Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween treats!

A lot of people dislike Snow Patrol, and often not because of the music they make. Typically, it's because they're so popular. You can thank "Grey's Anatomy" for that. So, if you're one of those people, I have a possible replacement for you.

Enter Athlete. Their song "Don't Hold Your Breath" appeared on the most recent episode of "Ugly Betty" (which is such a good show, by the way!). They're from England, and they create those lovely, soaring songs that make you feel like you've stepped into a teen melodrama and something life-changing is happening.

Don't kid yourself, though. They're not exactly a new band. They formed in 1999 and are no strangers to being featured on TV. In fact, their song "Tourist" was featured on the greatest show ever" 'The O.C."

But let's not hope they get too popular. If they do, we all know it will be non-stop radio play followed by 18-year-old girls substituting "Thirstyyy Thursdayy!!" statuses for meaningful Athlete lyrics.

Consider this a Halloween treat, dear reader(s). I'm giving you not one, but two heads up in the land of music in this post.

'"Gossip Girl" (I know, I know, quit with CW) featured a kick-ass little band from San Diego called Delta Spirit. The song in question, "People C'mon," has received an absurd amount of plays on my iTunes over the last week. Matt Vasquez's raspy, raw voice paired with the beautiful fusion of piano and drums makes me want to stamp my feet and shout along with the lyrics.

Their debut album, Ode to Sunshine, is catchy, upbeat and probably something any in-the-know kids would want to add to their collection.

Monday, October 26, 2009

They play such good music in the 'Dollhouse'

Prepare for the biggest freak out that might ever occur at CineMUSic.

Two of my favorite things came together over the weekend: "Dollhouse" and Bat for Lashes.

Let's talk about "Dollhouse" first. The show, created by the wonderful and zany Joss Whedon, is about an organization that wipes people of their personalities and then uploads new, meticulously calculated personalities into them. And while the ratings might say differently, the show is brilliant and has tons of potential.

More importantly, Bat for Lashes. Natasha Khan, from Brighton, England, is incredible. If you're not listening to her right now, you need to. When I first heard her (I listened to a cover of "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon) I was hesitant. As it happens, I just didn't like her cover. But when my brilliant friend showed serious enthusiasm about her, I went for it.

Bat for Lashes has a whimsical sound, with a touch of Kate Bush, the stage presence of Karen O and the adorableness of a kitten. But looking past the cutesy descriptions, Bat for Lashes is one of the more innovative, eccentric and talented artists in music today.

If dream pop sounds appealing, do yourself a huge favor and check her out. Her first album, Fur and Gold, is a good one to start with as well as watching this video.

And if intellectual, moral-questioning sci-fi television shows that have serious potential to get cancelled sounds like your thing, start watching "Dollhouse." Then, once you're hooked, write Fox a bunch of letters telling them not to give it the axe. It's way too good.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trent Reznor will never stop... matter how married or retired he is.

This post is a slight deviation from what I normally write about. I simply want to share with readers an interesting little bit of information about a project between Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and the Fox show "Fringe."

First off, if you're not watching Fringe, you are out of your mind. It's the perfect blend of "The X-Files" and "Lost" with an added tidbit of intrigue. Plus, it was created by J.J. Abrams.

Anyway, after Reznor's song "Zero Sum" from the album Year Zero was used in a promo for the show, Abrams asked Reznor (apparently, they're friends) to collaborate and do a little somethin' somethin' for the show. And so, a version of "Zero Sum" plus lines from Leonard Nimoy's character has been born. And it's awesome!*

What I think is the best part of this whole thing is that there is a standing offer for Trent Reznor to appear on Fringe. Believe it or not, there are Nine Inch Nails fangirls (I myself am included) that would both love to see him on screen and then have something strange -- like his face melting off -- occur.

* For those that watch Fringe, Reznor has stated that the sound waves digitally reflect one of the glyphs used on the show. Figure that out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Noisettes are fun!

"One Tree Hill" used to be a good show, I swear. But then, someone (I don't even want to know who) thought it would be okay to let Chad Michael Murray write one of the episodes and this happened. After that train wreck, I was out.

However, that's not to say that I stopped being interested in what kind of music was being used on the show. OTH has featured some incredible indie bands - José González, The National and Band of Horses. Recently, Noisettes were used three times in one episode.

