Category Archives: Happy Music Friday

Happy Music Friday: Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette

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Let them eat cake. Lots and lots and lots of cake.

“It’s always more intriguing to imagine what’s happening, as opposed to seeing everything, because then you can use your imagination. I always wanted to be at a distance.” – Sofia Coppola

I love me some Sofia Coppola and anything she touches is gold in my book.

Production design and music pretty much cement a movie for me (along with a good script of course) but this time I have to say that the music stole the show. Don’t get me wrong, I could go on for days and days about the painstaking recreation of — well — pretty much everything in the entire movie, but the music drew me in and kind of obliterated everything else.

Pastel pastries be damned. Give me some music!

“Acting isn’t for me. I don’t like being told what to do. I’m more interested in set design, more visually driven.” – Sofia Coppola

The soundtracks to her movies are always great and they add a lot of emotion and depth (even if it is pop music). The treatment of the subject, which is usually sterile and very bookish, gives insight as to how a teenager might have felt in having the entire treasury of France at her feet yet not one soul to truly call a friend.She literally has everything she could have wanted yet she’s quite the lonely dauphine, er, queen.

It’s like Molly Ringwald in French class: pink dress, gossip, backstabbing and all.

So, in honor of the amazing 1980s — America’s poshest decade full of waste and frivolity and horribly bad fashion — I present to you some of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack to Marie Antoinette.

Enjoy mes chéris! Now go eat some cake or something.

And for the coups de gras – a cameo by Phoenix (a Sofia Coppola favorite, probably because she’s married to Thomas Mars, the lead singer, and also probably because they’re French).

 

 

Happy Music Friday: Beach House Edition

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Beach House

“A lot of people listening to music now just go, ‘Good tones…’ and that’s it. But we’re obsessed with songs. Sometimes, I feel like people aren’t even listening to our songs, they’re just listening to the sound.” – Victoria Legrand

Even though I posted a Happy Music –>Insert Edition Here<– on Wednesday I can’t let a weekend slip by without some tuneage.

I’ve been listening to the hell out of some Beach House. I love their floaty, fuzzy sound. They’re technically classified as a dream-pop band, but whatevs. Labels are so…labely.

You can hear their influences on every album (60s pop/folk, Brian Wilson, Neil Young and The Zombies) and Victoria Legrand’s deep, throaty, husky voice carries the ethereal sound over the top.

Victoria is the niece of the lauded French composer Michel Jean Legrand so there’s no doubt where her musical chops descended from.

There’s a great interview in the Village Voice along with some of my favorite tracks (below) from DevotionTeen Dream and Bloom, which is the collective’s most recent album.

Now get out your bean bag and a fluffy throw and prepare to sink into a deep, dreamlike state in three…two…one…

Don’t forget to breathe.

You Came To Me from the album Devotion
We Have Signal: Live From Birmingham (The Bottle Tree, Birmingham Alabama)
This is where I first heard of Beach House. Hooray for Public Televison! 
 

Gila from the album Devotion

Norway from the album Teen Dream
Pitchfork Special Presentation: Beach House
This may be my favorite song off the album (Zebra is a close second). I love the off-key and kind of drunk-sounding keyboard. It adds a lot of texture.

Lover Of Mine from the album Teen Dream

Wild from the album Bloom
 Later With Jools Holland
I can’t decide which performance from this television apperance is better so I’ll just post both.

Lazuli from the album Bloom

Happy Music Friday: Chromatics

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Chromatics

“I drank the water and I felt alright. I took a pill almost every night. In my mind I was waiting for change. While the world just stayed the same.” – Chromatics, “Kill For Love”

If you haven’t heard of Chromatics you are missing out on one of the best electronic bands that Portland has to offer.

I knew their music but wasn’t a rabid fan until I watched Drive. The soundtrack is amazeballs and is totally worth a listen on it’s own. Cliff Martinez built the score based on 80s synth-pop loveliness and I think I’ve listened to it at least three times a day every day since adding to to my Spotify account this past weekend.

I won’t gush on about the band but if you like sultry, floaty, etherial vocals and songs that offer a variety of moods and tempo then you owe it to your ears to find their first full-length album Night Drive. It’s by far my favorite.

Chromatics have also done some pretty solid covers of a couple of my favorite songs by Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. I never would have thought that their sound would have worked with two staples of the rock-and-roll-guitar world but they managed to pull it off and give the songs a new feeling.

They also covered Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)”. Several bands have covered the song but this is by far my favorite.

