Category Archives: New Music

How Come They Don’t Tash Sultana

How Come They Don’t Tash Sultana

How Come They Don't Tash Sultana

One of the comments I hear most often while volunteering at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is "How come they don't make music like that anymore?"

"That" being music like the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, or some other dead band or musician of the 1960s.

I have two answers to that question. On a deeper level, we first experience music at a time and place in our lives that connects those musicians to us in a unique way. Since we can never experience that music again in the same way, it holds a landmark place in our personal history and life view.

As I say, that's the deeper level answer.

On a simpler level, the answer is that "They" do still make music like that, if we are willing to set aside those personal landmarks for a moment."

How Come They Don’t Tash Sultana

Tiny Desk Concerts

How Come They Don't Tash Sultana

 

NPR's Tiny Desk series is a gold mine of new music. Host Bob Boilen describes the show as one with "intimate video performances, recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered...."

All Songs Considered is the key phrase. If we are searching for golden music, we must be willing to put in the time to pan through a lot of grit, get uncomfortable, and have patience.

Gold there is, though, in them there sound clouds.

Tiny Desk featured Sultana on April 7, 2017. I was simply surfing the show's many offerings, but I stayed with her a bit to watch her build the song "Jungle."

Here is the link to Sultana's mesmerizing 25 minute 37 second Tiny Desk performance 

It wasn't the first time that I've seen a single  musician use modern electronics to build sounds into a song. For some, such construction is cheating. The sounds are not "real." Songs need several musicians, not one. To me, that thinking is weak since any electric music is manipulated sound. And acoustic musicians use all kinds of techniques to change acoustics.

Five days one million

In 2016, Sultana posted this video of herself performing/creating "Jungle" in her living room. It fools you because it looks like there is far too much music to come from just one person. 

One cute part of the video is when her mom sticks her head around the hallway corner at 2:23. 

In its first five days on YouTube, the video had one million views!

Bandcamp.com

Vein of gold

How Come They Don't Tash Sultana

Tash Sultana associates with the musicians' site Bandcamp.com.  We don't listen to music on the radio anymore. We stream music and Bandcamp is a streaming site. 

Its difference is that it is also a platform for artist promotion,  particularly independent artists.  Artists can post their music for free and we can listen for free. 

The idea is that if you like what you hear you can buy the music.  The idea apparently works since the site recently posted the following: "Fans have paid artists $211 million using Bandcamp, and $5.3 million in the last 30 days alone."

Bandcamp describes Sultana as "...a roots reggae/folk inspired singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Victoria. Since having her hands wrapped around a guitar at the mere age of three, the self taught artist was only destined to expand over the coming years."

For me, it answers the question...

How Come They Don’t?

How Come They Don't Tash Sultana

They do. Patience. Open our ears and hear. Open our eyes and look. Reach out our hands and feel.

Janis and Jimi built on the foundation of others before them and created their own beautiful interpretations .  Tash is doing the same and it is great.

Oh yea. By the way. Tash was born in on June 18, 1995. You do the math.

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Nick Cave Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree

Wings of Desire
I'm not sure, but I think the first time I encountered the music of Nick Cave was in Wim Wender's Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin).  I really liked the film and how Cave's music enhanced the film's eerie emotionally intense atmosphere. Cave's music, though not Cave was also in Wings' sequel Faraway, So Close.

Cave seemed to pop up in my meandering musical journey, but I never stopped to listen very long. That was a mistake and I'm trying to catch up.

Nick Cave

Out of ignorance, I thought Cave was either American or English and living in Germany. He was Australian and survived his tumultuous teens: years that included excessive underage drinking, sexual assault (pulling down a school girl's pants), the subsequent school expulsion, stripping in public for fun, and gangster obsession. His teens ended with the death of his father in a car crash. He found out that news from his mother as she bailed him out of jail for burglary. 

Cave has said that he has no memories of his father's funeral, but remembers that "he died at a point in my life when I was most confused." Cave later wrote that "the loss of my father created in my life a vacuum, a space in which my words began to float and collect and find their purpose."

Cave Music

While still in school, Cave and some other students started a cover band called Concrete Vulture. As the name might imply, the covers were by artists such as Lou Reed, David Bowie, and Alice Cooper. 

Out of school and still in Australia,  they changed the band's name to The Boys Next Door. Their performances, led by Cave, successfully got them banned from venue after venue.

Birthday Party

The Boys Next Door made one album and went to London. The stage act, often described as riotous with Cave yelling, howling, and jumping around the stage, 

John Peel, a disc jockey, record producer,  and journalist announced their "Release the Bats" the best record of 1981 and success followed.

Berlin

In 1983 Birthday Party moved to Berlin where it dissolved and some pieces reformed as The Bad Seeds.  Simon Reynolds has described Cave's songwriting as  "the fullest, most hideously voluptuous flowering of the abject in rock."

Life imitates Art

Cave's career has careened through other arts such as the above mentioned acting as well as screen writer, author, playwright, and lecturer. 

Cave and Viviane Carneiro had a son Luke. Cave had another son Jethro who lives with his mother in Australia. 

He controlled his demons and found family life in Brighton, England and with his third wife Susie Bick had twins, Earl and Arthur.

On July 14, 2015 darkness descended on Cave. His son Arthur, 15, under the influence of LSD,  suffered a fatal brain injury after plunging onto the underpass of Ovingdean Gap in Brighton.

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree

Skeleton Tree  is Cave's 16th album with the Bad Seeds.  Arthur Cave's death occurred during Skeleton Tree's writing and recording and sadness surrounds each song. Though the circumstances are somewhat different, I am reminded of David Bowie's Blackstar. 

Knowing what we know, it is a wonderfully difficult album to listen to. W.B. Yeat's "terrible beauty."

The album's fifth song, "Anthrocene" expresses that horrible sadness best:
All the things we love, we love, we love, we lose
It’s our bodies that fall when they try to rise
And I hear you been looking out for something to love
Sit down beside me and I’ll name it for you
Behold, behold
The heaven bound sea
The wind cast its shadow and moves for the tree
Behold the animals and the birds and the sky entire
I hear you been out there looking for something to set on fire
The head bow children fall to their knees
Humbled in the age of the Anthrocene

Nick Cave Skeleton Tree.