Boomaga – Thing of UNDISCOVERED GENIUS

February 19, 2011

A Storytelling Lyric Appreciation of “Come Dancing” by the Kinks

Filed under: Entertainment — boomaga @ 6:23 am


 

The Kinks were a good band, historically an important band, but maybe not a “great” band.  Musically this song by Ray Davies is not overly complicated to say the least, just a I – V – I / IV- I – V- I.    But these lyrics tell a story far beyond its scant syllables.

 

They put a parking lot on a piece of land
Where the  supermarket used to stand
Before that they put up a bowling alley

On the site that used to be the local Palais.
That’s where the big bands used to come and play.
My sister went there on a Saturday.

 Come dancing, 
 All her boyfriends used to come and call. 
 Why not come dancing, it's only natural. 


We’ve introduced the theme, we have a time setting, we have two main characters, all with great economy and direct language. The marking of time by changing structures in places we remember from childhood gives us a nostalgic feeling, and here it also brings us back over a chunk of time which is marked in decades without having to specify a year or other benchmark event. We’re in the same spot, and time passes backwards over us. “They” put up a bowling alley, they put up a supermarket, they put up a parking lot,
which has in itself a sadness, being a emptiness where something once was – a nothing replacing something functional and vital, something recreational and social, and finally beginning with a place of courtship and celebration. We also have some lovely alliteration, “parking lot” “piece of land” matching “Palais.” We have a narrator’s point of view and the other character, his sister – she goes regularly, so we can infer her age, and he does not, and we can infer his.

Another Saturday, another date.
She would be ready but she’d always make him wait.
In the hallway, in anticipation,
He didn’t know the night would end up in frustration.
He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week
All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek.

We have an implied time of day, we have a repeated word signalling repeating action (Another… another…) Then we have a classic joke: a woman’s psychological trick. Our boy knows his sister’s scheme, and is amused, and maybe not entirely unsympathetic, towards his sister’s date. He must have been told by one of the poor blokes how much money was being splashed out for their night on the town, and may have even overheard the complaint that he was expecting more affection for that much outlay.

Come dancing,
That’s how they did it when I was just a kid,
And when they said come dancing,
My sister always did.

My sister should have come in at midnight,
And my mum would always sit up and wait.
It always ended up in a big row
When my sister used to get home late.

Again, moving forward in time, we have a total setting, we have emotions, we have a new character. Just in case you forgot she’s a teenager

Out of my window I can see them in the moonlight,
Two silhouettes saying goodnight by the garden gate.

Sex is the furthest thing from this world – this is all still very couched and cushioned in genteel 1950’s prudery. But still he is interested enough to watch from his window. This is revealing of his age and condition. In the studio recording of course they play an angry yelling female voice here, the girl’s mother shooing away the beau.

The day they knocked down the Palais
My sister stood and cried.
The day they knocked down the Palais.
Part of her childhood died, just died.

This is the bridge, this is a great bridge, this does exactly what a bridge is supposed to do and does it so well. This moves us forward in time, this moves us to a different emotion. It’s pronounced as though it’s a capitalized event that everyone remembers.

Now, here’s the lyric that just blows me away. We’re back to the jaunty feeling of verse 1 and we’re back to the very first scene. We rocket forward in time and land in the narrator’s adulthood, and it just so happens that he is the singer of the band we’re listening to and claiming this as autobiographical.

Now I’m grown up and playing in a band,
And there’s a car park where the Palais used to stand.
My sister’s married and she lives on an estate.
Her daughters go out, now it’s her turn to wait.

 She lets them get away with things she never could, 

 

Brilliant full-circle ! This much narrative usually takes a whole novel. And the next line not only sets up the last chorus, but changes the interaction

But if I asked her I wonder if she would,

Come dancing,
Come on sister, have yourself a ball.
Don’t be afraid to come dancing,
It’s only natural.

Come dancing,
Just like the Palais on a Saturday.
And all her friends would come dancing
Where the big bands used to play.

