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Archive for the ‘A House’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: A HOUSE-Live in Concert (1998).

This is a strange live collection of songs.  The first half are “band” efforts.  And they are pretty good, although the backing vocals on some of the later songs seem a bit much.

The second half of the disc, however, is an acoustic set.  I initially thought it was just Dave Couse, but there are clearly two guitars.  This more intimate set is cool because it shows that their songs are solid even without the effects and silliness some of the originals had. I especially liked “Blind Faith” because he sort of teases the audience into singing with him.

This disc is certainly not essential A House listening (In fact, I can find virtually no record of its existence on line–Wikipedia and Zop list it but there’s precious little information about it).  Hey, maybe it’s a collector’s item (that I bought used for $2 used).  But since there’s no other live recordings of A House that I’m aware of, this will have to do.

[READ: June 26, 2010] Citrus County

I read this book several months ago, but with all of the big summer projects, I didn’t have a chance to say anything about it.

Citrus County is a dark book.  Make no mistake.  It is set in a world of adolescents, high school and crime.  And even within those dark boundaries, this book is quite dark.  And yet it is also kind of funny.

The story is also something of an indictment of Citrus County, Florida, a county I didn’t know existed, although sure why wouldn’t it.  When Shelby Register moves there, she thinks that she’ll be in Disneyland, or at least by the beach, but what she finds herself in is a kind of backwater swampland.  Just what ever teenaged girl wants. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: A HOUSE-“More Endless Art” (1991).

Lar, my encyclopedia of music, pointed me to this second version of “Endless Art” by A House.  The original was all male artists.  This follow-up is all female artists.

I enjoyed this version very much, and it made me realize that I was tired of the original song because of the lyrics, not the music (listening to spoken word bits over and over can be exhausting). So, now I get a new version of the song with brand new lyrics to think about.

The video doesn’t go anywhere near the conceptual peak that the first one achieved, I’m not even sure who made it.

Watch it below, or look for the “Endless Art” single.

[READ: August 21,. 2010] “A Brush”

I read John Berger’s Ways of Seeing back in graduate school.  It’s a group of essays about perception and art.  I had no idea that he wrote anything else, and promptly forgot about him.  So, imagine my surprise to see this piece of fiction written by John Berger (and a little research indicating that it is the same guy).  I liked Ways of Seeing but it didn’t impact my life in any major way, this was all just an interesting (to me) coincidence.

I wasn’t really sure what to think of this story as it opened.  It talks of a paint brush.  And the wording of it was a bit odd, I felt:

I want to tell you the story of how I gave away this Sho Japanese brush.

But it’s the description of the brush that I found so compelling:

I drew often with it. It was made of the hairs of horse and sheep. These hairs once grew out of a skin. Maybe this is why when gathered together into a brush with a bamboo handle they transmit sensations so vividly. When I drew with it I had the impression that it and my fingers loosely holding it were touching not paper but a skin. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: A HOUSE-I Want Too Much (1990).

I Want Too Much saw a bit of a stylistic shift from the sort of generic indie rock of the first album.  Dave Couse’s voice begins to really come into its own with a lot of yelping and higher notes.

The album overall is more experimental, a good stepping stone towards I Am the Greatest.  This is probably the last A House record I bought (from Amoeba Records!).  And again, had I bought it in 1990, I think I would have loved it.

As it is, it reminds me, once again, of the era (in fact, this album reminds me a lot of James circa 1990).  The lyrics are slightly more deep than on the first disc, but I honestly can’t say that the songs really stick out for me.

I may have come to the party too late for this one.

[READ: August 20, 2010] “Los Malos”

This was something of a banner issue of Harper’s for me.  I’d been kind of down on the magazine over the last several months as I felt the really good stuff just hadn’t been here.  But this issue was packed with great articles.

I was keenly interested in this article because I have recently read Roberto Bolaños’ 2666.  That novel is concerned with the senseless and random killings of so many women around Juarez, Mexico.  That news story seemed to be just catching on in the mainstream press when it was supplanted by this new horror story that border cities in Mexico are hotbeds of drug-related murders (of men and women).  Strangely, I don’t know if the Juarez situation has calmed down or if this is a concurrent mass murder scenario along the border. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: A HOUSE: On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round (1988).

I first heard of A House when “Call Me Blue” came on a Sire records sampler (Just Say Yo).  This was a good sampler of college rock music circa 1987, and “Call Me Blue” stood out for me.

I had kind of forgotten about them until I Am the Greatest came out, which I enjoyed very much.  I have since gone back and bought their back catalog.  This first album sounds so very much like college music circa 1987.   It’s not anywhere near as weird as I Am the Greatest.  In fact, it’s almost quaint in its college (or Modern as they called it back then) rock sound.

I think that if I had gotten it back then, it would have been a favorite of mine.  Listening to it today, it brought back memories of that era, even though this album wasn’t part of that era for me–it just evokes that time so perfectly.

“Call Me Blue” is still a great track.

[READ: August 20, 2010] The Mezzanine

I learned about this book from my friend Rich.  He raved about the minimalism of it. (1)

(1. My copy is dated from 1994.  Clearly back then I thought it was a great idea to sign and date all of the books I bought.  Since then, while working at a library, I find the practice kind of foolish.  However, I do appreciate the fact that I know when I bought it.  In some ways I wish that I had put a post it note with the date of purchase on all of my books).

I read it back in 1994 and enjoyed it. And since I am in the middle of Ulysses, I thought it would be a nice chaser. (2)

(2. In the comments for Ulysses here, the other readers mention that they are reading other books, too.  And I like the idea of the word “chaser” in describing it).

The reason I thought it would make a good chaser is that it is only 135 pages long.  And as I remembered, the action of the book takes place entirely on an escalator ride from the ground floor to the mezzanine of the narrator’s office. (3).

(3. Although that is literally true, the narrator reflects back upon many many events in his life, and almost all of them have taken place some time in the past–going back as far as to when he was a kid). (more…)

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