Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Promise, I'll Update For Real Soon.

AVC: You mentioned talking to Richard Linklater and Caveh Zahedi about your ideas on movie music. Can you summarize those ideas?

WO: Well, for a while, it seemed like you were always seeing movies where all the music was determined by the music supervisors and their special relationships with certain record labels. And I just felt like, “Wow, I’ll bet they spent months or years writing this screenplay, and I’ll bet they spent months shooting this, and I’ll bet they spent months editing this, and now they’re spending no time at all picking these completely inappropriate songs with lyrics to put under a scene that has dialogue.” How does that even work? How can you have a song with someone singing lyrics under spoken dialogue and consider that mood-music, or supportive of the storyline? As somebody who likes music, when that happens, I tend to listen to the lyrics, which have nothing to do with the movie. And then I’m lost in the storyline. Not only is that a crime, but it’s a crime not to give people who are good at making music for movies the work. It’s like saying, “We don’t need you, even though you’re so much better at it than I am as a music supervisor.” Like the cancer that is that Darjeeling guy… what’s his name?

AVC: Wes Anderson?

WO: Yeah. His completely cancerous approach to using music is basically, “Here’s my iPod on shuffle, and here’s my movie.” The two are just thrown together. People are constantly contacting me saying, “I’ve been editing my movie, and I’ve been using your song in the editing process. What would it take to license the song?” And for me it’s like, “Regardless of what you’ve been doing, my song doesn’t belong in your movie.” That’s where the conversation should end. Music should be made for movies, you know?

This is an excerpt from an interview that the Onion's AV Club did with Will Oldham, otherwise known as Bonnie "Prince" Billy. It's currently bothering the hell out of me.

Other than calling Wes Anderson a "cancer," which seems completely unnecessary (and is flat-out something I disagree with, as I love his movies pretty much unanimously, especially Rushmore), the thing that's bothering me the most about this is the derisive tone that he's taken towards using music in movies.

Let's go over this for a second. To me, it seems like Oldham is completely against the selection of already-created songs for movies, suggesting that all music included in films should be created expressly for that purpose. I guess I see the point that he's trying to make: if you listen exclusively to the lyrics of the song instead of trying to get the entire context of the given scene, everything may not match up.

With that being said though, music in film, whether used diagetically or not, has created unforgettable moments in thousands of movies over the years. Oldham really just comes off as an elitist, and again, I understand that he might not want his own music licensed for use in films, but it certainly sounds a lot like he thinks that he's better than licensing his work, and, well, he's not.

I've got a lot more to say about this, but I really feel like I might pass out from exhaustion, so maybe I'll update this one a bit later. In the meantime, even though I do like Will Oldham, here are some of my favorite uses of other people's music by Wes Anderson, all by artists that (more than likely) I like better than Will Oldham. Suck it, Will!

*Elliott Smith.

*Iggy Pop (aaaaaaaaaaaaamen!)

*The Who

*The Kinks (complete with obligatory Wes Anderson underwater shot)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Will any of you ever read this blog again?

I have a confession to make.

...many confessions to make.

I've been up for 6 hours, and it's only 9 am. I spent my early morning listening to a lot of music, and realizing that sometimes, my music taste is incredibly embarrassing. And I feel like it's time to level with you, dearest blog readers. Sometimes, I listen to what might be known as shitty music. And I love it.

I'll start with this song, which I've listened to approximately 30 times this morning.

...yeah. Ginuwine - Pony. After Wikipediaing him, I was delighted to find that his real name is Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, thus almost winning the award for funniest real name (Yeshe Perl, aka Mickey Avalon, still holds the title). But anyway... I can't really explain why this song is so good. The only possible reason I can find is the beat. I can't really figure out what it is... is it someone going "Duuh... duhh duhh duhh... duhh duhh duhh..." or is it some weird synth thing? In any case, holy crap is it good. (Here marks my 3rd play of the song while writing this blog post.)

