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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Manchester Orchestra , Cold, Alkaline Trio, Separation

Kristi Kates - July 25th, 2011
Manchester Orchestra - Simple Math - Columbia
Opening with a direct message to fans “Dear everybody/that has paid to see my band…,” Manchester Orchestra’s latest carefully places some more delicate instrumentals - specifically strings - on top of their stacks of heavy, dense guitars, a definite plus for the album’s overall sound and presence. “Mighty” is perhaps the best example of this musical juxtaposition, as is the even catchier “Pensacola” and the title track. Both guitars and violins quiet to complement each other well on “Leave It Alone,” while “Apprehension” shifts the focus to the track’s percussion, with strongly personal lyrics throughout the set.




Cold - Superfiction - Eleven Seven Music
Heavy alt-rock and carefully-crafted storytelling might seem like an unusual combination, but it’s one of the best descriptions of Cold’s latest album. Frontman Cold (aka Scooter Ward) helms his bandmates well throughout this set, which presents dark instrumentals, distressed guitars, and weighty beats together with a wide range of poetically-executed tales. “The Ballad of Nameless” adds pensive piano to this mix, while “Wicked World” amps up the distortion on the guitars, even as the vocals take the “pretty” route; “Flight of the Superstar” sets the stage for “… Nameless” to sweep in and wrap the set up perfectly.




Alkaline Trio - Damnesia - Epitaph
The Trio decided to celebrate their 15th anniversary as a band with this collection, which serves as a best-of collection of their works over the past 15 years, a showcase for three new songs, and a way for the band to have a little fun revamping some of their older songs as unplugged/acoustic numbers. The acoustic guitars add depth and focus to the band’s “Mercy Me” and “Calling All Skeletons,” and new acoustic-based track “I Remember a Rooftop” is a pretty musing by lovelorn Dan Andriano. Elsewhere, acoustic pianos are added in to “The American Scream” and “This Could Be Love.” It’s a varied set and an enjoyable listen for fans.


Separation - Balance and Composure - No Sleep Records
Take a less-funky, earlier Chili Peppers, throw in a little Cursive and Brand New, and you’ve got Separation’s under-the-radar alt-post-hardcore sound. Got that? “Void” begins the album’s tracklisting with unadorned guitars, but things get a lot more punk fairly quickly; lead single “Quake” harkens back to the mid-’90s with its up-n-down arrangement, “More To Me” deposits several layers of vocals, one on top of the next; and “Patience,” despite the title, sees the band getting more aggressive. There are some slower-tempo moments here worth hearing, as well, namely “Progress, Progress” and the midtempo “Stone Hands.”


 
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