The Subversive Hope of Hiss Golden Messenger’s ‘Hallelujah Anywhow’

Music matters. Sometimes it voices things we didn’t know we resonated with. Music can carry our joys, give voice to our sorrows or become the voice of protest. And sometimes, “protest music” isn’t what you’d expect. Who expected folk music to fuel the 60’s?

Falling somewhere between Dylan, Van Morrison and the Grateful Dead in all the best ways but still carving out an identity of their own, North Carolina’s Hiss Golden Messenger‘s struggle to hold on to “peace, love, light and hope,” is the protest music we need.

I’m not not to presume the faith of others. I am a Christian. I don’t know if you are. I don’t know if Hiss Golden Messenger’s MC Taylor is. But Taylor’s lyrics have given voice to so much of the beauty that I find in following a Savior who would rather die for His enemies than kill them. I can’t help but hear in Taylor’s lyrics the promise of light even when the world seems dark. The band’s name evokes the dangerous beauty of the Tempter while the title of their latest album, ‘Hallelujah Anyhow’s’ seems to paraphrase Job 13:15, when, after losing everything, Job responds with: “Though God slay me, I will hope in Him.” Hallelujah Anyhow indeed.

For many, these are heavy days overshadowed by gathering storms. Our president stokes division rather than unity. Bigots in our midst are not new but they are newly emboldened. It’s hard not to feel like War is crouching at the door, ready to pounce. The struggle for equality rages on while white supremacists are demanding equal air time. One might be excused for giving in to cynicism and sometimes, hopelessness doesn’t seem that far off.

My own faith keeps that hopelessness at bay. Christianity presents the subversive hope that the Light is winning, even as we sometimes believe that the darkness is rising. Love turns things upside down. As Brian Zahnd reminds us in Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God, “Jesus’s solidarity is with the Abel-like victims, not with the Cain-like conquerors” and: “The cross is the place where human fear and anger are absorbed into God’s eternal and recycled into the saving mercy of Christ.” I don’t know MC Taylor’s fountain of hope, but whatever it is, he seems to drink deeply. I am thankful for an artist who believes in the power of Love.

While acknowledging that life can be a beat-down, Taylor refuses to lose hope. This is the protest music we need. Instead of giving in to division or fueling resentment, we must seek the beautiful resisting power of Love. One of the album’s last lines is from “When The Walls Come Down” and summarizes the struggle “It’s a beautiful world but painful child: step back, Jack, from the darkness.” This idea of beauty in the pain is woven through this record. This is the protest music we need. These might seem like dark days,  but we won’t give in. We must continually remind one another that the light is winning even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

Yes, the world is hard but there is always light in the darkness. Taylor sings “I’ve never been afraid of the darkness, It’s just a different kind of light” in “Jenny of the Roses” and  “It’s a strange, sweet kind of light, To be lost out in the darkness of the border” in “Lost Out In the Darkness.” Light in the darkness allows us to keep going. In “John the Gun,” Taylor resolves, “Though I’m torn and tattered: I’ll abide.” We can keep going. We must keep going. We must not give in. Love will win and the Light is breaking through.

The album’s theme is perhaps nowhere made more clear than in “When the Walls Come Down”:

What’cha gonna do
When the shackles fall
What you oughta do Is melt them down
Melt them down
Turn them into tools
and make a garden
On the prison grounds
Turn your chains to roses, child

There is power in pursuing beauty. We must cultivate instead of destroy. We can once again work for life from the ashes. We need to cling to the Light and strive for Peace. You’re not alone in wanting this and Taylor reminds us that it’s all worth it. Though we trip through “Harder rain” and  “Darker darkness,” if it’s up to me (and Taylor),  “A little love would go a long way.”

 



Habañero Collective: Glory Days, A House Show Mix

Sometimes you don’t realize what you’ve created until you can separate yourself a bit. Get a different perspective. See it as a whole.

I have been privileged to be part of Habañero Collective for some time now. We used to do a music/interview podcast. Then we started hosting house shows in the Phoenix area.

For various and sundry life reasons and circumstances, we’ve taken an extended break from hosting house shows. This time away gave me just enough separation to start looking back at some of the amazing artists we’ve hosted. We’ve been blessed to rub shoulders with some truly creative and dynamic people. People who believe in their craft and pursue creativity.

Until we start hosting shows regularly again, here is a mix of 22 of the amazing artists we’ve been privileged to host in one venue or another. And, even more amazing, this is not all of the artists we’ve worked with.

