Showing posts with label The Shins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Shins. Show all posts

Monday, April 23, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 4/23/12

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Share My Love – R. Kelly

I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is R. Kelly has a new video out. The bad news is that is not a new chapter of Trapped in the Closet. C’mon Kells, if you what to share your love, there is no greater love than new chapters of Trapped in the Closet. I guess I do like this song though, but it is still no Trapped in the Closet.

The Rifle's Spiral - The Shins
I do not know if Tim Burton directed the latest video from The Shins but I get a serious Corpse Bride vibe from it.

Warrior – Mark Foster, Kimbra and A-Trak

Every year Converse convenes three random musicians and has them record a song for them and somehow these songs manage to always sound awesome. This year’s track features Mark Foster (the dude from Foster the People), Kimbra (the chick from the Goyte song) and A-Trak (that random DJ you’ve never hear of). Best part of this musical series is thay you can download the song for free without even having to buy any shoes, head over to to do just that.

Easy Way Out - Gotye

Speaking of Gotye, since no one has tired of Somebody That I Used to Know quite yet, his latest video has gone virtually unnoticed. The new song may not be as catchy, but the music video did manage to be freakier.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Know Things Can Really Get Rough When You Go it Alone

Port of Morrow - The Shins

Nothing ever lives up to expectations after being overhyped. After a bunch of Emmy’s and every critic raving over it like it was written by Jesus itself, I decided to give Mad Men a chance and was bored to death. Nothing happened, Don Draper is a humongous douchebag, and the acting from Betty Draper and Pete Campbell are so horrible is surprising that they are not currently employed by The CW. Could I have liked Mad Men more if people had not over sold it before I watched it? Possibly, the further I got away from the hype, the more I have enjoyed the show.

Possibly the worst case of overhyping came courtesy of Natalie Portman eight years ago when she proclaimed to the world that The Shins would change your life. Naturally you just had to give Caring Is Creepy a listen and there was no way not to be let down no matter how much you liked it. It had a nice wall of sound and encapsulated the indie movement about to pop, but in no way life changing. It surprisingly took them three years after the release of Garden State to release their next album and essentially broke up after that when lead singer James Mercer replaced the entire band and started recording with Danger Mouse as Broken Bells.

Mercer is back with an entirely new backing band still on the name The Shins (five years since he last used the name) for his first post Danger Mouse work with new album Port of Morrow. Though he did not produced the album (that was done by Greg Kurstin of The Bird and the Bee) or play any instruments on it but Danger Mouse’s influence if felt on the album with a more consorted effort to use electronic instrumentation than in previous incarnations of The Shins. Even the title track could have fit easily on the Broken Bells album.

The added textures are felt all over the album like on the album’s lead single Simple Song which sonically anything but with a lot going on in the background. The simple motif continues during Bait and Swich whe Mercer tries to claim, “I’m just a simple man.” September almost goes the opposite route from Simple Song as an actual simple and sweet song. While Fall of '82 sounds like something out of the Steely Dan catalogue. The Shins may never change many lives, they are still putting out solid albums.

Song to Download - Fall of '82

Port of Morrow gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 2/27/12

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Simple Song - The Shins

Who would have guessed The The Shins, you know, the band that Natalie Portman told you would change your life, but didn’t, could actually be funny, and funny in death at that?

Charlie Brown - Coldplay

The new Coldplay video needs more elephants. But anyway, after listening to this song for a couple months, I still have no idea what it has to do with Charlie Brown (fun fact: I dressed up as Charlie Brown for Halloween in grad school).

Love Interruption - Jack White

Wait a second, wasn’t that chick on the most recent season of The Sing-Off in the new Jack White video?

Gimme a Kiss – Madi Diaz

Talk about a plot twist, the way it started all cheery, I did not see Madi Diaz putting on Kiss makeup a minute in. Even more surprising to took me until about the 2:30 mark to get the Gimme a Kiss in Kiss makeup connection.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The 50 Biggest Disappointments of the 00's

1. Bud Selig letting baseball become unwatchable (Big Head Barry becoming the home run king, A-Roid getting a ring, letting the Red Sox roid themselves up to break The Curse, the All-Star Game tie, etc.)

