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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Room Full of Mirrors

Book #35 on my list this year was the always excellent Charles Cross' Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix.

Not much to say on this one. It's Jimi...what else do you need to know?

Seriously though I thought it was a really well written bio, maybe even one of the better, more entertaining music bios I've read. You're sure to finish the book with a bunch of good stories to share about the Jimi legend and if you live in or around Seattle you'll dig the local history. Perhaps my favorite story from the book was the one about Jimi and Neil Young commandering a truck to drive together to Woodstock. Good times.

Seattle P-I Review
Charles R. Cross

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Veronica

Book #34 on my reading list this year was Mary Gaitskill's Veronica.

Although I didn't find the plot of Gaitskill's novel super compelling, her writing style is pure beauty. A blurb on the back of the book posits that 'People write their whole lives in the hopes of coming up with just one sentence that rises to the level of this book'. That may be a bit of hyperbole, but it's surprisingly plausible. Composed of raw, succinct sentences that ooze with emotion Veronica often reads like great poetry. Every couple of pages or so I found myself going back and re-reading paragraphs that were just too good to read once.

The book was nominated as a 2005 National Book Award Finalist, which apparently has made it somewhat popular with the peeps. On our trip to Austin I was astonished to see it for sale in one of those little magazine kiosks in the airport. It's been awhile since I've seen a modern fiction book I was reading on sale at an airport. For all I know it was probably an Oprah's Book Club selection too. Sigh. Indie cred fading, fading, gone. Anywho, most likely due to the book's popularity there's no shortage of online reviews, discussions, etc. on the internets. You can find several reviews here and Slate's alway excellent review here.

Bonus points to Gaitskill for having the most hard core author headshot I've ever seen.

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Jurado Sighting

This is flippin' sweet. My homeboy Damien Jurado covering Nick Drake's classic Pink Moon. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

While you're at it grab What Were The Chances from his new album And Now That I'm In Your Shadow due out none to soon on Oct. 10th (10/10 to the memory impaired).

You can check out a couple of new tracks on the MySpace as well.



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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ACL Wrap-Up

Austin was a blast as always. Ate a lot of burritos, drank a lot of Texas Martinis, and got more sun in three days than we'd seen all summer in Seattle. Good times. Oh and there was this little festival thingee we went to as well.

Highlights of the festival for me included:

  • Okkervil River - If you read my blog semi-regularly you probably know that I'm a big fan of these guys. This was the third time I've seen them and each time they've been better than the last. Can't wait to hear the new disc.
  • The Long Winters - The stuff from the new album sounds really good live and they played "The Commander Thinks Aloud" which is one of my favorite songs right now. Top that off with the fact that they played on a stage under a tent (aka in the shade) where I had some Sweet Leaf Tea and an even sweeter seat and you've got one happy Jamie.
  • Son Volt - Jay & Co. sounded great. It wasn't my favorite set list (primarily stuff from the disappointing last album), but they could've played anything. Plus Farrar somehow fit in something like 17 songs in an hour. How does he do that?
  • Calexico - Another solid set. J-Ho likes the Tejano vibe, I dig the alt-country. Calexico makes us both happy.
  • Jose Gonzalez - Played pretty much the same set he did at Bumbershoot. It was good then and it was good a second time. Also strong to play a 40 minute set when you have an hour slot. He did the same thing at Bumbershoot too. We're trying to figure out if he has stage fright or if he only knows 40 minutes worth of songs.
  • Ben Harper - Not a big fan of his new album, but dude just rips live.
  • Willie Nelson - This would be way higher on my list except the sounds sucked. Odd since ACL usually has really great sound. Still seeing the legend was pretty sweet.
  • Gnarls Barkley - Expected this to be gimmicky was actually impressed by the live show they put on.
  • The Flaming Lips - Music was so-so, but they had dancing Santas on one side of the stage, aliens on the other and there was fake blood involved. Like a weird film or a bad dream.

