Archive for the ‘Clues’ Category

secretSOUNDTRACK: CLUES-Endless Forever 7″ [CST064] (2009).

  cluesClues was a band who played rock songs that fused a lot of different styles–often within one song.  They released one album which was fantastic and then basically went on hiatus (that was six years ago).  This 7″ was a tour artifact that Constellation has made available.

It has two songs–a band-made remix of one song from the album and a demo of another album track..

“Ledmonton (Endless Forever Version)” is an unusual but fun song with lots of different sections.  All of them sound unrelated to each other and yet each part is quite catchy and it works wonderfully as a whole.  This remix doesn’t change the song all that much.  It makes it a little softer and fuzzier.  “You Have My Eyes Now (Demonstration Version)” feels like a demo compared to the final version, but it’s really full sounding–just not as full as the album.

This release is more for completists of the band or, since they put out one album and disbanded, any fan of their recorded output might just enjoy this.

[READ: October 1, 2016] Secret Coders

Beloved artist/author Gene Luen Yang came back in 2015 with a new series called Secret Coders.

There is a kind of introductory section that implies the whole story is a lot more meta than it might at first seem–but it is not resolved yet so it’s hard to be sure of that.

The story opens on middle-schooler Hopper.  She is very unhappy to have moved to this new town and a new school.  In addition to missing everyone back home, the sh cool is decidedly weirdo.  There are birds with four eyes, the groundskeeper’s doors are locked and the custodian Mr Bee is really mean.   Plus the whole place looks haunted and there are huge numbers painted all over the buildings (but not in any actual order).

Hopper is pretty abrasive. In fact I’d say she’s downright unlikable–I find her rather offputting, myself.  Of course, she’s also unhappy and the first people that she meets make fun of her (and throw pudding at her), so she is quite snippy with people.  But she’s also not afraid to stand up for herself, which is cool.  When she learns who threw the pudding at her, she fights back–not realizing that the guy is a huge basketball player.  But he doesn’t fight her.  Rather, he chooses to walk away. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CLUES-Clues [CST057] (2009).

cluesThis is another of my favorite recent Constellation Records CDs.  Clues remind me of Mercury Rev, if they had remained a more indie/underpolished band instead of their more recent orchestrated pop.  The lead singer sounds a but like Jonathan Donahue (and sometimes Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips) and the band in general plays the sort of unusual pop that these bands have made common.

Every song on this disc is a winner.  It’s even hard for me to pick a favorite, although track number 8 “Cave Mouth” (I have no idea what the songs are about lyrically) is just fantastic: great musical riffs, great breaks, infectiously catchy melody, and yet the whole thing feels just a hair off balance.  It’s sublime.  And the rest of the disc works in a similar way: things are a little off kilter, but that make you listen even harder to find out what’s going on.

The best example of this is the last song: “Let’s Get Strong.”  The song is a pretty, simple piano ballad.  It’s very catchy and quite pretty.  But a few measures into the song, you become convinced that the piano is out of tune.  And as you listen attentively, you can’t decide what’s going on that makes the song sound off.  And by the end, you’re hooked.

Clues is definitely a quirky band.  And yet they are not offputting.  They’re just following their own muses.  And we’re all the better for it.

[READ: September 28, 2009] “Temporary”

This story concerns two women living in Los Angeles. They met when they were both applying for a temp position.  Shelly, the more outgoing of the two invited Vivian to live with her in her new place. The rent is cheap.  The only problem is that it’s a room in a factory, and technically it’s illegal, so if the police ever come they will be evicted on the spot.

And so, the title really conveys the lives that these women lead.

While Shelly’s back story is not really divulged, we learn a bit about Vivian and her upbringing.  When she was young her mother became very ill. They assumed she wouldn’t make it, but, amazingly she pulled through. This incident of more or less self sufficiency led Vivian to lead a rather sensible life, growing up faster than she probably should have.   As such, she is constantly surprised by Shelly’s behavior and lifestyle.

When Vivian landed the temp job, Shelly gave up her job hunt.  And yet Shelly always seems to be able to make the rent with no trouble.  She also has a habit of giving Vivian anything that Vivian complemented her on (which makes Vivian uncomfortable).  Shelly also walks around the apartment in loose robes, and tends to leave her “boyfriends” lying around the same way she leaves her extra cash lying around.

It’s Vivian’s temp job that provides the emotional heart of the story.  She works at an adoption agency transcibing the interviews of prospective adoptees.  One couple in particular grabs her attention.  The man seems like a bully and the wife seem too deferential to be healthy.  Since she listens to their tapes over and over for transcription purposes, she gets the man’s voice ingrained into her head.  It is inevitible that she will encounter these voices in real life, but the where and how are too good to spoil.

The main plot ends before the story ends.  The ending is a coda that ties the whole story together.  It feels extraneous at first and yet upon reflection it works very nicely to wrap up the story.

This was the first story I’ve read by Marisa Silver, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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