559 songs I liked in 2017

Comment

559 songs I liked in 2017

Here are a ton of songs I enjoyed in 2017. 21st century technology has turned me into a massive shuffler. I love when everything is mixed up. When a power pop song from the '80s is followed by an experimental ambient track which is then followed by some dreamy indie rock which is then followed by a classical song which is then followed by a country tune. I love the whiplash.

So at the start of each year, I create a Spotify playlist called "Songs I Like" and proceed to dump stuff into it as I discover it. I usually find songs from other Spotify playlists, movies, recommendations from friends, blogs like Aquarium Drunkard, the incredible freeform radio station WFMU, and other places. There's a lot of good in here, I think.

By the way, I listened to a lot of Craig Finn in 2017 and you should too. He's the best storyteller going.

Comment

Favorite movies of 2017

Comment

Favorite movies of 2017

Pretty solid list, I think. Just looking at the top 5, I can see all the themes that I try to explore in my own writing: grief, absurdity, dysfunction, art, obsession, and generally just being a fuck up. Those are 5 remarkable movies that I'll probably revisit quite a bit through the years.

As of this writing, I still haven't seen The Square, The Florida Project, Call Me By Your Name, Lucky, Phantom Thread, The Post, A Ghost Story, War for the Planet of the Apes, and a few others that could possibly be on this list. If I see any of them in the next 11 days, and am blown away, I might very well update this thing.

If you want to see all 115 movies I watched (and rewatched) this year, check out my Letterboxd. You can follow me there as I embark on another year of sitting down and watching lots of stuff.

Comment

I like this Sluggo thing

Comment

I like this Sluggo thing

Sluggo meets Alan Watts.

We are all floating in a tremendous river and the river carries you along. Some of the people in the river are swimming against the current, but they are still being carried along. Others have learned that the art of the thing is to swim with it.

Comment

"Good Heart" by David Ramirez

Comment

"Good Heart" by David Ramirez

Another one that's inspiring my new one. I dig it.

Don’t say I got a good heart
While everything is falling apart
Aw baby, just admit it
You fell in love with a lost art
Yeah, honey, I’m a ghost town
Pretty charming ‘til you come around
Well, once upon a time
People like mine
Used to shine, shine, shine

Comment

"Working Titles" by Damien Jurado

Comment

"Working Titles" by Damien Jurado

This one has an incredible melody. Cuts me in half. 

This song makes me think about some of themes I've been exploring in my writing. Like what it means to be both the creator and the subject of a story, or in this case, a song. It's another one that's informing the spirit of the new novel I'm working on. 

Running time that will cut off my fingers
You wrote about me on every new record
And I’ll show up in a title of your song
I only hope somebody requests it

Comment

"Swannanoa" by Water Liars

Comment

"Swannanoa" by Water Liars

When writing, I create music playlists to help get my ideas going. Usually, I don't listen while doing the actual writing, but I do listen while walking around, commuting, etc. I try to get myself into the headspace of the characters and situations. It's all about tone and feeling.

I don't remember how I found "Swannanoa" by Water Liars, but once I did, it connected to everything that I've been thinking about when it comes to the story.

This is one of those songs that I'll replay at least 3 times in a row before I'm ready to move to another song. 

I looked death in the face
it was only my father
if I had known all along
I wouldn’t have bothered
with being afraid
with being a coward
and trying to fool
some mysterious power

Comment

"Jester & June" by Craig Finn

Comment

"Jester & June" by Craig Finn

Craig Finn is one of my favorite performers of all time. I love his band The Hold Steady but his solo stuff is probably my most frequently listened to music of the past few years. He's one the greatest storytellers writing songs today. Each of his songs are like Raymond Carver stories set to music. His characters are so complete and real.

"Jester & June" from his latest album "We All Want the Same Things" is one of his best. It's a wonderful story about a couple of ne'er-do-wells who are trying to reclaim their old nicknames.

Huge inspiration.

We put too much faith
Gave too much cash
To that one creepy kid at the car wash
He said he could make a few calls
But I don’t think he made any calls

Well we probably should have tried the guy with the Dracula cape
Because other than the cape he was cool
He had that wild kind of sadness
Like he was something important
I wonder if he even remembers
They used to call us Junebug and Jester
They used to call us Jester and June

Comment

"Wellspring" by Jeffrey Martin

Comment

"Wellspring" by Jeffrey Martin

Been listening to Jeffrey Martin's "Dogs in the Daylight" a lot lately. He's a new discovery for me and is quickly becoming a favorite. The guy's a wonderful writer.

"Welspring" is a pretty staggering piece of music. A tragic and beautiful story. 

No man can escape the sins his father makes, he is bound in blood to what he does and all that he takes.

Seriously.

Comment

"Jacksonville" by American Aquarium

Comment

"Jacksonville" by American Aquarium

Been listening to this one a lot. I'm beginning work on a new novel, and this is one of the many songs that's helping to inform the tone. Love the feel of it.

I spent the better part of my early twenties medicated and always running
From the man my mamma wanted me to be
Now the nights are lonely and hard to remember another show another bartender
Another place another face that’ll fade away with time

Comment

Great review of Korsakoff Blight

Comment

Great review of Korsakoff Blight

Val D'Orazio's incredible Butterfly Language posted a fantastic and thoughtful review of Korsakoff Blight. Thrilled for the book to be featured on one of my favorite blogs.

Here's a bit:

...though it is tempting for me to compare it to a work like Fight Club, a far more apt description would be, “Post-Fight Club.” For despite its blunt—sometimes comical, sometimes tragic—depictions of depression, substance abuse, violence, and an absolutely crushing sense of anomie, Korsakoff Blight is ultimately a road map to exactly that much sought-after enlightenment.

Comment

"Desperados Under the Eaves" by Warren Zevon

Comment

"Desperados Under the Eaves" by Warren Zevon

This is one of those songs that will come on shuffle and I'll replay it over and over again. Not sure what it is, but it just gets to me. In a very good way. Such an undercurrent of sadness. 

And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing until I pay my bill

Comment

Read the complete Tyranny of the Muse #5

Comment

Read the complete Tyranny of the Muse #5

The final page of Tyranny of the Muse #5, the comic series I created/write, is up at Study Group Comics. Head over there to read the whole issue now. If you need to catch up, you can read the previous 4 here

I'm really proud of this issue. I'm so happy with the work Dave Chisholm did on the art. I think it's the best one yet.

It'll be hitting print and digital in the next couple of months.

Click the thing to read the whole thing.

Comment

"The Sing" by Bill Callahan

Comment

"The Sing" by Bill Callahan

"The Sing" by Bill Callahan feels like wandering a city alone. It smells like a damp carpet in a bar. It's a perfect song for sipping an afternoon drink while sitting at a wobbly table, mindlessly staring at a baseball game with the sound turned off. It goes good with a notepad and a pen.

"The only words I've said today are 'beer' and 'thank you'."

Beautiful.

Comment