Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So many bands, so much time (spent not studying)

The fictional character of Chuck Bartowski (from the TV show "Chuck") made a playlist for his girlfriend Sarah Walker. It's featured on the "Chuck" site over at and it's written as though Chuck himself wrote it (even though the tone is totally off and it's way too simple, that's besides the point).

It's got some nice little gems on it. I'll take this time to break it down.

"Heart Skipped A Beat" by the xx is a nice tune. I've talked about the xx here before so I won't go on about it too much. From what I've heard, a lot of people listen to the xx's self-titled album before going to bed. But don't let that fool you into thinking that they're a slow, sad-sounding sort of band.

"Rhinestone Eyes," a track from the new Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, doesn't exactly fit the bill for sounding extremely romantic. Then again, with lyrics like "Your love's like rhinestones falling from the sky," I guess that's poetic. Plus, who can deny the awesomeness that is Gorillaz?

The band Gus Gus is featured, but as a journalist (er, a kinda journalist) I have to maintain good ethics and remain honest: I don't care for them. They're from Iceland so they're a bit odd. If you're into lo-fi electronic stuff, give it a shot.

Ooh, and then there're The Kills. Have I mentioned them here? I don't care, I'm talking about them now. I'm a passionate The Kills fan. Ever since I heard "U.R.A Fever" (a super sexy song in my humble opinion) I've been hooked. The Chuck playlist is recommending "Tape Song," and I concur. The Kills is a one guy, one girl duo that rocks so hard I can hardly believe it. The only word I can think to describe their sound is smoldering. You're intrigued, aren't you?

Last one and then I'm out because I've got two exams tomorrow that I probably haven't adequately prepared for.

LCD Soundsystem's newest single "Drunk Girls" is on the playlist. Can someone please listen to this song and the Beastie Boys song "Girls" and confirm that the yelling of "girls!" is very similar? LCD Soundsystem is perfect party music. Whether you're a bro, a hipster or you worship the deity Beysus, I dare you to listen to this and not yearn for the dance floor.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's start dancing and never stop

It's Friday and Dance or Die is tonight (speaking of that, check out the Scene and Heard blog I'll be writing for it!) so you know all I want to do is shake my ass and get ready to work it out on the dance floor. In honor of that, I bring to you some sexy, groovy music that will inspire you to bust a move.

I could never get down with Passion Pit for some reason. Perhaps it was Michael Angelakos' over the top vocals that I just couldn't handle. Or maybe I just consider myself to be holier-than-thou, as has been pointed out to me. Who knows. Either way, Empire of the Sun makes for a great replacement or addition to electronic dance music!

Empire of the Sun (I'm guessing they're named after the film?) hails from Australia and is made up of Luke Steele of The Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore of Pnau. Their song "Walking on a Dream" was recently featured in the trailer for Accidents Happen.

So, will you like Empire of the Sun? Let's see... do you enjoy any form of dancing? This can be swaying, grinding, shimmying or hopping around. Do you enjoy groovy tunes? Are you into both ABBA and MGMT, and you wish there was some way that you could enjoy both at the same time?

If yes to any of the above, I suggest you click on a link or listen to their album Walking on a Dream. It's conveniently embedded directly below for your listening pleasure!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Television stars making music. Hm...

Taylor Momsen (perhaps better known as Jenny Humphrey on "Gossip Girl") has formed her own band called The Pretty Reckless, and they're not as terrible as one might assume. Lucky for us, she's taken some cues from the likes of Courtney Love (though, she isn't a wreck... yet), Karen O and a few other lady rockers.

For being 16, she's actually kind of a kick-ass girl. Speaking of kicking ass,
that's the reason this entry has been written. The Pretty Reckless' first single "Make Me Wanna Die" is featured on the Kick-Ass soundtrack!

It's nice to see a deviation from the "music" of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Even if she's veering toward rebelling for the sake of rebelling, I'm giving her props for not falling into the Top 40-esque, Disney kid stuff. However, I foresee a spike in the number of "punk" 14-year-old girls quoting Momsen's lyrics. Some of her lyrics include "I luh-luh-luh like you. I lah-lah-lah love you. I used to huh-huh-huh hate you. But now I really fucking LOVE you!" Melodramatic and angsty? Maybe so...

