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Some Recommendations

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Please consider the following:

The New Pornographers et al: Members of this band keep amazing me, with recent terrific albums by AC Newman (The Slow Wonder) Destroyer (Your Blues) and now the great Neko Case (The Tigers Have Spoken), these guys have an actual power-pop rock scene going on up there in Vancouver. And the two proper New Pornos albums are so good you won’t believe it. I caught Newman live a couple of weeks ago, and his shiny stuff sounds great live. “The Town Halo” has an incredibly cool cello ostinato and swelling vocals that make you wish you still had your ELO records.

The Yanks’ chances: Just a hunch that their pitchers might not be as bad as you’d think.

Aged sheeps’-milk cheeses from the Pyrenees: With flabby fat red wine or malty beers. You’ll thank me later.

Watching the Debate: Prediction: Bush will prove to be a moron content to arrogantly spout the lies of others without apparent fear that no one believes them. Kerry will prove an empty, hollow figure just as beholden to the same corporate bribery as the other guy, just worse at soaking it and better at hiding it.

The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: This slim, hilarious novel is perfect and charming and touching. It’s also one of those books that no one should tell you one god-damn thing about lest they ruin it for you.

The new Elvis Costello album: I myself am not convinced by much of this, although “Monkey” really rocks, and his Letterman performance was characteristically great. But Ayntie Barger hasn’t dogged it like he went after North, so that’s something. Although in the next breath, I believe the Senatorial wannabe sideswiped Blood and Chocolate with some faint praise, and there are some things up with which I cannot put. And I loved When I was Cruel, too. AND, I loved the Bangles’ cover of “Tear off Your Own Head,” which cuts Elvis’ for sure.

Macchiatto: If you’ve got one of those cheap stovetop aluminum screw-together espresso makers, heat up a little milk and swish it around with a whisk and then put in just a little splash of it with some bubbles on the top of your coffee (“macchiatto” means “stained”.) You can pretend you have a little crema on the top.

Martha Wainwright: “When the Day is Short” and “BMFA”: This girl is as blissfully talented as you’d expect from her family. These two tracks come from the Wednesday Morning Download on Salon, a very cool column which provides links to a well-selected bunch of sometimes free legal downloads. The guy who writes it has incisive taste in music, except that he seems to include a few shitty hip-hop tracks every week too. He has hipped me to some great stuff (find “Famous Umbrellas”by King Radio in the archives for some Bacharachish bliss),. These two songs are just incredible. Martha’s soaring voice swings the countrified “When the Day,” which has subtle ways of not going where you think it’s going, and the other song is idiosyncratic and totally earns its hilariously foul-mouthed chorus. Look these up at the July 7 edition here:


Listening to Sleepy LaBeef: A true original. The live album noted above will explain all.

Silver City by John Sayles: Any time Sayles puts his intellect to something, it’s worth watching, and this one is actually not even boring! It’s funny! Really! Yes, that same John Sayles, and yes, it actually is funny.

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  • Eric Olsen

    CC, hilarious and erudite, you have found your mode of expression. Thanks!

    And I still have my ELO records