>> Featured Artist: These United States
As I was trained as a reporter back in my collegiate days, I am always on the lookout for news. I am, some say, an investigative reporter.
A few weeks back, D.C.'s own These United States opened for D.C.'s own Let's French for the latter's CD release party. During some of frontman Jesse Elliott's stage banter, he responded to a shouted request for what I can only assume is one of the band's fan favorites - "The Business."
Elliott responded first by saying the song was just too old to play (circa 2006, he said). Then he explained that the band had just emerged from a fight over whether to sell the song to a Mexican cigarette company who wanted to use it in ads. Faced with the opportunity to give more Mexican children lifelong addictions, it appears the band has refused. I mean, they didn't even make a counter-offer?
The band, its "integrity" aside, put on a pretty fantastic show. And "The Business," which the band eventually played, is a free download on their site. (Shh...don't tell the Mexicans).
>> Album Lookout: Once (original motion picture soundtrack)
I really wanted Once not to suck. After all the hype - from one of my favorite film reviewers A.O. Scott (New York Times) to the Chicago Tribune review that said it "may well be the best music film of our generation," I wanted to have faith. I may have said a Hail Mary or two.*
Much to my pleasing, the movie really met those steep expectations. Glen Hansard (of Frames fame) plays the lovable, everyman singer-songwriter street performer. And his Czech partner from The Swell Season, Marketa Irglova, plays the unexpectating other half of this unpretentious love story that miraculously (credit Mother Mary) sidesteps every cliche the film could have used.
Most importantly - and this is the reason it should be placed among greats like A Hard Day's Night, Almost Famous and maybe Hedwig and the Angry Inch - it doesn't just remind you why you love music; it makes you want to make music.
It's hard to pull one song from the film that conveys all of this to those who haven't seen it. "When Your Mind's Made Up" is a suitable track. In 5/4 time, this is the song the hodge-podge musicians nail on the first take in the studio. Yeah.
[Actually, aside from those director's conveniences, the recording scenes are particularly entertaining to those who have recorded on a low budget before.]
In the end, even if you don't really like the song, you should see the film. It's much more than a Garden State.
Ever find something in your music files and wonder where the hell it came from?
CORRECTION: A few weeks back, I posted the wrong links for Patrick Wolf. My apologies to Mr. Wolf and his fans.
* I don't know what that means.