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Archive for the ‘Diet Cig’ Category

[POSTPONED: May 14, 2020] Diet Cig / Sad13 / Thin Lips [moved to November 4, First Unitarian Church]

indexI have wanted to see Diet Cig ever since I saw them on a Tiny Desk Concert–they are a bundle of energy and the duo play super catchy pop punk.  I wanted to see them before they lost their energy.

I missed them the first time they came around and last time around they played at the First Unitarian Church, a venue I dislike.  So when they announced this show at Union Transfer I was so excited.  This cancellation was a major bummer for me.

Especially since now that they rescheduled it is apparently being moved to the Church again (does this mean sales are really poor?)

Sad13 is the solo moniker of Sadie Dupuis the singer of Speedy Ortiz.  They were wonderful live (and I was right in front of Sadie to watch her terrific guitar work).  I don’t really know much about the Sad13 songs but I assume they will be great if she is behind them.

I saw Thin Lips at the Philly Music Fest and they were absolutely fantastic.  I loved them and was looking forward to seeing them again.  They play catchy pop punk with pointed lyrics.  Outstanding.

So, I sure hope all three can come around for the postponed date (and I hope it sells better and has to get moved out of the Church into a bigger venue).

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SOUNDTRACK: DIET CIG-“Tummy Ache” (2019).

Diet Cig put on one of my favorite Tiny Desk Concerts.  I am really looking forward to seeing them live.  Singer/guitarist Alex Luciano has more energy than anyone I’ve seen.  And drummer Noah Bowman is a perfect foil for her.

As a duo, they play simple pop punk songs that are full of energy.  Their bio sums them up quite nicely.

Diet Cig are here to have fun. They’re here to tear you away from the soul-sucking sanctity of your dumpster-fire life and replace it with pop-blessed punk jams about navigating the impending doom of adulthood when all you want is to have ice-cream on your birthday.
But there’s also a deeper, more powerful fuck-you among the bangers that see Diet Cig grow into an unstoppable and inspiring force. “I’m not being dramatic, I’ve just fucking had it with the things that you say you think that I should be” spits Luciano on ‘Link in Bio’;

Over a four chord pattern, Luciano sings

Well i’m just a kid, a girl, a runt
And i’m starting to get real sick of
Trying to find my voice
Surrounded by all boys

Between verses the guitars get louder and play a slight variation before returning to verse two:

I’ve been yelling my whole life
And finally it’s time
to make my words count
In a way i haven’t quite figured out

And i don’t need a man
To hold my hand
And that’s just something you’ll never understand x2

The end of the song shifts tone while she quietly sings

And my stomach hurts
Cause it’s hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt

Then the instrumental passage above proves to be the music for this repeated refrain/chorus.  A simple, catchy and fun song with a message.  Can’t wait for them to come back around.

[READ: May 11, 2019] “Assassin”

Translated from the Arabic by Raymond Stock

This is the story of Bayumi.

He has been down and out and living as a beggar.  He’d been to prison, had no friends left and no way to make money.

He wondered how he could get out of this rut.

Then someone called out to him.  The man had Bayumi follow him and then asked indifferently if he would kill al-Hagg Abd al-Samad al-Habbani. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DIET CIG-Tiny Desk Concert #641 (August 2, 2017).

The guys at NPR have raved about Diet Cig for quite some time.  Especially their live show.  They played at a small club near me and I thought about going but I couldn’t make it.  So I was happy to hear they played a Tiny Desk so I could see what all the fuss was about.

Diet Cig is yet another duo:

with drummer Noah Bowman propelling the high kicks and constant pogo bounce of guitarist and singer Alex Luciano. With a candied voice, she sings of being on the cusp of adolescence — but underneath that bright veneer Alex sings truth to power, and about what it means to be a punk in a skirt, dealing with disrespectful souls. “I think you’re the kind of guy / who would meet me at a party / and forget my name / and try to take me home all the same,” she sings on “Sixteen.”

And while the songs do have some angst, it’s the incredibly happy infectious nature of Luciano that made me instantly fall in love with them and berate myself for not going to see them in a small club when I had the chance–I see they’re selling out shows in London now.

