Archive for the ‘My Favorite Things Right Now’ Category

 

 

FEVER

 

 

Megan Abbott’s new novel, The Fever, is in bookstores today. I just grabbed my copy — it’s rare I run out to find a book the day it’s released, but this is exactly like the excitement I feel when a long-awaited movie hits theaters.

Megan Abbott’s stories are dark in tone and subject, bolstered by psychological detail and impeccable prose. Her characters are unforgettable. This particular story is drawn from an actual case concerning an outbreak of mysterious seizures among a clique of high school girls in New York. To me, that sounds both refreshingly different from Dare Me, the previous book by the same author, but also of a piece with it. I’ll find out as soon as I start reading!

You can buy The Fever sight-unseen, in full confidence it will be excellent. And you can go get your copy signed this evening at the terrific bookstore Book Court, assuming you’re anywhere near Brooklyn.

 

Below is the brief appreciation I wrote for Daily Grindhouse about Megan Abbott’s 2012 masterwork, Dare Me.

 

 

 

Most writers dream of creating their own genre — Megan Abbott has actually done it.

Dare Me is best described as cheerleader-noir, and if that doesn’t sound immediately awesome and intriguing to you, then that’s my failure, not the book’s, and I should keep brainstorming genre names until I find one that justifies the brilliance of this darkly humorous and unforgivingly engrossing novel.

The story centers around a high school cheer squad, its queen bee and her second-in-command (the book’s narrator), whose accepted hierarchy is upended by a new coach. A power struggle, death and manipulation and paranoia ensue — if you’re thinking of teen comedies from the set-up, even the good ones, please don’t — this is black as pitch, unrelenting and upsetting.

If I had to choose a dream director for the upcoming film adaptation, it’d be Jacques Tourneur, but unfortunately he isn’t available. Natalie Portman is currently attached to the project (presumably in the role of the coach); let’s hope the movie does this unique and brilliant book justice.

 

Find out more at the official website for the book.

 

 


@JONNYABOMB

 

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Drokk is not the soundtrack to the new DREDD movie.  Well, it could’ve been.

As you can surmise from the subtitle, Music Inspired By Mega-City One, this collection of music is very much Dredd-affiliated.  Geoff Barrow, instrumentalist for the English trip-hop band Portishead, collaborated with composer Ben Salisbury on this collection of orchestral music that at one point was intended to be the score for the new DREDD movie.  For whatever reasons, that didn’t pan out, and the score to DREDD was provided by Paul Leonard-Morgan.  The actual DREDD score is still very good, the general difference being that it’s heavier on the tangible instruments, such as guitar and drums.

Barrow and Salisbury primarily used 1975-model Oberheim 2 Voice Synthesizers for their compositions, the result of which being that Drokk has less in common with the bombastic Zimmer-influenced action soundtracks of today, and falls more in line with the more measured, eerier likes of Fabio Frizzi and Goblin, and also with the pseudo-futuristic shimmer of Vangelis (BLADE RUNNER).  Oh, and John Carpenter.  Very much John Carpenter.  Listen to Track #4, “301-305” — sound familiar?  It will if you’ve seen ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13.

Drokk is the most fun kind of homage.  It’s all the action movies and sci-fi movies you grew up on, but the only place it’s happening is inside your head when you listen to it.  Maybe it’s ultimately not a huge tragedy that it was separated from DREDD — I like the idea of this rogue soundcloud travelling adrift from the context within which it may or may not have originally been created.  It doesn’t have to accompany a story made up by someone else — you can have it soundtrack the story you imagine yourself.

If you’re into that kind of thing, that is.  (I am!)

You can listen to the entire thing here, but it’s well worth a buy:  http://drokk.bandcamp.com/

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Me more here always:  @jonnyabomb

Talib Kweli has for a long time been my favorite MC, certainly the one I’ve seen most often in concert.  Few in any genre of music can match him for consistency and substance, and none have better balanced witty wordplay with words actually worth saying.  Matching Kweli with DJ Z-Trip is inspired, since Z-Trip is one of the most inventive and playful of the mash-up artists to have appeared in the hip-hop underground over the past decade.  Kweli brings a sophistication, sincerity, and sardonic humor to everything he does, and Z-Trip brings the wild sonic inspiration.

Their Attack The Block mixtape is a riff on my favorite movie of last year (and apparently Kweli’s als0), with contributions from all-stars like Black Thought, Styles P, and 9th Wonder (among others) and musical nods to Dead Prez, Public Enemy, Eric B., and REM (!!!!!!).

In my opinion this is pretty much the best thing to happen on computer speakers all year.

Download Attack The Block FOR FREE here:

http://www.datpiff.com/Talib-Kweli-Z-Trip-Attack-The-Block-mixtape.389953.html

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Here are a couple samples to wet your whistle:

Attack The Block” [Title Track]

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NY Shining”  [my favorite track at the moment]

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Follow TK on Twitter:  @TalibKweli

Follow Z-Trip on Twitter:  @ztrip

Follow me on Twitter:  @jonnyabomb