Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Books March 2009

The books I read this month were:
The Long Haul by A.I. Bezzeridies 
Tarot Card Book Mark:None 
This was the book that the film They Drive by Night with Humphrey Bogart was based on. The action follows the adventures of a long distance trucker trying to make it on his own, chasing the American dream of working and working and getting ahead. I liked this better than last month's Bezzeridies book Thieves' Highway which I did enjoy. I would recommend checking out this book first if you want to give Bezzeridies a try. There is a more in depth review Here.  

Framed in Guilt by Day Keene 
Tarot Card Book Mark: Yellow
Day Keen was one of the cadre of writers that cut their teeth writing pulp novels in the 50's and 60's, pumping out short plot driven stories. The set up of this one was simply a woman arrives in Hollywood looking for a man she knew in London during the war, only she is murdered and the number one suspect, a screen writer has to try and stay ahead of the cops and figure out who set him up. The book was a solid and fast read. The copy I had was  one of those Stark House reprints that contained two books under one cover. I plan to get back to the volume and read the second book.

There is a happy Land  by  A.I. Bezzeridies
Did not Finish..... there was just too much of that crazy phonetic dialog.... you know people saying "Shadders" instead of "shadows". I just couldn't abide by that and gave it up after one chapter.

Dancing Aztecs by Donald E. Westlake
Tarot Card Book Mark:Two 
Donald Westlake book for the month 
I enjoyed this comic caper, with everyone looking for something (which is injected into the narrative), people meeting each other and the search for a statue made of gold. I think that some of the story is locked into the 1970s, but that in no way was off putting. If you are looking for a fun one off Westlake story this is as good a place as any to get a peek at his work.

The Shotgun Rule by Charlie Huston 
Tarot Card Book Mark: Red 
Some books hit you in ways that you don't expect, and this crime drama about a group of kids who run afoul of drug dealing in smallish town California, set in 1983 hit home in many ways. The story was very well told and the way that all the strands fit together was perfect, and I think the true loss of innocence comes from the fact that the teen boys in question are forced to see the flaws of adults and to come to grips with the pasts and sins of the men and women in their lives. Strong and compelling work that it not for the faint of heart. I will be checking out more Charlie Huston down the line.

Echoes From the Dead by Johan Theorin
Tarot Card Book Mark: Money 
This was for the 4MA reading group, and the first of the most current crop of crime/thrillers set in Sweden that I have read. That is strange because Sweden is a special place for me, I have lived there and visited often in the last ten years. It has a special place in my life because it's a land where I almost fit in, and it is the land that my people came from. The story in this book follows the  journey of a family trying to make sense of the disappearance of a 6 year old son more than two decades previously. This search leads to  the exposing of dirty laundry and the truth about legends and rumors from the past. I found it to be a engaging read, and I really liked that a lot of the Swedish cultural touchstones were left in the English translation..

Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption by Robert Fate
Tarot Card Book Mark: Nine 
From Sweden to Texas, a place that the Swedes sent me to for a couple of days back in 2005. This is the third of the Baby Shark books, and I quite enjoyed it. Baby Shark and her partner Oits are sent to rescue a woman and find themselves in the middle of a mess. The book tells of their journey to the other side of all the complications, as they dodge cops, bootleggers and interested parties in their quest to unravel the truth of what is going on. Yes I am being more than a little vague as I don't want to give too much away. You can and should find out more at http://www.robertfate.com/index.php

Branded Woman by Wade Miller
Tarot Card Book Mark: Seven 
Hard Case Crime book for the month 
Cay Morgan is in Mexico looking for revenge, only she gets more than she bargained for. This was quick and tough adventure story as Cay has to uncover the identity and then deal with a man who branded her in a previous encounter. I found it to be a bit of a slog, but I was distracted while trying to read it, and I did read all of my next entry while also reading this book. Looking back I think it's a fine example of the kind of pulp that Gold Medal and others were publishing back in the 50s. Another win for Hard Case Crime, really I should say an early winner for them. 

