- I recently purchased Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore for the Wii. It’s the sequel to the game Mary and I had so much fun playing on her PS2. There are forty new songs, but the big change is that Paula Abdul signed on for this game. (In the previous version, she was replaced by a similarly-tempered judge named Laura.) However, Ryan Seacrest opted out of the new edition. The game has suffered some brutal critical reviews, mostly the lack of online content found in the PlayStation and xBox versions, but it’s fine for what I want to do. I’ve already mastered the game on “Medium” judging level, and am a three-time defending Idol champion. The next step is to increase the difficulty.
- You probably know by now that Nickel Creek is my favorite band. A few months ago, they amicably split to focus on their just-as-prolific solo careers. The latest from Chris Thile, the mandolin virtuoso, came out last week in the form of his new band Punch Brothers and their debut album Punch. It’s a difficult listen, both musically and lyrically, but of course I love it. It starts off with a song of single quality, called “Punch Bowl”. The group performed it on The Tonight Show last week. Then, the album takes a 42-minute diversion into the opus “The Blind Leaving the Blind”, a composition in four movements that explores the symbolic territory of a failed relationship. The final section is the three cleverly-titled pieces “Sometimes”, “Nothing, Then”, and “It’ll Happen”.
- You can actually hear the track “It’ll Happen” on the most recent edition of the All Songs Considered podcast. It’s an exciting time for NPR’s musical arm. Not only did they livecast Wilco last week (the archive is up at NPR’s website; it’s not available as a podcast), but they’ll also be livecasting 14 bands at South by Southwest. In fact, South by Southwest is becoming quite easy to experience through the internet, from sites as varied as NPR, IFC, and AT&T. There’s nothing like being there, though; attending the South by Southwest festival is on my list of top things to do in the next five years.