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Archive for the ‘Dodgeball’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: beabadoobee-Loveworm (2019).

beabadoobee is Beatrice Kristi Laus, a 19 year-old singer-songwriter who was born in the Phillipines and lives in London.  She has released some six EPs since 2018 and has been played on the radio on WXPN.  I see she’s also headlining a small tour over here in the Spring.

Yesterday I listened to the bedroom version of this EP, and here is the original release in all of its glory.  Interestingly, the sound isn’t all that much bigger, but there is a lot more instrumentation.  And some of these songs definitely rock harder.

“Disappear” is played on a gentle electric guitar with swirling keys and a simple drum clicking sound.  When the bass comes in after the first verse, the song feels really full (with a sprinkling of keyboard sounds added on top, too).  The middle third has a nice little section with bells as everything else fades out for a moment.

“1999”s guitars sound a bit more downbeat, deeper.  The middle has some lovely overdubbed guitar parts. I really like the repeated guitar melody that flows all the way to the end,

“Apple Cider” is wonderfully upbeat in this version.  Bouncy guitars, more bells and her soft vocals make this sound like a perfect 90s alt-rock song.  Just as I was about to say this song was perfect, it added some “oohh la las” which don’t quite fit.  However, the crazy guitar solo(s) are very cool and more than make up for it.

“Ceilings” remains a quiet ballad with some nice falsetto vocals and trippy backing sounds that turn into a synthy solo.

“Angel” sounds different on this record too, with some staggered guitars and a fairly complex drum pattern.  There’s some noisy electric guitar on this song too.  I love the way this song rocks out at the end.  The rocking continues on “You Lie All the Time” (which still sounds a bit like Juliana Hatfield).  It rocks all the way through to the end,

The final song “Soren” is a slow ballad.  With the two guitars it does actually sound quite different from the bedroom version, which is kind of cool since they are for the most part pretty similar.

I enjoyed both versions of this EP, but I like this one more. There’s more variety and the songs rock a bit more.  I’m curious what her first full-length will sound like.

[READ: January 10, 2020] The Babysitters Coven

I don’t usually read books like this, but the cover caught my eye (I love judging a book by its cover) and I’m so glad I read it. It was fun and funny and mashed up ideas from existing stories into something all its own.

Esme Pearl is a babysitter.  She and her best (and only) friend Janis started a Babysitter’s Club back in junior high. There were of course four of them in the club and each girl paralleled one of the girls in the original series.  [I have never read those books, so I don’t know how much is taken from that series.]

I enjoyed Esme as a character for a number of reasons.  She was a believable seventeen year old, but a shy and kind of solitary one.  She uses some abbreviations, but the whole book is not littered with them.  Lines like “the number one perk of babysitting is OPP–other people’s pantries” is a good example.  Esme has a great tone of being above her school while still being unpopular (but not hugely so).  She lives in Spring River Kansas home of the Bog Lemmings (“apparently by the time they’d gotten to Spring River all the good mascots had been taken”).  About the cafeteria food: “I’d never seen a food that wasn’t brown.”  Later she grabs what she things is curry but which turns out to be gravy.

She and Janis coordinate outfits every day.  [I love the detail that Janis’ full name is Janis Jackson].  They don’t wear similar things at all, they just discuss the night before what their fashion choices will be and then show them off the next day,  They both love going thrifting, so their outfits are unique.  If I had one complaint about the book it’s that there’s no way a backwater town like Spring River would have such amazing thrift stores.  Anyway, today “Janis was ‘Denise gets a step-daughter’ and I was “Sylvia Plath goes to prom.'”

Esme loves babysitting and she takes it very seriously–she does not wan any other kind of job, like where you wear a uniform–and she has built up a reliable collection of clientele.  She and Janis really are the only game in town.

