Letters

Letters 12-05-2016

Trump going back on promises I’m beginning to suspect that we’ve been conned by our new president. He’s backpedaling on nearly every campaign promise he made to us...

This Christmas, think before you speak Now that Trump has won the election, a lot of folks who call themselves Christians seem to believe they have a mandate to force their beliefs on the rest of us. Think about doing this before you start yelling about people saying “happy holidays,” whining about Starbucks coffee cup image(s), complaining about other’s lifestyles…

First Amendment protects prayer (Re: Atheist Gary Singer’s contribution to the Crossed column titled “What will it take to make America great again?” in the Nov. 21 edition of Northern Express.) Mr. Singer, the First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

Evidence of global warming Two basic facts underlay climate science: first, carbon dioxide was known to be a heat-trapping gas as early as 1850; and second, humans are significantly increasing the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and other activities. We are in fact well on our way to doubling the CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere...

Other community backpack programs I just read your article in the Nov. 28 issue titled “Beneficial backpacks: Two local programs help children.” It is a good article, but there are at least two other such programs in the Traverse City area that I am aware of...

A ‘fox’ in the schoolhouse Trump’s proposed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos (“the fox” in Dutch), is a right-wing billionaire; relentless promoter of unlimited, unregulated charter schools and vouchers; and enemy of public schooling...

Home · Articles · News · Music · 4Play: Friendly Fires, Noah & The...
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4Play: Friendly Fires, Noah & The Whale, Maximo Park, Portico Quartet

Kristi Kates - August 31st, 2009
4Play
Kristi Kates 8/31/09
Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires - XL
With such diverse influences as The Thompson Twins, M83, and Prince, electro-popsters Friendly Fires snagged the production skills of Bloc Party/Maximo Park producer Paul Epworth for their first single, “Jump in the Pool,” a catchy and near-calypso tune, producing the rest of the album themselves. This isn’t a bad thing, although Epworth did give the band a narrower focus - a few of the other songs seem a bit wayward in their arrangements - but ‘80s-inflected tunes like the synth-y “Lovesick” and the multi-grooved “On Board” will still get plenty of attention.




Noah and the Whale - Peaceful the World Lays Me Down - Universal
As the album’s title might indicate, this set from indie-folksters Noah and the Whale, while sometimes quite peppy, is overall a gentle, almost placid effort, blending heartworn lyric phrasings with layers of eclectic instruments to craft an album that, strangely, can actually be called “cute.” Singer Charlie Fink takes on the bewildered-nerd role, with his appealing and earnest vocals guiding the way through songs like “5 Atoms in a Molecule,” the pretty and simple “Give a Little Love,” “Rocks and Daggers,” and the summery (and super-singalongable) first single, “5 Years Time.”



Maximo Park - Quicken the Heart - Warp
Post-punk band Maximo Park turned to Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Talking Heads producer Nick Launay to guide their latest effort - their first in four years - and as a result, the new songs are slightly less poppy and a little more funky than their previous sets. Concise in their arrangements and also more forboding than one might expect from this band, songs like “Wraithlike” with its machine gun-like guitar precision; “Overland, West of Suez” with its grumbling bass and keytar sounds; and “In Another World” with its ‘80s feel definitely make an audio impression.




Portico Quartet - Knee Deep in the North Sea - Vortex
It was up for the Mercury Music Prize alongside a plethora of hipster indie and pop bands, and still managed to garner plenty of attention even though it’s definitely jazz, albeit more unusual jazz than what you’re probably used to hearing. Most of the songs are based around the Hang (similar to a marimba, with a more steel-drum-like sound), over which the quartet paste bass guitar, saxophone, and other well-played elements; a classical feel can be heard on tracks like “Pompidou” and “Cittagazze,” while “Kon Tiki...” and “Steps...” add a nifty modern jazz-pop sound.

 
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