Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe Continue Their Glorious Run

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on October 15, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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In August, word came that, the night before, Iggy Pop had performed “Grunewald,” the best song of Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe’s “Right On” E.P.  This was the ultimate tip of the cap from one old pro to another (slightly younger one.)  We’ve been playing “Grunewald” for months, a song that sounds like something The Koolaid Electric Company could riff on the whole night through.

On their eponymous new album, Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe continue their work together three years after releasing I Declare Nothing, one of 2015’s best records.  Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe proves that each is the other’s muse.  Newcombe has long worked with female vocalists in the Brian Jonestown Massacre, from Miranda Lee Richards to Sarabeth Tucek, and Parks sang on last year’s “Fingertips” single.  Recording together, though, seems to encourage Newcombe to dig deep into his bucket of velvet hooks, and the results are seldom less than glorious.

Over the weekend, I put together a playlist comprising the best songs the Brian Jonestown Massacre have released over the past five years, coupled with the best songs Anton’s recorded with Tess on their two albums and E.P.  The playlist is three hours long.

Tess Parks has a limited range and a husky voice, but on the evidence of her strong 2013 album Blood Hot she doesn’t actually have to record with Newcombe to find something to say.  She’s a fascinating artist in her own right — and he is, this many years in, proving that being creative is the best revenge.  Their recorded relationship reminds us of how Dave Roback and Hope Sandoval come together in Mazzy Star.  Sandoval may have the more beguiling voice, but Parks and Newcombe together are every bit as magical.

 

 

In Eighteen Months of Going to Protests, the Only “Paid Mob” We’ve Witnessed In Washington is Trump, his Family and his Cronies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 11, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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Back in January 2017, when things seemed most bleak — we had no real idea how bad things would yet become — we went to the Women’s March and it was uplifting.  To see hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, black and white, thronging the Nation’s Capital to protest against Trump was a remarkable experience, and we pledged then that we’d continue to go to protests and document them.  In fact, we created a gallery documenting these protests over on our sister site, TulipFrenzyPhotography.com.

We understand that, going into the final few weeks of the election, it has become a Republican talking point that those who’ve shown up to protest Trump, and most recently, the Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination, are a “paid mob.”  Hmm.  Let’s go through some of these demonstrations, via photos of attendees, and see if they look like they needed George Soros to write them a check before they showed up.  In the interests of brevity, I’ll show only a few photos per demonstration.  And admittedly, because I went to so many, not all of them were uploaded to Word Press, and so I’m left here tapping only into images of only those demonstrations I wrote about on Tulip Frenzy.  For photos of the Kavanaugh demonstrations, go see my Instagram: @tulip_frenzy.

womens-march-15womens-march-34These were attendees from the Women’s March.  Do they look like a “paid mob” to you?

A week or so later, people began coming out to protest Trump’s evil Muslim Ban.  Do these look like paid protesters?

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Continued protestors against the Muslim Ban.  Paid mob? I don’t think so.

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Next came the Tax March.

Then the March for Science.  Paid mob?  You decide.

The Climate March.  These people look like it too money to get them out?

March For Truth-4I think this was the March for Truth.

These people, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, came out in protest of Trump’s failure to deal with the devastation in Puerto Rico.  Paid mob?

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The March for Black Women last fall was inspiring.

And then there was the Anniversary of the Women’s March in January.

We could go on and on.  The protests we saw in Washington last week renewed our spirits.  Calling any of these American families protesting for our rights “a paid mob” is just more derp and hooey, exactly what we’ve come to expect from our President and his cronies.  They’re the real paid mob.  Lock’em up.

Receding Memories of The Summer Of 2018 Preserved In 25 Images

Posted in photography with tags on September 16, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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Over on our sister site Tulip Frenzy Photography we have updated several galleries and added new ones.  And yes, this is a shameless effort to get you to go there.  But before the summer of 2018 recedes in our memory, allow us to show some — okay, an indisciplined sample of 25 — of favorite images from a well-documented summer.  And if you like any of ’em, on our photo site you’ll see how easy it is to purchase ’em.

As makes sense if you consider that our time in D.C. is not spent with a camera glued to our hand in quite the same way it tends to be during the time we spend out West, most of what follows was taken in the Greater Yellowstone.  In fact, let’s show our favorite pictures from D.C. before we dive into images from the Mountain West.

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Okay now.  Onto the Tetons, more or less in chronological order.

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How “Black Rainbow Sound” by Menace Beach Became The Album That Stole Our September

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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Tulip Frenzy has been derelict in its duty to curate our readers’ listening pleasure.  You would have to go all the way back to June 10th to find the last batch of albums deemed worthy of your ear buds.  (And a pretty good batch that was: Courtney Barnett, Parquet Courts, Wand and the Brian Jonestown Massacre.)

