It kind of happens intuitively, like breathing or crying or finding your way back home. Every year around this time, I scan my compact disc racks and watch as my hand reaches for The Flaming Lips' 1995 album, Clouds Taste Metallic. I put the disc in the player. I sit back. And I listen, and I remember.
It was November 1999, in New Orleans. I had been on the road for almost a month, traveling on my own aboard Amtrak trains. I had a rail pass that allowed me to get on and off wherever I pleased. That freedom was great, but I became terribly lonely. Part of the deal was I had to make at least two stops in Canada. So, I went from New York City to Rochester to Niagara Falls and then up to Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, and Toronto. All the while reading crazy shit like Pauline Reage's Story of O or Henry Miller's Quiet Days in Clichy, meeting beautiful people, falling in love with perfect strangers a hundred times a day, discovering wonderful new places and then leaving almost as soon as some hint of a connection was made.
I’ve been waiting for this, and now, as if the rock gods had heard my profane prayers, it’s here: The new album from Fucked Up, David Comes to Life, will be released on June 7th. On June 7th, immediately after work, you’ll find me at Other Music, buying the crap out of this album.
In the meantime, while waiting for Santogold, I have chanced upon so many other wonderful musicians and albums. I have had much to keep me occupied. Never, in fact, have I been without something new and exciting and moving. There is always something extraordinary to listen to. If anything, I am overwhelmed by all there is to discover. I worry that I will never be able to hear it all. This vinyl thing has led me to all sorts of interesting sounds.
Cold Cave’s sound, look, and fixations on sex, love, violence, and death remind me of early Sonic Youth. The 12” single for “Love Comes Close” is due out on October 20, thanks to Matador. Buy it while supplies last.
I still sometimes forget that the year is 2008. It'll take me a few more months to get used to it. No doubt about it, though: 2007 is old news. I can tell by the copyright dates on my new CDs. It's 2008. The birdies are making all sorts of happy racket outside my kitchen window; the high temperatures are creeping up, up, slowly up; Opening Day is less than a week away.
I purchased this album, simply titled Elvis, at the ARChive of Contemporary Music's winter record fair. This album immediately followed his RCA Victor debut, Elvis Presley. Both were released in 1957 and both went gold. By the end of the year, I suppose he was so successful that a single name was enough. My copy is a 50th anniversary reissue special.
Tomorrow night, from 7 to 8pm, in the Rare Book Room of Manhattan’s wonderful Strand Bookstore (828 Broadway), author Kevin Avery will sign copies of his new book, Everything is An Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson.