Popular Music

The Magik of Orchestral Indie Rock

August 6th, 2009|

There’s nothing new about the use of orchestral instruments in rock music, but this is particularly lovely. Founded last year, the Magik*Magik Orchestra‘s elegantly stated mission is to “simplify the collaborative process between independent rock musicians and classical artists.” Here they join indie rock artist John Vanderslice in a classroom at the San Francisco Conservatory where founder and Artistic Director Minna Choi recently earned her master’s degree in composition. […]

More on Inversions: Mr. Tambourine Man

November 30th, 2007|

I’ve always liked the song “Mr. Tambourine Man”, but I admit that until recently I was mainly familiar with the version by The Byrds. Having finally taken the time to get to know the Bob Dylan version (as heard on Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits) in the past year or so, I find it a lot more beautiful and interesting to listen to. […]

Ukeleles and Inversions

November 30th, 2007|

There was a cute article in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle about an apparent new ukelele fad that’s sweeping the nation. It was interesting to me, because I’d been just starting to take notice of the instrument. It just seems to keep cropping up. I noticed only recently, for example, that it’s buried in the texture of a couple of Burt Bacharach songs, (albeit mostly bad ones).

The main reason the ukelele is on my mind at the moment is the now overexposed Israel Kamakawiwo’ole recording of his “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What a Wonderful World” medley, which I listen to a lot with my son. His playing of the instrument is one of many beautiful things about that recording. […]


November 12th, 2007|

From Cornelius

Oh, and also…

I have nothing more to say

“The Nice Things I Will Not Miss”

August 23rd, 2007|

In researching the last post I came across something that has me howling. A couple of Dutch guys made this loopy music video using a Burt Bacharach song I’d never heard before (from a movie I’ve never heard of before). The song isn’t much to blog about, […]

Fool Killer

August 23rd, 2007|

Here’s a little-known song by Burt Bacharach that I like a lot. “Fool Killer” follows and elusive, moody chord progression and is pretty sophisticated for a 60′s pop song. The instrumentation displays Bacharach’s usual cleverness and restraint. Vibes and little guitar tremolos combine with the odd […]

I’m Stealing the Towels

October 28th, 2006|

This week it’s Frank Zappa. I was a fan as a kid, long before I knew that he was also a “composer”, and long before I really knew what a composer was. In particular, Just Another Band From L.A. was a staple in our house, thanks to my older brother, and I was the only tween in our neighborhood who could recite and sing “Billy the Mountain” in its entirety.

When I was in college, I encountered 200 Motels for the first time via an obsessed friend. I never got that familiar with it, but some of it made a lasting impression on me. Roger blogged about it a few weeks ago, and I was more recently reminded of it for other reasons. […]

I Keep Forgettin’

August 12th, 2006|

Check out the instrumentation in this little 45-second clip.

It’s the Lieber and Stoller song “I Keep Forgettin’”, recorded in the early Sixties by Chuck Jackson. I’m really enjoying the syncopation and the crazy percussion, particularly the little xylophone riff, which if you listen […]

Do You Know Guinnevere?

May 20th, 2006|

For some reason, I don’t know why, I’ve been on a bit of a 60′s rock kick lately. Generally, I’ve always preferred music from that era over more recent stuff.

In the course of one of those I-haven’t-heard-that-song- in-a-while iTunes purchases, indeed I discovered something new the other day. […]

Burt Bacharach: A Look Under the Hood

January 16th, 2006|

Lately I’ve been listening to this Burt Bacharach compilation I bought several years ago (now that I have a car with a CD player). This three-disc Look Of Love compilation spans from the earliest part of his career in the ’50′s (theme song from The Blob […]