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Good morning to all! Thanks for signing up for this newsletter. If you aren't interested in these updates, feel free to unsubscribe. Info on Dear Life will continue to be shared via the usual modes as well, but I am personally going to put my energy into these weekly roundups. 

Last night was Halloween and Meggy and I watched George A. Romero's 'The Crazies.' It was clunky and heavy-handed, a pretty bad film all and all. The basic premise is a military jet crash lands in Western Pennsylvania, allowing a viral weapon they are testing to seep into a small town's water supply. The virus, called "Code Name: Trixie," makes its hosts either loopy or murderous. The military attempts to "quarantine" the town in the local high school, but gaff after gaff results in the murder of half the town and the virus running complete rampant. There are a couple forgettable protagonists you're supposed to care about, but they are barely developed. The most effective plot point is how the government orders a plane to fly over the town with a nuclear bomb, ready to drop it if anyone escapes past city limits. Deus ex machina played by a stealth bomber looming overhead. Despite its shortcomings, it was a fun and topical watch in the middle of our own never-ending pandemic. There is real comfort in fantastical depictions of global annihilation as our own tailspin remains undefined.

In less portentous news, we announced another record this past week. Oggetto's self-titled debut has been years in the making, featuring the artistry of Carmelo Pampillonio, Michael Flanagan, and Dear Life's own Frank Meadows. It's a seething work of improvisational restraint and fury, and we are honored to have a hand in its release. Michael Flanagan also made a striking video to accompany an excerpt from the album's closer, 'Day 3.1,' which can be seen below.
[preorder s/t by Oggetto here]

Then, last Friday, we were treated to a second single from Joan Kelsey's 'House of Mercy,' which is out in full this Friday 11/6. 'Criminal Christ' was an early favorite of mine off the record, and puts the collaborative nature of Kelsey and producer Rick Spataro's (Florist, Onlyness) working relationship on full display. The song was premiered by It's Psychedelic Baby, and I'm including the full lyrics below.

[preorder House of Mercy by Joan Kelsey here]

We still have copies of Peter Gill's (2nd Grade, Friendship) DLR bootleg, where he covers and dismantles Big Star's 'Radio City' in its entirety. There are a small number of Jason Calhoun's bootleg from performances that happened this past February though they feel like they happened millennia ago. And only two copies left of Shane Parish's Acid Tunnel (Live!), proceeds from which have already been donated to Beloved House Asheville totaling $176 and counting. Scoop up copies of these while they last! We have another exciting bootleg announcement this upcoming week. 
[bootlegs available for purchase here]

On top of my musings and announcements about what is happening with the label, I am going to include a section called 5:3:2, where I share recommendations of 5 records, 3 movies, and 2 books that I think are worth your time from week to week. My favorite way of discovering new art is directly from folks whose taste I trust. Maybe you trust mine or maybe you don't, so I'll put that at the end of the email for you to decide whether or not to browse my picks. I like what I like and you like what you like. Maybe we have something in common!  

Thanks for reading and giving a damn about what this label is trying to do. Hopefully this newsletter finds you moving slow and unhurried. If you haven't, please make sure you know exactly the steps you are taking to vote Biden/Harris on Tuesday. There are no planes in the sky (at the moment) to bomb us out of this one, so I implore you to take action in hopes of removing this megalomaniac from office.

All my best,

Michael Cormier
Dear Life Records
www.dearliferecs.com
Day 3.1 (excerpt) by Oggetto, video created by Michael Flanagan 
Criminal Christ

With a letter on your jacket
and a flower in your hand,
with the justice of a child
and the anger of a man,
you were staring out the window,
you were talking through your hand,
you said I don’t think I’ll forgive you
but I’ll always be your friend.

I was gone for half an hour
when the afterglow began.
I won’t say I was happy
and I won’t say that I ran.
I was empty of beginnings,
there was nothing at the end,
and I don’t need to talk about it
if you say you understand.

We gracelessly proceeded
through our January plans,
and finally conceded
to impossible demands.
You were blowing through your anger
like the wind across a page,
and I was keeping up the habit,
pulling my ten dollar wage.

Jesus was a savior
with a criminal’s intent.
It’s not hard to imagine
when you have to pay the rent.
But it’s not real believing
if your eyes are open wide,
and I was staring at the ceiling
hoping God was on my side.

And you were staring out the window,
you were talking through your hand,
you said I don’t think I’ll forgive you
but I’ll always be your friend.
5:3:2
PICKS
11/1 - 11/7


Five records, three movies, two books 
(click the pictures for links)

 
Peter Kris - No Language for the Feeling (2020)
[Garden Portal]


In my mind, Garden Portal is a label that can do no wrong. Peter Kris has an expansive discography of experimental guitar records, and this to me is as fine an introduction as any. All proceeds from digital sales go to Mutual Aid Athens. 
The Japanese House - Good At Falling (2019) [Dirty Hit]

I feel pretty behind the curve most of the time, and this is no exception. I recently heard Caroline Polachek's 'Pang' for the first time which completely whisked me away. That fostered a hunger inside me for smartly-written synth pop with meticulous arrangements and ambient textures. Someone on Twitter pointed me to this record, the solo project of Amber Bain, which I've devoured numerous times these past two weeks. It'll make you weep as it makes you dance.
Norah Lorway - Future Void (2020) [Distant Bloom]

Distant Bloom is another label I've come to blindly trust over the years. I've only listened once through to Lorway's latest for the imprint, but it was clear that it's a distinct masterpiece of ambient world-building. 
CEP - Drawing the Target Around the Arrow (2017) [Pannonica Records]

Speaking of Caroline Polachek, who I have become an unabashed super fan of, here is an ambient record she released under the moniker CEP in 2017. I would also point interested listeners to her work as Ramona Lisa, and have heard that Chairlift's music owes big to Prefab Sprout (if you know all this I'm sorry, I am just really stoked on what I've heard by her thus far)
Charlie Morrow - America Lament (2020) [Recital Program]

The Newark, NJ composer's indelible legacy on the avant-garde is being restated by this stellar new compilation by Recital Program's Sean McCann. Hauntingly melodic and oozing with life, this collection gets my recommendation for what to listen to while standing in line as you wait to cast your ballot on Tuesday. 
High Hopes (1988) - Mike Leigh

Rewatched this a few weeks ago and I was smiling ear to ear the whole time. While some scenes can be excruciatingly bleak, the honesty of protagonists Cyril and Shirley is so buoyant that film's ultimate message ends up being one of unflappable optimism.  
American Dream (1990) - Barbara Kopple

A must-watch for anyone interested in labor movements in the United States. Set during a labor strike at a meat packing plant in rural Minnesota, this unflinching documentary exposes the internal conflicts between local and national union bodies amidst their opposition to the detached cruelty of large corporations. 
No Home Movie (2015) - Chantal Akerman

Chantal Akerman's final film is a steady-handed meditation on aging, the banal, and family trauma. The movement of light and the ticking of clocks join the ensemble cast of the director's mother and caregivers, along with the director herself, as we see her mother's health steadily decline in the final months before her death. 
The Waves (1931) - Virginia Woolf 

While watching 'No Home Movie' last week, I was asking myself about what Chantal Akerman's relationship was to the works of Virginia Woolf. 'The Waves' is Woolf's most ambitious and unsettling work, almost entirely unchained from traditional narrative in favor of the splotchy, impressionistic thoughts of her characters. If you know me at all, you probably know this book has earth-shattering importance to me. It can take a little to get into the flow of her language, but it is so completely worth the effort. 
Last Words From Montmartre (1996) - Qiu Miaojin

I knew nothing about this book when I bought it, but it is a masterpiece of auto fiction and is cited as a seminal work of LGBTQ literature in Taiwan. The unfinished manuscripts of the author, who took her own life at the age of 26, read as a series of letters written to at times a lover by whom she was jilted, and at times to herself. The narrator's identity shape-shifts like jelly throughout, unfixed and searching.  
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