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Beck ‘Morning Phase’

Beck has a new album out, called ‘Morning Phase’  Clever title. Caught a track off this album on the radio a few weeks ago and have been waiting to hear more about it since. It’s more Sea Change than Hollywood Vultures. NPR will let you hear the whole thing free.


5 Crazy Reasons We Need to Stop Clicking Linkbait

Hi there! You’ve reached Burncards’ shameless plea for help.

It’s getting to be time to put a little bit of work into Burncards. It ain’t easy to run a great, engaging website, and from where I’m sitting, there are a couple things that are keeping this site from being what it could be. Those things are:

1. Needs more frequent content and by more voices, too
2. Needs a bit of a design update to work better and look better on phones and tablets

If you look at this site regularly, I’d appreciate a shout-out in the comments. It would be great to know what sorts of things people would like to see. I am going to work on point #2 in the near future.

Also, if you want to get involved in posting content to this site, please send an email to editor@burncards.com

Buster Blue: Sleep Less Where the Heart Is

Buster Blue’s first collection of songs, This Beard Grows For Freedom, was a big, boisterous, brassy affair. Their second, When the Silver’s Gone, introduced a more introspective sound. The following EP, Still on Conway, had the band stripping their sound down to whatever it was they could do with the instruments that they could actually use while stranded on a mountain pass.

This musical journey is a good preparation for the band’s latest offering, Sleep Less Where the Heart Is.

The brass has been replaced with a string and bow in parts of Buster Blue’s sound. The jams and the songs have gotten longer. The band’s excellent composition skills are at play delivering songs of all kinds.

The album leads off with acapella and handclaps and takes a tremendous romp through a country-western sound, and a smattering of the blues and jazz band influences that have become a hallmark of this band.

There are some new things on this album, and they are best represented by the performance in the song Leave me in Couer D’Alene. Everything about this song is an interesting new direction for Buster Blue. It starts off very French, then quickly takes a turn into a New Orleans jazz orchestra direction. Bryan Jones’ vocals waver between quiet and wondering and tortured and desperate all in the first stanza. At just north of 4 minutes, this song pulls a unifying theme through for the listener a few times, and represents a terrific departure into longer-length songs for Buster Blue. The choral element that is present throughout the album also shines through here.

Another example of a departure from the previous Buster Blue sound, while continuing the spirit of the tradition, is Magnetic Pull. Andrew Martin’s falsetto voice starts the song and leaves you thinking you might be listening to one of his signature quiet acoustic songs. But then, something happens. Layers of sound begin to appear, and suddenly, it’s no longer a quiet song with just an acoustic guitar providing the accompaniment. Movements, concentrated bursts of energy accompany the song through to the conclusion. You will find the same thing on Hallucinating in C# Minor.

The biggest departure of all is the direction that the band takes on Visions of Laredo. This is a solid, marketable alt-country number, featuring a country yodel sound from Bryan Jones’ vocals, and Brendon Lund’s bass conjuring up a classic country sound. Then, a lead electric guitar comes in and carries the song out.

There’s more to hear on this album. Piano figures throughout much more heavily than in previous Buster Blue work. Perhaps not surprisingly, the songs are mostly fairly dark paeans to perfect love pulled away suddenly, as if the songwriters only have one way they experience love. The good news is, like on their previous efforts, the music they wed to these themes provides the perfect vehicle to convey the messages.

Get a copy of this album. You will be glad you did.

State of the State

Governor Sandoval delivered the 2011 Nevada State of the State address Monday night in the Assembly chamber in Carson City.  The speech was quite something.  The governor proposed a considerable number of things, many of his budget proposals seeming almost magical.  The reorganization of economic development for the state was sweeping and the education proposals bound to be controversial.  Many of the proposed cuts were not quite as draconian as many might have feared, but it was far from rosy.

Governor Morden’s Budget of The Shadows
Note:  Governor Sandoval did not play Mr. Morden on Babylon 5 in the 90s.  But gosh, doesn’t he look like Mr. Morden?  Also, we like the good governor, so don’t get your panties in a bunch.

The governor talked a lot in his budget about restructuring the way Nevada spends money – not the way it raises it.  He quoted Bill Gates at one point while talking about education policy.  The governor tried to avoid associating his policies with any given political ideology – probably not a bad idea.  His suggestions for using government-directed activism developing new industries certainly sounded like new thinking – I would have put those at the beginning of the speech.

In that vein, it was good to hear a speech laden with optimism and ideas.  It was bad to hear about how much less money the state has to spend, and will be spending.  On the university budget, for example, the governor said there were cuts of 7% which were actually, he said, 16.6% unless the regents raise tuition.  There were other cuts to local support for health and human services programs.  Through this, however, the proposed budget preserves the Millennium Scholarship, a program which is controversial among hardline conservatives and few others.

Another notable quote in the speech was from Abraham Lincoln, who said:

The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

Abraham Lincoln

Sandoval used that quote to frame the hard choices he claimed would be necessary to get through this crisis.  This was a speech vaguely reminiscent of Bob Miller’s speeches from the early 90s, during the recession then.  Miller also made a lot of cuts and some reorganizations.

One wonders how Nevada will fare in the coming biennium.  Will there be a special session in 2012?  There are many who claim the tax structure in the state is not set up right.  In partial response to that is an argument that the economy is primarily to blame for this crisis, and the tax system isn’t in need of much reorganization. 

At the end of the day, though, there is truth to the argument that putting people back to work is the best remedy for the current state of things.  If the unemployment rate doesn’t go down – if the economic development proposals bear no fruit – it’s hard to imagine how any argument can be made for more cuts to government services.  Nevada is in a compromising position.  Here’s hoping the state’s leaders can work together to help kick start an economic recovery.