Archive for the ‘Ice Cream’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: FRANK BLACK-“Headache” (1994).

Frank Black is Black Francis from the Pixies.  When the Pixies disbanded, Black set out on  a solo career.  He’s got some great songs under the Frank Black moniker and this is one of them.

This is an acoustic guitar rocker, that sounds perfectly nineties.  It builds over a series of verses, getting louder and faster with backing vocals added as the song goes along.  What’s interesting is that there’s no real chorus to the song.  The verses are more or less the choruses, although that doesn’t quite seem right either.  But after the verses, there are these quieter interlude pieces that are kind of bridges but not really.

But regardless of all of that, the song is catchy as anything (especially for a song that includes the word cranium–incorrectly used–“My heart’s crammed in my cranium”).

Wow, i thought that Black Francis has been quiet all these years, and yet I see that he has been releasing an album a year for a decade.  Talk about under the radar.

[READ: Week of August 20, 2012] JR Week 9

Holy cow, this week starts off with a lot of fun chaos in the Grynzspan apartment.  And there’s a return of lots of characters, too!  The long story arc seems to return to whence it started–the “Bast apartment,” although there are many changes afoot there.  And, for those keeping score at home, we finally get to return to the original Bast House–where kids have sex and shit in pianos.

But first the poor delivery man is back with his gross flowers.  [Simon’s comments from last week have some great ideas about the plastic flowers, too, by the way].  But before that goes anywhere, Eigen shows up to the apartment–the first time he’s been here in a while.  And as he’s coming in the door, he is given a summons for Mr Grynzspan (whom the police assume he is).  Eigen tries to control the crowd and his temper, but he’s fighting with everyone.  In particular, he’s fighting with Rhoda, who has some great lines here.  When asked if she is Mr Bast: “Man look at these I mean do I look like Mister anybody?”  When Eigen says her name “was Rhoda right,” she says “What do you mean was,” and every time Eigen puts his hands near or on her, “I said I can dry there myself.”  Things settle down and Rhoda regales Tom with the story of the shipwreck they had last night, and she’s glad that Chairman Meow isn’t drownded (610).

Then Amy calls looking for jack.  She’s back from Geneva but needs a few days to straighten out things before seeing him.  Rhoda says that Emily is someone Jack doesn’t want to see   Eigen says she’s the only think holding him together.  They repeat the same statements about Gibbs’ book.  Rhoda says that Tom is this “big important novelist” but he can’t see that Gibbs hates his own book and feels pressure from Emily/Amy. (more…)

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I have really gotten into My Morning Jacket with their last couple of albums.  I know that they are quite different from their earlier releases, so I’m not quite as surprised by the diversity that’s on them.  With each release, they keep exploring new territory, although it’s all held together nicely by Jim James’ (or Yim Yames’) amazing voice.

The first half of the disc is much more wild than the second half, with longer songs, and more unusual textures.  The second half slows things down and feels almost, but not quite, acoustic.

“Victory Dance” is a slinky song and a cool intro to the disc.  It’s quickly followed by “Circuital,” a 7 minute long epic with two distinct parts.  The first is a kind of quiet echoey introduction, but when the guitars roar in at around 2:30, it turns into a big anthemy song…very ctahcy

“The Day is Coming” opens like a 70s AM radio song, with lots of da da das.  It’s a mellow song, the kind of song the MMJ flesh out with wonderful vocals so it never gets dull.

“Wonderful” is a simply beautiful song.  A gentle ballad about feeling wonderful.  I just found out that this song was originally intended for The Muppet Movie.  It would have been perfect.  Of course, the band are on the soundtrack doing a cover, so I guess that’s kinda close.

“Outta My System” is another catchy little number, also reminiscent of 70s AM radio, although it’s all about doing bad things as a youth and getting them out of your system.  Musically it would also work very well for the Muppets, but I suspect lyrically it might be a bit outré for the movie (granted I haven’t actually seen it so I can’t say for sure).

All the recent MMJ albums have one crazy track and on this one it’s “Holdin’ on to Black Metal.”  So the title is pretty unexpected but it’s nowhere near as unexpected as the content of the song.  It is complete with a children’s chorus and what sounds like horns, although I suspect they are keyboards.  It’s full of blasts of sound and woah woah ohs.  It’s crazy.  I love it.  Much like I love the crazy song, “Highly Suspicious”  from the previous album.  And I just found out that this song is more or less a cover (although with different words of “E-Saew Tam Punha Huajai” by Kwan Jai & Kwan Jit Sriprajan from the album Siamese Soul: Thai Spectacular 1960s-80s Volume 2.  More on that tomorrow.

  After that bizarre track, the album really settles down into an easy groove.  “First Light is a pretty traditional, simple song.  It also has lots of horns.  “You Wanna Freak Out” is also unexpected for the title, as it’s a pretty straightforward rocker. “Slow Slow Tune” doesn not belie its title.  It has a kind of 70s Pink Floyd feel and continues the more mellow second half od the disc.  The disc ends with “Movin’ Away” a slow, piano ballad.

  Although the album has a very comfortable, familiar feel, MMJ have little tricks (great soaring guitars and, again, James’ voice) to make it rise above the ordinary.  It’s great disc that warrants multiple listens.

[READ: January 28, 2012] How I Became a Nun

I didn’t love Aira’s Ghosts because it was too ephemeral for me (as befitting a book called Ghosts, right?).  How I Became a Nun is the exact opposite: a terrifically visceral story that is straightforward and easy to follow, except for perhaps two things.

The first thing is something that’s mentioned on the back of the book (so I’m not threatening a spoiler here).  The main character is named César.  Whenever someone talks to him, they address him as César or boy or him.  And yet, the whole book is written from the point of view of young César, and César describes himself as a girl.  In the fourth paragraph, the narrator states, “I was a devoted daughter.”  And yet, shortly thereafter, another character says about the narrator, “Is it my fault if the boy didn’t like it?”

This goes on throughout the story–not a lot–but enough to keep it in your mind.

The second thing is the ending.  Which I don’t want to spoil.

So what is this wonderfully titled story about?  Well, six-year old César begins, “My story, the story of ‘how I became a nun’ began very early in my life.”  The opening chapter tells the story of César’s first experience with ice-cream.

It is a wonderful chapter, with César’s father promising the wondrous delights of ice cream and taking them both out for a cone.  César’s father enjoys his cone very much, but César, although instantly in love with the pink strawberry color is instantly disgusted by the taste. He even retches a little bit. (more…)

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