Archive for the ‘Samantha Schweblin’ Category

 SOUNDTRACK: MARLON WILLIAMS-Tiny Desk Concert #705 (February 12, 2018). 

Bob Boilen has such nice things to say about Marlon Williams, that I’m leaving most of the blurb.  I found his voice to be lovely but didn’t enjoy his music quite as much as Bob did.

Marlon Williams, the 27-year old, New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based singer is in love with a good, traditional blues or country tune and that’s just how he opens this Tiny Desk Concert, with a song called “When I Was A Young Girl” (also known traditionally as “One Morning In May” or “The Bad Girl’s Lament”). …  Williams’ rendition is more stunning than any version I’ve heard with its long, deep-throated incantations. The purity of Marlon Williams’ voice is rare and entrancing.

He reminded me a lot of Antony on this song–deep and resonating and slow.  The song is quite earthy (drinking in ale houses) for such a soaring delivery.

After that first tune, performed solo with just his acoustic guitar, he strapped on his electric guitar, brought out his band, snapped his fingers to set the beat and sang about being stoned and running around Los Angeles dressed as a vampire. At the time of our taping, back in October of last year, “Vampire Again” was the newest song since Marlon Williams’ 2016, self-titled release.

Marlon adds some weird and noisy guitar solos throughout the piece.  But I am mostly taken aback by these lyrics:

I am happy to reveal
I can smell you from 100 yards (SNIFF) fresh white linen
Felt like only  yesterday I was as weak as Woody Allen
Now I stand proud and tall as the home that you were born

The end of the song is a crazy cacophony of vibratos and buzzy synths, like a wild surf rock party.

He launched into a tune we’d not heard before. He calls “What’s Chasing You” a song about horror films, but it sounds like a 1950s tune about unrequited love.

This was a fun, simply fifties sounding tune with nice harmonies.

I can’t help but hear Steve Coogan in the way he introduces the next song.

The brilliant session ends as the band gathered around a single microphone for another new tune called “Make Way For Love.” We now know it’s the title track to Marlon Williams’ forthcoming album and it reveals an intimacy at the heart of what makes him such a magnetic artist.

This also sounds like it would fit n perfectly in a 1950s romantic movie–especially when the other guys (David Khan (electric guitar); Benjamin Woolley (bass); Angus Agars (drums)) sing gentle backing vocals.

[READ: June 26, 2017] “Irman”

I enjoyed a story from Schweblin a few months ago, but I did not like this one.  This one was also translated from the Spanish by one of my favorite translators Megan McDowell.

This is one of those stories that frustrates me with unreality in a real setting.

As the story begins, the narrator is very thirsty but her husband(?) Oliver is driving so they can’t stop (!).  They finally get to a truck stop but it is empty.  The restaurant was big and I “desperately needed to drink something.”  [So just go to the bathroom and get water, then].

A short man in an apron appeared and although he seemed to be the water he looked suspicious.  Oliver ordered drinks but the man didn’t say anything.  When Oliver asked if they could have something fresh and quick the man said yes as if “something fresh and quick were an option on the menu.”  I liked that line. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: HOLLY MACVE-Tiny Desk Concert #630 (June 23, 2017).

If you were to ask me to pick all of the things I dislike about country music and put them into one artist it would be Holly Macve.

Her songs are slow, really slow (her three songs last sixteen minutes and she’s not chatty between them).  She sings with a thick country accent (which is especially strange since she is from England (!).  She’s got a yodeling quality to her singing which I also don’t care for.

I don’t like to bring appearance into a music criticism, but in this video, I can also say that it bugs me that he hair never moves and her mouth barely opens, which I find very disconcerting.

So she sings three songs.  On “No One Has The Answers,” and “The Corner Of My Mind” she plays guitar and sings.  “Corner” also features a slide guitar. For “Golden Eagle” she plays on piano which gives it a slightly different tone–more gospel than country, but good lord it was endless. I thought it was over and saw there were three more minutes left in the song.

She sang a South X Lullaby for NPR a few years back and I was on the fence but favorable.  But I said she might be too country for me.  And I was right.

The band: Holly Macve (vocals, guitar, piano); Tommy Ashby (guitar); Michael Blackwell (bass); David Dyson (drums)

[READ: June 26, 2017] “The Size of Things”

I really enjoyed this story although I found it surprisingly sad.

This is translated from the Spanish by one of my favorite translators Megan McDowell, but I’m not exactly sure where it is set.

The story is from the point of view of a toy shop owner.  He says that he knew Enrique Duvel had inherited a lot of money but also that he still lived with his mother.  He would often drive around in his convertible looking self-absorbed.  But then one night the narrator caught Duvel peeking into the toy store.

Eventually Duvel did come in the store and he bought a model plane kit.  Then he proceeded to come back every few days to buy another kit.  After some more time, Duvel appeared at the door as the narrator was closing up and, looking at he narrator, he said, “It’s best if I stay here.”  Duvel said his mother doesn’t want to see him again and repeated “I’d best stay here.” (more…)

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