Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Kristi Kates - April 20th, 2009
Doves - Kingdom of Rust - Astralwerks
Returning with their first album in four years (has it been that long?) Doves spent a year and a half tracking this set in a farmhouse in the English countryside, with Dan Austin on board again for co-production duties. This album harkens back to the days of Doves’ Lost Souls album, as it’s more moody and ambient than their last set, Some Cities, which did less well on the charts stateside than such an accomplished band might expect. It’s a well-balanced set on which they still rock a bit, too - “Jetstream” is one of those rockers, with a Euro-club heavy beat, while the title track wraps the whole thing up nicely with its atmospheric SFX and prettily shuffled melody lines.

Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels - Nettwerk
Singer-songwriter Tony Dekker helms the cargo ship that is Great Lake Swimmers, with their load of well-referenced indie-folk-pop. For this album, they really went into the depths of history, relying on a local Canadian historian to guide them to interesting venues (an old arts center, a castle) in which to record their dense, layered songs amidst genuine reverb. Whether it’s a surprise banjo on “The Chorus in the Underground,” the buoyant guitar on “River’s Edge,” or the mention of several Toronto landmarks in “Concrete Heart,” they’ve tried to build this particular album in order to capture the feel of their recording locale, and from the sounds of this, they’ve succeeded.

Tinted Windows - Tinted Windows - S-Curve
The singer is Taylor Hanson (yes, of the brothers Hanson pop group); the bass player is Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger; the guitarist is Smashing Pumpkins’ James Iha; and the drummer is Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos. And no, I’m not making this up. Hanson and Schlesinger first met in the mid-’90s and discussed collaborating, as Schlesinger did with Iha; once that trio was established, they brought in Carlos. The result? An uber-peppy and way New Wave/rock set that somehow manages to both sound like... and completely different from... all of the referenced bands, especially on the feisty “Kind of a Girl” and the ‘80s-heavy “Messing With My Head.”

Vetiver - Tight Knit - Sub Pop
It takes a few listens to squeeze all of the subtleties out of a Vetiver record - especially this one, which is even more detailed than the previous three efforts - but that listening proves well worth it once you realize the rich depth of the songs as written by Andy Cabic. Reminiscent of a slightly more exotic take on Brian Wilson’s quieter, more folky side of songwriting (complete with ‘60s organ), other influences, such as The Shins, surface on songs like the synth-inflected “More of This,” while that Wilson-esque beachy groove continues through such tracks as the comfortable trot of “On the Other Side” and the slightly (but just slightly) peppier feel of “Everyday.”
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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