Postcards from Inside My Head

I’ve got a few things I want to write about, but frankly, the past two weeks have mainly consisted of two things: migraines and work. Work has been OK; in order to avoid whining I won’t go into the migraines, except to say I’m really, really tired of this.

So, without any theme for the day, here are a few things I’ve read and heard and watched and done recently, in the hopes that someone else will find them interesting and read/listen to/watch one of them, and maybe your life will be changed for the better. Or maybe you’ll just be entertained for a few hours. Better keep those expectations low.

 Danielia Cotton.  I discovered her thanks to NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, which has exposed me to so much terrible music over the past few weeks, I was going to sleep through it again, but then this amazing voice woke me up and made me write down the artist’s name. Danielia Cotton is a rock singer who reminds me of Tina Turner or Aretha Franklin singing over the Black Crowes’ music. The album NPR featured was Rare Child, which was phenomenal — not a bad track on it, which never happens anymore. Her first album, Small White Town, is almost as good. Not only does her voice knock me out and her music speaks to my raised-on-classic-rock soul, she’s a heartfelt lyricist too: I don’t think anyone’s talked to my heart like she does since I first discovered Gigi Dover or the Indigo Girls. I like her so much that when I Googled her and came across a snarky review, I wanted to crawl through my monitor to celebritycafe.com or wherever the hell it was posted and personally hit the “writer” in the mouth. Check her out. She rules. At this point, she’s far ahead of everybody else as being my Best Musical Find of the Year.

Duffy. OK, she’s no Danielia Cotton, but she’s pretty damn good. This is evidently going to be the Year of the Female Singer, which is fine by me. Duffy is a tiny little Brit chick with a voice the size of Aretha’s (hi again, Aretha — I promise this will be the last time I drag you into anything today) and a really cool Motown-ish sound to her music. Her album, Rockferry, isn’t as strong as either of Cotton’s, but then I doubt anything else is going to be, and anyway Rockferry isn’t at all bad, just a little first-album-ish in places.

Jill Tracy. She’s not new, even to me — I should explain. One of my major fixations is NPR’s Music from the Hearts of Space, which produces a one-hour show every week of ambient/post-new age music, and a few years back their Halloween show featured this haunting singer, accompanied mostly by solo piano. She had an otherworldly voice that sounded like she was channeling Marlene Dietrich’s cabaret act. Well, a couple of weeks ago, my friend Little Fluffy Cat sent me a YouTube video accompanied by… that same singer. I took it as a sign and hied myself right off to iTunes. Jill Tracy isn’t as accessible as the two women mentioned above, but she’s absolutely lovely to put on at night, when you’re reading a good book, the cat’s dozing in your lap, and maybe there’s a glass of good white wine beside you and a storm brewing outside… If any of this sounds appealing, give her a try. (For anyone who hasn’t seen me pimp Hearts of Space yet, by the way, its site is www.hos.com and I can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who loves trance-y, floating ambient music.)

 Iron Man. I only went to this because I was bored and I’d done nothing but work for three days straight and needed a break, and I’ve always been a Robert Downey Jr. fan. This movie blew me away. In fact, it approached my personal Gold Standard of superhero flicks, the first two Superman movies, which nothing has equaled in almost 30 years. It was hilarious in places, it had an amazing supporting cast (Terrence Howard, I am so in love with you… and I didn’t even mutter “Oh for God’s sake” when annoying Gwyneth Paltrow showed up), it was action-packed and the special effects were appropriately awesome without being distracting. I should also point out, I always read DC comics instead of Marvel, so all I knew about Iron Man was, well, nothing. I’m probably going to see this again right after I find out what Indiana Jones has been up to lately. I should also add that I’d like Iron Man to show up and bitch-slap the entire cast of Sex and the City.

Born Free, by Joy Adamson. I’ve always loved the story of Elsa the lioness, raised by humans and returned to the wild, and recently I came across my copy of the book and realized I’d never read it. It’s terrific: most naturalists, especially before the ’90s or so, bogged down their interesting stories in dry prose, but Joy Adamson tells the story of raising the lioness with the same matter-of-factness that I’d use when explaining how my cat lost his leg, and it’s very friendly and accessible. There are two sequels that deal with Elsa after she went back to the wild; I just found both of them, used and beaten to hell, on Amazon, and if they’re as good as the first book I’ll let y’all know.

Indian Killer, by Sherman Alexie. I read this about eight years ago and can’t put it down now, even though I know how it ends. Like Hearts of Space, I really can’t possibly praise Alexie enough — he’s Spokane Indian and writes beautifully and movingly and furiously at times about Indians, although in interviews he’s one of the jolliest people I’ve ever heard. This is a novel about an Indian raised by a white couple, mentally ill and conflicted about his heritage; a white writer who desperately tries to convince himself he’s an Indian; and a serial killer, identity unknown, who begins stalking white people. The end of this book will give you the same delicious chill you get from the very best Stephen King. (I’d also recommend two story collections by Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and The Toughest Indian in the World.)

And finally, The Closer. It’s not back on TNT yet — it starts in July — but come on, network people, I’m ready for it NOW. Lost is over, Good Eats is in perpetual reruns, and there’s only so much Countdown with Keith Olbermann I can watch without having a stroke.

So that’s it — lots of good music, a fantastic movie, and two books. If any of you test-drive any of these recs, let me know how you liked ’em, and I’ll be back shortly with more to say, because as you know, I always have more to say.

Advertisements

8 Responses to “Postcards from Inside My Head”

  1. I loved “Born Free”, but “Lost” gives me a headache. 🙂

  2. I think I’m going to take you up on Indian Killer. Probably none of the music, though, because I have the musical tastes of a 15 year old boy.

  3. Iron Man was great even though Gwyneth Paltrow was in it? That’s saying something.

    I keep hearing about Jill Tracy. I guess I’m going to have to listen to her now.

  4. Bunny Dixonjugs Is Daners' Bond Girl Name Says:

    I guess I need to see* Iron Man. I heart RDJ but loathe Gwynnie. But if the movie rocked even though she was in it, I’ll have to put it on my list.

    *And by ‘see’ I mean download it “legally” from bittorrent because $12 is too much money for anything except the new James Bond movie

  5. tigereye Says:

    I’m so glad it’s not just me! I clicked over here expecting to take a dose of grief for dissing GP, and instead I’ve found my fellow GP-hating people! I’m relieved.

    She gets all over my nerves, and looks ridiculous as a redhead, but even she can’t ruin a movie that’s this much fun.

  6. Hmmm… if you like ambient music, have you checked out SomaFM? They’re internet only and available through iTunes. I like Drone Zone for meditation and yoga and I also do Groove Salad. Woot!

    I too have GP issues. She gets me kind of, well, postal if I even see her picture. I thought it was an allergic reaction or something.

    I’m a dork, but I loved the latest Indiana Jonesmovie. Sue me… 😛

  7. tigereye Says:

    I think SomaFM is the one I listen to, actually — I haven’t turned on iTunes radio in a while, so I don’t remember, but I liked Groove Salad too. Nothing beats HOS, though, for me.

    I’m looking forward to Indy, despite being a recent convert. Good action movies are what summer’s supposed to be ABOUT!

    P.S. I just realized I didn’t give the title of the Jill Tracy CD. It’s “Diabolical Streak.”

  8. bigcocky Says:

    And now I’m back…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: