I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars. But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.
Screaming Females are a band from New Brunswick, NJ. They’re a trio who has been around for about ten years and they play (as their name suggests) loud punk. The band is fronted by Marissa Paternoster who sings and shreds guitar solos like nobody’s business.
The band is typically pretty loud, but in this tiny desk not only are they quieter, they look rather small—all crowded in behind the desk–standing inches away from each other. Although I understand they play in all kinds of tiny basement clubs in New Brunswick, so this is probably nothing new.
What I really liked about “It All Means Nothing” is that bassist King Mike plays chords while Paternoster is shredding so it doesn’t sound spare. And while she is playing some simple chords, he’s wandering the fret board playing some interesting riffs as well. There’s not too much to say about drummer Jarrett Dougherty because he is reduced to a floor tom and rims shots.
Paternoster has an unusual vocal delivery—very pronounced vowels–in her singing. It’s especially noticeable in this quieter setting.
It’s interesting that she sings loudly and brashly and plays a great solo (with some cool basswork accompanying) at the end of the song; however, when Bob asks her who the picture is on her strap, she seems so quiet and insecure. It’s hard to believe that she can front this band, but seems so nervous about talking.
“Little Anne” is a quieter song that’s predominantly a guitar melody and drums. She sings along with this lovely melody for a few verses. And just as the bass comes in and it seems the song will take off, it abruptly ends.
The final song they play is “I Don’t Mind It.” It seems like this song might normally blast, but in this set, they hold back. It still sounds great.
I was given their most recent album (the one that came out a couple of years after this set) and I really liked it. I’m going to have to go back and explore their more brash earlier songs.
[READ: December 6, 2016] “Hunger Strike”
Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar. Which is what exactly? Well…
The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas. This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.
I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived (a few days late for advent, but that was my fault for ordering so late) I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.
I wish I had gotten this collection on time (it arrived on the 5th). I especially wish that because this story was a great way to start the calendar.
I know a lot of contemporary stories are rather downers. Well this had just the right amount of humor in a futile situation that I really enjoyed.
Even the premise is pretty funny. A college professor has been fired for looking at porn on his computer. And four of his students are outraged–who did it hurt if he did that? What was the big deal? And even worse, his replacement has turned their class Pop Culture in the Late 20th Century from comic books and summer blockbusters into photojournalism in the late 19th and early 20th century. Outrage!
And so these four freshmen decide to go on a hunger strike until the teacher is rehired.
One of them asked how much food they can eat each day. None, is the answer, shockingly. And yes, Mikey, even though Rice Krispies are a thin shell of rice filled with air, it’s still food.
But how will they let people know what they are doing? They have to write to the school paper. Which means they can eat until their letter is published.
They see tehir letter in print and they wait. Two days later nobody and still nobody seemed to care, so they made T-shirts that said No Justice No Food. (They had to make a minimum of 50, sadly).
After a week they started going to the dining hall, ordering a lot of food and making a big production of throwing it away. And that’s when they met Birdie. Birdie was an anarchist college student whose tattoo read Fuck the Sytem (the guy messed it up but she thinks its better like this). She admired what they were doing (and their shirts) and wanted to join in, even if she’d never had this teacher. And they are excited about this because she is pretty and she’s a senior.
All this time they have been trying to get in touch with the professor so he knows what they’re doing. But he’s not returning calls or emails. What has happened to him.
They are by now quite hungry and rather weak so they have been skipping all of their classes. Then one day they find food wrappers in the garbage but none of them can remember actually eating anything–could they be eating in their sleep?
After a month, with no results and no response from anyone, they decide to do something drastic (and stupid).
The ending was so great–twisted and funny. And the epilogue–when their hunger strike finally ends–is something that you can just imagine happening.
This started off the calendar with a bang!