Monthly Archives: April 2009

book lust – the wrong kind

To be filed within the “interesting bookmarks” taxonomy. Someone loves Shakespeare’s Hamlet commentary a little too much.

book lust

new music – middle cyclone

nekoNeko Case’s new album Middle Cyclone, is well titled.  A force of nature, it’s a commanding collection of songs not only showcasing the beauty and strength of her voice, but it’s also an intelligently conceived expression of a bold though suppressed anger of the overlooked feminine psyche.  More overtly, the album is a warning not to overlook the force of mother nature herself; in the closing thirty minutes Case deliberately bends our ears toward the night music of the marsh, the crying of crickets and frogs.  But more than that,  Case alludes to the theme of the feminine being taken for granted, and the resulting cyclone in wait.

Be forewarned, the first half of the record starts with the “tiniest sparks” and the “tenderest sound”, a lovely beginning to the showcase, as it were.  Once the listener reaches “I’m an Animal”, however, the cyclone becomes manifest, a darkening crescendo of turbulence.  With all songs are fairly short and predictably impressive, the absolute masterpiece for me is the longer “Prison Girls”; it’s a funeral dirge for those women eternally unimpressed, who’ve “traded more for cigarettes than I’ve managed to express”.

Middle Cyclone is an hugely solid album with incredible accompaniment.  The sound is awash with the drums, upright bass, piano, and guitars from eternal alt-country ambassadors Howe Gelb, Calexico, and M. Ward.  Case’s own band is impeccable as well, not only highlighting her voice but surrounding it with a fullness that nearly suffocating.  As usual, the lyrics are as haunting as in any prior Neko Case release, too.  Standing equal with Fox Confessor, Middle Cyclone is yet another jewel in Case’s crown.

campuscast

Egads…it looks like the web 2.0 / social networking movement is really picking up steam in academia.  There seems to be a new online lecture-cast platform that’s unveiled every week.  Inevitably it’s an encouraging movement, as colleges and universities are realizing they have the ability to capture lightning in a bottle as it strikes on campus.  Librarians are cashing in as well, as increasingly we are the ones who are doing the recording, organizing and disseminating of such content.

The movement toward increased lecture-cast only makes perfect sense.  A special event happens on campus, and with the permission to record and eventually post said lecture, an institution not only contributes to the overall body of knowledge, but also promotes itself and faculty in the process.

Notable platforms

  • YouTube – EDU – With brilliant examples like the periodic table of videos, more and more schools are uploading content, forcing YouTube to organize a separate space for the professional geeks.
  • FORA.tv – Focuses more on the prestigious speakers than the institutions. Important indeed.
  • Academic Earth – currently featuring lectures from Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.
  • iTunes U – Virtual beheamoth that it is, iTunes U is a subset of the iTunes Store contaning massive amounts of lectures, supplementary course info, and stuff of a general academic nature.  Typically free, of course.

frothcoming – yours truly, the commuter

lytle

Favored Dispatch! It brings great joy to have acquired news through the inter-tubes that Jason Lytle, former frontman of Grandaddy, will once again elevate himself into the stratosphere with his new release, Yours Truly, the Commuter.

Always introspective and always artistic, Lytle will no doubt offer an account of past memories tempered with the solitude and reflection of his move to Montana.  The spirit of alt-country welcomes you back into her sun-soaked arms, Jason.