Ursula: Moving through 2023 with Books and Music (pt 3)

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KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Ursula: Moving through 2023 with Books and Music (pt 3)

toukokuu 22, 10:42 am

photo taken in Saarbrücken

Hello from Germany! I'm Ursula, 51 years old. I've been married to my husband Morgan for 12 years. We're both native Californians, but we have moved a lot beginning in 2013 due to his job as a mathematician in academia. We left Istanbul at the end of March and moved to Kaiserslautern, Germany.

In 2022, I managed to read 62 books. That's just slightly short of my hoped-for goal of 65 but you know, that's how it goes sometimes. Morgan and I also fell behind in our goal of listening to the various "best albums of 2021" lists, so we're trying to catch up there and also listening to the 2022 ones. I post an update on my listening weekly, and on my reading whenever I manage to finish something.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 18, 3:05 am

Books Read in 2023

.... January .... Ocak .... Januar ....
Pines by Blake Crouch ☆☆☆☆
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan ☆☆☆☆
New Animal by Ella Baxter ☆☆☆☆1/2
At the Edge of the Woods by Masatsugu Ono ☆☆1/2
The Golden Ass by Lucius Apuleius, translation by Robert Graves ☆☆☆☆
The White Mosque by Sofia Samatar ☆☆☆1/2

.... February .... Şubat .... Februar ....
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner ☆☆☆☆
Kaçırılan Çocuk by Robert Louis Stevenson ☆☆☆1/2
The Italian by Shukri Mabkhout ☆☆1/2
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ☆☆1/2
Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet ☆☆☆
The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler ☆☆☆1/2
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca ☆☆☆

.... March .... Mart .... März ....
Our Wives under the Sea by Julia Armfield ☆☆☆☆
Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen ☆☆1/2
Death on Gokumon Island by Seishi Yokomizo ☆☆☆
Wayward by Blake Crouch ☆☆☆1/2
Ducks by Kate Beaton ☆☆☆☆1/2
Ghost Eaters by Clay McLeod Chapman ☆☆☆1/2

.... April .... Nisan .... April ....
Walking Practice by Dolki Min ☆☆☆
An Unlasting Home by Mai Al-Nakib ☆☆☆
Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal ☆☆☆ 1/2
Spare by Prince Harry ☆☆☆☆☆

.... May .... Mayıs .... Mai ....
Death Is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa ☆☆☆☆
The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon ☆☆☆
Biography of X by Catherine Lacey ☆☆☆☆
Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka ☆☆☆ 1/2
Trespasses by Louise Kennedy ☆☆☆

.... June .... Haziran .... Juni ....
They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib ☆☆☆
The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li ☆☆☆☆
The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji ☆☆☆
Palo Alto by Malcolm Harris
Murder Book by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell ☆☆☆
I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury ☆☆☆
Universal Harvester by John Darnielle ☆☆☆ 1/2
Diary of a Void by Emi Yagi ☆☆☆ 1/2

John Dies at the End by Jason Pargin

toukokuu 22, 10:44 am

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey

First line: The first winter she was dead it seemed every day for months on end was damp and bright - it had always just rained, but I could never remember the rain - and I took the train down to the city a few days a week, searching (it seemed) for a building I might enter and fall from, a task about which I could never quite determine my own sincerity, as it seemed to me the seriousness of anyone looking for such a thing could not be understood until a body needed to be scraped from the sidewalk.

The narrator, CM Lucca, has lost her wife, whose name was simply X. She was an artist, a provocateur, a force of nature. She had no past, and she had a multitude of different identities in her adult life. Was she brilliant? An opportunist? An iconoclast or just a narcissist? After X dies and the narrator reads a biography written about her in which she's convinced the author has gotten just about everything wrong, she goes looking for answers.

The book has an unsettling atmosphere. People's motivations are inscrutable - X is of course the central mystery, but the narrator's motives shift and change, or perhaps become clearer over time. Even the backdrop is unsettling. At first it seems like a standard contemporary setting, but you quickly begin to get inklings that this is not quite the world you're familiar with.

It's not a perfect novel (it felt a little long, for one thing), but I enjoyed it.

Quote: But I know now a person always exceeds and resists the limits of a story about them, and no matter how widely we set the boundaries, their subjectivity spills over, drips at the edges, then rushes out completely. People are, it seems, too complicated to sit still inside a narrative, but that hasn't stopped anyone from trying, desperately trying, to compact a life into pages.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 23, 3:24 am

Weekly 5x5

Liliput - Kleenex/Liliput [punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Dreams Less Sweet - Psychic TV [experimental] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash [country] (1001 Albums list)
Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience [psychedelic rock] (1001 Albums list)
Palomino - Miranda Lambert [country] (2022 lists)

Kaleidoscope - Kelis [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Emancipation of Mimi - Mariah Carey [pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
My Aim Is True - Elvis Costello [new wave] (Morgan’s pick)
Surfer Rosa - Pixies [alternative rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
1989 - Taylor Swift [pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Young, Gifted and Black - Aretha Franklin [soul] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso [tropicália] (1001 Albums list)
Either/Or - Elliott Smith [indie] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
All Hail the Queen [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
How It Ends - Toledo [alternative] (2022 twitter list)

Best of Ike & Tina Turner - Ike & Tina Turner [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Os Mutantes - Os Mutantes [tropicália] (1001 Albums list)
War All the Time - Thursday [post-hardcore] (2003 anniversary list)
Truth - Jeff Beck [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen [singer-songwriter] (1001 Albums list)

Heaven Come Crashing - Rachika Nayar [experimental] (2022 lists)
In Rainbows - Radiohead [indie rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Ignorance - The Weather Station [indie rock] (2021 lists)
Shade - Grouper [indie rock] (2021 lists)
Night and Day - Joe Jackson [new wave] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

******Notes on this week:
  • This week was ... interesting. Again, not my favorite. I'd never listened to the full album from Folsom Prison before so it was good to do that and who doesn't like Johnny Cash? The Aretha was good but not my favorite. I liked the Os Mutantes more than the Caetano Veloso. Of the 2022 stuff, I enjoyed The Weather Station and Rachika Nayar

  • I enjoyed the Mariah more than I thought I would, but I admit I have never intentionally listened to her before - she was unavoidable for a while, but I've never sought out any of her music. I love Taylor, so 1989 is very familiar to me.

  • I don't like Radiohead! There, I said it. This album in particular felt like Coldplay for music snobs. I also don't like Elliott Smith. Either/Or was not particularly inspiring, I think one song stood out to me (though I don't remember which one now). The Thursday album was the last one on my 2003 hardcore/emo anniversary list.

  • Below the chart: Really enjoyed Vincebus Eruptum by Blue Cheer. Iron Butterfly In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida less so.

toukokuu 23, 1:47 pm

>5 ursula: Nice summary of Biography of X. It really is a hard book to describe. I think setting it in an alternate version of America weakened the story, but Lacey had some interesting ideas.

toukokuu 23, 7:49 pm

I love your drawing from the previous thread.

I skimmed over your comments on Biography of X because I hope to read it soon.

toukokuu 24, 2:37 am

>7 RidgewayGirl: Thanks, it definitely is difficult to describe. I can see what you mean, although I'm not sure what else would give her the license to use real people and cultural touchstones in quite the way she did. I don't know if her choices about what that alternate version looked like were the best ones, though.

>8 BLBera: Thank you! I'll be interested to see what you have to say about Biography of X when you get there.

toukokuu 28, 3:57 am

Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka

First line: Looking out at the city, Suzuki thinks about insects.

The idea is there in the title, the book has alternating chapters about three very different assassins. You know how it goes - some are more enthusiastic about their jobs than others, there are big bosses and intrigues, etc. This was fine, it was a quick read and kept me turning pages. Not my favorite thing ever, but definitely had some interesting moments. If you're into this kind of thriller, it's a diverting choice.

toukokuu 29, 12:36 pm

Weekly 5x5

The Beatles - The Beatles [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Some Rap Songs - Earl Sweatshirt [hip hop] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks [rock] (1001 Albums list/Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Streetcleaner - Godflesh [industrial metal] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Rocket to Russia - Ramones [punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Currents - Tame Impala [psychedelic pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Scott 2 - Scott Walker [art pop] (1001 Albums list)
Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)
Amatssou - Tinariwen [desert blues] (new releases)
Music from Big Pink - The Band [roots rock] (1001 Albums list)

Sweetheart of the Rodeo - The Byrds [country rock] (1001 Albums list)
Hygiene - Drug Church [post-punk] (2022 lists)
Listen without Prejudice - George Michael [pop] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Learning to Be Happy - Kayleigh Goldsworthy [singer-songwriter] (self pick)
Private Dancer - Tina Turner [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Mister Yellowman - Yellowman [reggae] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Pompeii - Cate LeBon [art pop] (2022 lists)
Mingus Ah Am - Charles Mingus [jazz] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Rio - Duran Duran [new wave] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Grow Your Hair Long If You’re Wanting to See Something That You Can Change - Field Medic [folk] (2022 twitter list)

Cupid & Psyche 85 - Scritti Politti [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd - Lynryd Skynyrd [southern rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Moving Pictures - Rush [progressive rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
For the First Time - Black Country, New Road [experimental rock] (2021 lists)
The Sounds of India - Ravi Shankar [Hindustani classical] (1001 Albums list)

******Notes on this week:

  • Morgan said "Oh, you listened to Village Green Preservation Society. What did you think, and why is it the best?"

  • Listened to Tina Turner not related to her death, I think I listened to that the day before she died. Familiar to me, not my favorite (although I'm pretty sure I had the album when I was young). Black Country, New Road and Cate LeBon were both albums I'd heard songs from before and felt lukewarm but liked them much better this time around.

    I enjoyed Tinariwen, just like I have liked Mdou Moctar. Who knew that Tuareg music was missing from my life?

    I love The Band. That's it, that's the comment.

  • I enjoy Earl Sweatshirt, it was good to have a reason to revisit this album. Bookends has a couple of my favorite songs, but it's my least favorite and least played S&G album.

  • Tame Impala is something that's always recommended to me based on other things I like, but I find his lyrics annoying and his music boring so. *shrug* I don't do Rush - I gave it the benefit of an open mind (even though I've certainly heard this album more than a few times in my life already) and it still doesn't work for me.

I got to put on the Kayleigh Goldsworthy LP I bought at the record store in Cologne the day we went to see her play. That was fun!

toukokuu 29, 9:00 pm

So, were the Kinks the best? I got really into that album at first, and then sort of fell out a little with it.

toukokuu 30, 6:26 am

A great listening week with plenty of classic albums and maybe my favourite pop album from the 80's Cupid and Psyche 85. Rush is a band that passed me by at the time and I have only recently listened to them - Moving Pictures was my favourite album. Tinariwen and the Ravi Shankar albums are great listening experiences, taking you into another world and you can't beat that.

toukokuu 30, 9:23 am

>12 dchaikin: I think I liked it best out of the ones I've listened to. But I should probably go back and actually assess. :)

>13 baswood: I listened to Rush with new ears, like I try to for all these albums, no matter my preconceptions. The interesting thing I discovered while listening to "Limelight" (a song very familiar to me) was how it's completely driven by the drums. I know Neil Peart was a big deal in the drumming world, etc, but I was surprised how the song really came from the drums. In looking it up, I found out that he also wrote a lot of/most of the lyrics for the band so I guess that makes sense.

I didn't really connect with the Scritti Politti, I'll make another attempt at it in the future!

toukokuu 30, 10:06 am

Rush got me through high school. I worshipped them. I don’t listen much anymore, and mostly now out of nostalgia. Neil Peart always drove everything - drums, heavy (and creative) base, and carefully choreographed stuff all driven by timing. And he was the main writer and defined the bands themes. 2112 was always what i loved best. Hemispheres is a nice overlooked album. Moving Pictures is special.

toukokuu 31, 3:54 am

>15 dchaikin: Prog is just not my music, with just a few specific exceptions.

kesäkuu 2, 1:55 am


kesäkuu 2, 10:42 am

>10 ursula: Felt the same way about his Bullet Train, being a mostly fine thriller with a few funny moments. I will read Three Assains probably as filler at some point, but nothing I think I need to jump on next.

Still woefully behind, I think Wlaking Practice sounds like such an interesting story. I hadn't heard the backstory before and will certainly color my reading of that one.

kesäkuu 4, 2:37 am

>18 stretch: Hi, good to see you! I feel the same - that I will probably read Bullet Train at some point, but not for any reason except as some hopefully fun filler.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 12, 4:01 am

Weekly 5x5

Tommy - The Who [rock] (1001 Albums list)
American Heartbreak - Zach Bryan [country] (2022 lists) (partial)
Tha Carter II - Lil Wayne [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Rain Dogs - Tom Waits [experimental rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence - Ryuichi Sakamoto [soundtrack] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Maximumblastsuperloud - Dazy [power pop] (self pick) (partial)
King of the Delta Blues Singers - Robert Johnson [blues] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
S. F. Sorrow - The Pretty Things [psychedelic rock] (1001 Albums list)
Jane from Occupied Europe - Swell Maps [post-punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Dookie - Green Day [punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Paul’s Boutique - Beastie Boys [hip hop] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Walls and Bridges - John Lennon [rock] (self pick/record play)
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake - Small Faces [psychedelia] (1001 Albums list)
The Faith - Faith [hardcore] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Void - Void [hardcore] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Fever to Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs [alternative] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
This Is for the Barbarians - Mondo Cozmo [folk rock] (2022 twitter list)
MUNA - MUNA [synth pop] (2022 lists)
In the Aeroplane over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel [indie] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Notorious Byrd Brothers - The Byrds [rock] (1001 Albums list)

The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter - The Incredible String Band [acid folk] (1001 Albums list)
Beggars Banquet - The Rolling Stones [rock] (1001 Albums list)
It’s Time … To Rise from the Grave - Undeath [death metal] (2022 lists)
The United States of America - The United States of America [experimental rock] (1001 Albums list)
Rhyme Pays - Ice-T [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Weirdly I don't feel like I have a lot to say about this week. Some good, some bad, some indifferent.

  • I'm trying to play Morgan's records (a good number of them inherited from his stepfather) so we can assess the condition. This week I played Walls and Bridges.

  • Somehow I was aware of all the buzz around Neutral Milk Hotel and yet had never sat down to actually listen to this album, the holy grail for so many people. It was fine. I liked a good amount of it but occasionally his voice just killed me. *shrug*

  • I like Zach Bryan. I didn't actually listen to the full album, just the first 20 songs(!). Triple albums are not something I'm going to sit down and listen to in their entirety, maybe ever.

kesäkuu 4, 12:02 pm

More classics from the sixties Tommy, Beggars Banquet, and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter not forgetting S F Sorrow and Ogdens Nut Gone Flake.

Green Days Dookie is excellent punk and that classic blues record from Robert Johnson which has been repackaged so many times. Then In the aeroplane over the sea and it sounds to me like a good week

kesäkuu 4, 10:27 pm

Tom Waits and Robert Johnson for me. The latter's "Love in vain" twists me inside out no matter how many times I hear it.

I heard NMH live in The Knitting Factory in the mid-1990s, not sure about the buzz (how would I know anyway...) Nobody seemed to be paying them much attention but I recall I thought it some interesting odd-shaped music. Lyrics? Forget it. But the nonsensical name registered enough that as their reputation grew I'd remember the occasion.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 5, 4:07 am

>21 baswood: Indeed. I think I'm in 1969 on the 1001 list? I really liked S.F. Sorrow; Ogdens Nut Gone Flake not so much. Morgan was the right age to be a young teenager going to Gilman St and seeing Green Day among many other punk bands. I remember this album coming out and being everywhere but it was not my thing at the time. I appreciate it now. :)

>22 LolaWalser: Yes, I liked the Tom Waits a lot. I have never really listened to him for whatever reason. Morgan did a run through his discography a few months ago.

Nice to have seen NMH, it's my understanding the singer became somewhat reclusive. I mostly associate them with the experience of record store customers wanting something else like that album, and complaining nothing was ever going to measure up to it. I guess I developed some prejudices about it just based on how everyone seemed to worship it. You know, like when everyone is saying something is the best book ever!

kesäkuu 6, 9:55 am

Oh, wow, The Notorious Byrd Brothers and Sweetheart of the Rodeo from your previous post are two wonderful and ground-breaking albums (especially Sweetheart when it comes to "ground breaking") and hugely important in my own music listening life. I've also been a huge Tom Waits fan, through all the permutations of his stylings, since "The Heart of Saturday Night," which is one of my desert island albums.

kesäkuu 7, 3:54 am

>24 rocketjk: I loved Sweetheart of the Rodeo!

kesäkuu 7, 8:12 am

>25 ursula: I was a Byrds fanatic for a long time, discovering all the band's various phases and personnel in retrospect. I remember reading that "Sweetheart" was originally recorded with Gram Parsons doing all the lead vocals, but someone (I can't remember who, either Roger McGuinn, the record's producer or some record company executive) decided the album wouldn't be commercial enough that way, as nobody knew who Parsons was at that point, so half the songs were remixed with McGuinn's lead vocals. It would be great to hear Parsons' vocals on all those songs, but in a way it was a genius decision. An all-Parsons "Sweetheart" would have been more like a rock band doing a country album. As it was, they created one of the very first country-rock albums.

kesäkuu 7, 9:09 am

>26 rocketjk: I skimmed the Wikipedia article when I was listening to it, and it said that it was a label issue with Parsons, he was supposedly still under contract somewhere else. And there's a slightly spicy comment saying that Parsons didn't think McGuinn recording over his vocals was entirely prompted by fear of legal issues. Being in bands sounds so fun.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 7, 12:28 pm

>27 ursula: "And there's a slightly spicy comment saying that Parsons didn't think McGuinn recording over his vocals was entirely prompted by fear of legal issues."

