I'm back

Brief reviews of LCD Soundsystem, Spoon, Lorde, Silvana Estrada.

In the 2010s, I was an obsessive poster. I still am, I mean—have you seen my Twitter account? But I had a weblog (a thing that became shortened to blog, which are now newsletters for some reason, but they're blogs. This is a blog). I had a personalized URL shortener that linked to my posts (the now defunct iamjere dot me… I am extremely clever). I wanted to build an audience. Somewhere along the way, I got repulsed at the idea of writing on a personal site, and I was occupied with writing show reviews for the world's most beloved local music site, Allston Pudding.

As I write this, I'm scared I'm writing LinkedIncore without the linebreaks. Anyway. I have been trying to find the creative spark I know I have, and to use the free time I have in a way that is more intellectually stimulating than uhhh multiplayer Halo Infinite, which is not a dead game, it is very much alive and I still love playing fiesta slayer.

Anyway, every few years there's a big push toward a platform. There's Medium, which I was on. There's Substack, which I was on. All of those services let users export their stuff to a cool new platform, thanks to a free and open web that I adore.

But I'm weary of the past writing living on this new thing I'm doing. And I like starting over. So, I'm starting over. This blog will be about my curiosities and obsessions. If you follow my social media accounts, you'll get the idea.

Quick hits

LCD Soundsystem @ Roadrunner 3.28

If you're going to go to a new venue, you might as well see a bucket list band that you've always been just kind of ambivalent about. God, I love the song "Dance Yrself Clean" though, and hearing that song live was an absolute blast.

Seeing and hearing that show in Roadrunner was awesome. The (dear god, no) sound system (lol) is pristine. And the layout of the space makes it so that it is not cavernous – despite the industrial, concrete-slab look of the space.

Spoon @ a less exciting venue 3.30

If you're going to see a rock band you absolutely adore, you might as well not care about the room you're in. A strange upside of a tour opener in pandemic times: It seems way less likely that the show will be postponed (the next week, Spoon had to move a few dates).

Britt Daniel and company were in great form. Spoon could put together a bad setlist and it would still be all bangers. Luckily, that wasn't the case. "Got Nuffin'" (justice 4 Transference) pulsed with renewed energy; "Wild" from the new thing Lucifer on the Sofa (I am legally obligated to note that it's a Jack Antonoff cowrite) sounds so good live, and Daniel's trademark howl on the chorus is perfect.

One final observation about Lucifer: "Wild" is a FIFA 23 soundtrack song, and "The Hardest Cut" is an NHL 23 song. I don't know why, but that's just how I feel about those tunes.

Lorde from a terrifying balcony 4.13

Listen: I don't think balconies are supposed to shake like that. And how does the Wang Theatre get away with not having railings on the stairs? Because it's old? I don't like it. I felt like I was going to die.

I don't have a lot of wholly original thoughts about this show, and my tweets about it more than suffice.

Another thing: "Stoned at the Nail Salon" is a Great Song. It's up there with the rest of her hits. I love sad songs and it is a Great Sad Song. And Solar Power was totally misunderstood when it dropped and hopefully there will be some sort of corrective someday. Larry Fitzmaurice of Last Donut of the Night wrote something good recently about "Nail Salon" among others at the New York Times.

I'll leave you with this

I'll admit it – I have a thing for songs about, in, or near oceans. The appeal is clear and cliché. There's the mysticism that comes with it: getting swept up in undercurrents, the rough choppy waters, wanting to give into it all and let go. It's the spot where we get lost to find ourselves. Though – as a matter of preference – I'm more of a lake guy myself.

But perhaps it was the song title "La Corriente" ("The Current") that drew me in to Silvana Estrada's magnificent debut record, Marchita (Wounded), released earlier this year. "La Corriente" buzzes with an urgency, and Estrada sings here as if each word has occurred to her in that moment. In the chorus she sings, translated from Spanish, "You changed tides and currents / you left your name on the sea / you turned a smiling face / and I knew not how to swim." She resolves, repeating "let the current live on my skin."

In many ways, "La Corriente" is a microcosm of the album as a whole. There's the sparse instrumentation – Estrada's voice and her Venezuelan cuatro swells into a lush arrangement with a tenor saxophone, cello, and keyboard. As the music swells, so does the feeling of heartbreak.

It's a beautiful album, and I'll leave you with this.


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