Thursday, April 29, 2010

Music Library Catch-Up: Beck, Bee Vs. Moth, Benko, Big Star, Alex Chilton, Kat Edmonson, The Fierce and the Dead, My Education, Qa'a

Beck - Record Club 3: Oar (2010).  This is the most successful of Beck's Record Club project so far.  His first two efforts - The Velvet Underground and Nico and Songs of Leonard Cohen - have some stiff competition from the albums themselves.  In this case, Skip Spence's masterpiece was limited by Spence's mental problems while he was recording it.  Not that Oar isn't a brilliant album - because it is - but it's sketchy.  Beck and his compatriots - including Wilco and Feist,  among others - bring Beck's maximalist tendencies to the material and it just kills.  It's free, so get it.  While researching this, I discovered that Beck's started releasing tracks from his next Record Club issue, INXS's Kick.

Bee Vs. Moth - Soundhorn (2007).  Bee Vs. Moth is a phenomenal Austin jazz-punk-whatever band anchored (and possibly led?) by bassist Philip Moody and percussionist Sarah Norris.  Soundhorn brings considerable swagger and punch to BVM's all-instrumental pieces.  Excellent.  And there's news of a sophomore album on the way.  Also excellent.

Benko - Welcome To The Follow Through (2008).  Another sophomore album of note (also featuring Sarah Norris, this time on vibes rather than drums) Benko's 2008 album packs a ton of power pop into a guitar-less trio format (vibes, bass, and drums, that is).  Erik Grostic's lyrics are witty and fun and full of in-joke references for Austinites, and Benko's songs have a powerful tension-and-release dynamic.

Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky (recorded 1969-1975).  I put off buying this box set for far too long, thinking that I had many of the songs already on bootlegs.  Boy, was I wrong.  Most of the non-album tracks were brand new to me and the whole box set is so well conceived that I fell in love with Big Star all over again.  I've written about Big Star and Chilton at length elsewhere on this blog.  Suffice it to say that even the most adament Big Star fan will find something new and surprising here.  And that's saying something.

Alex Chilton - Like Flies On Sherbert (1979).  I had this and a number of other solo Chilton albums on cassette.  I say "had" because I recently gave away most of my cassettes, figuring that I will most likely never listen to them again.  I did this, in fact, mere days before Chilton died.  And then I felt a sudden need to listen to them all.  So I'll download them from eMusic over the next few months, unless I can't bear it anymore and splurge.  Anyway, yes, this album is full of shabby, chaotic glory, songs that bridge rockabilly and country and soul and just plain noise.  We miss you, Alex.

Kat Edmonson - Take To The Sky (2009).  Austin jazz singer with a Billie Holiday drawl and a sweet and sultry nasality.  Like many jazz revivalists, she mixes in standards with covers of pop songs, but her delivery is strong and her band has the chops to know how to bring a slow burn home.  Good stuff, a few heads above, say, Norah Jones.

The Fierce And The Dead - Part 1 (2010).  I wish I liked this band's music more.  They bill themselves as post-rock, features a rather bad-ass name and album cover, and release this single 19-minute track as their debut.  I really want to like them, but the problem is the music itself.  I tend to grade first releases on a curve, because often a band has some real potential but they haven't gotten their sound to gel yet.  TF&TD need to add new instrumentation, plain and simple.  Their drummer might be great in another context, but here, he's just pounding out that same old heavy-on-the-hi-hat club-influenced chicka-chicka-bam.  The bassist plays one note at an octave for what seems like an eternity before finally showing a little movement with a four-note step part.  And the guitarist doesn't really have the range to carry off 19 minutes of noodling in the same key.  Single tone: monotony.  The reason other bands playing under the mantle of post-rock can pull this off is because they add lots and lots of interesting instruments and lots and lots of dynamics.  Even going back to the past with bands like Can, they would records hours and hours of music and cut it down to size for their releases.  This sounds like it was recorded in a single 19-minute take.  Hopefully TF&TD can workshop their music more before their next release.

