Monday, January 12, 2009

The Orange Spotlight

Howie Good Tommowland (Achilles Chapbook Series, Dec. 1st)

"The future will be just like the present - so cold it burns."

The art of flash fiction, when trimmed and compacted properly, can be a powerful tool in a fast-paced world. Similar to poetry, flash fiction focuses on the essence of the story, the essence of language, and allows the mind of the reader to fill in all of the other details. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that the writer challenges himself more to tell a story in a flash, then in a full and fluent story. To express what you have observed, what you feel, in the matter of a few sentence is the true nature of the craft.

If stripping down your thoughts is the nature of the craft then Howie Good is a master craftsman. In Tomorrowland he offers up 23 glimpses at life in an array of situations. From the father driving down the road with his daughter to the stream of consciousness of an injuries youth. He presents pictures both bright and warm, and dark and grim. Yet, through it all there is an odd sense of hope that flicker and fades, but remains despite it all.

Tomorrowland is the third chapbook in the refreshing new series that was started in October by Achilles Chapbook Series.

Mr. Bear These Machines (Thru and Thru, Jan. 13th)

New to the Chicago scene is Little Rock product and multi-instrumentalist Mr. Bear (aka Jack Bishop). After moving to Chicago to attend school he was quickly picked up by the new Minnesota/Chicago label Thru & Thru Records. His first release on Thru and Thru is actually his second full-length album, "These Machines". A mixture of horns and twirling folk romps, These Machines is a mixture of Sufjan Stevens and Beirut which when blended it becomes an exciting style all it's own.

Beneath the joyous musical configurations lays lyrics that are surprisingly complex for such a young songwriter. He writes with an old soul, but adds the right amount of humor and imagination. He also plays with passion and energy, and in fact, from trumpet to banjo, Bishop plays most of the instruments on These Machines himself. This album is a remarkable collection of thoughts, and hopefully it will get the attention it deserves.

01. Disaster, Be The Matchmaker (mp3)
02. Rubber Duckies
03. Jump Ship
04. How Tasty (Are The White)
05. Big Foot Walks (video)
06. The Creeps
07. Put Your Glasses On(Interlude)
08. Objects Unidentified
09. Dead Orchids, Hungry Toads
10. This Beard Is A Symbol (For The Man I Am)
11. The Wolf Man's Sad Song
12. A Chosen Few, Pump Our Fists and Be Proud!


othernathan said...

bear-pop is this guy's favorite

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