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Archive for the ‘Kate Tempest’ Category

boilenSOUNDTRACK: ANGEL OLSEN-Tiny Desk Concert #333 (January 27, 2014).

angelBob Boilen has liked Angel Olsen for some time, so when she did her Tiny Desk and most of us had never heard of her, he was already a fan.

Olsen plays a long set but with four songs.

She sits very still, strumming with her thumb and singing kind of low–not unlike Sharon van Etten.  The first song, “Unfucktheworld” is only two ans a half minutes.  The second song, “Iota,” is a little longer.  She sings in an affected almost falsetto style, although the guitar remains very spare.

Between these songs, she is coy about the title of the new record although she is quick to say the first word of the title “burn.”  Later she admits that the final song contains the title of the album, if we wanted to spend time figuring it out.

I marvelled at how high the chords were that she played on “Enemy,”  She seems to eschew any bass for this song.  This one is five and a half minutes long and is just as slow as the others.

Before the final song they talk about whether this is the most awkward show she has done.  She says everyone is very alert–and indeed you can hear utter silence between songs.  But then they talk about the storm outside (and potential tornado) and how this show may never air if the storm is really bad.

“White Fire” is an 8 minute story song.  She does use the whole guitar for this one, which has many many verses.   Since I don’t really know Olsen’s stuff that well, I don’t know if this was a good example of her show or a fun treat to hear her in such an intimate way.

[READ: May 10, 2016] Your Song Changed My Life

This site is all about music and books, but you may be surprised to know that I don’t really like books about music all that much.  I have read a number of them—biographies, autobiography or whatever, and I don’t love them wholesale. Some are fine, but in general musicians aren’t really as interesting as they may seem.

What I do like however, is hearing a decent interview with musicians to find out some details about them–something that will flesh out my interest in them or perhaps make me interested in someone I previously wasn’t.  Not a whole book, maybe just an article, I guess.

I also really like Bob Boilen. I think he’s a great advocate of music and new bands.  I have been listening to his shows on NPR for years and obvious I have been talking about hundreds of the Tiny Desk Concerts that he originated.  I also really like his taste in music.  So I was pretty psyched when Sarah got me this book for my birthday.

I read it really quickly–just devoured the whole thing.  And it was really enjoyable. (more…)

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reunionSOUNDTRACK: KATE TEMPEST-Tiny Desk Concert #456 (July 21, 2015).

kateKate Tempest is a British poet/rapper (and darling of NPR).  She raps with a really heavy South London accent and raps about the “everyday.”  But because she is a poet, her lyrics are really incisive.  And, when she sings, she throws in some really catchy choruses as well.  Her song “Lonely Daze” surprises when the big catchy chorus come in.

Although she doesn’t do that for this Tiny Desk.

Rather, she opens with an incredibly moving poem called “Ballad of a Hero.”  It is an anti-war poem that takes an amazingly personal look at soldiers and the sons of soldiers.  The NPR blurb says “Kate Tempest will connect you with your emotions and the cold, callous world around you. You may cry.”  When I first started listening to her Tiny Desk, I wasn’t really paying attention to the words of this poem, but by the end, I was totally hooked, and yes, I did cry.

The final lines:

I don’t support the war my son.
I don’t believe it’s right,
but I do support the soldiers
that go off to war to fight.

Troops just like your daddy, son;
soldiers through and through.
Who wear their uniform with pride
and do what they’re told to do

When you’re grown my sweet, my love
Please don’t go fighting wars.
But fight the men that start them
or fight a cause that’s yours.

It seems so full of honour, yes,
So valiant, so bold,
But the men that send the armies in.
Send them in for gold.

Or they send them in for oil,
And they tell us it’s for Britain
but the men come home like Daddy
and spend their days just drinking.

Despite the intensity of the poem (and her other lyrics), it’s fun to watch her rap because she always seems to be smiling.  And on the two songs she does “The Beigeness” and “Truth” she is so into it.  Her hand gestures and emphasis really complete the song.  And there’s also the matter of her accent–so noticeable and strangely musical.

I don’t know what the original music of these songs is like.  I gather from the official titles (“The Beigeness (KwAkE BASS remix)” and “The Truth (KwAkE BASS remix)”) that they must sound different on the record.  And KwAkE BASS plays around with her voice, adding echoes and interesting effects that add to the music).

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve heard from Tempest, I’m just not entirely sure I would listen to a whole album of hers.

[READ: July 23, 2015] Reunion

When I saw this book by Girard in the library I immediately flashed back to reading his other book.   I recognized his style (the self-portrait of the main character Pascal made him look much older and more frumpy than he actually was.  But what I’d forgotten was just how much of a dick everyone in the book was.

And it’s even more so in the this book.

It’s clear that Girard has a style and that his humor comes from everyone in the book (including the protagonist) being jut awful.  Last time I wasn’t sure if it was just the way Helge Dascher translated the book (and again, it may be her since she does this one too) but I now think that Girard may just have a very poor opinion of people.

This book culminates in a ten-year reunion. And all of Pascal’s actions leads up to it. (more…)

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