The Music Issue

So a few months back I was meandering around Kickstarter, as one does, and happened upon a project concerned with music. Specifically, punk music. More specifically, punk music in Russia and the history thereof, as told by members of The Scene.

So I backed the project. As one does.

A few days ago, the postperson dropped off a package which included not only What About Tomorrow, but FIVE ADDITIONAL BOOKS about punk, music, samizdat, resistance, and various aspects of the scene of which I was previously completely unaware. Suffice to say, I, with my minimal punk experience and only moderate anarchist leanings, feel like something of a poseur. If, as Martin Mull posited, writing about music is like dancing about architecture, then these books are in the pit, head-butting the speakers.

The bottom two rows in the above photo are the contents of that Kickstarter package.

In the top row, on the left is a recent issue of Split Lip Magazine, to which I submitted some poetry recently, and to their credit they rejected my submission in less than three days. That’s service! On the top right is Each Darkness Inside, the new chapbook from local author Kristin Brace, which I read over the weekend and quite liked.

I haven’t had a lot of time for personal reading this past week, other than the poetry chapbook. I am 100 pages from the end of the beta read of the historical novel, and have just started a collection of essays for which I have been asked to contribute a blurb. The collection will be published later this year, at which point I will talk ALL ABOUT IT!

Work has been busy, and to keep myself focused I have been listening to a lot of music on Pandora. Pandora recently added new listening modes to their stations, in particular the “discover” and “deep cuts” lists. While at work I mostly listen to the ’80s Alternative station and have long since heard everything thereon. I explored the “deep cuts” option which I quickly realized was more for superfans of specific bands than general listening. But the “discover” option was like starting over from the beginning where everything was new and shiny. Or at least as shiny as 80s alternative music ever gets.

One of the best bits was (re)discovering The Stranglers, who I had only ever heard of through their song “Golden Brown” which was part of the Snatch soundtrack. But on Pandora I heard “Skin Deep” and O, my brothers and sisters, it was GLORIOUS. Such a beautiful, strange songs, with echoes of Van Morrison’s “All Over Now, Baby Blue” which gets me every time.

Now I bounce back and forth between the “discover” mode of the 80’s Alternative, New Wave and Pop stations, and the standard version of the Strangler’s station, and they are largely compatible, with a wide variety of truly excellent music, much from bands I had never heard of, or only knew from moments from poorly-tuned car radios in high school and college (I was kind of square back then, and on the farm there was active social pressure to not listen to anything good). Bands like Blancmange, Love and Rockets, Ultravox, The Sparks, X, XTC, and Tubeway Army. Just to name a few.

While poking around on YouTube, chasing down more Stranglers music, I happened upon a fantastic station called Bostonian Bob’s Midnight Music. At present it has well over 150 punk, noise, alternative and, uh other genres I couldn’t begin to name. And it is BRILLIANT. With a couple of exceptions I have never heard of any of the bands therein, and have only come across a single track so far which I actively disliked. Click the above link to go to the first song in the list, “Open Wire” by Melted Mirror.

So, yeah. Not much reading, but a lot of listening. And so much good stuff out there, waiting to be discovered.