Thursday, May 27, 2010

Soundtrack (The National, etc) / Bookshelf (Saltgrass, etc)

At sixteen. Which one was me?

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

One of the things that’s interesting me is just how much music from the 70s and 80s is making a comeback, filtered through new bands. It’s to be expected that music recycles as everything recycles, but some new bands are taking this to a new height. Band of Horses seems intent on becoming The Eagles, for example, mixed a bit with what’s come after, of course, and then a bit of Gerry Rafferty . . . and I still keep expecting The National to sing “Bella Lugosi’s dead,” or maybe something from The Psychedelic Furs. She & Him continue to pretend it’s 1968. The Bird and the Bee has pulled the curtain down, and done a whole album from the Hall & Oates catalogue, following a bit of the example from the fun albums from Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs that explored covers first from the 60s and then 70s, but perhaps the most obvious throwback is LCD Soundsystem, which slips in beautifully between the Eno association with David Bowie and the Eno association with Talking Heads.

On the other hand, there’s the continuing influence of the mix of 80s disco elements with the more psychedelic 60s elements of The Flaming Lips, that everyone saw in MGMT, and now is just as interestingly mined in Neon Indian, while the Lips, themselves, have re-recorded The Dark Side of the Moon.

For me this all means good times. I get to seem all hip and into new music while at the same time I get to stroll up and down Nostalgia Avenue, pretending I’m 16.


The new issue of Saltgrass is available, featuring:

Lisa Jarnot, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Natalie Lyalin, Sandra Simonds, Laura Eve Engel, Tristan Tzara (translated by Heather Green), Gabe Durham, Maged Zaher, Jennifer Denrow, Catherine Meng, J. Boyer and Mark Yakich. You can order a print copy on their website:

Only $5!

Which reminds me how handy blogs are for literary journal websites. Now that’s a use of a blog that is both ubiquitous and not theorized (for those who like to theorize).

Four Way Books will read submissions in June 2010, including poetry collections, (regardless of your publication history), short story collections and novellas. Submissions sent to FWBs in June are selected by their editorial board, not by an outside judge. Submission guidelines for the June Reading Period are available at

Which reminds me how much I enjoyed working with them on a book back in 2007. It’s a wonderful press.

If you are anywhere near Rochester, NY, BOA is hosting “Poetry Is Jazz” on Tuesday, June 15 at 6:00pm at 137 East Avenue.

It reminds me how people often talk of the structure of poetry being similar to the way a joke works, with the big switch coming at some point. The turn. That’s all fine and good, but I prefer the Bebop analogy, how it’s all about improvisation through theme and variation. It’s an easy caricature, the jazz musician and the poet, and it gets a laugh every time, but there’s a great affinity underneath.


At 5/29/2010 6:51 PM, Blogger Vince Bauters said...

How right you are about The National.

Funny thing is: they already have covered The Psychedelic Furs. Check it out here. They give a clean, sharp version of "Pretty in Pink."

At 5/29/2010 6:54 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I had no idea they did a daytrotter session! And I have an account and everything. Sweet.


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