Right, now that you mention that angle, it makes sense. McGuinn, certainly by that time with all the other original members of the Byrds except for Chris Hillman already gone, saw the Byrds as his band. He wouldn't have cottoned to much to the group suddenly having a new lead singer doing all the material.

kesäkuu 11, 2:07 pm

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

I don't read a lot of essay collections. I read this one only because I've seen the author's name on Twitter enough and he also blurbed Geoff Rickly's upcoming book. The essays are all from the mid-2010s, I think? and they cover topics of music, race, belonging, having an Arabic name in America, etc. As is to be expected, some were really engaging and some were less so. I skipped one about basketball entirely (about um, Allen Iverson I think?) He wrote a pretty good essay about My Chemical Romance, which was interesting for me to read, and also a few about going to punk and emo shows, and specifically what it's like being the only black person in a lot of those rooms. So - an uneven reading experience for me, but generally positive.

kesäkuu 11, 2:08 pm

>28 rocketjk: Yeah, seems like those might not be the best dynamics!

kesäkuu 12, 12:11 pm

Weekly 5x5

Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band [experimental rock] (1001 Albums list)
All Things Must Pass - George Harrison [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Madvillainy - Madvillain [alternative hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Laughing so Hard, It Hurts - Mavi [hip hop] (2022 lists)
Norwegian Gothic - Årabrot [sludge metal] (2021 lists)

The Infamous - Mobb Deep [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Hypnos - Ravyn Lenae [r&b] (2022 lists)
Footsteps in the Dark - Cat Stevens [folk] (self pick, vinyl)
Amnesia - Mr. Fingers [dance] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Trouble the Water - Show Me the Body [hardcore punk] (2022 lists)

Searching for the Disappeared Hour - Sylvie Courvoisier & Mary Halvorson [jazz] (2021 lists)
Disintegration - The Cure [gothic rock] (Morgan's pick, vinyl)
Odessey and Oracle - The Zombies [psychedelic pop] (1001 Albums list)
The Indestructible Beat of Soweto Vol. 1 - Various Artists [mbaqanga] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
The Ultra Vivid Lament - Manic Street Preachers [alternative rock] (2021 lists)

More Songs About Buildings and Food - Talking Heads [new wave] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Joshua Tree - U2 [rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears [rock] (1001 Albums list)
BAD Mode - Hikaru Utada [pop] (2022 lists)
Plonk - Huerco S. [experimental] (2022 lists)

Peter Gabriel III (Melt) - Peter Gabriel [rock] (self-pick, vinyl)
Goodbye and Hello - Tim Buckley [rolk rock] (1001 Albums list)
Traffic - Traffic [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Rocks - Aerosmith [hard rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Closer - Joy Division [post-punk] (Morgan’s pick, vinyl)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart (ie, albums too short to make it on the list):
    Happy Sad - Tim Buckley (1001 list)
    Mothership Connection - Parliament (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Shoot Out the Lights - Richard & Linda Thompson (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    British Steel - Judas Priest (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

  • Let's see here - favorites from lists this week were The Zombies, although it wasn't new to me (and it's one of Morgan's favorites), George Harrison and Talking Heads. Nothing new to me. The Captain Beefheart was an experience - I'd never listened to it before and although I can't really imagine the occasion when I'd say "hey let's listen to that", it was definitely interesting. Nothing really grabbed me from the 2021/2022 lists this week, although Årabrot was cool if you're into something that's a little like Black Sabbath crossed with New Order.

  • I picked up the Cat Stevens in a record store near here - it's a compilation album but it's my favorite because it's the closest thing to a soundtrack for Harold and Maude, and it's also not available on Apple Music.

kesäkuu 12, 4:50 pm

Tim Buckley's Hello and Goodbye is very good (The song "Once I Was," has been often covered but Buckley's version never improved upon, for my money), but Happy/Sad is on my 10-album desert island list. An amazing set of music. I have a short biography of Buckley sitting on my music shelf that I ought to get to one of these days.

kesäkuu 13, 2:10 am

>29 ursula:

I liked this a lot although I'd never heard 99% of the music he mentions. Some I looked up on YouTube; nothing that would grab my heart at this late age, though. I found most interesting how political he made engagement with music seem, in the US there are no "innocent" choices (something that I think can lead, or at least has led in the past, to some more or less comical misunderstandings from the European point of view).

>31 ursula:

As usual, not much overlap. Captain Beefheart appealed to me as part of the zany, circus-y, nonsense & absurd-theatrical aspect of life that I'm ever on the lookout for. (If we extend a straight line from them to infinity, somewhere they'll intersect with street buskers, Punch & Judy shows, *and* Throbbing Gristle. Or so it says in my philosophy.) I presume Kurt Schwitters lurks somewhere in their origins...

Yes to The Cure.

Peter Gabriel-- I have only one recording of his, Us, on which I played obsessively just one song, "Washing of the water". I was horribly depressed and that song really helped.

kesäkuu 14, 3:24 am

>32 rocketjk: I'd never listened to Tim Buckley before. (I always feel vaguely embarrassed when I have to say that, but of course we all have our blind spots.) I've added the albums to my library and will listen again, definitely.

>33 LolaWalser: I was familiar with most of the music he talked about although of course not all of it appeals to me. I've been thinking but I'm not really sure how to respond to the comment about engagement with music being political - I am maybe just so used to it that I'm not sure how it would be separate?

Thanks for mentioning Kurt Schwitters, I hadn't heard the name but right up my alley!

Love The Cure.

I also love Peter Gabriel. I saw him on the tour for Us, in fact. When he played "Don't Give Up" (a duet recorded with Kate Bush), Sinead O'Connor came out and sang it with him, which was unexpected but cool.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 14, 7:59 am

The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li

First line: You cannot cut an apple with an apple.

What an intriguing little book. Two young girls, Agnes and Fabienne, live in a village in postwar France. Fabienne is brash, often disliked by others. Agnes is unassuming, somewhat malleable. She only wants to spend time with Fabienne, but Fabienne has other plans. Her new game for the two of them is writing novels - she dictates, Agnes writes them down.

There's a comparison to be made to Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, but it's not the same. It's very contained in scope, and internal in nature, and in a lot of ways impenetrable. I didn't walk away feeling like I particularly understood anyone's motivation, but I was compelled by it all anyway; the girls are vivid characters, and they're surrounded by others who are appropriately opaque to a young teenager. I felt like the book captured that in-between time when you want to determine life for yourself and yet have no idea what you really want or how to get it.

Ugh, this is why I don't read descriptions of books, they always sound terrible. I enjoyed this book quite a lot, but it's more one to ponder over than one to hand you any answers.

kesäkuu 15, 11:17 am

>34 ursula:

I've been thinking but I'm not really sure how to respond to the comment about engagement with music being political - I am maybe just so used to it that I'm not sure how it would be separate?

Oh, I should have been more specific, I meant political in the aspect that he writes about, race. Of course music by black musicians was always racialized in whites' eyes even in Europe but I don't think many people would have been aware that goes both ways!

Incidentally, The Cure played in my backyard last night. :)

>35 ursula:


kesäkuu 16, 3:47 am

>36 LolaWalser: Ah, that makes more sense!

kesäkuu 16, 12:56 pm

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji

First line: The sea at night. A time of peace.

This is a recent translation of a Japanese mystery from 1987. It's one of those locked-room mysteries that seem to have had quite a heyday in Japan. This one refers in the text to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and shares some similarities - an island setting, victims dying one by one, etc. In this case, the victims are members of their university's Mystery Club, and they're on the island on the anniversary of a multiple murder at the titular Decagon House. That murder was not really solved satisfactorily, and it turns out they have all received mysterious letters about it as well.

I'm not going to say much about the book, but I will say I found it quite ingenious, once I was finished. I'm not one to try to figure things out while I'm reading, so I can't say what it would be like if you are that kind of person; but for me, I definitely didn't guess the solution and I was also a little mad at myself for not guessing it. :)

kesäkuu 16, 11:13 pm

>35 ursula: Oh, I'm glad you liked this.

kesäkuu 19, 9:15 am

>39 RidgewayGirl: Yes, it's a hard to categorize book but I did enjoy it.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 19, 9:28 am

Weekly 5x5

II - Meat Puppets [cowpunk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Music Has the Right to Children - Boards of Canada [electronic] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
From Elvis in Memphis - Elvis Presley [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Nothing New Under the Sun - Time Binding Ensemble [neoclassical] (2021 lists)
At Death's Door - Goodbye World [metal] (2021 lists)

Germ Free Adolescents - X-Ray Spex [punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Black Parade - My Chemical Romance [pop-punk/rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Radio City - Big Star [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Chicago Transit Authority - Chicago [jazz rock] (1001 Albums list)
Compilation - The Clean [indie rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Mind Palace Music - @ [folk-pop] (Morgan’s pick)
Never Before Seen, Never Again Found - Arm's Length [emo] (self pick/favorite of 2022)
Dusty in Memphis - Dusty Springfield [pop] (1001 Albums list)
Rumours - Fleetwood Mac [rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
LIFE ON EARTH - Hooray for the Riff Raff [nature punk] (2022 lists)

Radio - LL Cool J [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Revealer - Madison Cunningham [americana] (2022 lists)
Goo - Sonic Youth [alternative rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Aşk - Altın Gün [Anatolian rock/Turkish psychedelic rock] (new releases)
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)

Lyte as a Rock - MC Lyte [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Hotter Than July - Stevie Wonder [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Never the Right Time - Andy Stott [electronic] (2021 lists)
Time Skiffs - Animal Collective [neo-psychedelia] (2022 lists)
Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival [rock] (1001 Albums list)

******Notes on this week (Everyone’s in Memphis!):
  • Below the chart this week:
    Bayou Country - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1001 Albums list)
    Gris-Gris - Dr. John (1001 Albums list) and also (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) this week - loved this!
    Never Too Much - Luther Vandross (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Rain Dogs - Tom Waits (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) - making its 3rd appearance on my lists in a matter of weeks
    Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) - 🤘
    Imperial Bedroom - Elvis Costello (200 Best Albums of the 80s list), listened to on the RS500, I didn’t listen to it again this week
    Dolmen Music - Meredith Monk (200 Best Albums of the 80s list) - weird!
    Mayan Space Station - William Parker (2021 lists) - good!
    Frog of Earth - Frog of Earth (2021 lists) - weird!
    One Nation Under a Groove - Funkadelic (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Everyone’s Crushed - Water from Your Eyes (Morgan’s pick)

  • Well, this was a pretty good week! Maybe easier to first highlight some things I really did not like: Boards of Canada. Time Binding Ensemble. Goodbye World.

  • Getting to The Black Parade on the RS list was nice - it's not my favorite My Chem album but it's their best. And it has a guest vocal from Liza Minnelli!
    Big Star ❤️.
    I listened to Arm's Length again because they're touring the US right now and seeing clips from the shows is killing me. Also I have the album coming to me later this year (has to wait to ship with something Morgan is getting that's not released till September).

  • Speaking of Morgan, these last couple of weeks on the TrebleZine list have been tough for him - he's had to listen to The Joshua Tree and Rumours. He conceded that The Joshua Tree was "fine", but a complete listen to Rumours did not raise his like-o-meter above "this is awful". Also, I asked him if it was a hot take to say I liked Goo much better than Daydream Nation but he says it's not that unusual (a quick google shows in 3 sites' rankings, Daydream Nation is #1 in 2 of them with Goo at #4/#5, and Goo is #1 on one of them).

kesäkuu 19, 10:20 am

Murder Book by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

So what's up with the interest in true crime, specifically murder? Hilary Campbell explores that, as it relates to herself and her family, trying to see if she can extrapolate any larger conclusions. But she comments on her own storytelling style being scattered, and she's not wrong. I didn't necessarily have a problem with the meandering, the tangential stories, etc.

What I did find difficult was the way her dialogue bubbles and other information were often scattered around on the page, meaning I sometimes got lost. I don't pretend to be any sort of graphic novel expert, but I generally don't have a ton of trouble following the trail - here I did at times.

Anyway, I think that if you are already someone who follows true crime, or has in the past, you'll relate to a lot of this. If not, I don't think it's going to give you any answers why people get sucked in. There was a lot of stuff about tv shows that I could nod along about - particularly this about Forensic Files:

kesäkuu 19, 3:14 pm

>42 ursula: Love the page taking apart the episode structure. And it did take ma a while to figure out who was saying what at the top. No idea why anybody would be interested in true crime, but why not.

kesäkuu 19, 5:08 pm

>42 ursula: The book that I thought got closest to answering the question of why women are so drawn to true crime was Mercy: A Memoir by Marcia Trahan, a book published by a very small press. From what I remember, it was about the illusion of control. Men may kill women, but by reading/watching true crime, we can gain the illusion of moving from potential victim to crime solver.

kesäkuu 19, 5:23 pm

>42 ursula: I'm not into true crime, but maybe for that reason a graphic treatment interests me. It seems like a lightweight immersion, which is probably about all I would want.

kesäkuu 19, 6:24 pm

>31 ursula: Closer - Joy Division and Cure - Disintegration; are two defining moments in melancholia.

kesäkuu 19, 9:04 pm

Not everything needs to be a graphic novel...

kesäkuu 19, 9:07 pm

a complete listen to Rumours did not raise his like-o-meter above "this is awful

Is this the Fleetwood Mac album? My god, I hate it so much. Actually, I can't listen to anything of theirs except for the very earliest stuff with Peter Green, which may as well be an altogether different band.

kesäkuu 20, 4:18 am

>43 FlorenceArt: I didn't have a page saved that really showed how it got confusing but basically yeah, it was like that --- but stacked on top of more panels like that and stretching more speech bubbles, etc.

I have definitely had my periods in my life when I've followed a lot of true crime. Not sure why, and still not sure after reading this. ;)

>44 RidgewayGirl: That's definitely an aspect that Campbell touches on - that knowing all of this can give a sort of protection, and also I guess give you a sense of doing something for the victims. Hearing the story, taking lessons from it, and so on.

There's a part near the end where she wonders if a guy is following her and she panics and heads home, where everyone congratulates her on being so aware. I was torn; of course something could have happened but in general I think paranoia is not something to be lauded. (And given what she reported about the incident, it seemed like paranoia to me.)

>45 lisapeet: Definitely a lightweight immersion. She goes into some detail of a couple of cases - Ted Bundy and a woman who went missing near where she (Campbell) was living, but not into graphic detail, just about the way both the perpetrators were able to evade cops for a while and so on.

kesäkuu 20, 4:23 am

>46 baswood: Yes, although I don't usually think of them that way, just as the music of my late high school years! (which would of course be melancholia)

>47 LolaWalser: Definitely true. But I guess I can't begrudge someone who is a comics writer by profession who wants to tell a story. I do think though, it's just that it was the natural medium for her rather than that there was much of anything to be gained by the format. Maybe it keeps it very surface level, which is good.

>48 LolaWalser: Indeed, Fleetwood Mac. We have both agreed for certain lists to listen again even to things we know we hate. :) It's been instructive listening with "new ears" - I don't think I've ever completely changed my mind about something but I have found things to appreciate in some cases. Rumours is just total background music for me, I hate some of it and the rest of it is just familiar. For him, it's nails on a chalkboard, and it remains that way! I like one Fleetwood Mac song, "Landslide", and I like it better covered by Billy Corgan.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 20, 11:35 am

OOPs wrong place

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 20, 9:42 am

I don't have the visceral negative reaction to the Nicks/Buckingham version of Fleetwood Mac that others have expressed here. Any more. They had an ear for melody and some of the songs make good driving music. But at the time Rumours was released, I was in college. My friends and I were mostly country rock/blues fans: Grateful Dead, New Riders, Marshall Tucker, Byrds, Poco, Burrito Brothers, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, etc. That plus hard rock like Jethro Tull. When Rumours got so popular so fast, it was a bad sign that the backbone was being yanked out of the music that we'd loved so (what seemed to us then) so long. There's a great scene in the movie "Almost Famous" that this makes me think of (not a great movie, I guess, but one that resonates with me very strongly because it captures very well a particular mood of a particular time that was a pivotal one for me). This is a movie about a rock band surrounded by groupies in the beginning of the 1970s, when "alternative rock" was being turned into pop music. In the scene I'm thinking of, the band's potential new agent is telling the musicians that it is time to cash in commercially as much as they can, and immediately, because (and I'm paraphrasing), "the corporate guys are about to suck all the joy and heart out of the music and there will be nothing left of it that you recognize." Hence, "Rumours." At any rate, I sympathize with the hatred, y'all. Although along with the early Peter Green days, as LW has pointed out, I did like some of the pre-Nicks/Buckingham albums when Christine McVie was the lead singer.

Anyway, this was just about the time that I more or less accidentally got shoved into the jazz lane, so I survived, and then some.

kesäkuu 20, 12:25 pm

>51 baswood: It happens!

>52 rocketjk: I don't particularly see Fleetwood Mac (or anyone else) as the harbinger of doom for a musical era. There's always something else going on if you look for it and popular music has gone through many waves of being more and less inventive. What matters to most people is if what's popular at the moment hits their sweet spot or not. If so, it's a great time for music, if not, it sucks. :)

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 20, 2:31 pm

>53 ursula: Oh, sure. I agree with you entirely that there's always lots of good music around, and that trends come and go. I'm referring to one particular sea change, as well as the ways in which what becomes commercially popular can inform us about the culture of the moment. I turned 22 in 1977. It was that moment when "independent" and/or "underground" FM radio stations had morphed into "AOR (Album Oriented Radio)," DJs were instructed which one or two cuts to play from given albums instead of being allowed to present as many as they thought were high enough quality to play* (although, paradoxically, it seemed that every cut off of Rumours got played to death), and record company executives went from being willing to record and promote experimental or inventive musicians to, much more often, insisting instead upon artists/albums that could maximize sales. Rumours caught that wave perfectly, I think. For me, anyway, in retrospect, that album does stand as a sign of that development. Slick rock was in! Rumours was high quality, well produced pop music, in my view, but it was offered, and accepted, in place of music that relied on heart rather than production values (sez I, at any rate). But, yes, and to your point, one aspect of all this that gets my goat in particular is the fact that my own peers took this bait! We had gone from Little Feat's "Time Loves a Hero" (Lowell George's death in 1979 was a dagger to the heart!) to Boz Skaggs' "Silk Degrees!"