Slackonomics : generation X in the age of creative destruction by  Chamberlain, Lisa
Tarot Card Book Mark:None 
- Non Mystery- 
Pretty much this book is an introduction to the world and realities that Generation X is coming up against in the work place, the economy and culture that we are inheriting. The book just scratches the surface of issues like: Employment, The pay gap, house inequality, and the health insurance realities of a generation that is going to have to step up and start taking control, but really hasn't been groomed to do so.... argh, this is a touchy subject for me, so I am not even going to get started on it.... if you are at all interested in the subject this is a excellent place to start.

The Blonde by Duane Swierczynski
Tarot Card Book Mark:None 
Last month I read the Wheelman and someone commented that Swierczynski must write his chapters with a stopwatch, and I have to agree. This was another fast, lean, engaging book with a story about a hit man with a grudge, a blond that can kill with her kiss and an unlucky journalist who finds himself in the middle of everything. The more I read Swierczynski the more I feel like he is the heir apparent to the late great Richard Stark.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Tarot Card Book Mark: The Planets and Stars 
- Non Mystery-  Non fiction book that looks at success as a factor of: cultural values, Luck, being in the right place at the right time, practice and hard work, and examines who a lot of the American myths of the self made man (or woman) ignore the help that people had along the way. I thought it was pretty interested if a little long winded in places.

3/2009 Playlist

My monthly playlist is a project that I have been working on for three years now, it's simply a new iTunes play list each month titled for the month, and I add what ever tracks catch my ear or stick in my brain during the month to it. When the month is over, I file the old list, start a new one. When I joined Mog.com (www.mog.com/iren) in June of 2006 and started writing a summary and/or commentary for each track sometimes posting a related video as well. As time passed Mog started to wane, and I decided to branch out my posting of the list. At first I added it to my multiply page, my gather page, my Myspace page, but all of that got to be too much, so from here on out I will only post this list on my mog page and my blog (www.restlesskind.blogspot.com). On my Mog page on the right hand side there is a widget that links to all the past entries if you want to go back and check them out. Thanks to everyone who has been reading along and feel free to post comments, questions or what ever in the comments section. Enjoy

Burning by Awesome Color

"In Detroit, The fires burn" I don't think that I really need to say much more about this song, with it's ringing Stooges Detroit Hi Energy Rock and Roll vibe.... I'm pretty much a sucker for these kinds of tunes, they are in my bones and in my soul.

One Horse Down by Baskery (from the SXSW Mixtape)

Speaking of thins in my soul..... Sweden, Stockholm, and Hi Energy (there is that word again) Country/Bluegrass... and it just finally kicked in why the into sounds so familiar it's right out of the opening credits of the show Deadwood. These 
jätte-söt sisters sound like they came from the hills of Appalachia, not the metropolitan environs of Stockholm.... but hey they kick out this tune with the passion and fury that matches anyone out there today. I found this from the SXSW mix tape.... that would be the plethora of MP3 downloads that the SXSW site offer.

Shake Your Hips by The Rolling Stones
Do I really need to say anything? no I'll let the Stones speak for me on this one. This is the one song off of Exile that stays with me.

Trouble by The Dirt Drifters (from the
SXSW Mixtape)

This is a classic style country rock tune, about drinking and guilt and the story tellers worries about what his woman is going to do when he gets home. I am not sure but this might qualify as a feminist tune.... anyway it rocks and I don't see any reason that it shouldn't be all over radio.... oh that's right radio was sold out by the last two administrations...

AMONG THE SURVIVORS by The Latebirds (from the SXSW Mixtape)

I am going to tag this tune as pop rock, but not quite power pop. It's got an energy that reminds me of the band The Soundtrack of Our Lives, only not as full sounding, which works. (from the
SXSW Mixtape)

Up And Down by The Chesterfield Kings (from the SXSW Mixtape)

Do you miss the classic late 60's Stones and British Blues rock? Then the The Chesterfield Kings are a band that you should check out. This track rocks along with energy and a nice little hook.