2. The death of Napster

3. The CW thinking shows like Farmer Takes a Wife, 90210, Melrose Place, Life Is Wild, The Pussycat Dolls, High Society, and Fly Girls were better alternatives that Veronica Mars

4. The football team formerly known as the Browns winning a Super Bowl in the second year of The real Browns expansion, who only won three games that year

5. Kanye West going emo

6. The rise of Ringtone Rappers and auto-tune

7. Here is something I could not understand: how Landry Clarke could just kill a man

8. The Writer’s Strike

9. Dave Chappelle going crazy; ending Chappelle's Show after only two seasons

10. Bill Belichicken cheating his way to multiple Super Bowls wins

11. Fox canceling The Lone Gunmen, Undeclared, Firefly, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Keen Eddie, The Jury, The Inside, Point Pleasant, and Reunion after (and sometime before) just one season

12. Having to constantly hear about American Karaoke

13. The entire Heroes series, and having Kristen Bell slum it on such a horribly written / acted show

14. The Steelers winning two ref assisted Super Bowl

15. TV Guide going bigger

16. Basically everything after the season one finale of Lost

17. 50 Cent deciding to make music for suburban white teenage girls

18. The Jay Leno Hour

19. Fergie joining the Black Eyed Peas

20. Having to wait fifteen years for the mediocre Chinese Democracy (and Dr. Pepper not delivering on their promise of a free can)

21. MTV deciding to cater to teenage girls who were too busy texting to care about their crappy shows

22. The Democrats unable to nominate someone competent enough to even beat George Bush

23. Superman Return

24. X & Y - Coldplay

25. The shrinking Rolling Stone

26. The Pirates of the Caribbean sequels

27. Y2K

28. Hollywood ruining my childhood (Transformers, Dukes of Hazard, etc.)

29. Trapped in the Closet; Chapters 13-22

30. Kate Bosworth Going Skelator

31. No Detox from Dr. Dre

32. U.S. Basketball Nightmare teams

33. Sam's Town - The Killers

34. Christina Aguilera starting to look like drag queen version of her Genie in a Bottle self

35. Bionic Woman reboot

36. Jay-Z’s Un-retirement song

37. Survivor All Stars

38. Smashing Pumpkins reunion

39. The Hockey lock out

40. The Shins not changing my life like Natalie Portman promised

41. Janet Jackson’s nipple

42. Working On a Dream - Bruce Springsteen

43. Joe Rogan version of The Man Show

44. Any celebrity documentary style reality show after The Osbornes first season

45. The XFL

46. Brett Favre in a Jets Vikings uniform

47. Jerry Springer banning fighting

48. Lindsay Lohan

49. Austin Powers in Goldmember

50. Tara Reid somehow being able to ruin Wild On

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Dawn to End All Nights: That’s All We Hoped it Was

Broken Bells - Broken Bells

Brian Burton was the most entertaining person of the 00’s whose name no one would recognize. A few more people would now his stage name Danger Mouse. Yet everyone is familiar with his most famous work as one half of Gnarls Barkley who created the greatest experimental pop song since When Doves Cry.

It was an odd decade for Brian Burton. He started off by perfecting the mash-up with The Grey Album which took acappella from Jay-Z’s The Black Album and backed them with instrumentations taken from The Beatles The White Album. That actually led to producing jobs for acts ranging from Gorillaz to Beck to The Black Keys. But his most successful collaboration came with Cee-Lo Green.

Even though everything he has done has been ear candy, you still had to scratch your head when Burton’s latest collaboration was with James Mercer of The Shins (who are best known for not changing your life as Natalie Portman promised). Even though Mercer and Green have little in common other than working with Burton, Broken Bells is similar to Gnarls Barkley that just trades Green’s Deep South soul with Mercer’s acoustic guitar.

Both groups’ first singles were these big huge pop sounding songs with an undercurrent of moody and somber tones. While the rest of the respective album tried to reach the cultural high point to little avail. But unlike Gnarls Barkley where Danger Mouse provided the music for Cee Lo to sing his songs over, Broken Bells is a more collaborative effort with the duo putting their two cents each on the music and lyrics which reigns in Burton who went a little too out there with his beats with Gnarls Barkley. Here on Broken Bells, his eclectiveness only comes in small bursts like the opening moments like the opening bars of The High Road.

