A blog about Bloomsbury Academic's 33 1/3 series, our other books about music, and the world of sound in general.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sweat/Fleshtones updates

Two quick items about our forthcoming (September) book about the Fleshtones:

1. The book has a pretty cool myspace page. You should make friends with it, if you're of the myspace inclination.

2. A great pre-publication review from the estimable Library Journal:

Imagine the myth of Sisyphus recast as a garage band—and a good one—and you have the story of the Fleshtones. One of the latter-day CBGBs bands, championed by REM and critically adored for their explosive concerts, the 'Tones shoulda been contenders. But what happened? First-time author (and fan) Bonomo tells their cursed story with religious fervor and a near-lyrical quality to his prose. Bonomo expands on a history that would otherwise be summed up by a pithy entry in All Music Guide over a sprawling 400 pages, packed with new interviews and anecdotes. In cataloging a decadeslong litany of indignities and misfortunes that did little to deter the Fleshtones' passion, the book raises deeper questions about what making it in music means. Does the distinction of being the only CBGBs-era band to keep going without an inactive year count for anything? Consider this the mad-eyed older brother of James Greer's biography of the indie-rock band Guided by Voices or Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life. This is the secret history that even NYC punk histories like Please Kill Me couldn't handle.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Books, baseball, and a little bit of Guitar Hero

Mike Fournier's east coast mini-tour wrapped up this weekend, with stops in Brooklyn, Philly, and Baltimore. Mike was nice enough to send on some photos from his flickr page (more here). Up top is the view from the stage at Robin's Books in Philly, and below is a picture of Mike at Atomic Books channeling his inner D. Boone, Guitar Hero-style...

After the holiday he'll be headed out to west. Stop by, say hi, and hear Mike do a spot on impression of Mike Watt...Here are the dates:

11th July -- Bird and Beckett

13th July -- Orca Books

14th July -- Third Place Books

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hillary and Celine

Carl Wilson, who's busily beavering away to finish up his Let's Talk About Love manuscript, has a nice post about Hillary's choice - or, to be more accurate, the people's choice - of Celine's "You and I" as her campaign theme song.

You can read the whole post on Zoilus, but here's a snippet:


To be more serious for a moment, the result can be read as a wad of demographic tea leaves at the bottom of Hillary's teacup: The chosen song was by far the most "soccer mom" of the options, pointedly bypassing the civil-rights-era echoes of the Temptations, the more youth-oriented Smashmouth (purportedly Bill C.'s pick, but in general a weird case of wishful thinking and cool hunting that missed the mark), and the overly politically aware U2.

For many potential Clinton voters - especially working and middle-class women of all ages, single mothers, new immigrants, exurban families, and many more - the Celine choice is going to be a much more sympathetic and welcomed selection than you would think if you went by the media and the blogosphere, which predictably went right into mockery mode. As I argue at length in my book, critics and pundits are, by and large, exactly in the place in the culture least disposed to understanding Celine's appeal, and have always, as they're doing this week, stood by and jeered while Celine went on to be embraced by hundreds of millions of fans around the world. At least for once Hillary's managed a genuinely populist move here, rather than backing away into the neutral zone her handlers seem to prefer. Although maybe that's because she doesn't make a very convincing populist, which leads to our next problem.

The song itself, as usual in Celine's English oeuvre, extends a cliched metaphor (flying) to improbable lengths over the course of a few verses, but clips its wings to avoid the danger of getting too poetic, high-toned or metaphysical by relentlessly speaking in terms of "You and I" (as the title has it), which the Clinton campaign no doubt hopes strikes a tone of intimacy - it's between Hillary and the voter, working together - but unfortunately bears with it a kind of individualism and selfishness that is the downside of the Clintons' image. Once again, the "You and I" can be Bill and Hillary, in their opaque, power-seeking dyad, cased within a marital arrangement that is a mystery to the rest of us: "You and I/ Were meant to fly/ Higher than the clouds/ We'll sail across the sky." Way to confirm the perception that you're incapable of being down-to-earth, HRC.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A "Rid of Me" Review

Here's the first chunk of the San Francisco Bay Guardian review, written by Amanda Davidson, of the new PJ Harvey book in the series. (I won't show the whole review, as it rather gives away the book's ending!)


