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Archive for the ‘The Weather Station’ Category

[ATTENDED: December 3, 2022] Lydia Persaud & Christine Bougie

I have been a fan of Stars since about 2004.  I have wanted to see them for a really long time.  I thought I’d be able to see them last year on their Christmas Together Tour.  It was at LPR in New York (which is just too much of a pain to get to) and at World Cafe Live.  But it happened to be on the same night as our holiday party, so I couldn’t swing it.  I never guessed they’d do another one.  So this year I made sure to get tickets and schedule our party around this show.

I didn’t know who would be opening.  technically, the opening act was just Lydia Persaud, but since it was just Lydia and her guitarist Christine Bougie, (and I’d never heard of either before) I’m listing them both here.

Lydia was speaking for herself, but I believe that they both play together in a lot of things.  Lydia has been a member of The Soul Motivators, The O’Pears and Dwayne Gretzky and she and Christine are part of the the Queer Songbook Orchestra.  

They played a jazzy set of remarkably sad music. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 24, 2022] Mitski [rescheduled from March 25, 2022]

I saw Mitski back in 2018.  She sold out Union Transfer and while I enjoyed the show very much, I remember being disappointed that I was so far back and behind so many tall people that I couldn’t really see her performance all that well.

In that time, Mitski has taken off even more with the young people.  Both of my kids love her (as does a large section of the youth).  When this tour was announced, there was no question that I would get four tickets for my two kids and one of their friends.

I figured it wouldn’t be that hard, since she was playing at a pretty huge venue.  But the presale sold out in like 5 seconds.  And the main day sale also sold out in like 5 seconds.  The bots were all over this tour.  It was so obnoxious.

My kids really wanted to see her but there was no way I was spending a ton of money on her, so we were SOL.

Then a few days before the show was to happen, it was postponed because of COVID.  It’s not often that we are happy that things are postponed, but this one worked out very well for us., because a rescheduled date meant a possibility of new tickets being made available.  I put my name on the waiting list.  But didn’t really have much hope. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 24, 2022] The Weather Station [rescheduled from March 25, 2022]

Back in March, Mitski was forced to postpone a few shows, including Philadelphia, because of a COVID case in her touring party.  She rescheduled her shows in the summer.

Unbelievably, I was able to get tickets for this show and I was a hero to my kids.

We arrived early and the line to get in was around the block and half way down the street.  But it was warm and pleasant and the mood was good on line, so we didn’t mind the wait all that much.

We finally got into the building a few minutes before 8PM.

Everyone wanted merch.  It’s Mitski, after all!  Since I had seen her a few years ago, I offered to wait on line while they all found a spot as far up as they could get (which wasn’t very far).  My son and his friend went off to the left, but my daughter hung out with me. (more…)

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[POSTPONED: March 25, 2022] Mitski/The Weather Station [moved to July 24, 2022]

I saw Mitski back in 2018.  I enjoyed her theatrical show quite a lot.

In that time, Mitski has taken off with the young people.  Both of my kids love her (as does a large section of the youth).  When this tour was announced, there was no question that I would get four tickets for my two kids and one of their friends.

I figured it wouldn’t be that hard, since she was playing at a pretty huge venue.  But the presale sold out in like 5 seconds.  And the main day sale also sold out in like 5 seconds.  The bots were all over this tour.  It was so obnoxious.

My kids really wanted to see her but there was no way I was spending a ton of money on her, so we were SOL.

Then a few days before the show was to happen, it was postponed because of COVID. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE WEATHER STATION-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert #237 (July 20, 2021).

For a band this soft, there are sure a lot of players.  I can’t even figure out what Philippe Melanson the second drummer (!) is doing for most of set.  It’s especially amusing since at least initially The Weather Station was just one person: (singer here) Tamara Lindeman.

However, it’s the setting of the Home Concert that is so magical.

There’s a desk and a band playing songs filled with nature’s imagery somewhere in the woods of Mulmur in Southern Ontario, Canada.  …. The songs for this Tiny Desk (home) concert are filled with imagery of nature and our relationship with our planet.

I like that they are really spread far apart–that the camera has to pan far left and right to catch everyone (although, really for most of the set it’s guitarist Christine Bougie and saxophone/ clarinet player Karen Ng who are off screen.

