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Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0

Kyle Reid & the Low Swinging Chariots - “When I Was Young”

Every artist should be the star of their own creative life, which makes Kyle Reid’s steps out of the shadows of the many ensembles and supporting roles he has played in Oklahoma bands over the years to front and center on stage feel like a just journey.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Music
 

Fold me now


With a new album co-written by a superstar novelist and plans for more experimentation, Ben Folds will rock the suburbs as long as they exist

Stephen Carradini January 25th, 2011

Ben Folds with Street Corner Symphony
7 p.m. Tuesday
Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N. Main, Tulsa
www.cainsballroom.com, 918-584-2306
$32-$34

Ben Folds has been at this so long that the first release of his second band was 10 years ago.

“That’s my old shit now. That’s fucked up,” he said, laughing.

But even if “Rockin’ the Suburbs,” his first album of piano pop under his own name after the dissolution of ’90s indie critical darling Ben Folds Five, was a decade ago, his quality hasn’t sagged with age. On Tuesday, he’ll bring top-notch tunes from his current record, “Lonely Avenue,” to Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa.

The disc is a collaboration with Nick Hornby, whose 1995 work, “High Fidelity,” is a landmark in the “books about people who read books about music” genre. The two are friends, and decided to team for a record, with Hornby contributing lyrics and Folds contributing music.

The pairing resulted in some of Folds’ strongest songs to date, including “Levi Johnston’s Blues” and “Your Dogs,” which you may have heard as the theme song to the current sitcom “$#*! My Dad Says.”

“‘Your Dogs’ happened so fast that I had the whole track written while the band was at lunch,” he said. “It’s fun to work that fast and still be affected and moved by the song. It doesn’t last long. Soon, you’re the doctor. You’re the coroner looking at a dead body.”

The doctor also looked at “Levi Johnston’s Blues,” a fictionalized account of the real-life guy who “knocked up the VP nominee’s daughter,” complete with multitracked dude-bro vocals.

“I wanted it to have some tension and mystery,” Folds said. “I was aware only later that words from Levi Johnston’s MySpace were the chorus. That gave me some energy for the chorus.”

It’s a song that ranks high among all his work. Although it might seem weird to have people you’ve never met ranking your accomplishments, Folds welcomes it. He’s especially fond of listeners who respect his new material.

“I think it’s a happy thing when people allow it to compete with your older stuff,” he said. “Hopefully, something in it compels you to listen to it enough to take it seriously.”

Even with all the thought Folds puts into his work and the criticism he receives, he maintains perspective.

“It’s just a pop song. It’s not Stravinsky,” Folds said.

His next project with Hornsby, however, might not be “just” that. The two have discussed the possibility of a novel-with-CD project that eventually would grow into a stage musical.

“He would write a book, and I would write songs for it,” Folds said. “It would give the songs context they may not have had. It would be really fun. He would know it’s based on music, and we would take it from the inside out.”

While work hasn’t begun on the project, Folds is confident the project will happen. In the meantime, he has plenty of touring, writing and hobbies to keep him busy. Even if the formation of Ben Folds Five was almost 20 years ago, there are still plenty of ideas left in his head. His current experiments include instruments played “irreverently.”

“Right now, I really like hearing a cello sound like it’s about to fuckin’ break,” he said. “That’s a lot more interesting to me than an electric guitar played like it’s about to break.”

 
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