Lyrics (c) 1982 Ray Davies

October 19, 2010

Computer Love (Kraftwerk Cover)

Filed under: Entertainment, Uncategorized — boomaga @ 7:18 pm

 

And here’s the other Buzz Stealth pack cover, Kraftwerk’s English language version, from “The Mix,” again rendered using only machines in the Buzz Stealth pack, and should be playable on the oldest and slowest machines.     The .bmw is embedded in the cover art above – one needs to know how to get it.     BTW, the reason it says ActionJacktion is because that’s me on YTMND since boomaga doesn’t go on YTMND anymore.

October 18, 2010

Here Come the Warm Jets – (Brian Eno cover)

Filed under: Entertainment — boomaga @ 3:21 pm

This picture harbors a secret.  I harbored a walleye in my bathtub once.   Look for your free BMW inside.

http://soundcloud.com/boomaga/boomaga-here-come-the-warm-jets

June 29, 2009

Auto-Tune is Nothing to Be Ashamed of

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , , , , , — boomaga @ 11:49 pm

From an interview with Dr. Andy Hildebrand, head of Antares and co-inventor of “Auto-Tune,” who came to the audio industry after doing geological work for Exxon:

Interviewer:   Yesterday, I posted on my Facebook profile ‘I’m interviewing the inventor of Auto-Tune tomorrow’ and the only comments on my update were people saying, ‘Can you ask him why he ruined music?’

Dr. Hildebrand:    I just give people a tool. I don’t tell them how to use it. …  It’s as if I’d invented the automobile and was blamed for people causing car crashes.

read the rest of the interview at: Matson on Music | Inventor of Auto-Tune: “I’m innocent!” | Seattle Times Newspaper

Auto-Tune the way it SHOULD be used

Auto-Tune the way it SHOULD be used

Undeservedly, the reputation of a perfectly fine tool is ruined…  between the hiphop/dance genre abusers and the audiophile snobs, Autotune is misunderstood and unfairly maligned.

I’ve been using Antares Auto-Tune software on tracks for years – NEVER in a “Cher / T-Pain” way..    only to nudge a note here or there, nothing you would ever notice (believe me, if you NOTICE tuning on a vocal or an instrument, it was badly done).   Antares never meant for it to be used as a vocoder –  it’s meant to be invisible.   Now their flagship product’s trade-name, which represents at least one patent, I’m sure,  is equated with a style of hiphop that’s jumped the shark, and their unrelated trade-name is taking abuse.   They need to change the name of the studio tool, and just let “Auto-Tune” be a a spin-off vocoder-type tool.

Antares should let the REAL  ‘Autotune’ die an ignominious death, let it burn like disco records in the night…   then rename it “AT-X1” or something and continue to develop it, and I’ll hide it in my plugins folder.

Hey, look, there’s a time and place for warts-and-all, but between 1st-take energy and re-take fatigue,  why not ever-so-gently finesse a bass note here, nudge a background-voc there,… NO one hears my subtle edits, I’m a f*cking tuning NINJA, you’d never know I was there… besides,  the deadline is next week, and those in-tune notes fit themselves in the mix effortlessly.

And the vocalist loves to hear : “No, I didn’t touch it, that was all you!  You were just ON !”

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June 18, 2009

Sarah Palin vs. David Letterman – Mission Accomplished !

Filed under: Entertainment, Our World — Tags: , , , , , , , — boomaga @ 1:42 am

mountain out of a molehillDavid Letterman is under fire for handing free publicity to a political footnote on whom the G.O.P. has pinned their 2012 hopes.

Since the night David Letterman mentioned Sarah Palin in his monologue, calls for the CEO of CBS to let some morons tell him how to run his business have been flooding in.   Lawmakers, who have solved all of the other pressing problems of the day and who speak only in the spirit of civic duty and not any sort of partisan shilling, have joined concerned citizens, unpaid interns, and even inanimate objects in forming a spontaneous, heartfelt, grass-roots campaign to bring back Puritan-style stockades punishment.

Picnic table, Republican

Picnic table, Republican

In the message to CBS chief Les Moonves, a Poughkeepsie, NY, public park picnic table, which identifies itself as a Republican, said that it held Letterman’s “shockingly erotic” joke responsible for the sorry state of the world today.

