Ty Segall Revives The Lost Art Of The Album

Posted in Music with tags on February 5, 2017 by johnbuckley100

ba75464c379f3e3f975c0a94673e6f59Just when you think Ty Segall is mortal, he astounds you all over again.  We didn’t love Emotional Mugger when it came out a year ago, though we admired its conceptual breadth. But with the eponymous Ty Segall, the West Coast wunderkind has done more than release the best album of an intense, hugely productive career.  He has revived the album format, which has been under assault since the dawn of MP3s.

Sticky FingersImperial Bedroom, even — especially? — Sandinista were all exemplars of that long lost artform, the pacing of an album as a collection of disparate songs, showcasing different idioms and genres, all adding up to a defining whole.  Last year’s Emotional Mugger was a concept album, a series of connected songs, but the music didn’t really gel.  Or at least it wasn’t a collection of songs I much wanted to listen to a lot.

On Ty Segall, the young genius has pulled together a collection of songs that are remarkably different from one another, but they don’t pull apart, they spin with centripetal force.  The most astonishing song of the lot is the 10:21 suite, “Warm Hands (Freedom Returned)”, which in five movements takes in the whole of Segall protege Wand’s prog, the Santana-influences of the Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and two or three of Mr. Segall and his pal Mikal Cronin’s modern Power Pop’n’Punk flavorings.  It’s a tour de force.  But the whole album is, really.

Since Segall’s advent at the beginning of this decade, rock’n’roll has been revived, and he’s the biggest reason.  Yes, we would still have Thee Oh Sees if Ty had not burst upon the scene.  But for at least seven years, Segall’s influence on other artists, and his own great output of self-produced, largely self-created records has added up to a movement.  He’s Shiva, creator and destroyer, making rock’n’roll relevant again.  With Manipulator a couple years back, he seemed to cast his lot with commercial success, and produced one of the catchiest collections of radio rock this side of the White Stripes or the Black Keys.  With Ty Segall, he’s gone for some thing bigger.  An *album* you mention in the same sentence as Sticky Fingers, Imperial Bedroom, even Sandinista.

The New Normal: Third Consecutive Weekend With Anti-Trump March In The Nation’s Capital

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 4, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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And so it came to be that for the third consecutive weekend, Washington was the scene of large, peaceful protests against Donald Trump’s presidency.  Last weekend saw a spontaneous demonstration arise in the aftermath of his attempted ban on Muslims and refugees.  The weekend before saw The Women’s March, wherein 500,000 people took to DC’s streets.  Today’s rally and march were the result of a Facebook call to assemble at 1:00 outside the White House — and by our count, more than 50,000 people showed.  Families, couples bringing their dogs, a diverse crowd united in opposition to what’s happening. What follows are photos documenting the crowd — angry, peaceful, yet joyful at the fellowship, knowing that thousands are willing to stand up to this guy.  The sign that said, “Same Time Next Week” will likely prove accurate.

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For The Second Time In Eight Days, Trump Protests Take Over D.C.’s Streets

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by johnbuckley100

 

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All images Leica M10 with 35mm Summilux ASPH FLE

We don’t typically march in the streets.  We went 50 years as a Republican, some of those years spent as a spokesman for Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and Bob Dole. But this is a moment in the life of our nation when one must stand up for what’s right.

Last Saturday’s Women’s March On Washington was a joyous, defiant statement on the newly inaugurated president.  Today’s rally in Lafayette Park near the White House was something different.  It was an emergency response to the mind-boggling news that, without any real thought other than hatred of Muslims and a desire to shock the world, the Trump Administration had banned all refugees and initiated the first step in its planned ban on Muslims.  The Women’s March was planned months in advance; this one came about on a few hours notice, announced on Facebook.  The crowd wasn’t joyous, but there was an esprit de corps, a sense we are in this together.  Last week, when we posted images from The Women’s March, we wrote, “We think we’re going to be out in the streets quite a bit in the months and years ahead.”  Who knew it would be only eight days.  Here are some pictures from the event today.

