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Archive for the ‘Trampled By Turtles’ Category

colony2SOUNDTRACK: JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE-Tiny Desk Concert #389 (September 8, 2014).

 jteI had an idea that Justin Townes Earle was a country singer.  Although I’m sure I’m conflating him with Steve Earle (his father) and Townes Van Zant (whom he’s named after).  But I realized I’d never heard him.  He’s more of a folk singer and he’s very charming.  He implies that he flew from Nashville just to play the show (“a quick trip just for y’all”) which gets an awww from the crowd) and like Trampled by Turtles and Jessica Lea Mayfield, he’s heading back home right after he’s done.  He also had his guitar maker send his guitar to him in DC so he didn’t have to travel with it.

He has an interesting percussive strumming style (he doesn’t use a pick) and he sings about love and loss.  The first song, “Burning Pictures” has a great line about how he doubts you even remember your love’s name since it’s another girl in the picture frame.

“When The One You Love Loses Faith In You” is a bit more bluesy sounding.  He picks some melodic notes between full-fingered strums.

Amazingly, he seems like he might quit after just two songs.  Bob asks him to do one more–doesn’t have to be new–it can be one he loves.  His favorite so that he ever wrote was “White Gardenias” (for Billie Holiday).  He says it feels like he’s about to miss the beat as he’s starts singing–which scares the shit out of a rhythm section.

Before beginning, while tuning, he says he has to learn a lot of his old songs for the upcoming tour.  Bob asks if he listens to the records, and he laughs and says he Googles the songs, which is just so ridiculous.  Bob asks if he illegally downloads them but he says no he just streams them.

“White Gardenias” is a lovely song with beautiful lyrics although I don’t really get that Billie Holiday vibe from it.

[READ: July 22, 2016] The Lost Colony 2

The inside cover of book 2 gives a little summary of book 1 (which is helpful). It also give s little recap of all of the main characters (which all series should do, frankly).

I loved that book 2 also starts with someone asking “where the %#!* are we,” it’s a man and a very large woman.  They also convinced Fud’na (the screeching violin playing guardian of the ferry) to ferry them to the island.  The large woman reveals that she is wearing a  stars and stripes dress which is very tacky.  But more importantly, she is a singer herself (almost as bad as Fud’na perhaps).

As the bok opens, Louis the slave boy is being set upon by the rocks bugs (although we dont know why).  He is recused by Jo’Pa an Indian who lives on the island (it is rumored that he used to be a real savage Injun).  And there’s Birdy, she is dressed as Squinto, compete with feather and bow and arrow.

Then we meet the Snodgrass family and Birdy’s heretofore unmentioned Gramdy, a cantankerous old man (who is her mother’s father). Turns out that Grandy hates the Injuns and is very mad that Birdy is dressed like one. “We’re at war with the Indian, dont you know they’re evil.” (more…)

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colonySOUNDTRACK: JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD-Tiny Desk Concert #388 (September 6, 2014).

jlmI had an idea about who Jessica Lea Mayfield was.  I thought she was sort of a folkie/country singer who I had heard of but had no real exposure to.  So I was quite surprised to see this performer with pink hair, short shorts, no eyebrows and a ton of pink glitter under her eyes.

Turns out that her earlier records are kind of folkie but that for her 2014 album she was inspired by her grunge roots to make a noisy album.  This Tiny Desk concert has her playing three guitars–one for each song.  Each guitar is covered with glitter and one has stickers all over it.  For “Standing in the Dark” she plays her pink glitter 12 string guitar with lots of reverb.  It’s a fairly upbeat song.  The melody is simple and she sounds happy while singing it (this is notable).  The middle section has a solo which sounds really alien by itself (that 12 string with vibrato), but which works really well for the song.

She says she brought all of her guitars because she wanted to show them off.  Her speaking voice is cute and adorable.  And she seems almost childlike asking if “you have any cats” are you allowed to bring them to work.  Bob says that bands have brought their dogs and she says she wishes she’d brought hers.

