Archive for the ‘Daft Punk’ Category

1965 SOUNDTRACK: TIME FOR THREE-Tiny Desk Concert #291 (July 27, 2013).

time for 3Time for Three are a string trio who play many types of music.  There are two violinists Zachary De Pue and Nick Kendall with a double bassist Ranaan Meyerand.  And over the course of their three songs (all original) they play classical, jazz, bluegrass and just about everything in between.

“Banjo Love,” features two contrary violin solos which get support from Meyer’s expressively propulsive bass.  It opens with the two guys strumming the violins before breaking into some lovely bowed playing.  Both violinists switch off solos (the blond player is a bit faster and more “showoffy” (but great)).  There’s even a bit of a bass solo after which the three guys all make a big grunt before continuing to the end of the song.

They say they are honored to be on the Tiny Desk series and compliment them on their new offices.

“Sundays” is a slow piece that features lots interesting bass parts behind the slow violin melodies.

They have funny stories about the origins of their songs.  “Don Don” is so named because the baseline goes don… don.  This has more of a bluegrass fiddle feel than a classical feel.  It’s super fast and fun with perfect slides and solos to really keep the song moving.

The notes say that they wished the guys played more, and I do too.  Interestingly I see that they have covered Daft Punk and Kanye West, so I guess they’re up for just about anything.

[READ: December 8, 2015] The Complete Peanuts 1965-1966

A whole bunch of ideas that I think of as BIG PEANUTS ideas come along in this book.  May of 1965 introduced the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm and Snoopy’s desire to meet his siblings.   In July of 1965 we get the first instance of snoopy at the typewriter writing “it was a dark and stormy night.”  We see Charlie Brown refer to the tree as a “kite eating tree” for the first time.  In July 1965 it’s the first time I can recall seeing the phrase “jelly bread.”  It’s the first appearance of Snoopy as Beau, the World War 1 flying ace (Oct 1965).  And in September 1966 we get the first appearance of Peppermint Patty!

The pop culture references seem to have dimmed somewhat too, although in January 1965, Linus cries “Annette Funicello has grown up!”

The “Happiness is” quotes are fewer, although Lucy squeezes Snoopy and says “Felicitas est parvus canis calidus,” which is Latin for “Happiness is a Warm Puppy.”   Of course later when he kisses her she freaks out “get some disinfectant, get some iodine” and he says “next time I’ll bite her on the leg.”

Linus’ blanket also takes on a mind of its own in March 1965 actually hissing at and attacking Lucy. (more…)

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pettySOUNDTRACK: “WEIRD AL” YANKOVIC-“Now That’s What I Call Polka” (2014).

npwpolkI knew that Al wouldn’t make a video for his polka medley (always a highlight of his albums).

I was surprised that I knew so many of these songs (on the last album I knew hardly any of the apparently huge songs that made up the medley).  So either I listen to more mainstream music now (or, perhaps I have kids who know more mainstream music) or the music was just much huger this time around.

This batch includes: “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People “Best Song Ever” by One Direction (I didn’t know this one, and I crack up at the childish way he makes the “best song” sound like gagging) “Gangnam Style” by Psy “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen “Scream & Shout” by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears (I didn’t know this one) “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra (I can’t believe how different this one sounds) “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha (I didn’t know this one) “Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO (or this one) “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz (or this one, amazingly) “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams.

It’s in these medley’s that Al’s lyrics are the most graphic, because he’s actually singing other pop lyrics, not his own.

It’s always fun when he sings this live because he matches up the original videos to his new sped-up tempo.  Looking forward to Mandatory Fun Live in 2014 (or 15).

[READ: August 3, 2014] Petty Theft

I was intrigued by this story because of the strange cover art–two people in a book store–a hunched over guy and a pretty girl–both reading books.

The story is about Pascal.  He and his long time girlfriend have broken up and he is in a hellish limbo. He’s staying in a friend’s spare room and he is not drawing anymore.  In fact, he’s looking for a major change in his life–the whole cartooning thing isn’t working out for him.  The only comfort he has left is running, but on his last run he hurt his back and has been laid up practically immobile for weeks.

