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Archive for the ‘Coronavirus’ Category

31423478SOUNDTRACK: FABIANO DO NASCIMENTO-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #43 (July 2, 2020).

fasbiFabiano Do Nascimento was born in Brazil and now lives in L.A.  he is an amazing guitar player, creating gorgeous soundscapes–‘an amalgamation of Afro-Brazilian jazz, folklore, bossanova and samba.”

For the first piece, “Nanã,” he plays what I think is a 10 string guitar (the fretboard is so wide!).  he starts a lovely melody and then the screen splits into four.  David Bergaud adds quiet piano and Julien Cantelm adds some complex drum patterns.  The fourth quarter is Fabiano again (it took me a moment to realize it, because he is in a different room).  He plays a lead guitar melody on a tiny ten stringed guitar.

The combination of his overdubbed rhythmic and melodic guitar lines, coupled with the delicate hands of piano player David Bergaud and drummer Julien Cantelm … flow into the first number, “Nanã,” a folkloric composition that “is the spirit that comes from African lineage and represents the forest … and is the primordial mother of earth.”

Up next is “Etude,” a composition by Fabiano inspired by Cuban classical guitar virtuoso Leo Brouwer.

For this piece, he switches to a six string guitar.  He has a different accompaniment.  Adam Ratner plays electric guitar (quietly) and Leo Costa play a some great complex drum (and cymbal) patterns as well as the chocalho.

Both Fabiano and Adam play leads, slow jazzy, pretty, while thr drums really do take much of the action.

Fabiano expresses

love for his motherland Brazil — an “endless foundation of inspiration” — is threaded deeply into the tapestry of his sound and ethos. If you’re looking for a musical moment of zen, this set comes highly recommended.

The final piece “Tributo” is a tribute to Brazilian composer Baden Powell de Aquino.  This piece is for solo guitar.

[READ: June 20, 2020] Make Your Bed

My son completed a leadership training course for the Boy Scouts and he was given this book as a gift.  I was intrigued by the title and because I like the guy who gave it to my son, so I thought I;d read it.

It’s a fast and easy read and I think a younger person (this was originally a college commencement address) could be inspired by it.  I’m a little too set in my ways t make many changes (although I have made sure my bed has been made ever since reading this).

The book is set up in ten chapters: the ten points that he made during the speech.  Each chapter gives a suggestion.  It is followed by the practical origin of that suggestion and then a more intense incident in life in which he used that suggestion. (more…)

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25938055SOUNDTRACK: MALAWI MOUSE BOYS-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #42 (July 1, 2020).

mouseThis Tiny Desk (Home) Concert is from Malawi in Southeastern Africa.  The performer is Nelson Mulligo of the Malawi Mouse Boys.

He only plays one song, but it’s really cool.  Bob Boilen tells us some very important details about the song, the singer and the band.

We see his two-room home in the opening shot where he and his family live without plumbing or electricity. Then we see Nelson, standing below the power lines, holding his homemade guitar singing, “I’m So Tired of You.” It’s a song that sings out the evils of poverty, a life of hard physical work, of making money scavenging for mice amongst boars and snakes so they can sell them as roasted mice shish kabobs along the roadside. We only get one song, and even that cuts off abruptly, but I was deeply moved when producer Ian Brennan (Tinariwen, The Good Ones) sent it my way. He and his wife Marilena Umuhoza Delli met and recorded the Malawi Mouse Boys in 2011. You can hear Ian Brennan tell his story on NPR’s Weekend Edition. If you fall in love with what you hear, give a listen to the entire band harmonize. You can find their music on Bandcamp here. Even though the group played Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD festival in 2015, they still live in poverty. Support what you love.

The song is simple and very catchy with Mulligo’s voice sounding strong and really lovely and his homemade guitar sounding great.

[READ: July 2, 2020] Nichijou 1

This book was recommended to me based on some other manga that I had read.  I didn’t know Keiichi Arawi [あらゐけいいち] or anything about Nichijou, but the cover picture of a classroom full of kids with a deer on one of the desks looked promisingly funny.  As did the comments about the series being delightfully surreal.

It is very surreal.  So much so that I finished the book with a massive question mark hanging over my head.  I literally had no idea what was going on.

