Nite Owl Juke Box, Vol.16: Curator of Meteorites — now available!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Volume 16 of the illustrious Nite Owl Juke Box mixtape series is now available — “Curator of Meteorites”! The first volume to appear in seven years, this highly anticipated release shows Nite Owl Juke Box maturing but never losing its youthful fire. Encompassing the growth and death of families and relationships, and hinting obliquely at birth and regret, this volume blends the best of the vaults with the freshest and most piquant of the new to produce a heady brew of musical raptures and uphold the storied tradition of the series. Themes of fertility, struggle, and triumph interlace with meditative, nearly spiritual, moments, producing a moving whole of enduring value. It features the same impeccably indie, lo-fi, underground chiaroscuro artwork and production values (done with a blunt-tip black Sharpie, as always) as previous volumes in the series. By recontextualizing and juxtaposing forgotten favorites and new ravers, “Curator of Meteorites” delivers trenchant commentary on today’s life, times, and art. For longtime fans of the series, its punches will not fail to land — and newcomers will be blown away by the craftsmanship and dead-on artistic sensibility, the unerring ear for incisive social & introspective commentary, displayed. DJ Bonebrake knows the dark night of the soul, as well as how to how to move the masses on the dance floor and the protestors in the streets. His reach stretches from the blank depths of utter hedonism to the heights of familial devotion and purity.  This is truly a landmark of the series. A new pinnacle has been reached in the art of the mixtape. Ask for — no, demand — it wherever your favorite music is sold.

TRACKLISTING

1. Poptones — Public Image LTD.

2. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

3. Evangeline – Matthew Sweet

4. Old Hat – Harvey Danger

5. (The Angels Wanna Wear) My Red Shoes – Elvis Costello

6. Claire – Morphine

7. Mass Mirage – Yellow Swans

8. Skinny Love – Bon Iver

9. Xerces – Deftones

10. If You Don’t, Don’t – Jimmy Eat World

11. Sinatra – Deftones

12. Twenty Four Hours – Joy Division

13. Asthenia – Blink 182

14. Holy Names – Pretty Girls Make Graves

15. The Needle Has Landed – Neko Case

16. Damage, Inc. – Metallica

17. Progress – Mission of Burma

 

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Antics

Yesterday the nine-month-old infant accidentally flung her cracker at me. I saw it streak towards me out of the corner of my eye. It bounced off my face and fell on the floor. Startled, I laughed, and then she laughed too. I handed the cracker back to her, then she flung it at me again — this time on purpose. And then she laughed. I laughed even harder when I saw that.

Today I put on the Ramones as I was making lunch for everybody. The reaction was electric. The baby grinned and started to bounce up and down in time to the music. The toddler sprinted into the kitchen in a frenzy, jabbering away, and began to dance in circles with her doll. The baby sang along with the “oo-oo’s” on the chorus. It was awesome. A proud moment for this daddy.

I love my kids.

One Good Paragraph #3

This really is true, and if you’ve been there (what man hasn’t), this is probably the best description of the condition I’ve ever run across. Not the most poetic, but the most prosaic and yet carefully worded of all. Many others have referenced the same feelings or experiences in their art or music or writings, but nobody has nailed it (if you’ll forgive the choice of words) like this quote does. (Funny how much of what we say, think, write, do revolves around this one topic, this one feeling or need for a feeling.) This quote doesn’t grasp the feelings all the way, but it describes it better than anything else I’ve ever seen — and, as a special bonus, a song at the end that captures the elusive feeling ever so poetically (and far more sparingly of the gory details than most usually are — which is why it succeeds.) If this is you: hang in there. It does get better. Just be faithful & all will work out.

For most men, this is where the tyranny of sex shows up. When he is not able to ejaculate “on schedule,” he experiences a number of physiological and emotional reactions. The feeling of pressure in his groin area becomes a nagging reminder. He finds himself staring at his wife more as her features intensify in his mind. He longs to be with her as her features look more attractive to him. As time goes by, he then becomes irritable, even unreasonable. He loses sight of much of what is great about life. Music seems dull, sunsets are distractions, conversation is painful, and all other tasks either become boring or overwhelming. The whole time he is saying to himself, “Get a grip. You are stronger than this. It won’t hurt to wait.” But no amount of reasoning with himself reduces the tension he feels in his body.

(Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, Bill & Pam Farrel, p.96)

One good paragraph #2

This novel is by a Minnesota author. It turned out to be better than I expected. It was chock-full of period detail, and that level of authenticity woven into the story brought the rest of the narrative up along with it. The characters were well drawn, and the dialogue was a bit weak at times but saved by entertaining one-liners. The portrait of evil drawn in the main villian got better as the book went along. This paragraph is about a young man’s confusion as well as his attraction to a woman he’s just met. It’s the most sparkling paragraph in the entire book. The rest of the time, the author’s artistry is not on display as much as it is here. He seems to have particularly enjoyed writing this scene. From meandering beginnings, the plot tightens up until the tense, riveting finish. Like I said, better than I had anticipated. Here’s the quote. Enjoy.

“Turn your back, asshole!”

