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Archive for the ‘Marc Nesbitt’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: POLO G.-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #106 (November 4, 2020).

I love that they play this Tiny Desk at a (socially distanced) basketball court.  The band are all wearing Lakers jerseys.

I love the live band in this set.  They are amazing and totally make the Concert worth hearing.

Polo G’s eyes are hidden behind his hair for the majority of his performance, but as he sings “I’m so sick of farewells and RIPs” on his latest single, “Epidemic,” it becomes clear that this 21-year-old Chicago emcee is going through a lot. I found it refreshing to hear a rapper normally backed by beats bare his “heart and soul” with a live band.

I had never heard of Polo G.

The man born Taurus Bartlett has achieved quite a bit for a relative newcomer in hip-hop. This summer he was selected for XXL’s popular Freshman Class cover. His second LP, The Goat, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard‘s Hot 200 and spawned two platinum-certified singles, including the braggadocious “Flex” that kicks off his Tiny Desk.

“Flex” is impressive for the virtually nonstop rapping that he does.  His delivery is fast and he never seems to come up for air.  There’s some soft echoing guitar throughout, although it never really changes.  But there’s a wild drum fill right at the end of the song.

Speaking of “heart and soul,” it amused me to hear him say he really put his heart and soul into this song, as if he doesn’t for the other ones.  And really, can’t you feel the heart and soul in lines like

Once you give my pussy up, it’s over with
Miss who you used to be, ’cause that’s who I was closer with
I’m in my bag, now I act like I don’t know the bitch

Before the final song he says that he was fortunate enough to play it with Bruce Hornsby.  “Wishing For A Hero” has the piano melody from “The Way It Is.”  He raps over it very quickly.  After his verse and chorus the backing singers (Shaunise Harris, Candice Boyd, Nava Morris) croon “the way it is” for a few more bars and then Polo G. walks off.

And that’s when the Concert really takes off!

The band jams for a bit, with a brief, thrashing drum solo from Vasjon Hill, followed by a little bass solo from Austin Cain and and some guitar shredding from Chris McCorkle.  When keyboardist Lamar Edwards gets his solo, it’s mixed a little too quietly  But they really jam out an have a good time.  I wish it was longer.  It’s almost a shame that polo G. is out there at all.

[READ: November 28, 2020] “Gigantic” 

This was one of those stories that seemed to try to turn me off right away.

It starts at a zoo.  But not a real zoo, more of a zoo behind the zoo, where the cast off animals go.  My understanding now is that zoos take good care of their animals (at least that’s what it seems).  Perhaps twenty years ago, near Camden Yards, things were different.

So the first page of the story is really gruesome and hard to read.  The narrator is named Fiddy, and he’s pretty awful.  But he’s not as bad as the guy who runs the zoo (Uncle Don) or the guy who works with Fiddy (Don’s nephew Dewey).  Dewey is the worst.  When Uncle Don has a complaint about something, Dewey blames Fiddy and Fiddy is fired. (more…)

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12SOUNDTRACK: FRANK OCEAN-“Bad Religion” (2012).

frankoI didn’t know anything about Frank Ocean until I started looking at all of the  Best Albums of 2012 lists.  He was on everyone’s list and was pretty near the top of all of them.  So it was time to check him out.

It  turns out that he’s affiliated with the Odd Future collective, whom I’ve talked about in the past.  But he’s also been on a lot of big name records.  Channel Orange is his debut album (that’s not a mixtape) and the big surprise seems to be that this song (which he sang live on Jimmy Fallon) is about a male lover.  And I guess that’s progress.

So Ocean sings a slow R&B style, and I have to say his voice reminds me of Prince a lot.  Which is a good thing.  I really like this song.    It has gospelly keyboards (but in that Purple Rain kinda way).  And a really aching vocal line.  It’s really effective and it’s really simple.  And I think that’s what I liked best about this song and others that I’ve heard–he’s really understated.  Crazy, I know.

Now I do not like R&B, it’s one of the few genres that I just don;t get.  And yet there’s something about this album (the tracks I’ve listened to) that is really compelling.  It’s not awash in over the top R&B trappings, and it doesn’t try too hard.  It’s just Frank  (not his real name) and his voice over some simple beats.  A friend of mine recently said that all of a sudden she “got” this album, and  I think I may have to get it as well.

[READ: December 30, 2012] McSweeney’s #12

At the beginning of 2012, I said I’d read all of my old McSweeney’s issues this year.  I didn’t.  Indeed, I put it off for quite a while for no especial reason.  Now as the year draws to an end, I’m annoyed that I didn’t read them all, but it’s not like I read nothing.  Nevertheless, I managed to read a few in the last month and am delighted that I finished this one just under the wire.  For those keeping track, the only issues left are 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 10, 38, (which I misplaced but have found again) and 42, which just arrived today.  My new plan in to have those first four read by Easter.  We’ll see.

So Issue #12 returns to a number of different fun ideas.  The cover:  It’s a paperback, but you can manipulate the front and back covers to make a very cool 3-D effect (by looking through two eyeholes) with a hippo.  The colophon/editor’s note is also back.  Someone had complained that he missed the small print ramble in the beginning of the book and so it is back, with the writer (Eggers? Horowitz?) sitting in Wales, in a B&B, and hating it.  It’s very funny and a welcome return.

As the title suggests, all of the stories here are from unpublished authors.  They debate about what exactly unpublished means, and come down on the side of not well known.  And so that’s what we have here, first time (for the mos part) stories.  And Roddy Doyle.

There are some other interesting things in this issue.  The pages come in four colors–each for a different section.  The Letters/Intro page [white], the main stories [pink], the Roddy Doyle piece (he’s not unpublished after all so he gets his own section) [gray] and the twenty minute stories [yellow].  There’s also photographs (with captions) of Yuri Gagarin.  And a series of drawing that introduce each story called “Dancewriting”–a stick figure on a five-lined staff.  They’re interesting but hard to fathom fully.

LETTERS (more…)

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