Wednesday, January 25, 2006

brief recording session

Not that anyone will ever hear it, but I recorded last night for the first time in a while. The deadline for the second installment of the group recording project Caleb is curating is nearing, and I hadn't recorded a damn thing for it. The instructions for the song, by Alex Lukashevsky, were confusing for me, and I've been sitting on the project since Caleb sent it to me in early November. Finally, last night, I blew the dust off my trusty 4-track and whipped up a batch of noise for him. It's totally unlike anything I've ever recorded before (in the spirit of the project, I feel) (and not just because most of my "usual" gear is still in Ken's basement)--bass guitar played with no amp (and not directly into the 4-track, just acoustically...and no, it's not an acoustic bass), this weird electric harmonium thing I picked up at a garage sale for $10 a couple years ago and never really used because the hum of the motor is louder than the actual tone of the instrument, and vocals overdriven into incoherence and recorded through my shirt. So yeah, weirdness.

However, I wanted to let you all know (all two of you who are out there--joking) that the mitre is still alive and well, and not entirely hibernating. So...what have YOU been up to?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Reading Project 2006

I'm a bit of a literary masochist, if you hadn't noticed from perusing the "currently reading" section on here. I like reading long, complex novels. Experimental fiction, "postmodern" stuff mostly. I also enjoy all kinds of other stuff too. Anyway, I had this totally sick idea: in 2006, read ONLY really long books. 400+ pages apiece. Ouch. I eventually came to my senses and modified that "ONLY" to "predominantly" (the change from caps to lower case being the key ingredient in this plan, I think). That way, I could take the occasional breather.

So far, I've read Robert Coover's John's Wife (clocking in at just over 400 pages), and I'm about halfway through William H. Gass's masterwork The Tunnel (650 pages). I've got plenty of other stuff to read: plenty of Willam T. Vollmann, John Barth, Don DeLillo, John Steinbeck, Martin Amis...

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Phantom Buffalo (again)

Just a quick note to mention that Phantom Buffalo's ShiShiMuMu was mentioned in Reader contributor Bob Mehr's 2005 best-of list, meaning, of course, that I'm not the only person in Chicago to have heard this record. Which is a good, good thing.

Now go buy it.

Bryan Harvey addendum

Richmond police arrested two men for the brutal murders of Bryan Harvey, his wife, and their two children, as well as the killings of three members of another family in a seperate incident. As my brother said, it's too bad lethal injection is painless. Now, admittedly, I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the whole death penalty issue, but if you slit the throats of a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old, there's no amount of therapy that's going to correct whatever's wrong in your head, I'm sorry.

okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rest In Peace Bryan Harvey

Bryan Harvey, songwriter/singer/guitarist of such critically-acclaimed but generally underappreciated bands as House of Freaks and Gutterball, was brutally murdered along with his wife and two daughters on New Year's Day. The details of the crime that have been released are thoroughly gruesome and I won't go into them here. My sincerest thoughts go out to the family and friends of the deceased.

Phantom Buffalo

Okay, I've raved about Phantom Buffalo here before, but in the past 24 hours two things have happened to make me need to bring them up again. One was the arrival of their new EP "Killing's Not Okay" from Time Lag. Five songs, 23 minutes, all awesome. The third song, "Through The Grass And Pines" is totally, totally beautiful. More "produced" than the debut record, but not in a "that's a good thing" or "that's a bad thing" way. The debut record, "Shishimumu," is out in the states on Time Lag and in the UK on Rough Trade, a tiny label that has tiny bands you've never heard of, like The Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, and The Strokes, and was once home to such flash-in-the-pan artists as The Cocteau Twins and The Pixies. Get the picture? So a co-worker told me this morning that "Shishimumu" was on the best-of-2005 list by a tiny magazine nobody's ever heard of called Mojo. Yeah. So I did a little web searching, and found a copy of the list, and there they are, sandwiched between Stevie Wonder and John Legend.

So yeah. Get on the Buffalo wagon, y'all. And sincerest congratulations to the dudes in the band.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Somewhere to start

Okay, so every year I create a list on Amazon of the 25 best books I read the previous year, and this year is no different. If you're looking for something new to read, you could do worse than check out these books.

For further suggestions, here are my 2002 list, my 2003 list, and my 2004 list. Happy reading!
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