04 August 2022

Summer Things

Fresh New Vinyl:
Belle And Sebastian • A Bit Of Previous (2022)
I first heard Belle & Sebastian in 1997 when they were played for me by Dave, the proprietor of Rebel Rebel on Bleecker Street, a much loved and sorely missed record shop in the West Village of NYC. He was one of those wise folks who was keen on connecting his discerning customers to music he knew they would enjoy based on their individual tastes. I frequently bought records there through the 1990s despite the fact that many others had abandoned that format. Dave could remember what records or CDs you bought during your last visit or what upcoming releases you had called (yes, called on an actual telephone) to ask about. Rebel Rebel’s phone number was printed on their signature blue shopping bags and as you can imagine, I had many of those around so the hotline number was never far from my hand. I recently found my very last Rebel Rebel bag and I’ll be sharing that treasure soon but back to Belle & Sebastian… I’ve loved this band for 25 years and they’ve been quite prolific in that time. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them live with good friends on two occasions and I’m consistently awed by the rich, full and elegant sounds they create on stage and on their albums and EPs. Throughout the pandemic and its global lockdowns, frontman Stuart Murdoch hosted meditation sessions on Facebook Live and his calming, thoughtful presence always put me at ease. It frequently amazed me that this Scottish artist whose work I first purchased on a vinyl import in New York in the 1990s was reaching across space and time using all attendant technology to quietly “ground” me and thousands of others in a very direct and meaningful way some 20-plus years later. During 2020 and 2021, the band kept working and this beautiful new album is the result of their enduring talents and perseverance. Stuart also shot the photos for the album’s four different sleeves. This one includes Titana Muthui in modern day with Yvonne Kincaid and Cass Kildea as early 20th century spectral figures behind her. Thank you, Belle & Sebastian (and Dave) for EVERYTHING!

When its' 100 degrees yet my friend Steve STILL orders soup.

Shallow Water 

29 July 2022 • Early Autumn Color 
It’s far too early for there to be this much orange and yellow in the trees or on the ground. I’ve also noticed squirrels digging furiously both around my house and on the trails in the park this past month like never before. I guess they’re having a Hot Squirrel Summer. What do they know that we don’t? No rain. Intense heat. Off axis altogether.

I got to spend an absolutely wonderful day with my friend Suzanne Casamento. Past, present and future all converge whenever old friends meet. No amount of texting, social media, FaceTime or Zoom compares to sharing a meal face to face in a restaurant, walking through trails, touching and talking to trees, feeling the present and palpable energy of resident spirits in the soldiers huts (very light) or the officers huts (very heavy) and sharing perspectives on every imaginable topic. Some people, no matter how long you’ve known them or no matter where life has taken them, retain their inherent crystal core as they evolve. Thank you, Suzanne for your ever present, multifaceted prism of insight and light.

Meanwhile, over in Pennsylvania...

Vibe Check • 49th Summer