Dedicated to classics and hits.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hit Songs: Vexila regis produnt

 One of the two necessary components for a discussion about an Artist and an Audience is the existence of an "Artist."   Literary criticism contains an infinity of iterations on this theme, but for the purpose of Vexila regis produnt, a psalm from the 6th century it's fair to say that the Author is "Unknown."

  Vexila regis produnt is the earliest specific song that is mentioned in Henry Raynor's comprehensive A Social History of Music from the Middle Ages to Beethoven.

 So, to the extent that you sit at your computer and actually listen to a gregorian chant once in your life, this is the one to listen to- Vexila regis produnt.

 It goes without saying that much if not all of "music history" from the Middle Ages is "church music."  The first generation of Artists to burst out of the Church music scene moved to playing for Royalty,  I imagine communities of musicians in the late middle ages gossiping about which was the better gig, and where you might go next- but there aren't really specific guys who have survived- just songs.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights Characters

Book Review
Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
originally published in 1847

  Emily Brontë is kind of the coolest of the Brontë sisters because Wuthering Heights was her only novel and she died in 1848- a year after publication.  That makes her kind of Kurt Cobain figure in certain literary circles, or at least gives Emily Brontë extra artistic authenticity from the perspective of an Audience member.

  The crib notes version of Wuthering Heights is the "doomed love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff" but the book is actually a complex inter-generational saga with multiple jumps between narrators and in time- an obvious reason why a generation of literary scholars have preferred the proto modernism of Wuthering Heights to the more mundanely Victorian writing of Jane Eyre.

  That shift is illustrated by a Google Ngram comparing the  frequency of  occurrence("popularity") from the two titles over the last two centuries.  Jane Eyre is dominant until the late 1930s- with Wuthering Heights surpassing Jane Eyre only in 1938.  Between 1950 and 1970 Wuthering Heights is actually on top with Jane Eyre re-assuming the top spot between 1980 and 2000.

  Emily Brontë is a truly romantic literary figure- raised in isolation, only one work to her name, died extremely young.  It's amazing that she was able to conjure up such a vividly Romantic landscape, though she  had well known models, her own physical environment and the behavior of her  likely mentally ill brother, Branwell Bronte- he was an alcoholic and opium user.

  Classic status aside, I didn't much enjoy the experience of reading Wuthering Heights because I associated it with it's hoary, pop-culture derived image.  Wuthering Heights turns out to be rich literary territory and surpasses the work of her sisters in terms of the complexity of the narrative and the characterization.  Both Charlotte and Emily used Gothicly derived characters to heighten the effectiveness of their Art, but Heathcliff and Catherine transcend the conventions, whereas Jane Eyre and Rochester inhabit a more recognizable world.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Crocodiles (band) Continue To Tour

  Crocodiles (band) Fall 2012 tour dates in support of their most recent album, Endless Flowers (Frenchkiss/Souterrain Transmissions) with bands such as Japandroids, Dirty Beaches, Punks On Mars, The Soft Pack, Heavy Hawaii, AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE.

9/1 London, UK – 1234 Festival
9/4 London, UK – Rough Trade East
9/6 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique
9/11 Munich, Germany – Hansa 39 *
9/12 Cologne, Germany – Gebaude 9
9/15 Amiens, France – Lune Des Pirates
9/18 Angers, France – Chaba
9/28 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom !
9/29 Washington, DC – Black Cat !
10/1 Allston, MA – Great Scott !
10/2 Montreal, QC – Divan Orange !
10/3 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre ^
10/4 Ferndale, MI – The Magic Bag !
10/5 Chicago, IL – Subterranean !
10/7 Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
10/9 Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
10/11 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
10/12 Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
10/13 Boise, UT – The Venue
10/15 Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
10/16 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile @
10/17 Portland, OR – Doug Fir @
10/18 San Francisco, CA – Slim’s @
10/19 Pomona, CA – The Glass House @
10/20 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo @
10/23 San Diego, CA – Casbah @
10/24 Tucson, AZ – Plush
10/26 Austin, TX – Red 7
10/27 Dallas, TX – Club Dada
10/28 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s Downstairs

* with Japandroids, Dirty Beaches

! w/ Punks On Mars

@ w/ The Soft Pack & Heavy Hawaii

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Brief Word in Support of Ela Orleans

Ela Orleans

 The Ela Orleans cut on the new 4-way split LP The Statement on Clan Destine records, is a hit!  It sounds like the song is built on a Steve Reich sample, always a solid reference point when used judiciously, but The Season is a genuine hit that creates musical magic in excess of the context in which the song occurs.

Here is the last fm biography:

Ela Orleans is a Polish musician, who lives and works in New York. She was in a few experimental / noise projects based in NYC such as: 3i’s (with Marc Orleans and Pete Nolan), Ozone Swimmers (with Marc Orleans), Franklin’s Mint (with Phil Franklin). She played with Jackie O Motherfucker, Kevin Shea, Wende K. Blass and Scarcity of Tanks. She collaborate since 2008 with skitter (glasgow) for some experimental project. She is also a member of Hassle Hound. The band has releases on Staubgold, Pickled Egg, Twisted Nerve and Textile Records, High Moon, Low Sun (first solo album) on Setola di Maiale (Italy) 2008.

   She's got some dates next week in and around Paris, including the Route du Rock.  At 51k last fm plays, she is poised for a break through but not there yet. She is ready for the full LP treatment, and has the Audience to support such a release.

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