I have been so disheartened by the election results, and even more so every day since January 20th. I do not have the words to adequately articulate these times, so I turn to Idle Time favorite Joe Henry. He writes:
I have not read ‘Art Of The Deal,’ but have heard its synopsis by the “author,” and now witness its bizarre theatre enacted on our national stage: make an extravagant push of extremes –while flash pots deploy, distracting your negotiating advisory and leaving them to feel unmoored, hurried and vulnerable; and as the overreach is walked back, your advisory will believe themselves to have made “progress;” and will in the end gratefully settle for far less than they’d have ever first been willing even to imagine.
Is this what is happening to us now?
If so, we are about to learn whether ours truly is a country rooted by a constitution, or ruled by the whims of an autonomous regime, with its own moving agenda to which we are neither privy nor free to challenge –and of which we will never be beneficiaries.
Volatile as are these waters that toss around our little ship of state today, I assume it shall be revealed very soon whether or not our national craft is sustainable. But this much is clear right now: the storm threatening us is man-made, and means indeed to draw us silently under its loud and cold wave. We are at sea and at siege. Continue reading Hi-Fi Fifteen: This Land Is Your Land
Does aging have an effect on creativity? The great poets seemed to peak in their late 20’s to early 30’s. This seems true as well with songwriters. Forty seems to be the age when songwriters lose the muse and start declining rapidly. Artists like Tom Waits, Joe Henry, and Neko Case seem to get better with age, but they are outliers. Bob Dylan, Brian Eno and (until his death) David Bowie remain relevant in their sixties, but this is because they are artists whose work is their highest priority. Search your library and see if you can find great songs/albums by the over-the-hill set.
For this month’s Hi-Fi Fifteen, the three of us contributed songs written and recorded by artists in the 40th year of age or older.
Continue reading Hi-Fi Fifteen: Over the Hill Gang
What makes a person feel a strong connection to a strip of land? The Olympics are here, and I’m doing my best to root for the USA. I’ve never been very patriotic and am not particularly proud of my dusty little Northern California hometown.
Still, I am constantly moved by artists paying tribute to their beloved geography. For this month’s Hi-Fi Fifteen, the three of us contributed songs titled and about the love of neighborhood, state, and country. We follow the moon, moving west to east from our Pacific coastline to the valley of the Himalayas.
Continue reading Hi-Fi Fifteen: Geography
Beach House Bloom (out May 15 via Sub Pop)
I realize that I’m jumping the gun on this one since it won’t be available for another six weeks, but I could not resist.
Never content with past success, Beach House constantly evolve with every release, and with Bloom, the band’s fourth outing, they’ve crafted their most consistent album to date. Beginning with the stellar opener, “Myth“, BH deliver ten winners. Each track is a perfect transition into the next.
What’s new here is the band seems ready to step out into the bright lights of the night. This may be a an odd comparison, but they are mining the same territory as M83’s “Midnight City”. That’s not to say that it’s a disco jam, but more of an ode to feeling of the euphoria of being out at night. You feel a great deal of, for lack of a better word, swagger. I know, that’s the last thing you would expect from the these messy-headed mugs. It’s a perfect soundtrack to late night car ride through the city with the windows down.
Embracing more pop song structures, “New Year” is destined to be a hit with the proper exposure, and there’s more where that came from. If Beach House isn’t careful they’ll be playing arenas before long.
3. Wonder Woman – Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
I cannot believe the Idle Time brass has dragged me into this new 52 mess. I read about one comic book a year, and that is usually one of the collected story lines in one big book. I haven’t read any of the other books in the new 52 series, so I have no perspective why this one is #3 or how it stacks up to the other 51. My only history with Wonder Woman is through the Lynda Carter television series.
Other than thinking Wonder Woman was the most beautiful woman in the world, I can only remember some shit about an invisible jet that she could fly with her mind, her taking her lasso and roping the bad guys into telling the truth, deflecting bullets and insults with her giant bangles, and that damn tiara that she would throw like a boomerang.
This new reboot of Wonder Woman tackles all kinds of issues the modern everywoman deals with. First, Wonder Woman always thought she had a normal childhood, forged from clay like Saruman’s Uruk Hai, and that her mother loved her little claybaby so much that the gods chose to animate her. She leaves Paradise Island because she was so different from the other Amazons, and begins living a fabulous life in the big city. All this is turned upside down when some little white-trash girl, Zola, appears in her bedroom because some chicken-footed dude gave her a portkey so that she may escape a cruel death by two crazed centaurs. Wonder Woman isn’t afraid; she takes the key and returns to Zola’s house and lays waste to those hoofed bitches. Continue reading The Best of DC’s New 52: #3, Wonder Woman