“Party Drugs” is a slow song with more echo on the guitar.  It’s a slower , darker song “party drugs just make my head sing…  I won’t die in this hotel room, I’ll be here when you return.”  It ends with a dark chord and mildly distorted whammy bar and is rather creepy.

The final guitar is a hollow bodies white guitar.  The stickers on the knobs are ponies.  She says the direction of the ponies tells her how the knobs should go.  There’s a pony, an alien cat and a unicorn “system I got going on.”

“Seein* Starz” is slow chords (with more echo).  Her twangy accent peeks its way in a few times in this song.  I like the way the picking notes are vibrated enough to sound unpredictable.

There’s something really captivating and almost vulnerable (but not really) about her performance.   She says she could stay here and do this all day and show you how loud it usually is.   Bob mentions something about six hours implying that she traveled six hours just to play for them (like Trampled by Turtles did the previous show).

[READ: July 22, 2016] The Lost Colony 1

I read this book last year.  But since I wanted to  read the other two books in the series, I wanted to re-read this before moving on to Books 2 and 3.

My recollection is that I didn’t really like the first book all that much, so I wasn’t prepared to enjoy it this time around either.

But, as it turns out, I really did enjoy it (and I’m not reading wheat I wrote the first time, just to see how this reading compares).  I think perhaps I didn’t really know what I was getting into the first time.  And now with hindsight, and understanding how and when some of the things are supernatural, it made more sense. (more…)

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moonmoth SOUNDTRACK: TRAMPLED BY TURTLES-Tiny Desk Concert #387 (September 3, 2014).

trampleI love the name Trampled by Turtles and it conjures up something very specific in my head.  And a bluegrass folk band is not it.

Although their first song on this set, the super fast “Come Back Home” does rather convey what their name does.  Bluegrass can be fast (often is, in fact) but, man, this song scorches and the violin solos that flow through the song are totally intense.

So I was a little bummed that the next two songs are really mellow ballads.  For “Winners” the band’s harmonies are spot on and I do like the sliding bass line.  In fact all of the instrumentation (mandolin, violin, guitars, bass) is really nice.  And I think if this didn’t follow that first song, I might like it more.  Perhaps they should have ended the set with “Come Back Home.”

Before beginning “Lucy,” they ask if they are doing one more.  Bob says yes unless they want to stay longer.  The singer asks if they’ve got beer and Bob says they can work something out.  The band is not ready to head back to New York yet–they came from New York just to play the Tiny Desk (which elicit’ awww’s from the audience).

“Lucy” opens with some cool staccato strumming.  It too is a pretty song that makes great use of all of their instruments9espeicoally the mandolin).

I have recently begun to enjoy bluegrass a lot more and I could see Trampled by Turtles being a gateway into more bluegrass.  But I need more fast songs like the first one.

[READ: May 10, 2016] The Moon Moth

This First Second graphic novel opens with a lengthy essay called “The Genre Artist” by Carlo Rotella.  In this essay Rotella sings the praises of unheralded genre master Jack Vance (whom I’ve never heard of–which is the point of the essay).  Rotella says that Vance has been described by his peers as “the greatest living writer of science fiction and fantasy.”  He has been writing for six decades and has won many awards.  But this success has mostly kept him in the genre ghetto.  Other writers have suggested that if he was born South of the border he’d be up for a Nobel prize [which is a strange thing to say, in my opinion].

The essay talks about how so many other writers love Vance (and the list of writers who contributed to a tribute volume is impressive). So after all of this hagiography, I expected to be blown away by this story.  And I wasn’t.  Although that might have been because of the illustrations.  The illustrations aren’t bad–they’re not my style, but they’re not bad.  However, the story is fairly complex, or shall I say it may not lend itself to visuals because so much of the beginning is about sound.

Although while I was confused by the beginning of the story (and maybe I’d have been confused if I read it too), by the end, Vance totally sold me on what was happening. (more…)

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