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Archive for the ‘Slayer’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: GOBLIN COCK-Necronomidonkeykongimicon (2016).

Goblin Cock is the hilariously inappropriate name of a heavy metal side project from Rob Crow of the band Pinback.  The album sounds very literally like a heavy cousin to Pinback with a similar (just much heavier) songwriting style.

The band members are: Lord Phallus (Rob Crow)-guitar and vocals; Lick Myheart-guitar; Tinnitus Island-bass; Mylar Grinninstein-drums.  (Probably pseudonyms).

Necronomidonkeykongimicon was the band’s first album in almost ten years after two albums in the early 2000s.  And Joyful Noise records had this to say about it:

Goblin Cock is a band from beyond time, beyond space, beyond your naive concept of dimension in METAL. Since before your pathetic “god” had supposedly “created” you and your kind, Lord Phallus was hunkered in a cybertimeship/fun-dungeon skating the layers of what was considered “true metal” in all societies and in all generations. Eventually His Majesty realized that he really didn’t care and launched a full-scale war against bland metal with an emphasis on ACTUALLY HAVING A GOOD TIME!

The album has 13 songs in 36 minutes–this is not an epic recording or anything.  But despite their brevity, these aren’t blistering punk songs either.  Rather, the songs work primarily in some of the heaviest metal styles (Slayer comes to mind) but also add some really alt-metal sounds (like Tool) in the bridges and choruses.

The first song, “Something Haunted” starts with a classic doom sound.  A distorted, vibrating series of notes–old school metal, including a heavy chugging riff. When he starts singing he sound a bit like Ozzy, but more like an alt-rock Ozzy (with a better voice).  When the bridge comes in, it feels more like Tool than dark metal.  The chorus soars to unexpected alt rock highs and somehow segues tightly back to that opening heavy riffage.  The song is three and a half minutes and is one of the longest songs on the album.

The second song, “Montrossor” starts so quickly, I initially thought it was still part of the first song.  It opens with fast double bass drums and equally fast riffage.  The bridge is a super fast followed by a slower melody (complete with crashing cymbals) that ends abruptly after two and a half minutes.  It ends abruptly and shifts gears into “Stewpot’s Package” which has that same old school style heavy deep opening riffs.  But again, it’s followed by a shift to more Tool-like sound for the bridge.  The chorus shifts gears and sounds almost like an XTC chorus.

“Youth Pastoral” is an instrumental with a practically heavy jazz riff.  The middle grooves all over the place as it shifts gears and style but fits perfectly together.

“Flume” opens with a slow menacing riff and Crow’s clipped singing until the much heavier chorus.  But, really, the most amazing thing about this song is that at the 1 minute mark, he sings the word “hey” for a full twenty-six seconds. It’s astonishing how long he holds that note.  The rest of the song is sung much more quietly, which seems fitting.

“Bothered” is heavy grooving with some excellent back and forth on the guitar parts. A shouting chorus is followed by a kind of guitar solo (more like an instrumental break than a solo proper).  A slow, heavy Soundgarden-esque riff opens “Your Watch.”  The chorus stays in that style, which never sounds like a Soundgarden song (the vocals are very different), but would fit comfortably on their playlist.  It’s followed by “The Undeer” a fast heavy chugging song that’s over in 90 seconds but only after a kind of mocking “la la la” vocal in the middle.

“Struth” opens with a slow drum fill followed by a n old school Black Sabbath-y riff.  The quietest part of the record occurs near the end of this song with a cool-sounding guitar melody (and effects) as the song slows to a pretty end.  But “The Dorse” resumes the heaviness with some intense double bass drum and pummelling guitars. This is another instrumental, but much heavier with some relentless pounding guitar and bass and an almost victorious guitar melody on top.

“World is Moving” is a quiet song that almost doesn’t fit on this record.  It opens with a complex guitar melody and some off-kilter time signatures.  The vocals are quiet and hushed for most of the song until it starts building up by the end.