“Sorry.” Besides sorry, he was also breathless, stunned, aroused, and very confused. Here was a young woman who actually used foul language but who was also so scrupulous about being clean that she bathed in an icy-cold creek. And she had kindly given him a towel before that. Clearly, she was a woman of great mystery and contradiction. She was nice. She was sweet. She was possibly wicked, with a hint of a violent past. But she was also modest. And in her own way, she was gorgeous, at least from the back. He concentrated on standing her watch and hoped his erection wasn’t too obvious. (Richard A. Thompson, Big Wheat, p.69)

Come Away with Me

The rain continues to beat against the windowpanes. I turn down the lamp, and return to my seat by the fireplace. Our cabin is on a hillside, so the rising waters can’t reach us. I picture the brown, foaming waters rushing around the base of our little hill, and am glad I am here, safe and dry with Betty.

As I return to my seat by the fire, she looks up from her sketching. The firelight flickers across her dusky face and dances in her dark eyes. We smile, and I stretch out on the rug with my book in front of me, head to the fire. I look around our little cabin. Spiderwebs adorn the corners and dust lies thick in places, but the floor is clean and there’s a bunch of violets in a glass of water on the table. A couple of Betty’s drawings hang in rough wooden frames I knocked together, adorning the walls. We made a good living here, Betty and I. It’s much better than in the city, which is where we each lived before. But they can’t find us here. I roll back onto my stomach lazily. Staring into the fire and listening to the rain falling on the roof, Betty’s voice cuts softly into my reverie.

“Penny for your thoughts.” I blink, then focus on her face.

“Just listening to the rain.”

“Oh,” she says, but she keeps looking at me. To change the subject, I ask if she would like a back rub. She agrees.

“So how long do you think the rain will last?” she asks as I work the knots out of her back. I pause in pressing on a particularly large knot to consider my reply.

“Not too long I hope. A couple days, a week….” I move my hands higher on her shoulders before finishing. “I kinda like it in this cabin, actually.” The only sign she had heard me was a slight tilting of her head. I finished the back rub and she reclined back into my arms. We stared into the fire, each thinking different thoughts. We have dropped off to sleep, between the fire’s warmth, the soft lullaby of the falling rain, and each other’s company, had not the stupid cat decided to join us and perch on my neck. I moved slowly, trying to shoo the cat away without waking Betty, but without success. She started, then reached for her notebook. I silently cursed the cat and weighed the loss of a good mouser versus a new pair of mittens.

“Stupid cat,” I pronounced to myself. Betty’s head, bent over her drawing, came up. Mischief sparkles in her lively dark eyes. She said something about Emily (that’s the cat’s name), but I didn’t hear a word of it, I was so focused on her eyes…her hair spilling over her shoulders…the curve of her arm as it held the pencil poised over the paper….Emily stalked away and jumped up onto the calico-covered table and arranged herself to survey the room. Her job was done. And as I gently removed the notebook from her hands, and took her in my arms, I realized that I didn’t mind the rain.

(#7, 5/13/99, place#24)

A place to live, a place to dream

I wrote this during sophmore year of high school, for a creative writing class. It was one of the few classes I actually looked forward to in high school for itself, not just because it was school. I always welcomed the chance to learn, and it even happened within the four walls of a classroom at times. I actually think this has aged pretty well — either that, or I haven’t learned anything about writing in the intervening years. (For the record, I prefer the former.) One hesitates to put such things up, especially from the past, because they might be unintentionally more revealing than intended, but…here goes. I still think I’d like to live there, although my current location, while not as tropical or mountainous, still conforms fairly closely to what I envisioned then. What did your dream house look like? Is it still your dream house?

#4 – April 15 – Dream House

If I could have it, the place I would want to live in is an island. Called Ithuvania, after a place in a Far Side cartoon, it has everything I need. It is a smallish area, a dozen or so miles square in size. Verdant, tropical jungle runs right up to the broad, sweeping beach of fine-grained sand. On the north side of the island, the hills climb slightly, rising to a craggy peak on the north-west corner of the island. To the east of the mountain, starting at its foot, is a plateau. Some of this grassy plain is used for a garden and a landing strip for the occasional airplane, but most of it is left wild. Waist-high grasses wave and rustle in the sea breeze. All along the western edge of the island are short, rocky cliffs. The jumble of boulders reaches right to the water’s edge, preventing any entrance from the sea side. A freshwater stream, filled with melting snow from the mountain, flows east onto the plateau before bending south and meandering through the jungle, emptying into the ocean. A small pier, made of stone, juts a short distance out at the northernmost end of the beach. This is where the monthly mail boat docks, bringing letters, packages, books, and occasionally supplies. This is also where my guests, if I choose to invite them, first set foot on the island. My house is rather simple but meets my needs. A wooden floor of planks, made from trees cut down from the jungle, is raised on stilts about a foot or so off the ground. The roof is thatch, thick and waterproof; posts driven into the ground support it. There are no walls, only mosquito netting when the bugs sometimes get too bad. At the rear is the kitchen area — primitive but clean. Next to that and taking up the rest of the back half of the house, is my bedroom. In the left front corner, as seen when entering, is my study. Here I keep my books, papers, what little money I have, and my notebook computer.