Archive for April, 2008

The Sadly Beautiful World of Willy Vlautin

April 23, 2008

I picked up Willy Vlautin’s 2006 debut novel, The Motel Life, on a whim in a cool little bookstore in, I think, Northhampton, Mass., for no other reason than I liked the cover. It made me feel something, a mixture of curiousity and sadness. I read it in hotels in strange cold beds, and in stolen moments in cars, which is probably how a book of its kind should be read.

It follows the tragic arc of two hard-luck brothers from Reno, Nevada as they run both from a tragic accident and themselves. There’s not a simile, metaphor, or compound sentence to be found anywhere. The language reflects the desolation of the desert landscapes and the lives of the characters. There’s no artifice whatsoever for the truth to hide behind.

If you like Bukowski, Denis Johnson, Jim Thompson, the films of the Coen Brothers, or the songs of Tom Waits, you will find poetry in the work of Willy Vlautin.

Vlautin is also the songwriter and vocalist for the respected Portland, OR country band Richmond Fontaine.

Here’s a reading, with beautiful video, from his new novel, Northline, which I should say I have not read. Yet. The latter is a video from Richmond Fontaine.


Mercury Risen

April 23, 2008

This is something of a companion piece to a prior post called “Roth Reconsidered.” My friend and world’s best unknown drummer, Phil N., sent me these youtube discoveries. These are isolated vocal tracks of Freddie Mercury from various Queen classics. And they are muthafuckin strong. Ready, Freddie!

Chills Guaranteed

April 6, 2008

I’m something of a newcomer to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. My friend Phil burnt Time(The Revelator) for me three or four months ago. I was aware of her and her reputation, but I had no idea what I was missing.

A coworker of mine asked me if I’d heard their cover of Radiohead’s “Black Star” from The Bends. I hadn’t. It’s truly spellbinding. David Rawlings is some sort of strange, tasteful guitar hero in waiting.

Here it is. Plus Radiohead’s version.

Something off my Chest

April 5, 2008

I found the Yngwie Malmsteen video while watching and searching for live Kansas videos. There. Are you fucking satisfied? Now you know. I had forgotten how much I loved the singer. That dude is something. He’s like a forgotten fourth or fifth .38 Special guitarist.

“I had a dream / I had an awesome dream” – Lionel Richie (Late-20th Century Poet)

April 1, 2008

I woke up today knowing I’d had some kind of fucked up ridiculous dream, but it took most of the day to piece it together. Here’s what I can remember:

My lady, Barbara, and I are sitting on the couch with our friends, Phil and Sara (which actually happened on Saturday night.) We are watching television and I have the remote. I’m just randomly going through the channels trying to find something watchable when I stumble upon that culture-destroying monstrosity that is Bret Micheal’s Rock of Love, the VH1 reality show. I’ve seen maybe five or ten minutes of it before, and it made no impression other than illiciting a groan. In the dream, however, I was really into it because Bret was “going down” on all of the female constestants. One by one. All of them.

Sara was disgusted and cried out, “That’s so gross! Turn it! Turn it now!” but I wouldn’t or perhaps couldn’t. Phil just giggled. Barbara was physically trying to wrestle the remote from my grasp, but I fought her. After several minutes of this, Sara pulled Phil up and they left in a huff. Barbara told me to find somewhere else to sleep . As I remember it, that’s the end.

What do you think? And, no, it was not a “wet” dream.