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Archive for the ‘cuppa joe’ Category

breachSOUNDTRACK: THE SILVER MT. ZION ORCHESTRA & TRA-LA-LA BAND (WITH CHOIR)-“This Is Our Punk-Rock,” Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing, [CST027] (2003).

MtzionthisisourThis album is a pretty massive change for A Silver Mt Zion.  It both brings this band closer to their alter ego GYBE but also pushes them further away at the same time.  How?  Well, musically, this album sounds a lot more like GYBE–epic songs all over ten minutes with lots of strings and soaring moments.  But the big difference now is that every song has vocals (hence the new title of the band).  The line up has stayed the same although they have many guests for the choir.  The choir is referred to on the album as Thee Rusted Satellite Choir.

“Sow Some Lonesome Corner So Many Flowers Bloom” opens the disc with someone counting of “1234… 12345678.”   And then a simple guitar and bass melody starts up.  The song sounds fairly conventional, in fact.  And then the choir kicks in.  Many many voices singing, “Ahhhh.”  And then a solo voice continues the “Ahhhs” in another pitch while the choir continues.   I love this whole introduction–the various keys the voices are in, how the bass voices start singing “fa fa fa la la so” and on and on in varying formats.  The choir (a bunch of friends and bandmates) sounds great–not perfect but perfect for this song.  This lasts for about 7 minutes before the choir fades and the rest of the song begins with a swelling of droning music.  Strings come in and the song stays quiet for a couple of minutes before the guitar riff from the beginning returns this time with string accompaniment instead of voices.   Around 12 minutes the strings change to something else–more grandiose music which sounds amazing.  About a minute later the drums begin and the song takes on a whole new style.  This more rocking sound continues until the end of the song.  It’s awesome.

“Babylon Was Built on Fire/StarsNoStars” opens with staccato echoed guitars (it also feels a bit like Pink Floyd).  There’s ambient washes of guitars that float around, but the whole things sounds very trippy (not a sound I associate with this band).  About six minutes in, Efrim begins singing.  This is the first time he’s sung quite so loudly and clearly.  His voice is anguished and a bit harsh, but it works pretty well with the violins and the cool bassline that walks throughout the song.  With about 4 minutes left, the music changes direction.  The guitar starts playing a single note, growing louder and louder as the strings surround the guitar and voice: “Citizens in their homes and missiles in their holes.”  Efrim (I assume) sings a round with himself as more and more lines of text fill the song.  Although his voice doesn’t sound radically different in each one, he does adjust volume and tone enough to make it sound pretty interesting.

“American Motor over Smoldered Field” is the shortest song on the disc at 12 minutes.  It begins with a simple acoustic guitar melody (quite pretty) and Efrim singing over it (I appreciate the different vocal styles in this song).  It’s really quite a compelling song as that guitar continues and the strings come in behind it.  Around four minutes in, the drums crash and the song takes off.  The strings change and the song becomes very intense–faster and louder.  This lasts about three minutes before a staccato guitar picks up and choral voices are heard way in the background.  The voices (all Efrim, I believe) build and build as the guitar maintains.  Around nine minutes the strings and guitars change and the song flows as a new vocal line joins in “this fence around your garden won’t keep the ice from falling.”

The final song, the 14 minute “Goodbye Desolate Railyard” also opens with acoustic guitar and Efrim’s vocals. The song (an elegy for a dying city) remain simple–acoustic guitar, simple violin and bass notes.   The song is repetitive, lulling the listener into as sense of contentment.  Although at around 5 minutes, the violins swell and become a little unpleasant–kind of harsh and a little staticky.  This continues for some 5 minutes until it is replaced by the rather close up sound of a freight train going slowly down a track.  After two minutes of this, the acoustic guitar returns with Efrim singing (in a very Neil Young kind of voice) “every body gets a little lost sometimes.”  The full choir joins in to sing these final words for a several rounds before fading out.

[READ: May 10, 2016] Breach Point

Steve and I are pals of Facebook.  If I may wax jealous for a minute, Steve has done everything that I’d ever wanted to do when I was younger–he’s been in a band (cuppa joe–they released several really good albums); he’s a graphic designer, something I always imagined being when I grew up; and now he has written a novel.  So, yes, basically I hate Steve.  Except that, of course, I don’t hate Steve.

I hate him even less because this book is not only really good, but it has brought back a part of my childhood that I had forgotten about.