Noisettes are like The Supremes meets doo-wop meets Santigold. The band is fronted by Shingai Shoniwa, who plays bass and treats us with her unique vocals. Also in the band are Dan Smith on guitar and Jamie Morrison on drums.

Don't get too excited about hipster cred though -- they're not completely unknown. They've toured with TV on the Radio, Tom Vek, and Bloc Party. They've appeared on the Wendy Williams Show (this is both awesome and awful. If you're not sure why, please watch this and you'll understand). And perhaps the biggest of things was their spot as opening band for Lady GaGa during the European leg of her Fame Ball tour.

So despite my ruined relationship with "One Tree Hill," I'll suck it up and watch bits and pieces and look at the website to insure that it hasn't sabotaged itself in the musical department.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who doesn't love glam Canadian pop?

So, there’s this show on ABC. It’s still relatively unknown and I’m not sure if anyone will know what I’m talking about, but it’s called "Grey’s Anatomy."

Oh! You are familiar. How very cool of you.

If there’s one thing you should know about "Grey’s Anatomy," it’s that the music featured on the show almost always falls into two categories: quirky and upbeat or sad and mellow. It all depends on whether it’s a sexy/hilarious moment or if Izzie Stevens (played by the... interesting Katherine Heigl) is delivering a monologue that could never in a million years happen in real life.

On last Thursday’s episode, my little ears spied a band called Dragonette, an electropop group from Canada. They, unlike "Grey’s," are still very much under the radar and under-appreciated. The band is led by Martina Sorbara, who released two solo albums in the late 90s. She created this little gem which makes me feel like my life is a movie.

Back to Dragonette. If you’re into the likes of Little Boots, Metric, or CSS, you should seriously consider checking out Dragonette. Their sophomore album, Fixin to Thrill, was released on September 29 and has been getting positive feedback from the typically vicious world of online music blogs.

Intrigued? Check out “Fixin to Thrill” (the song, not the album – unless you want to just go for it!) and “I Get Around.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Say what you will about "Gossip Girl"...

...but the majority of the time, the music featured on the show is better than what 90% of all human beings listen to.* This past week, a band was featured on the show that has potential to become a household name to those that stand between trendy and mainstream. Based out of L.A., The Broken Remotes are a little bit poppy and a little bit rock. In my humble opinion, I could see them opening for Spoon and the audience definitely NOT hating them. So if upbeat, indie rock with a little bit of sass sounds like your kind of thing, check them out!

I’m going to take a moment to plug the "Gossip Girl" Web site. There’s a section devoted to character playlists, and I have to admit, they don’t completely suck. The best part about it is it’s totally stereotyped. So if you identify with Serena – the wild but still sweet girl – you might find luck in the recommendations of The Ettes, PJ Harvey, Peaches, and Amanda Blank. Or, if you want to try getting into real, quality 80s music (as in, not just stuff from John Hughes movies), check out Rufus’ playlist. You’ll find Devo, Camper van Beethoven, and Aztec Camera.

In other words, the show might be clichéd and star less-than-stellar actors, but the music is good and even well-informed music nerds might find something new.

*Not an actual statistic. Just me being a pretentious jerk.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

If roller derby had a soundtrack...

Right now, I am giving major props to the music department of the movie "Whip It!" (Also to Drew Barrymore whose directorial debut was great!) If a Peaches song was used in the trailer, why would anyone question how good the soundtrack would be?

We’ve got The Breeders, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, Har Mar Superstar, Little Joy, The Ramones, and The Go! Team (among others). In other words, it’s sure to be every alternative, “I’m-stuck-between-the-80s-and-90s” kid’s favorite album to spin. Or import to iTunes.

Now, listen up, reader: you should know that I'm a sucker for "bad" (or what I consider great) mid-70s to early-80s rock groups. For instance, I'm a devoted Foreigner fan and I'm passionate about Hall and Oates. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I stumbled upon "Caught Up In You" by .38 Special on the soundtrack. Yeah, it was an absolute highlight.

It’s not just that the songs chosen are enjoyable, it also helps that they were used perfectly throughout. There’s nothing better than watching a film that’s good to begin with, thanks to the script and actors, but the music puts the finishing touch on everything.

Do yourself a favor – go see "Whip It!" and try to keep yourself from smiling when “Bang On” by The Breeders plays. If you manage this feat, then you are officially not a human being.