Archive for the ‘Frightened Rabbit’ Category

1985SOUNDTRACK: KING CREOSOTE AND JON HOPKINS-Tiny Desk Concert #154 (September 4, 2011).

creosoteI’d heard of King Creosote but didn’t know anything about him.  He’s a Scottish folk singer.  And Jon Hopkins is an English producer and multi-instrumentalist who is better known for his room-filling electronic works–although here he only plays the…yes, harmonium and keyboards.

“John Taylor’s Month Away” is a somewhat upbeat song–although the King’s voice is somber and mellow on every song.  I like watching him thump on his guitar to keep the beat while he’s not strumming.  And when he comes back in with the guitar again it sounds all the bigger for it.

The chord structure and delivery of “Bubble” sounds like a 1960s British folk song.  It’s quite lovely.  And when Hopkins switches to piano, it really brings out a lot more in the song.

These two songs came from Creosote’s album Diamond Mine, which the blurb says was everyone’s favorite album in 2011 (although I don’t recall hearing anything about it back then).  Stephen Thompson writes: “To immerse yourself in Diamond Mine is to be transported to a small, calm town in the Scottish countryside: For all of [Kenny] Anderson’s [King Creosote’s real name] reflective ruminations on aging and regret, he and Hopkins know how to make listeners feel at peace; to make the faraway seem everyday. “

“Cockle Shell” is not from Diamond Mine, although Jon did work on it, he says.  The guitar is a played differently–more picking, less strumming.  And the piano sounds lovely again. Creosote sings a bit bigger on this song.  The way he sings the preposterously upbeat music behind the lyrics “choke me, blind me, cut off my hands,” reminds me a lot of Frightened Rabbit.

For the final song, Hopkins switches back to harmonium.  It’s a short song, lovely and sweet.  And I’m sure if I followed the lyrics a bit more closely it would be rather sad too, as the final line is “while they were alive.”

I enjoyed Creosote’s music, although I feel like I’d have to be in a certain mind frame to put it on intentionally.  I will have to give a listen to Diamond Mine in total though.

[READ: January 26, 2016] “Three Thousand Dollars”

After reading the Lipsky articles in Harper’s I thought I’d see if he had written anything in the New Yorker.  I only found this one item, a short story from his collection.

I was intrigued from the start by this story because of the duplicitous nature of the college-aged narrator.  This was especially interesting to read after reading Lipsky’s Harper’s article about slackers.

The story begins with the statement that the narrator’s mother doesn’t know he owes his father $3,000.  It transpires that his parents are divorced and his father–who has a ton of money–is going to pay for his college after they get financial aid based on his mother’s lower income.  The balance–$3000 is what his dad will pay.

But when the $3000 check came in, the narrator spent it on other things instead. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: FRIGHTENED RABBIT-The Winter of Mixed Drinks (2010).

I enjoyed Frightened Rabbit’s previous disc ever so much: a twisted blend of rocking folk music and very dark lyrics.  The fact that a number of these songs were used in Chuck was a treat for me.

I’ve never heard their first disc, so I don’t know how much their songwriting changed from disc 1 to disc 2.  But there’s a pretty huge leap from disc 2 to disc 3.

The most notable track has got to be “Swim Until You Can’t See Land.”   And it’s notable for having a really rocking and catchy and undeniable chorus.  They liked it so much, they reprise it later in the disc (with new instrumentation and such) on “Man/Bag of Sand.”

The rest of the disc sounds like Frightened Rabbit, but like the full band version.  There’s just so much music, that it actually distracts a bit from the lyrics (on the previous disc, the lyrics were certainly more of the focus).  There’s even a string arrangement on “Living in Colour.”

And yet despite all of these changes, they never lose what makes FR special: that voice and that outlook.  Although I’m sure I would have enjoyed if this disc was similar to the previous one, I’m always delighted to see a band take some chances and try something different.  And here they did, and it works wonderfully.

[READ: May 19, 2010] “Ash”

On April 14, Iceland’s volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted.  And here, barely a month later, Roddy Doyle has written a story in which that eruption plays a role.  I’m impressed enough that he could get a coherent story written in that short amount of time, but I’m amazed that it was squeezed so quickly into The New Yorker‘s fiction schedule.  Admittedly, I don’t know how The New Yorker does anything, so I don’t know if they had a slot open (doubtful) or if they had to push back other stories (unlikely) or maybe he was slotted to give them something else, and whipped this out instead?  Beats me.  Whatever the reason, I was really surprised to see this here. (more…)

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jokeSOUNDTRACK: FRIGHTENED RABBIT-Midnight Organ Fight (2008).

rabbitMy friend Jarrett introduced me to this band.  He rather casually called it his favorite album of the year, so I figured it was worth checking out.

Frightened Rabbit are a group from Scotland, and they play a sort of disaffected folk.  Although that’s not a wholly accurate description because they do kick in the drums and louder guitars.  So, yeah, they don’t sound anything like Belle and Sebastian.  This is complemented by the lyrics which are somewhat bitter or aching.

And speaking of lyrics, the first song that I wanted to sing along with most was “Keep Yourself Warm” and then I realized that the chorus is “It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm.”  There’s also a very pointed use of the mother of all C words, in another song, too.  And I’ve had that song in my head for about three days now.  But I absolutely cannot sing the song at work or at home, or, well, anywhere except in the car when I ‘m by myself.

This all leads me to wonder, Do bands save their best songs to fill with curses or am I just 8 years old and I listen to the song with curses the most?

The one thing that has troubled me about the record is that at times the singer can sound like the guy from the Counting Crows.  And the Counting Crows are probably the band I hate the most in the universe.  But I just focus on the Scottish burr which lessens the Durwitz effect, and then I can enjoy the disc again.

[READ: Summer 2008] The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes

This is a collection of humorous vignettes that are, if not about books exactly, certainly literary in nature.  If you like your humor to be bookish, then this is a great, funny collection.  It starts with the cover itself, as it is printed backwards and upside down w(the cover above is actually on the back).

Many of these pieces are very short (some are a page, even some more are just a few sentences.)  Plus, there are so many pieces that I’m not willing to write all that much, just a one-line summary (that I will try to make funny without giving away the punchline).

I thought about indicating in some way which ones I liked best or some kind of rating system, but that just seems extensive and cruel.

Most of these pieces came from McSweeny’s online, and I’m sure many of the pieces are still available there, but I’m not going to do all the work for you.  And it’s funny how many jokes there are about: James Joyce, Kafka, Homer and children’s books!

Oh, and authors: I started to include all of your names in my Categories, and then it just got too overwhelming.  But if you want to be added, just drop me a note!

Click here for the egress: (more…)

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