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, January 25, 2010

4Play: Editors, Mission of Burma, Weezer, Castenets

Music Kristi Kates Editors - In This Light and On This Evening - Fader/Sony
Giant washes of guitars and even more fervent vocals from frontman Tom Smith are the hallmarks of Editors’ latest set, as are topics ranging from conspiracies and hushed message-sends to man vs. machine scenarios. The songs themselves are perfect fits for the lyrics in most cases, most notably the mysterious and urgent “Papillon,” the somber military drums and darkened, low-tone vox of “The Big Exit,” and the Ultravox-reminiscent instrumentals of “The Boxer” and “Like Treasure.” It may be a somewhat post-apocalyptic set, but it’s certainly an impressive one.
Monday, January 25, 2010

The return of McClachlan and Lilth Fair

Modern Rock Kristi Kates The Return of McLachlan and Lilith Fair
Sarah McLachlan is stepping back into the music scene to revive the late ‘90s music festival Lilith Fair, which was the first modern concert event to feature primarily female singer-songwriters all on one festival bill (the early Lilith Fairs included performances from McLachlan along with the likes of the Dixie Chicks, Lauryn Hill, and Christina Aguilera.) The summer of 2010 will see the return of the Lilith Fair event, which has already booked its first round of performers, among them Sheryl Crow, Erykah Badu, Belinda Carlisle, Metric, Chairlift, and Emmylou Harris; for more info, keep an eye on www.lilithfair.com...
Elbow’s Guy Garvey has moved from Manchester back to his hometown of Bury, England, and has been working hard on songwriting sessions for Elbow’s next album. Garvey recently mentioned that he’s actually been including tales of his hometown in some of the lyrics for Elbow’s new songs, and that the band is also experimenting with psychedelia and shoegaze sounds in their music, complete with Moogs and Mellotrons. The band already has almost two dozen song ideas for the new set, which will be their fifth album and will serve as follow-up to 2008’s The Seldom Seen Kid...
Monday, January 18, 2010

4Play: Dashboard Confessional, Say Anything, Switchfoot, Lou Barlow

Music Kristi Kates Dashboard Confessional - Alter the Ending - Interscope
You’ll get two CDs instead of the usual one with DC’s latest offering - CD one presents full-band versions of all of the songs, while CD two is frontman Chris Carrabba performing acoustically. It’s interesting to present the album this way, as it showcases very definitively which songs are strongly written and which aren’t. Standouts include the synth-inflected “Until Morning,” “Get Me Right,” “Everybody Learns from Disaster,” the familiar-sounding, melancholy “Even Now,” and the title track. There are no great new sounds here, but decently solid songs from a solid band.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fiery Furnaces craft a sound of silence

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Fiery Furnaces Craft A Sound of Silence
The Fiery Furnaces are striking out to take a stand on file-sharing - although given the obscure wording of their recent press announcement, it’s a little difficult to tell which side they’re on - by making the production of their next album a “Silent Record” that will “consist of instruction, conventional music notation, graphic music notation...” and a good half-dozen other items. Once the album is released, the Furnaces will reportedly organize a series of “Fan-Band Concerts,” via which groups of Furnaces fans will “perform, interpret, contradict, ignore, and so on” the compositions that make up the Silent Record. Fans can write to the band at thefieryfurnacesemail@gmail.com to nominate their local venue (“post office break room, truck stop parking lot, municipal arts center, etc.) for one of the shows. Should be interesting...
Monday, January 18, 2010

Just say mush!

Features Kristi Kates Dogsledding for everyone at Boyne Highlands
By Kristi Kates
The annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins on March 6, and will see mushers and 16-dog teams race a whopping 1,161 miles across Alaska in around two weeks.
These hardy dogs and their drivers will one-up the postal service’s motto: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds,” by trekking through everything from sleet to blizzards to gale-force winds as they travel from Anchorage to Nome.
Monday, January 11, 2010

4Play: Alicia Keyes, Norah Jones, Janet Jackson, Susan Boyle

Music Kristi Kates Alicia Keys - The Element of Freedom - J Records
After 12 Grammy Awards and three albums, Keys is back with her fourth CD,
which melds pop, soul, and hip-hop and includes contributions from the
likes of Linda Perry and John Mayer. That said, the set seems to be trying
to cram too much into one album, vacillating back and forth between
street-smart, catchy tracks (“Empire State of Mind (Part II)”), repetitive
popsters (“Doesn’t Mean Anything”), and midtempo power ballads (“No One,”
“Go Ahead.”) Keys also collaborates with Beyonce on “Put It In a Love
Song,” but it’s more novelty than anything else.
Monday, January 11, 2010