When I (and anyone else who grew up in the New Jersey area in the 70s) was a kid, there were always commercials for Brigantine Castle in Brigantine NJ.  The commercials scared the hell out of me and I was always terrified to go to this place.  I knew it was down the shore but never exactly where.  And there were times when we drove to the shore and I was convinced we were going to the castle instead (totally false, Brigantine was way further north than any beach we would have gone to).  And then Brigantine Castle burned down.  Interestingly, after watching these commercials again coupled with The Haunted Mansion (another commercial played quite often), I learned that the Haunted Mansion was in Long Branch.  I never went to that Haunted House either, although I have since been to the convention center that now stands where the Haunted Mansion once stood before it burned down.

Yes, Both Brigantine castle and the Haunted Mansion burned down.  People know what happened in the Haunted Mansion fire, but the Brigantine Castle fire is shrouded in mystery.

This is all a long way to say that Steve has written a book that is based around this mystery.

Clara is a 16-year-old girl who travels to Breach Point for the summer.  She has gotten a job at an engineering firm and she is going to live with her Aunt Maureen.  When the book first opens, we see her on the bus, happy to get away from her mother and excited but nervous about gong to this place that she vaguely remembers. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: cuppa joe-“Better in Your Head” (2012).

After an eternity (okay, 18 years), Cuppa Joe is back with another release on Dromedary Records.  Things have changed over the years in cuppa joe’s world.  Their previous release, nurture was a delightful twee pop confection.  This track (you can see the video here) adds an unexpected depth to their catalog.

The first change comes from the minor chord guitar strums; the second comes from the bass, which is following its own cool riff–although it melds nicely with the verse, it’s unexpected from cuppa joe.  The pace of the song is much slower than the frantic songs on nurture.  Even the vocals, while noticably cuppa joe, seem less so–call it a more mature version of the vocals. Indeed, the whole sounds seems to have relinquished their more childlike qualities  and embraced a more mature outlook.

This could be a death knell for a band, but not in this case.  All of their songwriting sensibilities remain intact.  Indeed, they have added a wonderful new component: terrific harmonies in the chorus (which may have been there before, but which really stand out here).

It would almost seem like an entirely new band (18 years will do that to you).  But rather than a new band it’s like an old band coming out of a coocoon like a butterfly.  (That’s too treacly, sorry guys–maybe we’ll just stick with them being older and wiser.  Welcome back guys.

The new cuppa joe album Tunnel Trees is available here.

[READ: September 8, 2010] “The Science of Flight”

I read this story in September of 2010.  I liked it but I wasn’t that impressed by it.  Well, it turns out I either skipped or missed an important section of the story.  So I’m trying again.  here’s the start of my original post

Yiyun Li’s is one of the 20 Under 40 from the New Yorker.  This story (which I assume is not an excerpt) is about Zichen.  Zichen (whose name is unpronounceable to Westerners) emigrated from China to live in America with her then new husband.

As the story opens, we see Zichen at work at an animal-care center.  She is talking with her coworkers about her upcoming visit to England (this will be her first-ever vacation that is not to China).  The men are teasing her about the trip (why would she want to go to the ocean in the winter, she doesn’t know anyone there, etc).  The teasing is friendly, because they are friendly, although Zichen is very reserved around them.  Of course, of all the people she has known, she has opened up to them the most–which still isn’t very much.

That much is accurate.  However, the rest of my post about this story is completely (and rather ineptly, I must admit) incorrect.  Recently, Carol Schoen commented on my original post and informed me that I was a bonehead (although she said it much more politely than that).  I had completely missed the point of this story the first time around.  And indeed, re-reading it this time, I can’t help but wonder what happened last time.

Zichen is a bastard, literally.  She was born our of wedlock to a man who ran away.  In China, this was like compounding one sin atop another one.  Her grandmother agreed to raise her (after a failed adoption) more or less to spite Zichen’s mother, provided Zichen’s mother had nothing to so with her.  And so, Zichen’s grandmother worked in her shop extra long hours to care for a child who was a visible symbol of the family’s disgrace.  (I seem to have gotten the point about her grandmother raising her, but seem to have missed the important part about her parents not being in her life at all). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE DEAD MILKMEN-Not Richard But Dick (1993).

After the mature Milkmen of Soul Rotation, they followed up with this mini disc (at 28 minutes it’s probably an EP (even the title suggests that maybe it’s an EP) but it’s not considered one).