The Plank by The Devil Makes Three (from the
SXSW Mixtape)

I really just like the bouncy surreal folk feel of this one, I also like the pirate/nautical theme. The song might seem like a gimmick if it weren't for the fact that it keeps your head
boppin along.

This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case
Polar Nettles by
Neko Case
Who didn't think that
Neko would make my playlist for a second month? As I delve into Neko's new album more and more I find the strength and weaknesses of it, and these two tracks rank right at the top of the strengths.

Hard Times In America by Willie Nile (from the SXSW Mixtape)

The title says it all, this has a very All Along the Watchtower (Hendrix version) feel.....but don't let that scare you, it's also got illusions to other great tunes, and this has to go next to We can't Make It Here by 
James McMurtry expressing the populist anger of the failure of the American Dream...... I mean American Nightmare.

Now We Can See by The Thermals

Speaking of people who have been telling it like it is, The Thermals have been one of the few newer Punk bands that do anything for me and with this song they do a lot. Not only in terms of energy and lyrics, but the fact that this comes from the 7" released in advance of their forthcoming album (anyone want to take odds that I am going to have more of their stuff here next month?).... the brilliant news that I have to report about the 7" is that it came with a free download of the tracks from the Kill Rock Stars site.......... this is how you do it kids, give us the vinyl, give us the MP3s I can put it on the record player at home, I can put it in my
iPod and take it with me.... fuckin' Brilliant. They are playing down the street from me at the end of next month, and that also gets my attention, bring the music to the masses, not just the arenas... Oh and the song rocks!

Crazy by Whitey Morgan and the 78's (from the
SXSW Mixtape)
Lot's of people know that when I talk about the greats of country music I am thinking of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Of these guys the two that get the most play from me are Johnny (no surprise there) and.... Waylon, and that's who these guys remind me of, and that's who they are most inspired by. Singer Whitey Morgan sound like Waylon even more then Waylon's son Shooter (another fave of mine), but it's more than just sounding like Waylon, he carries the weight and depth that Waylon had.... and carries the torch in a world that seems to have largely forgotten and wants to forget. It's no wonder that the band is from Flint Michigan, as Nashville would have shown them the door. 

Thoughts, comments, spare change?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Detroit Roller Girls V. The Windy City Rollers

Last night was the big show down, and sadly I have to report the home team didn't fair well.  As my brother said "they got their skates handed to them". There was one point where they were trailing by 70 points..... however one of the things that I really like about going to the derby is that it's not just the points that matter, there are moments when you see someone or a team rally or break out and have a shot at catching up,  just to have that snatched away by a penalty or a fall. 
There were several such moments in last nights bout..... There were moments when the hair on my arms was standing up, and it looked like Detroit was going to catch up, only to have those moment vanish with the tweet of a whistle. 

The blocking on the part of the Windy City team and the repeated trips to the penalty box is what really did Detroit in.  It also seemed that only Killbox and Honey Suckitt were able to get past the windy city blockers and they didn't get to jam all that often. I am left wondering what  a Windy City Home bout is like

One complaint on my part..... the music... it's just so expected so much of the time, how about some more South East Michigan centered tunes.....  to that end I offer the following suggestions for local connected tunes to be played:

The Stooges- Down on the Street
The Stooges- Gimmie Danger
The Stooges- Search and Destroy
The MC5- Kick out the Jams
The MC5- Thunder Express
Radio Birdman- Hand of Law
Radio Birdman- Decent into the Malestorm
Radio Birdman- Alone in the Endzone
Radio Birdman- Hangin On
Radio Birdman- Do the Move and Change
Alice Cooper- Under my Wheels
Alice Cooper- No More Mr. Nice Guy
Mitch Ryder - Devil in a Blue Dress

Over all I had a great time and am  looking forward to the next derby on 11 April 2009, which will be the  Devil's Night Dames vs. Pistolwhippers
More info at Detroit Derby Girls

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Forgotten Friday Books- The Last Days of Disco by Whit Stillman

As I teased last week, my Forgotten Friday book this week is....  The Last Days of Disco: With Cocktails at Pelrossian Afterwards by Whit Stillman.


