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: Mes Aieux. The Devil Wears Prada, Karen Elson, Black Lotus

Kristi Kates - October 25th, 2010
Mes Aieux - La Ligne Orange - LLO
French popsters Mes Aieux’s latest (translated as “The Orange Line,” aka the Montreal Metro system) put forth an interesting blend of Canadian folk songs blended with their own modern lyrics; this mix allows them to stand out even more than their considerable musical talents already do. On this set, their fifth, they tap into classic pub songs and French chansons to translate over their topical wordplay, which includes subjects as diverse as the Olympics and local street musicians. Fifteen songs in all make this a worthy, unique, and interesting listen.





The Devil Wears Prada - Zombie EP - Ferret Records
TDWP decided that before they started work on a new full-length, they’d offer up a short EP to their fans. This is that EP, with five songs in all - “Survivor,” “Anatomy,” “Revive,” “Escape,” and “Outnumbered” - but there isn’t a whole lot of distinction between each track within this 20 minute set; it’s extremely heavy and overloaded with SFX, unfortunately at the expense of the songs themselves. If you enjoy the overbearing sounds of sirens, bomb-like drums, and saws, then you’ll dig it - if not, wait for the full-length, which might showcase a little more restraint.





Karen Elson - The Ghost Who Walks - XL Recordings Elson may be fortunate in having Jack White - also her husband - as producer and supporter on her debut album, a far cry from her previously successful modeling career; but that doesn’t mean she’s devoid of her own musical talent. Elson, who collaborates with White via him serving as both producer and drummer, along with Jackson Smith on guitar and Rachelle Garniez on backing vocals, presents a surprising kind of dark, alt-country mix on these songs, which suit her retro-ish vocal stylings. The title track is one of the best on the set, as is the cryptic “A Thief at My Door.”



Black Lotus - Harvest of Seasons - Bleak Art Records
This is another heavy set of tracks, although this one is far more complex and thoughtful in its scope, even within its framework of noise and aggressive vocal lines. The arrangements may be part of why this set works, as they are more concise and anchored with arena-worthy synths to carry the musical threads through each song.
Opener “Prelude” does a good job of setting the album’s consecutive scenes, from the mystical “Statues in Auburn” to companion pieces “Of
Pathless Woods” and “The Fallow Earth.” It still might be too dark for some, but it does succeed at its own genre.
 
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