“Island, Island” returns to the heaviness with a an intense riff and loud crashing drums.  It’s li e classic metal song with lots of drums taking the fore. There’s a catchy melodic middle that is bookended by ferociously heavy chugging guitars.  The middle of the song is about as heavy as this album gets with the thumping guitars and drums all in double time.

“Buck” ends the disc with the longest song–almost four minutes.  It’s slow and grooving and has a feeling of an 80’s sci fi film as the end adds a swirling synth sound.

Despite the band’s name, which will certainly turn off some, this album isn’t silly or overly vulgar.  It’s just some great songwriting in a bunch of heavier styles.

[READ: October 20, 2020] “Life Without Children”

Here’s the third story about COVID that I’ve read.  I’m not going to continue keeping track, but I am marvelling at how many have been published already.

This one is from a different perspective than I’m used to.

In it, Alan, an Irish man in his sixties, is in England on business.  His wife back home in Dublin tells him about all of the quarantining going on in Ireland.

Social distancing is a phrase that everyone understands. It’s like gender fluidity and sustainable development.  They’re using the words as if they’d been translated from Irish, in the air since before the English invaded.

Where he is in Newcastle, it’s like nothing has happened.  He is very careful about what he touches.  He cleans everything.  He envisions the particles floating in the air between the drunk men in the Hawaii-Five-0 shirts.   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PHOEBE BRIDGERS WORLD TOUR (May 26-June 4, 2010).

Phoebe Bridgers is a fascinating person.  She sings the most delicate songs.  Her voice is soft and almost inaudible. Her music is simple but pretty.  And her lyrics are (often) devastatingly powerful.

And yet she is really quite funny.  Both in interviews and in her visual representation of herself.

Her logo when I saw her was a fascinating faux death metal style of her name.  And now with this world tour, you can see in the poster all of the metal bands referenced in the logos. (There’s Slayer in the kitchen for instance).

And then there’s the basic joke of this world tour.  No one can go anywhere, so she is travelling her world: kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom (second concert by popular demand??)

The first show last night raised money for Downtown Women’s Center.

After some introductory talking and even a magic show (!) from Ethan, her producer, she played five songs.  Midway through she agrees that the set was a bit of a downer, especially opening with these two sad songs.

“Scott Street”
“Funeral”

Then it was time for two new songs (and an electric guitar).

“Moon Song”
“I See You”

Before coming to the end, she delayed, because she was having so much fun (and raising so much money).  So she showed us around her kitchen and pitched the kind of guitar she was playing, the kind of capo (quite expensive!), and her Target-purchased kitchen ware.  

She ended the set with a boygenius song, “Me and My Dog ” dedicated to her dog Max who died at the age of 17 last year.

The first night of her tour was a success. Tonight is night two, from the bathroom.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.  You can watch it here.

[READ: May 27, 2020] “California Ghosts”

I don’t usually read profiles of artists I like.  But every once in a while, one strikes me as interesting.

Phoebe Bridgers is a pretty fascinating character (see the above part for some details).  So I though this might be an interesting profile.  And it was.

Bridgers was brought up in Laurel Canyon and came of age listening to emo.  I love that the writer has to define emo for the New Yorker crowd, “a sub-genre of punk focused on disclosure and catharsis.”  That’s probably the most concise definition of emo I have read.

She writes that Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes) is one of emo’s most beloved practitioners.  Phoebe grew up listening to him and then met him in 2016.  He says when he first heard her he felt like he was reuniting with an old friend.  In 2018 they made Better Oblivion Community Center together.

At Carnegie Hall (where she wore a tea-length black dress and high to Doc Martens), she sang a song with Matt Berninger of The National. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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[ATTENDED: October 25, 2019] Ghost

A few years ago Ghost had just popped on my radar when I saw that they were playing the Fillmore in Philly.  I didn’t go, but a friend of mine took his son and said the show was outstanding.

Before getting tickets for Starset, I had bought tickets for C. and I to see Ghost.  I had heard that their live shows were tremendous and I was pretty excited to bring him to a show like this.  When I looked for tickets, I knew we wouldn’t want GA Floor, but I didn’t know if we should go straight back or close to the stage on the side.  I chose close to the stage and I was pretty happy with the location although C. thought it would be better straight on.

