Archive for the ‘Dorthe Nors’ Category

april16  SOUNDTRACK: JEREMY MESSERSMITH-Tiny Desk Concert #158 (September 19, 2011).

jeremyI had never heard of Jeremy Messersmith before this show (the blurb even comments how it’s a shame more people haven’t heard of him since he is so sweetly poppy).

He looks a bit like Buddy Holly although my first though when he started playing was that he sounded not unlike Belle & Sebastian.  But there is more to his music than a simple reduction like that.

Messermith plays five songs (FIVE!).  For the first three he has a four piece behind him–big jangly electric guitar, a cello and a drummer accompanying his really nice picking style.

In “Toussaint Grey, First in Life and Death,” the electric guitar is mostly picking as well.  It’s a gentle song and you can really hear his voice well.

In “Knots” the tempo picks up with bigger drums and louder electric guitar.  I also love the picked cello as a bass guitar (this is the song that reminded me so much of B&S).  But by the end it is wholly his own (the falsetto note at the end is great).  This song is super catchy.  I love the break in the song when the drums kick in again.

For “Violet” the cellist switches to keyboards and the guitar plays some big jangly chords.  The chorus is great once again–super catchy and poppy.  Even better, there’s some great background Bah bahs and then other oohs of harmony.  But it’s the switch to an even higher note at the end of the bah bahs that totally had me hooked.

For the final two songs it’s just him and the cello.  His picking style on “A Girl, A Boy, and a Graveyard” is wonderful.  His voice sounds like someone although I can’t quite place it, but I love it.   The song is sweet and delicate.

Before the final song “Tatooine,” (which is about Star Wars obviously) he says that Steve Earle was in not too long saying that now songwriters write songs for nerds, and so this one is for the nerds.  The first line is “twin suns of Tatooine taught me everything I know.”  Pretty nerdy alright.  It’s just him and the keyboard on this, and the song is perfect this way.

I’m really looking forward to hearing some studio version of these songs.  This Tiny Desk was quite a find.

[READ: March 12, 2016] “Hygge”

I have read several stories by Dorthe Nors and I’ve found most of them a bit odd.  And so was this one, which was translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra.  I’m not even sure what the title means.

I’m unclear about a lot of things in this story.  How old is the narrator?  He is at an old folks’ home with a woman named Lilly. She has made the place nice for him (cleaned the dead leaves off the windowsill and put the budgie under its cover so it can go to sleep).

They’d had a fight earlier–she’d said that thing about his face–but she was trying  be nice now.  And she wanted everything to be cuddly.  Her hand was “inside the waist of my trousers.” (more…)

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nymay156SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Evolve Festival Antigonish, NS (August 28, 2004).

evolveBestThe Rheostatics do a lot of festivals, and they always seem to have a good time.  But it also means a shorter set.  Unlike yesterday’s Nova Scotia show, this one doesn’t focus on new music too much (although they mention that 2067 is coming out Oct 5).

The sound quality isn’t great in this show either–there’s a lot of rumbling which sounds like winds, but who knows.

But they are even more charming in this setting.  Dave compliments someone one on their excellent sign and says that the sign demographic has let everyone down for this show–so her request will be honored.

The show starts with a cool jam from the Whale Music soundtrack (mostly “Song of Flight”).  When they play “Four Little Songs” one of the verses is a verse from Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.”

Later they play a great version of “Saskatchewan” and perennial festival mates Chris Brown and Kate Fenner are there to help.  During “Stolen Car” they sing a few lines from “Another Brick in the Wall Pt 2.”

There’s great versions of “California Dreamline” and “Claire.”  The show ends with the new song “Power Ballad for Ozzy Osbourne” and there’s a breakdown during the song (no way to know what happened, but they have a laugh about it).

You can see photos from the day here (although none of the Rheostatics).