Of course, also to your point, 1977 is the year Elvis Costello debuted with "My Aim is True," Graham Parker had already released "Heat Treatment" in 1976," and Bruce Springsteen (I recall that you don't like him) released "Darkness on the Edge of Town" (still my favorite Springsteen album, and that's a very high bar for me) in 1978. And those are just the three that occur to me off the top of my head. So it's not that there was no longer good music being made. And all hail Stevie Wonder's "Songs in the Key of Life," which crossed all boundaries and jumped all hurdles. It was more the way the culture was morphing in ways I didn't care for, to put it mildly, as evidenced by what you could actually hear on the radio, which, although now it sounds like I'm talking about the Stone Age, was actually a big deal at the time. Another example comes to mind: Joni Mitchell released the wonderful "Don Juan's Reckless Daughter" in 1977. In 1970 or '72, you might have heard adventurous commercial DJs playing tracks from that album. By 1977, you needed to tune in to a college station, which is also where you needed to go to hear the many great punk rock bands and the great blues musicians.

Things are actually better now, because nobody who cares about music has to care about what radio station executives or record company A&R hacks have to say about anything. I just spend all my time on Bandcamp researching the new wave of African/English jazz musicians in Great Britain and Africa, and other inventive players. (Recent favorites, not that anybody asked me, include saxophonist Camilla George's great release, "The People Could Fly" and American drummer Ches Smith's Haitian-influenced group, "Ches Smith and We All Break.")

* I was living in Boston, attending Boston University. I clearly recall previously inventive radio station WBCN actually announcing this change in policy, with their (new) program director being quoted as saying dismissively, "Why should we play six different songs off the same record? We'll choose one or two and the DJs will play those." It wasn't quite Top 40, but it was, say, Top 100.

Apologies for the long ramble!

kesäkuu 21, 5:12 am

>54 rocketjk: No apologies ever needed for long rambles!

I think I didn't express myself well (I've been struggling with tonsillitis for the last 5 or so days and finally just got some antibiotics yesterday). I'm strictly talking about "popular" music, ie, top 40 or radio. And yes, exactly, it's indicative of the ways some aspects of culture are changing. But someone (lots of someones, often!) are happy to hear Fleetwood Mac on the radio, or disco, or whatever. It's just no longer your (the general you, or rather the specific you that doesn't like those things) idea of good music.

And yeah, I feel like what you're talking about led exactly to the sort of splits in radio to more niche-type stations where people could find what they thought was good (alternative stations were the place for me in high school, etc). And then Clear Channel came in and destroyed any variety at all in radio and that was that! But anyhow, I was just thinking about people who say "the 80s sucked" or the like, when they're really just saying "what was on the radio/top 40 charts in the 80s wasn't to my liking". Of course there's room for stuff that's objectively bad too, but a lot of it just didn't appeal to the person who is talking!

Speaking of "slickly produced", the other day Morgan and I were listening to The Cars (with new ears, we're both familiar!) and were discussing just how good and interesting it really is. But also the definition of slickly produced.

Anyway, I'm not arguing with you, and I think we're pretty much on the same page here but I wanted to take the opportunity to try to write the post that was actually in my head up there. :)

Oh and also, it's totally great that bandcamp exists and streaming exists and etc, and at the same time sometimes I feel like I miss the uniting factor of having everyone exposed to the same things, whether you love it or hate it. The 9 years between Morgan and me changed everything - I grew up with 3 tv stations, everyone seeing the same things. He had Nickelodeon and kids' channels. I had top 40 radio and a college station I was lucky enough to be able to access on a good weather day - Napster started the year he graduated from high school.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 21, 6:07 am

>55 ursula: "I was just thinking about people who say "the 80s sucked" or the like, when they're really just saying "what was on the radio/top 40 charts in the 80s wasn't to my liking". Of course there's room for stuff that's objectively bad too, but a lot of it just didn't appeal to the person who is talking!"

Yes, this 100%. I have a very good friend who was constantly complaining about how music had gotten rotten. What he meant was that the music that the San Francisco radio station we used to think was good was playing had become mediocre (to us) and less varied, as well. It took me years to finally convince him that just because KFOG was playing commercial music that we no longer liked didn't mean that a) there weren't obviously a lot of people who did like it and that b) there wasn't a ton of good (to us) music being made, and that he just needed to find other music sources. Well, really I don't think I've ever convinced him of a), but at least he did get hip to b).

For the record, I don't have a grudge against slickly produced music per se, but only against music in which the production seems to be the main point. There was a while in the 90s where the producers actually became the stars, and nobody seemed to know much about who was actually performing on the recordings. Remember C+C Music Factory? Speaking personally, I never cared for the Cars. I just didn't like their singing voices and I never thought their songs were tuneful but were instead melodically dull. But to each his/her/their own, and I only know their hits. But I do appreciate the idea of listening to old favorites years later with fresh ears. I was making a practice of that before we left for our current year in New York and I had to leave the LPs behind for now. Off the top of my head I can think of David Bowie's "Heroes" album as one that I hadn't heard for a long time and that I found particularly enjoyable.

"{S}ometimes I feel like I miss the uniting factor of having everyone exposed to the same things, whether you love it or hate it."

I know what you mean. When I was a kid, everybody knew the words to "Help Me Rhonda," "Day Tripper" and "Stop in the Name of Love." We took it for granted, but, yeah, that was cool.

Anyway, by 1979 I was in New Orleans, gorging on blues and New Orleans R&B, and by 1981 I was producing blues and jazz shows on the New Orleans NPR affiliate. If I hadn't had a girlfriend with a daughter who was an early MTV devotee, 80s pop/rock music would be pretty much a blank to me entirely. Joe Jackson and the Pretenders are my favorites of that era, I guess. And Billy Idol, come to think of it.

kesäkuu 21, 7:16 am

Seeing you guys discussing music and how it intertwines with your lives made me think of this short story:
Let All The Children Boogie
I never had that kind of relationship to music myself, but I enjoy your conversations.

kesäkuu 21, 12:49 pm

Palo Alto by Malcolm Harris

I've been putting off writing about this one for a little bit, partially because I've been sick and partially because I just don't really know what to say.

I am a native Californian, and I lived in the Silicon Valley for 15 years, from 1992-2007. I worked in the first bubble, was laid off in 2001 and decided I had no interest in going back to work in that environment. Instead, I opted to work for Borders - in downtown Palo Alto. My ex-husband bought a house in Palo Alto and moved the kids there when they were in 2nd and 3rd grades; they graduated from Palo Alto High School (Paly).

Given all of that, I said on my 75er thread that I simultaneously felt like I couldn't possibly be the audience for this book and also that I might be the only audience for this book. In other words, I don't know how much of my response is relevant to anyone else.

I was not prepared for the opening of the book, which talks about the grouping of high school suicides of 2009. I remember that time well because one of my bookstore coworkers killed herself in May 2009, and beginning the very next day, this cluster of high school students followed. In Palo Alto, train is the method. Most of the students in this cluster were from the other high school, Gunn, rather than from Paly, but I believe there were 2 from there too. I was in Colorado, and my daughter was struggling as well - it was a scary, scary time as I responded to her text messages in the best way I could while also feeling like I was constantly getting news of yet another death.

He brings it up (and another cluster 5 years later) as a sign that something is deeply, deeply wrong in Palo Alto. And yes, there was certainly a lot of hand-wringing and "oh my, our poor children are under such pressure, I guess" talk, but this book shows it's been rotten from the beginning.

He goes back to the early days in California, gold mining and the ways that parallels every other industry that's taken its place - get what you need to get out, while destroying everything if you have to, and then find the next thing. "Move fast and break things" goes way back, in other words. But aside from that, my big revelation is that it's eugenics all the way down. Two middle schools in Palo Alto have had to be renamed because they were named after eugenicists (my kids attended one of them) ... renamed in 2018, so much for woke California.

I could go on about so many things I didn't know, or "knew" but didn't think about much, or the illusions that everyone chooses to believe, but refer to what I said at the beginning - I think a lot of the sick feeling I got reading all of this (long) book has to do with my own closeness to the material and recognition of just how awful it really is.

Takeaway: I'm glad my kids made it out and I think we should just burn the whole thing to the ground now.

kesäkuu 21, 12:52 pm

>57 FlorenceArt: I'll have to check out the story, thanks!

I'm glad you can enjoy the conversations too. :)

kesäkuu 21, 1:43 pm

>55 ursula:

But someone (lots of someones, often!) are happy to hear Fleetwood Mac on the radio, or disco, or whatever. It's just no longer your (the general you, or rather the specific you that doesn't like those things) idea of good music.

Actually, I was only aware that FM and that album of theirs as insanely popular, so your mentioning that Morgan doesn't like it was literally the first time ever I heard of another person who can't stand it! Which in a way goes to show that once an outsider, always an outsider, as I didn't even know they'd fallen out of general favour.

As for musics that suck, I think it's all generational--the olds always think the young music sucks. For example, I was a teen in the 1980s (one of these days I should write something under that title, that's like the tenth time I mention it), and even as a classical-oriented weirdo feeling the oldest blues and definitely not-fan of any pop or rock (rap was barely getting on our horizon), I loved the excitement of MTV, where every day brought something new. How could one hate Queen or Cyndi Lauper or Blondie or Eurythmics or Bonnie Tyler or Kim Wilde or Culture Club or Klaus Nomi (my one great crossover crush) is beyond me.

But notice one thing? How "girly" that lineup sounds. Frankly I think there's a good ole dose of misogyny and hissy gatekeeping at work when rockers start dissing the eighties. Suddenly the hitmakers weren't all sweaty white men in flannel shirts with handlebar mustaches. A great deal of focus and media coverage was on women and lots of "ambiguous" folk. I can't stand Madonna but fair is fair--she was blindingly huge, and the only guy of the times remotely comparing was Michael Jackson, not exactly the epitome of Da Manly Man. The world had ended! (But then we forgot and now it's ending again...)

>58 ursula:


kesäkuu 22, 1:09 pm

>60 LolaWalser: It's true that the majority of a generation will age out of finding contemporary music "good" at some point. I didn't, but mostly because I worked in music stores and so was exposed to the wider range of what was out there. And even with that, when I quit working there, I quit listening to music entirely for a number of years.

But yes, the "girly" thing. So much of what "bad" music is according to many people has boiled down to made by women, or by people with ambiguous gender presentation, or just liked by young women. I was also a teen in the 80s and I remember vividly being so excited to see The Cure perform at the VMAs, and my dad interrupting repeatedly to ask what on earth Robert Smith was, why is he wearing red lipstick, etc. This from the huge fan of The Rolling Stones, come on.

kesäkuu 22, 1:16 pm

I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury

Short stories are not really my thing, science fiction is not really my thing, but here we are. We had a physical copy of this book and I started it before we left Istanbul thinking short stories were about right for my attention span, and also hoping that I could finish it and get rid of it there. Instead, my attention span was totally unsuited for short stories and I brought it with me thinking I'd read it - on the plane? on the train? I don't know, but I finally finished it today.

I have nothing of any value to say about the stories, but I can put the book in a little free library around here and get it out of the apartment, yay!

kesäkuu 26, 8:19 am

Weekly 5x5

Sandinista! - The Clash [punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Rites of Spring - Rites of Spring [punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
The Slim Shady LP - Eminem [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Boxer - The National [alternative] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Hi How Are You - Daniel Johnston [lo-fi] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Liquid Swords - GZA [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
John Prine - John Prine [folk] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Diaspora Problems - Soul Glo [hardcore punk] (2022 lists)
Goths - The Mountain Goats [indie rock] (self pick)
Skylight - Pinegrove [indie] (self pick)

The Gilded Palace of Sin - The Flying Burrito Brothers [country rock] (1001 Albums list)
Time (The Revelator) - Gillian Welch [alternative country] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Skylla - Ruth Goller [alternative] (2021 lists)
Arkhon - Zola Jesus [synth-pop] (2022 lists)
At San Quentin - Johnny Cash [country] (1001 Albums list)

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Z - My Morning Jacket [indie rock] (Morgan’s pick, vinyl)
The Cars - The Cars [new wave] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Liege and Lief - Fairport Convention [folk] (1001 Albums list)

Unhalfbricking - Fairport Convention [folk] (1001 Albums list)
Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers - Kendrick Lamar [hip hop] (2022 lists)
Kick Out the Jams - MC5 [garage rock] (1001 Albums list) and (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
For Your Pleasure - Roxy Music [art rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
O Monolith - Squid [post-punk] (new releases)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart this week:
    Music of My Mind - Stevie Wonder / r&b / (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    XXI - Succumb / death metal / (2021 lists)
    Hot Rats - Frank Zappa / (mostly) instrumental rock / (1001 Albums list)
    In the Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson / prog rock / (1001 Albums list)
    Downtiming - Camp Trash / emo / (self pick)
    Benadryl Subreddit - LS Dunes (single) / post-hardcore / (new releases)

  • This week had a good amount of not-rock on it, which definitely feels different than some previous weeks. I revisited The Flying Burrito Brothers, even though I listened to it not long ago on the other list. As another bonus, I already knew I liked the Gillian Welch album but I listened to it anyway. Oh, and same for Zola Jesus. Loved the John Prine.

  • Trying to listen to Led Zeppelin with new ears was a challenge. Morgan and I had some good conversations about appropriation and innovation there. Daniel Johnston also prompted a good conversation about outsider art and the potential issues when corporations get involved in trying to promote it.

  • Sandinista! is fine but no one needed 2 and a half hours of it.
    Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers is fine, probably even really good, but no one needs to listen to it twice.

  • I listened to the Mountain Goats album because I finished a book by John Darnielle, their lead singer (and frequently only member). Both the book and the album came out in 2017. There was no connection, and I didn't expect one, but I was just curious what the year looked like for him. :) I'll write about the book shortly.

kesäkuu 27, 6:59 am

Liege and Lief by Fairport Convention would be a contender for my all time top ten as would Zappa's Hot rats.
Led Zeppelin's first LP was their best in my opinion and probably In the Court of the Crimson King was King Crimson's best. There are plenty of artists whose first releases were never bettered.

kesäkuu 28, 6:52 am

>64 baswood: Yes, I definitely loved Liege and Lief. I'm not sure about King Crimson. I listened to Red a while ago for another list and I might have liked that one more? But I'll have to familiarize myself more to say for sure.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 28, 7:19 am

When I said I'd get to this "shortly", I meant more shortly than this but anyway!

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

First line: People usually didn't say anything when they returned their tapes to the Video Hut: in a single and somewhat graceful moment, they'd approach the counter, slide the tapes toward whoever was stationed behind the register, and wheel back toward the door.

So, this is a book about copies of some movies that appear at a local video store in Iowa with unusual and somewhat disturbing scenes spliced into the commercial movies. A customer brings the first one in, asking the employee and owner to check it out - it appears to be someone in a barn, sitting in a chair, being questioned.

It's unsettling, and when another one is found with a different scene, it just gets more unsettling. The video clerk, Jeremy, and the patron who brought the first tape to his attention are convinced the scenes were filmed at a nearby farmhouse. As a reader, you are expecting the story to go certain places from here. As a writer, Darnielle has other ideas.

I mentioned up above that I listened to a Mountain Goats album Darnielle released in the same year this book was published. I'm not very familiar with the Mountain Goats (I think that makes the 3rd album of theirs I've listened to), but one thing I've noticed is that Darnielle doesn't necessarily let the melody constrain his words, if that makes sense. He has a song, and he has lyrics, and you are maybe expecting them to go together in a certain way, but he puts them together in whatever way pleases him. The book is like that too - it refuses to be what you anticipate. Whether someone would end up liking what it actually is, or think it's successful, I honestly don't think I could predict. For me, it was intriguing and although I don't know that it fully connected for me, I've been thinking about it since I finished it.

kesäkuu 28, 7:48 am

In other news, Morgan and I went to the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz yesterday. It was super interesting. We saw two of the Gutenberg bibles, although you can't take photos of those.

Here was an interesting find for us:

Palladio's book on architecture, published in 1570

Palladio is associated with Vicenza, not far from where we used to live in Padova (and I guess he was born in Padova, I didn't realize that!). Anyway, it was cool to see this after having walked around the buildings he designed.

kesäkuu 28, 11:26 am

>66 ursula: Sounds intriguing!

kesäkuu 28, 8:05 pm

>63 ursula:

The Clash, John Prine

I like the Cash of the last, apocalyptic "American" recordings.

Thumbs up for ogling old books, always.

kesäkuu 29, 3:38 am

>68 FlorenceArt: It's an oddball, so I hesitate to say who it would work for, but it gave me a lot to think about.

>69 LolaWalser: I like The Clash in general but this was too much in one place. I've never sat down and listened to Sandinista all the way through in one sitting before and I never will again.

Yes, the end-of-the-road Johnny Cash is something special.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 29, 9:22 am

>63 ursula: "Trying to listen to Led Zeppelin with new ears was a challenge. Morgan and I had some good conversations about appropriation and innovation there."

The first two Led Zeppelin albums were big one for many of my friends and I when they first came out, but we were in junior high school then. Later when I realized how much they had lifted from blues masters without crediting them, I became less impressed. A while back I put on an old, scratchy John Lee Hooker album and one of the songs started with a guitar riff that sounded very, very familiar to me. It took me about 20 seconds to realize that LZ had lifted the line almost exactly on one of their early albums. At any rate, during my late teens I soon enough stopped caring about them, anyway. It all just seemed repetitive.

That first John Prine album was extremely popular during my college days. "There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes." What a heartbreaking lyric. Plus, "Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore" says it all.

Funny thing about the Clash album. I had never really gotten into the Clash, but a couple of years back, a friend of mine from England had turned over a box of his old LPs to me, and Sandinistas was in the box. I listened through it for the first time and was impressed. (This didn't surprise me, as I have friends whose tastes I respect who really like them.) I agree that two LPs was excessive. But one thing I noticed right away is that their drummer was really good.

kesäkuu 30, 4:11 am

>71 rocketjk: Yeah, all of that with Led Zeppelin. It's firmly in college listening for me (not my personal listening, just something I heard all the time).

John Prine has been a big gap in my knowledge, but I'll definitely be listening to that album and others.

I'm not good at listening to individual instruments really, but I'm getting better. I've never noticed the Clash drummer, I'll have to try to remember to tune in to that.

kesäkuu 30, 4:19 am

Diary of A Void by Emi Yagi

First line: The evening vegetables looked so fresh and juicy, the tips of the greens bursting with life.

