by Chris Force, August 6, 2010 9:00 AM
No one reads anymore. You're wasting your time with all those bookshelves, organizing schemes, and online wish lists. So just knock it off already. Stick to Twitter
like the rest of us. The only comfort to be found in the written word is what an old friend ate for lunch, that a co-worker is "super stoked" for some upcoming trip involving a BBQ, and that your ex is still a cheating slut and just "checked in with two others" to what used to be your favorite rock club.
So quit already.
You can hit CNN.com maybe, or one of those flippy eMags on your iBook if you must. But for real, stop reading, stop writing. If you're thinking, reading, contemplating, you're not buying! So please, stop reading and start buying shit! (But not books, of course. Those are stupid and soooo 2006.)
Yes, you're going to miss out on some things. You might not have a radical transformation in your life like I did when my friend let me borrow The Autobiography of Malcolm X. But all that did was make me righteous and angry, and what good are those emotions? All I did was start making stupid zines and selling them in parking lots. Try putting that on your résumé!
You won't need to waste your time on books by Ghandi and that Dalai Lama guy with the maroon bathrobe. You won't sit in the back of a rented U-Haul van, only to have most of your personal belongings stolen, and spend a sleepless night in a podunk town's holding cell all because you read Get in the Van and thought it would be fun to go on tour with a shitty punk band. Stick to the Internet and make a cheeky comment about that iPhone photo of your friend's sausage they just grilled up. And do it from the comfort of your couch! Much safer and better for the economy.
Anyway, reading sucks. And writing is just selfish (and unprofitable!), so don't waste your time. The only perk to writing a book like Invisible is picking up a few PowellsBooks.Blog groupies, and for real, they've got some hygiene and posture problems.
If you MUST continue to buy books, and read nonsense like Invisible, you should at least venture out and see some of these bands and artists perform live. You might just get laid, and that, of course, is what really matters. That and you can check in at the club on foursquare and really piss off your
by Chris Force, August 5, 2010 10:21 AM
Behind all those bangs, flannel skirts, and plastic glasses, these PowellsBooks.Blog babes are intense. I like it.
In fact, besides Powell's, Portland has a lot of pretty amazing things going. There is, of course, Menomena. Mines, their new record (out on Barsuk), is a real gem. Don't miss it because you're spending all of your time listening to some Decemberists album. You locals should catch their show at the Crystal Ballroom on September 11th. If you're there, come by and say hi to me. I'll be the tall, dark, creepy bearded guy swarmed by 23-year-old book-blog fanatics.
Now, if you want to dig a bit deeper, and get heavier, you could get into the band Om (Emil Amos, also from the band Grails, is from Portland). They get called stoner doom metal, experimental rock, or even heavy-metal Tibetan-chant rock. But they're a hypnotic bass-and-drum duo, and you'll love them. You can read about Om online here, and if you dig that, you might want to check out a book I edited called Art is Life, Life is Art. They're on the cover, and their thoughts on life, music, and art are inspirational. Maybe not as inspirational as those black tights these book babes wear under their jean shorts, but still pretty
by Chris Force, August 4, 2010 10:08 AM
Okay, first of all, there is a stripper pole in this room. It may be a leftover from Shteyngart
; I don't know, but it's creeping me out.
They did a pretty good job with my rider: fresh organic fruit, obscure German design mags, tofurky sandwiches, and a vintage turntable loaded with 1980s hardcore-punk LPs. I specifically said no Judge records, but I'll let a few things slide.
Anyway, so last night a bunch of the Powell's book geeks were hanging out in the green room with me. I was getting my pre-blog-writing massage, and they were putting band-aids on their paper cuts and discussing how much they would be willing to pay for a copy of Stieg Larsson's zine Sfären. (One book-blog editor, whom I will not mention by name, said he would "give his left nut" for a copy, which made me think: a) who would possibly want a book-blog editor's testicle and b) what happened to his right nut?)
They finally got to asking me some questions about how I started ALARM, and I directed them to this handy video:
Turns out that these guys had no idea you could get books anywhere but Powell's. So, as an out-of-town guest, I'm turning to you, my faithful local blog readers, and asking: Do you ever use your local library? The Multnomah County Library dates back to 1864! Holy shit, that's old. Do you ever go? While I'm here, should I make the
by Chris Force, August 3, 2010 2:55 PM
The PowellBooks.Blog nerds keep raving about my beard. It's getting weird. Then they found out I'm vegetarian, drink expensive coffee, and ride a track bike, and those eggheads freaked
! They're all tweeting me
and "liking" my posts on Facebook
. Then, of course, it happened.
They asked for nOOdz. Apparently it was in my Books.Blog contract. Fuck. But my crack legal team has found a loophole: I only need to reveal a "sexy bearded man, known in the music industry." It never actually says it needs to be me.
So here you go:
This is musician William Elliott Whitmore. He's in a beat-up pickup truck, with his chainsaw, out back on his family's farm in Iowa. Somehow as a kid growing up in rural Iowa, he got into punk rock, toured with metal bands, discovered he had a startling, powerful, whiskey-and-gravel voice, picked up a banjo, and started writing some folk songs. He is on the cover of a book I edited called Music from Nowhere. You should read it.
If you like it, you might want to stop looking for sexy photos on the Internet and read a column called This Week's Best Albums. It's a good way to find out about cool music and handsome tattooed farmer musicians from Iowa. This week we have music from El-P, Autolux, Dax Riggs, Vox Arcana, and more.
"There's so much great music out every week, across so many different genres," says our music editor, Scott Morrow, who compiles the weekly list. "Keeping up with it can be daunting, so we try to help you out each week and present a diverse selection of the very best that we've encountered. This eclectic selection mirrors the content of our print edition, which we feel goes markedly further — and deeper underground — than anything else in the
by Chris Force, August 2, 2010 9:49 AM
First, let's get this piece of housekeeping out of the way: fuck you, PowellsBooks.Blog! Who puts some C-list self-published music journalist on after GARY FUCKING SHTEYNGART?! Dude's public readings rival those cut-rate clearance-sale days at American Apparel. Guy has a romper lost and found in his office. And not only is he out-balling me, but his books, you know, sell! Like, people buy them, and paid print critics, the most fickle of them all, say they're smart and touching! I carried Absurdistan
around in my Chrome messenger bag for weeks, savoring the opportunity to read it. Now I've got to out-witty that Russian bastard for five days. Your choice of scheduling is just cruel, and embarrassing. You realize I have a degree in ceramics
? What kind of inferiority complex are you trying to feed here? I'm from the Midwest! Haven't I suffered enough? At least my beard is superior to Shteyngart's.
So, before the hate mail rolls in, let me take a minute to plug my book.
This month, a book that I edited, Alarm 38: Invisible, will go on sale. (I hope the girls from Hunter read it but I won't hold my breath.) The book is a collection of exclusive features on musicians whom we think are awesome but overlooked. It's 228 pages of geeking out over some of the best, weirdest, most moving, important, badass, and truly independent music that our editors could find. It marks the 15th year I've been editing and publishing Alarm, and it has some of my favorite stories I've ever published.
Jamie Ludwig writes about Tim Barry (Avail), a successful singer/songwriter with legions of fans, who lives completely off the grid with a "compost bucket and no running water." Jessica Steinhoff writes about Carolina Chocolate Drops, one of the last remaining African American string bands. Music editor Scott Morrow writes about Mike Patton's (Faith No More) time in Italy and his 40-piece Italian orchestra project, Mondo Cane.
Read it. Remember a few of the band names, and then casually mention them to the girl with bangs and fluorescent yellow tights in line to hear Shteyngart speak. Let me know how it works