Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'It Must Be You'

God speed, Luke Wheeler.
I don't have the mental or emotional fortitude to write an intro. Let's just dive in.

Rayna sit down with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts because SYNERGY. The interview is hard hitting, setting up for such answers as I'm focusing on important things. When asked about her love life, she said, "No comment." After the interview, she has a casual kitchen meeting with Buckey and Scarlett about what's happening next for Scarlett, including a small show at the Bluebird where there will be critics. Critics are the worst, Scarlett thinks to herself. She leaves, Rayna plots how she's going to get her little paper mache flower on someone's tour and how she's going to scrape up $20 million to buy out Edgehill now that all of Lamar's assets are frozen. Tandy suggests they hit up the Belle Meade Polo Invitational where rich Tennesseans pretend to be British. I don't think that's a real thing, folks, but I could be wrong. Google turned up no results. Anyhoodle, she and Tandy get out their big hats, Crest White Strips, and hit that joint up. Their shilling is unsuccessful, though at one point some old guy rips Tandy about how she was Lamar's right hand man. I don't know if he's upset she sold him out, or what, but nevertheless, he's like J'ACUSE! Rayna brings it up later like, that's not true..... riiiiight? And Tandy's like:

Tandy and Rayna aren't the only ones at the polo event. EVERYONE is there. You'd think it was scripted or pre-arranged or something. Wait...

Anyway, Deacon goes with Lady Lawyer Friend. He'd been playing the piano while she buttoned up her shirt, presumably from hanky panky, when she was like, Hey, wanna go to this polo thing with me that I have to go to for work? He was kind of a jerk about it because he's such a salt of the Earth everyman, but then she insinuated that she might take someone else and he caved. At the event, he has conversations with Rayna (briefly) and Luke (bro-ly). We find out Luke is divorced and likes to spend his time casting longing looks at Rayna from afar. And who doesn't?

Juliette is at the match too. She got a secret invite from that rich guy Charlie Wentworth who wants to hook up since he's playing in the match. She rebuffs him, he persists, he seemingly wins her over through the pure and merry hearts of his stable crew who sing songs instead of being pretentious rich people like she thinks Charlie is. Charlie manages to rope her into some deal with Teddy, who is launching the Music City Music Festival to attract people to Nashville. Side Note: Good Lord, Teddy. Please stop. We do not need anymore people getting "attracted" to Nashvegas. The traffic is a nightmare. I digress. Rayna quickly zeros in on what's happening and offers Juliette a bit of a warning that country's female fans aren't into cheating/homewrecking ladies. Juliette is like:

Later, she sees Charlie fighting with his wife and somehow feels this justifies an affair (which will only last the duration of the planning for the festival). They come to this agreement when she meets with him at the Hermitage Hotel. He suggests they have a planning meeting right then, upstairs in the penthouse, and I go OH MY PLANNING MEETINGS ARE VERY DIFFERENT. While they schedule appointments, his wife walks in unbeknownst to them and sees them. She exits with a look on her face that says I will destroy everything you love. 

This happens at the same time as Deacon gets lucky with Lady Lawyer Friend. Hey, wanna sleep over? he asks. We can braid each other's hair! Also happening: Scarlett performs at the Bluebird. My dad suggests this montage is a little like the end of The Godfather where everyone gets whacked, except everyone is doing hanky panky (my words, not his).

I'm not even going to waste much time on the Bluebird Brigade. Zoe and Gunnar are like We can't! I am a super slutty bad friend! (Her words, not mine.) Nevermind! Scarlett sleeps with Avery after playing video games. He says he's a changed man, but his facial hair suggests otherwise. He tries to be  supportive and describes her performance as "lightning in a bottle." Everyone stares at each other moodily while she sings.

The best part of this episode, though, is how in the parking lot of the Bluebird when Luke Wheeler kisses Rayna and she's like:

Devastating. Oh well! I'm sure her cold-ass response won't deter them from hooking up later on. This is Nashville, of course, the show that has no problem with starting with finishing relationships with no weight or lasting meaning.

