New Blog: Underneath This

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: 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!


June 23, 2013 Posted by | Feminism, Music, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Commercial Songs: Matt and Kim Sell Mojitos

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:

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

Kate Miller-Heidke: Caught In The Crowd

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:

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Music | | Leave a comment

Stream Wilco (The Album)

Wilco (The Album)

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.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Music | | Leave a comment

Regina Spektor’s New Album

Far by Regina Spektor

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

Here is a YouTube video of a live performance of “Blue Lips”:

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Music | | Leave a comment

Happy Hanson Day!

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.

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Hanson | | Leave a comment

Tinted Windows Releases Debut Album

Tinted Windows 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”:

Meanwhile, Taylor’s other group, Hanson, is hard at work at their next album and will be touring in the fall. You can follow Hanson on Twitter for updates.

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Hanson, Music | Leave a comment

And I’m Back

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…

On May 3, I’ll be participating in Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here. It’s my first year doing the walk, so I’m looking forward to it.

Exciting news: Joss Whedon announced plans for a Dr. Horrible sequel. According to Sci Fi Wire, there is a possibility that it could end up being a feature film, but nothing has been decided yet.

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!

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Hanson, Movies, Music, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tinted Windows

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.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Hanson, Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

Taylor Hanson and Natalie Have Fourth Child

Taylor Hanson and his wife Natalie

And the Hanson family keeps growing!

Taylor Hanson, 25, and his wife Natalie, 24, welcomed their fourth child, Viggo Moriah, on Tuesday, December 9, 2008. The couple told PEOPLE, “Viggo is doing great. He is the perfect early Christmas gift. We look forward to being home to enjoy the holidays with him and his very excited brothers and sister.”

The newest Hanson baby will have plenty of company, including siblings Ezra, 6, River, 2, and Penelope, 3. The baby’s cousins include Isaac and Nikki’s sons Everett, 1, and Monroe, 5 months, and Zac and Kate’s son Shepherd, 6 months.

According to PEOPLE, Hanson is planning to head back into the studio and release a new album by the summer.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | Hanson | | Leave a comment

Ani DiFranco: “November 4, 2008”

Here is a video of Ani DiFranco’s new song, November 4, 2008, performed live at Babeville on 11/29/08:

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Music, politics | | Leave a comment

Cloud Cult: Cambridge, MA 11/13/08

Cloud Cult Cloud Cult is one of those bands that you need to see live to fully appreciate. I’ve been listening to The Meaning of 8 and Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes) ever since I first read about the band on the music blog The World Forgot. Cloud Cult’s music is beautiful, eclectic, and brimming with hope and optimism. Many of the songs were written as a way for Craig Minowa to deal with the unexpected death of his son Kaidin in 2002. On the band’s website, Connie Minowa writes, “Cloud Cult is a uniquely beautiful entity created and shaped by my husband Craig. Many of Cloud Cult’s songs are intensely personal to me. They are literally our journey through grief and loss. I find sadness and beauty in them and look forward to each new song and look forward to each new day.” Through his suffering, Minowa created passionate, uplifting music with honest, insightful lyrics. The band has enjoyed critical acclaim and, judging by the crowd at the Middle East Downstairs earlier this month, has a devoted following. The band members are also extremely environmentally aware and release their albums through Earthology Records, a non-profit environmental record label created by Craig Minowa in 1998. They tour in a bio-diesel van, carbon offset their tour, and use recycled paper for their CD liner notes.

I was expecting an amazing performance when I went to see the band for the first time on November 13, and the show definitely met my expectations. The band opened with “Light At The End Of The Tunnel” from their 2005 album Advice From The Happy Hippopotamus. They sang a variety of songs, including beautiful renditions of “Chemicals Collide” and “Everybody Here Is A Cloud,” which the crowd loved. Other highlights included “Journey of the Featherless,” one of my favorites, “Love You All,” a very sweet and uplifting song, “Story Of The Grandson Of Jesus,” which the audience energetically sang along with, and “The Tornado Lessons,” an intense song that was incredible to hear live.

Cloud Cult’s energy and passion was matched by the audience, who cheered, danced and sang throughout the set. At one point, I had to reposition myself for fear of getting clobbered by an enthusiastic couple dancing in front of me. Craig Minowa was visibly happy and appreciated the enthusiasm of the band’s followers, telling the crowd that it was awesome to hear us singing louder than him. He recounted a story of the band playing at a small venue in Boston when they were first starting out, and he seemed grateful to have come this far and to have people appreciate his music. When the band left the stage at the end of the set, the audience began loudly chanting “encore, encore” until the band happily reappeared for another two songs, closing with “Take Your Medicine.”

Throughout the show, Connie Minowa, who Craig referred to as the love of his life, and Scott West, a friend of Cloud Cult, were stationed behind the band in front of two easels. Craig explained that they were musicians playing “visual instruments.” They each created original paintings during the performance, which was a beautiful addition to the show. At the end of the set, people stayed to admire the paintings and place bids, with some people bidding over $400 by the time I left the venue.

The show left me feeling incredibly happy and energetic despite the late hour. If you have a chance to see Cloud Cult live, I highly recommend doing so. The band is planning on taking a hiatus after their tour ends, and it’s unclear whether another album will be in the works. They explain on their website, “After touring extensively for the past five years, and releasing a new album annually, the band plans to take a short respite to focus on family in the latter part of 2008 and into 2009.”

Here is a YouTube video I found of Cloud Cult performing “Everybody Here Is A Cloud” at the November 13 show:

You can find a download of “Take Your Medicine” at Cloud Cult’s website and “When Water Comes to Life” at Pitchfork. You can watch the video for “Everybody Here Is A Cloud” here and “Chemicals Collide” here.

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Environment, Music | , | 2 Comments

Lykke Li: Boston 10/23/08

On Thursday night, I saw Swedish indie pop artist Lykke Li perform at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. After a set by Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Lykke Li emerged onto the dimly lit stage in an oversized black hoodie and launched into a captivating performance. She sang a mix of songs from her debut album Youth Novels along with some covers, which she said were fun to sing. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a cover of Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” During “Little Bit,” she switched up the lyrics and exclaimed, “I’m a little bit in love with Boston.” She was full of energy and charmed the audience with her beautiful voice and cool dance moves. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she explained, “I just move, I wouldn’t even call it dancing. It’s just letting go of emotions.” Whatever it is, it definitely works. Here is the video for her first hit, “Little Bit”:

Lykke Li recently released an alternate video for “Breaking Up” that you can find here. You can also find a free download of “Tonight” at her official website and a remix of “Little Bit” at Pitchfork.

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment

Hanson: Foxboro 10/19/08

The Walk Around The World Tour (from night was a reminder that no matter how I feel on the day of a Hanson concert, I can’t be anything but insanely happy once Isaac, Taylor and Zac walk out onto the stage. It’s been a little over a year since my last Hanson concert (Philadelphia, 9/27/07). Over the past 11 years, I have continued to be amazed by Hanson’s passion, talent and dedication to the music and their fans, and the show in Foxboro on Sunday night did not disappoint. The set list was amazing, Hanson seemed to be having a blast, and nothing can match the energy of a room full of Hanson fans singing along to a band we’ve been following for over a decade. After opening with a few upbeat songs, Hanson toned it down a notch and played a beautiful acoustic set. Taylor took the opportunity to share some of his experiences traveling to Africa and introduced a song based on his trip. Several times throughout the show, Taylor thanked the fans who took part in the walk and urged the audience to take action to fight poverty in Africa. After Zac and Isaac’s solos, Hanson launched into Yearbook, which was introduced into their set last year and was definitely one of the highlights of the night. Other highlights included Get Up and Go, Blue Sky, and SoulShine, an amazing cover that I hadn’t heard before. For the encore, the two opening bands, Everybody Else and Dave Barnes, joined Hanson onstage for Long Way to the Top. One of the guys did a handstand, Taylor jumped off of his piano, the crowd went crazy and most of the fans probably lost their voices. It was a great end to a memorable night.

Here is the set list (taken from here):

1. Somethin Goin’ Round
2. Hole in my Life (cover)
3. Great Divide
4. Get Up and Go
5. Follow Your Lead
6. Higher (cover)
7. Penny and Me (acoustic)
8. Deeper (acoustic)
9. Lay Me Down (acoustic)
10. Where Did It Start (Zac solo)
11. Everyday (Isaac Solo)
12. Yearbook (acoustic)
13. Blue Sky
14. Minute Without You
15. Can’t Stop
16. SoulShine (cover)
17. Running Man
18. Been There Before
19. MMMBop
20. Cried
21. If Only
22. Hey

23. Long Way to the Top (w/ Everybody Else & Dave Barnes)

October 20, 2008 Posted by | Hanson, Music | , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Ani

In honor of Ani DiFranco‘s 38th birthday, here is a video of 32 flavors, from Ani’s 1995 album Not A Pretty Girl.

I admire Ani for her independence, passion, and of course her amazing musical skills. She’s inspired so many people, and her lyrics are brilliant. She recently recorded 4 tracks on, two of which are on her new album, Red Letter Year. I’m really excited about the album and hope I’ll be able to see her in concert again soon.

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Feminism, Music | | Leave a comment

Another reason to love Kimya Dawson

I just listened to Kimya Dawson‘s 2004 album Hidden Vagenda for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a Hanson reference in one of the songs. Being a Hanson fan, I thought this was pretty awesome and it makes me love Kimya Dawson even more. Here are the 5 Years lyrics describing Kimya’s crush on Isaac Hanson:

and i said “nick although you’re handsome, i’ll hold out for isaac hanson,
and he’ll get his braces back when i become his wife”
me and hanson will go dancing, me and hanson true romance
me and hanson take a chance, lock the door it’s party time
all our babies will be born november seventeenth i’m sure
and we’ll get a cookiepuss from the local carvel store
then our brothers will come over for a big game of red rover
everybody holding hands, break the chain, break the chain

For those who don’t know, November 17th is Isaac Hanson’s birthday. Yes, I know way too much about Hanson, and apparently Kimya does too. Anyway, I love the album even without the Hanson mention. Her music comes across as very sincere and quirky, and I wish I caught her set when I went to see Ani DiFranco last month. If anyone is in or near Philadelphia, you can see her next weekend (August 15-17) at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. She’ll also be at the End of the Road Festival in the UK in September.

You can find mp3s of some of Kimya’s songs at her website here.

August 9, 2008 Posted by | Hanson, Music | , | Leave a comment

Feist on Sesame Street

This video of Feist‘s appearance on Sesame Street was recently released on YouTube. While I prefer the original version myself, I think this is a great use of her song. I wish Feist taught me to count when I was little!

August 3, 2008 Posted by | Music | , | Leave a comment

Ani DiFranco: Cape Cod 7/13/08

I went to my first Ani DiFranco concert a couple weeks ago, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. She played at the Melody Tent, which is a small outdoor venue, so it didn’t matter that I didn’t have great seats. The opening act was Kimya Dawson, who I’ve loved ever since hearing her album Remember That I Love You. Unfortunately, I arrived late and missed most of her set. I did catch her last song, My Rollercoaster, which made me happy. The audience loved her and Ani praised her during her set (at one point Ani stopped a song midway to say something like “this isn’t as cool as Kimya’s dream”). Ani opened with God’s Country and followed with two of my favorite songs, Napoleon (which she described as her manifesto) and Fuel. During Untouchable Face, the audience was on their feet shouting “fuck you” along with Ani, which was awesome. I really hope I’ll get to see her in concert again sometime. Her new album, Red Letter Year, will be out September 30.

Below is the full set list (taken from here).

Set list:
God’s Country
You Had Time
Landing Gear
Welcome To:
Sunday Morning
Garden of Simple
If He Tries Anything
Untouchable Face
In the Way


Both Hands
32 Flavors

July 26, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanson Updates: Tour dates and the newest Hanson baby

As most Hanson fans are probably aware of by now, Hanson has announced dates for The Walk Around The World Tour. They will be starting their eight-week tour of the U.S. and Canada in September 2008. The list of tour dates can be found at If anyone is planning on going to any shows, post it in the comments!

People Magazine has a brief article on the upcoming tour and the band’s efforts to raise awareness about poverty and AIDS in Africa. Hanson will continue to hold walks before each concert, and fans are encouraged to start their own walks. For each mile walked, Hanson will donate a dollar to one of five causes. Go here to learn more about The Walk Around The World Campaign.

In other news, Isaac and Nikki had their second baby, James Monroe Hanson, on July 1, 2008. The newest Hanson will go by his middle name, Monroe.

Isaac told People Magazine that he is excited to watch Monroe and Everett grow up together and that “two little boys is going to be twice the fun.” That makes a total of six kids for Zac, Taylor and Isaac so far!

July 21, 2008 Posted by | Hanson, Music | , , , | Leave a comment

Plastic Bags

I found this slideshow posted on livejournal, and I think it does a great job of showing why we need to reduce the amount of plastic bags that are used (or better yet, ban them altogether). I had no idea that so many countries have already banned plastic bags!

And if you haven’t seen the music video for Canvas Bags by Tim Minchin, you should. Now.

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Comedy, Environment, Music | , , | 1 Comment