Thoughts on Kate Bush

I first heard of Kate Bush after she sang with Peter Gabriel on his song, “Don’t Give Up,” in 1986, something like that. I don’t much listen to Peter Gabriel anymore, though I still think his instrumental Passion album holds up better than anything he’s done. I’d probably still listen to him if he continued to put out albums in that vein instead of, well, whatever version of pop music is does these days. Anyway, I thought highly of Kate Bush because I thought highly of Peter Gabriel. But then I read a review in Rolling Stone where her voice was described as a mixture of Patti Smith and a Hoover vacuum cleaner. I don’t know a thing about Patti Smith, but the vacuum cleaner quality of her voice made sense to me somehow, and I gradually came to feel like her voice was full of hot air and helium. Silly overly dramatic singing. Whatever appreciation I had for Kate Bush’s voice and her artistry disappeared. The one song of hers that kind of worked for me was called “Deeper Understanding,” a song about technology cutting a person off from the world. So I was mildly interested recently when I heard that she re-recorded the song on her latest album, supposedly transforming it, along with some other older songs, into a more mature and purer take on what she originally intended. Or something. So I thought, okay, maybe she’s grown out of the melodrama I couldn’t stand in her music before, and if she sings like a normal person, maybe it’s not that bad. So I gave it a whirl…

…and brother was I wrong. What the hell’s going on here, Bob? Conceptually, I see what she’s going for, and it almost works. But I don’t know man… Autotune kills it for me. Maybe I need to listen more carefully. I do like the harmonica part near the end, though. She be jammin’.

Beautiful “Pint of Blood”

My CD pre-order of Jolie Holland’s new album, Pint of Blood, has been delayed until mid-July. So I’m listening to the entire album streaming from Paste Magazine. The streaming was supposed to end on June 28th, but I guess someone at Paste forgot to pull the plug.

I’m on track 6 now, a new interpretation of “The Littlest Birds.” It’s all good, man, it’s all good. Fans who appreciate what she can do with a good band like in the 2007 and 2009 Daytrotter Sessions will probably enjoy the ride. I know I am. I’m loving everything she does. I love her musical sensibilities, how she incorporates her traditional bluesy influences and makes them her own, how she continually evolves as an artist.

I’m on the last track now, a piano and violin (or carpenters saw?) cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “Rex’s Blues.” It’s killer. Another beautiful album from Jolie Holland.

Greg Brown’s 2011 CD

I picked up Greg Brown‘s latest album, Freak Flag, today. I’m sampling it now. Nothing is jumping out at me. Deep voiced Greg, exaggerating the country twang in some songs, a bit too much for my tastes, leaning dangerously into honky tonk territory. No catchy tunes. Nothing great but okay, I suppose.

Thus ends my review based on sampling the album in five minutes.

Note: This is only a five-minute review of the album. More details notes will appear in the comments.

Hot Dog Ingredients Described

longest hot dogWhat’s in Your Wiener? Hot Dog Ingredients Explained:

Mechanically separated turkey: …paste-like and batter-like poultry product [is] produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sive or similar device under high pressure

Sodium erythorbate: …has replaced the use of sulfites in many foods and serves as a preservative and to help keep meat-based products pink. Some people report side effects, including dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, headaches and, if consumed in large quantities, kidney stones.

They reference the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which identifies U.S. Federal standard for hot dog ingredients.

The Canadian equivalent of the USDA is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. I couldn’t easily find information specific to hot dogs but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does have information about Meat and Poultry Products labeling

A better hot dog: Maple Leaf’s Natural Selection Hot Dogs (which I couldn’t find a direct link too – maybe it wasn’t selling well enough and was discontinued). All the Natural Selection products appear to contain ingredients one recognizes and can make sense of. They’re a lot more expensive though.

I found one common criticism about Maple Leaf Natural Selection labeling: they appear to be misleading their labeling on their ham:

This CBC article about ham ingredients says the same:

Some companies use ingredients like celery extract as an undeclared source of sodium nitrate. Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections ham, billed as containing “no preservatives” or “artificial ingredients,” does contain “cultured celery extract.”

And…

(Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections ham also contains “smoke” and “smoke flavour,” also called liquid smoke. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency ruled in 1992 that food containing liquid smoke can still claim to have “no preservatives added.”)