Posts tagged: Jesse

Popmatic Podcast for December 9, 2015: Best Music of the Year

By , December 9, 2015

It’s the best music of the year! Luckily, Sarah and Jesse are here to ballast this nerd ship. Would Amanda of all people pick something the library doesn’t own? For shame. Plus what is tickling out fancy this week. If anyone wants a Spotify list, ask in the comments. You know what else to put in the comments? Your picks for the best music of the year!


1) “Cassette” by Viet Cong and their video for “Continental Shelf
2) The Deepest Lake by Dengue Fever
3) Heroes by Sabaton

The Fool by Ryn Weaver1) The Fool by Ryn Weaver
2) Daybreaker by Moon Taxi CD | Freegal
3) Then Came the Morning by The Lone Bellow

A Special Episode of Open Mike Eagle1) Beat Happening‘s catalog
2) A Special Episode by Open Mike Eagle
3) Natalie Prass by Natalie Prass

Skrillex and Diplo present Jack U1) Jack Ü by Skrillex & Diplo
2) Capture the Sun by Blockhead
3) “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson

Art Angels by Grimes1) Art Angels by Grimes
2) Mute Records’ catalog
3) Over the Edge Radio


Underdawgs: How Brad Stevens and the Butler Bulldogs Marched Their Way to the Brink of College Basketball’s National Championship by David Woods


Winter by Marissa Meyer

Bryan’s into file formats.


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Popmatic Podcast for September 2, 2015: Labor Day

By , September 2, 2015

Baby MamaLet’s get obstetric! Yeah! It’s “labor” day and we went there. Sarah and Jesse guest on this very special episode. Jeremy abuses his time as host to pitch a movie script. Plus—what is tickling our fancy this month.


Baby Mama

Taryn Manning in Orange is the New Black

She’s Having a Baby

Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena

The Filth Child by Doris Lessing

Knocked Up


Kingsman: The Secret Service

End of the Tour

Passion Pit (CD | Freegal) at Live on the Green

Dave Pilkey at Salon@615


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Popmatic Podcast for August 12, 2015: Summer Challenge Summer Schmallenge

By , August 12, 2015

The Bone Clocks by David MitchellSummer challenged us and we rose to the occasion. Because we scored one million challenge points city-wide during this year’s Summer Challenge program you can have your fines forgiven if you stop by your local branch between August 16th through the 23rd. To celebrate, we tell you about the best things we checked out from the library during Summer Challenge. Jesse joins us and this ends up being a surprisingly high brow episode. At least by our standards.


The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

7: An Experiment in Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Laurie’s simplify your life book round up

I Am Radar by Reif Larsen

Z for Zachiariah by Robert C. O’Brien

Tomorrow, in a Year by The Knife, Planningtorock, and Mt. Sims CD | Hoopla

our opera episode

our 1Q84 episode


Courtyard Concerts are happening

“Avant Gardener” and the music of Courtney Barnett

Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr

Orson Welles’ Last Movie: The Making of The Other Side of the Wind by Josh Karp

A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: Southern Reach Trilogy

By , December 24, 2014

Area X (The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VandermeerArea X (The Southern Reach Trilogy)
by Jeff Vandermeer

Earlier this year everyone was talking about HBO’s True Detective. The thing that really caught me about the show was that it seemed to take a gritty, hard-boiled noir landscape and mix in a Weird horror-fantasy element. In the end that was all just atmosphere and the whole thing ended like an episode of CSI Miami – so disappointing. I wanted the Yellow King that was promised to me.

I’m not trying to denigrate True Detective. I really enjoyed it, but I wanted to draw a comparison to my favorite book of 2014 because it comes from a similar place and gave me more of what I wanted. I’m talking about Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, a series published in it’s entirety in 2014. Its three volumes Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance where recently released in one hardbound edition titled Area X. The library has the omnibus and all the individual volumes too. I should say that I haven’t finished the last book of the series, so you should probably question my advice after I bashed the ending of True Detective, but the Annihilation and Authority are so good that the third book would have to be pretty awful to diminish my enjoyment of the other books.

So why my comparison to True Detective? These aren’t crime novels, but similarly they take the form of other genres that have Lovecraftian, Weird science horror imposed upon them. The great thing is that both of these novels are coming from different places. The first book, Annihilation is written as the journal of a biologist, and it has the feel, almost, of a quaint meditation on nature and conservation, but it is quickly superimposed with environmental terror. Authority is like John Le Carré except the normal paranoia of spycraft is tainted by the horror of literal monsters. These books are as much about atmosphere and mood as plot, which was also the highpoint of True Detective, but here the uncanny atmosphere actually delivers with glimpse at the uncanny. I mean, how much cooler would it have been if Matthew McConaughey found an interdimensional portal to the yellow king rather than a dumb, inbred serial killer?

Vandermeer wrote an article in the LA Times about how sci-fi and fantasy writers use real environments to craft their worlds as much as writers of realistic fiction. It struck a chord because it’s definitely something I’ve noticed — some of the best descriptions of Charleston, SC’s marshes and rivers are in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. In The Southern Reach Trilogy, the world is based on the wilderness areas outside of Tallahassee, FL, a place I once called home, and I see North Florida all over this series.

I’ve managed to say a lot without talking much about the actual book. The Southern Reach is a government agency managing the secrets of Area X, spun to the public as an environmental disaster, though it’s more likely a localized invasion of extraterrestrial origin. The first book is about an investigative expedition into Area X, the second about the inner workings (and failings) of the agency managing the area, and the third, at least as much of it as I’ve read so far, is pulling together loose ends and revealing more about the secrets of Area X.

One last thing I’ll say about True Detective, which may or may not apply to this series as well — I don’t care about endings. Sometimes great books or films have bad endings. A lot of my favorite books fizzle out at the end. Endings are hard. If you enjoy 95% of something and the end is lacking, who cares? Let’s stop caring about endings.

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer           Authority by Jeff Vandermeer           Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer

Book review: Wolf in White Van

By , October 16, 2014

Can musicians write good books? Jesse doesn’t pull any punches when he takes a look at John Darnielle’s debut novel.

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

The Mountain Goats CD | Freegal

Judas Priest CD | Freegal | Hoopla


music by Black Dice CD | Freegal | Hoopla

Book review: Long Division

By , June 19, 2014

Jesse the mumblecore librarian is back! Long Division is like Back to the Future but with Lil Wayne instead of Chuck Berry. Things get awkward when he talks about race. This is a great book for adults and teens to read together during Summer Challenge.

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany

Haruki Murakami

The Help

Kiese Laymon’s website

Kiese Laymon on twitter

music by Black Dice Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive


Comics review: Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire

By , February 20, 2014

With a little help, a nervous Jesse giggles through his first video book review. Here are the items he mentions:

Sweet Tooth 6: Wild Game by Jeff Lemire

The Nobody by Jeff Lemire

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Y: The Last Man, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn

Tales from the Farm (Essex County Trilogy, Volume 1) by Jeff Lemire

Ghost Stories (Essex County Trilogy, Volume 2) by Jeff Lemire

The Country Nurse (Essex County Trilogy, Volume 3) by Jeff Lemire

get the whole Essex County Trilogy as an ebook

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez

Give us feedback about our new catalog!

music by Black Dice CD | Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive


Music Review: Quintron

By , September 21, 2012

Quintron - These Hands of MineThere are five or so weeks left until Halloween, which gives you more than enough time to utilize your five weekly Freegal downloads to acquire These Hands of Mine and Are You Ready for an Organ Solo? by Quintron. That is, if you want your home to have the weirdest, eeriest, most chaotic atmosphere possible. Your trick-or-treaters and party guests will be beguiled, spooked, possibly annoyed, but you will be remembered.

Quintron and his wife Miss Pussycat are the sort of happy couple that perhaps only makes sense in the context of New Orleans. They exist in that less jazzy part of New Orleans that is a land of cultural crosspollination and must be described in a series of hyphens and coated in a fine sheen of off-ness. Quintron is the lovechild of Jerry Lee Lewis and Vincent Price, left neglected in a closet with only a Hammond organ and Pentecostal radio sermons. Miss Pussycat is a puppeteer and a cheerleader in the most broken and strange way.   They are characters from a movie that John Waters forgot to make sometime between Female Trouble and Desperate Living. They don’t, however, come across as contrived or weird for the sake of weird. For my money, at least, they appear to be the genuine article, which makes them all the more frightening and exhilarating.

