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 out.