Kelly Hogan is one of the dearest people in the world to me. But even if I didn’t know her I’d do what I could to push the new Flat Five record on you. Their music is a strangely insistent ray of light in the oppressive gloom of today. Buy it and you’ll feel like maybe we’ll make it through.

I enjoyed the new documentary about Dusty Groove. I met Rick Wojcik, the owner of the shop, at a craft fair where I was drawing pet portraits. He commissioned four paintings for the store. They’re still there today. The film gets at what records mean to people in a heartfelt way. I hope it receives some distribution and gains an audience.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Nick Cave’s gut-spilling Q & A tour but whenever he sat down at the piano to sing I forgot about the oversharing  and remembered why I’ve loved his music so much since high school. Now he’s put out a double LP recorded live in an empty concert hall. Live records are usually not very good. Turns out the trick is to get rid of the audience. Who knew? Some of the songs move me to tears and I’m not a crier. So I’ll push this one on you as well.

I’m halfway through a re-read of Don DeLillo’s UnderworldI read it soon after it was published in 1997 but at that point all I’d written myself were homework assignments. This time I can appreciate the technical skill in addition to getting lost in his polyphonic portrait of America. I stop every few pages and wonder how he could compose on such a grand scale. It’s like he’s steering an ocean liner with just a couple fingers. The recurring theme of waste, of mountains of garbage, read as completely of the moment in 2020.

p.s. The president’s personal lawyer is sucking the last drops of blood from his malignant presidency. What will it take for these ghouls to realize they’re dead? Have some self-respect and sink into the earth already.