May, 2010 Archives

11
May

Skater Dater–In Memory of Orcutt’s Lake Marie and Palomino Drives

by Lefort in Music

We are so old as to have lived through the advent of Cadillac Wheels back in the day.  Urethane reduced, but also enhanced, the pain.  We will admit to only riding skate longboards these days, and have not taken to the clickety-clack of the modern day “tricksters.”   Back in the day though we took some steep drops with speed and lived for the kick-push life.

Many tributes have been paid to skating in song, but we like the juxtaposition of Lupe Fiasco’s Kick, Push (off of his 2006 debut record) and Little Wing’s Shredder Sequel. The former is the update and the latter is a throwback (and a reference to a further throwback).  Lupe you know.  Little Wings is the phenomenal, uniquely-voiced band originally from San Luis Obispo (now Portland) headed by virtuosic Kyle Field (have a look at his stellar art at http://www.kyledraws.com).

But to the skate songs–check ’em out.

Lupe Fiasco–Kick, Push

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/kick-push.mp3|titles=kick push]

Little Wings–Shredder Sequel

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/03-Shredder-Sequel.mp3|titles=03 Shredder Sequel]

All Drawings Used With Kind Permission of  Multitalen-Tad Wagner



10
May

Department of Grizzlies

by Lefort in Music

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As you may know, we are infatuated with Grizzly Bears, and particularly the Brooklyn-based musical variety.  It turns out we are also earnestly enamored with Eagles (no, not those ancient, drug-addled geezers) and the Departments that house them.  In the Department of Eagles’ most recent recording, “In Ear Park,” those engrossed in the music of Grizzly Bear are treated to another round of resonant songs illumed by devout deliveries and melodies.

With “In Ear Park” Daniel Rossen (of Grizzly Bear) and Fred Nicolaus have delivered their best collection to date (granted, “In Ear Park” was released pre-Veckatimest in October 2008, so the DoE’s may be in the throes of another round that may even eclipse “In Ear Park”).   This record is said to have been inspired by Rossen’s upbringing (being named after a favorite childhood haunt) and devoted to his departed dad.  Rossen has brought in most of his pals from Grizzly Bear to help at times, and the sounds of the two bands often cross over.

The record has gangs of great tracks, but our pick of the patter-litter is Phantom Over which aurally commences with low-key solo voice and acoustic guitar and accretes swirling harmonies, killer keys, guitars, and drums to much larger effect.

And we love the heartfelt, but nonetheless oblique, lyrics (and especially the opening lines–who hasn’t been rendered so resigned?):

“All right, we’ll do this your way
All right, we’ll make it anyway
Now’d be good time,
To send us all away there
So what would it take?
And what would it take to make you learn?
And what would it take?
And what would it take to make you listen? ah

Oh man, you’re not the only one
Oh boy, with that phantom other gone
Now’d be the right time
To send us all away
It’d be a good time
If you just go away there

What would it take?
What would it take to make you leave?
What would it take?
What would it take to make you listen?

My God in heaven
What were we thinking?
My God in heaven
What were we thinking of?

Look out, look out now
We gotta get out now
Look out, look out now
We gotta get out now
Wake up, wake up now
We gotta get out now
Wake up, wake up now
We gotta get out now”

Give a good listen and give it time.

Department of Eagles–Phantom Other

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/03-Track-03-7.mp3|titles=03 Track 03 7]
7
May

Titus Andronicus

by Lefort in Music

http://thenjunderground.com/storage/Titus%20Andronicus%20The%20Monitor.jpg

On their new album, “The Monitor,” Titus Andronicus blister and wail across the majority of the record.

But just when you need a respite, up comes this New Jersey band’s song, To Old and New Friends.  Piano softly introduces the song.  Lead singer Peter Stickles comes on initially with the call and Jenn Wasner (of Wye Oak) has the response in her beautiful voice.  Then at 2:15 a glorious horn is added, and layers are added, and they come farther forward and then recede, to stunningly good effect.

And the gut-wrenching dialogue between these two love-torn lovers adds powerful punch, excerpts from which are below:

“Like the time traveler who killed his grandfather, these cycles are bringing me down.
We could build a nice life together if we don’t kill each other first.
Are you just too fucked up to understand me or is it the other way around?
Maybe it’s both, and I just don’t know which is worse….

Was it the devil, or was it the lord
who gave you those words,
the ones I never heard….

If I were there to keep satisfied all of your carnal desires,
then it might be my place to say what is or isn’t forbid
So how can I hold it against you if you answer the call of the wild?
No matter how brilliant a woman, you’re only a kid….

But if you know that nobody is ever going
to suffer for you like I did
Well it’s alright the way that you live,
It’s alright the way that you live.

It’s alright now”

Torn asunder.

Titus Andronicus–To Old and New Friends

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/08-To-Old-Friends-And-New.mp3|titles=08 To Old Friends And New]
6
May

We Here Hear Musical Taste May Be Subjective?

by Lefort in Music

Who knew?!  We are constantly amazed to learn that 100% of the world’s populace do not agree 100% with our musical choices and preferences.  Get in line world!

A recent example of musical subjectivity involves the musical tastes of two good friends.  While these friends share acres of musical-landscape appreciation, one (so far) doesn’t care much for The National (I know!–said with Craig Ferguson-ish inflection), and the other (so far) doesn’t hear justification for the avid Avett Brothers accolades (I know!).  Realizing that life is short, people are bustling and a song or two may not give a proper feel for the AMAZINGLY TALENTED (with all due objectivity) musicians that WE love, we’re going to try this again (and again, if we have to!).