As the book opens, Esme is babysitting Kaitlyn, a demon baby.  Not literally.  She is just a wild girl who is high maintenance. But Esme thinks of her as baby Satan (Kaitlyn managed to get a Sharpie and draw all over the wall while Esme was peeing).  But usually once Kaitlyn is asleep, she’s down.  This night things are different.  Esme heard a loud thunk and went upstairs,  The door was locked–Esme would never lock the door.  She somehow got the door open an saw that the bed was empty and the window was open.  She looked out the window and saw Kaitlyn on the roof.  Esme managed to get her back to safety.  When Esme asked what happened, Kaitlyn described a guy who looked like David Bowie’s character in Labyrinth. She knew that Kaitlyn watched a lot of movies so she assumed it was a nightmare. But there was so much unexplained…. (more…)

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592016 SOUNDTRACK: PETER FRAMPTON-Tiny Desk Concert #526 (April 27, 2016).

framptonI’ve never been a big fan of Frampton.  Never disliked him, just never got into him.  It always made me laugh that Frampton Comes Alive was so huge and yet I only ever knew two songs from it.  And in my head the only thing he was known for was that voice guitar thing.

So it’s interesting to see him now, considerably older with much less hair. Indeed he changes the lyrics to the first song “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” to “I don’t care now that I’ve…lost some hair.”  For this song it’s just him playing an acoustic guitar and singing–no effects.  (This is all in tour of his new Acoustic Classics album).  It’s interesting to hear him playing such a folkie song (which sounds a bit like Eric Clapton).  But the more important thing is that his voice sounds great.  Many singers his age simply don’t have the voice anymore, but he certainly does.  He hasn’t lost anything.

For the second song, “Lines On My Face,” he is joined by Gordon Kennedy.  Kennedy has been his writing partner for decades.  Together they wrote some of Frampton’s classics as well as a song for Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitts’ new single “Gypsy in Me.”  He says that this song is something he wrote a long time ago and it’s still a favorite.  While Kenendy plays acoustic backing chords, Frampton plays some good solos on that acoustic guitar.

For being Peter Frampton, he was actually very humble and self-effacing and rather funny.  There’s a good moment when he says he didn’t expect quite this many people.  “You hear like “clap clap clap….”

Of course, I know “Baby, I Love Your Way.”  I’m not exactly sick of it, but I don’t go out of my way to listen to it.  However, in this new acoustic format I really got to listen to the song anew.  It’s really quite a nice song.  And when the crowd spontaneously chimes in and sings along he seems genuinely pleased and it makes the song t hat much better.

This Tiny Desk made me appreciate Peter Frampton in a way I never thought I would.

[READ: June 10, 2016] “Three Short Moments in a Long Life”

I enjoy when a story has Parts.  This one has three and they all connect, which is even better than three discrete parts.  But this story, which covers a man’s life from childhood to old age is really quite a downer.  It speaks volumes about the futility of life without actually ever saying anything about it.

Part 1 is called The Spy (although I’m not entirely sure why).  In it, the narrator talks about Beverly LaPlante.  He and Beverly were in second grade together.  She was very shy and cried a lot.  They both hated recess and he was afraid to get lumped in with–the kids made fun of her a lot.  Midway through the year she left the school and that was that.

Third grade meant a new teacher and he had a crush on her.  Then one day during dodge ball he noticed that there was a new girl.  And her name was Beverly LaPlante.  But there was no way she was the same girl, right?  She wasn’t shy at all, in fact, she ended the dodgeball game by cursing out some of the losers.  He was upset that he sweet teacher didn’t yell at her.  When she finally said something to the girl, Beverly shouted “Jesus Christ and shit, piss, fuck!”

The narrator prayed that night–he prayed that Beverly would die.  He immediately took it back but it was too late.

Part 2 is called The Writer.

In this brief part the boy is grown up.  He is a writer, and has written several books which no one cared about.  While he was thinking about writing, there was a knock at the door.  He opened it and there was Jesus: “he had long blond hair and those eyes that follow you around the room.”  Except of course it wasn’t Jesus, right?  It was a just a guy looking for work or change.

Part 3 is called The Substance of Things Hoped For.

As the section opens the man is now eighty–lying on his bed unable to move.  We learn that he has Parkinson’s and is being taken to the hospital for pneumonia.

He has felt like a burden to his wife and some time ago tried to kill himself. It failed obviously but she told him if he ever did that again she’d kill him herself: “She’s a genuine saint, the real thing, without any pious crap, so she’s not always easy to live with.”

He is in the hospital for a while, marveling at the attendants and how young they seem.  He wonders if and when he is going to die.

This last part seemed really extraneous and not very meaningful.  I realize that it was meant to wrap everything up but I would have preferred to have the two parts together and let me imagine the third.

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