Results for Talking Heads

interviews

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Jim and Greg sit down with the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. This East Coast quintet was one of the success stories of 2005. They paid for, produced, and released their self-titled debut album on the ‘net without the help of a record label. Now they’ve sold over 100,000 albums and are selling out shows across the country. Professor Lawrence Lessig, cyberlaw expert and esteemed Sound Opinions guest, cites the band as an example of how people can use the Internet to propel music. A community formed around the band — one that was still willing to pay for their music despite the fact that it was available for free. As Jim points out, this completely contradicts what the RIAA and music industry execs would have you believe.

The lead singer of Clap Your Hands, Alec Ounsworth, is often compared to Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and this goes beyond just vocal quality. Alec mentions his love of Another Green World by groundbreaking“non-musician”Brian Eno (or Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno as his parents know him). You can hear a lot of the New Wave sound and Eno's philosophy in the band's music, like on the spartan, rhythmic New York sound of "Sombre Reptiles."

The band, which got its name after the members saw“Clap Your Hands Say Yeah”scrawled on a Brooklyn wall, play several songs from their debut album. Jim sees keyboardist Robbie Guertin's parents sitting in the Chicago Public Radio control room and reminisces about when his own mom used to come to see him play at less-than-refined venues like CBGB's. He adds that Joey Ramone's mom also used to carpool him and the rest of the band to their gigs. It seems parental support is crucial to punk rock success.

Go to episode 22

Brian Eno

Frequent Sound Opinions listeners know they can count on one thing: Brian Eno references. In fact some have taken to making it a drinking game. The legendary producer and electronic music pioneer seems to come up no matter what Jim and Greg are talking about. And for good reason-Eno is not just an innovator in the experimental world, but a major pop force as well, first as a member of the new wave band Roxy Music, then as a producer and collaborator with David Byrne and the Talking Heads, John Cale, Devo, U2 and Coldplay. He also composes solo work as well, though whether or not he'll use lyrics, singing or poetry is never known. His last album Drums Between the Bells was inspired by the poetry of Rick Holland. And he has a new EP called Panic of Looking. Brian joins Jim and Greg from England and shares his unique philosophies on writing, recording and the studio as an instrument.

Go to episode 310
specials

1977 - The Year Punk Broke

In the second and final installment of our series 1977: The Year Punk Broke, Jim and Greg explore the punk movement stateside with music writer Ira Robbins. Ira founded the music magazine Trouser Press in 1974. As a music journalist in New York, he was a fixture of the CBGBs scene, regularly "taking [his] life in his hands" to go to second avenue and hear bands like the Ramones, the Dictators, the Dead Boys, and Television play divey clubs. Whereas punk enjoyed a rapid rise in the U.K. in 1977, Ira describes the New York scene as more of a slow simmer. Fans gradually migrated from clubs like Max's Kansas City, where glam acts like The New York Dolls ruled, to clubs like CBGBs where a younger, rawer set of performers was defining the punk look and sound. Though the Ramones, with their simple song structures and leather jackets became emblematic of New York punk, Ira remembers a diverse scene. The Dead Boys, Television, and The Talking Heads may not have sounded the same, but in economically-depressed 70s-era New York, they shared an attitude that "life sucked, it's probably not going to get better, but so what."

Jim and Greg each choose a favorite track from the New York scene. Greg goes with the Talking Heads' "Don't Worry About the Government" from the band's self-titled debut. More than any other band, the Talking Heads epitomized New York punk's diversity. Their first gig may have been opening for the Ramones, but Greg contends the band's sound was more dance than punk. Still, Byrne's narrator in this song - a stressed, neurotic government bureaucrat - taps into the anxiety of the punk era. Jims goes with the ultimate American punk anthem, Richard Hell's "Blank Generation." The story goes that U.K. punk impresario Malcolm McLaren saw Hell perform the song in the U.S., then returned home and advised The Sex Pistols to write something "just like it, but your own."

Go to episode 351

MTV's Silver Anniversary

MTV turns 25 this week. To celebrate (or perhaps mourn), Jim and Greg discuss the station's impact on the music industry. To kick off the dissection, Sound Opinions surveys the opinions of festivalgoers at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival.

Go to episode 36

1977–The Year Punk Broke Pt. 2

In the second and final installment of our series 1977: The Year Punk Broke, Jim and Greg explore the punk movement stateside with music writer Ira Robbins. Ira founded the music magazine Trouser Press in 1974 and was a fixture at the CBGBs scene. They discuss the U.S. punk scene in '77, and seeing bands like the Ramones, the Dictators, the Dead Boys, The Talking Heads and Television play divey clubs. They also talk about the differences between the groups' sounds and images, and what New York City was like in 1977.

Jim and Greg each choose a favorite track from the New York scene. Greg goes with the Talking Heads' "Don't Worry About the Government" from the band's self-titled debut. Jim goes with the ultimate American punk anthem, Richard Hell's "Blank Generation."