Without further adieu, please give proper due to The National’s live rendering of their new Vanderlyle Cry Baby,  and the Avett Brothers’ Perfect Space (a near-perfect ode to true friends and well-lived lives–in our objective, but humble, opinion) and January Wedding (as sanguine and joy-filled a paean to love and marriage as you will ever hear).

The National–Vanderlyle Cry Baby

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Vanderlylle-Cry-Baby-new-song-live.mp3|titles=Vanderlylle Cry Baby (new song, live]

The Avett Brothers–Perfect Space (whoever doesn’t love the chorus of “Will you understand when I am too old of a man? And will you forget when we have paid our debt who did we borrow from? Who did we borrow from?” is simply without a soul)

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/05-The-Perfect-Space.mp3|titles=05 The Perfect Space]

The Avett Brothers–January Wedding

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/02-January-Wedding.mp3|titles=02 January Wedding]
5
May

Making Wild Things

by Lefort in Books

We recently picked up Making Mischief (a Maurice Sendak appreciation) by Gregory Maguire (Wicked author), and highly recommend it.  Maguire provides a much better appreciation of Sendak with his fine prose and analysis/juxtaposition of Sendak’s biography and aesthetic influences.   Maguire ably endows the book with side-by-side comparisons of Sendak’s art to contrasting and sometimes surprising influences (varying from comic illustrators, to William Blake to Winslow Homer), all of which is summed up by Maguire’s reference to “Sendak’s license to borrow.”  And who hasn’t borrowed?

Throughout Making Mischief Maguire affords great insight into the mind, upbringing, aptitudes and appetites of Sendak.  After all, Sendak was born in 1928 and so grew up and came to maturity during the difficult post-World War I, Depression and World War II eras.  Some of the zeitgeist of those eras naturally entailed darkness, which is seen aplenty in Sendak’s early art in particular, but relief from the gloom was plentifully afforded by Sendak.  For example, Sendak’s art was often leavened with the levity of comic silent films of that era (as can be seen in Sendak’s adoption of Oliver Hardy-like characters in some of his art) along with other cartoon/comic influences (comic artist Winsor McCay and Bugs Bunny’s Chuck Jones, for example).  Maguire also exhibits well Sendak’s escape from the difficulties of childhood.

Maguire is at his best describing and showing Sendak’s disparate styles, media and subjects, many of which we had not seen before.  Amongst our favorites are Sendak’s line drawings, such as “Jennie” below.

Highly recommended for all, but particularly for anyone who has read Sendak’s charming and beguiling books or read them to kids.

And it was still hot.

4
May

Gored Again

by Lefort in Music

The Leforts were on the road again on Friday night, headed for parts south and tremulously anticipating the tremelo of the Antlers at the Troubadour.

We’d seen ’em months before opening for some very mediocre band (Minus the Bear–emphasis on minus), at Downtown Brew in San Luis Obispo.  That night they kicked the headliners to the curb and blew the doors off of Downtown Brew.  ‘Twas 50 minutes of heated, heavy harmonics, delivered as if there was a fire next door.

So we were naturally salivating at the specter of seeing the band headline at the legendary Troub.  We are happy to report that once again (and  despite their having toured non-stop behind their stellar “Hospice” record for at least 9 months), the crowd was properly gored by these great Antlers and their weighty/beautiful songs.  Headlining enabled them to stretch out a bit and revel in the hallowed hall.  While as openers they had played with more intensity and resolve (necessary given the shorter time to lobby the partisans), as headliners they let the songs explore themselves more and indulged the sonics in full.  Peter once again gave glimpses of Buckley and beyond, while Darby magically kept all the plates spinning and the harmonies tethered, and Michael held down the forest fortress.  On top of the “Hospice” songs, we were treated to a new song and a great, slowed cover of XX’s fine song, VCR.   Too dang good.

In the video below you won’t see the Antlers attack in full as we did on Friday, but instead a stellar band taking a step back acoustically and selling it well.  A great glimpse into the vocalese of Peter Silberman, as ably accompanied by Darby and Michael.  A fine use of 12 minutes, 34.  Playing tonight at the Doug Fir in Portland.

1
May

The Unfathomable Source

by Lefort in Poetry

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Well, Well, Well (after Murakami)

May we aspire to a more contemplative state

Not Florida or Nevada, for example

But there we go again,

with the bank-shot gag,

and the scattershot whimsy;

while deeper discernment slips off

to kill time alone in a deeper, dryer well

Who will instead let down

wisdom’s ladder-rope into that waiting well

and let the frivolous and flippant fireworks fall faint?

Pray perhaps for a prank-less interlude,

a complete eclipse of the synapse-ellipses

May we at least filter out the oft-offered filters

and slip off into a more unfathomable source?

May we aspire to a more contemplative state

Not Florida or Nevada, for example

But there we go again,

with the bank-shot gag,

and the scattershot whimsy;

while deeper discernment slips off

to kill time alone in a deeper, dryer well

Who will instead let down

wisdom’s ladder-rope into that waiting well

and let the frivolous and flippant fireworks fall faint?

Pray perhaps (!) for a prank-less interlude,

a complete eclipse of the synapse-ellipses

May we at least filter out the oft-offered filters

and slip off into a more unfathomable source?