Archive for the ‘Telekinesis’ Category


A couple of years ago I had a pass to NonComm, but ultimately I decided not to go.  I had never been to World Cafe Live and, while it sounded like a fun time, it was just so many mid-week nights and lots of leaving early, that it sounded more exhausting than fun.

I have now been to World Cafe Live and I can imagine that the (less divaish) bands are hanging around talking to people (and radio personalities) which is probably pretty cool.

I love the idea of these sorta personal concerts, too.  But I have since come to see that they are 20-45 minutes tops.  Hardly worth driving 90 minutes (one-way) for.

But since the shows are streaming you can watch them live.  Or you can listen to the recorded version online.

I’ve been aware of Phosphorescent for a number of years but I seem to have him/them confused with another band (Telekinesis–a one word band name that is actually just one person, who also put out a new album this year).  Phosphorescent is the project of Matthew Houck and in this performance it’s just him on the acoustic guitar.  I’m not sure what he normally plays live, but during this set he said, “this is the first time I’ve played an acoustic guitar for a concert in 20 years, probably.  It feels pretty weird up here at the moment.”

Recently, Phosphorescent has had a big single on WXPN called “New Birth in New England” which I love.

He opened with “C’est La Vie No. 2” off his latest album C’est La Vie.  His delicate strumming paired perfectly with his lyrics, which I especially liked;

C’est La Vie they say but i don’t know what it means
I say love’s easy if you let it be

“My Beautiful Boy” has a wonderful guitar melody (clearly it is about his becoming a father).  Even though his lyrics are thoughtful and somewhat serious, he was a charming frontman, staying “this song is about rocks.  It’s called ‘These Rocks.'”

He told us “New Birth in New England” doesn’t go on an acoustic guitar by itself.  But it will tonight.   It sounds wonderful in this stripped down version, although I prefer the recorded version.

The last song of the set was “Song For Zula,” a track from Phosphorescent’s 2013 album Muchacho.  I didn’t realize this was his song which I really liked back when it came out.  It’s really beautiful and, once again I like the way he plays with existing lyrics to make them his own.

and it showcased the strength of his vocals as he belted it out for the crowd before making his way off stage. The hearty applause was fitting for the wholesomely low-key set. Give C’est La Vie a listen now and check out Phosphorescent on tour this summer.

Some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a fading thing
Just as fickle as a feather in a stream
See, honey, I saw love,
You see it came to me.

Now if I can keep his name straight, I’ll have to listen to him a bit more.

[READ: May 3, 2019] “Upholsetry”

The July/August issue of The Walrus is the Summer Reading issue.  This year’s issue had three short stories and three poems as special features.

I loved this story.

I love the dysfunctional families involved in it and I love the way it is circular while still moving forward. Plus it’s darkly comic.

The narrator, Iris, says that when she told her mother (whom she calls Judy, never mom) that she was going marry Thom, Judy didn’t hesitate to say that he was a car crash waiting to happen.  Judy is a psychologist not a fortune-teller.  But her words proved to be literally true–Thom was in a car accident with Iris in the car.  Iris fractured her skull.  Somehow, Thom still wore the T-shirt he was wearing during the accident–and he assures her that the faded pink spot is not blood.

Thom is extremely smart and was rewarded out of college with many luxury job offers.  He turned them all down to teach at McGill College. The accident left Iris with some brain injury, so going back to her job wasn’t really an option.  (more…)

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CV1_TNY_11_04_13Brunetti.inddSOUNDTRACK: TELEKINESIS-Tiny Desk Concert #27 (September 21, 2009).

telekinI know of Telekinesis only from NPR.  They have a couple of albums out, but I think I only know one song of theirs.  And I don’t know it that well.  This Tiny Desk features only two members of the band, singer-songwriter Michael Benjamin Lerner and guitarist Chris Staples.

They play four songs in 11 minutes (they are quite brief).  The songs all features pretty melodies, and the singer’s gentle voice. The electric guitar is used sparingly and only to play delicate riffs. This works especially well on the first song, “Plankton.”  Meanwhile the second song, “Coast of Carolina” has catchy bouncy guitars right from the beginning.

The other two songs are “I Saw Lightning” (which is very sweet) and “Rust” (which is very short).  I didn’t love any of the songs and I honestly couldn’t remember them long after listening, but I found myself listening to this show a lot.  And I enjoyed the songs each time.  I’m curious what the songs sound like not in a Tiny Desk setting.

During the brief interview with them, Lerner says he daydreams about better places when he writes songs and that when he wrote the songs from this album, the studio smelled like Grunge never went away.

[READ: January 5, 2014] “Butter”

I wasn’t expecting another issue with five of this brief essays from writers I know (The October 14 issue had the last batch).  I’m not sure how many more issues will have these type of things, and I’m not sure if will review them all.  However, there were a few authors I liked in this group.  Plus I’m intrigued by the food writing in these essays.

And this first one proved to be such an unexpected topic.

Akhil Sharma grew up in the United States.  His older brother had been brain damaged in a swimming accident and his family took on the full responsibility of his recovery .  It was pure family loyalty and that loyalty made them all pretend that taking care of him was not an awful task (even though it was).  Akhil’s lunch from home often came in the bags that his brother’s medicine came in.  And while he was ashamed of this, he also felt it was his duty of loyalty to not be ashamed by this. (more…)

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2003_12_15_p139SOUNDTRACK: TELEKINESIS-“Ghosts and Creatures” (Live at SXSW, March 21, 2013).


Telekinesis is, as far as I can tell, the brainchild of one guy (NPR points out twice in three paragraphs that the singer/songwriter is a drummer).  He has some special guests playing with him in this set (although nobody terribly famous–the keyboardist from Wild Flag (the only one in the band who I can never remember).

In a typical Telekinesis show the drums are up at the front of the stage.  That’s true here, too.  In this case the singer is standing, just playing maracas (and presumably the bass drum) for the first 2/3 of the song.  But by the end he sits down and starts pounding along with the song.

This song is a an interesting mix of dark (the keyboard’s minor chords) and bright (the guitar picking).  I enjoyed the way the song built over the course of its four minutes (including a cool break where it was just the keyboard).  At first I didn’t think there was much to the song, but after three listens I really got into it.  The harmonies were really good and there was some cool intricacy going on. I think watching the video helped as well (the bass player is really into it).

You too can watch it here.

[READ: March 26, 2013] “Recuperation”

This is the final uncollected story that I read from Roddy Doyle (okay, that Wikipedia list is clearly old as I see that both this and “Teaching” have since been collected in Bullfighting).  Oh well, that’s alright, then.

In this story, an old man goes for a walk.

And that’s it.

coolockWell, not entirely of course.  The man was told to go for walks by his doctor.  He needs the exercise and as he doesn’t golf or go to golf clubs or join groups, the doctor says he should go for a walk.  So the man walks around a nearby neighborhood, knowing that no one will stop and talk to him. And Doyle knows his area of Dublin, so we get a very detailed walkabout as the man traipses around Coolock in Dublin (by the Cadbury’s and the Classic Furniture). (more…)

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