I sampled the Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop CD online and really liked it, so I bought it for Sarah for her birthday. The whole album is really beautiful and I was delighted to see that they performed a Tiny Desk Concert.
Sam Beam is the man behind Iron and Wine. He has an incredibly long beard. Jesca Hoop is a solo performer with a few albums out (although I hadn’t heard of her before). She looks adorable in this concert in her Oxford shirt and suspenders–they’re an interesting contrast. And yet their voices work so nicely together.
They sing three songs from the album with Beam on guitar and both of them singing.
“Sailor to Siren” begins with Beam on lead vocals, but Hoop soon joins him to duet on most of the lyrics. Their harmonies are so pretty, perhaps in particular because Beam’s voice is also in a high delicate register.
Sam Beam is one of the most personable performers to show up on the Tiny Desk–he seems so kind and gentle with a good sense of humor. And Hoop complements him well. He comments about having to sing into the microphone without looking and she jokes, “it’s like when you’re driving with someone and you’re feeding them food but you have to look at the road to make sire they don’t hit anything so you put food in their beard.” It’s a great visual reference with his large beard and it actually gets him laugh and stop playing for a minute.
“Know the Wild That Wants You” features Hoop on first lead vocals and Beam on backing vocals and then they duet on the next verse. The harmonies in the chorus are again beautiful.
For the final song, the incredibly catchy “Every Songbird Says,” Beam describes a video that was made for the song. He says it’s the best video he’s ever had made for him; Jesca jumps in and says it was made for her, which makes him laugh. He describes it as having babies with raccoon and dog heads wrestling and licking each other.
On this song Jesca’s vocals are breathier and quite different–they work wonderfully and are a fine contrast to the high notes she (and he) hit in the chorus.
This is a great representation of the album which is similarly sparse (although it does have some extra flourishes here and there). Their voices sound just as great as on the record.
[READ: March 1, 2016] Genius
The cover of this book shows a man facing the giant but fuzzy image of Albert Einstein. And it proves an apt image.
The story is about a man who says he was always pretty smart. He skipped ahead two grades in school. Although puberty was a bitch for him, it didn’t do him any real harm. He married and had two kids. And he now has a job at Pasadena Technical Institute. He was brought in as a young ringer with great ideas. But as he has been there for a while, the ideas have just stopped coming and he sees the new young people starting to overtake him–which might mean the loss of his position.
The story flips back and forth between his worklife–unsatisfying–and his home life–confusing. His son is old enough (14) to be interested in sex. But he has a heart to heart with him and says they can talk about anything–it seems to work.
The other man in his life is his father in law. His father in law is basically senile at this point but he still how much he hates the narrator. He keeps saying he doesn’t have daughter (presumably because she married the narrator against his wishes. The old man is belligerent and unpleasant and most of the time, the narrator just tries to get through a conversation with him.
And then one day the old man reveals that Einstein was one of his clients…he called him Bert. The narrator doesn’t believe it until his wife confirms the story. He is apoplectic–doesn’t she know who much this would mean to him–to know that her dad knew Einstein? And then the old man reveals that “Bert” told him a secret.
The narrator needs to know the secret–was it personal, could it have been scientific?
And as his work life flounders more, the idea of a juicy tidbit that might spark and idea became too important to hm.
The trouble is, once he knows the secret, what will he do with it? The implications are staggering and how could he show it off without revealing its source?.
I don’t know how much of this story is based on anything, but it was really engaging and presented a good theoretical puzzler. The style of the art (by Kristiansen) is done with delicate watercolors (in gray scale). And although the lines are primarily very sparse, they convey the characters (and Einstein) very well.
At first I didn’t really like the story that much–Einstein seemed too easy of a character to hold up to respect, but it paid off very well, and while the flap said something about him having a chance to steal an idea from Einstein, I imagined it would be a story about him trying to pass off Einstein’s work as his own. But it is a completely different angle and much better one.
I wound up really engrossed by this book. Something that only First Second would have put out. #10yearsof01