Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Waxahatchee’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Waxahatchee

I really enjoyed the newest Waxahatchee album and I was keen on seeing them/her.  Waxahatchee is more or less the work of Katie Crutchfield.

It amused me that I had purchased a ticket for this show and then a few weeks later I got a ticket for Superchunk and their opening band was Swearin’.  One of the lead singers in Swearin’ is Allison Crutchfield, Katie’s sister.  So I’d be seeing both Crutchfield sisters in less than a month.

I also learned recently that Allison usually performs with Katie in Waxahatchee when they tour.  And she did.  So I have seen and heard Allison Crutchfield quite a lot in the last month or so.

They played for an hour and ten minutes.  How do I know this?  Because the guy in front of me filmed the entire show on his phone and I could see the timer at the top.  And not just standing still and filing, he was swooping and angling, zooming in and trying to get every scene.  It was a little creepy to be behind him, I must admit.

Both Katie and Allison called Philadelphia home for a while, so this was a homecoming for them.  Katie said that she wrote most of the new album while in Philly.   (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Hurray for the Riff Raff

 I knew of Hurray for the Riff Raff (I love the band name) from a couple of songs, but it wasn’t until their most recent release that I learned that lead singer (and really the constant of the band) Alynda Segarra was not only Puerto Rican (she calls herself Nuyorican) but was active in her commitment to Latino causes.

This commitment is evident on their new album The Navigator which explores many aspects of Puerto Rican culture  and music, but keeps it wrapped in a rocking New York vibe.  Segarra is also a striong feminist, writing songs for an about women.  Her stage presence is a striking combination of “don’t fuck with me” and “I’m going to have a good time.”

Segarra is an excellent front woman. She commands a room and gets everyone involved in her songs.  She told empowering and infuriating stories to introduce the songs which made them even more engaging.

Most of the set came from their new album The Navigator which was great because I love the diversity of the disc.  There were a couple of songs in the middle of the set (which turned out to be older songs I think) that were a little flat musically, but the rest of the set was dynamite. (more…)

Read Full Post »

[ATTENDED: April 16, 2018] Bedouine

When I bought the tickets for Waxahatchee I don’t think I knew who Bedouine was.  Then I saw her on NPR and was absolutely struck by her. I don’t really know what it was, something about her singing style I’m sure, but she was mesmerizing.

So I was really excited to see her live.  I didn’t really even know that much about her:

She was born Azniv Korkezian but chose the artist name Bedouine from the Arabic-speaking Bedouin people, who wander the Middle Eastern desert as nomads.  Azniv herself was born in Aleppo, Syria to Armenian parents; she grew up on an American compound in Saudi Arabia. Her family moved to the U.S [when she was] age 10.

Azniv came out on stage with her guitar and a glass of water and an electric candle on a stool.

She began singing and for 30 minutes we were enveloped in a feeling of warmth and good tidings.  Ironically, she herself was cold up on stage (it was pretty chilly that April night) and she had to warm her hands up after almost every song (the electric candle was no help).

Despite fact that she plays a very quiet guitar and her voice never rises above a quiet deepness, and despite the fact that the headliners were noisier bands, she commanded the room.

She had no set list (and no capo, she lamented after a few songs).  She played seven or eight songs including a couple of new ones.  There was even one song that did not have a name yet (she was looking for suggestions).  I’m looking forward to what she picks.

Her style doesn’t deviate all that much between songs, but her lyrics are interesting and there’s her voice–you can hear virtually every breath as she exhales.  It’s really wonderful.  I enjoyed that she has a song called “Nice and Quiet” which sums up her style quite well.

But despite the dark lighting and reasonably serious subject matter, she was fully engaged with us.  I was only two people from the stage and it often felt like she was singing to each of us individually.  She even made some jokes to the audience: “This song is like one beat faster, so hold on to your hats.”

She also thanked us for coming early and listening to songs we didn’t know.  But “Solitary Daughter” drew quite a reaction of familiarity which made her smile.

I don’t have a setlist, but I’m pretty sure she played

  1. You Kill Me
  2. Nice and Quiet
  3. Back to You
  4. Skyline
  5. new song
  6. Solitary Daughter
  7. Dusty Eyes
  8. One of These Days

There’s a fascinating interview with her on World Cafe.  She talks about working as a sound editor for reality TV before she started singing .  It’s fascinating to hear that she worked on: Cutthroat Kitchen; Catfish: The TV Show and The American Baking Competition.  She describes it as a little soul sucking.

Glad she left that life for this one.

Read Full Post »

[ATTENDED: April 4, 2018] Swearin’

I was so excited to see Superchunk, I didn’t really care who opened for them.  But I was rather excited to see that Allison Crutchfield’s band Swearin’ was reuniting for this tour.

I didn’t know the band, but in the past year or so I have heard (and liked) more and more from Allison Crutchfield and her sister Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee).  It’s not fair to lump them together, but they were in a band together at one point and Allison has toured with Katie’s band, so I think it’s fair to discuss them in the same paragraph.

