Letters 04-21-2014

An Exercise of Power

Many brave men and women have worn and do wear the military uniform of the United States of America. They put their lives at risk and have lost their lives to protect our freedom, our loved ones and our right to vote...

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Kristi Kates

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Gorillaz are back with Plastic Beach

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Gorillaz Are Back with Plastic Beach
For those of you who’ve been waiting for a new Gorillaz album - well, the wait is finally over. Plastic Beach is the animated band’s newest set - they call it the “most pop” thing they’ve completed to date - and it’ll be in-stores on March 9. You may have already heard the first single, “Stylo,” complete with cameos from Mos Def and Bobby Womack; other guests who collaborate with Gorillaz include Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, The Clash’s Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, and Lou Reed, among others...
Monday, March 1, 2010

4Play: Kris Allen, The Almost, Howie Day, Cartel

Music Kristi Kates Kris Allen - Kris Allen - Jive
Small-town Season 8 American Idol winner Allen’s lead single from his
debut album, “Live Like We’re Dying,” may have a great message, but
doesn’t showcase the best Allen has to offer. While some of the tunes
here occasionally stray into sterile Idol-songwriter territory, others
are standouts that indicate the potential of Allen’s talent (not
unlike the vocal stylings of one Jack Johnson), such as the jovial and
well-crafted “Alright With Me” (co-penned with The Fray), the
emotional “Bring It Back,” and “Heartless,” on which he improves on
the Kanye West original.
Monday, March 1, 2010

Claudia Schmidt

Music Kristi Kates Claudia Schmidt’s New Promising Sky
By Kristi Kates
Northern Michigan-based singer-songwriter and Prairie Home Companion favorite Claudia Schmidt opens her latest album, Promising Sky, with a big burst of singing stripped bare - an a capella version of the title track comprised of layered choral harmonies (by Rachael Davis, Seth Bernard, and May Erlewine) that are filled with bright promise, indeed.
“That song was a capella because it was inspired by the South African singing I had heard on a trip there in the previous year,” Schmidt explains.
Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome back to indie rockers Rogue Wave

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Welcome Back to Indie Rockers Rogue Wave
After a long and quiet hiatus for indie-pop/rock band Rogue Wave - due to the kidney transplant of drummer Pat Spurgeon - the band is back and ready to go, with a brand new album, Permalight, on the way next week. Permalight, which was produced by Dennis Herring in Mississippi, will be released on Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label on March 2, and Rogue Wave plans to make up for the lost time with an extensive tour of “the U.S. and beyond” - already-confirmed dates include shows in Brooklyn NY (3/2), Philly (3/4), Nashville (3/9), Minneapolis (4/15), Chicago (4/17), and Tucson AZ (4/24)...
Monday, March 1, 2010

Boynes zipline adventure

Features Kristi Kates Natural High:Boyne’s Zipline Adventure
By Kristi Kates
Zipping down the ski hills at Boyne Highlands (Harbor Springs) and
Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls) sounds like a great, typical way to spend
a winter afternoon in Northern Michigan, right? Well, what if
“zipping” were to take on a whole new meaning?
Monday, February 22, 2010

4Play: Squirrel Nut Zippers, Blockhead, Volcano Choir, Real Estate

Music Kristi Kates Squirrel Nut Zippers - Lost at Sea - Megaforce
Squirrel Nut Zippers sank out of view, for the most part, back in 2000 after the release of Bedlam Ballroom, but now they’re back with their first ever live album, a great move considering that one of their strong suits has always been their live performances. The neo-swing, gypsy jazz band is as full of energy as always, as they groove through 17 lilting, sassy tracks in a spontaneous, peppy performance. Highlights include the jukebox twist of “Prince Nez,” the fidgety quirk of “Bad Businessman,” and, of course, the sassy and sarcastic anti-hit “Hell.”
Monday, February 22, 2010

Road trip to Toronto for great new music

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Road Trip to Toronto for Great New Music
CMW 2010, otherwise known as Canadian Music Week 2010, is right around the corner, and is set to take place at a plethora of music/club venues throughout Toronto between March 10 and the 14th. You can snag a wristband that will allow you access to the full lineup of festival acts at http://canadianmusicfest.com, and what a lineup it is this year; already confirmed to perform are Bedouin Soundclash, Great Lake Swimmers, Marcy Playground, Constantines, Our Lady Peace, and Monogold, among others, so get your wristbands now...
Monday, February 22, 2010

The play is afoot: Sherlock Holmes at the OTP

Features Kristi Kates The Play is Afoot: Sherlock Holmes at the OTP
By Kristi Kates
If you’ve been to the movies lately, there’s a good chance you might’ve
seen the latest reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes story as interpreted by
director Guy Ritchie and actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.
But theirs is not the only revised look at this classic tale. Traverse
City’s Old Town Playhouse is in the midst of their run of the Steven
Dietz-penned Sherlock Holmes:
Monday, February 15, 2010

