The Baseball Project, The Rock Doctors Perform Surgery & Opinions on Sharon Van Etten

Paging the Rock Doctors! Jim and Greg help a fellow physician find the perfect surgery soundtrack. Plus, Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey, members of supergroup The Baseball Project, talk about America's two favorite pastimes: Baseball and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Then, Jim and Greg review the new album from indie songstress Sharon Van Etten.

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The Baseball Project

TheBaseballProject3rd Summer has finally arrived, bringing us sunshine, days spent lounging on the beach—and, of course, baseball. While the game is America's official national pastime, some Sound Opinions listeners may think rock n'roll deserves that title… Thankfully, five baseball-obsessed musicians are bringing the two together. In 2007, Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey of Minus 5 and The Young Fresh Fellows, Linda Pitmon of Zuzu's Petals, and her husband, The Dream Syndicate founder Steve Wynn created The Baseball Project, a supergroup devoted to making music about the sport. Steve and Scott tell Giants-fan Greg and baseball-ignorant Jim about why they love the game, their favorite baseball tunes, and how they're exploring the unsavory side of the sport.

rock doctors

Surgery Soundtrack

surgery-tools "Physician heal thyself," the adage goes. But, sometimes even doctors need some outside expertise, especially when it comes to music. That's where the "Rock Doctors" come in. Every once and a while, Jim and Greg don stethoscopes, un-shutter the Rock Docs clinic, and help a listener in need of musical assistance. They've suggested music for shopping and music for training, but this time the stakes are high. Dr. Michael Frumovitz is a surgeon and the associate professor of GYN oncology at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. He submitted a new patient form asking Drs. Kot and DeRogatis to prescribe new music he could listen to during surgery.

Dr. Frumovitz shares his musical preferences (melodic indie pop ala Wilco and Vampire Weekend without a lot of dirty guitars ala The White Stripes) and explains why traditional pop music provides a better background than ambient music. He also admits that surgery is a team effort, so the prescriptions can't be too abrasive. So much for the surgeon ego myth.

Jim prescribes a self-titled album by Phox, a self-described“gaggle of goofy wizards performing minor illusions and bigtop music”from Wisconsin, while Greg prescribes Atlas by the indie rock quintet Real Estate. Dr. Frumovitz is instructed to put these records to work in the Operating Room, and after a couple of weeks they see how the medicine goes down. Unfortunately, he and his team found Phox a little too sleepy for surgery, save a couple of tracks. But Real Estate was a real winner.

Do you need to see the Rock Doctors? Or know someone who does? Fill out a new patient form and send to

Unless you are a full-time rock critic, it can be difficult to maintain good musical health. That's where the Rock Doctors come in. Do you have a musical allergy or addiction? Or do you have a friend or relative who needs an intervention? The Sound Opinions clinic has its doors open​.

reviewAre We ThereAre We There available on iTunes

Sharon Van Etten Are We There

On her latest album, Are We There, indie songstress Sharon Van Etten trades in the quiet guitar and occasional backing band of her previous albums, for a fuller, more baroque sound that takes both Jim and Greg by surprise. Greg loves the pairing of Van Etten's biting lyrics opposite the music's lush strings and horns arrangements. He says that Van Etten has finally come into her own making Are We There her most accomplished work to date. Jim isn‘t as goo-goo eyed as Greg is over Van Etten’s move away from her simpler singer-songwriter days. Are We There's eclectic instrumentation occasionally stumbles over itself, but on less busy tracks when Van Etten's vocals can really shine through, all of the album's musical faults are forgiven. Both critics say Are We There is a Buy It.


Featured Songs

  1. The Baseball Project, Box Scores, 3rd, Yep Roc, 2014
  2. The Treniers, Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song), Baseball's Greatest Hits, Rhino, 1989
  3. The Baseball Project, They Played Baseball, 3rd, Yep Roc, 2014
  4. The Baseball Project, 13, 3rd, Yep Roc, 2014
  5. The Baseball Project, To the Veterans Committee, 3rd, Yep Roc, 2014
  6. Warren Zevon, Bill Lee, Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School, Friday Music, 1980
  7. Steve Goodman, The Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request, Affordable Art, Red Pajama, 1984
  8. Meat Loaf, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Bat Out of Hell, Sony Music, 1977
  9. Billy Bragg & Wilco, Joe DiMaggio Done It Again, Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 2, Elektra, 2000
  10. The Baseball Project, The Babe, 3rd, Yep Roc, 2014
  11. The Who, There's a Doctor, Tommy, Polydor, 1969
  12. High on Fire, Death Is This Communion, Death Is This Communion, Relapse, 2007
  13. Einstürzende Neubauten, Yü-Gung, Halber Mensch, Some Bizarre, 1985
  14. Queens of the Stone Age, Medication, Lullabies to Paralyze, Polydor, 2005
  15. Broken Bells, Medicine, After the Disco, Columbia, 2014
  16. PHOX, Noble Heart, PHOX, Partisan, 2014
  17. PHOX, Laura, PHOX, Partisan, 2014
  18. PHOX, Slow Motion, PHOX, Partisan, 2014
  19. Real Estate, Had to Hear, Atlas, Domino, 2014
  20. Real Estate, Talking Backwards, Atlas, Domino, 2014
  21. Real Estate, Primitive, Atlas, Domino, 2014
  22. Real Estate,“The Bend”Atlas, Domino, 2014
  23. Aretha Franklin, Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business), I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Atlantic, 1967
  24. Sharon van Etten, You Know Me Well, Are We There, Jagjaguwar, 2014
  25. Sharon van Etten, Your Love Is Killing Me, Are We There, Jagjaguwar, 2014
  26. BADBADNOTGOOD, Fall In Love, BBNG, self-released, 2011
  27. Kelis, Bless the Telephone, Food, Ninja Tune, 2014
  28. Warpaint, Disco//Very (Live on Sound Opinions), Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  29. Randy Brown, Brain Chemistry, Dream Big, Brownton Records, 2006
  30. Public Enemy, Power to the People, Fear of a Black Planet, Def Jam, 1990
  31. Michael Jackson, Bad, Bad, Epic, 1987

Footnotes The Baseball Project Scott McCaughey The Young Fresh Fellows Steve Wynn The Dream Syndicate Peter Buck Mike Mills R.E.M. Linda Pitmon Zuzu's Petals Buy ‘3rd’ Accidental baseball poetry? Baseball by the Dashboard Light Dr. Michael Frumovitz MD Anderson in Houston Phox Real Estate Be a Rock Docs Patient Sharon Van Etten Jim's Sharon Van Etten review Greg's Sharon Van Etten review Sharon Van Etten on Sound Opinions