Archive for the ‘Wavves’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DAVILA 666-“Eso Que Me Haces” (2011).

The Davila 666 album Tan Bajo made NPR’s Best Albums of the Year list.  And they cite this song as an example. 

This is a fuzzy, kind of tinny guitar song (that reminds me a bit of Wavves).  It’s only two minutes long and the riff is simple and catchy.  The vocals are shouted and the chorus is gang shouted.   And there’s a big “Oh Oh!” to really grab you.

So basically it’s catchy but nothing original.  The novelty of the song is that the whole thing is sung in Spanish.  If you don’t speak Spanish the vocals sound distorted enough that you may not even realize they’re in Spanish.  This band is from Puerto Rico.  And this album has been a hit both in Puerto Rico and in garage rock circles in the States. 

I’m pretty intrigued, and I’m going to have to check out the rest of their album.  NPR says it’s kind of offensive–maybe I need to re-learn Spanish.

[READ: January 4, 2012] “Chechnya”

Karen Carlson also recommended this story.  She wrote: “I didn’t think I’d like this, but it grew on me, and by the end it had me in the palm of its… well, if a story had a hand, it would’ve had me there.” 

This was a dark story.  It was a little slow to get going but once it started flowing it was really gripping.  It was as if the story picked up adrenaline as it (and the danger) progressed.  While at first the story seemed pretty obviously about Sonja, it is really about Chechnya. 

As the story opens, we meet Sonja, a nurse in war-torn Chechnya.  We learn that she works in the only hospital in the area and that even they were bombed not too long ago.  All that is left is a maternity ward and a trauma ward, and they can’t spare any electricity because their generator can’t handle anything more.  Sonja is one of the few nurses on call.  She hasn’t been home in ages and she just sleeps at the hospital. 

When Sonja wakes up, she hears that a man is waiting to talk to her.  He asks if the hospital will take in an eight-year-old girl, since both of her parents were killed.  Sonja informs the man that they are not an orphanage.  But the man, whose name is Akhmed, says that he will work at the hospital (he was in training when his wife got sick) if they will help the girl.  he immediately gets to work. 

The story then follows the parallel lives of Sonja and Akhmed as they work at the hospital.  Akhmed’s wife is delusional and dying at home.  So he can be out for 16 hours at the hospital and she doesn’t realize how long he has been gone.   Sonja forgets immediately about the girl and just stets about healing the sick.  What else can she do? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WAVVES-Live at Sasquatch, May 28, 2011 (2011).

I learned about Wavves from NPR–in fact I listened to their other NPR concert before even getting their album.  So this marks my second concert from them.  What makes me laugh about Wavves is that the songs are really short and Nathan Williams is a total chatterbox. When I burn these concerts onto CD, I use Audacity and I make tracks for songs and band chatter.  Which means that this Wavves show, which is just under 40 minutes has 20 tracks.  (Whereas S. Carey, at about the same length, has only 11).

This show has 14 songs.  Four of the songs are from their second album, called Wavves (which is also their second album called Wavves).  The rest come from King of the Beach (except “Wavves” from their first album and a couple of newer tracks).

The band blasts through these songs (I’m not even sure who is in the band, since the Wavves albums are a solo endeavor), and they all sound very good.  The album has kind of a tinny sound (on purpose, I suspect), whereas live the songs sound a bit fuller.

Lead Wavves guy Nathan Williams wasn’t that friendly in the previous show; he seems to be having a bit more fun here.  But really it doesn’t seem like you don’t go to a Wavves show to hear him talk, you go for what is undoubtedly the pogofest that is Wavves’ punk.  It’s a good set.

[READ: July 2, 2011] “Friendly Fire

Pam runs a small but successful cleaning business–but her workers are pretty unreliable.  So her friend Shelley, the real protagonist of the story, helps out once in a while.  Shelley enjoys the work once in a while (she has a real job after all)–she can use the extra cash.

This job was cleaning a warehouse–not the warehouse section itself, but the bathrooms, kitchens and offices.  They arrive early, but the workers come in while they are working and Shelley enjoys teasing/flirting with the men when they come in to use the bathroom and find her bent over, ass waving in their face. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WAVVES-King of the Beach (2010).

