Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Sam Phillips’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE ENFIELD TENNIS ACADEMY-The Dark (2017).

The Enfield Tennis Academy is one of the major locations in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.  So, of course, a band that names itself after it must be listened to.

This is the second release by the band (which states “The Enfield Tennis Academy is TR.”

The Dark is described as

This EP is a collection of remixes and covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark”, from the 1984 album “Born in the U.S.A.” It is not ironic. “Dancing in the Dark” is © Bruce Springsteen and Columbia.

And that is literally what this is. Five tracks that rethink “Dancing in the Dark” each one called “Dancing in the Dark.”

Track 1 opens with someone doing a kind of Elvis impersonation (or is it actually Bruce?) of the first line of the song: I get up in the evening…”  It then gets echoed and looped on itself until it is inaudible.  After a minute a guitar comes in strumming music backwards, I believe.  The big takeaway is the rolling “I” repeated over and over.  After 1:30 there’s a rather pretty sax solo. which may be from the song, I don’t know it that well.

Track 2 is an ambient piece with electronic claps and a kind of slow almost pixelated pipe organ version of the main melody of the song.  There’s some of those 80s processed “ahhhhs” added to the end.  It would eerily make you think of the song without knowing exactly why.

Track 3 is a noisy track.  Electronic drums played very rapidly and then some glitchy guitars playing the melody in triple time.  It is the least recognizable of the five pieces.

Track 4 is a fingers-on-chalkboard electronic screech with what I assume is the song played in reverse.  It’s a tough minute before the noise clicks away and we’re left with the backwards vocals.  If you didn’t know it was “Dancer in the Dark” you might not recognize the melody but if you do, you can kind of hear it.

Track 5 plays the original song in the middle ear. But in the left ear is another song (as if the radio was staticky and in the right ear is another even louder song.  But Bruce is squarely in the middle.  It’s pretty disconcerting.  Ultimately, the left ear gives way to people talking and the right ear reveals itself to be “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.”  It fades and for about ten seconds during which you can hear pretty much only the Bruce song, but then it all falls apart into glitchy noise.

The longest track is 2:15; the rest are about 2 minutes.  No one will say this disc is enjoyable, but it is kind of ugly fun.

[READ: January 30, 2017] Liō ‘s Astonishing Tales from the Haunted Crypt of Unknown Horrors

I have observed before about the maddening publication life of Liō books.  It’s going on four years since a new collection has been published.

But at the same time there are a number of books that cover the same territory.  Like this one.

This book collects “Liō” (which I take to mean Happiness is a Warm Cephalopod) and Silent But Deadly.  But what puts this book head and shoulders above the others (and just about any other collection of any series) is that it is almost completely annotated.

I didn’t compare the two books to see if all of the strips were indeed included.  But I’ll assume that claim is true.

Tatulli doesn’t comment on every strip but he does on a lot of them.  Like the very first one (in which he criticizes his–admittedly horrible-looking–spider.

He has at least three comments about what a genius Charles Schulz was.  Including the first time he tried to draw Lucy and Charlie: “I wanted to use the retro 1950s Peanuts look, but it was a bitch to reproduce…Schulz just make it look so simple.”

He’s also very critical of his drawing style of Mary Worth: “I won’t even tell you how embarrassingly long it took to make this lousy copy.” (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

lio1 SOUNDTRACK: JOE HENRY-Tiny Desk Concert #176 (November 21, 2011).

joe henryI had never heard of Joe Henry, so imagine my surprise to find out that he was releasing his 12th album in 2011.  For this Tiny Desk, it’s just him at a stool playing his guitar.  He has a very easy vibe, telling stories between songs and playing them with very little fuss.

He opens the show by saying this is, “not exactly like Woody Guthrie playing for the union members but you are working people.”

He plays four songs, “Sticks and Stones,” After the War,” “Odetta” and “Piano Furnace.”

