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: Blue October, I Wrestled a Bear Once, Dave Matthews Band, Augustana

Kristi Kates - August 22nd, 2011
Blue October - Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening with Blue October - Red General
Recorded at the band’s first “official” acoustic shows at a couple of different locales in Texas, this set showcases their tunes in both a different setting and with a different vocal approach. They’re not “ugly” versions of the songs, although they are unplugged - this serves the songs and their arrangements well, especially on “Come In Closer,” which seems more personal with the absence of the female singer on the full version; “X Amount of Words,” which adds in a shakeup in the bass line; the popular “Jump Rope”; and the evocative, emotional “The End.” It’s a nice acoustic roundup of what this band can do without their full sound.


I Wrestled A Bear Once - Ruining It for Everybody - Century Media
Somewhere between serious screamo music and post-metal-emo - they don’t seem to be quite sure where they’re meant to be - IWABO produced this album a little more thoroughly than previous releases, but it’s still just kind of… well, average. Nothing about this album makes them really stand out from the pack; even though they term themselves as ‘experimental,’ you can’t help but think you’ve heard these same experiments attempted somewhere else. It’s difficult to pick any highlight tracks, because they all, unfortunately, seem to run together; perhaps they’ll do some groundwork and make a better set next time around.


Dave Matthews Band - Live at Wrigley Field - RCA
This endlessly-popular, jazzy rock-jam band never seem to slow down, at least not to their loyal base of fans. 40,000 of said fans showed up for this show at Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field last September to watch (and listen, of course) to this particular set, which included plenty of old favorite DMB songs and a few newer ones. You’ll hear familiar DMB hits like “Jimi Thing,” “Crash Into Me,” and “Tripping Billies,” all delivered with the energy and precision the band is known for. “Jimi Thing” in particular is notable, if for nothing else than to hear an entire crowd of that size singing along. A fun listen for Dave Matthews fans.



Augustana - Augustana - Epic
This is Augustana’s third set, with production by Kings of Leon cohort Jacquire King. With its theme of ‘fighting for the one you love,’ the songs here are impassioned and strong, balancing determination with romance; “Steal Your Heart” has a spare but solid hook to it, while “Shot in the Dark” adds more depth to its own hook, and some of Augustana’s usual pianos are exchanged for guitar, which is a nice change for the group. A few experimental elements - the mandolin on “Borrowed Time” and the synthon “Shot…,” for example, seem not quite fused with Augustana’s arrangements, but don’t detract enough to take away from the overall impression.
 
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