My Education - Sunrise (2010).  I was planning to review this before its release last week and life events passed me by.  I regret that, because this is an extraordinary work of music.  It is intended to be a soundtrack to F.W. Murnau's film Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans, one of the greatest silent films of all time.  Wait, no.  One of the greatest films of all time, which also happens to be silent.  My Education has composed this music with vivid attention to the detail of the film, so much so that I can tell how the music syncs with the film even without so much as reading the song titles.  The music itself is clearly trying to match the powerful emotion of Murnau's classic, and I think it hits the mark.  I only wish the album was long enough to play through the whole film, as it has a running time of around 45 minutes while the film itself is a little more than 90 minutes long.  Their press release mentions artists like Popol Vuh (who provided the music for some pretty damn amazing Herzog films), Explosions In the Sky, Kinski, and Pelican.  Those names work for me.  I wish I'd been in town to see them play this music last weekend.  Or, more accurately, I wish that they were premiering this music tomorrow, because then not only would this review be timely, but I could follow it up by seeing the music performed live.

Qa'a - Chi'en (2009).  This is the work of a Spanish post-rock band who veer from mellow Tortoise-like groove to funky jam-bandish sounds to assaultive noise, often with no warning.  Quite good for fans of noise-rock.   I'm not crazy about the singing, but it's not terrible, either.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Word Of Endorsement For Austin-Area Home Remodelers and Repairers

In getting our house on the market we've hired a bunch of contractors over the last two months, and I want to say a word of endorsement for each of them and encourage any readers in the Austin area to hire these guys for any work they need to do on their house.

Bathroom/Tile work: Pedro Hernandez of P & J Tile.  We had a broken shower pan the entire 8 years we've lived in that house, and we never came up with the money to repair it. Pedro gave us an excellent estimate, had his crew at the house working late every night, and made our new bathroom my favorite in the house.  Why didn't we do this earlier?  (512) 947-1535.

Plumbing: John Boone of John Boone Plumbing.  Pedro found a leak that rotted out the wood holding up the shower stall and recommended Boone to come repair the plumbing side.  John came out that day and did the work necessary to keep the remodel on schedule, then came back to finish the install when P & J were done.  John's a good guy and does good work at a reasonable price.  (512) 577-6833.

Landscape: Jeff Maxwell at Garden Gnome Landscaping.  Jeff installed two amazing gardens at the house: a rain garden in the back yard and a lovely garden in the front.  Both use native plants exclusively and add some considerable appeal to our yard.  Jeff's a great guy, too, and he worked with our budget to come up with the best possible garden for our money.  (512) 940-4761, website here.

Contract Broker: Valerie Tait at Connecting Contractors 360.  Valerie was recommended by our cleaning company (endorsement to come).  She found the right painter for our house immediately and never anything other than upbeat and professional. or (512) 699-4008.

Exterior Painting/Floors: Erick Gerdeman at Urban Painting.  Erick was the right painter and floor guy for the house who Valerie found for us.  He made the exterior pop, found a better color for both front and back doors, and buffed our floors to a fine gleam.  Not too pricey, either!  Erick was a fantastic guy to work with, too. or (512) 745-0706.

Cleaning: Holly Moore at Maids and Moore.  Holly had been our cleaner of choice for a while, but I figured I would give her a mention here.  Her cleaners put the necessary final touches on the house, and when they were our biweekly cleaners, kept our lives in some order. or (512) 731-2145.

Handyman: Dan Bednar.  Dan's our neighborhood handyman.  When you're dealing with a handyman, you want a smart, creative guy who can solve a wide array of problems.  Dan's not just sharp and creative but his prices are better than most, too.  If you're in Austin, especially Windsor Park, you should have Dan's number on your speed dial. or (512) 799-3514.

Sounds of Treme

Killer blog about the music on David Simon's amazing new show Treme.  Check it out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Music Library: Linda Thompson

Linda Thompson - Dreams Fly Away: A History of Linda Thompson (released 1996, recorded early 70s-mid 80s), Fashionably Late (2002), and Versatile Heart (2007).

Linda Thompson Kenis was the greatest instrument for the music of Richard Thompson.  The guy might be the greatest guitarist of his generation and he might have dozens of other instruments in his tool belt, but his music never sounded better than when his then-wife Linda breathed sweetness and light into his trademark darkness.  Her nuance, her dramatic reading, her vulnerability in channeling his words and music: these create a listening experience that is nothing short of sublime.

As I've written about at length elsewhere, there are two versions of their final album together Shoot Out The Lights.  The first was produced by Gerry Rafferty and sounds slick and dated to these ears, with cheap vintage-1980 synthesizer sounds, a rhythm sound that is warbly and thin, and lots of production flourishes that bury the songs.  The second was the album as we know it: austere, direct, and timeless.  Linda has long maintained, though, that she likes the Rafferty version better.  "I like the slick stuff," she said.

