After an eternity (okay, 18 years), Cuppa Joe is back with another release on Dromedary Records. Things have changed over the years in cuppa joe’s world. Their previous release, nurture was a delightful twee pop confection. This track (you can see the video here) adds an unexpected depth to their catalog.
The first change comes from the minor chord guitar strums; the second comes from the bass, which is following its own cool riff–although it melds nicely with the verse, it’s unexpected from cuppa joe. The pace of the song is much slower than the frantic songs on nurture. Even the vocals, while noticably cuppa joe, seem less so–call it a more mature version of the vocals. Indeed, the whole sounds seems to have relinquished their more childlike qualities and embraced a more mature outlook.
This could be a death knell for a band, but not in this case. All of their songwriting sensibilities remain intact. Indeed, they have added a wonderful new component: terrific harmonies in the chorus (which may have been there before, but which really stand out here).
It would almost seem like an entirely new band (18 years will do that to you). But rather than a new band it’s like an old band coming out of a coocoon like a butterfly. (That’s too treacly, sorry guys–maybe we’ll just stick with them being older and wiser. Welcome back guys.
The new cuppa joe album Tunnel Trees is available here.
[READ: September 8, 2010] “The Science of Flight”
I read this story in September of 2010. I liked it but I wasn’t that impressed by it. Well, it turns out I either skipped or missed an important section of the story. So I’m trying again. here’s the start of my original post
Yiyun Li’s is one of the 20 Under 40 from the New Yorker. This story (which I assume is not an excerpt) is about Zichen. Zichen (whose name is unpronounceable to Westerners) emigrated from China to live in America with her then new husband.
As the story opens, we see Zichen at work at an animal-care center. She is talking with her coworkers about her upcoming visit to England (this will be her first-ever vacation that is not to China). The men are teasing her about the trip (why would she want to go to the ocean in the winter, she doesn’t know anyone there, etc). The teasing is friendly, because they are friendly, although Zichen is very reserved around them. Of course, of all the people she has known, she has opened up to them the most–which still isn’t very much.
That much is accurate. However, the rest of my post about this story is completely (and rather ineptly, I must admit) incorrect. Recently, Carol Schoen commented on my original post and informed me that I was a bonehead (although she said it much more politely than that). I had completely missed the point of this story the first time around. And indeed, re-reading it this time, I can’t help but wonder what happened last time.
Zichen is a bastard, literally. She was born our of wedlock to a man who ran away. In China, this was like compounding one sin atop another one. Her grandmother agreed to raise her (after a failed adoption) more or less to spite Zichen’s mother, provided Zichen’s mother had nothing to so with her. And so, Zichen’s grandmother worked in her shop extra long hours to care for a child who was a visible symbol of the family’s disgrace. (I seem to have gotten the point about her grandmother raising her, but seem to have missed the important part about her parents not being in her life at all).
So Zichen has been working in America for a few years. And each year she claims that she is going home to visit her parents in China, when indeed she cannot even set foot in her old village. But she does go to China, and she brings back photos for her coworkers to admire. This year, she tells them that she is going to go to England. They don’t believe her–she must go home to visit her family! Why would she go to England in November? But she has her reasons (more secrets here).
She has gotten so used to hiding (hiding herself and later, hiding the truth) that I had to wonder what she was hiding from herself.
I enjoyed this story much more this time (that’s what happens when you pay attention). Thanks Carol.
To see my original post in all its boneheadedness, click here.
Her Q&A is available here.