Archive for April, 2017

At Washington’s #MarchForScience, The Consensus Was Trump And The GOP Endanger Our Future

Posted in Trump Protests with tags , , , , , on April 22, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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All pictures Leica SL with 24-90 Vario-Elmarit SL

The chants were lame, the spirits high. The crowd was large and festive in the rain, the by now customary mingling of the generations out to protest Trump.  Our peer-reviewed count was 200,000 plus (we asked one of our peers, and he agreed.)  We are increasingly grateful to Trump for organizing our social activities, as it was so easy to pull together a crowd of friends to venture out in the pouring rain, just for the chance to protest his policies.  The energy of these marches is not dissipating, and each week that goes by brings us — yes, several new outrages from the Administration — but also that much closer to the 2018 elections.  The scientists did a good job of organizing their March for Science.  Here are some pictures to once again document protests in the age of Trump.

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Greatness On The Installment Plan: Driftwood Pyre’s “Strangeways” EP

Posted in Music with tags , , , , on April 22, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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Driftwood Pyre claimed Tulip Frenzy’s 2015 Album of the Year honors, and a few days later, we were pleased to publish an interview with the Minneapolis psych band who carried the half-filled chalice left over from First Communion Afterparty.  Where FCAP was a Summer of Love band reborn with punk grit, Driftwood Pyre revealed themselves open to other nominally more straight-ahead rock influences, including the likes of Oasis.

Now, en route to a follow-up album to their incredible Driftwood Pyre debut, they’ve released an EP, Strangeways, which fills us with confidence in their future, for this is another installment on their march toward greatness.

“Shatter Star” kicks off the proceedings with a nod to Anton Newcombe, a heretofore unacknowledged influence on Liam Watkins, either in his current band or in First Communion Afterparty, which we think was the greatest psych band of the 21st Century, no small praise. On “Into Blue” we get a taste for what a fine punk band they must be live, an exultant, up-tempo number, important to have second in the line-up lest we think that mid-tempo rockers are the land where the band resides. Courtney Olsen’s drumming kicks like a herd of wildebeest, and with the full panoply of ex-FCAP guitarist Joe Werner on lead and former Rocking Horse People-bassist Aaron James laying a solid rhythm down, we can hear the band in all its glory.

“Protozoan” is a reminder that no one starts a song with a slow-picked guitar line as sensuously as Liam Watkins. “The Tide” sounds like what woulda happened had early Dream Syndicate crashed a Television rehearsal, all jangling Fenders and too-animalistic drumming. By the time we get to the lush and sludgy title track, keyboard player Jeanne Oss adds sonic space winds to the proceedings, as Watkins’ voice reminds us of everything we loved most about his former band.

Strangeways fulfills the essential showbiz challenge: it leaves us wanting more.  For anyone who missed their chance to grok on First Communion Afterparty during that band’s unfortunately short life, you have much to look forward to with Driftwood Pyre.  For God’s sake, start now.

The #TaxDay Protests In DC: A Gallery

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 15, 2017 by johnbuckley100

Tax Day Demo-11

All images Leica M10 and 35mm Summilux.

The April 15th Tax March in Washington should scare Republicans even more than their narrow victory this week in the Kansas special election.  Oh sure, the crowds were smaller than the Womens’ March on January 21st.  But they were still large, and beyond their size was the enthusiasm, the anger, the joy in being able to protest against Trump.

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Republicans used to own Tax Day, and now, so long as Trump doesn’t release his taxes, April 15th is symbolic of how taxpayers are screwed, not by high taxes, but by people like Trump.  It’s a stunning reversal, as important in its way as the appropriation of patriotism as the American flag was by Democrats at last summer’s Democratic National Convention.

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The signs continue to show creativity, the demographics continue to span age and racial groups.  And as the Trump team continues to make missteps — announcing they won’t release White House visitor logs one day before a national series of marches and protests against Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns — the promise of the 2018 elections continues undiminished.  Herewith some images from the event today in the Nation’s Capital.

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The Late J. Geils Was Once A Giant

Posted in Music with tags , on April 13, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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It’s possible that the only thing more absurd than the wave of ’60s British blues bands is how five Jewish kids from the Boston suburbs created the early ’70s most perfect blues and R&B album.  J. Geils was the only gentile in his eponymous band, and he was from New Jersey.  But together with Peter Wolf, Magic Dick, Seth Justman, Stephen Jo Bladd, and Danny Klein, the blues guitarist who died Tuesday created, on the band’s self-titled first album, one of rock’n’roll music’s greatest records.

Yeah, we know, they made hits in the ’80s.  But by that time we’d stopped listening.  And while the follow-up album The Morning After, as well as 1973’s Bloodshot (the first red vinyl album we remember), were both pretty good, it was the band’s debut that secured The J. Geils Band’s permanent place on our hard drive.

The J. Geils Band had three soloists and a great singer.  Magic Dick usually went first, invoking Little Walter on blues harp.  Seth Justman’s keyboard work was stellar.  But it was J. Geils who played those stinging leads, as angry a lead guitarist as ever there was, a near perfect student of Hubert Sumlin, Robert “Junior” Lockwood, and Luther Tucker.  And like the soloists in the band, Geils was willing to drop down into the rhythm section when Peter Wolf was singing, or when the others were holding the spotlight.

In their own way, the early J. Geils Band were like one of Miles Davis’ combos, with different focal points but no question who musically was the leader.  Peter Wolf got all the attention, but it was J. Geils who ran the band.  No band has ever killed a John Lee Hooker song like they did on “Serve You Right To Suffer,” and the indelible groove on our brain came from Geils’ guitar.

We loved this band, and especially that first album.  Our fond memory isn’t only because of the way, when we were 16-years old and ran into Peter Wolf on the streets of Cambridge, he took time from picking up his dry cleaning — all black shirts — to talk to us at length.  Our fond memory is because of the way a bunch of Massachusetts misfits synthesized the best Chicago blues and Motown into a tight machine that live played like it was nothin’ but a house party; they never just noodled over a 12-bar span.  Never so important, perhaps, they were as tight, and as loose, as the Rolling Stones of that era.  Which is one helluva of a compliment.

We lost interest in the band when they seemed to repeat themselves in the ’70s, and by the time they’d gone New Wave and had hits, we were long gone.  But the news this week that J. Geils had died alone was sad, as we remembered one of the great guitarists of the age, now obscure, but once a giant.

The Tulip Frenzy, 2017 Edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 11, 2017 by johnbuckley100

Washington had an unfortunate month of March, and we’re not just talking about the Trump Administration.  First it was warm, and then it was cold.  By April it was warm again, but the damage was done, first to the cherry blossoms, then to the tulips.  We didn’t take pictures of tulips the week of March 31 because they weren’t ready, and by the 7th, they were overripe.  But in a secret spot where our beloved tulips congregate, Tulip Frenzy found these.  All images taken with a Leica SL and the 50mm Summilux SL, with an ND filter.

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