Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lyre Bird

In the summer months, a male mockingbird makes its home in a tree outside our bedroom window. Its mating calls are incredibly loud, and range from ornate melodies to mimicked car alarms and what I swear is an imitation of the Latin music that blares from passing car windows.

The bugger's nocturnal routines can definitely disrupt a good night's sleep, but I've come to appreciate my nesting neighbor. This lyre bird, though, is in another league altogether. Pay attention around the 2:30 mark for what is possibly the most tragic but awe-inspiring thing I've seen or heard in a while.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Other People's Lives, Pt. 1: Patio Party

A while back, we picked up a bunch of random photographs from a basement shop in Brooklyn called Junk, and rightly so. Although among the junk are treasures, sometimes even reasonably priced. I happened to purchase a painting there several years ago—a gift for my favorite people—that holds serious sentimental value, and has hung upon more than a couple walls since then.

There are bins full of discarded and forgotten snapshots; most likely from donated estates, photo albums abandoned during moves, and so on. Obviously, there's an odd voyeuristic allure to these pictures—the same temptations that pull your glances through half-open blinds into strangers' apartments and beg you to sneak peeks over people's shoulders when they're texting on their phones (that's not just me, right?).

I just recently scanned a bunch of these, and figured I'd share some of the anonymous, once-intimate snapshots with you (whoever "you" are). Of course, this sort of curated ephemera thing has been done very well by the wonderful folks at Found Magazine and others...

Here, though, is our first installment, a photo we'll tenderly refer to as "Back Fat on the Back Patio"...

(If anyone has any ideas for a caption or a narrative to go along with this photo, let us know.)

((Also, if any of you have any random photos like this of your own, please submit them!))

Thursday, September 16, 2010

McCarthy @ McNally

Tom McCarthy, whose extraordinary novel C has been shortlisted for the Man Booker (more on the book to come), is reading tonight at McNally Jackson in Nolita. I saw him at BookCourt on Tuesday, and will be there tonight as well. As with the book, once isn't enough...

Thursday, September 16
@ McNally Jackson Books
(52 Prince St., b/t Lafayette & Mulberry)

From MJ (not that one):

"If you follow any of our chatty social media you've likely heard me spraying the web with excitement about this book and this author. McCarthy is the British author of Remainder, a bravura piece of fiction that Zadie Smith famously lauded for breaking down and rebuilding the novel as we know it. His second effort, simply titled C, is not only the spectacular riveting collapse of the novel, timed to mirror the spiraling decoherence of the early twentieth century events within the book, but also a compression of and disregard for enlightenment-era fictional conventions like character arc. It's one of the best novels I've read in a while, and a great excitement to have McCarthy here to read from it.

Tom McCarthy is known in the art world for the reports, manifestos and media interventions he has made as general secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network. His first novel was Remainder and, in 2006, he published Tintin and the Secret of Literature."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I first heard Brad Rose's work on his collaboration with Rameses III under his nom de plume, The North Sea. That album showcased his drone-folk tendencies. The Tulsa-based musician—and founder of the impeccable Digitalis enterprises—is mostly known for his juxtapositions of noise, British Isles folk, New Weird Americana, and healthy smatterings of field recordings. All in all, his signature output is not too distant from the oeuvre of the Jewelled Antler family...

But this ALTAR EAGLE is a whole other thing entirely. Along with his wife Eden Hemming, Rose has cobbled together a gauzy dream-pop album that falls somewhere between Beach House, The Knife, and Cold Cave. It's remarkable that someone with such a natural handle on organic soundscapes can segue so smoothly into digital beats. But what's more striking is how discernible the links with his other more folk-inclined work truly are. The synth blankets, rhythms, and samples aren't treated all that differently from his usual harmonium drones, acoustic guitars, and chirping birds. And yet the result is worlds apart, if not seasons... Rose's music—to my ears at least—seems perennially wintry, and this is no exception. With indie music's recent fixation on all things beachy and summery, and with the warmth retreating, it's about time for some cold-but-cozy tunes...

Mechanical Gardens is available now on limited pink vinyl from Type. Get it while you can!

ALTAR EAGLE - Mechanical Gardens by _type

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"We had nothing but grasshoppers..."

Abner Jay - "Depression" (from Folk Song Stylist, on Mississippi Records)

Abner Jay - "I'm So Depressed" (from True Story of Abner Jay, on Mississippi Records)

Which version do you like better?

(thanks JP!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010