Yeah, we gather that Prince, his purple majesty, likes to crash out in front of the TV on Tuesday nights and watch Zooey Deschanel on New Girl. There is officially nothing left for us to be surprised about.
Unless he were to appear on the sitcom, having pitched his own idea to the producers that they do an episode involving his famous, real-life pajama parties. Which is what is happening.
This is highly irregular.
The episode will air after the Super Bowl on February 2nd.
Ben Gibbard has been a staple of the indie rock scene for years. He’s a twee everyman. If you were a sensitive kid in high school, there’s a good chance that Death Cab For Cutie, Gibbard’s main musical project, soundtracked some of your most vulnerable moments. He’s also a frequent collaborator with other members of the indie rock cognoscenti. And let’s not forget The Postal Service! Finally, for those of you that are totally not dialed into the world of Rock, he’s also that scruffy chap who was married to Zooey Deschanel for a bit. But for the first time in his career (since he got famous, at least), Ben is stepping out on his own with Former Lives.
The debut album from Gibbard is going to be released through Barsuk Records. Barsuk, the label which first signed Death Cab and has put out releases from the likes of The Dismemberment Plan, Ra Ra Riot, and Mates of State, is indie as all get out. Gibbard is also recording and releasing under his full name, Benjamin Gibbard, for what it’s worth.
Gibbard dropped some hints about what we should expect from Former Lives in an interview with Stereogum, saying that the songs on the record come from a number of different periods of time during his music career. “I think that people will kind of see past the fact that one song has a mariachi band, the next song is acoustic ” it’s all over the map,” says Gibbard. “But I’m really proud of the tunes and how they came together in the studio, and I’d like to hope that that’s enough to carry and justify the record.”
Former Lives is out in the U.S. October 16th with tour dates in the fall to be announced. Visit Gibbard’s offical website for more updates.
If you have a life outside of the Internet, then there’s a good chance that you haven’t heard of singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey. In that case, consider yourself introduced.
Del Rey, the handle of one Lizzy Grant, has become a figure of infamy within the online music world with unprecedented speed. Between the highly stylized videos, the songs about video games, Diet Mountain Dew and shooting her boyfriend in the head, the accusations of her image being a well managed concoction, the hipster baiting and”most importantly” those lips, it’s hard not to have an opinion about her.
Oh, the side project. So often a bad idea, a vanity project, intended to display another side of an artist who really only has one good side. But other times, we get to see the output of great artists and performers who escape the confines of the project for which they are best-known. And if you’re a fan of that primary project, it’s always interesting to see what else the artist is driven or inspired to do, and whether you like the side project more or less. This list focuses on artists that could all be described as indie rock (depending on how strictly you define that term, I guess). The side project may or may not have evolved into a main project, but it has to have been formed secondarily to another band or ‘career’ while that career was still ongoing. This is my decree, let it be so…
10. The Gentlemen
Members of frequent tour-mates The Figgs and The Gravel Pit got together for this riff-heavy and rootsy rock band whose debut album, Ladies And Gentlemen, is a blistering good time.
9. She & Him
M. Ward was primarily a well-respected solo artist before hooking up with actress and singer Zooey Deschanel and launching She & Him, for which they both write the music. It’s simply delightful, classic pop.
There are incredibly talented people all over the world who spend their lives pursuing a single goal: musical success. These dedicated souls spend day after day making and promoting their music in the hope that one day they will finally make it, and be able to make a living off their music. And despite how badly they want to reach their goals, many of them never achieve the success they crave. Yet, there are plenty of less-talented artists making millions off their mediocre music every day. How, is this possible? The answer is fame.
While historically, singing and acting went hand in hand because many acting roles were in opera or musical theater, today this is no longer the case. TV and movie stars can make a fine living for themselves without having any musical training. But instead of sticking to their theatrical roots, a growing number of actors and actresses decide to pursue music careers, simply because they have an audience readily available. Some of these cross-over artists are incredible, but many others are just incredibly bad. And it begs the question, would these stars have any followers if they were known solely for their musical talent?
