No Depression dusted off this 2003 article today. There’s a pretty good history of Stax Records in the article, as well as descriptions of some of the best spots in town. What I really admire though, is the author’s attempt at writing about Memphis as a social phenomenon, or the city’s “sense of place.” Many people struggle to capture the character of places with strong identities. Often such courageous attempts are met with criticism or complete rejection. Trying to get at the meaning of a place is irresistible, though, perhaps because the real meaning of a place comes from our collective perception, and not anyone’s individual idea.
Anyway, it’s a good article:
You know it, you love it, you wait for it every year in your mailbox…The Oxford American Music issue. Then every year some goose steals the magazine, or you leave it in a rental car, or the subscription your old boyfriend gave you runs out just before this issue. (That weasel.) Now ten years of the best writing around is available all in one place. Just in time. Wish they had the CDs, too. Click here to buy it straight from the source.
Somehow I haven’t gotten around to listening to Harlan’s new album, Spiderette, until this week. And I’m playing it just as obsessively as I did the Still Beat, their first album. These guys have come a long way in the past year or so, landing coverage from USA Today (“Really smart pop from a Baton Rouge, La., band — moments of weirdness mixed with classic pop and overall a killer.”) and NPR (click here for the story and a song.) I think music blogger BiBaBiDi really nails this outfit, though:
…Because listen to how great Harlan (MySpace) is! The Baton Rouge quartet is friggin’ spectacular … an amazing blend of this sort of psychedelic pop music and experimental-twinged folksier stuff. And the group’s all about the details … whether it’s a quirky synth line or warble-y guitar hook or concise, organic drumming, Harlan’s complete sound is awe-inspiring.
You can purchase Spiderette, hear some tunes and watch videos on the band’s MySpace Page: www.myspace.com/stillbeat. Also check out the band’s website: thestillbeat.com
PS–These guys are all established visual artists in their own right and take care of all of the band’s album covers, videos, and posters, which you’ll find on the two websites listed above. Check back for reviews on the artists as individuals.