the Buzz for July 2015


Lamya — “Empires”
(from Learning From Falling) —

A was incommunicado for a large portion of the week — go figya this: turns out Alaskan glaciers and cellular reception aren’t such a cozy couple — but he did check in with a photo dispatch near the state’s famed Mount McKinley, which Wikipedia tells me is, at a mere 20,237 feet above sea level, the highest peak in North America, and which A reports can only be seen in full (read: not shrouded by clouds) around thirty percent of the year. I betcha no Palin ever taught y’all any of this information, so I am perfectly happy to consider this paragraph my public service for the day. (Luckily for all of us — up to and including our two dogs, who have missed him maniacally in his ten-day absence — A is coming back home to Texas tomorrow, and we’ll be able to put this entire episode far behind us.)


Alex - Mt McKinley pic


The Chemical Brothers (featuring Noel Gallagher)
“Setting Sun” (from Dig Your Own Hole) —

Whilst most of the rest of us char to a crisp down here in the steamy contiguous forty-eight, that crazy fool A is spending his week fighting for his very survival in an Outward Bound-style group trek through the wilds of Alaska. I’m still a bit fuzzy on the full details of his adventure — let’s invite him to chime in through this post’s comments section if he wishes to elaborate further — but from what I’ve been able to gather, he is basically tasked with climbing mountains, clawing his way across glaciers and other profoundly frozen plots of earth, and trying like hell not to become the easy prey of a famished moose. He texted his first pictorial dispatch just prior to midnight last Thursday evening, and as you can see for yourself in the stunning image just below this paragraph, when you hear someone refer to Alaska as the land of the midnight sun, you’ll now know they ain’t pulling your leg.


Alex - Alaska sunset


James Taylor — “On the Fourth of July”
(from October Road) —

Happy 4th, y’all. The Buzz hopes your holiday weekend is progressing most excellently.


Shawn Colvin — “When the Rainbow Comes”
(from Armageddon: The Album) —

Seven days have passed since the Supreme Court demolished all barriers to true marriage equality from coast to coast, and surprise surprise, the republic somehow still stands in spite of such runaway judicial activism. (Dreadful sorry, Ted Cruz.) The image below remains one of the most arresting to emerge from Pride 2015, and seems likely to become central to the iconography of the evolving new normal in this millenium’s defining civil rights battle. True colors rarely shine more radiantly.

white house rainbow


R.E.M. — “Lotus” (from Up) —

Heads up, R.E.Maniacs: Rhino has just released on DVD and Blu-ray the brilliant R.E.M. by MTV, an extraordinary full-length documentary — comprised solely of existing interview and performance footage and music video clips which were painstakingly unearthed and culled from deep within the vast vaults of MTV’s various domestic and international networks — which presents the entire story of the band in its warts-and-all entirety, from their humble beginnings playing Georgia dives, to their ascension to icon status among the college radio set, to their explosive success as Top 40 tastemakers. The gripping, gorgeously curated film premiered across MTV’s sundry television platforms late last fall, and has heretofore only been commercially available as part of the more comprehensive REMTV, a wondrously sprawling six-DVD treasure trove which also includes both of the band’s legendary appearances on MTV Unplugged, their VH1 Storytellers performance, and any number of other archival gems from three full decades of rock pioneerdom. If you’re a shameless Stipe stan like me and you let this one pass you by in the holiday crush last fall, time to play catch-up. Take it from someone who finally watched it just last weekend: you’ll be in ecstasy long before the first act finishes.