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Archive for the ‘Karen Green’ Category

houseSOUNDTRACK: LAURA VEIRS-Tiny Desk Concert #49 (March 1, 2010).

lauraI have decided to contradict myself.  I simply cannot keep up with the regular release of Tiny Desk Concerts (sometimes 3 a week), so I’m going to focus on these older recordings for a while and occasionally devote a week or two to new ones.  we’ll see how that works out.

I only know Laura Veirs’ name, but not really anything she’s done.  So I wasn’t really sure what her “solo” work would sound like.  Well, she has a delightful voice and she writes really pretty songs.

She also offers one of the most dramatic screw ups I’ve seen in a live performance. She opens her song “Carol Kaye” with this lovely melody–just her and her guitar.  And then after about a minute, her band comes in with a beautiful harmony–in the wrong key!  The introduction of their voices is so dramatic (to go from her gentle voice to this huge chorus) was really amazing.  So much so that I didn’t quite realize they were in the wrong key at first.  Turns out that Laura put her capo on the wrong fret and it wasn’t until the keyboardist played the right note that they all sounded off.  And his mouth drops opens as he stares at Laura.  She laughs and says “you looked like this terrified Muppet.”

They play the song again, this time perfectly–and the harmonies are truly lovely.  As is the violin that swirls throughout the song.

“When You Give Your Heart” is another lovely song in which Viers’ voice and the violin play the same lilting melody.

“Sun is King” has some more lovely (that’s the word to describe her, clearly) harmonies–she has picked a tremendous backing band.  And they sound great in this small setting.

It’s hard to believe that the whole set (miscue and all) is only ten minutes long.

[READ: May 1, 2015] House of Leaves

I read this book when it came out in 2000.  I had the “2 Color” edition which the t.p,. verso explains has as features: “either house appears in blue or struck passages and the word minotaur appear in red (I had the blue version).  No Braille.  Color or black & white plates.”

The Full Color edition (which is the same price, amazingly) differs in this way:

  • The word house in blue, minotaur and all struck passages in red
  • The only struck line in Chapter XXI appears in purple
  • XXXXXX and color plates

So basically the full color edition isn’t really that big a deal although the three or four full color plates are much nicer.

Why do I have both?  Well, I bought the two color when it came out and then I won a free book at the library and there was this full color edition, so I brought it home.  I was amused to find that the previous owner had deciphered a clue in the back of the book (the first letters of sentences spell out a secret message).  She (it looks like woman’s handwriting) wrote out the secret message, which I appreciated as I didn’t feel like figuring it out.

ANYWAY.

This book had a huge impact on me when I read it.  Although I forgot a lot of the details, the overwhelming effect of the book has stayed with me an I never forgot the central conceit of a house that opened secret passages and expanded or contracted at will.  For, make no mistake about all of the accolades, this is a horror story.  One accolade, from Bret Easton Ellis: “One can imagine Thomas Pynchon, J.G. Ballard. Stephen King and David Foster Wallace bowing at Danielewski’s feet, choking with astonishment, surprise, laughter awe.” [Ellis will not be bowing apparently, and actually I can’t imagine Pynchon bowing before anyone].  It’s a very cool horror story with all kind of textual experimentation and twists and turns, but it’s still a pretty damned scary story.

The experiments are many and varied and they begin right from the start, as the title page lists Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves by Zampanò with an introduction and notes by Johnny Truant. The forward from the editors notes: “The first edition of House of Leaves was privately distributed and did not contain Chapter 21, Appendix II, Appendix III or the index.

This is all nonsense of course. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE DECEMBERISTS-Austin City Limits (2007).

I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness of Austin City Limits.  And in the two or so years that I’ve been watching, I’ve seen some great live shows (even is most bands are reduced to 30 minutes).  This re-broadcast of The Decemberists, however, just blew me away.

The concert comes from The Crane Wife tour, and it is just a wonderful exploration of this fantastic CD.  I’ve liked the Decemberists for years, and have listened to all of their discs multiple times, but there was something about this recording, in particular the wailing guitar work of Colin Meloy (seeing him lying on the floor making crazed feedback was pretty impressive), and the amazing solo work of Chris Funk that gave me even more respect for this wonderful album and the band.

It is highly recommended. For more info see here.

[READ: January 14, 2010] 100 Page Tribute to David Foster Wallace

I was able to order a copy of this journal directly from The University of Arizona and received it not too long ago.  It is a two part issue (55/56) that is chock full of all kinds of things, including this 100 page tribute to DFW.  I intend to read the whole thing, or at least more than just the DFW stuff, but as I don’t see that happening too soon, I wanted to address this tribute section directly.

DFW received his MFA from UA and he was also an editor at Sonora Review.  He also published “/Solomon Silverfish/” there shortly after getting his MFA.  So the tributes make sense from this publication.  All of the tributes here come from varied people and are all either interesting or moving to the Wallace fan. (more…)

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paleSOUNDTRACK: TINDERSTICKS-Live at the Botanique, 9th-12 May 2001 (2001).

This is called an “official bootleg.”  It must be very rare as I can’t even find a picture of it online.  My friend Lar must have gotten it for me, as I have never seen the band live and it was (apparently) only available at their shows.  Or maybe I got it online during the tour?  Whatever the case, it’s a great live selection of their later songs.

It’s a cool collection of songs from shows over the course of three days.  It’s also interesting that the track listing is five songs from one gig, then three from the final gig and two from the middle one.  The band sounds great (the live setting always suits them). On this disc, Paula Frazer sings the duet of “Buried Bones” and there are some nice backing vocals from Gina Foster and Viki St. James on the last two tracks.

It’s a rather mellow set list, but the crowd certainly enjoys it.  And, as this is something of a greatest hits (of the more recent tracks), I could listen to it all day.

There appears to have been only one other “Official Bootleg”: Coliseu Dos Recreios De Lisboa – October 30th 2001.  But I’ve never seen it.

[READ: October 25, 2009] “Three Fragments from a Longer Thing,” “Good People,” “The Compliance Branch,” “Wiggle Room” and “Irrelevant Bob”

These are the last pieces of uncollected David Foster Wallace fiction that I had left to read.  I saved this for last because, well, they are supposedly parts of the soon to be released The Pale King.  Some of these pieces are definitely from The Pale King (it states so in the magazine  openings).  A couple are possible contenders for The Pale King, but we won’t know until the book comes out (sometime in 2010, I’m led to believe).  I had read some of these pieces before but it is much more satisfying to read them together.

The strange thing for me about these pieces is that when I read the New Yorker titles initially, there was no indication that the pieces were excerpts.  They treated them as short stories (even giving them titles).  So, when you read them, they feel like something is missing (namely 900 more pages).  And in many respects, I think that’s bad for the author.  Sure its good to get the work out there, but when a story feels unfinished, it leaves a bad taste in the readers’ mouth. (more…)

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