Happy Music Friday: The National

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The National

“It’s odd, very vulnerable, and slightly embarrassing to be standing and singing and playing music in front of a bunch of strangers. None of us are showbiz types, or entertainers or extroverts, so when we’re performing, we close our eyes, think about the songs, and just sink into the music. If we become self-conscious about the fact that we’re standing on stage it’s too weird.” – Matt Berninger

Yep! The time has arrived yet again. Happy Music Friday!

I would say today’s HMF is less on the happy side and more on the side of slight ennui mixed with a little liquor and a depressing French film. Not that I’m in a downer of a mood. I’m just really digging The National lately.

I love Matt Berninger’s deep baritone voice and how he kind of does this mumbly-talky thing rather than actually singing, even though he has a great voice. It’s very deep and melodic and soothing. Kind of like Johnny Cash or Leonard Cohen.

One of my favorite songs. This video makes it all the more epic with the casting (Kristen Schaal, John Slattery, and James Urbaniak).

Bloodbuzz Ohio is one of my favorites. There are a few lines that never leave my head and I literally have them pop in and out of my brain’s airspace frequently: “I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees,” and “I still owe money to the money to the money I owe. I never thought about love when I thought about home.”

Some old-school material from The Cherry Tree

Happy Music Friday: J Tillman’s Latest Incarnation

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J Tillman

“I thought that playing music professionally was kind of the be all and end all. It was kind of the only thing I imagined myself doing.” – J Tillman

In case you aren’t up on the American folk music scene, let me introduce you to a little known but much beloved artist, known simply as J Tillman.

J (Josh) began playing in 2001 with Philadelphia’s Saxon Shore and then moved it on over to Seattle to join Fleet Foxes as their drummer and one portion of the three-part harmony sound that the band is best known for.

Since 2009 I’ve seen Fleet Foxes three times and I can say every time is a new and beautiful experience. When I heard that Tillman was leaving I was sure that there would be no one who could replace his humor and musical talent, and most especially, his voice.

His new gig under the name Father John Misty brings him again to the spotlight (much like when he did with previous solo albums) and I’m happily digging his new adventure.

Father John Misty

“Jesus Christ, girl. I laid up for hours in a daze. Retracing the expanse of your American back with Adderall and weed in my veins.” [Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings – Father John Misty]

“ ‘Misty is a drunk, shamanic drifter character offering you a cup of his home-brewed ayahuasca tea,” is how Tillman describes his musical alter-ego, a persona that has decidedly more in common with Charles Bukowski than Ziggy Stardust. There is nothing naive or sentimental about him. He’s a loner who doesn’t see the world as being worth saving. ‘Father John Misty’ is not really even meant to be taken as a literal person, more like an avatar of mischief. He likes to needle people a little and freak ‘em out. But I could’ve called him ‘Steve.’”

There’s a great interview over at Apes On Tape where he explains his thoughts on music, his process, the literary influences on his work and his interest in pagan rituals.

And now for some tunage from a few of Tillman’s many incarnations…

Happy Music Friday: Vietnam Edition

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Vietnam

How many roads must a man walk down, before you can call him a man? - Bob Dylan, Blowing In The Wind

Although I wasn’t born until 1979, this is still the music that I grew up with thanks to my parents. There’s something about music of this era that just seems so right — as if this is the way music was meant to sound.

I saw Platoon last night for the first time in over 10 years (in college I decided to watch all of the war movies that I never got to watch as a kid) and I had forgotten about what an amazing sound that time period had. The music reflected perfectly the strains of society and the way America was changing as a nation — more grit, teeth and blood. The youth were expanding their horizons with drugs, sex and ignoring the norms of society in favor of finding their own way.

The times, they were a’changin’.

It also reminded me of the television series China Beach. I really liked that show, although I guess I was a little young for it.

Although not necessarily the most upbeat topics for Happy Music Friday, I still really like the music. It’s thought-provoking and a departure from a lot of the crap we get today. Nothing like a little social justice and self reflection to inspire a good song.

And now, on with the show.

Happy Music Friday: Slow Rock Edition

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Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin: “What’s this music?”
Hobbes: “It’s ‘The 1812 Overture.'”
Calvin: “I kinda like it. Interesting percussion section.”
Hobbes: “Those are cannons.”
Calvin: “And they perform this in crowded concert halls? Gee, I thought classical music was boring!”

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Well, it’s that time of the week again: Happy Music Friday!

This is the good stuff that makes me want to ride around on a summer night with the windows down, going nowhere and singing at the top of my lungs.

Since today is Friday the Thirteenth, I thought I’d double your luck with two songs from each artist or group. Some of the videos suck but just ignore them. It’s really all about the music.