Tuesday, December 13, 2005


November’s usually undercover – incognito. You turn you head quickly as it walks by, never quite sure if you really saw it.

November’s half October, half December – only its own month because the other two would be far too long otherwise.

November’s a stage hand, a background assistant. It helps fall make sense, never wanting much recognition though. November prefers anonymity.

November likes the work, likes the preparation, likes it when things go right and nobody pays attention why. I woke up every day in November, never thinking it was November, always with my mind on something else.

November starts when Halloween ends, and ends with the fading memories of Thanksgiving. It’s bookended by the strangest holidays we have – one celebrating misdirection and disguise and the other embracing a gluttony so remarkable it leaves a week’s worth of leftovers.

I love November – it’s a timeout if you really want to take it. Deep breaths for free.

November tries to squirm a bit, though, sneaking into both fall and winter, both Christmas and Halloween, both warm family embraces and solitary exhales, steam-breath dancing from the lips. Who’s to blame November, the middle child, from proclaiming that it’s both young and old? Who’s to blame when November wants just a bit of it all?

I left town for a bit in November, damn near everybody does. November facilitates gatherings, a perpetual host, making bold introductions across broad groups of friends and families. Many a November gathering is likely to never be repeated.

November’s a little slow, by design. It’s protective, nurturing. November ain’t trying to leave anyone behind. Patience all around, November urges, and we’ll all have a piece of pie, all get a good time in at some point, all have time to make sense of the fall before the winter hits.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kelvin-Helmholtz Records

Look out, it’s here. The only record company I know of named after an obscure atmospheric phenomenon has dropped its first release, a 16-song compilation appropriately named “Prescott Made Me Do It.”

And I suppose it did – Prescott that is, making them record, making them create, making them take a dreamer’s idea and give it life.

This Kelvin-Helmholtz is a family affair, helmed by my bro, Stu Leblanc, and his cohorts, Colton and Andrew. They pulled it off, and pulled it off in style, with a nine-hour, 13-band show, all in a sleepy little hick town.

I know that hick town all too well, and I know that for some damn reason many of its young inhabitants are forced into creativity, forced to make do somehow, forced to turn weird and vibrant in the face of boredom and oppression.

Stu and Colton have long talked about starting their own record label, and here it is. One compilation, however, is but a first step. Promising, though, are at least two of the bands on the compilation, in fact the two bands who will form the cornerstone of the label’s stable. Keep your ears open and one day you’ll hear Blankets and the Swim.

Those two were for me the highlight of the show and the album, by far. Much of the rest tilts too hardcore or screamy for my tastes. My own friends who contributed made probably the weirdest music on the set, which is to be expected coming from them.

As far as the label goes, I’ll likely have at least some peripheral role as it develops, with Stu one of the leaders and half of the Swim soon to be moving into my pad here in Tucson. Maybe I’ll pick up the guitar more then.

There’s a lot of damn music in the world, a hell of a lot of it amazing and a hell of a lot of it terrible. A great portion I’ll never hear. But why not make more of it? So here’s to Kelvin-Helmholtz Records, and to a long life of great music.


New Pornographers – Sing Me Spanish Techno
Okkervil River – Black
Crooked Fingers – Call to Love
Luna – Speedbumps
Neko Case – If You Knew
Alejandro Escovedo – Crooked Frame
Dead Hot Workshop – Burger Christ
Al Perry – Little Bird
Townies – Fantasy Jones
Calexico & Iron and Wine – History of Lovers
Mike Doughty – Unsingable Name
White Stripes – Take, Take, Take
Ozlo – Windows Down
William Shatner – Common People
Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane over the Sea
Sundays – Here’s Where the Story Ends
Lucinda Williams – Greenville
Tom Waits – Heart of Saturday Night
Bob Dylan – When the Ship Comes In
Woody Guthrie – I Ain’t Got No Home