Shibata is a young woman working in an office. She finds that lots of the menial, day-to-day tasks fall to her even though they are definitely not in her job description. No one else can seem to figure out how to make coffee for meetings (it's instant coffee). So she decides she's pregnant. Oops, can't make coffee, it makes the morning sickness worse! She shouldn't work such long hours in her condition! There are actually a lot of benefits to being an expectant mother.

What happens after her impetuous decision to be pregnant is handled in an interesting way. And while I felt like there was a lot in the book that maybe speaks to what I perceive as Japanese workplace culture in particular, there were definitely universal themes.


No one ever told me I had to do these things. But if I didn't take care of it, sooner or later there'd be a little comment.

"Hey ... Microwave?"

My name's not Microwave.

heinäkuu 4, 10:59 am

Weekly 5x5

Vini Reilly - The Durutti Column [alternative] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Jazz Codes - Moor Mother [experimental] (2022 lists)
Pottymouth - Bratmobile [punk] (Morgan’s pick/90s list)
Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd - Lana Del Rey [pop] (new releases/Morgan’s pick)
The Cactus Album - 3rd Bass [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Milo Goes to College - The Descendents [punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Superunknown - Soundgarden [alternative] (Morgan’s pick/90s list)
Motomami - Rosalia [latin pop] (2022 lists)
Aethiopes - Billy Woods [hip hop] (2022 lists)
Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins [alternative] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

AM - Arctic Monkeys [indie rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Greatest Hits - Sly & the Family Stone [funk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Band - The Band [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Let It Be - The Beatles [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Last - Loma Prieta [punk] (new releases/Morgan’s pick)

Richard D. James Album - Aphex Twin [electronic]
Long Live the Kane - Big Daddy Kane [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
To Mega Therion - Celtic Frost [death metal] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
3D Country - Geese [post-punk] (new releases)
the whaler - home is where [emo] (new releases)

Songs from a Room - Leonard Cohen [contemporary folk] (1001 Albums list)
Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake [folk] (1001 Albums list)
All Fiction - Pile [indie rock] (new releases/Morgan’s pick)
Happy Trails - Quicksilver Messenger Service [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Scott 4 - Scott Walker [pop] (1001 Albums list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Basket of Light - Pentangle (1001 Albums list)
    Stand! - Sly & the Family Stone (1001 Albums list)
    The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle - Bruce Springsteen (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Funky Kingston - Toots & the Maytals (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Dance Hall Style - Horace Andy (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    The Heart Pumps Kool-Aid - Seth Graham & More Eaze (2021 lists)
    The Obvious I - Ed Dowie (2021 lists)
    NULL - KEN mode (2022 lists)

  • All right, kind of a lot going on this week. Morgan was home for most of it so we did a lot of listening together, which meant that he shared some of the albums he was listening to from a list of the best 90s albums he's going through, and also some of the new releases he's been meaning to get to. Between those and the way the lists fell, it turned into a pretty punk-heavy week.

  • As for the rest of it, I love The Band so I was not upset to listen to that album again. Same with Siamese Dream.I wondered idly how many times I've listened to some of the songs on that album - let's just say the answer is somewhere beyond "a lot". (Specifically "Disarm" and "Mayonnaise", the latter of which is my all-time favorite Pumpkins song.) And Soundgarden, that CD used to live in my car permanently.

  • I will just say that I do not get Springsteen. At all. This album did not help.

heinäkuu 4, 2:10 pm

>74 ursula: Two more contenders for best top 10; Five Leaves Left - Nick Drake and Songs from a Room - Leonard Cohen

heinäkuu 4, 3:36 pm

Cohen for me; the rest is silence.

The Beatles are such trash. Lennon only achieved greatness with Yoko Ono.

heinäkuu 5, 12:50 pm

>75 baswood: Those are two I'll be listening to again since I wasn't familiar before.

>76 LolaWalser: One thing I've discovered relistening to Beatles records is how many songs on each album I really don't like.

heinäkuu 5, 12:54 pm

Morgan is in Rijeka (Croatia) for the week. He hasn't sent me any great photos yet but he sent this nice one at sunset.

heinäkuu 8, 1:37 pm

>78 ursula: I love the light

heinäkuu 8, 11:06 pm

>78 ursula:

Nice! I have cousins there but haven't visited in forever. Pity you couldn't join in for a dip in the Adriatic?

heinäkuu 9, 1:08 am

>79 labfs39: Yes, he did a good job with that!

>80 LolaWalser: It's a shame I couldn't go. He's been to 3 conferences in Croatia now - Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Rijeka. I was only able to go along for the first one.

I can't swim! But I would have put my toes in.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 9, 2:58 am

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai

First line: I have seen three pictures of the man.

I picked this one up for two reasons: 1. I'm reading whatever Japanese books I run across in my library's catalog that look interesting, and 2. The last book I read (Diary of a Void) said that the author had won the Osamu Dazai prize before. I had never heard of him, but when I saw a book of his, I figured I should read it.

This was not a pleasant reading experience! It's a "found diaries" sort of book, and the character whose diaries we read is completely detached from the world around him. He seems to think he's always been different, referring to everyone else as "human beings" that he doesn't understand.

He puts on a clowning face that others will enjoy and that will also give him room to pass off any of his strange behavior as a joke. He finds little enjoyment in life, and what he does find is often self-destructive and/or damaging to others. Let's just say it doesn't end well.

As I said, this was not a pleasant reading experience. But I've been thinking about it a lot since I finished it and I find myself glad I read it. Realizing the main character's outward face doesn't let anyone know that the person inside is confused and scared all the time. That complete unknowableness of others is unsettling to think about.

Quote(s): I think that even a death mask would hold more of an expression, leave more of a memory. That effigy suggests nothing so much as a human body to which a horse’s head has been attached. Something ineffable makes the beholder shudder in distaste. I have never seen such an inscrutable face on a man.


I have always shook with fright before human beings. Unable as I was to feel the least particle of confidence in my ability to speak and act like a human being, I kept my solitary agonies locked in my breast. I kept my melancholy and my agitation hidden, careful lest any trace should be left exposed. I feigned an innocent optimism; I gradually perfected myself in the role of the farcical eccentric.

heinäkuu 9, 10:37 am

>82 ursula: Sounds uncomfortable, yet interesting.

heinäkuu 10, 2:56 am

>83 labfs39: It got more uncomfortable when I read his wikipedia page. There were some distinct parallels in his life.

heinäkuu 10, 4:09 am

Weekly 5x5

The Basement Tapes - Bob Dylan & The Band [americana] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
3 Feet High and Rising - De La Soul [hip hop] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Honest Labour - Space Afrika [electronic] (2021 lists)
Hiss - Wormrot [grindcore] (2022 lists)
Florist - Florist [indie pop] (2022 lists)

Odessa - The Bee Gees [pop] (1001 Albums list)
Another Green World - Brian Eno [art rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Abbey Road - The Beatles [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Threshold - Cloud Rat [grindcore] (2022 lists)
Skylarking - XTC [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Rhythm Nation 1814 - Janet Jackson [pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Songs about Fucking - Big Black [punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Wait to Pleasure - No Joy [shoegaze] (self pick)
Doggystyle - Snoop Dogg [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Arthur (Or the Rise and Fall of the British Empire) - The Kinks [rock] (1001 Albums list)

John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan [folk rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Life Under the Gun - Militarie Gun [power pop] (new releases)
The Town that Cursed Your Name - The Reds, Pinks and Purples [indie] (new releases)
Asphalt Meadows - Death Cab for Cutie [indie] (2022 releases)
Tidibabide / Turn - Kizis [experimental (first nations/electronic)] (2021 lists)

Double Negative - Low [post-rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
oddkin - loulus [electronic] (2021 lists)
Strays - Margo Price [country] (new releases)
Raw Like Sushi - Neneh Cherry [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Avalon - Roxy Music [new wave] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the Chart:
    Let It Bleed - Rolling Stones (1001 Albums list)
    The Stooges - The Stooges (1001 Albums list)
    Cloud Nine - The Temptations (1001 Albums list)
    The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground (1001 Albums list)
    Abraxas - Santana (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Nothing’s Shocking - Jane’s Addiction (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Play With the Changes - Rochelle Jordan (2021 lists)
    Song of Salvation - Dream Unending (2022 lists)
    Wane Into It - Drowse (self pick)
    Departing Like Rivers - Shackleton (2021 lists)
    OUTERSPHERE - Mist Double (self pick)

  • A couple of albums that were super popular when I went to college, the Jane’s Addiction and the De La Soul. I listened to Nothing’s Shocking a lot for a while! And although it was from a couple of years earlier, I listened to that XTC album a ton and know it by heart.

  • My self-chosen albums are all shoegaze. I went out sketching and the Drowse album was a great soundtrack for it.

  • Listened through the most recent Death Cab album and while on a first listen I thought it was fine, this time through I have to say I don’t think it’s very good. There are a couple of tracks I like, a couple I don’t, and a bunch that are really unremarkable. Things I did like: Florist (not a first listen), Militarie Gun(indie), Low, The Stooges, Velvet Underground, Shackleton (electronic) and Dream Unending (death metal)

  • Interesting trivial discovery: Judas Priest got their name from a song on Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album (“The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”)

heinäkuu 12, 12:56 pm

Kitty Language by Lili Chin

This is not too deep - just cute cat illustrations and some ideas of what your cat may be feeling when their body language is certain ways. I did learn some things, mostly related to the often-repeated reminder to look at all aspects of the cat's body language, not just their ears or tail or whatever. Different positions can have different meanings depending on what else is going on.

This is one I still haven't quite figured out with Archie - it was nice to know that this is a thing since I've never seen the other cats do it, but I'm not sure what he's so excited about when he does it.

heinäkuu 12, 4:48 pm

>86 ursula: That's a question answered for me, too. Our old guy, Homer, does this and no one could ever guess why. It turns out he's far less cranky than I had assumed. Also, he really, really likes dinnertime, which we did know.

heinäkuu 13, 11:21 am

>87 RidgewayGirl: Funny! Yeah, I've never seen the other cats do it. I mean, Rollo has a stub of a tail so we wouldn't really know if he was. All I know is that for a while Archie was apparently extremely excited to get into the kitchen. He's stopped reacting so strongly to it now.

heinäkuu 16, 7:23 am

How to Be a Rule-Breaking Letterer by Huyen Dinh

Another quick non-fiction graphic title. I didn't expect a ton from this because I am not new to lettering, but I'm always interested in how different people explain things. Dinh is all about learning to embrace what makes your own style unique, whether or not that's the way things are "supposed" to be done. That's great, and at first when she shared her notes and initial sketches, I thought it was great that they included misspellings, etc., because obviously those things are for you, and they don't need to be perfect. But then I realized she could have really used a proofreader because some handwritten things that are meant for the reader are still misspelled (like on a page just before this one, "weight can be add to the serif point"). So, embracing imperfection is great, but not all the way to sloppiness.

heinäkuu 17, 8:04 am

Things We Found When the Water Went Down by Tegan Nia Swanson

First line: They found Hugo Mitchum facedown in the water and the lily-weeds, thanks to the bloody trail someone left behind when they dragged him through the snow.

Hmmm. I think I was not the right audience at the right time for this book. It's a hard book to describe - I keep typing and deleting things trying to describe it. It's a dystopian magical realism fantasy/horror experimental novel about the strength and vulnerability of women?

Disclaimer: I don't know if there were any formatting things that didn't appear correctly in Kindle or would have been more effective in print. There were a lot of extra spaces in certain phrases, and some kind-of-poetry-like formatting of other sections. It wasn't difficult to read on Kindle but like I said, I can't attest that it appeared exactly as it should have.

I sometimes liked this book quite a lot, but I didn't feel like it held together like I wanted it to. It was told by one character, supplemented with her mother's diaries, interviews with other people, etc. I found it occasionally confusing and somewhat more often kind of distracting. But like I said, I feel like I might have liked it less than others would; if it looks like something interesting to you, give it a shot.

heinäkuu 19, 4:49 am

Weekly 5x5

Live at Leeds - The Who [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Endtroducing…. - DJ Shadow [trip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Blue Rev - Alvvays [indie pop] (2022 lists)
still slipping vol. 1 - Joy Orbison [house] (2021 lists)
No One Can Do It Better - The D.O.C. [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Church - Billy Woods [hip hop] (2022 lists)
Drool - Part Chimp [noise rock] (2021 lists)
50,000 BC - Shudder To Think [alternative rock] (self pick, from my reading)
Elephant Mountain - The Youngbloods [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)
Modern Vampires of the City - Vampire Weekend [indie rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Tea for the Tillerman - Cat Stevens [folk] (1001 Albums list)
Lost - Life in Vacuum [post-punk] (new releases)
Forever Changes - Love [psychedelic rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Like a Prayer - Madonna [pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Steve McQueen - Prefab Sprout [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Endure - Special Interest [punk] (2022 lists)
Aftermath - The Rolling Stones [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Back in Black - AC/DC [rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Still Bill - Bill Withers [soul] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Deja Vu - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)

Actually - Pet Shop Boys [synth-pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires - Scientist [dub] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Ocean Rain - Echo & the Bunnymen [new wave] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem [dance punk/electronica] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Ananda Shankar - Ananda Shankar [raga rock] (1001 Albums list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1001 Albums list)
    Paranoid - Black Sabbath (1001 Albums list)
    Deep Purple In Rock - Deep Purple
    Dirty Mind - Prince (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Let’s Dance - David Bowie (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Celebrity Therapist - The Callous Daoboys (2022 lists)
    All Skies Have Sounded - The Transcendence Orchestra (2021 lists)

  • Some of my favorites on this week! Blue Rev by Alvvays just missed my favorites of 2022 list, Tea for the Tillerman is a great album, I love The Pet Shop Boys and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

  • I asked Morgan if LCD Soundsystem was Car Seat Headrest, just for less depressed people and he said he’d never thought about it but it was an apt description. (I prefer Car Seat Headrest; he likes both - make of that what you will.)

  • I listened to the Shudder To Think prompted by the book I’m reading, Where Are Your Boys Tonight?. I don’t listen to many of the bands mentioned because the emo scene was rife with terrible people and a lot of “band name + allegations” searches turn up too many ugly things.

heinäkuu 19, 12:39 pm

Embarrassingly, I only really know one album, the Cat Stevens. I do better below the chart, adding Van Morrison, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Bowie (Let's dance--seemed to be everywhere all the time at the time...)

The whole emo thing passed me by, or I it--I suppose as one hit one's thirties, it's like dying to new music. :)

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 19, 1:36 pm

>91 ursula: Lots of greats there from the era of rock/pop that was most important to me. Tea for the Tillerman is indeed great. Nobody else sounded and/or was writing songs like that when that album came out. Stevens' next album, Teaser and the Firecat, was also very good, but of course stood no chance to be as groundbreaking as its predecessor. After that, Stevens seemed to lose the ability to write good melodies. His next album, Catch Bull at Four, only had one good song on it, or at least that's how my friends and I heard it.

Deja Vu, along with the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album and Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, were signature albums of my high school and college years. The song "Helpless," from Deja Vu may still be my favorite Neil Young song. His rendition of the song in documentary about the Band's final concert, The Last Waltz, is, for me, extremely moving.

Live at Leeds is one of the greatest early rock live albums I can recall. How did you get on with that one? Bill Withers had a wonderful soulful voice and style. "Lean on Me" was overplayed, as was "Use Me," but the man could sing!

Astral Weeks is one of those albums that didn't sell and wasn't that well accepted when first released but developed a following among musicians, reviewers and, eventually, listeners over the following years.

That's about it for this week's list in terms of albums that were important to me, although I should add that while it took me too long to understand what an innovative and exciting writer and performer David Bowie was, I am now very much an admirer.

I must admit that I don't even know what emo music is!

heinäkuu 20, 3:13 am

>92 LolaWalser: Yeah, Let's Dance was definitely everywhere, it was probably the first Bowie I really heard, or knew that I was hearing.

I listened to a ton of music in my 30s! I kind of had an up and down relationship with it - I probably quit listening to much new stuff around age 25? When my kids were toddlers. Then I started again around age 30 and quit at 35 when I moved in with Morgan (weirdly, he is super into music but it was just not something we shared with each other at all), started up again around 45.

>93 rocketjk: Re: Catch Bull at Four, I'm guessing the one song is "Sitting"? Yes, "Helpless" is such a gorgeous song. I love Neil Young - After the Gold Rush is coming up soon on one of the lists.

I was not super crazy about Live at Leeds. I don't really do live albums, and I guess I was looking for some kind of spark that showed what a great live band The Who was and it didn't come through for me. Yeah, the Bill Withers was good although you're right that I could do without hearing "Lean on Me" ever again.

Van Morrison -- I like a few songs intensely and I can take or leave the rest.

Emo - there's a copypasta that goes around about it:
"Real Emo" only consists of the dc Emotional Hardcore scene and the late 90's Screamo scene. What is known by "Midwest Emo" is nothing but Alternative Rock with questionable real emo influence. When people try to argue that bands like My Chemical Romance are not real emo, while saying that Sunny Day Real Estate is, I can't help not to cringe because they are just as fake emo as My Chemical Romance (plus the pretentiousness).
Real emo sounds ENERGETIC, POWERFUL and somewhat HATEFUL. Fake emo is weak, self pity and a failed attempt to direct energy and emotion into music.
Some examples of REAL EMO are Pg 99, Rites of Spring, Cap n Jazz (the only real emo band from the midwest scene) and Loma Prieta.
Some examples of FAKE EMO are American Football, My Chemical Romance and Mineral
Anyway! It started in the hardcore scene, when they started singing about more personal and frequently dark topics. There have been a variety of "waves" of it since the '90s, and different styles - the emotional hardcore and screamo, and midwest emo mentioned above, and lots of genres that can be hyphenates with it, no matter what that says haha. Pop punk, post-punk, post-hardcore are the most common ones to go along with emo.

It became huge in the early-mid 2000s with bands like Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, The Used, My Chemical Romance. (And a ton of others, but those were the biggest ones that were called/considered emo at the time.) There are lots of different varieties but unfortunately a decent amount of the scene in that era was made up of guys writing songs with incel-adjacent misogynistic lyrics. And unsurprisingly, in the years since it's turned out that many emo bands were shitty people in real life too! So yeah, this is why I don't listen to a lot of the bands mentioned in the book.

heinäkuu 20, 11:35 am

>94 ursula: Thanks for that description! I had a feeling it was something like that. How much do I love these two sentences:

"Real emo sounds ENERGETIC, POWERFUL and somewhat HATEFUL. Fake emo is weak, self pity and a failed attempt to direct energy and emotion into music."

