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Archive for the ‘Tracy Thorn’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL-“Ballad of the Times” (1985).

In Stuart David’s book, In The All-Night Café, he lists the songs on a mixtape that Stuart Murdoch gave to him when they first met.

Although I’ve been a fan of Belle & Sebastian for a long time, I knew almost none of the songs on this mixtape.  So, much like Stuart David, I’m listening to them for the first time trying to see how they inspire Stuart Murdoch.

In the book, David writes how much he does not like “rock,” especially music based around bluesy rock.  Most of these songs, accordingly, do not do that.  In fact, most of these songs are (unsurprisingly) soft and delicate.

Of course I know of Everything But the Girl, they really took off a few years after this album came out.  Indeed, their sound changed quite a lot since this first album.

But I never really listened to them.  Of course, I knew their song “Missing” (“like the deserts miss the rain”) which was pretty ubiquitous in mid 1990s.  But in the mid 1980s, the band’s sound was very different–characterized by jangly guitars and a more upbeat feel.

Love Not Money was the band’ second album.  The first song on the album “When All’s Well” has a very distinctive feel like The Smiths–with the picked echoing guitars and louder grooving bass.  But “Ballad of the Time” is a bit more downbeat (as a ballad should be).  There’s some big overdubbed guitars on top of the pretty picked melody.  It’s catchy in a very “of its time” way.

Interestingly, this album apparently sounds unlike anything else in their collection, which makes me think Stuart wouldn’t have pit a later song on the mix.

[READ: December 29, 2020] Solutions and Other Problems

Seven years ago I read and loved Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh’s first book.  So I was pretty excited that Allie Brosh had a new book out. Apparently she has gone through some stuff in the last seven years which I won’t go into.

Instead, I want to talk about how freaking funny this book is.

I hadn’t considered or realized that her art style had changed much since the last book.  Although comparing the covers, I see that her drawings do seem more sophisticated–which somehow makes her characters look even crazier.  I love that that yellow oval on her head is her hair.  And the massive eyes.  And that crazy smile.  It’s bonkers and hilarious.

This book starts out with a bang–a very funny story about a young Allie getting stuck in a bucket. But the best part is that she was in the bucket because she felt the need to get her whole body into the bucket.  She looked at the bucket and looked at her body and decided that one needed to be in the other.  The look on her face (and then later on her parents’ faces when they find her in the bucket) makes me laugh just thinking about it.

“Richard” is all about a person who lives next door.  Young Allie couldn’t quite grasp the idea that someone lived not in their house.  She never even thought about the next door house until Richard walked out of it one day.  So she snuck in through the cat door and started investigating the neighbor,  She would also steal trinkets on each trip.  And occasionally leave a “gift” (like a creepy drawing).  When her parents found some things, they asked her about it and she said she was “hanging out” with Richard.  This obviously made her parents…uneasy.  Poor Richard.  She went too far when she stole Richard’s cat. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: TRACY THORN & JENS LEKMAN-“Yeah! Oh Yeah! from Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers (2009).

This cover makes me think that I like The Magnetic Fields for their songs, but not really for their singing or arrangements.  This song is pretty hilarious (every yeah oh yeah is in response to something awful (Do you want to break my heart?  Yeah, yeah, Oh yeah!).  The cover by the wonderful Tracy Thorn & Jens Lekman is much more understated than the original, with simple instrumentation.

The original is a chiming, kind of noisy track.  While the cover has Thorns beautiful voice languorously singing the lines while Lekman chimes in.  The backing music is delicate and almost sweet (a nice contrast to the lyrics).  I think the song is fantastic, but once again, I like the cover more than the original.  This is especially surprising as the cover is actually slower than the original.  But, really, it’s hard  to pass on Jens Lekman.

[READ: April 30, 2012] “Borges on Pleasure Island”

When I browsed for Rivka Galchen articles the other day, I found a few published works that were not in Harper’s or The New Yorker.  So, yes, I’m going to write about them here.  And since I’m caught up with the end of Gravity’s Rainbow, these short non-fictions were a nice balm.

I have been encountering a lot about Borges lately.  Roberto Bolaño loves him, there was a recent article in Harper’s about him (a review of some new translations called “The purloined Borges: Translation and traduction” by Edgardo Krebs) and now I get this article.  This article is a strange one–and I’m not entirely sure where it would have appeared in the Times.  It’s strange because it’s kind of a review of a new collection of Borges’ work (this one called On Writing, the first of three Borges’ related works published that month).  Although really she only talks about one essay, “Literary Pleasure.” (more…)

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