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.

Home · Articles · News · Music · 11/15/2011 4Play: The Besnard...
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11/15/2011 4Play: The Besnard Lakes, Phosphrescent, Josh Ritter, Black Mountain

Kristi Kates - November 15th, 2010
The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night - Jagjaguwar
Montreal band Besnard Lakes add even more power to their orchestral pop-rock blend, with epic compositions and dense yet opaque song structures. “Land of the Living Skies” stacks instrument upon instrument as it moves along, adding each element with precision until the song is at its optimum balance. “Albatross” sketches in horns, layered vocals, and chilled drums, and “Chicago Train” utilizes strings to interplay its sad feel with the guitar work. All of the attention to detail is what makes this one of the Canadian band’s more accessible yet still unique sets.



Phosphorescent - Here’s to Taking it Easy - Dead Oceans
Most reminiscent of older Wilco, this alt-Americana band’s latest features the expected country-Western rhythms, buzzing guitars, and
lovelorn lyrics. It’s nothing terribly different for the band, but the songs are solid, and reside thematically well on the album as a whole. “The Mermaid Parade” - one of the set’s best tunes - finds singer Houck wandering around New York’s Coney Island after a breakup; another song, aptly titled “Los Angeles,” plops the band on the opposite coast, complete with underground folk guitar and the unmistakable influence of Neil Young.




Josh Ritter - So Runs the World Away - Pytheas
Ritter’s fifth album finds him in an audacious mood, with the album’s lyrical topics centering on explorers and discoverers from Egypt to the Polar caps to the high seas. It’s nice to see an artist crafting a theme like this and seeing it all the way through the album, and the quality of the music matches these aspirations; “Southern Pacific” sings of a seafaring man; “The Curse” tells the tale of an Egyptian mummy meeting a modern-day archaeologist; and “The Remnant” finds Ritter musically trekking through the wilderness. Ambitious and well-executed.



Black Mountain - Wilderness Heart - Jagjaguwar
Hailing from the other side of Canada, Vancouver’s Black Mountain have thankfully grown since their first classic-meets-drone rock album back in 2005, with this more advanced, emotional set. While their sound is not for everyone - it veers too much toward ‘70s psychedelic-metal for its own good at times - the tunes are well-structured and there are some interesting little components that hint toward better things in the future. “Buried by the Blues” utilizes a simple tambourine to set the pace, and “Radiant Heart” is a standout duet between singers McBean and Webber.
 
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