The Studio

Music, Movies, and so Much More

Jun-5-2012

Memorable Movie Scores

I came across this list of the top 25 American film scores from the American Film Institute and was trying to think of some of my favorite movies scores.  Most of my favorites are from foreign films and therefore don’t even appear on this list. Movie scores can sometimes make or break a film. You know a film score is special when you can hear the music and suddenly have the memory of the movie wash over you when you are in the middle of something totally unrelated. One of my earliest tastes of jazz was from Roman Polanski’s first full length feature Knife in the Water with a score by Krzysztof Komeda.

YouTube Preview Image

What are some of your favorite film scores? The Library has many CD compilations of memorable movie music under the call number beginning with L Coll.

Posted under Lists, Movies, Music
Oct-10-2010

Jimmy and Justin’s Rap History, Annotated

This clip from “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” has been making the viral rounds recently, and with good reason.

Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake, and the Roots play a medley of rap songs through the ages.

Click through for the full video clip.

Where else can you get Fallon, Justin Timberlake, and house band/living legends The Roots compressing 30 years of hip-hop history into one 4-minute jam?

Being the good little librarians we are, we figured we’d offer spell out the tracks sampled in this medley. Each of the linked songs may be checked out (via album or compilation) from your humble public library.

  1. Sugarhill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight” (1979)
  2. Run-DMC, “Peter Piper” (1986)
  3. Beastie Boys, “Paul Revere” (1986)
  4. A Tribe Called Quest, “Award Tour” (1993)
  5. Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance” (1990)
  6. Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Dogg), “Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang” (1992)
  7. Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy“(1994)
  8. The Roots, “The Seed (2.0)” (2002)
  9. Eminem, “My Name Is” (1999)
  10. Missy Elliott, “Work It” (2002)
  11. Soulja Boy Tell Em, “Crank That” (2007)
  12. T.I. (featuring Rihanna), “Live Your Life” (2008)
  13. Kanye West (featuring Jamie Foxx), “Gold Digger“* (2005)
  14. Jay-Z (featuring Alicia Keys), “Empire State of Mind” (2009)

*It can be argued that the song used here is actually “I Got a Woman,” by Ray Charles. However, given the context and the hip-hop chronology, it’s far more likely that Fallon and Timberlake were referencing “Gold Digger.”

What other songs would you include in your own essential hip-hop chronology? Share your suggestions in the comments.

Posted under Music
Jun-3-2010

MySpace Music

MySpace… totally dead, right?  Perhaps Facebook has taken over the online social scene, but MySpace has found a niche that may help it survive. That niche is music.

MySpace Music is surprisingly good, mostly because lots of bands are using it as a defacto website.  It has videos, playlists, news, charts, and much more.

Would I use instead of Last.fm, Pandora, Songza, or Grooveshark?  Not likely.  It is still Myspace and all the garish advertisements are just as annoying but it isn’t bad.  Check it out, perhaps you will like it.

Posted under Music, Technology
Apr-5-2010

Can’t Miss Music: Guitar-Pop Essentials

[Note: This was originally published in the AV Newsletter, available every other month at the Music, Movies & More desk.]

The music world suffered a devastating loss on March 17th, when Alex Chilton died of a heart attack at the age of 59. Starting out as a member of the Box Tops, Chilton went on to form Big Star, as well as releasing a number of albums under his own name. Chilton may have never been a superstar, but his legacy runs deep. Hundreds of bands now cite him as an influence, and even if you don’t recognize the name, you most likely recognize his shambling, jangly power-pop sound. In this installment of the column, we’ll take a look at Chilton’s sonic descendants.

We’ll start with a look at some of the biggest names to have followed in Big Star’s footsteps. Perhaps the most significant group is R.E.M., the Athens, Georgia foursome (later a trio) who shot to multiplatinum alternative stardom in the late 80′s. Michael Stipe’s poetic, enigmatic lyrics blended with Peter Buck’s melodically haphazard guitar work helps to further the sound that Chilton made his own. Start with Document, and work your way through their entire catalog.

For a more rootsy version of the Big Star sound, look no farther than Wilco, who mixes the Chilton musical recipe with a world-weary tone and country overtones. They’ve been a Chicago favorite for some time now, so you’d be well-suited to check them out. Fans of the Chiltonesque pop-n-roll genre would be well suited to give Summerteeth a spin. If you like that one, try out the slightly less pop-influenced Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

It may seem to the casual observer that this genre is a men’s game. While the gender distribution does favor the Y-chromosome, there are a number of notable talents cranking out high-quality power pop, most notably Anna Waronker. The daughter of record producer Lenny Waronker, she’s certainly made her own mark, first with That Dog. and lately on her solo album Anna. Featuring crunchy power chords, and insanely catchy melodies, Waronker brings to mind artists like The Bangles or Matthew Sweet.

And we’ve only scratched the surface! From Sloan to Dr. Dog to Pavement, the Library has your jangly guitar-pop bases covered. If you’d like to hear samples of each artist, check out our Guitar-Pop Essentials Playlist on Grooveshark!

Who are your favorite guitar-pop groups? Let us know in the comments!

The music world suffered a devastating loss on March 17th, when Alex Chilton died of a heart attack at the age of 59. Starting out as a member of the Box Tops, Chilton went on to form Big Star, as well as releasing a number of albums under his own name. Chilton may have never been a superstar, but his legacy runs deep. Hundreds of bands now cite him as an influence, and even if you don’t recognize the name, you most likely recognize his shambling, jangly power-pop sound. In this installment of the column, we’ll take a look at Chilton’s sonic descendants.

We’ll start with a look at some of the biggest names to have followed in Big Star’s footsteps. Perhaps the most significant group is R.E.M., the Athens, Georgia foursome (later a trio) who shot to multiplatinum alternative stardom in the late 80′s. Michael Stipe’s poetic, enigmatic lyrics blended with Peter Buck’s melodically haphazard guitar work helps to further the sound that Chilton made his own. Start with Document, and work your way through their entire catalog.

For a more rootsy version of the Big Star sound, look no farther than Wilco, who mixes the Chilton musical recipe with a world-weary tone and country overtones. They’ve been a Chicago favorite for some time now, so you’d be well-suited to check them out. Fans of the Chiltonesque pop-n-roll genre would be well suited to give Summerteeth a spin.

It may seem to the casual observer that this genre is a men’s game. While the gender distribution does favor the Y-chromosome, there are a number of notable talents cranking out high-quality power pop, most notably Anna Waronker. The daughter of record producer Lenny Waronker, she’s certainly made her own mark, first with That Dog. and lately on her solo album Anna. Featuring crunchy power chords, and insanely catchy melodies, Waronker brings to mind artists like The Bangles or Matthew Sweet.

And we’ve only scratched the surface! From Sloan to Dr. Dog to Pavement, the Library has your jangly guitar-pop bases covered. To hear samples of some of these artists, check out the Studio blog at blogs.skokielibrary.info/studio.

Posted under Music
Jan-12-2010

Music Picks for 2009

victor[2]

Victor Wooten is a bass player extraordinaire.  He regularly plays with Bela Fleck as one of the Flecktones, but he also performs solo. It is the solo outings that are totally innovative and surprising  His true home may be funk, but he can explore in a wide span of genres. Palmystery is his most recent CD.

5116KDHAY3L._SL500_AA240_[2]

Pianist Alicia De Larrocha died this past year.  Accomplished in the classical repertory, she is the supreme interpreter of the Spanish composers Granados and Albeniz.  As a tribute to her I’ve been listening to Iberia constantly.

11516-tragicomic[1]

Vijay Iyer has been getting a lot of positive press in the jazz world. I picked Tragicomic as one of my picks for 2009 before The Chicago Tribune chose it as “one of the most significant cultural events of the decade.” If you like jazz, check it out.

Posted under Music, Reviews
Jan-23-2009

MGMT

Man, I just can’t get MGMT out of my system (like Christopher Walken in the More Cowbell skit from SNL). I have considered writing about this band for a couple of weeks and have not been able to do so, mostly because of my inability to define or even decently describe them.  It might be best if you stopped reading and go to Last.fm and give them a quick listen, the next paragraph can wait…

Their album Oracular Spectacular is an entrancing combination of electronica, psychedelic rock, and pop and is a rare combination of songs that makes it listenable from beginning to end over and over again. I listened to it for about a week while driving to and from work and am even considering purchasing it in CD format instead of just a digital version.

Give them a listen and tell me what you think, and how you would go about describing this new exciting turn in music.  I hope their next effort is as good and soon.

Posted under Music
Dec-23-2008

847 & Heartbreaks

Hello readers and welcome to the inaugural blog entry by yours truly Athens Moreno..

I was gonna do a movie review on a movie I saw recently, but over the last week or so I have been listening exclusively to the new Kanye West CD during my travel to work so I figured I would review a local boy done good..

Kanye West’s latest release is titled “808s & Heartbreak“…

The 808 part refers to a machine that makes drum noises called an 808…Kanye insisted that every track was made using this machine which gives the songs a robot drum melody during the songs. Heartbreak comes from Kanye being heartbroken over the death of his mother and the breakup by his fiancee.

Heartbreak is what the CD is really about. After first listen the CD sounds like a hip hop star who got his heart broken and now decided to sing with a robot tarnished voice. However over the last week or so I have had each one of his songs stuck in my ear. It certainly is not a rap or hip hop album, which is what Kanye would normally fall into category wise, which has left some fans disappointed. However the CD grows onto you. Each track is technically a break up song. There is the “sad” songs about breaking up and there is the “nobody better than me” break up songs. If you have been in the situation of a break up in your lifetime, well then this album certainly will catch your ear. This album does not have the “commercial appeal” that many hip hop/rap artist strive for, Kanye literally puts his heart on his sleeve for you all to hear and does away with the songs he normally would have on his CD’s that get you excited about a night on the town..The CD will have your thinking and feeling Kanye’s pain over his heartbreak..I encourage you all to take a listen to this Chicago star, especially the song “Pinnochio’s Story” which is a song about somebody wanting to live a real life instead of being a celebrity..This we might not all relate to, but Kanye certainly makes us feel his sadness during this song, and the entire 808s & Heartbreak Cd.

The link below is of Kanye performing the hit single “Love Lockdown” on SNL recently..much controversy has come from his performance on the show, because it is obvious that his singing voice doesn’t match the background vocals.. Kanye West a “lip singer” is a possibility but I urge you to take a look at his emotion during the performance…this is how the CD is..the robot sounds and drums might be annoying but after a while you certainly can relate to Kanye West’s heartbreaks.

YouTube Preview Image Posted under Music