Neat Tracks / Other Lives “Dust Bowl III”

By Amanda DK

A current trend in film and television music, and one that I’m continuously excited to watch develop, is artists scoring, or collaborating with established composers on, projects.  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross on The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Hans Zimmer teaming up with Rodrigo y Gabriela on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Daft Punk scoring TRON: Legacy.

What does this have to do with the much-lauded TBD recording artists, Other Lives?  If there was ever a remake of the film version of The Grapes of Wrath, I would love to see that band score it.  At the very least contribute a few songs.


Film / Your Music in Media Guide to the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards

By Amanda DK

I’m not sure why, but awards season snuck up on me this year. I can’t believe the 69th Annual Golden Globes are this Sunday! Did a whole twelve months really pass by since last year?

To be perfectly honest though, I’m I suppose I’m not that surprised. There is a reason that does come to mind.

Of all the nominees for Best Original Score, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo probably had the largest amount of buzz, but caters to a very specific audience. The Artist was likely the most critically loved of the bunch, but is still widely considered more of an “art house” film.  War Horse and Hugo were both praised as quality family fare, but nothing transcendent.  And all of the films in consideration for best original song were received by audiences as pretty good at best.

There were plenty of solid films this year, just none that wowed audiences on a large scale.

I mean, the only movie that received a nod for both original score and song is W.E., which was written and directed by Madonna. Nothing against Madge, but really?

Below take a look and listen to some of the scores and songs in consideration this year.  Who do you think should win?

Check out the full list of nominees here.


Letters From The Editor / The Evolution of a Music Lover

By Amanda DK

Every December I spend between four and six days in Vermont with my family.  I like to call this time “hibernation.” It is quite fitting.  The temperature drops much colder than I’m used to and I avoid human contact as much as possible. Unlike most hibernating animals, however, I am (mostly) awake.  And so I use this period not only for much needed sprawling on the couch, but also to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and the one impending.

During the past few visits home to Connecticut, my big project has been to purge my childhood bedroom.  Throw old clothes in bags for Goodwill, clean out desk drawers, sort through the piles and piles of photos I have collected over the years – I am constantly amazed at how much crap adolescent and teenage me managed to accumulate (Did I really need eight empty journals and two address books? Was it that important to keep the beads from when I got my hair braided in the Caribbean during spring break 1997?).  Since I only make the six-hour trek east two to three times a year, I still have a ways to go on this journey.

This winter, I had only a few hours to make what little progress I could before we embarked on our annual migration up north.  Rather than set to work on more nooks and crannies in my too-massive desk, it was my CD rack that caught my eye, untouched since the summer after my freshman year of college, now over seven years ago.


Guest Mixtape + Interview / The Barr Brothers: Songs We Are Thankful For

By Amanda DK 

Photo Credit: Andre Guerette

Music and setting have always been very closely linked. For example, it’s common knowledge that Bon Iver wrote For Emma, Forever Ago in a cabin in Wisconsin.  That isolated, icy sound translated into the music and now, who can listen to those songs and not be transported to a snowy forest?

Certain concerts are made that much more memorable or magical by the location too – TV On The Radio at the Hollywood Bowl, Milo Greene in a living room.

The combination of location and timing plays a role in the affect music has on us as well. I will never forget seeing Local Natives for free at Spaceland (now the Satellite) during their residency. I had barely heard of them and was totally blown away. Considering the venues they went on to play the following year (including Walt Disney Concert Hall) it’s an incredible memory to have seen them on the tiny, sparkling Silverlake stage.

I was in the right place at the right time.

It was a serendipitous combination of location and timing that led me to The Barr Brothers as well – not only my personal discovery of the band, but it’s very formation.  And the music itself even evokes a specific sense of place.


TA Mixtape / It’s True, Wherever You Find Love… (Merry Christmas From Tadpole Audio)

By Amanda DK 

Most of us have holiday traditions that we have adhered to since childhood.  Watching a particular movie (Albert Finney’s 1970 version of Scrooge). Attending the same neighborhood Christmas Eve fete. My brother and I knew that no matter how early we woke up we would have to say a prayer before our antique nativity scene before we could even see our haul from Santa. When everything else had been torn open, we would always find a Clementine at the bottom of our stockings.

It is impossible to imagine Christmas without these rituals.  The first time it was suggested that we maybe open presents on Christmas Eve (rather than Christmas morning), the idea was treated as blasphemy and shot down almost immediately.

Holiday music retains an equally precious place in our hearts.  From hymns and carols (“O Come All Ye Faithful”) to modern classics (“All I Want For Christmas Is You”) creating new versions of these old favorites is a delicate proposition.  Done incorrectly and the listener feels violated; that scene in The Santa Clause where Scott Calvin is utterly horrified to see Santa Claus ditching his sleigh for a panzer.


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