The best musical covers occur when some kind of alchemy takes place. What starts out as an act of homage or repetition turns into revelation as the new version throws light on, say, the lyrical subtext or rhythmic potential that seem to have been hidden within the original. Kate Schatz magics a similar sort of transformation in her fictional cover — revolving around two outlaw-lovers, Mary and Kathleen — of PJ Harvey's 1993 album Rid of Me.

As Kathleen puts it, "When you're a child in this town, the first thing anybody ever tells you is: do not go into those woods.... (The second thing they tell you, if you're a girl in this town, is shhh.)" Moved by a force of pure mystery, Mary kidnaps a willing Kathleen — ties her wrists and drags her to the woods. This moment ties the story to the music from which it sprang — not just by picking up the album's opening lines ("Tie yourself to me") but also by improvising on Harvey's motifs of female rage and desire, both social and intimate in scale.

Rid of Me: A Story, coming out in July, is part of Continuum's 33 1/3 series, whose pocket-size volumes each take up the task of entering a single, seminal album in some way. Appearing alongside works of musical biography and criticism, Schatz's is the third fictional entry in the series.

It is a testament to her vision that the book doesn't follow the narratives of Harvey's songs too literally or linearly. Its 14 chapters start and end with the opening and closing lines of the album's corresponding 14 songs, and broken lyrics surface as imagery and backstory throughout, most often to haunting effect. But the text mainly draws from the music atmospherically; listening to the album after reading the book, I was overcome by the uncanny feeling that the woods had been inside of the music all along. Not in the lyrics per se — the lyrics almost threw me off track — but in the spare, ominous guitar rhythms of the album's opening refrain and the thorny, dissonant instrumentation on "Man-Sized Sextet," all those frenzied strings.

Most of the story takes place in that liminal space of danger and possibility — the woods at the edge of the city. But what woods are these, and what city? Schatz mixes realism with fantastical elements to stage the kind of critique made available through the dystopic operations of science fiction. As Kathleen and Mary hide out in an abandoned hunting cabin, as they fall in love (wildness and safety), as their stories unravel, as the cabin metamorphoses, it becomes clear that a larger wish has seized them — the desire to enter history.


Not sure if the book has reached stores yet, but it's definitely available from Amazon, and should be in all the usual outlets very soon...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

They make handy dishcloths, too

6.45pm update: T-SHIRTS ALL GONE NOW - thanks to everybody who wrote in!

*** 3pm update: Men's Medium shirts and Women's Small shirts are now all gone ***

Last month, we made 80 t-shirts to give away to select and very special people at Book Expo America.

Luckily for those of you who would rather die than go anywhere near BEA, we still have 25 of these extremely rare and hideously tasteful garments left.

We have 13 men's t-shirts (5 small and 8 medium), and 12 women's t-shirts (4 small and 8 medium). The men's ones are rather long and narrow (that's me wearing a medium above, and I'm a pasty, skinny little so-and-so), and the women's tops are not for the coy or demure. (That's my lovely wife, modeling a small.)

Anyhow, if you want one of these (and it's one per person only), simply email me (david at continuum-books.com) under the subject heading "I'd like a t-shirt!" with the following information:

Mailing Address
Men or Women's t-shirt

And I'll post again once they've all gone.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Tribe Called Quest

We're publishing two new books in the series in the month of June - the first of which is Shawn Taylor's entertaining and personal take on A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.

This is Chapter Two from Shawn's book...


1990 was one of those years. It was the year that Desert Shield became Desert Storm; the Hubble telescope was launched into space; Mandela was released from prison; Germany was on its way to reunification; and it was also the year when crack still held sway over many lives. During the early 90s, crack use was being overshadowed by other drugs, but it was still a force to be reckoned with on the streets of the "inner city" and, increasingly, in suburbia. And this is just a sliver of the social milieu in which ATCQ crafted and let loose their vision.

Just as American comic books took a darker turn during and post-Reagan (see Frank Miller's The Return of the Dark Knight and Alan Moore's Watchmen), hip-hop became more hard-edged, violent and hopeless during the crack crisis. Public Enemy's oft-predicted apocalypse seemed to be that much closer to reality. War, drugs, renewed racial attacks against blacks, unconscionable police brutality - all these things forced hip-hop to turn its back on the feel-good jams of its recent past and reflect the horrors of black American life. Ice-T, NWA, Public Enemy, KRS-One and others painted the vivid pictures that would inspire many a current emcee and also serve as white America's window into one interpretation of American black cultural existence. But despite all of the near-nihilistic worldviews of many hip-hop groups, the Native Tongues were a splash of color on an increasingly bleak landscape.

