“Oscuridad” — Laetitia Sadier

Watch Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr in Son of Dracula (or don’t, it’s pretty terrible)

Phil Spector talks about “Be My Baby,” Scorsese’s Mean Streets, Brian Wilson, etc.

RIP Ornette Coleman


RIP Ornette Coleman, 1930-2015

“It’s almost sexual” | Brian Wilson talks about the theremin in “Good Vibrations”

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music”

School’s Out

Reviews and riffs of May 2015 (and an unrelated owl)

Reviews and riffs, May 2015

In which I read Playboy for the Pynchon article.

This is not a review of Lydia Davis’s Can’t and Won’t.

What the hell is Pynchon in Public Day?

A review of Jim O’Rourke’s new record Simple Songs.

Han Kang’s The Vegetarian reviewed.

A somewhat contrarian take on Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mad Men’s cynical finale.

Gravity’s Rainbow and Disney’s Fantasia.

Unrelated owl by Durer:


“A Geometric” — Sam Prekop

“All art constantly aspires towards the condition of something or other”

More on Jim O’Rourke’s Simple Songs

I was pretty happy when Jim O’Rourke’s new LP Simple Songs showed up in today’s mail. (I tried to take a photo of the record cover, which has this glossy-embossed-Jim-visual-echo-of-the-cover-to-Halfway-to-a-Threeway-thing going on, but it was too glossy, the cover, so here’s the Drag City packing tape that sealed the package):


I’ve already lauded Simple Songs here, based on listening to it dozens of times on NPR last week. Even though the streaming quality wasn’t so bad (and I played it over a proper stereo system), it simply isn’t as good as the full rich sound on the vinyl. (As I write this, I realize that I have a tendency, like many people, I’m thinking, to listen to too much new music digitally, over streaming services or as shitty compressed mp3s, or—even worse!—on YouTube. I think O’Rourke’s songwriting, musicianship, and production can withstand these new technologies, but I’ve also been a huge fan of his for, jeez, 20 years now, so I’m compelled to listen to his work much more closely than, say, New Band with mp3).


Simple Songs is beautiful: Rich, full, personal, and somehow expansive at only eight songs in 33 minutes. O’Rourke seems to have structured the album like a 1970s singer-songwriter record—the sequencing is perfect, with each side culminating in moments that synthesize O’Rourke’s cynicism with real pathos. Worth the long wait.

The LP contains a lyric sheet, as well as the album’s personnel:


I’m thinking that some of these guys are playing with O’Rourke in this concert from last year (I’m pretty confident that Yamamoto Tatsuhisa is on drums):