One time, I wrote to you from a provocatively celestial, windy night.
Two dust-speckled birds lit on the mulberry tree across the street. The tree still had some dark green leaves on, it being the middle of November.
I heard a low and mournful whisper coming from the train yard. It weren't a ghost; just a locomotive breathing out its coarse diesel discourse into the obscure hours.
Before long, those two nightjars commenced their song; caliginous chirps and whistles followed. All of those sounds combined. And once entwined, they spirited themselves away into the upper atmosphere.
There was a buzzing sodium lamp burning nearby. The light it made caused nearby objects to appear yellow and sharp. Purple shadows blossomed beneath the cars and plants and cats located within the circle of its electric radiance.
I spied Polaris setting in one place, way up north. The rest of the stars and planets churned around it like the maelstroms that take unlucky boats down to Neptune's hidden garden. Seeing how that idea gave me an unfamiliar but welcome sense of ease and well being, I laid myself down and fell into a dream.
It is naturally bright but the air is sullen at the same time. I let my old yellow Volkswagen—the one I bought from the fry cook at Fred's Bread—do the driving. That car carries me with all of the benevolence its chugging engine can muster, across empty mesas and up into foggy foothills.
The road gets hard to manage and has been flooded with paint the color of water so I climb out a side window. The city of Albuquerque is glowing beneath me. It looks just like I imagine a vast space station might, if I were an astronaut.
I tell the Volkswagen (whose name I cannot pronounce when awake) to wait while I investigate the geometry and nocturnal animal life in the mountains ahead.
A pack of coyotes is breathing out howling noises aimed at the moon and vinegaroon skitters through the arroyo, whipping its tail and snapping its black claws. Somewhere east of Supper Rock, I find a wooden door has been craftily installed into the face of a cliff I used to climb.
I pull it open to discover the Sandia Mountains are mostly hollow. A pale blue light seeps through from the other side. Inside, I notice that someone built a ramshackle fence—made from saplings and multi-colored telephone wire—around a great green meadow that seems to extend for miles. Sheep graze here and there. My old dog Arnold bounds up to say hello, wagging his tail. He starts carrying on about the beauty and serenity of nature
The sun came up just about then, just as I began to notice the telephone wire fence was really constructed of lunar soil and leaden capacitors.
Yawning and shaking my head at the impossibility such things, I sat up in bed, activated my personal levitation device, floated into the kitchen and processed some coffee beans into a stimulating beverage. I swung the backdoor open in a gesture meant to reconcile myself with reality and did not bother to look for my shoes before deactivating the machine and stepping into November.
A cool breeze was wafting through the air. The whole place smelt of water and autumnal relief. Two fellows were working on the swamp cooler next door and cursing a clogged copper pipe while the neighbor's cat patrolled the fence tops, prowling for Inca doves.
I blinked my eyes and the radio came on as I tumbled back into the house. An announcer was telling about the war and how it might make things like miniaturized nuclear fuel cells scare, how growing one’s home victory garden ought to be balanced out with proper and diligent Geiger counter use.
The presidential show was coming up, the on-air voice continued, and it looked like Oprah was still in the lead because Justin Beiber might be pretty, but his foreign policy skills needed lots of work. 2024 would be a helluva year I thought to myself, even if I do have to learn to walk again.
The alarm went off at seven that morning and I jumped out of bed like my life depended on that simple act. Three cups of coffee and two bowls of Rice Chex later, I began my daily drive to work. I smiled broadly and had a good laugh when the oldies station played that one hit song Franz Ferdinand had when everyone in the rocanrol press really believed they were gonna be the next big thing after Radiohead was done conquering the earth.
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
Man, them Swedish folks sure know how to craft a nice pop tune. This song may have some bubblegum-ness to it, but damn if it ain't catchy. Oh, I'm talking about Icona Pop's new song. In case you're unfamiliar with the Swedish pop duo, they hit it pretty big with their track “I Love It,” and now they've come out with a new tune that might not have the same edge of the aforementioned ditty, but it's for sure gonna snare them some new fans, if not keep the old ones steady until a full-length manifests. Have a listen to “Get Lost” below.
I'm sure there has been talk of this, but I wasn't aware. Aretha Franklin is recording a divas covers album. Ms. Franklin took the time to speak with Billboard about working with Andre 3000 (who is a co-producer on the record), the status of the album (she's “on it”) and named a few songs she's covering. Among them are Adele's “Rollin in the Deep,” Donna Summer's “Last Dance” and Tina Turner's “What's Love Got to Do With It.” Head to Billboard to read what one of the best vocalists ever had to say about what she's working on.
Some electronica-lovin' folks are 'bout to get super-duper excited. Grimes has come out with a new track (apparently her first in two years), and it was originally written to be performed by Rihanna ... who turned it down. So what was Grimes to do? Why, record it herself! The song (titled “Go”) is a lovely, atmospheric tune that's got a banging beat, background yelps and some smooth, slick production, and it also features Blood Diamonds. Have a listen below.
For fans of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, including myself, it's time to get excited: Karen O is coming out with her first solo effort (Crush Songs). Granted, she already recorded solo material with Native Korean Rock & the Fishnets, but that project only released rough demos, which you can still find on YouTube. But this is an actual full-length endeavor, y'all. That drops on Sept. 9, which isn't too far off, so keep scanning those headlines for more info in the coming months.