Though The High Road is the high point of the debut, there are some other gems to be found Vaporize starts out what could be a Shins song with just guitar before a half a minute in before Burton adds some fuzzy keyboards onto the track. While Your Head Is on Fire is a weird trippy Beach Boys type song heard through Danger Mouse’s usual psychedelic filter. Though Gnarls Barkley never reached the heighted of Crazy on the sophomore effort, The Odd Couple was a stronger album as a whole. Here’s hoping the next Broken Bells record follows the format.

Song to Download – The High Road

Broken Bells gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Musings From the Back 9: Music Edition X

There is no bigger scam than the “Deluxe Edition,” a phenomenon where record labels add a couple songs onto a new album a couple months after it was originally released to squeeze a couple more dollars out of their investment knowing the fanatics will grab both. Coldplay has been nice enough to release the bonus tracks added to Viva la Vida as an ad on to the disk or you can buy it separately as Prospekt’s March.

The addendum features four new songs recorded during the Viva la Vida sessions (not including the forty-five second piano laced Postcards from Far Away), adds lyrics to Life in Technicolor II, adds a Jay-Z rap to Lost+ (that detracts the song), and a remix for Lovers in Japan (that sounds none different from the original). As for those four new songs it is not surprisingly that they were left off the album proper because none would have added anything to it and would have been inexchangeable with some of the filler that did make the album.

The closest thing to a stand out is the album closer Now My Feet Won’t Touch the Ground. A stripped down song with just an acoustic guitar with some weird sound creeping in near the end that balloons into a brass band that is reminiscent of the hidden track off of X&Y, but doesn’t quite have the gravitas of ‘Til Kingdom Come.

iTunes and Amazon MP3 has made compilation albums obsolete. Why buy a whole album when you can just buy the one or two songs that you know you like? But you can look at Sounds Eclectic: The Next One as more of a sampler as unless you are an indie music fan you may not now any of the artist let alone any of the songs as Spoon and The Shins lead the album in name recognition.

And the album does live up to its name with an array of different style from the sweeping epic by The Swell Session (you may remember them from winning the most recent Oscar for Best Original Song), the synthetics of Architecture in Helsinki, the quirky pop of The Ting-Tings, the hipster rock of Sea Wolf, and the haunting vibe of Bat for Lashes. All the songs were performed live at radio station KCRW and there are untouched from their original performance. So if you are looking for some new music, this may be the place to look.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Don't Download These Videos vol. XV

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I though I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form so here they are courtesy of YouTube. I advise you to watch them before you read my reviews if you don’t want me to spoil things. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available, if not the link goes to YouTube where you can watch the video in full screen). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

You’re All I Have - Snow Patrol

Another week, another video from Snow Patrol. Even though the song is much better than Signal Fire, the Spiderman themed video is much better than the, um, whatever this video is supposed to be. But at least there aren’t any scenes from a crappy television show intertwined with the performance. You can check out my review of the album at The Final Word in the Final Sentance.

Australia - The Shins

Apparently when not providing the soundtrack to Zach Braff’s life, the boys in The Shins are doing their part to make the world a better place by releasing balloons back into their natural habitat. This video may actually funnier than anything Braff has ever written. You can check out my review of the album at Born to Gaze into Nigh Skies.

1, 2, 3, 4 - Feist

Really, who needs treadmills when you have friends in multicolored shirts? Certainly not Canadian songstress Feist. And just a reminder, her album, The Reminder, comes out next Tuesday, May 1, which just happens to be the day that Veronica Mars come back with all new episodes.

Sweet Surrender - Evanescence

My favorite song from the latest album Evanescence not titled Call Me When You’re Sober (see I Want to Stay in Love with My Sorrow), but does anyone else think of Alice in Chains Them Bones when watching this video?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Born to Gaze into Night Skies

Wincing the Night Away - The Shins

Garden State had to be a blessing and a curse for The Shins. On one hand you have Natalie Portman claiming the band’s song, New Slang, will change your life which is some pretty lofty praise. But on the other hand, it sets up almost unreachable expectations and failed to, at the very least, change my life. Although it has been three years since Portman’s declaration and four since the band has last put out an album and now is set for their biggest release Wincing the Night Away, a title that may come from singer and guitarist’s James Russell Mercer bouts with insomnia which could also be credited to being the inspiration for the opening track Sleeping Lessons.

Whereas most bands would have tried to go more mainstream after all the hoopla surrounding the exposure in Garden State, The Shins not only decided to stay with indie label Sub Pop instead of signing with a major label like many of their peers in recent years, but the ended up making an album more experimental then in the past. Wincing the Night Away is even darker at times than previous album too which, aside from the insomnia, could also have been inspired by Mercer’s house being robbed including the masters of New Slang. In a bit of irony, that song was licensed for a McDonald’s commercial, the money Mercer used to buy the house where the masters were stolen.

It’s not surprising that insomnia is a major inspiration for the album because it is at it’s best when you are listening to it at night with little light as the synthesizers pour over you while you teeter in half awake, half dream territory. The best here is the soothing Phantom Limb, the funky Sea Legs, and the closer A Comet Appears which is the most stripped down song here and a good way to end the album. But don’t expect any song on Wincing the Night Away to change your life, unless you are on whatever drugs Natalie Portman’s character was on during the Garden State.

Song to Download - A Comet Appears

Wincing the Night Away gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Record People Are Shady VII: Winter Preview Edition

It was a month ago today when I last posted an album review for Hip Hop Is Dead from Nas, and it will still be a couple of days until I publish my first review of the year with the first album in five years from John Mellencamp, Freedom’s Road sometime next week. As it has been for the last couple years, the record business placed all its eggs in one basket releasing all there big name albums within two months before Christmas while releasing very little in the first quarter of the year. This of course has lead to record lows for record companies including this week where the Dreamgirls Soundtrack broke the record for the least amount sold for a number one album on the Billboard charts with just 66,000 albums sold breaking the low record that is only three years old by Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which was also set in January of that year. And I won’t be surprised if that record is broken next week as there were no big titles released last week.

Of course this is all because the music industry is the worst run industry in America (well, it’s neck and neck with the airlines). All they have to do is look in the past to cure the winter sales blues. Like in January 1992 where Nirvana shot to number one with their debut Nevermind when all the teenagers traded in Michael Jackson’s Dangerous that they got for Christmas for the new band their parents never heard of at the time. But instead, this year in the three Tuesdays since Christmas we have gotten nothing. Luckily things will start to pick up a little nest week with Mellencamp’s album as well a new album from the band that was supposed to change my life (but didn’t), The Shins.

The record sales will get a big boost at the end of the month with the latest from Norah Jones who has already sold 24 million albums in her career. Also out that week will be the debut of karaoke loser Katharine McPhee who will most likely have a decent first week before heading of to obscurity or The Surreal Life house. But while moms across the country will be picking up those two albums all us cool hipsters will be picking up British sensation Lily Allen’s first album, Alright, Still. Here a complete run down of winter releases (dates subject to change):

January 23
Freedom’s Road - John Mellencamp
Wincing the Night Away - The Shins

January 31
Alright, Still - Lily Allen
Never Too Late - Norah Jones
Katherine McPhee - Katherine McPhee
Oh, My Nola - Harry Connick Jr.

February 6
Infidelity on High - Fall Out Boy
Headstrong - Ashley Tisdale (A High School Musical alum)

Nothing really worth mentioning past early February that this set in stone but you also expect albums to be released by spring from Joss Stone, The White Stripes, Maroon 5, Arctic Monkeys, Avril Lavigne, as well as a solo outing from Chris Cornell which I hear will feature a cover of Billie Jean. Oh and Chinese Democracy by Guns n’ Roses is supposedly going to be released March 6th. But don’t expect new albums from marquee names like Dr. Dre, Green Day, Kanye West, and U2 until late 2007. Feel free to drop me a line in the comment section if there is anything I missed that you are looking forward to coming out this winter.