Archive for the ‘And the Kids’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: AND THE KIDS-When This Life Is Over (2019).

I’ve seen And the Kids twice and they put on a fantastic live show.  I highly recommend seeing them when live shows start again. 

The core of the band is Hannah Mohan on guitar and vocals and Rebecca Lasaponaro on (fantastic) drums.  For this record they were a four piece (although no names are included on the disc).

“No Way Sit Back” starts the record with a slow swinging song that features the wonderful wordless hook of Mohan singing “oooh oh oh no.” Midway through, the song shifts gears to a kind of glockenspiel melody over the lyrics “the world is never made for us.”  Even though lyrically this album is dark, musically it is really lovely.

“Butterfingers” lopes along at an unusual pace before a really catchy guitar melody kicks in midway through.  There’s some more catchy melodies as the two vocals line intertwine with each other.  Then comes “Champagne Ladies” a remarkably catchy song right from the get go.  The quietly rumbling guitar and the great vocal melody is nicely mimicked by the bass.  It’s a really fantastic song and should have been a big hit, even with the uplifting chorus: “life is a bastard, it wants to kill you don’t let go.”  But if the lyrics are too dark, there’s another fun wordless “ah ah ah” melody near the end.    

“2003” opens with a penny whistle introduction (when I saw them live, Mohan played the whistle and then just tossed it aside before she started singing).  There’s some excellent unusual and complex drumming at the top of this song. 

“The Final Free” has grooving guitars and a cool part in the middle where the guitar follows the vocal line in a quiet but catchy melody.  “When This Life Is Over” has a kind of hawaiian feel to it with guitars and choral vocals.   “Special For Nothing” is a quieter song that builds into a gorgeous soaring chorus. When the song shifts to the middle part and the music all falls back except for the vocals, it’s really quite lovely.  I love when the backing vocals do counterpoint over the refrain

“Get To That Place” is a short song, less than two minutes and sounds like a bedroom recording (lots of hiss) but as the song gets bigger there’s some cool vocal tricks (so much soaring highs) and glockenspiel.  It’s followed by another short song.  The mellow “Somethings (Are) Good” is just over two minutes with more overlapping vocals and a dynamite melody. 

“White Comforters” sounds bigger and more full sized.  It’s much slower with a bouncy guitar melody and a lot of spare playing. It starts a little too quietly but it builds very nicely.  “Religion” brings back the rocking guitars with a loud opening and a simple but catchy guitar melody, the joyous vocals with two layers of oh ho ho s really makes this song soar to glorious heights.

The disc ends with “Basically We Are Dead” a longer song that opens with a quieter guitar melody and vocal.  Atmospheric keys fill in the backing moments along with a bouncy synth melody and some joyful bah bah bahdahs.  But before the song ends, some familiar chugging guitar chords enter the song and they sing the chorus to “Champagne Ladies” one last time before it’s all over.

And the Kids play wonderful indie pop with plenty of unexpected twists.  And they are terrific live, too.

[READ: November 5, 2020] The Divided Earth

This is the final book in the The Nameless City trilogy.

The book opens with the leaders of the city agreeing that their sacred fire, Napatha, must be destroyed, lest it be used by one of the splintering factions.  But one copy of the recipe spared–given to the monks to hide for as long as was necessary.

Then we flash forward.

Kaidu is sitting with Rat and the others, resting up for what’s to come.

We see Mura, the woman who was abandoned by the monks as a little girl, receiving that copy of the book from the monks (they are hesitant).  She has every intention of learning the formula and creating the Napatha again. She imagines giving the formula to all of the other Dao generals for maximum production against the Yisun.  But Ezri, who has forcibly put himself in charge of the Dao people, wants to keep it under wraps.  Being a treacherous person, he anticipates treachery from everyone else as well.

The Yisun army is marching on the city.  Ezri hopes to have the Napataha ready to use against them.  He has just enough to show how powerful it is.  And it has the desired effect.

When Rat and Kaidu see what happened, Kaidu announces that he is going to steal the book from Mura’s clutches.  How?  Well, that’s where most of this book’;s adventure comes in.  It’s clever and stealthy and very exciting with switches and crosses and trouble everywhere.  They even get help from their minstrek friends (it’s always nice to see minor characters come back). 