I had no idea we’d be going to see two concerts in two nights.  But it was fun for him to compare the two styles of venue–club vs. arena.

Starset has a backstory and Ghost has a backstory too.  Ghost’s story is pretty fascinating.

But before getting to that I have to say that this show was spectacular.  Holy cow was it fun–the band was fantastic.  The stage set was incredible and Cardinal Copia was an amazing front man.

Now, onto the story of Ghost. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Slayer

I have been a fan of Slayer since their debut album, Show No Mercy.  I was a major metal head in high school, always searching for heavier and heavier music.  Metallica was great but then came Slayer.   I more or less stopped listening to them after college.  Although in 2001 (with the release of God Hates Us All on 9/11) I reintroduced myself to their newer stuff.  And since then I have been checking out each release.

Their final album, Repentless, came in 2015 and they have been touring it ever since.  This is–and I assume it’s true–their Farewell tour.

They’ve had a remarkably stable line-up over nearly 40 years.  Drummer Dave Lombardo left and then came back and then left again.  I would have loved to see Slayer with Lombardo, but I was able to see him (and actually see him) when he played with Dead Cross (I was five feet from the stage).  I would never have actually seen him with Slayer (so much stuff on stage.  I never saw Paul Bostaph behind the kit).

The only other line up change came when guitarist Jeff Hanneman died.  That was pretty major, since Hanneman co-wrote so many of the songs.  But Exodus guitarist Gary Holt filled in and has been in his place for six years (he recorded Repentless).  Holt has a different playing style (his solos are more structured), but he comes from the same heavy, dense guitar background and fits in just fine.

I had actually been intimated about going to a Slayer show, especially as an adult.  I have seen my fair share of metal shows, but I assumed the Slayer audience would be a step more intense.  Just waiting online was intimidating with every other person shouting “SLAYER!” at the top of his lungs.

I finally decided to see them in 2017 at The Electric Factory, but when I called on the night of the show to secure my ticket it had literally just sold out.  So I figured I’d never see them live.

Then they announced this farewell tour.  It was going to be at an arena (which would be less insane than a club, in terms of fan behavior) and I was able to get decent seats.  [This show was better than that one for setlist, and I have to assume pyro as well]. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Lamb of God

I had an idea of what Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amarth were all about before this show, but Lamb of God proved to be elusive to me.  Not that it was hard to figure out they played heavy music. but i didn’t know if they had an “angle.”

I had read that they were in the mold of Slayer and the song or two that I listened to before the show bore that out.

I had no idea they were going to be quite so intense of that singer Randy Blythe would have so much freaking energy.

By this time in the night, the crowd was pretty full.  The pit was writhing and the lights were in full use.  Lamb of God came out with a bang and a lot of red and blue lights (the hardest to photograph).

I was in front of lead guitarist Mark Morton, who was fun to watch.  And I really enjoyed seeing bassist John Campbell and his long grey beard (he never got close enough for a clear picture).  Rhythm guitarist Willie Adler did come over to our side once or twice, but he was hard to get a picture of.  And of course, excellent drummer Chris Adler was behind the kit most of the time and therefore invisible. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Amon Amarth

I was aware of Amon Amarth but really didn’t know anything about them.  I had no idea that they were Vikings from Sweden!  Or that their name came from J.R.R. Tolkien (but I should have guessed that).

I had left the seats after Cannibal Corpse and when I came back, there was a ship on the stage!  And the backdrop had been replaced by this giant warrior dude.

I had listened to Amon Amarth a few days before the show, so I had an idea of what they were about–heavy riffs and lots of chanting.  Lead singer Johan Hegg was something of a growler, but the lyrics were pretty audible.  They were quite different from Cannibal Corpse.

First out was drummer Jocke Wallgren (they’ve had a lot of drummers since they formed in 1992).  Then the rest of the band followed.

Finally singer Johan Hegg came out with a horn on his belt and a swagger in his walk. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 24, 2019] Cannibal Corpse

Cannibal Corpse formed in 1988 in Florida.

