Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘West Side Story’ Category

boilenSOUNDTRACK: ANGEL OLSEN-Tiny Desk Concert #333 (January 27, 2014).

angelBob Boilen has liked Angel Olsen for some time, so when she did her Tiny Desk and most of us had never heard of her, he was already a fan.

Olsen plays a long set but with four songs.

She sits very still, strumming with her thumb and singing kind of low–not unlike Sharon van Etten.  The first song, “Unfucktheworld” is only two ans a half minutes.  The second song, “Iota,” is a little longer.  She sings in an affected almost falsetto style, although the guitar remains very spare.

Between these songs, she is coy about the title of the new record although she is quick to say the first word of the title “burn.”  Later she admits that the final song contains the title of the album, if we wanted to spend time figuring it out.

I marvelled at how high the chords were that she played on “Enemy,”  She seems to eschew any bass for this song.  This one is five and a half minutes long and is just as slow as the others.

Before the final song they talk about whether this is the most awkward show she has done.  She says everyone is very alert–and indeed you can hear utter silence between songs.  But then they talk about the storm outside (and potential tornado) and how this show may never air if the storm is really bad.

“White Fire” is an 8 minute story song.  She does use the whole guitar for this one, which has many many verses.   Since I don’t really know Olsen’s stuff that well, I don’t know if this was a good example of her show or a fun treat to hear her in such an intimate way.

[READ: May 10, 2016] Your Song Changed My Life

This site is all about music and books, but you may be surprised to know that I don’t really like books about music all that much.  I have read a number of them—biographies, autobiography or whatever, and I don’t love them wholesale. Some are fine, but in general musicians aren’t really as interesting as they may seem.

What I do like however, is hearing a decent interview with musicians to find out some details about them–something that will flesh out my interest in them or perhaps make me interested in someone I previously wasn’t.  Not a whole book, maybe just an article, I guess.

I also really like Bob Boilen. I think he’s a great advocate of music and new bands.  I have been listening to his shows on NPR for years and obvious I have been talking about hundreds of the Tiny Desk Concerts that he originated.  I also really like his taste in music.  So I was pretty psyched when Sarah got me this book for my birthday.

I read it really quickly–just devoured the whole thing.  And it was really enjoyable. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACKnov2014YES-Yesterdays (1975).

yesterdaysAfter Relayer, Yes decided to explore solo projects.  And their label released this compilation.  Oddly enough, it consists entirely of songs from Yes and Time and a Word (and is a great collection of those two middling albums).  It also includes a B-side called “Dear Father” and, most unexpectedly, a 10 minute version of the Simon and Garfunkel song “America.”  All the songs have the original lineup except “America” which features Howe and Wakeman and was recorded in 1972.

“Looking Around” and “Survival” from Yes and “Time and a Word,” “Sweet Dreams” “Astral Traveler” and “Then” from Time and a Word.

“Dear Father” is a  sounds very much like a B-side from Time and a Word (meaning it has elements of Yes, but not enough to make the song especially interesting).  The bass is thumping, but there’s also strings which add a less dramatic element than intended.  The ending sounds very 1970s (almost like a TV special) especially in the way the strings swell, but it’s a cool sounding end to the disc.

The sound of “America” (which opens the disc) is pure early 70s’s Yes, with loud guitars and some good bass lines.  They play around with the original quite a lot (and most of the time it is unrecognizable).  I really enjoy that the guitar and bass throw in lines from the West Side Storys “America.”  There’s moments where you know the S&G original (like the “I don’t know why” line and they play it totally wrong (but in very Yes fashion), but other parts like “counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike” sounds different but also really good.  This is the kind of cover I like, when a band completely make a song their own.  I still prefer the original, but this is an interesting interpretation.

The cover of the album is the last one that Roger Dean would do for the band for a while.  It’s pretty bizarre (even for a Dean cover) with a little boy peeing on the back.

[READ: March 27, 2015] “The Great Exception”

This story comes from The Strange Case of Rachel K.  I assume it is a short story, as I can’t even imagine what it might have to do with Rachel K in general.

This piece opens with Part 1 in which there is a brief history of people’s beliefs in the flatness and/or roundness of the Earth.  The Admiral goes to the queen to inform her that the Earth is actually shaped like a pear or violin and he requests gold for his expedition.  But when he is in her presence, and a little drunk and a little bold, he informed her that the earth was really shaped like a woman’s breast.  The orient was the protrusion.  And the nipple–he locked eyes with the queen–was warm and tumultuous.

The Cardinal had given him excessive jewels to wear on his hand and they flash as he makes the shape of breasts in the air in front of the queen.  She gave in to his request and he set sail with no instruments, using only his instincts. (more…)

Read Full Post »