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Archive for the ‘Grady Klein’ Category

colony3SOUNDTRACK: LULUC-Tiny Desk Concert #390 (September 15, 2014).

luklucBob Boilen has loved Luluc for a while.  I never really appreciated them as much as I do on this Tiny Desk Concert.  The duo is from Australia (and now Brooklyn), and I’d always felt that their songs were nice but nothing special.  But you can really hear what’s going on in them.  Zoë Randell’s voice sounds like a revitalized Nico and Steve Hassett’s accompaniments are really interesting.

“Small Window” starts with Zoë strumming a small acoustic guitar and singing.  Steve accompanies on electric guitar.  It’s a pretty song with a nice melody. And his solos accentuate the song.  But when the song shifts gears to the “crystal waters” section and an unexpected chord change it becomes much more than a simple folk song.

For the second song “Without A Face,” Steve switches to bass.  When Zoë talks, her speaking voice is gentle and somewhat high-pitched so when she begins singing she sounds even more shockingly like Nico.  And the bass is wonderful on this song.  He throws in a lot of little fills that really add a lot to the verses.  And the “oh oh” section in the middle is wonderful with some great harmonies from each of them.

Zoë says they used to play with just two guitars and mics and they have added a lot more gear lately, but that they’ve they’ve stripped down for this show.  For “Reverie On Norfolk Street” he plays electric guitar (cooly vibrato’d) and his gentle backing vocals on this song are a nice almost bass addition to the song.  There’s even a guitar solo which after the song he says is “the quietest guitar solo in existence.”

Luluc really surprised me with this session and I may have to give their studio tracks another listen.

[READ: July 23, 2016] The Lost Colony 3

Book 3 ramps up the excitement quite a bit,  and also a had a lot of flashbacks that fill in some story lines.

Like the other two, it also begins with someone lost saying “Dear God where the %$!* am I?”  But this time he is a beautiful hunk of a man with gorgeous blond locks.  He is Buck Swagger and he is transported to the island on the ferry because of a letter from Olympia Snodgrass (the Mayor’s wife and Birdy’s mom).
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colony2SOUNDTRACK: JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE-Tiny Desk Concert #389 (September 8, 2014).

 jteI had an idea that Justin Townes Earle was a country singer.  Although I’m sure I’m conflating him with Steve Earle (his father) and Townes Van Zant (whom he’s named after).  But I realized I’d never heard him.  He’s more of a folk singer and he’s very charming.  He implies that he flew from Nashville just to play the show (“a quick trip just for y’all”) which gets an awww from the crowd) and like Trampled by Turtles and Jessica Lea Mayfield, he’s heading back home right after he’s done.  He also had his guitar maker send his guitar to him in DC so he didn’t have to travel with it.

He has an interesting percussive strumming style (he doesn’t use a pick) and he sings about love and loss.  The first song, “Burning Pictures” has a great line about how he doubts you even remember your love’s name since it’s another girl in the picture frame.

“When The One You Love Loses Faith In You” is a bit more bluesy sounding.  He picks some melodic notes between full-fingered strums.

Amazingly, he seems like he might quit after just two songs.  Bob asks him to do one more–doesn’t have to be new–it can be one he loves.  His favorite so that he ever wrote was “White Gardenias” (for Billie Holiday).  He says it feels like he’s about to miss the beat as he’s starts singing–which scares the shit out of a rhythm section.

Before beginning, while tuning, he says he has to learn a lot of his old songs for the upcoming tour.  Bob asks if he listens to the records, and he laughs and says he Googles the songs, which is just so ridiculous.  Bob asks if he illegally downloads them but he says no he just streams them.

“White Gardenias” is a lovely song with beautiful lyrics although I don’t really get that Billie Holiday vibe from it.

[READ: July 22, 2016] The Lost Colony 2

The inside cover of book 2 gives a little summary of book 1 (which is helpful). It also give s little recap of all of the main characters (which all series should do, frankly).

I loved that book 2 also starts with someone asking “where the %#!* are we,” it’s a man and a very large woman.  They also convinced Fud’na (the screeching violin playing guardian of the ferry) to ferry them to the island.  The large woman reveals that she is wearing a  stars and stripes dress which is very tacky.  But more importantly, she is a singer herself (almost as bad as Fud’na perhaps).

As the bok opens, Louis the slave boy is being set upon by the rocks bugs (although we dont know why).  He is recused by Jo’Pa an Indian who lives on the island (it is rumored that he used to be a real savage Injun).  And there’s Birdy, she is dressed as Squinto, compete with feather and bow and arrow.

Then we meet the Snodgrass family and Birdy’s heretofore unmentioned Gramdy, a cantankerous old man (who is her mother’s father). Turns out that Grandy hates the Injuns and is very mad that Birdy is dressed like one. “We’re at war with the Indian, dont you know they’re evil.” (more…)

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colonySOUNDTRACK: JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD-Tiny Desk Concert #388 (September 6, 2014).

jlmI had an idea about who Jessica Lea Mayfield was.  I thought she was sort of a folkie/country singer who I had heard of but had no real exposure to.  So I was quite surprised to see this performer with pink hair, short shorts, no eyebrows and a ton of pink glitter under her eyes.