At the time of the album's release, most hip-hop heads considered only three geographic locations - Africa, New York and California - as the places where their music and culture could dwell. Even though the Rock Steady Crew had done a world tour and hip-hop groups had traveled the earth, your average stateside hip-hop head couldn't think outside of the geotrinity listed above. However, ATCQ's album had an unmistakably global feeling about it. Whereas the JBs led us around an idealized Africa and the pan-African Diaspora, and De La took us down a trippy, Prince-Paul created rabbit hole, A Tribe Called Quest were our tour guides through a new type of city: the psychosomatic megapolis.

The pyschosomatic megapolis is a city, an urban landscape that is housed in the mind and the body instead of existing as asphalt, concrete and smog saturated constructs. In Tribe's vision, you could carry this city with you no matter where you went, and your individual take on the city was how you oriented yourself in any new situation. It was this idea - the idea of the urban environment, the city, being portable and individually adaptable - that caused many non-blacks to be able to vibe with the album and cause several of the songs to be staples of college radio stations from the University of Minnesota all the way over to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Even though Tribe mentions specific geographic locations, no one of them was more important than the other. The city was a city and wherever you went, it went right along with you. This was a big help to me when I started to travel intracountry and overseas. Whenever I felt overwhelmed or out of place or just a little homesick, I'd pop People's into my Walkman or home stereo and conjure my inner city, instantly making me feel more relaxed and ready to deal with whatever I had to encounter.

Aside from giving us a new version of what a city could be, they also gave us a means of locomotion: the rhythm - the engine that ran the psychosomatic megapolis - was our train, bike, cab and bus ride through the body metroplex. Horns, drums, sitars, pianos and the scratching of records carried us from one point of interest to another. Tribe's version of the urban landscape can be compared to Prince's Uptown. A place where all of the beautiful, cool and interesting people converged and had adventures. But while Prince's Uptown seemed a bit exclusive - and just a wee bit freaky - the urban center in Tribe's vision was a place where everyone could go and all were welcome. It was this idea of an all-welcoming city that existed inside the body and mind that changed my crew from a bunch of outcasts to the most popular kids the latter part of our senior year in high school. But more on that later. Maybe.

At the time, ATCQ, along with the other Native Tongue groups, seemed less like people making music and more like people trying to establish a movement on some kind. A movement that we were all invited to join. Once the video for "Can I Kick It?" (Tribe's Lou Reed-sampling minor hit) was broadcast, their look was adopted in a nanosecond. People mixed kente cloth with sneakers, dashikis with Nikes, shaved their heads into interesting shapes and patterns, and - just for a little while - spoke to each other with a bit more respect and seemed to respect themselves more than they had previously. The style could have been called afro-urban or neo-African, and while it was almost completely annihilated during the Puff Daddy, Hot Boys, bling-bling era, the style is stealthily making a comeback via Common, Wyclef Jean, Cody ChesnuTT, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, the Roots, Dead Prez and others of the same orientation.

This is important to note because, along with the subtle shift in the mode of dress of these artists, the politics that inform the clothing are also making a comeback. While these artists are more pragmatic, politically and socially aware and less "hate-whitey" then their predecessors, black pride, black determination and blackness as all-encompassing psychospiritual orientation is on the upswing. Black standpoint theory is different from African standpoint theory because it takes the black experience in America and legitimizes it, instead of using the black American experience as a stepping stone to hop right back to Africa. Now, the black experience on American shores is an experience all its own. It is post-Diaspora living chronicled through music, clothing and language. And A Tribe Called Quest, and their Native Tongue brethren, are all directly responsible for this resurgence.


(We'll have an extract from the PJ Harvey book later in the week.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Michael Fournier is jammin' econo

Micheal Fournier will be embarking on mini-tours up and down the east coast (in June) and the west coast (in July) to promote his 33 1/3 on the Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime. I've listed the dates below. Click on the venues for more information about when, where and how to get there.

Just a quick personal note about the first date at Bar Matchless in Greenpoint: from the sign hanging out front, I always thought that bar across the street from Enid's was called Shocks & Struts, which would be a great name for a bar...the kind of place Mick Jagger and Marc Bolan might hang out. Oh well, Matchless it is...they have a great draft beer selection, so who am I to complain? See you there!

