Now Playing, Part 15
Our September issue is making its grand entrance into the world on Saturday the 15th, so you know what that means: it's time to learn more about some of our new contributors and what they've been playing, thinking about, and loving lately.
I loved Andrew Sean Greer’s novel Less: I read it, then immediately reread it. It’s a dazzling, funny book, full of perfectly turned similes, but what I loved best is that it’s a bildungsroman about someone turning 50, and at long last growing up.
My most recent obsession has been Netflix’s “explained” docuseries. Each episode is short, sweet, and chock-full of information, much like good creative nonfiction. When I’m not watching Criminal Mind reruns, “explained” is a natural remedy to the 24-hour dumpster fire that is “the news.” And when I’m over the visual stimulation, Blood Orange’s latest album Negro Swan provides unending audio bliss.
I’ve been listening to a lot of nonfiction audio books this year—on runs, on commutes to work, sometimes even at work if I’m doing something relatively mindless like making graphics to
accompany the science assessment questions I spend the bulk of my days writing. Four of my recent favorites are Deena Kastor’s Let Your Mind Run, Nina Riggs’s The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying, Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, and Alain de Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness. I find much inspiration for my fiction in nonfiction.
Back in 2015, I saw Dilly Dally play at one of my favorite San Francisco venues, Bottom of the Hill, a café-sized space filled with strings of warm red lights, joined to a patio whose plant wall is made up of milk crates. After the show, I bought a CD of their first album, Sore, which I played to death in my Honda Accord––on road trips up and down the California coastline, my daily San Francisco commute, and through the rolling hills of the Peninsula. That Honda has since been totaled, and I've moved to Columbus Ohio for graduate school, where, without California's weaving freeways, I don't need a car and rarely listen to CD's.
But today, Dilly Dally releases their follow-up album to Sore, Heaven, an album which I was lucky to preview when I saw the band's live show last week. I've been listening to the singles from Heaven over and over again the past few weeks, and my favorite place to listen to them in is my bathroom––the brightest space in my home, and where I apply makeup during particularly dissociative mornings, applying personal attention to my face until I can claim it as mine. Heaven is an album built out of a group teetering on the edge of breakup––aching, sweet, and brightly self-determined. I loved the raw hurt of Sore, andI imagine that I'll still lean on its barbs at times, but I'm excited to envelop myself in this new album, and the claim it stakes to being full.