Fanmix: Warren Ellis, Gun Machine

Fan mixes: collections of music created as both soundtrack and illustration for other works, usually works of fiction, intended as both appreciation of and enticement to read the work of fiction.

This one is for Gun Machine by Warren Ellis, who is author of, among other things, Transmetropolitan and Crooked Little Vein, and is NOT the dude who plays music with Nick Cave.

Gun Machine is a murder mystery set in New York. But not the New York you usually see on cop shows; the Financial District, which is older and darker. Down there you’re off the grid. The streets are narrow and twisty and reality can be very thin. Depending on how the wind is blowing off the water, it does feel like you could walk around a corner today and stumble into the 17th century, 1926 could be tomorrow and 2018 was last week.

“Off the grid” would actually sum up the book as a whole. It is also bloody, startling, deeply lonely, occasionally bitingly funny, like watching my own city from the wrong end of a telescope, a complex puzzle, and very, very good. If you pick it up, be sure to both read and … Continue reading

Let the Wrong Light In: Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Heart of a Dog

Kasey Anderson and the Honkies are from both Seattle and Portland, and are Kasey Anderson on vocals, guitar, percussion, Andrew KcKeag (Presidents of the United States of America) on guitar, vocals, Eric Corson (The Long Winters) on bass, and Mike Musburger (The Posies, The Supersuckers) on drums.

Heart of a Dog is the result of Anderson’s desire to move beyond being a solo artist and “just make a rock n’ roll record” and, dear readers: he, the band, and their all-star guest stars (Jenny Comlee of the Decemberists and Dave Harding of Richmond Fontaine, among others) have most definitely succeeded.

I’ve been carrying the songs around with me for a while now, and listening to them in all kinds of situations: while studying for exams, while on the train, and now, poolside, and they always improve both my mood and my day, whether I apply them directly or they float up on shuffle.

I can’t really isolate one or two favorites for you – the whole record is strong – but I … Continue reading