That's all I've got, folks. Next week the CMA Awards are on, so take five and meet me back here in November.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Reasons Shaquille O'Neal's Rap Career Never Took Off

I know it's kept you up at night.

Please enjoy my in-depth analysis of the circumstances behind Shaq's fizzled rap career. It was a definite learning experience. I know more about Shaq than I ever thought I would. And now I share that bounty of knowledge with you.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Music From 'Parenthood' : Elvis and Junip

Let's Be Mad Together - 10/24/13
Parenthood went classic on tonight's episode. During a scene where Crosby takes a drunk Joel home, they sit in the car and talk about what a song "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley is. Indeed, fellows. Indeed.

The other big musical moment was during the last scene where Ryan goes to talk to Sarah and make his case for why he loves Amber and will not be the worst mistake she ever made. Gently manipulating our emotions in the background is "After All is Said and Done" by Swedish folk rock group Junip.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'Don't Open That Door'

Sabotage! Betrayal! Post jam session hook ups! Yes, folks, that's life in Nashville, or at least, Nashville. Here's what happened on this the fourth episode of the season.

Juliette gives a press conference about the launch of her new tour. She deflects questions about Rayna's voice like a pal. Shorter thereafter, Layla asks her about doing some kind of an interview for some kind of mini doc thing on Layla, and Juliette brushes her off. Since we'll learn very soon that Layla is no innocent little flower, do not feel sorry for her. Juliette, sensing that Layla is basically the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, wants to limit her presence on tour. Juliette has a meeting with Jeff where she proposes adding another act to the tour, preferably male because too much estrogen, you know? Right? She even offers to add an Edgehill artist if Jeff gives her more money. Jeff agrees. Later, she goes to visit Deacon to see if there's any way he'll come back on tour. He can't. He wants to pull away from music because it hurts too much to not be able to play. She lets it slip that Rayna can't sing and he's like:

He's had quite the day so far. When he and Lady Lawyer Friend were coming out of the bedroom in the morning, Scarlett was there and he was all bashful. Deacon, you dog, you. There was also a random scene where he was at a guitar shop looking to buy part of the shop (?) and help find and sell guitars or something like that. Anyway, this information about Rayna will lead him to let himself into her house and ask her if it's true that she can't sing. She's all, Dunno, bro! My vocal therapist says healing is halted by anxiety. They basically realize that they are one sorry-ass pair, soon to be shipped off to the island of misfit toys, and make a promise that neither of them will walk away from music.

But as for that anxiety, it might have something to do with how Jeff wants the masters of her album, like yesterday so that they can put out Rayna Jaymes' "last album." This prompts her to say to manager Buckey, "I think it's time that Jeff Fordham met the Wyatt side of Rayna Jaymes." She asks that lovable scamp Lamar for $20 million to buy out her contract and the masters. He agrees. This is a bad move. Rayna's also been tasked with inviting Juliette to join the Opry at a benefit concert hosted by new Edgehill signee (but veteran country artist) Luke Wheeler. This is going to confuse the heck out of me because I've been calling Will "Luke from the O.C." and I'm sure someone did this to me on purpose.

Anyhoodle, the reason partnering up with Lamar is bad news is because Tandy turned over a whole flash drive of evidence against Lamar to the Feds and has just made an immunity deal as long as she doesn't warn Rayna or Lamar. Obviously, this is going to jeopardize her recently cozy relationship with Rayna when she inevitably finds out. More on that later.

