Archive for the ‘Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS AND HEADY FWENDS-“Helping the Retarded to Know God” (2012).

2012 saw the release of this very strange collaborative album.  Whether The Flaming Lips had entered the mainstream or if people who’d always liked them were now big stars or maybe they all just liked doing acid.  Whatever the case, The Lips worked with a vast array of famous (and less famous) people for this bizarre album.  Here it is 8 years later. Time to check in.

After an intense dance song and a trippy synth song, why not follow it up with a (mostly) acoustic song with an incredibly offensive title?

Turns out this incredibly offensive title is actually the name of a (serious) book written in 1969 (you can see it and the rather amusing contemporary reviewed on Amazon).

I don’t think the lyrics address the book exactly (although I haven’t read it).  But with lyrics like

We can hear them laughing at us
Judging all the time
I wish I could be like you
You don’t pay them no mind

It’s hard to tell.

This song is sung by Wayne in his falsetto and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (the whole band or just the singer, I don’t know) singing along.

After a minute and a half some processed drum beats add some texture to the song which stays mostly quiet and pretty. The Lips can sure do pretty went they want.  There’s even birds tweeting.

After five and a half minutes, the song shifts gears to a repeated refrain of

And I am trying to know you.

The song is 7 minutes long, but it never drags, which is quite a compliment.

[READ: August 1, 2019] Strangers in Paradise XXV #3

Issue 2 ended with a literal cliffhanger–Katchoo hanging off the edge of a cliff.  She’s freezing. There are dogs above and even an eagle flying at her.  She’s in a bad way until a rope comes down.

It is from Jet and Earl.  Jet figured Katchoo might do something stupid so she went to the gated house and heard the screams.

Jet explains that the home owner is an asshole, but they may need him to get any information on Stephanie.  Katchoo has put up with assholes before and she pulls out a gun of her own.  After some threats back and forth (the guy was shooting rock salt as a warning and mostly wants to know who will pay for the fence that Katchoo drove through), Jet is able to calm things enough to learn that the man doesn’t know where Stephanie is.

But he provides a small clue–Scotland.  Stephanie loved Scotland. (more…)

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may2016SOUNDTRACK: GROUPLOVE-Tiny Desk Concert #166 (October 11, 2011).

grouploveWith a name like Grouplove, I expected a certain sound–I imagined a dancey, funky, R-rated kinda of band.

  But when I listened to this set, I realized that I knew the first song, “Tongue-Tied” and I loved it–it’s incredibly catchy and poppy and with a title that belies the common refrain “take me to your best friend’s house….” I love the two vocalist and that lead singer Zucconi’s voice strains bit still sounds good.  There’s a middle section that reminds me a bit of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ “Home” with the two lead singers having a call and response section.  I only wish she was a little louder (he’s very loud).  But the rest of the song sounds nothing like that and is definitely is his own thing.  Special attention should be paid to the bassist who throws in some great lines.  I also like that the xylophone is used for percussion in this song.

speaking of the bassist, his cowboy hat bumps into something on the wall and the drummer mocks: “I’m from England I’m going to come back and get revenge.”  Bob asks for more about ths development, but the drummer continues, “He’s just bitter about the War of Independence.”  The bassist mutters, “It still hurts.”

When they released this song/album they’d only been together for a year and a half.  Hannah Hooper and songwriter, singer and guitarist Christian Zucconi met the other members of Grouplove — Sean Gadd, Ryan Rabin (son of Trevor Rabin) and Andrew Wessen on the island of Crete at an artists’ retreat.

Turns out I also knew “Itchin’ on a Photograph” (most notable for the way he sings (with a aching falsetto) “itchin on a photograaaaaph.”  Some more great bass lines here too.  Zucconi’s voice has got to hurt at the end of this song

Their final song is “Colours.”  Hooper’s harmony vocals are great on this song, and I really like the echoing electric guitar.

It’s hard for me to believe that “Tongue-Tied” is five years old, as  feel like I’ve been hearing it on the radio still.  The band has only put out once album since this one but they’ve been writing songs for all kinds of movies and TV shows.   I’d like to hear if they kept up their success of writing super catchy pop songs.

[READ: April 22, 2016] “A Shrinking World, An Opening Sky”

This story is a look a dementia (see, I said the two stories in this month’s issue were dark).  What I found most interesting about the way it was written was that it was from a close third person.  It got inside the demented man’s head but it wasn’t a first person account, so the confusion was presented objectively–a delicate balance, for sure.

It begins from the old man’s wife’s perspective.  She feels that her husband has lived long enough (she won’t say this to her family members, of course).  A while back he’d had some bad days.  There were some good days sprinkled in, but it has been steadily bad ever since.

This story is not set on his last day, but the narrator recounts his last few days which have been much the same. (more…)

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   judySOUNDTRACK: EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS-Tiny Desk Concert #32 (October 26, 2009).

I haedve recently begun to really enjoy Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (watch those e’s people).  Interestingly, I have gotten into their song “Home” which is actually from 2009 and is included in this Tiny Desk Concert.

There is no Edward Sharpe. Sharpe is the alter ego of singer Alex Ebert.  Ebert and Jade Castrinos form the core of this expansive ensemble.  There are ten people in the band making this the largest (and judging from their appearance, smelliest) Tiny Desk Concert to happen yet.  There are a few guitars, accordion, bongos, drums, keyboards and lots and lots of singing

Everyone seems very happy in the band, especially Castrinos, whose bliss is either delightful or disturbing to watch here.

“Janglin'” opens with the whole lot of them bopping along to the janglin song.  Alex Ebert has a folky, husky voice.  There’s lots of shouted “heys” and a fun, nearly-bass vocal section where they all sing “Mag-ne-tic-zeros.”  “Home” is a wonderful song with a catchy whistle and a fun horn section.  The catchiness of the chorus is undeniable.  And this live version is infectious.  The final song, “40 Day Daydream” is a big rambling piece.  There’s a moment near the end that allows Ebert to sing unaccompanied and you can hear that his voice is quite nice.

I always enjoy seeing performers having fun and it’s clear that these Zeros are doing just that.

[READ: January 3, 2014] Judy Blume and Lena Dunham In Conversation

I considered the idea of writing only about tiny books in February.  (I have a number of tiny books that have come along recently and I thought February would be a good time to read them all).  Of course, it’s already the 11th, so there goes that.  But I can still do some, right?

So this little book (6.5 x 4.5 inches, 77 pages) is the full (and enhanced) interview with Judy Blume and Lena Dunham.  The excerpted version appeared in the January 2014 issue of The Believer.  For this book we have the full interview (I assume) and the authors were given a chance to add comments to the interview afterward.

What we get here is Dunham, more or less a fangirl of Judy Blume, talking to her idol.  But Dunham is not just fawning, she is direct and inquisitive and they seem to hit it off immediately, which makes for a great interview.  Blume talks about her phobias (thunder, loud noises).  And their fear of the blank page.  And we also learn of Blume’s writing and daily routines (which are very different from Dunham’s). (more…)

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