Last week on The Best Show, Tom Scharpling was reflecting on everybody's love of David Bowie -- love that was expressed so strongly after his death -- and urged listeners to talk about other musicians and artists whose work was meaningful to them, and to do it now, while the creators were still alive. It's such a valuable thing, to share that passion when it can be heard and appreciated by the artist and help spread the word of the work they are doing.
OK, so here's my try at that. Here are a few bands/writers/shows/performers I love, all with something new coming:
The Kerfuffle: First on the list because you can see it THIS WEEK. The most consistently hilarious, surprising, and frequently horrifying monthly show I know in Boston. The hosts are Jackie Arko and Hannah Foell, and they pointedly refuse advance knowledge of what their guests are going to do. That open format could be a failure elsewhere, but not here. Over time, everybody in the Kerfuffle community has learned to never phone it in. While individual acts occasionally miss their mark (including mine), those misses are usually impressive ones. On the whole, watching the Kerfuffle is a relentless peeking-through-the-fingers at performers pushing themselves in the stupidest, bravest direction they can think to go. You know what? I've talked myself into it. I'M GOING TOMORROW.
Saul Williams: He's a musician, a poet, a writer, an actor, and in general just a fascinating guy. His new album Martyr Loser King comes out 1/29, and the four tracks he's released are great. His self-titled 2004 album stands as a favorite of mine. Whatever he's doing, Saul Williams gives the impression of being heroically self-confident, and he's wildly original at pulling together massively different styles and ideas.
Hadron Gospel Hour: A sci-fi comedy, this podcast follows the exploits of Dr. Francis Oppenheimer Valdini, his friend/kidnapping victim Mike, their ships's AI, a maintenance man trapped in a wall, and an articulate, demented Higg-Boson particle as they attempt to undo the unravelling of the multiverse, a catastrophe set off by Valdini's own experiments. They're making a new season, so catch up now. I particularly recommend Ep. 12, "The Sinister Secret of StarNasty" and Ep. 13 "Product Placement" if you want to get the flavor of the show.
Hallelujah the Hills: I don't know the release date, but this spring we'll have a new album from this band, who are one of my favorites. They don't have a bad album, but if you're looking for a starting place, get their most recent one, Have You Ever Done Something Evil?
The Best Show: Oh, yeah, the thing that kicked this post off. I love The Best Show, a Tuesday night live internet call-in show that's released the next morning as a weekly podcast. I know a three-hour show is intimidating, and one that's been going for almost 15 years might seem impenetrable, but new listeners do keep arriving, and for good reason. Scharpling and his partners on the show, Jon Wurster, AP Mike, Dudio, and Pat Byrne, are about to launch a 24/7 Best Show stream. I have NO IDEA what they've got planned for that stream, but I guarantee I'll be listening to it.
I'm sure I've missed a ton. These were just the first that came to mind when I asked myself, "What am I excited about that's coming up?"
And more's coming! PJ Harvey has a new song tomorrow. I see that Colson Whitehead has a new novel this fall, and Cynthia Ozick(!) has a new book of essays coming this summer. My friend Erin's debut YA book comes out this fall! Friends are working on new live shows that have no internet artifacts associated with them yet! I'll make a point of sharing those when the time comes.