Search Results for: "Patti Smith" "Just Kids"

Best Of 2013, Guest Editors: Basia Bulat On Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”

As 2013 has come to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

BasiaBulatLogoThe reaction to Tall Tall Shadow (Secret City), Basia Bulat’s third full-length, has been exceedingly positive, a happy circumstance for a performer who made her thus-far moderate fame on the folk singer/songwriter circuit and is now looking to switch things up. Bulat’s first two albums, adept enough affairs, traded mostly in the light arrangements and soft dynamics of contemporary folk music. If her talents extend beyond many of her peers (notably her staggering facility on a wide range of stringed instruments from the dulcimer to the charango), her aesthetic palette as presented on her first two albums was largely traditional. Tall Tall Shadow, by contrast, opens with the stomping, gradual crescendo of the title track, an immediate announcement of increasing speed and volume that sustains for the rest of the record. It’s a sonic gamble for Bulat, who for the first time finds herself pushing her aesthetics into more energetic territory. Still, the song structures and modes are of a piece with her previous releases, making Tall Tall Shadow a furtherance rather than a divergence from her previous work. Bulat will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

JustKids

Bulat: I don’t think I’ve ever cried as hard reading a book as I did while reading the final chapters of Just Kids. I don’t even know what else I could say about this book except that I loved it so.

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From The Desk Of Basia Bulat: Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”

BasiaBulatLogoThe reaction to Tall Tall Shadow (Secret City), Basia Bulat’s third full-length, has been exceedingly positive, a happy circumstance for a performer who made her thus-far moderate fame on the folk singer/songwriter circuit and is now looking to switch things up. Bulat’s first two albums, adept enough affairs, traded mostly in the light arrangements and soft dynamics of contemporary folk music. If her talents extend beyond many of her peers (notably her staggering facility on a wide range of stringed instruments from the dulcimer to the charango), her aesthetic palette as presented on her first two albums was largely traditional. Tall Tall Shadow, by contrast, opens with the stomping, gradual crescendo of the title track, an immediate announcement of increasing speed and volume that sustains for the rest of the record. It’s a sonic gamble for Bulat, who for the first time finds herself pushing her aesthetics into more energetic territory. Still, the song structures and modes are of a piece with her previous releases, making Tall Tall Shadow a furtherance rather than a divergence from her previous work. Bulat will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new feature on her.

JustKids

Bulat: I don’t think I’ve ever cried as hard reading a book as I did while reading the final chapters of Just Kids. I don’t even know what else I could say about this book except that I loved it so.

Video after the jump.

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Best Of 2011, Guest Editors: Rachael Yamagata On Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”

As 2011 has come to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

When singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata was growing up, she went to all-girls school that she says warped her into the relationship-obsessed woman she’s become, at least in the lyrics of her songs. She began singing with a funk-crazed dance band called Bumpus while she was in college studying theater. While touring and recording with Bumpus, she was also writing confessional, deeply emotional songs that didn’t fit the band’s format. Happenstance, her first solo album, was a folk/pop charmer. Her tunes have appeared on The O.C., The L Word, Grey’s Anatomy and Alias, and Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst all expressed admiration for her vocal style. Having just issued Chesapeake (Frankenfish), Yamagata will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with her.

Yamagata: When I first started writing songs, it was all about the lyric for me. I just wanted to express myself in layers with some attempt at being poetic because it allowed me to hint at emotional complexities without having to break them down in some clinical way. Once I began playing in a band, it became about the onstage chemistry and feeding off of the crowd, the perfectly transitioned set list that could navigate the energy of the room and so forth. I lived on canned ravioli and pretzel bits that I bought from the gas station for years and was perfectly comfortable with waiting tables and rehearsing at odd hours of the night just to be able to put on a show. I was never poor, but I did pay many dues and still my unfailing desire was to get onstage and keep writing songs.

