Glass of Russian tea
Chicago took a turn for winter again this week, then, abruptly, about-faced (it was 52 degrees F this morning!). Tomorrow, if the forecast's to be believed, we plunge again. Bye-bye 50s, hello 30s, 20s, below and beyond. No matter. I have my own handwarmer, my own hot jelly jar of Russian tea (what my mom often used to hand me when I came in from the cold or was sick in bed). Lazy Are the Skeletons (Three Ring Records, eMusic) is a couple-months-old record by The Scattered Pages, a three-piece band from Houston. It's alternately smooth and grainy, teeming with ideas and instruments and lots and lots of words (but not, thank God, in the Decemberists sense).
Iris - The Scattered Pages
"Iris, " a song that shimmers, jangles and soars, is the prettiest on the record. Too pretty, perhaps -- with verses and choruses, windups and breakdowns, pillowy guitar solos and a waltzing mid-track interlude all competing for the prize of liltiest lift and hookiest hook. Oh, and it stars my favorite percussive instrument, the shaker, for just the right amount of jitter. On the face of it, "Iris" is about a girl, bookended with the sweet ache of I fell in love with a girl from the countryside. So you know this is a story and you think this is a folk ballad. Except, it's really more of a epic about a life -- a life that includes life before birth and life after (We lived a lifetime before we had eyes/And we lived a lifetime alone). About all manners of wonders and mysteries. About the sea and disease and a home where Iris refuses to stay. Actually, I don't know what it's about. Does it matter? It's a song to understand implicitly and to pull out on a day like this. Whatever this day might be.
We Could Have the Lot - The Scattered Pages
"Lot" has a little gypsy, a little country and a lot of circus. Unprepossessing in its shambling start (wha? setting up their amps?), it gets rollicking real quick with some nifty drum rolls, a bouncy bass line and dancing dogs in pink tutus and cowboy hats. No, no dogs. But it's that kind of song.
The Scattered Pages' Web site.
I recently started reading KinoSport. It's another mp3 blog, but a lot better than just another mp3 blog. It's like someone's (fascinating, well-designed) diary and a good example of why I like blogs vs. zines and other kinds of Web content: You can hear the breathing human being behind it.
Rome returns Sunday night. I'm still deliberating over whether I care and trying to remember if, historically, things got more interesting after Caesar's murder. But I'm actually looking forward to the second season of Big Love, whenever that happens. And because I don't subscribe to Showtime, I recently Netflixed the first season of Weeds. Riotous! The best line of any television show in recent memory: Nancy to her whorish, scheming brother-in-law Andy, "You've made your bed, now fuck in it." Perhaps funnier in context. And no, I don't watch The Wire. I will eventually catch up with it, I promise. So get off my back already.