Earth Day, TV Tunes, & Opinions on Parquet Courts

Earth Day

Like all human activity, even rock music has an ecological impact. On this Earth Day, environmentalist Bill McKibben and musician/activist Adam Gardner join Jim and Greg for a discussion about the complicated relationship between music and the environment. Jim and Greg also talk to music supervisor Randall Poster about bringing tunes to the big and small screens.

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Vinyl

Recently, HBO aired the season one finale of their new record industry drama, Vinyl. The series comes from executive producers Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, and stars Bobby Cannavale as a struggling label head in 1970s New York City. While the reviews have been mixed, one thing everyone can agree on is this show knows and loves its music. That’s in large part to its music supervisor Randall Poster.

Poster is a frequent collaborator with Martin Scorsese on projects like The Aviator, The Wolf of Wall Street and Boardwalk Empire. He also often works with Wes Anderson on films from Rushmore to The Grand Budapest Hotel. We spoke with Randall Poster about the music for this season of Vinyl and his other projects.

Rock & the Environment

Bill McKibben

Musicians have effectively protested war, the AIDS crisis, and nuclear energy. Jim and Greg have talked about the central role music played in the Civil Rights Movement. But with global temperatures rising, are artists doing their part in battling climate change? To examine rock’s relationship with the environment this Earth Day, we’re joined by environmentalist Bill McKibben. Not only is Bill an author, scholar at Middlebury College, and co-founder of the grassroots climate organization 350.org, he’s also a noted rock fan. They discuss the carbon footprint of the music industry from festivals to touring to recorded music manufacturing. But Bill argues the deeper problem is that musicians haven’t adequately become part of the movement to influence culture through writing songs about the environment. But Bill, Jim, and Greg highlight the handful of successful environmental protest songs that do exist, from Joni Mitchell to Dr. Octagon.

One musician who’s taking an active role in fighting climate change from within the industry is Adam Gardner, guitarist/vocalist for Guster. He’s also the co-founder of REVERB, a non-profit dedicated to making bands’ tours more sustainable, working with Alabama Shakes, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews Band, and more. Adam also discusses REVERB’s efforts to raise awareness of how endangered woods illegally make their way into our guitars.

Light Up Gold Parquet Courts

Human Performance

Indie rock four-piece Parquet Courts formed in Brooklyn in 2010 with three of its members originally from Texas. They debuted with a limited cassette release in 2011, but it wasn’t until they released Light Up Gold in 2012 that they really turned some heads. The record was reissued on a bigger label in 2013, and after releasing two semi-official albums, Parquet Courts is back with Human Performance.

Greg thinks Parquet Courts have captured what it’s like living in New York City—isolating and overwhelming at once. This mood hangs over the whole record, even during what he calls the back-and-forth conversations between Andrew Savage and Austin Brown. Savage writes melancholy break-up tunes, and Brown responds with optimism. Greg thinks that while the record does not reach the masterpiece-status of Light Up Gold, it’s a Buy It nonetheless.

Jim agrees that it’s a Buy It, loving the jaunty piano, droning organ and sound effects. He recalls Parquet Courts being referred to by critics as slackers on their last album, sparked in no small part by the song Stoned and Starving, but Jim clarifies that there’s nothing lazy about their songwriting and thinks Dust is a brilliant track. Jim nods to the dialogue between Brown and Savage, but finds even more compelling the rapport between their guitars.

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