Song of the Week: Dawn of Midi


This is a little bit different from my typical Song of the Week as it is in fact a podcast discussing music.  That podcast is Radiolab, the show that explores curiosity and science through storytelling.  This episode of Radiolab Shorts explores the music of Dawn of Midi who use an electronic approach to acoustical music that creates a trance-like state.

You can listen to the podcast here: http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2013/aug/29/dawn-midi/

Tracks from the new album Dysnomia and others are on the Dawn of Midi soundcloud page.

 

Book Review: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain


Author: Ben Fountain
Title: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Publication Info:   HarperCollins (2012)
ISBN: 9780060885618

 

 

Summary/Review:   This review should be called “Liam Sullivan’s Long Summertime Read” because it took me months to complete reading.  The slothfulness of the read should reflect more on the reader than the novel, and in fact the intricate level of detail in the book may be appreciated by a slow read.  Fountain’s novel tells the story of the Bravo Squad whose firefight in Iraq caught on video goes viral making the ten young men instant heroes brought back to the US to be celebrated and used for a promotional tour.  The majority of the novel takes place on Thanksgiving Day at a Dallas Cowboys game where the Bravos are part of the pre-game and halftime festivities and is told from the perspective of the young Texan infantryman Billy Lynn.  There’s little nuance in Fountain’s writing as this is clearly an anti-war novel with a pile-on of hypocritical people using the Bravos to advance their agenda.  The incidents of the novel also grow increasingly absurd including Billy’s fling with a cheerleader and the surreal halftime show where the Bravos support the performance of Destiny’s Child.  My ultimate summation of this book is good but not great, where the small details stand out better than the overarching themes of the novel.

 

 

Rating: ***

Recommended BooksThe Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

 

 

Song of the Week: “Better Days” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes


This is the latest track from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes of Los Angeles.  While not quite the instant classic like “Home,” “Better Days” has a rich sound and uplifting lyrics.

What’s buzzing in your ears these days?  Let me know in the comments.

Song of the Week: “Feeling Good (Bassnectar Remix)” by Nina Simone


 

Nina Simone‘s music is timeless, but the DJ Bassnectar adds an interesting groove in this remix of “Feeling Good.”

 

 

 

 

Here’s the unadorned, original recording for comparison:

 

 

What music are you listening to this week – new, old, or repurposed?  Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer Review: Harpoon Saison Various


Beer:  Saison Various
Brewer: Harpoon Brewery
Source: Draft
Rating: *** (7.5 of 10)
Comments: #47 in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series, this saison is actually a blend of four different beers crafted by four different brewers.  The beer is a deep golden color with very little head or carbonation.  I caught a strong whiff of tropical fruit in the aroma.  The taste is sweet with hints of spice and a bready quality with a crisp finish.  It’s tasty and unique.

Photopost: Georges Island


The Boston Harbor Islands are a gateway to many adventures. Today we took the ferry from Long Wharf to Georges Island. Along the way we passed the Nantucket Lightship, the planes landing at Logan Airport, the oil tanker Bunga Banyan, the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, and the curious little island called Nixes Mate.

Upon arrival on Georges Island, we made our way inside Fort Warren to the parade ground where the Essex Base Ball Club was playing vintage baseball according to 1864 rules.  The Newburyport Clamdiggers faced the Lynn Live Oaks in vintage style woolen uniforms.  We enjoyed being “cranks” and using 19th century terms to cheer on the players such as “Well hit, sir!” and “Leg it!”

After the game we explored the fort, checking out the gun batteries atop the walls, the dry moat, and the underground caverns of the demilune.  Georges Island may be a small speck in the harbor, but it is definitely a place worth further exploration.

Song of the Week: “Sea of Glass” by Shelby Earl


This week’s song comes from Seattle singer/songwriter Shelby Earl.  The vocals on “Sea of Glass” remind me of the style of singing of Neko Case, although to my ears Shelby Earl has more of an alt-country twang.

I could not find this song on Soundcloud, YouTube, or any other streaming source I could embed in this post, so check it at KEXP’s Song of the Day podcast.  Or better yet, purchase the entire album Swift Arrows online at Bandcamp.

What are you listening to these days?  What qualifies as your song of the week?  Let me know in the comments!

Beer Review: Beer Works Watermelon Ale


Beer: Watermelon Ale

Brewer: Beer Works

Source: 12 oz. bottle

Rating: ** ( 6.4 of 10)

Comments: This is clearly a good summer drink, if not clearly a great beer.  The beer is a thin, straw color, inconsistent in tone and very sparkly.  The aroma is defined by the watermelon scent which is also the clear flavor upon first sip.  The flavor evaporates leaving a bland, watery mouthfeel. The head also disappears quickly.  Mind you this is not necessarily a bad thing as many fruit beers can be overly sweet and sticky.  This watermelon ale is clean and refreshing and good for a hot summer’s day.  Serve with a slice of watermelon.