read/listen

READING:

Pattern Recognition — I read the second in this William Gibson trilogy first, so I figured I should read the first before I read the third. I got the third signed and I’ve never been so starstruck.

The Unnamed, Joshua Ferris — I loved his debut novel, Then We Came To An End, and this is a very different read, but one I’m really enjoying. Ferris shines in describing mental (sometimes delusional) diversions from daily routine. He’s very funny and tender, with his troubled characters struggling against a backdrop of subtle apocalypse and corporate American wasteland.

Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland — I don’t think I’ve disliked a Douglas Coupland book. This one I liked less than others, because it took the concept a little too far. But his books are full of surprises, and always end up circling around to lovable characters and their search for something to care about in modern life.

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell — I’m reading this as part of my online book club. I’m doing a shitty job keeping up with the assignments. Usually in book clubs, I’m like the Tracy Flick of the class. I enjoy looking down on people who didn’t do the assignments. But online I don’t get that pleasure. So I’ll keep you posted…

LISTENING:

Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Fantasy — Not for the light of heart, but a game-changing record.

Son Lux, At War With Walls and Mazes — complex post rock/synth pop that pushes songs all over the board with 3 or 4 different phases in some tracks. Opera vocals, orchestra, ambient noise and downright catchy moments.

Avett Brothers, I and Love and You — They’ve been making fun, kind of silly records about scoundrel behavior, and wailing on banjo and bass before sweaty crowds. This one plays down the schtick in favor of a sincere bunch of great songs.

Last Pale Light in the West, Ben NicholsI just found out this record was inspired by Blood Meridian, one of my favorite books. I always really liked Lucero’s Tennessee. Their new one is pretty good, with a new, Hold Steady/E Street Band sound. But Ben Nichols’ first solo album is fantastic. Thanks Swede!

Tarot Sport, Fuck Buttons — The band with a most unlikely name for atmospheric post rock. I was a pretty big fan of their first full-length. This one is just as good on a couple of listens, but no real surprises. Building, mounting epics of songs. Funny noises.

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