Killing time is murder: Whitehorse and the arrow of time

When all is said and all is done, time will waste everyone.

Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, known together as Whitehorse, waste nothing in their soulful acoustic blues track Killing Time. It’s a tight package of cinematic images giving the clear impression that no one is left out in the inevitable passage of time. And that passage always has the same result, no matter who you are. Continue reading “Killing time is murder: Whitehorse and the arrow of time”

Some do’s and don’ts for using a medical metaphor, hints from Frightened Rabbit

“Nature deficit disorder ‘damaging Britain’s children'” warns a dire sounding headline from BBC.com. The article describes a report from the National Trust that argues that “UK children are losing contact with nature at a ‘dramatic’ rate, and their health and education are suffering.” That sounds serious indeed. I may have to run over and rescue the neighbour’s kids. I can see they are dangerously inside. Continue reading “Some do’s and don’ts for using a medical metaphor, hints from Frightened Rabbit”

Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the first Rock and Roll show with…biological classification and Guided by Voices?

Nearly 20, 000 people were beating on the doors of a venue that would hold less than 10, 000 shouting “Let us in!” Tickets for the  second night had all been printed with the same date as the first. The police waded into the crowd and ordered the opening act, Paul “Huckerbuckers” Williams to stop shortly after he began. A man was stabbed as the confused crowd dispersed. On the surface, The Moondog Coronation Ball, March 21, 1952 in Cleveland, was a total disaster. Continue reading “Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the first Rock and Roll show with…biological classification and Guided by Voices?”

The Cat Empire’s Falling with a little thanks to the Bronx High School for Science

Australian band The Cat Empire are best known as the epitome of the party band. Their music is an often irresistible mix of latin, jazz, ska, piano rock and whatever else happens along the way. Falling, from their 2010 album Cinema, is a great specimen in this regard. Somehow a brass band, guitars, a scratch DJ, several layers of keyboards and a singer stay infectiously together. It works in large part because of their great keyboardist Oliver McGill. His merengue inspired rhythm piano is the spinal column of the song. He holds everything together and everything radiates out from there. Yet in a band with a full horn section, why does he play an electric keyboard? There aren’t any elaborate effects and the band clearly isn’t just looking for an easy piano replacement (seeing as they’re already lugging turntables). The keyboard synthesizer just provides exactly the right sound at the right time. Sometimes it’s a Hammond organ, sometimes it’s bar piano. Even better, sometimes, it’s both (well, with the second keyboard anyway). Continue reading “The Cat Empire’s Falling with a little thanks to the Bronx High School for Science”

“We won’t leave it all in our heads” Rich Aucoin’s anthem for science

Science is a process, sometime a very long one: Gels won’t run, programs need to be debugged, engines overheat and fry the instruments, and populations of chimps suddenly make themselves elusive.  Even after the experiments, observations and analyses are done you’re left waiting on your supervisor, the reviewers, or the journal editors to finally make up their minds. Whether as a student, a technician or a full-time researcher, making it through these times of frustration and waiting takes perseverance. This weeks’ song is for those times.

Rich Aucoin’s It is the centerpiece of a three-piece suite of songs: The Little Creatures Know / It / The Greatest Secret in the World from his 2011 independent release We’re all dying to live. Aucoin’s music is spirited, joyous even. Like the titles together suggest, these songs are anthems to the knowledge held by even the smallest of us. Slowly building from a soft and restrained vocal, when the chorus finally bursts through it’s hard to not get swept up in it, chanting to yourself: “We won’t leave it all in our heads!” Sitting in the lab, pouring over a manuscript, or struggling with a database those frustrations can seem overwhelming. A rousing song like this can be just the antidote. Don’t leave it in your head – get it out there. Science needs to be shared!