Archive for the ‘Thomas McGuane’ Category

923SOUNDTRACK: BERLIN-Information (1980).

berlWho knew that Berlin made an album without Terri Nunn?  Back in 1980, Terri Nunn had sung with Berlin and had even released a couple of singles with them.  Then she decided to try out acting.  The replaced her with Virginia Macolino.

This debut album is very new wave with a mild punk edge.  Their music is all synth but with a lot of jagged edges.

Terri Nunn’s voice is pretty distinctive, but Macolino sings in that same range.  She adds in a squeaky falsetto and an occasional Valley Girl twang.

Given the really smooth, polished sound of their later albums (“Take My Breath Away”), this album is really jagged feeling.  The synth sounds they chose are often weird and mechanical.  And Macolino sings in a distinctive robotic way.  There’s also a lot of processed vocals (the men I assume) adding even more of a technological bent.

It would be interesting to see where they would have gone with this style in mind.  But they went a bit more poppy a bit slicker and they brought Terri Nunn back.  The rest is 80s history.

[READ: September 20, 2019] “Wide Spot”

I really enjoyed the way this brief story unfolded.

The narrator is a local politician.  He tours local small towns to make sure he gets people to vote.  He stops in at Wide Spot, which was the county seat.  It was once a slightly less run down place.

When he was younger, the narrator had been in a band called the Daft.  They always ended their little tours in Wide Spot.  He wasn’t a very good keyboard player and the lead singer of the band, Calum had gone to L.A. to seek his fortunes solo.

He was in Wide Spot looking for Cornel Bowen, a donor who he wanted to touch base with.  Although Cornel proves to be less than helpful, he does reveal that Calum is still in town. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: FILASTINE-“Btalla” and “Dance of the Garbagemen.” (Field Recordings, April 4, 2012).

When I first saw the title of this Field Recording, [Filastine And The Cathedral Of Junk], I assumed it was going to be all found sounds.  So I was surpirsed that there was so much electronic music.

“Btalla” starts with some electronic drums and noises and Grey Filastine playing the hand drum–a very nice organic component. Its also surprising that the other musician is a cellist. She is almost lost in the din, but you can hear her slow notes throughout the piece–until he starts manipulating her sounds in very cool ways.

He’d say he was a radical before he’d say he was a musician — a laptop artist with a love of grit and noise. Grey Filastine, once based in Seattle but now a nomad loosely based in Barcelona, is a creative soul. He seems to also love a good party, a beat and a shopping cart wired for sound.

For the second piece, “Dance of the Garbagemen.”, it’s just him manipulating sounds and then using a shopping cart for added percussion.

With that in mind, we asked Filastine to perform at a junkyard in Austin — not just any junkyard, either, but a place called “The Cathedral of Junk.” It’s a home for more than 60 tons of unwanted consumer has-been items, transformed into art installations by Vince Hannemann.

With a song title like that and the location he’s in, it feels like something of a lost opportunity that he doesn’t use a lot more junk.  But it is fun to see him make music from and amid refuse (and art).

[READ: November 15, 2017] “Riddle”

This was yet another story that I felt was just kind of a big, What?  There’s a lot of action, but the story seems to stay in the mind of the protagonist who has other things to think about.

The whole story is told in this haze of confusion: “I must have been renting a place on H Street.”  “I was an architect.”  He talks about the area being slowly abandoned and his upstairs neighbor walking up a rickety outdoor staircase.  But all of these details seem irrelevant to the story.

He says he went drinking and came out of the bar only to see a “crippled old cowboy” walking the street.  He had seen the man before and he thought there weren’t many people like him left in town.  But then he heard a young boy, an urchin call out Hey Jack!  They seemed to experience pure joy talking to each other.  The narrator was quite taken with it. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO-Tiny Desk Concert #789 (September 21, 2018).

The first thing you see when you look at this Tiny Desk Concert is the amazing harpsichord–large and decorated like an old-fashioned leather-bound book.  It is stunning.

