The set is very stripped down compared to their recorded version. “Helena Beats” sounds great in this setting–there are effects and processing on the album but you can tell that the kernel is in the guitar and voice, which is pretty cool. The first song feature solo tracks and gentle picking (he comments that you’ll be able to hear the other songs better).
The discussion features the bassist’s quote from Plato that he has inscribed on his bass. And of course, they play “Pumped Up Kicks.” There’s a funny comment from Bob Boilen asking is that the first time you said “This is pumped up kicks” and no one said anything. He replies, “I think people are over that song.” But it sounds very good in this stripped down version.
You can hear the whole set here.
[READ: November 14, 2012] “Breatharians”
This story poses the question: after the protagonist has killed three cats with a wrench, will you continue reading? For many the answer is no. For those who persist, they have the mass poisoning of many other cats to look forward to.
I recall in the 70s or 80s that “dead cat” jokes were de rigueur, but I don’t think any were as brutal as this story. And the strange thing is that the title has nothing to do with the cats.
Indeed, if I were to tell you that the Breatharians in the story are people who believe that they can subsist without eating–they simply inhale and gain all of the sustenance that they need, you might think that this was an interesting story about spirituality. And if I mention that the main character’s mother has recently become a Breatharian, even though she continues to make him delicious sounding food (that pork chop…yum!), you might be very curious about this whole Breatharian thing.
But the whole Breatharian business seems to be a defense mechanism for his mother. The narrator’s father is a hard man, a farmer who is gruff and, well, a typical hard-ass farmer. The mother tells the father that the boy will no longer help milking the cows because it is time for him to move on. So the father’s assistant a young girl named Lucy, starts working at the farm a lot more often. And a lot more closely with the father.
Indeed, Lucy winds up staying in the new house most of the time, while the mother has sequestered herself in the old crumbling house on the property, wearing a quilt like a dress and inhaling her life.
See, that aspect of the story is kind of interesting–even when we learn that the narrator was devastated when his dog died when he was twelve years old–a touching story if human frailty. You’d never guess that forty-some cats were killed and their tails nailed to a post. It’s easy to say that the cats were killed because the boy is angry about his father cheating on his mother, but it’s the father that asked the boy to kill the cats in the first place.
I fear I was a little distracted by the cats to really absorb any other point of the story.