“As a property of the great state of New York and its Department of Parks and Recreation, I have been honored to host families on vacation or just out on a lunch picnic.  Upon my benches have sat the buttocks of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, husbands and mistresses, and couples of inappropriate age differences.   Upon my table have the elbows rested of many ‘regular folks’ of various shameful circumstances who nevertheless show proud and resilient bearing as they dig deeper in the fried chicken bucket.   I wanted Mr. Moonves to know how I felt about Mr. Letterman’s disparaging remarks,” the picnic table said in an open letter.

“Booting Mr. Letterman out on his ass, and possibly seeking damages in a slander suit filed overseas, say, in the UK, would send a clear message that CBS is not a company beholden only to its parent corporation and its shareholders – it is every bit a popularly-elected body of officials who serve the public at the public’s whim and favor — the public, who has the right and ability to blackmail with boycots and less-than-a-dozen man demonstration photo ops.

“Even a famous, rich, rich, famous man like Mr. Letterman must realize that he is not a private citizen nor simply a comedian – he is a media figure who must balance his comedy in the political spectrum to please everyone, paying special attention to accomodate those with bullhorn and/or press-conference access.

“His joke offended me, as an inanimate object, on behalf of all people, be they celibate or promiscuous, be they planned or acutely embarrassing, born in or out of wedlock.”

Letterman, in his Electric Company days

Letterman, in his Electric Company days

The request came after the late-night host stopped short of apologizing for “jokes” he had made about Palin, an Alaskan-born mother of at least 4 and beauty pageant third-place runner up, and her family.   One joke referred to Palin’s daughter being “knocked up” by New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez.   (To explain the context of the joke, Palin’s high-school age daughter was actually sweetly penetrated and impregnated by Levi Johnston, the son of a confessed amateur pharmacist; Alex Rodriguez, it is believed, is a baseball player).

Bristol and Evan at the moment of conception of their child

Bristol and Levi at the moment of conception of their child

“We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news, and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is — her name is Bristol, that’s right, and so, then, now they’re upset with me,” Letterman said, blinking away the red dots of laser gunsights trained directly on his retinas.

“Those were not jokes made about Sarah Palin’s 14-year-old daughter,” said a spokesman for no-one in particular.   “It was meant about Bristol, not Willow.  To pick on a 14-year-old would be unconscionable.   David simply misspoke – anyone who’d been awake during the 2008 Presidential campaign and who has half the common sense of a clam would know that he meant the OTHER one, the one who got knocked up by the captain of their high school’s elk-hunting squad, and then didn’t follow through with the obvious imperative demanded by Sarah Palin’s loudly proclaimed platform, which would be, of course, marriage.  I mean, far be it for anyone to condemn the choices young people make while wrestling with very personal, very complex, and very emotional  circumstances of family and relationships from some high-horse place of judgement.   But David’s apology came from the bottom of his heart – he gave his deepest and sincerest apologies to the grandmother of the bafflingly-named Tripp, who is technically a little bastard, a fatherless little bastard who won’t amount to anything because he will never know his father. ”

Palin

Palin

Palin later offered to appear on “The Late Show,” only when the stakes were raised to the boiling point and David’s job seemed on the line.

Neither CBS nor Worldwide Pants seem to have any intention of breaking David’s contract, which has the unusual characteristic of actually being physically inscribed and bound in sheets of cast-iron and kept in a lead-lined vault.

The Alaska governor’s office actually wrote, in an official written statement Thursday, “[I]t would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman,” implying that Letterman is a dangerous sexual predator.

On Friday, the Alaska governor said her only wish was that she had a husband who would knock Letterman’s block off.   Bristol concurred, and fired a shot from a .45 automatic into an ice cream cake.

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May 25, 2009

Obscure Music, Insensitively Reviewed: Grace – “Grace” (1979)

Filed under: Entertainment — boomaga @ 2:48 am
Grace - a band behind its time

Grace - a band behind its time

I found an album you’ve never heard of, and I’m going to assassinate it.     It can only gain me bad karma, but dammit, I was trained to critique cruelly.

