The Swell Season & Opinions on Sons and Daughters and The Cool Kids

Tune in for an apperance by The Swell Season on Sound Opinions. The duo of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová grew famous through their fictional romance in the film Once. Now, there's a new documentary out chronicling their real life relationship.

main image
Download Subscribe via iTunes

Music News

When news about the death of Amy Winehouse at the age of 27 hit, the music industry was struck with sadness. But, interest in the singer's work was renewed. And now, again proving that death is a great career move, she's back on the charts in the U.S. and the U.K. Her 2006 breakthrough record Back to Black and a number of its singles are selling big. Even her debut record Frank is back in the Top 200.

The Swell Season

This week we listen back to Jim and Greg's 2008 interview with Glen Hansard and Mark’eta Irglov’a of The Swell Season and the film Once. Glen and Mark'eta had come in town as part of a whirlwind tour they can attribute to Once's success. The modest film became a surprise hit with audiences and critics. They went on to win the Oscar for the film's tune "Falling Slowly," and launched a worldwide tour. Now as a kind of real-life postscript to Once, there's a new documentary called The Swell Season that chronicles their rise to success and the end of their relationship. At the time of their conversation with Jim and Greg, the media frenzy was just beginning. Glen, who is also the front man of the Irish band The Frames and opened for Eddie Vedder's summer tour, explains that he's extremely grateful for the success, but wishes he hadn't become so media savvy. Mark'eta, on the other hand, just doesn't see the chemistry everyone else is impressed by. For her, the movie just captured the way she and Glen really made music. One thing that hasn't changed with all the fame is Glen's guitar; it's so beat up that its manufacturer is embarrassed. Lucky for us, the sound is nothing to be embarrassed about.

The Bake Sale The Cool Kids

When Fish Ride Bicycles

Jim and Greg have been taking about the fall of MySpace's popularity in recent weeks, but one of the bands to have used it as a launch pad is The Cool Kids. They released The Bake Sale and hits like "Gold and a Pager" in 2008. Now they've switched labels and are working under an interesting new business model. Jim calls the new release When Fish Ride Bicycles a wonderful summer treat. He admits they aren't reinventing the wheel, but Antoine "Sir Michael Rocks" Reed and Evan "Chuck Inglish" Ingersoll are talented lyricists. Jim says Buy It. Greg thought The Cool Kids was a breath of fresh air in the beginning. Now things are smelling a bit stale. He misses their down-to-earth approach and wishes they had passed on some of the fancy guest artists. Greg says clear out the clutter and Burn It.

Mirror Mirror Sons and Daughters

Mirror Mirror

Next up is a review of the latest by the Scottish quartet Sons and Daughters. The band has always had a rougher, more "American" sound than its peers. They reference everyone from Johnny Cash to X, but Jim wondered if they were just a one-trick pony. On this album, Mirror Mirror, there's a considerable mood shift. Jim hears a witchy, Celtic vibe courtesy of the addition of synths. Greg agrees that this terrific band might have overstayed what people thought would be a short career, but they've continued to grow. He calls Sons and Daughters one of the strongest bands of the last decade, and says it's about time people started paying attention in the US. Mirror Mirror gets a double Buy It rating.


Thinking about Amy Winehouse, Jim is reminded of her roots. Clearly she was influenced by singers like Ronnie Spector in the '60s. But the link between that era and this one was British singer Mari Wilson. She revived retro and sported a beehive long before Amy. Partly jazz, partly pop and partly camp, Wilson had a string of hits in the U.K. in the '80s. Health problems have interfered with her success in recent years, but she did have a comeback album in 2005 called Dolled Up. Jim chooses a track from it called "Running On Sand" to add to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!