But you’re only likely to notice it if you haven’t first heard Costanzo’s voice and then had a look at him.

A word about Costanzo’s voice. He is a countertenor, a man who sings in the range of a female alto. The roots of the tradition date way back to the 1500s, when young male singers, called “castrati,” were castrated in order to preserve their high, flexible voices.

“I’ve managed to do it without castration,” Costanzo joked to the audience of NPR staffers. These days, countertenors sing in falsetto, and while as recently as 30 years ago it was considered something of an androgynous novelty, now countertenors are part and parcel of the opera world.

The music is exceptional and is wonderfully modern with that classical feel that opera naturally seems to add.

Costanzo performs songs from his new album, which pairs music by George Frideric Handel with Philip Glass. Strange bedfellows perhaps, and born more than 250 years apart, but somehow Glass’ repetitive, staccato beats and Handel’s long, flowing melodies manage to shake hands across the centuries.

The first piece is by Philip Glass.  And the music sounds like perfect chamber pop.  The flute plays the Glassian up and down melody while the bassoon plays the wonderful, peculiar bass notes.

One obvious common thread is the arrangements, by Nicholas DeMaison, that Costanzo commissioned expressly for this performance, featuring harpsichordist Bryan Wagorn (playing a beautiful double-manual French-styled instrument built by Thomas and Barbara Wolf), along with flutist Alice Teyssier and bassoonist Rebekah Heller.

Glass’ “Liquid Days,” begins with a recitative introduction, similar to a Handel aria. But the lyrics, by David Byrne, depict love, in all its quotidian splendor.

It is somewhat strange to hear a countertenor (or even if he were a female singing alto) singing lyrics in English.  His voice is truly amazing.

It is even more peculiar to hear the word “television.”  But Byrne’s lyrics are pretty awesome:

We are old friends
I offer love a beer
Love watches television

Love needs a bath
Love could use a shave
Love rolls out of the chair and wiggles on the floor
Jumps up
I’m laughing at love
I’m laughing at love

And all the while Costanzo’s voice sounds operatic, serious, significant.

Costanzo’s agile voice, with its polished tone and patrician phrasing, is a singular reminder that we live in a golden age of countertenors – guys who sing high in music both ancient and modern.

Up next is Handel’s “Pena tiranna” (From ‘Amadigi di Gaula’) which means, I have a tyrannous pain in my heart and I can never hope to find peace.  It opens with harpsichord and bassoon, a wonderful combination.  The flute then enters to play a harmony with his voice.

“Pena tiranna,” from Handel’s undervalued Amadigi di Gaula, is a compelling example of how well the composer can spin a gorgeous melody to evoke the deepest anguish.

The final piece is from Glass: “In the Arc of Your Mallet” (from ‘Monsters of Grace’)” which has a text by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi.  It speaks of longing in sexy undertones.  He says that in this translation brings out the strange, layered longing–sometimes dirty–meaning under the surface.

Anthony Roth Costanzo is a feisty performer who knows a thing or two about busting down barriers in classical music. After all, opera singers don’t normally belt out arias behind office desks, and they don’t insist on lugging harpsichords with them. They also don’t routinely sing in Bronx middle school classrooms and get students talking about emotions. But Costanzo is fearless. (And after seeing this amazing Tiny Desk performance, watch him melt the hearts of distracted sixth-graders.)

[READ: January 9, 2017] “The Driver”

I never anticipated where this story was going.  And the direction it took to get there was really interesting.

It begins with the story of Mrs Quantrill, a respectable woman who managed to get their house listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places.  She and her husband were philanthropists and they threw legendary parties.

There’s an aside that says when their son Spencer inherited the house, he demolished it and replaced it with storage units.

But at the time of this story Spencer is 9 years old.  And Mrs Quantrill has been called into the principal’s office because Spencer is struggling.  Spencer is nervous and doesn’t know what to do with his, feet, his eyes or his hands. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: HALEY HEYNDERICKX-Tiny Desk Concert #772 (August 3, 2018).

