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Archive for the ‘Adam and the Ants’ Category

newSOUNDTRACK: DANISH STRING QUARTET-Tiny Desk Concert #399 (October 25, 2014).

danishI always enjoy hearing a string quartet that I’m unlikely to hear anywhere other than a Tiny Desk Concert.  It’s fun to listen to them before reading anything about them to try to imagine where they’re coming from musically.   The opening notes of the first song made me think they were a modernist quartet playing music that was repetitive and mildly atonal.

But they quickly swing it around into what turns out to be the first of many traditional Danish wedding folk songs!

While the quartet does play classical pieces as well, for this Tiny Desk Concert, they focus only on songs from their then recent album Wood Works.  The blurb says “the group recently took a musical detour that landed them in the foggy inlets of the Faroe Islands (a Danish outpost halfway between Norway and Iceland) and various Nordic hamlets where folk tunes are played and passed on.”

The first piece is actually three melodies: “Traditional: Ye Honest Bridal Couple — Sønderho Bridal Trilogy Parts I & II”  The piece begins somewhat atonally, but about 2 and a half minutes in the somber tones give way to a spritely melody that sounds like a great lost Irish jig.  But soon enough with the addition of the other strings it sounds very romantic indeed.  In what I presume is part II, around 6 minutes, the cello plays a wonderfully upbeat and catchy rhythm. The violins play staccato notes that keep the rhythm going while the viola and cello continue the melody–it’s pretty awesome.  Especially as the song fades and each of the strings plays the riff in succession.

The second piece is in fact two pieces: Traditional: Sekstur from Vendsyssel — The Peat Dance.”  Once again the two melodies sound kind of like Irish dances (I guess it’s time to call them Danish dances).  The second half of the first part sound great as the full quartet plays a wonderful melody.  But when the second part of the set comes and the super fast fiddling begins, it s hard not to dance (you can even hear someone tapping his foot as he plays).  The big difference between this and Irish dance is the rather formal sounding and lovely ending melody.

The final piece is the third part of the Bridal Trilogy from the first piece: “Traditional (arr. Nikolaj Busk): Sønderho Bridal Trilogy Part III.”  He says that these melodies date back many 100 years and are still used today.  It begins very slowly and almost somberly.  It doesn’t feel very wedding-like to me and of the three this is my least favorite.

The quartet sounds amazing. The players are Violinists Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and Frederik Øland, violist Asbjørn Nørgaard and cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.  It’s also kind of funny since three of the four have beards–not something you typically see on a string quartet. They acknowledge this on their website: “We are simply your friendly neighborhood string quartet with above average amounts of beard.”

[READ: June 20, 2016] Something New

Knisley has made a rather successful career out of writing graphic novel memoirs.  She has covered food and travel.  And, in a somewhat surprising twist (if you have been following her books), she just got married.

This is surprising because the man she married is the man she broke up with in one of the previous books.  The story basically tells how they were on an off sorta kinda for years until they finally tied the knot.

So this book is the story of their relationship and their engagement. But beyond that it is also an interesting and helpful guide-book for those who want to get married but who may not be totally on board with all of the conventions and trapping of the wedding industry. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ARMY OF LOVERS-Massive Luxury Overdose (1991).

The only way that I, and I suspect any American, knows this band is because they were  mocked on Beavis and Butthead for their video “Crucified.”  In the video, which I have thoughtfully tacked on at the end here,  the three members of the  band are dressed up like extras from a  Duran Duran by way of Adam and the Ants music video (and maybe that’s not over the top enough).  This, by the way, seems to be their regular costumery (a French-seeming design despite their Swedish origins).

Beavis and Butthead cheer for the (impressive) cleavage and then gag at the lead singer’s  largely naked hairy body dancing in a bathtub.  It’s  pretty confusing.  But it’s also super catchy in a really over the top Europop way.

I have learned over the years that while I don’t really like pop music, I like Europpop a lot more than Ameripop.   It’s much crazier and outlandish, hence: Army of Lovers.

“Crucified” is a really fun, over the top bit of nonsense.  The chorus is incredibly catchy with a wonderful choral voice singing, and the verses are catchy too, they are spoken and in part French.   It’s good campy fun.

Having said that, the rest of the album is a mix of songs that aren’t quite as good as “Crucified” and songs that are just really bad.

The opening of “Candyman Messiah” is dreadful.  “Obsession” features a very mousey-voiced guy singing.  It’s a change and an interesting one, although like a lot of Europop, there’s not a lot of substance to it.

But it’s clear that the Army are not taking themselves seriously, “Dynasty of Planet Chromada” anyone.  The band has some really catchy choruses and I’ll bet it ‘s a hell of a lot of fun to dance to.  Especially if you have a pencil thin mustache.

Believe it or not, Army of Lovers were not just a one-hit wonder .  They released four albums.  And although their website seems to be updated often, I’m fairly certain the band broke up in 1995.  Well, why should that stop anyone?

[READ: Week of March 5, 2012] Gravity’s Rainbow Sections 1.19-2.3

I postulated that Section 1 (called Beyond the Zero) was a mostly expository set up (in one way or another).  And that seems to have been true.  Yes there was some plot development, but it was a lot of setting up new people.  New people are introduced in Section 2, but it is primarily about Slothrop (so far).  These first three sections don’t do a lot to advance the “plot” (I don’t really know what the plot is exactly but it must have something t o do with the war, right?)  Section 2 zooms in on Slothrop.  And while we do learn about the monitoring that goes on with him, for me, Section 2 is all about providing character depth and sympathy for Slothrop.

I found this week’s read to be the easiest so far, with only a few moments of stream of consciousness or reverie to get lost in.   And there were a lot of farcical moments–moments that were practically like a sitcom, which were fun to read and enjoyably insubstantial.

Towards the end of the reading, when Katje ultimately leaves Slothrop, she uses a metaphor comparing the rockets to sex.  And I wondered if maybe that’s why there is so much sex in the book–is it a physical manifestation of the theoretical idea?  Or does he just like using the word cock?

(more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: YEASAYER-Live at SXSW (2008).

I have the latest Yeasayer album (which got huge praise in 2010), but not their first album from which all of these live songs come.  These songs sound so very different from the 2010 songs that I have a hard time believing it’s the same band.

These songs have a rhythm-heavy, almost percussive feel to them (maybe like Adam and the Ants).  And their lead singer sounds a bit like the singer from Duran Duran.  The songs are all electronic sounding and are not easy listening by any means, but at the same time they are not discordant or noisy.

My favorite part of the show, though, was when they thank NPR and David Dye.  One of the guys says that his sister taught David’s daughter and the other band member quickly jumps in to say that that’s a boring story.  It’s quite amusing.

I really like their new album, and I’m a little cool to these earlier songs.  The band sounds good live, but I just couldn’t really get into these songs.  Although after a few more listens, I recognize some catchy bits.

There’s an interview at the end which is quite informative, explaining how the band creates their music (they enjoy the creative process more than the touring process).  In one instance they talk about sampling a rehearsal section and then cutting it up and reworking it into a new song.  So basically, Yeasayer are a bunch of studio geeks playing around.

[READ: March 18, 2011] “Her Dog”

This was a very short (barely two page) story that packed an amazing amount of story into such a short space.

As the story opens we learn that Victor is her dog.  When Grace and Joe bought Victor together, Joe made it clear that the dog was all hers (he didn’t want a dog).  And although she did all of the work (even walking him in the rain when she had a cold), they also walked Victor together at the beach on the weekend.  And then (with no explanation), Grace died and Victor was Joe’s dog.  (All of this in the first paragraph!) (more…)

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