I feel like I shouldn’t like Wavves.  There’s os much to dislike about them (or him,  I should say, since it’s almost entirely the product of one guy). He’s bratty, fans seem to dislike him (do a search for Wavves live), and in the first live show that I downloaded, he seemed a bit disdainful of the audience.

And yet, I really like this album. It’s fast and punky and reminds me of some of the best summer punk music from my high school days (Surf Punks anyone?).

So Williams plays all the instruments (with a few exceptions), and the sound is consistent through: a trebly guitar (the perfect sound for surf music, although he doesn’t play surf music at all).  Fast punky drums and William’s voice which is not so much whiny as bratty–the lyrics play out this bratty idea too:

bet you laugh right behind my back/I won’t ever die/I’ll go surfing in my mind/I’m not supposed to be a kid/but I’m an idiot/I’d say I’m sorry/but it wouldn’t mean shit


My, my own friends/Hate my guts/So what? Who gives a fuck?

(from “Green Eyes,” which sounds like a ballad but soon rocks out).

Of course, it’s not all just punky tracks, “When Will You Come” has the drums of a 50’s doo wop song (no one would mistake it for a doo-wop song, though) including his falsetto’d voice.  And “Baseball Cards” has a similar inspiration–although again, sounding nothing really like that style of music.  Even “Mickey Mouse” opens with what sounds like the music from “Da Doo Ron Ron” (indeed it is a sample from the song, but manipulated slightly).

“Convertible Balloon” sounds like a quirky Japanese pop confection.  And, “Post Acid” which is a punky bratty song has a wonderful part where the song stops and they make crazy grunting sounds which I like very much.

It’s not smooth summer music by any means, but it is fun and energizing.  Perfect punk beach soundtrack.

[READ: July 11, 2011] “Married Love”

This story had me fooled from the outset.

Recently we listened to Judy Blume’s Fudge-a-mania.  In that story Fudge, who is 5, says that he is going to marry Sheila Tubman, his big brother’s arch nemesis.  Everyone laughs, and we ultimately learn why he wants to marry her (I won’t spoil it).  In this Tessa Hadley story, Lottie, a nineteen year old girl (who looks about thirteen) announces that she is going to get married.  As in Fudge-a-mania, the family is bemused by the idea and laughs about it, until Lottie reveals that she is quite serious.

Things get even “funnier” when the family learns who she is planning to marry: Edgar Lennox, a former teacher who is forty-five years older than her and who is currently married.  Ha Ha Ha, says her family until, Oh, she is serious.

The story surprises even further when they go through with the wedding (about half way through the story). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WAVVES-Live at the 9:30 Club (2010).

Wavves opened for Best Coast (what a great double bill).  Wavves play a raucous, rowdy set of bratty punk.  Unlike Best Coast, the lead singer seems like he might be something of a jerk.  But it played pretty well into the personality of the music (sloppy, abrasive).  And I wonder just how many times he said he was drunk?

Personalities aside, the was a really fun set.  I have the newest Wavves album, but I think their live show was more engaging.  For all of their sloppiness, the band was always together, with no missed notes (except when the drummer was apparently not paying attention).

They play 16 songs, including a cover of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown” (which the play very well).  And even if you’re not won over by the singer’s personality (which is kind of funny), you’ll be won over by the simple, punky music.  You can listen here.

[READ: March 29, 2011] The Riddle of the Traveling Skull

This is the 4th book in McSweeney’s Collins Library Series.  It’s the final book in the series that I’ve read and I have to say that once again, Paul Collins has blown me away with this selection.  Collins apparently stopped his library after 6 volumes.  I wondered if there were more coming, but the Collins Library website is rather confusing.  There’s an almanac with updates as recent as March 1st, and yet the Biography of Paul Collins says: Paul Collins is currently on tour in support of his memoir, Sixpence House, which recounts his time spent living in the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye, known as the “Town of Books.”  But Sixpence House came out in 2003 (and it sounds awesome!).

