Song Exploder

Song Exploder Live, with The Thermals

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Date: 
09/12/2014 - 20:00 - 21:00
Show: 
City: 
Portland, OR
Venue Name: 
XOXO Fest at The Redd

http://2014.xoxofest.com/

Song Exploder № 16: Spoon

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Jim Eno
Guests: 
Dave Fridmann

Spoon was formed in 1993 by singer Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. They've released eight albums, including their most recent record, They Want My Soul, which came out in August 2014. In this episode, Jim Eno breaks down the song "Inside Out," explaining how it went from the original demo to the finished album version, including what other music influenced the recording. Plus, we'll hear from their co-producer, Dave Fridmann, whose other credits include The Flaming Lips album The Soft Bulletin, and Oracular Spectacular by MGMT.

Buy "Inside Out" on iTunes here.

Footnotes:
The Dr Dre song is "Still D.R.E." The Marvin Gaye song is the Rhythm 'N' Strings mix of "What's Going On."

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Song Exploder № 15: Brian Reitzell

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Brian Reitzell

In May 2014, the video game company Ubisoft released Watch Dogs, about a vigilante hacker in Chicago in the near future. Here's how the game is described on their website: "You play as Aiden Pearce, a brilliant hacker and former thug, whose criminal past led to a violent family tragedy. While seeking justice for those events, you'll monitor and hack those around you." It sold over 4 million copies in its first week of release.

The music for the game was made by Brian Reitzell, who played drums in the bands Air and Red Kross before becoming a composer and music supervisor for films like Lost In Translation and Beginners. He also creates the music for the NBC television show Hannibal.

In this episode, Brian talks about the unique challenges posed by scoring video games, where players control what happens on screen and as a result, what happens in the music. He'll break down a piece called Donovan, which he wrote for a chase sequence within the game. He also describes the instrument he created from a hundred-year-old piano.

This episode is presented in conjunction with Polygon.

Buy "Donovan" on iTunes here, or on vinyl here.

footnotes
The Tangerine Dream song that plays is "Mysterious Semblance At the Strand of Nightmares."

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Song Exploder № 14: Open Mike Eagle

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Open Mike Eagle
Guests: 
Walker Ashby

In this episode, rapper Open Mike Eagle talks about making the song Dark Comedy Morning Show, along with the track's producer, Walker Ashby, aka Toy Light. Mike breaks down how Toy Light's original instrumental version of this song inspired him, and how his view of his own vocals on the track has changed since recording them.

Buy the song "Dark Comedy Morning Show (feat. Toy Light)" on bandcamp.

footnotes
A Tribe Called Quest - Steve Biko (Stir It Up)

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Song Exploder № 13: The Microphones

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Phil Elverum

In the fall of 2001, Phil Elverum released the album The Glow, Pt 2 on K Records. Pitchfork named it the best album of the year. In this episode, Phil recounts how he created the first song on the record at Dub Narcotic Studio. He spoke with me from his home in Anacortes, Washington, about his love of being alone in the studio, evoking nature through music, and where the name The Microphones comes from. Plus a few words from Calvin Johnson, the founder of K Records. This episode is presented in conjunction with The Creators Project.

Buy "I Want Wind to Blow" on Amazon here. Phil Elverum's website is pwelverumandsun.com.

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Song Exploder № 12: Converge

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Kurt Ballou
Guests: 
Jacob Bannon

The band Converge formed in 1990, when its members were teenagers. They've been making music that lives somewhere in the intersection of punk, hardcore, and metal for almost 25 years. Guitarist Kurt Ballou spoke to me from his studio GodCity, which is where Converge writes and records. I also spoke over the phone with singer Jake Bannon. Coming up, they'll talk about how the physical space of GodCity influenced their songwriting, how the Boston hardcore scene gave them a home, and how to get the classic Swedish death metal guitar tone.

Buy "Dark Horse" on iTunes here. Converge's website is convergecult.com. They're also on Facebook and Twitter.

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Song Exploder № 11: NITE JEWEL

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Ramona Gonzalez
Guests: 
Cole MGN
"One Second of Love"

In this episode, we'll get a deconstructed view of the song One Second of Love by Nite Jewel. I spoke to Ramona Gonzalez of Nite Jewel and her partner and producer Cole MGN in their home studio in Los Angeles as they took a break from making a new record. Coming up, they'll talk about the process they undertook, including recording to tape as a creative restriction, and collaborating with their friends and each other.

Buy "One Second of Love" on iTunes here and watch the music video.

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Song Exploder № 10: Garbage

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Butch Vig
Guests: 
Shirley Manson

The band Garbage formed in 1994 when three guys from Madison Wisconsin — Butch Vig, Steve Marker, and Duke Erikson, met Scottish singer Shirley Manson. Twenty years later, they've sold over 17 million records worldwide. In this episode, we'll get a view inside their 2012 song "Felt" from the album "Not Your Kind of People." Butch Vig, who is also a legendary producer behind some of the most influential albums of all time like Nevermind by Nirvana, Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins, Dirty by Sonic Youth, and countless others, spoke to me from his home studio in Los Angeles. I also interviewed Shirley Manson separately to get her insight on how the song was made. Plus some thoughts from their longtime engineer and now co-producer Billy Bush.

Buy "Felt" on iTunes here.

footnotes:
Other songs excerpted in this episode:
Cocteau Twins - For Phoebe Still a Baby
Felt - Primitive Painters
Siouxsie and the Banshees - Drop Dead/Celebration

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Song Exploder № 9: Poliça

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Ryan Olson

Ryan Olson is a member of the band Poliça. Though he doesn't perform with them live, he put the band together, produces the songs, and co-writes them. I interviewed Ryan in his bedroom studio in Minneapolis. In this episode, he breaks down the song Smug, from their 2013 album Shulamith. He also talks about two pieces of equipment that have helped shape the sound of Poliça, and how he was introduced to one of them by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and the other by DJ Shadow.

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Song Exploder № 8: Loren Bouchard

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Show: 
Song Exploder
Guests: 
Loren Bouchard

Loren Bouchard is the creator of the animated tv comedy Bob's Burgers, a series about a family and the restaurant they own and live above, currently in its fourth season on Fox. In addition to being the co-executive producer and showrunner, Loren also composed the show's opening theme. I interviewed Loren in his office, where his desk is surrounded by musical instruments. In this episode, he talks about which ones went into the theme, and the emotions he wanted to evoke with each of them. Plus a few thoughts from cast members Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman.

footnotes and links:
Here's the original Bob's Burgers Pilot, with Loren's first version of the theme song.
Bob's Burgers website and Facebook page
Seasons 1–3 on Netflix

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