From the Dead Dog

Guilty pleasure of late has been digging Ed Harcourt’s upcoming release, The Beautiful Lie. Much more inventive than say a Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds or Elton John (to name the countryman-keyplayer he for some reason gets compared to) and several levels less pretentious than Thom Yorke, dude can flat-out write some killer-diller melodies.

As if that weak-ass-of-a-review isn’t convincing enough, check out Visit From the Dead Dog, a song with a feel and title that somehow reminds me of Mark Eitzel’s “Seeing Eye Dog.” There is much more at his website. Some other blogs have spoken, primarily UK-based. Couple other new cuts via Harcourt’s myspace page.

Training With Vikings I

by Daniel Heimpel, on assignment in Iceland.

“Spricccun!” Ari yelled at us. It means something like go, or run, or attack! So up I went; up the steep 50-foot grass covered embankment for the fifth time. My lungs were burning and I came down fast, just behind a hyper-muscled black man, a boxer in his thirties from Spain. What’s he doing here training to box in Iceland? Oh yeah what am I up to?

I pitched my editor out here an idea – train for fight against Viking. She said okay. Life is good.

“Have you been training?” asked Radar, a man in his mid-twenties who had been boxing since the sport was re-legalized in 2001, since being banned in 1953. We were standing by a dumpster outside of Reykjavik’s premier boxing gym, the same that won eight titles out of 12 in the last nation-wide boxing tournament.

“Not really. Just been in New York and London.” At this I tipped an imaginary 40-oz bottle to my lips. I always figure that references to alcohol are always good with Norsemen – either that or thunderbolts, sails or big hammers.

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