Patti Smith’s book of her journey through NYC life and her art—poetry, sketching, prose, installations, etc—not only reminded me of a true artist’s journey, but it literally kicked my ass. For me, it told an honest recount of friendship, love, passion for her work, courage to face mistakes, fear expressed on a platter, struggles and triumphs faced and in color. It kicked my ass because it reminded me in a master class way of the importance of the work and over the years it has been too easy for me to get lost in the details of business and survival. My trials have been next to nothing compared to hers, and yet she shouldered on for the sake of her work. She lives it in everything she does. Her writing is stunning, and the sentences are these individual treasures.

I am no book critic, nor Patti Smith obsessed fan, but I was incredibly moved by this book. The history of music weaved into the chapters, of course, are amazing and spoken in real time. I think I got six copies for last Christmas and only made the time to read it a few weeks ago. I’ve met her once and shared the stage with her twice now, and after reading this know that I blew that brief interaction. If I had had any idea of all she really stands for in life and art, I wouldn’t have dared even say hello, but rather admired from afar. That, or never let her out of my sight before she agreed to answer one billion questions.

Read it. That’s all I’ve got.

Video after the jump.

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Rachael Yamagata Wishes You Love: Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”

When singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata was growing up, she went to all-girls school that she says warped her into the relationship-obsessed woman she’s become, at least in the lyrics of her songs. She began singing with a funk-crazed dance band called Bumpus while she was in college studying theater. While touring and recording with Bumpus, she was also writing confessional, deeply emotional songs that didn’t fit the band’s format. Happenstance, her first solo album, was a folk/pop charmer. Her tunes have appeared on The O.C., The L Word, Grey’s Anatomy and Alias, and Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst all expressed admiration for her vocal style. Having just issued Chesapeake (Frankenfish), Yamagata will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with her.

Yamagata: When I first started writing songs, it was all about the lyric for me. I just wanted to express myself in layers with some attempt at being poetic because it allowed me to hint at emotional complexities without having to break them down in some clinical way. Once I began playing in a band, it became about the onstage chemistry and feeding off of the crowd, the perfectly transitioned set list that could navigate the energy of the room and so forth. I lived on canned ravioli and pretzel bits that I bought from the gas station for years and was perfectly comfortable with waiting tables and rehearsing at odd hours of the night just to be able to put on a show. I was never poor, but I did pay many dues and still my unfailing desire was to get onstage and keep writing songs.

Patti Smith’s book of her journey through NYC life and her art—poetry, sketching, prose, installations, etc—not only reminded me of a true artist’s journey, but it literally kicked my ass. For me, it told an honest recount of friendship, love, passion for her work, courage to face mistakes, fear expressed on a platter, struggles and triumphs faced and in color. It kicked my ass because it reminded me in a master class way of the importance of the work and over the years it has been too easy for me to get lost in the details of business and survival. My trials have been next to nothing compared to hers, and yet she shouldered on for the sake of her work. She lives it in everything she does. Her writing is stunning, and the sentences are these individual treasures.

I am no book critic, nor Patti Smith obsessed fan, but I was incredibly moved by this book. The history of music weaved into the chapters, of course, are amazing and spoken in real time. I think I got six copies for last Christmas and only made the time to read it a few weeks ago. I’ve met her once and shared the stage with her twice now, and after reading this know that I blew that brief interaction. If I had had any idea of all she really stands for in life and art, I wouldn’t have dared even say hello, but rather admired from afar. That, or never let her out of my sight before she agreed to answer one billion questions.

Read it. That’s all I’ve got.

Video after the jump.

Read More »

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Adam Goldberg’s Heart Grows Fonder For: “Just Kids” By Patti Smith

The Goldberg Sisters is the new musical project from Adam Goldberg, the always entertaining actor/filmmaker whose impressive resume includes the likes of Saving Private RyanDazed And Confused, Friends, Entourage, Zodiac2 Days In Paris and the Flaming Lips’ Christmas On Mars. The band’s 10-track, self-titled album (on Apology Music/Play It Again Sam) follows Goldberg’s 2009 musical debut, Eros And Omissions, released under the moniker LANDy. As with that project, The Goldberg Sisters finds Goldberg collaborating with Aaron Espinoza (Earlimart, Admiral Radley), though this time out, the duo was assisted by a handful of other musicians, including Goldberg’s girlfriend Roxanne Daner on violin. The result is a satisfying collection of effects-heavy, urbane psychedelia held together by Goldberg’s high-pitched, Lennon-esque croon. Goldberg will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with him.

Goldberg: As noted, I don’t read. But started reading this in the tub the other day after a particularly brutal inability to keep from typing, tweeting or texting. Its few pages felt like brain floss. Poetic without be self-important, nuanced and detailed without meandering—and ultimately a bit surprising to me. I know Patti Smith from Horses really. I loved Horses. I couldn’t believe someone was making that music back in 1975. It blew my mind and moved me. But it’s indelicate in many ways. What little I have read so far (because I don’t take enough baths, breaks or time to read something that isn’t radioactive) has touched me, made me wonder if I can really recall anything with nuance or detail, and wonder and hope if I have a friend I’d write that book about and for.

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Swervedriver’s Adam Franklin Wants You Right Now: Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”

How do you best the anti-guitar-god bluster of arguably the most sonically bold and melodically sophisticated band of England’s shoegaze era? If you’re Swervedriver’s unflappable former leader, Adam Franklin, you don’t even try. You simply work off the various templates for greatness set forth by your former outfit, which, quite frankly, spewed out enough novel ideas to sustain a half-dozen indie-rock careers. Which brings us to Franklin’s latest, I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years (Second Motion), whose initial tracks were hammered out in New York late last year with his newly minted backup outfit, Bolts Of Melody. Sleep is Franklin’s most well-rounded collection to date, balancing the more laid-back guitar balladry and pop sensibilities of his last two solo albums with the ornery, volatile spark of vintage Swervedriver largely missing on those efforts. Franklin will be guest-editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him as well as our 2009 Lost Classics post on Swervedriver’s Mezcal Head.

Franklin: A friend of mine lent me Just Kids, Patti Smith‘s memoir of her early days in New York City and her time with Robert Mapplethorpe. An interesting array of characters and places stumble through the pages: Allen Ginsberg, Janis Joplin, Edie Sedgwick and Jimi Hendrix; Max’s Kansas City, the Chelsea Hotel and Coney Island. Eventually, Mapplethorpe discovers how to take photographs and Patti harnesses her poetry to rock ‘n’ roll. You don’t particularly have to be a fan of either to appreciate this well-written book.

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Happy Birthday Patti Smith

Happy birthday to Patti Smith. Read Adam Goldberg, Sam Phillips, Rachael Yamagata, Swervedriver, Basia Bulat and more on Patti’s memoir Just Kids in MAGNET here.

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From The Desk Of Sam Phillips: “Just Kids” (On CD)

SamPhillipsLogoOver the last 30 years, Sam Phillips has had one of the more unusual and varied careers in what can broadly be called pop music. Her first success came in the early ’80s via contemporary Christian music, under the name Leslie Phillips; she was, regrettably, marketed as “the Christian Cyndi Lauper.” Flash forward to 2013, and the alternative Lauper-less sounding artist is self-issuing Push Any Button, her first physical release of new material in seven years. It’s not a radical change in style, but it’s livelier and more fun than anything she’s done since her Virgin era. Many of the 10 songs contain hints of that intersection of rockabilly and country that the other Sam Phillips made his name with, and some include almost countrypolitan string arrangements. Phillips will be guest editing on magnetmagazine.com all this week. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that her prose and reflections are just as interesting and evocative as her songwriting. Read our bran new feature on her.

JustKids

Phillips: I loved listening to Patti Smith reading her book—especially as I was driving around town in traffic. I didn’t want to stop driving and listening. Even if you have already read the book, I highly recommend listening to her read it. I have always felt a human beauty radiating through her music and pictures. Hearing her voice tell the stories is delightful and moving.

