This is partly here so people know what will be coming up on this blog, but mostly so I have an aide memoire I can refer to myself. These are the projects I’m working on at the moment or planning to do this year:
Finish proposal for a traditionally-published novel in a series in someone else’s world. May or may not ever get past the proposal stage. If it doesn’t, I’m going to rework the ideas into a new novel of my own.
Get PEP! 3 out the door – possibly as early as next week, if all goes to plan. (I know I’ve said that before)
Finish the Kinks book. Probably by March
Finish How We Know What We Know – hopefully by the end of next month
Finish Doctor Who: Fifty Stories For Fifty Years – before Xmas.
Finish Bigger On The Outside – some time in the next few months.
Finish Time Detective to novella length
Write books two and three of the Beach Boys series, and if necessary a second edition of book one – waiting for details on the reissues and new albim before I do anything definite.
Book on Cerebus. I’m scrapping what I did last year, and restarting this in the style of my Seven Soldiers book.
A second and third Doctor Watson Investigates, to make enough of them to fill an omnibus paperback.
Possibly a second Time Detective novella if people like the first one enough.
More short stories.
I also want to write more political stuff, but I don’t think I could do a book on that. Politics is too depressing right now, all things considered. I’m actually more politically active now than in a long time, but have very little to say…
Are you like me, with absurdly high expectations for the new Beach Boys album? I know I’m setting myself up for disappointment, but I’m expecting an album that combines the best aspects of That Lucky Old Sun, Sunflower, and Cool Head Warm Heart (which I like a lot). It’s probably unrealistic to hope for all that though, since the Beach Boys haven’t released a really good album since LA Light (over 30 years ago).
Conversely, and I hope this doesn’t sound mean, but less might actually be more in that the band will be more focused (artistically) without Carl and Dennis. The Beach Boys were never at their best when they were a democracy, after all. I’m not trying to say that it’s good that Carl and Dennis are gone, but I think you know what I mean.
I’ve actually got very, very low expectations, so I don’t get too disappointed. What I *do* think is that it will be the best album since LA. I think the various compromises and so on will make it average out at about the same quality as Al Jardine’s solo album (a Beach Boys album in all but name anyway), and that’s at least a better way to go out than Stars & Stripes vol 1.
That said, I’m worried about the apparent presence of Joe Thomas – but the remake of Do It Again sounds genuinely good, so maybe he’s being more restrained…
I like “Do It Again” a lot too. It’s very natural-sounding (the drums sound like drums, the vocals sound live…in a good way, the guitars aren’t overloaded with effects, etc.).
I think if Brian is fully committed, it will be a good album. If he’s just going through the motions, then I think you’re right, it’ll come up short. I actually have high hopes for Mike Love’s contributions. I think (lyrically) he can push things in a more Beach Boys direction (although the danger is that he’ll go too far, and become a parody of himself). I think the potential is there for Mike to surprise a lot of people though. Personally I’d be very happy if it was as good as LA Light.
The thing that gives me hope is that the backing band is the core of Brian’s band plus the two most talented members of Mike’s. These are people who are used to playing Brian’s music, and are hugely respectful of it, and whose natural sound is the sound Brian wants. Frankly, even if Brian isn’t wholly committed, the band will do enough of a decent job turd-polishing that we’ll get something at least listenable out the other end (q.v. the Disney and Gershwin albums).
It does also depend on how democratic they make it, though. Mike’s talked about Dave Marks writing a song or two, and frankly, having heard Marks’ solo work, that worries me (he’s a great guitarist and competent singer, but he’s no songwriter).
What I’m really looking forward to is the tour, more than the album. I simply can’t imagine that being less than wonderful, having seen both Brian and Mike’s bands separately quite a few times over the last decade. With Al included as well, and with the remit being to celebrate their whole career, including the more artistic side, it should be incredible.
I’d probably disagree about the band. They’re great for live shows, but in the studio they have a tendancy to go on auto-pilot. They’re a little *too* respectful of Brian’s music, I’d say. They have a tendancy to slip into Pet Sounds mode a little too easily. I’m sure I’m in the minority with that opinion though. I’m glad Cowsill is drumming….Brian’s drummer overplays a bit too much, for my tastes.
I saw Mike’s comments about David Marks’ song. He mentioned that he was going to work with David Marks on it, so I assume it would be a a Marks/Love song, in that sense. Doesn’t bother me, as long as its a good song. Maybe he came up with a good riff…..
I know what you mean – and it’s one reason I’m glad Totten and Cowsill will be involved, to give them a little extra energy. But even so, if it’s a choice between ‘Pet Sounds mode’ and, say, ‘Summer In Paradise mode’ or ‘Stars & Stripes mode’ I know what I’d pick…
Oh, obviously. Geez, if it comes down to choosing between another Summer in Paradise (one of the worst-sounding albums I’ve ever heard….it pushes everything I hated about 80s production to the forefront) and Brian’s Gershwin album, I’d much rather hear something along the Gershwin line. If the new album sounds like SIP Vol 2, I think every Beach Boys fan would want to tar-and-feather Mike Love….
LOL…..I don’t know if “turd-polishing” is a compliment or not. I remember back in the SM days, when Gav heard the final mix of the Dog Kick song, he said, “Gee, you really can polish a turd…..” Although I always liked that song, myself.
I can’t remember what that song sounded like now, except that it was nothing like the Fall pastiche that the title led me to expect. I later made the same comment about a Reaction song too, so you’re in good company.
It was whingy Coldplayesque mope-rock of the worst kind. But the arrangement/production I did (with Geoff’s help on the vocal arrangement) turned it into a Beach Boys pastiche instead. Much more palatable. Still a godawful mess of a song though.
I think when you guys played the song live, it was full of raw guitars and whatnot. The studio recording was a quiet piano-based arrangement.