On his YouTube channel, Pat Metheny has a series of solo performances of songs he loved growing up. I was surprised to see a cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim's Girl From Ipanema; it turns out that an attempt to learn a chord gave him the opening sound of a song he knew well from the radio.
A Neko Case performance from Q last fall. Martha was lucky enough to see Neko Case perform live a few years ago, and I was lucky enough to get a tour T-shirt ... except that it shrunk. Our son wears it now.
One of the standout songs from Quadrophenia is 5:15, which shows what an excellent racket the Who could make.
This was the winner of a competition in which fans were invited to make their own videos to illustrate 5:15. I thought it was fitting that the artist wrecks his work, presumably in a nod to a band that was infamous for trashing their gear in the Sixties.
Storytelling has changed through the ages; I got such a kick out of this, which imagines how the Star Wars saga would have been told in the age of medieval tapestries. If you look at the last panel in the photo above, you can see the end of episode III, a vertical line marking a 19-year interval and then Darth Vader boarding Princess Leia's ship. (The tapestry really picks up momentum then.)
I've occasionally been dipping into And I'll Scratch Yours, the collection of covers of Peter Gabriel released (after a few delays) last fall. It's the matching glove to 2010's Scratch My Back, in which Gabriel covered songs by others ... most of whom reciprocated for the followup.
David Byrne's take on I Don't Remember is one of my favourites. It sounds like it was made quickly at home, which is probable if you've read Byrne's book How Music Works, which extols the virtues of inexpensive digital recording.
Our son, Nick, has been very fond of this Arcade Fire song, sometimes replaying it three times in a row while we're in the car. (I'm a patient dad ... plus, I like the song, too.)
The video for Here Comes The Night Time was produced in the fall for a mini-film that aired after Saturday Night Live, with a visual trick that made it seem like the film, directed by Roman Coppola, was a transition from the show itself. The film is packed with cameos; I guess it says something that they were able to get Bono, Ben Stiller and others to show up for the looniness.
If you've ever been hit by snow from a passing city plow, you'll know that there's nothing quite like the feeling ... especially when the snow is loose and wet. That said, I've never see anything quite like what happened to the pedestrian nailed on a major street in Brooklyn last week. A car dealership's security cameras caught the incident (the plow knocked up enough waste to break a window) from two different angles.
Our son gave me Jim Henson: The Biography for Christmas, and I've been tucking into it over the last while. I've been learning a lot about Henson, who coined the word "muppet" many years before either Sesame Street or The Muppet Show. He actually had worked out the concept for that series more than a decade before it finally made its way to air, with sketches for an opening that look remarkably similar to the "it's time to meet the Muppets" theme that we all know.
Henson started performing the Muppets in slots on local TV in Washington, and caused enough of a buzz (no pun intended) that he was approached by a regional coffee distributor, Wilkins Coffee, to make TV commercials.
Each spot was short - just 10 seconds, which meant that Henson and his partner and future wife, Jane, had to come up with eye-catching moments. The jokes are blunt, and Henson deployed techniques to get a laugh that future Muppet Show audiences would love. The ads worked so well that Henson was asked to replicate the formula for other regional companies. For many, the ads were the first time anyone had seen the puppets, or heard the voice of Henson, who by this point was only 21 years old.
I was curious to see if the ads are available online. Sure enough, they are ... all rounded up in one place, too.
Daft Punk got the hardware at the Grammys last night, and won the spotlight, too, with a version of Get Lucky that featured Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder and of course Nile Rodgers, in a medley that included Chic's Le Freak, Wonder's deep-tracks gem Another Star and a bit of Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
Who stole the show, though? That would be drummer Omar Hakim. Just watch him.
I must say, I get a real kick last year knowing that teenagers were grooving to music that was built around a groove by Rodgers, Hakim and bassist Nathan East, who are still in their prime decades after hitting their stride. Remarkable, really.
Bob Dylan has achieved a great many things over a very long career, including winning an Oscar. This is the song that did it: a tune written for Curtis Hanson's adaptation of Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys.
Last week, Springsteen revisited his bandana-and-jeans look to remake Born To Run with Fallon, this time as a topical dig on New Jersey governor Chris Christie's widening scandal of political vindictiveness. I don't know what Fallon has planned when he takes over the Tonight Show in a few weeks, but I hope he brings over his knack for parodies, and getting stars to poke fun at themselves and their best-known work.
The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping is one of my very favourite Christmas songs; it's no surprise I picked it for the very first seasonal mix CD I made for family and friends, a tradition that's run every year since 2000. I was intrigued to find this interview on the NME website with Chris Butler, who wrote the song ... especially to hear his regrets about the line "most of '81 passed along those lines."
When Stephen Colbert appeared to have been brushed off by the notoriously camera-shy Daft Punk, he started dancing to Get Lucky in front of his audience ... and then a whole performance opened up. For some time, he had been enlisting the help of visiting or nearby celebrities, from Bryan Cranston (in rollerskates!) to Jeff Bridges to ... Henry Kissinger. It's one of the best chuckles of 2013.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.