If Melanson is relatively quiet, full on drummer Kieran Adams is one of the loudest players here.  In songs like “Robber” there’s almost nothing but drums (the rest of the music lays a bed on which the drums seem to skitter around).  In fairness, Melanson does get to wail a lot of “Robber” as well, which is easily the most fun track here.

“Tried to Tell You” has a real 70s soft-rock vibe.  It’s amusing, for instance, to watch keyboardist Johnny Spence as his hands literally don’t move almost the whole time that the camera is on him.  I like the way the quiet guitar and clarinet bounce back and forth off of each other in this song.

The keyboard melody is much more prominent for “Parking Lot.”  As with most of the song, the pulsing bass from Ben Whiteley is what really grounds the song.

With images of a blood-red sunset in the song “Atlantic” and the lines “Thinking I should get all this dying off of my mind / I should really know better than to read the headlines / Does it matter if I see it? / No, really, can I not just cover my eyes?,” Tamara writes about her passion for the earth and its future, but the tunes are calming and thoughtful, not doctrines or lectures.

“Atlantic” has a nice pulsing feel with squiggly guitar lines.  The spareness of these songs is really in evidence when you see that Bougie is often barely playing before jumping into a big flourish of notes

“Robber” is a six minute jazzy piece that slowly builds to some wild fun.  The build up is spectacular and once again Bougie’s guitar work is terrific.

[READ: July 15, 2021] Oh, Boris!

My library gets all kinds of strange books–books that don’t really seem like they belong in a University library.  But I believe they like to make sure they cover all of the bases–just in case.

Which explains why we have a book like this.  A 6″x6″ square book that’s 64 pages and looks like it was conceived, written and published in a week.

I found this book while searching through old books to see if they could be cataloged (it actually fell out of the pile because it was so small).  Perhaps the only really interesting thing about this is that it was written in 2016, a full three years before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.  He had just been named Secretary of State (really!) around the publication of this book.

For those of us in the States who wondered how the Brits created such a buffoon, it’s worth noting that he was born in the United States (guess they should also have a law that a PM must be born in the country). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACKTHE WEATHER STATION-Live at Massey Hall (February 5, 2016).

I know of The Weather Station from All Songs Considered.  The Weather Station is Tamara Lindeman and she has been making music under this name for many years.

But as her profile rises, she says that she has been moving from small clubs to bigger venues:

“So many things I’ve learned, like how to perform on a big stage and make sure people pay attention to you and hear your words.”

The larger venues are odd because her songs are “thoughtful and philosophical not full of showmanship” but you don’t really have a choice you’re in that situation–step up and be confident

The set opens with “Tapes” which is very quiet and soft with lovely backing vocal oohs and a pedal steel guitar.

“Floodplain” is a bit more upbeat but there’s some  interesting guitar work and a nice juxtaposition with the bass.

I love the titles of “Almost Carless” and “Shy Women.”  About “Shy Women” she says it’s about a particularity conversation but it could apply to 1,000 conversations.  It’s my favorite song with some great moments of backing vocals and chord changes

On “All of It was Me” she sounds a bit like Aimee Mann. She says “Loyalty” is also about a conversation.

She talks about evolving as a performer, playing electric guitar on “Personal Eclipse.”  She talks about how on a big stage you have to expand to fit the space you are given and so “Know It To See It,” finally rocks out–the drums and bass really adding something to her music.  The show ends with “Way It Is, Way It Could Be.”

She was joined by Ben Whiteley, Ian Kehoe,  Adrian Cook, Ivy Mairi and Misha Bower.

[READ: February 4, 2018] “Sick Soldier at Your Door”

Reading all of these excerpts in Harper’s has really brought to my attention just how much fiction is written about war.  It’s not a genre I like, so I had no idea it was so popular. This is an excerpt from a then forthcoming novel.

Anse Burden is apparently the main character. He says he has found six soldiers from the ’91 desert war with Iraq.

He talks about how he was on Percordan and Dexedrine when he was shot down.  Others believe he shot himself down (is that even possible?  I guess so.) He was found babbling incoherently.  There’s a great description of him being in the surf with his parachute attached looking like a dirty white whale rising up and down. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE WEATHER STATION-Tiny Desk Concert #689 (January 8, 2017).

