Monday, August 04, 2008

The Orange Spotlight

Steve Barker Rum Shots (Jacob Brooke Press, 2008)

"Alinewitbooze: paying for sex and paying for death nither requires much work with a big payoff"

"Rum Shots" is a novella presented with two other short stories in the form of a chapbook. "Rum shots" itself is a collection of 23 small snap shots of the lives of several different people living in the same town. Their lives intermingle in various ways and at the most unusual times. There is death, drinking, chat room conversations, loneliness, gummy bears and puppies. It is a look at the everyday and all that can go wrong, and all that can go absolutely nowhere. As the story progresses and alcohol becomes more and more involved it is clear that life will never be fully in focus.

It should come as no surprise that Steve is also involved in a local reading series called "Cheap Wine & Poetry". It is apparently Seattle's "biggest, coolest, hippest reading series, occurs semi-regularly at Richard Hugo House, a co-sponsor of the series, and occasionally at other venues throughout Seattle and elsewhere." To purchase a copy of "Rum Shots" you can contact Steve directly at sdotbaker {AT}

The Physics of Meaning Snake Charmer and Destiny At the Stroke of Midnight (Trekky Records, 9/16/08)

"Wake up and make your dreams come true"

With song titles like "Like White Blood Filling a Black Heart" and "No More Sleeping in The Shadows" and "Destiny Reveals an Unbelievable Truth", you would think Daniel Hart may be slightly pretentious. When you first put in the cd and hear a three minute violin solo entitled "In Dreams, We Discover Ourselves, Broken and Yearning" you may think Daniel Hart is completely full of crap. Maybe he is, but he is also an extremely talented. Hailing from North Carolina (yes, home to last weeks featured band Sunfold), Daniel Hart is a member of St. Vincent and John Vanderslice's band, as well as a frequent contributor to The Polyphonic Spree. A classically trained violinist and a playwright, Daniel has found a way to merge his two passion into a melodic and at times explosive sophomore album.

The album opens, as I said, with an extend violin solo, that is unexpected and incredibly beautiful. It is a perfect opener to the complex yet accessible album that follows. The insert to the album has a beautiful illustration by the talented Josh Godin, and a the story of the Snake Charmer. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the album are the contributors that Daniel has managed to gather. He has David Karsten Daniels playing bass and a host of talented vocalists including Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Adam Baker (Annuals), Phil & Brad Cook and Joe Westerlund (Megafaun) Aimee Argote (Des Ark), Sara Morris. An incredible cast for a truly over the top album that moves, shakes, and astounds.

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