20th June -- Bar Matchless, w/Joseph Grillo (god.fires.man, x-Garrison, x-Stricken for Catherine) and Jeffrey James Samanen (Gay For Johnny Depp, x-Five Second Flat)

21st June -- Robin's Bookstore

23rd June -- Atomic Pop (free screening of We Jam Econo to follow the reading!)

11th July -- Bird and Beckett

13th July -- Orca Books

14th July -- Third Place Books (easy mnemonic for Seattleites: 33 1/3 at Third Place.)

That picture above is of Mike reading at the Border's in Concord, NH on June 3rd.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


David Smay's 33 1/3 book on Tom Waits will be coming out in the autumn. What follows is from the book's introduction - enjoy!



"It's just one guy who leaves the old neighborhood and joins the Merchant Marines, gets in a little trouble in Hong Kong, comes home, marries the girl, burns his house down, and takes off on an adventure, that kind of a story." - Tom Waits (Source: Unpublished Swordfishtrombones era interview, 1983, Tom Waits Library.)

Don't expect me to tell you the truth about Tom Waits. I know you want the truth, but Tom has no use for it. Yes, the truth looks fetching in her cut-off Ramones t-shirt and her breath smells like Yoo-hoo. I get the appeal, but you can't even sneak up on Swordfishtrombones without a committed air of dissembling. If I were to claim, for example, that Tom Waits wears plows for feet you should understand that I'm lying. But I promise to lie to you artfully and thoughtfully. Tom lies with great purpose and you shouldn't trust that quote under the chapter head even a little bit. "Just one guy"? The doughboy in "Swordfishtrombone" is Frank with his self-cleaning oven who happens to live in an underground mutant dwarf community when he can't get a beer in the Australian outback? These liberties with the truth, these inconsistencies, are not Tom's concern. He intends to confound you.

It's what you can't know about Swordfishtrombones that makes it work. His metaphors swallow entire songs and he bends the negative space between what's said and meant. This irony isn't a cool, distanced stance, but a larger strategy, a sleight of hand that conjures real mystery. You don't explain an album like Swordfishtrombones so much as you travel with it. It's a very companionable record and will accompany you on your train trips across Europe, your road trips across America or backpacking through Indonesia.

While I'll relate the relevant facts about the record's genesis, this won't be an insider account of its recording. I can't think of anything more perverse than trying to clarify Swordfishtrombones. It's built to contradict itself, to dispute its creator, to cup little pools of ambiguity. I am filled up to my armpits with a gurgling black regret that I have to report anything to you about Tom Waits. If I were faithful to Swordfishtrombones, I'd rewrite Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds with Tom as The Pooka MacPhellimey. I'd repurpose abandoned carousels into lewd carnival mechanisms cued to the band organ's jaunty Sousa march. I'd build dioramas of taxidermied mice playing out louche literary scenes: Vaughan!Mouse with his wee scrabbly claws on the wheel of his scale model Lincoln Continental, glass eyes fixed on HelenRemington!Mouse. These are worthy tributes to Swordfishtrombones.

Unfortunately, abandoned carousels are less common than Tom's lyrics might lead you to believe, the O'Brien estate is very free with the C&D letters and handling dead mice skeeves me out. So I am contractually obliged to tell you stuff.

Swordfishtrombones doesn't lack for fans or critical cachet, but it's gotten a meager share of ink over the years. For a variety of reasons, Rain Dogs and Franks Wild Years drew more press than the record where Tom Waits radically reinvented himself, and reshaped the musical landscape. Swordfishtrombones stretched so far beyond the expectations of anybody who had followed his career that there didn't even seem to be words to describe it when he pawned his tenor sax for a bass marimba.

And yet, Swordfishtrombones wasn't unprecedented. There are hints in his earlier work that point toward it. You need to hear it as the pivot in his career, as part of a trilogy and know its echo in his later work. There are fascinating parallels with artists and works as various as Joseph Cornell and Krazy Kat. It is both wholly original and a dumpster bin of references and mangled slang.

There's a lazy tradition of Waits reportage that paddles along in his wake, quoting his shaggy dog tales, and rolling over for his sly, evasive charm. He's copy on the hoof. This approach has left a lot untold. His peer group through the early seventies included a number of vintage pop dilettantes, all swimming upstream against the hippie effluent. At that point his career looked similar to that of Dan Hicks, Leon Redbone, Randy Newman. His early beat/jazz/Bukowski persona (and full commitment to that lifestyle) became an unexamined endpoint. Everybody underestimated Tom Waits.

