Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Sarah Manguso’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-The Cabana Room, Spadina Hotel, Toronto, ON (December 23 1983).

This is “Rheostatics and Trans Canada Soul Patrol 1983 at The Cabana Room – Spadina Hotel Christmas Party show. Amazing sounding recording considering it is from 1983.”

As far as I can see it is the only recording of the band with the Trans-Canada Soul Patrol.  And that basically means that it’s a lot of these early songs only with saxophone–lots of saxophone (it seems like only one member sof The TCSP is there).  According to a cassette recorded in 1984, the band was:

  • Drums – Dave Clark
  • Guitar – Dave Bidini
  • Tenor Saxophone – Charlie Huntley, Dave Rodenburg
  • Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Ray Podhornik
  • Voice, Bass – Tim Vesely

So it seems likely that it was a similar e lineup in Dec 1983.  I only hear guitar bass and drums, but I can only hear one sax.  And does that mean that Tim was the main singer back then?

This show is loose, dare I say sloppy.  There’s a total drunken party vibe going on, as befits a Christmas Party.  But the most notable thing is that sax–soloing all over the place.  Dave Clark gets a lot of shout outs during the set–trying to get him to do a solo or “lay the groove.”  Before “Thank You” (the Sly and the Family Stone song), Dave tunes his guitar with harmonics and someone “sings” Rush’s “Xanadu” briefly.  The band puts a massive echo on the first chorus–it’s pretty obnoxious.  And in the middle of the song Dace Clark starts chanting songs: “Fly Robin Fly,” “You Should Be Dancin'” and “Convoy.”

During “Chemical World” someone asks “What do you think Ronald, am I better off dead?” and then there’s a shout out: “show us your teeth, Paul.”  (None of these guys are in the band, right?).  Someone jokes that Clark is still playing drums even though his mom said that playing drums is not a career.

It’s unclear what’s happening or how serious the band is but they tell people “watch out, guys, you broke a fuckin’ beer bottle, okay.”  They introduce “The Midnight Hour” by saying it’s a song written by Wilson Pickett called, “Go Fuckin’ Nuts, no I don’t know what it’s called.”

This is the only recording I know of with “Big in Business,” which they describe as “something marketable.”  And after two shows where “Man of Action” gets cut off, we finally get to hear it to the end.

By the time they do “Louie Louie” the whole thing is a drunken mess.  There’s shouts of Merry Christmas, comments about it being the last  time they’ll play in 1983, calling people up on stage.  It sounds like Clark is looking for his girlfriend.  “Louie” is a massive party jam with all kinds of people singing along, including a woman with a very high singing voice, and someone going “shock” like Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey” after each “Louie Louie” line.

The set seems to be over but then some one encourages them to sing “Shake Yer Body Thang,” which they do with lots of screaming and shouting and letting it all hang out.

It’s nice seeing a relatively young band acting so cool and comfortable and fun on stage, even if I’m really glad they got rid of the horns (and their whole sound).

[READ: August 28, 2016] In Short

Manguso’s book review of four books of aphorisms is fun because she (an aphoristic writer herself) breaks it down into 36 paragraph-sized chunks.  Including that “Hippocrates coined the word aphorism to describe his brief medical teachings.”

A few interesting things: She says that she doesn’t so much read prose as “root through it for sentences in need of rescue.”

John Gross, in his introduction to the Oxford Book of Aphorisms, says the word aphorism took on a moral sand philosophical tone after the Renaissance.  By the 17th century the definition included witticisms.

James Geary wrote The World in a Phrase: A History of Aphorisms and offered a five part definition of aphorisms: it must be brief, it must be personal, it must be philosophical and it must have twist.  But the best thing that Geary has said is: (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK: TUTLIE-“The Bison” (Tiny Desk Contest Runner-Up 2016).

tutl;ieLast week, a Tiny Desk Contest winner was announced. This week, All Songs Considered posted ten runners up that they especially liked.  I want to draw attention to a couple of them.

I started out liking this song so much.  It opens with a singer singing beautiful notes.  And as the camera passes we see a harp (!) then keyboards, drums, bass, trumpet and glockenspiel.

There are many different parts to the song and lots of interesting harmonies.  And its starts beautifully.  I was surprised by the shift in tone (and the trippy end of the chorus).  And their harmonies are truly wonderful.

I also liked that they were all filmed under a staircase.