Haley Heynderickx (presumably not her native spelling) is an NPR Slingshot atist-a new person that they are following and promoting.  So it’s no surprise to see her at the Tiny Desk.

Unlike her solo acoustic releases, which are quiet, mostly solemn affairs, Haley Heynderickx came to NPR’s Tiny Desk with her band: Denzel Mendoza on trombone, Lily Breshears on Moog bass, and Phil Rogers on drums. They opened with the song that is most out of character for Haley.

She opens by saying “recently we learned that oom means mother and shalala means water fall so here’s wishing you mothers and waterfalls.”  She has a very high and quiet speaking voice that matches her singing voice quite well.

I know “Oom Sha La La” from NPR playing it.  I enjoy the way it gets frantic in the middle after the mellow rest of the song.  The addition of the (to me surprising) trombone, is pretty cool and adds an interesting texture.

She says, “The goal of that song is to feel embarrassed so if you felt embarrassed singing along, thank you.”

Turns out “Oom Sha La La” was

a song she wrote as part of a song challenge and she challenged the crowd here at NPR to a sing-a-long. We didn’t do so well, it was early in the day — but this song about self-doubt and searching for life’s meaning with its cathartic phrase “I need to start a garden” (which is also the title to her 2018 debut) is a potent reminder to take action when life gets bewildering.

She then asks for five seconds of intimate eye contact with the camera to show the people back home that we love them.  [The band stares at the camera].

The second song, “No Face,” is a reminder to love people as kindly as you can; otherwise you’ll wind up like the character No Face from the Hayao Miyazaki film Spirited Away.  This is a pretty song that begins with just her guitar and Mendoza’s trombone.  It eventually adds drums and bass.

In introducing the final song, “Worth It,” Haley Heynderickx told the Tiny Desk crowd that it was written in a basement with the belief that it would never leave that basement.

This has the best guitar lick of her three songs.  It’s a cool meandering song that lasts almost seven minutes.

The opening riff and Haley’s ooh’s are quite pretty.  After a couple of verses, the drums come in and the song picks up into a straight up garage rocker emphasizing a nice riff.

It seems like the song will continue like that, but it returns to the opening melody and oohs once again.

The third part is a bit faster but feels more like variant of the other two parts.  Towards the end Haley and Lily sing some gorgeous harmonies.  The end of thee song slows things down to just quiet guitar and their harmonies until they fill it out ounce more with drums, trombone (a lovely denouement solo) and gorgeous vocals.

[READ: January 4, 2017] “Papaya”

This set up in an interesting way.  I didn’t enjoy the first part, but the second part was pretty fascinating and made me re-read the first part, which I enjoyed more on the second read.

The story is about Errol Healy.  As the story begins, he is an elderly man, refusing to retire, but visiting his daughter and grandchild regularly.  But every time he does, he hurries back to his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

As this first part ends, we see him sharing a meal with Dr. Higueros.  He and the doctor met as refugees–Dr Higueros and his wife from the north coast of Cuba and Errol from a kind of captivity in the Bahamas.

The second part flashes back to the captivity. (more…)

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815SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-New Album (2011).

In 2011, Boris released three albums at roughly the same time.  The three albums are linked because they share tracks (usually very different versions, sometimes radically different).  And, of course, the CD and LP feature different versions of several tracks (but none seem to have a different cover).

New Album shares the songs “Hope,” “Party Boy” and “Spoon” with Attention Please. 
New Album shares the tracks “Jackson Head” and “Tu, La La” with Heavy Rocks.
Heavy Rocks
shares the tracks “Aileron” with Attention Please, although it is radically different.

Sargent House CD (Total length: 50:10).  Interestingly, this American release is longer than the other two.  It is quite poppy with some heavier elements.  There’s a lot of songs that could even be considered dancey (!).

“Flare” 5:04 opens with sirens blaring and a gentle electronic introduction a song bursts forth that feels like total J-pop.  A little heavy (in parts) but this is really dancey.  There’s a great Wata solo in the middle and a rather heavy ending.  The percussion throughout is very mechanical sounding like ea car engine sputtering.  It’s a remarkable sound for Boris.

“Hope” 3:43 is a poppy / shoegazey song sung by Wata. It’s synthy (with trippy synth sound effects  throughout).  It’s slick and catchy.  The version of Attention Please is a more organic, with strings instead of electronics.

“Party Boy” 3:48 opens with a synthy riff and thumping bass drums.  It is the catchiest thing they’re released with a really poppy chorus and interesting swirling synths around the vocals.  There’s even a harp in the middle of the song.  The version on Attention Please is much heavier with a buzzy bass guitar and almost no synths.

“Luna” 8:29 has fast electronic drums and processed Wata backing vocals.  It is super techno sounding.  The middle section is an instrumental with electronics that sound very Eastern (sped up, but that kind of scale).  It’s followed by some heavy guitars and pounding drums.  A ripping staccato guitar solo follows.  There’s even a few moments that sound like Sigur Rós.  Why the song “Black Original” didn’t make this album but is on the Japanese versions is a mystery to me.

“Spoon” 4:29 Opening with single keyboard notes over a pounding drums and distorted guitars, this song sung by Wata is fluid and catchy.  It’s the most shoegazey thing they’ve done so far.  There’s a total Stereolab vibe in this song.  The ending features a series of intense ascending chords.  The version on Attention Please has no synths, just shoegaze guitars.

“Pardon?” 6:00 The song opens with woozy electronic but soon changes to very gentle guitars and an almost jazzy bassline.  The whispered vocals are downright soothing.  There’s a trippy almost delicate guitar solo that runs through until the end.

“Jackson Head” 3:11 This is the most punk song on the record, but it’s electronic punk with very dark synths.  The lyrics are shouted with a repeated chant of “Jackson Head.”  The solo sounds like single, distorted snyth notes under the pulsing of the rhythm.  The version on Heavy Rocks is less synth menace, although it does sprinkle trippy synths throughout the song.

“Les Paul Custom ’86” 4:10 A whispered vocal over a thumping potential dance beat.  When Wata takes over vocals the song changes style, but only slightly.  Distant synths enter the song and try to install a melody on it, but it seems to be fighting everything else.  Wata’s spoken “echo” echos around your heads in a cool swirl (if you wear headphones).

“Tu, La La” 4:15 “Tu La La” has the best riff of any Boris song, It is fast and catchy and really interesting.  This version has strings that kind of overwhelm the greatness of the riff. (I prefer the version on Heavy Rocks)  The end of this version has an intense buildup of staccato strings.

“Looprider” 7:01 is a quiet song with a slow bassline and interesting guitar lines.   The last minute or so is fast synths, building and building with a siren effect that echoes the start of the album.

This is a pretty unexpected release from the band who created Heavy Rocks and Amplifier Worship, but I think it’s a great addition to their catalog.

For comparison sake:

Daymare LP Total length:       45:40

  1. “フレア (Vinyl Version)” (“Flare”; features introduction quoting the end of “Looprider”) 5:02
  2. “希望 -Hope-” 3:40
  3. “Party Boy (Vinyl Version)” 3:43
  4. “Black Original (Vinyl Version)” 4:33
  5. “Pardon?” 5:54
  6. “Spoon” 4:23
  7. “ジャクソンヘッド” (“Jackson Head”) 3:09
  8. “黒っぽいギター (Vinyl Version)” (“Dark Guitar”; English title “Les Paul Custom ’86”) 4:06
  9. “Tu, la la” 4:11
  10. “Looprider (Vinyl Version)” 6:59

Tearbridge CD Total length:       45:39

  1. “Party Boy” 3:49
  2. “希望 -Hope-” 3:43
  3. “フレア” (“Flare”) 4:21
  4. “Black Original” 4:27
  5. “Pardon?” 5:59
  6. “Spoon” 4:28
  7. “ジャクソンヘッド” (“Jackson Head”) 3:12
  8. “黒っぽいギター” (“Dark Guitar”; English title “Les Paul Custom ’86”) 4:09
  9. “Tu, la la” 4:15
  10. “Looprider” 7:13

[READ: February 5, 2016] “Fall River”

This was the 2015 New Yorker fiction issue.  It featured several stories and several one-page essays from writers I like.  The subject this time was “Time Travel.”