Similarly, the myth of his reinvention floats free of the eighties, and the influence of the downtown New York scene on his music has gone largely unreported. The noise and skronk of No Wave, the bang on a can aesthetic, the arch cabaret and the avant garde of the Lower East Side seep into the foundation of Swordfishtrombones as much as the known influence of Captain Beefheart and Harry Partch.

The first ground rule in this book will be forbidding the stale Waits cliche about his "gravelly voice." If you dropped a cherry bomb down a fiberglass clown's painted mouth, that would sound like Tom Waits. But that's just one of the voices he inhabits. There's also his Prince fan's falsetto and his gargle of glass and turpentine shaken in a bullhorn and his confidential wiseguy aside and his Beefheart bellow and his pensive whisper. Musically his voice is limited. As an instrument to express character and language? It's vast.

Tom's language is distinctively allusive, playful, and mythic. He has a gift for braiding metaphors out of nursery rhymes and carny barker spiels and blues tropes and Mississippi brags . On Swordfishtrombones he traded in his Edward Hopper imagery for something closer to Brueghel, if Brueghel had worked for the WPA.

Tom Waits writes famously beautiful melodies and lyrics. Without abandoning either talent, on this record he built a sexy, lurching, inexorable groove chassis out of washtubs and wagon wheels and bedsprings. He's a serious rhythm slut. It's easy to hear Swordfishtrombones as a fistfight between Kurt Weill and Nino Rota with xylophone keys flying out of the orchestra pit while Howlin' Wolf announces the bout. But there's also a delicacy in that mayhem, restraint and melancholy.

I sense that you're still hungry for the truth. Do you really need to know whether a Swordfishtrombone is a smelly instrument or a musical fish? Can't I just buy you off with parcel of facts? I admit the truth looks fantastic in her red silk tap pants and wrestling boots, tucking a curl behind her ear and putting down her copy of Pater's The Renaissance to pat the bed invitingly. Do not be seduced by the truth! Demand the facts about Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones.

FACT: Swordfishtrombones is Tom Waits' ninth album.

FACT: You really can rewrite At Swim-Two-Birds as a Tom Waits adventure. Consider: "Tom Waits, a dues paying member of Musicians Local 173, sat in his shack deep within the pines, mulling over music theory by divvying up the black keys from the white. He sat at his piano, an old upright with inlaid abalone mermaids. His long, raw-knuckled fingers drummed a shot glass still rinsed in Bushmills and through his pursed lips he whistled "Ruby, My Dear." He carried himself with an odd dignity and accepted his late career accolades with a shrug or a frown. "Alternative to what?" he famously groused after his first Grammy."

FACT: Tom Waits has been married to Kathleen Brennan for twenty-seven years and they have three children together, Kellesimone, Casey Xavier and Sullivan.

FACT: Tom Waits was born September 8, 1683 during the siege preceding the Battle of Vienna - on the very day that Turkish sappers breached the Nieder Wall, but four days before King Sobieski lead the glorious charge of the Polish Hussars and drove the Turks from the field, forever blunting the Ottoman Empire's ambitions in the West and preserving Christendom. (It is important to clarify that Tom Waits was not born during the better known 1529 Siege of Vienna. That would make him 487 years old today! This confusion stems from the popular depiction of the Siege of Vienna in Robert E. Howard's short story "The Shadow of the Vulture" which introduced the character Red Sonja, later to be adapted into the Conan comics continuity and portrayed onscreen by Brigitte Nielsen who went on to toy with Flavor Fav's affections in Season Three of The Surreal Life but relevant here because Sylvester Stallone is Brigitte's ex-husband).

FACT: The previous fact contains falsehoods. Consequently it is an excellent example of Tom's working method, combining biographical detail with wild digressions into true history and wild fancy.

FACT: Sylvester Stallone cast Tom in his first movie role, as Mumbles the drunken piano player in Paradise Alley.

FACT: The lead character in Francois Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player was modeled on Tom Waits. This was particularly prescient on Truffaut's part since Tom was only eleven when the film came out. But Tom's aversion to being shot was well established by that point.

FACT: The first song on Swordfishtrombones is "Underground."

