About mtemccrary

I was never truly engaged in my awareness or education until I learned some fundamental things about the world and how classical education relates to it. The science of logic, rhetoric, grammar and the realities of crony capitalism and imperialism. If educators were aware and honest with disseminating this information and not content to indoctrinate and oppress their students the world would be a dynamic and exciting place to be a part of.

Coldplay Finally Eats Itself

What seemed at first a plaintive, pensive troubador is now a wildly uninhibited frontman. Chris Martin, once stoic and painfully shy, now displays a raucous even playful bravado to his arena crowds. The headiness of his newfound freedom shot out in the laser-lights of 2002’s Clocks, was relished in the organ layers of 2005’s Fix You and then celebrated in the fanfare of 2008’s Viva La Vida. Now, if this first single is any reliable indicator, we have the “after-party rave” in Every Teardrop is a Waterfall . Perhaps their headphones will be too tight to hear the critics’ reviews.

Ever since Rush of Blood to the Head and especially since X&Y, Coldplay has been criticized for playing it safe, using the same bag of tricks, not crafting definitive enough lyrics. Coldplay has been a band that critics love to hate and it’s soon becoming a band that long-time-fans will hate to love. According to Luis Tovar of prettymuchamazing.com, there may be “less embarrassing” tracks than the “subpar” first single making the cut. Hopefully in Coldplay’s newest album, like Chris Martin himself, first appearance will be deceiving. This however may be the album where instead of merely being self-referential they become cannibal; instead referencing itself this band may finally eat itself.

Advertisements

Kate Nash

I might have mentioned the satisfying simplicity of Kate Nash elsewhere but is was well worth the mention and deserves its own space here. The English/Irish singer-songwriter at the piano from North Harrow attracts attention in an unassuming way. Her most popular and perhaps most diverse song to date is Foundations, second cut off Made of Bricks. Being her debut album and released only last year it is so refreshing and exciting to see her go platinum and receive so much coverage even if I can’t find her on FM Radio anywhere. I keep her on my mp3 player.

She was great company running from terminal to terminal, switching train for subway, subway for bus, waiting… checking the map… checking it again… and waiting, waiting under the heat lamps where available in the bitter cold. I fell right in love with the five Kate Nash songs I downloaded before I left for Chicago. Made of Bricks showcases piano lines plunking out of her upright honky-tonk-syle piano and story-line lyrics. Campy yet earnest lyrics unfolded line after line like the the railway ties I traveled every morning. She chords, attacking with pizzicato-like playfulness to underline a varying scene of uncast musicals.

In her interview with Live from Abbey Road she describes her love of theatre and acting that is her inspiration for lyric writing. Her storytelling, quirky and unclean, is something I can identify with. My time spent pursuing a music major led me to several long sessions basement practice rooms dominated by glossy, Korean, upright pianos either desperately learning new instruments or playing scales and arpeggios. To escape the mind bending torture of piano theory, I did what I’d done since I was three years old.
For some reason you can be in a certain mood, set your hands down along the keyboard, get a reflection of that mood in sound and vibrations. Nash knows this. What is so enjoyable is that, like a friend who reads your thoughts, you can sit down with either so much weight or exhilaration and see where you fingers will translate your unspoken, underlying feelings. Like an enzyme fits a protein or a prescription fits a symptom, the loud soothing chords wash around your head and reverberate through your arms and off of the walls of the small practice room. Treating better than any hypnotherapists or psychiatrists could aspire to: I II IV chords in the keys of C and F minor (for severe discontent play below Middle C) or I IV V chords in C and G major.

It’s brilliant and Kate Nash doesn’t get in the way of it. She lets her fingers express in progressions unfettered and uncontrived. As much as I love a good head-trip from Regina Spektor and aspire to her creativness, I treasure Kate Nash’s ability not only to minimalize instrumentally with confidence but also make good on the essence of what it is to sit down at an instrument as a person first and a songwriter second.

Me Too

I am listening to U2’s “Vertigo” Chicago DVD right now. I have been listening to Vertigo all day. In college I went through a “Boy,” “War,” “October” phase. Before that I only knew “Best Of 1980-1990” and 2000’s “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” of course. This last year, “Unforgettable Fire” has been my favorite.

