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Archive for the ‘Rick Moody’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: CITIZEN COPE-NonCOMM (May 15, 2019).

I was marveling at the set lengths that various artists get at NonComm.  Most are pretty short (around 20 minutes).  So I was pretty surprised to see that Citizen Cope got 40. I thought Citizen Cope was a fairly new artist (although XPN talks about him a lot).

I was surprised to see that

Singer-songwriter Citizen Cope, otherwise known as Clarence Greenwood, has been around for close to two decades [and his fans were] ready to embrace his colorful blend of blues, folk, and rock.

I don’t especially like Citizen Cope’s music.  It’s okay and much better in small doses.  But I am especially amused at the write up of this concert because I feel like the person there was listening to a very different show than I was.  He opened

with the driving, upbeat “Let The Drummer Kick.” A fan favorite, the tune had everyone jumping.

I kind of like the song, although I would never describe it as upbeat.  His delivery is extremely drawly with him mostly him slowly rhyming words that end with “tion”: Equation / Humiliation / Reincarnation / Situation and a chorus of him repeating the title.  It’s kind of interesting but hard to believe he built a five-minute song out of that.

From there, he transitioned into “The River,” a new cut off of Heroin and Helicopters, his first release in six years. The song’s somber lyrics drifted on as the band played with grace.

This is a very funny description.  The lyrics do seem to drift on (as most of his lyrics so).  It’s hard to say the band plays with grace.  They play fine though.

“Justice” is a song that gets a lot of airplay on XPN.  It’s in the same style as his other songs–slow and kind of downbeat.  Although the chorus is pretty catchy.  I also like the psychedelic musical interludes.

“One Lovely Day” is a quieter song that begins with just him on guitar but when the band joins in, it sounds like the others.

Cope could not go without playing cuts from his 2004 record The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, of which he features “Son’s Gonna Rise” and “Sideways.” Both tracks transitioned perfectly from one another, matching the energy and vibe the crowd was looking for.

“Bullet & a Tart” picks up the pace somewhat although it’s not a very dramatic change.

As Cope finished, he shared an anecdote that inspired the title for his album — Carlos Santana warning Greenwood to stay away from the “two h’s,” heroin and helicopters, two things that historically and tragically claim the lives of musicians. The message resonated so strongly with Cope that he went on to name it his album, which was just released on his label Rainwater Recordings.

As Cope’s set drew to a close, he ended with another single off of his record, titled “Caribbean Skies.” This song’s lively beat and catchy hook moved the crowd.

“Caribbean Skies” is certainly catchy.  But again, not in any way lively.

This set is kind of monotonous, and I won’t be a Citizen Cope fan anytime soon, but clearly he doesn’t need me either.

[READ: May 20, 2019] “Forecast from the Retail Desk”

I typically enjoy Rick Moody stories, but I found this one really puzzling and hard to get into.

It begins with the (probably true) statement: “Nobody likes a guy who can foretell the future.”  The narrator, Everett Bennett works at a retail desk for some kind of investment firm.  He says he is not well liked at work and his job is surely the first to be made redundant.

His first demonstration of his prophetic skills came in school, in 1977.  He was in a lab with Bobby Erlich.  Erlich didn’t like him (nobody really did).  Bobby wouldn’t talk to him or collaborate in any way, so the narrator had to tel him straight up: “You’re going to be maimed in a horrible motorcycle accident. It’s really going to hurt too. Just remember we had this chat.”

Bobby replied, “You know what Bennett, I always thought you were a jerk. And I was right.”

Bobby doesn’t get into a motorcycle accident although he is in a car accident several years later.  He is making out with a policeman in the man’s car when it is hit by another car.  Everett had to wonder if he somehow caused the accident with his prediction. (more…)

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tcoop-realmanSOUNDTRACK: REAL MAN ADVENTURES: A Collection of (Mostly) Original Songs by (Entirely) Original Artists–All Inspired by the Book. (An Album! A Book! A Shark!) (2012).

realcdThis soundtrack came with my copy of the book, although it can be ordered separately as well.  It is a varied collection of music in many different genres.  The one thread is that many of the performers are either transgendered or are openly gay or some variation in between.  And lyrically the songs are based on chapters from the book (some literal and others use the book as a jumping off point).  No one can be expected to enjoy the whole disc (the musical styles are just too different), but there’s some really enjoyable and interesting music here.

