getting into the habit

but what to say?

i’ve been required to step into the shoes of the IT (as in Information Technology) guy at work, and learned that i never want to be an IT guy. this week i have to manually update the daylight savings time settings on every single pc in the library, a process that takes about 15 minutes per pc, with three or four interventions each time. blech. the upside is that all your co-workers think you’re magic, which is nice for my ego, except that i know the truth. nice for my pretend ego, then.

i’m not going to make my quota for 52 books this year. for some reason, i decided i had to read three or four massive tomes in a row (team of rivals by doris kearns goodwin, parting the waters by taylor branch, and gravity’s rainbow, for heaven’s sake, by thomas pynchon), and they pretty much killed my average. i just finished title 41 (the absolutely perfect st. lucy’s home for girls raised by wolves, a short story debut by karen russell, which you should rush out to your local library and put on reserve right now! now! stop reading and go!), and since this thing runs from april to march, i have to read 11 more titles in the next 6 weeks (you do the math). plus, a couple of those 11 titles are also behemoths (branch’s second in the trilogy, pillar of fire, and g. j. meyer’s world war i history, a world undone), so…

next week i get to fool around with an electric bass guitar, which is exciting. oh, and, have you heard panda bear’s person pitch? its what simon and garfunkel would have sounded like if they were psych rockers with sequencers. maybe one of the best albums i’ve heard in years, can’t wait till it comes out (along with the arcade fire’s neon bible, which is possibly even better than funeral if you can believe that or even know what i’m talking about).

whew. there. that wasn’t so hard.

spring 2006 mix

you gotta get prepared for summer. you can’t wait for june 21st to get your soul ready. so, listen, i’m giving you a jump on your summer soul with the spring 2006 mix, sweet soul music (elizabeth refined):

01. since you’ve been gone – aretha franklin
02. out of sight – james brown
03. cry baby – garnet mimms
04. the entertainer – tony clarke
05. grits ain’t groceries (all around the world) – little milton
06. foolish fool – dee dee warwick
07. do it good – bill withers
08. didn’t i – darondo
09. cry to me – solomon burke
10. bring it on home to me – sam cooke
11. who’s lovin’ you – the temptations
12. love man – otis redding
13. can i get a witness – marvin gaye
14. sweet soul music – arthur conley
15. that’s how it feels – the soul clan
16. just one look – doris troy
17. it’s your thing – the isley brothers
18. ooo baby baby – smokey robinson and the miracles

let me know (comments or email) if you’re interested. if you find these tracks compelling, i’d encourage you to check out rhino’s six disc box set, beg scream and shout, and the really sweet stuff over at o-dub’s soul sides.

open letter to teddy d

i was listening to south san gabriel the carlton chronicles in the car today and it finally clicked. what an astounding album.

you know what it makes me feel like? it makes me feel like i’m being sung to by a proud, free, fierce individual who loves me unconditionally. it’s such a good feeling. but its so sad to hear him wrestling with depression and hopelessness.

i think listening to it five or six times first just helped me get familiar with it so i could enter into the music a little deeper — i wasn’t waiting to see what happened next this time, so i could appreciate what was happening now.

and the hooks on this album — the chorus of “predatory king today,” the driving background behind “the dark of garage,” the ghostly reverb choir on “affection’s the pay,” and especially the sublime 4 minutes of instrumental at the end of “stupid is as stupid does” — are just top notch.

i’m a believer. thanks for turning me on to such a wonderful album.

listening to

danielson – ships (awesome, not like i’d heard at all!)
breeders – pod (“iris” is one of the best rock songs ever)
south san gabriel – the carlton chronicles (think mmj but less reverb)
tv on the radio – desperate youths, bloodthirsty babes (rocks slow)
savath & savalas – apropa’t (background party music in spanish)

the ultimate in triviality

i was listening to the books‘s the lemon of pink on the way to work this morning, for the first time. on a track called “take time,” a sampled voice starts saying “a time and a time and a time and a time…” over and over.

it’s admittedly part of the fun of this band, that they find all these obscure samples of voices saying the strangest things. i think you’re supposed to marvel at their resourcefulness and the depth of their sample pool. with this particular snippet, it was obvious that they hadn’t just looped the voice– from the minute variations in tone and the natural rhythm of the speech it was evident that this speaker had actually repeated the words “and a time” over and over. i thought to myself, “wow! why did this person say this, record himself saying this? and how on earth did the books find it?”

and then, later, i heard the same voice intone, “and there is nothing new under the sun,” and i instantly realized that the books had (perhaps even more amazingly) made a very, very clean edit of the “seasons” passage from ecclesiastes, cutting all the words except the “time” references: “a time to be born and a time to die…”

highly trivial, but these small pleasures make life interesting.