Earth Day

Earth Day, TV Tunes, & Opinions on Parquet Courts

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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Music News

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, 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.

reviewHuman PerformanceHuman Performance available on iTunes

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.


Featured Songs

  1. Prince, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  2. Sturgill Simpson, Sugar Daddy (Theme from Vinyl), VINYL: Music From the HBO Original Series – Vol. 1, Atlantic, 2016
  3. Nasty Bits, What Love Is, VINYL: Music From the HBO Original Series – Vol. 1.3 – EP, Atlantic, 2016
  4. Julian Casablancas, Run Run Run, VINYL: Music From the HBO Original Series – Vol. 1.2 – EP, Atlantic, 2016
  5. Trey Songz, Life on Mars?, Vinyl: The Essentials (Best of Season 1), Atlantic, 2016
  6. Yo La Tengo, Something To Do, Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo, Matador, 1996
  7. The Rolling Stones, I Am Waiting, Aftermath, Decca, 1966
  8. Osipo State Russian Folk Orchestra and Vitaly Gnutov, Kamarinskaya, The Grand Budapest Hotel: Original Soundtrack, ABKCO, 2014
  9. The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Parlophone, 1967
  10. Buffalo Springfield, Mr. Soul, Buffalo Springfield Again, Atco, 1967
  11. The Bobby Fuller Four, Let Her Dance, Fantastic Mr. Fox, ABKCO, 2009
  12. Kaleo, No Good, VINYL: Music From the HBO Original Series – Vol. 1, Atlantic, 2016
  13. Anohni, 4 Degrees, HOPELESSNESS, Rough Trade, 2016
  14. Ronny & The Daytonas, Little G.T.O., G.T.O., Mala, 1964
  15. Patti Smith, People Have the Power (Live), Dream of Life, Arista, 1988
  16. John Denver, Sunshine On My Shoulders, Poems, Prayers & Promises, RCA, 1971
  17. Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, Ladies of the Canyon, Reprise, 1970
  18. Marvin Gaye, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), What's Going On, Motown, 1971
  19. Antonique Smith, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), HOME, The Private Plane, 2014
  20. Miley Cyrus, Wake Up America, Breakout, Hollywood, 2008
  21. Neil Young, After the Gold Rush, After the Gold Rush, Reprise, 1970
  22. The Byrds, Hungry Planet, Untitled, Columbia, 1970
  23. Julian Cope, Western Front 1992 CE, Peggy Suicide, Island, 1991
  24. Neil Young & The Crazy Horse, Be the Rain, Greendale, Reprise, 2003
  25. Gorillaz feat. De La Soul & Gruff Rhys, Superfast Jellyfish, Plastic Beach, EMI, 2010
  26. Talking Heads, Nothing But Flowers, Naked, Sire, 1988
  27. The Pretenders, My City Was Gone, Learning to Crawl, Rhino/Warner Bros., 1984
  28. Kool Keith, Trees, The Return of Dr. Octagon, OCD, 2006
  29. Yes, Don't Kill the Whale, Tormato, Atlantic, 1978
  30. Parquet Courts, One Man No City, Human Performance, Rough Trade, 2016
  31. Parquet Courts, Dust, Human Performance, Rough Trade, 2016
  32. Prince and The Revolution, Baby I'm a Star, Purple Rain, Warner Bros., 1984
  33. Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, Tusk, Warner Bros., 1979
  34. Johnny Cash, After Taxes, I Would Like to See You Again, Columbia, 1978
  35. The Kingston Trio, Greenback Dollar, New Frontier, Capitol, 1962
  36. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Streets of Philadelphia, The Best of Movie Music Vol. 2, Memo Media, 2010

Footnotes HBO's Vinyl Jim's Vinyl Review Randall Poster's credits Randall Poster Bill McKibben REVERB Guster Hip Hop Caucus The environmental cost of festivals Streaming music impact Outsider musicians & eco-conscious U2's carbon footprint Parquet Courts