One of the nice things about being at a geographical remove from another culture is that you can come to most of its luminaries unburdened by the prejudices proximity engenders. For instance, when I hear something about Simon Armitage, I think, "Oh, I like his poems" or "Gee, All Points North was a really enjoyable book," rather than, say, "Cor blimey, that insufferable twat again?" which is how I imagine British people might express it (if indeed they consider him an insufferable twat, which I have no evidence about either way; the point is just that he's so much less prominent in these parts that I haven't developed [...]
Would you like to hear a dub remix of The Smiths' "This Charming Man"? It's here! I mean, you might not, that's fine too. Do whatever you want, I don't judge.
The adorable and fun-loving Imperial Teen (who I always think of as the original New Pornographers; their excellent first album, 1996's "Seasick," did predate the Pornographers by three years, but that's irrelevant, they don't have that much in common, besides being awesome and having a love of jaunty pop) have a new album out today! You can stream the whole album right here. Or even purchase it!
Happy Mardi Gras! While you watch the joy unfold down in New Orleans, listen to this:
Go here for Best Coast's cover of the inescapable Fleetwood Mac song "Rhiannon." It's a terrific take, even—or perhaps especially—if you're someone for whom the droning faux-mystic tones of Stevie Nicks inspires thoughts of warm baths and sharp blades.
One of the few bright spots of any new year, apart from the holidays finally being over, is the London Review of Books' presentation of Alan Bennett's diary. The 2011 volume is only available to subscribers, but you can listen to some extracts here and then go buy yourself a copy of the issue. Or better yet, subscribe.
If you're not all that busy this afternoon why not listen to a bunch of versions of Al Green's "Take Me To The River"?
Awl pals Nicole Cliffe and Richard Rushfield talk about Classic Trash on Richard's podcast. It's here!
Go here to stream Love At The Bottom Of The Sea, the great new record by the Magnetic Fields. Seriously, go. Go now.