Congratulations to Hadara Bar-Nadav!!
I received Patrick Phalen’s new cd Cost in the mail yesterday. I’d known Patrick for a while, he’d dated my old college friend Lesley Foster, and when I first moved to Richmond he was one of the few people I knew. I can’t say I ever became friends with him, but I’ve always adored his music. I hadn’t heard anything about him for a long time so I was surprised and pleased to hear this new cd was coming out. I’ve always thought he deserved to be a worshipped cult figure in indie rock—maybe with the level of status his label has garnered over the last few years he’ll get more recognition.
Possibly the most striking show I ever saw was Patrick’s old band South playing their cd release in Richmond at an old Karate dojo, a big open loft of hardwood and windows in the romantically rundown part of Church Hill. The room was lit entirely with white candles and South, at that point a band of 7 or 8 members, had the whole rom under their spell. I was living in DC at the time and came down to Richmond to visit Dave Carillo and Robert Cataldo; it was only by chance I was even at the show. I remember that night as mostly dream, a long swoon of melody and flickering light, shadow on white fabric, reflections of faces in tall, age-mottled windows.
South were the best band to come out of Richmond, even better than the (Young) Pioneers (who were amazing). Their cd, however, was released during the initial backlash against Tortoise-style instrumental complexity. Their label was tiny then and the record was easily dismissable as another Chicago-prog sounding wannabe. But it is so much more, the child of both Slowdive’s dreamy guitar production and Reichian attention to repetition South never dug into 70’s era Miles Davis as a source of its complexity as Tortoise did, and it never let structure take precedence over mood and sweep. His new record still washes and sweeps, but with an organic glitchiness and breathily genuine confidence. For Patrick, a dedicated devotee of the shoegazer wash of guitar, it's almost rockin.
Also I got the new issue of Circumference yesterday. This and No are probably the two print journals I look forward to the most. The Osip Mandelstam, Boleslaw Lesmian & Maria Negroni in Circumference are especially tickling. The Paul Celan selection is incredible--I could have said breathtaking, but I chose not to. Because I care about you. Circumference makes me excited when I see it. Driving home from the bookstore yesterday I kept peeking inside during red lights, getting honked at. Speaking of translations, though, the new Typo is pretty dreamy.
Also I’m really fond of Brigitte Byrd’s Fence Above the Sea, Sarah Menefee’s Human Star, and Aaron Teiger & Jess Myers’ Coltsfoot Insularity chapbook. I got to read a lot yesterday.