Archive for the ‘Nathan Hale’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JAMES MERCER-Live on KEXP, February 10, 2012 (2012).

James Mercer came to KEXP to play a few songs solo with his acoustic guitar (the set is billed as The Shins, but it’s only Mercer).  DJ Cheryl Waters talks to him about what he’s been up to in the last five years since the previous Shins record (they don’t discuss that the rest of the band is basically gone).  She asks him about working with Danger Mouse and his foray into acting.  But mostly this set is about the music.

Mercer’s voice sounds great and the songs sound wonderful in this acoustic setting.  He explains the origins of the title Port of Morrow (it’s a real place).  He plays “Australia” from Wincing the Night Away and “September” “Simple Song” and “It’s Only Life” from Port of Morrow.

While I prefer the full album versions, this acoustic setting is quite nice and shows what great songs they are as well as how strong Mercer’s voice is (and that he was really the driving force behind The Shins all along)..

[READ: October 31, 2012] Calamity Jack

And they did.  Two years later.  This book is a kind of sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge as well as Jack’s backstory before he met Rapunzel.

Jack was a petty thief. He and the pixie Pru (who loves hats) began with small scams (apples and whatnot), and slowly built up to larger ones.  In their defense they initially only tried to rob people who “deserved” it, but they were caught on more than one occasion and Jack’s mother had had enough of him.

Then Jack happens upon a score that he can’t pass up.  And he does it (without telling Pru about it).  Jack climbs into the tower of the evil giant Blunderboar.  Blunderboar is an industrial bigwig with a Jabberwock as a guard of his gigantic tower.  As with Rapunzel’s Revenge, the setting is a mix of fairy tale and contemporary real world(ish).  Blunderboar has a lot of money (including a media empire) and he is responsible for all of the troubles in Jack’s village of Shyport.

But the problem is that the beanstalk (there is a beanstalk, but there’s no cow, there’s magic beans and a pawn shop) destroys his mother’s bakery.  And she realizes that he is responsible.  Jack flees the town both because of his mother and because of the giant (who is understandably incensed). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: GRANT LEE PHILLIPS-Live on KEXP, January 21, 2010 (2010).

I really liked Grant Lee Buffalo back in the day.  I think Grant Lee Philip’s voice is amazing–soulful, expressive, beautiful.  He was also a troubadour on Gilmore Girls!

Since Buffalo broke up, Phillips has released a few solo albums.  I have found that I don’t enjoy his solo music as much as I did the band music.  His voice is still amazing, but the solo stuff is a little too slow and meandering for me.

This set comprises four songs from his album Little Moon.  “Strangest Thing” is my favorite song from the set, it’s upbeat and beautiful.  And “Little Moon” is correctly described by the DJ as moody an intoxicating.  It’s not my favorite of his songs but the description is totally correct.

This is an enjoyable mellow set.  The DJ and Grant Lee are relaxed and comfortable and the between song chats are informative and interesting.  You can listen here.

[READ: October 30, 2012] Rapunzel’s Revenge

This story is a wonderful extrapolation of the Rapunzel story which has been moved to the Wild West.  Yup, that’s right.  Rapunzel is a cowgirl.

Well, in the beginning, the story is pretty faithful to the original.  Many elements of the fairy tale are present–Rapunzel was kidnapped from her parents (or traded for some lettuce) and raised by the enchanted witch.  This story fleshes out the politics of the witch somewhat–she has cursed the surrounding lands and made them barren–all of the fertile ground is within her walls and the peasants must pay tribute to her from their meager earnings.  And Rapunzel is a rather rebellious and outgoing girl who wants to leave her stepmother’s walled fortress and explore the world beyond.

When Rapunzel tries to climb the wall just to see what’s out there (the wall is like 70 feet tall), she is grabbed by the witch’s guard, Brute, an over-sized man who is very grouchy.  But when she learns that her real mother is still alive (and is a suffering peasant) she tries to escape for good.  Brute catches her again, and the witch locks her up (the re imagined prison is a very cool twist).  I loved that she escapes with no help from anyone (just her hair).  And that as she’s running off she meets a prince who was coming to rescue her meets her; she sends him on a wild goose chase.  This Rapunzel needs no prince. (more…)

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