Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Just Another Girl" : The Killers

Now that the Killers are hyping their greatest hits collection Direct Hits, there's a certain obligation to look back at the past decade and consider the ways the band has changed. The Internet demands it.

In the video for their new song "Just Another Girl," we get something of a retrospective on the band told vis a vis Glee's Diana Agron dressed as Brandon Flowers, strolling though some of the Killers' more identifiable moments. She sports feathery epaulets, eyeliner, a mustache, and leaves you feeling like the past ten years stretch so much farther back than they actually do. Take a look.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Music from 'Parenthood' : Big Deal, Night Beds, Josh Ritter

This is week it's "Election Day" on NBC's Parenthood. Here's the rundown on the stand out tunes from the show.

First up, we've got "Little Dipper" by Big Deal off their recent album June Gloom playing during the awkward doomed relationship chit chat Ryan and Amber had about Chinese food and being late.

While Kristina and Adam voted (woo for democracy or something), we got to hear Nashville's own Night Beds, specifically "Cherry Blossoms." Speaking of Night Beds, if you're in town, they're playing at the Stone Fox on Dec. 11.

Finally, you probably didn't have to Shazam the last song. "Joy to You Baby" by Josh Ritter played out Kristina's bid for mayor of Berkley.

That's all I've got, folks.

Humming House Launches Kickstarter

A few weeks back, I contributed to a piece for Consequence of Sound that compiled stories from staff writers about the longest distances we’ve traveled for a concert. I wrote about Nashville band Humming House. Granted, my friend Ben is the bassist, but my honest feeling is this: Even if he weren’t a pal, I’d still want to see their shows. Humming House plays Americana with Irish folk influences. They have a real knack for the kinds of warm, upbeat songs that can draw an audience into an all-out sing along.

What I’m working up to here, is that they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a second album. Check out the video below, which includes some of their credentials such as love from NPR and American Songwriter Magazine. They also had a song placed on season four of the FX series Justified, to list a few accomplishments.

These days bands with Kickstarters are multiplying like rabbits, but Humming House is solid bet. If you decide to throw a few bucks their way, you can know it’ll be used well.

Anyway, take a spin through some of their incentives, like a digital version, T-shirts, signed copies of the album and so on, or head on over to Noisetrade where the band’s first album is on offer for free and get convinced.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'Hanky Panky Women'

Cozy, no?
This week's episode of Nashville highlighted two important sides of the music industry: disillusionment and legal problems. I'm going to try and keep it brief this week since I've got an early morning, loves.

As Rayna packs for a weekend with Luke Wheeler at his tour stop in Tampa, her girl talk with Tandy about Liam v. Luke gets interrupted by the fuzz looking for her masters at the behest of the Evil Boss Jeff Fordham. As she goes to the safe, we wonder where that pyro Avery is when you need some masters burned or something. This will be the beginning of the terrible, horrible, no good, bad day.

Everyone is in Tampa since Scarlett and Gunnar joined the tour (Scarlett was totally like So.... what're you doing on this bus?). Deacon even shows up to deliver his niece her pillow. Rayna spars with Jeff, Jeff psyches out Scarlett, and ultimately it leads to Scarlett freezing on stage. She'd been complaining about her monitors being screwed up and the sound guy wouldn't fix it. Within seconds, the arena crowd starts chucking crap at her (does that happen?) and Rayna has to grab her by the hand (not for the first time that night) and drag her back out there and chastise the audience. I feel like between Rayna's defense, and Deacon's front-row-sitting-pillow-delivering self, they're basically parenting the pink-haired waif. Oy. Afterward, Scarlett melts down big time, as you would. Rayna gets into another jam with Jeff, who wants to release her album with some hideous album art (which is totally a bluff). Anyhoodle, all the stress and fighting interferes with Rayna and Luke having sexy times. But then they hear Gunnar and Scarlett singing together outside by the pool (remember the time Gunnar and Scarlett had an important convo by a pool that moved along their relationship before everything got real weird? No? Okay.) Gunnar's been struggling to write for Luke, whose fans are apparently only interested in songs about beer and trucks...

Sounds about right. 
That's right folks, once you get to do what you want to do, you don't get to do it the way you want to.  Life lessons from Nashville. Luke and Rayna like the song, though. They learn it for the next night's show and perform it. It's not bad, even if the phrase "ball and chain" is a little tired. Speaking of the next night, Scarlett somehow (probably because of beaucoup pep talks from EVERYONE) manages to come off like a seasoned professional instead of a child's torn dress, drifting down the street in the wind after a tornado demolishes a neighborhood. (Sorry.) Later, Scarlett will curl up alone on her hotel bed. The upshot of the duet is that Rayna is able to strike a deal with Jeff. He can have that duet, which will be massively successful, if she can have her masters back and he's like Ok. Maybe they'll be BFFs now since bullies WANT to be stopped, according to Rayna.

As for Juliette, remember last week when Olivia Wentworth showed up and kissed her on the mouth? Turns out the Wentworths are into threesomes.

Juliette is like Hell no. Later on, Avery is like CAN I B FREND?? TELLZ ME Y U SAD. She does, and the biggest surprise is how he doesn't tackle him into bed after he delivers one of his signature Avery Barkley Feel Better Speeches. She tells the Wentworths to shove it. Later, Charlie shows up and says he might be in love with her.

OH. And then Peggy bought a tub of pig's blood or something and faked a miscarriage after Teddy said he wanted to go to the doctor's office with her.


Stray Observations:
+ "Steel is forged in fire."– Inspirational thing Rayna said that Watty said. WHERE IS WATTY, ANYWAY?
+ "I ain't dead and I ain't done." – Inspirational thing Deacon said about himself
+ "I might not be cut out for this." – True thing Scarlett said

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Music from Parenthood : CCR, Dawes, Ofelia, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Adam got blindsided.
Tonight's episode of Parenthood ("The Ring") offered more than the usual helping of solid musical selections. Here's what they were.

First up, Zeke enjoyed his new-found pseudo-bachelorhood to "Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Next up, while Jasmine and Crosby talked about son Jabar's ballet classes, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound sang "Rouse Yourself." You might remember them from an earlier post this summer. Best line of the song: "If we are forever, I hope we just get better."

Making a return of sorts to Parenthood, is Dawes song "Just Beneath the Surface (Reprise)" in the background while Zeke Skypes Camille, who is hanging out in Italy.

And finally, our ending montage song was "Hawk Fly Tiger Run" by Ofelia. Not a whole lot out there right now on this female artist from L.A. Maybe we'll hear more form her soon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review : 'Nashville' : 'She's Got You'

If your pea-picking little heart missed watching Nashville last week, this week's episode had all the ridonkulous drama that's feeding your addiction. (Or at least, I assume you're addicted at this point, because I'm not even convinced I would have stuck with it if I weren't A) from here B) TOTALLY committed to writing your recaps, loves. Let's get started.

Rayna may or may not be leveraging her *ahem* emotional grip on Luke Wheeler, shall we say, to makes sure Scarlett gets a spot on his tour. Once the papers are signed, she says she'll go hang with him. Business first, booty later, folks. Remember that. So, she ships Scarlett off and has to deal with the fact that Teddy, a breathing loaf of Wonder Bread, is getting married the next day and wants Maddie and Daphne to sing. Maddie doesn't want to. Teddy and Rayna have a scuffle. Maddie continues to harbor some serious stress about the whole I-have-two-dads thing. God bless. Teddy is not nearly creeped out enough that Peggy is insensitive to Maddie's reluctance because COULD JEOPARDIZE CONGRESS. Also, every time Peggy says something like "We can be a real family" and references their non-existent baby, a crayfish dies. And in case you didn't know, they are endangered and indigenous to Nashvegas.  Anyway, Rayna visits Deacon and basically tells him Maddie's been asking for him and no one needs to get hurt here, especially Maddie, so fly straight. The next day, Rayna goes to hang out with Luke on his massive tracts of land and talk about exes getting re-married and sharing custody. He offers advice: You need to find a coping mechanism. Quick cut: They're shooting guns at beer bottles, you perv. Gosh. The pillow fort shenanigans come later. Meanwhile at the wedding, Maddie decides to sing after all, but still feels sad watching Teddy dance with Daphne. She calls Rayna to come get her. She asks her mom if Deacon will ever look at her the way Teddy looks at Daphne.

Me, basically. 
Rayna apologizes for all the pain and vows to make things right. Maddie seems assured, for now at least.

To back track a bit, Deacon had a crap morning the day before. He walked into his own friggin kitchen to find Avery sitting there, having recently banged his niece and polished off the last of the milk. Deacon gives him a look that vaporizes Avery...

and we never have to worry about him again. Well, not really. Later on Deacon enlists Avery to play guitar for him at an open mic at some dive in Murfreesboro. They practice together. Avery sort of helps.  I just don't think the writers totally know what to do with him, so he keeps turning up places. Long story short, they find out that Shotgun Sally's is now a comedy club, but that's okay because Rayna calls about Maddie and everyone winds up a the Bluebird. Deacon performs and then gets to chat with his daughter. She feels better. He feels better. The Bluebird feels better. I feel better.

Over to Juliette. I've never liked her more. Upon launching her tour and having to deal with sketchy radio people, she does right by the female population. There's a creepy dude nicknamed Santa (don't ask) who likes to grope starlets. She explains quite fervently the situation (being female is not easy in a world of jerks) to Charles, who has surfaced once again and he gets Santa fired. Juliette wants to fight her own battles, but figures out a way to let Santa know that she controls his employment status so he better not be feeling up any more girls. Then the weirdest thing ever happens. Charles' wife shows up and says the following: "I know you're sleeping with my husband, what I don't understand why you're not sleeping with me." And then kisses her.



I am drained. Rabbits Gunnar and Zoe apparently don't leave the house. Jeff still wants Gunnar's song. Gunnar makes a desperate fool of himself in front of the label head, trying to get a deal. He gets offered a mentorship with Luke (which puts him on the bus with Scarlett) and a chance to perform at the Music City Music Festival. So, basically intangible stuff and no money. Will gets into a fight with some jerks who were bullying Brent and his boyfriend in the hotel bar/restaurant. Then he goes and sleeps with Layla who is A GEM. Not really.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Mixtape Philosophy : A Bad Sense of Humor


It's been a few months since my last contribution to Mix Club, but I'm happy to report I've got something new to offer. The mix is called A Bad Sense of Humor and started off with "Modern Girl" by Sleater Kinney. I found the song a few months back and decided very quickly that it was going to be the seed for a mix. "Modern Girl"is from Sleater Kinney's 2005 album The Woods. When the all-girl punk trio from the 90s put out the album, it was supposed to be their Led Zeppelin album, a foray into big, loud, pure-blooded rock. It's a great album, but sadly, it seems to have been their last. No matter, "Modern Girl" retains more of a punk sound than some of the other tracks and is my favorite cut. It served as a template for the songs I chose for the mix– punk-inflected 90s rock. Those three identifiers show up in some form on most of this mix, even if the songs only sound that way. Two good examples are the opening and closing tracks, "Baby C'mon" by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and "Stay Useless" by Cloud Nothings. The former is from 2005, and obviously Malkmus is from Pavement. "Stay Useless" came out last year. Both have a particular kind of fuzz on the guitar and the kind of vocals that seem to want to prove that it doesn't matter if you can actually sing. "Love Police" by Sleeping in the Aviary is the same way. It would be a mess if it were any looser and louder.

As for the songs that stray from this style somewhat, "Hey Doreen" by Lucius is one of the strongest songs I've heard all year. One of the singers contributes to Brooklyn group San Fermin. I love the power in the vocals. My two mood-balancing songs were "Worlds are Made of Paper" by Ben Taylor and "The Box" by Johnny Flynn. Both are great lyrics songs, but the latter in particular is far more reflective and even a little melancholic than you might notice if you don't pay attention.

Speaking of paying attention, if you heard my last mix, What We Trade Our Hearing For, you might notice that Said the Whale is making a repeat appearance. Why? Because I remain in love with their September album hawaiii. Check out my interview with frontman Tyler Bancroft, if you have a moment. "I Love You" is like a two and a half minute caffeine rush. It was also the last song I added.

Making this mix presented a few challenging moments in that I originally included several songs that I love, but don't fit. A mix should be an experience, not a haphazard collection, so I had to be cold about my decision to cut out the more pop and dance-edged stuff. It was weirdly difficult to trim them, but I think the result is more cohesive. Plus, the upshot is that sound might be the focus of my next mix.

The last song I want to talk about is "She Takes." It's by a band from the 90s that you probably never heard called This Way. They put out one record and I only know about that because the universe put their song "Nice" in my path while in high school. Until recently, their album was unavailable on Spotify. More on them later.

Anyway, that's that. I hope you take it for a spin.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Music from 'Parenthood' : Bob Dylan

You can't say Parenthood doesn't like Dylan. If you were watching tonight's episode "Speaking of Baggage" and wondering what that last song was, it's "I Threw it All Away" by the afore mentioned Bob Dylan off 1969's Nashville Skyline.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Five Reasons 90s Nostalgia Sucks

Here's a new installment in the Five Reasons series. Fellow Consequence of Sound writer Amanda Koellner and I dug up the bits of the 90s still lurking in the corners, including Scott Stapp. Enjoy.