At the time they were probably the most notoriously revolting band around–taking the violent images in metal songs to a far extreme.  Although perhaps most amusingly, without scanning the lyric sheet I don’t know how anyone could tell what the words are.

Cannibal Corpse are pretty legendary.  They have been banned in many countries. I have never specifically wanted to see them, but I always thought it would be interesting.  In fact, when they announced a show at White Eagle Hall at the end of last year, I briefly considered going.  But I’m glad I didn’t because a little Cannibal Corpse goes a long way (They played 18 songs at White Eagle Hall (!)).

Cannibal Corpse is pretty much a wall of noise.  Although I must admit just how well they were projected, because despite them being superbly loud, I could hear each guitar, the intense drums and the vocals (if not the words) pretty distinctly–even if they are a series of growsl)

The biggest surprise for me was that their songs were quite long.  I associate super fast death metal with short bursts of aggression.  Napalm Death for instance has songs that are about a minute long.  But most Cannibal Corpse songs run to four minutes or more.  That’s some lengthy intensity, especially for the speed of the drums and the massive intensity of Corpsegrinder’s headbanging.

One of the funnest things to say about Cannibal Corpse is that they are in Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994).  Soon after that (but apparently unrelated), lead singer Chris Barnes left and was replaced by current singer George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher.  There hasn’t been very much change in the lineup for the thirty or so years they’ve been playing.  Although in December 2018, lead guitarist Pat O’Brien was arrested for assault and battery and Morbid Angel guitarist Erik Rutan would fill in.

It’s amusing seeing a band like Cannibal Corpse in the bright sun–I couldn’t imagine sitting in the lawn for them.  But it was early evening and very bright out (which meant good photos!).

But they obviously weren’t bothered by it because they came out on stage and created a noise that made me put earplugs in and not take them out all night.

I didn’t know any of their songs (although I had heard of “Hammer Smashed Face”), I didn’t even know they had FOURTEEN albums out!  So, to pick six songs for this tour must have been a challenge.

They played one song from their most recent album–2017’s Red Before Black (the least offensive or violent seeming title in their discography).  They skipped the previous album and then played one each from the two before that.

Corpsegrinder is known for his headbanging (in which he whips his head around in a circle rather than the old-school back and forth motion).  He told the audience that he would challenge anyone to a headbanging contest.  “You will lose.  And that’s okay.”

I was delighted by how deadpan amusing he was.

Even introducing the song “I Cum Blood,” he said, “this is a song about shooting blood from your cock….  it’s sounds fun… until it happens to you.”

That song as well as “Hammer Smashed Face” comes from their 1992 album, Tomb of the Mutilated.  They had two albums out before that.

Honestly, I couldn’t really tell any of the songs apart, but there were definitely sections to the songs.  These were mostly distinguishable by drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz’s amazing playing (he’s been with the band since the beginning, as has Alex Webster on bass).  Although his playing choices are somewhat limited in this style of music his energy never flagged during his double bass pounding or straight up snare slamming.

I’m glad their set was only about 30 minutes.  It was plenty.  And honestly they didn’t do anything outrageous, like I thought they might.  Maybe if they headline?  Or maybe they’re not Gwar, they just play fast and loud and do a lot of headbanging.

SETLIST

  1. Evisceration Plague
  2. Scourge of Iron
  3. Red Before Black ®
  4. I Cum Blood
  5. Stripped, Raped and Strangled ß
  6. Hammer Smashed Face

 

™ = Tomb of the Mutilated (1992)
ß = The Bleeding (1994)
€ = Evisceration Plague (2009)
⊗ = Torture (2012)
® = Red Before Black (2017)

 

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[ATTENDED: May 17, 2018] Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville

I have been a fan of Kid Koala since the early 2000s.  He’s not a DJ so much as a magician on the turntable.  He is able to make vinyl do amazing things.  His hands are fast, his timing is impeccable and he uses puppets too!

But I had no idea that his live show would be so much fun.  I mean, sure it was called Vinyl Vaudeville, but could it live up to his calling it “the silliest show on earth?”  Well, I dispute the silliness aspect because silly implies that it’s not also awesome, which this definitely was.

