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Archive for the ‘Musicians’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: MILLY-“Star Thistle Blossom” (2020).

I saw Milly open for Swervedriver last year. I really enjoyed their angular shoegaze style.  At the time, milly only had one EP out. They are about ready to release a new one, and this is the first song from it.  You can check it out on their bandcamp page).

As I listened to it, i thought it sounded familiar.  And that’s because they played it when I saw them.  I really liked it a lot–the juxtaposition of pretty picked notes and alternating rocking angular chords, was really great.  Brendan Dyer’s vocals work perfectly in the shoegaze style and the backing harmonies are spot on.

I love at the two minute mark how most of the song drops out but for drums and guitar punctuated by a few power chords every few seconds.  The instrumental ending is perfect–grungey chords in a catchy melody and an abrupt ending.  I’m really looking forward to the rest of the EP.

[READ: October 2, 2020] “After Midnight”

This was a puzzling excerpt from Wondratschek’s novel Self-Portrait with Russian Piano (translated by Marshall Yarbrough).

The narrator is addressing you, the person who asked him is he continues to play his piano.

But his hands are bored and his heart is worn out (to say nothing of his legs).

He explains that he found a holy silence when he began to love music–not that he could ever understand music.

Maybe he always wanted to play for angels–to make them appear in his apartment. Maybe a holy calling would justify his playing an instrument since no one else in his family did–nor did they think much of it.

That far away from Moscow, artists were a figment of the imagination.  The horse that drew the plow was not, neither was poverty, nor the ground in which so little grew.

He has few visitors, except for a young violinist.  Her father was a friend of the piano player and she has has a lot of success.  They discuss music and he offers advice.  She compliments him and says no one plays like he does.  She wishes to play with him.

He can’t help but wonder, doesn’t she smell the scent of failure on him in his old age?

He is tried and cannot abide her for long.

He can no longer stay up until the right time to make music.

Well before midnight I’m finished as a human being and fall into bed.  At what woul dbe the right time for making music, I’m snoring…But who would dare take the risk of allowing a concert to begin after midnight?  Even with free admission it wouldn’t work.

This story could also go in many directions once this scene is over.

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SOUNDTRACK: LAURA MARLING-NonCOMM (May 18, 2017).

I enjoyed listening to the sets from NonCOMM back in May, so I dug into the archives and found out that a lot of sets are still available.  I was especially happy to see this one from Laura Marling.  The end of the blurb says:

You’ll have another chance to witness this fixating performance when Laura Marling comes to the TLA tomorrow night.

And that’s the show I saw.

After a hearty introduction from Bob Boilen, Laura Marling and crew swan-dived right into debut single, “Soothing,” off of her latest album, Semper Femina.

“Wild Fire” is an amazing example of her incredible voice as she speak-sings, whispers, coos and soars all over the verses which come together in the beautiful harmony of “meeeeeee” in the chorus.  This song has a bunch of curses in it, but she kept it clean for this performance.

With a piercing yet still somehow soft gaze cutting through the crowd (I don’t know how she does the thing, but it’s true), Marling unleashed her otherworldly vocals — flawlessly ebbing and flowing with the track’s funkier rhythm.

“Always This Way” is a beautiful song off of Semper Femina.  The guitar melody is delightful and, of course, her voice is outstanding.

“Next Time” has a simple, quiet, guitar melody which allows her voice to just wend all over this song.  When the backing vocals come it it’s quiet angelic.

“Nothing, Not Nearly” has some wonderfully fast vocals that are as fun to try to figure out as they are to sing along to.  It ends Semper Femina and is my favoirte song on the record.  From the main melody to her wonderfully high notes this song is amazing.

She ended the set with “Once” from Once I Was an Eagle, the album that introduced me to her.

This song is very different from the others, but it still sounded great.  When I saw her I wished she’d played ten songs from each album.  Maybe some day I’ll see her do everything.

[READ: September 7, 2019] “The Stone”

This was an otherworldly story about an earthly object.

As a young girl, the main character’s family drove to an island in Lake Superior every summer.  She was wandering in the brush one day when she felt sure someone was looking at her.  There was no one there, but then she saw the stone.

It was smooth and black, half the size of a human skull and rain had carved what looked like two eye holes in it.

She was spooked at first but then was drawn to it.  She brought it back to the vacation home and put it where she slept.  But then she was sure one of her siblings would try to take it, so she hid it in her sleeping bag.

She brought home after the summer and put it in her room. Her mother saw it as she was getting them ready for school in September. Her mom asked if she’d found the rock the summer.  She nodded and, after dinner, hid it in her room. (more…)

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