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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O.-Pink Lady Lemonade ~ You’re From Inner Space (2011).

This album is something like the fortieth AMT album and somewhere in the middle of the band’s tenure with this lineup:

Tsuyama Atsushi: monster bass, voice, cosmic joker
Higashi Hiroshi: synthesizer, dancin’ king
Shimura Koji: drums, latino cool
Kawabata Makoto: guitar, guitar synthesizer, speed guru

The album consists of one song, the title track, broken into 4 parts all based around a simple, but rather lovely guitar melody

 “Part 1” is 32 minutes long.  It begins with the opening guitar melody which plays along with some trippy sounds.  Tsuyama is reciting the words (in Japanese?  English?  Gibberish?) and occasionally you hear the words “Pink lady Lemonade.”  At around 12 minutes drums and bass are added.  Once the bass starts meandering through some catchy riffs, Kawabata starts soloing.  It’s pretty far down in the mix (the main melody continues throughout).  Then around 22 minutes Tsuyama starts adding the monster bass–wild riffs that go up and down the fretboard.  With about 5 minutes left Kawabata starts playing s louder solo–louder than the rest of the music–and you can really hear him wailing away.   Part 1 fades out completely before jumping into Part 2.

“Part 2” is only 5 minutes, but it is utter chaos, with everyone making a big pile of noise–keyboard banging, sliding bass, thumping drums and wild, seemingly uncontrollable guitars.  It ends five minutes later with some warbling keys

Then comes “Part 3,” which runs just over the minutes.  It’s a faster chord version of the same guitar intro with slow bass notes and a big guitar solo.  It changes shape and adds some discoey bass lines.  About midway through the synths take over and while there is music in the background the song becomes mostly washes of sounds.

“Part 4” ends the disc at just over 18 minutes.  It picks up with the original guitar melody once more.  This time, it’s only a minute until the drums and bass kick in and the soling begins.  At five and a half minutes the guitar solo gets really loud and takes over.  The soloing is wild for over ten minutes and then around 13 minutes the song grows very quiet with only the lead guitar and the heavily echoed main riff playing.

There’s on online version here that has this entire record but adds six minutes at the end of the last part which is mostly the introductory melody and some washes of keys over the top.  i rather like this extra 6 minutes and it feels like a really nice ending.

 

[READ: May 1, 2021] “My First Passport”

This essay was translated from the Turkish by Maureen Feely.

Pamuk talks about people travelling from Turkey when he was young.  First it was his father, who left the country when Orhan was seven.  No one heard a word from him for several weeks when he turned up in Paris.  He was writing notebooks and regularly saw John-Paul Sartre.   He had become one of the penniless and miserable Turkish intellectuals who had been walking the streets of Paris.  Initially Orhan’s grandmother sent Orhan’s father money but eventually she stopped subsidizing her bohemian son in Paris.

When he ran out of money he got a job with I.B.M. and was transferred to Geneva.  Soon after Orhan’s mother joined his father but left Orhan and his brother with the grandparents.  They would follow when school was done.

Orhan sat for his first passport photo (included in the essay).  Thirty years later he realized that they had put the wrong eye color down–“a passport is not a document that tells us who were are but a document that shows what other people think of us.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE PEELS-“Juanita Banana” (1966).

I heard this song today on WXPN’s “Worst Song in the World” segment.  And as soon as it started, I understood why it was on there.

The person who submitted the song said she just wanted to know…  why? Why would someone make this?  And this is a good question.  More amazingly why would they make a Part 2?  (They did).

The song opens with a kind of Mexican guitar intro and spoken word story of Juanita–a banana grower’s daughter.  She wanted to sing at the opera, so she left the banana fields and went to the city.  And as the chorus comes in Juanita sings an incredibly high pitched (and way out of context) note that turns into the melody of “Caro Nome” from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto.

What?

Then the band sings the “Juanita Banana” chorus in a kind of Mexican accent complete with horns.

What?