I am hesitant to call the book a full blown novelization, because while it tells much of the story that the film did, the book adds to and deepens the story told in the Last Days of  Disco. I have no wish to deride novelizations, after all there is a market for them, they provide paychecks for writers and they can serve as a portable way for someone to take a film with them.  That said this really isn't a novelazation, sure it follows the plot of the film, rehashes it really, but from the get go the novel establishes that 1) the movie was made 2) that the novel is written by one of the characters from the film 3) that the novel is there to set the record straight and tell the real story about what happened.

The Last Days of Disco is the story of a group of young professionals entering the work world in early 80s New York City. As a group they have a history from their college years where they were friends or acquaintances and sometimes rivals. This history and the events that shaped it are still playing out as the characters find their feet in the work world and engaging in what is referred to it the text as ‘Vicious pairing off”. The center of the action takes place at a Disco simple referred to as The Club, a thinly veiled version of Studio 54.

There is a meta-thing going on with the book, but it never get's out of hand. The book also allows Stillman to fill out details about the characters life after the events of the film, and as Stillman wrote the screenplay he is in a unique position to fill out details that a hour and a half of screen time doesn’t allow.

At any rate, if you are looking for something a little lighter, and if you watch my monthly reading lists you know that I need a break from the bleak more than once and a while, you could do a lot worse than this little forgotten gem.


Oh, Oh, Oh, and because this is a multi media book, I do have to recommend the film as well. I was lucky enough to see it in the Theater during it's limited run, and even though I hate Disco music with a passion reserved for cooperate criminals, vile vice-presidents (the more former the better, don't get me started on that one.... I'm looking at you LBJ) and Hippie-critical yuppie scum, the music and the whole facade of Disco music didn't bother me in this film.... mostly because it's shown as a vacuous self absorbed highly marketed over produced product that was sold to the masses... which come to think of it is partly reflected in the choices, attitudes and lives of the characters in the film.

Of course Mr. Stillman has a website which you can check out at:


Monday, March 23, 2009

Buzz Box

The Buzz Box.
(I am guessing that the Buzz comes from the fact that a lot of these tracks were Buzz tracks on MTV in the early 90s)

I must be going though the stages of grief, first there was;

Really, no really, am I really seeing this. Let me back up, last night I was catching a couple of moments of the Fall of Rome (Rock of Love) on VH1 (or which ever station the devil was showing it on) and a ad comes on for this crass, de-fanged, Ran-Dumb, collection.

The first words out of my mouth to my Brother and Sister were.... Do you remember when I literally used to joke about this day. And then it hit me, my cynicism catching up with me and the knowledge that something that meant something to me, the Alt Music scene wave 1, was now just cheap nostalgia.

There wasn't any bargaining, but a flash of anger did settle through me when I saw that it was worse than a pair of lame comps it was this:

Wow, really has it been that long? Did some of these tunes really resonate with me? was there something that I thought was going to change the world? Where is everyone? All those people I stood on the stairs with at Warehouse Records the night that Pearl Jam's second album came out?.... shit did I really look forward to Pearl Jam's second record (I no longer have the LP or the CD of that one, I only have my CD copy of Ten, which I haven't seriously listened to in over 10 years)...... and what is missing from these comps? why isn't some of that great stuff that got lost in the shuffle on there to be rediscovered?

Wait what is missing? a lot of stuff, I wonder what wasn't considered for inclusion? who told the PR fucks to go fuck themselves and their tracks aren't for sale? Screaming Trees? Alice in Chains? Soundgarden? Pearl Jam? The Melvins? Temple of the Dog? Mother Love Bone? Afgan Wigs? maybe someone still has a scruples?.... and yes I wonder how many of the artists on these comes didn't have a choice, did they sign contracts that allowed the labels to license their stuff for comps like this? How many saw the chance to pay some bills and gave in?

