From The Desk Of The Van Pelt’s Chris Leo: Simon Winchester

The Van Pelt‘s Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves (1996) and Sultans Of Sentiment (1997), in hindsight, provided a number of significant indie-rock mile markers. The band was led by Ted’s brother, Chris Leo; Stealing recorded by Alap Momin (ex-Dälek); bassist Toko Yasuda went back and forth between TVP and Blonde Redhead after that record; and both albums saw the light of day via cult label Gern Blandsten. After being out of print since the turn of the century, the original tapes have been mined for reissue treatment by Spain’s La Castanya, allowing listeners to trace the band from its gorgeously melodic and incendiary, post-hardcore beginnings a la the Jazz June and Texas Is The Reason to a more subdued, Slint-like bent with Leo’s increasingly spoken-word vocal style by the time the last notes ring out on Sultans. Leo will be guest editing all week.

Leo: When I don’t know what my next book is going to be, I just make it a Simon Winchester book—not simply because they’re all good, but because I think he’s working his way up to something: geological linguistics. He keeps circling around two seemingly disparate themes, fissures in the earth’s crust and words, and I think he’s looking for a way to lay out the link between the two without seeming nuts. Maybe start with The Map That Changed The World if you don’t believe me.