Her melody comes one more time and just when you think that the operatic vocals are enough, Juanita’s father burns down the trees, moves to the city and sings in a deep voice the same melody.

They even duet at the end!

It is so bizarre, so potentially offensive, and yet so catchy (that Rigoletto part is wonderful) that it could only be a mid 60’s novelty song.

The DJ explained that it was a novelty song but it was actually a minor hit in 1966.  He said a little more about it, but sadly I  didn’t catch the whole story.

And yet I can’t get that scream melody out of my head.

[READ: May 3, 2021] “The Case for and Against Love Potions”

This story opens with an older, married man talking to a younger, single man.  The younger man asks what one should do if the person he loves does not love him back.  The older man is pleased that the younger man recognized that the older man is “the most sagacious man in this part of the country.”

I rather enjoyed the tone of the story and the amusing way the sagacious man spoke:

As you know, there are a million and three solutions to this problem.. .I imagine you tried at least twenty-eight of them before coming to see me today.

The best advice the man can give is simple: love potions. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CALMA CARMONAA-Tiny Desk Meets AFROPUNK: #204/196 (May 2, 2021).

Tiny Desk Meets AFROPUNK was the opening event of AFROPUNK’s “Black Spring” festival. The virtual celebration, hosted by Jorge “Gitoo” Wright, highlighted outstanding talent in Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean music across the globe. Our showcase featured four artists who honored their homes and celebrated the art their heritage has inspired.

Calma Carmona got her start in 2013 when the Latin soul singer-songwriter released her first EP and opened for Beyoncé’s The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in Puerto Rico.

Carmona is mesmerizing as the massive amount of dreadlocks is piled on top of her head.  The setting is fascinating–it looks like an aquarium–a dark hallway with lit windows, but instead of fish there seems to be technology in the windows.  I love how in some scenes, it’s almost totally black–since (almost) everyone is dressed in black as well.

Her music is not dark, though.  Indeed, “When I Was Your Girl” has a kind of reggae feel, at least from the rhythm guitar (which I’m assuming is looped because Pedro “PJ” González is playing lead throughout. Carmona’s voice is quiet and kind of sultry through this song and when she’s supported by her backing singers, Athina Alejandra, Almonte Duluc and Yarinés Salgado, they sound great together.

There’s a lot of drums in these songs, although it’s so dark it’s hard to know who is doing what. Gabriel Oliver plays drums and he, Andres “Kino” Cruz and José “Junny” Elicier all play the barril, a traditional hand drum.

From her hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Calma Carmona delivers a bewitching Tiny Desk performance. Her voice rarely rises above a whisper as she sings over impassioned Afrobeats during her three-song set — but when it does, it’s a gritty, intimidating growl.

That growl is present on “Ella Se Mueve” a darker song with deep bass from Adrián “AJ” Rodríguez and distorted deep keys from J. Rochet.  “PJ” González noodles some guitar solos throughout and you can really hear the barril.  Carmona sang in English on the first song but she switches between English and Spanish here

“Vibra” opens with the three men playing the barril and a slow bass line.  She sings the verses and then throws in a growly rapped verse.  I really enjoy the slinky way the song ends with them singing “and I’ll be on my way.”

And before the send us out, there’s a quick barril serenade.

[READ: May 3, 2021] “How Octavia E. Butler Reimagines Sex and Survival”

Having read three of Octavia E. Butler’s book recently, I was saving this article (what timing) until all three were done.  And considering the opening line of this article mentions Parable of The Sower (the second book of the three that we read) I’m glad I waited.

Although this is really a book review of her new Library of America Collection (she is the sixth science fiction writer to be featured in the series and the the first Black science fiction writer).  The book collects Kindred (1979) Fledgling (2005) and short stories.

He says, as we have noted

It’s often observed that the Parables, already prescient when they were published, now read like prophecy

But I didn’t know that Earthseed had inspired an opera by folksinger Toshi Reagon and that last September Parable of the Sower was back on the best seller list (we’re so trendy).

