Music

Joshua Witchger 3-29-2012

Nothing quite welcomes the spring-time like a Girl Scout cookie milkshake. In Washington D.C. Batman is making his rounds to childrens hospitals, and the Supreme Court is debating where to order take out from. Yesterday, Will Ferrell announced a sequal to Anchorman on Conan, and Earl Scruggs is remembered for popularizing the finger-picked banjo. Musical instruments are made out of jelly, Chicago travelers enjoy beer on the train, Law and Order's Christopher Meloni is the "Kony Hunter," and more... Click to read today's Links of Awesomeness...
 

Joshua Witchger 3-22-2012

Music to aide contemplation as we head into the fifth week of Lent and Holy Week…

I discovered Songs for Lent last year on Noise Trade – the site that trades music for promotion, and maybe a small donation — and I think it’s one of the most spiritually moving and challenging albums of the “Christian music” genre, at least that I’ve encountered. 

There’s something earthy and beautiful about Songs for Lent that elicits a response I believe is lost in contemporary Christian music. It’s raw, simple, transcendent.

Joshua Witchger 3-21-2012

James "Sugar Boots" Franklin is remembered for bringing boombox roller-skating to Congress. Time names 140 Best Twitter Feeds. LEGOS initiate simple design. More notable Banksy street art found. Videogame theme songs set to tune of piano and violin. And with Tim Tebow's recent trade, Jimmy Fallon performs another hit from Tebowie.


+ Warning: May contain coarse language

Joshua Witchger 3-21-2012
Danny Seim of Menomena. Image via Creative Commons/Wylio

Danny Seim of Menomena. Image via Creative Commons/Wylio

Blue Like Jazz has got a leg-up in the alternative world. Two years back Paste ranked it #18 in its “20 Best Books of the Decade.” The film just finished up its debut run at SXSW and it features a soundtrack that’s largely the brainchild of the Portland indie rock outfit Menomena.

Steve Taylor, director of Blue Like Jazz, tells Sojourners that the music of Menomena served as the muse for the storytelling, and that he was “trying to find a soundtrack of what a Reed student might be listening to.”

Joshua Witchger 3-20-2012

The Spring Equinox ushers in World Storytelling Day. Listen to Portlandia stars discuss some of their most cherrished music. OK Go experiments with a new online dating service. Arcade Fire delivers guest lecture at University of Texas at Austin. Pictures of sharks, crazy sool ice-cream shops, and more...

Joshua Witchger 3-19-2012

A few links on some creative outdoor sculptures, the etymology of the name Spider-Man, Disney's Bible theme-park that was never made, a new form of mashups, President Obama and Entourage, and cover of Adele played on the Chinese zither.   

Joshua Witchger 3-16-2012

Get ready for St. Patrick's Day with some laughs, crafts, and a look at some green musicians. Plus, a look at the impressive "Magic Mushroom House," an express book-printing machine, portraits made from words, John Oliver's latest quest, and Americana musicians Megafaun. 

Joshua Witchger 3-14-2012

A few links for this afternoon: Explore the mystery of Pi on 3/14, read Darth Vader's letter on why he's leaving the Empire, see the many things a T-Rex cannot do, and check out Andrew Bird's visit with Stephen Colbert.

Cathleen Falsani 3-12-2012
Mizz Chenoweth (with Elmo) at the Drama Desk Awards, 2012. Bruce Glikas/FilmMagi

Mizz Chenoweth (with Elmo) at the Drama Desk Awards, Feb. 2012. Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic.

If you've ever seen or heard Kristin Chenoweth sing, you know she is a pint-sized ray of sunshine. She oozes joy and grace and love for her audience from every pore of her 4-foot-11-inch frame. Plus, girlfriend has a spot-on, finely calibrated sense of comic timing. (I dare you to watch her perform and not at least crack a smile. She is enchanting, her natural ebullience utterly infectious.)

What you may not know is that Chenoweth, 44, is a Christian. Born and raised in the Southern Baptist tradition where she accepted Jesus into her heart at the tender age of 8, "Cheno," as she is known to her legion devoted fans, now describes herself as a nondenominational "non-judgmental, liberal Christian." Her devotion to Jesus and His Way is something she's never been shy about, both before and after she took Broadway by storm in her early 20s.

“I'm sick of people who've never been to church telling me that church is full of hypocrites, and people who've never read the Bible telling me that it's baloney," she wrote in her 2009 memoir, A Little Bit Wicked. "I'm a very controversial figure in the Christian world. I don't believe if you're gay or you have a drink or you dance, you're going to hell. I don't think that's the kind of God we have. The Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells of the world are scary. I want to be a Christian like Christ — loving and accepting of other people."