I can basically split up the Bluebird brigade into winners and losers. In the losers category, Gunnar and Avery have made a music baby together. The song is an indie happy little ditty that totes would be better with a female voice in there, the way Juliette's tour needs a bro to get the ladies crazy. Avery is like, Hey, let's ask Zoe. Gunnar is like She probably knows everything about us since she's Scarlett's best friend. Avery doesn't care and it turns out Zoe won't care much either. The three meet at the house to work on the song together. It's one of those scenes where my radar malfunctions and I think there might be something brewing between Gunnar and Zoe, but all of a sudden, I can't read the situation. Avery seemed a little concerned too. Well, erm, Gunnar and Zoe... you know. On the floor. Scarlett is going to be so pissed, much as she is at THE INDUSTRY in this episode. She has to go into Edgehill for media training since she's going to be at the benefit concert, walking the press line. They want to use "real facts" to craft a "compelling story." Scarlett is uncomfortable. Downstairs, she runs into Will and Layla. Layla gets weird jealous that Will hugs Scarlett and calls her the prettiest girl in Nashville. Also unhappy with Will is Jeff because of the whole thing with Gunnar's song. Assistant Brent will smooth things over and get Will a performance slot at the fundraiser. It's also an unofficial audition for Juliette's tour.

The day of the benefit rolls around. Scarlett and Layla talk whilst getting hair and makeup done. Layla advises Scarlett to be herself. Makes your heart feel warm, don't it?

After Will's rehearsal, Juliette invites him to go on tour. I wonder if it's really that easy to land a spot on tour with the likes of Juliette Barnes. There are bigger worries, though. When Scarlett goes on the press line, she MAJORLY blows it. She says she didn't originally want to be a singer, she brings up that she's Deacon's niece, she stammers at questions about the car wreck and Jeff pulls her off the line and basically sends her home. Will looks at Scarlett, looks at Layla, looks at Scarlett, back at Layla and divines that this was sabotage. Scarlett goes home in a tiz, going on about how she wants to be herself and how this whole thing is horse hockey.

Pictured above: Scarlett O'Connor after the concert. 
Deacon's playing piano. He stops but she's like PLAY, B*TCH. They write a song together. His three-note plinking sounds suspiciously like "Tubular Bells." They write a song together. Maybe Deacon will be a great piano player! Who knows? What he does know, is that she can't walk away from the biz because it's basically like drugs... those sweet, sweet drugs. *Cough* Sorry 'bout that, Deacon mutters.

After Will performs, he confronts Layla about what she did. Juliette pops up to tell Layla she's got to cut her set to make room for Will. JUSTICE. But wait– Jeff tells Will later on that he needs to fake date Layla because they're TRENDING ON TWITTER! He has to agree because he's already kinda goofed with the song.

Anyway, Juliette performs at the show too, and after her song, Rayna comes out on stage and invites her to the Opry. Juliette initially looks car sick, but seems genuinely moved. Luke Wheeler then asks Rayna to sing a song and won't take no for an answer. She's shaky, she looks like she's in pain a couple times and has to stop. Luke looks like he's unknowingly participated in a cruel experiment engineered by Jeff and tries to sing with her... and then the whole crowd starts singing along with Rayna because she clearly is struggling. BUT THEN magic happens! Much like Santa, whose sleigh can only achieve flight through the power of the belief of small children and those who are pure at heart, Rayna sings! After the show, she tells Jeff she's splitting the label. Also after the show, Juliette hears Luke tell Rayna that he thinks Juliette is a flash in the pan. Feeling betrayed by Rayna, she goes to make amends with Avery. He can't come back on tour with her, but she does apologize and she gives him access to her studio while she's on the road.

Elsewhere in town, the Feds finally come for Lamar (and his assets. Sorry, Rayna.). When Tandy goes to see him in prison, he tells her that he thinks Teddy is behind this and that Teddy will pay.

Stray Observations:
+ Last season I complained that all the characters were too isolated. Now, everyone is up in everyone else's business, crossing plot lines and whatnot. It's great.
+ Did you catch the Luke Bryan joke? "Hey Luke, thanks for letting me crash your party." You didn't? Good for you.
+ Let's talk about ABC's hashtag #WelcomeBackRayna. They know she's not real, right?
+ At one point in the episode, Lamar smiled, and it was the creepiest thing I've ever seen. I don't think he has the muscles in his face to actually form a decent smile. It was more like he just bared his teeth and grunted.

Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones Cover the Everly Brothers

I never would have pegged Billie Joe Armstrong for an Everly Brothers fan. Apparently he is. And so is Norah Jones. The pair are teaming up for an Everly Brothers cover album called Foreverly, out November 25th. Instead of Billie Joe chewing up the words like you might be used to, he sings them straight and blends very well with Jones. The combo is unexpectedly sweet. Check out their cover of "Long Time Gone" below.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Five Reasons Fans of The Who Might Prefer 'Quadrophenia' to 'Tommy'

It's not a popular opinion. It's not even one I hold, but dammit, I made the argument. Quadrophenia is a fine record. Check out my latest contribution for Consequence of Sound on why fans might prefer the rock opera about a quadrophenic mod boy to Tommy.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'You're No Angel Yourself'

Parents, amma right? They're either having each other whacked or lying to their kids about paternity. Here's what happened this week on ABC's Nashville.

Things kicked off at a cemetery where the Jaymes women gathered for Rayna and Tandy's deceased mom's birthday. Maddie is busy having an attitude and listening to Deacon's record on her iPod. If Rayna thinks she's going to defrost her daughter, she's been misinformed. Later, Rayna goes to Juliette's to tell her she's got to cancel the tour. Rayna puts most of it on wanting to stay with the family after all the crazy shit that's happened. She doesn't mention that she can't sing anymore. Juliette freaks out and storms off saying, "This sucks!" This reaction will closely follow the theme of Juliette becoming a more mature person and artist. At another point in the near future, Rayna, Tandy, and the girls go to the Nashville Symphony gala. Maddie is still unhappy and complaining about her dress and what not. Teddy's there too. So is Peggy. But not together. Not really. But kind of yes, because earlier he told Peggy he was thinking about running for Congress (redacted political joke) and he gives Peggy an engagement ring to avoid scandal... and do right by her whatever. That means she's basically gotten what she wanted. Home wrecker. Despite their agreement to keep it under wraps for the time being, she wears the ring around her neck to the gala. Follow me? So. Maddie, Rayna, and Teddy talk for a sec. Peggy sort of sidles up like it's not at all awkward to chat with the former wife of the guy you stole. She gets touchy and weird with Maddie, like WAY too familiar PLEASE GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY FACE when Maddie notices the ring and is all "That's Not Yours! Why are you wearing my grandmother's ring?!"

Maddie unleashes some choice words and then storms off. Teddy tells Rayna that Peggy's pregnant and she's mostly annoyed with a dash of incredulous. Not long after, Daphne turns up crying that Maddie's run away. Lamar chews out Teddy and tells him to channel the city's full resources to find her. Teddy is like DUH. The cops show up. Rayna is like MY CHILD! And then Peggy awkwardly offers to help... like haven't you done enough?? Lamar basically says that but worse and Teddy has the audacity to be like Peggy's going to be part of the family! Don't even, bro. Don't even. Just then, I bust onto set and punch him int he face. Rayna goes to Deacon's place thinking Maddie might be there. He is entertaining Lady Lawyer Friend. Earlier, he went to apologize for being an asshat and thank her for getting him out of jail. He tries to pay her and she's like No. He's like Yes. She's like No. He's like Yes. She's like Take me to dinner. He's like Buh? They go to dinner and find out they have stuff in common like pent up feels. Her husband got murdered. She had to learn to forgiver the kid who did it. Deacon could learn a lesson about not holding on to the past. They go back to his place for couch talk and a little light smooching when Rayna turns up and asks him to be on the look out for Maddie. Instead of wrecking the evening, he and Lady Lawyer Friend have Somber Adult Coffee Time and talk about his situation. Probably healthy he's talking to someone. Meanwhile at a gas station somewhere in Nashville, Maddie– a tween in evening attire– calls Juliette (because remember that one time Juliette gave Maddie her phone number? Boy. Those writers and their unfailing foresight.) and J. Barnes comes to pick her up and take her back to her place. Maddie spills her stress. Juliette talks her down and tells her Rayna really does love her, and then calls Rayna. While Maddie sleeps on the couch, Juliette also has Somber Adult Coffee Time and talks to Rayna about how Maddie needs to talk to her and they come to an understanding about the tour. She also reveals to Rayna that she knows about Deacon being Maddie's dad and her lips are sealed. Then they do a few trust falls. Anyhoodle, the next day, Rayna and Maddie talk a bit about Deacon and generally make up. When Rayna leaves the room, Deacon calls and Maddie picks up. They have a short conversation where he says "A lot of people were worried." Read: Me, your bio dad. He asks her not to run off again. She says "bye," hangs up, and calls him "Dad" to herself.

Later, Daphne goes to Maddie's room and demands, "Why would you leave me?" Precious. They wind up singing a Deacon song that Maddie taught herself. Rayna stands in the hallway looking like her face is about to melt off.

As far as the rest of Juliette's doings this week, she's mainly struggling with how to save her tour without catering to the tweens or downsizing the tour. Long story short, she gets Layla to open for her and doesn't even let her in the house when they have the conversation. I kind of enjoyed it.

What I did not enjoy was basically anything that had to do with the Bluebird Brigade. Scarlett and Will do a photoshoot. Scarlett is not that into being sexy and alluring in front of the camera, especially after some p.a. reaches in her dress and adjusts her boobs. That's a NO ZONE. Edgehill wants Will to cut Gunnar's song since EVERYONE is talking about it. Gunnar is ugh. After a weird pow wow with Avery, who now works at the Bluebird, he decides he's going to cut the song himself because it's going to be a hit. He and Will have a cat fight. I think the bee in Gunnar's bonnet is that he doens't just want to be a songwriter. He wants to be a performer. Don't we all? Scarlett finds her friend ZOE I LEARNED HER NAME IS ZOE singing alone in a random church because in Nashville, everyone can sing. That's a lie. They have girl-talk-reminsciences and at some point Zoe is like, even though I'm a preacher's daughter,

They go to a bar, sing a duet, and some guy asks Scarlett for her autograph. She is put off, which makes me wonder what she thought she was getting into when she signed a recording contract.

Speaking of legal stuff, Tandy essentially figures out Lamar killed their mother. No solid proof, but it looks bad. She hands a ton of incriminating evidence to the DOJ.

Stray Observations:
+ Points to Juliette for blasting Lucius in the car.
+ Lamar gave a speech at the gala and referenced how he and his wife used to go there all the time. It's funny because the Schermerhorn opened in 2006.
+ I really dislike Peggy.
+ A lot.

Death Cab to Release New Album

In case it got past you, Death Cab for Cutie Instrgramed a row of guitars with the caption "Paintbrushes. #inthestudio #deathcab." According to Billboard, sources confirmed that they are indeed are in the studio and not just toying with our emotions. Stay tuned.

Paul McCartney's Top 10 Songs

Last week I worked on a collaborative feature with a couple other writers from Consequence of Sound on Paul McCartney's best songs. Now, before you go assuming "Yesterday" got the top spot, we had the caveat of only mining McCartney's solo work. That means no Beatles and no Wings. No Wings means no "Band on the Run." I could write for days about "Band on the Run," so maybe it's for the best I didn't have the chance. Anyway. Check out our list.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Music From' Parenthood' : Steve Earle and Y La Bamba

This week we had two musical selections worth noting on NBC's Parenthood. First off, there was "Lonely Are the Free" by Steve Earle from 2011's I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (Also the name of a Nashville episode. Coincidence? I think not.), which played over Camille and Zeke's heart-to-heart about whether they should sell their house.