FACT: Tom Waits wears plows for feet.


Awful Bliss

Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday night, to the Bee Thousand event - a good time was had by all, I hope. (Thanks to those who helped to organise it, too.)

Here's a nice pic (taken by Nina Minichetti) of Rick Moody and Nina Katchadourian performing their genuinely lovely version of "Awful Bliss". I thoroughly enjoyed the theatrical piece, too - and it'll be many many months before I get "Gold Star for Robot Boy" out of my head.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bee Thousand Party tomorrow night

Just a quick reminder that on Saturday evening, at Don Pedro's in Brooklyn, we'll be having a party to celebrate all things Bee Thousand, including Marc Woodworth's excellent book on the album.

Hope to see some of you there...

Here's the info from the Don Pedro's website:


90 Manhattan Ave @ McKibbin St |, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Cost : $5


When Guided by Voices’ inimitable Bee Thousand hit the streets in 1994 it made a beautiful mess of the lives of lo-fi lovers everywhere. With Robert Pollard taking a well-earned break from touring and the publication of Marc Woodworth's book on the album in Continuum's 33 1/3 series, it's a stellar moment to fire off "A Salty Salute to Bee Thousand."

Expect a night of aesthetic debauchery in the form of film, theater, and, yes, rock, with indie eminences Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout in attendance along with other GbV alums. On tap: world premieres of Lewis Klahr’s short film “Or Something Like That” and Fovea Floods' performance piece "Gold Star for Robot Boy"; writer Rick Moody and artist Nina Katchadourian offering up a Tobin tune and a host of surprise performers. Fans off the street can even sign up for an open-mic turn. We’re no scientists but it’s clear this is the right solution for soothing yourself with rock and roll.

[ MICROSHOW ] we're throwing a GUIDED BY VOICES song MICROSHOW party to salute GUIDED BY VOICE'S BEE THOUSAND. For a microshow we set up a full backline on stage and invite any bands who want to to jump up and play one song apiece - all GBV songs this time. There'll be dozens of bands - real ones, made up pick up ones, famous ones - and everybody will get drunk as hell. Think karaoke with full bands! Awesome! If you want to play a song, just show up & sign up! :: CONFIRMED PERFORMERS SO FAR: :: the Tender Breasts :: Castanets :: Katie Eastburn ------> from YOUNG PEOPLE :: Phosphorescent :: the Fugue

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Jonathan Coe - The Rain Before It Falls

I was lucky enough recently to get an advance copy of Jonathan Coe's upcoming novel The Rain Before It Falls (publishing this autumn in the UK and next year in the US).

Coe takes a rather B.S. Johnsonian conceit (90% of the book consists of words spoken into a cassette recorder by an old woman right before she dies, describing, in sequence, twenty photographs spanning several decades) and spins it into something quite magical: a delightfully middlebrow novel that's also high art. And since it's a story that's largely concerned with memory, you get the most wonderful sensation when you finish reading it, as the details start to fade and you're left with a few crystalline images and emotions, much like Rosamund at the very end of her life.

If you were pitching this story to a Hollywood type, you'd say "It's like The House of Sleep, but without the jokes". He'd look at you blankly. And that would be just fine. Because The House of Sleep without the jokes is a rare and beautiful thing.

Also, the cover for the UK edition (below) is beyond perfect.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I got knocked out of my duties at this year’s Book Expo with the unexpected meeting of a taxi with a phone booth, so I figured I’d do a little blogging between baseball games on the radio…

There is a new documentary out that covers my personal musical primordial soup called Towncraft. It’s all about the independent music scene in Little Rock, Arkansas from the late 80’s through today. There were plenty of other scenes like Little Rock’s all over the country (it was good time for things like that), and though I’m not claiming to be free of bias, Little Rock is a pretty special place full of special people. In the next couple weeks screenings will be taking place along the east coast (you can see where here), and I’ll definitely be at the screening and afterparty in NYC on June 16. If you can’t make those screenings, you can get the DVD (which comes with a 2-disc, 40-song soundtrack and a 60 page book) or the film is available for download here.

The movie's website is an amazing piece of work itself, featuring a year-by-year timeline of music in LR that grows daily as stories and events are added.

So even if you’re not from Arkansas, it should be well worth checking out, and besides, Arkansans are friendly folks. Someone will buy you a drink and you’ll probably be calling the hogs by the end of the night. That's the way these things usually go...