10 Thumbs Ups For Christmas

Guest blogger and current Pandora Comedy Spotlight comedian Dan Cummins muses on the holidays…

Christmas stresses me the hell out. Let’s start there.

I feel like every year I end up rushing around at the last minute to buy gifts, terrified that I’ll spend way too much money on a bunch of poorly thought-out doodads everyone will just hate anyway.

I worry that my two kids Kyler and Monroe will LOVE the presents they get from their mom (my ex-wife), and that my gifts will quickly fall into the pile of undesirables which will be almost immediately placed in the bottom of a closet where they will remain until given to Goodwill in untouched, mint condition. Ugh.

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I worry that my fiancé will get me a WAY better gift than I’ll get her, and I’ll be so riddled with shame and guilt that I’ll barely be able to enjoy my third helping of mashed potatoes and gravy. And I really worry that there won’t be enough mashed potatoes and gravy for me to have a third helping.

Anyways… Read More →

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: Jesse Boykins performs “Plain”

Jesse Boykins III is an American R&B singer. His soulful sound combines modern R&B styling with electronica and jazz influences, and frequently features romantic lyrics. Other artists that can be heard on his station include Jill Scott, Maxwell, and Erykah Badu. He came by the office with guitarist, Eun Wha Lee (JinJoo), and pianist, Basil Wajdowicz, and played “Plain” off his recent album Love Apparatus.

Pandora Whiteboard Sessions: The California Honeydrops perform “All Day, All Night”

The California Honeydrops are an American blues band with modern R&B stylings and gospel influences. A variety of instruments, including horns, organ, acoustic rhythm piano and guitar are used to create their soulful groove. Other artists that can be heard on their station include Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Ben Harper. They came by and played “All Day, All Night” off their album Like You Mean It.

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.