Did You Hear? Tangerine Speedo

New music! Sometimes old music. Music that we love!

Does anyone remember this song from 2000? Can you help me decide if it was ahead of it’s time, hopelessly unfocused, or maybe just a prime example of pre-9/11 American culture?

We’ve got an amazing “cha-cha-cha” sample throughout, we’ve got some flute, we’ve got a little drum-n-bass, we’ve got a chorus straight out of a vintage Foo Fighters song… I think there’s even a theremin in there for good measure. How the hell did this come into being? It seems like a great song to get sucked into instead trying and failing to converse with college girls. (Or so I’ve heard.)

– Brook Reeder

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Doctrine of Association

Doctrine of Association

Stunning Sentences

I head into the bakery. The matronly woman stands behind the glass display in a frilly white apron with a little hat on her head. Sugar dusts her upper lip. Eclairs, cheesecake, apple fritters, madeleines, and chocolate tarts take center stage. Tucked in the back, behind the fancy and glamorous, sits an unadorned angel food cake. And suddenly I’m thinking about my dad, because each and every birthday, he has an angel food cake. No gifts, no hoopla, just cake. He’ll have exactly one piece, topped with sliced strawberries, the foamy white cake blossoming red.

The cake and the immediate memories of my father bring to mind the 18th century philosopher and psychologist David Hartley, who came up with the Doctrine of Association. Hartley noticed that when we encounter two things in close proximity, we recall one of those things when we encounter the other. Writers use this tendency of the mind to link images together to generate a profusion of implications and associations. So when Proust’s narrator eats a madeleine in In Search of Lost Time, he suddenly remembers those Sunday mornings with his Aunt Leonie, who dipped her madeleine in her tea and offered it to him.

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The Boomstick Film Club: My First Mister

My First Mister

The Boomstick

Watch it with us: Netflix streaming

Based on its premise alone, I had a lot of reservations about My First Mister (2001). You can’t swing a metaphorical dead cat without hitting a movie that depicts a May-September romance as the most normal and commonplace thing in the world. I knew that the young woman in My First Mister was only a teenager and I wasn’t sure I was ready to see that, even if the film did make some attempt to acknowledge how strange and potentially creepy such a relationship is. But I gave it a try anyway and I was delighted to be proven wrong. Continue reading

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The One Who Smiles

Twenty-One Cardinals

I will never pretend to be Angèle again. Not if they ask me on bended knee, not for money or atonement – never again will I be forced to bear her cross.

Angèle is dead. She died a horrible death, and I won’t again wear her smile or the twinkle in her eye, like her standard bearer, with everyone in on it, to keep the family intact.

Angèle is dead. Dead under tons of rock. Crushed to death, mangled, ripped apart, eviscerated, brains spilled out. Dead forevermore. Dead for all eternity. So don’t ask me to bring her back.

The Old Maid can hound me all she likes, but her quartermaster’s eyes will meet only hard, black stone. Angèle, my Angèle, Angèle of my heart, my sister, my friend. My Angèle is gone, out of harm’s way, unseeable, intangible. Her soul fused with mine when she was buried under the rock, and together we withdrew behind a fortress where eyes cannot follow.

Only Noah, my love, my husband, knows where the hidden part of me lives. He has never asked to go there with me. He knows, that’s all.

When Noah enters our messy bathroom and sees me smiling in the mirror, he leaves. Softly, on tiptoe.

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Did You Hear? Chandelier

New music! Sometimes old music. Music that we love!

Holy crap, they made it better. They made a great song better. A cappella hardly ever does that–at best, it usually reminds you of the original before devolving into 3 rambling minutes of “doo-wahs.” (I’m an ex-a cappella group director, so maybe that qualifies me to make sweeping generalizations and disparaging remarks?)

But this song reminds me how awesome musical expression is as an art form, not to mention how great it is to have modern recording technology that allows something this intricate and transitory to become permanent and polished.

Special Zentmyer Disclaimer: No crushing on this lead singer, please.

– Brook Reeder

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The Ends

Broom

Wittgenstein's Mistress

Part 5 of 5

Pages read: 200-240, so many times I lost track

At the end of the last column, I suggested that my appetite for knowledge of Kate’s past has not been satisfied. Well, in these, our last forty pages, it was, along with, as DFW promised it, attendant tears.

Kate doesn’t jump immediately into confessional mode; she slides into it unwillingly over the course of twenty-two pages. It begins with a playful reimagining of soap opera plotlines from Ancient Greece (As Troy Turns?) and during that time Kate naturally mentions Helen’s cat. Helen’s cat leads her to write about an episode that took place in her loft before the Fall, during which a number of friends may or may not have helped her write to famous people to enlist their help in naming her new cat. (In this section, facts slip through her fingers in more noticeable ways, perhaps because we’re more familiar now with the information she’s working with.) And that cat leads to the cat of many years ago, the one named Cat or Gato (recall our conversation about naming things) who belonged to her son, here called Lucien almost uniformly. And then the remembrance of the unutterable of Long Ago: Lucien’s premature death from meningitis, Kate’s infidelities (“one sometimes merely fucked, too,” she says, and that profane word seems to burst like a bullet out of the dispassionate, academic prose), Adam’s drunkenness, and the murky questions of cause-and-effect surrounding all these tragedies.

The whole book, in some sense, was a means by which to distract herself from this trauma, and yet all the book was naturally leading directly to it. In fact, after she talks about Lucien’s death, and sputters a bit, trying to regain her footing, she wonders if perhaps she could have avoided the topic all together.

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This is Not Sound

Drager

In the classroom, standing in front of her blank-face students, the deaf mathematician loses her train of thought. In doing so, she thinks of this idiom, how false it is that thought follows a path like the tracks of a train. Or maybe not; train tracks split and meet again later, some tracks run parallel and never meet. And tracks end abruptly, are left unfinished or are abandoned and grown over with brush, get buried with time.

She puts her hand to her forehead to block the light and scans the room. How many of them have walked tracks at night, put toe to heel on the raised metal, felt sound coming through the ties? It is a feeling that resides in that twilight space of language somewhere between a shudder and a shake.

I’m sorry, the deaf mathematician signs and her students blink blankly. Where were we?

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Did You Hear? Velveteenager (Minneapolis B)

New music! Sometimes old music. Music that we love!

Daniel James, a.k.a. Canon Blue, released the album Rumspringa in 2011, and it confused me for a while. I listened to it and dismissed it. Then it started coming up on shuffle and each new song blew me away. Maybe because it’s the kind of music that demands something from you, these single servings worked better for me. Now I’m hooked.

James worked with Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear for this record, as well as an amazing string group (out of Iceland, thank you Wikipedia). I highly recommend the whole album!

Here’s another track I love called “Chicago.”

– Brook Reeder

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