Results for Brian Wilson

interviews

The New Pornographers

Now for a statement late-night shows don‘t get to make: This week’s musical guests: The New Pornographers. The Canadian indie rock band, who many refer to as a“supergroup,”formed in 1997. The members include A.C. Newman, John Collins, Todd Fancey, Kathryn Calder, Kurt Dahle, Blaine Thurier, Dan Bejar and Neko Case (though Blaine, Dan and Neko couldn‘t make it to this interview). Front man and chief songwriter A.C. (Carl) Newman describes the band as just a group of friends who got together to make music. They didn’t plan to be popular, and are still“figuring out how to be a band.”But while there were no ambitions of fame, there were musical ambitions. The band is known for its sophisticated, complicated take on pop music. You can hear this in the tracks "All the Old Show Stoppers" and "Adventures in Solitude," as well as these bonus tracks.

It was with Twin Cinema in 2005 that the band received the most attention, but as A.C. explains, with attention comes expectations, and expectations are not always good for a band. He and Dan Bejar, who also pens songs for the band, are constantly striving not to repeat themselves. A.C. also strives to live up to his influences-Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, and most importantly, Burt Bacharach. That's not a name you hear come up very much with rockers, but AC explains that no album affected him more than a collection of Dionne Warwick's greatest hits. He admits that it might be out of step with the times, but was an example of extraordinary songwriting.

Go to episode 105
classic album dissections
Pet Sounds (Mono Version)Pet Sounds available on iTunes

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds

On May 16, 1966, The Beach Boys released their 11th studio album, Pet Sounds. It was a relative commercial failure for what was the biggest American band of the '60s. However in the ensuing 50 years, the album's stature grew. Today, its influence pervades to the point that it is almost universally acknowledged as one of the greatest albums ever released in the rock era. With Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson taking the album on tour again this summer, Jim and Greg feel it's the perfect time to give Pet Sounds a Classic Album Dissection.

Due to a great deal of pressure, emotional turmoil, and mental health issues, Brian Wilson quit the Beach Boys as a touring entity at the end of 1964. While the rest of the band was on the road, Wilson spent ten months in the studio crafting one of the most intricate and expensive pop records ever made. Working with the famed session musicians of the Wrecking Crew, Wilson took a classical composer's approach, layering instrument upon instrument to create lush, unique timbres. He collaborated with Madison Avenue writer Tony Asher on heartbreakingly earnest lyrics about his struggles to find his place in the world. The audience, the label, and his own bandmates didn't quite know what to make of Pet Sounds when it came out. But artists from The Beatles to R.E.M. to Radiohead picked up on its brilliance and modeled their own music on Wilson's ingenious arrangements. God only knows what rock would be today without Pet Sounds.

Go to episode 546
reviews
That Lucky Old SunSmile available on iTunes

Brian Wilson Smile

One musician who always seems to be buried, followed by an unearthing, is Brian Wilson. The former Beach Boy has had so many comebacks, Jim and Greg aren‘t even sure where he’s coming back from. Is Brian back again with this new record, That Lucky Old Sun? Greg explains that some people are saying this album is on par with Wilson's two masterpieces, Pet Sounds and Smile. But this critic thinks that's an insult to his previous efforts. He finds this album nostalgic, but takes too long to become emotionally resonant. And, the songs are weighed down by cornball lyrics courtesy of Van Dyke Parks. Jim completely agrees and wonders if the troubled artist actually made this record. If he did, he's merely cashing in. If he didn‘t, it’s quite a con. Either way That Lucky Old Sun gets a double Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 147
SmileSmile available on iTunes

Brian Wilson Smile

Beach Boys fans have been waiting over forty years for Brian Wilson's lost record, Smile. Now we can finally hear those abandoned recordings from 1967 on the Smile Sessions. But as Jim explains, a lost album usually deserves to stay that way. He doesn‘t hear any of the emotion that made Wilson’s masterpiece Pet Sounds so wonderful. And the studio experimentation is more mess than art. The Smile Sessions detract from the Beach Boys legacy, according to Jim, so he says Trash It. Greg would‘ve expected different from a Syd Barrett fan. He hears a lot of idiosyncratic whimsy. Sure, it’s not as emotional as Pet Sounds, but it's a“fascinating curio”and successful song cycle. Greg says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 314
CurrentsCurrents available on iTunes

Tame Impala Currents

On the heels of their 2013 appearance on Sound Opinions, listeners will hear a new sound with the new Tame Impala album Currents. Lead singer Kevin Parker has taken the band in a new direction laden away from classic psychedlia and towards sounds that previous albums didn't touch upon, namely Soul and R&B. Greg thinks this change in sound along with more pointed, introspective lyrics has led to a step forward for the band, especially in a live setting. He gives the album a Buy It. Jim agrees and compares Parker to another pop auteur, Brian Wilson. Jim thinks that the album displays Parker's ability to take different elements across the musical spectrum and make them orchestral and moving. He too gives Currents a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 503
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Deluxe Edition)My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy available on iTunes

Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West knows how to get into the headlines. He's bumped heads with everyone from Matt Lauer to Taylor Swift to President Bush. But, it's important not to forget: he also knows how to make music. Jim says, OK he's a jerk…John Lennon could also have been a jerk. But what Kanye West achieves on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is nothing short of amazing. He combines Iron Maiden with King Crimson; robotic humming and what Greg calls "classical opulence." Greg compares West to ambitious artists like Brian Wilson and Marvin Gaye, but notes that what separates him is his inability to censor himself. That gives his music both bravado and vulnerability. Both Jim and Greg give My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy an enthusiastic double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 260
lists

Turkey Shoot 2008

On Thanksgiving most Americans give thanks for things like their loved ones and their health. But at Sound Opinions we like to take this opportunity to give thanks of a different variety. During this Turkey Shoot segment Jim, Greg and some listeners give thanks that they‘ll never have to hear the year’s most disappointing albums again. These are records that had great potential, but fell flat. Say farewell to the following Turkeys:

  • R.E.M., Accelerate
  • My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
  • Brian Wilson, That Lucky Old Sun
  • The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely

Our listeners“shoot”the following:

  • Weezer, S/T (The Red Album)
  • John Legend, Evolver
  • Beck, Modern Guilt

For more Turkeys, check out the Sound Opinions Message Board.

Go to episode 157
news

Music News

Legendary singer and preacher Solomon Burke died last week at age 70. While Burke didn't have as many hits as some of his Atlantic Records peers, many, including producer Jerry Wexler, considered him to be the greatest soul singer of all time. And, two of his tracks gained exposure through the movies: "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" in the Blues Brothers and "Cry to Me" in Dirty Dancing. But, one of Greg's favorite Burke recordings was actually released in 2002. Don't Give Up on Me featured songs written for him by Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson and more. So to pay tribute to Solomon Burke, he plays a song from that record featuring the Blind Boys of Alabama called "None of Us Are Free."

Go to episode 255

Music News

Go to episode 585