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Archive for the ‘Judy Blume’ Category

[LISTENED TO: August 2015] The Organist

organistFor the second season of The Organist, they switched formats from the once a month 45-55 minute long amalgam of stories of last year to a one story an episode, once a week format.  The length hovers around 20 minutes now with some shows being much longer and others being much shorter.  It doesn’t make too much of a difference if you listen all at once as I did, but I can see that if you’re listening when they come out that a weekly podcast would be more satisfying.

However, they have also opted to have an “encore” episode every fourth episode in which they take one of the segments from an earlier episode and play it on its own.  How disappointing would it be to tune in and get a repeat?  And why on earth would they repeat things if all of the previous episodes are available online?  It’s very strange and frankly rather disappointing.  I mean, sure, it’s nice to have the new introductions, but it’s not like you’re getting some kind of special version when they repeat it.  It’s exactly the same.  And, boy, they tend to repeat some of my least favorite pieces.

Also the website now gives a pretty detailed summary of the contents of each episode, so you get a good sense of what’s going to happen. (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: August 2015] The Organist Season 1

organistGiven my love of the McSweeney’s empire, it seems logical that I would have listened to The Organist sooner than this.  But I didn’t.  It has been on for a couple of years, so i assumed I’d never catch up.  But then I saw that there were only 50 episodes and most of them were quite short.  So it was time to see what it was all about.

And, since it is more or less in conjunction with The Believer, it should come as no surprise that it is sort of an aural equivalent to that magazine–longish pieces about esoteric subject, but geared specifically to “radio.”

The Organists first season was done as a monthly podcast starting on Feb 1.  Each episode was about 50 minutes long and covered a variety of subjects with fun guests and other ephemera.

Episode 1: (February 1, 2013)
The inaugural episode kicks off with Nick Offerman spouting some hilarious nonsense about podcasts.  The rest of the show includes an interview with George Saunders talking about the voices of his fiction; Greil Marcus discusses the impact of the first Bikini Kill EP now that it is reissued.  Perhaps the most unusual and interesting piece is when Amber Scorah tells the story of her defection from the Jehovah’s Witnesses while working as a missionary in Shanghai; In short pieces, Brandon Stosuy editor of Pitchfork, presents five five-word record reviews of interesting new guitar rock and then musicians Matmos take a song from their new album apart, piece by piece, revealing its brilliant, pulsating innards.  Basically they used thought control to get people to “create” a song for them.  It’s a really neat process even if the final result doesn’t really sound like the sum of its parts. (more…)

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   judySOUNDTRACK: EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS-Tiny Desk Concert #32 (October 26, 2009).

I haedve recently begun to really enjoy Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (watch those e’s people).  Interestingly, I have gotten into their song “Home” which is actually from 2009 and is included in this Tiny Desk Concert.

There is no Edward Sharpe. Sharpe is the alter ego of singer Alex Ebert.  Ebert and Jade Castrinos form the core of this expansive ensemble.  There are ten people in the band making this the largest (and judging from their appearance, smelliest) Tiny Desk Concert to happen yet.  There are a few guitars, accordion, bongos, drums, keyboards and lots and lots of singing

Everyone seems very happy in the band, especially Castrinos, whose bliss is either delightful or disturbing to watch here.

“Janglin'” opens with the whole lot of them bopping along to the janglin song.  Alex Ebert has a folky, husky voice.  There’s lots of shouted “heys” and a fun, nearly-bass vocal section where they all sing “Mag-ne-tic-zeros.”  “Home” is a wonderful song with a catchy whistle and a fun horn section.  The catchiness of the chorus is undeniable.  And this live version is infectious.  The final song, “40 Day Daydream” is a big rambling piece.  There’s a moment near the end that allows Ebert to sing unaccompanied and you can hear that his voice is quite nice.

I always enjoy seeing performers having fun and it’s clear that these Zeros are doing just that.

[READ: January 3, 2014] Judy Blume and Lena Dunham In Conversation

I considered the idea of writing only about tiny books in February.  (I have a number of tiny books that have come along recently and I thought February would be a good time to read them all).  Of course, it’s already the 11th, so there goes that.  But I can still do some, right?

So this little book (6.5 x 4.5 inches, 77 pages) is the full (and enhanced) interview with Judy Blume and Lena Dunham.  The excerpted version appeared in the January 2014 issue of The Believer.  For this book we have the full interview (I assume) and the authors were given a chance to add comments to the interview afterward.

What we get here is Dunham, more or less a fangirl of Judy Blume, talking to her idol.  But Dunham is not just fawning, she is direct and inquisitive and they seem to hit it off immediately, which makes for a great interview.  Blume talks about her phobias (thunder, loud noises).  And their fear of the blank page.  And we also learn of Blume’s writing and daily routines (which are very different from Dunham’s). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WAVVES-King of the Beach (2010).

I feel like I shouldn’t like Wavves.  There’s os much to dislike about them (or him,  I should say, since it’s almost entirely the product of one guy). He’s bratty, fans seem to dislike him (do a search for Wavves live), and in the first live show that I downloaded, he seemed a bit disdainful of the audience.

And yet, I really like this album. It’s fast and punky and reminds me of some of the best summer punk music from my high school days (Surf Punks anyone?).

So Williams plays all the instruments (with a few exceptions), and the sound is consistent through: a trebly guitar (the perfect sound for surf music, although he doesn’t play surf music at all).  Fast punky drums and William’s voice which is not so much whiny as bratty–the lyrics play out this bratty idea too:

bet you laugh right behind my back/I won’t ever die/I’ll go surfing in my mind/I’m not supposed to be a kid/but I’m an idiot/I’d say I’m sorry/but it wouldn’t mean shit

or

My, my own friends/Hate my guts/So what? Who gives a fuck?

(from “Green Eyes,” which sounds like a ballad but soon rocks out).

Of course, it’s not all just punky tracks, “When Will You Come” has the drums of a 50’s doo wop song (no one would mistake it for a doo-wop song, though) including his falsetto’d voice.  And “Baseball Cards” has a similar inspiration–although again, sounding nothing really like that style of music.  Even “Mickey Mouse” opens with what sounds like the music from “Da Doo Ron Ron” (indeed it is a sample from the song, but manipulated slightly).

“Convertible Balloon” sounds like a quirky Japanese pop confection.  And, “Post Acid” which is a punky bratty song has a wonderful part where the song stops and they make crazy grunting sounds which I like very much.

It’s not smooth summer music by any means, but it is fun and energizing.  Perfect punk beach soundtrack.

[READ: July 11, 2011] “Married Love”

This story had me fooled from the outset.

Recently we listened to Judy Blume’s Fudge-a-mania.  In that story Fudge, who is 5, says that he is going to marry Sheila Tubman, his big brother’s arch nemesis.  Everyone laughs, and we ultimately learn why he wants to marry her (I won’t spoil it).  In this Tessa Hadley story, Lottie, a nineteen year old girl (who looks about thirteen) announces that she is going to get married.  As in Fudge-a-mania, the family is bemused by the idea and laughs about it, until Lottie reveals that she is quite serious.

Things get even “funnier” when the family learns who she is planning to marry: Edgar Lennox, a former teacher who is forty-five years older than her and who is currently married.  Ha Ha Ha, says her family until, Oh, she is serious.

The story surprises even further when they go through with the wedding (about half way through the story). (more…)

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