At the same time, Kaidu’s parents (Kata and Andren) are (unbeknownst to Kadi and Rat) planning to negotiate with the Yisun army to save the city  Kata explains that she is in charge of the Dao tribe Liuvedao and she is no friend to the Dao regime currently ruling.

The soldier in charge of the Yisun army scoffs at this idea.  Until Kata’s secret weapon (which she didn’t know she had) steps forward and explains why the Yisun leader might want to hear them out. Kata proposes an dambush on the city, using an equal amount of Kata’s forces and the Yisum army. 

None of the attacking plans go smoothly.  Rat and Kaidu face very difficult odds (and many soldiers) and the ambush team literally walks into a dead end and needs to be rerouted through a sewer tunnel (ew).

There is a terrific showdown between Rat and Mura, two women whose lives began in a similar way but who took very different paths. And there are many many pages of battle scenes.  Hicks does a great job of keeping the action exciting and clear, with lots of one one one combat as well as an army of warriors.

The story has an epilogue set three years later, which is fun. It’s neat to see Kadi and Rat grows up some, although I could have used a dozen more pages of epilogue to see what things are like now.  And to see them catch up (there’s no Facetime back then). 

But even so, this was a great series, full of excitement and very emotional moments,.

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SOUNDTRACK: TŌTH-Tiny Desk Concert #967 (April 13, 2020)

For reasons I’m unclear about, I thought that Tōth was a heavy metal band.  Well, they aren’t.  At all.

The last time we saw Alex Toth at the Tiny Desk, he was standing against the shelves, trumpet to his lips. He performed in 2015 with Rubblebucket and his partner Kalmia Travers was singing lead. This time around, Alex sings about their relationship’s end in the song “Copilot.”

It’s a quiet song with gentle guitar and throbbing synths from Ben Chapoteau-Katz.  Alex Toth sings softly and drifts into a high falsetto during the chorus. There’s even some whistling.

“Copilot” is one of two songs Tōth performed at the Tiny Desk from his album Practice Magic and Seek Professional Help When Necessary. These songs are thoughtful, honest reflections on the end of his personal relationship with Kalmia Travers (although it continues professionally).

The arrangements here are spare but textured with bits of Alex on trumpet and touches from Ben Chapoteau-Katz on sax and electronics. The rhythm section of drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro and bassist Ryan Dugre pin it all together.

Rebecca Lasaponaro drums with And The Kids and she is fantastic.  Her drumming here is a bid more subdued, but she has a lot of electronics at her disposal which is fun.

“No Reason” is a slower song which features some mellow drums, but  also some lovely twinkling keys and Toth’s trumpet solo in the middle.

He says he’s thrilled to be drinking tea out of an NPR mug at NPR.

Up next is an excerpt from a new record:

The new tune “Turnaround (Cocaine Song)” is a funny/sad (and I’ll assume true) tale of poorly timed indulgence at his Aunt Mary’s funeral in New Jersey.

It’s a slow meandering (silly sounding) story about an embarrassing incident involving cocaine.  There’s a muted trumpet solo and a simultaneous sax solo from Chapoteau-Katz.

Toth says “Juliette” has an amazing and weird video starring Maya Hawke from Stranger Things.  There’s also audience participation which he’ll teach during the song.  Oh, he also has to take his beanie off.

The song begins with everyone shouting wha wha / wha wha ooh ooh. A simple bass line from Ryan Durge runs through the whole song as everything else is quietly performed (including more sax solos).  The song is sweet and odd but pretty catchy.

At the end, while everyone sings along, Toth recites a romantic scene

there’s a double rainbow and children dance all around us with ice cream cones and red balloons and lots and lots of puppies!

Sometimes I’ll see a band at my desk and wish I could jump in and join. That’s what happened when Tōth played the Tiny Desk. I felt a deep connection to both the fun and emotion in their music. Besides, I loved their outfits.

I’m not sure how memorable these songs are, but they are sure fun to listen to.

[READ: April 30, 2020] “Five Stories”

Here is yet another installment of microfiction from Diane Williams.