Go to episode 607
reviews
Brick

Talking Heads Brick

Talking Heads, a band that came out of the New York punk scene in the 1970s, present their music in this one-stop-shop set. Brick contains all of the Talking Heads recordings re-mastered in 5.1 Digital Surround Sound by the band's keyboardist, Jerry Harrison. Jim is impressed with the comprehensiveness of this set, but admits that he doesn't even own a surround sound system. Greg was also hoping for more outtakes and rarities, explaining that the set's introduction, written by hipster author Dave Eggers, does not make it worth the $150 price.

JimGreg
Go to episode 3
Everything That Happens Will Happen TodayEverything That Happens Will Happen Today available on iTunes

David Byrne and Brian Eno Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

While Jim and Greg are certainly the top duo in rock and roll, there are some runner ups, including the artists up for review this week. After nearly 30 years, collaborators David Byrne and Brian Eno are back with a new album called Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. The musicians first came together when Eno produced some Talking Heads albums, and later they teamed up for My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Now Eno and Byrne have made what they're calling an "electronic gospel" album. Greg thinks they‘ve succeeded. Byrne’s vocals are not traditionally gospel, but have never sounded better. And the subject matter, which is about rising above tough times, certainly hits gospel themes. He gives the album a Buy It. Jim agrees, but doesn‘t want listeners to think that he gives that rating merely because he’s an Eno fan. He didn‘t think their first collaboration was all that successful, but this one is much more enjoyable and more accessible. He wishes Byrne didn’t dominate the singing so much, but also gives Everything That Happens Will Happen Today a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 144
The ShipThe Ship available on iTunes

Brian Eno The Ship

If you‘ve ever listened to Sound Opinions, you’ve learned one thing – Jim loves himself some Brian Eno. Eno has worn many hats over his long career, starting as a member of Roxy Music, collaborating with artists like David Bowie, and producing commercial successes for U2, Talking Heads, and Coldplay. His own solo output has varied wildly in style, recording pop albums in the '70s and basically inventing ambient music. His latest work, The Ship, is a concept album about the Titanic and the slaughter of World War I. Greg says Eno is finally merging his pop and ambient music, resulting in one of his best albums yet. He's freed himself from traditional song structures and rhythms to create cinematic images filled with orchestral synthesizer colors. Greg gives it a Buy It, impressed that Eno is still coming up with new ways to express himself. In a shocking turn of events, Jim is less impressed. He thinks that Eno's voice is the strongest tool in his arsenal, yet here he's burying it under the mix and fussing with Vocoders. Jim loves some ambient Eno, but feels he's done it better than on The Ship. But Jim says the doo-wop inflected cover of The Velvet Underground's "I'm Set Free" is amazing, earning The Ship a Try It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 545
High LifeSomeday World available on iTunes

Karl Hyde & Brian Eno Someday World


Pop/Rock icon (and enabler of the Sound Opinions drinking game) Brian Eno boasts a tremendous library of groundbreaking work, as well as a long history of rich collaborations, including joint projects with artists such as the Talking Heads, David Bowie, U2, and Coldplay. Most recently, Eno joined forces with electronic Underworlder Karl Hyde. The partnership produced two albums, Someday World and High Life, both released in rapid succession this year. Jim believes the that the two albums must be considered together, with the latter, High life, simply an extension of the first and former Someday World. That one was a“poppier”album, mostly comprised of Eno's previously unfinished pieces bolstered by Hyde's intervention. From Jim's perspective, the duo's attempt to combine Phillip Glass-minimalism with afro-beats is“not the greatest in the world”(a staggering response from the "unofficial president of the Brian Eno fan club). And most importantly it fails to provide Eno fans with what they truly want: more singing Eno. That said, an ever-faithful student, he asserts a Buy It stance for himself and a Try It for the rest of us.

Unlike Jim, Greg argues that these two albums must be viewed as two distinct entities—separate endeavors each with their own merits and shortcomings. Although he dishes out a borderline Trash It rating to the patchwork Someday World, he remarks that“the duo really hit their stride,”with this second, more experimental attempt and gladly jumps on board Jim's Eno train to give High Life a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 450
Some Loud ThunderSome Loud Thunder available on iTunes

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Some Loud Thunder

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah also recently released a new album. Some Loud Thunder is the follow-up to their highly successful self-released and self-titled debut. The band has again released the album on their own and is selling it on their website. This time, however, they got help from producer Dave Fridmann, who is responsible for the studio sound of the Flaming Lips. In fact, Jim explains that Fridmann serves as the Brian Eno to the band's Talking Heads, despite protests from fans who shy away from that comparison. Greg agrees that he definitely hears David Byrne's influence on lead singer Alec Ounsworth. And for the most part, that influence agrees with the critics. There are a number of solid songs on Some Loud Thunder. Some are even poppy and danceable. But, the remainder of the album is just plain difficult to listen to. For that reason Jim and Greg can only give a Burn It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 62
Small Craft On a Milk Sea (Bonus Track Version)Small Craft on a Milk Sea available on iTunes