But this show was all about Allisson (and Swearin’ co-founder Kyle Gilbride, who might be overshadowed somewhat in the Crutchfield love).  On drums was original drummer Jeff Bolt and on bass was their friend Amanda Bartley (of the band All Dogs). (more…)

Read Full Post »

CV1_TNY_06_08_15_09.inddSOUNDTRACKKEVIN MORBY & KATIE CRUTCHFIELD-“Downtown’s Lights” NPR’S SOUTH X LULLABY (March 20, 2018).

I don’t know if Bob Boilen ever explained how he starte dto get people doing South X Lullabies, but here he explains why he started doing them:

In the midst of all the chaos that is Austin, Texas during the SXSW Music Festival, we seek moments of calm. And so one night, as the week was nearing its end, we made our way to the courtyard of St. David’s Episcopal Church, just a few blocks from the thousands of festival participants and onlookers. There we found a trickling garden-side waterfall, where Katie Crutchfield and Kevin Morby performed “Downtown’s Lights,” from Kevin Morby’s recent album, City Music.

I don’t know Kevin Morby.  I’ve heard of him, but aside from a Tiny Desk Concert, I’ve never explored his music.

“Downtown’s Lights” is a simple folk song.  He’s got a bit of a Bob Dylan delivery in what feels like a very deliberate folk song.  Katie Crutchfield is Waxahatchee who I’m excited to see in a few weeks.  Waxahatchee has been really rocking out the last few albums, so this folk song (and her Southern accent) stand out somewhat.

Their voices work nicely together, and that moment when you hear someone yelling, it almost sounds like a wolf howling.

“Downtown’s Lights” is a song of comfort and prayer for someone who is down and out in the city, and this version, with Katie singing — and the sounds of the city echoing in the background — is wistful and peacefully perfect.

[READ: April 13, 2016] “Two Emmas”

Back in June of 2009, The New Yorker had their annual summer fiction issue.  Included in that issue were three short essays under the heading of “Summer Reading.”  I knew all three authors, so I decided to include them here.

This essay was about Roger Angell’s summer home in Maine.

He says that on late February nights his mind often returns to his family’s cottage in Maine and the books that are on its shelves.

Those books have been there for as long as he can remember, and have been read and re-read every summer.  The list is interesting:

Good Behaviour [Molly Keane], Endurance [Alfred Lansing], Framley Parsonage [Anthony Trollope], Get Shorty [Elmore Leonard], Daisy Miller [Henry James], Dracula [Bram Stoker], Butterfield 8 [John O’Hara], Goodbye to All That [Robert Graves], Why Did I Ever [Mary Robison], Oblomov [Ivan Goncharov], The Heart of the Matter [Graham Greene], Sailing Days on the Penobscot [George Savary Wasson], The Moonstone [Wilkie Collins], Possession [A. S. Byatt], Morte d’Urban [J. F. Powers], Quartet [Jean Rhys], Emma [Jane Austen] and dozens more. [I have to chime in and say that this sounds heavenly].

He says that fat books like Martin Chuzzlewit [Charles Dickens], Orley Farm [Anthony Trollope] and the Forsythe Saga [John Galsworthy] were saved for a tedious week of Down East fog. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF-Tiny Desk Concert #702 (February 5, 2018).

I first heard of Hurray for the Riff Raff from their previous album (the song “The Body Electric”).  I loved Segarra’s voice and the politics behind the song.  I could hear that she was a proud woman, but I had no idea that she was a proud Puerto Rican as well.  I learned about that aspect of her music when they played Newport Folk Festival.

Alynda Segarra’s unamplifed voice in this Tiny Desk performance had no problem rising above the drums, congas, cello, violin, bass, keyboards, and an electric guitar. The passion for her Puerto Rican roots feels boundless. As Soul Captain for Hurray for the Riff Raff, she and her band weave tales of man’s inhumanity to fellow humans, often from bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

“Rican Beach” adds a lot more Latinx accents to the music–between the congas and other percussion from Juan-Carlos Chaurand and the riffs and, of course, Segarra’s lyrics, this is a much more culturally aware album without removing any of the folk/rock that the band is built on.

First they stole our language
Then they stole our names
Then they stole the things that brought us faith
And they stole our neighbors
And they stole our streets
And they left us to die on Rican Beach

“Pa’lante,” is such a wonderful mix of the Hispanic and Americana.  Singing in Spanish to Juan and Miguel the song includes a more traditional American folk style with piano (Sarah Goldstone), violin (Claudia Chopek), cello (Patricia Santos) and even a guitar solo (Jordan Hyde).  Introducing the song, she says, “There’s a lot of people trying to hold us back but we have a whole generation of children counting on us to change the world.  And I believe in us.”

The song “Pa’lante,” one of the most articulate songs of a generation, speaks of being colonized and hypnotized, sterilized and dehumanized, with the refrain, “pa’lante” which translates as “forward.”  To continue the fight to freedom and respect:

“To all who lost their pride, I say, Pa’lante!
To all who had to survive, I say, Pa’lante!
To my brothers, and my sisters, I say, Pa’lante!”

