Cats and Crowns

The Booker went to deserving title, although David Mitchell should have been at least nominated again for Black Swan Green.

And because I’m more of a baseball fan than a Yankee fan, I’ll say it here: The Detroit Tigers are going to win the world series.

Better still, I’ve been listening to the new Califone for a week or so now, and it’s out now, and I like Roots and Crowns, this album being a better distillation of Califone’s strenghts as a psychedelic country-folk band. Songs almost disintegrate in their hands. It’s creepier and less pretentious than Wilco, too. Wait for the final minute of this track, after it goes loopy about four minutes in:

Califone – Black Metal Valentine

And the bigger news? I have a full copy of the Walkmen’s Pussy Cats, their album-length cover of the same-named 1974 drunk-in-the-studio blowout by Harry Nilsson and the Masked Alberts, aka John Lennon and possibly Keith Moon and a cabal of other drunks. The kind of scene where there was a guy in a mustache and hat, named Herman, sleeping in the corner under some chairs, who stayed the whole time, no one person could remember bringing him, and then one day he vanished.

Walkmen – Don’t Forget Me

This is almost as heartbreaking as the original, and quite faithful to it; before this, I didn’t see any feasibility to a Nilsson influence on the Walkmen; and even if there wasn’t before this, they’d be smart to follow up on their skill with Nilsson’s tin-pan alley aesthetics and pop classicism.

It’s also one of Harry Nilsson’s best songs. “I’ll miss you when I’m lonely / I’ll miss the alimony too” kills me every time I hear it.


6 thoughts on “Cats and Crowns

  1. oh, Black Swan Green is so terrible. Such a precocious young lad, telling us with an air of wonder all those things he’s too young to know. hack, hack, hackery.The Desai is okay, though a little wan. it’s got those trans-global themes, though.


  2. Doesn’t sound like you’ve read Black Swan Green. Not hackery at all. Yeah, a smidge of that early-teen innocence-losing amid a parents’ marriage gone wrong; but name me other good fiction narrated by a fledgling poet with a debilitating stammer during the Faulklands (sic?) islands war.And he probably wrote it in a weekend.and Jeff: thanks


  3. Close, but not exact. Townshend as been grinding her right wing axe with that one, sending up lefties, labour, etc. The first books were working class families, I think; Mitchell is middle class. Actually, Mitchell’s politics, or anyone’s, don’t seem to matter much in Black Swan Green, save the few comments on the war. His stammer is the main issue, it being a thinly veiled memoir, and not presented as a diary.


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