This album is a bit more twisted that Soul Rotation, although it still offers some of this newer more mature music.

The two most twisted songs are the largely spoken-word “I Dream of Jesus.”  It’s a rant in which the singer (who now goes by the name Arr. Trad.) talks about his mother keeping Jesus in a bottle, and the ramifications that that can have.  (It also features a sung chorus of “Jesus Loves Me”).  “Let’s Get the Baby High” has vocals that are processed so who knows who is singing.  But the title is pretty much spot on for the content of the song.

And you can pretty guess who is singing “The Infant of Prague Customized My Van.”

Butterfly Fairweather once again sings the bulk of the songs.  And most of them are fast rockers. The first song, “Leggo My Ego” could have been a hit (with the cool keboard opening) and “Little Volcano” probably should have been a  hit, it’s very catchy.

He’s also on vocals for some of those mellow songs (that remind me so much of Dromedary Records’ Cuppa Joe.  In fact, “Not Crazy” could have been done by Cuppa Joe.

The final song is a wonderfully hilarious Lou Reed impersonation with simple guitar chords, and a tin whistle!  It’s a very mellow spoken word piece about “The Woman Who was Also a Mongoose”.

Not Richard But Dick is no longer in print (Hollywood Records really gave DM the shaft).  I’m not sure if it’s worth tracking down at this point, but there’s some interesting and fun stuff on this disc.

[READ: April 7, 2010] Antwerp

Continuing with Roberto Bolaño’s fascinating melange of styles, Antwerp (technically the first “novel” he wrote (circa 1980 although he didn’t have it published until 2002) is a series of numbered sections.  I’ve heard it described as a prose poem, and, given his (at the time) recent switch from poetry to prose, that makes sense.

I had read an excerpt from this some time ago, and I found it difficult to read as excerpts.  Unsurprisingly, I also found the entire thing a challenge as well.  And that’s because, wow, there is so much crammed into these 79 pages, and there are so many different points of view and so many unclear events (written in great detail, but trying to piece those events together…phew) that even after reading it twice, I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: NOTHING SMELLS QUITE LIKE ELIZABETH compilation (1992).

This was Dromedary Records’ first big release: a statement of purpose if you will.  This is a compilation of unsigned Jersey indie bands.  I listened to this all the time as it was being compiled and mastered.  It’s been a while since I listened to the disc start to front.

It’s funny to hear some of these tracks now 18 years later, to see what stands up.

Melting Hopefuls’s “Gondola” has always been a favorite of mine, a weird intertwining vocals/guitars mix.  I’ve no idea what it’s about, but it sounds great.  Oral Groove’s “She’s Still Here” is okay.  The opening riff is pretty great, but the rest of the song isn’t all that memorable.

Planet Dread’s “What We See” is all over the place but manages to be a reasonably cohesive metal song. The time changes are still unexpected and are quite interesting.  This was a band who liked to throw everything into a song, so when the trippy middle section comes in, it sounds almost like a different band until that same crazy riff brings it back to metal territory.  The triangle at the end is a nice touch too.

When this disc came out, Eternal Vision was this huge buzz band, Jersey’s (specifically my home town of Hawthorne’s) up and coming Dream Theater.  And you can hear the talent in this song.  I have to say I much prefer the instrumental section to the parts with vocals.   Bassist Frank LaPlaca (who yes I played little league with) is now in the prog rock band 4front. His bass work has always been amazing and no doubt still is.

Footstone’s “Forbidden Fruit” is one of the poppier/groovier numbers here.  It’s always made me smile, as it’s about office furniture: “That’s not your chair.”  The unexpected funk freak out in the middle is just a bonus.  And cuppa joe’s “Meanings” is one of their lighter songs with some of my favorite lyrics on the disc.  When the song starts I think it’s going to be a bit too twee, and yet it always redeems itself wonderfully.

Ya-Ne-Zniyoo’s “The Man in My Dream” is as peculiar as the band’s name.  Jangly guitars, tribal drums, and cool vocal twists (nice background vocals in particular).  And, like a lot of these songs, there’s a wild middle section, this one with heavy groove guitars.  Ya-Ne-Zniyoo have a disc available on Amazon (at least I assume it’s the same Ya-Ni-Zniyoo).

Godspeed have a really raw, heavy sound on “Child Bride.”  When I was younger I always laughed at the “So soft, it makes me hard” line (that’s mixed quite loudly), but now it seems a little too silly.  However, it’s a good set up for the weird and almost jokey mosh section that ends the track.  I also enjoy any song with a coda that has nothing to do with the rest of the song.

Rosary was my friend Garry’s band. They were a really interesting band out of Hasbrouck Heights.  “Asylum”  holds up quite well.  The guitars sound great and the vocals at the end sound fantastic.  There’s something about the overall mix that’s a little muddy, which I think hides how good this song is.  The disc ends with Grooveyard’s “Child Bright” (huh, two songs with almost the same title).  It’s probably the most metal song of the bunch, even though it has a very jam-band guitar opening.  But with the heavy guitars and strong vocals, (and the “time to die” lyrics), this is easily the heaviest song on the disc.

So, 18 years later, this is still a fun compilation.  I’m not even sure how many of thee bands are still around.  You can hear a few songs on Dromedary Radio.  He might even have a few CD compilations left over, if you ask nicely.

[READ: February 18, 2010] “The Insufferable Gaucho”

This is the longest Bolaño short story of this batch.  This is a slow paced story following a man in his steady decline (or is it?) from urban lawyer to small town rabbit hunter.

As the story opens, we meet Héctor Pereda an irreproachable lawyer and caring father who lives in the wonderful city of Buenos Aires.  His son Bebe and daughter Cuca later accused him of sheltering them from life’s harsh realities.  But when Pereda’s wife died (the kids were 5 and 7) he wanted to respect her memory, so he never remarried (and he didn’t want to burden his children with a stepmother).

Cuca eventually married and Bebe became a very successful writer. Both kids eventually moved away.  And Pereda seemed to age prematurely.  Then the Argentinian economy collapsed.  He couldn’t afford to pay his cook or maid, so he decided he would move to his country house where he could be more frugal.

When he gets out to the country, he find the place to be desoltae.  His house is in terrible disrepair.  He tries to fix it himself, but he finds that he needs to call on the help of some lazy gauchos (who do, in fact, play guitar all day). He buys a horse, meets with people and slowly, slowly starts building a small farm.

By the end of the story he is unrecognizable: unshaven, dirty and dressed like one of the gauchos.  But the real question is, is he happy?

There’s some (to me) unbelievable parts of this story: rabbits attacking people on horseback?  But it occurs to me that Pereda may be going slowly crazy.  Surely his son (and writer friends) think so.

It’s a long story where not very much happens, but I still enjoyed it.  Despite the apparent lunacy, it was a very engaging portrait.

For ease of searching I include: Bolano

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SOUNDTRACK: Make the Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti (2010).

I mentioned this disc a few days ago because it’s a benefit disc for the people of Haiti.  I had encouraged people to order it ($10 to a good cause, eh?) but hadn’t fully listened to it yet.

Well, after playing the disc nonstop for the weekend, it’s time to chime in and say that this is a fantastic disc of indie rock, which spans the indie rock gamut from harder punk songs to beautiful heart-felt passionate tracks.  Each and every track is catchy, and most of them have a cool twist or hook to push it beyond being “just” an indie song

The first three songs are really fast and really heavy.  Footstone opens the disc.  I don’t know a lot by them, but this sounds to me like their heaviest song ever.  It comes across like a really hard edged punk song, but you know there’s a groove too.

Boss Jim Gettys (one of many wonderfully named bands) play a 2 minute punk metal blast that is notable for the cool guitar solo that breaks up the onslaught.  The third heavy song is by Dromedary stalwarts cuppa joe (!?).  “Taniqua” is a fast song with a rocking guitar intro.  It thuds along for 2 and a half minutes and then ends with a wonderfully upbeat chord that leads nicely in to the fourth song.  Moviola’s “Calling on the Line” is a poppy jangly college rock sounding song from the 90s.  It pretty well epitomizes the Dromedary sound.  The band has a bunch of records out which you can see here.

I wasn’t that impressed with Three Blind Wolves at first.  It seemed a little lacking.  But after about three listens I got it, and it’s now one of my favorite songs on the disc.  The singer’s voice is varied and wonderful, warbling over a fairly spare musical intro (the occasional high notes are totally cool).  But the chorus just rocks out wonderfully.  Three Blind Wolves is one of four Scottish bands from what I rather assumed would be a Jersey based compilation.