Brian Eno Small Craft on a Milk Sea

In the Sound Opinions drinking game, "Brian Eno" is the key word. Perhaps no name in rock gets dropped more than the pioneering producer. But, for good reason-especially this week since he has a new album called Small Craft on a Milk Sea. Jim's“hero”has produced albums for the Talking Heads and U2, he's collaborated with John Cale and Robert Fripp, and he's been extremely influential in the worlds of experimental and ambient music. His new album is another instrumental effort. Jim wouldn‘t put it up there with Eno’s best, but thinks it's a big step up from other recent recordings-especially if considered in the ambient context. He gives the record a Buy It rating. Greg heard moments of undeniable beauty, but he wasn't wowed. He says Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 259
dijs

Jim

“She Cracked”Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

The opportunity to play Desert Island DJ goes to Jim this week. Inspired by his discussion with Eddie Argos from Art Brut, Jim chooses a song by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers to add to the Desert Island Jukebox. The Modern Lovers, who were hugely influenced by the Velvet Underground, would all go on to be a part of great projects: David Robinson started drumming for The Cars, Jerry Harrison played keyboards with Talking Heads, and Ernie Brooks went on to play with a number of bands, including Rhys Chatham's guitar army (discussed a few weeks ago). Richman took some bizarre turns, promising to only play music fit for a baby's ear, but the band's 1976 self-titled debut remains a masterpiece, according to Jim. He understands why Argos was so inspired by Richman's songwriting. Both men salute the“everyman dweeb”who struggles with getting girls and respect. While "Roadrunner" is perhaps the band's best known song, Jim decides to go with "She Cracked" as this week's DIJ pick.

Go to episode 24
lists

Songs About America

Sound Opinions celebrates Independence Day this week with Jim and Greg's favorite Songs about America. These are great rock songs that capture our country's spirit — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Go to episode 136

Songs That Give You the Creeps

Have you ever heard a song and been totally weirded out by it? The theme of this year's Halloween show is songs that give you the creeps! These are tracks that can be thought of as universally eerie or creepy to you as an individual. Jim and Greg share two songs each that they think fit the bill, and then we'll hear picks from listeners!

Go to episode 569

Funeral Songs

The complete top five funeral songs, according to the Register:

  • James Blunt, "Goodbye My Lover"
  • Robbie Williams, "Angels"
  • Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley, "I've Had the Time of My Life"
  • Bette Midler, "Wind Beneath My Wings"
  • "Pie Jesu"

We asked our Sound Opinions listeners this same, morbid question. Here are some of the“swan songs”you told us about via email or message board:

  • Santo and Johnny, "Sleepwalk"
  • The Buzzcocks, "Everybody's Happy Nowadays"
  • Curtis Mayfield, "Freddie's Dead"
  • Jeff Buckley, "Corpus Christi Texas"
  • R.E.M., "Try Not to Breathe"
  • Jeff Buckley, "Satisfied Mind"
  • Tom Waits, "Come On Up To The House"
  • Peter Gabriel, "I Grieve"
  • Joy Division, "In a Lonely Place"
  • The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"
  • Alice Cooper, "I Love the Dead"
  • Talking Heads, "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)"
  • Billy Bragg and Wilco, "Remember the Mountain Bed"

Greg

Jim and Greg were forced to think about their final day as well. Greg goes first (since Jim predicts he actually will). He decides he wants Sound Opinions guest John Cale's cover of "Hallelujah" to be played at his funeral. He calls it the 20th century version of "Amazing Grace". Although Cale's version strays from Leonard Cohen's original, Greg thinks the message remains intact: "I made a lot of mistakes, but it was all worthwhile."

Jim

Jim predicts that even at his funeral he won't be able to resist one last chance to be sarcastic. He chooses an irreverent version of Frank Sinatra's classic "My Way." Jim shares Hoboken roots with“Ol' Blue Eyes,”but he feels he shares a lot more with Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious. So all of you Sound Opinions listeners who plan to come out to mourn on that fateful day will get to enjoy this punk cover.

Go to episode 47
news

Music News

Over the years a number of politicians have butted heads with rockers over the use of music in campaign ads. Not surprisingly most of the squabbles have been with Republican candidates. But this most recent lawsuit between Talking Heads singer David Byrne and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist has a new twist. Not only did Crist have to apologize for using "Road to Nowhere" without permission, but he had to do it on YouTube!

Go to episode 282

Music News

Go to episode 596

Music News

The copyright infringement lawsuit over Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" now has a resolution. As we've previously covered, the trust of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe sued Zep, alleging that“Stairway”plagiarized the 1968 track "Taurus." A California jury didn't hear enough similarity between the songs and decided in favor of Led Zeppelin. And as we wind on down the road from the decision, intellectual property attorney Jeffrey Brown tells us this probably won't change the legal standard for copyright infringement. Even when the plaintiffs win – like in the "Blurred Lines" trial – the legal fees are too high to be worth it for anyone but the wealthiest of artists. These cases will continue to be primarily worked out in backroom deals.

Go to episode 553