The ToB, presented by Field Notes, is here!

It's the 2023 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes! And it's finals week! Dig in!


Trend Cycles

How often, as you get older and no longer go to shows, can you swallow fantastic new bands and actually digest them? My friend and deep music head Chris has sworn off new bands altogether. I hear two a week and feel gassy. I’m not at the point, yet, of disavowing new trendy music altogether, but I do have a hard time getting excited about this minute’s new phenomenon. (And doesn’t it feel like the hype machine’s now down to eight-hour wash cycles?)

This spring I’ve been going through a Roy Orbison period, and then entered Coles Corner by Richard Hawley, crooner and flower-boy, bearing my favorite album of the last two months which Andrew recommended a little while ago on TMN (and thankfully pointed me to).

» Hear exclusive and live tracks on Richard Hawley’s web site

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That said, “You Can’t Have Me” by Clearlake makes me jumpy. I need a glass of water. I bet adding together all the band members’ ages sums to less than my predicted lifespan (even with the new low-mayonnaise regimen).

» Hear “You Can’t Have Me” by Clearlake on No Frontin’

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Our new TMN intern Jen pointed me yesterday to a story (by terrific audio blogger Christopher Porter) about Extra Golden. Good timing, since I need new summer music and I have a weakness for almost any album released by Thrill Jockey. Afropop and American strumming and somewhere, in there, do I hear hardcore plus Allman Brothers? Nine stars out of five! (Try “It’s Not Easy.”)

» Hear tracks from Extra Golden’s “Ok-Oyot System” on Thrill Jockey

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That note above about Clearlake? I’d like an edit: Clearlake is very five blips ago and now I’m hop and humpy for the Medics, particularly “Bloody Up Your Dress.” This will be my go-to New York Sports Club track for the next three days; I will punch my fists while useless calories incinerate around the inferno of my Elliptical Machine; and then I’ll only listen to the song again when iTunes picks it randomly from my 3,000-song-strong “Dinner” mix and I’ll wonder, who?

» Hear “Bloody Up Your Dress” by the Medics on Music for Robots

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Other playlists in the orgasmatron’s “moods” folder: “Drinking,” “Quiet,” and “Ambient,” which holds about 700 songs of ideal airport music I use for when I’m working (living in New York, I find, is easier when your imagination believes your flight is departing soon). Hopefully someday every song by Yuichiro Fujimoto will be safely stored in the little white box. For work, or napping, or finishing Lolita.

» Hear tracks by Yuichiro Fujimoto on

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Finally, to college for a moment, during an hour when I wasn’t listening to Oasis: discovering that Ui (which was part SFJ in the day, you know, though now his new non-Remnick foray, the Sands, features the before-mentioned Chris) and Stereolab had combined for an album as Uilab to cover Brian Eno’s “St. Elmo’s Fire” was a lot more exciting than my Oceanography class. To hear, a few years later, the now-vogue-ish Williamsburgerettes Au Revoir Simone throw a nod to the song in their wonderful “Through the Backyards” was like a secret poke in the ear.

» Hear “Through the Backyards” by Au Revoir Simone on TalkieWalkie


Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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