While I didn't listen to Robert Plant's last solo record (Band of Joy), I was a huge fan of his collaborative LP with Alison Krauss (Raising Sand). That record was phenomenal; all you have to do is listen and hear how their voices meld together to form a sound that can't be replicated, a sound that is pure magic. See “Stick With Me Baby.” Regardless, Plant is coming out with another solo effort, titled lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar. That'll hit stores on Sept. 9, and you can have a listen to album track “Rainbow” below.
It's here people! Well, the announcement is here. Julian Casablancas + the Voidz have officially announced their debut record (or Casablancas' second solo record). The album (Tyranny) hits stores and online markets on Sept. 23 and will be sold through Casablancas' Cult Records, where it's on preorder now for the mere cost of $3.87. You read that right. Head over to Rolling Stone to read more about the album.
Get ready for the blasphemy because I'm gonna say it: I've never really listened to Radiohead. And it's not because of any disrespect, but mostly because they just haven't crossed my path as much as most. Wait ... does "Creep" count? Okay, back to the point. Radiohead drummer Philip Selway is coming out with a new solo record. There isn't too much info on the release, other than it's called Weatherhouse and comes out on Oct. 7. So keep an ear out for that.
Oh snap! Prince is back! Well, he never really went away, but you know what I mean. The pop diva (erm ... divo? What's the male term?) has announced another album is on the way (on top of his 3rdEyeGirl record, which still hasn't seen a proper release). Good news? Hell, you're getting two for the price of one, or maybe not the price of one, but you catch my drift, right? As for the album, there's no title or release date, but Prince did name a few tracks: “The Gold Standard” and “This Could Be Us.” Head to Pitchfork to read more ‘bout it.
If you've read this column, I'm sure you're tired of witnessing my excitement concerning Veruca Salt's reunion. But hey, it didn't end there, and it won’t end here. The band has now come out with a video to the b-side of their first single, “The Museum of Broken Relationships,” aka “It's Holy.” The video features band footage along with fans listening to the record in the comfort of their own homes. Scroll down a little further to view the little gem.
As Rolling Stone notes, Robin Thicke's new video for the song “Get Her Back” is kind of “awkward.” While I don't indulge in gossip, the track is supposedly a plea to his estranged wife, begging for her to come back. The awkward (and so 2014) parts of the video are the text messages that flash across the screen. I'm not sure if they're real, but either way, it's pretty uncomfortable. But I'll let you decide for yourself. Also, you can pick up the album (titled Paula, yes, after his wife) next week. Enjoy! Or don't.
August Goes Shopping
I did not want to drive to Ghetto Smith’s. Sometimes that place is okay, but there is always the chance I will run into someone I know. Without a clean scramble suit to put on for show, that thought made me itchy all over.
Walmart is closer, at the end of a street that's mostly houses—except for the intersection, where there was a wreck. A broken telephone pole was left behind afterward; two weeks later, it's still there. One time I saw a dead dog on the median nearby, but it was gone after a few minutes.
It's still a veritable oasis where I live. One of the houses has a grip of datura plants coming up in their compost pile. There is still some grass here and there, but mostly folks let the lawns wither. For ground cover there is a lot of London rocket weed this time of year, if you don’t like lava rocks.
Most afternoons and evenings, seven out of 10 houses depicted in this narrative setting are playing the teevee. Even over in my two-person people’s republic, things won’t go dark until the yearly beisbol ritual is completed in October.
I still could not find anything decent to soak up today, tube-wise. I needed a package of black, plastic garbage bags to keep up my end of the social contract. I made a deal with my personal gasoline-powered shuttlecraft and roared off toward the blue behemoth. The Radiohead EP my wife left in the player began where it left off. Something, something about white teeth.
I rolled into the parking lot just as Thom Yorke started going on about selling your suit and tie. I’ll be damned about the next part, but some lanky dude the size of Texas came bolting out of the store at the same time; it was a close one. He gave me a stare, and his blue eyes were practically throbbing out of orbit as he bounded over the hood.
The guy kept running and running. I parked the car. Inside were seedless watermelons, loaves of angel food cake and enough toilet paper to save an army. Plus the garbage bags were on sale. On the way back, I turned the volume down to practically nothing at all. I listened to the engine and scoured the road for signs of home.
Emma Crane rocks the Roulette
Peer into the music collection of local singer / songwriter Emma Crane (aka Javelina) in this week’s Song Roulette. If that doesn’t satisfy your daily music needs, check out a podcast featuring a Javelina track and seven other Nuevo Mexicano recordings after the jump. Visit the original blog post for the full track list. Happy listening!
Emma Crane’s random tracks
The Daily Word in NCAA, Clooney and portrait gourds
Lobos victorious, will face Louisville in the second round of the NCAA tourney.
Santa Fe's Casanova con man released from jail.
Jury finds Rutgers student who spied on his gay roommate with a webcam guilty of a hate crime. His roommate committed suicide.
George Clooney arrested while protesting Sudan's president.
50 Native American foster kids in San Juan County but only two Native American foster homes.
Feds cough up $4 million to help N.M. schools that are in bad shape.
Aboriginal attorney says Rodarte's fall fashion collection is sickening.
Skip the TSA security lines after paying $100 application fee.
Martin Chavez' former roommate has been accused of embezzlement. Problem for the campaign?
Osama bin Laden sought to kill President Obama so Biden would be prez.
Senators say we'd be shocked to know how the government uses the Patriot Act.
How the music industry works.
How to make a portrait gourd.
People who hate Radiohead.
Fruit flies drink booze when they don't get laid.