The article notes that her protagonists often begin as fugitives or captives but emerge as prodigies of survival only to find that adaptation exacts hidden costs. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: LUEDJI LUNA-Tiny Desk Meets AFROPUNK: #203/196 (May 2, 2021).

Tiny Desk Meets AFROPUNK was the opening event of AFROPUNK’s “Black Spring” festival. The virtual celebration, hosted by Jorge “Gitoo” Wright, highlighted outstanding talent in Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean music across the globe. Our showcase featured four artists who honored their homes and celebrated the art their heritage has inspired.

I don’t really understand why this is called AFROPUNK, as there is nothing even remotely punk about any of the music here.  I thought maybe it was a typo, but this music isn’t even terribly funky.  This music is very smooth jazzy

It is quite good though and Luna’s voice is understated and pretty as she sings in Portuguese.

Luna performs from her coastal hometown of Bahia in the city of Salvador, Brazil, where African culture flows in abundance. She is a powerhouse, entrancing and elegant, soulful and spiritual, as she uses her platform to discuss individual and systemic forms of anti-Blackness.

“Lençois” opens with some gentle piano from Gabriel Gaiardo and washes of cymbals (struck with mallets by Sergio Machado).  Then Luna starts singing in a kind of raspy, seductive whisper.  After a verse, Weslei Rodrigo (and his spectacular beard) lay down a smooth, anchoring bass line.

After the first song, she introduces the band.  After she introduces guitarist Vinicius Sampaio, he plays a solo and sings along with himself in a particularly jazzy way.

Elements of jazz and blues are infused with African rhythms as Luna uses music to express her ongoing struggles for autonomy as a Black woman.

She says,

“I feel that we are living in a crazy moment in a crazy time and music has been a safe place for me — the only safe place for me,” Luedji Luna says in a low, alluring voice as she explains the purpose of her latest album, Bom Mesmo É Estar Debaixo D’Água.

“Erro” opens with a slightly more rocking sound and a guitar solo intro.  I appreciate how different these songs sound from each other while still maintaining her overall vibe.  “Chororô” is a little funky, at least from Rodrigo’s bass.  But jazz is the overall vibe.

I really like the way the song’s chorus plays a five note and pause refrain to give a dramatic opening for the piano and guitar solo.  It’s also fun watching Luna dance.

[READ: May 3, 2021] Parable of the Talents [end]

I wound up reading this book very quickly.  I finished it before the deadlines of the first week’s read.  I was totally sucked in.  I hated parts of it–the woes of 2033 were unbearable–but I couldn’t stop reading it.

And wow, did Butler mess around with my head.

Contradict the first page of the story late in the book, but have it be a totally justifiable reason!  Check.

Not reveal why one of the character has a book published until almost the very end and have it be a real surprise!  Check.

Make me completely reassess the tone of the book and why Butler was writing it?  Check.

This break was a pretty fortuitous one because this week’s reading starts with a lengthy introduction from Asha Vere.  She began making up her own Dreamasks when she was 12.  When she was discovered he was punished. But that didn’t stop her from writing fictions to escape her own life.

When she was 15, an enemy in her school told her that her mother was a heathen and a whore–Asha punched the girl and broke her jaw.  She was spared detention by her stepfather who mostly just liked to molest her.

Once the diaries resume, we see what Olamina’s dealing with.  She is desperately seeking her daughter and is still trying to build up Earthseed.  Allie has actually been settling down with Justin.  She’s making furniture and instructing younger kids how to make it as well. But Olamina can’t stay in Georgetown.  She has decided to head up north.  Inexplicably she is going to go to Portland to find her brother–the brother who disagrees with everything she stands for and who ran away from her.