I’ve been a fan since I heard “With or Without You” when I was five and I’ve often been disillusioned with the band because I was so confused by their paradox: Christian ideals, dressing in drag, speaking out against apparthied, saying the f-word. I was 18 and finally said I am not going to bother with this confused bunch until I learn more about them. I was perplexed that a rock band could demand more of me about the world and of faith than I understood myself. Six months later my sister surprises me at the airport with U2 Slane, Ireland concert tickets. I thought we were going to Chicago. I couldn’t handle it. Bono was screaming, speaking to his native Dubliners, he proposed that a statue to Phil Lynot should be erected which later was (you can see it in Once). “This is a small island.” “Jesus, this is Judas!” I was lost. I didn’t know the names of everyone in the band. Inexcusable being that people miles away from Slane couldn’t get tickets to their “home-town” show, people who knew the life stories of Paul Hewson, David Evans, Adam Clayton, and founder Larry Mullen Jr. But that was then. It solidified me as a fan, but now I was nose to nose with my conflict. Who the hell are these guys?

Brendan Kenelly: “If you want to serve your age, betray it.” Bono and company tucked this quip away and wove it into their songs, artwork, and stage-act for nine years. Nine years I had no idea what they were doing… until I discovered that quote. It started to unravel the guise but I wasn’t sold. The possibility of their being misguided was still looming. As my prejudice subsided though I began to see their antics again through this new perspective; it started to make sense. Genius and geniuses.

I can’t say enough how inspired I am by this band and its frontman. I am able to laugh at the caricature of him and I’m awed by its genius because he exaggerated his persona to achieve just that kind of grotesque reaction. We can all laugh and cringe at that through our split fingers. We can all laugh at the bleeding heart, bespectacled, leather clad, cigar smoking, swaggering, hip thrusting, maniac because it’s absurd and ridiculous and common. Jim Carey enjoys entertaining via cautionary comedies like “Liar Liar” and “Yes Man”. Bono has vehicles just as significant when he becomes “The Fly,” “Mephisto,” and “Mirror Ball Man,” especially stinging.

I am glad I was never able to love a band I knew nothing about. If they were tea-cup worshipers – I just needed to know and perhaps ask why. I got a lot of flack in high-school even though they weren’t tea-cup worshipers. I used to keep this small obsession close to my chest, only occasionally wearing my U2 concert shirt in public, not joining in conversations of avid, 30-something fans in line at Starbucks. Let’s face it, even though it’s always good to be a U2 fan, they mostly go to Starbucks. I have drawn graffiti on the walls of Windmill Lane Studios, I’ve eaten chicken from purportedly The Edge’s favorite pub, I own bootlegs going back to 1983, I own many singles and albums on vinyl. I’ve read the U2 by U2 autobiography sleeve to sleeve and I’m bound to read it soon again. I saw U2 when they came to my home town for the first time and I understood the visual and lyrical references this time around. I got to know my band and they came to my home town.

I think it says something when to understand the band better you have to discover things about yourself and your faith. I’m listening today and just soaking in Bono’s “Vertigo” lyrics. He’s malleable. He’s far older than me yet far less cynical. He really believes what he’s saying. He does so much more than he talks. How is this possible? How do I get more like this? The song tells me, I suppose.

New Music, Old Ties

I’ve been non-stop-listening to Vampire Weekend, Ting Tings, and others while they remain yet pageless here. I’ve been obsessing over the Eno connection between U2’s Unforgettable Fire and Coldplay’s new Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. More to come.

Yael Naim

       Frustrated to find out, yet again my music preference has either preceded or more likely been subconsciously influenced by a commercial of the Steve Jobs franchise. I thought I heard this first on early morning MTV2 but realized when searching the singer on youtube that it was actually the commercial for Macbook Air.  (cont…)

 

 

Piano Therapy

I spent a lot of time in basement practice rooms during my stint as music major. I found myself spending more time than I would’ve prefered in small rooms dominated by glossy, Korean, upright pianos repeating scales and arpeggios or desperately learning some new instrument. To escape the mind bending torture that is piano theory to me, I did what I’d done since I was three or four years old. For some reason you can be in a certain mood, set your hands down along the keyboard, get a reflection of that mood in sound and vibrations. Recent music discovery Kate Nash knows this. What is so enjoyable is that, like your closest friend who reads your thoughts before you can read theirs, you can sit down with either so much weight or exhilaration and know where you fingers will translate your unspoken, underlying feelings. Like an enzyme fits a protein or a prescription fits a symptom, the loud soothing chords wash around your head and reverberate through your arms and off of the walls of the small practice room. Treating better than any hypnotherapists or psychiatrists could aspire to: I II IV chords in the keys of C and F minor (for severe discontent play below Middle C) or I IV V chords in the keys of C and G major (adults or children over 70lbs may arpeggiate through all 88 keys)!  click here for full story

.