Lump in the Wrong Place

Lump in the Wrong Place
Caption This

As I am not a paid musician, band member, or music critic, I apologize in advance for what you are about to read. Please bear with me, I'll try my best to give my favorite band justice. 

Raphaël Gauthier was born into an impoverished family living in the south of France in a small town called Seillans. He had thirteen brothers and sisters, all of whom never respected his musical talents. At the young age of five, Raphaël began taking voice "lessons" from an old man who lived in the village. Although these "lessons" got him far, they did not quench his thirst to learn more about music. By the age of nine, Raphaël gained a following in the small town by being a street performer. He could bring home up to ten francs a day by performing in the streets, giving half to his family and keeping the rest, saving up for a trip to Paris for an audition. 

On the opposite side of the country, a girl by the name of Margot Évelyne lived in the town of St. Malo, who too had a hunger to learn music. However, her family supported her in every possible way, mostly because they had the means to. She was a prodigy, learning first how to play string instruments and then onto wind instruments. By the age of thirteen, Margot knew how to read music and play seven different instruments. Little did she know, she would meet someone who was just like her in Paris at the same audition. 

At the audition in Paris, when Raphäel and Margot were around the age of eighteen, they traveled to Paris to show off their talents. Here is where they met, and their lives forever changed. Deciding to combine their talents, they decided to make a "band" of themselves. Since Margot knew how to play multiple instruments and Raphaël had a gorgeous voice, they were quite successful when they first started. However, they did not know what to call themselves until one day Raphäel found a lump that was suspicious. He and Margot went to a doctor, and the doctor told them that there was a "lump in the wrong place," sparking a thought in Margot's head to name their band "Lump in the Wrong Place." And it actually stuck.

Here is their latest album, Caption This, featuring hits such as "Thorny Psycho," "Supernatural Soldier," and my personal favorite, "And God Said Let There be Hospitality." 

Editor's Note: Students happened upon a cache of hidden records with cover art from the Baroque masters. They were charged to investigate the vinyls. The above are their findings. 
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Ribbon and Spears by Trendoid Age

Band: Trendoid Age
Album: Ribbon and Spears
Trendoid Age's Ribbon and Spears showcases the best of today's punk music scene. Trendoid Age features awe striking guitar solos with infectious drum beats. The band decided that Frans Hal's Company of Captain Reinier Reael illustrates the true camaraderie of band while contributing to the band's unique style. They appear in concert dressed in 17th century garb and they rely their passion for the punk genre. Trendoid Age jets off on their latest world tour that showcases their newest album. Ribbon and Spears contains hit music that experts in the music business favorite to win several Grammys. 

Editor's Note: Students happened upon a cache of hidden records with cover art from the Baroque masters. They were charged to investigate the vinyls. The above are their findings. 

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Skim Milk by the Order of the Blue Aprons

Band: Order of the Blue Aprons
Album: Skim Milk
Cover Art: Vermeer

She will rise.  From rivers of blue, bread crusts, and warm milk; she will rise.  She molded the world out of the soft innards from a loaf of bread, the first loaf of bread.  She ripped her blue apron to shreds and created all of the oceans, lakes, and rivers.  From the warm milk of her pitcher, the core of the Earth was formed.  The bread absorbed the milk which heated the crust.  She used the steam from the warm milk to create the clouds and the rain and the storms.  The Sun baked the bread world so it was crispy on the surface, but the milk kept the center soft and fluid.  Overtime, mold grew on the new world, which is the trees and all things green.  She thought the world beautiful, but it had no consciousness.  So, she took a bit of mold, milk, and bread dust and created the animals and humans.  She will rise.  She will awaken and finish perfecting the world, creating the perfect feast.

Songs include:
- The First Loaf of Bread
- Trees of Mold
- Blue Aprons

Editor's Note: Students happened upon a cache of hidden records with cover art from the Baroque masters. They were charged to investigate the vinyls. The above are their findings. 