It says nothing good about me (but it does severely date me) that the first thing I thought of was, "What about Tickle Me Emo?"

I can see how you would have that reaction to Live at Leeds. Mine, as a teenager, was different, but that's how it goes! If I'd heard that album for the first time much more recently, I might well have reacted as you did. As a side note: I've seen the Who in concert three times, though only once with the original lineup. That was at the old Boston Garden in the mid-70s right after Quadrophenia came out, and they performed the whole double-album. That was a special night.

The song I like from Catch Bull at Four is "Angelsea." (I had to do an online search to figure that out!) It's been around 40 years since I heard the album, though, so maybe I'd react differently to it now.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 20, 12:38 pm

>95 rocketjk: I mean the copypasta is a joke made out of real gatekeepers' complaints, but the point is that there are differing definition, the "emo" just means the music is "emotional" (often/usually on a personal level) so you could retcon tons of artists into it!

My Chemical Romance became the poster boys for emo (they're on the cover of the book I'm reading!) and they don't actually fit that at all. Their songs were rarely truly personal without being filtered through a zombie apocalypse, a comic book arc, a vampire story or the like. *shrug*

(DC Hardcore emo muppet would be Oscar, clearly. Elmo would be poser, sadboi emo.)

Like I said, I don't really "get" live albums. It's a huge difference if you've seen the band, or even have some sort of super-fan connection probably. But I can't think of a live album I've ever actually wanted to listen to. It may be a me problem. ;)

Interesting, I don't know "Angelsea", I'll look it up. Again, I tend to listen to one or two albums by an artist exhaustively and the others somewhere between not at all and extremely sporadically.

heinäkuu 20, 1:03 pm

>96 ursula: Ha! Not only didn't I know what emo was, I didn't know what copypasta was either! Guess I'm hopeless, post-70s (or whenever emo and copy pasta date from) popular culture-wise.

I see your point about Oscar vs. Elmo. (My favorite, though, was always Grover.)

If you have any affinity for classic-era Allman Brothers (i.e., when Duane Allman was still alive), I would highly recommend their Live at the Fillmore East album. It's an extremely well-produced album full of exceptional performances. "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is an extremely tight and intricately composed instrumental and worth the price of admission all by itself. You might find this to be an exception to the rule.

heinäkuu 20, 3:42 pm

>94 ursula:

I never stopped listening to music but I lost whatever little touch I had with popular new stuff probably in my thirties, and that continues to this day--for example, I have no idea what Taylor Swift sounds like and I heard "Drake" for the first time when I went looking for his tracks on prompt from the Hanif Abdurraqib book. It's actually a little scary how completely one can fall out of the loop these days.

Music is no longer "in the air" it seems, barring the jackasses blaring on their car stereos. :)

that era was made up of guys writing songs with incel-adjacent misogynistic lyrics.

I think it's become more blatant with time but rock and a good deal of pop are heavily misogynistic. Modern jazz gets a pass because it's non-verbal but it's enough to look at the barriers to women (or the lives of the women involved in the scene) to get that it's hardly better.

heinäkuu 21, 2:56 am

>97 rocketjk: ;)

I'll check it out, I'm not super into the Allman Brothers but I'm not opposed. I'm sure the perfect live album for me is out there somewhere!

>98 LolaWalser: Those are the periods when I was listening to new music specifically.

It's true that there's never been a shortage of misogynistic lyrics (recently-ish the lists had me revisiting "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones. sigh.). I guess it was just notable because when the style became "confessional", the confessions were often about how that girl who rejected them was kind of a bitch anyway for not realizing what a nice guy they were, and how hopefully they would die. Those lyrics have existed in general everywhere over time, but it was concentrated and distilled in a way in that genre that was ... not great!

A quote from a singer in one of the emo bands of the era (Buddy Nielsen, Senses Fail): The fashion was to dress a little more androgynous, or feminine ... while also writing lyrics about killing girls. Kind of a weird juxtaposition.

heinäkuu 22, 1:49 pm

>99 ursula:

I got a shock when I listened to "Rubber Soul" recently, first time since my teens, and got to "Run for your life"... WTF???

And hey, listen to this--I just googled it and it was the FIRST song they recorded for the album.

Also, gotta say... as one ages, all those "sweet sixteen" and "little girl", "little schoolgirl" type of lyrics hit the ear differently.

heinäkuu 23, 1:20 pm

>100 LolaWalser: Yeah, that's one of those 🤯 if you had that one become familiar to you before you were critical of anything (🙋‍♀️, it's me).

The first song recorded! Not trying to create filler - "yep, this one is a keeper!!"

Totally agree on the sixteen/seventeen/little girl lyrics. It's gotta be a certain type of song for me where it's very clear that it's written from the perspective of someone else who is young (Big Star, "Thirteen" fits this).

heinäkuu 23, 4:28 pm

>91 ursula: I just enjoy looking at the album covers and remembering which of those I owned back in the day. This time it was the Pet Shop Boys and Echo and the Bunnymen.

heinäkuu 24, 3:53 am

>102 RidgewayGirl: Nice! I didn't own a ton of records back at that time, and I don't think I've run across too many I did have so far. Those two are great choices on your part though! :)

heinäkuu 25, 4:11 am

Weekly 5x5

SOS - SZA [r&b] (2022 lists)
The Velvet Rope - Janet Jackson [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Good Morning Spider - Sparklehorse [indie rock] (Morgan's pick)
Dawn FM - The Weeknd [dance pop] (2022 lists)
Norman Fucking Rockwell - Lana Del Rey [pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Empty Days & Sleepless Nights - Defeater [melodic hardcore] (self pick)
Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs - Derek & the Dominos [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) - Taylor Swift [country pop] (new releases)
Weathervanes - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit [country] (new releases)
McCartney - Paul McCartney [rock] (1001 Albums list)

Tunnel of Love - Bruce Springsteen [rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Cheat Codes - Danger Mouse & Black Thought [hip hop] (2022 lists)
Pretenders - Pretenders [rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses [alternative rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Beat Happening - Beat Happening [indie pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

A Rush of Blood to the Head - Coldplay [alternative rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Cold Air - Drowse [shoegaze] (self pick)
Chloe and the Next 20th Century - Father John Misty [folk] (2022 lists)
John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon [rock] (1001 Albums list)
El Mal Querer - Rosalia [latin pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Wild Type Droid - Failure [post-grunge] (Morgan's pick)
Sweet Baby James - James Taylor [folk] (1001 Albums list)
Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Lost - Life in Vacuum [indie rock] (new releases)
New Lords - Mindforce [metal] (2022 lists)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1001 Albums list)
    After the Gold Rush - Neil Young (1001 Albums list) - ❤️❤️❤️
    Los Angeles - X (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Run-D.M.C. - Run-DMC (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Peter Gabriel 3 (Melt) - Peter Gabriel (200 Best Albums of the 80s list) - one of my all-time favorite albums
    Gaucho - Steely Dan (200 Best Albums of the 80s list) - this is maybe the worst thing I put in my earholes this week
    Zombie - Fela Kuti (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
    Weather Alive - Beth Orton (2022 lists)

    Skipped this week because I recently listened to them:
    Sandinista! - The Clash (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    From Elvis in Memphis - Elvis Presley (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Lady in Satin - Billie Holiday (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    The Who Sells Out - The Who (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Beauty and the Beat - The Go-Go’s (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

  • Two recent albums on here that I already knew I like a lot: Lana's Norman Fucking Rockwell and The Weeknd's Dawn FM.

    I really enjoyed the Beth Orton; didn't know anything about her before. Morgan also liked it, said that in the past she had been the kind of artist that was on heavy rotation/promotion in Starbucks so he was surprised to like this.

    I don't know that I'd ever listened to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in its entirety, or at least not in a really long time. With fresh ears, I liked it.

    Miles Davis, obviously this is a classic. I'll admit, I have to just keep trying with jazz, it doesn't come naturally to me.

  • McCartney: aside from "Baby I'm Amazed", yawn. Bruce Springsteen: urgh. Father John Misty: I just hate everything about this guy, including this album. Coldplay: I admit this album has a few tracks that are quite good (I love "The Scientist") but the rest of the album can fall off the face of the earth, please.

  • I like Jason Isbell, I'll have to revisit the album to have more opinions but on a first listen I added hearts to "King of Oklahoma" and "Middle of the Morning".

heinäkuu 26, 3:20 am

Glow by Ned Beauman

First line: When he first sees her, Raf is sitting on a washing machine about to swallow an eighth of a gram of what is apparently a mixture of speed, monosodium glutamate, and an experimental social anxiety disorder medication for dogs.

This book reads a little like Pynchon without the stupid character names. Raf's friend Theo is kidnapped by a mysterious white van, and Raf finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of Glow, an also-mysterious new street drug. He tries to figure out what Glow has to do with this fleet of white vans in London, Burmese immigrants, the radio station whose guard dog he takes care of, a multinational mining corporation, and the woman he is suddenly infatuated with, Cherish. Oh, and the foxes he keeps seeing in significant locations in London. And if that wasn't already enough, Raf has a syndrome called non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder, which means his body doesn't synchronize to a 24-hour clock and so his days sort of drift out of sync with the rest of the world and then back in.

It was okay. I think it was either supposed to be funnier than it was, or maybe more intricate? Maybe both? I'm not mad I read it, I would see what else the author has been up to without much reservation.

heinäkuu 26, 12:07 pm

Last weekend we went to Worms, about 1.5 hours by train.

This is the Wormser Dom.

heinäkuu 29, 1:12 pm

Where Are Your Boys Tonight? by Chris Payne

A nonfiction selection; an oral history of the heyday of emo. I am not entirely the target audience for this because while I consider myself a huge fan of My Chemical Romance, and I was at the time (the time being starting around 2005, so not in the beginning-beginning), I didn't listen to any of the other bands in the book. I didn't like Fall Out Boy, I didn't like Panic at the Disco, I didn't know Dashboard Confessional or Thursday existed (or Senses Fail, or Lifetime, or Brand New or ... it goes on).

Anyway, it was pretty interesting overall. I was a little hamstrung by not knowing the names of the various people talking and being on a kindle (I had to keep going back to the "cast of characters" pages for each section, or just hoping it would all sort itself out somehow eventually), but nevertheless the stories were interesting enough. Who was influenced by who, who came up in the same scene as who, who supported who. Thanks to being in relatively small local scenes and then touring with the Warped Tour, pretty much everyone knew everyone else at one point or another.

It also takes place at the intersection of the music industry and the internet - when labels reigned supreme, when Napster hit the scene, and then MySpace, and finally when streaming started to take over everything. It was a pretty tumultuous time in the music business, and I think that in some ways these bands with their DIY aesthetic were uniquely suited to jumping into the changing waters.

Generally everyone (except the women interviewed) avoid talking a lot about the problematic aspects of the scene, except as it relates to Brand New/Jesse Lacey, whose allegations were I guess serious enough for everyone to feel secure calling him a terrible person, etc. Everyone else got a pass.

Anyway, I learned a lot.

Amy Fleisher Madden: Things like Pitchfork came for us and used really negative words to describe what we were doing. We didn't even use the word "emo" back then. That made it worse. "Emo" was a derogatory term. We didn't say, "This is gonna be the biggest emo band of all time," because that was like saying, "This is the worst thing you're ever going to hear." Emo didn't really become cool until much later. And it's still surprising to me.

heinäkuu 30, 12:47 am

I'm guessing you know about this, Ursula, what with being form California and into music and everything, but I just discovered this channel a few days ago and binged about a dozen videos--it's "What's in my bag?" from a store called Amoeba in LA (obviously extremely famous to people who are not me), they get visits from musicians (or other kind of celebrities sometimes) and ask them to talk about what they are buying. SO ADDICTIVE.

Completely randomly, the first video I chanced on:

Opeth - What's In My Bag?

And I loved this guy:

Bootsy Collins - What's In My Bag?

Please share if you have favorites!

heinäkuu 30, 2:56 am

>108 LolaWalser: I am familiar with Amoeba (they're big in the bay area too) and I knew they had this series, but I'd actually only watched one in the past, I was linked to Matt Berry's shopping trip (from What We Do in the Shadows). Morgan and I just sat down and watched the recent one from Alvvays, whose album Blue Rev just missed my best of 2022 list. Within the first couple minutes, the singer said it was a "learning PROcess" and that was how I discovered they were Canadian. 😂

I'm not surprised the Bootsy one was fun! We just watched it and yeah, that was a good one.

I'll definitely share any that we watch and particularly like, thanks for reminding me of the existence of this series! :)

heinäkuu 31, 12:28 pm

Weekly 5x5

Pink Flag - Wire [post-punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
A Seat at the Table - Solange [neo soul] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
One in a Million - Aaliyah [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Open Arms to Open Us - Ben Lamar Gay [jazz] (2021 lists)
Remember Your North Star - Yaya Bey [r&b] (2022 lists)

Walk Among Us - Misfits [punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Kick - INXS [new wave] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
The Madcap Laughs - Syd Barrett [psychedelic folk] (1001 Albums list)
Decreation Facts - Firefriend [post-punk/garage rock] (new releases)
Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea - PJ Harvey [alternative rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus - Spirit [progressive rock] (1001 Albums list)
Bridge over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)
Astro Tough - Audiobooks [avant synth-pop] (2021 lists)
Bryter Later - Nick Drake [folk] (1001 Albums list)
Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)

Mare Vitalis - The Appleseed Cast [emo] (self pick)
Whitney Houston - Whitney Houston [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Boom. Done. - Anthony Green [indie] (self pick)
Violator - Depeche Mode [electronic] (Morgan’s pick - from the 90s list)
Like a Virgin - Madonna [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

Technique - New Order [electronic] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Below the House - Planning for Burial [shoegaze] (self pick)
Gasoline Alley - Rod Stewart [rock] (1001 Albums list)
The Lion and the Cobra - Sinead O’Connor [alternative rock] (self pick)
Playing with Fire - Spacemen 3 [neo-psychedelia] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Third - Soft Machine (1001 Albums list)
    On the Beach - Neil Young (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Glass: Solo Piano - Philip Glass (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

    Skipped this week/Recently listened to:
    Abraxas - Santana (1001 Albums list)
    Avalon - Roxy Music (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Los Angeles - X (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

  • Let's see here - a few things I listened to a lot when I was in high school - Kick by INXS was one I had in record form and boy did I play that one a lot. Same for Bridge over Troubled Water; not my era, obviously, but I listened to a lot of Simon & Garfunkel in high school. Like a Virgin, of course. And The Lion and the Cobra - I think I had a cassette of this one. I was so sad to hear of Sinead's death, and I don't often listen to someone's music just because/right after they die, but I put this one on thinking it was the one I had listened to less (than I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got), but I knew every word, every note. I must have listened to it a lot more than I thought. Also enjoyed seeing her debut on US television - on the David Letterman show singing "Mandinka". I remember watching this at the time. I had a tiny black and white tv in my room, and at the time Letterman came on at 12:30. I was tired a lot of mornings because I stayed up to watch stuff like this!

  • Two very belated connections I discovered here:
    1. REM's track "Strange" on Document (another album I listened to exhaustively) was actually a cover of a Wire song, which I discovered while listening to Pink Flag this week.
    2. I knew the Misfits were a huge influence on My Chem, but I was surprised when one of the Misfits songs started off with "Single out the kids that are mean to you" - it's obvious (now) that the My Chem lyric "sing it like the kids that are mean to you" is an homage.

  • I never liked the PJ Harvey record that everyone tells you to listen to (Rid of Me), but I quite liked this one. The Audiobooks album was seriously weird, but in a cool way. And Anthony Green makes yet another appearance on my weekly chart - I was having a rough day and I just needed to hear his voice.

heinäkuu 31, 4:26 pm

Ah, Spirit. A favorite of mine and a vastly under-appreciated band of the 70s. Of the three albums made by the original lineup, their second, Clear, I think is the best. Twelve Dreams, the third album, is also a sentimental favorite of mine, though I listened to it a few months ago and although I definitely enjoyed hearing it, it didn't quite live up to my memory of it.

That Steve Stills album was, as I'm sure you're aware, his first solo album. There is, in my view, some fiercely good music on it, including an incendiary solo by Jimi Hendrix. (Although I should say that I've always hated "Love the One You're With." Even for a late 60s/early 70s rock song, that's about the worst piece of advice I ever heard.)

I hope you enjoyed those two.

elokuu 1, 2:41 am

>111 rocketjk: When I heard the first song on the Spirit album, I went "ugh" and thought I wouldn't like it at all. But then it got better and yeah, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I'd never listened to the Stephen Stills before. I liked it, I would like to revisit it though. And I'm gonna say that I'm not sure that "love the one you're with" is terrible advice. I guess some of it hinges on how you take it, but I think that it's reasonable to tell people not to look for the perfect thing, but focus on what they've already committed to. I guess I read "if you can't be with the one you love" to mean "the one you're infatuated with/you think you love/you wish you could have".

On the other hand, there was some messy stuff going on in that time period with bands etc. so my interpretation may be overly rosy!

elokuu 2, 3:49 am

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa

First line: From late summer to early spring the next year, I lived at the Morisaki Bookshop.

Takako goes through a bad breakup, quits her job, and finds herself at loose ends. Enter her uncle, who owns the Morisaki Bookshop and has always had a pretty inexplicable fondness for her. He offers the room above the bookshop to her - she can stay, help out in the bookshop, and get her life back on track.

There's also a subplot about the uncle's wife, who left him years ago, and one about the people in the nearby coffee shop where Takako becomes a regular.

