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Oscars 2014 Music Recap: Jared Leto, U2, Karen O, Vampire Weekend

Jared letoThe Oscars may not have been as music-packed as January’s Grammy Awards, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for a couple stand-out performances, and even a little award action for 30 Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto.

Just months after receiving a Golden Globe for best supporting actor, 30 Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto won an Oscar under the same category for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. In his acceptance speech, Leto not only thanked his mother, but “all the dreamers out there,” mentioning Ukraine and Venezuela, as he said “we are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.”

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig performed a beautiful rendition of their track, “The Moon Song” from Her. The track was up against “Happy” from Despicable Me 2, “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, ”Let It Go” from Frozen, and “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the film of the same name.

Also taking the stage was U2 with a performance of “Ordinary Love.” No strangers to being Oscar nominees (the band was nominated in 2003 for “The Hands That Built America”), the band gave a moving performance, playing against a backdrop of photos of the late Nelson Mandela.
You can view a full list of the evening’s winners here.
More like this:

Golden Globe 2014 Winners: Jared Leto, U2, Alex Ebert
30 Seconds To Mars Release “Up In The Air” Lyric Video
Vampire Weekend Perform On ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’

U2, Pharrell, Karen O Nominated For Oscars

OscarsLately it feels like all we do is fill you in on the latest awards that your favorite musicians are up for. But you know, that’s not such a bad thing. Between the Grammy Awards, BRIT Awards, and People’s Choice Awards, we’ve been seeing some repeat nominees and winners. Take for example U2. They are recent winners of a Golden Globe  for their track “Ordinary Love,” and now they’re up for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category for the same track, which can be heard in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Or how about Grammy nominee Pharrell, who was up for an award for his work on Robin Thicke‘s Blurred Lines, and is now nominated for his songs “Happy” from Despicable Me 2, and “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the movie of the same name? And let’s not forget Karen O whose solo track “The Moon Song” (from Her, and written with director Spike Jonze) faces off with U2 for Best Original Song.

You can check out the full list of nominees below, and let us know in the comments who has your vote.
Continue reading ‘U2, Pharrell, Karen O Nominated For Oscars’

Sound And Vision: Why Hasn’t Tabloid Notoriety Turned John Mayer into a Total Joke?

“John Mayer Gets a Haircut After Katy Perry Split!”

As breaking news of the day goes, it’s not exactly groundbreaking. Still, there it was, in multiple variations, splattered across the online pages of E!, Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly (which called it a “hair break-over”), People magazine and so many other websites devoted, in large and small part, to such trivialities. You’d think Samson had risen from the dead and taken up guitar.

But wait! Shouldn’t Delilah — I mean, Katy Perry — have been the star of this life (and a new ‘do)-after-love story? Traditionally, the celebrity tabloids and gossip websites pursue female celebrities about whom they date, whom they marry, whom they divorce, to search for baby bumps, and fashion dos and don’ts. Guys generally get in only when they’re dating one of them. (Why do you think Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger, who once went from long to short without causing so much as a media ripple and is now engaged to Avril Lavigne, is suddenly “newsworthy”?)

By those standards, John Mayer must be some kind of publicity-baiting genius. In the last several years, he’s made himself as much of a tabloid fixture as an A-list starlet by dating a succession of them: Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, and most recently, Katy Perry, his pop-star paramour of a few months. Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Why Hasn’t Tabloid Notoriety Turned John Mayer into a Total Joke?’

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Lana Del Rey Lady Gaga
Karen O Adele
  • Lana Del Rey better watch herself, less she gets a face full of crazy Courtney Love.
  • After getting cut from The Muppets, Lady Gaga’s going with her second choice.
  • Seeing Adele bide her time with newly fixed vocal chords is actually kind of terrifying.
  • Granted she wasn’t even alive at the height of Led Zeppelin’s career, but C’MON.
  • More like a high-pitched girly scream, according to Bono, but hey, who are we to judge?
  • Glad to see Trent Renzor can go back to being a dark, moody, and misjudged artist again.
  • Just announced: we’ve found Jay-Z and Kanye. They’re in this mysterious place called the zone.
  • So, iTunes UK is panning out pretty much exactly the same as the rest of the world then.

