I’ve been reacquainting myself with the prose of Paul Auster recently. Always an obsession, I even named one of my musical projects after him, he is one of a handful of authors I can definitively say has had a major influence on me. His initial work centered around New York City, and his rich and complex prose always conjured up detailed images of that metropolis in my head. I’ve still not managed to pluck up the courage to read his latest 700+ page opus “4321” mind you.
Coincidentally, other Brooklyn connections also emerged recently, firstly with Jesse “Cannonball” Statman. When over here for a gig in Salford he revealed he had shared the same apartment complex as Auster. Jesse’s performance at the Eagle, Salford, on April 8th, had broadly smiling punters using the word genius as they left the gig room. He wasn’t to everyone’s taste but for the majority of the audience the admiration for his performance was huge, with some of the best praise I have heard for gigs we have promoted. I’m also pleased he is allowing us to release more of his material soon on German Shepherd records. His set was a whirling dervish of words and a completely unique guitar style, unconventional and mesmerising. Some people have compared him Daniel Johnston, and I can see that, but Jesse works at a much faster pace and his use of language is more complex, and conjures up literary comparisons like Auster, Thomas Pynchon and Bill Burroughs.
Check out his sizeable catalogue of work at http://www.cannonballstatman.bandcamp.com/
The other Brookyln connection is a duo called Lusterlit. And they have literary association also. With their songs created for Bushwick Book Club, whose founder, Susan Hwang and contributor and producer, Charlie Nieland, have joined forces to perform as a new, literature-inspired duo. Both vocalists and multi-instrumentalists, Charlie and Susan alternate lead vocals and harmonies while supporting each other on guitar, bass, synth, traditional Korean drum and accordion. and their song-craft and production is exceptional, offering atmospheric, cinematic, aural journeys. Both soulful and sexy, this is an EP you can listen to on repeat and uncover multiple levels of delight from. The duo says there is a hint of Polly Jean and Melbourne Nick in what they do, I’d venture that this music is as exciting to me as the first time I heard “Countdown To Ecstasy” – it’s that damn good. I commend it to you without reservation.
The duo also released two previous albums last year as “solo” offerings but Charlie advises that material is also part of the current Lusterlit live experience. Both are also excellent song collections and, as a whole, the three releases combined are a fantastic introduction to some great music.