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Archive for the ‘Slowdive’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 18, 2021] Soccer Mommy [moved from March 30, 2020]

I was supposed to see Soccer Mommy open for Phoebe Bridgers a few years back.  I felt sick on the way down to the show so I wound up coming home instead.

S. bought me her CD for some holiday in 2020 and I thought it would be fun to see her live.  I was supposed to see her back in March of 2020, but the show was pushed back until September 2021.   And in that time, something big must have happened to her because this show sold out! And the crowd was really intense about her.

As soon as Sophia Regina Allison (who is Soccer Mommy) came on stage, the crowd went bananas.  It was kind of funny because Sophie is so low key.

She had a pretty full band with her. I stood in front of her lead guitarist who really made some outstanding noises –a component that made her songs even more interesting to me).  Her new bassist (this was his first tour with them) had an amazing sound–buzzy and noisy but groovy at the same time.  Guitarist-keyboardist Rodrigo Avendano on the far side added some great textures and drummer Rollum Haas whom I could not see because I giant cymbal was in the way, played some amazing fills and really added a lot of intensity to these songs.

What I’m saying is that the album is good, but live, the songs were amazing.

Soccer Mommy only has two albums out.  Most of the songs came from the new(ish) album Color Theory.  I have to say that I was really surprised she played “Circle the Drain” second because I thought it was her big hit and would come at the end.  She must have a lot of hits that I don’t know about.

I had a hard time getting clips of Julian Powell because of the way he was hiding behind the carboard TVs, but I loved the way that he and Sophie harmonized the guitar licks on “Crawling in My Skin.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SLOWDIVE-“Sugar for the Pill” (Field Recordings, June 13, 2017).

It has been nearly a year since NPR Music broadcast its last Field Recording.  From 2012-2017, these were fun, interesting opportunities to put a band in an unlikely setting and have them play a song live,

There are 80 some of these recordings (see the whole shebang here), and I’ve decided to focus on “Slowdive Fills A Shuffleboard Parlor With Shimmering Sound.”

Before a month-and-change ago, Slowdive hadn’t released an album in 22 years. So you’d be forgiven for watching the band perform “Sugar For The Pill” and struggling to pin down what era you’re in — especially since NPR Music plopped the group in a playfully retro Brooklyn shuffleboard parlor for the occasion.

This live recording might be stripped down (I’m not sure), but it sounds great. Neil Halstead plays a pretty, shimmering guitar and sings with his distinctive whispered vocals.  Rachel Goswell is there to provide her delicate harmonies as well.  With them are Nick Chaplin (I assume) on bass.  The bass sounds terrific.  The low end is really good and moves the song along perfectly.  Simon Scott is there to add electronic drums.

A patient mid-tempo gem that’s as hooky as it is hypnotic, “Sugar For The Pill” is a particular highlight, so it’s a joy to watch the reconstituted band trot it out for this Field Recording, filmed at Royal Palms Shuffleboard in Brooklyn.

I don;t understand how this song sounds so good in a shuffleboard facility, but it does.  It sounds great.

[READ: January 4, 2017] “Dido’s Lament”

I really love Hadley’s stories.  I love that she is able to write compellingly about small moments–moments that aren’t going to end a person’s life, but will certainly impact it.

This story starts with Lynette.  She is shopping in a John Lewis–and is quite embarrassed about it.  She is described as “tall, anxious, original, in her late thirties…her hair was shaved above her ears and the rest of it, dyed bronze and pink, was piled up in a striking bird’s nest mess.” It’s the way she throws in that word “original” that I love.

A man pushes though the crowd and knocks her over.  She stumbles and hurts her ankle while trying not to trip over a stroller.

There is no way she is going to let this guy do that and not apologize or acknowledge what he did.  So she runs after him.  She is determined not to hobble or let anyone see her in pain, so she deals with the pain and goes in pursuit of the coat that she knows he is wearing.

She finally catches him on a subway platform.  She taps him on the shoulder ready to yell at him  But when he turns around, she realizes that not only does she know him, she used to be married to him.  She and Toby had separated nine years earlier.  He seems bigger now, but more confident in his ways.  Rather than yell at him, she was struck mute until he turned and was so excited to see her! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 26, 2018] Overlake

My friend Al knows the members of Overlake and he thought he might be attending this show.  I was bummed he wasn’t there (and even moreso when I tried to text him to see if he was there and realized that I didn’t have his cell number, gah).

I wound up getting to the show really early and parked literally against the stage.  I was fascinated that at the start of the show all three drum sets were set up.  And how fascinating that Overlake (the opener) was right in the middle.

I looked up the band before the show and the description of the band sounded like I’d really like them:

Overlake is a three-piece band from Jersey City, comprised of Tom Barrett (voice, guitar), Lysa Opfer (Bass, voice), and Nick D’Amore (drums).  When they’re not incessantly waxing philosophical about the musical merits of both MBV and GBV … Overlake is busy honing their own unique brand of noisy dreampop, drawing from such stalwart influences as Dinosaur Jr, Slowdive, and Yo La Tengo.

(more…)

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witmisSOUNDTRACK: NEIL HALSTED-“Wittgenstein’s Arm” (2012).

neil-halstead-palindrome-hunches-450Halsted was a founder of the band Slowdive, who I knew somewhat.  I don’t know anything of his solo work, although his name rang a little familiar.

This is a very pretty, slow acoustic ballad.  Halsted’s voice is whispery and with proper folk inflections. The chorus has a very catchy melody.  And yet the lyrics are really dark and sad.

And while there is a mention of an arm in the song, there’s no mention of Wittgenstein.

You can check out the video here:

[READ: November 3, 2013] Wittgenstein’s Mistress p. 181-end

This peculiar book draws to a close in much the same way that it started. There are a few interesting revelations or, if not revelations, then perhaps ponderables as to the nature of just what our narrator (who is apparently named Helen) is doing.

As this last section opens, she is revisiting some more of the things that have been on her mind for the book—the waterlogged atlas that lies flat on the shelf and that blasted arthritic should/ankle  .

I have been wondering about her constant references to her period.  In addition to simply being something that happens to her which she is recording, I have to wonder if it is a nod to her fertility and the fact that since she is the last person alive she will never bear children.  On a slightly related note, I also have to wonder if her focus on rape means she was once raped.  It’s not necessarily the case of course, but there is a lot of it in the book, like this next mention: (more…)

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