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The Leica M10 At The Women’s March On Washington

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 21, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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All images Leica M10 and 35mm Summilux Asph FLE

The Trump inauguration was yesterday, drawing crowds estimated as less than 1/4 of what Barack Obama drew in his first inaugural.  (We were there eight years ago, and have seen pictures of the crowd yesterday — like the new president’s hands, his crowds are small.)

Trump’s swearing in also featured the single worst inaugural address of my lifetime — signaling a possibly tragic detour from the path we thought our nation was taking.  We were already looking forward to the Women’s March on Washington, but Trump’s crude debut as President of the United States made us even happier to get out on the streets of our home city this morning.

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And today was a very different event.  As fierce and defiant in its own way as Trump was yesterday, but the Women’s March on Washington was filled with hope as well as fear — and Hope seemed to be having more fun than Fears.

womens-march-6Today’s march was celebratory and joyous, a communal dance, even as it was completely serious and signaled a prolonged period of struggle.

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The sky was dull and white, maybe in honor of our new president.  The quality of the light matters because we went down to the Mall with a secondary purpose.  We had the new Leica M10 with us, trying it out in earnest for the first time.  Maybe in this awful light, with women wearing artificially bright pinks and garish purples, the new camera could really be tested.  We would have hoped for a better day — and not just to try out the camera. But we were really pleased with how it performed.

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Like all digital Leica Ms before it, and the film version going back to the late 1930s, the M10 is an ideal street camera.  When we saw John Kerry, a new civilian, it was easy to capture his presence even though the M, a rangefinder, takes only manual-focus lenses.

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It continues the Leica tradition as the essential street camera — small, fast, non-threatening.  In fact, this version of the M is as small as their film cameras used to be.  And with the ISO dial on the camera itself, not just a menu item you have to press a button to access, the camera is faster to operate on the street than ever.

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womens-march-33Did we mention the light was truly awful? A few images were shot at ISO 800, but the majority here were shot at either ISO 1600 or 3200, and in post-processing, only the slightest amount of noise reduction was necessary.

I’d worried before coming down to the March that I had only a single battery, but having taken over 200 photos, when I left, the battery was down to 75% — which is incredible.

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We came in solidarity with the marchers, in alignment with the cause, with a genuine sense of alarm about the era that is being ushered in.  But we also came on a mission to test this camera and see how it did in the wild.  There were a few hiccups — not the Leica freezes of old, and nothing that interfered with the shooting.

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Despite the bad light and garish colors of the pussy ears and costumes, I found the M10’s color rendering to be incredibly accurate.  In Lightroom, I tried seeing if I could get a more pleasing white balance, but Auto seemed closest to what I remembered from having been there.  Leica has come a long way since the M8 in getting Auto White Balance right.

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We have used every Leica digital M since the M8 a decade ago.  We were not one who complained about the size of the M240, because by adding Live View, it enabled us to use, on occasion, an EVF and, with an adaptor, long Leica R lenses.  The M240 also had video capabilities.  This new M has scrapped the video, but gotten smaller in the hand as a reward, and the EVF — which I did not use today — is pretty great.  I find the optical viewfinder in the M10 the best I have ever used, and found it very easy today to focus even in the jostling of the crowd.

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So the ultimate street camera is even better.  Which is a good thing.  We think we’re going to be out on the streets quite a bit in the months and years ahead.

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Tulip Frenzy’s January Playlist: The Molochs, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Cherry Glazer, Lucy Dacus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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The Molochs’ America’s Velvet Glory is the first great album of what promises to be a dreadful year, epoch, eternity.  But hey, if the country gets destroyed in the process of Making It Great Again, we can at least have the comfort of this boss band’s first album, America’s Velvet Glory.

So maybe they’re named after the ancient god associated with child sacrifice.  Given the state of our nation, we prefer to think of their name as coming from the Indian tribe from the Pacific Northwest that, with knowledge of the local territory and a hardy band of warriors, made fools of the soldiers sent to “snivelize” them.  We all could use a bit of that spirit these days.

The Molochs make us think of AM radio in 1966, when a boy could hear the Brian Jones-inflected sound of those mid-decade Rolling Stones, the pop dynamism of The Kinks, and the aspirations of The Monkees all playing back to back.  Pre-psychedelia, before rock’n’roll got serious, music that rocked with a wee bit o’ organ underneath the guitars.  This band has already made our entry into 2017 palatable enough to have put away the razor blades.  Yeah, that’s something.

