The title of Many Bright Things' third album highlights the nature of the project: a large cast of friends coalescing around guitarist Stan Denski. After a seven-year gap, Denski – better known by now as the compiler for QDK Media's high-profile series of obscure psychedelia, Love, Peace & Poetry – delivers an entertaining disc of spaced-out jams. Many Bright Friends combines the folky side of Jefferson Airplane ("Minor Parade for 18 Strings," the title track, "There Will Be a Slight Delay") and the crudest grooves of the Krautrock school. The album is structured around two main tracks. The first one is "East West," a 21-minute cover of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's anthem to cross-pollination. Featured in this orgiastic jam are guitarists Denski, Nick Saloman, Daniel Noland, and Al Simones (trading solos); Vess Ruthenberg (bass); Steve Obenreder (drums); and harp player Byrd Birocco, who steals the show. "I Am Not a Collector Potato," the other key track here, is a feature for Jello Biafra, who tells listeners what collecting psychedelic records used to be like (with plenty of reverb in the voice), over a quiet groove improvised by Denski, Larry Demyer (guitar), David "Tufty" Clough (bass), and Lon Paul Elrich (percussion).
Life can be hard: your lover cheats on you; you lose a family member; you can't pay the bills. And it can be great: you've had the hottest sex of your life; you get that plum job; you muster the courage to write your novel. Sugar-the once-anonymous online columnist at The Rumpus, now revealed as Cheryl Strayed, author of the best-selling memoir Wild-is the person thousands turn to for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things gathers the best of "Dear Sugar" in one place and includes never-before-published columns and a new introduction by Steve Almond. Rich with humor, insight, compassion-and absolute honesty-this book is a balm for everything life throws our way.