[READ: July 21, 2015] “The Freezer Chest”

I found Nors’ previous story to be a little odd.  And so I find this one.  There’s something about the way it was written (or translated) that I found it very stiff to read.  It is also told in a flashback which is later revealed to be a very-long-ago flashback.

What is particularly strange about the story is that the “action” of the freezer chest is all of about three paragraphs.  And while the story isn’t long overall, it takes a circuitous route to get to that part.

The narrator is a young girl, Mette.  She is on a boat with her classmates and their English teacher. Mark is also part of the group and he has made it clear that he does not like the narrator (that happened in a previous instance).  The crux is that Mark claimed to be an amazing guitarist.  And he is trying to get the narrator to respond to this information.  She genuinely does not care although she says she believes him. (more…)

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dec20133SOUNDTRACK: HANGEDUP-Kicker in Tow [CST022] (2002).

hanged2Hangedup’s second album is bigger and better than the debut (which was pretty good to start with).  This one is far more intense, and much better sounding.

I love the way the first song “Kinetic Work” starts out in such a fast and intense fashion and then shifts gears to a slower beat about 90 seconds in. Then it reverts back to a fast building song, growing very intense by the end.  “Sink” is a scattered affair with the drums taking “lead” playing all kinds of noises and rhythms over the slow beat of the strings. “Losing your charm” is more about tone and mood—with a steady pulsing beat and ever more energetic strings. It sends a middle eastern vibe too.

“View from the Ground” brings in some more unusual sounds—very machine like (with lots of echo on the percussion). And the strings sound a bit more like guitars here. “Moment for the Motion Machine” is a 1 minute 28 second precursor to the 13 minute “No More Bad Future.” If there was ever an epic instrumental of two instruments, it is this. Like a suite from GYBE, it builds slowly with grinding viola and occasional mechanical percussion.  The song changes pace and then assumes a kind of martial beat at around 5 minutes in. And then shifts gears growing more and more intense until the end.

“Motorcycle Muffler” is metallic and machine-like with interesting effects on the cool ringing tones–it sounds like he may be actually banging on a muffler.  “Automatic Spark Control” starts slowly but builds aggressively with the occasional ringing note as a progress bar. “Broken Reel” ends the disc with a slow series of viola chords (and overdubs). The title implies and the song sounds like an Irish dance, and it does, but one that is well, broken and several paces too slow.  It’s quite a change from the rest of the record, but it shows an expanding style and shows just how much they can do with two instruments. Hangedup is a very cool experimental band for those who like melodic noise.

 [READ: May 2, 2014] “Flight”

This story is about a very stoic couple breaking up.  It is narrated by the woman.  She says that her husband, Allan, left her about a year ago.

When they were first together he talked about her in a way that sounded like he felt they had a cozy life,

like the castles he used to build out of straw bales when he was a boy.  Inside the castle was a den in which to eat cookies and drink fruit juice while listening to the rumble of the combine in the next field.  That’s what being with me was like, Allan, said.

But it seems that it was really more suffocating than cozy.  Allan worked for a wind farm company and traveled the world as a technical consultant.  But he never told her anything about where he went–he found it hard to describe and explain.  So she eventually bought him a camera.  He took pictures and sent them to her from around the world.  But he got back he still had nothing to say to her.

dolly-sods-wilderness-west-virginia-hdr-photography-sunsetThe one place that is mentioned in the story is Dolly Sods, West Virginia, (see this cool photo to the right of Dolly Sods from Captain Kimono).  [I had never heard of Dolly Sods Wilderness, but it is protected land and is described : Dolly Sods is an area of high elevation wind-swept plains on the Allegheny Plateau. At elevations of 2,600 to over 4,000 feet, the area has extensive flat rocky plains, upland bogs, beaver ponds, and sweeping vistas. The plant life and climate on this high plateau resembles northern Canada, and many species found here are near their southernmost range].  The narrator explains how there are parts of Dolly Sods that have never been touched by human hands.  In the picture that Allan sent from there, he is next to a wind turbine that is going to be put up. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_09_09_13McCall.inddSOUNDTRACK: KISS-Alive III (1993).

