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Archive for the ‘Laura Marling’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: MARGARET GLASPY-Live at the Newport Folk Festival (July 30, 2017).

Every year, NPR goes to the Newport Folk Festival so we don’t have to.  A little while afterwards, they post some streams of the shows (you used to be able to download them, but now it’s just a stream).  Here’s a link to the Margaret Glaspy set; stream it while it’s still active.

Margaret Glaspy has been making music professionally since 2010, but she released her solo debut last year and it’s really good.  She plays a rocking guitar, although she seems to play a lot on the higher strings.  Her sound isn’t tinny, but it’s a much more treble than bass.  But she’s got a two piece backing band to pick up and complement the low end.

She also has a unique vocal delivery style.  She enunciates words with a strange inflection–I never would have guessed that she is from California.  And it’s that unique sound that I think makes her lyrics that much more interesting.  She’s also not afraid to throw in a curse or a graphic description in her lyrics.

Glaspy played 13 songs in total.  10 of the 12 songs from her record, two new ones and a Lucinda Williams cover.

She doesn’t speak much, she just gets right to the music, playing the first five songs faithfully to the record with just enough grace notes to make it stand out.  But she seems to let it all hang out by the time she gets to “Situation” which has a much louder, rougher guitar sound–she really lets loose and it sounds great.

She introduces the band Daniel Ryan on the bass and Tim Kuhl on the drums and then she starts the slower “Black is Blue.” I hadn’t noticed before but at times her delivery is kind of like Laura Marling’s in this song.  “You Don’t Want Me” has a spoken word section and her delivery once again reminds me of Marling’s.  They certainly don’t sound alike, but there is something similar in the style–that would be an awesome double bill.

She might explain her lack of talking when she says, “This is my first time at Newport and I don’t take it lightly.  So thank you so much for having me.”

The NPR blurb also sees a lot of strength at the end of her set, so I’ll let them sum up

She says she’s “Got some new songs for you:”

a slow-burner called “Mother/Father” and another that doesn’t yet have a title [the chorus: life was better before we were together].  A late-set highlight was “Memory Street,” which boiled over into a seething solo before a final verse that had Glaspy repeating a disjointed phrase over and over, to the point of uneasiness [it is quite long, she sings the words “Times I” with an appropriate skipping sounding drum click for over 20 seconds]— a compelling imitation of the skipping record her lyrics invoked.

She plays a cover of Lucinda Williamss’ “The Fruits of my Labor.” and then ends with “You And I” and that catchy circular guitar riff that is so wonderful and original.

Glaspy has been on my list of people to see live and I hope she comes back this way after she tours around for a while.

[READ: June 20, 2017] “The Work You Do, The Person You Are”

This issue has a section of essays called “On the Job,” with essays about working written by several different authors.

Toni Morrison (it’s hard to think of her as doing something “before” being an author) speaks of working for Her, in the 1940s in a house that had all kinds of things that she had never seen before: a hoover vacuum cleaner or an iron not heated by a fire.

She gave half of her earnings to her mother–which meant she was helping pay the rent, which made her feel good. But she also got some money to squander of junk. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 19, 2017] Laura Marling

I first heard about Laura Marling from All Songs Considered—they raved about her album Once I Was an Eagle.  Sarah bought it for me for Christmas, and I couldn’t get enough of it.   Since then, Laura has released two more albums, the awesome Short Movie and the newer, more introspective but equally gorgeous Semper Femina.

Normally I like to see bands that have a great stage show, but for Laura, I just wanted to hear her voice live.  I didn’t think she’d do much in terms of stage work, and she didn’t, but her voice (and her guitar) sounded fantastic.

I had checked her setlists ahead of time to see what albums she was playing most of her songs from.  It turned out she was playing almost all of Semper Femina, and then a few other songs from her other albums.  I’m glad I knew this going in or I would have been bummed not to hear some of my favorite older songs of hers.  because even though she did play songs from the other albums, she didn’t play the more obvious tracks.

But that also meant that I listened a lot to her new album and got to really appreciate it. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 19, 2017] Valley Queen

I recently watched Valley Queen on a Tiny Desk Concert.  Initially, I  enjoyed it but wasn’t blown away.  Although I was blown away by singer Natalie Carol’s voice.  And as I listened to their set a few more times I got really hooked by them.  So I was pretty excited that they were opening for Laura Marling.

I arrived during their first song (TLA is in the center of the city and I wound up parking about 12 blocks away–cutting it way too close).

I walked in on the right side, enjoyed the first song and then had to get water (it was a stupid hot day) and then I wended my way to the front left, where I had a great view of the band.

Valley Queen have released an EP (Destroyer) and they played about half of the songs off of it.  They played a few other songs too, but I can’t find a setlist to confirm what they were. (more…)

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2016-12-05-21-06-09SOUNDTRACK: LAURA MARLING-Tiny Desk Concert #230 (July 12, 2012).

I’d published these posts without Soundtracks while I was reading the calendars.  But I decided to add Tiny Desk Concerts to them when I realized that I’d love to post about all of the remaining 100 or shows and this was a good way to knock out 25 of them.

marlingSince I first heard this Tiny Desk Concert, I have become a huge fan of Laura Marling.  Her album Once I Was an Eagle is dynamite.  Her voice is unique and beautiful.  She sounds so mature and sophisticated in her singing style.  It is astonishing to learn that she was only 22 when she recorded this (and she looks it).

Her guitar playing is wonderful—nothing fancy but the sounds she gets out of the acoustic are magnificent.  And they work perfectly with her voice.  Her guitar is as warm as her voice is distant.  It’s a great combination and I could listen to her sing all day.

She plays two songs from her then current album A Creature I Don’t Know.  “Don’t Ask Me Why” and “Sophia” highlight some of those great moment when she sings along to the chords she strums.  And I love when she switches from delicate falsetto to almost spoken deep-voiced dismissals.   She’s so compelling.

“Once” is a song she hadn’t officially recorded yet. So consider this performance a premiere of sorts.  It did come out on Eagle.

She’s very quiet between songs–hard to tell if she’s nervous or just incredibly composed.  The blurb tells us that she “once held a series of unplugged and unrecorded concerts in a near-empty room, each consisting of a single song performed for two strangers at a time.”  (Seriously, click on that link and read about her amazing concert experience).

[READ: December 12, 2016] “Oneness Plus One”

Near the end of November, I found out about The Short Story Advent Calendar.  Which is what exactly?  Well…

The Short Story Advent Calendar returns, not a moment too soon, to spice up your holidays with another collection of 24 stories that readers open one by one on the mornings leading up to Christmas.  This year’s stories once again come from some of your favourite writers across the continent—plus a couple of new crushes you haven’t met yet. Most of the stories have never appeared in a book before. Some have never been published, period.

I already had plans for what to post about in December, but since this arrived I’ve decided to post about every story on each day.

I’ve enjoyed Aimee bender’s stories in the past, although I don’t usually love them. She tends to look at things in a rather different way.

In this case, this story is all about a speck of dirt.  It had lived on the apartment floor for quite some time and had managed to avoid the broom.  It had not been attached to any of its kin and just wanted to be left alone.  So every day it huddled under the book case and tried not to be seen. (more…)

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march7SOUNDTRACK: NOAH AND THE WHALE-Tiny Desk Concert #147 (August 10, 2011).

noahI know Noah and the Whale a little.  I don’t think I realized they were from England, especially since the lead singer/guitarist looks so much like Ben Stiller (with a big fro).  I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard from them, although I can’t say I know that much about them (although  see that Laura Marling was briefly in the band).  For this Tiny Desk, there are just two men (one Noah, the other the Whale, perhaps?  No, Charlie Fink (vocals, guitar), and Tom Hobden (violin, vocals).

Evidently they had a drummer but he left the band to pursue academic success so they enlisted a dreaded drum machine.  (In the blurb, Stephen Thompson talks about how shocked everyone as to hear it).  The one bad thing about the machine of course is that it limits then from playing anything spontaneously.  But they sound very good even with the machine.

There’s a sort of Tom Petty/Bob Dylan vibe to the first song with the super catchy spelled out chorus of “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.”  When the violinist sings harmonies, the  song sounds especially good.

He ends the first song by saying, “It’s most peculiar, this event.”

“Blue Skies” does not have the drum machine.  It is a mellow, pretty song with Fink’s delicate voice singing a breakup song.

“Waiting for My Chance to Come” is a upbeat song (with drum machine).  Fink switches to acoustic guitar giving this a bigger more vibrant folk sound.  It’s really catchy and fun to sing along to.

I remember the last time I listened to Noah and the Whale (from an NPR show covering the Newport Folk Festival), I wanted to hear more from them.  And once again I do, although perhaps with a full band (and yes, they have broken up).

[READ: March 3, 2016] “Buttony”

I re-read what I had written about McFalane’s previous story which I read in 2013. I enjoyed the first section (which was very short) but felt a little less grand about the second half.

This story (although it was much shorter) had a similar quality.

The story is only two pages and the first part is so charming.  It is set in a school.  The teacher allows her students to go outside to play “buttony.”

The game is a simple one, but it has some kind of near magical significance for the kids. (more…)

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dec2014SOUNDTRACK: LAURA MARLING-“Walk Alone” NPR Lullaby SXSW (March 19, 2015).

marlingFrom March 17-March 21, the SXSW festival raged on. And my friends at NPR Music were there so I didn’t have to be. In past years they have had a nightly recap of their favorite shows of the day. This year they upped the ante by inviting a musician to sing a lullaby.  Most of these lullabies occurred in some unexpected outdoor location at 2 or so A.M. after a long day of music.

This late night lullaby was actually recorded much earlier than most (around 9:30P.M) because one of the gang had to leave early.

Marling has become one of my favorite new (to me) voices. I love the way she sings. It feels unconventional or unexpected somehow.  The way she doesn’t follow the melodies of her guitar playing is really cool and exiting. And when she drops into a nearly spoken word it’s quite arresting.

This song is from her soon to be released new album Short Movie, and it is as enchanting as anything she’s done.  You can check it out here.

[READ: March 23, 2015] “Nina”

This issue of Harper’s featured five essays (well four essays and one short story) about “Growing Up: five coming of age stories.”  Since I knew a few of these authors already, it seemed like a good time to devote an entire week to growing up.  There are two introductions, one by Christine Smallwood (who talks about Bob Seger) and one by Joshua Cohen who talks about the coming of age narrative.

This is a story of meeting a bad person and getting sucked into her life.  There’s nothing terribly original about this.  However, the characters (her name has been changed) are not your typically teenage angsty college students.  Set in 1981 at NYU, the narrator is Indian and the girl sitting next to him is Latina.  It’s cool to have a familiar story told with slight differences like this one does.

The girl asks him for help with her computer.  He fixes her problem and she asks to get his number so they can keep in touch.  She is very pretty.  He couldn’t resist calling her, so he invited her to a play and she agreed. (more…)

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