The second was "Ponce Pilato" by Y La Bamba, which ran during Drew's Scrabble game with potential love interest and floormate Natalie. And no, "playing Scrabble" is not a euphemism. Geeze.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'I Don't Wanna Talk About it Now'

So. We meet again. On this week's episode of Nashville, Liam returned amidst plots, deceptions, and many machinations. That sounds so much more interesting than it actually was. Here's what happened.

Juliette got exiled to Maryland this week to play a private show for a rich, influential young couple's 5th wedding anniversary. Avery, of course, came along. These people are massively wealthy and everything about their house and the fact that they're paying Juliette ONE MILLION DOLLARS feels beyond extravagant. However, Nashville plays up this idea that the couple is happy. Long story short, Juliette winds up telling the husband that Avery isn't her boyfriend, he's just on the payroll. Avery hears this and looks murderous during the actual show. The husband is seemingly a door. He asks to play a song with Juliette. She is rather accommodating. After the show, Avery confronts her about what he heard and spits a little truth her way about how she's emotionally unavailable because he's basically Dr. Phil and she threatens to fire him, which basically proves his whole point. She knows she screwed up. She later watches the happy couple smooch and is all...

But don't you go feeling sorry for her, because then she runs into the husband and fesses up a bit about what Avery said. Hubs is like It's cool, I'm also emotionally unavailable and then kisses her. There's this moment where Juliette is surprised and disgusted and you really, truly, want her to push him off and walk away, but she is nothing if not sad and screwed up.  So she kisses him back and you feel a bit like you'll never be clean again. 

Speaking of getting clean (sorry), Deacon is on some rocky road, and not the delicious ice cream kind. He wakes up screaming in the middle of the night and tells Scarlett he rolled over on his hand. I do not know if that's true, but he's getting more open to the idea of therapy etc, etc. She tells him the pain he's in isn't right. He responds, "It's either going to go away or I'm going to get used to it." Sure. Anyway, he attends AA with Coleman. Coleman and his wife will be moving away, FYI. Deacon's big reaction, however, comes when Coleman suggests Deacon deals with how his father treated him. BOOM.

Deacon mad! There are chairs everywhere, yo. He eventually meets with Teddy who is not super kind and warns him that he better behave because Maddie is never going to stop watching her bio dad, which sounds a little creepy, but we get the sentiment. Deacon meets with Coleman again and later talks to his AA group about what a raging SOB his dad was and how he basically turned into him, except for the fact that he'd never hurt a child and I'm like WELL I SURE HOPE NOT. 

I don't really have a good segue here, but speaking of segues... Rayna and Teddy are totes officially divorced. It's weirdly amicable. She meets with Buckey and they talk about how Liam is being elusive. Could he still be hurt about her bailing on St. Lucia? Noooooo. Don't be ridiculous, darling. Anyway, Liam makes her work for it a bit, but signs back on to finish the album. Rayna has lunch with Jeff. He wants her to sing a song at the stockholders showcase because REBOOTING and whatever  other jargon he's enacting on behalf of the label. She's evasive. Hmmmm, is there a problem? he asks. We shall see, Jeff. We. Shall. See. Later on, Liam tells Rayna they need to redo the vocals on one song and she confesses she can no longer sing because she had a plastic tube down her throat and we collectively yawn because that's been in the promos for weeks. Somehow, she winds up in bed with Liam. 

 I dunno. Of course, now she has to figure something out because Jeff is expecting her to sing at the showcase. She clues Scarlett into the situation and gives the child her spot. This pisses off Jeff.

Jeff isn't the only pissy one, though. Gunnar is absolutely insufferable. He's in the living room working on a song and Luke from The O.C. comes in to tell him to quit because the song is perfect and he's heard it so many times, he knows all the words and chords himself FORESHADOWING, BITCHES. Anyway, Luke and Scarlett get stylists for the showcase. Luke will be performing too. He asks Gunnar if he can play that song and Gunnar is a pill about it. I'm not sure why, but he winds up as Scarlett's date and Will takes Scarlett's friend, whose name I do not know. The four of them get all gussied up and head off to prom, I mean, the showcase. The stylist tarted up Scarlett and Gunnar's all:

Nevertheless, Gunnar spends most of the night sulking, especially after Will performs his song and calls him the best songwriter in Nashville in front of a room full of important industry people WHAT A BASTARD. Scarlett sings the Caitlin Rose song "Waiting on A Broken Heart" and it's cool.

