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Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Writing Links!: DFW Edition

The Millions has a kick-ass review of DFW's new novel The Pale King.

The Guardian UK has a kick-ass interview with DFW's widow about helping shape the latest novel and how she's coped with the loss and subsequent canonization of her husband, lover, and friend.

Michael Pietsch, DFW's longtime editor, writes about the massive task of taking David's unfinished manuscript and assembling it into something that could be published.

The New York Times sort of writes a review-thing about the novel here.

And lastly, if you haven't done it already, buy Infinite Jest and read it while studying this website. It will seriously change your life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cold Light

Part of the reason I was so eager to divest myself of Oblivion in our last year was that I felt divorced from the concept of the band itself. Oblivion was a hard rock band with (what we thought was) intellect and soul, but I no longer listened to heavy music. My personal tastes were doing a 360 and peeling back to those groups that had gotten me into music in the first place: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Oasis, Weezer, Radiohead. I was also listening to a ton of Sigur Ros. All of these bands put melody and songwriting ahead of brashness and intensity, and most of the songwriting I was doing at the time was just as quiet and introspective.

Not seeing much of an outlet for these new songs within Oblivion's playlist, I decided that I would team up with Ben Began (the producer of Oblivion's second LP) to make a small EP that would showcase the new direction I was heading into. The idea for the EP wouldn't come to fruition until a year later when I took the jumbled ends of this session and re-recorded two of the songs to create what would become the Maine EP. But in the Spring of 2004 it was me and Ben doing the best we could with a drum machine, some studio musicians and myself. "Cold Light" was the only fully-formed track that made it to the final EP, and that is largely to do with its spare arrangement. Not much needed to be added to it. It pretty much ended up on record exactly as I had imagined it. A tiny prayer whispered to the stars.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gabriel

Gabriel didn’t sleep, not in any way that could be understood by humans, but he did rest then. It was nothing that could do him any good. It was a catnap stolen by a soldier standing in a trench, the sounds of war exploding all around him, the sound of his own tortured heart echoing within. Gabriel saw faces. He heard voices. He felt G-d burning on his cheeks and the back of his neck. Millions of faces folded on one another until they became one face, the face of the girl, the face of the girl, but which girl? Which one? It didn’t matter. Both girls. One girl. Both girls.

He heard his own voice quietly whisper the prayer,“אלוהים, מברך את הילד הזה שאני שואל אותך לקבל לתוך החן מהמלכותשלך.” Lord, protect this child as she prepares to do your bidding. It was a simple prayer, general and clichéd but it was all he could think to say as he stared down at the girl in her bed, as she clutched at her bed sheets and tried to not cry at the burden they hoisted on her.

She asked only one thing, “Is there no other?”

She’d been fourteen. Too young for this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mergers and Acquisitions

For a primer on what the above title means, click here.

This was a relatively slow week for cultural consumption and takeover, but here goes.

Mergers
(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me (2004 Digital Remaster) - Most everybody knows the Naked Eyes version of this song, but I recently found out that a chica by the name of Sandie Shaw recorded a version of this way back in 1964, and it's AWESOME! It starts out with this bossa nova groove and then explodes into pure girl-group pop awesomeness by the chorus. I've been listening to this on repeat for about a week now. I'm a nerd. Also, this song has a pretty ridiculously storied past. It was written by Burt Bachrach and Hal Johnson and was demoed by Dionne Warwick. It ended up charting in the Top 100 in the US three separate times over thirty years. Wow. Just wow. Talk about a song having legs.

The Known World - A friend told me this book was awesome, and then followed that up by letting me borrow this awesome book, which was in and of itself awesome. And then I started reading it and, like, the darn thing is totally awesome! I'm only a quarter of the way through, but a story about a black man in antebellum North Carolina who owns slaves himself is too good of a premise to screw up. And to think, this thing is sort of based on true events.

Acquisitions
Mod 60's: The British Invasion - I bought this at Target for $5. It's one of those collections of rare tracks from the 1960's, and by rare I mean they are the crappy songs that no one wants...except for me. This was a super-awesome purchase. It has the afore-mentioned Sandie Shaw version of "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me," but it also has the only other two Zombies songs you'd want to own outside of Odessey And Oracle. It has some Hollies, some Donovan, some Lulu, and Dusty Springfield. It gives me chills just listing all these names. This was a damn good purchase.

Mystic River - I found this on the street in Brooklyn. It looks like someone crapped on the back third of it, but it was free, and now it's mine. I'm happy.