I guess this brings me to my disregard for actual legitimacy... as long as it has a funky beat, it's 100% amazing, in my book. (Jim and I discussed this at length and determined that beats I like aren't funky, they're skanky. Oh well.) SPEAKING OF SKANKY BEATS, here's embarrassing song I love numero dos (I'm pretty sure this one has almost gotten me kicked off the blog a few times). And gosh, I can't find an embeddable version, so I'll just have to tell you. It's Play. By David Banner. I... I have no explanation. Remember, this is like a confessional. Maybe I'll go say a few Hail Mary's or something. Or maybe this will help (oh god oh god acoustic covers oh god):

In any case, the edited version makes me laugh. "Run, girl, I'm try'na get your body wet." and then later, "Work them hips, run, girl." Amazing. At certain points, they give up trying to edit it and just delete things. "We can jump till the bed breaks." Really? I'm literally laughing out loud. Maybe I'll blog about explicit vs. radio edited songs next.

Continuing along. There's a lot of music I really like that I don't think falls into the embarrassing category, but apparently some people do. For example:

Now, I'm pretty sure that Jewel was amazing back in like, 1996. This is from the first CD I ever owned, and I still own it. Because it's awesome. And I listen to it fairly regularly. Just listen to that distinct 90's twang. GOD it's amazing.

I'll wrap up this particular entry (I'm sure there'll be more in the future) with another throwback that I really don't think I should even be embarrassed of. But again, apparently I should be.

I listen to this song all the time. Unironically. Speaking of, how does one listen to music ironically? That pisses me off. Hey hipsters, don't listen to Missy Elliot ironically... because she's really, really good.

Enjoy laughing at me,

P.S. Honorable mentions (not really embarrassing enough):
Longview - Green Day
What Would You Do? - City High (alright, maybe this is way more embarrassing than any of the others)
The Call - Backstreet Boys

Post your embarrassing music taste in the comment box below :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Have Seriously Got To Start Listening to More Funk Music.

From the Wiki for the 1970 Funkadelic album Free Your Mind... And Your Ass Will Follow (which, in itself, is a great name for an album):

"The album and its title track, a feedback-drenched number taking a third of the album's length, introduces the subversion of Christian themes explored on later songs, describing a mystical approach to salvation in which 'the Kingdom of Heaven is within' and achievable through freeing one's mind, after which one's ass will follow."

Speechless. I can't stop laughing about this. More in a couple of days, when I actually sit down and listen to a lot of this.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Inspired by the post about Bright Eyes/the Killers from a couple of days ago (and also by this cover of a Fleet Foxes song, which my friend made me aware of, and strongly rivals the original), here's a smattering of some awesome cover songs. But first, here's that cover by some Swedish girls. Apparently they call themselves First Aid Kit. I'm really impressed by this.

Anyway, here are some favorites:

Yellowcard - "Everywhere": This is off the first Punk Goes Pop compilation, and while I'm not sure if it's actually a "good" cover, I'm a sucker for teen pop turned loud. Perfect for blaring in your car stereo and yelling along, especially at the end. Go for the note he hits, I promise, it'll be fun.

Cake - "I Will Survive": This is a mean cover. Seriously, may God bless Cake and keep them. John McCrea's voice is great, with this sarcastic drone, and yet somehow, I feel like he's not mocking the song or anything. Anyway, here's a live version:

Limp Bizkit: "Faith": Seriously, any chance I get to bring up Limp Bizkit, I'm going to. Especially cause the "GET THE FUCK UP!!!" at the end, while not particularly subtle, is worth the price of admission. Ignore the video, which is totally unrelated.

Anything by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: A punk band made up of members of other bands, who exclusively plays covers. I guess some are better than others, but in general they're all highly entertaining. Also, they're all really, really faithful to the original versions. Have "Ain't No Sunshine," originally by Bill Withers.

Two songs done in the 60s!

Muse - "Feeling Good": Covered by everyone and their mother (including Michael Buble, whose version, I hate to admit, is awesome), I'm picking Muse just because I love Matthew Bellamy's voice.

Joe Cocker - "With a Little Help From My Friends": This is difficult. See, usually, covering the Beatles is a mistake, but everyone's made a good version of the song "Across the Universe." Ironically, the movie "Across the Universe" was filled with terrible versions of Beatles songs. I'm just going to post this and say that I loved The Wonder Years.

And finally, for now, the White Stripes - "Jolene": One of my favorite covers of all time, actually. At some point in the song, invariably every time, I actually get upset that Jack White's man is gonna get taken from him. This one makes me wanna see the White Stripes more and more every time.

That'll do it, cause, you know, I have a linguistics test in the morning.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

This is probably not in any way objective.

At about 4PM yesterday, I received an urgent phone call from Jim.