For this essay McGuane travels back to 1955 to his grandmother’s house in Fall River section of Boston.

He says there is little compassion between the duchies of this town.  The Irish Catholics dominate every neighborhood, with each having its own church.  But eventually Irish Catholic men like his uncles started showing interest in the Italian, French Canadian and Jewish girls–going so far as to marry some of them.

He wants to go back there to 1955 when there were half as many people and each town had its own personality.  The ragman is known as “the sheeny” and he imagines that the sheeny is a soon-to-be-famous sculptor.  He brings up a lot of other single incidents, like the “Portagee” boy who came to exact revenge on the author;s brother for breaking his arm.  Or how Emeril Lagasse comes from “up the Flint.”  There’s Cockney immigrants Down Almy Street who are known as “jicks” (a one-size-fits-all Irish insult). (more…)

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ny98SOUNDTRACK: PRIMUS-“Me Llamo Mud” (2010).

me llamo mudThis recording is out of chronological sequence, because it is a re-recording of Primus’ hit “My Name is Mud” done in Spanish.

The big surprise for me was just how different the song sounds–it was recorded in a very different way with the instruments sounding much crisper.  The bass in particular is recorded quite differently.  And Brain is on drums instead of Tim Alexander, although I don’t think their styles are very different on this song.  But I love that those seemingly random guitar parts from Ler are played the same (even if they are recorded differently too).

It’s also impressive to hear Les forcing all those Spanish syllables into his fast wordplay.

¿Adonde va el chico de la ciudad?

[READ: January 7, 2015] “Motherlode”

I tend to think of McGuane’s stories as dark, and this one is no exception.

We start by looking at David Jenkins.  He is in a hotel room with his stetson on.  He goes to get some lunch and while he eats, he gets the sense that a man is watching him closely.

As David walks out to his car, Ray, the man who was looking at David, pulls a gun and says that David is going to take them for a drive.  They have an awkward two-hour road trip ahead of them.  Ray uses David’s cell phone to call his girl, whose name is Morsel (I don’t know why that tickled me so much).  After about two hours of driving a man in a small plane lands in front of them on the road and says they’ve missed the turn.  David backs up and heads down the “road” to a small house. (more…)

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47_2_(1) SOUNDTRACK: MARY MARGARET O’HARA-Christmas E.P. (1991)

marymarMary Margaret O’Hara is a fascinating recluse.  She released a cool, weird  album in 1988 then did nothing for three years when she released this Christmas EP.  Since then she hasn’t really released anything (except for a soundtrack).

O’Hara’s voice is her most notable feature (she warbles and swoons and is almost otherworldly–sometimes crazily so).  She is the backing shrieker in Morrissey’s “November Spawned a Monster.”  So one expects a pretty weird Christmas album from her.

 But it’s actually fairly conventional and I have to admit a bit dull.  “Blue Christmas” is just too slow for me.  O Hara’s voice doesn’t have any oomph here.  The cheesy violin solo doesn’t help either.  “Silent Night” is, I feel, too pretty of a song for O’Hara’s voice which wobbles in weird ways for this track.  “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?” suffers from the same as everything else on this disc–it’s too slow and languid.  I know this song can be wistful, but I need this to be faster.  “Christmas Evermore” fares the best on this disc because it isn’t familiar (to me).  The music is a bit more uptempo (if still eccentric).  And you don’t have other version to compare it to.

So, overall this proves to be a somewhat disappointing EP.

