Music

Whispering Pines: Family Tree

LA's Whispering Pines conjure the South with their debut.


Whispering Pines

Family Tree

Label: Self-released
US Release Date: 2010-01-01
UK Release Date: Unavailable
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Somehow the heart and soul of the South pour out of Los Angeles’s Whispering Pines on their debut release. Named after the song by the Band, Whispering Pines incorporate the sounds of the aforementioned with the Allman Brothers. This isn’t some mere Southern rock bar band, though. These guys vary their dynamics and give their songs a great amount of dimension. The bassline (Brian Filosa) is given dual billing with the rest of the instruments; that is, the bass’s levels are equivalent to the lead instruments instead of shoving it in the background. The jamming sections are very intellectual and actually lead to somewhere, rather than hovering around a particular jam segment for a long time. Recorded in the late Elliott Smith’s studio using a 1970s Trident A Range console (only 13 are in existence), the album was recorded completely analog. The album is set up for vinyl release, so songs are divided into “side a” and “side b”. Check out the title track for an impeccable conjuring of Levon Helm’s songwriting and vocals. These guys have the ability to do what they want: “Add to their collective body of music with reverence and vision”. Well done, sirs.

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Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

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Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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