All posts tagged: feature

Great Big Sea XX

Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea: The Popdose Interview

Popdose talked to Bob Hallett from Great Big Sea about frozen horses, the music industry (or what’s left of it), the songwriting process, Christmas music, asking fans to buy a $400 box set, and how the band compares to Rage Against the Machine. “You can’t tweet your way to rock stardom” – Bob Hallett, Great Big Sea. Such is the life of up-and-coming bands trying to make it in the music business. But it’s also true for bands trying to stay relevant. Bands like Great Big Sea got their start long before the internet sucked the life out of the industry. But trying to survive and make a career out of being in a band is becoming increasingly difficult. We talk to Bob about all of that. But first, let’s talk about Rage Against the Machine. Both yourself and Rage Against the Machine are releasing 20-year retrospectives called XX this fall. What are the similarities between the two bands? (Laughter) 20 years old, and that would be about it. And I can’t imagine actually a …


My Worst Gig: Jonathan Rundman

Every band has one: the story of a completely disastrous train wreck of a show. Sometimes it’s the venue, sometimes it’s the audience, and sometimes, it’s the venue’s inability to control the audience. In this installment, Finnish-American singer-songwriter Jonathan Rundman shares a story of audience participation gone horribly awry. It’s a rite of passage for young musicians to learn to endure and/or deal with aggressive audience members, hecklers, and obnoxious dudes shouting “You suck!” during shows. Certainly these can be challenging situations for bands, but those of us who perform solo have our vulnerabilities magnified. As I look back on my past decade as a touring singer/songwriter, one of these awkward moments goes down in history as My Worst Gig. About ten years ago I was on tour as the opening act for Beki Hemingway. We were doing a run through the Midwest and Southeast, and early on in the trip we had a show at a club called The Rudyard Kipling in Louisville, KY. The venue had a barroom up front, with an adjoining …

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Susanna Hoffs and Andrew Brassell: Someday Tour Surprises

Rain is the predominant metaphor on Susanna Hoffs’ stellar 2012 album, Someday, so it was only fitting that Seattle welcomed the Bangles star and her band with the year’s biggest downpour. Seattle’s luxurious Triple Door nightclub was the final destination on the singer’s all too brief solo tour, one that also saw her hustle up the East Coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The last time we spoke with Hoffs, on the eve of Someday’s release earlier this summer, she took POPDOSE readers behind the scenes of the baroque pop album’s creation while also discussing rarities in her audio archives (read that interview here). Last night, minutes before they took the stage, her songwriting partner and lead guitarist, Andrew Brassell, told us more about the tour and the duo’s future plans. POPDOSE: Tonight is your final scheduled stop on the Someday tour; does the Space Needle mark the end of the road? ANDREW BRASSELL: We’re probably gonna do some more shows next year but I’m not sure, we don’t have anything planned. The tour has …


Keep It to Yourself: Just Desserts?

  I scream, you scream, we all scream for hardcore pornography! Hippie royalty Ben & Jerry were not amused when L.A. smut merchants Caballero Video released a series of dirty DVDs with names and packaging mimicking their wholesome family treats.  The naughty flicks have titles like ‘Boston Cream Thighs, ‘New York Super Fat and Chunky’ and ‘Hairy Garcia.’  [Cue my teenage daughter: ‘Ewww!’]  The line of adult features is promoted under the name “Ben and Cherry’s XXX Ice Cream” (‘Porno’s Finest’) and looks like this: A lawsuit ensued.  I hear my smart, attentive and attractive readers collectively breathing, “So what?  Isn’t this just garden variety parody?”  Answer: NO.  Let’s briefly talk about trademark dilution, specifically tarnishment. Ahem.  Trademark dilution is “the lessening of the capacity of a famous mark to identify and distinguish goods or services, regardless of the presence or absence of (1) competition between the owner of the famous mark and other parties, or (2) likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception.”  In plain English, dilution law protects a trademarked product when someone makes a …


The 100 Greatest Holiday Songs of All Time – Nominations

We’re making a list.  Help us check it twice! About eighteen months ago, we put together a list of (in our collective opinion) the 100 Greatest Cover Songs of All Time.  It has generated more discussion than any other post we’ve published on this site, and the most common objection folks have is “How could you leave off _______ by _______?”  We were voting from a huge list of more than 800 songs, and chances are, if the song didn’t make the cut, it was because not enough of us voted for it, or that the few who did failed to rank it highly enough.  But there were a few select examples where a song that probably would have secured a spot on the countdown didn’t make the top 100 list because nobody happened to think of it during the nomination process. This year, as part of the always-festive holiday season at Popdose, we’re going to be presenting you with the 100 Greatest Holiday Songs of All Time.  And to make sure that nobody misses the …

