Letters

Letters 04-14-14

Benishek Inching

Regarding “Benishek No Environmentalist” I agree with Mr. Powell’s letter to the editor/ opinion of Congressman Dan Benishek’s poor environmental record and his penchant for putting corporate interests ahead of his constituents’...

Climate Change Warning

Currently there are three assaults on climate change. The first is on the integrity of the scientists who support human activity in climate change. Second is that humans are not capable of affecting the climate...

Fed Up About Roads

It has gotten to the point where I cringe when I have to drive around this area. There are areas in Traverse City that look like a war zone. When you have to spend more time viewing potholes instead on concentrating on the road, accidents are bound to happen...

Don’t Blame the IRS

I have not heard much about the reason for the IRS getting itself entangled with the scrutiny of certain conservative 501(c) groups (not for profit) seeking tax exemption. Groups seeking tax relief must be organizations that are operated “primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterment and social improvements.”


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4Play: Polar Bear; Sufjan Stevens; Secret Sisters; Black Dub

Jack Pine - January 17th, 2011
1/17/11
Polar Bear - Peepers (Leaf Label)
Here’s a concept: Jazz that is fun, musical, adventurous and not at all boring. Polar Bear is a small combo from England that features two saxophone players. Polar Bear plays jazz that is more about the compositions than any lengthy jazz trance solos. There are touches of Sun Ra, Morphine and Tom Waits (sans vocals). Some songs groove and some float, but it is all fresh and inviting music. It all seems so natural; it is a wonder a band with Polar Bear’s sound hasn’t happened sooner.




Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz (Asthmatic Kitty)
Let us pause for a moment and thank Stevens, the former Petoskey resident and Interlochen student for his fine ‘03 release “Greetings from Michigan - the Great Lakes State,” and giving our state so much badly needed creative attention. Stevens now lives in Brooklyn. He has always been more than a simple singer/songwriter, but on “The Age of Adz” Stevens has created his most ambitious and biggest sounding recording yet. Musical creativity flows out of Stevens like Beck and David Byrne, to the point where it can be overwhelming. But if you like rich headphone music, “The Age of Adz” is worth a listen, all the way through to the album’s closer, the 25-minute-plus “Impossible Soul.”


Secret Sisters (Universal Republic Records)
Maybe you need some neo-retro classic sounds to go with the neo-retro classic furniture you just got for Christmas. If so, the Secret Sisters would be just the thing. The sisters, Lydia and Laura Rogers, are from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Their first album was produced by Jack White and this one is co-produced by T-Bone Burnett. At times the album flirts with being too cute (“My Heart Skips a Beat”) or too campy (a cover of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s hit “Something Stupid”) but there are also some great songs here, such as Bill Monroe’s “The One I Love is Gone.” The Secret Sisters’ overall sincerity and spot-on harmonies will eventually win you over.



Black Dub (Jive Records)
In addition to his work as star producer (U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan etc.) Daniel Lanois has made some impressive albums on his own, “Shine” from ‘05 being the best of the bunch. This time, Lanois enlists late bluesman Chris Whitely’s daughter Trixie to handle most of the lead vocals. She’s a belter of songs - a more organic version of Joss Stone. The rhythm section with Brian Blade on drums and Daryl Johnson on bass is about is good as it gets. Ample amounts of atmospheric sounds and the lush reverb that Lanois is famous for are featured on every song. Black Dub was on a several 2010 “Best of Lists” and deservedly so.
 
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