Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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4Play: Big Phony, Field Music, FM Belfast, Juliana Hatfield

Kristi Kates - May 3rd, 2010
Big Phony - Kicking Punching Bags - BPM
Big Phony, aka NYC-Los Angeles coast-hopper Bobby Choy, has quietly stayed under the radar, crafting folk-pop tracks overloaded with catchy melody after catchy melody, all equally understated via Choy’s carefully wistful, mellow performance skills. Songs like the concise “Short Intermission,” “Talk of the Town,” and live, self-deprecating favorite “Girls Like You Don’t Go For Guys Like Me” recollect the folk-pop stylings of Elliott Smith, while his voice echoes that of Sean Lennon or Smith himself; he probably won’t remain under the radar for long.





Field Music - (Measure) - Memphis Recordings
Technically an eponymous set with the “Measure” subtitle (to separate it from the band’s eponymous debut), Field Music’s latest offers up 20 tracks of the quartet’s guitar-focused English art-rock, complete with snippets of influence from Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music, and The Smiths, among others. Blues-inflused “Each Time is a New Time” is one of the disc’s more notable tracks, as are the more poppy “The Rest is Noise,” “See You Later,” and the slacker anthem “Them That Do Nothing,” all flourished with plenty of FM’s subtle guitar work.




FM Belfast - How to Make Friends - Kimi Records
The second “FM” of this week’s column, this particular one hails from Iceland (despite the Irish-referential band name) and crafts a sound best described as earthy electronica. From quirky songs about getting new eyeglasses (“Optical”) to the more serious, cold synths of tracks like “President” and “VHS,” the band - whose members constantly change number based on “who happens to be around” - have a little more than the usual sense of humor, too - as evidenced by their mellow interpretation of Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam.”




Juliana Hatfield - Peace and Love - Ye Olde Records
Former Blake Babies bandmate and ongoing Evan (Lemonheads) Dando muse Hatfield set forth to track her latest album all by herself - literally - writing, performing, producing, engineering, and mixing the album alone. The evolution of her latest crop of songs might seem to be relationship-focused at first, but is actually as much about randomly pensive moments, from the crunchy-guitar’d “What Is Wrong” to the reflective “Why Can’t We Love Each Other” and Hatfield’s ode to Dando himself (“Evan”.) It’s both accomplished and personal.

 
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