Episode Nine: Rafael Alvarez (HBO’s “The Wire”)

We did a live podcast event with Rafael at Atomic Books in Baltimore, a fantastic store that now has a great bar in the back.  Rafael is always insightful, and, decked out in full Orioles’ regalia, has Baltimore, and storytelling, deep in his bones.  Read about and order a signed copy of Rafael’s new collection of short stories, Tales from the Holy Land, directly from Atomic here.  Our new record, Moon Sickness, is available in the way that most directly benefits us here.

Track List: “We’re Both Villains” from Moon Sickness; “I Haven’t Given Up Hoping” from Moon Sickness; “Sixteen Kingdoms” from Moon Sickness.

Episode Eight: Johnny Temple (Akashic Books, Girls Against Boys)

We met with Johnny Temple at Akashic Books’ Brooklyn office for a conversation that covered noir, curating, selling books, the current state of affairs in print media (not the usual opinion you’d expect), and Akashic’s unique vision for what a publishing house should be.  If you’re not familiar with it, Akashic is “dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers.”  So, the original indie record label template, but for books.  The starting point for our conversation was Akashic’s slogan, “Reverse Gentrification of the Literary World,” which I love.

Track List: “The Go From Tactical” from Populations; “Stockhausen Serves Imperialism” from Populations.

Episode Seven: Jeff Lyons (Used Wigs)

Like so many really funny people I know, I found Jeff Lyons via Twitter, and I’ve got to say, his batting average on there is in the .900 range.  Even his tweet from the night of our interview, posted on his drive over from the Philly suburbs, hit the spot. But it turns out that in addition to being funny, he’s also an incredibly thoughtful, insightful guy who was doing a similar podcast to this, but ten years ago.  Go to his site and check out the “Tweets of the Week” feature, in particular, to get a taste of Jeff’s curatorial skills, as well.

As a final note, I tweeted this while I was editing this episode, and it’s entirely true.

Track List: “The Night Panel” from William of Orange; “Populations” from Populations; “Discontinued Perfume” from Discontinued Perfume.

Episode Six: Heba Kadry

Back to Brooklyn’s Splitty for another installment of Labor.  This time we were joined by Heba Kadry, who’s been making a name for herself as go-to mastering engineer, helming numerous releases on Thrill Jockey records, and who recently made her major label bow mastering The Mars Volta for Warner Bros.  She came into our orbit this summer with her intuitive mastering of Moon Sickness, our upcoming release out 2/4 on Hometapes.

Track List: “Fresh Out of Travel Agent School” from History’s First Know-It-All; “Outskirts” from Discontinued Perfume.

Episode Five: Ian Williams (BATTLES)

This episode finds us again in Brooklyn on the back patio of Splitty, a fine, feels-like-home place in Fort Greene.  Ian joined us late afternoon and we chatted for over an hour about video editing (both above and a little below board), the definition of selling out, if there is a definition of selling out, Pittsburgh, maybe wanting a nice car, and a lot of other things.  Love this one.

Track List: “Calla Lilies” from Plastic Explosives; “Imitation Air” from the new record, out 2/4 on Hometapes; “Soundproofing Makes a Practice Space” from The Caribbean (EP).

Episode Four: Kristopher Jansma

Once again into the breach, or at least Brooklyn.  This time to chat with Kristopher Jansma, whose debut novel, The Unchangeable Spots Of Leopards, has been garnering ample and well-earned praise.  It’s a globetrotting affair, taking up residence on four continents.  The narrative bends back on itself a number of times, while regularly returning to the same question: what’s the difference between fiction and lies?

Track List: “Who’s Hollywood Now?” from William of Orange; “Plastic Explosives,” from Plastic Explosives.

Episode Three: Joe Meno

Chicago author Joe Meno joined us for a live recording of Labor at Chicago’s City Lit Books in Logan Square on a gorgeous Saturday, August 3rd.  Joe is a highly-regarded author whose novels have garnered acclaim from the New York Times, Kirkus Reviews, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.  Topics discussed include little kids, deadlines, getting lost in the woods, and the notion that Fun is for Assholes.  Which it kinda is.

Track List: “Outskirts” from Discontinued Perfume, “Jobsworth,” from the new record; “Moon Sickness” from the new record.  (New record out 11/12 on Hometapes).

Episode Two: Jesse Jarnow

On an incredibly hot night in July, Michael, Dave, and Matt sat down with author Jesse Jarnow at Splitty in Brooklyn and talk about writing, the New York Mets, Yo La Tengo, the Dead, Johnny Bench, and socialism, in no particular order.  Matt also makes a masturbation joke at Michael’s expense, but he takes it well.  Jesse is the author of Big Day Coming, Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock (Gotham) and the upcoming Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America (Da Capo).

Track List: “The Declarative” from Discontinued Perfume, “I Haven’t Given Up Hoping,” from the new record, due fall 2013; “Jobsworth,” from the new record; “Imitation Air,” from the new record; “Mr. Let’s Find Out,” from Discontinued Perfume.

Episode One: Jonathan Evison

Michael and author Jonathan Evison sit down at DC’s Comet Ping-Pong and discuss, amongst other things, songwriting vs. writing novels, community and how it’s better than fascism, drinking, first novels not actually being your first novel, ADD, and how failure is more important than success.

Praise for Jonathan’s most recent novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving:

“A most stealthily powerful novel…so poignant yet improbably funny.”
-Janet Maslin
The New York Times

Track List: “Lands & Grooves,” from Discontinued Perfume, “Artists in Exile,” also from Discontinued Perfume; “The Truth Hurts Jamie Green,” from Plastic Explosives; “On the Use of Mirrors in the Game of Chess,” also from Plastic Explosives