“I loved you/badly/I loved you.” Good song, good chorus. Lulu feels like a song that emerged from a tiny kernel, and I bet it was that phrase in the chorus. Hang a drumbeat on that, see what happens. All you need are some notes for decoration, like tinsel, and you’re there. Simple, heartfelt, almost accidental. A coming together.
Jay Som is Melina Duterte of San Francisco. I don’t know anything about Jay Som except for the way this music makes me feel: energized and psyched in sort of wistful way; the song makes me feel like it’s possible for a long-unseen acquaintance from the past to suddenly step between the posts of my office doorway and say hi. I’m thankful for music like this, a sweet fall adornment, a momentary respite.
NB: Today’s post is a book review. The song above is included merely because it’s an awesome song.
Fish In Exile, by Vi Khi Nao, is a novel that’s such a great blend of experimental and traditional. I mean, the shape of the story itself is sort of classic–fighting through grief and mourning to re-embrace the world–but the way it’s told is all Nao’s style, which means having a dozen or so sentences every page that deserve to be underlined and highlighted. Fish in Exile reminds me, at least in terms of execution, of Ben Marcus’s more recent stories (and of Flame Alphabet), because he has lately seemed to embrace the momentum of story, but while still preserving his own style, his sentence-level experimentation, etc. The book is so moving. The ending blew me away. I said out loud, “whew, jeeze, so good,” when I put the book down after finishing it. Catholic and Ethos are such great characters, I liked spending time with them. And Callisto and Lidia too. The ending is like the ending of Ulysses for speed and power and beauty. Pick it up, it’s so worthwhile.
The return of Dante DeCaro! Last seen solo in Johnny and the Moon, which released their debut (and solitary) album a decade ago. That album was incredibly good and came out of nowhere; full of vicious full-band folk songs like “Scarlet Town pt. II” and “Oleanna.” But now, 10 years later, DeCaro is back with a new EP, Kill Your Boyfriend. “Love Like Thieves” reminds me of what he did with Johnny and the Moon, though it’s a little less wild-eyed, a little more controlled than his earlier work. And the whole EP moves in that same way: contemplative, relaxed, but still full of passion.