It’s not like the rest of the summer had no good music. Though as you might see in the posts below, the editorial team was set loose upon the Mountain West with cameras and few assignments.

Still, if we were all to have turned in our notes from a summer of listening, we would have said that Oh Sees’ Smote Reverser had some incredible moments, though its thunder made us yearn for some of John Dwyer’s lighter-hearted fare; that the double-drum prog’n’metal core of this new version of the band is not, four albums in, as much fun as the prior incarnations under the Thee Oh Sees rubric.  We might have said that White Denim’s Performance has some of the catchiest songs, and best performances, James Petralli and Steve Terebecki have ever caught on a hard drive, but in the end, it’s just a tad bit too close to Steely Dan territory to claim our unalloyed affection. Unquestionably we’d have given a shout out to old friend and T. Frenzy interviewee Kelley Stoltz, whose Natural Causes is lovely, but a bit of a comedown from last year’s #1 Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List entry Que Aura.  And we haven’t even gotten to great new music, just now emerging, from Alejandro Escovedo, Spiritualized and Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe.

If you want to blame any one thing for why we’ve failed our readers, blame Menace Beach.  Right, until this summer we hadn’t heard of them either.

Menace Beach’s Black Rainbow Sound is the  album that has consumed our September, living in our dreams, commanding us to play it on our commute, while working out at the gym, even sitting and reading.  It is pure pop confection whipped up by two pastry chefs from Leeds which, once tasted, induces such pleasure, all other dishes are foresworn until you’ve had your fill.

Bear with us as we try a comparison which while imperfect, gets us as close to the matter as we can get.  We have previously described our love for the New Pornographers as an anomaly.  “Ordinarily, we treasure the analog sound of Fender guitars played by punk bands and The New Ps feature keyboard-driven synthetic sounds polished to a high gloss.”

Menace Beach and the New Pornographers do have some analogous features.  Ryan Needham and Liza Violet trade lead vocal duties the way Carl Newman and Neko Case do, and on Black Rainbow Sound, synths dominate guitars.  Like the New Ps, Menace Beach now offer “keyboard-driven synthetic sounds polished to a high gloss.”  They also offer, song by song, more hooks than a boat full of weekend fisherman setting out into the Atlantic chop.

How a band that started out two albums ago sounding like the Breeders, and which on Black Rainbow Sound deliberately invoke Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Young Marble Giants could push aside so much good music to lasso our cerebral cortex has us marveling, two weeks in.  We’re captives.  They got us.0013616929_10

We first heard of Menace Beach via Brix Smith’s Twitter feed, and in fact, the very first sound on the record is Brix’ guitar, so recognizable from her work with the greatest period of The Fall and her own Brix & The Extricated.  But it’s a tease, a false front, for soon after the sonic propulsion of the band’s new synth sound kicks in and gets the heart racing.  It’s like the best workout, where your heart rate soars at the beginning and never dips until approx. 38 minutes later you are exhausted and exalted.

We’d like to have taken time to tell you about all the great music that’s out there right now.  And yeah, we’ll get to Alejandro’s opus and a full review of Tess and Anton’s amazing second record when the whole thing comes out.  For now, ponder for a moment what the juxtaposition of the words “menace” and “beach” might add up to musically; grok on the parallel difference between “black” and “rainbow.”  Download this album, and be prepared to lose the rest of September in musical ecstasy.

 

Rodeo Night In The Tetons

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 26, 2018 by johnbuckley100

Rodeo Project Supplement-21Over on our sister site, TulipFrenzyPhotography.com, we’ve just added a gallery devoted to the Jackson Hole Rodeo.

It is a wonderful, small-town rodeo with riders, bulls and horses assembled, three times a week in the summer, from around the West.  One of the things we like about it so much is the way they incorporate young riders into the competition. Go to Tulip Frenzy Photography for a variety of galleries that have been updated this summer.  But if you’d like a further preview of some more images from the rodeo, see below.  All images Leica SL.

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Out Here In The Fields

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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Teton and Fremont Counties in Idaho can sometimes seem like the red-haired stepchild of Teton County, WY.  They have Teton views, spectacular ones, but Pierre’s Hole is not the same as Jackson Hole, at least in the eyes of tourists and rich folk.  Ah, but in these Idaho counties, around this time of year when it is too smoky to see the Grand Teton from downtown Jackson, they have something special going for them.  We decided to drive over the pass for a look.