Austin City Limits celebrates 35 years

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Austin City Limits Celebrates 35 Years
PBS TV music show “Austin City Limits” just kicked off their 35th year on the air this past fall, and are celebrating in part by booking their first hip-hop acts in addition to the rest of their standout performance roster for 2010. In addition, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have just designated the Austin City Limits studio “landmark status,” due to their longevity with a format that probably would’ve been cancelled years ago on fickle commercial television. The January-February schedule includes plenty of acts that help solidify why ACL is one of the best and most interesting performance shows on TV, with shows including Allen Toussaint (1/9), Mos Def (1/16), Them Crooked Vultures (2/6), and Madeleine Peyroux (2/13)...
Monday, January 4, 2010

4Play: Duran Duran, Various Artists, Stereophonics, Neil Young

Music Kristi Kates Duran Duran - Decade: Greatest Hits - EMI
Duran’s been around for several decades, of course, but this
particular set rounds up the singles recorded between 1981 and 1989,
which includes most of their biggest songs and probably the ones most
recognizable to both D2 fans and those new to the band. From New Wave
to New Romantic and on to their more rock/dance experiments, you’ll
get early Duran classics “Rio” and “Hungry Like the Wolf,” the
still-pretty-in-spite-of-all-those-’80s-synths “Save a Prayer,” and
later tracks such as the James Bond theme “A View to a Kill” and the
oh-so-funky “Notorious.”
Monday, January 4, 2010

Cash. Lewis, Presley, Perkins worth a million bucks

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Cash, Lewis, Presley, Perkins Worth a Million Bucks
“Million Dollar Quartet” is the title of a new musical that’s been test-running in Chicago before it heads to New York for a planned Broadway run in spring of 2010. The musical focuses on the real-life 1956 gathering of rock legends Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins, who were brought together for a jam session at Memphis’ Sun Records by producer Sam Phillips.
Monday, January 4, 2010

Mackinaw Island: a winter excursion

Features Kristi Kates Mackinac Island: a winter excursion
By Kristi Kates
Winter has turned Mackinac Island white. From the boat docks to the
benches, the ports to the porch of the Grand Hotel, the island looks
very different from its bright and festive summer persona.
Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Fashions

Features Kristi Kates Winter Fashions/What to wear as the season changes?
By Kristi Kates
A quintet of looks are the subject of predictions for this winter’s
fashion hit list. From Vogue to CIFF (the Copenhagen International
Fashion Fair), from the runways to the previews at retail, this winter
is set to be all about texture, lush fabrics, asymmetric layering, and
colors both earthy and bright.
Monday, December 28, 2009

4Play: The New Year, The Bacon Brothers, New Year‘s Day, Danny Adlerman, Kevin Kam, eraad & Yosi

Music Kristi Kates The New Year - The New Year - TG Records
The Kadane Brothers and their bandmates offer up their first new material in several years, on which they expand on their usual three-guitar sound by adding in some piano and more balladry than before. The vocals still need a little work, as they most often recall the unique vocal sound of Lou Reed (which should be left to Reed, as he’s the only one who can pull if off with aplomb), but the songs themselves do showcase growth, and are concise and well-arranged. Standouts include “Folios,” the ‘80s-reminiscent “The Door Opens,” and the Pavement-like “My Neighborhood.”
Monday, December 28, 2009

Brand new Devo for a brand new year

Modern Rock Kristi Kates Brand New Devo for
a Brand New Year

‘70s/’80s new wavers Devo have signed a new partnership with Warner Bros. Records, the very label that they kicked off their hit career with back in the day. The new paperwork includes the label in Devo’s recordings, touring, merchandising, endorsements, web presence, and much more, and began taking action last month with deluxe CD and limited-edition colored vinyl reissues of Devo’s 1978 gold debut disc, Q: Are We Not Men?
Monday, December 28, 2009

Guiseppe‘s Italian Grille

Dining Kristi Kates Charlevoix’s Italian Connection
By Kristi Kates
Opened in December of 1998, Giuseppe’s Italian Grille transformed the previous building’s occupant - the American-cuisine restaurant Alexander’s - into an Italian restaurant, “something we thought the town would like,” says Giuseppe’s Robbin Moffat.
Over 10 years later, Giuseppe’s is still going strong, and is a favorite of both Charlevoix residents - where the restaurant resides on the outskirts, north of town - and Northern Michigan visitors alike.
Monday, December 28, 2009

2010: The Year of the Tiger

Features Kristi Kates 2010: The Year of the Tiger
By Kristi Kates
There are plenty of predictions being thrown around for the year 2010. The year itself is the stuff of legend - it’s not merely the start of a new decade, but a landmark year for plenty of sci-fi novels, videogames, tv episodes, and movies, most famously, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the famed 2001 sequel film adapted from the Arthur C. Clarke novel 2010: Odyssey Two.
So does “the year twenty-ten” sound like a futuristic time? You bet - but we’re living in that future, a future that some think will end just a couple of years from now in the portentously spoken-of 2012. Luckily, 2010 is also heralded as The Year of the Tiger - a fearless fighting Chinese sign that is said to ward off the three main disasters of a household (thieves, fire, and ghosts), so perhaps we’ll get a head start against all of that potential pending disaster.