An example which comes immediately to mind is Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy had incredible success with the Star Trek series, and while he has no particular talent when it comes to singing, he was approached by a record label to record five albums and capitalize on the shows success. Fellow Trekkie William Shatner followed a similar pattern, releasing a series of albums where he mostly speaks the lyrics, rather than actually singing. The only reason either of them had any takers for their “music” is due Star Trek‘s extremely loyal fan base.
We’ve always been pretty jealous of Ben Gibbard; he’s released eight successful albums as the frontman of Death Cab for Cutie, seen success with the Postal Service and his solo material and is married to ultimate indie chick Zooey Deschanel. And it’s hard to fault him for any of that, since he also comes off as sweet, thoughtful and reserved both in his songwriting and during interviews. But on the upcoming Codes and Keys, Gibbard changes things up with Some Boys”the quiet, indie rock equivalent of a diss track.
While he doesn’t explicitly call out anyone in particular, it isn’t hard to imagine some of the bands he could be referring to when he sings that some boys are making a killing at the top of the billing/It’s their role and that’s all that they know. He clarifies his criticisms in the second stanza, calling out a few specific character flaws: “But some boys don’t listen, some boys don’t listen at all/They don’t ask for permission, they lack inhibitions/No walls and they get what they want.” Even cavalier sexual attitudes are brought under fire, as Gibbard points out that they’ll be “singing the blues” after “Joylessly flinging with the girls that they’re bringing to their rooms.”
Sounds kind of like getting reprimanded by your dad, doesn’t it? The whole song oozes with that feeling of, “we’re not mad, we’re just disappointed in you.” (Although now that Gibbard’s a married man who’s no longer allowed to be “flinging,” maybe there’s also a tiny bit of jealousy pervading these lyrics.) But either way, he makes it clear that after a while there’s nothing fun about being an asshole and taking part in empty flings. “Some boys are sleeping alone/Because there’s no one that’s keeping them warm through the evening/And they know that they’re on their own.”
Of course, it’s also possible that Gibbard and co. could be referring to younger versions of themselves. After all, two Death Cabbers”Gibbard and bassist Nick Harmer”got married as the band was working on this release. But with the ominous closing line, They won’t get what they want, we don’t think that’s the case. As the band gears up for one of the most highly-anticipated releases of the year, it would appear that they have almost everything that they want.
Give “Some Boys” a listen below, and be sure to check out Codes and Keys”out on Tuesday (5/31)!
Have an interesting story behind your lyrics? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Gordon Pinsent reads excerpts from Justin Bieber memoir
Get your LOLs right here, folks. First up, a memoir written by a 16-year-old. Ha! And, it’s entitled First Step 2 Forever. The laughs don’t end there. Here’s a video of the esteemed actor Gordon Pinsent doing a dramatic reading of Justin Bieber’s riveting tome. Enjoy”we did.
Alicia Keys gives birth to Egypt
Not the country! That would be sooo 3150 BC. Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz (born Kasseem Dean) welcomed a baby boy this week named Egypt Dauode Dean. May he grow up to become a very successful pharaoh.
Glastonbury Festival shelved for 2012 due to toilet shortage
We wouldn’t wish more port-a-potties on anyone, but this does give us pause. England’s Glastonbury Festival has been canceled for 2012 due to the Olympics taking place in London that same year ¦ and the ensuing toilet shortage. Athletes are such loo-sers.
Kanye’s album cover art banned? He wishes.
Kanye West is a legend in his own mind. But he may also be a victim in his own mind as well. The rapper griped on his Twitter page that Wal-mart had censored the cover art for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Tweeted the rapper: So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they [sic] cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings. Oh the injustice! Is it too much to ask for a man to be left in peace with his armless polka dot monster? IS SOCIETY SO INTOLERANT”what’s that? Wal-mart didn’t censor the cover? Oh. Uh, never mind. As you were.
Cantankerous singer pegs bottle at Mumford and Sons
Mark E. Smith of the band The Falls was getting ready for his set at a Dublin music festival when a terrible caterwauling struck his ears. Next door, the hugely successful English folk band, Mumford and Sons, was warming up. I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers, Smith explains. So, understandably, he threw a bottle at them to encourage them to silence their plaintive yawping. The bottle fell short of its target and Mumford and Sons went on to sell one trillion records.