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Les FC Paqueté à la party

Band Name: Les FC
Album Name: paqueté à la party 

Les FC are a Canadian pop punk band new onto the Quebec scene this summer.  Their name, Les FC, stands for "The French Canadiens." They're emerging with their first album, paqueté à la party (wasted at the party), that combines hard hitting beats, life of the party troubles, and French Canadian slang with songs like "Habs and Dabs" and "SCW" (Stanley Cup Woes). The album art is just as eye-catching as the songs on the album. Les FC, in an interview with Rolling Stone, said they choose the art because of the vibrant red, reminiscent of the Canadian Flag, the muscular man with the physique of a hockey player, and the sick eagle. 

This album's reignited the Canadian pop punk genre, calling back to bands like Jersey and Avril Lavigne. Their smooth song "je m'en sacre" features maple-syrupy-slow lyrics and a French chorus that will have you singing along on those late night drives. This unapologetically Canadian band will have you singing along to "Sorry, eh" while eating poutine.

Editor's Note: Students happened upon a cache of hidden records with cover art from the Baroque masters. They were charged to investigate the vinyls. The above are their findings. 

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Baroque Records Project

Greetings art history denizens,

Recently, as we were researching the aristocratic Baroque in France, the Netherlands, and that tiny island nation, the students uncovered a treasure in an oversized Rubens monograph.

The book, Ruebens and the Rubenesque by Wilhem Gregorius Sprinklesleeves, actually functioned as a type of safe. Junior Missy Rosenthal sprung the book safe open by accidentally holding page three at 30 degree angle for 15 seconds.  The attendant BOING sound and Ms. Rosenthal's audible gasp caused a collective head-turn that witnessed a small hydraulic lift that raised nearly one foot above the open book. After the taking necessary safety precautions, we determined that the objects on the lift were long-playing records, those things known today as vinyl, wax, or platters.

Oddly, all of the records had covers that were paintings from the era, and there were as many albums as there were us, so we each took a record to explore. You can read the student findings over the next few days. Mine, dear reader, you can peruse below.

Dead Onion and Birds
The Anatomy Lesson 
1974 Ruysch Records
Creem Magazine Review by Bester Langs

In her younger days, Dead Onions and Birds frontwoman Jacoba van Heemskerck would sit on a milk crate at her parents' flower booth on Singel Street in Amsterdam and sing traditional Dutch folk songs to passerby. Early one fine spring morning several years ago, rock impresario Bill Graham was stumbling back to his hotel room at the Intercontinental Amstel when he heard Jacoba singing "Wees nu verblijd in 't mensen heelal" (roughly translated as "Now be happy in the human universe"). Graham dropped to his knees in front of her, produced a template contract he kept in his jacket and begged Jacoba to come to the recording studio immediately. When she demurred, he wrote her a check for 35,000 guilders.

Within a week, Graham had his girl,  a host of session musicians (Johnny Leyster, Bon Frelminum, and Pilly Vander Snal), and masters for Dead Onions and Birds breakout debut "Nightwatch." Jacoba's Dutch-eyed-soul carried a strange fusion of folk, jazz, and pop and was cut with Snal's singular backbeat, the fuzzed weirdness of Frelminum's lead guitair, and the ska-tinged off-beats of Leyster's bass explosion. The record simply exploded in the U.K. after an earth-shaking performance on Top of the Pops where the band, clad in 17th century breeches and collars, ripped through their first single "Steenasty" and a haunting cover of Velvet Underground's "Waiting on My Man." Arena tours followed and the record shot to #1 on the U.K. charts.

Tensions within the band were played out in shocking honesty on their second record "Syndics of the Draper's Guild." Each band member wrote two songs for album and they all recorded their own parts at the studio without the presence of the others. The proof, as they say, was in the pudding, as the record earned dreadful reviews, including the memorable Robert Christagau line "Syndics stinks like like dead onions and deader birds."

But now - but a year later - the band has returned to form with The Anatomy Lesson, a product of a long trip to Morocco, where they spent time with Paul and Jane Bowles, read a book on Maria Merian  (whose painting graces the album's cover) and put their petty jealousies aside. The new record has the greasy nastiness of T. Rex, forays into deep funk, Pet Sounds instrumentation and Jacoba's startling, sometimes staccato delivery.

 It's unconventional music for a politically turbulent time. Since Tricky Dick would not approve, we gladly do.

