Friday, February 24, 2012

BITCH Magazine Review of Darling Specimens!

Zoe is a real person with human parents, but it's tempting to imagine her springing from the pen of Astrid Lindgren. From a childhood spent vagabonding between the United States and Canada with her family (sporting red galoshes regardless of the weather) to the resourceful use of feedback loops when musical collaborators aren't in town, she has carved out an entirely unique space and sound, and may be Oakland's answer to Bjork. Like the former Sugarcube, Boekbinder is an unusual first listen, but let the sound warm in your headphones and you'll find some perfectly caramelized pop nudgers.

At first listen, Darling Specimens' eclecticism threatens to take over: I kept expecting Tiny Tim to leap out of the closet. But Boekbinder's lyrics are witty, and some of the arrangements are little feats of architecture. The looped vocals, finger-snap percussion, and cash-register dings of "Seven Times" are cushioned and undergirded with keyboards.

Boekbinder's inventive production made me lose my own personal game of "Stop--hey! What's that sound?" again and again. The theremin-like "oohs" and "woos" backing Boekbinder singing about stretching intestines into strings to wrap around "Hollow Bones"? Turns out it was a saw. The oom'pahs and beeps that sounded like synthesizers? A brassy trio of trumpet, trombone, and tuba. Add Boekbinder's triply vibrato vocals and clever lyrical slant, and you've got a mighty rich gumbo to digest.

DON'T LISTEN IN BED - Your action figures will throw a dance party and you'll step on them in the morning. You've been warned.

- Heather Seggel - BITCH Magazine

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bears for life!

A list because I'm not sure how to tie these things together:

-I was out with a friend last night. He was treating me to belated birthday sushi. As we were waiting for our food we discussed our likeness to bears. We both eat a lot of salmon and spend a lot of time alone. One of the sushi rolls he ordered tasted like being wrapped in a fire-warmed, handmade quilt. In conclusion, I'm quite the fan of salmon and quilts and salmon that reminds me of quilts. Any salmon-fishing-quilters out there?

-I spent much of the day cutting, pasting, letter writing, and addressing (and eating salmon and not talking to anyone).

-I've started drinking decaf coffee because caffeine makes me crazy but I love the taste of coffee and I miss the routine more than the buzz anyway. I feel lame ordering it though.

-The same friend who wrapped me in the sushi quilt also gifted me some vintage Billie Holiday records that I'm really excited about. I had to get rid of my broken record player though... so I'm on the hunt for a new one.

-I'm completely in love with this song I've been playing. It was written by one of the inmates at New Folsom Prison. His name is Ken. He has white hair that shows a little under his white cap with the sweat stained brim. His face looks as though it might be made out of the thin outside layer of a head of garlic, ground up with a mortar and pestle and then made into clay and molded into the face of an old man whose seen years inside a cell. His hands won't hold steady but he still manages to play blues guitar better than I ever will.

-I haven't been able to shake the outrage I felt when I found out that the black inmates (70% of the entire pop.) in C Facility (general population) at New Folsom Prison is on lock down after some racially driven violence between white and black inmates. Its predicted they will be on lockdown for a year. I've been trying to rationalize why that would be the solution... so that I can at least understand the inhumanity. What this means is they will spend 24 hours a day in their cells with no yard time at all. Twice a week they are allowed to go to the showers. What if you don't get along with your cell mate? What if you like sunlight? What if looking at the same cement walls for twelve months tests your sanity? What if you're human? I guess that last one hasn't occurred to the people in charge.

Sorry to end on this sad note...