But look, the bottom line is that this is a book like The Cat Who Saved Books - it's a "sweet" tale with moralizing about life against the backdrop of books and a bookstore. If you like that sort of thing, I'm sure this will be fine. I don't like that sort of thing, I find it very pat and twee. I finished the book because it was super short and fast and it was an easy thing to run through and roll my eyes at while I was reading longer/better/more complicated books.

elokuu 2, 9:13 am

>112 ursula: That's a nice take on "Love the One You're With." Given the era that it came out in and during which I first heard it, I always simply took it as a "free love" anthem, "If your squeeze is not at the party, whoever's next to you on the couch will do." I'll go with your interpretation henceforth, though. That way I can really enjoy that organ work.

elokuu 2, 1:47 pm

Oh I was a big INXS fan too. Loved the Kick album. Had the VHS of all the videos too.

elokuu 2, 7:13 pm

A couple of my favourite albums this week:The Madcap Laughs - Syd Barrett and Bryter Later - Nick Drake. Bridge Over Troubled Water was enormous when it was released and you really did not need to buy the album because it was always on the radio somewhere. Pink Flag by Wire is also good, but their 154 would make my top ten

elokuu 2, 10:07 pm

>110 ursula: I must have listened to the INXS album a thousand times. I'm going to listen to it again.

elokuu 3, 3:33 pm

>109 ursula:

I have to ration them or I find myself with hours gone by without noticing! The editing and the clips they choose are so good; there's no telling when something utterly delightful/bonkers/moving etc. might happen. But so far nothing tops the guy from Anthrax shopping for the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

>110 ursula:

Wire and Depeche Mode. That may be my fave DM album. Favourite song anyway: Sweetest Perfection.

elokuu 4, 4:07 am

>114 rocketjk: Thanks! Yeah, I get that context too - awesome if my take can help you fully enjoy it again!

>115 AlisonY:, >117 RidgewayGirl: Love to see the INXS fans! It still made me dance around the living room!

>116 baswood: I definitely added the Nick Drake to my library. The appeal of Syd Barrett escapes me, but then - the appeal of Pink Floyd also largely escapes me.

elokuu 4, 4:14 am

>118 LolaWalser: I really enjoyed Elijah Wood's What's in My Bag, of all people! I've been very careful not to just keep watching because I agree, it would be super easy to do. Re-listened to "Sweetest Perfection"; it's a good one.

>116 baswood:, 118 Re: Wire, interesting to see you both mention it, I had never even heard of them. I wonder if 154 will end up on the lists later.

elokuu 4, 12:31 pm

The Golden Bowl by Henry James

First line: The Prince had always liked his London, when it had come to him; he was one of the modern Romans who find by the Thames a more convincing image of the truth of the ancient state than any they have left by the Tiber.

I finished! This was a long one - it took me 9 hours and 41 minutes over 42 days to read it. But for all of that, and all of the sentences that ran on and on and on, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot.

The Prince from the first line is married to an American (Maggie) living in England with her father, and then there are only a few other characters - the aforementioned father, a friend of Maggie's named Charlotte, and a couple everyone is friends with, the Assinghams. There's jealousy, intrigue, keeping up appearances, conversations where people say the exact opposite of what they're intending the other person to understand, conversations where very little is said at all but the interaction is of the utmost importance.

I don't think I could even explain why I enjoyed this so much, the serpentine sentences sometimes left me wondering if I actually spoke English, the interactions between people sometimes made me unsure if I knew what was even going on, etc.

Read for the 1001 Books list.

elokuu 4, 2:42 pm

I haven't read this one yet, but I usually really like Henry James, too.
What's with the creepy cover?? :-)

elokuu 5, 3:59 am

>122 japaul22: Do you find the cover creepy?

It's a John Singer Sargent called Nonchaloir:

My book is a million years old so it's washed out, and I also don't know if the printing was color-correct at the time.

elokuu 5, 6:21 am

I found the cover creepy too, I must say :-)

elokuu 5, 8:04 am

Oh, it's interesting to see the entire picture. A little less disturbing that way - but she looks so bound up and I think because the color is washed out on the paperback she also looked dead or ill to me.

Thanks for sharing the full painting!

elokuu 5, 1:52 pm

>113 ursula: Thanks for commenting on the bookshop book; I think I'll pass on it.

I'm a Stephen Stills fan; I should go back and listen to this first album again.

elokuu 6, 4:48 am

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

First line: "You've heard of her," I say -- a challenge, an assurance.

The main character, Bodie Kane, is a podcaster who is now back at her old boarding school as a guest to teach a short class on podcasting. One of the students chooses as her subject a murder that took place on campus while Bodie was a student there. It was solved, although it's never felt quite right to some of the students.

Bodie finds herself drawn into the questions about the case probably further than she should be - she roomed with the victim, Thalia, for a year, but they were never friends. It's not her place to be so invested in it, right?

I had a good video call with my daughter last night talking about it and the very divided opinions we'd both read on GoodReads (or "where literary criticism goes to die", as Em calls it). We both liked the book, and we had plenty to talk about as far as how true to life it was, whether or not Bodie is making herself too much the Main Character in everyone else's story, whether or not Makkai tackled too many issues, etc. I liked the book quite a lot (so did Em).

Quote: The term rabbit hole makes us think of Alice plummeting straight down, but what I mean is an actual rabbit warren, the kind with endless looping tunnels, branching paths, all the accompanying claustrophobia.

elokuu 6, 4:52 am

>124 FlorenceArt: Interesting!

>125 japaul22: I love that that only makes it a little less disturbing!

>126 BLBera: I have a hard time with books like that, in knowing what to say. Everyone else who read The Cat Who Saved Books seemed to love it. So in at least that case it's definitely a mismatch between reader and book. It may be the same way with this one. But if you aren't drawn to "sweet", "heartwarming" or "cozy" as descriptors, this one is probably not for you either!

I didn't think I knew any solo Stephen Stills songs. I must have thought "Love the One You're With" was a CSN song.

elokuu 6, 2:31 pm

>127 ursula: I'm glad you liked this as I have a copy waiting for me to read it.

elokuu 7, 3:11 am

>129 RidgewayGirl: I definitely always wanted to get back to it, and I was engaged the whole way through. It probably could have been a little shorter, but that's true of so many books.

elokuu 9, 3:18 am

Jordan: The Comeback - Prefab Sprout [art pop] (Morgan’s pick - 90s list)
30 Greatest Hits - Sam Cooke [soul] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Alive! - Kiss [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Wildflowers - Tom Petty [rock] (Morgan’s pick - 90s list)
Colossal Youth - Young Marble Giants [post-punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails [industrial rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Second Edition - Public Image Ltd. [post-punk] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Just As I Am - Bill Withers [soul] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Close to You - The Carpenters [pop] (1001 Albums list)
Tilt - Confidence Man [electro pop] (2022 lists)

The Hometown Kid - Gabe Lee [country] (self pick)
Tonight’s the Night - Neil Young [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
New York Dolls - New York Dolls [hard rock / proto-punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Life Is Yours - Foals [indie rock] (2022 lists)
The Apple Drop - Liars [indie rock] (2021 lists)

First Two Pages of Frankenstein - The National [indie rock] (self pick / 2023 releases)
Fortune Favors the Bold - 49 Winchester [country] (2022 lists)
By All Means Necessary - Boogie Down Productions [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno [art pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
American Beauty - Grateful Dead [rock] (1001 Albums list)

hugo - Loyle Carner [hip hop] (2022 lists)
The Head on the Door - The Cure [alternative rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Morrison Hotel - The Doors [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Moondance - Van Morrison [soul] (1001 Albums list)
I’m Still in Love with You - Al Green [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the Chart:
    Live Dead - Grateful Dead (1001 Albums list) - live and the Grateful Dead. Sigh.
    Funhouse - The Stooges (1001 Albums list)
    John Barleycorn Must Die - Traffic (1001 Albums list) - Flute solos!
    Raw Power - Iggy & The Stooges (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
    Songs from the Big Chair - Tears for Fears (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
    Crazy Rhythms - The Feelies (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    The Expanding Universe - Laurie Spiegel (200 Best Albums of the 80s list) (partial album) - one of those interesting in concept (composed with a computer in the early 80s) but not that interesting in listening albums.
    Slugs of Love - Little Dragon (new release)
    Gas Lit - Divide and Dissolve (2021 lists)
    Ngủ Ngày Ngay Ngày Tận Thế - Rắn Cạp Đuôi (2021 lists) - weird but interesting
    Skipped this week for recency:
    Live at Leeds - The Who (1001 Albums list)

  • I'm a day later than usual here because we were gone all day yesterday. Let's see if I can come up with anything interesting to say. I'm into the top 300 of the Rolling Stone list, so not quite to the halfway mark but I might get there soon if there starts being more overlap with what I've already done on the 1001 list. I like the 49 Winchester album, I already had it in my library. Fifteen-years-ago me would never have guessed how much country (and punk/hardcore) would be in my library now.

  • Listening to The Downward Spiral was so funny, I remember being super into Nine Inch Nails at the time. Now the lyrics are so cringy - it's fine, it's stuff that 20-somethings would write in their diaries, but you don't want to have to read those out loud when you're 50. It was also strange listening to By All Means Necessary; that album was in heavy rotation around me.

  • Speaking of heavy rotation: The Cure, The Doors and Van Morrison. My favorite Van Morrison song ("Caravan") is on this album. I don't listen to him anymore though - not contributing my $.03/play to him.

elokuu 9, 7:53 am

I just realized what an earth-toned 5x5 that was!

elokuu 9, 3:14 pm

>131 ursula:

Eek, what happened with Morrison? I just replaced my cassette of "Irish heartbeat" with a CD. See, this is why it's best not to know anything about these people.

For once I'm picking out more than a couple familiar stuff/names. Special shoutout to New York Dolls...

elokuu 9, 3:42 pm

>133 LolaWalser: What happened to Van Morrison?
Not to speak for Ursula, but possibly this:
titled, conveniently, “What happened to Van Morrison?”

elokuu 9, 3:48 pm

Ayayay, that's a shame. Not that I had any specific take on him as a person before, just... at least we anonymi get to be fools quietly, you know?

elokuu 10, 1:43 am

>133 LolaWalser:, >134 dypaloh:, >135 LolaWalser: Ah yes, that. He doesn't need my $.03 but I also don't need to give it to him. It was nice to hear some of the songs again, but I don't miss them enough to consider getting a second-hand record or something.

>133 LolaWalser: Yes, the New York Dolls was a good one! I'd never actually listened to it before.

elokuu 11, 4:00 am

No One Will Come Back for Us by Premee Mohamed

Short stories of speculative fiction, often involving old gods and Lovecraftian horrors. This collection seems to be pretty well-liked, and there were a couple of standouts to me (about an undersea lab, about a clueless reporter investigating a plague in Africa). But I rarely seem to really enjoy short story collections, so I am perhaps not a good barometer here, and it's unsurprising that I would rate it as "okay." If it looks like your kind of thing, go for it.

elokuu 12, 11:59 am

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

First line(s): My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance.

I may be among the last people to read this! I'm not going to say anything at all about the plot, but I'm going to say that 1. revisiting that first sentence made me realize that Mary Katherine was much older than I thought she was through the reading of the book (she read around 14 to me) and 2. I'm betting Shirley Jackson didn't like her neighbors much.

Quote: When Jim Donell thought of something to say he said it as often and in as many ways as possible, perhaps because he had very few ideas and had to wring each one dry.

Also read by Shirley Jackson:
The Haunting of Hill House
The Lottery/Adventures of the Demon Lover
The Road through the Wall

elokuu 12, 1:20 pm

>138 ursula: You’re not quite the last one 😊

elokuu 14, 3:44 am

>139 FlorenceArt: I figured I might not be! :)

Muokkaaja: elokuu 14, 10:16 am

Weekly 5x5

Big Lupu - 22 Pistepirkko [Finnish rock] (self pick, recommendation from pen pal)
Licensed to Ill - Beastie Boys [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Random Access Memories - Daft Punk [electronic] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Why Would I Watch - Hot Mulligan [emo] (new releases) +
Spare Ribs - Sleaford Mods [post-punk] (2021 lists)

Tapestry - Carole King [pop] (1001 Albums list)
Come on Over - Shania Twain [country] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) - partial album
Full Moon Fever - Tom Petty [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton [country] (1001 Albums list) +
Entering Heaven Alive - Jack White [rock] (2022 lists) +

Road to the Riches - Kool G Rap & DJ Polo [hip hop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Bleach - Nirvana [grunge] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Live at the Regal - BB King [blues] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
She’s So Unusual - Cyndi Lauper [pop rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list) +
American Pie - Don McLean [folk rock] (1001 Albums list)

living in memory of something sweet - dreamTX [post-post-rock] (new releases) +
Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine [rap rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
The Drift - Scott Walker [avant-garde] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills [folk] (self pick, relisten on vinyl)
Intimate Immensity - Tomaga [alternative/indie] (2021 lists)

Kirtan: Turiya Sings - Alice Coltrane [new age/devotional] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
If I Could Only Remember My Name - David Crosby [psychedelic folk] (1001 Albums list)
Rust Never Sleeps - Neil Young & Crazy Horse [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) - vinyl
So - Peter Gabriel [art pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Tago Mago - Can [experimental rock] (1001 Albums list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart
    Youth of America - Wipers (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Deep England - NYX & Gazelle Twin (2021 lists) deeply weird, I loved this +
    she / her / black bitch - Doechii (2022 lists)
    MAXIDENT - Stray Kids (2022 lists)

    Skipped for recency:
    Cosmo’s Factory - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1001 Albums list)

  • Relistening to stuff from years ago, like the Beastie Boys, you realize how many of the lyrics were really problematic. I know they disowned some of this album in later years ("Girls", I'm thinking of specifically), but still. And boy, the casual homophobia on Kool G Rap & DJ Polo is very of its time but yikes. I could not force myself through the entirety of the Shania Twain album. The lyrics are just so awful and the music doesn't improve it. As for Don McLean I have never been a hater of the song "American Pie" but I've also never listened to this entire album. Blergh. Also, there's another song on there that is literally just "American Pie" with slightly different accompaniment.

  • I loved the Hot Mulligan album, but I'm conflicted because I literally hate all their song titles. It leaves me feeling conflicted. Tapestry is one of those albums that I always like when I listen to it, but I never feel compelled to actually play it. Dolly Parton is a national treasure. I liked the dreamTX album even if I don't pretend to know what "post-post-rock" would mean. We already know Peter Gabriel is a favorite of mine, and even if this album is not my personal favorite, I admit it's a pretty good one! Morgan and I kind of differ on what we think of Jack White's solo work but we aligned here, which is that this album felt pretty safe. It's pretty good overall but it lacks some of that unexpectedness I enjoy.

  • In the category of "really weird shit I listened to this week" I have Scott Walker, NYX & Gazelle Twin and Can. The first one, I need to listen to again and try to actually process, the second one I loved and the third one was not my kind of weird.

  • Back in the day I was a huge Rage Against the Machine fan. I got my brother into them when he was around 14 I guess and I took him to a wild show of theirs at the Oakland Coliseum when he was 16. Good times! I still know this album by heart.
    And speaking of shows, Tom Petty was my first concert ever, also at the Oakland Coliseum. Well, and the Heartbreakers (it was on the Into the Great Wide Open tour).

+ = added to my library
♡ = already in my library

elokuu 14, 10:11 am

Just a note that you've still got the cover images from last week's group in today's thread Other than that . . . .

I don't think I've ever listened to the American Pie album all the way through. My friends and I all liked the song initially but goodness did we all get tired of it. I recently read comments made by his ex-wife that he was, according to her, a pretty miserable individual.

B.B. King's Live at the Regal is considered one of his very best . . . a classic performance. He was a nice guy, too. I got to interview him once! My copy is all scratchy. You've reminded me that I've been meaning to look for a cleaner copy for a while.

How did you get on with that David Crosby album. I love that one, and it's revered in some circles, although it got lousy reviews when I was first released. It was recorded by a group of Crosby's friends, including members of the Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead. It's Jerry Garcia playing that moody, haunting pedal steel on Laughing (he also played that instrument on Teach Your Children on the Deja Vu album), and Joni Mitchell's harmonies on that song are (to me, anyway) worth the price of admission all on their own.

And who could see that Cyndi Lauper album without smiling?

elokuu 14, 10:16 am

Fixed, thanks!

elokuu 14, 10:19 am

>142 rocketjk: Oh man, how did I forget to even mention Cyndi Lauper? I had that one on vinyl when I was young. That has 6 bangers in a row to start it off!

I am somehow not surprised that Don McLean was a miserable bastard. It seems very believable.

I think the BB King was one of the live performances I actually could appreciate.

I wasn't crazy about the David Crosby on a first listen. I'll revisit it though. Thanks for the info about the people involved!

elokuu 15, 1:50 pm

>141 ursula: I am a fan of Scott Walker's The Drift, but for all his avant grade posturing he never reached the heights that he did with The Walker Brothers.

Has no one mentioned Rust Never Sleeps - all time favourite in my house. I quite like Peter Gabriel's So and Tom Petty can usually be relied upon. Good songs on Tapestry, but does anyone listen to that now.

Alice Coltrane and new age music - who would have thought.

elokuu 15, 1:57 pm

>145 baswood: "Good songs on Tapestry, but does anyone listen to that now."

Ha! Probably not. We listened to it so much when it was first released that we're sated for a lifetime! Otherwise, if subsequent generations know of King at all, it's probably as a songwriter (with Gerry Goffin) rather than as a performer.

elokuu 16, 3:17 am

>145 baswood: I haven't listened to The Walker Brothers, but I'll try to make some room to do so.

Rust Never Sleeps is great. I've said it before, but I really love Neil Young. The vinyl version of Rust Never Sleeps is one that Morgan kept from his step-father's collection, so I'm happy he hung onto it. :) I prefer Peter Gabriel's earlier albums but even so, listening through to this one brought back tons of memories. I'm partial to Tom Petty's Southern Accents for whatever reason, but Full Moon Fever was everywhere at the time and I listened to my cassette of it a lot.

>145 baswood:, >146 rocketjk: about Carole King. Yeah, I don't know what most people know about her. I grew up with a mom who listened to a lot of oldies radio so I heard tons of stuff that Morgan didn't. I'm guessing that's where I had heard her. I'll have to ask Morgan what he knows/knew (different generation and his parents didn't listen to oldies).

elokuu 16, 12:41 pm

>141 ursula:

I still listen to Rage Against The Machine and the Cyndi Lauper is a little special for being a gift. Other than that and some name recognition, slim pickings this week.

O ya, I meant to say--the thing I like the best about those Amoeba videos is that I don't know basically 98% of the stuff anyone mentions! The musics are infinite!

elokuu 17, 11:32 am

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

First line: I sometimes wonder what was disappeared first -- among all the things that have vanished from the island.

