Saturday, May 27, 2017

Itamar Haluts - Alexandra-Clyde

Sgt. Peppery vibes :)

I met a girl, her name was Nancy
You can tell by her looks, she's not that fancy
She laughs and acts as if she's in a cartoon
Maybe I've compromised, I've fallen for a baboon

But she had eyes so bright
Like a full moon's light
And I'm not sure where it's going
But I can't stop the wind from blowing

A drunken Kiwi sits beside a fire stove
Look serene as if wrapped by acceptance gloves
And he gives a wink and I understand
The clock is ticking, I'm near the end

And now she's on my mind
And my thought it's hard to find
And my thrill I just can't hide
Sitting here in Alexandra-Clyde

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jonnie Shualy - The Earth is Shaking

Jonnie Shualy is back six years after his last album and I really hope that this song gets the recognition that it deserves. A week ago I would've guessed that I'd hear about it on 88fm but now I'm not so sure. Last week 'Taagid' took over IBA (Israel Broadcasting Authority) after months of debates, delays and a nasty political mess which almost brought us to elections. The Landes committee instructed the radio stations to just change the schedule of the shows but under the new management 88fm, which is now Kan 88, has changed drastically. When you go to the new home page you see the following text in Hebrew: "Good quality music from Israel and around the world. From the great rock classics, through new artists in Israel and abroad to jazz, alternative, world music and blues". This definition used to fit the station's sound 24/7 but now it only applies to what you hear after 7 p.m. and even then, there is much less blues and jazz has been cut down from a daily evening slot to once a week. But the real change is what goes on during the day.
I used to check out all of the mainstream radio stations (Galgalatz, 99fm, 100fm and 102fm) and hear I song I knew, maybe I liked it and maybe not but it was safe and convenient. A good soundtrack to hear at the office that everyone could agree on and wouldn't make people too uncomfortable. 88fm wasn't like that. 88fm was what I'd hear on headphones to escape the other stations. There were many songs that I knew but many more which I didn't and that's precisely why I kept returning to the station again and again. But even if I wasn't such a huge fan of what was playing, the enthusiastic voices of the broadcasters kept me hooked. Creating a radio setlist is a craft which is often taken for granted. When you listened to 88fm you could tell that the broadcaster made thoughtful choices on how to open and close the show and what the order of the songs should be. The new management brought in editors who used to work at Galgalatz to "help" the broadcasters edit the shows they've been airing for years.  Now it's just hit after hit after hit with no connection between the songs and no attention to the time of the program. Yes, most of the hits are classic rock, and not a completely different genre, but it's not enough to keep listeners tuned. For an example of a carefully curated list see Gil Matus' program "Flight mode" which used to be on at the magical hours of early Friday morning. Now it's been moved to Saturday at midnight and I'm pretty sure it won't be the same-there's a reason last Friday's show was titled "Fare you well".
The change stung the most for me when I heard about Chris Cornell's tragic death this week. I didn't expect the station to play just Chris Cornell's music (though I really wouldn't mind) but I did expect them to play songs other than Black Hole Sun throughout the day. Chris Cornell was a key part of the grunge movement so why not play other songs from that time and artists who were influenced by him? If Soundgarden and Audioslave are considered too loud for listeners why not play some of Cornell's acoustic covers? And why not let the broadcasters make changes to their programs? Yes, there was a special program in the afternoon but it felt like a formality for fans to keep them quiet. I was crushed by Cornell's death even though I wasn't a huge fan of his and was looking for music to learn more about him, which I eventually found at the Katze radio, which is broadcasted online.
It's not a surprise that many 90s Israeli rock bands were influenced by Cornell's music, among them "Raash" ("noise" in Hebrew) which introduced us to Jonnie Shualy and his thoughtful lyrics. Shualy's new album, and this song especially, is tough, honest, and beautiful. I hope it will find its place in a narrowing musical landscape.
I think even those who weren't huge fans of Cornell were devastated by the news of his death because it just took a few minutes to see what a heartfelt and compassionate guy he was. He performed repeatedly in Israel and understood that music and fans come before politics and from what I heard from friends he gave amazing performances, always singing from his heart and soul. Here is a bit from his concert in Ceasaria from just last year.

88 guard facebook page:

Around me the earth is shaking
I can't find a place to sit
Around me everything is crumbling
I can't stay

Around me the earth is shaking
It's being swept under my feet
Around me everything is burning
I can't escape

Earthquake Earthquake

Houses crumble
Borders are breached
Walls are cracked
Windows are shattered

Where do I come from where am I going
I can't wait any longer
Why did I come here when do I leave
I can't wait any longer

Spinning like a compass on the same spot
Spinning like a compass on the same spot

The earth shakes the earth shakes

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Roy Chicky Arad - Yellow Hat

This just made my day so much better.


Near the tallest building in the city
The emptiest parking lot in the city
Near the nicest person
A wheelbarrow full of fish

I sing with a yellow hat
I sing happily the song of the street
I sing I sing with a yellow hat

Shari Arison is buying a skirt
An Arab at the security check
A girl in my bed terribly bored
When the city is so festive

I sing with a yellow hat
I'm always happy
I have a yellow hat
Here here here is a yellow hat
Here here here...

At the southern border of Tel Aviv
A tax clerk kisses his father
A tired woman is holding a paper clip
Above her is a pair of birds

I sing with a yellow hat
I sing the song of the street
I'm always happy
I have a yellow hat

Monday, May 1, 2017

Yehoram Gaon - Landmarks

I'm grateful not to know any fallen soldiers or victims of terror, and I hope it will stay that way, but I always find the abrupt change from Memorial Day to Independence Day too difficult and too sudden. I understand the idea that they died so we can live but I just can't force myself to party and have a good time when just a few hours ago I was listening to songs about early death and heartbroken lovers. I'd rather spend the evening at the end of Memorial Day listening to quiet Israeli songs that celebrate life and save the fireworks and massive celebrations for the next night, but that's just me.
Life in Israel can be tough but it often seems to be the perfect place to be a kid. Where else are you given independence at such a young age to walk home from school with your friends? Growing up, it was the best part of the day, when friendships blossomed and anything was possible. Maybe children here are given so much freedom because of the military future that awaits them when they turn 18. So for now, they can take their time on their way home.

Lovely translation by Rachel Jaskow from the blog Elms in the Yard:

Does anyone remember, does anyone know
the way to my home?
Let anyone who hears my voice
come home with me.
There are feathery clouds above
and stubble at my feet,
and the pealing of the magical bell
that always watches over me.

Somewhere out there, along the road,
somewhere out there sings a bell.
From somewhere out there, it tells me: Return home
at the right time.

In case I have forgotten the way
that I knew for so many years,
Here and there, at the side of the road,
landmarks have been left for me.
Here is an arrow pointing outward,
drawn in white chalk, as if to say:
Go, follow the wind
starting two and a quarter paces from here.

Somewhere out there, along the road,
somewhere out there sings a bell,
From somewhere out there, it tells me: Return home
at the right time.

At the roadside is a quarry
shaded by a tree,
and a well or two
as a sign and a landmark for me.
A nanny goat, black as night,
browses among the bushes.
Trails like these
are only for the strongest hikers.

Somewhere out there, along the road,
somewhere out there sings a bell.
From somewhere out there, it tells me: Return home
at the right time.

I am not alone on the road
that leads to my home.
One or two friends
are walking home with me.
And in the light of the sun, as it sets
to the sound of pealing bells,
They will be able to read
all the landmarks for me.

Somewhere out there, along the road,
somewhere out there sings a bell.
From somewhere out there, it tells me: Return home
at the right time,
the right time.