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Fray Hortensio Felix Paravicino - rte

Fray Hortensio Félix Paravicino, El Greco, 1609

In his earlier style of painting, El Greco depicts the Fray Hortensio Felix Paravicino, a famous poet and orator. It is one of his more stylized portraits, showing Paravicino head-on, his head tilted slightly to give an air of superiority with his books balanced on his hip. El Greco adds warmer tones of brown and red rather than focusing solely on colder blacks, as seen in his earlier portraits. The warm tones from the background and his books adds the glow in his skin and makes him seem more lifelike. 

The body language in the portrait and El Greco's use of rough strokes and shadows in the clothing and hair add to the emotional drama of the painting. El Greco is only beginning to develop his style with this portrait. We can start to see the emergence of his later glossy and thick painting style with the slight smudging of color around Paravicino's head and shoulders, giving his a slight glow. 

El Greco is also becoming more talented in his use of whites, making the white of Paravicino's collar brighter and highlighting his face so that the contrast between the black and white is sharper, in contrast to the rough off-white of his robe. His use of white gives the impression that the two white cloths are different types of cloth. El Greco is only starting to develop his style and talent as a painter with the portrait, as his human form is not quite lifelike, his painting style has not developed into the brighter and glossier technique he's well known for, and he has not yet pushed into more religious subjects. Still, El Greco's talent as a painter comes through in this portrait with its emotional depth seen in Paravicino's face. 
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Piazza San Pietro

Piazza San Pietro, 1666, Bernini 

The Piazza San Pietro, otherwise known as the St. Peter's Piazza was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII, Bernini designed and completed the construction in under five years. I like to think of the Pope Alexander VII and Bernini having a tight relationship and perhaps the Pope as somewhat of a fanboy, since Bernini was his favorite architect of the period.

The Pope explained his desire for the project that would later become the smallest country in the world - Vatican City. The design of the Piazza was based off St. Peter's Basilica, which stands as one of the most iconic Christians in the world. The goal was to create a sanctuary, safe from the outside harms of the world. 

When discussing the teams aspirations Bernini once said, "considering that Saint Peter's is almost the matrix of all the churches, its portico had to give an open-armed, maternal welcome to all Catholics, confirming their faith; to heretics, reconciling them with the Church and ti the infidels, enlightening them about the true faith." Creating such an experience took  tedious planning, as Bernini had to work around preexisting architecture. Despite these difficulties, Bernini's genius is responsible for the construction of what is now regarded as an extremely progressive and religiously stimulating piece of architecture.

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Oratorio San Filippo Neri-

Francesco Borromini, Oratorio San Filippo Neri, 1637
Francesco Borromini a well-renowned Roman Baroque architect, built the Oratorio San Filippo Neri in 1637. This oratorio was built in honor of Philip Neri, an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory. Philip Neri is also known as the Third Apostle of Rome, behindSsaints Peter and Paul. After the death of Philip the Oratorians chose have Borromini work with Signor Paolo Maruscelli.

"By deciding to have two architects on the project, the Oratorians created an arrangement destined to fail. And it did" (Morissey 26). 

Borrimini's initial role was to execute Maruscelli's blueprints, Borromini almost instantly proposed alterations. Soon after his appointment with Borromini, Maruscelli resigned from the project, not able to handle Borromini's overbearing persona. Though Oratorio became what is now not by Borromini himself, considering that it was built in large part to Maruscelli's creation. "He had determined where it would stand and how the rooms around it should be arranged. What Borromini added was a greater sense of importance, of seriousness. Right beside the oratory is a church called the Santa Maria or also known as the Chiesa Nuova. Borromini's job was not to  compete with the Chiesa Nuova, but to make the oratory compelling enough to be worthy of residing next to it.

Martino Longhi the Elder, Santa Maria in Vallicella,1575

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Bust of Louis XIV

Bust of Louis XIV, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1665

Created in 1665, Bernini’s bust of Louis XIV is known as the “grandest piece of portraiture of the baroque age.” The king commissioned the sculpture during Bernini’s visit to Paris. The visit was made to not only improve relations between the Italian papacy and the French court, but to also design plans for the Louvre. While the plans for the Louvre were discarded and considered a failure, the bust is Bernini’s most significant and successful contribution to the French from his visit. 

