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Archive for the ‘Liz Phair’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: PHOEBE BRIDGERS-“Smoke Signals” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 22, 2017).

Bridgers’ “Smoke Signals” is a beautiful haunting song that reminds me a little of Liz Phair in her delivery.  I had heard this song before and really liked it–I especially loved the arrangement, which had echoing guitars that reminded me of Twin Peaks.

“For this Tiny Desk, Bridgers and percussionist Marshall Vore came to Bob Boilen’s hotel room just before midnight to play the striking ‘Smoke Signals.'”  The music is great with Bridgers’ open chords, and Vore’s suitcase percussion, children’s toy bells and vocal harmony.  The cho and vibe are removed in this version which means you must really listen to the words–which are pretty intense.

I like how she talks about musicians in such an interesting way:

Singing ‘Ace of Spades’ when Lemmy died / nothing’s changed LA’s alright

and then later

Its been on my mind since Bowie died/ just checking out to hide from life

The toy bells and harmonies are a really nice touch, but again, it’s those lyrics:

I went with you up to
The place you grew up in
We spent a week in the cold
Just long enough to
“Walden” it with you
Any longer, it would have got old

This song is a little too slow for my preferences, but it’s very beautiful. I’d like to hear more from her.

[READ: February 5, 2016] The Good Neighbors: Kin

This book was on the new shelf at my library.  And since I like Black and Naifeh I was grabbed it.  Then I saw that it actually came out in 2008. Whatever.

It also turns out that my library has book two of this trilogy but neither had book 3 (which came out in 2010).  What gives?

Holly Black is best known (by me anyway) as having written The Spiderwick Chronicles.

This story is actually a YA graphic novel and it definitely skews older.  But like Spiderwick, it deals with a normally unseen world coming into contact with out own. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_02_03_14Blitt.inddSOUNDTRACK: COURTNEY BARNETT-Tiny Desk Concert #348 (April 14, 2014).

cbThe first time I hear Courtney Barnett’s “Avant Gardener,” I fell in love with it.  A nearly spoken word almost slacker style vocal delivery of some really funny and very clever lyrics.  Plus a catchy chorus.  Swoon.

Then WXPN started playing it to death and I got a little tired of it. Thankfully, they found another track on the album (two eps together with the delightfully odd name The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas).  And that proved to be just as good.  Then I saw her live on a late night show and her live delivery was different and even more compelling.

In this Tiny Desk Concert, she plays the guitar differently on “Avant Gardener”, bringing in some new textures behind her accented Australian voice.  The second song “History Eraser” is another song from the EPs.  She has mentioned loving Nirvana, and I can see a similar style of guitar playing in this one.   The chorus reminds me of Liz Phair’s “Flower” which is no bad thing.

The final song is a new one about a suburb near Melbourne called Preston.  The song is called “Depreston,” and its about house hunting.  It’s another interesting story telling song with a great melody.

Barnett doesn’t do staggeringly original music, but it’s all really enjoyable.  And it’s fun to see just her and her guitar in this setting.

[READ: June 11, 2014] “The Emerald Light in the Air”

This story begins as one thing (which I liked) and slowly turns into something else (which I also liked but not as much).

As it opens, we see a man driving his father’s (and his father’s before that) Mercedes in Charlottesville.  There had been thunderstorms that afternoon and one of the roads is blocked by a large tree.

What I liked about the story was the way his present (driving, planning his dinner for his date tonight) was interspersed almost on a paragraph by paragraph basis with moments from his past.  The past is brought up by the present events–he is having a date with Mary Doan, the woman he lost his virginity to.  They happened to run into each other after all of these years.  Humorously, she didn’t remember him, even though she was a huge part of his life.

He is also thinking about his ex-wife.  He has some of her drawings and paintings in the trunk of his car.  He’s planning on taken them to the dump so they’re out of his house.   So he thinks back to their days as young artists together.  He also thinks back to the days when he was suicidal, and how now he carries a gun but only for his art, not for suicide. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LIZ PHAIR-Exile in Guyville Live October 6, 2008 (2008).

Like all indie rock hipsters I loved Exile in Guyville when it came out.  And like all indie rock hipsters, I hated that Liz Phair later made an album that is had the top cover below.  I didn’t even care anymore when she made the album with the second cover below.

The irony of course is that Liz made Guyville because she was sick of the hipster boys who were living in Chicago at the time.  And now it was the same hipster boys (only older) who were dismissing her for selling out.  (At least, that’s what I get from the interview that’s attached to the end of the concert and this separate interview from around the same time).

But regardless of my hipster cred (and subsequent loss of same) I really didn’t like Liz’s new pop style (but good for her for still being hot, right?).  In fact, I hadn’t even really listened to her since 2000 anyhow so when she came out with her pop albums I just kind of shrugged.

So, what’s up with this return to Guyville?  Well, the interviews mention her needing some closure on the rough time in her life when she made the record.  And also feeling that since could actually play her guitar now, it was worth giving fans (and herself) the experience of actually enjoying playing the album live.  So, good vibes and happy feelings all around (and sex and sex and more sex).

The concert is the entire Guyville album, played start to finish, with occasional banter in between.  And she is quite faithful to the original (she even has a special guest sing the “Every time I see your face, I get all wet between my legs” line on “Flower.”  The main flaw with the concert is that the bassist hits a number of flat notes and also on at least two songs is either out of tune or just mixed too loud or something.

The other flaw is directly related to Liz saying how much better she is at performing.  Because as the set opens, her voice sounds really off on the first couple of songs.  In the interview, she says that she still feels uncomfortable on stage until about the fourth song. And maybe that’s what’s happening on 6′ 1″ or, quite possibly, she can’t hit those notes anymore (her voice is considerably higher on her newer songs and 6′ 1″ is a low register, almost flat singing style and she just doesn’t seem comfortable doing it).  Indeed, by the fourth or fifth song, she seems more comfortable and seems to be having more fun and the set moves pretty smoothly from there.

She has a good rapport with the audience.  Humility was never her strong suit, and it shows, which makes me her a little less likable, but she still has good banter.

When the album is over she comes back for a brief encore.  She plays two songs solo (which are okay).  And then the band comes back for two of her other hits: “Supernova” and “Polyester Bride” which both sound fantastic.

Listening to Exile in Guyville again was great, the songs hold up really well.  I’ll have to pull her old CDs out and listen to the originals again (the concert is mixed a little low, but–good on NPR–all of the bad words are left in!).  The NPR page also said that Guyville had gone out of print until it was reissued recently.  Is it really possible that Matador let it go out of print?

[READ: April 22, 2011] Five Dials Number 4

The conceit behind this issue is “Eleven writers tell us Exactly What Happened …Days Before It Happened.”  And the authors tell us in past tense what happened on the fateful night of the election between Obama nad McCain.  (even though they are written some time before it has happened).

This issue is short again (all of 14 pages), but with such a tidy topic, the fourteen pages are packed with information.  There are eleven authors who write about the election.  Most are just a couple of paragraphs, so I’m not going to try to summarize them.  I’m going to say their predictions for what happened and (in one case) the uncanny accuracy.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor “On Elections and Chomsky”
He lays out what the point of this speculation fiction is: “We’ve become tired of the uncertainty and of the waiting.  It’s time someone told us exactly how this election ends.”   And also, Chomsky is almost 80, and he’s still vibrant. (more…)

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