 OUR LADY J. “Picture of a Man” (live)
I’d never heard of Our Lady J., but she is a transgendered classical singer and has worked with some of the greats in theater. The song opens with a piano solo for one minute.  It acts as an introduction to this theatrical piece (with big backing vocals) about what a man “really” looks like. I love the diversity in this song. It gets really big and quite over the top.

RICK MOODY-“The Closest I Ever Came to Writing a Poem”
Yes, writer Rick Moody wrote this thoughtful song. The music is simple, stark piano with Moody singing gently. It’s quite pretty.

SOCE, THE ELEMENTAL WIZARD-“He Will”
This is a rap song (in the style of Eminem), which addresses Cooper’s troubles with  getting a passport (the lyrics are taken mostly from the book). The rapper has fast flow and the lyrics are complex and interesting, although I don’t really like his delivery that much.  Still, it’s a great lyrical song. Soce is one of the few openly gay rappers.

T. COOPER & PEG HAMBRIGHT-“Interlude: high School”
A 34 second piano, well, interlude with words from the book.

HEM-“The Beautiful Sea”
This is a pretty song, reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan. Hem have a bit more oomph than Sarah, but are equally as pretty. This song was way too short.

THUNDEREGG-“The Guest Star of the Rest Stop”
This is a country(ish) song, with a vaguely out of tune guitar and slow droning vocals. I’d not heard of them before but I see they have dozens of records out. At 5 minutes, I found this one a little long.

T. COOPER & PEG HAMBRIGHT-“Interlude: College”
Another simple piano melody with words from the book.

SCOTT MILLER & THE COMMONWEALTH-“12th Man”
Another country song, this one about (not) playing football (always being the 12th man). It’s a sweet and sad song. Miller also has a number of albums out even though I’ve not heard of him either.

GEO WYETH-“Target Practice”
This song starts as a weird electronic track with sampled voices and then it morphs into a spare keyboard track with Wyeth’s kind of high vocals. It reminds me a bit of the Mountain Moats, but with keyboards instead of guitar. And I don’t like it as much.

CHRIS PUREKA-“Old Photographs”
Pureka has a lot of albums out too (and I thought I knew music). She is a delicate folksinger (until she really starts belting out the words at the end) reminding me of one half of the Indigo Girls. This was a really good, rather dark song.

DYNASTY HANDBAG-“One Man”
This is a sinister electronic/rap song detailing the fears of violence in the trans community.  Dynasty Handbag seems to be a loose cannon with some very interesting videos out there.  Definitely check her out.

T. COOPER & PEG HAMBRIGHT-“Interlude: My 20s”
This interlude is done on accordion.

THE JULIE RUIN “Girls Like Us” (Vag Vocal Version).
This is Kathleen Hannah’s band The Julie Ruin with special guest Vaginal Crème Davis (possibly not her given name) on vocals. Davis’ vocals are way over the top, but surprisingly not that different from the originals’ mocking tone (and cheesy synths).

SCOTT McCLOUD-“On My Darker Days”
McCloud is in Girls Against Boys.  This song is dark electric guitar (very processed) with virtually no percussion. The vocals are whispered as well.  I enjoyed the beginning but then felt it was a little samey and felt a little long even though it’s only 3 minutes.

ROCCO KATASTROPHE-“F.E.A.R.”
Katastrophe is a rapper (one of the first openly transgendered). His flow is strong and his lyrics are great. I don’t care for his backing music that much.  For although it is appropriately ominous, it feels a bit anemic.

MARTY COOPER WITH THE RIFTERS-“May You Always Ride in the Sunlight”
This sounds like an old timey cowboy song (I can’t find much else about Marty Cooper).  It’s a sweet song that would fit well at the end of any mix cd of good feeling songs. Even if you don’t like the genre, it’s hard not to like this song.

So this proves to be an interesting mix of songs, with a lot of ne (to me) artists.

[READ: May 1, 2014] Real Man Adventures

I didn’t know T. Cooper before receiving this book from McSweeney’s.  Cooper has written several novels although I didn’t recognize any of them when I looked them up (Lipshitz 6 sounds familiar though).  This book is a memoir.

What’s interesting is that Cooper talks about trying very hard to avoid reviewers referencing his past, and yet with this memoir he has completely outed himself.  I was going to try to not write about his past out of deference to his preferences, but since this memoir is all about his past it’s impossible not to.

So, if you know T. Cooper’s writing and you don’t want to know anything about his past, stop reading this and don’t read the book.

I know that I’ve made that enticing, which I didn’t mean to do.  And who knows, maybe fans of his writing already know this. (more…)

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