[MUSIC] Rachel Zaffira’s Amazing Acoustic Cover of My Bloody Valentine

Rachel Zaffira, a multi-instrumentalist and half of the duo Cat’s Eyes, has recorded a stunning acoustic version of My Bloody Valentine’s “To Here Knows When”.  Replacing MBV’s complex layers of warped, droning electronic guitars, Zaffira uses a spine-tingling ensemble of piano, cello, French horn and other acoustic instruments. The song is apparently part of a solo project currently underway. Can’t wait!


Rave Review: “Life of the Party” by Miskatonic

Miskatonic Life of the Party

Thanks to Joel Simches of Boston’s, The Noise, for this glowing review of my band, Miskatonic’s, most recent album, Life of the Party.

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Miskatonic returns with their long awaited second full length and follow-up to their brilliant EP (the 2009 release Favorite Records EP). Like it’s predecessor, Life of the Party combines energetic, intense indie rock with flashes of synth pop and sci-fi sonic chocobliss. This album takes their unique sound to a completely new level, making the transition from group to band, with infectious melodies, intricate lush arrangements and stunning production values. Oh, and the songs are great, too! Miskatonic has completely defined themselves with a sound and sensibility that’s uniquely their own. For those who enjoyed their last EP, fret not, for it is included with the nine new songs! Life of the Party is nothing less than a pop masterpiece. I can’t stop listening to this. It is so good it makes my epididymis twitch! (Joel Simches)

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The “stunning production” is courtesy of Rafi Sofer at Q Division studio in Somerville, MA. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon and other music websites.

You can read this and other Boston band reviews on the The Noise’s website.

Here’s the video for Goodnight Baby, the first song on Life of the Party. Photos by the always awesome Hans Wendland.

The Future of the Book


The Future of the Book

Mod's diagram of analog vs. digital publishing system.

Thanks to gigaom.com for turning me on to a great 2011 article on the future of the book by Craig Mod, Post Artifact Books and Publishing.

The article covers much ground in discussing the book as pre-artifact (writing and publishing), artifact (the book itself) and post-artifact (the life of a book after being published). Community-influenced writing and digital publishing is clearly blurring the lines between these traditional stages, as well as between author and reader.

Most interesting to me is his focus on the opportunities digital technology creates for books, as opposed to how books can be digitized. He writes,

When we think about digital’s effect on storytelling, we tend to grasp for the lowest hanging imaginative fruits. The common cliche is that digital will ‘bring stories to life.’ Words will move. Pictures become movies. Narratives will be choose-your-own-adventure. While digital does make all of this possible, these are the changes of least radical importance brought about by digitization of text. These are the answers to the question, “How do we change books to make them digital?” The essence of digital’s effect on publishing requires a subtle shift towards the query: “How does digital change books?”

He cites the encyclopedia as an example. Digitizing the encyclopedia results in a Microsoft Encarta CD. Asking how digital technology can change the encyclopedia gives us Wikipedia, a crowdsourced living document that is constantly being rewritten, yet through its system of verification has built a large degree of trust and widespread adoption.

As the digital publishing systems evolve we will have more opportunities to share our highlights, marginalia and reactions to books in real time with large audiences. A book will be in a constant state of being rewritten by its readers.

Like many, I love the book as a physical object and romanticize the idea of an author struggling in isolation to produce a unique work of genius. But I also share Mod’s excitement about being part of a publishing revolution that will bring writers and readers together to create iterative texts that would have never before been possible.

A Kindle version of this article is available for $2.99. Or you can just read it on Mod’s site for free.

[TV] Overlooked: The Life and Times of Tim

Life many of the best shows, HBO’s The Life and Times of Tim quickly garnered critical accolades and a cult following only to be quashed by the network after its second season. But, following rumors that it would be picked up by another network, HBO reversed its decision and ordered a third season, which started in December.

In this animated comedy series, Tim, a New York slacker, finds himself in a variety of ridiculous, uncomfortable situations. His attempts to extricate himself only get him in deeper. He’s a bit like Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm, only younger and more eager to please. And a cartoon.


Diary of Anne Frank String Quartet Documentary

Shortly after graduating from college in the late ’80s, I moved to Minneapolis where a number of my fellow Oberlin alums had migrated. Three of them (Josh Feit, Jeff Tolbert and Laura Harada) had formed a strange pop band that traded drums for violin and cello. Another (Barry Madore) shared an interest  in music and cameras, so we teamed up with the local cable station to make a documentary about the Diary of Anne Frank String Quartet. I finally got around to digitizing it and breaking it into two parts so that Youtube can handle it. The video features interviews with all the members and live performances of their wonderful, haunting music. (And, yes, some of the early moments in the film are intentionally silent.)

Part 1

Part 2