[READ: December 5, 2014] McSweeney’s 47

I love McSweeney’s issues that come in boxes with lots of little booklets.  It somehow makes it more fun to read the stories when they are in little booklets with individual covers.  In this instance, all of the booklets look basically the same–ten different cool pencil (and red) drawings on the cover done by Carson Murdach and a red back cover.  The outer slipcase art is by Jason Polan.

There are ten booklets.  One has a few letters and the rest are short stories.  There’s even a surprise in here–the very exciting discovery of two lost Shirley Jackson stories.  But there’s also the slightly disappointing realization that two of the books contain excerpts from McSweeney’s books (which I already own).

LETTERS: (more…)

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SCV1_TNY_04_21_14Brunetti.inddOUNDTRACK: JUANA MOLINA-Tiny Desk Concert #361 (May 31, 2014).

juana I had heard of Juana Molina but had never heard anything she sang. In fact I didn’t really know anything about her. So, she’s from Buenos Aires and is 51 this year. She has released 6 albums. I don’t know if they all sound like this, but these threes songs are really cool and interesting. The sounds are wholly unexpected—weird effects on guitar and on keyboard. Interesting samples (played by all three members) and delightfully odd backing vocals all accompany Molina’s pretty voice (she sings mostly in Spanish).

   “Eras” opens with a stuttering guitar line that proves to be not a guitar at all. By the time the song moves along there’s a groovy guitar line, spare vocals (at one point counting mostly in Spanish uno tres cuatro cinco seis (yes there’s no dos)) and a very catchy chorus.

   “Wed 21” has an insane guitar riff that in addition to being unusual in itself is also crazily wobbly. Then there’s processed vocals which act almost as a percussion instrument.  All of this once again leads to a super catchy chorus.  When the strange noises reappear after the chorus it sounds even more peculiar.

Molina proves to be very familiar with the Tiny Desk Concerts.  She is excited to be there, which is always fun to see in a performer. She also says that now she knows what people are looking at when the scan the audience.

   The same odd vibrato guitar opens “Sin Guia, No” as well. After a slinky voice (Molina’s voice is delicate and whispery for much of the songs but can get big and loud as needed) with some interesting backing vocals (that sound like they are coming from a well), Molina adds a new guitar line to the mix.  There’s a lot of music coming from this trio.  And I like it a lot.

[READ: June 4, 2014] “Hubcaps”

Stories about 70s families are pretty much always sad.  In the decade of smoking and drinking parents and of neglected children, there’s never going to be happiness there.  Although there is sometimes comedy.  And yet for all of the sadness of the fictionalized decade, I often enjoy reading about it.

This story opens with Owen knowing that when his parents break open their first cocktails in the later afternoon, that’s pretty much the end of the night for them–and a chance for Owen to sneak out.  Mostly he goes to the homemade baseball field(!) of his friends the Kershaws.  The oldest Kershaw boy is a good athlete, the middle one is working on his paper route and the youngest is physically and mentally challenged.  But they all love baseball, especially the youngest, Ben.  And given his specialness, he is excellent at remembering statistics of baseball.  Owen finds his knowledge fascinating, so he hangs around with him on the bus and sometimes after school.  Ben is also pretty good at baseball, so he is always picked for a team.  As is Owen.  It seems idyllic, except for Owen’s family life.

But Owen manages to catch and raise some tiny turtles (don’t get too attached to them). (more…)

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CV1_TNY_11_04_13Brunetti.inddSOUNDTRACK: GRIPE-“Man vs Cop” CHULO-“Hombre vs Tombo” Split Single (2012).

chuloI downloaded the Gripe album yesterday and then saw this split single.  It has two songs which total 59 seconds.

Gripe has like a typical grindcore sound–pummeling and tinny.  All 32 seconds of “Man vs Cop” contain a pummeling riff, screamed vocals and even a ride cymbal at some point.

