This past week, I've really been digging a pair of EPs from a couple young Philly bands. Give 'em a listen on the Music Playlist below. But let's start with a book I highly recommend ...
The Dart League King. Keith Lee Morris
Thursday night is dart night in Garnet Lake, Idaho. It's Russell Harmon's night. We know that from the start. And over the next over the next 200 of so pages the night unfolds from Harmon's perspective, but also the perspective of four others -- college graduate Tristen Mackey, single mother Kelly Ashton, drug dealer Vince Thompson, and Harmon's biggest dart competitor Brice Habersham, who also happens to be a DEA agent. The book is filled with drugs, death and desire to leave this small town. Morris' novel is all action -- no lulls.
The Ride Across Laken Constance EP. Evening Magazine
I hope Evening Magazine takes off big-time. And when they do, every bit of press they get is going to compare them to Arcade Fire. It only takes a few moments into the EP opener "Apple Eye" to see why. Others will see in the Philly group another "collective" -- Broken Social Scene. Or the plaintive orchestration of Sufjan Stevens. Those comparisons are fair. But Evening Magazine is so much more. Dive into the five songs on this EP and you'll find good songwriting and great instrumentation that bounces from introspective to grand. They seem to know just when to add the handclaps or the lap steel. Evening Magazine is a band that should get some buzz in indie circles.
New Age Boredom EP. Adam and Dave's Bloodline
This fellow Philly rock band is quite different, but just as impressive. They bounce from the off-kilter power pop of "Runt" (yes, they're Rundgren fans, but it's not about Todd), and the folk-rockabilly of "Missing Person" to"The Simple Life," which sounds like it was peeled right off of an I Love the 80s collection. I'm really looking forward to their full-length, due sometime this year.
The Ghost in Love. Jonathan Carroll
Ben Gould was supposed to die that day he slipped on the ice and hit his head. But he didn't. And suddenly the whole world was off balance. Even the Angel of Death gets stabbed by a bum. Enter Carroll's strange world of ghosts, earless animals called verz, talking dogs. Carroll's novel is both silly and profound.
Note: Carroll's mother was an actress and his father a screenwriter, whose credits include The Hustler.
Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies.
They're back. Yum.