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: Gorillaz, Monolake, We The Kings, The Head & The Heart

Kristi Kates - August 15th, 2011
Gorillaz - The Fall - V Records
Recorded during Gorillaz’ last autumn tour, this album is a sonic “diary” of sorts, and features an eclectic range of Gorillaz tracks, some only at demo level, some solo Damon Albarn, and some more fully developed into actual Gorillaz songs. The songs are short and to the point, unlike some of the other Gorillaz albums, but that’s not a bad thing; and because the album was recorded mostly on the fly, it’s far more electronic in its base sounds, with plenty of synth and what seems like more loops than their last set. Highlights include the incongrously bright “Detroit,” the horns-graced “The Snake in Dallas,” and the trip-hop “Hillbilly Man.”




Monolake - Silence - Monolake
Sitting on a set of scales are the two halves of this Monolake album, not so much as in two separate sides (as you might see on a vinyl album), but in the set’s two subtly distinct musical personalities. A series of tracks that are quite dark and industrial dominate the drone-ambient set, enhanced and seasoned with the sounds of metal, electronics, and hovering tones that help to set the various moods. The other “face” of the album surfaces in tracks that, to the experienced ambient listener at least, take a break from the dark and invite in some less-threatening sounds on such numbers as “Void” and “Internal Clock.”




We the Kings - Sunshine State of Mind - S-Curve
Floridians We the Kings are back with a third set of punky pop tracks (or is that poppy punk tracks?) that unfortunately aren’t quite as strong as previous releases. The lyrics have taken a step back in smartness, while the production is a bit… well, corny, perhaps the result of a change in the band’s production team. Elsewhere, a lack of conviction seems to filter through the vocal performances of Travis Clark, who sounded breezy before but positively bored now; only a couple of the tunes here are worth the download, those being the zippy “Kiss Me Last” and the island-inflected, Jack-Johnson reminiscent “Say You Like Me.”


The Head and the Heart - The Head and the Heart - Sub Pop
The Head and the Heart, led by singer-songwriters Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson, is right in trend with some of the other more recent singer-songwriters (and bands helmed by same) that have been making more noise over the past few months, Bon Iver and the Avetts among them. THATH’s songs, enriched by the full band which includes piano, violin, bass, and drums, are showcased best on songs like the dynamic, well-arranged “River and Roads,” the beautifully regretful “Honey Come Home,” and the more energetic “Heaven Go Easy On Me” and “Sounds Like Hallelujah.” A consistent and likeable debut.
 
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