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The Sharp Things: Storehouse Of Treasure

SharpThings1

The Sharp Things honor the talent of a dear friend and founding member

Drummer Steven Gonzalez loved Rush. And that Sugar album, Copper Blue. He also dug AC/DC, Green Day, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Led Zeppelin and Three Dog Night. In short, Gonzalez’s personal tastes were, like those of a lot of intensely talented musicians, all over the map. And it was that eclectic curiosity that drew Gonzalez and Perry Serpa together when they were—to cop a line from Patti Smith—just kids, living and listening and bopping around NYC.

In the beginning, Serpa and Gonzalez were the Sharp Things. (The band’s PR material lists each player’s “member since” join date; Serpa’s and Gonzalez’s are their birth years.) The duo’s first demo recordings, cut during a trip to Pennsylvania in 1995 as a kind of experiment in crafting artfully arranged indie-pop, came off so promisingly that the bogus band name they’d concocted for that project stuck. Within a couple of years, the Sharp Things had coalesced into a full band, gigging around the East Village.

Since 2002, the Sharp Things have been releasing a series of albums mostly on the loose chamber-pop model, but accented by forays into other styles, making the band’s output a treasure trove for listeners whose tastes run to thoughtful composition and big-sound acoustics.

When Serpa found himself in the middle of a songwriting blitz around 2009, during which he composed close to 40 songs, he decided to hustle the music onto tape without worrying too much about how it would eventually see release. Serpa recorded those tracks with the rotating roster of members the Sharp Things had come to enjoy throughout its decade-long history. A loose album series titled The Dogs Of Bushwick, drawn from those sessions, began to see release in 2013 on two records, Green Is Good and The Truth Is Like The Sun. Now comes the third, Adventurer’s Inn, its title taken from a bygone amusement park Serpa and Gonzalez used to frequent as kids in their shared hometown of Flushing.

“It’s a short, sharp part of a very self-indulgent whole,” says Serpa. “Almost a mini-LP, really good for those with attention-deficit disorder. We bounce around genres a lot, and on this record, we found ourselves pushing the sides out a lot further.”

True enough. In fact, Adventurer’s Inn may be the shortest release in the series to date, but it’s the most freewheeling, aesthetically. “The Libertine” is a punchy, punkish workout, complete with distorted vocals; “All But These Beautiful Faces” mines a Summer Of Love-era Beatles vein; and the irresistible “Don’t Trust That Girl” is a flatly gorgeous Burt Bacharach-style swooner. Song by song, diverse as the collection is, each song is a standalone knockout. It’s a record for listeners who, like Serpa and Gonzalez, grew up loving all kinds of music shamelessly and indiscriminately.

Adventurer’s Inn is also an understandably bittersweet listen for the Sharp Things these days: Gonzalez passed away this year on September 11, after a lifetime battling the effects of cystic fibrosis. Gonzalez’s drumming anchors Adventurer’s Inn, as it will be the final installment in the series, due next year.

“Steve was my best friend and brother for 40 years,” says Serpa. “We grew up together. I remember him carrying all 18 pieces of his drum kit into my mother’s living room when we were 14, 15 years old. We actually played some shows as a duo before anyone else joined the Sharp Things.”

The band, as Serpa remembers it now, actually grew as a reaction to both of them sensing that they wanted to expand their scope as neophyte musicians. “That was certainly true for me, as a songwriter,” he says. “And Steve totally understood me as a songwriter. He just completely got me, all the time. It’s hard to lose him, first and foremost as a friend, but also as part of the heart and soul of this band.”

That soul is the most evident element on Adventurer’s Inn, the consistent element that binds its assorted songs. And as with the best soul, the sadness is laced with necessary humor. The final installment in the Bushwick series, Serpa hints cheekily, will be “a classic sort of Abbey Road side-two mash-up, with a big orchestral finish. Maybe with a ‘Revolution 9’ sound collage in there somewhere.”

—Eric Waggoner

“Union Chapel” (download):

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