They play 3 songs in 9 minutes (and the last one is pretty extended because Luciano is dancing all over the place: on desks, on the drums, everywhere.  None of the songs are terribly complex, but that’s fine.  They’re charming pop punk nuggets

“Sixteen” is what gets the parental warning. Its starts off slowly:

when I was sixteen I dated a boy with my own name / it was weird in the back of his truck / moaning my own name while trying to fuck

then it picks up and Alex starts bouncing around.  And although the song is kind of sad, “I’ll never barbecue again, and you can keep all of your shitty friends” she can’t stop smiling all the way through.

“Tummy Ache” is when she really starts dancing–doing high kicks and bouncing around all while playing nonstop guitar.  The lyrics are simple but great: “I don’t need a man to hold my hand / and that’s just something you’ll never understand.”

“Harvard” is the first song they wrote.  It has the amusing chorus of  “fuck your ivy league sweater.” She bounces all over the place, climbs on the desk, steps over to the drums and plays the last chords from the bass drum.  As the final chord rings out she reaches into her fanny pack and throws confetti all over herself as she jumps down.

The set is delightful and adorable and boy, I hope when they come back to the area it’s to another small club.

[READ: August 2, 2017] “New World”

This story centers around a global event that I know nothing about.  That combined with some confusing lineage angles made this story less satisfying for me than it should have been.

The story is about the independence of Ceylon (currently Sri Lanka) from Britain.  The story presumes we will know a few details about this event (I knew none: Independence from Britain occurred in 1948, but had a convoluted history trying to attain full independence).  I assume knowing that is useful to the story.

But for our story the impact is more local.  When the new prime minister Don Senanayake spoke first in English and then in Sinhala–no one knew what he was saying–but they all heard the word Ceylon.  Sir William (no last name given) left the country on the eve of independence and he left all of his property to Mr Balakumar, the Tamil manager.

The story is written from a “we” narrator: “We didn’t see Selvakumar approach.”  The “we” are married ladies (who mustn’t be too old, although they do mention husbands at one point).  They are mostly interested in Selvakumar’s story.

This character was fascinating but slightly confusing–at one point he says of himself:  “How can an Indian bastard be prime minister?”  Selvakumar worked for Mr Balakumar, and the man often whipped the boy for doing a poor job (I loved the grotesque detail that he was beaten so hard with the sugar cane that he “smelled like brunt molasses.”

But the real conflict for Selvakumar is with a boy named Muthu.  Muthu, they said, would grow up to be like his father Mr Padmanathan who thought of himself as a big boss.  Muthu was 10 and that was the only reason his father allowed his son to have a friendship an “Indian coolie.”  Muthu would teach Selvakumar whatsoever he learned in school.  The thing that stuck with Selvakumar the most was Marco Polo and his travels.

While the village was celebrating its independence, a storm came through the village.  The rain came hard and fast and began to knock down the poorly made houses.   It flooded the ground, which turned into raging torrents.  When the rain subsided, the people slept “by the ruins of our homes.”  And yet despite the destruction, they knew that Independence would be a more lasting and powerful event for them.

As they assessed the damage, it became clear that Selvakumar was missing.  Had he been killed?  Everyone scoured he area for him.

But I found this part really confusing.  The main part of the story was full of so much detail that I was really surprised by how unstraightforward the end was.  .

This sentence, once unpacked, makes sense but reading it in context created so many visuals that I couldn’t parse it right away.

By the time we discovered the yellow-tipped butterfly on the fat corpse, Muthu’s father had rounded the hillside, dragging his son by the ear with one hand and comforting the wailing Mrs. Balakumar with the other.”

So much is going on there.

Suffice it to say that someone has died.  But something else largely unexpected has happened as well.

The end of the story sees the women imagining their future and the future of the boys in the village as well.

There was a lot going on in this story and I felt like some things came just out of the blue. It was strange how the story begin speaking of the future as one thing but then things changed dramatically after the storm.  Although apparently not because of the storm.

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