Letters

Letters 08-01-2016

Voter Suppression And Choice In 2013, five Supreme Court justices, each appointed by Republican presidents, knocked the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act. Immediately a majority of Republican-dominated states began passing laws aimed at suppressing the votes of their majority Democrat demographics: minorities, students and the elderly. These laws – requiring voter IDs, cutting early voting, eliminating same-day registration, closing selected polling places, banning straight-ticket voting, etc. — never flat-out deny a person’s right to vote; they just make actual registering and voting more difficult, and therefore make it more likely that individuals in certain groups will not vote. Think of voter suppression as a kind of reverse marketing strategy, one aimed at getting people not to do something...

Free Parking Patrick Sullivan’s good story on parking overlooked one source of “free parking” that has become an increasing problem in Traverse City: spill-over into adjacent neighborhoods. Instead of discouraging people from bringing cars downtown, we’re allowing them to park on both sides of narrow residential streets all day long...

Real American Duality Isiah Smith didn’t really put his deep thinking hat on before writing the “American Duality” commentary. First there’s geography. His daughter feels safer in Sweden than in the United States, at least partially because of the violence in Dallas, Baton Rouge and Minnesota. Really? Safer than in northern Michigan, which is further away from Dallas and Baton Rouge than Stockholm is from Ansbach, Paris or Brussels and no closer to Minnesota than Sweden is to Germany? Did Smith miss recent supremely violent events in those places? Alrighty then...

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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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