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The Popdose Interview: Caro Emerald

Caro Emerald is the latest European superstar to have her way with the American songbook, giving 1920’s – 40’s salsa, jazz and mambo a sparkling dance floor makeover. The end result is the Holland native’s absolutely gorgeous debut, Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor. The album has already racked up more than a million in sales, topping charts across Europe and Asia. While plenty of albums pad a few solid singles with filler, Deleted Scenes is spellbinding from start to finish. Every track could be a hit single, yet when woven together, they sweep you away on a journey across continents and through generations. Imagine if Woody Allen’s heroines Vicky and Christina continued their romantic adventures from Barcelona to Greece, Milan, Amsterdam, New York and Paris, stepping through decades with each new dancefloor and balcony party — this would be the perfect soundtrack. If you’re hosting a soiree anytime soon, this is the best album to set the mood since Brazilian Girls self-titled debut. The secret here is Caro’s heavenly vocals atop a bed of roses: loops created from …

Debbie Gibson

The Popdose Interview: Debbie Gibson

If you want to feel inspired, spend a few minutes talking with Debbie Gibson. Certainly, you’re probably aware of the chart success that Gibson enjoyed in the ‘80s, beginning with her first single “Only in My Dreams” in 1987, the first of five Top 40 singles that she would notch from her debut album Out Of The Blue. The first three singles from Out Of The Blue charted Top 5 and with her fourth single “Foolish Beat,” Gibson would become the youngest artist (at age 17) to ever write, produce and perform a Billboard #1 single, an accomplishment that remains unbeaten more than two decades later. Gibson faced challenges while working for the chance to record and release that first album and single, but she fought hard and the story of how Gibson stuck with the songs that she believed in — those very same songs that would be massive chart hits only a few years later, is a good one.


Numberscruncher: Of Course, Mitt Romney Lies!

It’s a given: Mitt Romney has issues with the truth. I think it’s cultural. People in business learn to lie, and in the big-stakes, big-money worlds of consulting and private equity, the truth isn’t all that valuable. In my investment banking days, one colleague told me that I should never say “I don’t know” when asked a question. That made me look weak. Always act like you know what you’re doing and say something  One of my bosses said that I should focus on marketing stocks. If there wasn’t new information to get people excited, just invent something! A third boss said that no one can get ahead in business until they learn to lie. It may be worse in finance than other businesses, but Dilbert’s pointy-headed boss is too familiar to too many of us. It’s not like these are bad people, they are just playing the game. Mitt Romney doesn’t seem like a guy who would lie to his wife or kids, but he would tell shareholders what they needed to hear for …

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Sara Melson Leaves Her Lover and Label Behind on Sessions EP

Perhaps no venue on Earth has shaped my taste in music the way Hollywood’s Hotel Cafe has. While I’ve seen legendary shows in cities across the country, the artists’ choice of echoey halls and cavernous rooms often detracts from the experience. Hotel Cafe, on the other hand, is a place where even to this day, you can walk in not knowing a single artist on the bill and you will be guaranteed to like almost every single act. From unknowns to veteran stars, you have to bring your A-game to play the acoustically perfect red room. It was here in the mid-2000’s that I discovered Sara Melson. Her music was raw, compelling, visceral and urgent. Her notes often cracked when her raw emotions were exposed without the gauze of studio tricks. Her white lace dress glowed in front of the red curtain backdrop like an angel in a David Lynch fever dream. While her major label debut, Dirty Mind, was one of my favorites of 2008 (closely ceding the top spot to Against Me’s New …

The rarely seen title card that opens the first episode of "M*A*S*H," seen 40 years ago tonight.

Welcome to Korea: The 40th Anniversary of “M*A*S*H”

We understand that 40 years is a long time, but in TV time, it’s an eternity. Forty years ago this fall, Gunsmoke and Bonanza were still on the air. So was Mission Impossible, and Dean Martin and Julie Andrews starred in variety shows. But 40 years doesn’t seem all that long when you think of it this way: 40 years ago tonight, M*A*S*H premiered on CBS. Most of the new fall premieres that year quickly vanished from history. Who remembers Anna and the King or The Sandy Duncan Show—which bracketed M*A*S*H on Sunday nights that first season—or The Little People, or Banyon, which premiered on other networks? Three new shows that fall would earn the status of television classic: M*A*S*H, The Waltons, and The Bob Newhart Show; The Rookies had a successful run for several years, and Kung Fu would become a cult favorite. I haven’t done the research to determine what sort of batting average that is, but it strikes me as decent. But back to M*A*S*H. During its first season, it ranked 46th among …