Short Instore Report.

Thanks to everyone who made it to the thursday night instore.The place was fairly packed, and it went really well. The Lucky Dragons performance was one long piece played on a hand made string instrument, played like xylophone, the music rythimically pulsing, slowly building up, complexity gathering momentum into a pretty sublime work. Reminded me in a way of early Steve Reich.

Bone Rattle started his set with a reading of a bukowski poem and went on to fast beat heavy noise/chant rock out.

and Loco Ono rounded out the night with an awesome drone noise performance with bass, tape, and wire.

All the while, Saelee Oh and her sisters continued work on her display window instalation.
An inspiring night out.

posted by sammy at 10:03 PM

Lucky Dragons this thursday 6:30

The extremely multi talented Lucky Dragons will be playing Thursday night, the 21st, at 6:30. Joined with bone rattle (boston) and Loco ono (providence).
Our last instore killed everybody so dont be left out in the dust!

posted by sammy at 2:39 PM

Site Updates

Both the Record and Zine sections have been updated!
(Above image from A Great Big Stillness by Justin B. Williams & Luke Ramsey)

posted by sammy at 8:33 PM

Patrick Smith.

Heap by Patrick Smith.
Look over here for more.

posted by sammy at 12:51 PM

"Like an animal inside a skull looking out the eyeholes."

The sentence above is one of many great lines in Cormac McCarthy's new book The Road. I just read this, and my head is still swimming in it, and thus not able to break it a part too much and discuss smartly, but wanted to mention it here quickly for those who have not read it. Yet. The basic plot concerns a father and son traveling along a road toward the ocean a couple years after the world has ended. I know it sounds like mad max but its more like Hamsun's Pan or Hemingway. Written in a deliberate, fractured style with no chapter breaks, it's an incredibly grim book, with suicide, cannibalism, rape, and murder, but the unrelenting story is elevated by some truly poetic writing that gives the nightmarish aspects of the book real emotional weight (stephen king has not, nor will ever, write a line as good as "Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.").
It's that rare piece of genre fiction that 100% delivers at being a great page turner, but also stays with you afterward for a host of varied, wide ranging reasons. Like the father washing a dead man's splattered brains from his eight year old son's hair in a shallow grey stream (and noting that he lives in world where he does such a thing) to the haunting descriptions of an American landscape where every tree is charred fruitless and ash comes down with the snow endlessly.
An incredibly draining read, but a really rewarding one. Check it out.

posted by sammy at 1:47 AM

Wallace on Lynch online

One of most insightful pieces of movie writing I have seen, and certainly the best on Lynch, is an essay by David Foster Wallace. What starts as a funny, gossipy set report of 'Lost Highway' for Premiere magazine slowly builds steam to really articulate a lot of hard to articulate aspects of Lynch. The full length essay, with pages of footnotes, was published in the Wallace nonfiction collection 'A Supposedly Fun Thing I Will Never Do Again'. A great book all round and worth checking out. But if you dont see that happening you can read the essay online. It's not as nice on the eyes, but it's free.

posted by sammy at 2:57 PM

Two-Lane Blacktop on DVD

Anchor Bay released Two-Lane in 1999 with a new transfer, an audio commentary, and a documentary on director Monte Hellman. It's been out of print for awhile, but we got 4 new copies of this today. If you want one (and who the hell doesn't?), come in and grab it. My first real post here was about Two-Lane Blacktop, and I can talk about it endlessly and will-I have been meaning to post something more substantial on it for awhile. But for now, if you haven't seen it yet, you really should. It's the closest thing, in tone and shape, to watching a William Eggleston photograph move.

posted by sammy at 3:50 PM

Great Anti-Semites.


H.P. Lovecraft.


Knut Hamsun.
Note: The above photo is of an older Hamsun because I want to believe his nazism was just a part of his senility.

Roald Dahl.

Ezra Pound.

Bobby Fischer.

Professor Griff.


H.G. Wells

posted by sammy at 4:44 AM

Anders Brekhus Nilsen

Last week, on the same day as Louise Brooks, Anders Brekhus Nilsen had his birthday. This post was started then, abandoned, and now delivered, though late.
In 1998 or so, give or take a year, I was in Meltdown, and like I did back then (and guess I still do) I was crawling around on the floor like a moron looking for stuff, stuff that you discover by crawling around looking in between issues of Amazing Heroes and Don Simpson's King Kong comics (an excellent comic, by the way). And I found Big Questions #3. I looked through it and was amazed-it was seriously what I had been searching for in comic books stores for years. The cartooning was accomplished, the drawing beautiful with nice open line that was not too uptight, loose but clearly informed (I found out recently that he doesn't pencil and prefers to go direct with ink!). A seemingly out of nowhere find. I asked Gaston, the ruler of meltdown, about it and he had no idea of what it was and just said Last Gasp put a couple copies in with an order. Huh. Before I read it I had a feeling maybe it as badly written like a lot of nice looking comics. Instead the writing was fascinating in that it was really funny which I didn't expect and it was subtle-the writing didn't give you everything. it had a real measured quality.
The story, to keep it short, is about a bunch of talking birds and assorted animals who live out in a sparsely populated piece of nature. Nearby lives an old woman and her idiot son or grandson. A bomb drops out of the sky. Some birds think its a giant egg that will bring some sort of messiah, others are unsure what it is, spiritually or otherwise. Birds deal with other animals, benevolent and not, living in the area.....that the basic set up. But Anders' way is to have the plot move in such a way that you don't realize its moving forward. It reads more like a series of conversations between animals, random detached violence, and odd stuff like wading in a river and just splashing around. It builds momentum as it goes. And its seemingly freewheeling narrative allows for some amazing left turns at times, like when a plane crashes out of nowhere.
My favorite scene from Big Questions #3 is one where one bird recounts to another: eating scraps of a peanut butter sandwich and being grabbed by a man. But instead of eating him, the man just stared at him a while and let him go. In this short scene our perspective goes from the birds to imagining what the man is thinking to what the bird who is listening to the story is thinking to the overall objective "truth" of the scene. it's amazing because it does a lot at once, setting up the multiple, constantly shifting points of view, both physically and philosophically, and it shows a knack for the textural, the tangible, the moment.
That story is still going strong, which is up to issue nine, just published:

Big Questions is the first true epic to emerge in the last couple years in comics, certainly from newer ones. And it's incredible how it all works. his drawing conveys a level of calm, regardless of how intense or weird the strip can get. The accumulative effect of reading it feels like watching an explosion in slow motion.
Besides consistently releasing issues of Big Questions (self published up till #8, then taken over by Drawn and Quarterly), He's made time for some pretty interesting and wide ranging projects. Last year D&Q released Dogs And Water, a mammoth comic book about man wandering a desolate landscape arguing with a stuffed doll while a war goes on peripherally around him. He keeps the story subjective, letting the bombastic elements remain jarring and sudden as experienced by the protagonist. The reader never fully learning what it all means, as that's not the point anyway.
Earlier this year Fantagraphics released the great Monologues For The Coming Plague, a huge semi improvised sketchbook 'conversation' (for a sample of these, and other random Nilsen ephemera, check this out). At first it seems like a slight book, especially for those unfamilair with anders looser drawing style, but its pretty captivating, reading the strip, watching the artist make decisions and it comes to together really well. And he's in every issue of Mome too with a lot of strips that range from the above mentioned sketchbook monologues to fairly abstract strips that resemble tone poems (panels of mutating squares with captions for example).
And most recently, Don't Go Where I Can't Follow, which is not a comic at all, but a real life document of a relationship cut short by cancer. Diary comics, postcards, life drawings and assorted pieces documenting his long time relationship with artist Cheryl Weaver who died last year. A courageous book that, to me at least, shows an artistic integrity where the work, regardless of format, is honest, where life dictate the work regardless of how dark or revealing or painful that must be.

posted by sammy at 12:00 AM