Anyhow, back to this book, which was my favorite of the bunch.  It is a genuine mystery from 1939.  Indeed, Harry Stephen Keeler was even more prolific than Agatha Christie (they were born in the same year).  The thing about Keeler though is that his stories are, well, crazy.  Many of his stories were just his attempts to meld disparate ideas into one story.  He includes crazy dialect.  He seems to have no concern for conventional storytelling.  Indeed, he has little concern for conventional mystery storytelling (in one of his stories, he introduced the murderer on the last page).

And this story has similar improbable elements.

In sum: Clay Calthorpe, a salesman returning from the Philipines picks up the wrong bag on the trolley.  When he gets home he finds a skull inside it.  The skull has a name plate affixed to it, a bullet inside it and, in the wads of paper that are keeping the bullet from rattling around, he finds the carbon copy of a poem. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: WAVVES-“Post Acid” (2010).

Wavves’ King of the Beach CD made many Top Ten of 2010 lists.  I listened to a track somewhere and wasn’t all that impressed.  Right now there’s a live show on NPR, which I listened to a bit (and which made me investigate them further).

They have a few songs on their My Space page and I really like this one.  It is short and fuzzy and catchy and cool.  It’s a fast blast of punk nonsense.  I have no idea what it’s about (and I rather like the weird break in the song where the singer can barely get words out).

I’m not sure if I’d listen to a whole record of them (although I love their hair).  But this was sure a fun track.

[READ: February 17, 2011] Arkansas

John Brandon did a pretty amazing thing with this book.  He took two rather unlikable characters and made them sympathetic and, eventually, compelling.  The unlikability may have come from the detached style of their introduction.  Each of the main characters is introduced separately with a brief anecdote that seems to end abruptly.  In fact, I wondered if it was going to be a series of brief character sketches and nothing more.  I’m thankful that that wasn’t the case since, each character’s “section” could have been a complete (but very unsatisfying) story.  When I saw more of Swin, I was pleased, even though I didn’t really “like” him.

First we meet Swin Ruiz, a very intelligent guy who makes it to college.  While in college a foolish mistake (resubmitting an essay to a teacher) costs him his scholarship, which essentially means he’s out of school.  He scams some money from the rich students and then takes off, leaving his family and his beloved younger sisters with their jerk of a stepfather.  From there, he drifts aimlessly until he meets a bartender who sets him up with someone to help “break the laws of the land.”

Kyle Ribb is the other main character. He’s a harder man, something of a bastard.  He tries to go legit by working in a bike store.  When that doesn’t pan out (the story of that is pretty funny) he reverts back to his “no boss” ways.  He eventually meets a guy who introduces him to Colin, a man with criminal connections.

The third character we meet differs from these two.  First, a date is given as an introduction (1974).  Second, the whole section is written in second person (“You are Ken Hovan”).  We learn about his life and his background and how, eventually, he took the nickname Frog and became a shop owner, a dealer of unusual merchandise (which begins with bootleg tapes and, naturally, transforms into drugs).

The story of Frog’s life from 1974 to the present intersperses the main story (which is really about Swin and Kyle).  And each time frame jump ties together some of the mysteries of the book (Frog, being the boss, ties the thread together).  And there are many mysteries.

Kyle and Swin move up the ranks of the ne’er-do-well scale, until they land a job in an underused state park in Little Rock, Ark.  They get a “legit” job manning the booth, checking visitors in and out, and cleaning up the brush, but their “real” job is to deliver packages to random locations in different states.  They drive a car to a parking lot, wait for a person to get in and then drive off in a different car with a package for the other end.  And that’s pretty much it. It’s obvious they’re doing illegal work, but they don’t ask questions and don’t know too many details.

Their boss at the park is Bright, a man who seems to really enjoy the park and genuinely likes to take care of it.  He is a middleman for Frog, but a rather benevolent one.  There are some other characters as well.  The first is Her, (that’s the only name she gives out), she gives Bright the details about the packages.  Bright’s boss at the park is Wendy, she knows what they do and receives a cut.  She only wears pink and wishes to be a painter.  She recites a quotes from a different painter before she leaves. (more…)

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