I recall Iggy Pop saying that his songs were not conceived commercially and if someone 20+ years later want to pay to use them, sure. I understand the way it all works, artists often make little or no money off of their sales and if these comps bring in some cash, cause some people to start looking back and wanting to see live shows by people that had an impact on them when they were young, why not. Just because I don't choose to live in the musical era that I was brought up in (my playlists tend to be time traveling, as anyone that reads my monthly playlist post on mog should know), doesn't give me the right to be snobby and tell others that there is more to life than the records that came out and were popular during their late teens and early twenties.

I am old, I am aging (Still aging as TSOOL said), there are plenty of tracks missing from this pop confection, and when I look at it in comparison with other collections of this type is that others often times include a mix of the hits and best known or recalled tracks of the era, but also the overlooked, forgotten, and odd ball bands and tracks of the era. If you look at almost any of the great Rhino box sets, (any of the Nuggets, The loud, fast, and out of Control, the Doowop boxes, Rockin' Bones, ect) you will see that in addition to the music there is great liner notes that give a history of the scene, photos and info on the bands, and other historic information about the scene and era.

There is also the hope that Rhino will get their act together and do a proper box set, more likely a couple of them. A Seattle box, a first wave of Alternative box, a Nuggets from the First Alternative era box (which I have written about before a couple of years back, and I would call it Splinters, but hey I don't get to produce the set, so what,)..... and now, next what?

Luckily for me the other scenes that I have been involved with and care about never were above ground enough to warrant the kind of nostalgia this collection is trading on....
Thoughts, comments, media-care, spare change?
(I am going to post the track list in the comments, and I hope that anyone reading this will look it over and let me know what's missing)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forgotten Firday Books- Horror Show by Greg Kihn

Greg Kihn is best know for his life as a rocker in the '80s, when he charted with the songs 'Jeopardy' and 'The Break Up Song'. In the 1990s he hit book shelves with three wonderful B film inspired novels. The first of which was 1996's Horror Show, my Friday Forgotten Book for this week.
Horror Show is the tale of Monster Magazine reporter Clint Stockbern who wrangles an interview with forgotten Hollywood director Landis Woodley. Woodley had directed a cult classic horror/zombie film in the late 50s called Cadaver and Stockbern wants to get the inside story of the making of and rumors of the use of real cadavers in the film. As I recall I simply spotted the psychotronic b-film cover of the book in the store and it called out to me. After reading the back copy I was sold. What I liked about the book was it's straight up sense of fun and creepy setting, an aging mansion, and it's look back at the golden age of indie horror flicks. There are more than a few elements of the story that point to cult film makers Ed Wood and William Castle. I did try to re-read it a couple of years ago and just couldn't get into it, but I am looking forward to giving it another read.

Horror Show tease:
Opening Line: The kid thought he heard something
p 138: A baseball-sized globule shot from the snake's mouth and whizzed by Devila's Head

I also have to mention here the two books that follow Horror Show, Big Rock Beat and The Mojo Hand. I still have my copy of Mojo Hand, which is set in the in the late 70s and deals with a plot to kills off the remaining Blues Masters. I enjoyed Mojo Hand, however I haven't felt the need to re-read it. Big Rock Beat, the second of the three books on the other hand, I no longer have a copy of. It's a mixed blessing, in that I gave my copy to a friend who hadn't been able to find a copy, but I of course don't have it to re-read. I think that of the three, Big Rock Beat, which follows the story of Landis Woodley and his stock company as they attempt to make and cash in on the 60s Rock and Roll movie craze. As far as I know these three out currently out of print, but Kihn's web site appears to have copies for sale. There was also a CD of music that Kihn recorded called Horror Show that was an instrumental soundtrack for the book.

thoughts, comments, spare change..

