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Archive for the ‘Kacey Musgraves’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #93 (October 9, 2020).

The Flaming Lips have recently performed a live concert in front of an audience (Yes!).  They did this by putting themselves and every audience member in one of Wayne Coyne’s giant bubbles.  What an amazing idea and a wonderful experience, I’m sure (especially after nine months of no live music).

Back in October, The Lips did their very first Tiny Desk Concert.  And, being the Lips, they decided to do their home concert entirely in their own bubbles.  (Although technically two people share two bubbles).

This Tiny Desk Concert features two songs from their newest album American Head.

The Flaming Lips have always embraced the surreal. Drugs are undoubtedly part of the culture, and on their new songs from American Head, drugs are at the core. These are songs for the lost, the overdosed dreamers, the damaged, the car crashed.

The open the set with “Will You Return/When You Come Down,” a simply wonderful song.

On the album’s opening track “Will You Return/When You Come Down” (which also begins this concert), Steven Drozd asks in falsetto, “Will you return? Will you come down?” while Wayne Coyne responds, “Thinking back to those lost souls / And their ghosts / Floating around your bed / Hear it said / Now all your friends are dead.”

I love everything about his song.  Gentle bells (from percussion Nicholas Ley) open the song along with Steven Drozd’s falsetto singing the refrain.  (Drozd is an amazing guitarist but only plays the keys in this set).  Wayne begins singing the verse.  It’s gentle and pretty, and then with a drum flourish from Matt Duckworth in comes Michael Ivins’ typically wonderful bass lines.

The song builds beautifully into a big major chord with Derek Brown’s acoustic guitar leading the way.

Whenever I’ve seen The Lips live, Jake Ingalls almost always sits on the floor.  In this set he’s sitting with Steven.  I’m never quite sure what he does, but I imagine he’s creating all kinds of interesting sounds.  Ingalls’ band Spaceface is pretty wonderful, but the way.

“God and the Policeman” features one of Ivins’ coolest basslines around.  It’s a stuttering rumble that seems to come from nowhere and adds a fantastic element to this song.  Ley adds in some tubular bells and Wayne plays the siren on his megaphone.  The main musical melody is a pretty piano circuit that soars with Wayne’s voice.

On the record, Kacey Musgraves sings the backing vocals but Steven takes them here. Wayne says that he has a good Kacey-esque voice.

Steven replies:

It sounds like you’re saying something nice but I can’t hear anything you’re saying.

The go back to 2013’s The Terror for “Be Free, A Way.”  Wayne says he wrote this when he was depressed.  He’s only been really depressed once or twice and this song came out of one of them.  I love the echoing vocals as Steven follows Wayne’s lead.  The vocal melody of two word sentences is just fantastic.

They end the set with “It’s Summertime” from 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Yoshimi is a fantastic album from start to finish, although this song is somewhat of a left-field choice–not one of the big hits from the album. Wayne gets a nice trumpet solo too.

This is a wonderful set to see.  And I really hope they bring their bubble shows to a theater near me.

[READ: November 20, 2020] “My Three Fathers”

I have not read any of Ann Patchett’s books, although I keep meaning to.  Her soon to be released novel is supposed to be fantastic.

This essay sounded kind of interesting even without knowing anything about her.  She talks about having had three fathers during her life.  She prefaces all of this by saying that marriage is irresistible to her family members: “we try and fail and try again.”  She and her sister have both been married twice, while her mother married three times (thus, three fathers).

Her first father was her biological father.  He and her mother divorced when she was little. Her second father was her mother’s second husband–he adopted her.  Her third father was her mother’s third husband.  Her mother married him when Ann was an adult.

She writes about this third wedding, the rare time when all three of Ann’s fathers were together and at which she got a picture of herself with the three of them.

Then she talks about all three men. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-“Flowers of Neptune 6” (2020).

