Summer Lawns: First We Waited, Then It Started
The name of the New York band Summer Lawns, suggests bright pop and pictures of sunny days and sprinklers. Their music delivers something very different.
With a nod to Sir Walter Scott’s poem of the same name their debut CD, First We Waited, Then It Started, creates a mood of comfortable melancholy. And rather than turning you off, its slow pace draws you into its lush instrumentation and minimalist lyrics.
With a sound remnant of the bands Low, Yo La Tengo and a bit of Radiohead’s beguiling spaciness, Summer Lawns produces a CD that weaves you into dreamlike imagery with lyrics mentioning boats, stars and beds. They serve as visual aids for a cohesive CD that takes you on a trip worth taking.
Formed in June 2003, in Brooklyn, New York, the four band members, Jeremy Linzee, Andrew Landry, Laurel Birkey and Kieran Kelly, create music the way a chamber quartet would, perfecting song and lyrics before unifying it into their simplistic blend of cello, drums, keyboard and guitar.
And even with its nod to poetry and lyrics that ask questions like “Are you ever lonely on your trip around the sun?” the CD remains unpretentious. Instead it’s a comfortable setting that moves you slowly through fragments of the world you remember from your sleep, the dreams you had and remember. It’s a place you can’t stay away from.
Thanks so much for the free show! I’m sorry that when your little guys came around collecting signatures on a petition to build a stage less than a block away from my house, I slammed the door on them. It’s just that last year during your rock ‘n’ roll themed 10K, my hangover was prematurely initiated at the ungodly hour of seven in the morning by the repeated performance of Tommy Tutone’s insipid “867-5309.” I understand that of the many stages you set up along the race route, having one in the northwest would be desirable, and what better part of northwest than Savier and 23rd? After all the only people who live around there are poor, and in northwest, that’s an unattractive quality, but poor people sleep in on Sunday too, man. It’s the Lord’s Day after all. And waking up to some throwaway ’80s band half-heartedly performing their stupid hit, over, and over and over is really unpleasant.
But you really redeemed yourself this time around. First off, the music didn’t start until nine, which was a nice break. And when it did start, I was so surprised! I braced myself for the worst; terrified of a morning spent listening to some ironic nostalgia in the form of a reunited Spin Doctors or Jesus Jones, but instead I was treated to the delightful beats of a one DJ Z-Trip! Rather than suffering inane pop ditties instead I was treated to inane pop ditties only this time with beats.
For hours my two-year-old daughter and I delighted to the turntable-ism joy that is Z-trip while watching orange clad runners dodge our local hobo and his taunts. The best part is I was ready to shell out the dough to see Z-Trip live at the Wonder Ballroom in August. Now I don’t have to, because you brought him for free! My favorite part of the morning was when my daughter delightedly exclaimed, “That man’s boobs are bouncing!”
Way to go Nike! You’ve stepped up and not ruined my weekend. Now let’s talk about those sweatshops.
Choncy Joncy Jones
On his first visit to the Middle East, Ricky Martin declared he would try to change negative perceptions of Arab youth in the West.
“I promise I will become a spokesperson, if you allow me to, a spokesperson on your behalf. I will defend you and try to get rid of any stereotypes,” the 33-year-old singer told youngsters from 16 (mainly Arab) countries at a youth conference on Monday.
The children, ages 14 to 16, expressed concern about being labeled as “terrorists” by the West.
“I have been a victim of stereotypes. I come from Latin America and to some countries, we are considered drug traffickers, and that is not fair because that is generalizing,” said Martin, who was born in Puerto Rico.
“Those comments are made out of ignorance and we have to sometimes ignore the ignorant, but we also have to educate the ignorant. You have me here as a friend,” he said.
Martin, who is a United Nations Children’s Fund Goodwill Ambassador, said he wanted to get to know the youth and their cultures better.
He said he planned to do a concert tour of the Mid-east and North Africa, including Jordan and the Palestinian territories, tentatively scheduled for May 2006.
Martin, whose hits include “She Bangs,” “Shake Your Bon-Bon” and “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” posed for photos with fans, at one point draping over his shoulders a traditional Arab kaffiyeh headscarf with the slogan “Jerusalem Is Ours” written in Arabic on it.
“I had no idea that the kaffiyeh scarf presented to me contained language referring to Jerusalem, and I apologize to anyone who might think I was endorsing its message,” Martin said in a statement released Monday by his New York-based publicist, Ken Sunshine.
“My role is entirely humanitarian, and I will continue to promote the elimination of stereotyping anyone – be they from Latin America, the Middle East, or anywhere across the globe,” he said in the statement.
Martin attended the silver jubilee of the Arab Children’s Congress set up 25 years ago by Jordan’s Queen Nour, King Hussein’s widow, to promote creativity, peace, cross-cultural understanding and tolerance. He said he would like to promote a similar youth congress for his native Latin America.
Martin said he would travel later Monday to Thailand where his organization, the Ricky Martin Foundation, had built 225 homes to protect children orphaned by the Dec. 26 tsunami that swept through South Asia.
“I couldn’t stay at home with my arms crossed,” he said.
Martin said his foundation also is working to combat child pornography and prostitution worldwide.
She’s come undone
Her ebony hair perfectly parted and saucer-like eyes perpetually staring, the life-size Betty Boop statue became a local landmark on Shore Drive in the city of Virginia Beach, Va.
Alas, she has now lost her head.
Last weekend, a patron discovered the $1,600 figure a block away from its home in front of Cool & Eclectic Furniture and Fashion – missing its crowning glory.
“Without it, she’s nothing,” said storeowner Larry Estes, who filed a police report Friday.
Estes collected Boop’s body and placed it in a storeroom. Then he began searching up and down Shore Drive. He is offering a free store item to anyone who comes forward with Boop’s head.
“She’s made a lot of people smile,” he said of the mascot. “Who would do this?”
Betty has had run-ins before. Two years ago, Hurricane Isabel’s winds tossed the statue down Shore Drive, severing limbs and crushing her head.
“From heel to head, I had to reconstruct her,” Estes said.