When I looked up some information about the series (there are dozens of books and a TV show), I learned some details about what I was reading.  When I re-read it, it made a lot more sense, but was still really bizarre and not easy to follow. (more…)

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36963399SOUNDTRACK: BEAM-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #40 (June 26, 2020).

beamBEAM is a Jamaica-born, Miami-raised reggae artist, whose

father, Papa San, was a dancehall superstar during the late 1980s and early ’90s before becoming a preacher.

BEAM performs four songs, and

the 23-year-old singer and his co-producer and keyboardist, Al Cres, brought a new flair to the Tiny Desk (home) concert series with some unorthodox visual effects.

A guy rapping quickly with a pretty heavy Jamaican accent is pretty hard for me to understand, so I tend to hear phrases like “makes sure you know how to [garbled]” and I think he’s saying NPR a lot.

“SOLDIER” starts the set.

“MAD GAAL,” featured on his 2019 major-label debut, 95, is sure to keep living room dancefloors bumping during the pandemic.

“STRANDED” is a slower, ballad-style song with gentle keys from Al Cres.

He concluded the set with an exclusive: “KUMBAYA”, a fitting song for this moment in history.

It is nice that he included a green screen for visuals.

[READ: July 1, 2020] Bird Trivia

I was looking up books about birds and this book popped up. It seemed like a fun book to check out.  The original subtitle (the one still visible on Goodreads) is “Amazing Facts to Wow Any Bird-Lover.”  This original subtitle REALLY overstates the quality of this book.  The final subtitle is a bit more realistic.

Because this book is okay.  It’s quite short and feels a lot like the forty some pages of  information that Tekiela finds interesting.  It feels like a very personal book (which is good and bad).

I don’t really know what one might expect from a book of bird trivia.  Most bird lovers know a lot of trivia already about their birds (really, isn’t any information about birds trivia?). (more…)

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[POSTPONED: July 1, 2020] Alanis Morissette / Garbage / Liz Phair [moved to September 1, 2021]

indexThis was a show I wasn’t sure about.

I have seen Alanis Morissette a few times live way back in the 90s when she toured with Tori Amos.  I was there for Tori and I don’t really remember much about Alanis (which is sad, I know).

On this tour, I was more interested in seeing Garbage again (they put on a heck of a show) and for checking out Liz Phair who I once liked and now kinda don’t but who I’m curious about what she’s like live.

This was definitely a show I was going to get lawn seats and try to upgrade.

Concerts are now being postponed earlier.

On May 9, Alanis sent out this message

“Hi everyone.  My North American tour scheduled to begin in a few weeks is being rescheduled to Summer 2021 out of an abundance of caution. Please hold on to your tickets as they will be honored for the new dates which we hope to announce very soon.

So much going on inside and outside take care of yourselves and each other.  Thank you for understanding.  Can’t wait to see you when it is safe for us all to gather.  Hand on all hearts til then.”

Garbage wrote this message:

So the @Alanis tour that @garbage and @lizphairofficial were supposed to be tagging along on this summer got postponed yesterday. We are totally gutted and apologise for any heartache caused. We assure you that we have every intention of fulfilling our obligations to Alanis and to any garbage fans who bought tickets in support of us. We appreciate you so. Please head on over to the @Alanis socials in the days ahead for further info. Please note this is not our tour so we have no answers whatsoever about what happens next.
Looking forward to the days when we all get to hangout and play for you.

No official word from Liz Phair that I have seen.

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julyaugust200SOUNDTRACK: HAMILTON LEITHAUSER-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #37 (June 21, 2020).

hammyHamilton Leithauser seems to always be on the periphery of my listening experience. I hear his name a lot and hear his songs a bunch, but I’ve never actually looked for him.

And yet, I like him and his music.  And, indeed, as this blurb says,

This is the most adorable thing you may see all day.

Known best as the The Walkmen singer, Hamilton Leithauser is the singer of The Walkmen, although I know him better for his solo work.

Here he plays songs from his 2020 solo album, The Loves of Your Life.

Leithauser’s voice is a solid folk-singer voice and he hits a lot of high notes (with a deliberate straining style).  “In a Black Out” features his father Mark Leithauser on harmonica.  It’s a very touching Father’s Day moment.

