definitely a case of the book being better than the movie.

Last week I also started Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s The Brothers KaramazovIn last week’s post, I made the confession that I have never read this classic work. And now I see why it’s considered a classic and I have to wonder why it took me so long to get around to. Perhaps I felt intimidated by the idea of dour Russian literature? Well that’s silly because it’s great so far. I can’t wait to continue making my way through this one. Oh, and I now realize where the band Ivan and Alyosha‘s name came from. Sort of like when I read Kurt Vonnegut‘s Slaughter-house Five and realized that Ramsay Midwood‘s album Popular Delusions & the Madness of Cows is an off-handed nod to the book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds but not quite.

 

Listening

I’m really digging The Ghosts of Highway 20 by Lucinda Williams and jamming to Interludes For The Dead by Circles Around The Sun but otherwise not much new this week.

 

What are you reading and listening to?

the Weekly Town Crier

London's Town Crier copyWell, hello. How are you? How have you been? How you be? How is your present state of being? How’s your week been? Ups? Downs? In-betweens? What’s the dilly, yo? The haps? The lowdown? The upside? The downlow? How’s your soul?

Buy my art here or here or contact me directly to purchase originals.

Visit our family blog: “The Thomas Ten.”

Browse Large Hearted Boy‘s list of “100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads.”

Listen to a mix of some of my favorite songs released in 2015.

Browse my 42 favorite albums of the year.

R.I.P. Jimmy Bain, Bassist for Dio and Rainbow.

R.I.P. Barney Miller’s Abe Vigoda.

R.I.P. Concepcion Picciotto, the woman who kept a peace vigil going for 30 years.

R.I.P. Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner.

Read as Iggy Pop remembers David Bowie.

Read as “Relevant” wonders “Why Are So Many Christians Scared of Nonviolence?”

Browse So Bad So Good‘s list of “The 15 Most Expensive Artwork’s Ever Purchased”.

Have you ever wondered “Why We Picture Bombs As Round Black Balls With A Burning Wick”?

Browse “Relevant”‘s picks for “5 Movies that Should Have Been Nominated for Best Picture”.

Read/Listen as The Frame interviews “Mavis Staples on her famous family, her new album, and her former suitor, Bob Dylan“.

Read Autre‘s interview with Daniel Lanois.

Read Fact Magazine‘s report: “Wu-Tang Clan Martin Shkreli considering destroying one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album”.

  • Watch as Martin Shkreli disses, threatens to erase Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang album.

Read Paste‘s interview with Tortoise‘s Doug McCombs.

Read as The Washington Post wonders: “Are smarter people actually less racist?”

Read at Brain Pickings: “Are Writers Born or Made? Jack Kerouac on the Crucial Difference Between Talent and Genius”.

Read comicbook.com‘s report that the Delorean is going back in to production.

Read as CNN offers “3 questions evangelicals should ask about Donald Trump”.

Read as Paste tastes Dave Matthews‘ wine.

Read as Henry Rollins says “‘Our species is a ruinous pain in the ass’.

Read about the advice columnist who fell for a Seinfeld plot.

Relive Bob Dylan’s Legendary Rolling Thunder Revue With Rare Photos” at Rolling Stone.

Browse a “Photographic Love Letter” to libraries, “Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy”.

Watch a robot solve a Rubik’s Cube in 1 second.

Read Fact Magazine‘s report on the rise of heavy metal’s popularity in Africa.

Read comicbook.com‘s report: “DC Comics To Reboot Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, & More Hanna-Barbera Characters”

Browse NME‘s list of 22 “one album wonders”.

Browse Quartz‘ list of “the books students at the top US colleges are required to read”.

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report: “Napoleon Dynamite director to unite Rugrats, Doug, Ren & Stimpy in NickToons crossover film”.

Read AV Club‘s report that Circuit City is returning.

See “How The Iowa Democratic Caucus Works, Featuring Legos”.

Read about the “Phoenix-area bar” facing “$90K suit for illegally playing music”.

Read as The New York Times argues: “Touring Can’t Save Musicians in the Age of Spotify”.

Read about people “Retrofitting Old iPods to Keep the Perfect MP3 Player Alive”.

Read AV Club‘s report: ““Weird Al” Yankovic joins Comedy Bang! Bang! as bandleader and co-host”.

Read Washington Post‘s report: “People keep going to this home looking for their lost phones — and nobody knows why”.

Read as Science Friday wonders: “Does Apple Deserve Its Reputation for Good Design?”.

Read about “The Secret to Carrie Brownstein’s Creativity”.

Read Smithsonian‘s piece: “Fairy Tales Could Be Older Than You Ever Imagined”.

Browse as Newsweek considers “Five Reasons Apple Is Ditching The Headphone Jack For the iPhone 7.”

Read/Listen to Aquarium Drunkard‘s piece: “Bob Dylan: Blood On The Tracks – The New York Sessions”.

Read as PRI argues: “Why you should savor the under-appreciated beauty of the American short story”.

Read as Quartz considers: “It’s possible that there is a “mirror universe” where time moves backwards, say scientists”.

See one artist’s recreation of Ferris Bueller‘s room.

Read Newsweek‘s report: “Streaming Is Killing Great Music In Favor of Familiar Formulas”.

Read AV Club‘s report that Larry David will host Saturday Night Live.

See NME‘s piece: “It Turns Out Adele’s Face Fits Perfectly Onto Every Album Cover Ever”.

Read as Ars Technica compares Apple’s Carplay against Android Auto.

Read Fast Company‘s report: “Google Is Offering A Free Online Class About Deep Learning”.

Read Flavorwire‘s report that David Bowie planned the release of several anthology albums, still to be released after his death.

ReadMaurice Sendak on Storytelling, Creativity, and the Eternal Child in Each of Us” at Brain Pickings.

Browse “21 of the Most Tragic and Cringeworthy Christian Music Covers You’ll Ever See”.

Read Brain Picking‘s piece: “Kandinsky on the Spiritual Element in Art and the Three Responsibilities of Artists”.

Read as Zygmunt Bauman says: “Social media are a trap”.

Two Book Series That Should Be Films

3813e557e99d02aca03ae9f82f8206f85f5b35f1Despite our continued best hopes to the contrary, Hollywood continues to turn our favorite books into lowest-common denominator drivel. The Narnia movies weren’t that great. The Harry Potter movies ranged from fairly decent to pretty good. The Lord of the Rings movies may have been OK but they certainly didn’t hold my interest long enough to find out.

And yet, with all the common sense of a leaping lemming, I sometimes think Hollywood might one day get it right. There are two series in particular where I would love to see filmmakers get it right. Centering

First, N.D. Wilson’s 1oo Cupboards series. Centering around Henry P. York, a young man who finds his connection to otherworldly adventure through a series of cupboards, this tale of discovery, loss of comfort and search for identity has everything a good Fall blockbuster should.

Second, I would love to see The Wingfeather Saga. The Igiby family’s struggle will draw you in and keep you to the end.

What are some books you’d like to see made into movies?