Turns out that her earlier records are kind of folkie but that for her 2014 album she was inspired by her grunge roots to make a noisy album.  This Tiny Desk concert has her playing three guitars–one for each song.  Each guitar is covered with glitter and one has stickers all over it.  For “Standing in the Dark” she plays her pink glitter 12 string guitar with lots of reverb.  It’s a fairly upbeat song.  The melody is simple and she sounds happy while singing it (this is notable).  The middle section has a solo which sounds really alien by itself (that 12 string with vibrato), but which works really well for the song.

She says she brought all of her guitars because she wanted to show them off.  Her speaking voice is cute and adorable.  And she seems almost childlike asking if “you have any cats” are you allowed to bring them to work.  Bob says that bands have brought their dogs and she says she wishes she’d brought hers.

“Party Drugs” is a slow song with more echo on the guitar.  It’s a slower , darker song “party drugs just make my head sing…  I won’t die in this hotel room, I’ll be here when you return.”  It ends with a dark chord and mildly distorted whammy bar and is rather creepy.

The final guitar is a hollow bodies white guitar.  The stickers on the knobs are ponies.  She says the direction of the ponies tells her how the knobs should go.  There’s a pony, an alien cat and a unicorn “system I got going on.”

“Seein* Starz” is slow chords (with more echo).  Her twangy accent peeks its way in a few times in this song.  I like the way the picking notes are vibrated enough to sound unpredictable.

There’s something really captivating and almost vulnerable (but not really) about her performance.   She says she could stay here and do this all day and show you how loud it usually is.   Bob mentions something about six hours implying that she traveled six hours just to play for them (like Trampled by Turtles did the previous show).

[READ: July 22, 2016] The Lost Colony 1

I read this book last year.  But since I wanted to  read the other two books in the series, I wanted to re-read this before moving on to Books 2 and 3.

My recollection is that I didn’t really like the first book all that much, so I wasn’t prepared to enjoy it this time around either.

But, as it turns out, I really did enjoy it (and I’m not reading wheat I wrote the first time, just to see how this reading compares).  I think perhaps I didn’t really know what I was getting into the first time.  And now with hindsight, and understanding how and when some of the things are supernatural, it made more sense. (more…)

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colonySOUNDTRACK: YES-9012Live: The Solos (1985).

9012liveYes had released live albums before, and most of them had been quite indulgent, but none were as strange and indulgent as this live EP–a tie in with the popularity of 90125.  And yes, I have it on LP.

There are seven songs (in 33 minutes).  Two of them are proper songs from 90125.  The other five are the titular “solos.”

The two songs, “Hold On” and “Changes” both sound quite good.  The are notably less perfect than the album which is to be expected, but it’s still a little disconcerting given how perfect that album is.  The guitars are heavy and Anderson (and the other singer) sound in very good form.

Then there’s the solos:

“Si” is a rather uninspired keyboard solo.  It lasts 2:30 and the biggest cheers come when he starts playing “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.”  I just have to wonder what Wakeman would have done with this–or if his head would have exploded at the sound of the disc.

“Solly’s Beard” is the guitar solo from Trevor Rabin.  Not unlike Howe, he plays mostly classical guitar.  It’s a good solo, although really not that mindblowing (or even as interesting as Howe’s “Clap”).  There are some keyboards in the background too, which I guess means this isn’t a solo.

“Soon” is Anderson’s solo.  He sings the end of “The Gates of Delirium” from Relayer.  I imagine that’s the only thing you’d hear from that album, so it’s a nice addition.

Chris Squire and Alan White get two solos together (so I guess they are duos, but then the title of the album is wrong).  The first is Squire playing “Amazing Grace,” which bleeds into the 8 minute “Whitefish.”  This is actually a medley of a few past performances like: “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus),” “Tempus Fugit” and “Sound Chaser.”  Since Anderson said he would never sing anything off Drama, you can only hear “Tempus Fugit” during this solo.

I’m not really sure anyone needs to hear this more than once or twice, but it was fun to dig it out all these years later.

[READ: April 25, 2015] The Lost Colony

I really enjoyed the graphic style of this book.  It has a look of a wood press–thick lines and dark colors.  It was also very cartoony, which was a great way to address many of the issues that were brought up here–especially slavery.

The book opens with a man in a green suit and bowler hat hanging up signs for a slave auction.  There’ a little girl, Bertha Snodgrass, who sees the sign and thinks that she can afford one.  She follows the stranger as he heads to an island (the lost island presumably) in which Alexander Hamilton Snodgrass seems to have made himself president and treasurer.  There are black and white people on this island.

Obviously, there’ a lot of racial issues in this story.  There’s a “Chinaman” named Pepe Wong who dresses in a “bathrobe” and offers Chinese medicine but also speaks in Spanish (Madre dios!).  There’s a black woman who distrusts the heathen Chinaman and wants nothing to do with the slave auction. (more…)

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