Allie has arranged a traveling companion for her–against her wishes.  Her name was Belen Ross but she went by Len.  She was born to a rich family; however, she was born from a surrogate and once the family had a natural birth, they gave the cold shoulder.  At 18 ,she was kidnapped and held for ransom.  But her family never paid it.  Eventually her captors just abandoned her.  When she returned home she found that her parents has moved to Alaska.  She had no other option but to go to Alaska.

So here were two people going in search of those who don’t want them. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS-Akuma No Uta (2003).

Boris albums are never an easy thing to find.  This album was originally released in Japan in 2003.  Then it was reissued in America in 2005 with a vastly superior cover.  The cover to the right, a hilarious mock up of Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter album (left).  The original album (cover way below) was only 31 minutes, but the reissue was extended to 39 minutes because that’s how long the Nick Drake album was.

So this new album is quite different from the original: In addition to running an additional 7 minutes, the opening track of the newer version is a totally different take; both use the same riff from “Akuma no Uta,” but the original, shorter track repeats it far less and opens with over a minute of ambient, resonant amp noise absent from the longer version.

I have the newer edition and don’t know the original.  “イントロ” (Intro)” opens with a slow, simple infectious riff and then a sort of soaring siren sound starts.  The four note riff is enveloped in distortion while the backing chords cycle through slowly.  Then comes soaring guitars and washes of noise which stretch this song out to almost 10 minutes.

The opening track lulls you into a false sense of mellowness until “Ibitsu” comes blasting out with heavy rocking guitars, pounding drums and screaming vocals.  Most of the verses are just drums and Atsuo’s singing with an occasional riff from Wata. Then Takeshi joins in on the chorus and turns it into a big old crashing metal song. The middle is a three note riffs before a brief Wata solo and some wild drumming. The end is so loud it seems to blow out the speakers.

There’s a brief pause and then “フリー” (Furi) kicks off even faster and more intense heavy rock.  There’s a fast riff and a chorus that is super fun to sing along to even though I have no idea what they are saying.

“無き曲” (Naki Kyoku)” is a grooving slower song.  The first three minutes are primarily a solo by Wata.  The middle turns into a slow jam with stops and starts.  A slow grooving solo resolves into a another catchy rocking singalong before feedbacking out.  Around five minutes, the vocals come in.  The middle has another solo and some meandering bass from Takeshi–almost like a call and response musical section.

“あの女の音量” (Ano Onna no Onryou) is another big crashing rocker with heavy ponderous chords.  It’s got screaming guitars and shouted vocals but plenty of room for noisy feedback.

The album ends with “”あくまのうた” (Akuma no Uta).  A big gong introduces the three note riff.  Around two minutes the fast guitar riff begins and the song rocks out–a classic short heavy Boris rocker.

[READ: May 1, 2021] “Casting Shadows”

I haven’t read a lot of Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories, but she was very popular a while back.  I’m not sure if she still is.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this story is that it was written in Italian (translated by the author, which is also interesting).

Lahiri used to write in English but she has recently begun writing in Italian.  I find that fascinating, especially since she translated this work herself–how different is it than if she had written it in English first, I wonder.

This is the story of an older woman and how she interacts with the world around her. particularly the men.  She was

Never married, but, like all women, I’ve had my share of married men.

It’s a really interesting character study and shows a powerful woman who some people might (foolishly) try to take advantage of. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BORIS: Boris at last -Feedbacker- (2003).

Boris’ sixth album is pretty iconic, what with the bloodied head of Wata on the cover and all.

The album contains one song–43 minutes of “Feedbacker.”  But it is broken into five surprisingly discernable parts.

Part 1 (9:38) opens with low feedback and slowly played chords that ring out.  Then single notes pick out a melody that recurs throughout.  Low bass notes and low harmonic frequencies play out through the bulk of the track until it segues into Part 2 (14:54).  That’s when the drum is added.  It’s a slow beat at first with the low feedbacking tones.  Then the guitars start playing a slow chord progression.  Eventually there’s some quiet lead guitar noodling added.  After about 8 minutes, Wata start one of her big slow solos.  Then around 12 minutes, Takeshi starts sings softly.  But after a minute and a half of this, the song shifts gears and gets much louder–big chords, crashing drums and louder vocals.

