In this week’s newsletter: the world’s strangest books, how to write a song, and more...

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A newsletter from the desk of Austin Kleon
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Hey y’all,

Another music-heavy edition this week, and a 10-track playlist to go along with it. Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing: 

  1. The tinkering spirit of Eddie Van Halen. (RIP.) There are at least two great books about his band: Van Halen Rising and David Lee Roth’s Crazy From The Heat. (I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, but if I did, the latter would be one of them.) This weekend I plan on cranking 1984, plugging into my mini Marshall, and letting loose
  2. From cut-out confessions to cheese pages: The world’s strangest books. (I can’t wait to see this in print.
  3. In honor of its 70th anniversary, I posted a batch of my Peanuts remixed comic strips. ('Tis the season, so we’ve been watching a lot of It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.)
  4. How Jeff Tweedy writes a song. (An excerpt from his new book on songwriting, which comes out next week.) Here’s what he says about refrigerators and being who you are
  5. Ear candy: I can’t get enough of Deerfhoof’s “35-minute live-in-the-studio medley of covers,” Love-Lore. Mind-boggling. Track 4 alone covers Ennio Morricone, Dionne Warwick, Kraftwerk, The Jetsons, and a reading of David Graeber’s essay, “On Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit.” (I’m also back to blasting Perfume Genius’s latest, Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.)
  6. Eye candy: the video for Sturgill Simpson’s “Make Art, Not Friends” (my quarantine anthem) and Wayne and Woodrow White’s animated video for Future Islands’ “Born in a War.” (A bonus link for typography nerds: the lettering of jazz music.)
  7. Make music right in your browser with a virtual TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synth. (I still need to watch the documentary about the drum machine, 808.)
  8. Movies: my wife and I are trying to get in the spooky spirit, but so far in October we’ve just been watching really great old noir-ish stuff: both versions of Gaslight (the original 1940 version is much better!), Dial M For Murder (even better than I remembered), and the delightful 1947 gem, Lured, starring a young Lucille Ball as a detective who baits a serial killer. (Yes, really!
  9. Poem: “come celebrate / with me that everyday / something has tried to kill me / and has failed.”
  10. RIP Johnny Nash, who sang one of the most beautiful songs of all-time: “I Can See Clearly Now.”
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my trilogy of books on creativity
Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is the author of Steal Like An Artist and other books.

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