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Archive for the ‘Henry Kuttner’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: SHAKEY GRAVES-Tiny Desk Concert #495 (December 14, 2015).

I thought I had posted about every Tiny Desk Concert, but on double checking I found that I had missed this one.  I had heard of Shakey Graves and I assumed he was a country/folkie singer.  Which he is, although really his style is to mix country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll.  I also had no idea his real name is Alejandro Rose-Garcia.

This set sees Graves on acoustic guitar (with a strap with his name on it) accompanied by another acoustic guitar (which seems rather small) and a mandolin.

“To Cure What Ails” is a pretty, slow folk song. It’s simple enough with nice high mandolin notes and a good guitar line between verses.  Shakey has a nice voice and the song feels compelling like a story, although I don’t think it is.  He’s also charming and funny in little ways–he makes a lot of funny faces and chuckles.  But his music is really solid and the harmony at he end of the song is really great.

For “The Perfect Parts” the mandolin switches to bass and they have a little discussion n how to play it.  Shakey tells the drummer how to play the beat and then says they’re going to make it us as they go along.  This song is darker and has a cool sinister vibe.  He sings in kind of deep mumble for this song which works well for this song.  The song gets a little intense for a few lines.  And by the end it builds pretty loud with some good whoa ho ho backing vocals.  So much so that for the last chord, “he attempted a stage dive at the Tiny Desk.”

For the last song, “Only Son,” he:

breaks out his guitar and suitcase kick drum/hi-hat, [and] a palpable rush of swooning adrenaline hits the room. I felt that at the Americana Festival in Nashville, at the Newport Folk Festival and here at the Tiny Desk.

He says it is soon to be the last of the suitcase kick drums (this is his third).  He dreamed about having an object that he could cart around with him and still make a lot of noise.  The drum is actually behind him and he stomps the pedals with his heels (I can;t believe the camera never zoomed in on it).

He says the song is about “the moment in your life when you realize you’re not alone… there’s an aha! moment where you’re like ‘not just me?’  The drummer plays bass, the mandolin player has the mandolin back and Shakey has the kick drum suitcase.  There’s some terrific harmonies (and chuckling ) throughout the song, and I love the way it stops and starts.

[READ: Late 2016 and early 2017] McSweeney’s #45

The premise of this collection was just too juicy to pass up.  Although it did take me a while to read it.  Eggers’ introduction talks about the contents of this issue.

DAVE EGGERS-Introduction
Eggers says he came across a collection of stories edited by Hitchcock. He really liked it and then learned that Hitchcock had edited 60 volumes over the course of 35 years.  He was excited to read literary genre fiction.  But he was more impressed that theses stories did what literary fiction often forgets: having something happen.  He then bought a cheap book edited by Bradbury (Timeless Stories for Today and Tomorrow) and he liked it too.  He was surprised that there were so many canonical writers (Steinbeck, Kafka, Cheever) in a Bradbury collection.

So, why not make a new collection in which we can compare the two genres.

Despite this looking like a pulpy paperback, there were still Letters.

LETTERS

CORY DOCTOROW
Doctorow says that Science fiction is not, indeed, predictive.  That any genre which deals with so many potential future events is bound to get some things right.

JAMIE QUATRO
Quatro says she was asked to write a letter for this genre issue, but Quatro doesn’t do genre, so she was about to pass.  Then her son, from the backseat, asks what bulwark means.  Then inimical.  Then miasma.  He is reading a book called Deathwatch about soldiers whose brains are removed so they no longer fear. Suddenly, when she compares this idea to her essay on Barthelme, she sees that maybe McSweeney’s was on to something after all.

BENAJMIN PERCY
In fifth grade Percy (who has a story below) gave his teacher a jar full of ectoplasm.  He has always been different.  He proposes the Exploding Helicopter clause: if a story does not contain an exploding helicopter (or giant sharks, or robots with lasers for eyes or demons, sexy vampires. et al), they won’t publish it.

ANTHONY MARRA
Marra discusses Michael Crichton and how something doesn’t have to be Good to be good.  He says Crichton was a starting point for him as an adult reader.  And what can be wrong with that? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: HRSTA-Ghosts Will Come Down and Kiss Our Eyes [CST048] (2007).

Hrtsa has another record out from Constellation.  This band is the brainchild of Michael Moya.  Moya writes some really fantastic melodies with interesting and unusual instrumentation.  The first song contains a pump organ, I believe (the liner notes don’t go into any detail).  And throughout the album, whether the songs are long or short, either the guitar lines are great or the different instruments creates atmospheric swells that are really something.

My only problem with this record is the singing. There is occasional singing.  On my first listen, I thought the voice was a woman with a deep husky voice like Carla Bozulich or Marianne Faithfull.  On the second listen I realized the voice is probably that of Moya, making it a reedy tenor voice.  At times he sounds a bit like Gordan Gano from the Violent Femmes.  The problem is that his voice doesn’t really have the power to pull of the songs.  The voice often gets lost in the mix or just distracts from the instruments.  This disparity is heightened even more because there are a number of fantastic instrumentals on the disc.

I certainly enjoyed the disc, I just would have preferred no words or a more interesting singer.

[READ: October 2, 2008] “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”

Sarah and I watched The Last Mimzy a few weeks ago.  I didn’t know it was based on a short story.  I also had never heard of the author.  Well, it turns out that the author is a pseudonym of Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, two other authors I also hadn’t heard of.  This edition of the story comes in a book attributed to Henry Kuttner (originally published as The Best of Henry Kuttner, but released now as The Last Mimzy). Phew.

So, where was I?

Well, if I didn’t know that the story was the basis for the movie, I never would have guessed.  The only thing relating to the story is that two kids find a box full of inexplicable toys which behave in a manner that is unlike anything on earth. (more…)

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