If you're feeling risky, check out some of the demos that are floating around the Internetz: "He Loves You," "Blender" and "Zombie" are the only real demos so far.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Music to cry to

There's an adorable little show on The CW called "Life Unexpected" that just wrapped up its first season on Tuesday. And it was so emotional, I almost cried. Almost. I managed to hold back the tears.

It wasn't just the acting of the dirty/hot Kristoffer Polaha, or the writing -- it was a devastating duet (randomly titled "Duet") between Rachael Yamagata and Ray LaMontagne that made me want to jump off a bridge because my heart hurt so much.

OK, that might be a bit extreme. I'm just going to go ahead and skip to the music portion of this post. If you don't already know, Ray LaMontagne is the bee's knees and if you don't already listen to him, do it. I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on Rachael Yamagata.

When I listen to her music, it's like swimming in an ocean of tears, having my heart ripped out by an Ork, and falling off a giant cliff that leads right back to the ocean of tears. In a good way! She has this gorgeous, throaty (OK, that's kind of an awful word) voice and she plays the piano like someone made the instrument just for her.

Odds are, you've heard Rachael's music before. Lists seem to be my forte, so I'm going to go ahead and do that right now. Here's where you might have heard her amazing voice before:

1. "Worn Me Down" and "Reason Why" on "The O.C."
2. "Be Be Your Love" on "One Tree Hill" and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants soundtrack
3. "Duet" on "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice"

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful she is. Again, a majority of her music has a spot on my "Depressed" playlist on iTunes, so if you're looking for songs to listen to while curled up in the fetal position, weeping every tear you have in you, I think her music will really help get the job done.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's NOT Twilight!

Confession: I'm a television addict. Right now, I'm completely caught up/finished with every show I've been watching. That leaves me with only one option - to start watching shows that I initially waved off, only now I am experiencing new television withdrawal syndromes so I need a quick fix.

The latest quick fix? "The Vampire Diaries." Yes, I have given in to my inner 13-year-old girl and decided to watch a show about smoldering-eye'd young (old, actually) men who just want to do right by a girl in high school. Hey, I've got to balance out the really great shows with some awful ones, right?

VD (as I like to call it because it has the same initials as venereal disease!) is on its 17th episode, so I'm not about to list the dozens of songs that have appeared, but I will pick my top three bands that might strike the general population's fancy.

1. White Lies - I gushed to my friend "They're like a mix of Interpol, Phoenix and feeling invincible." Poetic, yes? Well, they are. They're a three-piece band from London and they make sexy and trendy music. Please check out "Death" and "To Lose My Life."

2. Union of Knives - This band is a little bit electronic and a little bit rock. Another three-piece, they're a little bit dark and could definitely end up being one of those bands in your library that people say "Who?" but then listen and say "This is great!" Track it down, enjoy it and let it become something special. I think I'll recommend "Opposite Direction" and "Lick Black Gold."

3. The Dodos - They're opening for The New Pornographers this summer! And their music is catchy as hell. It has something for everyone. If you like pop stuff, you'll like it. If you like folksy stuff, you'll like it. The Dodos is just one of those bands that works. Check out "Fools" and "Fables."

There you have it. Three recommendations to keep you busy for a while. Take your time and savor the sounds.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

That new show with Lorelai Gilmore!

The last entry was a bit loquacious and quite ranty/ravey, so let me just take a moment to give a short and sweet spiel about a new NBC show.

Parenthood" the hour long dramedy starring... well, a slew of people, really, hasn't exactly hit the nail on the head but also hasn't messed up royally by any means. A lot of the characters are likable (and believable!) and actually quite akin to something one might call "reality." But this is CineMUSic! Of course I'm going to talk about the music!