Once upon a time, apparently there was a band from the UK that set out to sound like Peter Gabriel era Genesis, formed and got signed and put out an eponymous album in 1979 – “Grace.”

(Noooo, I’m not going to post a link to any actual torrents.  Why ?  Because I officially don’t know anything about torrents. )

I’ve seen two band pics, and only a scant description (it’s a bad band name to search for).   But here’s the thing – if you search for Prog Rock, Genesis, etc. on torrent searching sites, “Grace” is ALL over the place, on every single torrent tracker site, which for a band as unknown as them is phenomenal and leads me inescapably to the conclusion that someone affiliated with the band, or at least someone with an unhealthy fixation, is actually dumping this album torrent and the tracker info everywhere s/he can.

It’d be a terrific set up for a discovery of something brilliant.    Why, just read this from the torrent description:

 

Grace - (eponymous) 1979    Clay/MCA

Grace - (eponymous) 1979 Clay/MCA

 

This album very rare now but if you like Peter Gabriel period Genesis you will probably love it.
… [T]he songs played showed all the eclectic influences mentioned above, but they were also interwoven with the best elements of English folk rock. Grace rapidly developed a reputation for strong songs and a dynamic stage presence, and as a result the audience grew, and record companies became interested.

… Reputation of the band as major exponents of what was now dubbed Progressive rock’ was growing rapidly, both as a recording band and as a superb live act…  All was set for the breakthrough into mass acceptance  … And then – nothing.

Maybe it was the advent of punk maybe it was the bickering amongst the band members, maybe the band was frightened of success. Whatever the reasons, Grace split up in 1981, much to the shock of their hundreds of staunch followers.   (Emphasis mine – boo.)


What went wrong, why was this supposed early promise of this band snuffed out ?

Well, problem number 1 shouldn’t elude ANYONE who has the slightest idea about pop history – they were trying to sound like Genesis 10 years after Genesis, long after Genesis had stopped sounding like Genesis – and several years since prog rock itself had LONG been out of fashion.  I mean, by the time disco was dead and buried, prog rock fans would be too embarrassed to look each other in the face for years.

Even so, and even if they didn’t bow to zeitgeist pressure, they at least may have been granted grudging  respect for their intricate, virtuosic playing skill, storytelling in their lyricism, and careful, thoughtful music which owes as much to composition as pop songwriting tradition – a band which is determined to take the genre in new directions.  But…

Grace inflicting live music somewhere in the UK

"Grace" inflicting live music

Oh, let me point out the positives…   The mix isn’t horrible through and through, there are a few good sounds.  The singer deliberately cops Peter Gabriel or Jon Anderson styles, but you know, I actually give him props for singing on-key, and with some emotion in some places…  And the guitarist seems adequate, and the bass and drums are acceptable.

The problem is EVERYTHING ELSE.

All things taken as equal, what’s obvious right off the bat when listening to it is that the music is piss poor.   It’s Prog Rock that makes no Prog.   Not one song stands out – they all slide into each other as one big major chord.

The mix is below-par, even if a dated production sound can be forgiven for not aging well.  The balance is WAY off in some sections – and there’s some inhumane abuse of rotten outboard effects (know what this needs ?   a phased chorus !), the out-of-phase guitars (not the good Brian May kind), sore-thumb keyboard parts which should’ve been strangled in the crib, using timbres that sounded crappy even then…

Grace - Billy Boy (1981 album)

Grace - Billy Boy (1981 7")

Then there’s this completely superfluous flute/sax player, whose skill in tuning and playing his instruments sounds like he’s new to music, which is funny since their bio seems to indicate that he considered himself the leader of the band.  His sax contribution to the track titled (get this) “Cyril Dingle” stinks up the song like an unflushed turd in a john.

The lyrics are baffling. I’ve heard stanzas in these songs which I had to rewind and re-hear to make sure I wasn’t crazy:

Oh La La Noid don’t eat my heart,
My soul will surely fart.
Oh La La Noy I am your stain.
A life that can be saved

Fireside, Ironside, five-oh-one
Give me my arrows, I’ll give you a run
You throw for your money, I’ll throw for my wheels
Heartfelt breezes, hopes and dreams.

