Category “Ace, bro”


Recently I was informed that “This is How We Walk on the Moon” by Geographer is actually a COVER of the original Arthur Russell song. Maybe this is Music Knowledge 101, but it was a very exciting discovery to me. I think Geographer is a great band and wonderful in concert, but this song wasn’t a personal favorite.

The original version is so much weirder though! I don’t understand time signatures well enough to get what’s happening with the beat… it seems almost arrhythmic to me … in a wonderful way that slides just beyond my comprehension.

Further Googling reveals that Jose Gonzalez also did a very nice cover version.

What else…. Spotify played “Add Ends” for me the other day… maybe slyly suggesting that Arthur Russell fans might also enjoy Danish band When Saints Go Machine. Well, they got it too close for comfort! Add Ends sounds almost as if Arthur Russell is singing, with the same off-beat strings.

Strings also feature in Kishi Bashi’s terrific version of “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”. (This one sounds so much better listened to on nice speakers that I feel a bit bad posting a YouTube link.) Gorgeous! Listening today I heard the ‘born with a weak heart’ lyric… something I’ve never noticed before. Really, every stanza of that song is beautiful. The story of how it was written is super cool too.

The parenthetical title, “Naive Melody,” comes from the fact that the bandmates switched instruments when they composed it. Musically, it was one of the sparest arrangements they ever made. The song consists of a simple guitar-chord progression, a four-bar bass figure, and a fluty synthesizer part, repeated over and over again. The polyphony is African sounding, but also vaguely Baroque, creating an ambiance of innocence that’s augmented by the whimsical array of found-object percussion sounds (a wine bottle, scrap metal, ashtrays, a cocktail shaker, a candleholder, and a milk jug).

The topic of percussion reminds me of something interesting I just read – drummer Max Weinberg (you may remember him from old Conan O’Brien shows, and also the E Street Band) suffered from a ‘drumming slump’ in the 80’s that robbed him of his timing! What!? That can happen?! According to Wikipedia:

Weinberg suffered an acknowledged “drumming slump” around 1980, and his time-keeping skills were criticized by Springsteen. What could pass unnoticed in concert became apparent on record, and Weinberg practiced drumming components for months in order to regain a fine sense of timing.

Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending. Max Weinberg got his timing back!

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

–George Bernard Shaw

Trivia relating to Awesome Ladies

I recently learned that….

The incredible Amber Tamblyn (who has been kicking ASS in the media lately) is the daughter of “Dr. Jacoby” on Twin Peaks! I vaguely knew Dr. Jacoby was played by Russ Tamblyn but I never connected the dots. Love Twin Peaks! Love Amber Tamblyn! Love, love, love! Here is Amber talking about her path to directing the movie “Paint it Black”. Inspiring.  <3  <3  <3

The incredible Lucinda Williams wrote “Passionate Kisses”. I always thought it was Mary Chapin-Carpenter. Nope. Here’s Lucinda talking about writing that song and others for her demo album, and subsequently getting told there was no ‘place’ for her music in country OR rock.

The incredible Aimee Mann is one of the nihilists in the Big Lebowski! How did I not know this!?

Three amazing women creating their art on a global scale… and leading the way for the rest of us.

I like it a Latte

I like it a Latte

Actually the coffee is a flat white, not a latte, because this picture was taken in New Zealand! It is one of my favorite pics from the NZ trip in March. Simon had just found that cat t-shirt at a thrift shop (called an ‘op-shop’ in NZ), and we stepped inside a cafe for a slice of Kiwiana… bacon and egg pie.

This photo reminds me that even though the worst sort of people are attempting to be the boss of America right now, there are still happy moments galore.

AND there’s great television.

I’m loving the Starz American Gods series, based on the Neil Gaiman book of course. I (and many other people apparently) signed up to Starz just to watch this series and it’s so much fun to look forward to a new episode each Sunday night!

The tv series is really highlighting the topic of American immigration, and boy is the timing terrific. It’s almost an antidote to the xenophobic bullshit that’s plastering the airwaves right now. One of the story’s premises holds that whatever people believe in, becomes physically manifest, as a god… believe in Jesus, and he becomes a reality; believe in the Stay-Puft marshmallow, and now a 200-ft marshmallow man is in charge.

This seems like a fascinating explanation of why Donald Trump was elected president. People believed in a heroic, straight-talking businessman-turned political leader, and the power of their belief was enough to temporarily create him.

I haven’t been able to justify signing up for Showtime on top of that, so I’m trying to avoid all news of the Twin Peaks reboot. #NOSPOILERS

Silhouettes music video


incredible music video from directors Pablo Barquin and Junior Martínez (Barcelona)