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: Klaxons, Gasoline Silveer, Manic Street Ptreachers, Vincent Minor

Kristi Kates - January 31st, 2011
Klaxons - Surfing the Void - Polydor
Electro-rock band Klaxons stepped out of Europe and into Los Angeles to record their sophomore set with producer Ross Robinson, and have added even more of an alternative feel to their music via several experimental elements and plenty of dark harmonies. First single “Echoes” presents a zippy beat and chiming guitars, while the title track ventures into unusual vocal territory with high falsettos and electronica fx; “Future Memories” sets the tune to a military beat, and “Flashover” echoes Interpol with its near-disco beat and heavy instrumentals.





Gasoline Silver - Gasoline Silver - Victorian
Lead singer Ron Franklin (who eerily resembles former Battles singer Tyondai Braxton) is at the wheel of this Minnesota band, whose debut disc offers a punk-pop feel that is sprinkled with everything from soulful dance music to electronic folk. They somehow manage to blend all of that into a sound that works, whether they’re putting harmonica into “The Wild Farewell” or throwing the vocals into an echo bin on “It’s All Over But the Crying.” A solid start for a band that already seems to know how to blend the unusual with the catchy.




Manic Street Preachers - Postcards from a Young Man - 101
Serving as the follow up to MSP’s 2009 set, Journal for Plague Lovers, the band’s latest, produced by Dave Eringa and mixed by the skillful Chris Lord Alge, harkens back to much earlier releases with its thick ranges of string work and layered choruses and choir backing vocals. The songs are very quickly memorable, whether they’re slow or quick of tempo, and they’ve invited some interesting guests along, too - Echo’s Ian McCulloch sings along on “Some Kind of Nothingness,” and Manics bassist Nicky Wire contributes vocals to “The Future...” A dense, concise set.



Vincent Minor - Born in the Wrong Era - SSR
Minor’s debut EP is well worth the purchase, even though it’s limited to five of the singer-songwriter’s spiky-smooth tunes. Anchored mostly on piano, this is pop with a lyrical purpose, as Minor sprinkles intriguing expressions and phrases throughout his compositions, even as he’s setting them to ‘70s pop lite foundations that have been pushed into the modern age. “Fanfare” is reminiscent of the early work of the Ben Folds Five, and is perhaps the most catchy song of the set; “Late Night Show” and the title track also hold their own special appeal.
 
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