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Archive for the ‘The Telegraph’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD-Oddments (2014).

After the psychedelia of the previous album, KGATLW released this varied collection of songs.  Indeed, none of the 12 songs sound anything like the others.  It’s hard to say if this is a collection of leftover songs or an attempt to make a varied record.  After all, they had released four and a half albums in three years.

Nothing is really more than 3 minutes except “Work This Time.”  Everything goes by so quickly it’s hard to know what to think.

“Alluda Majaka” opens this record with an instrumental that has every style of music thrown into it–funky bass, organ, Indian music, there’s also sound effects and clips from a movie or two and really loud drums.  It’s a crazy opening for a crazy album.

“Stressin'” slows things down with a falsetto vocal and a gentle groove including a warbly wild guitar solo.  It’s followed by “Vegemite,” a nonsensical ode to vegemite with a great beat and an easy to sing along chorus (sung by Ambrose, I believe): Veg-e-mite…I like.

“It’s Got Old” is slower simple rocker (complete with flute and handclaps) and somehow is followed by the trippy, synthy swirls of “Work This Time.”  It opens with a rumbling wild drum intro and then becomes really gentle with more soft falsetto vocals.

“ABCABcd” is 17 seconds of garage rock nonsense before the sweet rocking acoustic guitars of “Sleepwalker.”

“Hot Wax” sounds like an old(er) KG garage rock song.  There’s creepy vocals from Stu and a simple riff and a chorus that literally repeats chorus from “Surfin Safari” but with their own muffled, fuzzy garage rock chords.  “Crying” has an old soul sound with its simple three note melody.  It even has spoken word parts (the way you act, girl) and everything.

The end of the disc throws in even more craziness in the last five or so minutes.  “Pipe Dream” is a one minute instrumental that doesn’t really do anything except evoke a psychedelic moment.  It fades out just as a riff begins.  But it’s not the riff to “Homeless Man in Addidas” which is a quiet acoustic folk song that sounds an awful lot like “April She Will Come” by Simon & Garfunkel.  The disc ends with “Oddments,” a 25 second piece of silliness that’s like a commercial for the disc which even chants out the disc name.

Unlike their more cohesive albums, this is not a necessity exactly, but it is a fun opportunity to see just how much KGATLW can do in 30 minutes.

[READ: November 2018] Cluetopia

This is a brief history of the crossword puzzle as broken down by year.

David Astle (whose name must be a crossword answer) is a crossword maniac.  What makes this book especially interesting to me is that he is from Australia, which means he has a very different perspective on the crossword puzzle than someone like Will Shortz.  For there is a great American/British (and Australian) divide when it comes to crosswords.

Astle is a huge fan of British-style cryptic puzzles and he really delves into some of the best ones over the last century.

A neat summary of the different types of puzzles comes from Always Puzzling: (more…)

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madlangSOUNDTRACK: TARRUS RILEY-Tiny Desk Concert #59 (May 11, 2010).

tarrusTarrus Riley is a reggae singer with a delicate voice.  His accompanists are a guitarist and a sax player (on a cheesey sounding alto sax–although somehow it works).  And while the music is still quite reggae in style, it doesn’t sound too much like reggae–perhaps the light guitar strumming removes the backbeat?

So these three songs feel a bit more like pop.

“It Will Come (A Musician’s Life Story)” is a funny, but serious song from a woman to her musician boyfriend.  She has lots of complaints “Why don’t you get a job” “do you mind telling your plans to the landlord?” and he tries to explain how music is his work,

“Lion’s Paw” is not so much about the strength of his belief in Jah as it is about the strength of Jah’s belief in him.  He seems very happy and joyful during the song (sometimes drifting away from the mic while dancing).

“She’s Royal” is a pro-women song.  It’s the most pop sounding of the three.

I’m not a huge fan of reggae, but this is a good collection of sweet, positive songs.

[READ: August 30, 2015] The Mad World of Sign Language

This is a goofy collection of bad English on signs across the world.  It turns out that this is the fourth collection of said signs all generated by readers of the British newspaper The Telegraph.

This book is set up geographically.  They begin in The Americas, then on to UK & Ireland, The Mediterranean, Africa, Middle East, India, China, and end in South East Asia and Australasia.

Now I love this kind of thing, but there were a lot of pictures in this book that were mildly amusing at best.  (Could the fourth collection mean diminishing returns?).  Since this is a UK book there is a lot of mirth at British slang which other countries wouldn’t know anything about–which is kind of unfair, right?).  Anyhow, the signs are funny in a very limited way. (more…)

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