But the song was a little too drifting and slow for me.  It reminds me a lot of a slower song that might appear on a 70s prog rock album.   The song that I would tolerate while I waited for the faster heavier song to come along.  Of course, after many listens I would grow to appreciate it.  And I’m sure I would grow to appreciate this song too.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “Untitled (Triptych)”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I am pretty sure I have read stuff by Ben Lerner but I didn’t expect a poem from him.  Especially such a long one.  And what can a poem teach us about parenting?

I was daunted by this piece, and the poem even helps address why.  It talks about how “poems are great places to make information disappear, dissolve.”

And it also covers pretty much everything that has to do with art. (more…)

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK: LA MISA NEGRA-“Sancocho” (Tiny Desk Contest Runner-Up 2016).

misanegraLast week, a Tiny Desk Contest winner was announced. This week, All Songs Considered posted ten runners-up that they especially liked.  I want to draw attention to a couple of them.

La Misa Negra is a cumbia-loving band from Oakland, Calif.  There are eight members in the band.  There’s a drummer with a small kit but lots of frenetic drumming, and a bongo player who is also frenetic.  The percussion is pretty major in this band.

There’s also a sax, trumpet, clarinet, guitar and upright bass.  The guitar player does super fast ska chords, while the horns plays some insanely fast riffs.  The singer is full of yips and trills.  It’s a non-stop fun rollicking ride.

I have no idea what they’re singing about (it’s all in Spanish) and I just don’t care, (“Sancocho” is named after a hearty stew popular in several Latin American countries).

Their tiny desk is a school seat with the writing top attached to the side.  By the end it can’t contain the singer who has to get up and dance around too.

What a fun song.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “In Praise of Boredom”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I don’t know Claire Messud, but I totally related to this essay,

She is about my age and explains that the world she grew up in no longer exists.  She says her parents, while wanting for nothing, were always frugal–they saved Ziploc bags and repaired things rather than threw them away.

They didn’t aspire to material wealth or popular culture, but rather they traveled a lot and had the children read.  But Claire says that as a child she would rather have her own record player and clothes from the Gap.

So when her mom went to work she grew absorbed in pop culture TV and she felt like she became less serious than her parents.

I agreed with this:

The comparative ease of our upbringing first inspired guilt, then defiance. If, as our parents said, we should be eternally grateful for our comfort, then couldn’t we be grateful without feeling bad about it? Why should we accept that the hard path was always superior? Why shouldn’t we enjoy life’s pleasures? Why believe that reading Beckett or, God forbid, Heidegger, was an innately more worthy activity than watching music videos? Says who?

She knows that reading Beckett is a stimulating hour, but she can spend that hour just as happily watching Scandal. (more…)

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK: GWEN AUSTIN-“Child” (Tiny Desk Contest Runner-Up 2016).

maxresdefaultLast week, a Tiny Desk Contest winner was announced. This week, All Songs Considered posted ten runners up that they especially liked.  I want to draw attention to a couple of them.

The production values of this video belie the quality and intensity of the song they play.

The video is set in a dark room with the only light coming from an open window.  The vocal is a bit staticy and at times too loud for the mic.  But that doesn’t overshadow the fact that this is a beautiful, sad song.  And that Gwen Austin has a powerful, somewhat haunting voice in the vein of Sharon Van Etten.

The music is simple Gwen on acoustic guitar and an accompaniment of a very echoey electric guitar Russell Marshall, but she sings with intense aching in her voice.  The song comes from Austin’s feminist folk opera about the nativity story, which I’d sure like to hear more about.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “Fever”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I believe that everything I know from Taro Greenfeld I know from Harper’s magazines.

The title of this one had me preparing for something very different.  I imagined an article about illnesses and not a basketball team.  His daughter played for a team called Fever and he was called upon to be a coach because no one else would (that sounds familiar).

Unlike my own soccer league with many different teams, this basketball league had but two teams, and Fever played Sky every week for 12 weeks.  Karl was a first time coach and didn’t know much about how to be a coach.  The other coach was pretty good (he had a clipboard) and somehow managed to get all of the tall, talented players compared to Karl’s less experienced ones.

Since the played the same team every week, they lost 12 games in a row.  Which is pretty disheartening.  Especially when the games were pretty much blowouts.  He even lost a few players to disenchantment. (more…)

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK: DECLAN McKENNA-“Brazil” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 22, 2016).

mckennaDeclan McKenna is 17 and recently won the Glastonbury Contest with this song.  I’ve never heard the original, although it is described as more rocking than this version.

