Monthly Archives: March 2008

New Remix: Playground

bjork.jpgspoonmadonnam.i.a.

Gabe Durham – Playground

This track is composed of:

Bjork – The Triumph of a Heart
Madonna – This Used to Be My Playground
Spoon – I Turn My Camera On
Parvati Khan – Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja
M.I.A. – Jimmy
Of Montreal – Jimmy
One Measure Featuring Some Obscure Daft Punk Song

Track may be subject to future tweaking. 

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Conchords Review at Daytrotter

My Fight of the Conchords review has moved to GRC affiliate Daytrotter,  alongside Brendan Kiefer’s gorgeous portrait of Bret and Jemaine. The only problem is that I sent it off to them before Jen caught my Jemaine/Jermaine mistake, so there it is, glaring at me. The horror!

Daytrotter, by the way, is now releasing five sessions a week. It feels like a long time ago that Monday was “new band day” at the site, but it’s really only been two years since Sean and his army have exploded into a powerful music culture force. It’s good to be on the winning team.

Coming soon: A Variety Show Recap! A New Remix!

The Gather Round Children Variety Show

guitar heroes

The Gather Round Children Variety Show

A Lively Night of Music, Lit and Comedy
For Kids 18 and Up

Wednesday, March 26, 8 pm at Butterfield Hall (UMass)

Featuring Performances by: Mike Young, Matt Weingast, Ashwati Parameshwar, Chuck Vermette, Anjali Khosla, Rachel B. Glaser, MC Mr. Napkins, Melissa Rae, Liz TD, Jamie Maletz, Gustavo Llarull and Laura Reiman

Hosted by Gabe Durham. Admission: $0. Snacks.

New Remix: The Spirit of Shackleton

secrets

When longtime GRC favorite Glen Phillips offered up the best song off his new EP for the mixing, I knew I had to take him up on it.

Gabe Durham – Shackleton Remix

This track is composed of:

Glen Phillips – The Spirit of Shackleton
David Garza – Say Baby
Margot and the Nuclear So & Sos – A Sea Shanty of Sorts
Cake – I Bombed Korea
The Mountain Goats – Song For Lonely Giants
Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining
TV on the Radio – I Was A Lover
They Might Be Giants – She’s An Angel
Wednesday Night Worship – Holy is the Lord

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When You Were Sleeping, I Put A Wig On You

flight of the conchords

Flight of the Conchords – Season One DVD

This is the age of the “couple of guys who share an apartment and who could break into song at any moment” comedy. This bizarre subgenre has a surprisingly clean track record: “The Mighty Boosh,” “Clark and Michael,” “Tenacious D,” and my favorite, “Stella,” have all put sharp comedies together out of not much of anything. The joy of low-concept is that it opens the door for goofing, riffing, and meandering. The fewer plot and character constraints these shows have, the more it frees them up to do their thang.

“The Flight of the Conchords” is about two New Zealanders, Bret and Jemaine, in an unsuccessful band trying to make it in New York City, played by two New Zealanders, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, in a successful band who have already made it internationally.

But this isn’t like the way Christopher Guest makes fun of unsuccessful artists and their big, silly dreams. Jemaine and Bret (the characters) are only mildly disappointed with their lack of success. They’re more preoccupied with suddenly bursting into songs than getting people to hear them.

And holy hell, some of these songs are funny. I’d heard the weekly marital sex jam, “Business Time,” and kinda-hot girl ode, “Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” on the web before I’d seen the show, and they’re still hilarious on repeat viewings. Often scenes are written around Conchords songs: “Business Time” is a fantasy sequence prompted by love interest Sally’s desire to settle down. Other times, there is no transition at all.

The show works better, though, when a song is integral to the plot. When Bret becomes self conscious about his body, Jemaine tries to cheer him up with a song (“Bret, You Got It Going On”) that starts with veiled insults (“Sure, you’re weedy and kind of shy / But some girlie out there must be needy for a weedy, shy guy”) then strays from his prepared lyrics to sing:

Well, sometimes it gets lonely, and I need a woman.
And then I imagine you with some bosoms.
In fact, one time when we were touring and I was really lonely.
And we were sharing that twin room in the hotel.
I put a wig on you, when you were sleeping, I put a wig on you.
Oh, ohhh, oooooh, oh, and I just laid there and spooned you.

Many of the shows greatest nonmusical moments come from Kristen Schaal, who brings energy and wit as Mel, the guys’ only fan. Her clumsy come-ons delivered in front of her eerily untroubled husband are among the shows funniest scenes. Late in the season, Mel walks in on Bret in the bathroom to see if he needs anything, then lingers, ogling him. On paper, the scene isn’t much of anything, but her “consumed with lust” face is a brand new expression that Schaal ought to trademark before someone beats her to it.

Their rapport with each other and their manager, Murray (Rhys Darby), is excellent as well. Their meetings with Murray momentarily anchor the show in Ricky Gervais-style deadpan before the absurd creeps back in.

There’s a marked difference between the low-stakes plots of the first disc and the more traditional plots of the second. The first six episodes show a marked interest in finding the humor in repetition. Most of the plots involve a love triangle and Bret quitting the band. This aimlessness was sustainable for those few episodes, all of which were written by Clement and McKenzie, but the later episodes, written by others, widen the show’s scope for the better. Murray becomes the emotional core. As he gets down on himself for his poor managing, Jemaine and Bret take it upon themselves to cheer him up.

One particularly successful second disc episode is “Girlfriends,” a gender role-reversal satire in which Brett is pressured into sex with a pastry chef who tells him she is about to be shipped off to Iraq. Brett expresses his reluctance in the chastity anthem “A Kiss is Not a Contract.” She blows him off after she gets what she wants and, in the end, Brett is approached by a friends of hers who says, “I hear you like to have a good time.” It’s a simple idea, deftly executed—the Conchords’ specialty.

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Blockbuster Music: That went under a long time ago, right?

Streamin’ music roundup:

kid theodore

Kid Theodore is an eclectic Utah band with an ear for melody and an eye for gorgeous packaging. My favorite tracks of theirs are the loose, improvisation-heavy “Fasion-able,” with its mellow lead and excitable backup singers who nearly threaten to drown him out, and album closer “Os Passarinhos,” both of which can be streamed at their dot com along with the rest of their full-length debut, Hello Rainey. Which is real sweet a them.

interiors

Tracks from The Interiors‘ self-titled album are ripe for the plucking, especially their hit, “Power Lines.” The guitars shine on this track, perfectly offset by the jagged vocals and relentless drums/percussion. Love it. If their next record is as good as this song, we’ll be in business.

bowerbirds

Finally, I just saw the Bowerbirds play at the Iron Horse on Saturday night. This hard-working trio of multi-instrumentalists mix it up enough to keep it interesting, but have a sound I can only describe as seafarer folk. “My Oldest Memory” was great. They closed with the beautiful “Dark Horse” and left the stage only after they played all the songs they knew. Which took about 45 minutes. Their myspace has their whole EP available for stream, and, like most good bands, they have a Daytrotter session. All of them are singing a lot of the time, sort of like that trio that Pete Francis was in. I’m seeing him at the Iron Horse for $11 on March 13.

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