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Archive for the ‘Guy de Maupassant’ Category

SOUNDTRACKFRAGILE ROCK-“Smile More” Tiny Desk Family Hour (March 12, 2019).

These next two shows were recorded at NPR’s SXSW Showcase.

The SXSW Music Festival is pleased to announce the first-ever Tiny Desk Family Hour showcase, an evening of music by artists who have played NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, at Central Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, March 12 from 8-11pm.

It’s hard to talk seriously about Fragile Rock since they are a band of puppets.  Literally.

To say that Fragile Rock sent the evening hurtling sideways would be an understatement, as the band unleashed a torrent of faux-grim hilarity and chaos when it wasn’t urging the audience to shout out its prescribed antidepressants or berating fans for grinning along. (“We don’t appreciate your smiles,” seethed Brently Heilbron, in the persona of wounded frontpuppet Milo S. “You wouldn’t do that to Conor Oberst.”

And yet they are a good punk band and their lyrics have become even more pointed.  Especially this one.  They explain:

This is a song that Nick and I wrote reflecting on the #metoo and #timesup movements (that’s right lady in the back snapping your fingers you are correct).

This is a great punk blast and frankly it’s nice to hear a song sung by the female vocalists instead of the Fred Schneider-sounding male lead singer.

For “Smile More,” the spotlight shifted to Emily Cawood (performing as Briex Cocteau) and Megan Thornton (aka Nic Hole), who spent two minutes savaging the patriarchy. “Don’t tell me to smile more, don’t tell me what my mouth is for, from a man who started every war,” Thornton and her puppet shouted in unison. And, see, here’s the secret to Fragile Rock’s raucous, ridiculous charm: Subtract the puppets, the stage antics and the silliness of all, and you’re still left with some pretty damned good songs.

And nice succinct lyrics:

You could have had it all
You blew it didn’t you
I’m gonna watch you fall and
Never ever pity you
You’re purposeless
Your license is expired
Your services are no longer required

Your time has come and gone….time’s up!

All in two minutes.

[READ: March 14, 2019] Florida

When I started reading this book, I instantly remembered reading “Ghosts and Empties” in the New Yorker.  I assumed and was pleased that this was a full novel built out of that story.  Why?  Because nowhere on this book does it say that these are short stories.   Not on the cover, not on the front page, nor the back page.  It’s somewhere on the fly leaf, but since Groff also writes novels, it’s a bit of an oddity to not say “stories” somewhere on it.  I looked at the Table of Contents, obviously, but just assumed those where chapter headings.

I was exited to read the fuller story of the woman who walks at night.  And then I found out that the next “chapter” was a new story.  It turned out to be a fantastic story.  So that’s all good.  I don’t mind reading short stories at all, it was just a surprise.

It also turned out that I have read five of these short stores before (she is often printed in the New Yorker–the other stories were in different journals which I put in brackets after each title).

“Ghosts and Empties” (New Yorker, July 20, 2015)
I see now that I didn’t really enjoy this story the first time I read it (and yet it stayed with me all these years).  But I did enjoy it more this time (I still find it unsatisfying that the opening parental freakout part is never really addressed).  But basically this is a story in which woman walks around her neighborhood every night and observes things changing–for better or worse.  Old nuns dying, new houses being built, neighbors changing.  All in the heat of Florida. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MOGWAI-EP +2 (1999).

There’s a fascinating release history behind this EP (which mostly means fans wind up with three copies of “Stanley Kubrick.”  First it came out as EP with 4 tracks (which I ordered on import).  Then it was released in the US as EP+2 with two songs from the Fuck the Curfew EP (which was not released in the US) and finally in 2000 it was reissued again as EP+6 with ten songs in total (compiling 1997’s 4 Satin, 1998’s No Education = No Future (Fuck the Curfew), and 1999’s EP–I didn’t buy this version because by then I had the original imports).

“Stanley Kubrick” is a slow burner with a great repeated mournful guitar.   It’s one of their best songs. “Christmas Song” is a slow, upbeat track with a very pretty melody.  “Burn Girl Prom Queen” opens with some really quiet guitar.  After about 90 seconds, a brass band kicks in adding amazing horns over the simple guitar melody.  It’s my favorite track on the disc.  “Rage: Man” is the first song on the album where Mogawai’s noise tendencies really come to the fore.  Once again, it’s a simple slow melody (with piano).  About two minutes in, the song is bombarded with noise guitars that take over the song but don’t obscure the melody.  There’s also a noisy guitar solo played over the noise.  Soon enough all the noise ends, and the simple, harmonic’d guitar comes back and the song ends peacefully.  It’s a great example of Mogwai dynamics.

The other two tracks, “Rollerball” and “Small Children in the Background” come from the other EP as I mentioned.  It’s odd to squeeze in songs from a different release, but Mogwai don’t sound terribly different on these early EPs, so these songs work well together.

Despite their length, Mogwai EPs are pretty uniformly wonderful.

[READ: June 1, 2011] Five Dials Number 8 bis

After publishing Five Dials Number 8, they quickly rushed out this addendum to the issue, which they’ve called Five Dials 8 bis.  According to the introduction: “The definition of ‘bis’ is a passage to be repeated, so here is a small bis for our eighth issue.”

It’s only 9 pages long and really only contains one long piece.  Primarily, this is a memento of their Paris-issue release party, which they held in Paris (duh).  The opening pages includes scans of postcards (“One of our volunteers waded into conversations and asked attendees to write down their own thoughts on Paris. We’ve reprinted five of our favourites.”)  The editor’s letter, which explains all about the party and this issue, is not credited to anyone, so I can’t so who is responsible.  [This lack of proper crediting is the one major flaw with this publication–just saying illustrations by, and then not saying which is whose, or not including the date of publication is maddening].

The big article is by Guy de Maupassant (translated by Siân Miles). (more…)

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