This is just McKenna and his acoustic guitar.  The melody is great and his guitar playing is good too.  His singing voice reminds me a lot of the guy from the Arctic Monkeys.  Although there’s moments in this version where he really seems to be straining/affecting his voice, which would probably work in a rocking song but which sound kind of rough in this little lullaby version—especially since his normal singing voice is really nice.

I was really surprised when the song switched to the third part (the Brazil part).  It switches the tone of the song quite a bit and he does some nice falsettos too.  “Playing the beautiful game in Brazil” is quite different from “The guy who lives down the river with six cars and a grizzly bear.”

Okay I just listened to the proper song–it’s much poppier with all kinds of harmonies.  The song is much hookier this way.  His vocals  work better, although I’m not sure I’m sold on them entirely.  In fact, when I was watching the video of the song, one of the comments (NEVER READ THE COMMENTS!) says, “Settle down McLovin” and, yes, that’s it, he sounds like Christopher Mintz-Plasse straining, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to unthink that.  And now, neither will you.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “On Being a Stepparent”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I don’t know Ellen Rosenbush’s work (she is an editor of Harper’s so I don’t know how much else she has “written.”  Rosenbush talks about the pros and cons of being a stepparent. (more…)

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK: TIMMY THOMAS-“Dizzy Dizzy World” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 21, 2016).

timmyTimmy Thomas wrote many many hits in the 1970s and 1980s.  His name is on credits that just about everyone has sung at some point.

Of course, I’d never heard of him.  Thomas is 71 and was playing at SXSW, so they grabbed him for a Lullaby.  And his voice sounds really fantastic–rich and full–you’d never guess he was over 70.

He sang a song from his 1973 album Why Can’t We Live Together called “Dizzy Dizzy World.”  What’s so interesting to me about this song is that it sounds like it came from the 1970s.  Not because of the instrumentation, which for this is just keyboards, acoustic guitar and upright bass.  And it’s not exactly the lyrics (although they are earnest and slightly dated–but also still appropriate).  There’s something about the feel of the song–it sounds like an anthem from the 70s for fighting against the craziness of the world.

It’s mellow and quite lovely.  They just don’t write songs like this anymore.  Well, maybe Thomas does, I don’t know.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “The Donor”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I read Emma Donoghue’s first novel Stir Fry back in 1994.  She was an unknown author and I liked the book quite a bit.  Since then she has taken off with her book Room, which I have not read.

Donoghue’s essay is about how she tells her children that they were both conceived through a sperm donor.  She and her partner chose to go with a donor from a sperm bank rather than a known person.  They refused to pay extra for the “premium collection of men with PhDs” since she and her partner both have PhDs “so we know what a feeble guarantee of intelligence they are.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

augSOUNDTRACK A-WA-“Ya Shaifin Al Malih” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 20, 2016).

awaA-WA are three sisters from Yemen.  They sing in Yemeni Arabic.  And they have a dance single out (see the video shot in their neighborhood where three guys wears tracksuits and baseball hats with tassels).

For this Tiny Desk, they are also in a hotel room.  Unlike with Mt. Wolf, this room is dark and then an electric guitar starts playing.

The lead singer begins singing this song (in Arabic).  It is a Yemeni folk song about a love that hurts.  “There’s an enjoyable love and there’s a love that gives you heartache.”  It is a sad aching song.

After a second verse the three sisters start singing in harmony

It’s in the next verse when the three-part harmony becomes really distinctive, and the song feels even more intense.

It’s a far cry from a dance song, but an interesting listen to voices you don’t hear much in song.

[READ: February 10, 2016] “The Grand Shattering”

The August 2015 Harper’s had a “forum” called How to Be a Parent.  Sometimes these forums are dialogues between unlikely participants and sometimes, like in this case, each author contributes an essay on the topic.  There are ten contributors to this Forum: A. Balkan, Emma Donoghue, Pamela Druckerman, Rivka Galchen, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Ben Lerner, Sarah Manguso, Claire Messud, Ellen Rosenbush and Michelle Tea.  Since I have read pieces from most of these authors I’ll write about each person’s contribution.

I have read only one thing by Michelle Tea.  But I really enjoyed her contribution to this forum.  She discusses giving birth by Cesarean and losing a lot of blood.  She was in the hospital for four days.  And although the room itself was ugly, the view (on a hill in San Francisco) was magnificent.

She and her wife spent those four days holding their baby and basically being a in a bubble.  Michelle would breastfeed and her wife would do most everything else.  People marveled at what a great team they made. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »