Tim Hall Full Of It (Undie Press, Oct. 14th, 2008)
When I first heard the title of Tim's second novel, Full Of It, I thought it may be dealing with the current election. Yet, when I saw the subtitle, The Birth, Death, and Life of an Underground Newspaper, I knew the truth. Actually, the very first time I met Tim Hall, he was carrying this large hardcover book under his arm, it was multi-colored and in a crude typewriter font. He explained the premise and I was intrigued. Several months later I started receiving mysterious cds on my front step. It was an audio version of Full Of It told three chapters at a time with sound effects and a different voice for each character. It was captivating, I couldn't wait for the next installment of this journey through the struggle to remain together and creative.
Full Of It takes a look at the business side of creativity. A group of friends and acquaintances come together to start a newspaper, but the hierarchy begins to bleed the passion, and soon whose name is listed where and whose story runs when begins to transcend the overall product and value of the paper. As much as it is about struggles for control, it is also about the path of friendships, romances, high and lows, and the trials and errors of a young writer in a big city. Through it all he learns a valuable lesson, there is nothing more treasured than friendship, but everything can change at any time.
Super XX Man Vol. XII:: There'll Be Diamonds (Tender Loving Empire Oct. 21st, 2008)
There are hundreds, if not thousands of albums released every week. There are a couple of factors that will set one apart from another when they are both sitting on the shelf or in the stack on my desk. If you don't have instant name recognition then there has to be some quality in design or presentation that sets your album apart. An image by a well-known artist or something shocking or some how appealing will go a long way. You could also play with packaging bright colors, folding cardboard, boxes, plastic whatever you do has to draw people to your album regardless of the style or sound.
What I look for is a package that shows the band and the label really care about the look and feel of the album. One of my favorite labels for this very reason is Portland's Tender Loving Empire. Their latest release, Super XX Man's There'll Be Diamonds, feels and looks like a work of art. Each copy is Hand Screenprinted with art by Brian Oster giving the album a very unique look and feel. It honestly made me want to listen to this album first just because of its cover. Super XX Man is the product of Scott Garred, this album is actually his 12th full-length album, and it is filled with one of my favorite types of songs, the upbeat song about saddness, hurt, and depression. Perfected by Morrissey, Garred sings about medication, crazy co-works, relationship problems, and more. His voice is calm and steady, lush and intimate. It is a wonderful compliment to the detailed packaging and any record collection.
Listen to: Medication (mp3)