Here we have a guy with his guitar, singing about life and its accoutrements. Iorio hits a few right notes and a few wrong ones, though the end effect is all it was meant to be. Opener "Secret" is strongest, "Headin' Down to the Cool Jerk" does Elvis, and "Waterboardin' USA" waxes political to the tune of the Beach Boys.
That is, win the attention of the American public. His rock group the Frames have been huge in their native Ireland for years, but despite consistently high-quality output, they've never been able to amass much of a U.S. following. Finally, with the 2007 indie film Once (in which Hansard acted and co-wrote the soundtrack), he's got our ears. "Falling Slowly," the single from the soundtrack and currently a staple over at KFOG radio, was honored Sunday night at the Oscars with the award for Best Song. There's some irony that Hansard's biggest song in the U.S. came from a low-budget art movie and not one of the Frames albums (like, say, their latest, 2007's The Cost, which also happens to contain "Falling Slowly") and this wasn't lost on him: "This is amazing! What are we doing here? This is mad!" he exclaimed during his acceptance speech. After all, the movie was made on two Handicams over three weeks for a mere $100,000. Hansard always considered the film, and acting in general, a minor side project to his work with the Frames. Go figure. Maybe all the new fans he's made through Once will finally decide to pick up a Frames record or concert ticket. After the jump, see a YouTube clip of Hansard and Once co-star Marketa Irglova performing "Falling Slowly" at the Oscars.
Pissed-off frustration can be therapeutic, and San Jose's Touch My Rash delivers the goods with a subtle sense of humor. Lead singer Colin Kutch affects a snarl that's just punk enough, while the music is reliably simple, fast, and catchy. What healthier way to spend 28 minutes?
All eyes are on the Noise Pop festival, which kicks off tonight, but organizers have already announced plans for their second annual Treasure Island Music Festival, following up their very successful debut with concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment. The festival will take place September 20 and 21. A lineup hasn't been announced yet.
Gun & Doll Show frontman MacGeraghty recorded imaginative, quasi-pop theme songs for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and more, then threw them alongside a few non-holiday numbers. Even when repeated in five languages, his version of "Happy Birthday" doesn't get old.
State Senator Leland Yee is backing a bill that would permit the state to sell the venerable Cow Palace to Daly City, which hopes to demolish the arena and replace it with new development, the Trib reports. As you might expect, there is a movement to name the facility a historic landmark to save it from the wrecking ball.
It may have been howling wind and rain Saturday night in Oakland, but another storm was taking place inside the Uptown, where metalheads convened for the return of their hometown heroes, Saviours and High on Fire. Neither band disappointed.
Jazz doesn't get much funkier, or perhaps it's the other way around. Gemini Soul's smooth, groovy fusion (they call it "cyber jazz") rests on the poppin' fingers of bandleader and bass-master Andre Ajamu Akinyele.
Though GOO's shapeless, heavily experimental electronic tableaus are pretty far out-there, Robbie Martin's sophomore disc as Fluorescent Grey contains his most accessible compositions yet - which goes to show that perception is everything.
Professional-quality album art suggests this East Bay rock group means business. Indeed, after spending all of 2007 on the record, the four members look forward to extensive touring. The kicker: their grasp on classic pop is strong enough to get them noticed here and everywhere else.