Music: Comedy/Spoken Word

January 13, 2011

Louis C.K., Hilarious

Hilarious During his recent interview on Marc Maron's hugely popular podcast, WTF, Doug Benson, a great comic in his own right, had this to say about Louis C.K.: "There's not a person that I love more and am more jealous of than him right now." Understand that this "jealousy" is an unadulterated sign of respect, a sentiment that is shared by the vast majority of his fellow comics. Louis C.K. is so damn good and so damn prolific, his output actually chafes his peers. Good thing his fans can never seem to get enough. His latest special, Hilarious, is exactly that. We could end the post right there. In fact, that's precisely what we're going to do. Sort of. Right after we tell you this: It's brutally honest, he works bluer than a Smurf, and it's rare for a comic to make the kind of emotional connection with his audience that Louis C.K. does. Enjoy the ride.

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January 12, 2011

Audra Mae, Warpaint, Ceci Bastida, Wess Morgan, More: “Discover—Best of 2010” (Napster Playlist)

Discover -- Best of 2010 (Napster Playlist) For all of the top hit tracks that flooded the airwaves, stadiums, and stereos in 2010, we assembled our "Napster Favorites: Top Hits of 2010" playlist (read about it here). But what about all of the lesser-known artists with just as much talent? And in genres outside of pop? Well, we thought these artists were just as deserving of a year-end wrap-up, so we put together our "Discover: Best of 2010" playlist. It covers a wide range of "unsung" heroes like Americana artists Audra Mae, Justin Townes Earle, and Dar Williams, as well as emerging underground alternative bands like Warpaint, Junip, and Black Mountain. Crossover world and Latin artists include Mala Rodriguez, Ceci Bastida, and Alex Cuba. You'll find stellar classical performaces of J.S. Bach and a groovy easy listening pick, Chopin style. Country highlights include Reckless Kelly and Mary Chapin Carpenter, while comedians Felipe Esparza and Joe DeRosa take jabs at your funnybone. And Christian music listeners can look to Marvin Sapp and Wess Morgan for lovely inspirational sounds. And there's much more, so dive on in and enjoy.

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Vampire Weekend and The Black Keys Battle for Stephen Colbert's Grammy Vote

Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig, Stephen Colbert, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach With the Grammy Awards just weeks away, members of The Recording Academy are having to make some difficult choices in deciding who will receive the coveted awards. Welcome to the dilemma of voting member Stephen Colbert. Having won the Best Comedy Album Grammy last year for A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All, he is now a voting member of the Academy, and he decided to fill out his ballot on last night's edition of The Colbert Report. After debating the Best New Artist nominees (and clearly favoring Justin Bieber), he went on to discuss his "favorite category," Best Alternative Album. Broken Bells, Band of Horses, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend and The Black Keys are the five worthy contenders, but Colbert quickly narrowed it down to just the last two. Then he brought out members of both bands for a "sell-out-off" to determine who had sold their souls more completely, with the winner getting his vote. Check out the hilarious results here.

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January 11, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Cage the Elephant, Cake, Louis CK, Steel Magnolia

Most new music comes out on Tuesdays (it's a U.S. record business tradition), and each week we cull through the mountain of new releases to bring you some of the best from across different genres. Click below, or find them in Napster's New Releases section.
 

Cage the Elephant, Thank You Happy Birthday Cage the Elephant, Thank You Happy Birthday (alternative): As a follow-up to their successful 2008 self-titled debut, the alt-rockers from Bowling Green, Kentucky release a new set produced by Jay Joyce, who was the ear behind the boards their first time out. The new album features the single "Shake Me Down."

 

Cake, Showroom of Compassion Cake, Showroom of Compassion (alternative): The latest album from these Sacramento, California alt-rock vets is their first since 2004's Pressure Chief. It features current scorcher "Sick of You" and features both acoustic piano and reverb, which singer John McCrea avoided using previously.

 

Louis CK, Hilarious Louis CK, Hilarious (comedy/spoken word): The title says it all. Louis C.K. focuses his brilliantly dark comedy on his post-divorce life as a newly-single man. Fans of the comic and his TV series, Louie, will love these bits about his kids, technology, and his general impatience with everyday life.

 

Steel Magnolia, Steel Magnolia Steel Magnolia, Steel Magnolia (country): After winning the second season of the country music competition show Can You Duet, the duo signed with Big Machine Records, joining Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Jack Ingram on the label. Their full-length debut features the bubbling single "Last Night Again."

