So. I didn’t plan to take a two-week hiatus, but …

So. I didn’t plan to take a two-week hiatus, but there it was.

I took my little boy down to SXSW day shows every day, but we didn’t see anyone really worth mentioning. I got out one night for the Fiery Furnaces at Red’s Scoot Inn, and they proceeded to tear the roof off the mother. Well, there’s no roof on the back patio there, but ok. No keyboards in sight, and some of the crazier-ass rewrites of songs I’ve ever heard, as if Tony Iommi is Matt Friedberger’s muse these days. Yowza.

I should catch up on books, but I’ll do those in separate posts. Research on the book is going well. I’m working on refining my interview questions for the people who’ve agreed to talk with me.

TV: My wife and I obtained copies of the rest of Battlestar Galactica’s 2nd season (the first half is out on dvd, but I haven’t seen any announcements about when they’re going to release the rest of it). As with the previous season-and-a-half, the show has some serious quality control issues, but when it’s good, it’s pretty decent. Also obtained copies of The Sopranos first two episodes of S6 (I’ll watch the third tonight). I’m interested to see where this goes, and highly recommend Matt Zoller Seitz’s analyses.

Music: Picked up Wilco’s Kicking Television, a live double-CD. I love the sound of Nels Cline integrating with the music, but they occasionally tip the scales from lovely Television-esque guitar god perfection into thoughtless, crappy Jerr-Bear noodliness. The main offender is “Ashes of American Flags,” and I halfway suspect it’s the guitar tone that I hate more than anything. Also bought Richard Thompson’s release from last year, Front Parlour Ballads, that’s like almost every album he’s put out in the last 16 years: some tracks are brilliant and some are half-baked. The man has made some extraordinarily well-conceived albums, so it’s a shame to hear him put out songs that feel like he could have spent a little more time fleshing them out, but, then again, who the hell am I to judge him? The sheer volume of his best work is stunning. I could pull a single five-star album out of his last two (which are both 3-4 stars at best), but perhaps the less-great tracks provide some valuable context for RT’s brilliance. I read one review of his box set saying that his brilliance is best appreciated in a mix with other artists. Maybe the varying factor of having another voice is why I put 4 of the 6 albums he made with Linda (his ex-wife, not that I think anyone reading this needs a RT primer) in my top tier, while I would only put 4 of his 15 solo studio albums in that same tier. For those keeping score at home, those 8 best RT albums are: Starring as Henry The Human Fly, I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, Hokey Pokey, Pour Down Like Silver, Shoot Out The Lights, Amnesia, Rumor and Sigh, and Mock Tudor.

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