But it’s made even more magical when for “The Garbage Men” he calls out his band: his daughters Georgiana and Frederika Leithauser and his nieces May and Lucy McIntosh.  The kids sing backing ahhs (quite well) and they all enjoy singing “till the garbage men go by!”  They also do the quiet “oohs” very nicely as well.  And they dance on haystacks.

“Here They Come” is about a friend who would go to the movies and sneak into film after film to avoid going home.  The kids sing the lyrics (pretty well) and dance even more adorably for this rocking song.  It’s important not to forget his wife, Anna Stumpf on congas and percussion way in the back for the middle three songs.

His daughter makes fun of him introducing the tiny desk “Dad you sound so stupid” and Hamilton laughs at the mocking.  They also show that they have a tinier tiny desk from the Calico Critters.

Then he introduces “The Stars of Tomorrow” by saying he and his girls met a Polish woman on the beach.  The woman told them her life story (they’d hadn’t asked).  It had a lot of drama and a lot of contradictions.  Everything in the story is true from what he can remember she told him, “but I can’t vouch for her story.”

The final song “Isabella” is, to me, the most Leithauser of the five songs.  A real folks song slow and passionate.  The girls do a fantastic job singing the “they all go riding home” responses in the chorus.  I’m very impressed with how well they sing.

There have been a lot of cute and sweet Tiny Desk’s but none have been as adorable.

[READ: June 23, 2020] “Lottery Poetry”

This month’s issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue and features two pieces of fiction, one memoir and three poems.

The fifth piece is fiction and it is very timely.

Maisy Wu learned fortune-telling from her mah-mah who’d read faces and palms in a stall in Hong Kong.  Maisy had been doing fortunes at college parties and eventually decided to quit her job at the Vancouver Public Library and go public with her talents.

She read palms and offered her own variation on Kau chim or lottery poetry.

Then the pandemic hit. At first people still came–they wanted her reassurances.  But when she was declared nonessential, she was financially hit hard.

She decided to go mobile with her skills, inspired by take out drivers.  She called it Curbside Divinations.  She received some likes on social media but no calls.  She imagined them saying, “If you’re so good at predicting the future, why did you book a  trip to Mexico in March?”

Then she had a request from a man named Pete.   He was a white man in sweats somewhere between forty-five and sixty-five.

She almost lefty when he asked “If you Chinese were so good at predicting the future, how’d you all get us into this in the first place?”

But as she turned to leave, he said he’d already paid.  And she needed the money.  (more…)

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julyaugust200SOUNDTRACK: BENNY THE BUTCHER-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #36 (June 19, 2020).

bennyI’d never heard of Benny the Butcher and when I was listening to his boasts, I assumed that maybe he was really old school.  He makes a crack about Nicki Minaj that made me think he was like 50, but in fact she is older than he is (which is pretty funny).

Benny the Butcher is part of “the triple threat emcee collective from Buffalo, N.Y., consisting of Westside Gunn, Conway, and Benny the Butcher” known as Griselda.  They were supposed to do a Tiny Desk until the coronavirus hit.

Benny the Butcher blessed us with a five-song set from the living room of his current home in Atlanta. (Due to some recording snafus, some of the audio and video in this video doesn’t always sync up.)

I really like when they do five or so songs in under fifteen minutes–it’s like a highlight reel.

There’s something really amusing about these guys rapping some hardcore stuff (the n-word is mentioned about fifty times in 13 minutes) while  they are sitting in a suburban-looking house on a gray couch with plants and baby pictures on the table.  But somehow, without all of the posturing and video effects, i gets you to listen to the words more closely.    And I really liked his lyrics.

“Crown for Kings” is like an old school song full of braggadocio and lots of similes (I assumed it was a twenty year old track) at first, until he rapped

I sat back, a vet, and watched beginners winnin’ my belts
Burned my bridges, came back a good swimmer like Phelps

and then this really funny bit about going to Philly, which includes the Nicki Minaj line

What’s the dealy? I’m only ’bout six hours from Philly
That’s an hour on the plane, I’ll make it three in the Bentley
My bitch keep sayin’ I’m famous, but it ain’t hit me
I’m too ghetto, mellowed out, this Hollywood shit tricky
See, before I knew an A&R, I was weighin’ hard
Back when Nicki Minaj was in a trainin’ bra

and

“Rubber Bands & Weight” was a cool song.  Slow and intense with creepy music.  I really appreciated the slow delivery in this song.  Even though I think the challenge is to see how much you can fit into a verse, sometimes slow gets the point across better.  I also liked that this song had a recognizable chorus and the video included jump cuts of him shouting it out.

