Archive for December, 2012

Nah, This One Is. Happy New Year

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 31, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 28mm Summicron, orange filter.

MonochromTetonWinterZF3 (1 of 1)

Final Monochrom Landscape Of 2012?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 31, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 28mm Summicron, orange filter.

MonochromTetonWinterZF2 (1 of 1)

Leica Monochrom Landscape Photography: From Snowshoes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 30, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 28mm Summicron, Orange Filter.

MonochromTetonWinterZF (1 of 1)

The Way Late December Should Look

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 28, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 50mm Summilux, Yellow filter.

MonoStream (1 of 1)

Christmas On Planet Earth

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 25, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 50mm Summilux

Globe1 (1 of 1)

Friendly Face For A Sad Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 15, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Shopkeeper in Adams Morgan, D.C.  Leica Monochrom, Noctilux wide open.

Friendly Face

On “The Odds” The Evens Play Like Beatnik Shakers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on December 15, 2012 by johnbuckley100

The Odds, the third album that Ian Mackaye and Amy Farina have released as The Evens, is both tidy and intimate, thrilling on a small scale.  The Evens play like beatnik Shakers — every line plumb, no ornamentation, with a surface minimalism that is beautiful even as you sense the underlying passion.  It’s just Ian and Amy, he on guitar, she on drums, a self-contained unit so cozy you could see them recording The Odds in their living room, yet so quietly ferocious that, particularly on a song like “Wanted Criminals,” you easily could imagine Mackaye playing the song with his late, lamented band Fugazi.

D.C.’s own Fugazi was one of the strongest American acts from the late ’80s to their demise in 2003, but while most people remember them for the sheer ferocity of their playing, there was even then, in Mackaye’s songs, a small-weave precision amidst the ruckus.  Melody was the ingredient often missing, but in Mackaye’s and Farina’s songwriting, call-and-response vocals and the bare minimum instrumentation wouldn’t work nearly as well as they do if melody weren’t the glue holding it all together.  On this scale, Mackaye’s guitar work is especially fine, but the revelation here, to an extent we hadn’t realized listening to their two previous albums, is how fine a drummer Farina is.  “Wonder Why” sounds like a demo that Pete Townshend and Keith Moon might have cooked up before the Tommy sessions.  And it is clear from both her singing  — which often lands somewhere between Liz Phair circa Exile and Corin Tucker — and the way she pounds the drum kit, that Farina is Mackaye’s equal in every way.

With the anti-commercialism we’ve come to expect from Mackaye, The Odds was released Thanksgiving week, long after critics’ Top Ten lists have been compiled, and with tour support falling at a time of year when people are perhaps least inclined to go out in the evening to see a band.  But make no mistake, while we didn’t hear this in time to put it on Tulip Frenzy’s Top Ten List for 2012 ™, The Odds would have created a rethinking of the order.  And this is an album we look forward to playing often, for years to come.  It is thrilling rock’n’roll, with nothing lo fi about it, yet gorgeous enough you can imagine playing it while keeping warm before the fireplace, all winter long.

Enter Here

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 12, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 50mm Noctilux f/0.95


The Archetype Of A Rainy Sunday Morning

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on December 9, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Coffee, old Rolling Stones albums, and this.  Leica Monochrom, Noctilux f0.95


Capsula’s “Ziggy Stardust” Is A Little Muddled

Posted in Music with tags , , , on December 3, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Capsula’s admirable concept of reviving Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars hit us like space debris, something so random we never could have predicted it.  Redo Ziggy Stardust? Our favorite Argentine expat punk band coming up with this from their perch in Bilbao?  Wow.

Come to think of it, when Bowie released the original, forty years ago this past summer, it also came as something of a shock.  Hitting our shores the same summer that the Stones were touring behind Exile On Main Street — as straightforward an evocation of American roots music as there possibly could be — Bowie’s sheer Britishness, his theatricality, his publicity-stunt bisexuality, made him seem like the man who fell to Earth three years before Nicholas Roeg would actually cast him in that role.  That Bowie arrived more or less at the same ephemeral moment as Mark Bolan/T.Rex, the same moment as glam rock, gave us something to hang onto.  Here comes rock’s next thing, though it would take Roxy Music and Bowie’s own Alladin Sane and Diamond Dogs to herald just how completely different things were on one side of the Atlantic from the Little Feet, Alice Cooper, and Big Star rockets that began going up on our side.

Musically, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars had the transformative effect of connecting the Beatles to Iggy and the Stooges, no small feat (nor Little Feat.)  For Bowie was one part British cabaret, one part avant garde, one part Velvet Underground.  Songs like “Hang On To Yourself” predicted the sound we would associate with what became punk rock more than any other song of its era — you can hear its echoes in both the Sex Pistols and the Ramones — and both this album, Bowie’s faux transvestism, and the glam rock reshuffling of Chuck Berry riffs gave license to bands like the New York Dolls, who vamped until punk rock was ready for the curtains to be pulled back.  Ziggy was amazing, because of its sheer inventiveness, because of Bowie’s voice — and because of the crunch of Mick Ronson’s guitar atop the thunder of Woody Woodmansey’s drums.  What we’re getting at is that everything, from the concept to the sound of the band, rendered Ziggy Stardust as one of rock’s pivotal moments.

Which was why we got so excited by the idea that Capsula, who we consider to be the most exciting rock’n’roll band in the world today , were releasing their take on the album in its entirety.  The problem is, it doesn’t quite work.  Martin Guevara is terrific songwriter and bandleader, and an exciting guitarist, but he’s an adequate singer, and English isn’t his first language.  Bowie is, of course, one of the greatest singers ever, and his vocal performance on Ziggy made him a superstar.  Moreover, as great a drummer as Ignacio Villarejo is, on this album, the drums are a little muddy — in fact the whole production is a little muddled, which wouldn’t matter so much if it were an album of Capsula songs, but because it’s a remake of an album that depends on the singer’s voice, the particulars of the guitar sound, the precise tuning of the drum kit, it’s off-putting.  Musically, it fails, by a small margin, to deliver.  Because it is punk rock, Capsula’s version (with Ivan Julian, among others, playing along with the core band),  of “Hang On To Yourself” is amazing.  “It Ain’t Easy,” which starts out with Coni Duchess singing, is wonderful — better even than the Long John Baldry version!  “Suffragette City” of course is fantastic in Capsula’s hands.

Any of these songs would be startlingly wonderful live encores.  But doing the whole album?  Well, it likely could go in one of only three directions.  It could be a nominally reverent but actually tongue-in-cheek send-up, like Camper Van Beethoven recording Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.  It could be an actually reverent, quite sincere effort to redo the original — which then would have to be compared to its predecessor on its terms.  Or it could have been enlivened, like Mike Nichols’ revival of Death Of A Salesman with Philip Seymour Hoffman — great theater because of the quality of the performance stretching the limits of an iconic play.  Alas, Capsula’s The Dream of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars falls in the middle category.

We love them no less for trying, and perhaps the balls it took to attempt this will open one of our very favorite bands to the global superstardom they deserve.  But sadly, Capsula’s version of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars does not transcend the original, or win on its own terms.

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