This new song (album out in October) plays up their faster side, with short fast chords (think “Spin the Black Circle”). It starts out heavy, and when the verse proper starts the band really kicks in. The chords are heavy, but the bridge is fairly light and breezy.
The end features some chanted vocals (seldom used by Pearl Jam but effective here). But to me the real standout moment comes from Mike McCready’s solo. It is noisy and weird–he seems to be experimenting with all kinds of sounds in these 20 seconds or so. It’s unexpected from him and very interesting.
I do not like how the song ends, which seems almost abrupt by accident. Perhaps the released version gets cut off a few seconds early. Nevertheless, I’m pretty excited about the new album (and tour).
[READ: July 11, 2013] “Other Types of Poison”
This is credited as memoir. It is three short “stories.” All of which I enjoyed immensely–but especially the first.
The first is called The Ink. In this tale, Makkai’s ancestors were hiding out in a little lake house when soldiers came to the door. I loved that no one can remember the details of whether the soldiers were German or Russian or if that even mattered. The important part is that the soldiers hung around and made themselves at home. (The old lady was too old and scary to try anything with and the boy was too young).
Then they ran out of booze and one of the soldiers, noticing an inkwell, said he would drink that. The inkwell was a gift to the boy, because the old woman was a writer. And although the cost was dear, the soldier drank the whole thing. Then he stumbled out of the house, face completely blackened. From then on, the old woman claimed that had she killed a soldier with ink.
I love Makkai’s ending: She says she doesn’t of the details are correct, but “If this were your family legacy—this ridiculous assertion of the might and violence o ink , this blatant and beautiful falsehood—could you change it? Would you dare?”
Part 2 is called Acolyte. In this one her grandmother in Budapest had access to stage makeup. And she would use it to make the young girls look old and wrinkly. She also she taught them to walk stooped over. In this way the girls could walk unmolested through the streets.
Makkai loves this story and has tried to write her own version many times but it never comes out right. Perhaps what is strangest of all is that her grandmother, this woman who was very liberal, married a man who was a member of parliament. A man who wrote and defended the Second Jewish Law of 1939, which limited the number of Jews that could be hired in various professions, including the theater. This put millions of Jews out of work. They divorced not too long after. Was the law meant to hurt her in some way? Did he think that she had an affair with a Jewish theater director?
The final one is Bird in the House based around the superstition that when a bird flies into your house it is a bad omen.
It talks about the last time those grandparents saw each other (Makkai was 4 months old). While her grandfather did eventually express remorse for everyone felt it was too little too late). While they were sitting around the kitchen, a sparrow flew into the house. They tried to chase it out until the grandfather—blind in one eye but with incredible depth perception, captured the bird in a violent manner and flung the bird out the window. He said he was skilled and lucky, but the grandmother knew the omen was bad.
When the grandparents left and went their separate ways the family discovered that while her grandmother had been writing (see it ties to the ink) she had been gnawing on her tarot deck. And there were only five cards left uneaten.
These are strange tales and I found them all fascinating.