Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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4Play: Beastie Boys, Friendly Fires, Panda Bear, Fleet Foxes

Kristi Kates - May 2nd, 2011
Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 - Capitol
Not since the late ‘90s have the Beasties made such a festive, sassy racket. Opening with first single “Make Some Noise,” the Beasties are back in grand form, modernizing their production values while (thankfully) sticking masterfully to their own brand of retro hip-hop sound - no need to conform when you’re this cool. That aforementioned opening track has synths and knows how to use ‘em, while other influences surface, too, just for texture, such as the punky rhythms on “Lee Majors…,” the shoutouts to classic rap on “Nonstop Disco Powerpack,” and the intergalactic funk of “Here’s a Little Something For Ya.”


Friendly Fires - Pala - XL Recordings
Electro-art-popsters Friendly Fires recorded their sophomore set in a pair of studios in France and London, doling out their already-expected catchy choruses into a brew of NYC-influenced postpunk strumming, grand pianos, and busy beats. Huge drums anchor songs like “Hurting” and “Pull Me Back to Earth,” while standouts like “Live Those Days Tonight” and “Chimes” lean more towards radio-pop than art club. Tribal rhythms and undertones play a role in a few of the other songs, including “Running Away,” “Hawaiian Air,” and the darker, ominous title track; closer “Helpless” brings back the thick synths for a thoughtful finale.




Panda Bear - Tomboy - P Tracks
Since PB played the majority of these songs live before they were recorded, there was likely a pretty good idea what would succeed on-record and what wouldn’t, hence this very focused tracklisting. It’s much the same Panda Bear of yore, with the droning, cyclical song patterns that fans have learned to expect (and look forward to), but there are a few flourishes here, such as effect-laden percussion and guitars taking many of the sampler roles, that add new layers of interest. Stnadouts include the huge focus and atmospherics of “Scheherazade” and the shoe-gazy, downhearted meditation of “Slow Motion.”



Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues - Sub Pop
Recorded in Woodstock, NY and Seattle, folk-rockers Fleet Foxes have pulled sounds from a variety of insightful peers for this set, including The Byrds, CSN, and Van Morrison, among others. Actual blues are scarce, but the harmonies will be instantly recognizable to music-history aficionados as arriving from that same timeline, especially on tracks like “The Plains/Bitter Dancer,” “Montezuma,” and “The Shrine/An Argument” - although the latter throws in some jazzy experimentation that seems a little out-of-place; other tracks worthy of highlighting include the island flair of “Lorelai” and the mysterious strings of “Bedouin Dress.”
 
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