He goes to the chiropractor who helps him out some (although it hurts him as much as his back already hurts).  But she tells him that he cannot run for a couple of months.  He is despondent.  So he decides to go to the bookstore, his favorite local indie shop of course, and look around.  While he’s looking around he sees a girl pick up his own book (Bigfoot)…and steal it.  He is offended and intrigued at the same time.  He tries to follow her but loses her in a crowd.  And now he has to decide what to do.  Especially since he hears the clerks talking about how many books have gone missing lately.  And because he thinks the girl is really cute (and she likes his book!) (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 18, 2013] Barenaked Ladies

20131018_214137-1.jpgSarah and I saw BNL this summer with our friend Megan, and the show was great.  That marked the fourth or fifth time that I’d seen them.  When we found out that they were coming through again (to the close to us and cool Bethlehem Sands) we thought it might be fun to see them again.  Especially with our friends Matt and Marisa who like them but had never seen them.  So we met up and had a very fun time.  We ate at Emeril’s Burgers and More.  The burger was good (although it took an incredibly long time for it to arrive).  The strange thing about the burger was that it was very crispy on the outside (which was good) but rather and odd shade of  pink on the inside (which may have been the lighting, but it was certainly pinker than usual for medium), but it was not juicy/bloody—how is something pink but not juicy?  It was weird.  But still rather tasty.

But back to the show.  Our seats were in Row 20, which was much better than our seats this summer. The pictures here are mine taken with my phone—they’re blurrier than I’d like, but not terrible.

And this show was a ton of fun and full of surprises.  They started with “Limits” an unexpected song from their new album.  And then they jumped into “Never is Enough” a surprise old song.  Ed always does an introductory rap (which no one ever includes in the setlists online for some reason).  This one, while not as good as the PNC Bank Center one was enjoyable.  Ed explained that he ran a half marathon that day on the Sands grounds.  Well, actually he ran a block but did cross the finish line (the band played along with Da Don’t Run Run).  It was very funny.  “Pinch Me” is the new crowd favorite.  Whereas they used to throw Mac and Cheese during $1,000,000, now they throw underwear.  And much hilarity ensues. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_10_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACK: JAMES BLAKE-“Retrograde” (2013).

retrogradeI don’t know anything about James Blake.  Indeed, I always assume he is a country singer.  Which he isn’t.

Daft Punk raved about this song as well, so I’m giving it a listen.

There’s not a lot to it, but I love the hummed melody–it’s catchy and distinctive.  The whole production of the song reminds me of Seal’s bigger hits.  Blake has a very beautiful voice as well.

 Even though I probably won’t listen to it again, (although now that it’s over I kind of want to hear it again), I’ll bet I have that hummed melody in my head all day.

[READ: June 17, 2013] “Slide to Unlock”

This was a short story rather than a True Crime, but it was very short, so I’m including it here at the end of the week.  I have complained before about stories that are more or less lists–series of words or phrases that don’t really create a story, just a series of ideas.  This story takes that premise of a series of ideas and actually makes a story out of it and I liked it very much.

As the title suggests. the story is about passwords.  And it begins (in second person) “You cycle through your passwords.  They tell the secret story.  What’s most important to you.”

And he gives some examples: (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_10_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACK: PAUL WILLIAMS-“The Hell of It” (1974).

pwI learned of this song because the guys in Daft Punk said it was one of their favorite songs.  I don’t know all that much about Paul Williams except for a few things:

He wrote a bunch of songs that you don’t know he wrote, like: “Rainbow Connection,” “Rainy Days and Mondays,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” and “An Old Fashioned Love Song.”  And, back in the 80s a random customer at the grocery store that I worked at said I looked like him (which I did not consider a complement).  I have since been told I look like Philip Seymour Hoffman, so I’ve got that going for me.

So this song starts with a rather dark and dramatic guitar riff.  When Williams starts singing, the lyrics are really dark and mean:

Winter comes and the winds blew colder
While some grew wiser, you just grew older
And you never listened anyway,
And that’s the hell of it.

But then the bridge comes in and it’s bright and uplifting (with chipper backing vocals and bouncy pianos). Although the lyrics remain dark dark dark:

Good for nothing, bad in bed
Nobody likes you and you’re better off dead
Goodbye, we’ve all come to say goodbye (goodbye)
Goodbye (goodbye)
Born defeated, died in vain
Super-destructive, you were hooked on pain
Though your music lingers on
All of us are glad you’re gone.

