Today the Crash Chords Podcast welcomes the magician extraordinaire, sought-after special effects consultant, and delightfully entertaining Matt Holtzclaw! In an opening interview, Matt shares with us some tales from his long career, his stint on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, and the essence of what magic means to him as an art form. But wait! For Matt’s last trick, he conjures up an album for our weekly group analysis. That album—Paper Gods by the synth/pop darlings of the 1980s, Duran Duran. So go ahead and join us on this magical journey and don’t forget to check out Matt’s upcoming shows (posted on the magician’s webpage).
Remember our ancient Matchbox Twenty episode? Well, as you may or may not know, the band’s frontman Rob Thomas has had a solo career for over a decade, and we just thought we’d check in to see what his latest solo excursion, The Great Unknown, is all about. Join us in today’s unsparing analysis, listen to our afterthoughts, and then share yours below! Also, don’t forget to check out our big discussion at 1:43:17 on the trials and tribulations of bonus tracks and exclusive media. Sick of it all yet? Can’t get enough? We want to know!
Today we’re tackling No No No by Beirut. Negative much? With an album called No No No, that might be a required state of mind going in. Then again, the music seems to conflict with that idea. Confused yet? Don’t be. I’m just the show notes, what do I know? Press play already! As for the topic, head to 1:15:11 for a discussion on the foreground/background nature of lyrics. Do they slap you in the face or fade into the instrumentation? Does the music steer the message or does the message steer the music? We even grapple with the nature of the subliminal, and much, much more in today’s episode of the Crash Chords Podcast.
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.
Give a warm welcome to Claire Alys, an R&B/Soul singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, California. A teacher by day and a soul singer by night, Claire’s brand new EP Creature is now available and can be found on iTunes and Bandcamp. Listen to Claire chat with Matt about her writing process, her influences, and how she got started singing. She also chats about what it’s like to be an indie artist with a full time day job, about the choice to release an EP instead of a full-length, and about how being a musician has affected her teaching. She…
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!
Today we revisit a group that we skirted past (way back in CCP Ep. #36) called Walk Off The Earth. In that episode, we discussed a smattering of topics: the origins of the band, their history of covering pop hits, and their then-new EP, R.E.V.O. Well this time we’re correcting the books by looking at their full album, Sing It All Away, to see what it has to say. Afterwards, stick around for a discussion on titles, names, designations — literally, whatever you want to call it. How do song titles (or lack thereof) form preconceptions about the works they characterize?
Welcome to the one-year anniversary of CC: Autographs! For the occasion, Matt is joined by the first FULL band to appear on the series: the pop/punk/rock ensemble known as Sexy Heroes, hailing from Upper Saddle River, NJ. In anticipation of their newest album Yellow Fever (and its September release date), you’ll hear bandmembers Mike Watts, Nick Everett, Nick Magliano, and a belated Chris Watts discuss everything from their songwriting process, to the evolution of the bandname, to their downtime shenanigans, and finally, the band’s future. For touring info, single releases, and a discussion on crowd funding, tune in to this exclusive interview!
Prepare your ears for Insane Ian, parody artist and comedy musician extraordinaire from Baltimore, Maryland. Also a member of the The Funny Music Project (a.k.a. The FuMP), Ian is here to chat with Matt about how he got started down the path of hilarity, and about what goes into creating a solidly funny sketch on a comedy album. His latest album, Internet Famous, has a title track featuring Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America. Hear about how that connection developed, the origins of the FuMP, about music, movies, gaming, and more, in this Insane-ly entertaining interview!
In revisiting the pop community, much hype has been bestowed to a 16-year-old Canadian artist who broke the record for youngest artist to debut in the top 25 of the Billboard Hot 100. Brought to the world’s attention through his successful Vine covers, Shawn Mendes and his debut album Handwritten promises to bolster his 6.5-second skills with a full-length production. Let’s hop in and see how those skills translate! Afterwards, some general thoughts on the impact of ‘age’ in music. From child prodigies to latent talents, can we quantify the effects that passing years have on artists’ abilities?