Her first solo album, 1985's One Clear Moment, which she made with Rafferty's keyboardist Betsy Cook, bears this out.  Slick to a fault, it cakes Linda Thompson (not yet Kenis)'s lily-perfect voice and songs with the slickest shit from 1985's version of electropop.  Herein lies my problem.  I want to believe - in fact, I've taken it as an article of faith - that most artists will better serve their material if given the freedom to create what they want along with a sympathetic producer.  But in the real world, there are many, many examples to the contrary.  Arthur Lee in the 70s.  Neil Young in the 80s.  Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines.  Ah, strike that last one.

One Clear Moment is the work of an artist whom I admire making the music that she wants to make, and I hate it.  It is, in the deathless words of Samuel Goldwyn, worse than bad: it's mediocre.  As a fan, I don't want her to experiment, or at least, I don't want her to experiment unsuccessfully.  This is not how experimentation works, I know, but what's particularly galling in this case is that Linda Thompson made One Clear Moment and then no further album for 17 years.  Hysterical dysphonia: the psychological inability to sing.  To sing now requires painful botox injections in her throat.  Think of that: one of the most extraordinary voices of her generation and it takes a painful shot to the throat to unlock it.  The next time you hear a pretentious ass of your acquaintance explain about how he or she suffers for his or her art, please take this as permission to punch him or her in his or her overprivileged and self-indulgent neck.

In fact, as I write this, sitting in the Charlotte airport, some kid with long hair is playing some seriously boring jammy pseudo-bluegrass bullshit over and over again on his acoustic.  I'm tempted to take my own advice.  The guy needs to suffer before inflicting his art on innocent bystanders.

To the music.  Dreams Fly Away is a collection of songs from her ten-year collaboration with Richard Thompson along with a few from afterwards.  There's a great story in the liner notes about how she was introduced to the Everly Brothers in the years after her marriage and collaboration with Richard had fallen apart.  When they found out who she was, they took her hand and sang "Dimming of the Day" to her.  Wow.

Dreams Fly Away has a few album tracks, but it's mostly demos and live recordings that tend to showcase Linda Thompson at her best.  I'm not crazy about the Rafferty session tracks or the music from One Clear Moment, but they do make the tracks around them sound better.

Her more recent albums Fashionably Late and Versatile Heart are both lovely albums, but (and here I'm fickle, perhaps) they don't quite muster the passion of her early work with Richard Thompson.  They're wonderful for what they are, though, and I wouldn't trade them for two decade's worth of One Clear Moments.  I especially love her duets with her son Teddy, who has a voice that I tend to compare with hers when he's on his own, except that here he sounds much more like his father than I ever suspected.  And she sounds like herself, not an instrument at all but someone who has lost and found something very important.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Music Library: Liars, Libertines, Lifter Puller, Lightnin' Hopkins, LiLiPUT/Kleenex

Liars - They Threw Us All In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top (2001), Atheists Reconsider (split EP with Oneida, 2002), Fins To Make Us More Fish-Like (EP, 2002), Peel Sessions (EP, 2002), They Were Wrong So We Drowned (2004), Drum's Not Dead (2006), and Liars (2007).  The early Liars brought the disco-punk with a vengeance, although their damaged art tendencies made them far more interesting than the Raptures of the world. The split with Oneida seems like it would be extraordinary but neither band is at their best. Fins and the Peel Sessions are both pretty great, but they're the last of the dance-punk sound.  So We Drowned is a concept album about witches that has a muddy, murky, brilliant sound and Drum's Not Dead brings that sound to fruition.  The self-titled album is a return to more straight-ahead rock (parts of it even sound like the Jesus and Mary Chain).  Fantastic band.

The Libertines - "Can't Stand Me Now."  Only-ok sleaze rock song.  Don't know the rest of their stuff, but this is neither offensive nor anything to get too excited about.

Lifter Puller - "Mission Viejo" and Fiestas + Fiascos (2000).  Singer Craig Finn and bassist Tad Kubler formed the hard rockin' Hold Steady afterwards, and in retrospect, Lifter Puller sounds like a band that would turn into the Hold Steady.  Good stuff, even if not up to the heights of the band to come.

