Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Lemonheads, Before Sunrise

I'm halfway through watching Richard Linklater's 1995 talkfest, "Before Sunrise." I've never seen it before, but so far I love it. Last night I watched the trailer (I am obsessed with movie trailers, I have to see one for every movie I watch. Sorry.) and I noticed a really good song about halfway through. After some thorough Googling and scouring through YouTube comments, I discovered that the song in question is "Into Your Arms" by the Lemonheads.

The Lemonheads is one of those bands that I am always reading about and being told to listen to, but I never get around to doing it. Last night I got their album "It's A Shame About Ray" after also downloading "Into Your Arms." So far, I've given it two listens and I loooove it. This is just the kind of music I like. Really basic alternative rock with hooky choruses and good lyrics. They remind me a bit of The Dismemberment Plan and R.E.M.- definitely a product of the 90's.

Into Your Arms (Live)- The Lemonheads
It's A Shame About Ray (Live)- The Lemonheads

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ten Questions with Joe Pug

I love me a good singer-songwriter, but I'm the first one to admit that sometimes all of those "next-Dylans" start to blur together. Everybody has good lyrics, everybody's got a good-bad voice, and everybody strums their acoustic guitar with their heart on their flannel sleeve.

However, Joe Pug is different. He is not just a good singer-songwriter, he is a great singer-songwriter, and easily the best I've heard in a long, long time. A few years ago, Pug left the University of North Carolina, where he was studying to be a playwright, and drove to Chicago to pursue a music career. His experience as a writer first is very apparent through the weary, earnest lyrics found on his EP, "Nation of Heat." The best thing about Pug's music, in my opinion, is his world-worn voice, which drifts effortlessly from strained despair to smooth, fluid intensity.

On "Hymn #101," my favorite track off the EP, Pug is accompanied only by a finger-picked acoustic guitar. However, this does not keep him from matching the emotional resonance of the most epic anthem.

I had a chance to ask Joe Pug a few questions, so I sent him one of my favorite question sets- James Lipton's from "Inside The Actor's Studio."

1. What is your favorite word? Fortune.

2. What is your least favorite word? Organic.

3. What turns you on? Thighs.

4. What turns you off? Speaking without thinking.

5. What is your favorite curse word? Whore.

6. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of fresh bills being counted.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? Police sirens.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Point guard in the NBA developmental league.

9. What profession would you not like to attempt? Cold-call sales.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Bravo!"

Thanks Joe!

For more on Joe Pug, check out his:
catch him on tour (for DC folks, he'll be at the Black Cat on May 14!)

Hymn 101- Joe Pug

Warmer Weather

The weather is getting much, much warmer and with sunnier days comes sunnier music. Here's some of what I've been listening to lately, or just general songs I associate with summertime.

Send Me On My Way- Rusted Root
7 Stars- The Apples In Stereo
Strawberry Swing- Coldplay
Ramona- Guster

All At Sea- Jamie Cullum
The Joker- Steve Miller Band
Better Together- Jack Johnson
Semi-Charmed Life- Third Eye Blind
Closet- Pete Yorn

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm The New Blue Mood, I'm The Great White Hope

Two years after its release, The National's "Boxer" still floors me. I think it's one of the best albums I've ever heard. The songwriting is incredible; not only are the lyrics some of my favorites (I can't decipher them for my life, but the way they put their words together just sounds so good), but I find the composition and arrangements of instrumentals sounds almost classical in form. Rather than being just a guitar band or a keyboard band, The National utilize every instrument in their arsenal. "Fake Empire" is rooted in a rich piano strain, "Mistaken for Strangers" builds on jagged, industrial guitar, "Green Gloves" is atmospheric and acoustic, and thumping, rapid drums fuel "Squalor Victoria."

Anyway, before last year I had never listened to any of The National's music besides "Boxer." I think I loved "Boxer" so much, I was afraid that anything else I heard would not live up it. However, I finally got around to buying the "Cherry Tree" EP and "Alligator." While both are less polished than "Boxer," the roughness does not at all detract from the pure beauty of the music. Off "Cherry Tree," "About Today" is my favorite. Off "Alligator," I have "Mr. November" on repeat. Also, I am obsessed with "So Far Around the Bend," The National's track from the fantastic compilation "Dark Was The Night" (which the band was instrumental in organizing).

About Today- The National
So Far Around the Bend- The National
Mr. November- The National

Lisztomania/Breakfast Club