Part 3 (5:52) opens with serious crashing of cymbals which turns into noisy chaos.  There’s some high-pitched feedback and and then a seriously heavy riff starts up.  The rocking part of the song takes over with heavy distorted guitars and rumbling bass and drums.  A really noisy guitar solo is followed by a buzzy riff after which things slow down for quiet vocals once again.  The drums are still heavy but the guitars are quietly echoing.  The end gets louder again with roaring and chanted vocals.  (I have no idea what they are saying but it’s easy to sing along to).

Part 4 (9:52) is basically a wall of noise and feedback with echoing distorted cymbals and crackling sounds.  Near the end, noisy piercing feedback soars through until it segues into Part 5 (3:34).  As the feedback fades, the song resumes part 2, with soft drums and slow guitar chords and a quiet feedback floating over everything.

It’s a pretty monumental record.  Not as abrasive as the cover would suggest, but with enough heavy parts so that it’s not just a pretty drone record.

[READ: April 30, 2021] “The Rivals”

I feel like I tend to read stories that are written in a convoluted way.  Either with multiple time lines, or multiple threads that eventually come together.  So it was nice to get a story that was pretty straightforward.

Sure, it started in the middle, but it flashed back, got to the opening scene, and continued along in a pretty straight line.  And it was very enjoyable.

The story is set in Madagascar.  Floristella, a plump Italian man, sees his former friend Pianon, a skinny Italian man, and jumps out at him, hitting him with a walking stick.  It takes a bunch of servants to pull these older men apart.

The narrator then fills us in on what’s going on.  Pianon and Floristella were at one time very good friends.  Pianon is from Verona.  He is a widower who always dresses nicely. He is the bookkeeper and rental manager at the Red House.  Floristella is from Sicily. He comes from a small fortune and acts like it, even if his money is mostly gone now. His house is next to the Red House.

Floristella’s wife was bored of Madagascar, so she returned home, allowing Floristella to enjoy the beach and all of its perks. Like Noelline.  She was his secretary and then his mistress.  She was no longer young, but she was voluptuous and stylish.  She also flouted all conventions on the island.

Each morning she came to his place, did work for him, had sex with him and then went home.

Most of the women on the island hated her. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD-Fishing for Fishies (2019).

The first of two albums released by KGATLW in 2019, Fishing for Fishies is a bluesy, boogie-filled record.

It opens with with two false starts.  There’s the briefest sound of a sound like they’d recorded over another track but left it, then there’s a drum beat that hits a few and stops only to resume a few seconds later and starts the title song.  “Fishing for Fishies” is a soft shuffling song with delicately whispered vocals and a bouncy melody.  It’s super catchy and is followed by “Boogieman Sam” with its bouncy staccato guitar and then Ambrose’s wailing harmonica.

“The Bird Song” is a favorite on the record.  Fun gently whispered lyrics and a remarkably catchy jazzy song.  “Plastic Boogie” is loose blues song with a lot of people talking throughout, giving the whole thing a party atmosphere.

“Cruel Millennial” is sung by Ambrose.  It’s a swinging boogie with a catchy chorus and some wailing harmonica soloing at the end.  “Real’s Not Real” starts as a potentially heavy rocker but as the song proper starts, it shifts abruptly to a kind of mellow Beatles-y piano-pop song.

“This Thing” is a harmonica-fueled blues song with great big bouncy bass line.  “Acarine” is an unusual song on the disc.  It’s slower and moodier slow moody with whispered vocals and piercing harmonica.  Although the last two and a half minutes are an instrumental jam with  looping synths that sound like a sci-fi soundtrack.

“Cyboogie” ends the disc.  It was the first singe off the album and it’s as catchy as anything.  Who knew it was so much fun singing “boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie.”  The buzzy bouncing synth is a great sound for this song and the cyber voice prompts a return of Han-Tyumi who pops in after murdering the universe.