With the exception of the opening song ("
Forever Young Continued" by Bob Dylan) the music is currently kicking ass. It's a family show, so odds are we'll never hear crazy-weird indie stuff, but here's a quick list of some of the best tracks (I think) they've used:

1. "
Natural Disaster," Andrew Bird
2. "
Once In A Lifetime," Talking Heads (okay, definitely not indie, but still super good!)
3. "
Cool Yourself," Thao Nguyen with the Get Down Stay Down
4. "When You Learn To Sing," Rocco DeLuca

And these are among quite a few other great choices. If you're into mellow, acoustic-y music that won't offend you, I would definitely recommend checking out the music from this show. And if you're like me and no matter how much television you watch it just doesn't seem to be enough, pick up on this show. It's only six episodes in and it's nice. Even
Dax Shepard doesn't totally suck in it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scott Pilgrim: before hipster tweens make me hate it

Settle in, reader. This is going to be a two-part post and something verging on a feature (well, a feature in the realm of blogs.) Hopefully it doesn't turn into something deserving of tl;dr.

I'm into graphic novels. I'm into trendy and quirky music. I'm into pretty much every form of media. Which is why I find myself attracted to the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series. And before you get too anxious about CineMUSic implementing books, the series is being turned into a film starring the loathsome Michael Cera (aside from when he's George-Michael Bluth). However, this post is going to focus on the stuff that you find on pages.

Music is a big part of the world of Scott Pilgrim. He's the bass player for a band called Sex Bob-omb, he dates a girl named Knives Chau -- but falls in love with Ramona who has dyed hair and is way more sexually experienced than he is. I'll stop beating around the bush -- Scott Pilgrim is a hipster. And for every volume (the sixth is due out July 20, 2010!) chronicling the trials and tribulations of Scott Pilgrim there is a playlist.

So, is it good music or is it bad music? Well, we've got Beulah, Neko Case (excuse me while I hyperventilate), Spoon, The New Pornographers, The Go! Team, David Bowie, Sloan and Fleetwood Mac (among a few dozen others). It's like my musical wet dream. At the end of Volume 3, the author/illustrator Bryan Lee O'Malley writes "for each book, I tend to make one mix CD of song that capture the right mood." He then goes on to list about 10 songs with a note about why they're important in the world of Scott Pilgrim.

For once, I'm getting a little bit serious at CineMUSic. The point of this blog is not just for me to act like a pompous jerk and express how great I think bands are and if they'll be popular. It's also a chance for people to see how integral music is to all forms of art and entertainment. Music serves as an incredible inspiration. I mean, the song "Scott Pilgrim" by a band called Plumtree is what inspired the entire series. Music isn't just something to add interest to a scene or to take away awkward silent moments, it's there because it's powerful.

My point with this little post (well, actually, it's quite large compared to my other posts) is to shed light on books and music working together to create a new experience. Music and almost every other form of art go together like peanut butter and jelly, Ashton and Demi, Romeo and Juliet (okay, so that one ended badly but you get the point).

I'll be back soon with a post about the movie's soundtrack. Here's a taste: there will be Beck.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Not Radiohead (thank God.)

So, I'm watching "Grey's Anatomy" this past Thursday, and in the background, I'm sure I'm hearing Thom Yorke's stupid voice managing to sound good. And then I thought, "Ah, shit. I'd rather not admit that Thom Yorke has made something enjoyable." Lucky for me, I won't have to say that. Because it wasn't Thom Yorke and it wasn't Radiohead!

It was Aqualung, or as I see it, the man with the most beautiful voice in all the land. It's devastating really. Aqualung is Matt Hales and his amazing piano playing. You might recognize his song "Strange and Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You)," which manages to be heartbreaking and sexy at the same time. You might even recognize another song of his, "Brighter Than Sunshine" which was used in the movie A Lot Like Love.*

"Remember Us" was the song used at the end of "Grey's" and features Sara Bareilles (of "Love Song" fame.) It's full of subdued vocals and quite a few "oohs" and "aahs." Essentially, Hales makes music that is built for emotional moments on the screen. Or maybe in real life when you just want to curl up into a ball and die. You pick.

*Can I just gush for a moment? So many people wrinkle their noses when I admit fervent love for A Lot Like Love, but it's a wonderful chick flick. You know why? Because it's more realistic than other rom-coms, Ashton Kutcher is goofy and hot, and the soundtrack is great. So there.