 

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January 03, 2011

Best of 2010: Comedy (Napster Playlist)

Best of 2010 Comedy The Korean Peninsula on the brink of war, again. Oil blankets the Gulf Coast. Unemployment close to 10%. Snooki arrested, then released. Good thing our finest comedic minds were hard at work helping us laugh through 2010 even as the world tried its hardest to bum everyone out. We've collected their brainchildren in Napster's "Best of 2010: Comedy" playlist. There were some outstanding debut releases by Aziz Ansari (Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening), Anthony Jeselnik (Shakespeare) and Hannibal Buress (My Name Is Hannibal). Internet-sensation-turned-mainstream-success Bo Burnham (Words Words Words) proved he was no teenage flash in the pan. David Cross (Bigger and Blackerer), Joe Rogan (Talking Monkeys in Space) and Doug Benson (Hypocritical Oaf) flexed their muscles while kicking sand in the face of losers and haters, metaphorically, and quite possibly literally as well (you'll have to follow up with them). And beloved patron saints Lewis Black (Stark Raving Black), Greg Proops (Proops Digs In!) and Robin Williams (Weapons of Self Destruction) showed that the Tea Party doesn't have a monopoly on over-50 white males griping about the state of American society and culture (we'd pay big bucks to see any of them perform at a rally, btw). So, farewell, 2010. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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December 02, 2010

Flip Your Latkes In The Air

I Heart Hanukkah (Napster Playlist) The 2010 Festival of Lights got started this week, and while it's true that, aside from Adam Sandler, there's a dearth of big Hannukah tunes in comparison to Christmas material, there's plenty of humor in the songs that do exist. Our "I Heart Hanukkah" playlist is a lighthearted take on the holiday, and this year includes The Maccabeats' semitic spin on the big Taio Cruz hit "Dynamite" and a new Matisyahu song. Hasidic hockey fights? Who knew?

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December 01, 2010

Chime In—What’s the Best Oddball Holiday Song EVER?

A Very Special Christmas Afroman, A Colt 45 Christmas They Might Be Giants, Holidayland Alternative, raunchy, silly, or just bizarre: There are plenty of out-of-the-ordinary holiday ditties out there—which one is your favorite? The A Very Special Christmas series (Volume 1 pictured) is awesomely alternative for a couple of reasons: Not only does it help support the Special Olympics, it features unique original holiday-themed contributions from a wide range of stellar artists, including U2, Eurythmics, No Doubt, Boyz II Men, Run-D.M.C, and Carrie Underwood. Check them out—we've got Vols. 1 (pictured), 2, 3, 4 (aka Live from Washington, D.C.) 5, 6 (aka Playlist Plus), and 7 to choose from. Lean toward raunchy? Well, we've compiled two playlists that are appropriately offensive: "A Comedy Christmas" and "Hard Rock Holiday" each go places most holiday collections don't. Then there's one my personal favorite holiday records, the supremely silly Holidayland EP from cookoo-gurus They Might Be Giants. What's the oddest of the odd though? Ho ho ho, let us know!

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November 24, 2010

Cookie Monster to Host SNL?

Cookie Monster's Favorite Songs The Internet community is a very powerful fanbase to tap into—just ask Betty White. After a successful online campaign to get the veteran actress to host Saturday Night Live, another fan favorite is now seeking the same job. One of my personal childhood heroes, Sesame Street's lovable scamp the Cookie Monster, has posted his own audition tape online in hopes of securing the prestigious gig. Saying he wants to “branch out beyond me cookie-eating career,” Cookie's clip is all the proof I need. Give this monster the job! My only quibble: while a Lady GaGa-like musical-guest spots such as "Monster GaGa" would be fun, why not simply let Cookie Monster sing a few of his own hits? Who wouldn't want to hear "'C' is for Cookie" or "Goodbye Little Cookie" live from New York? Maybe he'd even top Kanye's impressive performances. Get excited by the possibilities with Sesame Street: "C" is for Cookie: Cookie's Favorite Songs and check out the audition video here.

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November 22, 2010

Many Musicians Lampooned on SNL

Miley Cyrus Miley Cyrus SNL Saturday Night Live has a long tradition of satirizing the music industry and its artists—and yeah, there's a lot to make fun of. From John Belushi channeling Joe Cocker to Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake playing the Brothers Gibb, the cast over the years has had many opportunities to show off its singing chops and impersonation skills. Last Saturday, the show was filled with musical comedy. New cast member Vanessa Bayer did a bang-up job as a mile-a-minute Miley Cyrus in "The Miley Cyrus Show" skit. The rest of the cast got in on the "Horse Play" sketch, which included jabs at Randy Newman, Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries, Alanis Morissette, Adam Lambert, Cee-Lo Green, and Robert Smith of The Cure. But the most memorable musical moment, besides the set by musical guest Florence and the Machine, was freshman cast member Jay Pharaoh's impressions of Jay-Z, Drake and Biggie rapping about Thanksgiving. Keep an eye on this kid. He's got an ear for voices and is already drawing some comparisons to SNL alum Eddie Murphy.

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November 19, 2010

Larry the Cable Guy, The Best of Larry the Cable Guy

The Best of Larry the Cable Guy We know, we know: Larry the Cable Guy is one of those comedians that you either love or hate. He's never been much of a critics' choice, and he's aware of that. In a recent interview, he was even quoted as saying, "‘Honey, have you ever seen one good review on anything I’ve ever done?" Maybe so. But man, does the guy have a following. His last album, Tailgate Party, was recorded in front of 50,000 fans, and in terms of moving records he's among the top-selling comedians of all time. The people have spoken, and Larry has listened—and given them what they want. That's why we're sure The Best of Larry the Cable Guy will make a whole heck of a lot of people happy. The set includes only eight tracks (hold your comments), but each one includes a series of bits culled from Larry's comedy albums. The Sleeveless One is currently on tour until March 2011. After all his success, you could say that Larry did in fact  "get-r-done."

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