Love Darling Vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

In rock and roll, the term “frontman’ is used to describe the lead singer of a band. While it might seem a bit sexist, the fact of the matter is that most stars in the history of rock and roll have been men. However, every once in awhile there comes a band with a great “frontwoman”; a woman who brings a unique personality and energy to her band that just can’t be duplicated by a man. Women like Debbie Harry of Blondie, Gwen Stefani of No Doubt and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all big time rockstars who steal the show from the male counterparts in their bands. And with this in mind, our latest edition of Vs. brings you a band with a great frontwoman, Love Darling, as they face off against their contemporaries Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

OurStage's Love Darling

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Darling’s lead singer and guitarist is Shay Magro. The band covers a wide array of genres including everything from electro-pop to hard rock. “Last Chance” is a great introduction to the band’s sound. This song features a lot of the aspects that made Yeah Yeah Yeahs so successful: fast tempos, raw and powerful guitar riffs and of course a frantically energetic frontwoman. On their most recent album, Yeah Yeah Yeahs made synthesizers a much larger part of their sound, and Love Darling don’t shy away from the synths either. On “U Can Be Perfect”, the band uses a synthesizer to play the melody while the guitar provides rhythm. However, the real star of this song is the drums, which mix power and precision to provide a driving force for the whole song. Synths are used again in the slow burning track “Forget This Part.” The song starts off with a slow but dramatic drumbeat and eerie synthesizer chords. The song slowly builds momentum with the addition of piano and guitar, until ultimately reaching an epic and powerful ending.

Continue reading ‘Love Darling Vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs’

Sound And Vision: Pop Goes the Previews — The Best and Worst of Fall Movie-Trailer Music

Whoever invented the movie preview must be some kind of genius. Because of them, half the fun of seeing a movie on the big screen is getting there—to the main attraction, that is. It always takes a few good trailers to put me in the mood. But sometimes, if the words don’t get in the way (damn, bad screenplays!), the music does. Too often terrible songs ruin perfectly good trailers—or make bad ones worse.

That said, movie-trailer music has come a long way. For a brief period in the early ’90s, nearly every other one seemed to feature the soothing new-age sounds of Enya floating by in the background. Nowadays we get a larger assortment of musical backdrops (pop, classical, rock, hip hop, techno and, of course, vintage Motown), some of which can actually turn must-avoid into must-see — at least until the coming attraction is over and sensible thinking once again prevails.

Variety, however, hasn’t done away with predictability, and recently, while screening trailers for some upcoming autumn releases, I noticed a few rules at play.

1. No self-respecting Oscar contender stoops to the tops of the pops. David Fincher may have gotten Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails to score The Social Network last year, but he knew better than to use Radiohead’s 1992 hit “Creep” in the trailer. Instead, he used a haunting cover by Belgium’s Scala & Kolacny Brothers. This year, for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (December 21), he punctuates the sneak-peek action not with Led Zeppelin’s classic version of “Immigrant Song” but with a near-equally exhilariting remake by Reznor and Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Pop Goes the Previews — The Best and Worst of Fall Movie-Trailer Music’

Breaking Bad

The Worsties

The Worsties play the kind of music that immediately lends itself to dance parties, fisticuffs and other forms of bacchanal. It’s fun, rowdy and isn’t afraid to bite. Which may be why the band has been picked up by shows like The Real World and Bad Girls Club. Led by the feline yowl of Anna Worstell (not far off from Karen O), the Worsties elbow their listeners to the dance floor with new wave, rock and punk that’s stylish and savage. “Party Dress” is straight out of the Motor City circa 1969. Frayed guitars and rock steady drums make for a pent-up rocker that demands you belt it out in unison. Likewise, “XOXO,” is an anthem for bad behavior, made up of thrashing drums and kiss-off guitars. Tightly wound and pressure-cooked, the track is about what happens when you let off a little steam. On “Let’s Go,” you not only get feral dance rock, you also get a spelling lesson. After the sing-a-long chorus Worstell declares, “I just wanna dance all night.” So do we. And so will you.

Sound And Vision: Does Madonna Still Matter?