Louis’s bust was created over the course of three and a half months. The king sat for 13 hours total, an hour for each sitting. Paul Freart de Chantelou documented Bernini’s voyage and also detailed the process of creating the bust. To begin the portrait, Bernini made small clay models and drawings of the king after having chosen the marble. During the process people constantly came into Bernini’s studio to critique his work. One royal mistress insisted to Bernini, “Leave it alone now, another touch and you’ll spoil it.” Comments like these went ignored as Bernini toiled over the piece until satisfied. 

Paul Freart de Chantelou described Bernini working late into the afternoon into a state of collapse and being unable to eat. Bernini carved the pupils after first marking them with charcoal as his final step. Bernini chipped away at the marble during each sitting and finished several months later. Louis rushed to the studio when he heard of its completion. Bernini placed the bust on a richly colored carpet to contrast with the whiteness of the marble. He told the king, “it is done. I wish it could have been even better. I have laboured over it with so much love that I honestly think it is the least bad portrait ever done by my hands.” It is then recorded that Bernini burst into tears and ran out of the room. Bernini’s intense pride for the bust was greeted with instant success from the French. 

Bernini beautifully showcases his skill for sculpture in this piece. The long curls twist and wind gently down the king’s face and his robe blows gracefully in the breeze. Louis’s armor can partially be seen under the drapery but is not emphasized or particularly ornate. He faces the direction of the wind confidently and assertively, preparing to give a command. During one sitting, Bernini rearranged the king’s hair to give more exposure to his forehead and brow. Considered strange and odd looking at the time, the look quickly gained popularity through the French courts and became know as the “Bernini Modification.”

However, some art historians believe Bernini did this intentionally to create an unflattering shape for the king’s head. Louis’s face is not depicted proportionally - he has too high of a forehead and too small of eyes. However, this did this not hinder its reception. Louis proudly displayed the bust in the Palace of Versailles where it has remained for centuries. The popularity of the portrait has endured the centuries as it is still praised to be a masterpiece to this day. 

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Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi-rte

Bernini, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, 1651

The commission of the design for the fountain meant to be at the center of the Piazza Navona furthered the intense rivalry between Borromini and Bernini. Pope Innocent X asked Borromini to engineer a new pipeline, redirecting the water from the Fontana di Trevi commissioned by Pope Urban VIII. The pope said that if Borromini could redirect the water, the commission for the design of the fountain would essentially be his, even while the Pope would hold a small competition for the commission. Upon learning about the engineering feat he would have to perform, Borrimini decided to base his design of the idea of all four rivers of the known world meeting in the fountain; the Ganges, the Danube, the Nile, and the Plata in South America. 

However, once Borromini presented the design, the pope was less than impressed. The drawing that Borromini is credited with creating was so uninspiring that some experts maintain that it was not his drawing at all. Looking to get back into the new Pope's favor, Bernini sent in his design for the fountain. His design featured the human personifications of major rivers of the four known continents of the world, even though it had been Borromini's idea to feature the four rivers coming together with a tall obelisk in the center with a dove on top. The Pope was so moved and excited by Bernini's plans that he immediately gave Bernini the commission. 

In Bernini's design, the four corners of the fountain each represented one of the rivers. In one corner there is the Ganges, represented by a man with an oar to represent the ability to move across the land on river with a dragon swimming in the water beneath him. In the next corner, there is Danube, represented by a Christian style coat of arms, a sword, and a horse emerging from the crevice underneath the obelisk. In the next corner, there is the Plata. This is likely the most recognizably different styled men. His head is shaped almost like that of a child, with his hair shaved and a curiously formed beard. He looks above and seems to almost shield himself from the snake looming, while gold coins are scattered below him to represent the wealth of the New World. 

Lastly there is the corner of the Nile. The man is pulling a cloth over his head to represent that the source of the Nile was unknown. There is a palm tree and a lion crouching in the crevice in the water. The obelisk in the center pushes up seemingly endlessly into the sky when standing at the base with a dove perched on top with an olive branch in its beak. 

Bernini was able to use his fountain to get back into the favor in grand fashion: 3,000 scudi, almost a tenth of the fountain's total cost. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi was the climax project of both Bernini and Borromini's careers, rocketing Bernini back into popularity and essentially finishing Borromini's career.

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