Saturday, May 06, 2006


Much excitement here on the good ship Quinquireme at the prospect (via NTK) of attending a talk given by uber-cyberpunk author and neo-green activist Bruce Sterling in a Belgravia pub the week after next.

Apart from anything else, the boy Bruce (or 'Chairman Bruce', as I believe is the customary address) is a top neologist, having coined the words 'spime' (an electronically trackable item) and 'buckyjunk' (something made of carbon nanotubes, named after geodesic dome enthusiast Buckminster Fuller). Although this doesn't detract from the fact that the dialogue in that book he wrote with that other uber-cyberpunk author is woefully unreadable.

Bruce hails from Austin, Texas, as do no fewer than three of my very favouritest indie bands; Voxtrot, Spoon and Okkervil River. Coincidentally enough, this Monday I'm going to see 'the' River play at Cargo in Shoreditch, which I'm very excited about too, because I missed them last time around, and because singer/songwriter Will Sheff has a fabulous way with lyrics.

Even more coincidentally, Spoon are playing at Koko in Camden the day after Bruce's talk. Expect the burglary rate in Austin, TX to skyrocket as all its showbiz residents swan about London Town.

Spoon are co-headlining with the New Pornographers, who don't come from Austin, being Canadian, but who do produce some marvellous indie-jangle-pop songs. Here's a splendid example, featuring what may be the best drum solo intro* since Elvis Costello's Watching The Detectives:

The New Pornographers - Electric Version (mp3) - courtesy of Good Weather for Airstrikes

Also not from Austin (Omaha, Nebraska) are Tilly And The Wall, who get Artwork of the Week for their lovely website, and Song of the Week for this stupidly infectious tango**-meets-60s girl group-meets-Riot Grrrl tune:

Tilly And The Wall - Bad Education (mp3) - courtesy of Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands

And that should surely be enough for anyone.

* According to Wikipedia, this song starts with 'an arpeggiated diminished triad—a rare and strange opening flourish for a pop song'. Ahem. I knew that.

** By which I mean some sort of Spanish/Latin American dance-type thing with handclaps and twirling and stamping feet and accordions, could be flamenco, any corrections gratefully received.

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DavetheF said...

Bruce Sterling is a curious SF oddity. I've quite enjoyed one or two of his books, but he seems to be a proponent of Californication.
The world does not deserve such a fate.

patroclus said...

I've not read any of his books, apart from the go I had at reading The Difference Engine, but I'm a complete sucker for all that cyberpunk stuff about how real and virtual worlds intertwine. Er, as regular readers of this blog may have noticed. Especially as it's now moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the realm of the everyday. Although strangely no one really seems to notice.

GreatSheElephant said...

hmm, no handclapping in tango. As you say, sounds like flamenco

cello said...

So;'arpeggiated diminished triad' eh? IP and I are very proud of you indeed.

Aimee said...

Slightly off-topic (although still on a musical theme), I would like to just say thanks/muchos gracias/danke/merci/???????* for my Track a Tiger CD. I received it this morning and thus far it is proving to be really rather likeable.
I would highly recommend to people that giving out personal addresses on the internet is never foolish when in the pursuit of music.
So thanks again :)

*That last one was the (slightly more exotic) Russian for thank you.

patroclus said...

GSE: Thanks for that. I think it's sort of flamenco with tap dancing and cheerleading. What with that and the 60s girl band stuff and the riot grrl bits, it's fair to say it's quite an eclectic song. Very catchy though. More like that, please!

Cello: I'd like to say that I can recognise an arpeggiated diminished triad when I hear one, but sadly this isn't the case, and probably never will be.

Aimee: Why, it was my pleasure. 'Likeable' is probably the right adjective for that album, yes. Impressive use of Russian, too, although Firefox has seen fit to replace your Cyrillic characters with question marks. Sort it out, Firefox!

Interpreter Pavlov said...

Proud? Indeed we are. Enormously. But here at the House of the Interpreter we've listened *sedulously* to the track you mention without hearing anything approaching an ADT: there's a fairly inventive opening percusssion solo, followed by a guitar/keyboard descending figured chordal progression reminiscent at least of a passage from a Bach toccata (the famous D minor Toccata and Fugue).
Don't think we're on the right track, are we?

Billy said...

Wow! Those two songs are brilliant. Although if I had to choose just 1 it'd be the Tilly and the Wall one. I'm a sucker for handclaps you see.

patroclus said...

IP: Well, that's Wikipedia for you, eh? It's a veritable mine of misinformation, although the New Pornographers one isn't quite as bad as this entry.

Billy: That Tilly and the Wall song is indeed great. And even better, they're playing at the Luminaire in Kilburn a mere twelve days hence!

Aimee said...

Those question marks dont quite do my boast of using Russian justice. I'm sure it actually was in Russian when it was initially posted. Someone stole my Russian lettering overnight, the bastard.

LC said...

The Hacker Crackdown is very good indeed, but I gave up on The Difference Engine, way too much hard work.

First Nations said...

*feeling so terribly, terribly un-hip just about now.*

*yet adorable.*

Arabella said...

Me too. But it's O.K.
Anyone else been to The Poodle Dog Lounge in Austin? That's #1 on my list of dive bars.
Selects Rosie Flores and Wanda Jackson to annoy customers in the book shop today.