Archive for the ‘Fucked Up’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JENNIFER CASTLE-Live at Massey Hall (November 23, 2017).

I didn’t think I knew Jennifer Castle, but I see that she has appeared as a guest singer on a whole bunch of records by artists that I know: Eric Chenaux, Bry Webb, Constantines and Fucked Up.

She has an unusual voice–soaring, delicate and whispery with a slight warble and yet you know she could belt out if she wanted to.

She starts the show saying Toronto has incredible beautiful old buildings and its rare these days to go inside one.  Inside Massey Hall it’s lit up to be another member of the band and to be part of the show.

I found the music to be incredibly spare–too spare in fact.  It is primarily piano and her vocals (with backing singers), but the piano (Jonathan Adjemian) is not a primary instrument, it is simply playing chords for her to sing over.  The sparseness was a little disconcerting.  But the backing vocalists (Victoria Cheeong and Isla Craig) are stellar–they really add a lot to the music and their voices soar in their own right.

But I think that sparseness allows her lyrics to really come through.  “Like a Gun” has the lyric “he was lik e gun [hah, from lovely backing vocalists] he was always going off.”

“Nature” has even better lyrics

Despite all my feelings of life parallel
Nature is happening without my goodwill
I called my friend up and she said it still
Happens to you even when you are ill

and ends with this interesting conceit

I lift my skirt for the economy

“Texas” is played on guitar with a very catchy “hoo hoo hoo hoo” clap-along.

I go down to Texas
To kiss my grandmother goodbye
She forgets things
But when I look her in the eye
I see my father
And he’s been gone so very long
In the name of time travel
Help him to hear to my little song

Jennifer plays electric guitar on “Truth is the Freshest Fruit” which changes the whole dynamic of her songs.  She plays guitar with piano accompaniment on “Sailing Away.”

She is the first person to mention the renovations Massey Hall is currently undergoing:

I know that Massey is going to go through a great big change but it feels good to play while the history is still on the paint.

The final song is absolutely wonderful.  She says she wrote “Please Take Me (I’m Broken)” because she knew they were coming to Massey and it celebrates the school of Greek mythology

The backing vocalists sing a verse by themselves and they sound great.  I love the chorus

Please take me cause something don’t seem right; something don’t compute.  I don’t belong here.
Please take me I’m broken;  I’ve woken up and I should be dreaming.
Please take me back to those other realms they seem much kinder on a dreamer like me.
I’ve always looked up to those ancient Greek stories.
I love the thrill of the scale; I like the the roll of the chorus.

A thoughtful and unique performer.

[READ: July 17, 2018] “Now More Than Ever”

I  feel like Zadie Smith’s recent stories have been exploring a new style for her, a more “in the present” kind of vibe.  This story has meta-elements and is very much an of the moment piece.  It seems to address current hot button issues and her own inability to fully wrap her head around them.

It begins: “There is an urge to be good. To be seen to be good. To be seen.  Also to be.”

This is what she told Mary.  She also told Mary that no one is called Marty these days.  “Could you get the hell out of here?”  So Mary left.  Then Scout came by–a great improvement.

Scout is active and alert on all platforms. She;s usually no later than the 300th person to see something.  The narrator was “the ten million two hundred and sixth person to see that thing.” (more…)

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CV1_TNY_04_15_13Sorel.inddSOUNDTRACK: AKRON/FAMILY-“Sand Talk” (2013).

akronfamThe folks on NPR played this song as part of a “new songs” segment and I couldn’t get over how noisy and chaotic it was.  I had always thought of Akron/Family as being kind of an indie folk outfit (I know they were on Swans’ label, but I still thought of them as more folkie than noisy).  So I was surprised by just how chaotic and wild this song was.

It opens with a distorted, echoey guitar that settles into a ringing sound which reminds me of Fucked Up.  Then the drums come in (tribal and various) until it all settles down into a thumping song with a kind of spastic guitar riff.  Then the vocals come in–full bodied and sounding like more than one person.  And after the first verse, it seems like everything that happened before happens again–this time all at once.  But now, the music occasionally pauses to let the vocals come to the fore.  And at one point everything stops and a chorus of voices sings a nice melody as the band slowly resumes playing.   And this echoing fugue-like music continues apace until it all kind of slows down and then ends.

It’s quite a challenging song and one that I found rewarding after just a few listens.  I have to reevaluate what I think this band sounds like, and I definitely have to listen to the rest of this album.

[READ: May 1, 2013] “The Night of the Satellite”

What I really liked about this story was the way that Boyle plays with two ideas of randomness.  The first is the possibility of a piece of a satellite falling out of the sky and landing on you.  The second is of running into a couple in several different and unrelated locations.

As the story starts, a couple (graduate-school aged) are excited that the summer is upon them.  They plan to take a trip to visit some friends (with their dog) to get away from it all.  En route they see a car pulled over at the side of the road facing the wrong way.  The young man is sitting on the hood, the young woman is crying near the road.  Mallory tells him to stop the car.  He is reluctant but does so (childlocking the doors).  The girl says that her boyfriend is a jerk.  She is crying but says she is not hurt.  The boyfriend is yelling across the road that she should just get in the car and leave with them.  But after a few minutes, she decides not too.  So he drives on despite Mallory’s protests. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: FUCKED UP-Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009 (2010).

I knew of Fucked Up from a cover shoot on Chart Magazine. Clearly, they are aiming for major pop success and massive radio airplay.

Their live shows sounded amazing.  And, of course, everything about them seemed unpredictably wonderful.

This is a collection of singles (although not singles in the “pop chart” sense).  Fucked Up released more singles than anything else.  In fact their discography is borderline impossible to keep straight, they have so many small releases on so many small labels.

There is definite growth over these two discs (maybe not maturity, but growth).  The first track, “No Pasaran” is an ugly shouty noisy mess (pretty much straight hardcore). Over the course of these singles, Pink Eyes, the singer, refines his voice and he sounds a bit like Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (still rough, but more melodic).  The music on the other hand pretty well stays in the hardcore mold.  But by the end (and it is most notable on disc two) the band’s energies branch out into guitar riffs and notable melodies.

The rest of the band includes Concentration Camp and 10,000 Marbles on Guitars, Mr Jo on Drums and Mustard Gas on Bass.

This collection of singles includes most of their shorter tracks (since they were on 7″ vinyl).  But on their 2006 release Hidden World (which I have not heard), most of the songs are over 5 minutes, with one reaching 9.  So they’re even fucked up by hardcore standards.  Cool.

This collection is definitely not for everyone, but it’s worth checking out if you like your core hard and weird.

[READ: May 27, 2010] Wet Moon 5

Holy cow!  This book ends on an amazing cliffhanger!  Beloved Trilby is put in mortal danger, and from what we see, I can’t imagine how she’ll survive.  Gasp!

By this time, Campbell is well on his way to a long, twisted epic series.  One only wonders how long he has this story arc planned out.  It seemed so simple at first: a buncha goth girls hanging around a college, with the worst thing that happens is someone puts up a flier about you or your cat goes missing.

Now the stakes are higher.  I’m not entirely sure that I like the path that this story is following.  I mean, don’t get me wrong it is super exciting.  I just don’t want Wet Moon to turn into Friday the 13th or some other kind of “crime & superhero” story.  What happens to Trilby is pretty intense.  I just hope it won’t destroy all of the characters. (more…)

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