Archive for November, 2009

JG-L tries to turn SNL into a musical

I don’t typically watch Saturday Night Live these days. While I can clearly see that it must be a blast to work on the show, it’s hardly entertaining enough to watch on a consistant basis. But, when I went to the Hulu homepage and saw that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the host last week, I decided to give it another shot.

In an obviously staged discussion between Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel to help promote their recent film, (500) Days of Summer, G-L admitted that he often listens to music to get him ready before he acts.

And from his performance on SNL this past week, it seems that G-L has a bit of a pension for bursting into song at the drop of his hat. Nearly all of his skits contained some sort of music component, and I don’t think this was the case just because Dave Matthews Band was the guest musician. From the second G-L appeared on stage at the beginning of the show to introduce himself, he appeared to be gushing with the kind of giddy energy that is the thing musicals are made from.

And though it’s hard to tell for sure, he didn’t sound half-bad. Will J G-L follow in Zooey Deschanel’s footsteps and try his hand at music? I might be fine with that… as long as he doesn’t give up acting in delightfully quirky roles.


This is fun.

There’s this website you can go to that lets you type any phrase (be it a quote from a book, speach, movie, poem, song, or just something of your own imagination), and it will sing it back to you using clips stock-piled from a huge library of songs.

It’s kind of entertaining. I like trying to place the clips. Let me know if you come up with any particularly noteworthy phrases.

You heard right, Brooklyn is hot

New York Magazine recently published an extensive article about the merits of the music scene in Brooklyn. Though they are a bit biased (and so am I), I have to agree. (1) For a while, I thought it was all about Portland, but for the past few years, Brooklyn has churned out quite an impressive roster to the extent that I find myself assuming that every new band I encounter is holed up somewhere in Greenpoint or ‘East’ Williamsburg practicing.

Dan Deacon playing at a loft party in Ridgewood (Photo: Michael Falco)

Of course, there’s the obvious: The Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, MGMT, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Mos Def, Yeasayer, Jay-Z, The Antlers, Vivian Girls, Talib Kweli… and the bit more obscure: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Drums, Crystal Stilts, Bishop Allen, Jeffrey Lewis, Here We Go Magic, Suckers. Artists don’t just get their start in Brooklyn. Often they move here to continue their work after they have already made a name for themselves and to just partake in the Brooklyn community.

a scene from Williamsburg's Death by Audio

Recently, I have noticed that often the audience members at New York shows comprise a number of talented musicians and artists. One of my favorite games to play at a crowded show is trying to pick out people who are in bands. In North Carolina where I went to school, this was an easy task. Look for the slightly older guys with impressive beards, skinny jeans, plaid shirts, slightly more attractive than the average guy. Bingo! In New York, this can be more challenging, but I’ve stood beside members from The National, Jeffrey Lewis, Matt and Nan of Schwervon!, Sufjan Stevens, and more. (The Bell House is especially good for these sightings). It’s pretty delightful.

Even my dad saw the article in New York Magazine and wrote me an email, saying:  “So, maybe the economy is struggling to get out of the recession but the Brooklyn music scene is already in a bull market.  Rachel, this may be the best time to be in Brooklyn in years.  Timing is everything.” And if my sixty-one-year-old father in rural South Carolina is praising the Brooklyn Music scene, there must be something to it.

(1) And they’re not the only ones who are sighting Brooklyn as a hot spot. There’s also The Guardian.


When marketing and music collide

Oh, the Snuggie.  “You want to keep warm when you’re feeling chilled, but you don’t want to raise your heating bill…” When I first saw the infomercial for this ridiculous (but ingenious) product last year, I marvelled at the cheeziness of it. But the Snuggie recently one-upped itself this year with the introduction of the Weezer line.

Rivers Cuomo modeling the Snuggie, tea in hand

In a recent segment All Things Considered, Rivers Cuomo said:

Well, like Weezer, Snuggies are just this weird, cool product that everyone seems to like. They’re really popular, and you can’t really figure out why. So we figured it’s a good match.


You can check out the official Weezer Snuggie infomercial here or watch Weezer performing (and clad in the Snuggie) on Letterman below:

What’s next? Maybe some N’Sync Orange Glow? Perhaps the Mates of State Magic Bullet?

Where the Dirty Hipsters Are

Not sure if I think this is genius or just really lame. It is an interesting idea though. I’m still dying to see the movie myself. I actually heard one of the songs by Karen O and the kids from the soundtrack at a music venue the other night between sets, which was interesting. Well anyway… love it or hate it, here’s the spoof:

"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being