[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

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[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on June 12th, 2012, 5:46 am

11 JUN 12 – THE ‘RHINO BIRD’ PLAYLIST

I enjoy making playlists, like practically everybody I know. I think you can tell lots from a person’s choices, which is why I’m gradually sharing Rhino Bird, Tar Beak, Yuba Nickel, Smokeyjack, Colusa Junction, and Sutter Flats.

Rhino Bird is first, though. There’s lots I can say about each of the songs, but I’m just going to post lyrics for Gold Guns Girls, by Metric, and what they mean to me. I don’t settle on songs that tweak my fancy, but what they’re saying. It’s got to have meaning. 

Rhino Bird
Las Cruces Jail – Two Gallants
The House of the Rising Sun – The White Buffalo
Where is my Mind - Pixies
Flamenco Sketches – Miles Davis
Nicaragua – La Vida Bohéme
Gold Guns Girls (Acoustic) - Metric
Koop Island Blues – Koop
Goodbye Horses – Garvey
Feeling Good – Nina Simone
Baltimore Blues, No. 1 – Deer Tick
Way Down in the Hole – Tom Waits
Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars
I Got Mine – The Black Keys
Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

Gold Guns Girls – Metric
All the gold and the guns in the world
Couldn’t get you off
All the gold and the guns and the girls
Couldn’t get you off
All the boys, all the choices in the world

I remember when we were gambling to win
Everybody else said better luck next time
I don’t wanna bend let the bad girls bend
I just wanna be your friend
Is it ever gonna be enough?

Is it ever gonna be enough?

All the lace and the skin in the shop
Couldn’t get you off
All the toys and the tools in the box
Couldn’t get you off

All the noise, all the voices never stop

I remember when we were gambling to win
Everybody else said better luck next time
I don’t wanna bend let the bad girls bend
I just wanna be your friend
While you’re giving me a hard time
I remember when we were gambling to win
Every else said ah-ah-ah-ah

Is it ever gonna be enough?

More and more, more and more
Is it ever gonna be enough?


Ostensibly, it’s about relationships of the romantic variety. I like to view it as remarking on all relationships. There’s a part of us that always wants more, the desire for our perfect partner, friend, employee, father, daughter. Every day we face lots of judging. Every day people want you to change, to become what they’d like you to be. No matter what you do, it’s not going to be enough, so why even try? Bending leaves everybody disappointed.  Doubts creep in, and you realize you’re gambling to win, but always losing. Don’t be afraid to reject all those expectations, and just be you.

Emily Haines is very gifted, but I’d also like to briefly sketch over the rest of Rhino Bird. Las Cruces Jail is a great vignette of Billy the Kid, and Jake Smith really knocks out House of the Rising Sun. Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderly, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane are simply legends that you can’t disregard, like Tom Waits’ boozy growl, La Vida Bohéme’s Nicaragua. Goodbye Horses is about freaking enlightenment and transcendence, even if all I conjured up is the image of Buffalo Bill tucking and dancing in drag. Koop Island Blues’ bittersweet jazz-swing duels with Nina Simone nailing Feeling Good. Defiant riffs, the Cult of Guitar.

If you haven’t noticed, I prefer things stripped down, less processed. I feel it’s a bit more genuine, but that being said, I’m not hating.

I’m going to keep this up, so if you’d like to share any of your playlists with me, please indulge. I see lots of lyrics here, and I’m intrigued by many of them. I’d like to see more.
 
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[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on June 25th, 2012, 8:31 pm

25 JUN 12 – THE ‘YUBA NICKEL’ PLAYLIST

All right, the inspiration for this list is my typical drive by a strip mining facility, through irrigated fields and a smaller town that’s notorious for its production of methamphetamine, eventually getting to Yuba City. If I tried correlating music with the temporality of place, it'd be too grim. Yuba’s rates of unemployment, indigence, and homelessness are ridiculously high, so while you’ve got decent areas, you’ve also got that nagging realization of suffering and decline. Having been through a medley of slums of Hyderabad, Aurangabad, and Bombay among other conurbations, this doesn’t affect me to extent that it might. But it’s still very depressing.

What I do is focus on tiny details, try to enjoy the flavor. Focusing on bleakness isn’t productive. For instance, I always laugh at road signs in the middle of nowhere riddled by bullet holes. I think of the eclectic crowd in my favorite taqueria, that rusty bridge after you turn left on 3rd St in Marysville. Even the way Yuba just empties out after a point and it’s all sprawling brown stucco, Appleby’s rising like an island. Remnants of the Old West mixing with decaying concrete and deserted bed-cardboard under graffiti. Cop cars flashing their lights all night. Sometimes I think of driving further, past the Home Depot and Wal-Mart, flooring it past trucking and agricultural supply companies to the empty road to Colusa.