This was an odd little book. As the title and the first line work together to tell you, things disappear from the island where the narrator lives, and the Memory Police enforce those disappearances. But when things disappear, the objects themselves don't immediately disappear, more just the idea of them. For example, if photographs disappear, the photos are still there on the table, but people no longer feel any significance or tie to them. They then need to actually take them to be disposed of, and the Memory Police will look for and punish violations to the policy.

This story is interspersed with chapters of the novel the narrator is writing, about a young woman in a typing class.

As seems to often be the case with Japanese novels, this is a quiet, interior sort of story and the pace, as well as the characters' actions, may occasionally annoy you. Generally I'm okay with that, but I did wonder a couple of times when things were going to get shaken up. Much to think about here, though.

elokuu 17, 11:37 am

>148 LolaWalser: I didn't really stop listening to RATM, I just tended to have it come up less often. It was great to revisit.

Haha, some of the things I've seen mentioned have been preeeeetty obscure! I'm trying to think what band we watched, something Morgan knew, and they had some wild choices. Ah, I just asked him and it was Blood Incantation.

elokuu 17, 3:08 pm

>150 ursula:

I saw that one! Yeah--just checked--it was actually the first video that came up, and I looked for Klaus Schulze and Osamu Kitajima from their pickups. My library had only one disc (Shin Chugoku) with the latter, described as psychedelic rock music, hated it. But I love the exploration.

elokuu 18, 8:54 am

I love "Tapestry," and King's memoir A Natural Woman is pretty good, too.

One of these days I'll get to The Memory Police.

elokuu 19, 3:59 am

>151 LolaWalser: Ha, it never occurred to me to look up anything they talked about (except in a vague "oh I should check that out one day" sort of way). I looked to see what Apple Music had for Osamu Kitajima and listened to Over the Brink, which I would categorize more as sort of new age-y. It was okay.

>152 BLBera: Good to know someone still loves Tapestry. ;)

elokuu 20, 8:38 am

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

First line: His full name was Mr. Harutsuna Matsumoto, but I called him "Sensei."

Our narrator is a woman in her late 30s. She's got a job, has had some relationships, but is by herself a lot of her time and I guess wonders if that's all there is. One day she's at a restaurant and she's seated next to an old high school teacher of hers. They talk a little, but mostly they drink.

It becomes a regular occurrence, meeting each other at this restaurant and drinking, although never with intentionally-made plans. And then she starts to wonder if there is, or could be, something more to their relationship.

I don't care about the age difference. I'm a little squicked out by her calling him "Sensei" while also wondering if maybe they should kiss, but that might be a cultural thing. I'm highly concerned by the industrial amount of drinking they seem to do, quite matter-of-factly. Not my favorite read; I guess one could interpret it as a sweet story if you squint and ignore the state of their livers.

elokuu 20, 2:53 pm

if you squint and ignore the state of their livers.


I've encountered that "sensei" in similar relations in Japanese films and it's not my fave either. Does it mean "master" or "teacher" as well? Either way (or if both!) to me it's weird in an intimate relationship as it would seem to denote and enforce distance. Then again, maybe the ideas of intimacy differ...

elokuu 21, 9:07 pm

>149 ursula: I had a similarly lukewarm reaction to The Memory Police. I liked the idea, but the story didn't engage me as much as I wanted to be engaged.

>154 ursula: Hmm, I think I'll cross Strange Weather off my wishlist. I enjoyed her Nakano Thrift Shop, but Ten Loves of Nishino was meh. I'll stop here before I cross into negative territory.

elokuu 22, 4:12 am

>155 LolaWalser: I believe it means "master" or "teacher", yeah. I guess it's just a polite honorific, which is why I'm having a hard time with a relationship where the woman calls the man "sir". But I also realize lots of things don't translate exactly (words as well as concepts).

Germans in a workplace calling each other Mr. Schmidt and Mrs. Klein just seem impossibly formal to me. And translating Turkish honorifics, where you use "miss" and "mister" but with a first name, gives US southern 1950s when I'm reading. Even though I know better.

>156 labfs39: Interesting. I liked The Memory Police better in the rearview, which I suppose is often a sign of something that didn't engage me a great deal in the moment. But maybe makes it a better book than it seems at first glance.

I'll check out Nakano Thrift Shop, thanks for mentioning it!

elokuu 22, 12:55 pm

Weekly 5x5

Speakerboxxx/The Love Below - Outkast [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Las Ruinas - Rico Nasty [hip hop] (2022 lists)
The Writing’s on the Wall - Destiny’s Child [r&b/pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Decoration Day - Drive-By Truckers [southern rock] (2003 list) +
Last Splash - The Breeders [alternative rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) +

the record - boygenius [indie] (best of 2023 so far list)
Great Spans of Muddy Time - William Doyle [alternative] (2021 lists) +
Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks - Brian Eno [ambient] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Pictures at an Exhibition - Emerson, Lake & Palmer [classical crossover] (1001 Albums list)
Neon Blue - Joshua Hedley [country] (2022 lists)

Praise a God Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume - Yves Tumor [electronica/psychedelic] (best of 2023 so far list)
Post - Björk [art pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Supernova - Nova Twins [punk] (2021 lists)
Squeeze - SASAMI [nu-metal/industrial] (2022 lists)
TEWARI - Scotch Rolex [electronic] (2022 lists)

Van Halen - Van Halen [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) +
Lucky for You - Bully [alternative rock] (best of 2023 so far list) +
living in memory of something sweet - dreamTX [shoegaze/indie rock] (2023 releases) +
Omens - Lamb of God [metal] (2022 lists)
Altars of Madness - Morbid Angel [death metal] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list) +

Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt [folk] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list) +
Weezer - Weezer [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Madman Across the Water - Elton John [pop] (1001 Albums list)
A Nod Is as Good as a Wink … To a Blind Horse - Faces [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Teenage Head - Flamin’ Groovies [garage rock] (1001 Albums list) +

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Tarkus - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1001 Albums list)
    Live! - Fela Kuti with Ginger Baker (1001 Albums list)
    Maggot Brain - Funkadelic (1001 Albums list)
    Odyshape - The Raincoats (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Ride the Lightning - Metallica (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list) +
    Henki - Richard Dawson & Circle (2021 lists)

  • And with that, I’m done with the last 2021 list! It’s like a miracle. Other progress notes: I’ve finished 217 from the 1001 list, 212 on the RS 500, 58 of the TrebleZine all-time 100 list, and 106 of the 200 top 80s albums. Making definite progress all around.

    Also I’ll mention it here even though it really belongs to next week, though I’m sure I’ll forget about it: I am done with Rolling Stone and their insistence on box sets when they can - I get it, you love everything oh my goodness they’re like my children how can I choose? But come on. I will not be listening to Merle Haggard - Down Every Road (1962-1994).

    I’ve added the “best so far of 2023” list from Pitchfork, although I’m not working my way through it methodically, just using it to revisit things I like or check out things that interest me. I’ll get to everything else on the end of the year list, assuming they make it to that one.

  • Decoration Day by the Drive-By Truckers was new to me. It's on the 2003 list but I was curious about this album anyway because it was when Jason Isbell joined the band (he only belonged briefly), and I love his solo work so wanted to check out this one. There's some really great story-telling here.
    I'd never listened to Morbid Angel although my ex was super into all of the bands like that. This is their first album; pretty good, although Morgan said he prefers the second one.
    Ride the Lightning is my preferred Metallica album. I know this thing by heart. I've seen Metallica play 3 times, including once in an acoustic set at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit. And yet this album wasn't in my library - I have periodically gone through and deleted things that I like but don't necessarily see myself listening to anytime soon. Then I guess it comes up on a list and it gets added again. The joys of digital media!

  • I'm violently opposed to Björk, but when I started this album I thought maybe I'd misjudged her. The first song was pretty good, honestly. But then the rest of it descended into Björkdom - grunts and wails and musical theater. If you're into that, cool. It's not for me.
    Weezer is just frequently so problematic, and that's before you get into even talking about Rivers Cuomo personally. But they did write some catchy songs. I saw them live in 2008 I think - free tickets and my brother wanted to go.
    For me, there's about half of a brilliant album on Maggot Brain, but the parts I don't like, I really don't like, so *shrug*.

+ = added to my library
♡ = already in my library

elokuu 22, 1:25 pm

Your 5x5 made me laugh because the only album I owned was the Outkast one. Not my usual, but it had so many songs that just wormed their way into my brain. Drive-By Truckers is playing locally next month and I'm tempted to see if I can get a few people together to go.

elokuu 22, 3:56 pm

Townes Van Zandt is the only one I have. Other stuff by Björk and Eno, and of course I've heard some Elton John, Van Halen, EL&P... but again largely a miss.

I love my brother's anecdote from going to the Metallica concert in Zagreb. (He and SIL had been to several of theirs before...) This time he was going with a friend and, reckoning it would be mad to take the car, they decided that my brother, the multiple-motorcycle owner, would pick up the friend on the smallest of them so they'd have no trouble parking anywhere. On the way to the concert the storm caught up with them and they got thoroughly wet and muddy, but that's no biggie for the dwellers in the North.

As they approached the stadium grounds, however, the crowd started taking unusual notice of them and people cheering, clapping, shouting... patting them on the shoulders and giving them thumbs-up and whatnot... a real ovation. What the hell?!--then my brother remembered the cycle had registration plates from Split, and in their mud-splattered, windswept condition apparently it seemed they'd been on the road for hours. Just the idea of them two big lugs perched on a tiny motorbike, feet almost dragging on the ground, had schlepped from Split to Zagreb in torrential rains, for the love of Metallica... it still makes me laugh.

elokuu 23, 2:07 am

>159 RidgewayGirl: That Outkast album was certainly everywhere! I feel like, on a relisten, it could have been a much shorter affair.

I don't know anything at all about the Drive-By Truckers aside from their short association with Jason Isbell but I'm imagining it would be a fun live show!

elokuu 23, 2:08 am

>160 LolaWalser: That is an excellent story about the Metallica show!

What do you have by Björk, out of curiosity?

elokuu 23, 2:42 am

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

First line(s): Everyone in my family has killed someone. Some of us, the high achievers, have killed more than once.

And so begins a sort of simultaneous recreation of a golden-age mystery and a takedown of one. A family gathers at a ski resort in Australia. It's a family reunion, precipitated by a member being released from jail (for killing someone, naturally). They are snowed in, and the deaths begin.

The narrator writes how-to-write-mysteries books (self-published) and promises to be a reliable narrator, and to provide all the clues necessary to the reader. It's very meta, among other things reminding the reader that if it's before 80-something percent in the book, there's no way the actual murderer has been found.

I liked the tone of it quite a bit for the first third, although humor does not always land well for me in general. But then it wore on me a bit, and then the resolution and reveals dragged on for longer than I would have preferred (but again, this is pretty standard for the type of novel he's spoofing/doing an homage to). You can't just point at someone, say "he did it!" and end the book, I suppose. So it ends up in the "better than ok but not great" area.

elokuu 23, 2:37 pm

>162 ursula:

"Debut" and "Homogenic", but not much should be read into what's there or isn't, as my shopping can be haphazard outside the stone cold faves, where I tend to collect everything. But I do like both of those tons!

elokuu 23, 4:40 pm

>158 ursula: I am getting left behind now

elokuu 24, 3:15 am

>164 LolaWalser: I totally understand, honestly it's the same for my online library of music. In listening to some of these, I'm surprised by the stuff I have deleted at some point for obscure reasons or just never actually added. No judgment will be passed! Especially on Björk.

>165 baswood: We're only in 1971 on the 1001 Albums list! Also if I recall correctly, you've commented on some death metal albums so I'm a little surprised you hadn't listened to the Morbid Angel.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 31, 11:24 am

Weekly 5x5

Third - Big Star [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Natural Brown Prom Queen - Sudan Archives [r&b] (2022 lists)
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ - 50 Cent [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Diary of Alicia Keys - Alicia Keys [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Bad Girls - Donna Summer [disco] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Shaft - Isaac Hayes [soundtrack] (1001 Albums list)
Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Loneliest Time - Carly Rae Jepsen [pop] (2022 lists)
Voodoo - D’Angelo [r&b] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
MTV Unplugged in New York - Nirvana [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) +

The Window - Ratboys [indie rock] (new releases) +
Harry’s House - Harry Styles [pop] (2022 lists)
Hold the Girl - Rina Sawayama [pop] (2022 lists)
Aqualung - Jethro Tull [progressive rock] (1001 Albums list)
Post-American - MSPAINT [experimental/alternative rock]

The Unraveling of PUPTHEBAND - PUP [punk] (2022 lists) +
Separation Sunday - The Hold Steady [indie rock] (self pick)
No Highs - Tim Hecker [ambient] (Morgan’s pick, also new releases)
Faith - George Michael [pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Nilsson Schmilsson - Harry Nilsson [rock] (1001 Albums list)

Pearl - Janis Joplin [rock] (1001 Albums list) +
Imagine - John Lennon [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Blue - Joni Mitchell [singer/songwriter] (1001 Albums list)
So Tonight That I Might See - Mazzy Star [indie] (Morgan’s pick, 90s list)
Death by Tickling - Scotch Rolex & Shackleton [electronic] (new releases)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Furling - Meg Baird
    The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list) +
    Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin (1001 Albums list)
    Songs of Love and Hate - Leonard Cohen (1001 Albums list) +
    nature morte - Big Brave
    Different Trains - Kronos Quartet/Pat Metheny (Steve Reich) (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

    Skipped for recency:
    Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    In the Wee Small Hours - Frank Sinatra (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

  • Let's see here - this week I'm all about the Ratboys album, love it. The title track is amazing, drop everything and listen to it on YouTube: The Window.

  • I also enjoyed the PUP album, as the name suggests it's a concept album about the demise of the band. Kind of a descendant of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine"/"Have a Cigar".
    Nirvana Unplugged is a live album I can listen to, and that's even considering I haven't listened to the studio albums much at all in the last 10 or so years. Kurt comes across so personable here.
    Californication was the last Chili Peppers album I really listened to - hearing it again now I'm reminded that Anthony Kiedis writes some of the truly most ridiculous lyrics (negative). The flip side of that is Carly Rae Jepsen - she makes me laugh out loud with some of her lyrics (positive).
    The Modern Lovers album is one that Morgan really loves, so I was familiar with it. "Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole" comes up in conversation more than you might think it would.

  • I do not get the appeal of Blue.

  • I'm short on 80s albums this week (again) because I'm holding off waiting for Morgan to catch up a bit.

+ = added to my library
♡ = already in my library

Muokkaaja: elokuu 29, 2:34 pm

>167 ursula: Quite a few for me this week.

Otherwise, Aqualung was very much on the top of my list during high school days. "Locomotive Breath" is the great rocker on that album. I got to see the live three or four times, and they always put on a great show.

I agree with you about the extremely high quality of Nirvana Unplugged.

Pearl: So bittersweet, as there's so much power there and it was released after her death. We all knew we were saying goodbye.

Nilsson Schmilsson is a sentimental favorite of mine, as is the (not as good) follow up, Son of Schmilsson.

The Modern Lovers: Oh, how I love Jonathan Richmond. I used to see him perform in his early days in the 1970s in and around the Boston University campus, where I was an undergrad. Road Runner is one of my all-time favorite rock anthems. Here's a great video (at least to me) of "Pablo Picasso Was Never Called an Asshole, including lyrics:


elokuu 29, 5:11 am

I seem to be having some issues with the link to imgur for this week, not sure why. Let me know if the image disappears for you again.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 30, 1:05 am

>168 rocketjk: I get the impression that Aqualung was pretty ubiquitous at the time, which is sort of hard for me to fathom - it seems kind of out there in a lot of ways, but I guess not really, there's a fair amount of prog coming up on the 1001 list.

I didn't realize Pearl was released posthumously. I can imagine that made it very poignant.

When we did a trivia night in Fresno, they had a question that was naming the song/artist and they played "Without You" - it killed me because I knew the song, but I had no idea who it was. And more recently "Gotta Get Up" was used in every episode of season 1 of Russian Doll, so I became familiar with that one! But other than that, I had no familiarity with Harry Nilsson.

Jonathan Richman seems like a unique character. And haha, that video is ... certainly something! 🤣

elokuu 29, 2:36 pm

>167 ursula: >168 rocketjk: Without You is a single that got played quite often at home when I was a teen.

Love the Picasso video! When I listened to it this morning on my iPad, I thought the sound reminded me of some of the music I listened to in the 90s, but now I've lost it. I think maybe the sound of the version on my streaming service is a little too "cleaned up".

elokuu 31, 4:45 am

>171 FlorenceArt: Without You was on the radio when I was a kid, but when I was young enough that it became familiar without me actually knowing it.

elokuu 31, 4:47 am

>97 rocketjk: If you have any affinity for classic-era Allman Brothers (i.e., when Duane Allman was still alive), I would highly recommend their Live at the Fillmore East album. It's an extremely well-produced album full of exceptional performances. "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is an extremely tight and intricately composed instrumental and worth the price of admission all by itself. You might find this to be an exception to the rule.

Hey by the way, Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore East is my album from the 1001 list today! I'll report back. :)

elokuu 31, 9:55 am

Finally caught up on your thread, Ursula—I really enjoy the multilayered aspect of your books and music (and the odd landmark) discussion. I'm not going to go into detail on every post for the last month and a half, but I will say that it's occurring to me how much of my appreciation (or not) of music hinges on my social experience of it, rather than any kind of critical listening. I spent a lot of time with music in the company of others in my teens, 20s, 30s, even a bit in my 40s, and that has really colored my experience of it a lot. So it's fun for me to read everyone's takes, and I'm glad you have this setup going.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 31, 10:52 am

Deleting my comment, as it was pretty much a repetition of what I said above already,

elokuu 31, 11:40 am

>174 lisapeet: Welcome! I don't think I do any kind of critical listening either, haha. I do think the social aspect is huge in shaping our tastes, often. I remember reading something about how the things you hear when you're 15, 16, 17 etc tend to really just resonate and get in your head in a way a lot of things later in life don't - and that the problem with trying to share that music with someone else is that what you're trying to get them to hear is the experience and all they're hearing is the music.