So what exactly does a turntablist do so it’s not just a guy scratching records?

Well, primarily he uses props.  Almost every song has a visual element.  In fact the very first song started out in total darkness with a black light and a sloth puppet.  I don’t know what the song was called or if it had anything to do with sloths, but it was fun to watch.   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: RODRIGO Y GABRIELA-Live in France (2009).

Nothing can prepare you for a Rod y Gab concert, but listening to a live album can give you some idea of the aural pyrotechnics you’re in for.

To say it is “just ” two guitarists playing acoustic guitar, gives you a very specific picture.  If you say that they are amazing at soloing on their instruments, it gives you another picture.  Neither of which is correct.

Rodrigo plays an incredible fast lead guitar while Gabriela plays the most dynamic percussive rhythm I’ve ever seem (or heard) on her hollow bodied guitar.   When listening live, if Gabriela is not playing the rhythmic style, it’s impossible to know who is playing what,

These songs are not just virtuoso show-off pieces. They have terrific melodies that run through them.  The songs are instantly recognizable as Rod y Gab songs, but you also recognize the individual melodies too (although I’ll be damned if I can keep the names of the songs straight in any way).

If I had a complaint, which isn’t really a complaint, it’s that you can never tell when the songs actually end. They often pause mid-song and then resume after ten to 30 seconds.  Some songs could be 3 minutes but end up nearly 6.  It doesn’t really matter because the songs are great and could all be one long song because it’s terrific, it’s just a little hard to keep track sometimes.

For this CD, they play 7 of 11 tracks from 11:11 and 1 from their self-titled album.

“Hanuman” opens the disc.  After a few minutes, the song builds and Rod plays faster and louder chords and then it all drops away.  When the riff comes back in, that’s pretty awesome.  “Triveni” beings with some really heavy riffing from both of them.  “Chac Mool” is the one major exception to everything else on the disc  It’s one minute long and is  very mellow and quite pretty.  Nothing fancy, just a a nice melody.

“Hora Zero” has a few moments where Rod plays some really fast arpegiaos and the consistency of his playing is remarkable. (There’s also some wah wah on this song which always comes as a surprise).  This is one of those songs that feels like it ends after four minutes, but it still has two minutes to go.  It ends with a nod to Metallica with the ending chords.

“Gabriela Solo” and “Rodrigo Solo” are, as they say, opportunities for us to marvel at their individual skills.  Gab does a lot of percussive stuff, but also shows her chops on the strings.  Rod’s solo throws in a lot of recognizable heavy metal riffs in between his beautiful Spanish guitar playing: three from Metallica and one from Slayer.

“Santo Domingo” is one of my favorite songs.  I love the riff that is in a different time signature at the end of each “verse.”  There’s some wonderful percussion from Gab. I really dig the bass sound and heavy riffing that he (or maybe she) gets out of the guitar in the middle of  “Buster Voodoo.”

“11:11” features a very pretty, mellow echoing lead section, its kind of trippy rather than frenetic, and there’s some cool tricks that Rod pulls off that sound fantastic.  “Savitri” has some more great riffs and some cool percussive playing from Gab–it turns into a pretty fast and furious song.

“Tamacun” is from their self titled album and it elicits the biggest response, with Rod teasing out the riff and the audience singing along (to an instrumental).  The end is great with some terrific percussion from Gab as Rod wails away.

This does not compare to actually seeing them, but it’s a terrific performance nonetheless.

[READ: January 22, 2018] “Wheelers”

This rather long story seemed to be one thing and then turned into something else entirely.  As if maybe this is an excerpt from a novel rather than a short story (which I see now that it is).

The story begins with a boy talking about his family–his mother’s maiden name is Wheeler.

He grew up in a house with four sisters.  They were loud and demanding.  He tried to ride a wave between them, allowing hair braiding and the like, but they often turned on him: “You know when you mooned me and Faith? We saw your balls and they looked shrimpy.”

The girls’ were nicknames Itsy, Bitsy, Titsy and Ditsy (the dad changed Titsy to Mitsy, wisely). (more…)

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