Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats get a ton of airplay on WXPN–perhaps a bit too much airplay. And yet I can’t deny the supreme catchiness of his music which owes a lot to Van Morrison’s brand of soul music.
Rateliff was (and perhaps still is) a folk singer. But in 2015, he released this album with the band The Night Sweats and has had huge success with this more rocking soulfulness.
“I Need Never Get Old” sounds so much like a Van Morrison song that it’s hard to deny how catchy it is (especially the chorus). “Look It Here” has a similar vibe with the kind of loudly mumbled vocals that sit nicely with backing vocals and horns. The middle of the song picks up in intensity and changes the overall tone in a good way that segues nicely back into the main melody.
“I’ve Been Failing You” features more piano up front. It’s a little more bluesy than soulful so I like it a bit less. Although the backing vocals in the quiet section (Don’t you weep and don’t you worry) are very cool.
Typically a band does three songs, but Bob walks up and shakes his hand and asks if he wants to do another. Nathaniel asks, do another or do that one over? But Bob says, no another song if they want to.
The band agrees they can’t really do “Shake,” so instead they play “Mellow Out.” Rateliff says, “Same key different song.” And everyone laughs until he realized, “wait it’s actually a different key. What do I know?”
“Mellow Out” which opens with some very Van Morrison “do do do dos.” It sounds very much like the other songs–catchy and swinging with horns in all the right places. When the song ends Bob says it sounded great and someone comments that they had an extra late night last night before the audio turns off.
I am genuinely surprised that they didn’t play “S.O.B.,” their first single (a song used in a Lipton commercial–although not any part that sings “son of a bitch, I might add). But since I don’t really like that song, I’m glad they played the other ones.
[READ: June 15, 2016] Giant Days Vol. 1
Giant Days was excerpted in the back of a Lumberjanes book and I loved the excerpt–very funny with a great drawing style. Then as I am wont to do, I forgot all about it. But in the library the other day, the librarian recommended the book and I was delighted to be reminded about it.
This series is set in a British college. Susan, Esther, and Daisy are roommates. Susan is the sensible one–a little angry at men and unwilling to take crap from anyone. Esther is a goth hottie. She dresses outlandishly and has a (literal?) forcefield of bad luck around her. And Daisy was home schooled–she is very sweet and rather naive.
I loved right from the start when the three girls head out to campus. Susan bets Esther that she can’t go three days without some kind of drama happening around her. But as soon as they get outside, Susan see McGraw. And she is furious. McGraw has floppy hair and a big ol’ mustache. And they launch into each other with cold pleasantries.
When the girls force Susan to tell the story, there’s a very funny moment when the other two start chanting Flash-Back Flash-Back but we get a brief, intentionally unsatisfying one.
The moment that cracked me up the most came near the end of the chapter. Esther does, in fact, cause drama (hilarious drama which results in McGraw getting plopped on the head with a plateful of mashed potatoes. His reaction to it is outstanding.
In the meantime, there’s a boy–wild haired with gasses–named Ed who is buddies with Esther but who has a major crush on her. She can’t see it of course. Ed is McGraw’s roommate and while Ed may be a bit spacey we see that McGraw is actually pretty handy.
Chapter Two dismisses Esther’s drama somewhat because this plot is all about getting sick: “Coughs and sneezes spread diseases.” Three days later they are all violently ill. Each woman deals with it in her own way. Susan buys off-market drugs from Poland (really cheap) and gives them to Daisy (who assumes they are homeopathic). Susan refuses to let Esther go to the doctor so in a goth-inspired haze, Esther seeks succor in “Santeria.”
One of the funnier moments in the book comes when Daisy befriends a pigeon named Gordon. But the end of the chapter introduces a new adversary–college guys. Chapter Three tells us a bit more about these guys. They have started a website called Bantserve which ranks the women in the school. Turns out that Esther ranked number 3. Ed tells Susan about this and they are both appalled. They vow to not show Esther. But then they see that Daisy is showing her right now–because she came in third! Esther goes on the warpath–but she tries to go through proper channels. The dean looks at the site and says “it’s just a bit of fun, it even says so at the top.”
Revenge is eventually served, but in a wonderfully unique way.
A joke that had me laughing out loud came in Chapter Three when Daisy tells her roommates that “making love is a beautiful way for two people to share their bodies. That’s what my granny says” and Susan replying “It’s difficult to imagine the exact moment when she’d say that.”
Book three ends with Susan seeing McGraw, taking his photo and putting it on the cover of her zine called Femmist in the “Men are Awful” issue.
Book Four sees the repercussions of this as all the women on campus really hate him (except for the ones who say that the mag isn’t feminist, it’s just an unfair screed).
But the important part of this chapter is Daisy’s 18th birthday. She has a new friend from her Information and Information Studies class named Nadia. And Daisy has a huge crush on her. For this birthday everyone goes out to celebrate. But when nearly everyone runs out of money, there’s only Nadia and Daisy left. And they go out clubbing. Naive Daisy who doesn’t even drink, grabs a handful of Nadia’s pills and has an awesome time at the club. For far too long. When her gran visits in the morning, Daisy isn’t quite presentable. And later that day she has her heart broken.
Speaking of broken hearts this book ends with an upcoming ball. Everyone is excited to go, although once Esther points out that they will all go stag, Ed is left starry-eyed and confused.
I can’t wait for book two! The art by Treiman (who works for Disney) is wonderful–bright and cartoony but never outrageous).