- Robyn releases Bodytalk Pt. 3 cover and track list
- Lil Wayne hits Number 1 with I am Not A Human Being
- Kanye West screens Runaway for US fans
- Caleb Followill guest judges on Iron Chef
- Stereophonics drummer dies in a terrible way
- Ben Gibbard and Zooey Deschanel perform at a Seattle Mariners game
- Willow Smith releases Whip My Hair video
- MTV can’t tell the difference between Black Eyed Peas and Black Keys
- Lady Gaga tweets about studio sessions in Norway
- There is a band named Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
2010 GRAMMY Nominees Announced
Last week the 2010 GRAMMY nominees were announced. Beyoncé led the pack with 10 nods, followed by country cutie Taylor Swift, who received 8 nods. Kanye West, the Black Eyed Peas and Maxwell each received 6 nods, while Lady Gaga only received a mere 5. So sad.
The most unusual nomination went to the Andy Samberg-led comedy music group The Lonely Island for their collaboration with T-Pain on I’m On A Boat. They’re up against Kanye West and Beyoncé for their song,Ego. Oh, this is too good. It’s a perfect storm for a Kanye meltdown. We hope The Lonely Island sails off into the sunset with the GRAMMY, if only to see how Kanye would handle his Ego losing to a novelty rap song. Stay tuned for potential fireworks on January 31st.
Jay-Z turns 40
Mr. HOVA himself, Jay-Z, turned 40 on Friday. He celebrated the event by renting a mansion in the Dominican Republic and flying in the likes of M.I.A., Kanye West, Oprah, Alicia Keys and A-Rod on private jets. Weird, same way I celebrated my birthday last year.
Rivers Cuomo Injured in Weezer Tour Bus Accident
Weezer singer Rivers Cuomo landed in the hospital on Sunday after his band’s tour bus skidded on ice and ran off the road in upstate New York. The band was travelling from Toronto to Boston for a show at Boston University. Rivers and his assistant were hospitalized with minor injuries ”both are expected to make full recoveries.
VH1 releases Kanye West Storytellers
OK, lots of Kanye this week but he just makes it too easy. Remember the rapper’s long-winded, awkward and grandiose performance on VH1 Storytellers last February? Now you can relive the discomfort via a CD/DVD release of Mr. West’s performance in its entirety. The album hits stores on January 5th. Next time you do something embarrassing, just pop this thing in your DVD player”you’ll feel better about yourself in no time.
Lady Gaga Meets Queen Elizabeth
This historic event happened Monday in Blackpool, England, at the Royal Variety Performance. I don’t know why I included it in the ugly section. The Queen of England is certainly not unattractive, nor is our Lady of Gaga. They’re both extremely handsome women. That scarlet Elizabethan condom that LG is wearing is another story. I suppose you can’t wear a sequined thong or a Kermit the Frog cloak to meet the Queen. But really. The ladies from Go Fug Yourself agree. I rest my case.
¢ She & Him (better known as M Ward and Ben Gibbard’s wife) set to release sophomore album
¢ Aziz Ansari and TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek join forces for hip hop mixtape
¢ Noise Pop Festival lineup announced
¢ Spin releases Top 40 albums of 2009
The last decade has seen a veritable spate of actors, seemingly driven by outsized egos strive for the coveted occupational / after their names”as in Actor / Sommelier / Perfumer turned Hip-Hop Artist/Pop Star/ MC/ Songbird/Diva/ Sultry Chanteuse etc. Although the argument can be made that the silver screen and the concert stage were never meant to cross pollinate talent, some surprisingly legitimate music has been created by the sparkle of Tinseltown in recent years. Therefore, this week’s Omnivore’s Delight posting pertains to a special breed of musician: actor turned rocker (the good, the bad and the downright peculiar).
It would be too time consuming to rant about the all the ill-advised ventures into the vocal booth (Hilton, Lohan, Murphy, Hasselhoff) so instead I’m going to pick my favorite.
