Once again, the Else Family is gearing up for vacation. This means pulling together music and literature! Here's what we're listening to and reading this year:
Tame Impala, Currents--Kevin Parker's newest release is an epiphany...a delightful summer record that eschews guitar freak-outs for bass & synth driven psychedelic pop. We will be listening to a lot of this on the boat!
Wilco, Star Wars--Tweedy & Co. surprised everyone with this free release (www.wilcoworld.net) of new music (their first since 2011). It is a throwback, of sorts, and upon initial listens hearkens to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (which remains my favorite Wilco album).
The Helio Sequence, Negotiations--Melodic indie pop rock released in 2012 remains a touch above their most recent eponymous release.
Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind--Kevin Parker (see above) changes direction and the critics swoon. Marcus Mumford changes directions and the critics seethe. Evidently, you don't let go the banjo. Critical resentment aside, this is a wonderful record.
The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream--This album defined 2014 in many ways, and remains in my playlist. It will get a lot of play on vacation, once again.
Sufjan Stevens, Carrie & Lowell--However a little depressing, this a great album for early, hazy mornings.
Mansionair, Hold Me Down EP--More Australia. More catchy techno soul.
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest--I actually just finished this book, so it won't be coming along on vacation. As I just finished it, I'm including it on this list. It is one of the more fascinating, difficult books I've read in a long time.
Patricia Hackett & Andy Warhol, The Andy Warhol Diaries--This book will be hefted along (it would not be if we were flying). I'm not sure how much time I'll spend in it, as it appears to be a catalogue of Andy's many dinners and nights out with interesting people. I would prefer to live my own life, and not live through the life of a long dead artist, but may warm up to it as we go.
Harper Lee, Go Set a Watchman--Critics are ambivalent; booksellers are cashing in. Fifty years after To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee has the perhaps impossible task of meeting expectations. We'll see.
Ralph J. Mouw, Letters from Ralph: A Soldier Writes Home During World War II--Orange City native Ralph Mouw provides a firsthand account of life in the theater of war. There is a lot of buzz in Northwest Iowa about this book!
Nicole Baart, The Beautiful Daughters--Sioux Center resident (and friend) Nicole Baart's seventh book has gotten a lot of attention nationally. I am excited to read it!
Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band--Sonic Youth riot grrrl! Kim Gordon's, er, autobiography?
James Michener, Centennial--This would be a better book if we were going to Colorado. As it is, Michener, the West, and vacation make a pretty good trio.