Results for Paul Simon

interviews

tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs's second album w h o k i l l made it onto both Jim and Greg's lists of the Best Albums of 2011 (so far). This week, Jim and Greg are in the studio with the creative force behind the band, New England native Merrill Garbus. Garbus has come a long way since her days as a professional puppeteer, when she performed for modest crowds with the indie act Sister Suvi and lived with her parents. This month the Oakland-based musician will be one of the most anticipated acts at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Like one of her early influences, Paul Simon, Garbus incorporates plenty of African polyrhythms and vocal textures into her music, and she doesn't shy away from discussions about cultural appropriation. She also takes huge risks as a live performer, looping her voice, drums, and ukulele onstage to become a veritable one-woman band. She performs the feat live in the studio, taking Jim and Greg through the beginning of "Powa." With the backing of bassist Nate Brenner and a hefty horn section, she also performs "Doorstep" and the band's breakout song "Bizness."

Go to episode 294

Grizzly Bear

Jim and Greg are joined next by the members of Grizzly Bear. The Brooklyn-based band started rather modestly in 2004. Now they've become one of the most talked about groups in indie music today. In addition to notable appearances at Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival, the band opened for Radiohead and Paul Simon. Plus, they count Jay-Z and Beyonce as fans! Jim and Greg spoke with Daniel Rossen, Ed Droste, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear on a Sunday morning in front of a live studio audience at the House of Blues in Chicago. There the band performed songs from its latest album Veckatimest. Unfortunately Michael McDonald wasn't there to join them on "While You Wait for the Others."

Go to episode 206
genre dissections

Electronic Dance Music

Robert F.X. Sillerman's favorite artists are Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, but lately the entertainment mogul's been in a dancing mood. The man who helped create Clear Channel by buying up radio stations and concert venues is investing in electronic dance music in a big way. Starting with Louisiana's Disco Productions, Sillerman has started buying up regional dance music promoters, with the intention, Jim supposes, of selling the genre's collective neon-tinted audience to advertisers. He says it's just the latest example of the corporatization of this booming corner of the music industry. Speaking of which…

Go to episode 341
reviews
Stranger to Stranger (Deluxe Edition)Stranger to Stranger available on iTunes

Paul Simon Stranger to Stranger

After his success with Simon & Garfunkel and as a solo artist, it would be easy for Paul Simon to rest on his laurels. But Simon has continued to push himself with new ideas and rhythms. His 13th solo album is Stranger to Stranger, and it finds Simon using some of the weird home-made instruments of legendary experimental composer Harry Partch, and collaborating with Italian electronic dance artist Clap! Clap!. Greg appreciates that Simon is an artist that continues to innovate. He likes both the humor and the references to mortality (without being morbid) that the now 74-year-old throws into the lyrics. Jim is less impressed, feeling that Simon's work radiates an annoying self-satisfaction. Jim admits that Simon works with rhythms well but believes he is giving the illusion of doing something new, rather than actually doing something new. It's a Buy It for Stranger to Stranger from Greg and a Try It for Jim.

JimGreg
Go to episode 551
SurpriseSurprise available on iTunes

Paul Simon Surprise

Gnarls Barkley is not the only noteworthy collaboration discussed on this week's show — in fact, all of the albums up for review feature artists working with noteworthy producers. For example, singer/songwriter Paul Simon made the interesting decision to work with electronic music pioneer Brian Eno. Eno, who co-founded Roxy Music, has produced for David Bowie, The Talking Heads and U2. While this is an impressive résumé, Jim and Greg explain that Eno was still a surprising choice for Simon. Eno is infamous for dragging musicians out of their comfort zones, and Simon is certainly at a stage in his career where he could remain comfortable if he wanted. The result is literally a Surprise, though not necessarily a success, according to one of our hosts. Jim is fond of both the album's multi-layered, ambient sound and its complicated, occasionally self-deprecating lyrics. He gives it a Buy It. Greg, on the other hand, feels that this was a missed opportunity. He predicts that the two artists“tiptoed”around each other too much. It's a little too gentle, too sleepy, and too stagnant for Mr. Kot, who gives it a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 23
So Beautiful or So What (The Collectors Edition)So Beautiful or So What available on iTunes

Paul Simon So Beautiful or So What

Greg puts it well: When you think Paul Simon, you don‘t think“charming.”That’s why his new album So Beautiful or So What is such a surprise. Perhaps he should have swapped titles with his last release. Both Greg and Jim point to Simon's humor. He is not breaking any musical ground, but he's in fine form vocally and he wrestles with big, existential questions in a wry, down to earth way. Consider these critics charmed. So Beautiful or So What gets a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 281
The River In Reverse (Digital Version)The River in Reverse available on iTunes

Elvis Costello The River in Reverse

Elvis Costello, the singer/songwriter who has taken on New Wave, punk, ska, country and pop, is tackling R&B on his latest release, The River in Reverse. The album is a collaboration between Costello and Allen Toussaint, the multi-talented New Orleans musician. Toussaint is responsible for hits like "Working in a Coal Mine," "I Like It Like That," and "Lady Marmalade," and has worked with The Band, Paul Simon and The Meters. The two collaborated after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, but neither Jim nor Greg think Costello's voice is up to the task of handling Toussaint's songs. Costello is a name that can garner attention for Toussaint, and Greg knows that his heart is in the right place, but it is only a Burn It record for both critics.

JimGreg
Go to episode 27
Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend available on iTunes

Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend

Next up is the self-titled debut from quartet Vampire Weekend. The indie rockers have been getting a lot of buzz for months now after releasing an EP. Now, with the release of their new album, they're being referred to as the next big indie stars. But, both Jim and Greg disagree with the hype — Greg feels it's unfair, and Jim feels it's completely unwarranted. Jim hates this album and finds it to be pretentious both musically and lyrically. He explains that the Paul Simon-esque African rhythms feel contrived, and the mentions of Louis Vuitton, Benetton and Oxford Commas are more prep than they are punk, earning Vampire Weekend a Trash It. Greg disagrees and says the music has clean guitars, rhythms and a sense of humor. It's a perfectly pleasant pop record — a Burn It that's a victim of hype.

JimGreg
Go to episode 114
dijs

Greg

“Losing True”The Roches

Greg was inspired by a conversation he had at SXSW with a fan of The Roches, a sister group from New York City in the late '70s/early '80s. While British female-led post-punk bands like The Slits and The Raincoats are celebrated, their American counterparts like The Roches are often overlooked. Sisters Maggie, Terre, and Suzzy Roche began singing Christmas carols door-to-door, but were later recruited by Paul Simon to sing backup vocals. They had an artier, weirder strain than most others in the folk scene, with lyrics that could be very funny or extremely poignant. Robert Fripp of King Crimson became a huge fan and produced two of their records. Fripp's guitar line on "Losing True" combines with the sisters' rich vocals to create what Greg calls a celestial sound, landing it a spot in the Desert Island Jukebox.

Go to episode 488
lists

Back-To-School Part 2

Hope you all brought an apple for the teacher – it's that time of year when classes are back in session. As a followup to their 2008 list of favorite Back-To-School songs, Jim and Greg are rematriculating to share a fresh batch of tunes.

Go to episode 511

Songs About Mom

Throughout the year Jim and Greg like to mark special occasions by playing the best and most appropriate music to celebrate. And nobody deserves more love than Mom. Here are some of our hosts' favorite songs for Mother's Day.

Go to episode 492

The Best Songs of 2011 - Mixtapes

As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to think about the songs that defined the year. Jim and Greg have compiled their favorite songs into mixtapes. During the show you'll hear a small selection, but luckily you can stream both mixes in their entirety. And you can make your own.

Happy New Year from Sound Opinions!

Go to episode 318

Songs About Dad

Rock and roll is filled with father figures–some dear dads and some deadbeat dads. But the male parent doesn't get nearly as much song time as Mom. So in honor of Father's Day, Jim and Greg decide to give the fathers some. Here are their favorite Songs About Dad.

Go to episode 289

Songs About Mom

Throughout the year Jim and Greg like to mark special occasions by playing the best and most appropriate music to celebrate. There has been Valentine's Day and Father's Day, but shockingly, they've never tackled Mother's Day…until now. Pop music is full of tunes inspired by Mom, and here are some of our hosts' favorites.

Go to episode 337
news

Music News

Rock lost two behind-the-scenes heavyweights last week: America's first rock critic Paul Williams, and record producer Phil Ramone. Williams launched Crawdaddy! magazine while still in college, beating Rolling Stone to the rock-criticism game by a year. Never one to dwell on the rock's celebrity aspect, Williams found less commercial success than prot‘eg’e Jann Wenner, but his intellectual criticism was an inspiration for rock critics to come (Jim and Greg included).

Phil Ramone's contributions to classic records like Dylan's Blood on the Tracks and The Band's self-titled album made him a sought-after producer for over half a century. But Greg says it's his work with Paul Simon that cements his reputation. Greg plays Simon's "Gone at Last" in remembrance of Ramone.

Go to episode 384

Music News

These days national headlines coming out of Chicago are generally about one thing: gun violence on the south and west sides of the city. So far this year there have been more than 3,200 shootings, more than 530 of them fatal. At the same time the city is home to a vibrant and creative hip-hop movement that continues to grow. Greg recently attended two festivals that highlighted the creativity in Chicago while addressing the city's violence. Chance the Rapper hosted the Magnificent Coloring Day at US Cellular Field on the southside. The next day, Common hosted a festival on the westside. Greg says the two events were Chicago rappers addressing the city's violence while trying to do something positive about it.

Go to episode 566

Music News

It has been one year since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast region. The music community has responded in a number of ways over the past 365 days. In fact, the response was quicker and more dramatic than that following the events of September 11, Jim and Greg note. The most high-profile Katrina project was the collaboration between Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint. Toussaint is one of New Orleans‘ most noted producers and musicians, and, like many of the city’s citizens, he had to flee during the storm and has yet to be able to return. He and Costello wrote their album's title track, "The River in Reverse," just weeks after Katrina hit. Check out Jim and Greg's review of that album.

Other artists inspired by Hurricane Katrina include Paul Simon, Mos Def and Bruce Springsteen, who decided to add new hurricane-related lyrics to the song "How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Time and Live," during his live performances. Rapper Master P also just announced that he will be debuting a stage play, "Uncle Willy's Family," which he describes as a hip-hop gospel comedy play about Hurricane Katrina. It will star the rapper, as well as his son Lil Romeo, Silkk The Shockker, and Terry Miles. Now he can add playwright to his ever-expanding résumé. But the post-Katrina project that most moved Jim and Greg was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's version of Marvin Gaye's 1971 concept album What's Going On. Gaye's songs were inspired by many of the country's problems at the time, including poverty, the environment, urban decay and race conflicts. It's interesting to see how applicable his words are today.

Go to episode 40