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Archive for the ‘Aldous Harding’ Category

[ATTENDED: October 2, 2019] Aldous Harding

Aldous Harding came through Philly back in April.  She played Johnny Brenda’s and I bought a ticket but was unable to go.

I was resigned to the idea that she wouldn’t be back in the area again for a long time.  So I was happily surprised to see that she was passing through town again (in my head she came from England, landed in the east and went west and then wended her way back east to go home again).

I also was happy that she was Underground Arts, which is a venue I really like.

I knew a couple of Aldous Harding songs, but I primarily wanted to see her because I’d heard that her live show was fantastic. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 2, 2019] Tiny Ruins

I had originally planned to see The Tallest Man on Earth at the Met Philly on this night.  But some time ago he cancelled the entire North American tour.  Which is a bummer, since I’d really like to see him.

However, that allowed me to go to that night’s other wonderful offering–Aldous Harding.

Tiny Ruins opened for Aldous.  Tiny ruins is a band from New Zealand led by songwriter Hollie Fullbrook.  In fact, for this tour, Tiny Ruins was only Fullbrook and her guitar.

She came out front and sang about a half dozen songs in her beautiful voice accompanied by her exquisite guitar playing.

She opened with “Tread Softly” and she admitted the words were written by W.B. Yeats.  But she promised that the words for all of the other songs were her own.

I enjoyed listening to Hollie speak, although her accent wasn’t as strong as I imagined it would be. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ALDOUS HARDING-Tiny Desk Concert #640 (July 28, 2017).

Aldous Harding is a singer from New Zealand.  Her second album, Party, is full of deeply personal songs with memorable melodies and spare instrumentation.  Aldous Harding’s musical partner for the Tiny Desk is Jared Samuel Elioseff .

I was mesmerized by her performance right from the start.  Her voice is deep and sultry like Nico’s, and I imagined that she was French the way she enunciated.  There’s something about her face–she seems to be filled with what…? disdain? emotion?  as she sings these song.  She grits her teeth, protrudes her lower jaw, makes fascinating expressions all to convey her meanings.

The first song she performs,”Imagining My Man,” is about what she calls the “tender and frightening thoughts that come with being in love,” and what you witness while watching her are often painful, pensive expressions that are as important to the song as the notes being played.

I really like this song a lot–the simple melody, the fascinating delivery and the wonderful touch of a strange little zip sound after each singing of “all my life….”  The way she sings “if you get down” introduces yet another strange expression and an even stranger vocal delivery.  It all borders on comical, but she is not funny she is baring emotion.

In introducing “Blend” she gives Jared the guitar and says “I’m really sorry for what you’re about to see me do, but it’s all for the good of the song.”  And I genuinely can’t tell what she’s talking about.  She doesn’t do anything expect change the drum sound on the keyboard.  This song is whispered and the guitar plays gentle picked notes.

For the final song, “Horizon,” she takes away the guitar, stands up and says “thanks for watching” with a smile.  She stands singing the final song which I think is my favorite.  The expressions she uses as she delivers the first few lines is really intense–almost like a verbal threat:

I broke my neck dancing to the edge of the world, babe
my mouth is wet, don’t you forget it, don’t you lose me

The fact that she stands straight, dressed all in white–unmoving except for some hand gestures–just adds to the subtle intensity of her performance.

[READ: August 1, 2017] “Eric Duncan”

Philip Roth retired from writing in 2012, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get more new material from him (although this isn’t exactly new, since it is from 2008).  This excerpt comes from remarks he gave at his 75th birthday celebration and will be collected in a forthcoming volume.

This is his recollection of the first things he ever wrote on his mothers Underwood typewriter.  In 1943, Philip’s mother was teaching him to type–white keys with black letters and number which “constituted all the apparatus necessary to write in English.”

He says that as soon as he mastered touch typing, he wrote his first title: “Storm Off Hatteras.”  But he says that instead of writing his own name, he wrote by Eric Duncan: “There’s little that can bestow more confidence and lend more authority than a name with two hard c’s in it.” (more…)

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