And then there’s another very short section section that is even more musically uplifting.  And yet the lyrics: are the most ruthless:

If I could live my life half as worthlessly as you
I’m convinced that I’d wind up burning too.

The music returns to that sinister guitar riff and the verses continue:

Love yourself as you loved no other
Be no man’s fool and be no man’s brother
We’re all born to die alone, you know, that’s the hell of it.

The last minute of the song  is all instrumental with that dark guitar sound underpinning a bright vaudevillian piano.  And since the song was from a  movie, I wonder if the end if all closing credits?

This song was written for the movie Phantom of the Paradise.  I have never heard of the film.  But I see that it was made by Brian DePalma, is a musical, starred Williams and was a mixture of of The Phantom of the Opera, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Faust, with hints of Frankenstein, Psycho and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.  Who would have guessed why it flopped (or why it now has a cult following).

Enjoy the strangeness:


[READ:June 17, 2013] “After Black Rock”

Joyce Carol Oates has the final True Crimes story in this weeks New Yorker.  And her story is quite different from the others.  Indeed, it was quite delightful how varied the topics of this special series were.

This piece concerns JCO’s historical family.  Back in 1917, her mother’s father was killed in a bar fight (he was Hungarian and prone to violence).  This devastated their family because he was the primary source of income.  Her mother’s mother had nine children.  Most of JCO’s siblings already worked (long hours for little pay, because immigrant kids didn’t go to school and there were no labor laws at the time).

And then came the shocking thing:  JCO’s mother’s mother gave JCO’s mother away.  She was none months old, they couldn’t afford to feed her, so they gave her to newlywed relatives who desperately wanted a child.  They were John and Lena Bush (the Americanized version of Bùs).  She was raised by them–given some school and some farm work and basically treated as their own. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LMFAO-“Party Rock Anthem” (2012).

My son doesn’t seem to care about music.  It’s shocking to me since I love music so much.  He really likes They Might be Giants’ Here Comes Science, but I think more for the words than the music (which makes me proud for other reasons).  He likes the music from Kirby and Star Wars and he liked some Mogwai because it sounded like a soundtrack to a movie.  When he sings to himself it’s always the tune from Christmas Carols.  In fairness, I didn’t really appreciate music until I was 7 or 8, but so many young kids seem to really be into music (with amazingly bad taste), that I’m not sure what to think.

So the other day he was singing some words to this song.  I was shocked.  Where in the hell had he heard it anyhow?  Then the other night his CD player didn’t work so I tuned in a random radio station and he heard this and wanted it on.  So, he finally has a song that he likes.   I hadn’t really listened to this song, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I don’t really have an opinion of it.  It’s a dance song.  It reminds me of Daft Punk and maybe early Prodigy.  I’m a sucker for the keyboard riff that sounds kind of twisty (fake electronic music appeals to the sci-fi geek in me).  Lyrically it’s innocuous enough I guess–it is a dance song after all (wait are they dissing The Beatles and Led Zeppelin?).  The funny thing to me about songs like this is that they are all kind of interchangeable–each year or so someone comes out with a new dance theme that everyone can pogo to and do X to and “have a good time.”  I think perhaps that this was even played at a recent Cub Scout function to the confusion of most of the adults.

Since my son doesn’t dance and would certainly never dance in public (I don’t even think he’d even “put his hands up”), I’m not quite sure what the appeal of this is to him (“other kids like it” is probably as far as it goes).  But hey, maybe this is a gateway into his actually wanting to listen to his dad’s music.  [And when does he ask me what LMFAO means?  Probably never, because he has no idea that that’s the band’s name].

[READ: June 6, 2011] Squish: Brave New Pond

The second squish issue depends a bit on the first one.  There are a number of references in the book to the first one (with a comment about half way through that says to just go and read the first one already).

In this one Squish, who is an amoeba, is reading a comic about Super Amoeba.  He’s a superhero who helps everyone in Small Pond (including an amusing scene where a girl drops her ice cream and he flies to her rescue).   But then he is asked to join The Protozoans, heroes who help the World, not just Small Pond.  And Super Amoeba is thrilled  and is soon off to join them (in their spiffy (and tight) uniforms).