Between the first two songs, he says he first became aware of Tiny Desk Concerts when his friend Vic Chesnutt was on the show (amusingly, he was the second person on the show).  He says he has a song on his new record about Chesnutt (Chesnutt had recently died).  He doesn’t play it though.  At first it seems like he might not be allowed to play it, but then it seems like maybe he just doesn’t get to it.

Rather he plays “After the War” where his guitar sounds like it has an incredible echo on it.  That echo is also present on the third song.  After which Bob asks him about his guitar.

Joe says he’s had the guitar for 6 years.  But the guitar dates back to 1932.  He says that he heard things differently with this guitar.  It’s got a smaller body and was actually sold as a budget guitar by Gibson (for $19 in 1932).  He also jokes that it’s black and looks a bit like a World Wrestling Federation belt.

Then someone asks him about Sam Phillips.  Joe says he sold her husband a guitar about 20 years ago.  She and her husband have split and Sam got the guitar and has been playing only that guitar for the last 20 years.  He says that he loves that she doesn’t plug in her guitar.  She plays into a microphone where you can hear the whole guitar and which makes the other players lean in to hear her.

I love the chords he plays in the final song, “Piano Furnace,” even if I don’t know what the song is about.  Henry’s voice is familiar.  I think he sounds a bit like a number of different singers.  And overall, nothing really stands out in his performance, except that everything sounds great and hiss songwriting is really solid.  That’s not a bad thing.

[READ: December 20, 2015] Happiness is a Squishy Cephalopod

Mark Tatulli is the author of the Desmond books.  I liked the stories, but I didn’t love the drawing style so much.  Imagine my surprise to find out that Tatulli has been drawing comics featuring this little boy Liō since 2006 (going forward, I’m leaving off that line over the o, because it’s a real pain).

And even more surprising is that I like the drawing style in the comic quite a bit–it is slightly refined over the Desmond books and is all the better for it.

I am also really surprised to find out that this strip appeared in newspapers across the country.  I’ve certainly never heard of it (but then I don’t read newspapers anymore, either).

So Lio is strip about a boy named Lio.  Lio is a dark, dark kid.  He has a pet squid, he loves monsters and he’s delighted by chaos. (more…)

Read Full Post »

CV1_TNY_09_16_13Tomine.inddSOUNDTRACK: SAM PHILLIPS-Tiny Desk Concert #3 (June 25, 2008). 

Isamt took a month and a half to get the second Tiny Desk player in, but it took only 20 days to get Sam Phillips to come in after Vic Chesnutt.  Sam Phillips plays four songs (in what is sauna-like conditions apparently) all from her then new album Don’t Do Anything.

Phillips has had a couple of incarnations as a performer (first as “Leslie Phillips” Christian singer).  This incarnation sees her as a kind of folky troubadour with dramatic flair.  She played a lot of the music on the Gilmore Girls (she does the la las), so of course I’m a fan.

Sam is a funny performer, introducing herself (and then asking is she is allowed to talk) and later playing Bob Boilen’s cow in the can (and even questioning the way to say This is NPR).  She is accompanied by Erik Gorfain, who plays a Stroh violin which you can sort of see in this picture (there’s a better one below) and which Phillips suggests is plenty loud enough thank you.

Her first song, “Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us” opens with big strumming guitars and a bouncy melody.  It’s a great song that is a lot of fun–that violin brings great counterpoint.  “No Explanations” is a bit more rocking (with Gorfain on electric guitar).  It has a catchy chorus.  “Signal” returns to that kind of bouncy tin pan alley style which she does very well.  “Little Plastic Life” ends the set with… a screw up, which she handles wonderfully, and which makes the song seem all the better when she plays it again.

I really enjoyed this Tiny Desk and am going to have to listen to more of her work.

Check out what a Stroh violin looks like:

stroh

[READ: September 25, 2013] “By Fire”

Here’s another story about unemployment.  I had intended to post this back in September, so when I originally typed that this story is more dramatic than “yesterday’s,” I meant Lisa Moore’s story from September which was also about unemployment.

I wasn’t sure where this story took place (it was originally written in French).  The story is about Mohammed.  He graduated from University a few years ago with a degree in history.  It has been useless thus far.  When his father dies, and he is once again incapable of getting a teaching job, he gives up and burns all of his paperwork.

