Archive for the ‘Robert Mapplethorpe’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JEN CLOHER-Live at Newport Folk Festival (July 29, 2018).

Even though it was half a year ago, NPR is still posting some shows from the Newport Folk Festival Festival.  This one is kind of hard to find, since it’s not with the other Newport Folk Festival shows, so here’s the link.

Jen Cloher is a great Australian singer-songwriter/punk.  I have seen her live twice. Once opening for Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile and once on her own.  She is dynamic and brash, funny and clever and a great frontwoman.

When she opened for Kurt & Courtney, she was a solo artist, but when I saw her headline, she had a full band (the same line-up as Newport).  And her set rocked.

The setlist she played for Newport was a truncated version of the full set list she played for us.  But she also played two different songs.  The first was “David Bowie Eyes” and “Toothless Tiger.”

She opened both sets with “Regional Echo” and “Forgot Myself” (oh god, oh god, oh god).  The album is really good, but her lives show packs more punch.  Her band is great: Jen’s wife, Courtney Barnett, on electric guitar and Bones Sloane from Courtney’s band on bass plus the amazing kick ass drummer Jen Sholakis.

The “new song” is actually an old song, “David Bowie Eyes” which she says is “for anyone who likes Patti Smith..”  It’s a sweet poppy number with (of course) interesting lyrics:

She got David Bowie eyes
One is green and one is blue
I’m sure one of his is brown
But what can I do?
Come on say you’ll be
Mapplethorpe to my Patti
Just kids living on a shoestring dream

It’s followed by “Sensory Memory” one of my favorite songs of hers.  The melody is wonderful and the lyrics are so bittersweet.  After “Shoegazers” which has some great noisy soloing from Courtney, comes “Toothless Tiger” the other “new” song (which is also old, both of those songs are from her 2013 record).  It’s more on the snarky side, with some backing vocals from Courtney.

I love “Analysis Paralysis” for the lyrics (of course)–kangaroos in the pool–but also for Courtney’s wailing guitar solo.

When we saw Kurt & Courtney, they played Jen’s “Fear is Like a Forest” and it was fun to hear it live.  When I saw Jen, like in this version, it was a very different, rocking song and Courtney takes a verse or two.  The set ends with Cloher’s awesome anthem “Strong Woman,” a great song for these times and for all times.

Cloher may get over shadowed by her famous bandmate, but she is an amazing songwriter/performer herself with all kinds of charisma.


  • “Regional Echo”
  • “Forgot Myself”
  • “David Bowie Eyes” *
  • “Sensory Memory”
  • “Shoegazers”
  • “Toothless Tiger” *
  • “Analysis Paralysis”
  • “Fear Is Like A Forest”
  • “Strong Woman”

*not played at my show–the songs below were played at my show.

  1. Mount Beauty**
  2. Stone Age Brain **
  3. Great Australian Bite**
  4. Name in Lights**

[READ: January 19, 2019] The League of Lasers

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Star Scouts (it had been almost two years since I read it).

It helps to have read book 1 to get the full understanding of this story, but this one stands on its own pretty well, too.

The book opens with a one-eyed creature in a cloak firing a blast at earth.  A blast directed at Avani Patel (the hero f book 1).  Avani and her Star Scouts (all aliens except for Avani’s friend Jen) are rocking out in their terrible rock band.  After the song, we see that Mabel the alien is still sniping with earthling Jen (Mabel made friends with Avani and was shocked to learn that Avani had friends back home).  The explosion hits earth, but it’s not a missile, it is a messenger.

The messenger is for Avani.  The handwritten (on lined school paper) note invites her to join the The League of Lasers–a special squadron of the Star Scouts.  How can she say no? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THURSTON MOORE-“Patti Smith Math Scratch” (1995).

I couldn’t find any archives of Patti and Thurston playing together, so the next best thing is this song named after her.

For a band as dissonant as Sonic Youth and a guy who plays as chaotically as Thurston Moore, it’s amazing how he/they are able to recreate their studio noise live.  There are dozens of versions of this song available on YouTube and while they don’t sound identical, they all sound reasonably close to each other.  And they sound reasonably close to the original studio version.

This is a pretty straightforward song: a simple riff repeated.  It doesn’t have too many crazy guitar pyrotechnics although the solo is pretty awesome.  Especially live.  No idea what the lyrics are about–much like with Patti Smith.

[READ: July 3, 2012] “Patti Smith”

This article just solidified the coolness of my job.  I’ve always enjoyed the JSTOR articles that get passed around here.  Mostly they’re esoteric studies of unexpected topics.  But this one, from BOMB magazine–who even knew JSTOR saved BOMB magazine?–has just boosted JSTOR’s coolness cred by a magnum.

This is an interview with Patti Smith conducted by Thurston Moore.  Already that’s pretty awesome.  What’s even more awesome is that the interview is done in the car while they are driving back from a show in Massachusetts–it’s just Thurston and Patti talking (although obviously edited).

The opening of the article is an introduction by Thurston, which is interesting in and of itself.  He talks about how he got to know Patti’s music (he grabbed her ankle at a concert when he was a teenager) and then how he got to know her .  I didn’t know she was from South Jersey or that she was Robert Mapplethorpe’s lover.  I also never really put together that she married someone with the same last name as her.

First off, it’s very cool to be reading an interview from fifteen years ago in which both musicians are still alive and producing great work. (more…)

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