Lightnin' Hopkins - The Complete Aladdin Recordings (1947-1948) and Lightnin' and the Blues (1960). Great Texas bluesman.  Really great Texas bluesman.

LiLiPUT - Kleenex/LiLiPUT: The Complete Discography (1978-1983).  Without LiLiPUT there is no Sleater-Kinney. This is the one of the great angular post-punk art bands, with four, sometimes three, Swiss ladies bringing crazy-creative and fun music.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Music Library: Leon Payne, Leonard Cohen, Leroy Jenkins, Les Savy Fav, Lester Bangs, Lester Young, Letdowns, Li'l Cap'n Travis

Leon Payne - A Smattering Of Leon Payne Songs (1947-1956), A Living Legend of Country Music (1963), and I Love You Because (unknown).  I ganked all of these from a blog, so I'm not sure if any one ever had a proper release.  Payne was a blind songwriter who wrote, most notably, "Lost Highway," which is the most American song that has ever existed, and also "I Love You Because" and "Psycho," which mine two quite different veins of country music. 

Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1967), Songs Of Love And Hate (1971), and The Best of Leonard Cohen (1967-1974).  Laughin' Lenny, as my friend Bill Ham puts it, is a songwriter who readers of this blog should probably already know.  I can't hear the first album without thinking of McCabe and Mrs. Miller.  I should have more of the guy's albums, but I heard the older ones so many times in the pre-digital music era that I've never picked them up.  It's been awhile, so I should.  Might be like running into an old friend.  A morose, depressed, sarcastic, caustic, and witty old friend.

Leroy Jenkins - Mixed Quintet (1979) and Live! (1992).  Not a lot of free jazz violinists out there.  Jenkins brings the riffable skronk, sounding quite a bit like King Crimson on some of these tracks.

Les Savy Fav - Go Forth (2001) and Inches (2004).  Speaking of skronk... wait, that doesn't work.  Les Savy Fav plays catchy art-punk, but it's not too skronky.  Anyway, these are great, fun albums.  Inches is a compilation of rarities from 1996-2004, but it feels like a complete work, which says quite a bit about Les Savy Fav's singularity of purpose over time.

Lester Bangs - Let It Blurt/Live (1979), Jook Savages On The Brazos (with the Delinquents, 1981), and Birdland with Lester Bangs (1986).  Bangs isn't that bad of a singer, actually.  His hoarse yelp has a little of Joey Ramone in it at times, which is fitting since the last of these bands features Mickey Leigh (aka Joey Ramone's brother).  The Delinquents are my favorite of these bands, actually, with their two guitar approach that has a bit of Television and Talking Heads to it.

Lester Young - Lester Young With The Oscar Peterson Trio (1952). First-rate bop with Young and Peterson's band, one of the best jazz quartets (including Peterson, who was apparently not part of the trio?) in the world at the time.

The Letdowns - "We Could Make Beautiful Space Babies Together, Wendy."  No idea where this single came from.  But it's a great power pop single with a killer chorus.

Li'l Cap'n Travis - "Little Drops Of Summer," Lonesome and Losin' (2002), and ...In All Their Splendor (2004).  Laconic country-rock from a great Austin band with some farflung influences.  There's Beach Boys in their vocals and a dreamy approach to many of the songs.  Good stuff.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Music Library: Lee Morgan, Left Banke, Lemon Pipers, Lena Horne, Leo Kottke, Leon Payne, Leonard Cohen, Leroy Jenkins, Les Savy Fav, Lester Bangs,

Lee Morgan - The Cooker (1957), Search For The New Land (1964), Cornbread (1965), and Delightfulee (1966).  Hard bop sax.  Amazing fact that I just learned from Wikipedia: Morgan was 33 when he was murdered in 1972.  So he was all of 19 when The Cooker, his SIXTH album, was released.  Wow.  Anyway, great hard bop if you like hard bop, and you probably do.  I could have sworn I had The Sidewinder, too.

The Left Banke - There's Gonna Be A Storm: The Complete Recordings 1966 - 1969.  Doesn't get more Left Banke-y than this.  This is a rather charming chamber-pop band with a fairly complicated and uninteresting backstory.  Great singles, though.

The Lemon Pipers - "Jelly Jungle" and "Green Tambourine." Two fun psychedelic bubblegum tracks from 1968.

Lena Horne - "Stormy Weather."  I forget where this is from.  Lena Horne's voice is not anywhere close to my favorite.

