It might be the heat — in fact I’m willing to be it IS the heat, even inside it’s not as cool as it could be, which almost always means it’s sweltering out there — but this is a morning for non-deep-thoughts, in the end. Somehow it seems like a lot of things have temporarily wrapped up or been put on hold in terms of thought processes, which probably means I’m either overloading and waiting to figure out what to talk about next or else I’m less glib than I realized. (Probably the latter, and that’s just scratching the surface.)
Still, some quick thoughts:
- Heard a slew of good stuff last night — the new Skyphone record gave me the same thrill as hearing Languis when they went ‘rock,’ though the two artists are coming from different places and are after differing but equally strong results. The new Child Readers tackles lo-fi aesthetics crossed with shadowy psychedelia as much derived from New Zealand as from the ‘lone insane guy in a studio goes nuts’ approach, while the Israeli band Goldoolins reconfirms that medieval folk, sunshine pop and a desert setting all work very well together. Meantime this morning I’m listening to Group Doueh once again and marvelling at this wonderful music (is Western Africa the new rock and roll central? I’d be all for it.). Reviews of all this to appear on the AMG soonish.
- Thinking however of Group Doueh and Western Africa — this utterly depressing story in the Washington Post about Mauretania and its struggle in the era of the globalized food market is one of those pieces that causes you to count your blessings. I’ve mentioned the new issue of Yeti before; one of its core pieces is from Hisham Mayet, whose story about his time in Mauretania acts as an excellent complement to this one, especially in those details where things overlap, such as talking about the fishermen on the coast. At the risk of sounding preachy, it should simply be noted, as the WaPo story relates, that it is precisely the demand for the fish from richer countries which is contributing to the shortages in Mauretania — eating locally is a matter of choice for us, in Mauretania’s case it is a matter of survival. You may draw your own conclusions.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of those writers I know of but shamefully have never gotten around to, though I’ve recently heard some praise for his autobiography The Beautiful Struggle (and the part of me that has major problems with one D. Eggers enjoys that Coates’s own brief description of his book is “A heartbreaking work of staggering…Oh, wait…”). His most recent piece for The Atlantic on Bill Cosby, “‘This Is How We Lost to the White Man,'” is simply essential reading, at once a powerful meditation on the state of black America in the present and a historical overview of Cosby’s beliefs and positions. Friend Dan, to paraphrase a comment elsewhere, notes that Coates manages the very hard task of addressing both the good things and the weaknesses in Cosby’s approach in a way where the latter cannot be the ignored but the former is not denigrated in turn. Stellar stuff, and I must thank Mr. Matos for the tip once again. (Also, as Coates is talking about the Rev. Wright dustup on his blog, I’ll defer to his thoughts on the matter because mine won’t be worth dried spit in comparison.)
- Prince covers Radiohead. Really, don’t need to add anything else — except that the falsetto part about four minutes in kinda sums up why humanity has something going for it. (And to note that by not doing a straight cover as such — this is a reworking, an interpretation — it’s further proof that the man is as sharp as ever.)
Oh and on a final note if anyone’s in the NYC area and wanted to see Verve tonight, a friend of mine is selling a ticket at face value, so drop me a line.