Welcome to another HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, that re-occurring feature where I ask a person of the internet to give us all some recommendations from their top shelf of life's 5 most important categories: Music, TV/Film, Books, Internet-ing, and ANYTHING (to make sure all bases are completely covered).
Today we're joined by Catherine DeGennaro, who you might better know as one half of the duo GRNDMS, who put out one of 2015's loveliest albums. Before you head downwards to check out the top notch recommendations below, follow Catherine on Twitter & Instagram, check out her also lovely solo project hairpins, AND go cop this Citrus Zine compilation that features a new GRNDMS tune (plus a bunch of other gems).
Alright, now let's get to some tips for better living…
#1 - WHAT IS THE ONE ALBUM (OR EP OR SONG) THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE VERY NEXT MUSICAL THING THAT EVERYONE PRESSES PLAY ON THE NEXT TIME THEY FIND THEMSELVES THINKING “WHAT SHOULD I LISTEN TO NOW”?
I've been on an Arthur Russell kick recently, prompted by a lot of driving around to World of Echo (and the handy appearance of arthurrussell.bandcamp.com). But my recommendation right now goes to Russell's short-lived power pop band The Necessaries, which he apparently quit as they were headed out on a tour by getting out of the car right before they drove into the Holland Tunnel. But they did put out one record in 1982 called Event Horizon that hits a jangly new wave sweet spot for me. I am embarrassed to say I used to play "More Real" on my radio show in college without a clue re: Arthur Russell, but it's still my favorite track, closely followed by "The Finish Line", which mixes jittery Talking Heads-style guitars with his cello.
If I was going to recommend something newer, I'd go with the new Hello Everybody 7" that Ruth Garbus put out on OSR Tapes in September.
Ruth is nearby in Brattleboro, VT and one of my favorite songwriters going right now. I've heard these songs live with just her and Julia Tadlock on vocals a handful of times. They're funny and lovely, blurring the line between mundane and surreal, and they take on a nice new form fleshed out on top of some off-kilter percussion from Larry McDonald here.
#2 - WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE OR TV SHOW THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE NEXT IN EVERYBODY’S NETFLIX QUEUE (OK, DOESN’T HAVE TO BE NETFLIX, WE’RE ALL INTERNET ADULTS HERE AND KNOW HOW TO FIND ANYTHING ONLINE, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER)?
Mark Borchardt is an everyman-type amateur filmmaker living at home in Wisconsin and trying to cobble together the funds and manpower to realize the horror film he's always dreamed of finishing with the help of his friends and family (before Kickstarter and phone videos). It's sad and funny and heart-warming all at once. I haven't been able to stop thinking about the very last scene since I saw it.
#3 - I (AND BY “I” I MEAN “THE PERSON THAT IS READING THIS”) AM GOING TO THE BOOK STORE (OK, PROBABLY AMAZON) TO FIND THE VERY NEXT BOOK THAT I WILL BE PUTTING SOME EXTREMELY VALUABLE ‘ME-TIME' ASIDE FOR. WHICH BOOK WOULD YOU GET, IF YOU WERE ME (AND, I SUPPOSE, YOU HADN’T ALREADY READ WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT TO SUGGEST)?
Bluets by Maggie Nelson. It's a small book about big things, critical and emotional.
Prose-poem philosophy / autobiographical love letter to a color, about perception, looking, being, loving. Lean, not only because you can devour it in one sitting, but because every sentence and idea threaded in there feels exact and purposeful.
#4 - WHAT IS THE ONE WEBSITE (OR JUST ANY OLD INTERNET THING: APP, GIF, SERVICE, WHATEVER) THAT YOU WOULD GET REALLY DOWN IN THE DUMPS ABOUT IF IT WERE TO SUDDENLY GO AWAY?
I'd go with 8tracks, maybe? I love a good playlist, especially as a gateway into something new to me that I can dig into later. On that note, I would be really bummed if Magic Transistor Radio went away.
It is exactly what it sounds like. I have a bunch of rogue scribbled notes on the backs and margins of things on my desk at work to catch tracks that come by me there. I'd miss that.
#5 - AND FINALLY… PLEASE GIVE ONE COMPLETELY UNAIDED RECOMMENDATION THAT YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD START DOING / USING / WATCHING / EATING / THINKING / QUITING / ETC-ING TO MAKE THEIR LIVES A LITTLE BIT MORE BETTER AND/OR BEARABLE.
Engage with science again (unless you are already a scientist, in which case maybe get a pen pal or something).
It always kind of felt like a point of pride to get out of math/science requirements in college. But pick something you find vaguely interesting/confusing and get a book or find a podcast or a scientist friend to explain. It's another route to work a brain and be creative and curious about things and how it all works, so it's the same in a lot of ways and totally admirable to me in all of the ways that it's not. It's creative thinking to a different end and also often a case of truth being just as interesting if not stranger than fiction.
OK folks, there you have it. Things that Catherine thinks you should consider incorporating into your day/life. Before you go get your Bunsen burner out of storage (what do you mean you don't have a bunsen burner?), follow Catherine on Twitter & Instagram and go listen to that Capitol Mill records by GRNDMS (it's really, really great). And maybe we'll see you back here next week for some more recommendations from someone else?