Here’s a proposition: a three-hour long Mike Rugnetta extravaganza! In the wake of his appearance on ‘Crash Chords: Autographs’, in CCA Ep. #43, we’re pleased to re-introduce the one, the only, Mike Rugnetta for the full Crash Chords experience. Famed for hosting the PBS Idea Channel, a popular internet series that examines “the connections between pop culture, technology, and art”, Mike sits in for a 30 min. follow-up interview, during which we prod into some new features on the Idea Channel, Mike’s long-held interest in critical theory, the re-launch of his Reasonably Sound podcast, and fittingly, his own compositions. Finally, @ 0:29:20, we commence with the big tamale: quality time spent in a succulent critical analysis of Mike’s album of choice, Without My Enemy What Would I Do by Made in Heights. With Mike fully in his element (and the rest of us seated & caffeinated), all that’s missing is a dutiful audience! To join in, just chew on the album a bit, strap in, ponder, and play.
Ready to rummage through Junk by M83?? We certainly are. The veteran French electronic music band, fronted by Anthony Gonzalez, has been quite up-front about some intentions surrounding its seventh studio LP Junk, leading us to some fairly heated debates. In our topic, for instance, at [1:49:40], we launch into a debate on the evolution of aesthetic values. Does time, in fact, validate? Weigh in!
Today Matt is joined by Grace Kendall, a ukulele folk singer/songwriter hailing from Asheville, North Carolina. With an album still fresh from March 2015 called Can You Hear Me?, Grace chats with Matt about how she got her start in the wizard rock scene, having performed under the name Snidget before transitioning to her given muggle namesake. Grace also chats about her inspirations, the indie music scene, and some unique ways in which she’s gotten her music out into the universe — including live streamed concerts! They even find extra time to mutually extol the Broadway hit Hamilton, so strap in!
Today’s album, Blurryface by Twenty One Pilots, explores the many ugly heads of ‘insecurity’. Fun times! But there’s a catch… The artist (the author and musician) is very much a part of the tale, which leads to a rather — wait for it — “meta” plot-structure. Yes, that label, “meta” (as groan-worthy as it has become in pseudo-academic culture), adds a strong dimension to Blurryface. That being the case, starting at 1:34:55 we take some time to explore the use of “meta” elements in other pieces of music, as well as some common fallacies that have erupted from the word itself.
Remember Afterbirth Monkey’s visit back in Episode #95? No? Well, luckily your memory only has to be half that good to welcome back our guest, Rachel Schenk: a.k.a. actress extraordinaire, burlesque artist, & 1/2 of Afterbirth Monkey. So, with all of THAT to deal with, we immediately launch into all the inns, the outs, and the split-ends of her exciting career(s), including her current role in The Restaurant, directed by Eric T. Ford. Finally, for the featured discussion, tune in at 21:10 as we dive straight into Rachel’s album pick of the week: California Nights by Best Coast. Join us for the long haul! We won’t bite.
Try to keep pace as we have some fun with Run, the latest release by the electronic rock band Awolnation (fronted by Aaron Bruno). Poke around the album yourself first and then join us in the analysis! Or, go ahead and fast forward to 1:36:05 for a great conversation on the impact of ‘vagueness’ in music. (We’ll try to keep this as specific as possible.) Enjoy!
Many thanks to José (Nokjaw) for today’s fan-pick, The Great Pretenders by Mini Mansions! The fans of two other bands will also be pleased as the Mini Mansions ensemble was forged out of the hiatus of Queens of the Stone Age (bringing over bassist Michael Shuman), while today’s album, The Great Pretenders, has seen the addition of Alex Turner (from Arctic Monkeys). Influences aside, let’s see how this latest project compares! Finally, stick around for a discussion on the importance of ‘challenging music’—that is, music that confronts us head-on and forces us to do a little more work than we’d like to. What are the benefits of a challenging work, and how to quantify it?
To kick off “Season 4”, we look at a fairly big name from across the pond: Florence + The Machine. Joining our recent lineup of dynamic female singer/songwriters, Florence Welch (with her expansive melodies and enchanting lyrics) appears to bring it home once more with the vastly-titled How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. (Just how big and how beautiful remains to be seen.) So go ahead, join in the analysis, and field your opinions in the comment board! Afterwards, stick around for a hefty discussion on the fairness of lyrical criticism. Have you ever seen a gem of a lyric fly under the radar? Or an overrated lyric reach Pulitzer acclaim? We’ll be exploring the possibility of a double standard in the critical approaches to lyrical verse vs. standalone prose today on the Crash Chords Podcast!
Prime your ears for the latest release by Death Cab for Cutie! A pop favorite for much of the millenium, Death Cab for Cutie has been known to their fans as the modern soul of Indi, and their frontman (singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard) as the purveyor of tear-jerkers. Let’s walk through their most recent project, Kintsugi. Then stick around for a discussion on time, place, and acoustics. Where do you get your most comprehensive listening done?
Matt is invited behind the DJ booth for this exclusive interview with the singer-songwriter, producer, and DJ/mashup artist, meekly known as ShyBoy. Once a member of the band Hypnogaja, ShyBoy discusses the band’s dissolution but reaffirms a working relationship with its members. His solo work, however, has taken flight with two LPs, Lost In Space and Water on Mars, not to mention his newest EP, Daisy Pusher. Solo work aside, his career is complemented by a recent residency at the club, Bootie, at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, which he discusses alongside his fondness for making mashups. Fielding a vast array of musical tastes (and an ode to Donna Sommer), ShyBoy leaves time for a chat on Sci-fi and comic books for his & Matt’s “spinning” dialogue.