Enjoy:



If you’re interested, here is the setlist:

  1. Distress by Jeremy Casella
  2. America’s Son by Air Review
  3. When It Don’t Come Easy by Justin McRoberts
  4. One, Two, Three by Christian Lee Hutson
  5. Big Ghost by Chris Bathgate
  6. Folded Hands by Zoo Animal
  7. Always The Same by the Autumn Film
  8. Arrowplane by Trevor Davis
  9. Ornithology  by Foreknown
  10. New Way of Living by David Ramirez
  11. Letting Go And Holding On by Shawn Skinner and the Men of Reason
  12. Minnie Pearl by Matt Haeck
  13. Monster Truck by Ramsay Midwood
  14. The Truth by American Longspurs
  15. We Will All Be Changed by Seryn
  16. Old Man’s Town by the Hollands!
  17. Bones by Owl Parliament
  18. Honest Kind of Luck Dylan Pratt
  19. Sisters and Brothers by the Vespers
  20. Switzerland by the Last Bison
  21. Nothing Like A Train by Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love
  22. Homestead by Northern Hustle

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

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”.

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.

the Weekly Town Crier

London's Town Crier copyI don’t know about you but I love spicy artichoke jalapeño dip. I mean, with some wavy potato chips or the thicker plain chips. Not the thin ones because the dip is too thick for those sissy chips. No sissy chips up in he-yah. Know what I mean, Vern?

Man, sometimes it just hits the spot if you know what I mean. No? Well, you really should try some.

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 2015.

Download a three-volume mix of Jesusy songs I collected.

R.I.P. Harper Lee.

R.I.P. Umberto Eco.

R.I.P. Samuel Willenberg, “the last known survivor of the Nazi death camp Treblinka.”

R.I.P. Jeb Bush’s presidential bid.

R.I.P. Ben Carson’s presidential campaign.

R.I.P. First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Browse the lineup for this year’s Pitchfork music festival.

Browse Phoenix New Times‘ list of “Arizona’s 30 Most Influential Musicians.”

Learn about caffeinated toothpaste.

Read about Sub Pop Records offering “college scholarships to ‘losers’ and ‘art-enthused misfits'”.

Read as Smithsonian considers “How the Phonograph Changed Music Forever”.

Read as Salon argues: “Stop buying old Bob Dylan albums: “Every time somebody buys a reissue, they’re just taking money away from new musicians”. But I like Bob Dylan and new music . . .

Watch a “1970 documentary about Hunter S. Thompson‘s run for mayor of Aspen”.

  • Read as The Washington Post opines: “If only Hunter S. Thompson could have lived to take on this election”.

Browse as NPR’s Jazz Night In America considers the history of “Jazz slang”.

Read as The Washington Post considers three cocktails that “pair perfectly with classic literature”.

Read USA Today‘s profile of Mavis Staples.

Browse as The Guardian compares streaming services.

Browse Paste‘s picks for “10 Essential Short Story Collections”.

Read as The Guardian considers: “Slave to the algorithm? How music fans can reclaim their playlists from Spotify“.

Read as Consequence of Sound reports that a “Fall Coachella Festival” is imminent.

Read reports that Apple is implementing a trade-in program for iPhones.

Read Vinyl Factory‘s report that new printed city guides for vinyl are being made available for select cities.

Read The Atlantic‘s report on the return of Planet Earth.

Ever wonder why you sometimes feel “phantom phone vibrations”?

Read Smithsonian‘s piece: “Long Before Jack Daniels, George Washington Was a Whiskey Tycoon.”

Read as Gillian Anderson talks about Dave Grohl‘s X-Files cameo and how it came to be.

Read as AV Club urges us to reconsider “the grim and gritty Dark Age of superhero comics.”

Read Live For Live Music‘s report: “The Leaked Tracklisting For The National‘s Extensive Grateful Dead Tribute Is Incredible”.

Hear “a giant 800-track alt/indie-focused 90’s playlist in chronological order”.

Read about the new vinyl-pressing plant promising tw0-week turnaround.

Read CNN‘s report: “Beyoncé offered security for concert by Louis Farrakhan“.

Browse as Consequence of Sound considers “Which Artists Are Still Holding Out on Streaming”.

Browse “Relevant”‘s list of “8 Biographies Everyone Should Read”.

Read Paste‘s report: “Pixar Made an App That Helps the Blind Experience Movies”.

Read Fact Magazine‘s report: “Discogs sold 6.6 million records in 2015”.

Watch Bill Gates DJ on Jimmy Fallon.

See shoes that grow with you.

Read “Relevant”‘s piece: “Justin Bieber: Without God I’d Be a Terrible Person”.

Listen as the BBC discusses poetry form.

Read as Lucinda Williams discusses her discography with Spin.

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

Ever wonder: “How Does ‘A Wrinkle in Time‘ Look on a Map?”

Read Paste‘s: “4 Questions for Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver”.

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 copyDo you remember that time we were together at that place and we did that thing? Oh man! It was the bombdiggity.

Wait, you don’t remember it? Are you sure? It was bombalicious, yo.

You’re sure, because it was bombtastic. Truly and for reals.

No? Not ringing a bell?

Sorry, wrong number. Sorry to bother you. Perhaps I can offer you some online thought-provoking entertainment? I have collected some links. Why don’t you grab a container of your favorite beverage, put your feet up and peruse.

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 2015.

Download a three-volume mix of Jesusy songs I collected.

