Florist is a quiet band–they remind me a bit of Kimya Dawson from the Juno soundtrack. There are four members of the band–lead singer/guitarist Emily Sprague and a drummer who has only one drum and plays very sparsely. And then there are two guys who switch between bass/guitar and keyboards. In this Tiny arrangement, the keys are right next to the guys which makes it very easy for them to switch back and forth–I wonder if it works so well on a bigger stage.
I knew the first song, “Vacation” from an earlier All Songs Considered show and this live version sounds pretty much like the recorded version. Sprague has a very gentle voice–almost a whipser (but not mumbling or anything). And her guitar playing is really pretty. I remember Bob Boilen talking about how much he liked her lyrics like:
Between the first and second song the bassist/keyboardist holds down some notes while the others tune and get ready to play. They’re the most un rock n roll looking band I’ve seen, with them dresses in cozy clothes as they calmly prepare for the second song.
“Cool and Refreshing” sounds that way. The melody is really pretty once again. And Sprague’s vocal line is quite lovely. And the lyrics:
I like the middle of the song when everything drops away except for the lone synth note.
The notes ring out after the second song when Emily finally looks up and says “Thanks everybody” before looking sown and starting the third song, “1914.” This vocals are a duet, and musically it is just the two guitars. It’s a very simple song, sparsely conveying the idea of a farewell letter from 100 years ago:
Please remember to feed the cat. Please remember that I’m never coming back. I was born in 1994 / I as born in the 70s / I was born in 1823 and you were born right next to me.
Florist was touring recently. I imagine it must be the quietest show you could ever go to. But also a very pretty show.
[READ: December 13, 2012] “The Foosball Championship of the Whole Entire Universe”
The premise of this piece is very simple–it is indeed the foosball championship of the whole entire universe. And the players are eleven-year old Nathaniel Rich and seven-year old Simon Rich.
This “joke” more or less tells itself, but Rich is able to add wonderful details to the story of it to make it much funnier than just the title. Nathaniel’s Blue team has won all 83 matches, but this game–the last of the summer vacation–is for all the marbles.
Rich has broken the “story” down into analyses of Keys to the Game.
Like Coaching, in which we learn all about Coach Simon’s style (as told by the “players”): “Coach cries a lot” or “the last time we lost, coach attacked us. It was scary because even though he’s just a boy, he’s also a giant–fifty to sixty times our height.”
They recall the one time that they almost won which somehow made it worse for Simon as he totally flipped out.
Another section concerns the health of the red team–who have suffered many injuries from Coach Simon’s tantrums
I rather enjoyed the “Differing Strategies” section in which we learn that Simon “just spins us.”
There have also been several accusations of misconduct–Coach Simon says that Nathaniel “cheats all the time.”
The X Factor of the game is that earlier this week Coach Simon decided to eat the ball.
There ha also been suspicions of tampering by league commissioner Mom who possibly bribed Nathaniel to lose in order to avoid a tantrum on the airplane.
The last section is the Postgame report and while I won’t give away the result I will say that many foosball fans called the game “a total farce.”
Rich was really able to make a potentially one note joke into a very funny piece.