4Play: The Cranberries, Eels, Findlay Brown, 30 Seconds to Mars

Music Kristi Kates The Cranberries - Bualadh Bos Live - Island
Dolores O’Riordan, brothers Noel and Mike Hogan, and Fergal Lawler make up Irish alt-pop band The Cranberries, who were best known in the mid-’90s. Although the bandmates themselves have moved on to work on other musical projects, this new collection brings together plenty of the band’s best known hits as well as some of their equally-worthy but lesser heard B-sides. The concert itself is recorded fairly well, typical, for the most part, for this sort of live album; the songs were collected from a variety of venues, including Cranberries shows in Toronto (“Forever Yellow Skies”), the Feile Festival (“Dreams”), The Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo (“Promises”), and Live at the Record Plant (“Linger.”)
Monday, February 15, 2010

The folk music of Mexico

Music Kristi Kates The Folk Music of Mexico Sones de México offer their take on tradition
By Kristi Kates
His full instrument roster reads like a “what’s what” of musical gear:
guitar, violin, mandolin, Mariachi 5-string alto guitar, 8-string
baritone huasteco guitar, Veracruz 8-string tenor guitar, clarinet,
conch shell, guidjada, and vocals. Whew.
Monday, February 15, 2010

This summer‘s Rothbury Fest not happening

Modern Rock Kristi Kates This Summer’s Rothbury Fest Not Happening
As Rolling Stone quoted last week, “Rothbury is not the new Bonnaroo,” as evidenced by the fact that the 2010 rendition of the newbie Michigan music fest has already been canceled. The official announcement from the Rothbury folks blames “the recording and touring schedules of various artists” for the cancellation, saying that the scheduling conflicts made it impossible for Rothbury to secure a “worthwhile” lineup. That excuse seems a little thin, since other summer music festivals seem to be doing just fine rounding up top-notch rosters of bands and performers (we’re thinking that the economy has a lot more to do with Rothbury’s demise.) But regardless, no Rothbury this year, so save your bucks for Chicago’s Lollapalooza fest and the usual plethora of local outdoor events...
Monday, February 8, 2010

4Play: Timbaland, Boyz II Men, 50 Cent, Kid Cudi

Music Kristi Kates Timbaland - Shock Value II - Blackground
Timbaland’s usual genre mix of collaborators, his ear for a great hook, and his skillful way around a recording studio is evident on his newest set, on which he works with a remarkably lengthy roster of almost a dozen guest musicians, including The Fray, Brandy, Chris Daughtry, Drake, and a return visit from previous collaborator Justin Timberlake. Unfortunately, Timbaland seems to rely a little too much on the ol’ Auto-Tune, which gives a flat, overproduced feel to otherwise catchy-cool tracks like “Undertow” (with The Fray and Esthero) and Timberlake’s “Carry On.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

C‘mon and listen to the music of The Who

Modern Rock Kristi Kates C’mon and Listen to the Music of The Who
There’s one modern rockin’ concert scheduled for New York City’s Carnegie Hall on March 2 - producer Michael Dorf has assembled quite an impressive list of performers for Music of The Who, which will pay tribute to the influential British rock band. No word yet on if Pete Townshend or Roger Daltrey will show up - but attendees will get to hear Who songs interpreted by the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, The Smithereens, Living Colour, Sondre Lerche, The Postelles, Gov’t Mule, and Robyn Hitchcock, among others. Dorf - who’s staged similar events to honor Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and R.E.M. - says the Who tribute performance will be “one of the most memorable shows yet.” For more info, check out www.carnegiewho.com...
Monday, February 1, 2010

4Play: Owl City, Orange Juice, Eskju Divine, Muse

Music Kristi Kates Owl City - Ocean Eyes - Republic
Recorded entirely in a cold basement in the middle of winter in Minnesota, where Owl City, aka Adam Young, had to contend with the ceiling freezing (literally - into icicles) whenever he turned off the noisy furnace to get a vocal recording, these songs belie their chilly location with warm synths, vibrant production, and earnest vocals. Simple lyrically but executed prettily, each track is polished with interesting synth work and beat loops, from the romantic “The Saltwater Room” and “Vanilla Twilight” to the more festive “The Tip of the Iceberg” and “Hello Seattle.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

You‘ll really get the Kinks new movie

Modern Rock Kristi Kates You’ll Really Get The Kinks New Movie
Acclaimed music vid/film director Julien Temple, who’s helmed music videos for everyone from Duran Duran and ABC to Blur, David Bowie, and Neil Young as well as documentaries on the Glastonbury Fest and the Sex Pistols, will soon be tackling a new movie about Brit band The Kinks. The Kinks’ Ray Davies himself will be involved at the project, which will focus on the relationship between bandmate brothers Ray and Dave Davies, complete with the sibling rivalry and love/hate dynamic seen in more recent years in fellow Brit band Oasis. A cast or release date has yet to be announced, but the film’s tentative title borrows from one of The Kinks’ very own songs - it’ll be dubbed You Really Got Me...
Speaking of movies, Detroit band The White Stripes’ concert film Under Great White Northern Lights premiered summer 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival, and now everyone else will get a chance to see the movie, too, when it arrives in box set format on March 16. The limited edition set includes a DVD of the film plus a whole lot more - a DVD of The White Stripes Under Nova Scotian Lights