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[Staff Picks of the Week] Duffy, Fitz and the Tantrums, April Smith and the Grea

Fitz and the Tantrums

One album I can NOT stop listening to is Fitz and the Tantrums “ Pickin’ Up the Pieces”, a soul-influenced group from LA.  Apparently I’m not the only one, because in just one year, this multi-ethnic high energy band went from playing living rooms to the main stage. The instrumentation is perfection and the songs bring us back to the memories of the golden age of soul music. However, Fitz and the Tantrums are not a “throwback” to the 60’s. They lovingly take the genre to a contemporary place, looking very dapper while doing so. So until they come to Madison, we will have to make do with some video.

April Smith and The Great Picture Show

This is a great Halloween hangover pick...a creepy song from a singer-songwriter named April Smith, who hails from Toms River New Jersey. She says she was influenced by everyone from Tom Waits to Kinky Friedman, and grew up giving impromptu shows to anyone who would pay attention. Her band is called April Smith And The Great Picture Show, and her album that’s been out since the spring is called Songs for a Sinking Ship. April says the album’s sound was influenced  by “the ’30s and ’40s, juke joints and cabaret, the Andrews Sisters and, of course, Tom Waits.” I can’t get enough of this song “Terrible Things.” Caution...the video might be too morbid for the meek.

Ping Pong Orchestra

A song used during a poignant scene during a movie or television show can make or break the scene. I'll always remember how The Dire Straits song "Brothers In Arms" was used during the final scene of season two of The West Wing.  It was perfect. Lately, I've been watching the HBO show Eastbound and Down.  This show is no The West Wing.  In fact, it's pretty much the complete opposite.  It's filled with vulgarities and sophomoric humor, but it can still have some reflective moments.  In the final scene of the first season, the main character ends up leaving is girlfriend, literally.  They have plans to move to Florida, but he ditches her at a gas station. The song playing during that final scene is by Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra.   Lee has made lots of music for movies and television shows.  This one is called "Kiss the Sky".  Enjoy.

Spaghetti Western music?  Heck yes.

I love movie soundtracks.  And I love western movie soundtracks.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Spaghetti Westerns are a genre of films that came out of Italy (hence 'spaghetti') that were about the wild west.  Particularly, the most famous director of that movement is Sergio Leone and his Dollars trilogy including "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."  Great great film. Anyways, I've also been watching a lot of NFL lately and they took a track by Ennio Morricone that was called "Ecstasy of Gold" and they remixed it and have been playing it in some previews/commercials for games.  I love it.  Here it is below:

Duffy, "Well, Well, Well"

I fell I love with Duffy back in 2008 when she released her debut album Rockferry.  She has one of the most unique, interesting and instantly recognizable voices I’ve ever heard.  Not only that, but the girl can give it some power.  The rest of the world seemed to take notice to, earning her three Grammy Nominations and a win for best pop vocal album. Duffy is soon to be releasing her sophomore album, Endlessly, and has pre-released the first single.  The song “Well, Well, Well” is just what Duffy does best.  It has a little soul, a little jazz, and the Welsh songstress belting out the lyrics in a commanding way.   It’s upbeat, and contagious with a big band production, a sultry rhythm and a catchy chorus.  Is that another Grammy nod in Duffy’s future?  I would bet yes. Duffy has already released a video with her new single.  check it out below!



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11/04/2010 10:33AM
[Staff Picks of the Week] Duffy, Fitz and the Tantrums, April Smith and the Great Show, Ping Pong Or
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