Archive for the ‘Typhoon’ Category

[ATTENDED: January 26, 2018] Typhoon

I first heard Typhoon on a Tiny Desk Concert.  There were 11 members in the band, they played gorgeous chamber pop and lead singer Kyle Morton had a really interesting vocal delivery.

I didn’t know that they had quite the following (I watched that concert four years ago).  In fact, they sold out Brooklyn the night before my show.  While I was waiting for the show to start I saw the nicest, most gracious act I think I’ve ever seen at a concert.  In front of me were a mom, dad and their daughter.  They were pretty short (about four inches shorter than me).  They were there for longer than I was and as Typhoon was about to go on a taller woman pushed her way in front of them.  A few minutes later the guy(s) she was with came up to stand next to her.  The one guy was about 6′ 5″ and quite broad.  He stood in front of the girl who was dwarfed by him.  Then he turned around and saw the girl and he immediately moved behind her (right in front of me, but I was able to move aside).  His lady friend kept waving him up but he refused.  It was a very sweet act  And by the middle of the show, she went back with him letting the young daughter stand right at the stage’s edge. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 26, 2018] Bad Bad Hats

I hadn’t heard of Bad Bad Hats before this show, but I quickly became a fan of their music and especially singer/guitarist Kerry Alexander.  In addition to writing catchy alt-rock songs, she had the most enjoyable between-song banter I’ve heard in ages.

Her delivery was really dry–whether as an act or her natural way of speaking, I’m not sure.  But she told hilarious anecdotes to go with these songs, often deadpan and unexpectedly funny.

And the songs were really fun too.  I talked to her briefly after the show and she was super nice, as you might expect someone from Minnesota to be.  Her band even sold pennants which I found adorable. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 26, 2018] Sunbathe

Most shows at Union Transfer start at 8:30, so I didn’t even check the ticket for this show.  I arrived at like 8:20 and heard a band already on stage.  I assumed it was Bad Bad Hats, the opening act.  But as they finished up the song they were playing, they said thanks and left.  There was no way an opening band would play only 20 minutes.

Well, it turns out that Sunbathe was added to the bill at some point and they went on first.  I enjoyed what I heard when I walked in, and I really enjoyed the  that I heard.  I was absolutely ready for more.

I spoke to guitarist / vocalist Maggie May Morris and she was super friendly.   (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: TYPHOON-Tiny Desk Concert #314 (October 26, 2013).

As the show begins, you hear Bob inviting all the short people up front.  Bob suggests the band could organize something like that at their shows: Height night–order everyone as they come in where to stand, that way everybody meets different people and people who never get to see a show in their lives could finally see.  The lead singer says he hates to go to shows for that reason (he seems quite short), although the drummer is way over 6 feet tall.

I first heard Typhoon from NPR, where the song “Young Fathers” was strange, somewhat disjointed and incredibly catchy.  I loved the full band sound and big backing vocals.

The blurb notes: The group from Portland, Ore. crafts rock anthems like emotional tidal waves, propelled by the stories of frontman Kyle Morton. His deeply personal tales are often full of grief and loss. But just as often they celebrate and praise life’s simple wonders. Morton himself is a very grateful (and lucky) man who writes songs as if he were living on borrowed time. That’s because a random bug bite when he was a child left him with a monstrous case of Lyme disease that led to multiple organ failures. Morton’s own father donated a kidney to save his son’s life.

I love when Bob gets excited by a band, as when he talks about Typhoon:

At 27, with a backing band of a dozen musicians, Morton and the rest of Typhoon are making some of the most poignant pop tunes around. We’ve been following this group for a few years now, but Typhoon has never done anything quite like what you can hear on its latest album, White Lighter. The songs are by far the best arranged and most compelling of the group’s nearly 10-year run.  Somehow everyone in Typhoon not only managed to fit behind the Tiny Desk, but also managed to shine in this performance.

The opening of “Young Fathers” is so distinctive, the way the chords start and then pause completely for a second before starting again. When I first heard the that opening section, I was hooked.  The drama is still here in this Tiny Desk, although it’s acoustic so a bit less so.  But the backing vocalists sound great.  The whole band is really tight and it’s impressive that a dozen or so people can be and so quiet when they need to be.   And then singing in harmony and loudly!  Mid song the sound drops out and the two women sing a quick and gentle melody. As the song gets near the end all of those clappers and singers pick up their horns and add a cool melody.

“The Lake” has a simple and beautiful melody all the way through.  I also really like the guitar’s sliding low/high “solo.”  When the vocals join in singing some ooohs, it’s quite lovely.  The end of the song slows down to some staccato horn blasts,  almost martial, which leads to a dramatic ending.

The final song is the surprisingly named “Dreams of Cannibalism.”   There’s another gentle guitar introduction with some cool drums and cymbal buildups.  Once again, there are some dramatic moments where things grow quiet and it’s just him and his guitar and then he gets to belt out the lyrics (his voice is so interesting–raspy and powerful with a slight Oregonian accent).

I’ll leave the last word for Bob: “If you’re looking for music that touches your heart, that helps you appreciate the everyday, sit back and get ready for Typhoon to carry you away.”

[READ: July 8, 2016] Chew: Volume Ten

Book Ten covers issues 46-50.  And it open with Poyo in hell.  He has everyone there running scared.  Although there is a Disclaimer: “this doesn’t happen.”

