Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music

July 23, 2009

What’s Not to Like? The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 2

by

Oh, to be so winsome as The Pains of Being Pure at Heart! All aspects of the unwieldily named indie pop quartet are uniformly captivating – their music, their lyrics, their persons, their demeanor on stage and in interviews – and newspapers and blogs from their home city (New York) to LA and San Fran […]

July 10, 2009

From Wilco, With Love 11

by

For this latest record, Tweedy seems ready to accentuate the positive, even if that old bleak outlook does occasionally cloud over the proceedings.

April 27, 2009

Musical Exercise: Creating Literary Soundtracks 5

by

Some books just demand a soundtrack – they either are about music and musicians or music is threaded through the book like a character. Pandora, one of several sites where you can create your own radio stations, has long been a daily musical companion of mine, but recently I’ve been thinking of it as a […]

April 6, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #3: Sidelined By Pete Doherty 1

by

This isn’t the music post I’d planned on writing today. I was going to tell you all about the time a certain British guitar legend from the 60s shouted at me and a friend (yes, at us – specifically at us) across a packed hall in Greenwich Village eleven years ago. I was all set […]

March 4, 2009

Today: Neko Case. 3

by

Middle Cyclone, the new album by my favorite redheaded crooner, Neko Case, was released yesterday. At the time of this writing, I’ve listened to the album twice as I worked on my novel, and then I repeated a few songs so that I could dance and swoon around the apartment. My friend Robin Benway, fellow […]

February 3, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #2: Haunted By Bob Dylan 1

by

Whenever I tell someone that my favorite songwriter is Bob Dylan, the response I usually get is some kind of respectful acknowledgment of his status as a lyricist. And there’s no question that Dylan has written some of the most extraordinary lyrics – depending on the period, and on his mood – they’re wise and […]

February 3, 2009

Torch Ballads & Jukebox Music #1: One Man’s Bliss… 0

by

There’s a scene in Fawlty Towers in which innkeeper Basil Fawlty, played with misanthropic relish by John Cleese, is having a moment to himself in the hotel office – away from his shrill, domineering wife Sybil, away from the pesky guests. For one brief moment, the cacophony of his life is neutralized by the glorious […]

January 27, 2009

What’s on Bruce Springsteen’s Bookshelves 2

by

As we noted yesterday, Carolyn Kellogg has an interesting piece up at Papercuts about Bruce Springsteen and Walker Percy. Carolyn expresses some surprise at finding out that the Boss is an avid reader. To us die-hard fans, however, evidence of Bruce’s bookish leanings is legible as far back as the late ’70s. There’s the song […]

June 9, 2008

Icelandic Charm School 4

by

Do you know the band Seabear? It is possible that you do and you do not know it if you’ve seen the strange and enthralling Michel Gondry movie The Science of Sleep (kind of a cross between The Life Aquatic or Rushmore and Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth), which featured Seabear’s song “I Sing, I […]

February 5, 2008

Grad School Musical 4

by

Continuing in the vein of the unwritten parrot dissertation, I share with you another great unwritten (even less written and conceived than Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses): my screenplay about grad school life in the humanities. Well, about grad students in an English department, to be exact, because that’s all I know. For the masses of […]