Thursday, March 08, 2012

Current Curiosities

There's an old (2005) CD I dusted off, after hearing someone lament the unknown stature of the band that recorded it. I spun it while doing the housework, and thought, “Not bad.” I spun it again while taxiing the daughters to their various gigs, and thought, “Actually, this is pretty damn good.” Somewhere around the half-dozenth spin I was thinking, “Why aren't these guys a household name?”

Breaks Co-Op
— originally from New Zealand, now residing London, UK — have a unique and entirely palatable sound. It's hard to pin down. Apple calls it “Electronica,” someone else qualified it as “House.” I'm catching traces of Peter Gabriel and Talking Heads, Paul Simon and Trap Door-era T Bone Burnett — “World Beat,” I suppose. But then I'm also catching Buffalo Springfield, so what are you going to do with that? Any way you want to cut and dry their sound, Breaks Co-Op is deeply infectious. You should retrieve your own copy of The Sound Inside and give a spin or two, just to see if you don't find yourself listening to it for the half-dozenth time and thinking . . . there's something happening here.

Speaking of infectious: Here We Go Magic has released their first single, “Make Up Your Mind,” from their forthcoming album, A Different Ship due out in early May. It's got a lot of what I like, particularly in its West African-style guitar riff. Stream it, or even download the mp3, over here. And if the spectre of young women in their skivvies contorting in a squeamish state of erotic despair is your thing, by all means watch the creepy video, too.

"Gasp! Is that
... Plotto?!"

The case for bricks-and-mortar bookstores: some books really should be bought on spec, and not in good faith. Philip K. Dick's Exegesis is chief among them. Having skimmed through In Pursuit Of VALIS, the earlier Reader's Digest version of the Exegesis, I'm inclined to trust Rob Latham's judgement: Dick's metaphysics are best absorbed in his fiction, which has the incalculable benefit of having being written with publication in mind. And yet, and yet . . . looking at the list of contributors adding annotation to Dick's tome, I am still sorely tempted. (Addendum: r. crumb gives you his summary.)

Also worth a glance, if not a purchase, Plotto by William Wallace Cook. Its press makes it sound a bit like the first “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. But I could also envision (vaguely, at this point) a novel in which this book attempts to enforce a plot on the central character, and even the reader. Did Plotto anticipate the meta-plot? If so, this book poses a threat to life as we know it — and belongs on my shelf. (Addendum: uh-oh: Lytle Shaw knows!)

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