For the third track, Benny is joined by Rick Hyde and Heem, two artists on his new BSF label imprint, for a live performance of “Da Mob,” the first single off an upcoming label compilation titled Benny The Butcher & DJ Drama Presents: Gangsta Grillz X BSF Da Respected Sopranos.  This track is dark and distorted sounding.  Hyde’s style is gruff (he jump cuts to Benny’s couch). Then Heem comes in for his verse–they don;t cross paths so I assume it’s all socially safe.  Benny returns for the final verse and his is definitely the best voice of the three.

“Cruiser Weight Coke” is a title I don’t get, but I like the sinister sounds on this song–very cool low notes an what sounds like processed vocals. vocals.  This line stuck out to me:

If we link up and make plans (shake hands), it’s a done deal if we shake hands
You won’t understand me ‘less you move your family to a place they feel safe in (alright)

This track is really short (less than 2 minutes) and skips the last verse.

It seems to be saving room for “5 to 50.” “5 to 50” and “Crown” come “from his critically acclaimed 2019 album, The Plugs I Met.”  It continues in this aggressive style.  He seems to pause to really let the final section sink in.  And as the song reaches its end, the music cuts out–intentional or not, I can’t tell.  I’ve never heard a rap end a capella before, but it really makes the words hit haard and show how good his flow is even with out a beat

I can turn your front door to a drug store
Make any kitchen to a lab
Man, I hear these drug stories and I laugh
Talkin’ ’bout the Coke sales they never had
Pull up on a nigga, you gon’ know the pad
Only house with a Bentley on the grass

As the video ends, he is very pleased. He says

“5 to 50,” “Crown for Kings” “Rubber Bands & Weight,” Oh my goodness!  That’s why I’m a legend.

[READ: June 23, 2020] “Lord Mayor Magpie”

This month’s issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue and features two pieces of fiction, one memoir and three poems.

The fourth piece is a poem.  It is a simple, but lovely descriptive poem about a magpie.

This poem is five long stanzas.

Magpie idles in a limousine
of black feather with a slash of white
piping that outshines all chrome

he has the brazen glamour of a motorcade.

(more…)

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[POSTPONED: June 25, 2020] Swans / Anna Von Hausswolff [moved to February 18, 2021]

indexI have liked Swans since I discovered them as a DJ on my college radio station (Children of God was and is like nothing I’ve ever heard). I loved their bombast.

But I have always been a little nervous about seeing them live (they seemed scary and intimidating).

The last time they toured was supposed to be their final tour ever (I think). I considered going but it never happened.

Then they announced they were playing Underground Arts–small and easy to get to, I assume that they will literally blow the roof off the joint.  My friend Phil is the drummer with them (and has been for a decade or more) so it would be fun to see him play.

I was looking forward to this one and was surprised it was cancelled so early (early April for a June show) especially since they weren’t starting their American leg until June 5.  But I guess it was easier to cancel the whole tour (Europe starting April 25) and start over again next year.

Anna von Hauswoff is a fascinating performer, playing a kind of gothic pop.  She works a lot with a pipe organ (for real).  I’m sure there would be no pip organ in his tour (duh), so maybe it wold be samples?  I’ve been intrigued about her for a few years and I am looking forward to seeing her open when the tour comes back to town.

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julyaugust200SOUNDTRACK: LITTLE DRAGON-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #35 (June 18, 2020).

As I was looking at concert listings, I kept seeing an upcoming show for Little Dragon.  I’d never heard of them but the promo made it sound like I should have (they have been around since 1996!).

Indeed, this Tiny Desk blurb says as much.

The group’s latest album, New Me, Same Us, is their grooviest, most concentrated in years, and I was eager to hear these songs as Little Dragon’s music is best experienced: live on stage. “Some of you might know that we were supposed to be on tour in the states, but due to these crazy times it got canceled,” lead singer Yukimi Nagano says.

So I was interested to check out this Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.  Unfortunately, I was was rather unimpressed by this set, because it seemed to be a lot more “Little” than “Dragon.”  However, the blurb indicates that this is not what they might normally be like:

these stripped-down iterations from the band’s home studio in Sweden move me but in a different way. I find myself focusing on the songwriting and how all the instruments come together for these numbers, proving just how strong the tracks from New Me… are.