What's not cool is Peggy scamming Teddy into think there's a baby on the way. "I love being pregnant!" she says as he hands her a check. Later, he decides he doesn't want the kid to be fatherless after all, and we know there are bad things to come. 

Stray Observations:
+ Gunnar's repeated attempts to shoot himself in the foot make me crazy. He should be out of feet by now. 
+ Scarlett's friend is totally going to get involved with Luke from The O.C. and it's going to get WIERD. 
+ I thought Avery was going to steal that expensive guitar.
+ Quote of the night: "Defiance is a drug!" Thank you, Avery.

Broken Bells to Release New Album

I'm excited about this. It's been three years since super producer Brian Burton and Shins frontman James Mercer teamed up on Broken Bells. The album sounded like the indie rock scene from another planet. Now we can look forward to follow up in January called After the Disco. Watch the teaser above. Looks as mysterious and weird as you'd hope.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five Reasons 'Little Deuce Coupe' Gave Us A Crash Course on Cars

I've never really understood why people are into cars. For me, it's a matter of function. If I could live without one, I wouldn't complain. However, in getting to talk to a classic car expert from the California Automobile Museum, I'm starting to get the appeal of classic cars, at least. They were gorgeous. I try to imagine a road filled with two-toned cars with fins and big steering wheels and whatever else. I'd want to drive on that road. Anyway, for this article I pulled every reference to a car on the album and got background on those cars. Check it out. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Five Reasons 'Transatlanticism' is the Best Death Cab Album

It's been a full decade since Death Cab for Cutie released Transatlanticism. I wrote this piece for Consequence of Sound based on a recurring conversation I've had with friends. We hold an ongoing debate as to which Death Cab album is the best. I'd like to think I won this round since I've shouted it from the highest point possible. One surprising turn has been that I received zero blowback via Twitter. I was totally prepared for a little hate mail– not that I'm complaining. Anyhoodle, check it out.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'Never No More'

If you take nothing else from this week's recap of Nashville, know that there was so much soft focus in this episode, I thought my astigmatism had gotten dramatically worse. Anyhoodle. This episode was notable in that I loved Scarlett and hated Deacon, is which is a super weird turn of events. Let's get to it.

Juliette stopped by Conan at the start of the night to talk about her new album. He was more interested in asking her about Rayna, which made her endlessly happy. Not. But that's ok, because it's really the least of her problems. As mentioned last week, Edgehill got bought out by some guy named Jeff (makes me think of Bezos and WaPo, but that's the J-school brainwashing talking). Bossman Jeff is an evil MBA who is primarily concerned with courting the Tweens. Sounds sketchy, no? So when Juliette meets with him, he puts it on her to figure out how to be an artiste and make him money. Her brilliant scheme is to do a CMT special where she goes back to her trailer park in Ala. (that totally sounds like a dis) and bare her soul in exchange for a bump on the charts. She wears braids and very little makeup, which is a good thing because EMOTIONS. While shooting at the trailer park, she runs into an old neighbor who used to babysit her and has now made her a quilt. Then she starts talking about her dad. She  handles it all like a robot experiencing feelings for the first time.