Joshua Witchger 3-12-2012

24-hour "penguin cam" at SeaWorld, world dictators depicted in cake, public art collaboration "Before I die...", fun finds for children of the 80s and 90s, dogs catch pythons in Everglades, unsual protest at a Radiohead show, and the stars of Despicable Me sing a song about bananas. 

Cathleen Falsani 3-09-2012
U2 album photo from The Joshua Tree by Anton Corbijn

U2 album photo from The Joshua Tree by Anton Corbijn with the Joshua tree in the background.

Desert sky
Dream beneath the desert sky
The rivers run, but soon run dry
We need new dreams tonight

~ from "In God's Country" by U2

On March 9, 1987, U2 released The Joshua Tree, its fifth studio album and one that would catapult the Irish rock quartet from popularity to international superstardom.

Twenty-five years later, today The Joshua Tree is one of the most bestselling albums in history — with more than 25 million copies sold — and is considered to be among the best rock albums of all time.

Its spiritual and socio-political heft has, for me at least, only grown more powerful over the years. As I listened to it again today, the soul-shaking music and lyrics sounded even fresher in our current nervous times than they did to my teenage ears in the twilight of the Reagan era.

Joshua Witchger 3-09-2012

Major League baseball player sings Adele, vintage cases for modern technology, The Shins' exclusive web concert, the making of violins, Law & Order, and making fresh guacamole with some unlikely objects. Read today's "Links of Awesomeness" for these and other awesome links...

Joshua Witchger 3-07-2012

With Super Tuesday out of the way, take a look at some of McSweeny's more eccentirc exit poll findings. Make your favorite YouTube videos mirror the aesthitic of the Oscar-winning film, The Artist. See some amazingly small apartments and ask yourself, 'How much space do you really need in your house?' And take a listen to some new music from Sufjan Stevens/ Rosie Thomas, Jeff Tweedy's teenage son Spencer, and an 8-bit rendition of The Smiths (aka Super Morrissey Bros). Read today's "Links of Awesomeness" for these links and many others...

Joshua Witchger 3-06-2012

Today is Super Tuesday, the action-packed day for GOP presidential hopefuls as 10 states undergo primary elections. To bring us further into the spirit of Super Tuesday the blog team at Sojourners has compiled 10 songs for a “Super Tuesday Mixtape.” (In addition to our favorite scene from Little Miss Sunshine: Abigail Breslin shaking it to "Superfreak.")

http://www.youtube.com/embed/12WMNjVR3SY

Joshua Witchger 3-06-2012
Denison Witmer by Ethan Luck.

Denison Witmer by Ethan Luck.

Singer-songwriter Denison Witmer’s 2005 album Are you a Dreamer? was part of the soundtrack of my adolescence — his calm voice a sonic companion as I navigated the choppy waters of high school insecurities; his complex fingerpicking acoustic guitar style a mentor as I learned to play and write my own music. Witmer’s soulful voice, thoughtful lyrics and inimitable style (some critics have called it “neo-folk” a la Cat Stevens or Nick Drake), has stuck with me for years. Just a snippet of his lyrics or melody can transport me back to precisely where I was when I first heard them, a younger me dreaming of who I might become. 

When Witmer’s latest tour brought him through Washington, D.C. last month, I caught up with him backstage before his gig at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. We talked in the artist lounge and sound check stage, before venturing out for a couple of veggie wraps while exploring a variety of subjects from music and family to saints and beer. And we even managed to persuade him to play a couple of songs for us, which we’ve captured here on video for you. (You’re welcome.)

Joshua Witchger 3-05-2012

Steve Martin reads from The Great Gatsby, the longest chain of human dominoes sets world record, littering receives a big thumbs down, Andrew Bird lyrics are explained, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. offers hop-flavored lip balm, and "The Three Little Pigs" is retold as a breaking news story. See more inside today's links of awesomeness...

Joshua Witchger 3-01-2012

Paper airplane throwing your way into the Book of World Records, creative films on Waldo and "clapping butter," jewelry + aviation, Record Store Day, and Bo Obama invites you to the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll.

Ed Spivey Jr. 3-01-2012

Who knew hideous sea creatures had their own club?

Joshua Witchger 2-29-2012

New television ad from Wes Anderson, BBC follows a monkey's quest for alcohol, creative bike frames, phone booth libraries, and a mid-week music update.

Timothy King 2-29-2012
Elephant image via Shutterstock

Elephant image via Shutterstock

The unofficial results are in and it looks like former governor Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary with 41 percent of the vote. Many commentators believe that this win indicates a recovery of momentum for the Romney campaign.

There are now unconfirmed reports that building off the popularity of President Obama’s rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” Mitt Romney has been working on a cover of Katy Perry’s "Hot n’ Cold" to sing for GOP primary voters.

Not to be outdone, Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul pull a few tricks from their sleeves too.

 

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