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Archive for the ‘Esther Forbes’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LOS BITCHOS-“Pista (Great Start)/Frozen Margarita” (2019).

pistaThis was Los Bitchos’ second release of 2019.  This one had a decidedly different look on the cover.

This single has two songs.  The first, “Pista (Great Start)” opens with whooping–a party is in full swing.  Musically, this is a great mix of cumbia and reggae with a smattering of Taureg in the guitar sound.

The song feels like they are partying in the desert no doubt drinking the title of the next song.

Although “Frozen Margarita” comes in at a quieter pace.  There’s a grooving bassline and a slinky lead guitar line.  It’s a very pretty piece.

[READ: July 14, 2020] “Johnny Tremain”

This issue of the New Yorker has a series of essays called Influences.  Since I have read most of these authors and since I like to hear the story behind the story, I figured I’d read these pieces as well.

These later pieces are all about one page long.

This essay later appeared in Saunders’ book The Braindead Megaphone under the name “Thank You, Esther Forbes.”

Saunders talks about his school days in Catholic school when Sister Lynette was a nun that he fell in love with.  He imagined her leaving the church for him (he was in third grade, but whatever). (more…)

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braindeadSOUNDTRACK: JIM WHITE-Tiny Desk Concert #8 (November 7, 2008).

jim whiteI didn’t know who Jim White was before this Tiny Desk Concert.  And I’m still not entirely sure who is he.  But he’s a gifted songwriter and storyteller.

Bob explains how he and Jim tried to work together for All Songs Considered, but that every time Bob asked Jim to do a 3 minute piece, he’d hand in a 15 minute piece.  And then somehow Jim would edit it into a 17 minute piece.  Jim admits that anything can set him off on a tangent (most of which are thoroughly engaging).  He also says that he writes songs not a bout “you” but about “me.”

So with him and a drum machine, he sings some really pretty songs.  “Jailbird” is a slow ballad that is quite beautiful.  I enjoyed that he played his harmonica solo without playing the guitar at the same time (I don’t know if the guitar was prerecorded or looped, I think prerecorded).

Then he gives a funny story about working with the guitarist for P.M. Dawn.  “Turquoise House” is a boppy little number about not fitting in.  It’s a wonderful song.  “Stranger Candy” is a darker song (full of lessons).  He says that it took him several tries to get the music right for this one.

There’s a fascinating story about a gift that Jim sent to Bob.  The story goes on about a racist incident in which his daughter rises above racism.

“Somewhere in the World” is a gentle ballad about finding the person you are waiting for.  I like it (except for that falsetto note at the end).  Then he talks about how for his old songs (like the previous one) he was kind of bummed.  But he has grown up and is happier.  And that has made his songwriting much more difficult.

The final song is called “A Town Called Amen.”  It’s another boppy little song, charming and sweet.  And Jim White seems about the sweetest, nicest musician in the world.

I came away from this Tiny Desk Concert really enjoying Jim White and wanting to hear more from him.

[READ: December 15, 2013] The Braindead Megaphone

This is Saunders’ first collection of essays and non-fiction.  At some point, I stated that I thought I would enjoy his non-fiction more than his fiction.  That is both true and not. I enjoyed his “reporting” essays (from GQ) quite a lot.  But I found his shorter, sillier pieces to be a but too much.  Nevertheless, he is an inquisitive reporter, looking for truth and traveling far and wide to find it (even braving the depths of FOX news). It’s a good collection and only slightly dated.

The Braindead Megaphone
This essay seemed a bit like a blunt instrument hitting a soft object.  Although 2007 is seven years ago, I feel like the subjects (dumb newscasters) were pretty soft even then.  However, it’s entirely possible that people who were apolitical or just simply not that interested in what obnoxious outlets like FOX were doing may not have been entirely aware that the Braindead Megaphone (ie. all news outlets) were not doing us any favors with their spouting of nonsense and being incurious about where stories are really news worthy or even accurate.  I imagine this is mostly just preaching to the converted.  I was a little worried that the whole book would be just as unsubtle, but that proved to be a foundless worry.  This is not to say that I didn’t agree with everything he said in this essay.  He was spot on.  And often he was pretty funny too. (more…)

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