Good thing she dragged Avery along. He offers to talk but she tells him she's just trying to sell records. Her mouth says this:

But her face says this:

Whelp. All that and her single indeed hits #1 on the iTunes chart. She informs Avery later on back in Nashville, presumably, as they watch TV on the couch together. He warns her about how things, like spilling your guts, can backfire and she's all, Why do you care, bro? He's like We're friends. And that's probably the nicest thing anyone's ever said to her. She seems perplexed. But there you go, Nashville answering the age old question best posed by When Harry Met Sally: Can guys and gals be friends? At least through the beginning of season two. Though, I'm increasingly convinced they're cosmically made for each other because anyone else would have been creeped out by her reptilian use of emotion to make money, but he's not because he's equally serpentine. Later on they go to a(n afternoon?) party at Bossman Jeff's where he introduces her to the his newest signee. Many things go wrong 1. This girl is named Layla because NO ONE can have a normal name on this show. 2. Layla bumped Juliette out of the #1 spot in iTunes. 3. Layla performs a "classic" Juliette Barnes song at the party. Juliette is like:

I guess now she knows how Rayna feels. Speaking of Rayna, she came home. Maddie is giving her the silent treatment and Teddy is gunning for Husband of the Year by taking care of her, except for the fact they're no longer married. Whilst having a sisterly talk with Tandy, she says she might never talk to Deacon again. Later, Teddy holds her hand and if not for the fact that I've already seen a clip of Rayna in bed with Liam, I'd think this is going somewhere. Anyway, Rayna rounds up her label roster and goes to meet with Bossman Jeff who is weirdly supportive. "You're the future of Edgehill!" "I've got your back!" That is, until he tries to poach Luke from The O.C. More on that later. Back at home, Rayna tells Teddy they need to stop playing house. Daphne hears and is bummed the 'rents can't get it together. At Jeff's party, Rayna gets it in her head that she might want to leave Edgehill.

So, the Bluebird Brigade is a little splintered these days. Gunnar's story basically revolves around having writer's block and having that sorted out by Scarlett's BFF from last week who is going to serve some purpose in the future, I'm sure. Gunnar writes a song about his biggest heartache– his brother– and performs it at the Bluebird. Luke from the O.C. basically has to figure out if he's going to stay with Edgehill or Rayna after Jeff approaches him in a bar. He does ditch Rayna, but it's based on the mildly philosophical distinction he draws between himself and someone like Gunnar. Gunnar is an artist. Luke is a guy who is good at singing other people's songs. Oh, and the weirdness in the laundry room last week? It's an old flame from Texas who now works for Jeff, who has sworn he won't out Luke.

Scarlett, meanwhile, is living with Deacon, and boy has she been wearing her sassy pants lately. While Deacon continues to act like a dying cat hiding under his owner's deck, she's trying to whoop some common sense into his sorry ass, even kidnapping him to go to the doctor. We learn some of his prickliness is because he hurt his fretting hand and really doesn't want to be told he'll never play again. The truth is it's going to take some painful  physical therapy. Long story short, he tries to sell all his guitars and generally be a self-punishing fool (again) and Scarlett tells him to man up because this is basically Deacon:

I mean, for the dainty little waif she normally is, she really lets Deacon have it, and it seems to work as he saws himself out of his cast and tries to play his guitar. He also has a brief meeting with Rayna where she tells him that they need to try and save themselves because they can't save each other.

So, that's basically it. As usual, I have no idea where any of this is going, but I'm enjoying the mess. Stay tuned.

Stray Observations:
+ I want to have every pow wow, reflective moment, and occasional nap of mine to be in the balcony of The Ryman.
+ Half this episode could be a PSA for not getting into the music industry.
+ Watching Juliette freak out over Layla made me excited for the day someone replaces T. Swift.
+ Where is Watty in all this?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'Kids' : The Deep Red Sky [Cover]

Covers are a bit of a fascination for me. This one hit my inbox yesterday– it's a cover of "Kids" by MGMT by a Scottish band called The Deep Red Sky. For one, MGMT is one of those bands that I never think about as lending itself to covers because they have such a distinctive sound, but that's partly why I enjoyed this version so much. It's unexpected. The Deep Red Sky gives the song a much softer treatment in the beginning and eventually revs up by the end. The slowed pace, the gentler instrumentation, the sweeter harmonies, the fact you really have the chance to listen to the words– these qualities make for an interesting cover. The single will be available for download Oct. 7. Check it out.