Leo Kottke - 6- And 12-String Guitar (1971), Essential (1976-1983), That's What (1990), Great Big Boy (1991), and Peculiaroso (1994).  Man, that first Leo Kottke album is a barnburner.  I've heard it thousands of times since I discovered it in the early 90s and it always sounds fresh and new.  It belongs in every music library.  Essential collects some of the more eccentric tracks from Kottke's late 70s-early 80s albums.  The three from the early 90s simultaneously get more eccentric and more approachable as Kottke's later-period sound becomes more developed.  So to recap: 6- And 12-String Guitar is essential.  Essential is not, but it's okay.  That's What, Great Big Boy, and Peculiaroso are a little better than okay, more essential than Essential, but they are not quite essential to any but devoted fans.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Music Library Catch-Up: Beautiful Supermachines, Andrew Bird, Danielson, Distant Seconds, Fucked Up, High On Fire, King Crimson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton

Although it has been a while since I've done one of these, I've been keeping up on the listening side of things if not the writing-about-what-I'm-listening-to side of things.  Anyway, here's some albums by artists who I've already reviewed, for the most part.

The Distant Seconds/Beautiful Supermachines - Hot Buttered Anomie/Consumed Split EP (2010).  A split vinyl release from two excellent Austin bands!  The Distant Seconds mix their brilliant minimalist guitar pop with some lovely keyboard and skronk-noise.  Have a listen!  The Beautiful Supermachines are both noisier and poppier than the DS and have a maximalist sound that provides a great contrasting complement.  Pick up the EP.

Andrew Bird - Anonanimal/See The Enemy single (2009).  Featuring two remixed versions of "Anonanimal," a track from the fantastic Noble Beast album of the same year.  The song itself isn't so distinctive in Bird's catalog that it needed two more versions, but they're pretty fun, anyway.

Danielson - Moment Soakers single (2009).  Three years (!) after the last brilliant full-length Ships, Daniel Smith released this two-song single.  "Moment Soakers" has all of the drama of the Ships-era Danielson, and the b-side is an ok cover of ABBA's "Eagle."  Make of that what you will.

Fucked Up - Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009.  This collection has many of Fucked Up's hard-to-find (and not so hard to find) singles and range from the only-ok hardcore of the early Fucked Up to the mindblowing psychedelic thrash of the more recent stuff to a number of surprisingly pure pop singles, including a couple of covers of the Dolly Mixture.  Recommended.

High On Fire - Snakes For The Divine (2010).  This one seems more proggy and less stoner/sludgy than prior HOF albums.  And it utterly kicks ass.  I am such in the thrall of this album that I can hardly separate my lizard brain from my analytic brain enough to explain how great it is.

King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon (1970), Islands (1971), Earthbound (1971), The Great Deceiver: Live 1973-1974, USA (1975), Beat (1982), and Three of a Perfect Pair (1985).  My friend Phil recommended that I check out live KC from the 70s after my last King Crimson write-up.  Very good call!  I rounded them out with the two 70s albums that I didn't have plus the two 80s albums that I didn't have.  Poseidon and Islands are both jazzy, but Poseidon is a better album (although not as good as In The Court Of The Crimson King, which preceded it, nor Lizard, which followed).  I could forgive the meandering on Islands if not for the terrible pop songs that break it up.  Earthbound, Deceiver, and USA are all live albums.  Earthbound has some great performances, but the sound quality is utterly miserable.  Deceiver has incredible sound quality and some pretty seriously amazing proto-metal music on it.  USA is in the same boat.  Beat and Perfect Pair are from the new wavish KC of the early 80s, and both feature the twitchy guitars and bizarre riffage that make Discipline such a fine album.  But neither is quite as strong as Discipline, although both have their moments.

Jerry Lee Lewis - The Golden Cream of the Country (1970).  Maybe it isn't first-rate Jerry Lee, but Golden Cream does feature the Killer making country music his latest bitch.  And that's good enough for me.

Buck Owens and His Buckaroos - I've Got A Tiger By The Tail (1965).  How is the Bakersfield sound different from rock music?  It's as close to rock music as it is to country here.  But history says this is country, so I'm not going to argue.  Either way, this is an album to hear.

