Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: EDJ performs “Minor Miracles”

EDJ is the new solo project from Eric D. Johnson (formerly of Fruit Bats and The Shins). His mellow rock style frequently features acoustic rhythm guitars and piano with a subtle use of vocal harmony. Other artists that can be heard on EDJ’s station include The Boxer Rebellion, The Antlers and Birds of Tokyo. He came by and played “Minor Miracles” off his self-titled debut album, EDJ.

Inside Song: The Balancing Act of Rhymes

filteredsongwritingAs I’m sure you’re aware, most song lyrics have rhyming words at the end of each line. It’s so pervasive in Western popular music that you might struggle to think of a song without rhyming lyrics. Rhymes provide a linguistic resolution, or a kind of verbal downbeat. They feel solid and grounding and can almost magically add weight to the meaning of the lyrics if done right.

In most cases, maybe even in an ideal situation, song rhymes are nearly transparent; they provide the pleasant feeling of a balanced, solved syntactical equation and supply extra heft and authority to the meaning without drawing much attention to themselves.

When rhymes stand out, you want them to do so for the right reasons. First and foremost, it’s an impressive feat to say something truly meaningful in rhyme, given the limited options we’ve got in the English language, the finite number of words that rhyme.

If you can go beyond that by using a familiar rhyme in a novel way or finding a new, unique rhyme, and still be able to serve the lyrical meaning, then it’s a virtuosic act. Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Goodnight, Texas performs “A Bank Robber’s Nursery Rhyme”

Goodnight, Texas is an American folk-appalachian band made up of members Avi Vinocur (formerly of The Stone Foxes), Patrick Dyer Wolf, Alex Nash and Bobby Kendall. They use a variety of instruments including banjo, mandolin, acoustic rhythm guitar, and a subtle use of vocal harmonies to create their Americana sound. Other artists that can be heard on the Goodnight, Texas station include The Wood Brothers, Gregory Alan Isakov, Old Crow Medicine Show. They came by and played “A Bank Robber’s Nursery Rhyme” off their latest album Uncle John Farquhar.

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Break of Reality performs “Star”

Break Of Reality is an instrumental cello rock band; the ensemble is made up of members Patrick Laird, Martin Torch-Ishii, Ivan Trevino, and Laura Metcalf. Featuring a unique blend of classical and rock styles, the band makes use of varied tempos and time signatures. Other artists that can be heard on Break Of Reality’s station include Takenobu, Apocalyptica and Escala. They came by the office and played “Star” off their album Ten.

Inside Song: The Enduring Appeal Of A Sad Song

Some years ago, I went through a low period as a long-term relationship came to an end. I was living in a tiny apartment in Paris, a city where I knew only one other person. I was broke, of course. It was winter, and my music–the whole reason I’d moved to Paris–was going nowhere. I subsisted on espresso and Gauloises cigarettes, long walks around the freezing, empty city, and Radiohead’s Kid A and OK Computer. Cliché, I’m aware, but forgive me. I was young.

photoMy point, however, is that rather than seeking out some positive, inspiring music that could have helped shake me out of my gloom, I gravitated toward the saddest sounds I could fill my head with. And I know I’m not alone in this behavior.

There’s something about sad songs that holds a strong appeal for us as listeners. The pining vocals, the grand weeping sweep of strings, the dark shadow of the minor key and shattered glass spill of acoustic piano, they scratch some itch deep inside that the bounce and whirl of a chipper ditty can’t reach. Read More →