Then he sets out with his father’s fruit cart, determined to make some money selling fruit so he can move out of his house and in with his girlfriend.

There is ample back story in this piece.  We learn about Mohammed’s family—his mother has crippling diabetes, his brothers work but not very hard (one is downright lazy).  And we learn that the person who Mohammed’s father bought his fruit from was a crook who demands more and more money from Mohammed.

But the bulk of the story shows the daily life of Mohammed.  He is routinely harassed by the police for not having the proper paperwork or for being in the wrong place or just for being.  They start with simple harassment, but soon they turn to beatings.  Mohammed refuses to bribe anyone, even when the police give him the opportunity to turn in his former students. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: The Believer July/August 2009 Music Issue Compilation CD: “Fantastic and Spectacular” (2009).

After the globe-spanning CD in last year’s issue, the 2009 Believer CD returns to the dominant musical style of the first few.  This disc is a collection of unreleased, acoustic songs from the editors’ favorite singer-songwriters.

And, wow, check out the bands that are represented here: Sam Phillips, The Clean, The Waterboys, Lloyd Cole, Young Marble Giants, The English Beat, Lisa Germano, Unrest, Suddenly, Tammy!, The Lilac Time and Mary Margaret O’Hara.  It’s an amazing collection of artists who agreed to release these songs only to this Believer compilation.

The liner notes ask a few questions of each artist so you get a nice peek into their working styles.  And for a few of them you find out what they’ve been up to for the last few years.  Although, sadly Mary Margaret O’Hara (sister of actress Catherine O’Hara!) only mentions that you can get a copy of her only released album Miss America directly from her.  And since I thin it’s a great album, I’ll pass along her email for ordering purposes only: m2oh8 @ hotmail.com.

So, what do we get in this collection?  Sam Phillips provides a fantastic drum-heavy, 90 second song.  Robert Scott’s song is a delightful, simple acoustic track.  I’ve always liked The Waterboys, but Mike Scott tends to go on and on, and this track is no exception.  It’s very very catchy but it’s over 10  minutes long!  The consistently excellent Lloyd Cole doesn’t disappoint.  Phil Wilson’s poppy number is very good.

I’m surprised that I don’t have any Young Marble Giants in my collection, and Stuart Moxham’s song here makes me want to see what I’m missing.  I swore that Dave Wakeling of The English Beat was Bob Mould on this song, but as soon as I saw who he was I recognized that English Beat voice in a more intimate setting.

Mark Robinson of Unrest also records as Cotton Candy, and this absurdly poppy ditty (the only duet on the disc) provides the title of the disc and one of the truly happiest moments. Except, of course, for Beth Sorrentino from Suddenly, Tammy! whose song “Such a Beautiful Day” is absolutely wonderful.  And if it is any indication of the greatness of Suddenly , Tammy!  then their absence from the msuicial scene is a real shame.

Stephen Duffy who records as Tin Tin and The Lilac Time writes songs that are instantly memorable and catchy as anything.  This one is no exception. And the Mary Margaret O’Hara song is not quite as out there as you might expect from her, but it’s really quite good.  I wonder what she has been up to for decades now.

There’s a secret bonus track from a brand new New Zealand band called Haunted Love.  When this issue went to print they were about to release their first EP, and this track doesn’t even appear on that (it’s THAT secret!).  It’s a great song and I hope good things come to them.  It is also not acoustic, but everyone can break their own rules once in a while right?

This is another string compilation from The Believer.  The track listing is here.

[READ: December 16, 2009] “Diary of an Interesting Year”

So this story is, indeed, a diary.  It is written in several entrees.  And, as we learn from the first entry, the diary itself was a gift to the writer from G. for her 30th birthday.  And, although we don’t learn it from the first entry, we quickly discover that global warming predictions were accurate and, basically the earth as we know it is no more.

But what I liked about the writing was that it revealed this global catastrophe somewhat subtly.

(more…)

Read Full Post »