Archive for December, 2008

It Tolls For Thee

Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Tibetan bell in the shop window of Davies-Reid, Jackson, Wyoming, December 29, 2009, two days after an avalanche killed a skier who’d plunged the Toilet Bowl run at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and the same day a second avalanche almost took out the gondola.  Leica M8, Summilux 50mm, f/1.4.


An Exclamation Point On The Year

Posted in Uncategorized on December 22, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Leica M8, Summilux 35mm, ISO 320, Georgetown on a pre-Christmas Saturday.


New Hints That Jon Pareles Is A Vampire

Posted in Music with tags , on December 22, 2008 by johnbuckley100

A few weeks back, Tulip Frenzy asserted not only that Jon Pareles was the worst rock critic in America, but that  his continual use of the word “vamp” might be a hint that he is… a vampire. Since then, incredibly, he’s stopped using “vamp” in each and every review.

Then this morning, when the Times’ chief rock critic gave his Top Ten list of the year — and yep, Portishead was numero dos — he left us this incredibly well crafted sentence, this gem of writing, with this further hint: “With a wistful familiarity that’s spookier than most scare tactics, Bradford Cox sings about “dreams that frighten me awake”: woozy visions of murder, confinement and vampires.”

Ho ho ho.  If you are a friend of Jon Pareles, stay away during the upcoming full moon…

Make Your Own Virtual Movie Theater

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 17, 2008 by johnbuckley100
Tulip Frenzy wishes to offer its viewers a great holiday film widget courtesy of those geniuses at SnagFilms. Watch this here, or snag the widget to your own site. Better, go to and assemble your own slate of films.

[clearspring_widget title=”Make Your Own Virtual Movie Theater” wid=”494037af58fb5b39″ pid=”49490af55b3d07b8″ width=”300″ height=”250″ domain=””]

Uncut’s Top 2008 Album List Produces One New Entry on Tulip Frenzy’s Top 10 List: The Felice Brothers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on December 14, 2008 by johnbuckley100

It happens every year: Tulip Frenzy publishes its Top 10 list, and within days, some new band or album turns up on someone else’s list, and we go, “Damn, how did we miss that one?”  Uncut Magazine has just come out with their Top 50 list, and honestly, there is no way we would revise ours to feature Portishead as the Best Album of the Year. (Portishead?  Oh, come on.) But the Felice Brothers, yeah, how did we miss their eponymous sophomore offering?  It’s a beaut.  The Felice Brothers sounds like a lost recording session in Big Pink with the Rock of Ages horn section visiting the Band for a cloudy weekend fortified by beer and hearty stew.  That the Bros. hail from Woodstock way makes it even better.  We have long since accepted that Uncut‘s taste in British music doesn’t jibe with ours — hence the Portishead and Elbow kisses — but they do have a knack for unearthing prime Americana, from The Willard Grant Conspiracy to, now, the Felice Brothers.  These guys are so good, they just knocked Ry Cooder out of the #10 spot.  Honestly, given The Felice Brothers’ authenticity, we don’t think he’d mind.

Tulip Frenzy’s Best Album of The Year: Bob Dylan’s “Tell Tale Signs”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on December 8, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Back in October when Tell Tale Signs came out, Tulip Frenzy likened it to Peter Matthiessen’s great novel Shadow Country, released earlier this year, and tying together, while wholly recreating, three of Matthiessen’s novels written in the 1990s.  We wondered then if the house rules allowed for Tell Tale Signs to be considered for Tulip Frenzy’s Album Of The Year, an august designation, but one usually accorded to, well, new music.  But then Shadow Country won the National Book Award, which would tend to indicate that a reworked masterpiece is still a masterpiece, no matter when portions were recorded. Besides, it was new to us.  Unreleased songs from Dylan’s late innings hitting streak, some wholly new, some reworked, this was a revelation. And objectively, it was the …best… album…of…the…year.  We’re grateful he put it out, for not to have had this released would have been like getting only the version of Ulysses that was sent to the printers, without the 1/3rd of the novel that the blind and aging Joyce added in the galley margins.  Dylan has famously rebelled against static reworking of his material:  “Why play a song the same you played it on whatever day you recorded it?” Turned this way and that, these songs reveal an important truth: that not only has Dylan’s work since 1989 been every bit as strong as anything he did in the 1960s, it’s been stronger than anything anyone else has done since then, too.

2nd Best Album of 2008, Kelley Stoltz’s “Circular Sounds”

Posted in Music with tags , , , on December 8, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Classicists — and apparently creative directors at the nation’s advertising agencies — rejoiced when Kelley Stoltz released Circular Sounds in January.  It is not enough that half of the best songs used in ads in the last year came from his previous album, Below The Branches; many of the best songs from this one are — whether you realize it or not — blaring from ads for banks and hotels on car radios.   And if the only way he can get on the airwaves is through having his little gems cut into zircon jingles, we’ll still take it.  What the world needs now is not, as David Lowery once had it, a new Frank Sinatra: it’s a new Ray Davies.   Stoltz has put out the best Kinks album since Preservation.  This would have been Tulip Frenzy’s #1 choice had not a certain Mr. Zimmerman staked his claim.  “When You Forget” was probably played on the TF office  iPod more than any other song this year.  Dollars to donuts the same thing can be said this time next year.

3rd Best Album of 2008, Alejandro Escovedo’s “Real Animal”

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 8, 2008 by johnbuckley100

After Por Vida, in which a small army of A-list artists paid their respects, the world was waiting for Alejandro Escovedo to put out a record that showcased why all the accolades were understatements. The Boxing Mirror wasn’t it.  And of course it probably couldn’t have been, as the record Al made as he recovered from Hep C and getting on The Program found him just a bit too brittle and unsteady on his feet.  But Tony Visconti proved to be a perfect midwife for Alejandro to get down on digits the collection of songs he and Chuck Prophet wrote to tell the story of his life.  With references to The Nuns and the Chelsea Hotel and his musical hero Iggy Pop, Real Animal finally did it, and now radio listeners and fans of The Boss can learn for themselves what that distant Austin ruckus was all about.

4th Best Album of 2008, Calexico’s “Carried To Dust”

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 8, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Only a band that could make The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton” sound like it was a  Louis L’Amour story about a shootout in Brixton, Arizona could put out a record like this.  Is Carried To Dust Joey Burns’ and John Convertino’s masterpiece?  Probably.  It might even be their breakthrough.  Dreamy, ambitious, shooting for the moon with a Winchester rifle, this one goes down like patent medicine with a 40 proof kick.  “Slowness,” should be on the juke box of every truckstop on Route 66, and “Two Silver Trees” glints with pure light and mystery.  We ride at dawn.

5th Best Album of 2008, Elvis Costello “Momofuku”

Posted in Music with tags , , on December 8, 2008 by johnbuckley100

Elvis says he wasn’t planning on making Momofuku, and maybe it was, in his parlance, a brilliant mistake.  Whatever it was, it was a delightful return to form.  Sounding like outtakes from Get Happy and Blood and Chocolate, this was the best thing he’s done since the Reagan Administration.  We recently read an interview he gave when he burst upon the scene in ’78 — rude, self-confident, full of bluster.  And then we read his interview when he launched his Sundance Channel talk show a few weeks ago.  This album meets those two characters exactly in the middle.  Thank Heaven Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve are still around to introduce the young Mr. McManus to the man he turned into.

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