"Hey, Kristina," he whispers furtively.
"Hey Jim, what's up?"
"I'm calling from the computer lab and I'm trying to be quiet, but it leaked."
"Get online, it leaked."

The fact that I knew what "it" was without even having to ask is pretty indicative of the fact that St. Vincent released one of the best first albums I've ever heard, Marry Me. And yesterday, her new album, Actor, began floating around the internet. And honestly, the only problem I might have with this album is that it's too similar to Marry Me. The question is, is that a problem?

Every time I think of something general to say about Actor, I listen to another song again and it refutes it. I was going to say that Actor is mellower than Annie Clark's previous album... less driving, perhaps... but then I listen to "The Strangers," which is an oddly orchestral opening with a nice constant beat under it that pushes it forward. "Actor Out of Work" is another song with a lovely driving beat, lots of "Oooh oooh ooohs," and some nice buzzy brass. It definitely makes me want to dance.

Arguably the best song on the album, and Jim might agree with me, is "The Neighbors." It's repetitive, but the repetition works. The song starts out kind of fugue-like, and moves into distorted guitars for a bit... then goes back to the fugue-ness. It feels kind of distracted, yet at the same time wholly pulled together.

Lyrically, my favorite is "The Bed."

"We're sleeping underneath the bed
To scare the monsters out
With our dear Daddy's Smith & Wesson
We've gotta teach them all a lesson...
Don't move
Don't scream
Or we will have to shoot."

I've never heard "Smith & Wesson" sung so beautifully. I get this amazing, adorable, yet kind of creepy image of two kids hiding under the bed with a gun, ready to face the monsters, but kind of nodding off to sleep. The clarinet trills and the moving violin lines add whimsy. Mostly because I really like the word whimsy.

I tend to build these huge mountains of expectation for albums released by my favorite artists, and sometimes I end up disappointed (coughcoughSTADIUMARCADIUMcoughcough). I am so very much not disappointed by Actor. It's gorgeous and catchy and I know that when Ms. Clark performs it live it'll get dance-y and even better. And if Pitchfork thinks it's a bad album, they will officially have no more credibility in my eyes. Just sayin'.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Post Indirectly Dedicated to Kelly Fagan (the biggest Bright Eyes fan I know who reads this)

It's usually pretty tough for me to defend Conor Oberst, especially because I've thought he was a raving lunatic since the opening minute of I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. Seriously, just listen to the opening story of this video; it's about a minute and a half:

That being said, credit where it's due, because he's a really good songwriter. In addition, I very recently heard a (completely unnecessary) cover of the Bright Eyes' song "Four Winds" by The Killers. You be the judge.

Bright Eyes (also, I really enjoy this music video, and I wanna marry his drummer):

The Killers (no real video):

To be honest, I do like the Killers (or, at least I did; Hot Fuss is really good, but then they decided to change their sound a bit, and I haven't really liked them since). I think my major problems with the cover (while trying my hardest not to come off snobby) are these:

1) Absolutely unnecessary. Was anyone really calling for a cover of "Four Winds," a song that's still pretty recent (April 2007)? I can see the reason why they covered "Shadowplay" by Joy Division, because it's from the 1970s (and because they got paid to do it for a movie soundtrack), but a Bright Eyes song, from their latest album?

2) The best way that I've heard this described is this, from Stereogum:

"...the Killers make Bright Eyes sound like the Killers. For fans of the Killers. Not of Bright Eyes."

Absolutely perfect. It might just be me not liking the new Killers, but this kind of sounds like they took the Bright Eyes song and removed any kind of feeling or emotion from it in making it their own. Honestly, it sounds like Brandon Flowers doesn't give a shit as he's singing this. As an extension of that, "Four Winds" was not a song that you should want to dance to, but the Killers did their damnedest to try and wring a dance track out of it like they did with "Shadowplay."

I really just think the Killers should stop trying to cover other people's stuff, especially when they try to add "oohs" and "aahs" to a song that references suicide. Ian Curtis rolls over in his grave.

Then again, that's just me.

Underneath are the original Joy Division track and the Killers' version, which honestly isn't that bad, but still isn't as good as the original. Inevitably to follow soon: a list of some of my (maybe Kristina's) favorite covers.


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Friday, April 3, 2009

What? You're still alive?

I'd like to start by apologizing for being the biggest slacker in the history of the world. After copious hints from co-blogger Jim (and a few "Why don't we count the posts made in March, shall we?"s), I've decided to rear my metaphorical internet head once more and blog about something.

That something is logically going to be Bonnaroo. As most of you know, I'm disgustingly excited for Bonnaroo this year. For those of you who don't know, Bonnaroo is a 4-day dirty hippie non-sober jamfest-goodtime on a farm in Tennessee. And I have already purchased my ticket.

Now, I went to Bonnaroo a couple of years ago (the 07 lineup), and it was incredible. Mostly because of the Flaming Lips set, which genuinely may have changed my life:

This year, Bonnaroo, while devoid of the Lips, promises to be similarly amazing (partially because, instead of going with my mother, I'm going with my LIFE PARTNER* Helene). Check out the lineup, it'll make you a happy camper.

Uhhh, yehah. I'm going to see Snoop Dogg.

Kristina. Nerdy indie-music-loving... nerd.

Snoop Dogg.

This is all I have to say about him:

(I REALLY wanted to put Drop It Like It's Hot on here, but I couldn't find an embeddable one. So... Snnnnooooooooooo-ooooooooop!)

But really, the lineup is so great. I'm not exactly ecstatic for the headliners; rather, it's the underbilled bands that have my attention. Don't get me wrong, Beastie Boys and Nine Inch Nails will be really awesome, but...

St. Vincent. Of Montreal. The Decemberists. Ani DiFranco. Girl Talk. Animal Collective. YEAH YEAH mfing YEAHS. Public Enemy.

Imagine the kind of crowd that a festival with such a diverse lineup will draw. "An awesome one" is the answer to that question. Hopefully similar to the kind of people I saw in '07 (and this kid is the only important one):

And you know what? I'd like to end this post on that note. Because that green-mohawked Spiderman kid made my day.

I hope to see you all at Bonnaroo.


*She made me change it to reflect our actual relationship.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


For $6 a ticket, Dan Deacon is coming to the hipster confines of NYU, and I can't go because of my friend's birthday celebration. So why specifically do I want to punch her in the face for being born today?

Is it because I really like Dan Deacon? Not really, even though I do. After all, it's just a concert, and I did get a chance to see him last summer.

Is it because of his incredible live performance? Not at all, cause honestly, his set last year kind of... sucked. Essentially, it was him trying to play party games with his audience while his music was playing in the background... from a laptop.

No, I've heard that this concert is going to be accompanied by a live ensemble band, which has the potential to be really impressive, but that's not even the real reason for poor Sam receiving a broken face (uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, ooh!).

The real reason is a song called "Get Older."

This is the last track off of Dan's new album, Bromst, and I'm not really prone to hyperbole, but I'm fairly confident that this is my favorite song released so far this year.

It starts with something that vaguely sounds like some kind of machine backfiring. Unfortunately, as I've played this song many a time, and it's also been stuck in my head many a time, I semi-often find myself trying to replicate that noise with my mouth. It never, ever works.

Then come the drums. Then comes what I'm sure is a xylophone. Then comes a church organ. Then some more xylophone, and then the song gets bananas. Give it a listen.

Anyway, by the end of the song, as the best Dan Deacon songs often do, my head feels like it's about to explode. And right before it does, out of chaos comes order, and eventually, the track is bookended with that bizarre noise. Perfect.

To conclude that point, I'm going to hit Sam with a full-sized xylophone, as that seems like a fair punishment.

In an unrelated story, I think I again need to go to all three days of All Points West. Even though it took about an hour and a half to get back to a hotel that was maybe fifteen minutes away in real time each night last year, and even though there's no Radiohead-esque band headlining (cause I'm not really into the Beastie Boys), the lineup is still pretty impressive, and there looks like there's gonna be a comedy tent:

Again, I don't really think that there's one band that I love, but there are about fifteen or so that I really like, and a few others that would absolutely be worth seeing. Plus, any opportunity to see Gogol Bordello live is one that needs to be seized immediately.

Currently most excited for? Day 2, cause even though the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the National, and the Pharcyde promise to be great, I'm giving it to:

Gogol, Tool, Yelle, Crystal Castles, and St. Vincent all in one day?! And I get to yell Arctic Monkeys lyrics all day in an altered state?

Sold. See you guys there.


EDIT: The coolest thing that the lead singer of staind has ever, EVER done. Serious boost in my book: