All posts by Philosofer

Billy Bragg – Waiting For The Great Leap Forward

So the version of this song that I'm playing was not one that I was familiar with - it turns out, Mr. Bragg has done about a million and a half versions of this tune, and he's always adjusting them to fit the times and locations that he's singing in. I find that super cool. And it turns out, he's pretty darn good at making those adjustments work, and I dig it all.

Also, here's the version of the song that I know and love:

Thanks for tuning in this past week!

2 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 102 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10 (2 votes, average: 9.00 out of 10)
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Ezra Furman – Restless Year

How have we never had an Ezra Furman song played in this joint? It's probably because his live stuff isn't nearly as good as his studio stuff. Looking around, I think this is an artist who absolutely needs the studio. But I enjoy a ton of his songs - he uses his voice in really creative, emotive ways. Plus he always seems to nail the use of the sax.

Anyway, here's a fun song with a reference to Dostoevsky, who I enjoy reading, so... enjoy!

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The Regrettes – Hey Now

Man I dig me some indie-pop/riot grrrl/garage punk stuff. I know that's a lot of categories, but I think this group ticks all those boxes. Plus the name is one of the best "-ettes" names you could come up with (Pipettes, Noisettes, etc.). Quick, fun, and sharp.

And since I was surprised to have not seen anything else from them on the site, here's a bonus video:

4 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 104 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10 (4 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10)
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Jenny Lewis – Heads Gonna Roll

Jenny Lewis has gotten so much praise and attention over the years, and, on the strength of Rilo Kiley, rightfully so. But I never really liked all that much of her solo work, despite giving it plenty of chances. It seemed like she was skating by on reputation. I very much enjoy a lot of her latest album though. It definitely wasn't an instant hit for me, but it seems to have grown in depth.

I especially dig how this live performance captures the cavernous sound of the album version.

2 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 102 votes, average: 9.50 out of 10 (2 votes, average: 9.50 out of 10)
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Josh Ritter – Joy to You Baby

No particular theme to my week this year, just songs and artists I enjoy, and I want to throw some love their way. Leading off is Josh Ritter, who, frankly, consistently impresses me. Some of his stuff took me a couple listens, but then it all clicked and... dang. He's probably my favorite singer-songwriter at this point.

5 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 105 votes, average: 8.60 out of 10 (5 votes, average: 8.60 out of 10)
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FMD: Played an instrument

I think we've talked about this before, but yesterday's guitar conversation got me thinking a little more about what other instruments people played, wished they could play, etc.

I played trumpet all through high school. I actually recently picked it up again (not to learn, just, literally, picked it up and played it for like 3 minutes). It is amazing how my fingers still knew which positions to go to - muscle memory after all these years. At the same time, my embouchure was completely atrophied, and was only strong enough to barely squeak out the range of a single scale.

How about you? What did you play? What would you like to play? When was the last time you picked up an instrument you used to play?

First Monday Book Post On A Tuesday – Minnesota Authors

It just so happens that I am finishing my third consecutive book by a Minnesota author. It wasn't intentional, and one of them doesn't even really count, but it gave me the idea for this topic. Still, discuss whatever you want for books... this is largely just a place holder for the content that comes in the LTEs.

Briefly, my MN Books:

The Girl Who Drank The Moon - Kelly Barnhill - Young Adult fantasy literature. Newberry medal winner. It was good. Very lyrical in its language, which was quite enjoyable. That said, Aquinas read it and put his finger squarely on the problem: there isn't really a climax. The book is all build and rising tension, and then it reaches the climax, and it just sort of happens, without taking any real time or space or challenge. That aside, I highly recommend this one, because the build and rising tension and world building and lyrical writing is all fantastic.

Sharks In The Time Of Saviors - By Kawai Strong Washburn - I found this book because Kawai and I used to be in a writer's group together back in D.C. Apparently he started working on this novel shortly after leaving that group, so I never got to see any of the first work for it, but I read a lot of his other stuff, and it was really good writing. His descriptions are excellent, and really bring a world alive. He moved to MN a few years ago, after having lived in CA, and before that D.C., and Hawaii before that. This book is really a Hawaii book, not a Minnesota book, but I'm calling him a MN author now, because I can. Anyway, check this one out. It's a bit of magical realism, heavy on the realism, and about halfway through the book switches in a way I did not see coming, and that I resented a bit at first, but, ultimately came to peace with. Which, I think, was kind of the point. A very very worthy read.

The Master Butcher's Singing Club - Louis Erdrich - I've read a few Erdrich novels over the years, though I rarely know much about them before I pick them up. The strength of her reputation is enough to convince me to give them a chance. This was one I picked up for 25 cents at a library sale or something like that, and it sat on my nightstand for maybe a year before I decided to give it a go. I'm so glad I did. It's historical fiction (naturally), set in North Dakota post-WWI, and follows the lives of a German immigrant and another woman who was from the town where this is set. What strikes me is how much reading this book has been like getting to know real people. The characters are so fully human, so well-rounded, that as I'm writing this it is just now occurring to me that they are fictitious, because they occupy a space in my brain where they seem so real. I don't know that I've had that experience in reading for a while... too many science fiction/fantasy settings that prevent that, or authors who maybe aren't quite at the level that Erdrich is? Either way... wow.

Alright, other MN authors? What are you reading? What are you looking forward to? So on and so forth. Books, go now: