Cut Worms aka Max Clarke has been introducing the world to his home-recorded demos via his recently released Jagjaguwar debut, Alien Sunset. It’s packed with tender tracks that are instilled with s distinctly American quality. The featured songs were written and recorded in Chicago (side A) and New York (side B) back in 2015.
Alien Sunset is also a great example of Clarke’s lyrical prowess and hints at his literary influences. ‘Song of the Highest Tower’ was written the day Lou Reed died and is an adaptation of a poem from Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell. Even Clarke’s chosen moniker, Cut Worms, borrows from a line in a William Blake poem: “The cut worm forgives the plow.”
With all that in mind we asked Clarke to share his top literary selections with us for yet another edition of BEAT book club. Remember – reading is sexy!
‘The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are’ by Alan Watts
“This is a good one to kind of take you out of yourself. Alan Watts is an interesting character… sort of a guru / mystic but he wouldn’t have called himself that. He talks about elements of Zen Buddhism and Taoism in a way that makes sense to a silly Westerner like me.”
‘Crime and Punishment’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“The neurosis in this book is something I can really relate to. There’s a lot of tension and suspense and it sort of plays out like a Hitchcock movie. A classic, obviously.”
‘The Broom of the System’ by David Foster Wallace
“I think most things by David Foster Wallace were and are really great. He was one of those artists who predicted the future. I love this story though—he does a great job of mixing the completely absurd with the banalities and endless complications of modern living.”
‘East of Eden’ by John Steinbeck
“Another gigantic classic. It doesn’t get much better than this. This book covers just about everything in life that’s worth mentioning, and does it in a way that’s poignant and yet still simple and not pretentious.”
‘The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror’ by William Milligan Sloane
“These are some of the best stories I’ve read in a while. He does a really great job of using the “unknown” as a storytelling device. He unfortunately only wrote these two stories and nothing else.”