Little Dragon is a four piece.  In this home concert they are (maybe) socially distanced–maybe they live together.

The first song “Rush” features prominent bass from Fredrik Wallin, trippy keys from Håkan Wirenstrand, gentle drums from Erik Bodin and very soft vocals from Yukimi Nagano.  Nagano plays the wood blocks or whatever they are and then loops them-which is neat.  Midway through the song during a lengthy, chill an instrumental break, Wallin switches to acoustic guitar as Nagano, oohs.  Then he’s back to the bass for the funky end.

“Where You Belong” ratchets up the fuzz on the bass.  This song doesn’t sound all that different, although that bass is pretty great sounding,

Then as a bonus, Little Dragon played an oldie, “Forever,” which is still my favorite track from this genre-bending band.

“Forever” is the first song they ever wrote together.  It comes from their first album from 2007.  It’s a bit bouncier and funkier and sounds like they may have been a bit more dancey back in the day.

They end the set with “Every Rain” which returns to the trippier sound of the first two songs–echoing keys and Nagano’s soft croon.  Although this set doesn’t make me want to see them live.  I am curious to hear what they sound like when they are not stripped down.

[READ: June 23, 2020] “The Ones We Carry With Us”

This month’s issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue and features two pieces of fiction, one memoir and three poems.

The third piece is fiction although it reads a lot like a memoir.

It starts with the fascinating sentence: ” A few years ago, I accidentally midwifed a death.”

This could literally mean many things, although figuratively it makes sense for what she actually means.

The narrator then goes on to tell us about three women whose lives have impacted her.

The woman who died was Agatha. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: June 22, 2020] King Crimson / The Zappa Band [moved to  2021]

indexI have seen King Crimson four times and have been blown away by each show.  Even hearing many of the same songs doesn’t dampen my enjoyment since the songs are so amazing to see live.

Given the fickleness of Robert Fripp, it’s always possible that the band will break up at any moment.  Given that, I will see them every time they come close, and the fact that they were coming to new Brunswick (super close!) was like a personal invitation.

Normally there is no opening act.   I don’t know if the addition of an opening act meant less King Crimson time.  But the opening act was The Zappa Band.

I’ve been a big fan of Zappa’s work for years, although I never saw him live.  I’ve considered going to the various posthumous shows, but they all seem kind of cheesy.  The Dweezil show is supposed to be okay, but I feel like I;d have to have a real lull in shows to go out to see him.

However, having them open for a show that I was already going to was the best of all worlds.  Especially given the current lineup:

The Zappa Band’s lineup features Zappa alumni Ray White (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Keneally (guitar, keys, vocals), Scott Thunes (bassist) and Robert Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals).  I mean, that’s practically the Zappa band without Zappa right there.  It seems like Dweezil is not even part of this show, which is interesting.

I didn’t know if the end of June would be a safe time to see a show, and clearly neither did KC or State Theatre, as this show was postponed in early April.

King Crimson, originally scheduled for June 22, has been postponed. We have been closely following the developing news on COVID-19 and the current response recommendations from our Federal, State, and Local officials. The health and well-being of our guests, artists, and staff are our top priority. Ticket holders will be contacted as soon as we have a new date. Current tickets will be valid for the rescheduled date, once announced, and if you are unable to make the new date, we will discuss alternate arrangements. Due to the high volume of changed or cancelled performances, we ask that you please wait for State Theatre to contact you in regard to your tickets.

I hope when the show is rescheduled, that The Zappa Band opens.  That sounds like a blast.

 

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[POSTPONED: June 20, 2020] The Fratellis [moved to Jnaury 21, 2021]

index

I really liked The Fratellis debut album Costello Music.  There was nothing super original about it, it was just bratty guitar rock from a UK band.  They are actually Scottish, which makes them slightly more interesting, right?

Their songs were fast and rocking and often had something interesting in them–unexpected speed up or lyrical twists.

I had more or less forgotten about them. I just read that they “broke up” for a short while and then reunited and have released two albums since then.  I hadn’t heard any of those two.

I might have considered going to see them and now that the show has been moved to January, maybe I’d be free to check them out.

 

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