Every time I read stories from her I try to imagine how they were constructed.  I have considered that she takes pieces from other stories and jams them randomly together into short fiction.  But now I’ve decided that the way she writes her stories is that she writes a longer story and as she edits it, she accidentally deletes more than she meant to but then just leaves it.

Her stories just leave me going… huh? (more…)

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[NOT POSTPONED: March 12, 2020] The Districts / And the Kids / Sixteen Jackies

phrasesnotattendMarch was going to be a very busy concert month for me.

I thought that I would be starting a bunch of shows in a row with this one. Then it turned out that an event for my son that I thought was scheduled for March 19 was actually on March 12.  So that meant I would not be going to this show.

I had seen The Districts back in 2017 and enjoyed the show, but I clearly didn’t enjoy it as much as everyone else in the room who knew every word to every song.  I was much more prepared for this show, even if there was a new album about to come out for this show as well.

I was also really excited to see And the Kids, a band I have really enjoyed twice and who I can’t wait to see again.  But they had a personal tragedy affect them and they had to cancel their opening slot of the tour.  That was a major bummer.

I didn’t know Sixteen Jackies, but I had read good things about them.

Once the coronavirus started shutting down shows, I wasn’t sure if this show would get shut down.  It didn’t and it turns out it would have been my last show for quite a while if I had gone.

Sounds like it was great, but I had more important things to do.

However, I hope that when they reschedule the tour that they tack on an extra Philly day so that we can enjoy them again without the fear of contagion hanging over our heads.

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2019] And the Kids

Almost exactly one year ago I saw And the Kids open for Lucy Dacus.  They put on a great show, but I had heard that they would be even more wild if they didn’t have the time constraints of that show (there were two full sets that night, so the earlier one was kind of rushed).  Back in November they opened another show that I wanted to get to but couldn’t.  But here they were headlining, which is what I really wanted to see.

I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale.  But then I found out that Voivod was playing the same night across town.  Voivod is a band I have loved and never saw live.  So I chose Voivod.  During the headliners, YOB, I decided if I left I could get over to Johnny Brenda’s (about 10 minutes away) in time before And the Kids started.  I listened to one heavy YOB song and then took off.  I got on street parking a block away from Johnny Brenda’s and walked in a few minutes before And the Kids were to go on.  All signs indicated that I had made the right choice.

I was surprised at how crowded it was (good for them!)  But I managed to get past the drunken clumps and got right up at the edge of the stage, but to the side–near the steps where the band comes in.  It’s not a great vantage point (and the sound really isn’t as good, but it was better than standing in the middle of tall people.

Then the band came out.  Last time And the Kids were a four-piece.  But for this show they were only a duo.  I gather the core of the group has always been Rebecca Lasaponaro on drums and Hannah Mohan on guitar and vocals.  I have yet to find out why they were touring with just the two of them and not a full band.  I’m also not exactly sure how the bass and other sounds were handled.  I know it had something to do with Lasaponaro, but whether she was triggering them live or just starting them on a laptop, I don’t know.

In some ways this hindered their improvisatory nature.  But not really, because Mohan is a born entertainer and she was a ton of fun throughout the night–and made me glad I was standing where I was.

They played eleven songs in about an hour.   Five were songs from the new album, which I hadn’t heard yet. I hadn’t heard much by them when I saw them last time either, and I feel like hearing them live–even new songs–is absolutely the way to go.  The recorded versions are good, but the don’t quite capture the vitality and energy that their live set has. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2019] YOB

I hadn’t heard of YOB before this show.  I was there for Voivod.  But I assumed they must be compatible if they were playing together.

I also had a ticket to see And the Kids (a very different type of band) that night at Johnny Brenda’s.  After jumping in to see Dilly Dally upstairs in the Foundry after the Guster show in The Fillmore, I thought, well, why can’t I go to both shows if one ends early enough.  Johnny Brenda’s is about ten minutes from Union Transfer.  The Johnny Brenda’s show started later than this show, so I considered my options.

After the pummeling from Amenra and the fun but heavy set from Voivod, I was pretty wiped out.  I had read that YOB was “Epic, crushing, and heavy beyond words.”

