August 7, 2009
August 6, 2009
Timothy Sellers is the core of Artichoke, a band from Highland Park, California which specializes in quirky, rollicking rock music about science and nature. This year saw the release of 26 Animals, an alphabetic assemblage of children’s tunes about various denizens of the animal kingdom. The letter “O,” as you have by now no doubt surmised, is for “Octopus,” and the song celebrates this cephalopod’s unique talent for evasion. A few other marine invertebrates are featured on the album: “J” for “Jellyfish” and “U” for “Sea Urchin.”
The CD is available on its own, or paired with a fully illustrated songbook featuring original watercolor paintings of each animal alongside the lyrics and guitar chords for each song. You can buy it directly from the band at www.artichoketheband.com, as well as at CD Baby. You can also download it from iTunes and Emusic.
August 5, 2009
Yo La Tengo are Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley, and James McNew. Not only are they Hoboken’s most famous indie-rock trio, but they are also the one of the most prolific bands in the genre, releasing more than 15 albums since 1984. In 2001 they composed an instrumental score for eight aquatic-themed short documentary films by Jean Painlevé. Called “The Sounds of Science,” the complete score was first performed live at the 2001 San Fransisco Film Festival. In 2002, it was released as a CD called The Sounds of the Sounds of Science.
Clocking in at just under 12 minutes, “The Love Life of the Octopus” is the hypnotic sixth track on the album. It was written to accompany Painlevé’s Amours de la pieuvre (1965), and it is available as a free full-lenth MP3 download at www.yolatengo.com, where you can also hear samples of the other 7 tracks. (The CD might also still be available from their website, but the store is currently down for repairs.)
This spring Criterion Collection released Science is Fiction: 23 Films of Jean Painlevé, a 3 disc box set with special features that include a live performance of “The Sounds of Science” score by Yo La Tengo. Buy it on Amazon.com.
Hine also animated this excellent video for “With the Dark” from They Might Be Giant’s 2007 album The Else.
John and John vs a Giant Squid! Who will prevail?
See more of Hine’s art at her Esty shop!
August 3, 2009
Welcome to Music Week! This week I will look at some of my favorite songs made for, about, and by cephalopods. (OK, maybe not by cephalopods, but you never can tell…)
We begin with “I Crush Everything” by the mighty Jonathan Coulton. If you haven’t heard of Jonathan Coulton (or JoCo, as he is known to his fans), he is a feral mountain man from the wilds of Brooklyn, NY. He specializes in a brainy brand of folk-pop that is sometimes tragic, often hilarious, and always brilliant.
“I Crush Everything” is a bitter love song of a Giant Squid that longs to embrace the object of his affection. Sadly, he cannot because, as the title suggests, he crushes everything. Here’s a sample of the lyrics…
Did the stars come out? Did the world spin round?
Does it matter that much when you’re ten miles down?
And in the light that filters down
Into my giant yellow eye
I can see the sails unfolding
Stretching white against the sky and I forgive them
I forgive and I let go
“I Crush Everything” is originally from Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow, JoCo’s epic five song EP. Unfortunately, the CD is out of print at the time of this writing, but it is available for download on www.jonathancoulton.com and iTunes. It is also part of last year’s JoCo Looks Back compillation, available at CD Baby and Emusic.