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Everybody is talking about how listy the internet has gotten. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I do know my interest in making lists increased dramatically after reading Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity. (Back then I had to make my lists on analog yellow legal pads, like a caveman.)

So here are four songs I loved from the get-go. The songs in this list (as it were) are still holding strong in the rotation.

Human Behavior – “Crag”

Human Behavior came through Austin in August while on tour from Tucson, AZ; their show was ethereal, intimate and surreal, the perfect blend of DIY and performance art. Whenever I muster up the emotional energy to re-read Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, Human Behavior’s Golgotha may be the perfect complement.

 

Matthew McMurry – “Parallax”

During a trip to Little Rock, AR I played at the welcoming open mic at Afterthought Bistro & Bar. The hosts were friendly and there were a variety of performers from jazz to cabaret to folk. Matthew McMurry’s performance stood out with this haunting, mellow, and cosmic song. He also makes some fantastic electronica as Haunted Disco and his cousin makes awesome videos as Andrew M Films.

 

Mount Moon – “You Dont Know”

I heard this Mount Moon song on Welcome to Night Vale and the emotional energy immediately captivated me, with the lyrics hitting hard and close to home. Mount Moon is doing more electronic soul-type music nowadays, and the newer stuff is great as well.

 

Kacey Musgraves – “My House”

While Kacey Musgraves is undoubtedly the least “indie” on the list (although she did self-release three albums before making it big), the arrangements, instrumentation, and not-quite-over-produced sound of her music is a good example of how country music can be well-produced while remaining sincere and true to its roots. Carrie and I dream of someday living on the road in a camper, so it’s easy to love this song.

My friend Dan from The Yellow Dress delivered the sad news that Kumar Pallana, also known as Kumar (Bottle Rocket), Mr. LittleJeans (Rushmore) and Pagoda (The Royal Tenenbaums), passed away. He always played lovable and memorable characters, and he adds so much to Wes Anderson’s movies with such subtlety. I planned to someday visit the Cosmic Cup in Dallas in the hope of meeting him.

While looking for a sound bite of a Pagoda line I’m constantly and poorly imitating, “Oh shit, man,” I found this fantastic YouTube montage of his lines from The Royal Tenenbaums. (After I found it, I noticed the A.V. Club also included it in their post. Sometimes details escape me.)

Goodnight, Mr. LittleJeans.

Rhode Island, home of Moonrise Kingdom and the recently resurrected Cthulhu.

In August, Carrie and I met up with my brothers and their families for the first elder Fountain brothers reunion in at least a couple years. I met a new nephew, Arturo Nikola, and my niece, Stella Marie. My nephew Joshua and I had some good bonding time and built a super awesome tent-fort hybrid. We are unstoppable.

We made it in time to attend WaterFire in Providence, a festival in which large torches are lit along the water after sunset. Small boats and gondolas glided by with fire-breathers, fire-dancers, and large H.P. Lovecraft-inspired creatures. WaterFire ended (at least, when we left) with a strange ceremony in a different language; the only two words we could make out were “Cthulhu” and “sushi,” and we reached the conclusion that Cthulhu will give everyone sushi before destroying humanity. Still waiting on the sushi.

Moonrise Kingdom is my favorite Wes Anderson movie since The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s a wonderful love story full of action and adventure, irresponsible adults and precocious children. We visited the sets of some scenes and took photos: The meadow where Sam and Suzy rendezvous, the beach where they set up camp, and “St. Jack’s” church.

"I will meet you in the meadow."

The meadow scene – with a temporarily constructed windmill – was filmed at the Watson Farm in Jamestown, RI, established in 1789 and maintained by the wonderfully hospitable Minto family. I love them. (The 52 of 28 song “to get lost” is partly about about visiting their house, built in 1796.)

Moonrise Kingdom camp site

The beach at Fort Wetherill was beautiful; if you face away from the boat ramp and park entrance, it seems like the perfect secluded place for two young runaways to camp.

Don't park too close to St. Jack's.

We visited Trinity Church at night (St. Jack’s in the film), with its scaffolding and strange green glowing lights. The church bells sounded as we approached, and I was just waiting for Cthulhu’s hurricane of evil.

It was a great five days. We drank lots of coffee (seriously, a lot), ate apples straight from the tree, and had some much needed family bonding time.

Late 19th/early 20th century American folk music is endlessly fascinating to me and a major source of inspiration for my music, especially in my choice of musical instruments and the sonic nuances I’m always trying to reproduce. When I first listened to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, I felt like I had a glimpse into a vastly important piece of history that was simultaneously fading away and fighting to be remembered.

WFMU shared Dinosaur Disc’s transfer of Folk Music In America earlier today. From what I’ve heard so far, Dinosaur Discs did an awesome job converting this LP series to digital format, including PDFs of the extensive liner notes. Dinosaur Disc also has a great history of recorded American music, technical information on digitizing recordings, and a great selection of downloads. Here’s to keeping American folk music history alive.

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