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SOUNDTRACK: NEIL PEART-September 12, 1952-January 7, 2020.

When I was in high school, Rush was my favorite band, hands down.  I listened to them all the time.  I made tapes of all of their songs in alphabetical order and would listen to them straight through.

I still loved them in college, but a little less so as my tastes broadened.  But every new release was something special.

It’s frankly astonishing that I didn’t seem them live until 1990.  There were shows somewhat nearby when I was in college, but I never wanted to travel too far on a school night (nerd!).

For a band I loved so much, it’s also odd that I’ve only seen them live 5 times.  However, their live shows are pretty consistent.  They play the same set every night of a tour (as I found out when I saw them two nights apart), and there wasn’t much that set each show apart–although They did start making their shows more and more fun as the years went on, though).

One constant was always Neil Peart’s drum solo. It too was similar every night.  Although I suspect that there was a lot more going on than I was a ware of.  It was also easy to forget just how incredible these solos were.  Sure it was fun when he started adding synth pads and playing music instead of just drums, but even before that his drumming was, of course, amazing.

It was easy to lose sight of that because I had always taken it for granted.

I am happy to have seen Rush on their final tour.  I am sad to hear of Neil’s passing.  I would have been devastated had it happened twenty years ago, but now I am more devastated for his family.

So here’s two (of dozens) memorials.  The first one is from the CBC.  They included a mashup of some of Neil’s best drum solos:

But what better way to remember the drum master than with a supercut of his drum solos? From a 2004 performance of “Der Trommler” in Frankfurt, Germany, to a 2011 performance on The Late Show With David Letterman, to his first-ever recorded drum solo (in 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio), dive into nearly five minutes of Peart’s epic drum solos, below.

The best Neil Peart drum solos of all time.

I was only going to include this link, because it was a good summary, then I saw that Pitchfork ranked five of Neil’s best drum solos (an impossible task, really).  But it is nice to have them all in one place.

You can find that link here.

Starting in the 1980s Neil’s solos were given a name (which shows that they were pretty much the same every night).  Although as I understand it, the framework was the same but the actual hits were improvised each night.

Even after all of these years and hearing these drum solos hundreds of times, watching them still blows my mind.

  • “The Rhythm Method”
  • “O Baterista”
  • “Der Trommler”
  • “De Slagwerker,”
  • “Moto Perpetuo”
  • “Here It Is!”, “Drumbastica,” “The Percussor – (I) Binary Love Theme / (II) Steambanger’s Ball”

[READ: January 2020] Canada 1867-2017

In this book, Paul Taillefer looks at the most historically significant event from each tear of Canadian history.  And he tries to convey that event in about a page.  Can you imagine learning the history of your country and trying to condense every year into three paragraphs?

And then do it again in French?  For this book is also bilingual.

I can’t read French, but i can tell that the French is not a direct translation of the English (or vice versa).

For instance in 1869, the final sentence is:

This, in turn, signaled the start of the Red River Rebellion which would not end until the Battle of Batoche in 1885.

Neither Batoche nor 1885 appears in the entire French write up.  So that’s interesting, I suppose.  I wonder if the content is very different for French-reading audiences. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: GOLDLINK-Tiny Desk Concert #753 (June 13, 2018).

GoldLink is a D.C. rapper.  The blurb tells us he

acted as if his Tiny Desk performance was a family reunion and took the opportunity to invite everybody and their cousin in as his guests.  To mark the moment, Link wore a crisp T-shirt reading ‘I Told You So’ — a nod to the haters, no doubt — and jumped around his discography to perform cuts from each of his three projects: “Bedtime Story” from 2014’s The God Complex, “Dark Skin Women” from 2015’s And After That, We Didn’t Talk and finally “Some Girl” and “Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)” from 2017’s At What Cost.

I’ve never heard of GoldLink, so I have no idea what he normally sounds like, but the blurb continues:

instead of the usual Steve Lacy or Kaytranada-aided beats, Link delivered his verses accompanied by a smooth six-piece band and two velvet-voiced singers. (Link’s longtime producer Louie Lastic plays bass for the entire set.)

 I like the fast rapping and 70s vibes of “Bedtime Story”–the strings are a nice touch, too.  As with certain rappers, the repetition of words drives me nuts, especially if they are just spoken.  So “Dark Skin Women”s repetition of “you’re a star come and dance baby” drives me a little nutty.  The backing vocals are pretty, though.

I enjoyed the self-deprecating intro of “Some Girl” I wrote this about an ex … stupid.  But these lyrics, good grief

I met her in the summer, started with a kiss
But she fucked her so good that I had to flood her wrist

Flood her wrist?

The final song “Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt)” begins with a woman stating a prayer:

Lord I pray for wealth and power over all these motherfuckers
For the DMV to reign for many moons
Fuck these rappers, fuck these labels
Fuck these bitches, fuck these bitches, you hear me
They killed my nigga and I pray for revenge
Control me and use me the way you would allow me to
Amen

The DMV?

And then there’s just really bland sex boasting

All my life been addicted to the pussy that’s my vice, yeah
Drinkin’ drinkin’ drinkin’ all my problems
I don’t need nobody, I just need my bottle that’s for certain
Put the pussy on the pedestal

So, yeah, I could take or leave GoldLink.  There’s certainly some good sounds, but it sucks when a rapper’s rhymes are so lame.  Here’s who made it:

D’Anthony Carlos (GoldLink), Kiara Brown (Kelow) (Poet), Elliot Skinner (Vocals), Grace Weber (Vocals), Billy Davis (Musical Director/Keyboardist), Alex Ben-Abdallah (Louie Lastic) (Bassist), Danny McKinnon (Guitarist), Darren Hanible (Lil Dream) (Drummer), Burt Jackson (Trumpet), Marvill Martin (Violinist).

[READ: July 1, 2018] “The Luck of Kokura”

This is an excerpt from Shteyngart’s new novel Lake Success (due out in Sept).

Barry wakes up on a bed, not knowing where he is.  He had fled New York and the hedge fund he worked at.  He has fled his wife and son (and the boy’s autism).

It was the hedge fund (This Side of Capital) that was causing him his troubles. He says he hadn’t done anything wrong–he had shorted GastroLux a new GERD medication that was going to do wonders for yuppies.  He was also a major shareholder in Valupro which had almost bought GastroLux .  Everyone else had piled onto the trade, so why should he have not?

He fled New York with $600 in his pocket and his Rollaboard of expensive watches–his only pride..  He had fled to Atlanta on a Greyhound and crashed at his former coworker Jeff Park’s condo.  The condo was amazing–tastefully decorated and really expensive (even for Atlanta). (more…)

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