But before that empowering end, the opening lyrics speak to the everyday that we all want:  Over  a simple piano melody, she sings:

Oh I just wanna go to work / And get back home, and be something
I just wanna fall and lie / And do my time, and be something
Well I just wanna prove my worth / On the planet Earth, and be, something
I just wanna fall in love / Not fuck it up, and feel something

And then more specifically:

Colonized, and hypnotized, be something
Sterilized, dehumanized, be something
Well take your pay / And stay out the way, be something
Ah do your best / But fuck the rest, be something

After four verses the song shifts gear entirely.  There’s some louder chords and then it moves on to a an almost chamber-pop style with some prominent snare drum Charlie Ferguson.  The end of the song, with her singing “P’alante” it’s catchy and inspiring at the same time.

For “Nothing’s Gonna Change That Girl” Segarra picks up a guitar.  It’s a slower more traditional folk song with full string accompaniment.  There’s quiet backing vocals and delicate yet pronounced bass from Justin Kimmel and some fun percussion before the ending refrain “before you love me like this, oh yeah, love me like this.”

I have tickets to see them and Waxahatchee this spring, it should be a great double bill.

[READ: July 22, 2016] “Sweetness”

I haven’t read very much by Toni Morrison.  I have always intended to but just never did.

So this might be the first thing I’ve read by her.  And man, does it pack a lot into the few pages of it.

The story begins with a woman saying, “It’s not my fault. So you can’t blame me.”  And then she reveals that what’s not her fault is the color of the skin of her baby.  The woman–the mother–is a light-skinned black woman with “good” hair, “what we call high yellow.”  So was the girl’s father.  So how could the baby have come out so dark-blue black?  She was embarrassed as soon as the baby was born.

She talks about her family’s past–how her own mother was light-skinned and could have passed but chose not to.  She told the price she paid for that decision–colored water fountains and, even more offensive: a colored Bible. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACK: SNAIL MAIL-Tiny Desk Concert #650 (September 15, 2017).

It’s always encouraging that young musicians are still picking up guitars and writing catchy and interesting songs.  I’d never heard of Snail Mail, but finding out that lead singer/guitarist Lindsey Jordan graduated high school last year is pretty cool.

I think that it helps to have some connections, though:

Jordan started Snail Mail at 15 and released the quietly stunning Habit EP via Priests’ in-house label last year. She’s quickly found fans in Helium and Ex Hex’s Mary Timony (who also happens to be Jordan’s guitar teacher) and just went on tour with Waxahatchee and Palehound.

They play three songs.  On one it’s just her, but on the first two, she is joined “by what’s become her consistent live band (drummer Ray Brown and bassist Alex Bass).”

“Slug” has a propulsive verse and a cool thumping bridge.  It’s an ode to a slug, in fact, but it also looks internally: “I have waited my whole life to know the difference and I should know better than that.”  I really like the way the song builds and builds and then drops out for a second for a few curlicues of guitar.

Her lyrics are wonderful mix of maturity and teenager (I do like the “my whole life bit,” but I really like this couplet from the next song “Thinning.”

I want to face the entire year just face down / and on my own time I wanna waste mine.
spend the rest of it asking myself is this who you are / and I don’t know it just feels gross.  (And her delivery of the word “gross” is wonderful).

From her reaction and this blurb, I guess the band is a bit louder than what they play here:

Because we often ask bands to turn down for the office space, she jokes, “I guess I don’t really know what we sound like because we’re so loud. Now we’re quiet and Ray’s using the mallets and my guitar’s all the way down — I was like, ‘We sound like this?'”

For the last song, the guys leave as she re tunes her guitar:

Jordan closes the set solo with a new song, “Anytime.” It is, perhaps typically for Snail Mail, slow and sad, but the alternate guitar tuning and Jordan’s drawled vocal performance gives this song about a crush an aerial motion, like acrobats sliding down a long sheet of fabric.

With just her and her guitar this song is far more spare and less bouncy but it works perfectly were her delivery.  I also like watching her bend strings with her third finger while playing a chord–she has learned some mad skills from Timony for sure.  I wish I had seen them open for Waxahatchee, that’s a bitchin’ double bill, for sure.

[READ: October 20, 2016] Diary of a Tokyo Teen

Sarah brought this book home and it seemed really fun.  It’s a look at Japan through the eyes of a girl who was born there about 15 years earlier but then moved to the U.S. with her family.  She is older and somewhat wiser and is delighted to have a chance to explore what is familiar and unfamiliar.

And it’s all done in a simple comic book style diary which she self published at age 17.

So Christine flies to Kashiwa, a small city outside of Tokyo to stay with her Baba and Jiji (grandparents).  She says the best reunion (aside from her grandparents) was with her favorite fast food chain unavailable in America: Mos Burger (you eat the wrapper because it would be messy to take it out of the wrapper).

What I love about this book is that unlike a more formal guide book, Christine is a typical teenager with typically American experiences.  So she notices that the people who work fast food are happy–or at least appear to be.  She’s also aware right form the start how trendy the other kids are.  And while an adult might not care, for a teen aged girl, that’ pretty devastating. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »