Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You know you love me. XOXO, The National.

Last night's "Gossip Girl" had a brilliant closing montage, set to "Afraid of Everyone" by The National - a band that a lot of people lose their shit over. I won't go so far as to say that they're the greatest thing since sliced bread, but they've got a knack for creating lovely harmonies and it's hard not to enjoy Matt Berninger's impossibly low voice. Plus, they're from Ohio.

You might also recognize their song "So Far Around The Bend" as that one song from the 'Charlie St. Cloud' trailer (58 seconds in). You know, that one movie with Zac Efron (squee!), boats, and a ghost brother? Yeah, that one.

Now that I've sufficiently spread the word about The National, I'm going to get (sort of) serious for a brief moment.

People scoff at television-- especially shows on The CW. I won't sit here and say that they're full of the highest caliber actors nor are the plots usually all that deep or meaningful, but having watched three seasons of "90210," I've gotta say that they're doing a good job of covering some pretty serious stuff that people shouldn't be ignoring.

This season alone (which is only into the fourth episode) has dealt with the following: homophobia/homosexuality, HIV, rape, and the whole "am I ready to have sex?" thing. I know that this blog is about music and film and how they go together, but I really just wanted to address the fact that there's a lot of shit going on in the world and I appreciate that a show like "90210" is willing to go there.

As tempting as it is to think about shows on The CW or any show that seems like a trashy teen show (and don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those) they're not all bad and might actually be striving to send a good message to viewers.

Okay, you're free to go. Thanks for hearing me out. Now go listen to The National and find out if you like them or if you like like them.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New school year? More like new season of TV.

Do you guys want to know how TV crazy I am? My current desktop is a giant calendar for the month of September. Now, if I were a good and a motivated student, it would have class times, stuff to help me study, important school dates, etc. But no. Instead, my desktop is full of premiere dates for every television show I could ever want to watch.

And now that (pretty much) everything has premiered for this TV season, let's get right into it. What I'm about to talk about will probably be nothing new to most of you, but I can't not talk about it.

The Black Keys. Good Lord, their music has been featured on anything and everything. That doesn't surprise me - their music has been used in TV and movies for years now, but with the amazing-ness of their latest album, Brothers, they've been everywhere.

Let's break it down:

1. "Your Touch" used in Private Practice premiere; everyone rolling around in bed together.
2. "Howlin' For You" used in Chuck; spying and sexting.

3. "Howlin' For You" used in Hawaii Five-O; Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan bantering.
4. "I'm Not The One" used in 90210; melodrama, making out, morals.

What I'm getting at is if you thought that The Black Keys were already popular...prepare yourself. I predict Bieber-Fever only...for The Black Keys?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Welcome to The O.C., bitch!

If you're a bit confused about that title, please watch this video for an explanation.

You know what I never get to talk about because it's been over for years? "The O.C." It was my favorite show (honestly speaking, it still is) and helped shape a lot of my music taste. And because there are no shows on television right now and soundtracks are just...blah, I'm offering to you five of my favorite music moments from The O.C. Mind you, this list is incomplete because there are dozens of brilliant music moments from the series.

"All The Arms Around You" by Halloween, Alaska from Season 2, Episode 1 "The Distance"

Seth ran away from home because Ryan left. So now, Seth has learned to grill and is living with Luke and his gay dad. But Ryan comes along and tells Seth he should go home. In the end, they both go home to The O.C. If only look Luke had said "Welcome back to The O.C., bitch."

"World At Large" by Modest Mouse from Season 2, Episode 7 "The Family Ties"

In that clip (which I'll admit totally made me cry) Marissa's dad is leaving because he messed everything up. But don't worry, Marissa brings bagels to the Cohen residence and everything is right in the world. Adding this song into the mix just makes everything sadder, though.

"Running Up That Hill" by Placebo from Season 4, Episode 1 "The Avengers"

Season 4 opening scene. Ryan is a cage fighter? Julie Cooper has tons of pills in her medicine cabinet? Ryan and Julie are meeting in a skanky motel? What's going on?! Thanks to this Placebo cover of the
Kate Bush song, this opening is especially intense.

"Caught By The River" by Doves from Season 1, Episode 2 "The Model Home

Aw, it's Seth, Marissa and Ryan's first bonding experience, bike riding and skateboarding along the boardwalk. What could be better? Oh, I know, when Ryan burns down a house 30 minutes later!

"Into Dust" by Mazzy Star from Season 1, Episode 7 "The Escape"

Shit just got real. Marissa has OD'd on Summer's step-mom's prescription pills in Tijuana (lovingly referred to as TJ) and has found a nice little pile of dirt to lay on. Later, this song
comes back in the form of a spectacular cover by Ashtar Command in season 4 - another favorite music moment.

There won't be much on TV this summer - with the exception of True Blood, which is going to render me speechless due to how amazing it's going to be - so if you're looking for something to watch or to find some new music, venture into the realm of Orange County, California.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

After this, no more Twilight...until Breaking Dawn comes out.

Just when I think I've run out of content, it just shows up out of the blue, ready to receive my (succinct) commentary. Well, fine then. Let's do this thing.

I wrote about the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack a few weeks ago. At the time, it was just my being a miserable music snob, talking about how depressed I was about Metric and Florence and everyone else being a part of that schmucky franchise. Now, I have the soundtrack, and I'll write about what it actually sounds like. You can stream it here if you feel so inclined. Or, the links will take you straight to the songs on YouTube!

Metric has the lead track, "Eclipse (All Yours)." Can I be honest and say that I'm already rolling my eyes? I love, love, love Metric (if you need proof, please see my live review in which I gushed over Emily Haines) but this track is just...lacking. But, then again, what else would you expect from anything Twilight related?

The Sia and Band of Horses tracks are exactly what you'd expect - which isn't a bad thing. It's just not Twilight-tailored. That's probably a good thing. Although, I'm waiting for a cringe-worthy emotional scene in the movie. I'm thinking Bella and Jacob in a will-they-won't-they situation (even though we all know they kind of do but ultimately don't, because Jacob is a pervert who imprints on a baby).

The Black Keys can do no wrong in my eyes, even if they wrote a song for this soundtrack. Although, now that I'm listening to "Chop and Change," I feel like what happened was this: "Oh you know what? We have a B-side that we weren't going to use. You wanna just..." and they did.

You know who else can do no wrong? Florence Welch. "Heavy In Your Arms" is so beautiful it's actually giving me chills

BECK AND BAT FOR LASHES. It's the track I've been waiting for for months and months: Mostly because Natasha Khan is all that is holy, and we haven't had any new material from her. The track has yummy percussion and Beck and Natasha's voices work really well together. In fact, they're kind of like the male and female versions of one another!

Vampire Weekend. I don't even want to know. You're stupid and overrated and I don't care that you're "intelligent." As far as I'm concerned, you island-indie rock guys can just suck it.

UNKLE's track, which features The Black Angels, is a sexy rock song. I predict a chase/running/driving scene for this one.

There's a bonus track called "Don't Mourn The Sun" on the album by someone named MiMi. I can't find anything on her (them?) but the track is kind of great, actually. It has a wonderful building beat, and she has a good voice.

So, out of all of these artists/songs to check out, make it MiMi.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Harry Potter? No! Grace Potter!

I neglected to talk about the Almost Alice soundtrack because 13 out of 16 tracks are just awful. But I've recently happened upon the brilliance that is Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I could just kick myself for ignoring them for the past few years. I offer my apologies in raving about them here.

They're not exactly my usual taste, but the lead singer - Grace Potter - has so much stage presence and an unbelievable voice. The band is a perfect mixture of blues, rock, and soul. And, even better news, they're coming out with a new album in June!

The song in question on the Almost Alice soundtrack is the band's cover of Jefferson Airplane's song "White Rabbit." It doesn't deviate much from the original, but it sounds a bit more ethereal, especially considering the fact that Potter's voice isn't quite as insane as Grace Slick's. Basically, their cover doesn't make me feel like I should have just dropped acid. I suppose that could be a good or bad thing depending on who you are.

For those of you who like the musical comparisons, the band is a little bit Rilo Kiley/Jenny Lewis, a touch of Neko Case, and a hint of The Black Keys. "Medicine," a track from their new album, is catchy as hell. "Ah Mary" is a great track as well.

Also, they're going on tour and will be in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area mid-June. Be sure to check them out if you're in the area!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Something new but still the same

Hi guys! I've come to talk about something before Zach Braff comes along and ruins it.

Broken Bells is a collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mercer, The Shins lead singer. I've always enjoyed The Shins, though not to the extent that many people do. And I feel the same toward Broken Bells. Which makes me question myself: "Why are you writing about Broken Bells if you don't think it's totally super amazing?"

The answer is that I always recommend things that I love and that I think deserve a blog post, which is not to say that Broken Bells doesn't deserve one! I'm just trying to help out the masses here. And the masses enjoy The Shins.

Broken Bells is like a slightly electronic version of The Shins' album Wincing the Night Away. It's a little bit ambient (I suppose that's where Danger Mouse comes into play) with James Mercer's unmistakable vocals. To be honest, when I first heard that it was Danger Mouse and Mercer, I was expecting some crazy stuff but it's not a huge deviation from what one would expect.

So, the other night when I heard the song "The High Road," I thought that there are probably a lot of people that are jonesing for some new Shins material, which is not what you'll get, but it's not that far off.

Sorry guys. This isn't exactly a glowing recommendation, but seriously, check it out. It's nice and mellow, perfect for finals week which is, unfortunately, quickly approaching.

Monday, May 24, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

Well, faithful readers/spammers, the school year is beginning to draw to a close. And as I've stated before, shows are ending and soundtracks haven't been all that interesting. Because of this, I'll be posting some of my favorite music/television/film moments. How does a few per post sound? It doesn't really matter - I'm doing it anyway!

1. "You Got Me All Wrong" by Dios Malos from "The O.C.", Season 2, Episode 1

"The O.C." was, is and will always be my favorite TV series ever. I credit the series with introducing me to a majority of my most loved bands. "You Got Me All Wrong" is a go-to, kind of depressing, a little bit groovy, lovely song. Plus, Ryan Atwood.

2. "New Day" by Kate Havnevik from "Grey's Anatomy", Season 3, Episode 9

Ah, back in the days of Doctor Burke... The song is intense. Kate Havnevik has such a unique voice and this song blends strings and electronica together so beautifully. As I watch this clip again, I long for the good old GA days. Everyone was much less annoying and not as preachy. And scenes like this existed. And as always, a beautiful performance from Sandra Oh.

3. "Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie and the Banshees from Marie Antoinette

Okay, okay. So, it isn't a new band by any means, but it is an awesome band to get into. To date, this is one of my favorite films - aurally and visually. The combination of 18th century garb and new wave music is amazing. The idea of haughty aristocrats dancing to stuff like New Order and Siouxsie Sioux just tickles me.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Recommendations? What recommendations?

As I predicted, season finales have been crazy. What's even crazier? Lack of really great music. A majority of these shows have been relying on artists that are acoustically-driven and who use soft vocals. With the exception of a few artists (Damien Rice, Iron and Wine, Rachael Yamagata, etc), I really don't find those to be all that appealing.

So, instead of recommending something that I don't think is entirely worth your time, I'm going to give you a guys a quick preview of a soundtrack that I think will have you shaking and crying.

I've been trying to wrangle up some serious information on the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack. So far, this is what I have for you:

1. Beck is composing a ton of the soundtrack's music
2. An old Metric B-Side called "Black Sheep" is being used
3. There's going to be so much music, it might have to be a two-disc volume
4. 6 songs from the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series' playlist will be used
5. Broken Social scene might be contributing some stuff to the soundtrack as well

With two-disc potential and Beck apparently being heavily involved, this soundtrack will probably be amazeballs.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Taking a trip back to yesteryear

I recently started thinking about "Gossip Girl" and how, while it isn't what one might call a "critically acclaimed" series to begin with, it certainly has gotten a bit ridiculous over three seasons. So, I decided I ought to go back to when it didn't make me groan/roll my eyes for 42 minutes straight and start watching the first season all over again.

And what did I discover but a delicious little song hiding in the background of the pilot (skip ahead to 3:37 if you feel like watching the scene.) It was a song called "Space for Rent" by the Denmark-based band WhoMadeWho. They're pop-rock-indie-dance music-- I can't even decide which genre to put them under.

The bad news is: they've been a bit lacking in music updates and there isn't much info about them. They released their second album, The Plot, in March 2009. But their debut, self-titled album is a gem. It's like three guys who know exactly what music makes people feel good got together and just started riffing and jamming.

If you can find any of their stuff, I highly recommend it. It's a bit difficult to find. If you're going the legal, iTunes route, it's simple enough to acquire some of their stuff. If you're going the...not so legal route, happy hunting, my friends.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who needs lyrics?

I'm going to take a bit of a different route with this post - hope you guys don't mind. I think you might enjoy it.

Clint Mansell. Soundtrack buffs might be nodding their heads and saying, "Yeah," but some of you might be thinking, "Come again?" Don't worry; I'll elaborate.

Clint Mansell is the man behind tons and tons of gorgeous music in soundtracks and movie trailers alike. "Lux Aeterna" is easily the most well-known - it started off as the main theme for Darren Aronofsky's 2000 film Requiem for a Dream before being used in practically everything ever. It was even re-recorded for the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trailer and released as "Requiem for a Tower."

He is also the mastermind behind soundtracks for The Fountain, Smokin' Aces, The Wrestler, 11:14 and Pi (among others). But what brought up this post is actually Iron Man 2. I know, I know: "How did she get from Iron Man 2 to Clint Mansell when he had nothing to do with the movie's music at all?" I'll tell you how.

Iron Man 2 stars the amazing, attractive, talented and hilarious Sam Rockwell. Sam Rockwell starred in the 2009 independent film Moon. And who is responsible for the score? You're damn right! It's Clint Mansell! The score for Moon is creepy and claustrophobic and makes me feel anxious. That might sound terrible, but i
t's actually kind of wonderful. The main title is called "Welcome to Lunar Industries." If you're into that, dive right in and try out...everything!

Here's another fun fact with only makes him cooler: he provided back up vocals for Nine Inch Nails' 1999 album The Fragile.

Mansell's music is haunting, using everything from strings to electronic beats to piano. It's the kind of music that gets under your skin. And while it is instrumental, it's the kind of music that someone who scoffs at lyric-less music can seriously get behind. His music speaks volumes on its own. Get ready for goosebumps, my friends.