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Archive for the ‘Ducks’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: TOM MISCH AND YUSSEF DAYES-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #49 (July 13, 2020).

mishTom Misch and Yussef Dayes play a light jazz with lots of interesting elements floating around the songs.  The blurb says the music “evokes a dreamy utopia, blending live electronica, psychedelia and avant-garde jazz.”

I didn’t realize that Misch was British until the chorus–the way he sings “the dash.”  Actually I first realized when he spoke after the song, but then it was obvious when he sang.

Producer/guitarist Tom Misch and drummer Yussef Dayes released a surprising and stunning collaborative album earlier this year called What Kinda Music,. This Tiny Desk (home) concert — recorded across six different musicians’ homes — features two songs from that album, “Nightrider” and “Tidal Wave.”

“Nightrider” has cool echoing slow guitars and fantastically complex drumming.  But the focus of this song seems to be the wonderfully busy five string bass from Tom Driessler.  Jordan Rakei provides backing vocals and

special guest John Mayer provides a closing solo, just as he did at last year’s Crossroads Guitar Festival.

It’s weird the way Mayer stares at the camera at the end though.

“Tidal Wave” has a different cast.  It features Rocco Palladino on bass, which is not as complex.  Although Yussef’s drumming is fantastic once again.

There’s a nice lead guitar line before the vocals kick in.  I almost wish the song were an instrumental until Joel Culpepper adds his wonderful high backing vocals.

This is some good chill out music.

[READ: July 10, 2020] “Calling”

I know I’ve read Richard Ford stories before, but this stories was so fascinating to me–it felt very different from so many other stories that I read.

Set around Christmas in 1961, the narrator’s father has left him and his mother in New Orleans while he has moved to St. Louis to be with a male doctor.

His mother, meanwhile, had begun a singing career, which essentially meant that she was sleeping with her African American singing coach.

What’s fascinating about the story (aside from how trasnsgressive his parents seem in 1961) is that the narrator is telling the story from the present:

They are all dead now.  My father.  My mother.  Dr. Carter. The black accompanist, Dubinion.

These interjections of the present allow for some reflections on this tumultuous period in his life.  (more…)

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crocs SOUNDTRACKRED BARAAT-Tiny Desk Concert #194 (February 14, 2012).

redbaraatBob Boilen opens his blurb about this band with high praise indeed:

Red Baraat is the best party band I’ve seen in years. The group plays rollicking funk music steeped in Northern India’s wedding celebrations, with a dash of D.C. go-go beats and hip-hop. It’s all driven by Sunny Jain’s dhol, a double-sided barrel drum that hangs down low around his body.

But the music is not all about drumming

If the drum is the messenger, the brass is the message. Uplifting melodies emanate from baritone and soprano saxophones, bass trumpet, trombone and sousaphone. This is a band that jazz lovers can appreciate and rock fans can dance to.

They play three songs.  And the musicians are quite diverse.  Its fun to see a trumpeter (who totally wails) wearing a Sikh turban.

“Chaal Baby”  is really dancey with a simple, bouncy horn melody and all that percussion. In addition to the snare and the dhol, there’ s a percussionist making some great sounds, too.  And all through the song–which really swings–people are shouting “hey ho.” It’s a lot of fun.

“Shruggy Ji” opens slowly but after a few second the whole band kicks in with a kind of minor key feel (and a very Indian sound on the saxophone.  There’s some chanting–although I can’t tell what they’re saying.  The two note melody is great for shaking your hips to.  In the middle of the song there’s a call and response of “oh my may” and then he raps—he’s a little hard to hear (because he’s unmic’d and the rest of the band is so loud) but the gist is there and it’s fun (I believe he name checks Biz Markee).  As this song ends you hear Stephen Thomson shout “can you guys hear in the back?”

On “Dhol ‘n’ Brass” the guy with the dhol opens this song with a fast chanted opening that sounds a lot like the rhythm of the drums.  When the rest of the band jumps in, the song is really fast and a lot of fun

This is indeed a great party band and there’s plenty of diversity in the music to keep it really interesting and unexpected.

[READ: February 1, 2016] The Croc Ate My Homework

I knew of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine but had never read it before.

This book was published by the same folks who introduced me to Liō and I thought it might be funny.

From what I gather, this collection is actually a collection of the most kid-friendly strips from this series.  This I find very strange indeed, but I see that the actual strip is fairly adult and has been controversial on my occasions (although it is published in newspapers, so it’s never too dark).

I got a kick out of this collection, although I didn’t think it was all that great.  Of course, knowing that these strips are the somewhat watered down strips does make me want to read the real thing to see if these strips ware funnier in context.

The strip centers around a bunch of animals Rat (who is mean–unnecessarily mean, I felt, in this book, but again, without context), Pig who is a good-natured but naive. The Crocs (who are incredibly dumb–and very funny) and the Zebra who outsmarts the crocs–although that’s not very hard. (more…)

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oddduck1SOUNDTRACK: SAM LEE-Tiny Desk Concert #470 (September 11, 2015).

samlee Sam Lee has a fascinating voice, it reminds me of Nick Drake, but more… powerful.  He has Drake’s timbre and somewhat unusual delivery–sort of a stage-ready musical delivery.  But aside from his voice, what makes Lee so interesting is that for these three songs, possibly for all of his songs, he “has dedicated himself to preserving centuries-old folk songs of the U.K. and Ireland, particularly from “outsider” communities like the Roma (Gypsies) and the Scottish and Irish Travelers.   He and his bandmates–ukulele player and vocalist Jon Whitten, violinist and vocalist Flora Curzon, and percussionist and vocalist Josh Green–put these ancient songs in thoroughly 21st-century arrangements that feel creative, fresh and surprising, but also deeply human.”

“Over Yonders Hill” opens with that ukulele and Lee’s voice–I was quite surprised when I first heard it all together, but it works quite well.  And then the fiddle kicks in, playing some lovely swirling solos.  Then Lee adds a tiny harmonium, and that wheezy tone adds perfectly to the feeling that you might be out by a campfire   The song keeps building with backing vocals from the drummer.  As the song nears its end the violinist adds her haunting backing voice to the proceedings.

He explains that he goes around the country recording old singers—the keepers of these old traditional songs.  So the second song, “Lovely Molly” he learned from an old Scots traveler—a song of an old plow boy going to war.  They do this one a cappella and their harmonies are beautiful.

He learned the final song, “Goodbye My Darling” from a horse dealer in Kent–an old gypsy man.  It is about men being sent off to penal servitude in the United States and Australia and the injustice done to those incarcerated.  It is also played on that tiny harmonium which looks like a laptop.  As the harmonium fades away the violin plays a sweet pizzicato melody.  After about three minutes the song kicks into high gear, sounding very much like a traditional song—fast violin and quick rhythm.   And yet as the music grows more alive, the lyrics get darker.  As the song ends he does a kind of whistling hum, which I simply don’t understand, but which adds a delightfully strange texture to the music.

I don’t know that I would seek out Lee’s music, but it’s nice knowing he’s out there.

[READ: March 26, 2016] Odd Duck

I love the First Second Childrens’ books.  They are a little bit odd, but ever so fun.   And Sara Varon is a great illustrator so putting her art on anything makes it enjoyable.

I’ve read a number of Castellucci’s other books, and the two seem like good pair for this story about not quite fitting in.

Theodora is a duck.  She likes things to be regular and consistent.  She goes for a swim at the same time every day, with a tea cup on her head–making sure not to spill a drop.  She always has exact change at the store and looks at the stars every night.

But she is also a little different from the other ducks.  She buys mango salsa (which no one else does), she buys fabric squares and reads books that haven’t been checked out in years. (more…)

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