So I decided to stay for the first song and see if I wanted to hear more. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 13, 2018] And the Kids

I watched an And the Kids Tiny Desk Concert a while back.  At first I wasn’t that impressed, but over the course of 10 minutes they totally won me over and I knew I’d want to see them live (I didn’t quite get what they were doing in the beginning to really appreciate it).

I was pretty psyched that they were opening for Lucy Dacus.  But I was bummed to discover that their set would be shortened because I was seeing them for the early show (I think they did about 30 minutes rather 40).  I was even more bummed after the fact when I found out that the when given room and time, they put on a killer live show.

Instead, I got a great live show. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 13, 2018] Adult Mom

Adult Mom is a band created by Stephanie Knipe.

I had heard of them, but wasn’t too familiar with them.  I knew that they had released a number of “bedroom recordings” which is unfairly dismissive.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t expecting them to rock out as much as they did.

Because Lucy Dacus was offering two shows this evening, it meant that the opening bands (and Lucy herself) was somewhat truncated for the first show.  So Adult Mom only played for about 20 minutes.  (more…)

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gunner SOUNDTRACK: AND THE KIDS-Tiny Desk Concert #452 (June 30, 2015).

Ikids hadn’t heard of And The Kids before, but I was intrigued by their name and the lead singer’s look (is that a tattoo on her lip?).

But I didn’t like the way the first song started with a modified military “Glory Glory Hallelujah” musical refrain–it seemed strangely forced, especially for the first song I’d heard by them.  Although I may have liked it better if I knew the band better. It was a weird way to start.

Especially since I ultimate liked “Glory Glory.” (I am hearing a chorus of “I’ve been picking up floor milk” which is as fascinating as whatever the lyrics really are).  The drummer has great harmony vocals that really adds something to the song. I also love at around 2 and half minutes when the song turns into something very different—faster guitars with lead vocals by the drummer.  And even the bassist who has been quiet thus far chimes in with another layer of voices (and some interesting bass lines). It’s very cool.  So the song which started out kind of shaky really rocks out at the end.

The band trio, with a singer/guitarist, bassist and a great drummer.  There’s something about the lead singer’s guitar–it seems really big (maybe it’s just the head of the guitar?).  And the sound that the drummer gets is really great too—it may just be this recording, but the snare is really sharp.

For “All Day All Night” the drummer busts out a glockenspiel. It has a kind of shouted chorus that borders on dissonance but isn’t quite.  I like the way the song slows down (with the guitarist playing keyboard as it builds back up), the drummer plays the glockenspiel and the drums at the same time.  And the all three start singing with interesting harmonies. The ending whoo hoos are sharp and distinct as well.

“Cats Were Born” has a very interesting lyric: “The cats were born to kill for fun.”  But perhaps even more interesting than the words are the yodels and screams and yips that punctuate the song.  What’s also strange is the way the bassist seems so reticent to look goofy while the other two are wild.   The guitarist busted out a small four string guitar for this song which sounds really distinct. And the drummer really shines.  Through many of the songs she’s playing rim shots which is a distinctive sound in itself, but when she switches over to a faster style for the middle section, it’s really intense.

I don’t think any bands has gone so far from me not thinking much of them to being really won over by the end of their Tiny Desk.

[READ: February 26, 2015] Gunnerkrigg Court [1-14]

I discovered this book through my Goodreads account.  It was suggested because, well, I don’t recall, it had something to do with schools and supernatural and graphic novels or whatever.  There was also one that was suggested for Sarah (it was about boarding school and tea) which turned out to be Japanese softcore porn, so beware the Goodreads suggestions.

Although there was nothing to beware of with this book.

I actually thought Sarah would like it more because she loves boarding school fiction.  But she gave up on the book after a few stories.  Interestingly I almost did as well. It wasn’t that it was bad, in fact we both enjoyed the beginning.  But it was the kind of book that once you put it down, you didn’t feel compelled to pick it up again.  Perhaps because each chapter feels so self-contained–with no real cliffhanger–that it seemed like the stories were done.  And while the stories were good they weren’t awesome…so.  She gave up, but I continued

And I’m glad I did. (more…)

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