Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The good, the...let's just say the good and the ugly

Since this blog is all about music on TV and film, I can't not say something about the beyond disappointing performance by Lana del Rey on this past Saturday's SNL.

Oh, Lana, I had such high hopes for you! I hyped you big time a few months ago, right here on my own little blog and then you go and do something like that. We were all rooting for you! (Cut to the video of Tyra Banks yelling at an ungrateful ANTM contestant.)

I won't spend too much time ranting about the performance, because believe me, a
quick Google search of 'Lana del Rey+SNL' will give you a sufficient--nay--copious amount of reading on the matter. But my God, I think all of talent got stuck in her lips. I'm sure it acted as a wonderful plumper - better than a collagen injection! *Ba-dum-chh* Thank you, thank you, I'll be here every Wednesday and Sunday (probably. Most likely. I'll see what I can do).

So that was the ugly and, h'oh boy, was it oooooo-glay. But fear not, my loyal followers who thrive on that which is beauty. I give to you...Dum Dum Girls! Their song "Coming Down" was featured on this Monday's episode of Gossip Girl and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't immediately rush to their computer with the thought of "What the hell was that gorgeous song?!" seared into their mind

They're not total unknowns. In fact, I'm sure a few of you are reading this and you are either a.) going to send me a spam comment with links and weird proverbs or b.) rolling your eyes and thinking something like "I've been listening to them since they played at this dingy little bar in Williamstownburgville, ZZ." Well, whatever, I'm talking about them and when the teacher is talking, you're not!

Dum Dum Girls is comprised of four...did you figure it out? Girls! And by now, you should know me and my love/envy of lady rockers. They're from California (now they're double-y cool!) They work with some pretty impressive people - Scott Cohen is their manager and he also manages The Raveonettes as well as The Deer Tracks. They've also recorded with Richard Gottehrer who has worked with Blondie and helped to co-write "My Boyfriend's Back" and "I Want Candy."

The California outfit is a little bit old-school poppy (The Ronettes) a little punk (Siouxsie and the Banshees) and a little bit something extra (think Patti Smith or Courtney Love.) Lead singer Dee Dee has a lovely, soft voice at times, which adds a bit of quiet femininity to music that doesn't always lean that way. Now I'll go ahead and compare them to Mazzy Star, too. "Coming Down" definitely evokes a very Mazzy vibe, which I just so happen to love.

All right, let's tie this post up and put a fork in it. What did we learn today?

1. Lana del Rey - not a terrible artist, awful live, and massive lips that appear to take up 75% of her face.
2. Dum Dum Girls - nice little quartet of girls who play kind of punky, kind of poppy, kind of flowy music. That sort of covers every genre, doesn't it? Well, they're very versatile!

"Coming Down" Dum Dum Girls

Monday, November 7, 2011

Get it while it's hot because it's about to EXPLODE.

I'm loving being back here at CineMUSic - it's making me hyper-aware of all of the bands I've been missing out on because I've been too busy listening to Letters to Cleo and Eminem, who might not be deemed 'new' or 'hip'. I'm geeking out hard every time I finish watching a show because I've suddenly happened upon my New Favorite Band (or something like that.)

I'm still digging on The Coasts and I hope you are, too. But, I bring to you a new artist who--and listen, I pretty much guarantee it--is going to be famous in three, two, one...now. She's good, she's interesting, she's that perfect blend of unique and indie but still accessible to those who might be inclined to a mainstream sound. Ladies and gentleman, I give to you...

Lana Del Rey! Born Elizabeth Grant, here stage name is a hybrid of Hollywood actresses Lana Turner and Ford del Rey. As soon as I heard her song "Video Games" on Gossip Girl (God, I can't get away from the CW. I promise, next post I will NOT write about a CW show. Cross my heart) my brain was full of "Oh, this is like Florence + the Machine meets Kate Bush meets a lullabye." She's gaining momentum fast, going from virtually unknown--with a full-length album shelved--to being signed to Polydor Records (home to Ellie Goulding, Feist, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.) Not too shabby, eh?

"Video Games" and "Blue Jeans" are her first two singles and they both reached the top five of the US iTunes Albums Chart within hours of their release. Suffice it to say, some people are digging her. And understandably so. I hate to use the words "haunting" and "lovely" but that's exactly what her music is. If this sounds remotely interesting, you should definitely check it out. Dude, Pitchfork named "Video Games" the "Best New Track." You know it's worth a listen.

"Video Games" Lana del Rey

"Blue Jeans" Lana del Rey (undeniably a little Kate Bush-esque, amiright?)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A band that will be COASTing right into your life

It took me a while to find it, but I heard a song at the end of last week's "90210" (yeah, I watch that, too. Go ahead, judge me) and I had to know what it was. After a few days of searching the small snippet of lyrics - "Let's start a riot" - which lead to awful results that were not the right songs - I finally found it. The light at the end of the tunnel ended up being "RIOT!!" by The Coasts. It's at this point that I must apologize for that horrendous pun in the title of this post.

Anyway, Ike Peters and Eric Mount make up The Coasts. They're a nice little duo from...well,one half of the band is from Little Rock, AK and the other half is from Lebanon, OH (hey ACRNers! They're almost locals! Let's get 'em here.) Their first album is a little bit pop and a little bit rock 'n roll. They're raw and garage-y (think "10 A.M. Automatic" by The Black Keys). The Coasts definitely have some old-school inspiration (their track "Stranger/Danger" for instance) with a twist of current stuff. It's like Roy Orbison and The Black Keys had a love child and that child is The Coasts.

I can't help listening to their album and thinking a lot of it would have appeared on The O.C. if only it were still around. The entire thing is so listenable and catchy. It's that music you just know would be so fun to see live. I can just see these guys jamming out in The Union and people absolutely loving it.

The Coasts are definitely a little gem you'll want to check out. Their entire album is available to stream for free on their bandcamp site or you can buy it (buy it! Some of the proceeds go to Hope For Haiti's Children and it's only five bucks!) to show your support.

And maybe some proactive music-lover could contact their management and get them to Athens, eh?

"Handshakers" The Coasts (my personal favorite from the album)

"Hard-Working Man" The Coasts

"RIOT!!" The Coasts

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scary shows and creepy music

So, I've given in and started watching FX's "American Horror Story" because I'm a sucker for all things horror and all things TV. However, I'm a bit apprehensive about the whole thing because creator Ryan Murphy ("Glee", "Nip/Tuck", and "Popular") has a tendency to mess up a good thing. Everything he touches turns to dirt and it's a painful thing to have to watch.

Nevertheless, the show is intriguing and grabbed my attention immediately.

Another thing it has going for it is the suitably creepy music used throughout. One creepy song that sounded wonderful in my earballs was Son Lux's "Flickers." I first happened upon Son Lux while watching the movie The Romantics (which was awful, so don't ever see it) when his song "Betray" was featured.

Son Lux is actually Ryan Lott, based out of New York. He writes and performs all of his songs with the occasional helping-hand on other instruments. The reviews for his albums have been really positive. I don't think that I can say it better than Paste's Andy Whitman said it, so I'll let him do the talking:

"Ryan Lott, who records under the name Son Lux, is a classically trained pianist and hip-hop and Radiohead fan who makes upside-down music. The 11 songs here consist of lyrical fragments – short phrases repeated, like a mantra, like rosary beads – that serve as the musical anchor, much like the rhythm section traditionally serves as the musical anchor. The result is an electronica collage that is a bundle of contradictions; noisy and meditative, hypnotizing and endlessly, continually evolving. If Beck recorded in a monastery, this is what he might sound like. This is the best debut album I’ve heard in years."
Uh...how good does that sound? Really good, I'd say. I definitely recommend checking out his stuff. "Flickers" is especially wonderful (I've been playing it the entire time I've been writing this post, so I think that says something...I think.)

"Flickers" Son Lux

"Betray" Son Lux

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little (white) lies.

Finally, there's a plot on Gossip Girl that is actually compelling, makes sense, and is keeping people's interest. Dan (played by the beautiful Penn Badgley) has written all about his upper-east-side "pals," and it's causing a skosh of trouble. But more importantly, viewers are getting a good amount of Dan/Blair scenes and it's awesome, because let's be honest, they're soulmates. Even Penn thinks so!

Last night's episode featured some fantastic music - for instance, Chase & Status featuring White Lies "Embrace." I knew it was the guys from White Lies immediately; as, Harry McVeigh's voice is easily distinguishable. But when I rushed to check out Spotify, I found that the song did not exist in their discography. A quick Google of the lyrics led me to discover Chase & Status, an electronic production duo.

Chase & Status have collaborated with the likes of Cee-Lo Green, Dizzie Rascal, and Rihanna. Wowza! In addition to last night's episode of Gossip Girl, they've also been featured on Nikita. That really makes it seem like I only watch The CW, but I promise I watch other stuff--it's just that a huge number of shows are scored, whereas CW shows rely heavily on "popular music," a lot of it being excellent.

White Lies has gained a lot of popularity, being featured in a lot of different shows and on the 2009 NME Awards Tour. They've been compared to Joy Division, Editors and Interpol. I would venture to say those comparisons aren't too far off.

Both artists are excellent choices if you like a little electronica in your rock and vice versa.

"Embrace" Chase & Status feat. White Lies

"To Lose My Life" White Lies

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ladies rockin' hard

I'm a little bit hooked on The CW's "The Secret Circle." I know, I know--how could I watch such questionable programming? But I do and I read the book series a while ago so really, I have a reason to be watching. Plus, Gale Harold is in it, and that's all the reason that I need.

Anyway, on to the (actually) good stuff: the music! I have been incredibly pleased with the music selections thus far. And in today's CineMUSic, we're going to talk about ladies kicking ass and making sick jams (that shouldn't come as a surprise.)

We were blessed with not one but two songs from The Naked and Famous. They're a bit hipper than my usual style, but I like them nonetheless. TNAF are a five-piece band from New Zealand (is it offensive to call them Kiwi's? I don't really know.) And as unfortunate as it is, they're compared to Passion Pit whom I loathe. Regardless, they're a nice little indie-electro-pop band. The songs "Young Blood" and "Girls Like You" were both featured.

"Girls Like You" The Naked and Famous

Then, as I've raved about before, The Kills came on and I nearly passed out because their new album is sick. Their track "DNA" is completely gritty and delicious. I can't recommend the two-piece band's fourth album Blood Pressures. The actual scene in the show is the "bad girl" of the show just strutting around wearing a leather jacket and that's exactly how the song makes me feel - even if I'm wearing flip flops and a cutesy dress.

"DNA" The Kills

Last but not least is "Dressed in Dresden" by The Hundred in the Hands. Yes, it's another electro-pop band (sorry, I'm like an old dog...you know, you can't teach them new tricks?) And it's a duo, much like The Kills. They' re probably the least known of these three bands, so you still have time to get hooked on them before they're way too cool and touring with Crystal Castles or some equally hip band.

"Dressed in Dresden" The Hundred in the Hands

And seriously, "The Secret Circle" doesn't suck too bad. It's a typical supernatural CW drama and I like pretending that that's what my high school experience was-- you know, brooding boys thinking that I'm their destiny? Set to awesome music? Having an insane wardrobe where I never wear the same outfit more than once? Yeah, I'll take that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guess who's coming (back) to Blogger?

It's been quite a hiatus. Should we call it a leave of absence? Maybe a sabbatical? I don't really know. But what I do know, is that I'm watching a ridiculous amount of television and with that comes a ridiculous amount of new and really cool music.

Believe it or not, I'm still watching "Gossip Girl". It's a load of crap, the plots are outlandishly bad and almost none of the characters are redeeming. I'm hanging on for the moment when Dan and Blair get together, though. So yes, I'll keep watching and blogging. Now, on to the music because you don't care to know about the awful shows I'm watching.

Ida Maria. I guarantee you've heard her song "Oh My God." It was featured in the trailer for It's Kind of a Funny Story, which just so happened to be grossly overplayed. But last night, the song "Bad Karma" was on "Gossip Girl." And just to further prove my questionable TV taste (hey, only sometimes!), it was also on MTV's summer hit show "Teen Wolf."

She's a badass Norwegian lady who means business with her music. She's a little bit Joan Jett and a little bit Feist, which sounds great to my ears.

So far, Ida has released two studio albums - both of which are awesome. Her most recent release, Katla, was a non-stop play for me this summer, particularly the track "10,000 Lovers."

"Bad Karma"