Thursday, August 21, 2008

LUMINOUS GROOVES- Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians Boxed Set Review

Fegmania- (7 bonus tracks)
Element of Light (10 bonus tracks)
Gotta Let This Hen Out (7 bonus tracks)
Bad Case of History -exclusive to this boxed set (32 rare & unreleased studio/live tracks)

It's time to burn your bongos tonight, Yep Roc Records has delivered another string of fine albums from Robyn's long out-of print catalog, this time around we have three albums with his backing group the Egyptians as well as a generous pile of out-takes from his ever growing, ever surprising stash. While much has been written of Hitchcock's Lennonesque, Barrett-like, and oober-Dylan songwriting qualities, Robyn exists quite independently with his own unique casserole of intelligent, insightful, and at times abstract lyrics melded with well-constructed, intricate and melodic musical undercarriages.

To the uninitiated and the curious, here are a few examples you can check out on some site that may offer samples (such as Amazon or whatever, keep in mind to always support your independent record store whenever possible)

"I Am Not Me" from Bad Case of History
"Surfer Ghost" from Bad Case of History
"Another Bubble" from Fegmania
"My Wife & My Dead Wife" from Gotta Let This Hen Out
"The Leopard" from Element of Light
"Bass" from Element of Light

Aside from anything I could possibly write about the particulars of his work contextually, we always know what we like in music by the old fashioned subjective honest listen.

Open Your beak and close your eyes

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I've been somewhat reluctant to post anything I've been submitting to The New Yorker, mostly on the grounds that once it becomes public it is no longer viable for potential publication. Cartoons that have been rejected can see new life with another caption or just having sat around long enough to become more funny another day. That said, I'm letting these three out- two of them on the grounds that they were probably just too "out there" and one because I enjoyed it but unlike the other two, never made it past the cartoon editor's desk. This cartoon is obviously one of the strange ones. As I've told other people, my aim is not to create the definative lawyer gag, but to instill a sense of the absurd, along with occasional bursts of dark humor, and whimsy. Lately I've taken to more polished drawings using shading techniques that I've been picking up by studying Charles Addams work. While this might seem contrary to the current existing minimalist style that The New Yorker is situated in right now, I feel there is always room for the two headed chicken to reappear.
Here is another one that made it past the first gate but was ultimately too "something". The stuff I'm not showing you is a little more down home plate- in case you think this is the norm. But, in coming up with 6-10 ideas a week you have to amuse yourself and not anybody else, otherwise it becomes a real slog trying to find out how to please everybody. I'm still in my learning curve even eight months in, but it's been a great time, frustrating, but great.
This cartoon is an example of what I was turning in at the start of my Tuesday tenure. I have several styles of drawing that are natural to me- the picture above a prime example. This one didn't make it past the first hurdle, which is a pisser but again, you never know what's going to be funny to other people. Why subject myself to the constant grind of trying to crack the hardest nut? I'm stubborn. I blame my Southern Hillbilly/German grandmother for that. I'm also a Taurus if you follow that jazz. I like the routine, I like the challenge, I like getting my sticky I.D. enabling me to go up to the 2oth floor, I like seeing everybody in the cartoon lounge awaiting their turn, I like pestering Farley for emergency white out, I like seeing what Bob holds on to, I like walking down to the Pergola for lunch, and I love talking with the veterans, the younger vets, and the struggling up-and-comers like myself. It's only a rare day that every Tuesday I don't smirk on the way home thinking to myself that I'm the luckiest bastard in the world to be a part of this. Well, on that note, enjoy these rejected rejects and keep your fingers crossed for me. This week I have a great Tarzan idea lined up amongst several other slightly more reasonable gags.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


The drawing on the left is from a small pile of panels that didn't make the cut for the November issue of Fantagraphic's anthology: Mome. The panel in question is from a scene that eventually features two jealous sisters scoping out their other sibling at a dance. There's another two panels from this scene that didn't make it either- the reasons being that the viewpoint of the story had changed from the mother, to the surviving son, back to the mother and then, well, to an outside chronicler. That particular scene required that you saw both sisters. Oh well, corrections have to be made, and if it makes for a smoother storyline, I'll redraw it. Another story involving shuffling panels from this deadline, a gag for The New Yorker, and a preview of Mome 13 is available
on the Fantagraphics website.
But I'm getting ahead of myself- allow me to back up. I had it figured out. Finally. For around twelve bucks I could buy apples, watermelon, real fruit juice, and a cheap bottle of red wine (cab) for some real lethal sangria. I needed it, I was falling behind on my second deadline. But, thanks to the copious consumption of coffee, green tea, cokeacola, crappy cigarettes, and the aforementioned jugs of sangria- I pulled through. And just as I turned that puppy in (for issue 13), my first story (in issue 12) was coming out. I can now say with a terribly huge grin, that this month marks my debut with seminal & influential publishers- Fantagraphics Books. The story I presented for their anthology "Mome" entitled Parallelograms, was completed three months ago but the genesis of the project took me a long time to throw down on paper. Coming up with a story is one thing but then there are the more troubling issues of who's going to tell the story, is there text, layout, etc. After getting the initial ok using some panels like the one presented above along with a brief summary, I began to flesh out the characters in my sketchbooks, and tried several different angles with the art and narrative. I got stuck and alot of time passed probably missing a deadline in the process. I went back to my original notes and sketches and hammered out a simpler idea that wouldn't take thirty pages to tell and completed the story. Previews and ordering information are available at the Fantagraphics Books link provided above.