Two words: STEVEN SEGAL! Yes, Segal came out with his debut album Songs from the Crystal Cave in 2005. After a quick listen, it’s not quite clear where this crystal cave exists. The tracks suggest hip hop Americana, somewhere in the African jungle or simply in Segal’s 50-year-old libido. And while his song Lollipop may not contain the same sexual connotation as 50 cent’s Candy Shop, the aboriginal percussion and a tropical horn section is at least, shall we say, unique. Oh, and don’t forget to checkout the album artwork. It’s gnarly.
Now on to the peculiar. William Shatner’s first album (yes there is more than one) was 1968’s Transformed Man. Known for the seemingly drug laden interpretation of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, this creation was more of a novelty than anything else. Captain Kirk hopped back on the saddle in 2004 with Has Been, another spoken word album consisting of both social commentary and self-inspired poetry. This time however, the backing music takes a turn for the better; noise with a time signature instead of unpredictably ambient sounds. Why? Ben Folds arranged the album. And he’s not the only VIP Shatner fan. Henry Rollins co-wrote “I Can’t get Behind That,” a laundry list of the gripes with American society, and even supplies guest vocals on the track. Country star Brad Paisley wrote the song “Real” especially for Shatner and sings the chorus as well. No matter what you think of the spoken word genre, the man is a very descriptive story teller. If you ever want to guarantee yourself a night full of vivid dreams, I suggest falling asleep with Shatner’s voice ringing in your ears. Once you can get past the strange vibe, this music is at least thought provoking.
Now, onto the artists who could earn some musical recognition”celebrity status or not.
For all of Robert Downey Jr.’s past troubles, he sure can write some gorgeous, piano-driven music. The Futurist (2004) is a solid album all in all, boasting cool piano tracks with an autumnal sound that’s perfect for crisp mornings and falling leaves. Downey’s talent, (as a vocalist, pianist and songwriter) is adequately displayed through these exquisitely nostalgic songs, most of which combine jazz with singer/songwriter and a tint of R&B. Smile, one of my personal favorites, shines through as the most optimistic track on the album. A percussive-less song, the triad of piano, bass and Downey’s unrefined vocals really make the song both honest and sincere. He even covers Yes’ Your Move, simmering it down just a tad, in turn producing the quintessential wind down atmosphere.
Zooey Deschanel is one of those actresses you can’t help but adore. Her music is no different. Turns out her quirky roles translate flawlessly into the musical realm, forming clever indie pop with twang. She and Him consists of Ms. Deschanel and M. Ward, a musical partnership that spawned on the set of the movie The Go-Getter. Their 2008 album Volume 1 is a treasure chest of simple and charming songs like their stunning cover of Smokey Robinson’s You Really Gotta Hold On Me, and pieces where Deschanel inserts a little more audacity into her voice like the hit Why Do You Let Me Stay Here. The duo’s melting harmonies mix with poppy piano and slide guitar to form an irresistible balance of backbone and vulnerability.
From one idiosyncratic star to the next we travel. Notice a trend? Jason Schwartzman, formerly of Phantom Planet, put together Coconut Records in 2006 and released the debut album Nighttiming a year later. Warning: This stuff is incredibly hooky. A few listens and you’ll be addicted for weeks. The strongest song on the album is West Coast, a feel good anthem for any displaced Western native. It’s light-hearted and mellow on the surface but contains a subtle, compelling pulse underneath, marching forward with increasing force as the song drifts on to it’s outstanding climax”the fortified shout chorus. Then there’s the title track Nighttiming, a song emitting a less urgent feel good vibe with synth happy hooks and a straight ahead rock beat that would feel more at home in the 80s. And what do you know”his collaborations on Nightiming include none other than Ms. Zooey Deschanel.
It’s always nice to find a stereotype disproved. Hopefully in years to come, actors who decide to give music a try will be given attention earned for the caliber of the music they create, not because of their star quality. If the aforementioned artists offer any foreshadowing into the future of multi-hyphanted actors, then we’re in for some fantastic music!