Warpaint & Opinions on Neil Young

Los Angeles quartet Warpaint brings their dance rock to the Sound Opinions studio. Plus, Neil Young is back with his 35th studio album, A Letter Home.

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If you‘ve ever felt like a musical pariah because you just couldn’t get into the latest“it”band, you may want to consider a trip to the Netherlands. In the latest issue of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, Dutch researchers say that while treating a patient for obsessive-compulsive disorder using an electrical implant in his brain, they inadvertently activated the area that may affect musical preference. Before treatment began, the patient wasn't much of a music fan. But, while receiving electrical stimulation via the implant, he suddenly became one of Johnny Cash's biggest fans, going on to purchase all of The Man in Black's CDs and DVDs. When the implant's battery ran out, though, the patient regressed to his pre-music indifference state. It's fascinating stuff and Jim wonders if the implant could get even him to love Bruce Springsteen?

This year's "American Idol" has been crowned. But beyond winning the TV contest, North Carolina native Caleb Johnson has been winning comparisons to Meat Loaf. In fact, Marvin Lee Aday's Facebook page was flooded with notes of congratulations. Meatloaf was happy to hear that Johnson brought "some real rock ‘n’ roll back on prime time TV." And the new Idol may even star in a possible remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He's sure to nail a rendition of "Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul."

In other contest news, Russian authorities were are not pleased with the recent crowning of drag singer Cochinita Wurst as the winner of this year's Eurovision Song Contest. So put off are they, in fact, that they plan to launch not one, but two alternate Eurovision copycat competitions that will be free of anything "moral[ly] degrading." The Russian people are having a more mixed reaction, with one fan even planning to open upscale beauty parlor named in Wurst's honor.





Jim and Greg are joined in the studio this week by the Los Angeles band, Warpaint. The band is made of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman on guitar and vocals, Jenny Lee Lindberg on bass, and drummer Stella Mozgawa. The band combines rock, electronica, r&b and a host of other genres into a mix that they like to call“sexy,”apt for a band formed on Valentines Day of 2004. Jim and Greg talk to them about musical influences, why it takes so long between records and what is was like working with production superstars, Flood and Nigel Godrich. The band plays us 3 songs from their latest self-titled album, Warpaint.

reviewA Letter Home (Deluxe Version)A Letter Home available on iTunes

Neil Young A Letter Home

Neil Young is living in the past. Over the last few years, he's released several box sets, a memoir, and a 2012 album called Americana stuffed with vintage folk tunes. Now, on A Letter Home, his 35th album, he's again stepping back in time, revisiting the songs he loved as a teenage folkie in Toronto. For bonus nostalgia points, Young recorded the entire album on the 1947 Voice-O-Graph at Jack White's Third Man studios. Jim points out that the record was literally recorded in phone booth, so it's not an easy listen — but the unrefined sound is somehow fitting for Young (despite the artist's hi-fi evangelism). For Jim, A Letter Home is a fascinating look at the influences of a musical treasure, and he'd gladly Buy It. Greg predicts that some listeners will be turned off by the "sub-lo-fi" quality, but advises them to reconsider, and to take this album for what it is: the scrapbook of a young Young, equal parts warm and spooky. Still, while it's nice to hear that inspiration brought to life, Greg doesn't consider it essential Neil, and only suggests you Try It.



“True Love”Têtes Noires

Jim recently visited Minneapolis public radio station The Current, where he saw lying around the studio a new reissue of American Dream by Têtes Noires. French for“black heads,”Têtes Noires was an accurate descriptor for the six raven-haired women who made up the band. Jim recalls how they stuck out in the sea of Nordic blondes called Minnesota. Their music was a capella harmony bolstered with wheezing organ and hand claps, and their lyrics fell somewhere between comedy, performance art and "killer indie rock." To show what he means, Jim plays "True Love," which features the vocalist listing all of the rotten relationships she's had since grade school. Têtes Noires may not have survived past its '80s heyday, but its spirit lives on in the new remaster – and, thanks to Jim, on the Desert Island.

Featured Songs

  1. Johnny Cash, Guess Things Happen That Way, Johnny Cash Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous, Sun, 1958
  2. Caleb Johnson, Edge of Glory (American Idol Performance), Edge of Glory (American Idol Performance) (Single), 19 Recordings, 2014
  3. Meat Loaf, Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Ode, 1975
  4. Warpaint, Hi, Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  5. Warpaint, Keep It Healthy (Live on Sound Opinions), Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  6. Warpaint, Drive, Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  7. Warpaint, Undertow, The Fool, Rough Trade, 2010
  8. Warpaint, Love Is to Die (Live on Sound Opinions), Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  9. Warpaint, Disco//Very (Live on Sound Opinions), Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  10. Warpaint, Go In, Warpaint, Rough Trade, 2014
  11. Neil Young, Needle of Death, A Letter Home, Reprise/Third Man Records, 2014
  12. Neil Young, Girl from the North Country, A Letter Home, Reprise/Third Man Records, 2014
  13. Têtes Noires, True Love, American Dream, Rapunzel, 1984
  14. Têtes Noires, Can't Even Dance, American Dream, Rapunzel, 1984
  15. Poi Dog Pondering, So Real, In Seed Comes Fruit, Platetectonic, 2003
  16. Pink Floyd, The Gunner's Dream, The Final Cut, Columbia, 1983
  17. Ayla Brown, Hero in Her Hometown, Heroes & Hometowns, Ambient Entertainment, 2013
  18. Sammy Hagar, Remember The Heroes, Three Lock Box, Geffen, 1983
  19. Steve Earle, Dixieland, The Mountain, Grapevine, 1999


billboard.com "American Idol", Meatloaf Mix-up theguardian.com Music & Brain Stimulation billboard.com Russia's“Alternative”to Eurovision themoscowtimes.com The Conchita Wurst Hair Salon warpaintwarpaint.com Warpaint nigelgodrich.com Nigel Godrich 140db.co.uk Flood (Mark Ellis) nytimes.com Neil Young's memoir metacritic.com Young's ‘Americana’ spin.com The Voice-O-Graph in action ponomusic.com Young's hi-fi Pono wbez.org Jim's Neil Young review chicagotribune.com Greg's Neil Young review thecurrent.org The Current tetesnoires.com Têtes Noires bitchmagazine.org Meet Têtes Noires