Monday, June 23, 2008

The Orange Spotlight

Chris Killen Paul Simon (Self-Released, April 2008)

"Paul Simon feels sick with worry. He tries to listen to the son 'Our Way to Fall' by Yo La Tengo, but whereas before it suited his feelings (nostalgia, failed love affair, small quite feeling, sadness, longing), now it feels kind of mocking."

How freeing is it to write a story, post a message on your blog, print 50 copies and mail them around the world. The benefit and feedback are almost immediate, and the ability to print more is always available. So the question that will ultimately be raised is, is this a legitimate chapbook?
The answer is up to you, but in my opinion I believe it is. The focus is on the writing and not the presentation or the publisher or anything but the story.

The of story Paul Simon is both hilarious and sad at the same times. You find yourself laughing at the man's depression and childish desires to be a member of Yo La Tengo. His relationship has dissolved, his career has dissolved, and his friendship with Chevy Chase is extremely volatile. Through ten small scenes you take look inside the life and mind of the music legend, as he makes pancakes, checks his facebook, takes a shower, and emulates his favorite Raymond Carver story. Paul Simon is clever, funny, and completely insane. Did I mention it was written by Chris Killen? Chris Killen!

There were 50 copies of Paul Simon sent around the world, and I am holding copy #53. That's right, 53. Visit Chris Killen at his blog Day of Moustaches.

Computer vs Banjo Computer vs. Banjo (Diagram Records, June 17th, 2008)

The name of this band alone was intriguing to me. I pictured sweeping, jittery electronics, spanning from drone to drum n' bass running wild as the banjo plucking and rambled through the soundscape. It would be a match so different in style and appealing that it would work so well. In reality the debut effort from these two accomplished musicians (Johnny Mann and Beau Stapleton) is much more controlled and subtle. The programming lingers, always visible but never flashy, while the pair trade off vocals and various organic instruments. The album is beautiful, but I ultimately I feel the banjo wins this battle.
With a detailed cover art by the talent Matt Cipov, this is a well-designed debut from these two veterans. Johnny Mann was the lead guitarist of Gran Torino, and Beau Stapleton played tenor guitar and mandolin for Blue Merle. The lead single "Give Up On Ghost" is a perfect example of their sound. It starts out as an almost traditional country song, and suddenly jump and breaks with the wonders of technology. It also reminds us all that there are moments and memories in life that linger until we give them up.

Jubilee/Guitars Need a Sinner's Touch (video)/ Give Up On Ghosts (mp3)/Outerspace/Low/San Jonquin/Magazine Queen/Stone/2heavy2hold/Concealed/Lost/Signs of Passing Time

For a little trip down memory lane and to see for yourself you would win the battle of Computer vs. Banjo visit their website and play a game of PONG!

No comments: