Results for experimental

interviews

DJ Shadow

This week Jim and Greg are joined by John Davis, otherwise known as DJ Shadow. For listeners not familiar with DJ Shadow, he is an innovative and experimental hip-hop producer with an ability to infuse other music genres, sounds and samples into his work. For many, his album Entroducing is one of the landmark works of the last decade. His recent album The Outsider was not received as well. (Check out Jim and Greg's review). Our hosts ask Shadow about the scrutiny and why he chose to compose an album on his own instead of emphasizing samples. Fans, even those who were disheartened by The Outsider, will appreciate his desire to stretch himself and make something completely new.

As mentioned above, The Outsider put more of the focus on guest vocalists and rappers than on samples. But with the current state of the music industry, Sound Opinions can't blame him. Greg asks the DJ what it was like to make music in the post-Paul's Boutique era, when copyright laws are making life more difficult for sample-based musicians. DJ Shadow explains that for him, using other people's music is both a way to be nostalgic and a way to call attention to music that people wouldn't hear otherwise. For more insight into copyright and copyright culture, check out Jim and Greg's interview with legal expert Lawrence Lessig.

Go to episode 50

Eleanor Friedberger

Singer-songwriter Eleanor Friedberger last joined us in 2008 as one half of the duo The Fiery Furnaces, along with her older brother Matthew. Famous for their fragmented and experimental sound, they made an impressive nine albums in six years together. However since 2011, Eleanor has been pursuing a solo career that is sonically quite different from the work she was doing in The Fiery Furnaces. She's put out three albums, Last Summer (2011), Personal Record (2013) and most recently, New View. While Eleanor Friedberger is an Oak Park, Illinois native currently living in New York state, she recently joined Jim and Greg during the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, Texas for a conversation and live performance in front of an audience at the Gibson Showroom. She speaks about growing up, going solo, Seth Meyers, and Andy Warhol.

Go to episode 550
reviews
SinoSino available on iTunes

Café Tacuba Sino

The first album Jim and Greg discuss this week is Sino by Café Tacuba. This is the sixth album from the band widely thought to be the inventors of "Rock En Español." Café Tacuba is known for melding many musical influences, making them truly progressive rockers. In fact, Jim hears a lot of British prog-rock influence in the songs. He found it funny and insightful, but wishes there was more grit in the recording. Despite this, he gives Sino a Buy It. Greg is happy to hear this, as he is a long-standing Tacuba fan. He describes these musicians as true innovators, despite claims that they've gone“too mainstream”on this album. The songs are experimental, without sacrificing pop elements. Greg also gives Sino a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 101
Sky Blue SkySky Blue Sky available on iTunes

Wilco Sky Blue Sky

After much anticipation, Sky Blue Sky, the new album by Wilco, has finally been released. As always band members Jeff Tweedy and John Stirratt are on board, and this time they're also joined by Glenn Kotche, Nels Cline, Mike Jorgensen and Pat Sansone. While their last album, A Ghost Is Born, was fairly experimental, this release is more of a return to form. In fact, Greg describes the record as kind of a“one-trick pony,”but it's a trick he really enjoys. Because the record has been streaming at Wilco's website, many fans have already formed their opinions and are not over the moon about Sky Blue Sky. But the music is so quiet, so intimate that Greg urges listeners to let it sink in more. One might expect musical acrobatics from a guitar wizard like Cline and a master percussionist like Kotche, but their performance is intentionally subtle in order to serve the song. Greg gives Sky Blue Sky and its message of consolation a Buy It. Jim also came to this conclusion, but much later in his listening experience. It took 12 times through for this critic to overcome his expectations of a ferocious, rocking record. But, as he explains, if any artist has earned the right to ask us to listen to something 12 times, it's Jeff Tweedy. Jim notes that this album is representative of a specific time and space for Tweedy and company, one that was very introspective. He wishes that Tweedy had responded more to what's happening in the world around us, and admits that at times, some of the songs can border on tedious. But, because Tweedy is as important an artist as someone like Bob Dylan or Neil Young, Jim thinks it's worth going on any journey the musician invites you on. He also gives the new Wilco a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 76
dijs

Jim

“My White Bicycle”Tomorrow

Jim uses his turn with the Desert Island Jukebox to pay homage to a man who changed the face of rock and roll. Albert Hofman, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD, died last week at the age of 102. After LSD hit the music scene, bands that were once R&B and pop became experimental, psychedelic acts. One of the best examples of rock's psychedelic era is Tomorrow. Jim always interpreted their song "My White Bicycle," as a tribute to Hofman's famous bike“trip,”and he thinks that listening to the tune is the best way to remember the scientist.

Go to episode 128

Greg

“Nowhere Again”Secret Machines

Music fans experienced another loss over the holidays: Benjamin Curtis, one of the founding members of Secret Machines died at age 35 after a battle with cancer. He, brother Brandon and cousin Josh Garza, visited the show in 2006, and Greg fondly remembers their distinctive sound. While contemporaries like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Strokes were steeped in a New York punk and New Wave sound, Secret Machines had a more experimental and psychedelic edge. And when people lament the lack of great modern rock bands, Greg refers them to this one. So to remember Ben Curtis and Secret Machines, Greg adds "Nowhere Again" from the band's 2004 debut Now Here is Nowhere to the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 424
news

Music News

745%. That's the increase in vinyl sales on Amazon. While vinyl sales still account for only 2% of the music industry, that's a number other retailers cannot ignore. Even Whole Foods! Want an LP with your tapenade? In Los Angeles, the food store is getting in on the vinyl action.

Last week, Jim and Greg spoke with Steve Jordan about who might win Canada's prestigious Polaris Music Prize. This week the winner was announced: Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Certainly this experimental rock group won't be walking away with a Grammy anytime soon. But, it seems that even this award might be too commercial or mainstream for the famously leftist group. Godspeed didn't show up to accept its award, and check out its response.

News broke that the N.F.L. has been secretly waging a $1.5 million war against rapper M.I.A. because of her un-ladylike conduct at last year's Superbowl halftime show. Well, compared to the violence and misogyny of the N.F.L., not to mention Madonna's underage dancers, M.I.A. says flipping the bird is nothing. Here's her response.

Go to episode 409
world tours

Canada

Justin Bieber

Every once in a while, Jim and Greg embark on the Sound Opinions World Tour and explore the music of another country. This week felt like a fine time to turn to our neighbor to the north and look at the music coming out of Canada today. As their guide, they're joined by music critic Ben Rayner of the the Toronto Star. Ben takes them from Montreal's experimental/electronic scene to the noise-pop of Halifax to the country's growing hip-hop culture. He also explains how the government supports pop music via grants and the "Cancon" regulations requiring broadcasters to air a certain amount of Canadian music. Ben also recommends two up-and-coming Canadian artists: Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq and Acadian folk-rocker Lisa LeBlanc.

Jim and Greg also dig through the Sound Opinions archives and share their favorite performances and interviews from Canadian artists, including a stripped down song from Montreal's Arcade Fire, a conversation with Toronto's Feist from early in her career, and a performance from the Vancouver supergroup The New Pornographers. Plus, they revisit their conversation with the most Canadian of all bands: Rush.

Go to episode 572