Friday, September 25, 2009

In which Saul talks about books for a while

You know a website that I really love?  The Millions.  Great people over there, doing excellent work writing about something I love almost as much as music - books.  Let me tell you a little something about 'ol Saul and books.  I love the smell of those old dead trees.  The older the book, the better it smells.  I don't know what it is that makes them smell that way - is it the binding glue absorbed into the smashed wood pulp that we call paper?  Hell, I have no idea.  But I do know that it's awesome.  I like nothing more than to pick up and old book and stick my face into it and inhale deeply. 
But I like that stuff that's in the books too - the (mostly) black marks that fill the pages, the stories that they tell, emotions that they convey, the beauty of their shape and form.  It's all good.  I love book covers.  I love books without their dust jackets.  I love the sound of a new binding cracking.  I love the feel of the paper between my fingers.  And have I mentioned the smell yet?  Oh God, the smell is heaven.
So back to The Millions.  They did some kind of list - you know the kind that drives all that traffic, puts you on the front page of Digg, etc.  Well they've got this list of the best books of the Millennium and I gotta say two things about it.  First - the #1 book - Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections - is one of my all-time favorites.  So I'm all "bravo! bravo!" to that.  Second - I haven't read over half the books on their list (there were 15 in total).  So I added each of the ones that I hadn't read to my Amazon Wishlist so that I can buy them used and on the cheap when I have time.
I just thought of one more thing to say about this list.
Third - Roberto Bolano's 2666 is on the list.  This book is the next Infinite Jest, the next Gravity's Rainbow, the next Ulysses.  The big book that loads of people will try to read, some will succeed and many will pretend to have understood (but didn't).  This is an IMPORTANT book, yo.  I've read half of it.  Maybe I'll finish it.  I never finished Gravity's Rainbow (4 attempts so far).  I finished Infinite Jest in 2005 (second attempt) and I haven't even tried Ulysses.  So I figure if I can finish 2666 by the end of the year then I'm doing pretty good - probably better than most of the population.

Saul out!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Throw Me The Statue - Ancestor

You know it's a good song when the bass line is the part that gets stuck in your head and not the vocal melody. Not to say that there's anything wrong with the vocals. I mean, they're kind of unassuming and they do their job, but I get the feeling that they're just there as an excuse to have that kick-ass rhythm section. Oh the drumming...the drums are confident! They're pushed out there so you have to notice them. For example, notice the extra snare hits at just the right moment and compliments the bass line (you can hear examples at 0:15 and 0:27). It's perfect!

The guitar that opens the song reminds me of Santogold's You'll Find A Way, which is also a stellar song. The rest of the instrumentation is subtle - pay attention to the guitar during that opening bass line - it's hidden in there but provides excellent texture. Or maybe listen to the keyboards? The distorted keys or the electric piano sounds, both are awesome. And let's go back to the guitars for a moment? The heavy reverbed blanket of fuzz is one of my favorite tricks and it works well here - especially in the chorus.

A final thing about the vocals - imagine switching out Scott Reitherman for Paul Banks (of Interpol). It'd work better, right? But it's fine, really. Just fine.

Ancestor (free and legal mp3 download)

From the album Creaturesque by Throw Me The Statue