Yuba Nickel represents a jumble of these vignettes.

Yuba Nickel
The Good Life – Frank Sinatra
Are You Gonna Be My Girl – Jet
Never Forget You - Noisettes
You Me Bullets Love – The Bombay Royale
Think – Aretha Franklin
Nashville – Noah Gundersen
Femme Fatale – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Things Have Changed – Bob Dylan
Hurt – Johnny Cash
Summertime – D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Y Control – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
London Calling – The Clash

Summertime – D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind

Here it is the groove slightly transformed
Just a bit of a break from the norm
Just a little somethin’ to break the monotony
Of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be
A little bit out of control it’s cool to dance
But what about the groove that sooths that moves romance
Give me a soft subtle mix
An’ if ain’t broke then don’t try to fix it
An’ think of summers of the past
Adjust the bass and let the alpine blast
Pop in my CD and let me run a rhyme
An’ put your car on cruise an’ lay back
‘Cause this is summertime

Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind
Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind

School is out an’ it’s a sort of a buzz
An’ back then I didn’t really know what it was
But now I see what have of this
The way that people respond to summer madness
The weather is hot and girls are dressing less
An’ checkin’ out the fellas to tell ‘em who’s best
Riding around in your Jeep or your Benzos
Or in your Nissan sitting on Lorenzos
Back in Philly we be out in the park
A placed called the plateau is where everybody goes
Guys out hunting and girls doing likewise
Honking at the honey in front of you with the light eyes
She turn around to see what you beeping at
It’s like the summer’s a natural aphrodisiac
And with a pan and a pad I compose this rhyme
To hit you and get you equipped for the summertime

Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind
Summer, summer, summertime
Time to sit back and unwind

It’s late in the day and I ain’t been on the court yet
Hustle to the mall to get me a short set
Yeah I got on sneaks but I need a new pair
Cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there
The temperature’s about 88
Hop in the water plug just for old times’ sake
Break to ya crib change your clothes once more
Cause you’re invited to a barbeque that’s starting at 4
Sitting with your friends cause y’all reminisce
About the days growing up and the first person you kissed
And as I think back makes me wonder how
The smell from a grill could spark up nostalgia
All the kids playing out front
Little boys messin’ round with the girls playing double-dutch
While the DJ’s spinning a tune as the old folks dance at your family reunion
Then six o’clock rolls around
You just finished wiping your car down
It’s time to cruise so you head to the summertime hangout
It looks like a car show
Everybody come lookin’ real fine
Fresh from the barber shop or fly from the beauty salon
Every moment frontin’ and maxin’
Chillin’ in the car they spent all day waxin’
Leanin’ to the side but you can’t speed through
Two miles an hour so everybody sees you
There’s an air of love and of happiness
And this is the Fresh Prince’s new definition of summer madness


Okay, so before we had The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, we had The Fresh Prince. I’m decidedly not an aficionado of contemporary hip-hop, but the 80s and early 90s were pulsating and vibrant. It was a form of artistry that’s invariably being commercialized into an unfortunate extinction. Summertime’s authenticity lies in painting a picture that’s not about cussing, gats and bitches, but community. It’s wistful and wonderful. It’s about immortalizing emotion, capturing faces that we’ve all known.

Will Smith, Jeff Townes, these guys had flair. Also included are The Bombay Royale, who’re lusciously revitalizing the fading glories of Bollywood, a bit of The Clash and The Velvet Underground. Noisettes, fronted by Shingai Shoniwa (the most gorgeous woman ever), has a really unique sound, and Noah Gundersen is a great emerging talent with lyrics that conjure poetry. Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin… greats of their times remain great, even if they’re not on Billboard. I think lots of people forget that. If you want to find inspiring artists, then go backwards. Don’t trawl through what’s “hip” and imagine you’ll find surfeits of variety.
 
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[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Ulric on July 2nd, 2012, 5:25 pm

2 JUL 12 – LIKE KEYSER SOZE...
Okay, I'm going to keep this curt. I've been writing in circles for a while, and I finally decided to jump ship. I've enjoyed telling these stories, but this is a gut feeling. It's partly sour grapes, mostly the necessity of writing for myself.

But I won't forget. I wouldn't begun refining my talent if not for this grinding, esoteric slog with Ulric. I'll miss him. I'll miss some of you, too.

Aim high,
Ben
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[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Phoenix on July 2nd, 2012, 5:42 pm

Wow, even your goodbye is dour and insulting.
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[Ulric's Scrapbook] Pithy Conceit and Cursing

Postby Wrenmae on July 2nd, 2012, 5:43 pm

I'll miss you, mate. Take care of yourself out there and drop a line every once in awhile.

Best wishes
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