Archive for the ‘Liars’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: THE POP UPS-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #13 (April 23, 2020).

When my kids were little I tried pretty hard to introduce them to interesting children’s music.  I often wonder if I ruined them by not just letting them enjoy Raffi.  Because they don’t like much of what I listen to these days.

I’m not sure how long The Pop Ups have been making music, but this is sure a fun (and informative) children’s band.

The Pop Ups (Jason Rabinowitz (on the keytar) and Jacob Stein) sing the theme song to the wonderful NPR podcast Wow In The World and perform at Wow in the World live shows. In their Tiny Desk (home) concert, they save the earth from an asteroid, explain sound waves through a sing-a-long and a keytar, and encourage us all to invent and create.

Before the first song Jason introduces the greatest instrument in the world.  The guitarino?  No, the keytar.  Then he talks about the kind of sound waves a synthesizer can produce: a square wave, a sine wave and sawtooth wave.  “Synthesizer” is a song about making these sound waves–and you are encouraged to dance around and make those waves yourself.

Then Jacob wants to see if we can stump Jason with sounds the keytar can’t make: saxophone, whistle, marimba, organ?  Nope, it can do them all.

The next song, “Meteor” introduces a puppet, Doctor Bronc the Brontosaurus.  Dr. Bronc saw a meteor in the sky so he created a laser to shoot at the meteor.  If everyone turned off their lights for one day, it would save enough energy to power the laser.  The moral: “You can save the world when everybody tries!”

The final song “Inventors” introduces us to a woman I have never heard of.  Mary Anderson in Alabama saw that snow was piling up on the street cars.  She figured there was something that could clean off the snow and so she spent much of her time coming up with windshield wipers.  Which we still use today!

Young inventors will help solve the problems that our generation made for you.

It’s sure inspirational, and a useful piece of history.

[READ: April 26, 2020] “Little Donald’s Sneeze”

I love any cartoon that is going to mock trump.  It’s especially excellent if you can use his own words against him (which isn’t hard because he never stops saying stupid things.

I particularly enjoyed this cartoon because of its old-fashioned look.  Since I can’t find the original cartoon this is based on (or maybe it’s just based on the general style of Winsor McCay’s strip), I can’t tell if Kuper did all of the art himself or if he judiciously used the original panels.

I also don’t know what’s at the header originally, but this one pretty succinctly describes the man who is killing people with his deceit.

The header of this cartoon lays it out clearly: He just simply couldn’t stop lying / He never told the truth!

Why is it that cartoonist knows this but news reporters can’t seem to catch on and actually believe him when he says things? (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DEVON GILFILLIAN-NonCOMM 2019 Free at Noon (May 15, 2019).

Devon Gilfillian has a fun name to say.  Beyond that I assumed he was an Irish singer-songwriter.  But in fact, he is Philadelphia-bred, and Nashville-based and he plays soul and hard rock.

WXPN has been mentioning him a lot and I see that he is just about to release his debut album.  He has a powerful voice and commands attention

Gilfillian never wasted a moment on stage, and he never shied away from showmanship either; by the time he reached the second chorus in the opener, “Unchained,” he was already belting in his strongest range. The singer’s voice shook the room, rich, full-bodied, and gorgeous.

I love the way this song seemed pretty big during the verse but took off during the chorus and took off even more in the second chorus.

“Get Out and Get It” sounds like it could have come from a 70s movie with the riffing guitars and keys.  I don’t know if the crowd clapped along to the “La Da Da di” (it’s hard to hear them) but I don’t know how they couldn’t.

The “Good Life” is all about learning to love people better.

During the R&B-inflected “The Good Life,” Gilfillian charmed the audience with sweet falsetto and plenty of smiles as he dreamed about life in a loving city. “Remember when the bank got sold, and everybody took their gold, and everybody helped each other?” he asked in the second verse.

The super fuzzed out guitar solo is pretty spectacular.

They followed it up with the ballad “Stranger,” which Gilfillian introduced with a story from the band’s time on the road: He and his beloved bandmates got into a terrible car accident in 2018 that involved a drunk driver speeding through the hills in Georgia. When the band survived and lived to travel on, Gilfillian wondered at how quickly a stranger could accidentally change the course of another person’s life. But the “stranger” the singer calls out to in the song’s chorus turns out not to be the stranger who caused the accident, but the stranger who let him live through it — his savior.

They end the show with two rocking songs.

