Sunday, September 13, 2009

Posthumous Gratitude | n+1:

After David Foster Wallace's tragic death last September 12, while unburdening my shelf of his works to give them a good nostalgic thumbing-through, I remembered an LP in my collection—plucked several summers ago from the dollar bin of a liquidating Cambridge record store—by an artist with the same name as one of Wallace's most memorable characters. The album, called Priorities, was by Michael Pemulis, whose literary namesake is the twitchy Allstonian best friend cum drug dealer of Hal Incandenza, protagonist of Infinite Jest. Despite the coincidence of names and appealing cover art, the uninspiring bar-band-trapped-in-a-studio sound had caused me to quickly banish Michael Pemulis to the bottom of a milk crate.

When I pulled the album out last September, though, I noticed it had been recorded in Phoenix, where some of Infinite Jest takes place, and released in 1987, the year that Wallace graduated with an MFA from the University of Arizona.