Category Archives: Music

The New Living Sisters Album Proves There’s Room for New Holiday Tunes


The Living Sisters: Eleni Mandell, Becky Stark, Inara Geoge, Alex Lilly

I absolutely adore The Living Sisters. If you don’t know, they’re a supergroup of VERY talented artists with amazing voices that specialize in harmony. I played their first album “Love to Live” to death, but sort of struggled with their follow up release “Run For Cover” (maybe I just need to give it another chance?).

So they just released a holiday album (I can’t call it Christmas because there’s Hanukkah song) and I really recommend you check it out if you’re a skeptic about new holiday songs. The album also has 3 really great covers: Jingle Bells, Little Drummer Boy, and Silver Bells. I would even argue that their renditions are better than some of your favorites or original versions.

Let’s discuss the original tracks:

  1. Harmony Is Real: I’ve seen The Living Sisters a couple of times and this always a dominant message whether part of their banter or just music. This track isn’t really a holiday tune per se although the instrument arrangement lends itself to that.
  2. Kadoka, South Dakota: I thought for sure this was a cover because it just sounds so timeless (I figured the original came out in the 60’s or 70’s). It’s sort of like the first time I heard “Mele Kalikimaka” for the first time just a few years ago. It’s a fun, peppy track that’s just addicting to sing along to even if you don’t know much about Kadoka. I’m guessing you never heard of Kadoka before this track either.
  3. Jingle Bells: A favorite classic.
  4. Merry Happy Christmas: This track is heavy on Inara George and has a bittersweet tone to it (“When love turns to a minor key”).
  5. Skip The Sugar (Good Girl): What a splendid sexy Christmas track. It’s got a bit of a reggae feel to it and harps on Santa loving a good party even if there’s a bit of naughty involved.
  6. Christmas In California: THIS should be your new anthem if you’re from California. It’s so true! I actually went home recently after work and had to turn on the AIR CONDITIONER… in NOVEMBER. I especially love the part about using Hollywood if you want to see snow. I guess people who snowboard know where to find real snow though… The song has a wonderful surf rock sound with great harmonies.
  7. Baby Wants A Basketball For Christmas: A cute track about what the guys want. I love how it turns has that broadway feel to it in the chorus.
  8. Little Drummer Boy: A great classic but I would have really loved to hear the David Bowie/Bing Crosby version.
  9. Neon Chinese Christmas Eve: Like “Christmas In California”, I think this track has a ton of appeal for fans in areas like Los Angeles who know about a special restaurant that’s open year round. It’s easy to get caught up in the madness of shopping and there’s nothing that screams comfort food quite like Chinese food. The rolling gong really sets the tone so well.
  10. Hanukkah: Shout out to all the Jewish fans out there. I love the mention of potato pancakes.
  11. Silver Bells: One of the best songs to flex their harmony. You’ll love this rendition.
    Don’t Go To Sleep: This one definitely sounds like a Becky Stark track (mostly because she opens the song with her marvelous high range).

So check out this lovely album on your favorite streaming service or just buy it.

Star Wars Parody Music Videos – And Another One – All About That Base.

So, if you haven’t noticed in your Facebook stream, there is a new music video parody of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass. presents Team Unicorns’ Star Wars Parody, “All About the Base (No Rebel)”

Meghan Trainors original song is already pretty catchy with it’s beat and lyrics.  Team Unicorn continues that with their take.  And maybe, I’m being too factoid nerdy but their lyrics are a bit off.  In the repeated chorus, they say:

“The emperor said don’t worry about the size. He says, “It’s not like it’d be blown up twice by the same Jedi”

And I could be wrong, but I believe Lando destroyed the Death Star the second time.  Luke was in the middle of a father-son battle with an Emperor audience. So mild continuity issue with that. Other than that, pretty entertaining and otherwise, good lyrical playfulness.

Of course, this isn’t the first and it won’t be the last of music parodies to Star Wars franchise.  It’s been a while, but Galactic Empire State of Mind is still rattling in my brain.

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy – the end of the summer closes on a high note

Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest Marvel film, this time we’re propelled way in to cosmos instead of New York. It’s about some shady characters that are unwillingly brought together due to a highly coveted orb and certain galactic destruction. They’re then forced into an alliance and have to work together.
Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn, he also co-wrote the script with Nicole Perlman, it stars; Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace,  Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio del Toro.

The good; this film is truly inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not in story and plot, but in feeling and tone. It was great to have someone who loves Raiders so much that they wanted to make a film that channeled the spirit of what they felt when they watched that movie. James Gunn does a great job in doing so, the makers of Star Trek: Into Darkness need to take a page from Guardians, we know you like Wraith of Khan, but don’t do your version.

