Hello,To anyone who stumbles upon this blog, which I haven’t posted in for quite a while, here is a new blog that I recently started with a friend: www.underneaththis.wordpress.com. It is a collaborative effort and features interviews with musicians, authors and activists as well as thoughts on film, food, feminism and anything else that interests us. Enjoy, and tell us your thoughts!
In the latest episode of Target Women, Sarah Haskins takes a look at ads about magical cream cheese, ugly medusa hair, and every princess cliche you can think of. I think this might be my favorite one so far. “Milk will also bring sunshine to a land devastated by your period tears.” Sparkles!
Last night I was lazily flipping through the channels and watching Stephen Colbert play soldier in Iraq when I noticed some familiar songs during the commercial breaks. “Lights Out” by Santigold was playing in a commercial for Bud Light Lime, “Fools” by The Dodos could be heard in a Miller Chill ad, and Matt and Kim’s “Daylight” was featured in a Bacardi Mojito commercial. I usually ignore alcohol commercials, but the ads managed to catch my attention even if they didn’t convince me to buy their products. I was surprised to see “Daylight” being used to sell Mojitos, but Matt and Kim deserve to get paid, and hopefully this will bring them more exposure.
Here’s the commercial:
A facebook friend suggested that I listen to Kate Miller-Heidke, a singer-songwriter from Brisbane, Australia. She won the 2008 International Songwriting Competiton for “Caught In The Crowd,” the second single from her album Curiouser. She has a beautiful voice, and I love this video:
“So what I’m saying is, when you’re older, most of you will be gay. Anyone writing this stuff down? Parents?”
I wish Ellen DeGeneres spoke at my commencement. The speech she gave to the class of 2009 at Tulane University last week was really funny and insightful. Here is the video:
Wilco’s new album, which is aptly titled Wilco (The Album), is scheduled to be released on June 30 but was leaked last night. The band responded by giving fans the opportunity to stream the album in its entirety on their official website. I haven’t listened to Wilco in the past, but so far I really like the album.
Regina Spektor’s new album, Far, is set to be released on June 23. I’ve been looking forward to hearing new music from her since Begin to Hope came out three years ago, and judging by what I’ve heard so far, I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed. The first single, “Laughing With,” is brilliant. I’ve been listening to it on repeat and it just gets better each time. You can hear it on Regina’s myspace page.
I’m also really excited to hear an album version of “Blue Lips,” which became my favorite Regina Spektor song after I heard a live recording of it a while ago. Hopefully the rest of the songs on the album will be as beautiful and poetic. You can listen to a snippet of “Blue Lips” on amazon.com.
Here is a YouTube video of a live performance of “Blue Lips”:
Here is another brilliant Target Women segment. This one deals with the scandal and controversy ignited by Michelle Obama’s bare arms…because apparently the media has nothing better to report on?
That’s right, today marks twelve years since the release of Middle of Nowhere. This important date was declared Hanson Day in Tulsa by Oklahoma’s then-governor Frank Keating, and fans have been celebrating on May 6 ever since. Hanson wrote this in the band’s blog:
Well today is Hanson Day! We are back in the studio today after taking a little break for the release of the Tinted Windows album. We figure the best way we can celebrate is by recording. The real celebration for us is going to take place on the 15th and 16th of this month at the members only event in Tulsa.
Have a great day, and thank you for being awesoem [sic] fans!
Here is a video of an acoustic performance of the song that started it all, Mmmbop. Ah, nostalgia.
A student at Stanford University filmed this exchange between Condoleezza Rice and two students who questioned her at a reception last week. When asked if waterboarding is torture, Condoleezza replied, “The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against Torture. So that’s — and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency.”
Here is the video:
Maureen Dowd wrote about the incident in her New York Times column:
“By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
She also stressed that, “Unless you were there in a position of responsibility after Sept. 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans.”
Reyna Garcia, a Stanford sophomore who videotaped the exchange, said of Condi’s aria, “I wasn’t completely satisfied with her answers, to be honest,” adding that “President Obama went ahead and called it torture and she did everything she could not to do that.”
As Mr. Obama said in his news conference, it is in moments of crisis that a country must cleave to its principles. Asserting that “waterboarding violates our ideals,” he said he had been struck by an article describing how Churchill would not torture prisoners even when “London was being bombed to smithereens.”
“And the reason was that Churchill understood, you start taking shortcuts and over time, that corrodes what’s best in a people,” he said. “It corrodes the character of a country.”
In the latest Target Women segment, Sarah Haskins takes on drug commercials. I love the Marx Brothers impression and the bit about sweatpants. I also like the ending since I always find the casual mention of death or serious illnesses as side effects to be a tad alarming. You can watch other episodes of Target Women here.
I think this might be the best response I’ve heard to the incident between Miss California and Perez Hilton. I thought the Miss USA contestant was just being inarticulate, but the time traveler theory makes perfect sense!
You can watch Jay Smooth’s other videos at illdoctrine.com.
It’s been a couple months since the world first heard about Tinted Windows, the supergroup comprised of Taylor Hanson, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick. That might seem like an unlikely combination, but it’s not as odd as it appears. In an interview with Spin, Adam explains that he first became friends with Taylor in 1996 while Hanson was working on Middle of Nowhere. Years later, Adam attended one of Hanson’s songwriting retreats in Tulsa, and the two sat down and wrote the group’s first song, “Take Me Back.” Guitarist James Iha, who co-owns a recording studio with Adam, became involved, and the trio started searching for a drummer. Thinking it was a long shot, they decided to get in touch with Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, who liked the music and agreed to take part.
Since then, the group has performed at SXSW and released a self-titled debut album, which they are busy promoting. On Tuesday night, they appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and performed their single, “Kind Of A Girl.” They are scheduled to appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon tonight.
Taylor told Rolling Stone that the group aims to deliver “lots of guitars, pure songs and simple production.” It’s fun, catchy pop music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Here is the video for “Messing With My Head”:
It’s been a while since I posted, but now that I have a working computer I’m going to try to post more often. So, some updates…
More exciting news: On Tuesday, Tinted Windows released their self-titled debut album, which you can stream here. As a longtime Hanson fan, it’s really cool to see Taylor collaborating with different artists. I’ll write more in a separate post.
I’ll end with a video by Matt and Kim, who I had a chance to see when they opened for Cut Copy at the House of Blues (formerly Avalon) in Boston last month. I don’t think I’ve seen a pair of musicians more enthusiastic than these two. The crowd was equally energetic and started moshing, prompting me to move to a quieter corner of the venue, but it was still a fun show. Kim, whose family was present, told the audience about how her brother, a DJ, used to sneak her out of the house to go to Avalon when she was younger. Here is the video for Daylight:
Also, happy belated Earth Day!
Rumors have been floating around that Taylor Hanson, James Iha of Smashing Pumpkins, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and Bun E. Carlos of Cheap Trick are forming a “supergroup” called Tinted Windows. Born to Rock & Roll and The Daily Swarm wrote blog posts about the side project earlier this week, and Tulsa World attempted to contact Hanson’s publicist but was unable to confirm the rumor. In a post on Hanson’s blog, Taylor announced that the rumors are indeed true. Taylor writes:
First off, we hoped to be the first to officially tell you guys about it on hnet, but there was a mixup…anyways. Over the last couple years, Adam Schlesinger from fountains of Wayne and James Iha have been working on this project – We first met Adam years ago when we were making Middle Of Nowhere. So the deal is a band that I am mostly taking the vocals on, with James and Adam on bass and guitar, as well as the legendary drummer Bun E Carlos of cheap trick. All of us have just sort of made time for the creation of the album when we could over the last couple years, and now it is going to be coming out, with all the trimmings.
It is a fun thing that is musically different but i think (hope) you will dig. We will premier it at sxsw this year, and we will be telling you guys more about what will be happening with it as it rolls out.
For me and the other guys in the group this is a great project that is an addition to who we are in our core bands.
This is exciting news, and I am looking forward to hearing their album. Hanson fan club members can read more here.
Hope everyone had a good New Year’s! I’ve been meaning to post, but haven’t found much time. I’m currently in Costa Rica with an unreliable Internet connection. Being here is definitely a nice change from the snow and ice in Boston. I just finished an intense three day meditation workshop, and I spent today relaxing at the beach, watching monkeys swing from trees outside of my casita (a half-open wooden cabin) and fighting off bugs. I will write more later. Adios!
Yesterday, December 19, marked seven years since one of my favorite movies, Fellowship of the Ring, came out in theaters. In honor of that, here are a couple clips from the Lord of the Rings DVDs.
Here’s a clip from the Fellowship of the Ring extended edition DVD in which Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan discuss an incident involving a splinter.
And here is an Easter Egg of a fake interview between Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan. Dom interviews Elijah via satellite while posing as a German interviewer. “When will you wear wigs??”
On his first day in office in 2001, George W. Bush reinstated the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule. This policy denies U.S. family planning assistance to foreign organizations that use funding from any source to perform abortions, lobby for abortion rights, or provide counseling about abortion. Sign the petition asking Barack Obama to overturn this policy.
The video and petition are from EngenderHealth.
- New Blog: Underneath This
- Target Women: Story Time
- Commercial Songs: Matt and Kim Sell Mojitos
- Kate Miller-Heidke: Caught In The Crowd
- “So what I’m saying is, when you’re older, most of you will be gay. Anyone writing this stuff down? Parents?”
- Stream Wilco (The Album)
- Regina Spektor’s New Album
- Target Women: Obama Arms
- Happy Hanson Day!
- Condoleezza Rice on waterboarding
- Target Women: Medicine
- Miss California and Perez Hilton