This parallels to Squish’s own situation.  It’s his first day of school.  And he has decided to make some changes.  Maybe he won’t hang out with his old friends so much, maybe he’ll try to become more popular, maybe he’ll even get picked for the kickball team, and maybe, just maybe, he’ll get to hang out with The Algae Brothers, the biggest, meanest, coolest kids in school.  [This story line has striking parallels to Queen Bee, eh?  Does anyone ever make stories from the POV of kids who are already popular?].

He has a hard time ditching his old friends (they’re so clingy).  But it turns out that last year, when Squish stood up to Lynwood, the meanest amoeba in the pond, the Algae Brothers noticed.  And when they recognize him, they invite him to hang with them (where nachos with cheese are actually delivered to their table at lunch!).  He’s made it!

Being cool is pretty great.  Sure he misses his old friends a bit, but everyone is in awe of his new found status. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RAFTER: “No Fucking Around” (2010).

This song made one of The Onion’s AV Club voter’s Top Ten lists this year. The  description was interesting enough that I had to go check it out.

Rafter is on Asthmatic Kitty, home of Sufjan Stevens, so I assumed the disc would be intriguing, if nothing else.  The song starts out with an overly autotuned (practically mechanical) voice repeating the title.  From there the song slows down with some interesting lyrics.   As the reviewer said, it strips dance music to its barest essentials.  This trend seems to be kind of popular lately, and I’ve noticed that when it works, the rests are very catchy, (when it doesn’t it’s boring as all get out).

Now, I first listened to the song with the video (see below) which I love.  So I’m not entirely sure how much of my enjoyment of the song is predicated on the video.

However, I’ve now listened to it several times and my enjoyment grows with each listen.

Although I am always more interested in indie rock than dance and pop, occasional a pop song or a dance song will grab me and make me listen. LCD Soundsystem has had that effect, as has Daft Punk.  I’m not sure if this whole album is as interesting, but I certainly enjoy this song.

Shame that I’ll probably never hear it without going to YouTube.

[READ: January 11, 2011] “The Years of My Birth”

This story impressed me both for its unexpected emotional pull and its twist (in a sense) ending.

When the story opens, we learn of the narrator’s birth: she was an undetected twin who was, for lack of a better term, squished by her brother.  When she came out, the doctor said she would likely have birth defects; her mother, when asked if they should try to save the baby, shouted “No!”

But the nurse had already ensured the baby’s survival.  The baby was disfigured, with a misshapen head and twisted legs, but she appeared mentally normal.  And yet, since her mother had already rejected her, (and times were different then), the nurse, a Native American woman, took the baby home and raised her as part  of their family.  She even nursed the baby since she was already nursing a young girl at home.

The Native American family tended to her, working on re-shaping her head (with massages) and mending her legs (with stretching), and she found herself thriving (reasonably).  Her adoptive family was very supportive and although her closest-in-age sister once said she’s never get in trouble because she was white, she formed a very tight bond with all of her adoptive siblings. Her brother even nicknamed her Tuffy because he knew she’d get a nickname eventually and he wanted to give it to her.

Tuffy lives a quiet, modest life, never making to many attachments, for fear of getting hurt.  Nevertheless, she always felt a kind of ghostly presence in her life.  She knew it was her twin, although she didn’t know where her brother was physically, what he looked like, or even what his name was.   But their bond, or whatever it was, was always there.

And then one day out of the blue, she get as a call from her “mother.”  She wants to connect.  So Tuffy meets her for dinner and the truth comes out (just like a recent plot of 30 Rock): her twin needs a kidney.  And your heart goes out to her.  For so many reasons.

The last section of the story, though, reveals the depth of the character that Erdrich has created in Tuffy.  Because even though she knows that this family has done nothing for her, she has this connection to her twin.  Her family discourages her from contact with her “mother,” but Tuffy feels drawn to help.  Even though she knows she owes them literally nothing, she starts to think that maybe she got the better deal in life.

And then we find out why he needs the kidney, and our feelings gets even more complicated.  And when she finally meets her twin, things go in another direction altogether.

I was really surprised at how complex this short (4 page) story was.  I was riveted, and as I mentioned, emotionally torn.  It’s a great piece.

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