After a series of much harsher, darker albums, The Flaming Lips’ new record, American Head (due out next month) promises a much brighter, warmer experience.  Perhaps one indication of the change is that the guest singer on this song is Kacey Musgraves.  Sadly, she is barely audible at all and doesn’t really add any of her own flare to the song.

“Flowers of Neptune 6” opens with a quiet piano melody.  There’s slow (albeit loud) drums and acoustic guitars–it’s a Flaming Lips ballad.  This one feels almost sixties-like with the echoing voices and the primary melody.  Not to mention the content:

doing acid and watching the light bugs glow -oh oh oh
like tiny spaceships in a row-oh oh oh

The chorus is slow but catchy and the end of the song is a minute of instrumental fade out with slide guitars, choruses of voices of a moment for Kacey to hum a solo.

[READ: August 1, 2020] “My Widow”

This story is broken into shorter sections as the dead narrator relates a story about his living widow.

First we learn that his widow is a cat person.  Or, perhaps more correctly, a crazy cat lady.  She has about thirty.  She feeds them and cares for them, but really doesn’t care about anything else.  So when the roof develops a leak, she ignores it and allows the water to drip right onto her bed.

It doesn’t seem like much is going to happen in this story. She ignores the roof until she can’t any longer and then calls a roofer in to repair it. But nothing much happens with that.

The scene shifts to shopping.  “In her day, my widow was a champion shopper.”  She has a collection of antique jewelry, glassware, china figures and the like” which the deceased says would be truly valuable if she took care of the house. (more…)

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chigerSOUNDTRACK: KACEY MUSGRAVES-Tiny Desk Concert #463 (August 20, 2015).

kaceyKacey Musgraves is probably the most country country singer that I really like.   She makes a lot of music that is really really country–the kind I typically dislike, and yet her lyrics are just so good that I can look past the country sound that I dislike so much (and even start to enjoy it).

I love that she plays with all of the country cliches—her backing band is decked out in matching sequined suits, there’s whoops, there’s a ton of slide guitar.  And yet her lyrics question convention (and have wonderful word play).

She plays five songs (so many more than most people!)

She’s super fun and chatty, making lots of jokes and introducing her band.  She also says she’s not going to leave, which is okay with the crowd.

“High Time” is a fairly conventional country song.  It’s not as funny as some of the others and it has a real slide guitar thing going on.

“Family Is Family” is the first song I’d heard by her and I loved the words then and I still love them.  They are funny without being novelty.

“Late To The Party” is a more traditional song.  It’s a sweet ballad.

“Pageant Material” is another funny song, mocking the conventions of pageantry and poise and beauty.

Bob asks for a suit (they light up!) and she says okay but we’ve never actually seen him in one….  We also learn that the bassist plays the spoons and the spoons that he uses are ones that he whittled himself.

On the day that Musgraves played, the Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage across America mere hours earlier.  She played “Follow Your Arrow,” the most anthemic go-your-own-way jam on Musgraves’ 2013 debut album She says that her sister had called her earlier that day just ugly crying out of happiness.  Everyone gets into the song in the office.  It was a feel good moment of the year.

[READ: June 21, 2015] Chiggers

I’ve enjoyed Larson’s work in the past, and I was happy to read this book too.

It’s set at summer camp and while it deals with jealousy and other teenage problems, there is a supernatural element well, which is pretty cool.

Abby is excited to go back to summer camp.  She can’t wait to see her camp friend Rose and some of her other bunkmates from last year.

But this year Rose is a Cabin Assistant.  And while she is the CA for Abby’s cabin, it is also means that Rose is really busy with real things (and had less time for chatting).  Some of the other girls seem to have grown up too.  One has a boyfriend and she is getting her ears pierced (like the woman in the band Spite Storm).  She and her boyfriend are even going to start their own band Glittergloom.

Suddenly Abby doesn’t feel as cool as she did last year.  And she has trouble falling asleep at night.

Then it turns out that one of the girls in her dorm has to go home–and the rumor is that she got chiggers! (more…)

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