I was more intrigued by Chulo because I was surprised at how different a band could sound within the same limited soundscape of grindcore.  The big difference for me was the real presence of a bass guitar.  As “Hombre vs Tombo” opens, there’s a few seconds of pummeling sound (although their snare drum sounds more like a bongo) and then the sound drops out and there’s a cool heavy bass sound (for two notes).  Then the pummeling resumes, although again, much more bass heavy.  The other big difference is that they sing in Spanish.  I’m curious to know if that slightly different sound is a Latin American sound for grindcore or if it is just their own.

If you have a minute you can listen (or download for free) the single here.

[READ: January 7, 2014] “Weight Watchers”

This story began in a very weird way.  In it, an adult’s father has been kicked out of his house because his wife is mad that he now weighs more than 250 pounds.  Something that she has done on multiple occasions.  I find this reason/excuse so incomprehensible that it really impacted the rest of my reading this story.  This “problem” did put things in motion but was more or less ignored through the story and it seems that there were other more pressing issues that they needed to worry about.

When we meet the father, he has come to stay with his son. He believed that anything “done for pleasure was escapism.”  So we learn he has no tolerance for pleasure, except “when it came to seducing his secretaries and most of my mother’s friends.” Then we learn that his mother got pregnant as soon as she could when his father got back from the war because she figured that would get him to settle down.  his father basically resented him for his whole life.  So I guess the whole family is screwed up.

Especially when we find out that the son has witnessed all manner of “disturbances,” meaning his parents’ infidelities, in their house.  One of them was a very weird scene of food and eroticism.  Ew. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_06_24_13McGuire.inddSOUNDTRACK: NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS-Live at SXSW [excerpt] (2013).

caveNick cave performed at SXSW and NPR was there to record the show.

But for reasons only some people know, we only get to hear three of the songs. (Well, technically you can hear the whole thing here, but they only had three songs available for download–the video for which is also at the above link)

“Jubilee Street” builds from a slow piece to a wild and raucous explosion.  It is perfect Nick Cave.  I liked the record’s version okay, but man, live the Seeds just do no wrong—this version is better than the record by a long shot.  “From Her to Eternity” is a blast of excitement belying the age of the song (and of the performers).  It sounds as fresh and raging as it ever did.  “Push the Sky Away” ended the set, and it is a perfect ending to a show.  It’s an atmospheric masterpiece—moody and evocative, stark and enveloping—perfect in this live setting.

I was supposed to see Nick Cave live right after 9/11, but he cancelled his show.  I feel like I missed out on a good one. Maybe I’ll be able to catch him next time.

[READ: July 29, 2013] “Stars”

This story has got to be an excerpt.  There’s just way too much going on and a completely unsatisfying ending for it to be a short story.

As it opens, Jessica is walking through the mountains of Cascade Creek.  She is pleased to be alone—she is something of a misanthropist [“She didn’t play well with others.”].  But as she reaches a meadow, she sees a wolf trapped by its back leg to a stake.  And a man with a  gun.  She immediately runs over and tells the man he can’t kill the wolf [the way this section was set up, i knew she would say this and found her reaction unconvincing at best]. To her surprise, the man is soft-spoken and tells her calmly that even if she were to let it go, it would not show her the same mercy.  She says she’d happily shoot him so that he doesn’t shoot the wolf.  So he gives her the gun and says she’ll never do it.  Which she doesn’t.  And then the man kills the wolf.

The scene shifts to a coffee shop early in the morning.  She looks at the people walking around, and those walking their dogs and thinks maybe she would have been better off is she were a dog.  She is simply different from others. She walks fast everywhere—often people think she is rude when she barges past (and I guess she is– someone called her a “douche cannon” which is bizarre and rather amusing).  And yet for all her difficulties, she was currently seeing someone—Andy.  Andy was boyish and light, the opposite of Jessica’s darkness.  She wasn’t sure if Andy had a job (they hadn’t been dating long), but he did have an office—where she discovered he frequently bedded women.  (more…)

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