[READ: April 29, 2021] Manopause

I have no idea who Bernard O’Shea is.  Well, he’s an Irish comedian, but I don’t know what kind.  He could be Ireland’s Jeff Foxworthy for all I know.  I doubt that he’s Ireland’s Dave Chapelle, anyway.

I read O’Shea’s first book when it came across my desk at work.  When this one appeared a few days ago I thought it was the same guy.  A little research confirmed it, and since I mostly enjoyed the first book, I thought I would read this one as well.

It’s tough playing the mid-life crisis card, especially for a successful male.  And, honestly, for a bunch of the book I did think “oh, moan moan moan.”  The key though is if you can make the moaning funny.  O’Shea manages to do that for a time but then, unexpectedly, the book gets serious.  O’Shea looks seriously into changing is life and he explores several ways to do so.

Manopause is a funny enough term, but I appreciate that O’Shea had the sensibility to include his mother’s comment about him using the word.

He told his mother he was going through “the manopause…the male menopause.”  To which she replied

If you had any idea what the menopause was like, Bernard, believe me, you wouldn’t go through it.  Sweating, hot flashes, no sleep–at times it feels like you are going mad….  You wouldn’t survive 30 seconds of it.  No man would survive it.  Jesus, if ye did go through it, we’d never hear the end of it.  And if you went through it, you’d hospitalise yourself.

That might be the funniest thing in the book.

We met Bernard’s long-suffering wife Lorna in the first book.  She is longer-suffering still.

In chapter one, Lorna gives him an amazing birthday present.  She takes herself and their three kids away to her mother’s for five days.  He has five days to himself, to do whatever he wants. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD-Infest the Rat’s Nest (2019).

One of the (many) fascinating things about King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is that if you don’t like something they’ve done, you need to just wait a little bit and they’ll do something else.  They released five albums of very different styles of music in 2017.

Then in 2019 they released Fishin for Fishies, a kind of blues and roots album.  They followed that four months later with this album, a tribute of sorts to some of the heaviest, thrashiest heavy metal from the 1980s.

It deals with climate change (Australia bore the brunt of a lot of climate abuse that year), destruction of the environment and human resettlement to other planets.

The album is a clear tribute to thrash pioneers, with double bass drums, brutally fast guitars, killer piercing riffs and growling vocals–it’s almost hard to tell it’s singer Stu singing these songs.

Unlike other albums, there’s not a ton of diversity in these songs.  And that’s by design.  The songs are short and heavy.  “Planet B” has wailing guitars, some cool basslines and a ton of double bass drum.  “Mars for the Rich” features a middle bass “solo” (same note but only bass and drums) before raw guitars return.

“Organ Farmer” has a kind of false start with a slow drum intro before the song takes off into pure heaviness with screaming guitar solos and licks.  “Super Bug” is one of the most growly songs with a middle section that’s just voice and drum.  Most of the songs are three minutes, but this one jams out to almost 7 and feels like an old school Black Sabbath song with loping bass and a slow thoughtful guitar solo.

“Venusian 1” is a heavy song with pummeling blasts of guitar and drums and a ripping guitar riff.  “Perihelion” has a catchy chorus and then a middle part that sounds nothing like the rest of the album.  “Venusian 2” is a big chugger of a song with some great riffage.  It’s just under 3 minutes of heavy speed metal.

“Self-Immolate” sounds like a classic Slayer riff and even has some pretty wild drumming a la Dave Lombardo.

The album ends 9at just over 35 minutes) with “Hell,” which chugs along with double bass drums.  After an extended feedback moment the song plays a microtonal version of itself and then pummels to the finale which ends with the album title lyric.

I encourage anyone to checkout any of KGATLW’s albums because there’s bound to be something you like.  but this album is singular of purpose and if you don’t like classic thrash metal, it’s not for you.  Surprisingly, you hate to wait over a year for their next album K.G., which sounds absolutely nothing like this one.

