Concerts: Mountain Goats @ Somerville Theater (4/16)

This is a space for reflection.

MOUNTAIN_GOATS_SOMERVILLE

Image courtesy of Dig Boston

I’ve seen the Mountain Goats twice now and have only ever actually seen one member: John Darnielle. I suppose that’s not a bad deal, really. There’s something insanely intimate about solo acoustic shows in old theaters. The last time I saw Darnielle was in his home town of Durham, NC at Duke University with a quartet of female vocalists who brought some of his then-new material to life thanks to stunning arrangements from Owen Pallett. This time around John was really on his own with the exception of a guest appearance by opener Erin McKeown. Both performers are personable, chatty and warm. While McKeown’s act felt slightly more rehearsed than Darnielle’s, her performance never felt stilted. Her lyrics and music reflected a mixture of sincerity and intelligence guided by a dominant vision of life as a communal process.  She was also funny as hell, at one point interrupting a story to sass an audience member for talking while she was trying to tell her damn story. Continue reading

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Sisyphus//Sisyphus

SISYPHUS

When I say “super group” I’m guessing you don’t immediately picture a trio consisting of a relatively obscure rapper who admittedly sounds a lot like Kool AD, an avant beatsmith with ties to Lorde and a formerly prolific indie rock icon whose recent output has slowed to a relative trickle. The “super group” Sisyphus doesn’t exactly defy expectation so much as provoke pleasurable befuddlement. Serengeti, Son Lux and Sufjan Stevens? The unlikelihood of the combination is underscored by the album’s construction. Son Lux plays the only child to Stevens and Serengeti’s divorced parents by tailoring his production to the needs of whoever is currently in the spotlight. Their entertaining self-titled debut divides its time between Serengeti’s playful word association and Sufjan’s new age R&B croon. The result feels more like two artists sharing the space of an LP though moments of inspiring synthesis do crop up. Continue reading

Silicon Valley//Season 1//The Cap Table

Written by Carson Mell
Directed by Mike Judge
Originally aired April 13, 2014

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Dramas have it easy. All they have to do is consider pacing, character development, accuracy vs. license, and the best possible way to reward an audience enough to keep them interested but not so much that they begin to think they know where the series is going. Comedies have to do all that and make you laugh. The second episode of Mike Judge’s new live action series Silicon Valley comes on fast and the downshifts in order to navigate a series of sculpted narrative turns. Though its opening “launch party” scene is one of the early highlights in a series with definite legs, “The Cap Table” is far more interested in putting the pins to series protagonist Richard Hendrix to see if his overstuffed egghead will crack or simply explode. Continue reading

Silicon Valley//Season 1//Minimum Viable Product

Written by John Altschuler, Dave Krinskey, & Mike Judge
Directed by Mike Judge
Originally aired April 6, 2014

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Following King of the Hill’s epic 13 year run and the short lived The Goode Family, Mike Judge’s latest undertaking reunites his formidable writing team and transports them to the playground of contemporary American madness: Silicon Valley. While Washington currently has its hands full with House of Cards and Veep and New York is thoroughly tapped out by the stuff satires are made of (bank bailouts, failed social uprisings, government reforms focused on calorie consumption), California has never looked more enticing for established and on-the-rise comedic writers/directors looking for a seemingly endless supply of material. While shows like Maron and Workaholics capture the inanity of trying to be anything at all in SoCal, the slacker capital of the world, Silicon Valley moves north where, like a determined younger brother, the region of Palo Alto strives to convince itself that work can be rewarding and fun. Of course, you need only possess a passing awareness of his film and TV work to know where that idea sits with Mike Judge. Continue reading