Tuesday, June 09, 2015



Beach playlist.

This one-off night was done in conjunction with the 92nd St Y's Spring Fling! open house, which was a night of free events. The Y staff generously asked us to participate, and suggested the 'beach' theme. We were surprised we hadn't visited this theme before. Some of the music styles were covered in a previous 'spy' theme, but we hadn't tackled this whole-hog. Needless to say, there was an abundance of options.

The structure of the session was a bit different, because we had two one-hour sessions that were meant to be samplers for new participants. We decided to loosen up the proceedings and just performed a series of five to seven-minute poses. The music reflected this approach with an emphasis on short, punchy songs with a clear connection to the theme. In other words, Neil Young's On the Beach didn't make the cut. Next time, folks!

Admittedly, much of the soundtrack was pulled from my high school days when I absorbed anything with fast guitars. Hence, Dick Dale and the Pulp Fiction-related cuts. Full disclosure: the Americanas were high school-era buddies. Our bands played shows together. That said, I still stand by the statement that the band could easily go head-to-head against vets two or three times their age. One of the Takeshi Terauchi cuts ("On the Beach") used this evening is not on either YouTube or Spotify, so you'll have to do some independent digging. My favorite deep cut was the nod to Nate's roots, Euclid Beach Band's "There's No Surf in Cleveland." The promo clip in the YouTube playlist seals the deal.

Thanks again to Allison and the whole gang at the Y for inviting us.

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LINER NOTES: Blockbuster

Blockbuster playlist

We've visited the film soundtrack theme before, so it's important for us to find new ways to revisit this idea. Nate brought the word, "blockbuster," to the table, and that really shaped the evening. In the modern era of cinema, summer films are synonymous with 'blockbuster' or big box office smashes. Hence, we chose songs from summer films.

The framework was helpful because automatically a number of award-winning films (which, these days, tend to be released later in the year) were excluded. What remained were comparatively airy films, like Despicable Me, Superbad, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It helps that soundtracks in the modern era have become respectable commercial mixtapes, so mega-movies can reintroduce slick cuts like the Bar-Kays's "Too Hot to Stop" or the AM-nugget by Redbone, "Come and Get Your Love." Despicable Me and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World were two notable exceptions in that the films featured original soundtracks written primarily by Pharrell and Nigel Godrich, respectively. That said, these artist's pop background shines throughout the score work as they both wrote punchy, memorable songs that captured the mood of their respective films.

We took a broad approach to 'blockbuster,' allowing plenty of art house and, frankly, more obscure film soundtracks enter the mix. Buio Omega is a cult horror classic, but hardly mainstream like Anchorman. That said, we tried to include notable music moments from recognizable art house films, like the seemingly custom-written "Mao Mao" from La Chinoise, or Mulatu Astatke's hypnotic "Yègellé Tezeta" which repeats over the driving sequences in Broken Flowers.

Special consideration goes to our model, Rose, who has been incredibly inventive in her choice of costumes. For this night, she went for the Risky Business look, which was simple, instantly recognizable, and fun to draw from.

Rest assured, the well has not been tapped yet! We'll revisit soundtracks again soon.

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