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Beck and Tom Discuss Dwarfs, Lightning, and Weiners

July 11, 2009

I’m not sure yet, but I think that Beck just might be the coolest man on earth. He’s already got a stellar music career, but now he’s taking it to a whole new level:  Beck.com.  I know, artist websites are nothing new.  But what Beck is doing with his website is something special and in the end might even be revolutionary.

Basically, Mr. Hansen decided to forego the normal music artist idea of the website as promotion and instead make his site a place to share his love for music.  This is not a done by a slick marketing firm or a record label, this is Beck’s site and it shows.  One feature is the Record Club, where Beck and his cronies remake a classic album in a day.  Narrowly edging out Digital Underground’s Sex Packets for the first album feature was the Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico.

If that’s not enough, Beck then chose to interview the ever-interesting Tom Waits in a section he calls Irrelevant Topics.  This is a wide-ranging interview that allows Waits to wax nostalgic on his boyhood days in California where he frequently saw an Oscar-Meyer Weiner truck driven by a dwarf.  Beck also chimes in with his experience of having an audience member struck by lightning.

So, if you’re a music lover and are tired of artist websites that are just souped-up ways of telling you to buy their latest album, shimmy on over to Beck.com and see what it’s all about.  Or, you could check out Justin Timberlake’s site where you’ll be treated to pics of JT, a fashion section for crying out loud, and sponsor banners.  Not interested?  That’s what I thought.

Video Killed the Radio Star

Good morning, Interesting Music Videos.  Glad to see you’re back, we’ve missed you.  It’s been a long time and we’re not going to embarrass you by asking where you’ve been, but let me remind you that I’ve never really gotten over the “Jump In My Car” video.  So when you show up on my doorstep and tell me you’ve changed, understand that I’m a little skeptical.

But I have to say you’ve made a good start.  I love hip-hop, I love horns, and I love when someone’s head turns into a huge boom box, so I’m really digging the new Blitz the Ambassador video.  But you gotta work with Blitz’s band on the fake playing, the drummer’s got it going on but the rest of the band needs some work.  Solid effort, but I’m not convinced–feels like the Hoff is just around the corner.

Your next efforts were much better.  The new Elvis Perkins in Dearland video is just as beautiful as the song.  And you know I’ve got a thing for wolves and llamas so I couldn’t help but love the video for Dirty Projectors’ “Stillness Is The Move”.  You might want to call Usher to help those girls with their dance moves and the Hoff getting gorged by the llamas would have gotten you serious points.  But with these efforts, I think we’re getting better.

Then came the clinchers.  You took your knowledge of my weaknesses and used them against me.  First, you know that I’ve got this “thing” for Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis.  So putting her in a 60’s spy spoof video and a short skirt just about wins the contest for you.  But you gotta work on her karate moves dude, they’re totally fake.  The rest of the video is completely believable, especially the car chase scenes, but I just couldn’t buy the beautiful Ms. Lewis as some sort of martial-arts-wielding killer.

Speaking of killers, runaway homicidal maniacs are my second obsession and you used that knowledge to your advantage in Blitzen Trapper’s new video for “Black River Killer”.  I imagined the guy he killed after he got released from jail as the Hoff—oh sweet release!  This one basically seals the deal, it’s the most freakishly awesome music video this year.  Go out and get your bags, Interesting Music Video, you can move back in.  But leave my toothbrush alone or you’ll be sleeping on the couch.

Japan + Androids = Pure Musical Goodness

Today in our “Artists You Probably Don’t Know But Should” series, I’ll be introducing you to the Japandroids.  This post-punk Vancouver band consists of Brian King (guitar) and David Prowse (drums).  Although they are a duo, their sound fills up your speakers in the same vein of the White Stripes. But unlike the Stripes, they’re not driven by one personality, they’re driven by a sheer love of rock…and women.  If you don’t like uptempo songs, thick riffs and heavy-hitting drums, these guys aren’t for you.

The Japandroids released their second album Post-Nothing this year and it quickly garnered the “Best New Music” tag at Pitchfork.  Each song on the album hearkens back to some of the band’s influences:  the opener “The Boys Are Leaving Town” is a play on Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” with the same chord structure as Akron/Family’s “Sun Will Shine”.  “Young Hearts Spark Fire” uses the terrific line “I don’t wanna worry about dying, I just wanna worry about sunshine girls”, and “Wet Hair” screams “We run the gauntlet/Let’s go to France/So we can french kiss some French girls.”

This is a great summertime driving-around-rocking-out record.  Every song is fun and sounds fresh despite the band wearing their influences on their sleeves. Japandroids are currently on tour across North America, catch them at a sleazy bar near you.

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