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Archive for the ‘Gertrude Stein’ Category

pablo SOUNDTRACK: BUILT TO SPILL-Live (2000).

btsliveSoon after releasing “Carry the Zero,” Built to Spill released this, their first (and so far only) live disc.

This disc shows a jamming side of the band that their records up to now hadn’t really displayed (sure there was some evidence of the jam band within, but who would have guessed 2 songs on this disc would stretch to 20 minutes?).

The live set also shows a rather contrarian spirit in that there are only 9 songs in 70 some minutes and only 5 of the songs are actual Built to Spill songs.

The disc opens with “The Plan,” a great version of their most recent disc’s opener.  Then they jump right into Perfect from Now On’s  opening track “Randy Described Eternity.”  That song has a lot of parts and sections, and they do them perfectly.  They follow it with another song from Perfect, “Stop the Show” which also has multiple parts and again, they nail it.  These three songs were recorded in New York.  Brett Netson joined them for “Randy,” and “Stop” which really helps to flesh out those songs.

The next song is a cover of The Halo Benders’ “Virginia Reel Around the Fountain.”  And if it sounds very fitting for Doug, he was in The Halo Benders with Calvin Johnson before he started Built to Spill.  Then comes the centerpiece of the record–a 20 minute version of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.”  And it is amazing.  He sounds enough like Neil to be totally respectful, without just being a rip off.  It’s probably the best version of this song I’ve heard (until I saw Neil do it this summer).

They switch gears to their first single, “Car,” a delightful 3 minute song.   And then, to fill out this almost all covers section, they play “Singing Sores Make Perfect Swords” a song originally done by Love as Laughter.  I don’t know the original, but it fits in with Doug’s style.  These four songs were record in Seattle.

There’s one song that was recorded in Denver, “I Would Hurt a Fly,” which is yet another song from Perfect, and is one of my favorite songs of theirs.  It does not disappoint.

The final song on the disc is a nineteen minute version of the song “Broken Chairs” (which is 8 minutes long on Secret).  They do the whistling section and a ton of solos.  Indeed, the way they stretch out the song out with guitar solos and noise (and the way the song ends with feedback) is really cool.  Netson joined them for “Fly” and “Broken Chairs” (which is why that ending solo is so intense.

It’ s a great live collection of songs and the sound is outstanding.  You’d never know it was recorded in different venues, either.

[READ: October 4, 2015] Pablo

Judging this book by its cover you would be correct in assuming that it is about Pablo Picasso.  But rather than being a simple history of the Art Master (the title of the series), this is a thorough recounting of Picasso’s life.  And what’s even more interesting is that the story is told from the point of view of Picasso’s lover and model Fernande Olivier.

And Fernande’s diary entries make up the bulk of the story and allow for a very personal look into the man and the stylistic choices that Picasso made over the years.  As the book says on the back, the authors show “how Picasso’s style developed in response to his friendships and rivalries.”  And of his rivals none was greater than Henri Matisse.  (The book also covers Picasso’s life before she met him too, of course).

The original work was published (in French) in four volumes.   This edition was translated by Edward Gauvin.

I especially like the way the book begins from the point of view of Fernande as an old woman, still alive and reminiscing about her life. (And yes, it’s amazing to realize that Picasso died in 1973…in my lifetime!).  (more…)

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[WATCHED: March 5, 2012] Midnight in Paris

I took a course on Woody Allen’s films in college and, as a result, I had seen everything he had done (and a lot of what had inspired him).  After college, I made a point of seeing everything he released.  Often on opening day.  (My double feature of Deconstructing Harry and Good Will Hunting on Christmas Day is still a highlight).

But after The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, which was okay, but just barely, I basically gave up on him.  I watched Match Point in three parts (no time at the time) and really enjoyed it, but I never really got back on track with Woody.  And then came Paris.

Despite its huge popularity, I knew nothing about this Woody Allen film.  I knew Owen Wilson was playing the Woody Allen character in this one and it was getting amazing reviews.  Now, it’s very true that critics don’t always get Woody Allen, but when they unanimously get his film it’s pretty safe that it’s a good one.

And boy was it ever. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PETER, BJORN & JOHN-Writer’s Block (2006).

My friend Eugenie told me about these guys: 3 Swedish songwriters whose names are, indeed Peter, Bjorn and John. This is their 3rd CD and I’m not even sure what I thought they would sound like except that Eugenie has great taste. I think I thought they would be a bit more synth poppy (I guess the Abba connection is pretty strong) but instead, they write wonderfully poppy songs, but they are more folky, or alt-rocky. I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this CD.

All three guys sing. Peter sings most of the songs and he sounds like a combination of John Lennon and Michael Penn…his voice varies quite a bit between songs. Bjorn sings two of the songs. His voice is quite different…deeper and more stark, and it’s quite a nice change from Peter’s (not that there’s anything bad about Peter’s). John sings one song, and his voice is fairly similar to Peter’s. But they all do harmonies, so you hear them all the time.

It took me about three listens to fall in love with this CD. There’s a couple of songs that are immediately gratifying; however, the rest really reward multiple listens. Interestingly, it’s the two Bjorn songs that are immediately catchy. “Amsterdam” and “Let’s Call It Off” (which gets a remix on the album too). “Amsterdam” (interestingly, Guster have a fantastically catchy song called “Amsterdam” which this song is not) has this immediately striking whistle (as in a person whistling) as its opening motif. It is stark and haunting, and will have you whistling it for days. “Young Folks” is a duet with Victoria Bergsman (not sure who she is) and has a deliriously catchy chorus. “The Chills” has this great shh-shh-shh sound that is at once chilly and interesting and reminiscent of The Cure’s “A Forest.” As you might guess, the CD covers some pretty different styles and genres, yet the album is not a mishmash. There’s a consistent PB&J sound that unifies the record and leaves you wanting to hit play again after it’s over.

The Swedish music scene has just been exploding lately…The Hives, Dungen, Jose Gonzales, Jens Lekman and PB&J are all adding to the (sadly seen as one-hit novelties) wonderful Cardigans.

[READ: January 2008] Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog

For Christmas, Sarah’s mom gave her this book, not knowing that she missed the intended target by mere inches. As soon as I saw the book I immediately had to read it. Diagramming sentences was always a guilty pleasure of mine, and I am saddened to hear that kids don’t do it anymore. (more…)

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