Then the choice of re-recorded music, I love this film’s soundtrack! I actually have most of the songs already, but the use of these “oldies” actually fits in to the movie. From the moment go on that first trailer where Hooked on a Feeling was used, I knew I was going to enjoy this movie, just for the soundtrack alone. Then I learn that the song used in the trailer is actually going to be in the film itself??? That’s unheard of these days, what with marketing lying to us at every corner. The use of the songs in Guardians is evocative of Tarantino’s films (Reservoir Dogs) and Wes Anderson’s films.

I have to mention the camera work and use of CG with practical sets. This film puts anything Michael Bay can throw at us, more specifically our eye balls, to shame! I was so thankful that the action was in focus and there was a sense of geography with what was going on. It’s something that when done right goes unnoticed. But I appreciate the way they covered the action and made it coherent.

The bad;  it ended. I didn’t want it to end.

They didn’t use Spirit in the Sky 😉

Overall, such a fun movie, perfect way to end the summer movies of 2014. This is the way to build a world and introduce us to a variety of characters.
They made use of a mix-tape, which speaks to me, a product of days gone by that’s part of the character and plot, but it’s not hokey. I highly recommend seeing this movie in the theatres, especially if you can get it with Dolby Atmos.




New Music Tuesday: 11/26/2013

Barbara Streisand – Back to Brooklyn

Barbara Streisand’s top is REALLY low cut on the album cover. Did anyone else notice that?

Billie Joe + Norah – Foreverly

Greenday’s Billie Joe Armstrong teams up with Norah Jones for a duet album of tender tunes.

Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Mike Birbiglia returns back from Sleepwalk With Me to the stage.

NOFX – Stoke Extinguisher

One Direction – Midnight Memories

Puscifer – What Is…

New Music Tuesday: 11/19/2013

Blood Orange – Cupid Deluxe

Daughtry – Baptized

Perfect Circle – Three Sixty

Robbie Williams – Swing Both Ways

This is a fantastic swing/pop album by one of UK’s finest. Collaborations include Rufus Wainwright, Michael Buble, Lilly Allen, Olly Murs, and Kelly Clarkson. Robbie Williams still has a great voice and does some great renditions of classics.

New Music Tuesday: 11/12/2013

Beatles – On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2

You can’t actually buy this in digital format. You’ll have to order the CD or stop by your local brick and mortar retailer

Katie Sagal – Covered

Famous for her role as Peg Bundy on Married With Children and Gemma Teller Morrow on Sons of Anarchy, Katie Sagal flexes her vocal chords and shares her other talent and passion for music.

Lady Gaga – ARTPOP

Lady Gaga returns and challenges fans with a new sound that more provocative writing. Collaborations include R. Kelly, Twista, Too Short, T.I..

Noteworthy tracks: Dope, G.U.Y., Gypsy

New Music Tuesday: 11/5/2013

Avril Lavigne – Avril Lavigne

Has being married to Chad Kroeger dulled any of Avril Lavigne’s edge?

Bright Eyes – A Christmas Album

If you care about the Nebraska AIDS project, you’ll get this album and support them.

Celine Dion – Loved Me Back To Life

Having a residency in Las Vegas hasn’t slowed down Celine Dion’s career. Hear her latest effort

Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP2

Eminem hooked up with Rick Rubin and here’s what they came up with. There are some really interesting samples in this album:

Rhyme or Reason : Zombies – Time of the Season
Love Game : Mindbenders – Game of Love
So Far : Joe Walsh – Life’s Been Good

James Blunt – Moon Landing

M.I.A. – Matangi

Tennis – Small Sound

This is just an EP

New Music Tuesday: 10/29/2013

Arcade Fire – Reflektor

If Arcade Fire sounds a little different, fans can thank James Murphy (LCD Soundsystems) for producing much of the album.

Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism Demos

I don’t count demo releases as a rehash. I actually really enjoy hearing a stripped version of a song whether it’s “unplugged” or a demo.

Hello Goodbye – Everything Is Debatable

Hello Goodbye’s third studio album. Is it a charm?

Linkin Park – Recharged

This is Linkin Park’s 2nd remix album. Among the familiar tracks is an opener “A Light That Never Comes”.

Prince – The Breakfast Experience (Single+Remixes)

At first glance, the album cover and tracklisting look like an SNL spoof. Nope. This is a real release.

Straight No Chaser – Under the Influence: Holiday Edition

Some holiday favorites get a modern spin with acapella harmony in Straight No Chaser’s 2nd release for 2013. Featured artists include Colbie Caillat, Otis Redding, CeeLo Green, and Paul McCartney

New Music Tuesday: 10/23/2013

Katy Perry – Prism

Prism is chalk full of tracks produced by Dr. Luke and even one by Greg Kurstin (Bird and the Bee). Check out Trent Wolbe’s comprehensive review on Prism. This is the only review expert analysis you need to read.

Best Coast – Fade Away

Los Angeles band Best Coast brings us a small release to hold fans over until next year. Nothing surprising here: if you like their previous work, you’ll enjoy this one.

