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Archive for the ‘New Order’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 13, 2018] Yuno

I had heard of Yuno, but hadn’t realized it.  All Songs Considered played his song “No Going Back” back in February.  I liked it but had forgotten about it come September.

When I saw the poster for the Superorganism show and saw that Yuno was opening I assumed it was a dance band (possibly Japanese, probably female).  But I didn’t investigate.

So I was surprised when Yuno came out and he was an African-American dude from Florida.  As soon as he said his name (like “you know”) I remembered joking about the pronunciation of his name on the podcast and it all came flooding back.

Yuno is a 27-year-old from Jacksonville.  He recorded a lot of his work in his bedroom and posted it on Soundcloud.  In what sounds like a made up story Ishmael Butler of Shabazz Palaces started tracking him on Souncloud and eventually reached out to him to record an EP with SubPop.  (Yuno didn’t tell us this, I looked it up). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE DIVINE COMEDY-Loose Canon: Live in Europe 2016-2017 (2018).

I loved The Divine Comedy at the turn of the century (the fin de siècle, if you will).  They were one of my favorite bands.

Since then Neil Hannon (the man behind the band) has released a few albums which I have liked–but none as much as those early records.

This recording is primarily his latter songs, and as such isn’t as exciting to me.  (Although setlists from the tour shows that he played a lot of older songs as well, so this disc is mostly a latter period recording).

The first three songs are from the newest album Foreverland: “How Can You Leave Me On My Own,” “Napoleon Complex” and “Catherine the Great.”  And among the next few songs are “To the Rescue” and “Funny Peculiar.”   So that’s five in all from that album.

The previous album Bang Goes the Knighthood accounts for five more songs “The Complete Banker,” “Bang Goes The Knighthood,” “At The Indie Disco,” “Assume The Perpendicular” and “I Like.”

So that’s ten of seventeen from the two latest albums.

After listening to it a few times I have come to appreciate his newer music even more and to see that it is equally as cleverly crafted.  He’s just a different person now with different lyrical and musical ideas.  I will certainly give a re-listen to the last decade;s worth of music.

“How Can” is fun a bouncy, “Napoleon” is snarky and witty.  “Funny Peculiar” is a duet with  guest vocals from Lisa O’Neill.  She has a fascinating singing style which is kind of peculiar in its own way.

“The Complete Banker” is wonderfully sarcastic and catchy and “I Like” is so simple and delightful.  “Assume the Perpendicular” is an other fun uptempo song, but of this batch its “Indie Disco” that is the real highlight (this includes an excerpt from New Order’s Blue Monday”).

It also sounds like this was a fun souvenir for anyone who saw the tour (he dressed up as Napoleon and others, and apparently “Indie Disco” was really fun live).  I have always wanted to see them and hold them high on my list of bands to see.  But he hasn’t been to the States in almost ten years, so I don’t have high hopes to experience them live.

The band for The Divine Comedy’s live shows has changed over the years, sometimes large and orchestral or, like this tour, a simpler five-piece.  They sound good although they do underplay the orchestral quality of the music.

Going back there’s one from Victory for the Comic Muse “A Lady Of A Certain Age” and one from Absent Friends “Our Mutual Friend.”  These two songs are lovely and quite poignant, especially “Lady.”  They are a far cry from the raucous songs of old.

The first older song is from 2001’s Regenertaion with a wild and fun rendition of “Bad Ambassador.”  His voice doesn;t sound great on this song.  I’m not sure if he ever sounded great live, but he certainly underplays some of the bigger moments in the song.

The crowd really gets pumping for Fin de Siècle‘s “Generation Sex” and “National Express.”  These two songs are a lot of fun and I imagine mus t be really rousing live.  Once again he doesn’t sound great. Not that he has lost his voice but almost like he;s not trying all that hard.

The disc is collected from shows all over Europe, so its interesting if they picked songs where he doesn’t sound that great.

It’s not until the encores that he brings out two really old songs 1994’s “A Drinking Song” and “Tonight We Fly.”

I’m sure they picked this particular version of “A Drinking Song” because he admits to being quite drunk himself.  And there’s a funny moment where he gets a hair caught in his throat.  “Is it yours?”  Indeed, his banter with the audience is a highlight.  He is clearly a good showman, and perhaps that makes up for some of the shortcomings of the disc.  This song is a good example.  His voice is much louder than the instruments and, frankly, he doesn’t sound that great as what is mostly a capella–but the overall presentation is fun.

The ending “Tonight We Fly” is a treat as well.  Again, he doesn’t sound perfect, but he sounds like he’s having fun.

I feel like this makes me want to see them a little less–except that it sounds like the performance is great even if his voice isn’t anymore.  Regardless, is he ever comes back to the States, I’ll be there for sure.

[READ: January 19, 2018] “The People Who Kept Everything”

I read this novel 7 years ago.  But since I’ve been going back through old Harper’s and found this excerpt I thought it would be worth reading (the excerpt) again.  And I really enjoyed it, I had forgotten about this scene until the end of the piece.

The narrator says that on the night before he left for college his father gave him a Spanish dueling knife and told him to keep it and never lose it.

When the narrator asks his father where he got it he says he’d better not say–he could tell him he won it in a card game in El Paso or a cathouse in Brownsville.

He kept the knife in a drawer and it moved with him to every location her went–dorm rooms, apartments.  Often it was in the kitchen with the cutlery, ignored by everyone except the new girlfriend who wanted to cook something. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BISHOP MOROCCO-“White City” (2010).

I’d never heard of Bishop Morocco.  Then they played this song on CBC Radio 3.  “White City” is a fascinating confluence of influences.  It sounds somehow late 80s/early 90s yet the the electronic drum sound is decideldy retro, early 80s.

The guitars are heavuily vibratoed.  As are the vocals.  It’s a surpiringly full sound given the limited instrumentation (it’s pretty much guitars and drums).  And it’s quite gloomy (circa The Cure’s Pornography), and yet once the chorus kicks in (still vibratoed, but now major chords) the song perks up (some).

The CBC site has 4 songs by them, and each one confirms that the early New Order/Cure sound is what they’re shooting for.  The cover of their EP “Last  Year’s Disco Guitars” really seems to encapsulate their sound (more so than their album cover does).  I enjoyed the song but after a few listens, I grew kind of bored by it.

[READ: July 4, 2010] “The Entire Northern Side was Covered with Fire”

Rivka Galchen is a completely new author to me.  This was a weird little story that I enjoyed quite a lot, because even though it seemed to be all over the place, narrative-wise, it was actually quite focused.  The narrator is an author who has a burgeoning fan base: male prisoners, who write letters. But of equal importance is that at the time that she sold her movie, her husband had just left her.  Out of the blue.

Although perhaps not out of the blue.  Because in a very humorous (darkly humorous) bit, we learn that all of her friends knew of her husband’s site: i-can’t-stand-my-wife.blogspot.com.   (more…)

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