The Weather Station played a show in Philly a while back.  I knew that Bob Boilen really liked the album, and I thought about checking them out live.  But things came up and I didn’t.  And now here they are at a Tiny Desk.

It was the first song here, that Bob especially liked:

It’s called “Thirty” and in less than four minutes and nearly 400 words, singer Tamara Lindeman paints images of joy intertwined with the awaking jolt of turning thirty.

The dollar was down
But my friends opened businesses
There were new children
And again, I didn’t get married
I wasn’t close to my family
And my dad was raising a child in Nairobi
She was three now, he told me

The song is a pretty, shuffling song (spare drums from Ian Kehoewith a speedy rhythm guitar (from Lindeman), a roaming bassline (Ben Whiteleyand some cool guitar licks (William Kidman) over the top (both of which are really lovely).

The musicians in The Weather Station underpin these words with delicate playing and by sitting quietly but poignantly under Tamara Lindeman’s beautiful voice. Her soft voice shifts pitch with a rapid flow in a Joni Mitchell-sort of way, never coming up in volume more than a quiet, table conversation level.

There’s a great (relatively) wailing solo that really pushes the song forward and which ends perfectly when Tamara starts singing again.

“You and I (On the Other Side of the World)” has a slow slinkiness that I rather like.  There’s also some nice, understated backing vocals (deep male voices under Tamara’s higher register).  I love the bass work at the end of the song, too.

Tamara’s voice sounds very much like someone else or maybe a number of people: I hear Laura Marling and yes, Joni Mitchell, but maybe Margo Timmins as well.  In other words, all good benchmarks.

In fact, the final song, “Free” has a real Cowboy Junkies feel with the big slow echoing rhythm guitar that opens it.

On “Free,” there’s some great lead guitar work once again as well as a wonderful bass line.

a song Lindeman describes as about being both free and not free at the same time, there’s restraint in the voice and a release in the powerful guitar chords. That tension and release is an essential element to The Weather Station’s sound and one of the joys I’ve found listening to their enchanting music.

Initially I wasn’t blown away by this concert, but I found myself hitting replay over and over, enjoying it more each time.

[READ: August 20, 2017] Fierce Kingdom

I read about this story on Skimm, a daily news digest that I have since read is geared to women (and according to some criticism, treats women like they are dumb.  I have recently stopped subscribing to it because I do find it rather dumb and subtly right-wing (how could a site for women not be pissed that Hillary lost? #RESIST).  But whatever, the book sounded interesting so I put it on hold.

The premise is fairly simple: a woman and her young child (4 perhaps), are in a zoo.  Right around closing time two gunmen enter the zoo and start killing people.  What will she do?

For some reason, the blurbs didn’t reveal that there were gunmen, just that “something” happened. Well, honestly what else could it have been but gunmen. So, perhaps I spoiled that part but it came out pretty early anyway.

The story begins with a time stamp 4:55 PM. The zoo closes at 5:30 and Joan and her boy Lincoln are sitting in their favorite spot waiting to leave the zoo.  As they head toward the exit around 5:30, she notices bodies on the ground.  She had heard explosions earlier but didn’t think much of it,  But when she sees the bodies, she quickly puts things together and takes off.

Now the blurb for the book on the inside cover says “an electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.”  That’s not wrong exactly but I feel like that puts a weird focus on it being about mother hood instead of survival.  Must be some kind of marketing thing.  I didn’t get the sense in the book that it has anything to do with motherhood–I mean frankly any parent would do that for his or her child and I’m sure any person would do the same for anyone they loved.  The fact that the child is younger and doesn’t have the same cognitive skills make the story more compelling.

Because, frankly, as she hides in an abandoned animal enclosure, there’s no reason she would ever have to leave such an enclosure–she can’t be seen, she is well protected, and it is dark.  She even has her cell phone and she talks to her husband (I find it a bit hard to believe that the police wouldn’t listen to him if he has a text from his wife in the zoo, but that’s what happens).  The bad guys even come into where she is and don’t see her.

So, end of story right?  At least I couldn’t imagine why there would be more story when she is safe and the police are coming. (more…)

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