Next Week.... yeah like I was going to tell...but here's a hint, it's a movie tie in book... sort of.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I am kind of a sucker for this kind of stuff. so far I have tried the Mint, The Brown Sugar and the Vanilla, all of them have been heavenly. I am waiting for the Licorice--- I might have to go to Finland and see if they have it.

Onion Year Long Music Feature

Nashvlile or Bust is a new feature over at the Onion where their Hip Hop reporter  Nathan Rabin is going to spend a year looking into country music. So far he has posted in into essay and one on Johnny Cash and his final years with the American Recordings projects. Anyone out there who likes to tell people 'I like all kinds of music--- well everything but country' needs to check this series out and see if the above statement is still true a year from now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

FFCD? My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult- Hit and Run Holiday

It is in fact a Forgotten Friday Books, Friday off…. Only I feel I need to post something…..

Forgotten Music (I don’t want to say album cause it’s not an LP, or CD because they are dead… )

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult- Hit and Run Holiday.

My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (who I will just call MLWTTKK from now on) were one of those weird 90s bands who had one radio hit, and because they were a fusion of to many things never seemed to get a foot hold in the main stream. Their hit was Sex on Wheels (if that isn’t an Orrie Hitt title I don’t know what is) was from the film Cool World and was a dancy-dark-alt-rock- tune that was fun…. And gained MLWTTKK some fans… I wasn’t one of them.

A couple of years later they returned with an album called Hit and Run Holiday, a concept album that tells the story of a Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! type weekend. Musically it’s shimmering 60s dance pop with touches of goth, garage rock, and most dreaded of all… disco… but for some reason it worked for me. It was like a sleazy 60s girls, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, to hell with the square world ride. I find it to be a fun, accessible and respectful retro look at the kids of stories I have mentioned.

I hope that out there somewhere is a 30 something middle class Mom (like any of those still exgist) who drops her kids off at school each morning and then plays this album in the solitude of her mini-van and thinks back to her so-so wild days back in the 90s.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I watch the - Watchemen

I saw it yesterday, and enjoyed it. I am not sure it was either pure and utter bollocks or it was perfect. Yes I would have much rather seen a Terry Gilliam 12 part mini-series for HBO, and I didn't really dig Malin Akermang that much.... however I did think that  Carla Gugino was great, and was reminded that she is a very under rated actress...   

One thing that it reminded me of was just how bleak the 80s were for many people. Where I lived there was always talk about the evil republicans dropping the bomb. I grew up expecting this world to end or radically change and the fears of Watchmen echo that environment. I also thought it was amazing how relevant the themes of the film were today. I did like the changes that were made, I think they were logical made the story more cohesive. 

Over all I want to see it again.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Friday Forgotten Books- The Long Haul

The Long Haul by  A.I. Bezzerides

I came to this book after having watched and enjoyed the film Thieves' Highway, directed by Jules Dassin. That film was based on his book Thieves' Market. I had to inter-library loan his three novels and was shocked that I enjoyed The Long Haul more than Thieves' Market. The book tells the story of Nick and Paul, a pair of brothers trying to make a living as wild cat truckers. They drive long hours, deal with few lucky breaks and lots of hauls that go poorly or don't pay off as promised. Clocking in at just over 200 pages, Long Haul is a look at the American Dream in failure, as the hard charging and working man pulling as hard as he can on the boot straps can't get any traction. The book was made into the film They Drive by Night in 1940. Bezzerides was a better than solid writer who deserves to be better known and more wildly read. The copy that I was able to get was from Wayne State University, and appeared to be a 1938 edition, complete with a letter from Bezzerides in the front, and I love the fact that the library card pocket still present in the back pocket had the words "Depression Novel" typed neatly on it. 

thoughts, comments, spare change?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Neko Case album

Yeah, I dig Neko Case.... a lot, she's got a new record out, for everyone that thinks that there isn't any good music out there these days, she'll prove you wrong. 
She's a little bit alt, a little bit country, a lot punk rock and just seems like a cool chick all the way around.