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Archive for the ‘Ben Fountain’ Category

briefSOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Spiral Club, Guelph Ontario (December 18 1997).

spiral This show has an interesting technical glitch that the owner thankfully fixed. It was a soundboard recording (which is awesome), but evidently there was static in the right channel that rendered it unlistenable.  So he simply removed the right channel and mixed it mono.  The sound is actually excellent—one of the best early shows they’ve done.  But since there is only own channel, you miss a lot of what, I think, is Dave’s guitar.  When guest Tyler McPherson plays his solo, I believe you can’t hear it.  Yet despite that, it still sounds great.

I feel like the band was a having a lot of fun on this Thursday night in Guelph (every night in Guelph is a weekend). They mention that their Nightlines episode was aired on the night of Lady Diana’s death (so they feel some kind of weird connection to her).

There’s a few firsts in this set as well.  It’s the first time they plated “Junction Foil Ball” (from Nightlines).  They seem to have finally settled in with “Harmelodia” not “California” in “Easy to Be with You.”  They toss in a bit of “Tubthumping” at the beginning of “Horses,” and a bit of the Monkees, song “Look Out Here Comes Tomorrow)” at the beginning of “Queer.”

Of course there are some flubs as well.  Martin messes up California Dreamline big time and Dave gets lost in the counting of “Four Little Songs” (and then says he never went to school).

But it’s the banter that is the fun part of this show.  They ask the crowd not to shout out requests for a couple of songs.  There’s a very funny sequence in which they try to play a Coors lite anthem.  And Martin says he’s out of his mind.  Dave says he’s a madman and Martin calls him a manatee.  And then someone offers Dave an Islanders jersey which he says he can’t accept—it is too generous, but he’ll always remember it (and now so will we).

Before the end of the set, they offer the crowd some of the food they have backstage (if you like olives). But then they say that $18 was a bit steep of a ticket price for the show (can you imagine?).  So they’re going to play extra long because the ticket price was so high.  Man, how cool is that?

[READ: Summer 2013] Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

Several years ago (long before Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) I read about Ben Fountain…somewhere.  I was reading an interview with a writer who talked about some new writers that he liked.  Ben Fountain was one of them, and this writer specifically mentioned this collection.  A week or so later I was in a dollar store of all places and saw this book on their piles of books.  I couldn’t believe the serendipity. So I bought it (for a dollar).  And then kind of forgot about it (so much for my theory that if I buy a book I’ll read it).  But I did eventually get around to reading it and now sadly not only do I have no idea who originally introduced me to Fountain, I can’t even find it with online searching (and frankly I could have read it anywhere).  Also, Fountain has since written Billy Lynn which received all kinds of praise (and which I haven’t read), so trying to find specific praise for Fountain from 7 years ago is a lost cause.

And just as I forgot to read it I forgot to write about it until now.  This was his first collection of stories.  There are eight in total.  Even though it has been awhile, most of the stories were so powerful and well constructed that I remember them quite well. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DAN DEACON-“Call Me Maybe Acapella 147 Times Exponentially Layered” (2012).

Dan Deacon (whose twitter handle is “ebaynetflix” ha!), created a cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” for a digital album with 43 artists covering the pop delicacy.  I listened to a few samples from the album and they span the gamut from kind of serious to kind of crazy to mocking to Deacon.

Stereogum describes Deacon’s version this way: “Dan Deacon piles “Call Me Maybe” on itself over and over again, creating the most dissonant, harrowing take on Carli Rae Jepsen’s [sic] hit known to man.”

He begins with a sample from the verse, then he adds some lines from the chorus (while the verse is playing). You can hear “here’s my number, so call me maybe” a few times, but the background is growing in intensity and menace.  By 90 seconds in, you can still hear her a little bit, but she is almost entirely consumed by noise.  Then around 2 minutes, things seems to calm down a bit (she’s still plugging away at the chorus).  By 4 minutes the whole thing has seemingly collapsed in on itself.  And the whole time, there seems to be a steady beat that you can dance to.  This track may indeed produce insanity.

You can listen to Deacon’s monstrosity below, or go to the original site.

  To see the lineup for the whole album, go here.

[READ: August 22, 2012] 3 Book Reviews

I don’t quite understand how Cohen pulled this off, but in the July issue of Harper‘s right after his story, “The College Borough,” which I mentioned yesterday, he also had three book reviews.  How does one get two bylines in Harper’s?  Has that ever happened before?

Because I liked the story so much, I decided I would read these reviews too.  Cohen sets up the reviews with the idea of political gestation periods (12 months for donkeys, 22 months for elephants) and how novelists work even slower when it comes to writing about events.  Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead came out 32 months after V-J Day, John Steinbeck wrote about the depression from 1937-1945.  So now in 2012 we see the “spawn of Bush’s two terms of excruciating contractions.”  Books that fictionalize the realities of post-9/11 life: “that the canniest distraction from class war is war-war.” (more…)

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