Talk Show Roundup: Chillin’ Out Max And Relaxin’ All Cool

From time to time, I like to check in on recent musical performances on the late night talk shows. Here is are a few new finds from the ol telly.

Who knew Jimmy Fallon did such a spot on impersonation of Neil Young? Who knew the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would make such a great folk ballad? I didn’t, but I’d say this is one of the best comedy bits I’ve seen Fallon do since he debuted on Late Night earlier this year.

Another Minor Project I Was Tangentially Involved With To Shamlessly Plug

Late last Friday I was asked by a member of NPR’s Multimedia team to come watch a video project they were working on and find some background music to match. All I knew ahead of time was that it was to be about “driving.” As I was envisioning road trip songs I soon realized it was about driver safety and clearly folky ditties weren’t going to fit.

After watching once through, we determined that the music should be something in the realm of electronic music, percussive and repetitive to propel the narration and visuals but not be overly busy either as to detract… and definitely not acoustic instruments if we could help it. I went back to my desk, quickly scanned through my collection to compile a short playlist of songs that fit those qualities.

We wanted something like Moby, but not Moby, not that distinctive that might distract the viewer. On my list of choices was a nice mix of mellow electronic and atmospheric music: Atlas Sound, Mum, Manitoba (now Caribou), Four Tet, The Books, Brian Eno, Benjamin Biolay, Stereolab.

After playing through all of my choices, we finally settled on a version of Nick Drake’s “Cello Song” performed by The Books and Jose Gonzalez from the awesome Dark Was The Night compilation from earlier this year. I quickly looped the intro a few times and then cross-faded it into the ending of the song.

You can check out the final results below:

This video is intended to be an introduction into a week-long exploratory series about driver safety. You can see the rest of the series, with more infographics, radio pieces and photo galleries here.

Tiny Desk Concert: Bowerbirds

Way back in July, I invited one of my more recent favorite groups Bowerbirds to perform at the NPR Music offices for a Tiny Desk Concert.

Many, many (MANY) months later, after getting buried in an almost insurmountable backlog and actually having the raw HDV tapes go missing for a few weeks, the video has finally gone live, produced and edited by yours truly. This is my second real foray into video editing, but I think the video looks pretty good.

Check it out below and read my short write up at NPR Music here.

Reblogging: NPR’s Decade In Music ’00-’09

Last week we at NPR Music launched a two-week long jaunt looking into the decade in music from 2000-2009. Focused primarily on Carrie Brownstein’s awesome blog Monitor Mix, we delve into all sorts of topics regarding the most important news events, recording industry and business issues, technology changes, the relevancy of labels, big overarching trends and most important recordings of the decade…oh yeah and ‘American Idol.’ Plus so much more, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Here are a few of my own personal contributions:

Interactive Multimedia Timeline: The Decade In Music

— Song Of The Day: The Decade In Music: OutKast’s ‘So Fresh, So Clean’ (2001)

— All Songs Considered: The Decade’s 50 Most Important Recordings (Here I write about TV On The Radio, The Flaming Lips and Animal Collective.)

— Monitor Mix: The Decade In Music Timeline: What Did We Miss?

— All Songs Considered: Missing The Cut: More Important ’00s Music (Here I nominate Girl Talk’s uber-mashup, Night Ripper)

— A Blog Supreme: The Decade In Review: Jazz And The Mash-Up (In which I considered Norah Jones, Ornette Coleman and Floratone — among others — as helping define the decade in jazz.)

Tiny Desk Concert: Sondre Lerche

My first real foray into video editing went live today on NPR Music. A Tiny Desk Concert from this past summer with Sondre Lerche. Sure there are some issues with lighting and title sequencing, but overall I think it works quite well as a first effort.

Check out the video below or here at NPR Music: