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Archive for the ‘Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’ Category

bream SOUNDTRACK: THE INTERNET-Tiny Desk Concert #474 (September 29, 2015).

internetThe Internet are an offshoot of Odd Future.  This is an R&B group fronted by Syd the Kid, and the music is really delicate–almost easy-listening-sounding keys and a ropey bass line.

Syd’s voice is beautiful and soulful and she raps and sing delicately.  Which is why it’s surprising that the first words of the first song are “now she wanna fuck with me / live a life of luxury.”  But after the surprise of these lyrics the chill music is kind of soothing: “roll up an L and light it.” And I love her falsetto for the chorus”

“She blowin up my phone.  All I hear is wha wha, wha wha (Band: wha wha).”

“Under Control” is a song dedicated to her band:  she promises she’ll be there for all of them “when I’m a legend baby and we’re all rich”

Her confidence and casualness is totally infectious. And I love the the wah-wahs effects on the keys as the song nears the end.

The last song is called “Dontcha” which gets a “yes!” from the crowd when she says she’s going to play it.  (That makes her very happy).  She says she’s never done an acoustic version before.  I gather it’s a single, although I enjoyed the other two songs a bit more.

The veering into R&B territory is not my thing, but it’s cool to hear her branch into different genres in one song.

[READ: May 15, 2016] Bream Gives Me Hiccups and Other Stories.

I’ve really enjoyed the comic pieces that I’ve read by Eisenberg–he writes a lot for the New Yorker.  In fact, I had recently decided that I would read and post about all of Eisenberg’s New Yorker pieces at some point in the future.  Well, it turns out that nearly every one of those New Yorker pieces has turned up in this book (there’s three that didn’t).  So that saved some time.

What that means is that most of these pieces are quite short.  And that very few of them are stories in the conventional sense.  They tend to be a few pages long, or sometimes longer pieces done as diary entries.

What is most interesting about Eisenberg’s writing is that most of these stories are funny–some are very funny–but there is also a lot of pathos and sadness in them.  Many of the characters come from broken homes and many of the situations are rather bleak.  And yet he manages to make them funny. (more…)

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12SOUNDTRACK: FRANK OCEAN-“Bad Religion” (2012).

frankoI didn’t know anything about Frank Ocean until I started looking at all of the  Best Albums of 2012 lists.  He was on everyone’s list and was pretty near the top of all of them.  So it was time to check him out.

It  turns out that he’s affiliated with the Odd Future collective, whom I’ve talked about in the past.  But he’s also been on a lot of big name records.  Channel Orange is his debut album (that’s not a mixtape) and the big surprise seems to be that this song (which he sang live on Jimmy Fallon) is about a male lover.  And I guess that’s progress.

So Ocean sings a slow R&B style, and I have to say his voice reminds me of Prince a lot.  Which is a good thing.  I really like this song.    It has gospelly keyboards (but in that Purple Rain kinda way).  And a really aching vocal line.  It’s really effective and it’s really simple.  And I think that’s what I liked best about this song and others that I’ve heard–he’s really understated.  Crazy, I know.

Now I do not like R&B, it’s one of the few genres that I just don;t get.  And yet there’s something about this album (the tracks I’ve listened to) that is really compelling.  It’s not awash in over the top R&B trappings, and it doesn’t try too hard.  It’s just Frank  (not his real name) and his voice over some simple beats.  A friend of mine recently said that all of a sudden she “got” this album, and  I think I may have to get it as well.

[READ: December 30, 2012] McSweeney’s #12

At the beginning of 2012, I said I’d read all of my old McSweeney’s issues this year.  I didn’t.  Indeed, I put it off for quite a while for no especial reason.  Now as the year draws to an end, I’m annoyed that I didn’t read them all, but it’s not like I read nothing.  Nevertheless, I managed to read a few in the last month and am delighted that I finished this one just under the wire.  For those keeping track, the only issues left are 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 10, 38, (which I misplaced but have found again) and 42, which just arrived today.  My new plan in to have those first four read by Easter.  We’ll see.

So Issue #12 returns to a number of different fun ideas.  The cover:  It’s a paperback, but you can manipulate the front and back covers to make a very cool 3-D effect (by looking through two eyeholes) with a hippo.  The colophon/editor’s note is also back.  Someone had complained that he missed the small print ramble in the beginning of the book and so it is back, with the writer (Eggers? Horowitz?) sitting in Wales, in a B&B, and hating it.  It’s very funny and a welcome return.

As the title suggests, all of the stories here are from unpublished authors.  They debate about what exactly unpublished means, and come down on the side of not well known.  And so that’s what we have here, first time (for the mos part) stories.  And Roddy Doyle.

There are some other interesting things in this issue.  The pages come in four colors–each for a different section.  The Letters/Intro page [white], the main stories [pink], the Roddy Doyle piece (he’s not unpublished after all so he gets his own section) [gray] and the twenty minute stories [yellow].  There’s also photographs (with captions) of Yuri Gagarin.  And a series of drawing that introduce each story called “Dancewriting”–a stick figure on a five-lined staff.  They’re interesting but hard to fathom fully.

LETTERS (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: TYLER THE CREATOR-“Bastard” & “AssMilk” (2010).

