David Peak has been writing and publishing novels, short stories and essays online and in print for the last 20 or so years. His books focus on the moment when people recognizable in our daily lives meet the unknown and are either torn asunder by it, or are transformed into something horrible and beautiful. Last year Peak published The World Below (Apocalypse Party), a midwestern gothic story of two long-feuding families, brought into conflict again when their children are caught up in an ritualistic occult murder mystery.
In an era where nearly every detail about every piece of music recorded in the last couple of decades is widely available, what does it mean when an entire band’s body of work turns elusive? That’s the question at the heart of Aug Stone‘s new novel The Ballad of Buttery Cake Ass, the story of the search for the history of a cult early-80s band — and the reasons why their music went unheralded in their day. I spoke with Stone about the making of the novel, creating lengthy discographies for fictional artists, and the challenges of writing convincingly about nonexistent musicians.
Talking with David James Keaton about his sprawling, hard-to-describe books has become a semi-regular occurrence around these parts, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. His new novel Head Cleaner follows the staff of a video store as they find themselves on the verge of a bizarre discovery about physical media and experiencing a phenomenon that evokes time loops at their most paranoia-inducing. I chatted with Keaton about the novel’s origins, its ties to his other work, and movies that could change the world.
The setting of Cassandra Khaw’s new book The Salt Grows Heavy is one steeped in mythology and atmosphere. The landscape through which its central characters — a mermaid and a plague doctor — move is one that’s been through unspeakable trauma, and yet still has room to reveal new horrors. (One of those is a cult centered around resurrection.) I spoke with Khaw about the creation of this new book, how it relates to their other work, and what’s next.
This week brings with it the paperback release of one of my favorite novels of 2022: Benjamin Myers’s The Perfect Golden Circle. Set in 1989, the novel follows two men, Calvert and Redbone, as they embark on a Quixotic quest to create a series of detailed patterns across rural landscapes in England. Over the course of their novel, their efforts invoke an array of grand ideas, from the bond between two disparate people to the changing sociopolitical landscape around the duo. Plus: crop circles. I spoke with Myers about the origins of this novel, its relationship to the rest of his bibliography, and the role of music in his books.
I’ve long followed the work of both Joe Meno and Dan Sinker — the former via his numerous books, the latter via his work as a writer and editor. So when an email showed up in my inbox with the news that Meno and Sinker were collaborating on a new project, Question Mark, Ohio, I was intrigued. The project, a serialized narrative about an Ohio town where objects are mysteriously disappearing, kicks off today on Instagram, with further updates taking place beginning on April 25 on the town’s website. I spoke with Meno and Sinker about the project’s genesis, their collaboration, and the art of the narrative.
The list of non-classical albums recorded in sacred spaces is small, but it’s led to some impressive sounds over the years. (Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Sessions is a particular favorite.) Grandbrothers, the duo of Erol Sarp and Lukas Vogel, recently created their own entry in that category with their new album Late Reflections. Recorded in the Cologne Cathedral, the album takes use of the space’s unique sound to create something vast and immersive. I spoke with the duo about the process that led to the making of the album and the challenges they faced along the way.
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.