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:R.E.M., Beady Eye, The Strokes, Elbow 3/28/11

Kristi Kates - March 28th, 2011
R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now - Warner Bros.
The Little Athens Band That Could harken back to their good old days with their newest set, as produced by legend-in-the-making Jacknife Lee. Tracked in New Orleans and at Berlin’s famed Hansa Studios, the album includes special appearances by Eddie Vedder, Patti Smith, and Hidden Cameras’ Joel Gibb - but the real elements to note are the songs themselves. “Discoverer” is classic R.E.M. (their more optimistic side, as well), with big Peter Buck guitars and an undeniable hook; “Uberlin” and “Oh My Heart” showcase R.E.M.’s ability to craft evocative indie ballads; and album closer “Blue” lets Stipe’s speaking voice take center stage.



Beady Eye - Different Gear, Still Speeding - Dangerbird
Liam Gallagher’s first project since splitting from his brother Noel and their long-term, highly successful Brit band Oasis, Beady Eye’s songs are often along the same track as Oasis, albeit with a little more sass. First single “The Roller” features that familiar Liam yowl on the lead vocals, with comrades Gem Archer and Andy Bell picking up the rest of the instrumentals; the rest of the songs are plenty catchy and radio-friendly, but not so much as to sell out nor tarnish what Oasis established in the Brit rock genre. Other highlights of this debut set include the quirky “Millionaire,” the pretty “For Anyone,” and the singalongable “The Beat Goes On.”



The Strokes - Angles - RCA/Rough Trade
All eyes are on The Strokes as they release their fourth album, which was reportedly recorded within a swirl of band conflict and a bit of a power play between unofficial bandleader Julian Casablancas and his sidemen - er, bandmates. In spite of all of that, the latest collection of Strokes tunes is as confident and moody as anything that’s been released before, from the buoyancy of “Machu Picchu” to the perfectly balanced guitar/vocal dissonance of “You’re So Right,” the near folk-pop of “Undercover of Darkness,” and the whistling Cars-era synths of “Games.” It’s a solid polish on the band’s signature sound, all arguments aside for the music.


Elbow - Build a Rocket Boys! - Downtown
Manchester indie-rockers Elbow have long sat in queue behind their other Brit-rock peers, although many of their songs are easily comparable. This album may finally set them apart stateside, with concrete-solid hooks and the sweeping instrumentals that reside behind Guy Garvey’s Peter-Gabriel-esque vocal lines. Arena-ready first single “Neat Little Rows” is joined by the life-affirming “Open Arms,” with its equally huge choruses, and “Dear Friends,” a paean to the pals of the song’s title, complete with lyrics just this side of overly-sentimental and horn lines fit for theatre productions. It’s all well-written and performed with sonic self-assurance.
 
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