The Baseball Project, The Rock Doctors Perform Surgery & Opinions on Sharon Van Etten

medicine

Paging the Rock Doctors! Jim and Greg help a fellow physician find the perfect surgery soundtrack. Plus, Steve Wynn and Scott McCaughey, members of supergroup The Baseball Project, talk about America’s two favorite pastimes: Baseball and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Then, Jim and Greg review the new album from indie songstress Sharon Van Etten.

Download Subscribe via iTunes

The Baseball Project

TheBaseballProject3rd

Summer has finally arrived, bringing us sunshine, days spent lounging on the beach—and, of course, baseball. While the game is America’s official national pastime, some Sound Opinions listeners may think rock n’roll deserves that title… Thankfully, five baseball-obsessed musicians are bringing the two together. In 2007, Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M., Scott McCaughey of Minus 5 and The Young Fresh Fellows, Linda Pitmon of Zuzu’s Petals, and her husband, The Dream Syndicate founder Steve Wynn created The Baseball Project, a supergroup devoted to making music about the sport. Steve and Scott tell Giants-fan Greg and baseball-ignorant Jim about why they love the game, their favorite baseball tunes, and how they’re exploring the unsavory side of the sport.

Surgery Soundtrack

surgery-tools

Physician heal thyself, the adage goes. But, sometimes even doctors need some outside expertise, especially when it comes to music. That’s where the Rock Doctors come in. Every once and a while, Jim and Greg don stethoscopes, un-shutter the Rock Docs clinic, and help a listener in need of musical assistance. They’ve suggested music for shopping and music for training, but this time the stakes are high. Dr. Michael Frumovitz is a surgeon and the associate professor of GYN oncology at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. He submitted a new patient form asking Drs. Kot and DeRogatis to prescribe new music he could listen to during surgery.

Dr. Frumovitz shares his musical preferences (melodic indie pop ala Wilco and Vampire Weekend without a lot of dirty guitars ala The White Stripes) and explains why traditional pop music provides a better background than ambient music. He also admits that surgery is a team effort, so the prescriptions can’t be too abrasive. So much for the surgeon ego myth.

Jim prescribes a self-titled album by Phox, a self-described gaggle of goofy wizards performing minor illusions and bigtop music from Wisconsin, while Greg prescribes Atlas by the indie rock quintet Real Estate. Dr. Frumovitz is instructed to put these records to work in the Operating Room, and after a couple of weeks they see how the medicine goes down. Unfortunately, he and his team found Phox a little too sleepy for surgery, save a couple of tracks. But Real Estate was a real winner.

Do you need to see the Rock Doctors? Or know someone who does? Fill out a new patient form and send to interact@soundopinions.org.

Are We There Sharon Van Etten

Are We There

On her latest album, Are We There, indie songstress Sharon Van Etten trades in the quiet guitar and occasional backing band of her previous albums, for a fuller, more baroque sound that takes both Jim and Greg by surprise. Greg loves the pairing of Van Etten’s biting lyrics opposite the music’s lush strings and horns arrangements. He says that Van Etten has finally come into her own making Are We There her most accomplished work to date. Jim isn’t as goo-goo eyed as Greg is over Van Etten’s move away from her simpler singer-songwriter days. Are We There’s eclectic instrumentation occasionally stumbles over itself, but on less busy tracks when Van Etten’s vocals can really shine through, all of the album’s musical faults are forgiven. Both critics say Are We There is a Buy It.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!