You may think, if you like, that I’m deliberately mishearing the lyrics for comedic effect.  Think that all you want – I know what I heard.

But what has me most mindboggled is the song “Laughing Policeman,” which has to be heard to be believed.

It’s not the old British novelty song “The Laughing Policeman,” which actually described a jolly cop who goes ha ha ha ha and ho ho ho ho. It’s much more weird.     It’s an indictment of police brutality, abuse of authority, misogyny – from a 1st person POV.   The lyrics are disturbing, creepy, weird, inappropriate, apparently about S&M, sexual sadism, assault and degredation of a woman.  And it seems the lyricist wishes to condemn these practices while lovingly detailing them in an inner dialogue of a rapist.

Yet the music for “Laughing Policeman” is a driving beat with a very simple major key sound, a very summer sunshine type of song – a sound that says, “I’m gonna break free and drive this convertible down the road so fast with wind blowin in my hair, gonna rock ON and never gonna STOP !”

And now I reach the point where I have to sit back, look at what I’ve written, and ask who am I to criticise – it’s so easy to tear down, and fun, too.   Not so easy to build.  And it’s one thing to kick around a band that’s inexplicably popular and modern, a high-profile band who are touted as brilliant – that’s easy and fun to write, and to read.   But to dredge up a flop album from some little-known band from 30 years ago, that’s just cruelty.

It would be only full disclosure, then, to say that maybe I see myself in “Grace.”
I’ve played in bad bands.   Really bad.  Worse than “Grace.”    I played drums and helped produce recordings for bands that had trouble getting FREE gigs.   We were wrong on so many counts – we were musically ambitious as far as crafting musical hooks and melodies, we were constantly working up new songs, rehearsed all the time, recorded ourselves constantly, and played loud and fast or loud and slow.   But we were third-rate musicians when the type of music we were trying to play demanded at least competency, couldn’t tune or control our sounds, had no idea why our instruments weren’t pro-quality, did nothing to research the music business and were constantly being taken for a ride, had no stage presence, and our lyrics were clumsy, impenetrable, or at best just hopelessly bleak.  We split up before the internet, before mp3s, before CD burners.  But, despite suspecting in our heart of hearts that we sucked, we would’ve taken a label’s production money in a split second.

So, “Grace,” your album sucked, but never mind, here’s to you – you got further than I did, and whoever is putting the album up on torrent trackers is keeping it alive.

EPILOGUE:

Turns out “Grace” put out a live album in ’81,  reformed in ’92 and have put out 3 more albums and a double live album on a couple of their own record labels.    And a couple of blokes who apparently were the heart of Grace, Mac Austin and Harry Davies, have another band project, “White Door,” that they worked on through the 1980’s.   Judging from the number of their releases, “White Door” could be argued to have been more successful.

Check it out on this little hole-in-the-wall Italian site:  http://www.electrocity.it/Discografie/white_door.htm

And here’s a write-up from a prog-rock fan site:  http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=131

Clay Records, a trunk-of-my-car record label which did mostly punk music, made “Grace” their first LP release.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Records

If there were ANY other link to listen to the mp3s, buy it on Amazon, watch them on YouTube, anything…   I would want to help them out.

May 20, 2009

I Watched “Star Trek” in the 3rd Row at the Stadium-Seating Theater, Am Now Suffering PTSD

Filed under: Entertainment — Tags: , — boomaga @ 3:37 am
Im Not Sitting in the Front Section of these Modern Theaters anymore

I'm Not Sitting in the Front Section of these Modern Theaters anymore

December 10, 2008

My Conversation with Lorne Michaels

Filed under: Entertainment — boomaga @ 6:33 am

“By the way, I don’t know if I told you this, I’m planning on doing a new thing, a prime-time thing, kind of like 30 Rock, BUT it’s a behind-the-scenes at a struggling late night talk show.    So it’s a real talk show but it’s also a show behind the show, like 30 Rock.

