Tag: soundtrack

Album Cover of the Week: Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds

Album Cover of the Week: Pink Floyd, Obscured by Clouds

Album Cover of the Week, Music
For a long time I thought of Pink Floyd's Obscured by Clouds as little more than the album that came before The Dark Side of the Moon. And while it certainly doesn't nearly measure up to the latter, it has its own charms -- not the least of which is its album cover. For reasons unknown to me, this is actually an intentionally out-of-focus photograph of a man in a tree -- not, in fact, clouds. The sleeve design is by Hipgnosis, who of course designed several other Floyd albums throughout the years. I really like this one because it suits the rather hazy nature of some of Obscured by Clouds. The album was intended originally to be the soundtrack for a French film called La Vallée (The Valley). When Pink Floyd later had a falling out with the film company, they decided to call their
Vince DiCola, ’80s Soundtrack Master

Vince DiCola, ’80s Soundtrack Master

Movies, Music
Few movies are more quintessentially '80s America than Rocky IV. It really is a masterclass in nationalistic cinematic propaganda not seen since the era of Sergei Eisenstein and a young USSR. Only in the heady days of the Reagan/Cold War era could a film depicting America (through its proxy, Rocky Balboa) as a plucky underdog be seen as somewhat credible. And if the simplistic political clichés weren't all bad enough, the Rocky IV story is so weak that Sylvester Stallone had the balls to stack two separate training montages right on top of each other. Together they account for nearly ten percent of the movie's run time, and that's not counting the other musical interludes or James Brown's performance of "Coming to America." I caught a showing of Rocky IV on cable a few weeks ago -- b
Sunday Jazz: Ron Carter’s “Empire Jazz”

Sunday Jazz: Ron Carter’s “Empire Jazz”

Music, Sunday Jazz
For most of my life I assumed that when it came to other musicians offering their take on John Williams' timeless scores for the Star Wars trilogy, the be all and end all was Meco's Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk. Who hasn't gotten down to the stone cold disco groove of "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" at least once in their life? But it turns out there is actually more sweet Star Wars tuneage from that era. Take, for example, this week's Sunday Jazz entry. It's five tracks of the swingin' space jazz courtesy of legendary bassist Ron Carter -- Empire Jazz. And dig that cover art! It was released in 1980 on the RSO Records label. RSO (home of the Bee Gees) also distributed the official soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Back, so this release seems like a natural progression. OK, maybe no...
Listening booth – “We Have All the Time in the World”

Listening booth – “We Have All the Time in the World”

Listening Booth, Music
Yesterday we lost one of the great composers of the 20th century.  John Barry, best known to me and millions of others as the man behind so many timeless film soundtracks, died at age 77.  Barry won five Oscars for his work, including Dances With Wolves and Midnight Cowboy, but it is his scores for 11 James Bond movies that I love the most. Here's probably my favorite Barry composition, from 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service.  It's the immortal Louis Armstrong performing "We Have All the Time in the World," the love theme from the sole George Lazenby 007 film. Related articles Bond composer John Barry dies (telegraph.co.uk) John Barry, RIP (brooklynvegan.com)
Gray Flannel Mixtape: The Best Songs of 2010

Gray Flannel Mixtape: The Best Songs of 2010

Blogstuff
Yup, it's that time again!  Before I roll out the annual year-end rundown of my favorite albums, let's take a listen to some of the best songs from 2010.  I've included YouTube clips where possible, since I used Lala last year and got burned. 1. "Them That Do Nothing" by Field Music (from Measure) - I could probably populate this whole list with songs from Field Music's third studio album.  Instead I'll just highlight the first single from it and we can all revel in its pure pop perfection.  Well done, Brewis brothers, well done indeed. 2. "Doin' It Again" by the Roots (from How I Got Over) - If there's a case to be made for why sampling can work so well in hip hop it's this track, which brilliantly weaves the Roots' own composition with John Legend's "Again".  It's the standout
Gray Flannel Mixtape: Seinfeld songs

Gray Flannel Mixtape: Seinfeld songs

Music
These days it's commonplace for music to function as an integral part of a television show; think Grey's Anatomy, Smallville or Dawson's Creek. With Seinfeld, not so much. Nevertheless, there are more than a few classic moments during the series that can be called to mind with just a few notes. With that in mind I give you the Seinfeld Songs Mixtape. The following songs were played on at least one episode of Seinfeld, which started featuring much more non-original music during its last few seasons. There are numerous instances of songs being sung by characters on the show, but unless at least a small clip of the song was played or performed, they don't qualify for my mixtape. "Desperado" and "Witchy Woman" (Eagles), heard on "The Checks" - Here's a classic rock two-fer. "Desperado" ...
The guilty pleasures of Staying Alive

The guilty pleasures of Staying Alive

Movies
How can you tell the difference between a simply bad movie and a guilty pleasure? Well for one, when watching a guilty pleasure you may experience at least one out-of-body moment where you scream at yourself, "Dude, what the hell?! There has to be something better on TV right now. Infomercials, Leave It to Beaver reruns...anything!" And yet, objectivity is lost and you keep watching anyway. Such was my dilemma as I stayed up way too late in my hotel room last night watching the 1983 John Travolta magnum opus Staying Alive. I was conscious of watching a terrible film yet powerless to stop myself. I'm not sure what was most compelling - the cheesy dialogue, the horribly dated dance moves and costumes, or the fact that Frank Stallone not only dominated the soundtrack but actually had...