The primary instruments on the albums are the aforementioned Hammond organ and the Drum Buddy, an invention of Quintron’s damaged mind. It is something between a drum machine and a Theremin, constructed out of a coffee can, a light bulb, and a turntable. It makes sounds using light, and it has to be seen to be believed (there is a longer and much more bizarre video on YouTube if you want to search for it). It all comes together in a loose package of funk-rockabilly-gospel-punk rock-R & B-electro something or other. This is “experimental music” where the mad scientist running the experiment is Dr. Moreau meets Voodoo priest. At its most accessible, it might be easiest to think of as punk rock and at times it even hints at a sick, toxic B-52s.

I will say, this is probably not music you’re going to set around and listen to casually, or at least most people aren’t. Are You Ready for an Organ Solo? is a bit more straightforward, but that’s speaking contextually, of course, but you might actually find yourself dancing. If you still find this all too straight laced for your taste, check out The Frog Tapes, also available on Freegal, which was conceived as Halloween atmosphere music, making it extra creepy compared to the already creepy stuff Quintron normally has going on. Think Phantom of the Opera meets field recordings of frogs (the last track is just 14 minutes of frog sounds) and throaty grunts.

These albums are all available from the library through Freegal.


“Underwater Dance Club” sample from Are You Ready for an Organ Solo?

“Place Unknown” sample from Are You Ready for an Organ Solo?

“Dungeon Master” sample from These Hands of Mine

“Meet Me at the Clubhouse” sample from These Hands of Mine

“Horror” sample from The Frog Tape

Book Review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

By , August 10, 2012

Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell

I don’t think a review of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas has been written that doesn’t use the word matryoshka to describe the novel’s structure and that’s because it is the easiest way to convey the Russian nesting doll nature of the book. Inspired by Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, each of the six stories in the book is interrupted by the story that follows and then discovered as an artifact by a character in that story. What makes this a novel rather than a collection of short stories is that the main character in each story is the same soul reincarnated throughout several centuries.

The real protagonist of Cloud Atlas is, arguably, humanity itself. Mitchell takes us from the beginnings of modernity (for better or (mostly) worse) in mid-19th-century Polynesian island tribes through the 20th century laying the foundations for the rise of a near-future, dystopian, consumerism-based society and at last to the final remains of humanity in the wake of the downfall of said dystopia. Then we travel back again in reverse.

While some readers might feel that the kind of postmodern structure games that Mitchell plays are a bit shallow, he reinforces it with superb writing. Each section is a dramatic shift in style and genre, which Mitchell handles deftly. For example, the story of Robert Frobisher, a young composer on the run from debtors in the Flemish countryside, is told through letters to his lover in England and  filled with music in a way that is subtle yet hard to miss.

Cloud Atlas has been made into a movie, directed by the Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer, to be released in October. Read it now before they start releasing copies with Tom Hanks’ face on the cover.

Book review: Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

By , July 20, 2012

Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus

edited by Christine Lindberg

There’s no more surefire way to kill a party than to say, “Hey, you guys want to know about my favorite thesaurus?” If I say dictionary, we could have an interesting discussion about the essential functions of dictionaries and then settle in to the old “prescriptive v. descriptive” argument. Maybe we could talk about the oldest copies of the OED we’ve seen and how many volumes they had.  But a favorite thesaurus?  Really? Who even needs a thesaurus when a list of synonyms is just a right-click away.

A thesaurus is a tool; a means to the end of finding substitute words. But like many tools, a thesaurus wielded by an untrained hand becomes a danger. So what are we to do if we don’t want to chop off our fingers?

The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus goes beyond the rote list of synonyms and antonyms found in lesser thesauri. It’s a guide to language with usage guides by Bryan Garner (who has edited some of my other favorite word related reference books), word banks (for example, a list of different types of chairs: Adirondack, cane, captain’s), and word spectrums. The word spectrums take a word like beautiful and runs through the incremental differences in meaning of words between beautiful and ugly.

The best part of the Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus are the wonderful little essays by such dignitaries as Washington Post critic Michael Dirda, novelists Zadie Smith and David Foster Wallace, and musician Stephin Merritt, of The Magnetic Fields. Writing on love, Merritt states, “The rhymes with love are limited to above, dove, glove, of, and shove. Romance is much better; at least it rhymes with dance.” These essays and other features serve to make the user consider that there is more to word choice than substituting bigger or fancier sounding words. The OAWT suggests context and connotation better than the average thesaurus. And more than that, it’s just fun to read, a better endorsement than most thesauri deserve.

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