Monday, May 24, 2010

Devils in Boston : Samantha Crain

As much as I enjoy being drenched in dubiously-used synth, sometimes it's the simple and the stripped that really beats all. Evidence below.

Exhibit A

Samantha Crain
is a songwriter from Shawnee, OK who released her debut LP, Songs in the Night back in '09. What's great about her song, "Devils in Boston," is that it manages to capture a story and flavor from a bygone era, without feeling anachronistic. She sings pretty well, too.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Music Theory Lite

Here's a cool recent find of mine. While browsing the podcast directory on iTunes, I bumped into Pandora Presents: The Musicology Show. The Musicology Show is a series of short podcasts courtesy of internet radio provider Pandora, that cover a variety of musical topics from the "The Art of Sampling" to "Melodic Construction." They're basically pocket-sized music theory lessons.

Take the episode on "The Basics of Vocal Harmony." Host Kevin Seal and guests Greg Giles and Kelly Atkins from 20 Minute Loop, broke down types of harmonies including tutti harmony, unison singing, parallel and contrary motion, and call and response, with clear discussion and examples of each one.

The Musicology Show won't make you an expert, but it helps dial down the ignorance. The episode on guitar riffs was pretty slick. We all know what a guitar riff is and what one sounds like, but pinning down specifics and learning the language (definition: a repetitive melodic line apart from the actual melody) is helpful for articulating thoughts on a piece of music beyond, "that one part was pretty sweet."

Of course, the real goal is to be able to sling as many polysyllabic music terms as possible the next time you have a listening party with your friends.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Nashville and The National

Forgive the silence. Things have been a bit crazy here in Nashvegas. The heavens opened up two weeks ago and damn near drowned us. Mercifully we had an abundance of good folks to volunteer and start to get the city back into shape. We definitely did not have an abundance of media coverage, but to quote one of the many rallying cries in these parts as of late, we're handling it ourselves.

All this Nashvegaslove reminded me of "Nashville Cats," by the Loving Spoonful, a song that my dad put on a cassette for me back in the day. It has John Sebastian's characteristic, ultra mellow vocals, plus the springy, steady galloping guitar work that you don't really hear much anymore in country music.

Coming from a very different place in the musical spectrum, The National preformed with Sufjan Stevens on Letterman the other night. (Tip via Aaron Dethrage) Mostly, I'm just proud that three years after I first wrote about their network debut on Letterman, they're still going strong and sounding as classy and melancholy as ever. If you haven't picked up High Violet, definitely give it a try. It's no great evolution from Boxer, but why should it be?

And finally, back on the 25th, NME reported that Death Cab for Cutie will be hitting the studio in June and aiming for a Spring 2011 release. This corresponds with my 2011 release... from college.


"Tik Tok" (The Week at Belmont Remix)

Wondering where TMI's been? Here's part of the explanation. Check out the parody of Ke$sha's "Tik Tok" that I did with my team from The Week at Belmont.

Lyrics: Erin Carson/Cassidy Hodges
Directed by: Cassidy Hodges
Camera/Editing: Erin Carson
Recording/Mixing/Auto-tuning/Awesomeness: Ben Azevedo/Aaron Dethrage