Dolly Parton - Just The Way I Am (1969-1970).  Hello, Dolly!  I don't know if anyone else out there has noticed, but Dolly Parton - especially the Dolly Parton of the early 70s - was one good-looking lady.  This quickie compilation pulls tracks from three immediately prior albums.  Great songs, though!  I especially enjoy Dolly's take on "In The Ghetto," which is as hilariously inappropriate as Elvis's take.  I mean, it has to be, because the song is about as hilariously misguided as any popular song outside of "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

Monday, April 05, 2010

You Don't Love Me Yet

This is not an easy thing to write.  I am an unabashed fan of Jonathan Lethem’s writing, but after achronologically reading the later work Chronic City and now the novel You Don’t Love Me Yet, I cannot deny that he is in a Neil-Young-in-the-80s period of his career.  On paper You Don’t Love Me Yet should be my favorite of his novels: it is (1) about a young Superchunkish rock band, (2) dedicated to Eliot Duhan, a friend of mine and mutual friend of Lethem’s, who is also a guy I think the world of, (3) trying to capture the mostly unwritable feeling of being an individual subsuming your identity to the larger purpose of creating something as a group.

But You Don’t Love Me Yet is a disaster instead.  As with Chronic City, the protagonist--a person the novel doesn’t step away from--is quite blank and unlikeable.  There are interesting secondary characters, but they prove unknowable to this protagonist.  And the fundamental conflict that drives the story is a nonstarter.  Both of these novels seem like they should work, but neither has the passion to engage me as a reader.  As someone who wants to enjoy Lethem’s writing no matter what, a fan as I am a fan of Neil Young’s, I cannot help but be disappointed.

I’m willing to grant that my expectations might put me at fault for my failure to enjoy these books, but that’s really a backhanded slap at the man when I’d rather approach this directly.  Lethem built an increasingly solid body of work in the 90s through the masterful Motherless Brooklyn and the jaggedly brilliant The Fortress Of Solitude.  Then he won a MacArthur genius grant, which isn’t just confirmation of his brilliance but, unfortunately, a gift that bestows extra weight on the man’s work afterwards.  And it’s possible that after The Fortress of Solitude, an intensely personal examination of his own sense of identity and loss, his obsessive intellect hasn’t found another subject painful enough to lend to his writing the necessary catharsis.  Perhaps - and I feel like a cad for suggesting this, but this is my uninformed conclusion nevertheless - Lethem is simply too happy to write a good novel right now.

Or, at least, under the model that his prior novels were written.  There’s always the rip-up-the-rule-book-and-start-over option.

As a fan, do I want more of Lethem’s great work?  Yes, certainly.  But as a human being, would I rather read Lethem being great or would I rather he be a happy man?  The latter, definitely.  But what I don’t want is this middle ground of novels that feel unengaged and half-written.  Lethem, don’t make David Geffen sue your ass to get your muse working again.  Neil Young had a handful of great albums left in him after the 80s before he settled for turning out elder statesman-style mediocrities.  So either bring the pain or write essays, but don't settle for Are You Passionate?-type crap. 

Sunday, April 04, 2010

A Brief Note On Houses And Homes

Astute readers of this blog might notice that I have been mostly absent of late.  Here’s the skinny: my wife has a new job in North Carolina and we’ve been preparing to leave Austin.  Or, rather, I have.  The rest of my family has already moved.

But that leaves our house in Austin to consider. and I hope that Austinites do consider it.  Make me an offer, people.

We lived in Austin for almost 10 years.  Our children were born there, and the bulk of our friends live there.  Moving away is not easy.  There is a lot about Austin that I love: besides the amazing people that it collects, there’s the Alamo Drafthouse, the Carousel Lounge, the Continental Club, Chango’s, The Tacocorrido, Stubb’s, The Dog And Duck (aka the Mallard And Mutt, the Quack and Woof, and so on, a place that I feel such affection for that I’ve nicknamed it over and over), Nomad, Waterloo, End of an Ear, and many other places of business that are undeniably awesome.

There’s some things that I dislike, too.  I feel that the arts scene is incredibly insular, for one.  And the way that the environment tricks my body into thinking that fresh air is poison with only a few allergens--well, I just hate that.

But I’m sad to be leaving, even as I’m happy to be returning to North Carolina. I’m proud that I could be an Austinite for a decade, ambivalent though I felt about it at times.  Someday soon I’ll no longer have a house there, but I’ll always think of it as a place that I could call home.

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Cary, NC, United States
reachable at firstname lastname (all run together) at gmail dot com

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