Music

Can Joann: Hurt People Hurt People

An album of cool grooves partly created and recorded in a 19th century North Carolina farmhouse.


Can Joann

Hurt People Hurt People

US Release Date: 2006-05-02
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As far as album titles go, Can Joann's Hurt People Hurt People is a cool one. It has the condensed wit of a fortune cookie (as in, "He who has been hurt will indeed hurt others"), and its repetition could double as a command ("Hurt people! Hurt people!"). But as cool as the title is, Can Joann's music is cooler. The band -- consisting of the North Carolina quartet of Ryan Benjamin, Andrew Bernish, Cameron Kelly, and Joel Peck -- specializes in lush, guitar-savvy compositions. Who would've imagined that a mid-tempo indie rock album recorded, at least in part, in a 19th century farmhouse would sound so polished? Well, it does, with the album's two wholly instrumental numbers (the simmering "intro" and the mellow "Endure En Vogue") being my favorite tracks. In fact, I'd probably prefer Can Joann as an instrumental rock quartet. It's the lead singer's powerful but sometimes off-beat monotone that threatens to undermine the lyricism. Lines like "I believe I'm getting less corrupt / Don't mean I'll never f*ck you up" sound unconvincing from a monotonous delivery. I can appreciate the contrast between the vocals and the buoyancy of the music, but the intricacies of the grooves are the clear winners. The best tracks are: the intro, "After the Seizure's Gone", "Dying on the Vine", "Wine Colored Casket", and "Endure En Vogue". If you find Hurt People helpful, you might also look into Can Joann's 1994 EP Aiden Grace.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

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

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From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

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As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

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This 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.

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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