“This great new kid, Adam Sa- no, excuse me, Samberg, Andy Samberg, and he’s going to be playing this kind of schticky, rumple-haired hambone mug-monster who’s secretly an idiot, and he’s the host of a talk show.  And his producer is played by someone, anyone, really, I dunno, and I’m just blue-skying here but you know just for example, say, someone really who doesn’t DO television, and without anyone in particular in mind let’s just say hypothetically that the part’s written for Rip Torn,… you know, IF he did television,… and you know, you know, he’s the big shot producer that everyone acts like they loathe but secretly they all just admire the hell out of him because he’s the guy who put it all together, you know, and that’s ME, ’cause I’m in the show. ” (more…)

October 2, 2008

This Week in “Eragon” News

Filed under: Entertainment — boomaga @ 4:54 am

  • AMATEUR TEENAGE WRITER POOPS OUT TYPICAL AMATEUR TEENAGE FANTASY NOVEL

  • PRO EDITORS BROUGHT IN TO POLISH UP RAMBLING CLICHE-FILLED TURD

  • GALLEY PASSED OFF AS AUTHOR’S OWN WITH STRAIGHT FACE, GIVEN SMART JACKET DESIGN, PUBLISHED BY AUTHOR’S PUBLISHER PARENTS

  • BOOK GIVEN PUBLICITY PUSH BASED ON AUTHOR’S AGE

  • IMMENSELY FORGETTABLE MOVIE, INEXPLICABLY FEATURING JEREMY IRONS AND JOHN MALKOVICH CAMEOS, ROCKETS TO DVD AFTER TWO WEEKS IN THEATERS

  • TREES CONTINUE TO BE FELLED, CHOPPED, PULPED, AND COVERED WITH INK IN THE NAME OF HIGH-FANTASY PHENOMENON

September 14, 2008

A Word from Seth MacFarlane

Filed under: Entertainment — boomaga @ 4:49 am

HI, I’M SETH MACFARLANE, CREATOR OF EMMY AWARD-WINNING ANIMATED TV SERIES “FAMILY GUY,” AND SOON-TO-BE EMMY AWARD-WINNING ANIMATED TV SERIES “AMERICAN DAD.”

I PRETTY MUCH INVENTED THE PRIME-TIME ANIMATED ADULT COMEDY TV SHOW.

EVERY STORY IS A TRUE ORIGINAL, EVERY JOKE TIMELESS AND FRESH.

DON’T YOU LIKE “AMERICAN DAD” ? YOU PROBABLY DON’T GET IT.

SEE, THERE’S A CIA AGENT WHO IS TOTALLY NEO-CON, AND YET (THIS *KILLS* ME) HIS DAUGHTER IS A FLAMING LIBERAL ! AND HE HAS A WACKY PAUL LYNDE STYLE GAY ALIEN LIVING IN THE HOUSE ! AND PATRICK STEWART COMES IN AND DOES SOME LINES SOMETIMES !

BUT IT REALLY DIDN’T COME TOGETHER UNTIL WE ADDED A GOLDFISH WITH A GERMAN ACCENT WHO TALKS, TOO ! AND (GET THIS) HIS NAME IS … READY FOR IT ? … KLAUS ! KLAUS THE GOLDFISH !

EVEN THOUGH IT BEARS NO RESEMBLANCE TO “FAMILY GUY” IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM, NOT IN ITS CHARACTER NOR ITS STORY STYLE, I 100% GUARANTEE YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE “AMERICAN DAD.”

AND NOW ADULT SWIM HAS MADE “AMERICAN DAD” THE CENTER OF ITS LINEUP, AFTER FOUR EPISODES OF “FAMILY GUY” NIGHTLY !

YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE TO MISS ANY OF MY FINE COMEDY BRAND !

I’M SETH MACFARLANE AND IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME, YOU’RE WRONG, BECAUSE I’M SMARTER THAN YOU – I F*CKING WENT TO F*CKING HARVARD YOU F*CKING LUMPEN-PROLETARIAT YOKEL !  I KNOW FUNNY !

I’M SETH F*CKING MACFARLANE AND I AM COMEDY !

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