This is the third and final rapper from Odd Future that I’m going to listen to. In his New Yorker article, Sasha Frere-Jones mentions Tyler’s song “Bastard” as being noteworthy for its content (an anti-father screed).  It’s a somber song played over a rather nice but dark piano motif.  The song is about his father and the rest of the darkness in his life:  “I cut my wrists and play piano because I’m so depressed”  Woah.  It gets typically dark and violent (the whole group seems to relish in tales of violence and abuse of women and gays, which isn’t cool).  It’s a moving song but at 6 minutes, frankly this song is too long.

I picked a second song because I thought that “Bastard” was only 32 seconds long (the first video on YouTube that came up is an edited version which actually packs more of a wollop than the 6 minute version) so I found this other song whose title I thought was funny.

The song is certainly sillier and opens with “I’m not an asshole I just don’t give a fuck a lot.”  Inexplicably, at the one minute mark the song interrupts itself mid sentence.  There’s some kind of altercation and Tyler starts hitting some guy and demanding an apology.  The guy keeps saying sorry and eventually says uncle, and the song resumes.   The rest of the song degrades into more violence with yet another break in the music in which Tyler doth protest too much that “Woah, I’m not gay.”  I think maybe that’s too much life in the underground for me, and even though I think that Sash Frere-Jones is one of the best music journalists out there (his article about Pavement was exactly how I feel about them), I have to say I was a little less than impressed with this batch of suggestions.

After five songs in total from these guys, I need some good clean happy music.  Perhaps Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You.”  At least it’s not THAT mean-spirited.  Thus endeth my tour of underground rap.  Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

[READ: November 19, 2010] “Christmas Pudding”

Although I said Allegra Goodman’s story was the funniest, I’m going to change that and give the honor to Colm.  For a one page article, he really crams a lot of story in (and the ending is great).

As it opens, we learn that his family had the best Christmas Pudding in Enniscorthy.  His mother knew the chef at the Roche’s castle in town and she was given the recipe for the very pudding that the Roche’s ate.  (The Roches restored the Castle that was built by the Earl of Portsmouth and had a dungeon!  They were synonymous with wealth and fanciness).

This recipe (which came from America (hushed approval)) used butter instead of (I can’t even look as I type this) suet.  (As a person who leaves suet out for woodpeckers, I am revolted at the thought of this).  So yes, their pudding was awesome.

So what’s funny about this?  Well, that comes in the second half. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MELLOWHYPE-“Loco” (2010).

I was going to review “Earl” by Earl Sweatshirt (who I keep wanting to call Earl Sandwich).  I didn’t think much of it but I wrote a few paragraphs.  Then WordPress lost my post and I didn’t want to listen to the song again, so I switched to Mellowhype.

I was confused about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All so I looked them up on Wikipedia.  The write up made it seem like Mellowhype might be the least aggressive/nasty/offensive of the bunch.  But that proves not to be the case at all.

This song has the styling of a Snoop Dog jam, kind of slow and menacing. The background music is pretty cool, it’s sort of a horror movie piano and keyboards with an occasional wicked cool bassline thrown in for good measure.  There’s even some female backing vocals, although where they’re sampled from I have no idea.

Of course, once he starts rapping it’s clear that he’s from the same school as the other members of the group (“Pigs raid my crib”) and lots and lot and lots of “fucks.”  Frere-Jones says in the article, that OFWGKTA has an interesting style and technique, but as for me, it’s not something I’ll listen to very often (or even again).

[READ: November 19, 2010] “Turbot”

This essay differs from all the others in that it contains an actual recipe.  Thurman explains that she used to go all out for dinner parties, preparing all manner of complete meals, including marbled roast (but the days of red meat have gone the way of the ashtray) or even spaghetti alla carbonara.  But now everyone agrees that it is fish that is the meal of choice.  And so, she offers a quick and easy recipe for turbot over vegetables presented in a delightful storytelling manner.

Because I though the recipe sounded good I’m going to copy it here (without the narrative) so that I can try it out someday. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DOMO GENESIS-“Super Market” (2010).

The other band that Sasha Frere-Jones mentions in the New Yorker article is Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All a ten-member collective from L.A.  They have released a slew of albums (all available for free on their website), but none are released under that collective name.  This song seems is released by Domo Genesis on the album Rolling Papers.

This song is really bizarre.  It’s a silly story of two guys fighting because one of them cut in line at the grocery store.  The two guys argue throughout the track with ever-escalating threats.

But the really interesting thing about the track is the backing music.  It sounds like a march from some kind of 70s TV show.  It is almost menacing but mostly it’s comical.  And when you couple that with the crazy threats: “I’m a fucking ninja and a Jedi and I’m from Compton”;   “I’ll push you into an old lady bagging plastic”;  “I’ll stab you with this fucking rocket launcher” (!), it’s hard to know what to think of them.  (I think it’s funny, but I fear that they’re serious).

It’s utterly juvenile (but then all the members of the band are teenagers, so that’s expected).  The musical choice for backing tracks is pretty inspired though, and I like to think that if the guys get some real ideas to rap about, they could really be an ungrounded sensation.

[READ: November 19, 2010] “Borscht”

It’s interesting that there is another article from an Eastern European writer in this collection.  Hemon’s family is from Bosnia (via western Ukraine), where the family developed the perfect borscht.

As with Bezgemos’ family, the recipe was never written down. Mostly, this is  because there was no recipe, it included lots of things that were in the garden, and usually at least one surprise ingredient.  But whatever the ingredients, the results were always wonderfully, vinegary tarty goodness.

The article mentions a family dinner where 42 people were counted at the table.  And borscht is a poor people’s food, where you can reasonably make enough for 42 people.  It is designed “to ensure durability.” (more…)

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