Paula Corino’s song is okay.  It’s my least favorite track on the disc, but only because it never really grabs me, and, while it’s a totally fine song, it gets a little lost amidst the rest of the tracks.  It’s followed by Wallendas’ “Adrianne” a delightful poppy song like a modern day Byrds.

The next song, The Neutron Drivers’ “All Around the Sun” doesn’t have an original second in it.  And yet it is easily the catchiest song on the whole disc. When you first hear the opening guitars you pretty much know exactly what the whole song (even the obvious guitar solo) will sound like.  It’s like the uber-rocksong.  And yet for all of its sounding familiar, it doesn’t sounds like any specific song. Amazing how they pulled that off.

The Dark Brothers’ “Knee Deep in Sin” is a weird and unsettling song in that it sounds like the singer from Social Distortion with a slide guitar.  It’s got a majorly country feel, until about three minutes in when you get a guitar solo straight outta Teenage Fanclub’s “The Concept” and suddenly this country song is a slow burning rocker.  Very cool.

The next two songs justify the price of the disc.  There Will Be Fireworks’ (Scottish band #2) “Foreign Thoughts” is a fantastic, amazing song.  It builds and builds with tension upon tension as the singer (with a wonderfully aggressive accent) spits the words over more and more instrumentation.  It’s followed by the utterly amazing Gena Rowlands Band’s “Fuckups Of the World Unite.”  This is like the great long lost American Music Club song.  It’s vulgar and yet completely un-profane.  It’s catchy, heartfelt and it blows me away each time I hear it, both lyrically and musically.  The simple guitar paired with the opening couplet is amazing in an of itself but it’s even better when it closes the song.

The Mommyheads come next with a remixed version of “Spiders” from Flying Suit.  I enjoyed the song on that disc, but it takes on a new life in this remixed version.  It feels fuller and even slighty creepier.

On like my third or fourth listen, Scottish band #3, Farewell Singapore’s “Blue” grabbed me and said “HEY THIS SONG IS FUCKING GREAT YA BASTARD.”  And man, is it ever.  I’ve been walking around all weekend singing “Scotland’s as dark as it’s going to be” over and over.  And I’ve no idea what it means.  The sudden breaks in the song sound like there’s something wrong with the track given the propulsive nature of everything else.  And the intense guitar solo that follows the glockenspiel bit is fantastic.  Oh and the male/female vocals sound great together.

Jennifer Convertible (a wonderful band name which gently rips a regional chain store, which seems to have changed its name to the far less inspired Jennifer Sofas and Sofabeds) has a very cool song that opens like a latter R.E.M. track but brings in some wonderfully atmospheric guitar noise to add a real sense of foreboding to the song.  The buzzing guitar solo is a nice touch, too.

lions.chase.tigers (4th and final Scottish band, with a downloadable EP on their website) sound a bit like an early Bob Mould track.  Which is pretty good in itself, but what I love about the song is that it’s a cool jangly indie rock song with a great martial drum sound.  And it bops along, in a minor key until we get a delicate guitar riff and then a rocking chorus.  But the really interesting part is yet to come: the gentle guitars come back but they’re accompanied by a voice screaming its lungs out (and yet mixed way down, so it’s no louder than the guitar).  And the song proceeds as if that isn’t a weird thing to add in.  Man, it takes guts to write a song like that, and it pays off.

The disc ends with Stuyvesant’s song, “Salieri.  It’s another slow builder, but it’s quite catchy and when the harmonies kick in in the last minute, it become quite the great song.  And it ends the disc on a good note.

So, in sum, order the disc.  It’s for a good cause, but even if you’re not into that sort of thing, you get some really great music for your money.  There’s literally not a bad track on the disc, and the bulk of them are outstanding.

Even the liner notes are interesting (and provide a look at why and how this disc came about).  My only complaint is that you get almost no information on the bands!  Now, I realize that in the world of online downloads, you’re lucky enough to get album art (and the photos are sad and beautiful) but I’d love to know more about these bands, where they’re from, who they are, and if any of them are have websites or other discs or whatnot.  But then, I actually read liner notes on discs!

Download the tracks, and the art, here.  Do it!  Now!

[READ: Week of February 15, 2010] 2666 [pg 231-290]

This week’s reading is the first half of the third Part: The Part About Fate.  And I have to say thus far it is easily my favorite part of the book.  I enjoyed it right from the start upon learning that the titular Fate is not an abstract Fate but a person named Fate.  A nice twist right up front.

This section also deals quite directly with matters of race.  Fate is black, and during his travels he is acutely aware of his color.  Plus, many scenes pop up in which race is definitely a factor.

Fate’s real name is Quincy Williams.  He is a 30 year-old reporter for Black Dawn, a magazine out of Harlem.  Quincy is known as Oscar Fate; everyone calls him Fate. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: FOOTSTONE-Wobbles from Side to Side EP (1994).

Footstone is like Dromedary’s punk brother of cuppa joe.  Their guitars are loud and heavy, their songs are fast and very catchy.  And yet, their vocalist almost feels out of place in such a heavy outfit: he’s almost soft spoken.  And this makes their whole sound very compelling.

This EP, available as a free limited time download here, was originally a 7 inch with two tracks. The download offers an extra bonus track.

“Mountain Man” is the a side and it opens with a blast of guitar heavy punk.  As it progresses, intertwining and harmonizing vocals add an amazing depth.  The b side, “Belly” opens with a wonderfully almost sinister guitar riff that is quickly discarded for some straightforward powerchord verses.  (Yes, the cool opening riff comes back at the end).   Although the band sounds in no way like R.E.M., I find the occasional backing vocal that pops up to be oddly reminiscent of Mike Mills’ great harmonies.

The bonus song, “Airbag” is 5 minutes of poppy guitar rock.  The opening chords remind me of Sabotage -era Black Sabbath, but the poppy bridge changes the direction altogether.  This song might do being a little shorter, but how can you complain about a free bonus song?

I have a hard time figuring out what any of these songs are about, although clearly in “Belly,” they don’t like something anymore, and there’s a very clear line about stuffing something back into his Levi’s, although exactly what is a mystery.

Footstone has a full length available from Dromedary too, and they put on a mean live show.

[READ: February 17, 2010] “Praise to the Highways”

This short story comes from the soon to be translated collection Antwerp. Natasha Wimmer (who translated The Savage Detectives and 2666) does the translation here too.

I’ve read a few of Bolaño’s short stories, and I have to say that as a group, I’m more than a little confused by them. Sometimes they seem to be about very specific incidents which I know very little about. Other times, they seem to be very abstract:glimpses of scenery that speed by and then vanish.

This story, which invokes highways in the title is one of these latter type of stories. It’s only two pages in the magazine and it is broken into 5 sections: “Cleaning Utensils,” “The Bum,” “La Pava Roadside,” “Summer,” and “Working-Class Neighborhoods.”  Each section is a paragraph. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CUPPA JOE-Busy Work EP (1993).

This EP was one of the first releases on the Dromedary label.  It contains 3 songs.  Whenever I think of cuppa joe, I think of them being a somewhat lightweight band; charming and fun, but lightweight.

And I think most of this is due to the lead singer’s voice.  It’s quite delicate and veers towards, but never quite reaches whiny territory.  Comparisons to They Might Be Giants are not unfounded.

But the thing is that, musically, the band plays a wonderfully diverse selection of styles, some of which emphasize the singer’s delicate voice, and others which play in a wonderful contrast to it.

Take their brilliant first song on the EP, “Bottlerocket”.  The chords are masterful and intriguing as the song opens, moving towards a fast, propulsive verse and an insanely catchy chorus (with backing vocal harmonies!).  It’s a tremendous song, and cuppa joe could easily rest on their laurels after creating such a masterpiece.

The other two songs on the EP are more of that delicate style that I think of as distinctly cuppa joe.  “French Toast” is a very quiet little ditty about, yes french toast.  It’s catchy and seems to be an ideal b-side, sounding almost like a demo.

The third track, “Surface Area” starts out almost as an homage to R.E.M. “I am Superman” with the jangly guitars and all, but the jazzy bassline totally changes the tone of the song.  Overall it splits the difference of the other two, being a fully realized song that gets a surprise lift from loud and raucous guitars about halfway through.

It’s a really great representation of this cool indie band.  And it will be available for download in a few days right here.

[READ: February 17, 2010] 2 Poems

These are the first two Bolaño pieces that I found while looking around online.  These poems are very likely published elsewhere.  However, since I’m not a big reader of poetry, I don’t think I’ll be reading his poetry collections in full.

Both poems were translated by Laura Healy. While it’s impossible to know if she did a good job of translation (since I can’t do it myself), all I can comment on is the quality of the English words. And in both cases, she chooses very exhilarating words to convey these images. (more…)

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