[READ: April 25, 2021] “Good-Looking”

The narrator’s dad was a fit 38 year-old man who worked at the gym.  He didn’t wear a wedding ring because he said it was good for business–he was encouraged to flirt with the customers.

Most of the gym’s members were women and women were more likely to bring friends.

Men were the worst customers.  They did free classes, came alone, and didn’t clean the equipment when they were done.

The narrator’s mom didn’t like that his dad didn’t wear a wedding ring.   And she had reason to be concerned. The two of them met when he was married to someone else.  She was 17 at the time.  He had married his high school sweetheart and gotten her pregnant when she was 17.  He divorced this first woman and was now married a new 17 year old–he got older, they seemed to stay the same age.

It seemed that every ten years he got bored.  That’s why his mother was concerned, they’d had three kids over the last ten years.

The story zooms in on a woman that his dad took a interest in–a professor at the local university.  She came to the gym a lot and he paid attention to her.

Now, I love Dad and I hate to say this, but no way would a man like him ever get to meet a smart woman like her outside o the gym.

One day after class she asked him out.  It was courageous of her and made the other women jealous.

He didn’t drink so she asked him for coffee.  He agreed. When it was time to meet he took the narrator along.

She seemed surprised and confused.  He then proceeded to talk a lot about his wife and how jealous she gets.

But he also flirted the whole time–talking about books to make himself seem smarter.  The narrator even feels a little bad for him.

He talked about how much he liked being in love.  She finally asked him how he knew love would happen again.

This question came from a woman who believed in magic and romance, in second chances.  Dad, the brute that he was, said, “That’s life,” and shrugged, like love was a thing that could happen to you over and over again.

As they left the cafe, the narrator looked back at the woman.  He watched her wipe something from her face before she turned and walked away.  He never saw he again but he fell in love with her that night.

His dad started wearing his wedding ring after that night.

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SOUNDTRACK: KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD-Live in San Francisco ’16 (2020).

This is a fun show from The Independent in San Francisco on May 25, 2016.  It’s on the Nonagon Infinity tour, which means a lot of stuff from that album appears here.

The one irritant is the woman who is a little too close to the soundboard.  You can hear her throughout the set, and she’s not exactly an intellectual giant.  She shouts, “Why do you have two drummers?” as the show starts.  This would be no big deal if it was all you could hear from her.

They album is a series of songs that segue into each other.  What I like here is that the first five songs do segue into each other but, while they start with the opening song “Robot Stop,” it segues into 2014’s slower “Hot Water” (from I’m in Your Mind Fuzz).  It’s very cool the way their songs keep a similar beat throughout.

They jump right back to Nonagon’s second song “Big Fig Wasp.”  From there they continue with Nonagon for two more songs, “Gamma Knife” and “People Vultures.”  It’s impressive how tight they are–they can stop and shift gears so seamlessly that they jump between songs as if it were one long song.

After the introductory five songs, they pause a bit.  There’s some banter with the audience, but the microphones are distorted and hard to make out.  They shift gears somewhat to the mellow Paper Mâché Dream Balloon album.  “Trapdoor” is one of he heavier songs on the album, made somewhat heavier here despite the preponderance of flute on it.

Then its back to the I’m in Your Mind Fuzz album.  The first four songs segue into each other on the album and they do so here as well.  “I’m in Your Mind” shifts into “I’m Not In Your Mind” which features a fun bass-only rumble for about a minute near the end. Stu says, “Hey, smile, you’re on camera,” then they jump right into the catchy “Cellophane” and end with “I’m in Your Mind Fuzz.”

The CD is broken into two short discs (KGATLW have a million albums but but their shows are never terribly long).  Disc Two opens with the mellow ten minute “The River” from Quarters.

You can hear the drunk woman shout “yeah, fuck yeah” and then start talking to her friend during the mellow part.  Even a curmudgeon like me admits that you can talk between songs, but not during the quiet parts of songs.  Come on!