Last week I finally got around to seeing The King’s Speech, and during one particular scene, my mind wandered to Madonna, of all people. No, the queen of pop doesn’t appear in the film, nor are any of her songs on the soundtrack, but two secondary yet pivotal Speech characters, the UK’s King Edward VIII and his double-divorcée American paramour Wallis Simpson, will take the lead in Madonna’s upcoming directorial effort W.E.
While I’m not expecting her to pull off a Ben Affleck-style transformation from middling actor to acclaimed filmmaker (she also co-wrote W.E. with her Truth or Dare director Alex Keshishian), stranger things have happened over the course of her career. (Remember her Golden Globe win and medium-level Oscar buzz for Evita?) But if, in a left-field twist of fate, Madonna wins over both critics and moviegoers with W.E. the way Barbra Streisand did with Yentl in the ’80s, and she gives up her old day job for this new one, will anybody miss her on the charts?
I have my doubts. Her last album, Hard Candy, was released April of 2008, a nearly three-year eternity on the pop timeline. Though it spawned her record-breaking 37th Top 10 single “4 Minutes” (sorry, Elvis!), it was Madonna’s first studio album not to be certified platinum by the RIAA, and like its two predecessors, 2005′s Confessions on a Dance Floor and 2003′s American Life, it didn’t produce a second Top 40 hit in the US.
Since the end of 2009, when Celebration, her greatest-hits compilation, failed to boost her sagging chart fortunes, Madonna has retreated to behind the scenes. She made W.E., designed a fashion line with her daughter Lourdes, and launched Hard Candy Fitness in Mexico City (the second branch of the gym line arrives in Moscow in mid-March). But on December 17th, she posted a message on her Facebook wall saying that she’s ready to rock again: “Its official! I need to move. I need to sweat. I need to make new music! Music I can dance to. I’m on the look out for the maddest, sickest, most bad ass people to collaborate with. I’m just saying……”
The big question: Can she rise from the dust of Celebration, whose two new singles were neither great nor hits? The title track peaked at No. 71 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2009, and the follow-up, “Revolver,” didn’t even bother to chart. Fans were RSVPing in droves to the parties of pop’s younger stars, while Madonna’s celebration, dogged by sparse attendance and a general lack of interest, was over almost as soon as it began. For the first time in her career, Madonna knew what it feels like for a girl standing in the shadow of someone else.
That someone else would be Lady Gaga, who in recent years has been anointed alternately as the second coming of Madonna and the reason why she’s so over. But Gaga can’t take all of the credit for the tough time Madonna has been having on the charts. Madonna had one of the longest hit-making runs in pop history, but as Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey well know, every fierce ruling diva has her day when the hits become fewer and farther between. Also hogging the spotlight in Gaga’s rear, there’s Britney Spears, Rihanna and Katy Perry, post-Madonna starlets who, like the original material girl, made up for their vocal shortcomings by hooking up with the right collaborators and striking perfect pop poses.
How can Madonna compete with baby divas half her age? Does she even have to? She has one of the sturdiest back catalogs in pop music, good enough to inspire an entire episode of Glee and produce last year’s No. 1 soundtrack EP Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna. At this point, she could coast on her history, make like the Rolling Stones and continue to rake in huge bucks from touring without ever releasing another record. But since she recently departed from her long-term label, Warner Bros. Records, and signed a reported $120 million 10-year contract with concert promoter Live Nation that encompasses tours, merchandising, albums, DVDs and music-related film and TV projects, bowing out of the business of making new music isn’t an option.
She should let those other divas fight for scraps from flavor-of-the-month producers. Timbaland and Pharell did her few creative favors on Hard Candy, and David Guetta, who produced “Celebration” and “Revolver,” is overrated and overbooked. Rihanna, his latest diva-for-hire, can have him. Madonna should steer clear of anyone having anything to do with any of the No. 1 singles from the last year. So if Max Martin or will.i.am are on her speed dial, she needs to delete them both.
Searching for the maddest, sickest, most bad ass people to collaborate with looks good on paper—and on her Facebook wall—but Madonna is best one on one, not trying to cover every musical angle with a gallery of hot producers. She should go out and find the next William Orbit, the next Mirwais, the next Stuart Price, someone her competitors have yet to get their hands on. With the right guy onboard (or girl—I’d kill to hear her side by side with someone like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), all she’ll need to do is strap on her dancing heels and let the confessions begin.

Under Supervision: Guessing The Grammys

OSBlog02_UnderSuperv_MASTER_01Each year, a few movies are created that warrant the attention of artists and inspire them to create music as accompaniment.  Good songs capture the essence of the films they are paired with, immersing the viewer in the story. Another year has ended and some songs have successfully done this, earning them a GRAMMY nomination.

With the awards ceremony nearing (and bets being made on the whereabouts of Lady Gaga’s pants,) it’s time to take an in depth look at the contenders and see who has what it takes to win.   And the nominees for  ‘Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media ‘ are……

Continue reading ‘Under Supervision: Guessing The Grammys’

Under Supervision: Music Supervision In The Next Decade

OSBlog02_UnderSuperv_MASTER_01Imagine a commercial, movie or TV show.  Now imagine it without sound.  Not so great, huh?  All moving pictures need music to enhance it—without sound, quite frankly, they’d suck and no one would watch them.  So, the industry has music supervisors who go through the billions of albums out there and find the music to make you laugh, cry, fall in love or really, really want that iPhone.  In the past decade, the job of the music supervisor has become more important than ever as they have the power to basically create artists’ success.

Continue reading ‘Under Supervision: Music Supervision In The Next Decade’

 


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