Earlier this fall, the self-titled LP from Seattle’s somesurprises hit record stores and digital services around the country. somesurprises began as the solo project of Natasha El-Sergany and has gradually begun involving other musicians; the result is a group that creates textured, haunting music that clicks on multiple levels. Following a fall tour, I talked with El-Sergany about the creation of the band’s new album, their time on the road, and more.
Snow’s on the ground, the winds are chilly, and the holiday season looms. December can be an unexpected month for new books. But there are a host of gems due out in the coming weeks, including a number of great works in translation, some boldly inscribed poetry, and new and unpredictable novels from some of our favorite writers. Here are some December books that caught our eye.
The guiding principle of Six Ridiculous Questions is that life is filled with ridiculousness. And questions. That only by giving in to these truths may we hope to slip the surly bonds of reality and attain the higher consciousness we all crave. (Eh, not really, but it sounded good there for a minute.) It’s just. Who knows? The ridiculousness and question bits, I guess. Why six? Assonance, baby, assonance.
What happens with the quotidian and the uncanny collide? There was a point in my early 20s, when I’d started writing fiction but was still highly impressionable, when I began considering what it might be like if one combined a Raymond Carver-esque realism with Lovecraftian forays into cosmic horror. Behold, suburban repression with eldritch horrors glimpsed in the background, never quite making their way forward to devour souls and drive people to madness.
The following is what happens when ML Kennedy, author of 100 by 100: Stories in 100 Words, interviews Jayne Martin, author of the newly released flash fiction collection, Tender Cuts.
Sometimes happy accidents are very real. A few years ago, I was at Basilica Soundscape when I happened upon a performance in a smaller space away from the main building. I had absolutely no idea what I was witnessing: something chaotic yet rhythmic, something that felt deeply new in a way I wasn’t expecting. The name of the band was Gold Dime; its founder, Andrya Ambro, had previously played in Talk Normal. Now, Gold Dime’s second album, My House, is out in the world. I talked with Ambro about how it came together, their recent tour, and her approach to songwriting.
Lee Rourke’s new novel Glitch opens with its protagonist returning home to England to deal with a family crisis. En route, his flight encounters a bizarre mechanical failure, segueing into a harrowing sequence of in-flight chaos. That’s only the beginning of an emotionally wrenching period for the novel’s hero, as he wrangles with troubled relationships, the specter of mortality, and a world that no longer works the way it should. Also in there are lyrical forays into memory and a handful of transcendentally-written passages, coming together for an unforgettable read. I talked with Rourke about the novel’s origins and how it relates to his other works via email.
Chloe is working on the watercolor—the same one, she tells me, she’d been meaning to finish for something like two years and is almost done working on, on the day before she heads out on tour for two weeks, though she tells me she’ll be done soon, working on the circular living room table with its set of chairs that looks like they could be from the sixties, like chartreuse seashells, while the CDs of The Low & Low, like their own sorts of shells, are all in their cases in the living room, having arrived in the mail not too long ago, to start shipping to everyone who preordered them—while I’m remembering the last time I had heard about someone who could turn water into something more than water.