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These are farming counties.  Yes, many of the people who live there have a tedious and sometimes dangerous commute over the pass to jobs in Jackson, WY: construction, waitering, guiding fishermen, positioning the fannies of Easterners into the embrace of the chairlift that awaits them.  But still, this is farm country.

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Between Driggs and Ashton, on Route 32, cars and trucks rush on by.  But sometimes it’s fun to mosey along, camera in hand, and pull into turnouts.

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When I walked behind the silo to take a picture of it, the area around my feet exploded with grasshoppers, moths and butterflies.  I heard them before I set foot there, but couldn’t see them.  A little like Fremont County — you might not notice it until you set foot in it.

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As we were heading back toward Jackson — with dinner planned at an excellent Thai restaurant in tiny Victor, ID — we saw an old abandoned barn near the road.

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It was a reminder of how harsh life can be out here.  And also how sublime it is, just a few miles away from Jackson Hole, which is considered among the loveliest valleys in the country.  Teton County, ID looked every bit as pretty as its more famous neighbor across the Tetons tonight.

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Present Tense: Radiohead In Philly As The Apogee Of Arena Shows

Posted in Music with tags , , on August 1, 2018 by johnbuckley100

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We don’t go to a lot of arena shows, because the bands we love aren’t popular.  Seeing Wand at the 150-person DC9 was a highlight of 2017; the fact that, with Courtney Barnett playing guitar in her band, Jen Cloher’s show earlier this year had to move from DC9 to the larger Rock & Roll Hotel (300 people) was, in our house, welcome but disorienting.  Spending months of our lives seeing bands at the 9:30 Club has worked for decades now, because a 1000-person hall is the ideal size for a great show.  But every once in a long while, we go to an arena and remember what it was like to see the Stones at Madison Square Garden, The Who at Boston Garden — you know, the shows that were spectacles which you lived and died to see.

Earlier this summer, we saw U2 at the Capital One Arena in D.C. and they put on a pretty great show.  They’re long in the tooth, but come on, they’re a great band, playing in their fifth decade, and they certainly know how to deconstruct an arena and make it intimate.  It wasn’t just Bono in motion, but the whole band, one song played on the north side, the next song the band trucks to the south side, and at one point, I think they were spread like a star across the entire 18,000 person hall. The Fleshtones sometimes do that in clubs, the singer on a bar stool, the bass player on a speaker, the guitarist in the mosh pit.  Only in this case, U2 were a few hundred yards apart, still playing as one.  A spectacle, and highly entertaining.  But of course, other than as nostalgia, and with the sentiment of singalongs, not particularly meaningful as art.

Last night at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Arena, Radiohead stayed fixed on a single stage, and played an astonishing show that accomplished the impossible: it was at once gorgeous and inventive musically, an avant-garde exploration of what is possible on stage, and it gave both rock critters and the masses exactly what they wanted.  In short, it jacked into all that is good about a mass event that connects multiple audiences, which happens less and less these days.

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Here are stats: six songs from A Moon Shaped Pool, three each from Hail To The Thief, In Rainbows, OK Computer, The King of Limbs, and two each from Amnesiac, Kid A, and The Bends.  Seventeen songs before two long clusters of encores, finishing with a “Paranoid Android” that floated in the air before “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” was spiked into the court. For us, highlights were hearing “I Might Be Wrong” live for the first time; favorites like “The Numbers” and “Separator” came off brilliantly.  (Had we ever before noticed how much “2+2=5” sounds like Fugazi…)

Because Radiohead albums are perfect — every tone gloriously honed, the craftsmanship at once classic as a Chris Craft, industrial perfection like a Leica M, super modern like an Apple iPhone — it can seem self-defeating to go hear them live.  Do we really want oxygen to get into this mix?  Oh yeah.  They play with ferocity and just imperfectly enough for it to have life.  Having last seen them play live at an Austin City Limits taping, I was unprepared for the full show, the stage craft, what a great band they are 25 years on.

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They are a band that it is sometimes hard for people to get a grip on — at once an arena act and difficult, crowd pleasers and demanding and challenging artists.  Thom Yorke is among the greatest pop singers, and a polarizing figure who, because of our distance from the stage, was more entertaining for what we didn’t see — the Caddyshack Gopher dance that Fred Armisen so perfectly parodies.  But he is an amazing musician, singer and bandleader.  Johnny Greenwood is at once a favorite guitarist, percussionist and composer.  They’re a bundle of contradictions, a band you’d like to see play in their small rehearsal studio, but only fully actualize in front of 18,000 people.

Arena rock is not what it once was.  Radiohead is a perfect connection to the past and the apogee of the present tense.  What a show.

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