“Come Here and Come Down” is rocking and soulful, with a great wah wah sound on the guitar.   There’s a roaring guitar solo, but it’s not quiet as roaring as the final track “Troublemaker,” their heaviest track of the afternoon.  With a simple but powerful riff that really screams for a slide guitar solo, although Gilfillian’s solo is pretty fantastic too.

[READ: May 20, 2019] “A Hundred and Eleven Years Without a Chauffeur”

This story had such a peculiar title that I couldn’t quite imagine where it would go.

It starts off discussing how our ancestors did not drool over us.  They thought of the future in only the most general terms.  Their memoirs were not the whole story.  Worse yet is if we only have a few photos.

The narrator of this story is looking for photos for a biography.  She finds her old supply of photos but she knows some are missing.  But who would steal old photos?  People might take books from a guest room but who would steal Victorian and Edwardian pictures with no artistic merit?

She remembered one of her cousin bending over a sewing machine.  Her dream was to one day own a Rolls Royce with a chauffeur.  It never happened. (more…)

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inxsOf the four Record Club releases, this is actually the album I like least.  And that is mostly because of my college roommate.  He believed that rock music was the devil’s music (or so he told me).  And so he only had a couple of albums.  Most of the Beatles records (amusingly enough) and, totally randomly–INXS’ Kick.  So I got sick of this really fast.  It’s nearly 25 years later, so I’m okay with the album, and I do like some of the songs again, but boy can I pick out flaws.

This recording seems a lot more causal than the other Record Club releases—the original recording bleeds in front of some of the tracks and I believe they play around with the lyrics on a few.  They also really rearrange some of the songs, making them quite different from the original.

Form the Beck/Record Club site:

Record Club No. 4 is here…! Joining in this time we had three of my favorite bands— Liars, Annie Clark and Daniel Hart from St. Vincent, Sergio Dias from the legendary Brazilian band Os Mutantes, as well as RC veteran Brian Lebarton, just back from the Charlotte Gainsbourg tour. The record covered this time was 1987 blockbuster ‘Kick’ by INXS. The record was chosen by fellow Aussie, Angus from the Liars. It was recorded in a little over 12 hours on March 3rd, 2010. It was an intense, hilarious, daunting and completely fun undertaking. Thanks to everybody for being there and putting so much into it. Many classic moments, inspired performances and occasional anarchy.

Overall, I enjoyed this release quite a bit and found St. Vincent’s contributions to be quite excellent.  I didn’t know Liars before this, but I really like his voice.

Guns In The Sky (2:21). Loud drums open the song and the synth is buzzy and noisy. Angus’ vocals are very similar to Michael Hutchence’s.
New Sensation (3:40) Begins with a poppy synth rendition (and people rapping over it), but that’s like a teaser version. The real version is quite mellow and interesting—a very slow song sung by St Vincent and Angus from Liars.
Devil Inside (5:16) This sounds very different–it’s slow and menacing with a sax section.
Need You Tonight (3:06) St Vincent on vocals—a rather sexy version.
Mediate (2:32) The intro has them talking about the words they’ll use, like “shake and bake and wake and bake.” With much giggling.  Done as a simple rap over a handclap drum
The Loved One (3:37) This sounds like a sixties song–acoustic but kind of psychedelic.
Wild Life (3:10) Slow and a little creepy.
Never Tear Us Apart (3:06) This one has strings and synths–St Vincent sings this in a very beautiful way.
Mystify (3:18) Sung well by Angus with a slow picked guitar.
Kick (3:14) This is a buzzy punky version with an aggressive feel.
Calling All Nations (3:04) Acoustic guitar played and sung by St Vincent–it sounds very much like a St Vincent song.
Tiny Daggers (3:30) This is a silly electronic ranting song that ends up lasting 12 minutes (which is about 9 minutes too long).

Overall this has a raw feel that I like better than INXS’ more polished version. And anything with Annie Clark participating is a plus.

[READ: March 14, 2014] “The Mission”

This story started out as an interesting personal drama, with a very memorable scene.  A woman is sent to prison.  She will only be there for nine days (which the other inmates hear about and which causes them to grumble).  The drama comes when the try to remove her wedding ring but cannot (they have to cut it off).

The memorable scene is the reason why she was sent to prison in the first place.  She was drunk driving and drove into a cemetary. She crashed through the fence and into several gravestones.  The arresting offer’s opening remark was “You’re lucky you didn’t kill somebody.”  After a few days, she believes she is going to be released, but her lawyer informs her that things are going to be really rough for her out there–the people whose graves she broke are super mad.  So she should just hold tight and be happy to have some freedoms in here. (more…)

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