Tony is furious with Colby and refuses to work with him.  So instead he is paired up with D-Bear.  Their first assignment is to look into a destructive candy scene. A CEEOSAKARER who can turn anything with glucose and fructose into machinery.  He appears to have gone insane and destroyed a town with gummi tanks and a jaw-breaker cannon.  And his message was about the coming dominance of E.G.G.  But he proves to be under the spell of the MINTHAMPERIOR who can hypnotize with peppermint candy.

D-Bear turns out to be a surprisingly good detective, and they work well together, even taking down a VECTUCIBORUTARE who can produce a noxious eruption (A fancy-assed word for “burps”) based on the age of what he eats.  But then Tony gets news that Mason has escaped from the hospital and taken Tony’s daughter Olive and Tony’s wife Amelia with him.  That’s the last straw.

Book 3 opens with FDA director Mike Applebee and special agent Cesar Valentino returning to duty.  The doctors have each been given one mechanical enhancement.  Caesar’s is a big claw while Mike’s is more… dramatic. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_09_02_13Viva.inddSOUNDTRACK: TYPHOON-“Artificial Light” (2013).

typhoonartSince I mentioned “Artificial Light” the other day, I thought I’d link to it today.

The song opens with a pretty guitar melody punctuated by horns.  The singer’s vocal style is dramatic and often unexpected–especially the way he gets louder mid sentence and then drops to a whisper at other times (reminds me a bit of Wolf Parade or perhaps even Modest Mouse).

There are very pretty moments in the song (especially when the orchestration fills in).  But the horns also give it a kind of Spanish feel, which rides on top of the heavier guitars in the verses.

At about two and a half minutes, the song drops out completely.  It is picked up by some gentle guitar and horns as it builds back up.  By the end the chorus of voices builds the song to new heights and widths.

It’s interesting what you can do with so many band members in five and a half minutes.  This song really runs a breadth of ideas but remains quite pretty throughout.

[READ: September 12, 2013] “The Colonel’s Daughter”

The Kids in the Hall once made a sketch in which there was no beginning or ending, just a middle.

In the sketch, a man in a tutu slaps a man in a scuba diving suit saying.  “Stop it. stop it. I’ve got to stop you and your revolutionaries from taking over this country.”

This story is like the inverse of that sketch.  It has a beginning and an end but no middle.  Interestingly, since it is also about revolutionaries taking over a country, I now just insert that sketch into the story (I’m sure that makes Coover very happy.  I wonder if anyone else mentions this sketch in the review of this story).

I have mixed feeling about Coover’s work in general.  It often feels more style over substance.  And I fear that this one may have been playing with that somewhat. Interestingly as well, there is a lot of substance, but it is played in such as way as to make it almost seem meaningless—unless you are willing to really unpack it (which I wasn’t).

So, the Colonel is intent on overthrowing the President (the country is unnamed).  He has chosen the group of men sitting in the room with him.  Some of them know each other but not all do.  They look around and size each other up.  Indeed, 5/6 of the story is the men sizing each other up.  To me, the men are interchangeable.  I don’t know if that is lazy reading on my part or if it is indeed on purpose.

Each man gets a brief biography—the Deputy Minister, the Police Chief, the biplane pilot, the business man, the professor, the doctor and possibly someone else.

We learn a little about each man and why the Colonel would have chosen him.  We learn about his fears about the mission and who he mistrusts the most.  We also learn that one of the men is a double agent, working for the President.  Like a game of Clue, pieces of information are given that would let you know who the man is, but again, I didn’t feel like doing the work to figure it out.  I am curious to know if you can tell who it is from the story, but not curious enough to do the work (so I should not be rewarded). (more…)

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lp8.1SOUNDTRACK: TYPHOON-“Dreams of Cannibalism” (2013).

typhoonNPR was steaming this album for a while.  Now they’re giving away this song.

Typhoon is yet another band that has a crazy amount of people in it (between 12 and fourteen) and they have a vast array of instruments in play at any one time (Horns, violins, xylophones, electric guitars and mandolins for example).

At the same time, Singer Kyle Morton’s vocals are distinctive enough and are used like an instrument as well as to deliver lyrics.  This gives them quite a unique sound.

The song opens with an array of horns slowly building to a simple guitar melody.  The verses are somewhat quiet with occasional punctuations of band (and great backing vocals).  But as the song progresses, more instruments kick in (horns adding a melody line).  I really like the way the end of the song shifts direction totally, bringing in a complex instrumental section with interesting time shifts and even better backing vocals..

I enjoyed the whole album while it was streaming.  And while I can’t say that this song stands out more than the other songs, (I think “Artificial Light” is probably the best,) it represents the sound of the band pretty well.

[READ: September 2013] Lucky Peach Issue 8

I haven’t been reviewing Lucky Peach issues in their entirety because they are mostly about food and cooking and recipes and I don’t really have anything to say about that (I enjoy the articles a lot, but I don’t need to comment on them).

But I wanted to bring special attention to this issue because of the way it is presented.  This is the Gender Issue.  It has two covers (see the “female” cover tomorrow) and the magazine must be flipped over to read the different genders.

It’s not often that I think of food and gender as being connected, but there are some really interesting articles in here that talk about not only food itself, but about the people who prepare it.  Like the fact that most big name chefs are men even though cooking has traditionally been “women’s work.”

The women’s side of the magazine has these interesting articles: (more…)

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