R.I.P. Dan Hicks.

R.I.P. Giant Sand.

Meet the 107-year-old’ man who’s “secret to a long life is four bottles of red wine a day”.

See some amazing “these Tiny Hand-painted Wes Anderson Sets”.

Read Rolling Stone‘s interview with Lucinda Williams in which she “Talks Meeting Dylan, Southern Identity, Shopping Online”.

Read Washington Post‘s piece: “A Stanford psychologist explains why spacing out and goofing off is so good for you”.

Read as The Guardian considers” “Villain or victim, Shakespeare’s Shylock is a character to celebrate”.

Browse “10 Paradoxical Traits of Creative People” at Fast Company.

Read about a rare, unreleased Rolling Stones album that was recently stolen.

Read as Warped Speed considers why having a beard is good for your health.

ReadWilliam S. Burroughs on Creativity” at Brain Pickings: “The price an artist pays for doing what he wants is that he has to do it.”

Take a Peek Inside Neil Gaiman‘s Library”.

Read/watch as The Chicago Tribune profiles a new documentary about John Prine.

Maybe movies should end whenever a character says the title out loud“.

Read as Slate wonders “Why Can’t Apple Figure Out Television?”

Meet the man who created Papyrus, the world’s second-most hated font.

Read about the “First U.S. Doctor Sentenced for Patient ODs”. “A California doctor was sentenced to 30 years in prison on murder charges Friday in connection with three overdose deaths from medication she prescribed.”

Read as The Guardian considers “From Berlin’s warehouses to London’s estates: how cities shape music scenes”.

Read about the priceless antique Martin guitar Kurt Russell smashed during the filming of Quentin Tarantino‘s Hateful Eight.

Read as “Andrew Zimmern Explains How to Acquire a Taste”.

Watch Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy sing Stephen Colbert a lullaby.

Read as Inc. wonders: “Why Are Millennials So Unhappy at Work?”

Read: “Proust on What Art Does for the Soul and How to Stop Letting Habit Blunt Our Aliveness” at Brain Pickings.

Ever wonder “What happens to a tiny town when Walmart disappears?” Find out at The Washington Post.

Looking for a new career path? “Stone Temple Pilots Launch Open Audition for New Singer”.

Read as The New Yorker wonders if we’re maybe missing the point in our hatred of Martin Shkreli.

See “What $1 USD Gets You In Food All Around The World”.

Read “Relevant”‘s report: “The Pastor of China’s Largest Official Protestant Church Has Been Arrested”.

Read The Guardian‘s piece: “In 1971, librarian Marguerite Hart asked famous names in the arts, sciences and politics to write to the children of Troy, Michigan, encouraging them to cherish their new public library.”

Read Consequence of Sound‘s report: “Josh Brolin to star in George Jones biopic from Straight Outta Compton writer”.

Browse “America’s Largest Collection of Early Tavern Signs”.

Read “Relevant”‘s report: “Seal Will Play Pontius Pilate in Tyler Perry’s Televised Passion Play”.

Read Ars Technia‘s piece: “The NFL wants you to think these things are illegal”.

Watch the Harlem Globetrotters interrupt Jeff Tweedy at AV Club‘s offices.

Read as Glenn Danzig discusses his recent Portlandia appearance with Rolling Stone.

Learn “How to Read a Book a Week”.

Read Sojourner‘s piece: “Why I’m a Politically Correct Christian (And You Should Be Too)”

See David Bowie‘s art.

Watch a guitarist play “the World’s Last Playable Stradivarius Guitar”.

Read Stereogum‘s report that Belly are reuniting.

See “Gorgeous, Extremely Private Writing Retreats” at Flavorwire.

Read Paste‘s report that Beyoncé told Coldplay that she did not want to collaborate with them.

See the “Last Known Photos of Jim Morrison“.

Read as Alice Cooper reflects “on His Dinner With David Bowie and Ray Bradbury“.

Read Fact Magazine‘s report: “The Pirate Bay now streams torrents in your browser”.

Read AV Club‘s report that a Saved By The Bell-themed restaurant and bar is coming to Chicago.

Learn “How to Make Your Own Moonshine Still from Hardware Store Parts” at Man Made.

Read as Stephen King confirms rumors of a Dark Tower movie.

Read about the Titanic replica set to set sail.

Read Vinyl Factory‘s report that The Gap has now entered the vinyl market.

Read as Noisey considers which musicians have the most positive Twitter followers.

Read Kanye West‘s comments about his new album: “It’s Gospel with a Lot of Cursing”.

Read about the lifetime collection of 1000,000 records now up for sale.

Read reports that the eighth Harry Potter book is on its way.

Read as Peter Gabriel wonders what is the point of music at The Guardian.

Read Pitchfork‘s report that Bruce Springsteen is releasing an autobiography.

Read as “Justin Vernon: Bon Iver Is “No Longer Winding Down” at Stereogum.

Read about “Woodstock Organizers Exploring 50th Anniversary Concert”.