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harpjuneSOUNDTRACK: KING TUFF-“Black Moon Spell” and “Eyes of the Muse” (2014).

tuffI first heard King Tuff on WXPN.  A few weeks later I heard two of his songs on NPR Music.  I’m including both of these because they’re from the same album and yet they are so very different.

“Black Moon Spell” has a stupid, great, heavy riff–it’s all distortion and garage rock.  And when the first verse starts, Tuff’s voice sounds very 60’s–whispered and trippy.  It’s a great contrast to the rocking riff that repeats in the chorus.  The second verse and the chorus sound pretty much the same, but they are so catchy it’s hard not to rock out to it all.  There’s a cool guitar solo and, perhaps most unexpected, female backing vocals as the chorus repeats in the outro.

It has a real classic rock sensibility but with modern elements.

“Eyes of the Muse” is also full of classic rock sensibilities but in a very different way.  This song is anything but heavy–it has jangly chords, and a pretty guitar riff.  The vocals are also higher pitched with a very sixties folky style.  And when the Boston-style guitars burst forth about half way through, you’d swear you’d heard it all before, and yet it is still different enough to be really enjoyable.

Ty Segall plays drums of “Black Moon Spell” and I can compare this record to him or to Mikal Cronin–simple familiar elements done in a novel and exciting way.  I’d definitely like to hear more from this record.

[READ: November 17, 2014] “The Second Doctor Service”

I didn’t think I’d read anything by Mason before, but I had.  I didn’t really like his previous story in Harper’s,(which was sort of a parody of Herodotus).  This one was written in an old style as well (although not a parody this time–if indeed the first one was supposed to be one).

Anyhow, this one opens like an old story (with county names given in this format: K— and S—).  At first I thought we didn’t really need a story pretending to be old like this, but Mason really mastered the style.  Not to mention a story with this content works much better as an old one (before “modern” science).

Essentially, the author is writing a letter to the Journal, in response to Dr Slayer’s study “On the So-called Cumberland Were-wolf.”  He has not encountered a were-wolf but he hopes that anyone reading the Journal might be familiar with his own unusual plight.  (more…)

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