After the mellow song it’s a quick jump back to Nonagon with a ripping “Evil death Roll.”  They jam this song out for over five minutes and then begin a mega 22 minute “Head On/Pill” with heavy and quiet parts as well as some classic KGATLW ending moments.

KGATLW put out a lot of records (5 in 2017), so each show tour tends to be very different.  This is a nice snapshot from later 2016.

[READ: April 25, 2021] “The Crooked House”

Mull is in a house that is crooked and keeps changing.

When it starts, he has just met the man who claimed to have exited the house by falling into a desert.

Mull had been to many places in the house.  He was searching for a woman.

The cafeteria seemed to always have coffee.  But passageways were getting blocked and opening in other locations.  He could no longer access the cafeteria, but now he could get to the atrium where people often brought hot foods.

It was in the atrium that he met the man who claimed to have left.  He said he went to Joshua Tree and got back by hitchhiking–it’s not that far. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PUSSY RIOT-“Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away” (2012).

This song, barely two minutes long, is what caused all of the stir around Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot are an anarchic artistic collective in Russia.  They aim to provoke and provoke is what they do.

Their history and legacy (even the Wikipedia summary) are pretty fascinating.

So in this song (and video), a “choir” sings a holy-sounding chorus for 22 seconds.  Abruptly, a raw home recorded punk song takes over.

Everything is sung in Russian:

(choir) Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away Рut Putin away, put Putin away (end chorus)

Black robe, golden epaulettes All parishioners crawl to bow
The phantom of liberty is in heaven
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend His Holiness Women must give birth and love
Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit! Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!

(Chorus)

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!
Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!

After 50 seconds its back to the choir (and the chorus) and  then the punk verses start again.

It’s fairly catchy given what it’s doing.  There’s one more chorus at the end of the song at 1:30 and just like that, it’s over.

Provocation complete.

[READ: April 26, 2021] We Are Pussy Riot Or Everything is P.R.

As the subtitle of this play suggests, this is a reenactment (of a kind) of the Pussy Riot art installation that got them arrested, and the subsequent trial and imprisonment of two members.

The above video shows the events of that day in February 2012 when five masked (in balaclavas) women climbed onto the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow and…danced.

The women were provocatively dressed (by Moscow church standards–they wore bright colors and tights under dresses) and they went on to the altar–a place where no woman (except the cleaning lady) was to ever set foot.

The dialogue of the play inspired by trial transcripts and statements by public officials (Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill) which are available on the internet.  So while Hammond does use creative license, this is a pretty realistic reenactment of events.

The Dramatis Personae is listed in various formations depending on the size of your cast.  But the important main characters are Nadya, Masha and Katya as well as Sergei, a composite of male political activists, prisoners and artists.

The Russian feminist art collective Pussy Riot was formed in the fall of 2011.  Pussy Riot was inspired by the yurodivy (Holy Fools) of Russian history whose purpose was to wake people up to what was going on around them.

In February 2012 they uploaded the above video, “Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Away.”  The video, as you can see, is set on that altar, where women are forbidden.  The Kremlin and the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church took notice.  Three of the four women were hunted down and arrested for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.”

When this play was written, Vladimir Putin had just changed the constitution so he could be president for life.  In the story Sergei comments, “So he likes his job. Who can blame him?”

The introduction says that in 2014 Pussy Riot became a brand–this branded Pussy Riot was set to tour the U.S. and I had a ticket until the pandemic cancelled everything.

Nadya has always said that “Feminism that doesn’t benefit men is not my feminism.”  The members are female but they are fighting for all.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the play is the way it starts. The doors to the theater are locked and everyone–cast and audience are milling about while a group of guards block the way in.  Eventually Pussy Riot members start to cause a scene in the lobby and then blend in with the audience.  When the audience is allowed in they are given a scarf as a head covering.  But pussy riot members try to give them balaclavas instead–the play is quite interactive. (more…)

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