I uploaded some of the better pics to Flickr

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Headin' on Down to Austin Town

We're heading down to Austin, Tejas for ACL numero 5. Maybe we'll see you there (I'll be the guy with the burrito and the Sweet Leaf tea)...

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Protector

Today I saw Tony Jaa's new film The Protector. It's pretty much plotless, but the kung fu is strong. If you're in the mood for an hour and a half of well choreographed, at times amazingly shot, Game of Death style fight scenes set to the musical stylins of the RZA it's worth checking out.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Rescue Artist

Book #33 of my '06 reading list was Edward Dolnick's Edgar Award winning The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece. The book follows detective Charley Hill, a member of the Scotland Yard's Art Squad, as he tries to recover Munch's The Scream after it was brazenly stolen from the Norway's National Gallery during the 1994 Winter Olympics.

I picked this one up because we visited the National Gallery and the Munch Museum when we were in Norway this summer. Munch's a fascinating chap and this book just piqued my interest , so I'll definitely be reading more about him soon. I mean c'mon dude painted a Self-Portrait in Hell how hardcore is that?!

In an odd coincidence, about four days into my reading of the book it was announced that police had just recovered the copy of The Scream stolen from the Munch museum in August 2004. I was intially confused by the fact that they had just recovered it when I know we saw it in the Munch Museum this summer, but I was relieved to find that I'm not crazy and that there are actually four total copies of The Scream in existence.

Shocking bonus factoid of the day: according to Dolnick fencing stolen art is the third largest underground business coming in right after drug and arms trafficking. I now have a much better understanding of why getting into the Munch Musuem is like trying to tour Fort Knox now-a-days.

Excerpt

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bumbershoot 2006

Bumbershoot 2006 is wrapped up and I'm full-on bumbershot. I think I need another 3-day weekend to recover.

We saw a lot over the weekend. Musical highlights included:


  • Alejandro Escovedo kicking ass and taking names. The man is 55 but he's still bringing it. Just an absolute pleasure to see him perform.
  • The Thermals playing an in-store at Easy Street in Queen Anne. Rather than standing in line for an hour to hear them play in the crappy, crappy Exhibition Hall we waited til Sunday and watched them with a crowd of 30-40 fellow rock geeks. How is it that the acoustics in Easy Street sound better than most clubs? At any rate the Thermals blew the place away. My ears are still ringing.
  • Jose Gonzalez played an excellent but way too short set. I think the blog-o-sphere is wrong about Senor Sufjan, but I get why everyone is bananas about this guy. Good stuff.
  • Local roots rockers West Valley Highway playing a fun set featuring some choice covers (including a Townes song and a Haggard tune)

As expected the overall music scene was weaker than previous years. We found a lot of other stuff to occupy our time though including:

  • Seeing the Upright Citizens Brigade do their ASSSSCat thang twice. I've mentioned many a time that these guys are personal faves and they did not disappoint. Helping them out were a couple folks from VH1's Best Week Ever.
  • John Moe reading at the Starbucks venue. If you don't know about John Moe, you should. He's hilarious. He read some of his pop song correspondences which can be found here. Hard to pick a favorite, but the Bon Jovi one was pretty damned funny. Also found out the great news that he has a book coming out soon!
  • Horn of Africa spongy bread...anyone know where I can find that stuff other than Bumbershoot?
  • Beer Garden...mmm beer garden

I posted a few pics from the weekend on the Flickr.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Revenge of the Bookeaters

Last night's 826 Seattle benefit at McCaw Hall was awesome (as expected). Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, Colin Meloy, Ben Gibbard, Daniel Handler, Stephin Merrit, John Hodgeman, Jonathan Coulton, Smooh, and Zach Rogue were all on hand for an all-star collage of words and music. Good times. As expected it's already been blogged the heck out of, including Metroblogging Seattle's excellent review here which includes linkage to video of the grand finale, Colin Meloy's self-proclaimed worst song ever "Dracula's Daughter".

Pics
Seattlest Review
Link to lyrics/download info for Jonathan Coulton's Re Your Brains


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