Julie Klausner, Beck, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile

Julie Klausner

As creator, writer, and star of the critically acclaimed TV comedy Difficult People, Julie Klausner not only crafts the show’s jokes but also guides its soundtrack. This week, she joins Jim and Greg for a hilarious discussion of the show’s music and her own musical tastes, and she even attempts to win them over to musical theatre. Plus, Jim and Greg review a new album from Beck and a collaboration between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile.

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Colors Beck

Colors

Beck won a surprise late career Album of the Year Grammy for his 2014 record Morning Phase. Now, he’s back with his 13th album, Colors, co-produced by Adele and Kelly Clarkson collaborator Greg Kurstin. Although Beck constantly reinvented himself in the 1990s, Greg says that here, he’s simply recycling his greatest pop moves of the past. Greg acknowledges that he still knows a great hook and continues to mix and match genres. Because it’s so cheerful in comparison to the melancholy Morning Phase, Greg finds it difficult to dislike, but it still only merits a Try It. Jim, however, finds it a big improvement over the last record. While Beck isn’t reinventing the wheel, he’s having fun with pastiches to The Police, Elliott Smith, and more. According to Jim, these songs are as good as any he’s ever given us. He says Colors is a great party record and a Buy It.

Lotta Sea Lice Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

Lotta Sea Lice

Both Jim and Greg are fans of Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile. Kurt Vile has been on the scene for years, and was a founder of The War on Drugs. Courtney Barnett dropped her well-received debut Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit in 2015.

Both Courtney and Kurt have been guests on Sound Opinions (separately). But that doesn’t mean that Lotta Sea Lice (their collaborative album) would be an automatic slam dunk. However, to Jim, the album is like chocolate and the peanut butter comes together, and they’re even better than they are on their own. Greg agrees, adding that it’s like an electric campfire record... it’s two mutual admirers... plugging in the amps... [and playing] intimate yet casual guitar. For Jim and Greg it’s a double Buy It.

Julie Klausner

Julie Klausner

Our guest this week is writer, comedian and actress Julie Klausner. Julie is the creator and star of Hulu’s snarky comedy Difficult People. Klausner hails from New York City and grew up listening to heavy doses of both rock and roll and musical theatre. She also attended NYU where she was a first person observer of the exploding early 2000s rock scene which featured bands like The Strokes and TV on the Radio, and she later wrote a book about her experiences with people in the music industry. Julie has gone on to create and star in Difficult People, a comedy about two best friends pursuing careers in the entertainment industry in NYC with varying degrees of success. Julie talks with Jim and Greg about how she uses music in her show, her surprising love of Jethro Tull and tries to convince Jim that musicals are not always Trash Its.

Greg

This week, Greg takes us to the Desert Island and chooses a classic deep soul record for the jukebox by O.V. Wright. Though the Memphis vocalist never achieved mainstream success in his short life, Greg thinks he is one of the greatest soul singers of all time.

O.V. Wright had a lot of experiences with heartache and disappointment according to Greg. Those experiences helped color his work, including his excellent album Memphis Unlimited, released in 1973. Produced by Willie Mitchell (who most famously worked with Al Green), the album features Greg’s desert island jukebox pick He’s My Son (Just the Same). The song is about a man who came out of prison to find his wife had a child by his own brother. The anguish and the forgiveness communicated through O.V. Wright’s performance is heartbreaking and beautiful.

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!