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On Talk Tight, a mini-album released last spring, which we entirely missed until the nice people at Uncut alerted us to a second such output this spring, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever launched their campaign of world dominance with the most glorious and infectious string of songs we’ve heard in some time.  Sure, the sheer thundering gallop they get off to can make you think of fellow Aussies King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, but these guys are so much more.

To begin with, unlike KG & TLW, this record doesn’t sound like the band all got cranked on molly and set the tape deck to record.  These are fabulously well-constructed songs that bear homage to bands as disparate as national heroes Radio Birdman and our very own Luna.  They’ve just released “Julie’s Place” from the forthcoming mini-album, and pledge that upon the new thing’s release, they’ll go into the studio to get down a proper LP.  Cannot wait, for these guys will vanquish the lifeguards and overrun the power stations, leaving us yawping in the light of day.

clagerWe missed Cherry Glazerr‘s show at DC9 on Sunday, because we were somehow asleep at the switch, but our bet is that those people there will have bragging rights for years, because Apocalipstick is going to launch like that rocket on the album cover.  Clementine Creevy — one of the best rock’n’roll names of all time — has come a long way from 2014’s Haxel Princess, when the content of songs was made up of things like her love for grilled cheese sandwiches and the lo-fi production sounded like the rec comprised demos recorded in the broom closet of the LA high school she and the band were still in.

From the moment you hear the big-time mastering of “Told You I’d Be With The Guys,” you know that Secretly Canadian opened the checkbook to pay for a real studio for their next breakout band.  Think The Breeders, Veruca Salt, and maybe Chastity Belt in the hands of Steve Albini, and you’ll get a sense of how ready for the big time these guys are.  We eagerly await the full album download on, we believe, the same day a certain orange-hued braggart is sworn in: when the Apocalypse begins, we will happily listen to Apocalipstick.

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Every January, we find out about albums from the prior year that we completely missed, which if we’d been less dense, woulda made it on Tulip Frenzy’s Top Ten List (c).  Sometimes we even hear about them from the same source — in this case, NPR’s Bob Boilen’s 2016 Top 10 List of fave recsLucy Dacus is a Richmond alternative songwriter and peppy little New Wave combo bandleader whose No Burden was for us as big a discovery as the last artist Boilen pointed us to: Angel Olsen.

She can nearly effortlessly go from catchy rock’n’roll to a quieter, more contemplative sound, but the one thing that’s certain is that everything is melodic, her voice and sense of humor and irony dominate, and if you listen to just one song from this magnificent album, you will inhabit the rest for days at a time.

 

The New Years Day Snowstorm (See Full Gallery Of Images)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 1, 2017 by johnbuckley100

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It was about three degrees in the valley when we went for a New Years Day walk.  Jackson Hole is in a snow cycle and while only a few inches had fallen, in the cold air the light was glorious.  Herewith a gallery of images of what we saw this morning, in the order we saw it.  In most cases we have converted the images to black and white; in some cases we didn’t need to convert anything because it already was monochrome.  And in some cases we have left the color in, thinking it looked best that way. Happy New Year — and so happy that already in this new year, we have taken some photographs we like.

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Tulip Frenzy’s Top 10 List Of Black and White Photographs We Took In 2016

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2016 by johnbuckley100

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Last week, we published our personal faves among the various color photographs we took and published in 2016.  We understand that photographers tend to be known by a particular “look” and sensibility, that many feel the need to commit to either black and white or color.  We couldn’t if we tried.

We look deeply saturated colors — and the purity of monochrome.  We love going out some days with our Leica Monochrom in hand, viewing the world in black and white just as if we had a camera loaded with Tri-X Pan.  On those days when we are either deliberately shooting monochrome, or in the end, that’s the way we process them, we are just as happy, and in some ways even more so than when we shoot color.  We love grey scale, tonalities, the otherness and permanence of an image in black and white.

The one above is our favorite for the year.  Below, in no order, are our nine others.  And for those who like black and white photography, we think you’ll like the galleries on our sister site, Tulip Frenzy Photography.

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