Morgan and I do a lot of listening together but separately (working through the same lists, discussing here and there), so there is a certain amount of social interaction around it, but the responses people have had here also contributes to the experience. Feel free to chime in any time. ;)

Muokkaaja: elokuu 31, 12:48 pm

>167 ursula: Joni Mitchell's Blue for me is a melancholy masterpiece, great songs and only surpassed by Hejira. Cohen's Songs of Love and Hate is also great but fairly depressing - I am surprised that you made it through the week Ursula. I like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers Californication and of course John Lennon's imagine which provided some hope after the break up of the Beatles. Aqualung is also a good Jethro Tull album.

I see also that you listened to Different Trains composed by Steve Reich which is a classic of modern music - brilliant.

elokuu 31, 2:07 pm

>177 baswood: I liked a couple of songs on Blue but also hated at least one. Her voice is not for me either.

Haha, at least I didn't listen to Joni Mitchell/Leonard Cohen as a double feature!

I have become less enamored of John Lennon over the years, which kind of surprised me.

I had never even heard of Steve Reich before! Is there something else you would recommend?

syyskuu 3, 2:49 am

Devil House by John Darnielle

First line: Mom called yesterday to ask if I was ready to come home yet; I went directly to San Francisco from college, and I've been in Milpitas for five years now, but she holds fast to her theory that eventually I'm coming back to San Luis Obispo.

The "Devil House" of the title is the site of a double murder in Milpitas. The building where it happened had several different lives; at the time of the murder it was an out-of-business adult store. At the time when the story picks up, it's a home where a true-crime writer wants to live to get close to the material for the book he's writing about those murders. I've deleted about 4 attempts at writing something else so I'm just going to say - it's about his research for the Devil House book, and it's about his previous true crime bestseller, The White Witch of Morro Bay, which was turned into a movie. And that's it for the boring (and impossible) plot synopsis. What I really want to say is:

This is the third book John Darnielle has written, and the third one I've read by him (earlier books were: Wolf in White Van and Universal Harvester). What all three books have in common is that you are never reading the book you think you're reading. It's such a strange experience, and especially to have it still catch me by surprise in the third book.

syyskuu 4, 10:13 am

>178 ursula: I am certainly not familiar with most of Steve Reich's music and I think that Different Trains was a bit of a one off.

syyskuu 4, 1:08 pm

>180 baswood: Fair enough!

syyskuu 4, 2:35 pm

>179 ursula: Yes, the final section of that book turned everything upside down and and I love it when an author pulls it off.

syyskuu 5, 1:16 am

About Steve Reich: try Drumming. It may or may not work for you. Repetitive music can be both repelling and entrancing. It does both to me. At the same time. Drumming, for me, is linked to A. T. De Keersmaeker's choreography: https://youtu.be/WogmINpL_4Y?si=GvuKa8oN-zAkEMud

Also, WTC 9/11 blew me off my feet when I discovered it, but then it turned out it was a rehash from Different Trains, so that reduces the impact for me.

syyskuu 5, 2:57 am

>182 RidgewayGirl: I've liked how he played with the reader's expectations in all of his books. Morgan is reading this one right now so I'm curious to see what he'll think of it too.

>183 FlorenceArt: Thanks for the recommendation, I'll check it out. I agree that it's hard to know about repetitive music, we'll see where I'll fall!

syyskuu 5, 3:03 am

Weekly 5x5

Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience [rock] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
Zach Bryan - Zach Bryan [country] (new releases) +
Lost & Found - Sean Shibe [classical crossover] (2022 lists)
Blue Rev - Alvvays [indie pop] (2022 releases, vinyl)
Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves [country] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville - Ashley McBryde [country] (2022 lists)
Dear Catastrophe Waitress - Belle and Sebastian [indie pop] (Morgan’s pick, 90s list)
Tango in the Night - Fleetwood Mac [rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Entertainment! - Gang of Four [post-punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Friends That Break Your Heart - James Blake [alternative] (2021 review)

What’s the 411? - Mary J. Blige [r&b] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
The Bends - Radiohead [alternative/britpop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Sail Away - Randy Newman [pop/rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
A Southern Gothic - Adia Victoria [blues] (2021 review)
Observatory - Aeon Station [indie rock] (2021 review)

Heaven or Las Vegas - Cocteau Twins [dream pop] (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list) +
Reckoning - REM [alternative rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Electric Warrior - T. Rex [glam rock] (1001 Albums list)
Surf’s Up - Beach Boys [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Spiral - Darkside [electronica] (2021 review)

Five of Cups - Holy Wave [psychedelic rock] (Morgan’s pick, new releases)
What’s Going On - Marvin Gaye [soul] (1001 Albums list)
Alchemy for the Dead - Spotlights [sludgegaze] (2023 so far list)
This Stupid World - Yo La Tengo [indie rock] (2023 so far list)
Spirit Exit - Caterina Barbieri [electronic] (2022 lists)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Every Picture Tells a Story - Rod Stewart (1001 Albums list)
    Histoire de Melody Nelson - Serge Gainsbourg (1001 Albums list)
    At Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band (1001 Albums list)
    Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Curtis - Curtis Mayfield (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

    Skipped for recency:
    There’s a Riot Goin’ On - Sly & The Family Stone (1001 Albums list)

  • Sweetheart of the Rodeo - The Byrds (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

    Skipped for refusal to give even a fraction of a cent per play:
    Yeezus - Kanye West (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
  • You may notice a new source up there: 2021 review. Morgan and I have decided to try to go back to our 2021 added albums and try to figure out our top 10s for that year. I’m still early into it and I’m not really formulating a top 10 yet but at this point 3 of this week’s listens might find their way there: Darkside, Adia Victoria and Aeon Station.

  • Zach Bryan released another album, and it’s great. American Heartbreak was good, but it was a 3-album deal and that’s a lot to take in. This is a reasonable 16 songs and I really like it. The Caterina Barbieri was interesting in a good way.

  • My thoughts on The Allman Brothers: I really liked the instrumental song (In Memory of Elizabeth Reed) but I did not need a 23 minute version of Whipping Post, or a 19 minute version of You Don’t Love Me. I just am not that into random guitar noodling for that long. I do enjoy extended versions of songs in concert, but it’s very dependent on how it’s done. I know that when I saw Smashing Pumpkins, they did an extended version of Heavy Metal Machine and it was great, but it was more involving the full band and it was maybe 11 or 12 minutes long. So I remain unconvinced about live albums.

  • The Beach Boys - Surf’s Up was the worst thing I put in my ear holes this week. (And I hate Radiohead! But this album was mostly lacking the stuff that most makes me hate them. For Morgan, the lack of all that is why he finds The Bends an uninspiring album. For me, it made it mostly listenable.)

+ = added to my library
♡ = already in my library

Also, we found a cool record store in Saarbrücken! We came away with the Alvvays record:

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 5, 6:21 am

I loved Adia Victoria’s Silences. Will have to check out A Southern Gothic.

syyskuu 5, 8:37 am

>186 FlorenceArt: And I'll have to check out Silences!

syyskuu 6, 7:50 am

Some classics on your weekly 5X5

Are You Experienced still sounds incredible and he only surpassed it with Electric Ladyland.
Entertainment by Gang of Four is one of the great British New wave albums - I love the spiky guitar and the lyrics are superb.
T Rex's electric warrior deserves a mention although I preferred Marc Bolan in the earlier incantation: Tyrannosaurus Rex.

What is it about Vinyl record record shops that is so appealing. - perhaps flicking through LP covers is so much more satisfying than clunking through CD cases.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 6, 9:00 am

>188 baswood: Morgan and I were talking about how to order the Hendrix albums. I think I might like Are You Experienced the best, but he feels like his favorite is Electric Ladyland.

I didn't connect with Entertainment at all.

I didn't know there was an earlier T Rex incarnation!

In the past, I usually idly flipped through a couple of records and then stood outside or did something else while Morgan looked. I wasn't all that interested in acquiring anything. But now I've decided to look for recent things I like, and if there is a color option, I'll consider it. No black vinyl!*

*I mean, it's not a hard-and-fast rule, but I'd prefer to only get color ones. We did get a copy of the LS Dunes record, but it was a super-limited edition with a special cover and it was signed.

edited to add: Deutschepost just released a Jimi Hendrix stamp.

syyskuu 7, 4:00 am

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka


I just kept thinking "Is this supposed to be funny? She can't mean this to be funny, right? And yet it doesn't work as a serious book either...."

syyskuu 8, 2:27 pm

Music news: with some misgivings, we bought tickets to see The 1975 in Frankfurt in March. Main impetus was news that they are intending to take a break from touring for "at least a few years" when they're done with this run.

syyskuu 11, 6:02 am

Weekly 5x5

Double Nickels on the Dime - Minutemen [punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Check Your Head - Beastie Boys [hip hop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Wowee Zowee - Pavement [indie rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Help! - The Beatles [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Black Radio III - Robert Glasper [jazz/soul/hip hop/r&b] (2022 lists)

Trafalgar - Bee Gees [soft rock] (1001 Albums list)
Ghost Song - Cecile McLorin Salvant [jazz] (2022 lists)
Appetite for Destruction - Guns N’ Roses [rock] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Mythopoetics - Half Waif [synth pop] (2021 review)
Meteora - Linkin Park [nu metal] (Morgan’s pick - 90s list)

imagine naked! - OHYUNG [ambient] (2022 lists) +
Dartland - Worst Party Ever [emo] (2021 review)
Chemtrails Over the Country Club - Lana Del Rey [pop] (2021 review)
My Morning Jacket - My Morning Jacket [psychedelic rock] (Morgan’s pick - 2021 review)
This House - Pale Blue Eyes [indie] (new releases)

A Billion Little Lights - Wild Pink [indie] (2021 review)
In These Silent Days - Brandi Carlile [singer/songwriter] (2021 review)
Blue Bell Knoll - Cocteau Twins [dream pop] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Ay! - Lucrecia Dalt [avant garde] (2022 lists)
L.A. Woman - The Doors [rock] (1001 Albums list)

Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones [rock] (1001 Albums list)
School’s Out - Alice Cooper [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Infinite Granite - Deafheaven [shoegaze] (2021 review)
Power, Corruption & Lies - New Order [ new wave] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Who’s Next - The Who [rock] (1001 Albums list)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    The Yes Album - Yes (1001 Albums list)
    Fragile - Yes (1001 Albums list)
    Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Sons Of - Sam Prekop & John McEntire (2022 lists)
    Flowers & Dead Souls - Acid Rooster (new releases)

    Skipped for recency:
    Let’s Stay Together - Al Green (1001 Albums list)
    The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Songs from the Big Chair - Tears for Fears (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)

  • It's weird, doing this review of 2021 raises the proportion of albums I'm pretty familiar with and makes me feel like I have less to say sometimes? Even though in theory the 2021 albums are ones that I mostly know I like. Anyway, of the 2021 stuff: still love Half Waif, this is a strong contender to actually end up on my top 10 for that year. Did one of the 2 albums Lana Del Rey released that year, we'll see which one I end up liking better. Still love the Deafheaven album, even though I know it was sort of a less-liked one for the established fanbase since it was a jump from black metal to shoegaze.

  • Everything else: I think I still liked the other Cocteau Twins album (Heaven or Las Vegas) better than this one, but this was pretty good too. Funny that I never listened to them at the time.

  • Never been a big fan of Yes; these were okay. And I knew a couple more songs than I would have expected. I also am not a fan of Pink Floyd, but this is the one album I have in my library, the one I'll actually listen to.

+ = added to my library
♡ = already in my library

syyskuu 11, 12:17 pm

Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Riku Onda

First line: When was that memory from? I'm not sure.

The backdrop for this novel is the Yoshigae piano competition. The pianists come from a variety of backgrounds - Aya was a child prodigy who walked away (literally - she left the building right before a performance) and this is her first appearance since; Akashi thought a life in music was impossible for him now that he's married and has a different life; Jin is a young enigma, the student of a maestro who didn't take on many students.

I think if you're very familiar with classical music, this is probably a more enriching read. The author talks a lot (a lot) about the imagery each pianist is seeing as they play, and what the audience is imagining as they listen. How nature and music inform, influence and intersect with each other is a major theme. It's interesting because after reading This Is What It Sounds Like I know that I'm definitely more responsive to "below the neck" music, rather than the "above the neck" style of classical, so I want to listen to some of the pieces mentioned and think about the descriptions given. I already listened to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto no. 2, which was one of the pieces in the finals (the finalists each had to play a concerto).

Anyway, aside from all of that, it was a different setting from anything else I've read, and the variety of views on what makes a musician were thought-provoking. It was a sort of sweet story overall mostly focusing on a small group of contestants and a couple of the judges. You really do have to have a pretty high tolerance for flights of fancy inspired by the music, though.

syyskuu 15, 10:31 am

>193 ursula: This sounds like one I would like. I am going to search for it.

syyskuu 18, 3:09 am

>194 BLBera: Nice! I would love to hear anyone else's reaction to it!

syyskuu 18, 10:46 am

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

First line: Clara stood behind Mariah's cabin, the late summer warmth rising from the soil.

The five characters in the title all attended a residential school for First Nations children in Canada. I think we're all pretty sure how that experience was for them. The novel, however, focuses almost entirely on their time after leaving the school. There are some scenes set in the school, and there are some flashbacks, but I appreciated the author's choice not to make the actual scenes of abuse a large part of the book. There are aftereffects from abuse in anyone's life, but the addition of being separate from family and culture until you eventually get back out into a world you don't know is heartbreaking.

I wouldn't say the entire book worked for me, but I appreciated that the characters had room to breathe, meaning that not everyone had to have a redemptive arc.

"They call us survivors."
"I don't think I survived. Do you?"

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 18, 11:23 am

Weekly 5x5

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - Brian Eno & David Byrne [experimental] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Dookie - Green Day [punk] (Morgan's pick, 90s list)
E2-E4 - Manuel Göttsching [electronic] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
DUSK - Plasma Canvas [punk] (new releases)
A Hard Day’s Night - The Beatles [rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)

Shine a Light - Constantines [indie rock] (self pick for reasons I no longer remember)
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! - Devo [new wave] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Little Oblivions - Julien Baker [indie rock] (2021 review)
Lucinda Williams - Lucinda Williams [alternative country] (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
Dial M for Meds - Taking Meds [pop punk] (new releases)

American Gothic - David Ackles [singer-songwriter] (1001 Albums list)
Hunky Dory - David Bowie [rock] (1001 Albums list)
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - David Bowie [rock] (1001 Albums list)
Nacarile - ILE [pop] (2022 lists)
Afrique Victime - Mdou Moctar [African] (2021 review)

Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman [folk rock] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 - Black Sabbath [heavy metal] (1001 Albums list) +
Marcus Garvey - Burning Spear [reggae] (1001 Albums list)
The Hissing of Summer Lawns - Joni Mitchell [jazz pop] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
HEY WHAT - Low [experimental rock/slowcore] (2021 review)

the awful things we’ve done - Peregrine [emo] (self pick) +
Cut - The Slits [punk] (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
Marigold - Alex Isley & Jack Dine [r&b] (2022 lists)
Alvvays - Alvvays [indie pop] (self pick) +
Everything - Blankenberge [shoegaze] (2021 review)

******Notes on this week:
  • Below the chart:
    Machine Head - Deep Purple (1001 Albums list)
    White Light - Gene Clark (1001 Albums list)
    Head Hunters - Herbie Hancock (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)
    The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Coffin for Head of State - Fela Kuti (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Hats - The Blue Nile (200 Best Albums of the 80s list)
    Anyways, Life’s Great… - GloRilla (2022 lists)
    Leaving None but Small Birds - The Body & Big Brave (2021 review)
    Fragments of a Dying Star - Dispirited Spirits (2021 review)
    CARNAGE - Nick Cave & Warren Ellis (2021 review)

    Skipped for recency:
    Superfly - Curtis Mayfield (1001 Albums list)
    Pearl - Janis Joplin (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd (Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums list)
    Something/Anything? - Todd Rundgren (TrebleZine 100 all-time favorite albums list)

  • A fair number of list albums I've already listened to at some point, whether for a list or not. Morgan and I discussed whether we think Hunky Dory or Ziggy Stardust is the better Bowie album - he says he would have said Hunky Dory hands down but after re-listening he's more on the fence. I'm team Ziggy. Black Sabbath, Vol. 4 makes the argument for piles of cocaine as a recording aid. I feel like I enjoyed this Joni Mitchell more than Blue? But I'm not going to put either of them on again so it's probably irrelevant.

    I had forgotten just how much I used to listen to that Tracy Chapman album in 1989 - I had it on cassette. But considering how well I knew it now, it's clear that I listened to it a lot!

  • The review of 2021 albums continues with at least one album I'm sure will make my top 10: Low. Didn't fall in love with either of the new releases but they were both fine. Really liked both the Peregrine and the debut album from Alvvays.

  • Funny little thing that came up - I had never listened to The Blue Nile before this week. Shortly after listening to that, I saw someone writing about how The 1975 lifted the song "The Downtown Lights" and repurposed it into their song "Love It If We Made It" and ... indeed!

+ = added to my library
♡ = already in my library

syyskuu 18, 3:32 pm

>195 ursula: My library has a copy, so I should get it before too long. Five Little Indians has been on my WL for a while as well -- too many books, too little time.

syyskuu 19, 2:38 am

>198 BLBera: Indeed, too many books. That's why I read mostly randomly. ;)

syyskuu 19, 9:59 am

>199 ursula: "That's why I read mostly randomly."

Yes! I do this, too, and for the same reason.

syyskuu 19, 11:34 am

>199 ursula: That makes perfect sense.

syyskuu 20, 2:01 am

>200 rocketjk: high five!

>201 FlorenceArt: :) I feel like the tendency I see instead is to try to curate further, better, etc. I'm not under any illusions I'm going to read only the very best books, and even to figure out which ones would be the very best ones (for me) requires more time and investigation and decision paralysis than I'm wiling to put into it.

syyskuu 23, 4:49 pm

Hunky Dory for me

syyskuu 24, 2:47 am

>203 baswood: Good choice! I might change my mind someday but not today. :)
Tämä viestiketju jatkuu täällä: Ursula: Moving through 2023 with Books and Music (pt 4).