Monthly Archives: July 2013

Haim

Haim

Mrs. YHT and I have a few new game. It’s called the Soundcloud comment game.

Here’s how you play:

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B.I.M.A.

BIMA

One of the things that made me fall for Girl Talk was how doted-upon Gillis’ mushups seemed. For a while he was averaging an album every two years (if you’re reading this, Greg, my friends and I are spending the last week of August at the beach, and let’s just say we wouldn’t be sad if a new Girl Talk album was released in between now and then…), and I imagined him spending long hours in front of a laptop, working late into the night to perfect transitions and find ways to squeeze more and more music into each minute. That density — the feeling of being surrounded by hundreds of musical quotations and juxtapositions — is key to my perception of Night Ripper, Feed the Animals and All Day as labors of love. They’re like candy-coated musical rainforests that fans of pop music can relish hacking through.

As much as I love this approach, I’m enjoying the Bon Iver Mashup Album for the opposite reason. Or perhaps just a seemingly opposing reason…

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Dead Fame

Dead Fame

Do you like Labyrinth?

Of course you like Labyrinth. That was a stupid question. Here’s a better question: Haven’t you always wanted to be, like, in the movie — especially the scene where everyone gets dressed up masquerade-style and a 39-year-old David Bowie seductively serenades and slow dances with a 15-year-old Jennifer Connelly?

Of course you have! Another stupid question. I’m just going to stop asking questions and let you know that your freakiest, Jim Henson-addled dreams are about to come true this weekend — twice.

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A Capellooza

Fat Amy

So Mrs. YHT and I ummm… sorta… kinda… maybe… [looks around nervously] watchedPitchPerfectagain.

It’s not our fault! It was on HBO, we were bored, one thing led to another and yadda yadda yadda… another notch on the ol’ TV cabinet. Bing bang boom.

I don’t know what to say — it’s not like we were big into a cappella groups when we were in college. We certainly weren’t in any. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I think I’m safe in speaking for both of us when I say we wish we had that kind of talent…) Pitch Perfect is just such an all-around feel-good exercise, with outstanding one-liners, some solid vomit humor, a healthy sense of self-awareness and a dynamite final routine that raises goosebumps even when I’m consciously trying to suppress them.

Ditching Pitch for a moment, there is one type of a cappella performance I can enjoy without feeling the need to equivocate, but you won’t see a movie made about it anytime soon. I’m talking about isolated vocal tracks from classic songs. I love when these hit the interweb, as Marvin Gaye’s from “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” did earlier this week. They’re so revealing and personal. You can picture the dark-grey foam of the recording booth’s sound-proofed walls… you can hear the bleed from singers’ headphones, bringing you amazingly close to what it would have been like to stand next to them as they sang… It’s also fun to wonder whether they know, ya know? That they’ve made something special. That the take they just did was a keeper, destined to become a piece of history that will live on in people’s hearts years after they’re gone.

Vocals from newer songs don’t have the same effect on me (I think the portability of vocals in the remix/mashup era takes some of the thrill out of it), but give me the vox from a 30 or 40 year old hit that I’ve heard 30 or 40 times and I’m one happy camper. Just for fun, I thought I’d hold a mini A Cappellooza by sharing Gaye’s brilliant “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” vocals and two other isolated tracks that are definitely worth a listen.

In each case I’ve posted a YouTube video of the isolated vocals and the full version of the song below. Enjoy!

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St. Vincent

St. Vincent

An optimistic Friday post for y’all:

Certain people, places and things just bring out the best in you. Have you noticed that? Certain friends make you want to be better friends to your other friends. Certain activities inspire you to draw from wells of courage and generosity that you aren’t normally able to draw from. President Obama likes to quote a related turn of phrase from Lincoln’s first inaugural address — the “better angels of our nature” line — and while the original context may have been Civil War-level heavy, I encounter simple, everyday applications of the sentiment all the time. Music’s a great place to look.

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WRIR and Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 3

Commonwealth of Notions Presents

“Where we go I don’t know but I’m not scared of that hole.”
— Lobo Marino

Well hot damn. WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 3 kicks off tomorrow, and I thought I’d check in quickly before the whole shindig begins.

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Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes

Every so often I’ll feel pangs of regret for having waited so long to start writing about music. It usually happens when I hear a song or album that reminds me of a specific time in my life, either because of its release date or because I went through a period of concentrated listening.

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