Dotsun Moon finds an answer on vox: Saturday Video Roundup

Dotsun Moon’s new singer, Maria Sebastian, is simply wonderful. Here’s proof.

In my top CDs of 2016 list last week, I propped Rich Flierl and Dotsun Moon, a band doing some serious soul-searching after losing its very talented lead singer. Rich dropped some new tunes on me the other day, and they suggest that in Maria Sebastian he has found an answer on the mic. Here’s what I mean – this is “My Apology,” and it’s heartbreakingly lovely.

Continue reading

The darkest song ever sung: “Coventry Carol” (Saturday Video Roundup)

Remembering the blackest moment of the entire nativity cycle is an odd way to celebrate.

For a couple weeks now I have been assembling my “Dark Christmas Melancholy” playlist, a process I described in a post a few days ago.

While I have listened to (and sung) a lot of holiday music through the years, my little project introduced me to a classic that somehow I had never encountered before, the English traditional “Coventry Carol.” This version, by Darkwave artists Nox Arcana, is by far my favorite for the way in which it captures the interwoven beauty and horror of the Massacre of the Innocents story.

Continue reading

Love is not a victory march: Saturday Video Roundup

My favorite versions of the greatest pop song ever written – goodbye, Leonard

2016 took Leonard Cohen, one of popular music’s true iconic geniuses, from us this week. I have said before that I think “Hallelujah” is perhaps the greatest popular song in history, and as evidence I would simply note that it has been covered countless times by an array of brilliant musicians. And nobody, I have learned, recognizes and respects musical genius like another musician.

Today for SVR we offer you some of the very best takes on that amazing song. Some you have probably heard. Some are likely new to you. All are the soul of reverence for one of the most compelling talents who ever walked among us.

We start with Jeff Buckley. Most people I know regard this as the definitive version of the song.

Continue reading

Happy Birthday to Jeffrey Dean Foster (Saturday Video Roundup)

We live in an era, sadly, where all too often our greatest talents never find the sort of broad audience their genius deserves. Once upon a time, back in the age of mass media and record labels committed to artist development, back before the Internet nichified music almost to death, back then Jeffrey Dean Foster would have been a massive star. Way too famous for a guy like me to have even met him, probably.

But that’s no reason for us not to appreciate him, is it? Let’s celebrate his day by listening to a few of his tunes. We’ll begin with my favorite Foster tune ever, “Summer of the Son of Sam,” which earned the highest praise I have for an artist: I wish I had written it.


Continue reading

Appreciating a wildly unappreciated band: MMMBop, bitches (Saturday Video Roundup)

When they first hit in 1997 with “MMMBop,” I remember Hanson being dismissed by my music intelligentsia friends as some kind of put-up job, a prefab kiddie novelty act. Thing is, it wasn’t true. At all. The brothers Hanson – Taylor, Isaac and Zac – were legit talented, their shiny, radio-friendly sound underpinned by a rich sense of Chicago R&B rhythm and Gospel-inflected harmony. (It’s fun trying to write in hipster-reviewer speak, init? Hey, I’ve been telling you for years I ain’t no reviewer.)

Now, nearly two decades on, they’re better than ever. Let’s kick today’s #SVR with a recent acoustic performance of that hit, one that strips down to the naked essence of a worthy pop gem.

Continue reading

Big Bang Theory band names, pt 4 (Saturday Video Roundup)

Thor and Dr. Jones LIVE!

And we arrive at the final installation in our series of lines from The Big Bang Theory that would make good band names. I love the first one.

Liquor and Poor Judgment

The Unified Theory of Comedy

Malibu Koothrappali and His Totally Bitchin’ Dream House

The Wolowitz Coefficient

Tangy Bowl of Cheerios Continue reading

We’re in Dire Straits on Saturday Video Roundup

Today on SVR we honor Dire Straits, one of my all-time favorite bands. I will always remember the exact moment when I first heard Mark Knopfler’s opening note of “Down to the Waterline” – that was back when kids who loved music sat around together in the basement and listened to their big brothers’ and big sisters’ albums. End to end. With wonder and reverence.

The first one today was passed along by Dr. Denny. Sweet hell, these boys can play.

Continue reading

Great new music for fall: Saturday Video Roundup

Chvrches, Metric, Meg Myers and IAMX lead the charge into autumn

No major theme today – just some cool new discoveries. Let’s start with the latest from Chvrches – folks, end to end this is one of the absolute best pop CDs I have ever heard. “Leave a Trace” is the lead single and it’s the earworm from hell, but I’m not sure it’s one of the five best songs on the disc.

Continue reading

When a capella met metal: Saturday Video Roundup

So, I wake up this morning to find that Frank Balsinger has uncovered an a capella take on Rammstein’s “Du Hast.” Because of course somebody would have to do that, and of course Frank would find it. So for SVR today, let’s enjoy some a capella abomination. I guess that would be a bomination, huh?

First, Viva Vox, and if you don’t get why this is so great, by all means click the link above and review the original.

Continue reading

Nathaniel Rateliff & the NightSweats: CD of the Year candidate

Okay, the verdict is in. I’ve spun the eponymous Nathaniel Rateliff & the Nightsweats at least 20 times now and it’s a legit CD of the year candidate. I’m hearing influences ranging from Sam Cooke to Van Morrison to old Appalachian gospel. Let’s check a couple vids, shall we? Here’s the one people seem to be raving about, “SOB.”

Continue reading

The National’s enigmatic darkness: Saturday Video Roundup

I was listening Sunday night to The National’s most recent album, Trouble Will Find Me. As I lay there with headphones on and the first song playing, I thought, “I don’t know why I don’t listen to these guys more often.” Minutes later, I remembered: Regret, sadness, and a failure to connect with people permeate The National’s songs. Sometimes we need to be reminded we’re not the only people in the world whom trouble has found. Other times, we don’t need to be reminded. The National often belongs in the “other times” category. Continue reading

Saturday Video Roundup: Wherefore art all the protest songs?

And now for something slightly different

Shadowproof posted Let us never ask where the protest music has gone ever again.

Kevin Gosztola, a Firedoglake alumnus, raises a cultural dilemma and proposes his own solution.

There is a recurring story media organizations like to publish. The story typically asks where all the protest music has gone or something like that. Or, the writers ask, who is this generation’s Bob Dylan?

This perspective has seeped into the consciousness of Americans. One thread on Reddit asked:

With all the racial and class tension in the past year or two, I’m really surprised that there hasn’t been much in the way of protest songs. At least not that I’ve heard. My generation had Rage Against the Machine (whose lyrics seem even more relevant today). What artist is carrying their torch today?

Continue reading