alive iiiI’m aware that there are questions about the real “live” nature of the first two Kiss Alive albums.  This naturally makes me suspect the nature of the live-ness of this one as well.  Not that I don’t think the songs are live, but I have to question the volume of the fans, who at times sound artificially enhanced.  I’ve also read that the “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” was taken from the soundboard during soundcheck with cheers added later.  If that’s true I have to give credit to Paul for being so “into it” during soundcheck.

back in the 70s, Kiss made a point for Alive II to not duplicate any songs from Alive!.  Obviously Kiss are much more mercenary now than they were back then–duplication is part of their thing now.  But since this is the first live album since the 70s, there’s a lot of new material to choose from.  Nevertheless, this probably shows a realistic set list for the time, so there are going to be some overlap from the 70s, and that’s okay.  And the band sounds quite good (this was 20 years ago it’s hard to believe).

“Creatures of the Night” is a rousing opener.  It’s hard to imagine they didn’t open with “Detroit Rock City” and end with “Rock n Roll Al Nite”.  “Deuce” is one of their best songs, so it’s a welcome old song.  Then there’s some questionable choices.  “I Just Wanna” is a bad song with a very obvious vocal line.  But it came from the then current album and it’s got the “naughty” singalong section (which was apparently dubbed out to avoid a Parental Warning sticker).  Despite all of the entendre in Kiss, they’ve never really been explicit, so the “I just wanna fuck” seems weird for them (especially when you know how many kids have been going to their tours recently).

“Unholy” fares much better.  It’s one of their cooler new songs.  Paul introduces “Heaven’s on Fire” in a fairly amusing way (and he can still ht those notes).  I don’t especially like that song or “Lick it Up,” but they will always be their bigger hits, so they get played.  Obviously I’m delighted to hear “Watching You” which they do very well.  I dislike “domino” lyrically quite a lot and I feel like Gene’s delivery here is disinterested at best (is it possible he is as disgusted by the lyrics as I am?).  But the song rocks musically.  “I Was Made for Loving You” is updated and sounds far less discoey.  “I Still Love You” is a great concert staple and it’s nice to have it on record.

Probably the biggest surprise on the disc is that “Rock n Roll All Nite” is not the encore (or maybe it was in concert, but it’s not last on the album.  I’d be delighted to see them and have this not be the encore.  I’d also be delighted if I never heard “Lick It Up” again.  I don’t know why this song irks me so much, but it does.  And in this live version, hearing Paul state “I wanna lick you” just creeps me out.  “Forever,” cheesy ballad and all, sounds pretty great live.   but “I Love It Loud” which is a great song sounds off here—too many backing vocals or something?  “Detroit Roock City”sounds great of course, although it’s funny to hear it have an introduction.

The disc is pretty much over for me here because I don’t like “God Gave Rock n Roll to You II” although this version is fine.  And the very end of the disc is, strangely, “The Star Spangled Banner.”  It’s a whole band version (without words) but  simple cannot imagine them doing it live for any reason.

So, this proves to be a pretty decent live album.  Not quite up to the stellar heights of Alive! and Alive II, but a worthy addition to the series.

[READ: September 15, 2013] “The Heron”

This story begins with the statement that the best place to feed herons is in Frederiksberg Gardens because they are tame.  The tone is very much like Julie Hecht–all matter of fact and somewhat indignant.

The story continues to talk about herons and the strange man who often stands on the paths that lead to the Chinese Pavilion. The narrator avoids this man by walking around to Damhus Pond (where the suitcase with the woman’s body chopped up inside of it was found).  He imagines the man who found it (well, technically the dog found it) was never the same again (nor, no doubt was the dog).  Despite the grisly scene (the narrator has never found anything there) he walks out of his way by the pond to avoid the herons.  And the strange man. (more…)

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