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: Gomez, Dave Alvin, Bon Iver, Matt Nathanson

Kristi Kates - June 13th, 2011
Gomez - Whatever’s On Your Mind - ATO/Red
Although they’re probably best known as a British band, Gomez’ bandmates are actually scattered across a couple of countries, with its members now living in the UK, L.A., and NY. Fortunately for them, they had a common production ground in producer Sam Farrar, who helped them bring together this, their latest album. Recorded primarily in a remote studio locale in Virginia, this is both a smoother and more experimental set than previous efforts, with new in-band approaches taken to horns and guitars (“Options”), synth/strings (“Our Goodbye”), and electronica (“Song in my Heart.”) It’s fresh, eclectic, and interesting.



Dave Alvin - Eleven Eleven - Yep Roc
After Alvin departed his long-time work with The Blasters in the late ‘70s, he found folk music to be his newest calling, and it ended up being one that snagged him several Grammy nods and a secondary round of new respect for his earthy and emotional songwriting. There are several surprises here for fans of Alvin’s music, including the more subtle, thoughtful approaches on such songs as “No Worries Mija” and the catchy “Harlan County Line”; Alvin also duets for the first time on a recording with his fellow Blaster and brother Phil. It’s another solid step in Alvin’s ongoing - and artistically growing - roots rock career.




Bon Iver - Bon Iver - Jagjaguwar
With songs named after towns, reverb courtesy of an old swimming pool’s acoustics, and Auto-Tune used not to actually tune, but to add quirky, fragile vocal effects, Bon Iver’s latest showcases a willingness to push his songs through new challenges as well as a strength in the unusual songwriting itself. More traditional-sounding pianos and strings appear on “Wash,” while the Americana-seasoned “Towers” is both emotive and simply pretty; “Minnesota, WI” somehow fuses banjos and horns into an effective musical base, and “Hinnom, TX” throws in scratchy, amped-up FX like the most seasoned guitarist-slash-DJ.



Matt Nathanson - Modern Love - Vanguard
Matt Nathanson may be one of the busiest performers that hardly anyone knows about. You may have heard his songs on VH1, American Idol, 90210, Good Morning America, and Vampire Diaries - but you may not know that the Bay Area singer-songwriter is already on his 8th album. Modern Love, which will hit stores on June 21st, offers more of the hearty pop that makes Nathanson’s music so palatable to the average TV-watching American - unfortunately, he’s going down a road similar to that of Diane Warren: carefully-crafted tunes that end up being too sterile to transcend anything past commercial impact.
 
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