Herald spillover: Read this interview at LIGHTSpeed

Oh, puns.

At first listen, Toronto-based crooner LIGHTS didn’t turn me on. Her debut album, The Listening, reminded me more than anything of the saccharine sludge at the bottom of a weak and poorly-stirred cup of coffee. Think breathless Zooey Deschanel laid over Owl City’s insipid beats.

Her sophomore effort, Siberia, released Oct. 4, is something else entirely. The record, featuring Vancouver hip hop artist Shad and electrofunk outfit Holy Fuck, is lyrically adventurous and more raw than her radio-ready premiere.

Lights, née Valerie Poxleitner, was born in Timmins, Ontario, the daughter of missionaries. BlogDH read spoke with the Juno Award-winner about touring, comic books and her beloved keytar, Russell.

LIGHTS plays at The Met Jan 29th (tickets here).

BlogDailyHerald: So you used to be in a metal band. Tell me more!
Lights: The metal band is really funny because it was when I was 17 or 18 and I didn’t sing or anything — I just played guitar. I was playing around in a bunch of different bands … the metal band was called Shovelface.

BDH: Can I find Shovelface’s music online?
L: Thankfully, no. It was on the cusp of anything other than dial-up. Continue Reading

Herald Preview: Andrew Rose Gregory of “Auto-Tune the News”

Hide your kids, hide your wife.

Andrew Rose Gregory is perhaps best known as being one-fourth of the polycephalic pop culture cyborg that is the Gregory Brothers — the family behind Auto-Tune the News, the Double Rainbow Song and the Bed Intruder Song. In short, after Dick Cheney and Keanu Reeves, he’s one of the last people you’d expect to have a (semi-) secret career as a navel-gazing singer-songwriter.

But he does. His newest effort, “Song of Songs,” is a contemporary take on the Old Testament’s song of songs of Solomon. The album, which features the voice of sister-in-law Sarah Gregory, The Color Red Band and input from Sufjan Stevens, is a many-layered, pastoral breath of blue-eyed soul without a hint of irony.

Gregory will play at the Graduate Lounge Saturday, Nov. 12 at 9:30 p.m. The Herald spoke with him about the television pilot he’s filming for Comedy Central, Katie Couric and harpsichords.

So what’s the story behind Auto-Tune the News?
All four of us we for a long time had wanted to be able to watch the news but we found that whenever we did it we’d fall asleep, it was so boring. So we realized if we were able to dance while we were watching the news, we wouldn’t fall asleep … If we added a baseline and a beat and a poppin’ Dr. Luke melody we wouldn’t fall asleep. I mean, I’ve never heard of anyone fall asleep while they were dancing. And it worked! Evan and Michael [Gregory] have degrees in music theory so they do a lot of stuff on the music end … we try to incorporate a lot of complex, interesting musical elements into the videos.  Continue Reading

Herald spillover (or as BlogDH would call it: Alums who do cool things): Gabriel Kahane ’03

In the Brown Daily Herald Media Empire, the people are informed by two separate, yet equally important groups (and Post-): the paper, which you grab from the Ratty and the Blog, which you read on your laptop during lectures. Occasionally, a story will be too big and awesome to completely fit into the pages of the Herald, so we’re here to pick it up.  This is their spillover.  DUN DUN!

Gabriel Kahane’s ’03 music is like the love child of Arnold Schoenberg, Andrew Bird, Elliot Smith and Steven Sondheim if that child were raised by drunken Russian crystallographers on a maritime kick. In short: his music is very, very good. Also, he looks like a friendly elf. Best of all: people are noticing. The 31 year-old has been written up in the New York Times more times than I, a humanities concentrator, can count; Pitchfork says fewer bad things him than they do about almost anyone except Kanye West; he was recently named a composer-in-residence of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; he’s collaborated with Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright, among others and he’s currently writing a musical for the renowned Public Theater. Here are some of the choicest things he said to me — including a recipe for braised pork shoulder ragu — after his concert at Grant Recital Hall last Thursday. Continue Reading