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.

 

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.