Sara Bareilles – Brave Enough: Live at the Variety Playhouse

Sara Bareilles follows up the Blessed Unrest with this live release that includes some unique covers: Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John). She’s a talent live musician (I saw her tape at Jimmy Kimmel Live) and this release is particularly special since it does not include her band. The sound is raw in a good way. Her piano and voice are clear and the loud energy of the audience. Any doubters of hers will be converted to believers.

New music Tuesday: 10/16/2013

The Avett Brothers – Magpie And The Dandelion

The Avett Brothers hook up with Rick Rubin once again.

Gavin Degraw – Make a Move

Make a Move marks Gavin Degraws second album since moving to RCA.

Noteworthy tracks: Finest Hour, I’m Gonna Try

The Head And The Heart – Let’s Be Still

Seattle’s Head and the Heart releases their second album on Sub Pop. They continue their folk sound and thoughtful writing. Check out their tour dates ( while these guys are still playing smaller venues. I’m guessing that won’t always be the case.

Fall Out Boy – PAX AM Days

Lucy Wainwright Roche – There’s a Last Time for Everything

Lucy Wainright follows her debut album, “Lucy”

Paul McCartney – New

Paul continues to make music.

Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt

Eddie Vedder returns to Pearl Jam after showing a softer side in his recent solo effort, “Ukulele Songs”

Willie Nelson – To All The Girls…

He’s not too high to make music still. Willie collaborates with numerous artists in this duet album.


New Music Tuesday 10/9/2013: The Junior Edition

In an effort to keep things fresh here, I’ll be listing new releases to buy or enjoy on the music service of your choice (Rdio, Spotify, etc).

Albert Hammond Jr. – AHJ

Albert Hammond Jr. continues to showcase his own talent as an individual musician/writer. This is just an EP but fans should be pleased to hear this production doesn’t deviate too much from Yours to Keep and Como Te Llama.

Dale Earnheardt Jr. Jr. – The Speed of Things

I only recently learned about Dale Earnheardt Jr. Jr. but recommend this album for those trying to relax or drive to the tune their dreamy sound.

The Fratellis – We Need Medicine

The Fratellis have been gone for awhile but haven’t lost their way. I wasn’t able to find a track that reminded me of

Icona Pop – This Is… Icona Pop

Remember when we saw Hannah dancing to “I Love It”? It’s truly fascinating that 2Pac’s “Girlfriend” was given an Icona Pop rendition.

Miley Cyrus – Bangerz (Deluxe Edition)

Miley brought twerking to the mainstream and now her new album is out. Be sure to turn your system way up for these bass thumping tracks (or your headphones down before indulging in a personal consumption experience). Most of the tracks are produced by Mike Will Made-It (We Can’t Stop), so if you enjoyed that track, you’ll probably enjoy the album.

She recently showed off her comic chops on Saturday Night Live. Do check that episode out if you haven’t.

Panic at the Disco – Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!

Panic at the Disco releases their second album since the departure of Jon Walker and Ryan Ross. Check out the Las Vegas band’s effort as they expand their arsenal of synthetic sounds. The general sound of the album is eclectic: some of the tracks like Girls/Girls/Boys and Nicotine have the sound of past decades, while others like Far Too Young to Die have the stamp of an electronic future.

The End Of All Things finishes the album. While it initially plays like a ballad, one can’t help but wonder if the Imogen Heap “Head and Seek” autotune was necessary.

Pusha T – My Name Is My Name

Clipse’s Pusha T hooks up with Kanye West production for a valiant debut album. His hungry lyrics combined with Kanye’s conceptual artistic style is a noteworthy effort for fans of this genre.

Check out Let Me Love You. Doesn’t Pusha T sound just like Mase?

Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals

Curious how loud your headphones/speakers can go? Check this album out. This release probably should have came out at the start of summer, but really, each track could probably work well in your workout mix every day of the year.

Noteworthy tracks: You Don’t Get Me Twice, To Hell with You, 24

TV show – Tron: Uprising – the best show no one’s watching

Have you seen Tron: Uprising?  Probably not, it really is the best show that no one is watching.  The series follows Beck, voiced by Elijah Wood, a program who lives on the grid and joins the fight against Clu‘s occupation.  This series takes place inbetween the first movie Tron and the sequel Tron: Legacy.

There’s a lot of character development going on here, we even get the respective actors reprising their roles, Olivia Wilde and Bruce Boxleitner.  Spoiler… they’re from other versions of Tron, haahha.

Other than the compelling stories, I love the soundtrack, they really emulate the Daft Punk soundtrack from the Legacy movie, and the action is pretty top notch.

But apparently this series is getting some acclaim and not just from me, hopefully this will give us a second season.

– Annie Awards –
Character Design
Production Design

– Primetime Emmys –Art Direction

The entire season is also on Netflix.

Here’s the webseries strung together as the first episode of the series;

Who would want to watch this?  I’m sure Elijah… would…