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Archive for the ‘Lesley Nneka Arimah’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: WILD NOTHING-“This Chain Won’t Break” (Field Recordings, May 31, 2013).

I cannot get over how disconcerting the opening of this Field Recording [Wild Nothing: Nuanced Pop At 8,500 Feet] is.

The band Wild Nothing, whom I do not know, is shown climbing a mountain, with the caption that they are climbing to more than 8,500 feet above sea level (on a tram).

The band is out in the middle (well actually on top) of nowhere.  They are in a beautiful location on top of a mountain.  And the first thing you hear is a cheesy electronic drumbeat.  How disappointing!  Especially since you see they have a makeshift shaker on hand.

But lets enjoy the view.

When most people think of Palm Springs, visions of softly baked desert landscapes come to mind. However, upon arriving at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, we were warned that the temperature differential between the desert and the top cliff of the Chino Canyon was about 30 degrees — cold enough that it would require warm clothing and an adventurous spirit. But Wild Nothing singer-songwriter Jack Tatum and his tour players were game to load onto the rotating tram car and ascend to more than 8,500 feet above sea level.

Abandoning extraneous gear at the Tramway landing, both the band and our crew hiked down into the San Bernardino National Forest and then up onto a side of the Mount San Jacinto peak. With rapidly freezing hands, the band performed its song “This Chain Won’t Break” for this Field Recording with a stripped-down assortment of instruments (two guitars, an amplified iPad, a bunch of dried tree pods turned into a makeshift shaker), giving this ode to a challenged relationship a much more nuanced, somber feel.

Despite the electronic percussion, the song itself is quite lovely.  The chord changes are nice and the their vocals meld nicely.

Once our feet were solidly back on the desert floor, the members of Wild Nothing were surprised to come across a group of fans who’d recognized the band from its recent Coachella performance. We toasted the chance meeting with some local wine and a random piece of sheet cake — and took the requisite Instagram pictures — before setting out for warmer climes.

[READ: January 7, 2017] “Who Will Greet You at Home”

I have no idea what the cultural significance of this story is.  I don’t know if some people could relate tho this, but I certainly couldn’t.

Ogechi is a woman who works a lousy job in a hair salon.  She had a fight with her mother and has not seen her in about a year.

And she has just made a baby out of yarn.

The yarn baby made cooing gurgles and other sounds until Ogechi caught it on a nail and it unraveled.

She knew that a yarn baby was risky, but she made one out of yarn anyway,

When she got to work, Mama, the owner of the hair salon demanded payment.  For it was Mama who blessed the yarn baby into existence.  But they both knew that Ogechi couldn’t pay her with money, so instead, Mama took some of Ogechi’s joy. (more…)

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HarpersWeb-Cover-201603-302x410-21SOUNDTRACK: DIEGO GARCIA-Tiny Desk Concert #156 (September 12, 2011).

diegoDiego Garcia is an Argentine-American singer-songwriter.  When I saw the set up of guitar and cello I actually expected a more classical style.  But rather, Garcia is writing some beautiful, catchy songs about love and loss.

The blurb says that his album Laura is meant to be listened to as a full story, not just a few singles.  Since we only get four songs here I don’t know what part of the story we’re missing, but the songs we hear are pretty great.

“Nothing to Hide” is really quite lovely.  Diego sings and strums while Daniel on cello plays some aching notes.  Despite the aching quality the song is actually strangely upbeat sounding as well.

“You Were Never There” is interesting for where he plays the chords (way up on the neck).  And the cello plays the melody quite nicely (even taking a solo).  The song is poppy for such a dark sentiment.  The other guitarist, Zeke, plays a nylon-string acoustic guitar and adds some cool high notes (and a solo) as wonderful accents to what Garcia is playing.

“Under This Spell” begins with some minor chords and a much darker sound.  The tempo is fast again and the harmony vocals during the chorus really make it pop.

After the third song he asks if they can play a fourth song, “Would you mind?” (Who would ever say no?).

“Stay” features some really nice classical style playing from the nylon string guitar as Diego accompanies on strummed guitar and Daniel does some nice oooos as backing vocals.  I don’t really like the fluttering vocals he does in the middle of this song, though.  It might work better in studio or with a loud song, but it jut sounds weirdly affected here.  Nevertheless the way the song ends so dramatically really makes up for it.

I had never heard of him before, although apparently he was the leader of the band Elefant.  I get a sense that these songs tell a full story, and I’d like to hear the whole thing.

[READ: April 4, 2016] “Glory”

There was so much that I enjoyed about this story.  I loved that the main character Glory’s real name is Glorybetogod and how her parents (in Nigeria when she was born) believed that this would set her on the right path: to be smart, to attend church regularly and to “never stray from the Word (amen!).”  But in fact this name has given her nothing but trouble especially since they moved to the U.S.   She would always have to provide copies of her birth certificate for nearly every document and her Facebook account was constantly getting deleted because of their “real name” policy.  Her parents wanted the best for her, but it was her grandfather who was straight with them all: “That girl has something rotten in her, her chi is not well.”

And he proved to be correct as misery and failure followed her everywhere.  While some might say it was fate, a lot of it was her poor decision-making skills.  Like deciding when she was 5 to put her finger into a sleeping dog’s mouth.  And now at thirty she is disappointing everyone by working a terrible job at a call center.

And that is why that night she has written a suicide note and has a handful of sleeping pills. (more…)

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