Monday, September 24, 2007

Ear on TV: Week of Sept. 24

Folk music has always gone through cycles and mutations, and this week sees the release of three of the best of what is being called 'new folk.' Iron & Wine, Devendra Banhart and Jose Gonzalez all have new albums hitting the shelves tomorrow, and both Banhart and Gonzalez make appearances on Conan (Wednesday for the former, Friday for the latter).

Gonzalez, Swedish born and of Argentinian descent, is the quiet one, performing his hushed ballads on expertly handled classical guitar. His prior release (2003's Veneer,) rose in awareness a couple years ago through it's use on television, first with a Sony ad (featuring his brilliant The Knife cover of "Heartbeats,") and then on shows like The O.C. ("Crosses") and Friday Night Lights ("Storm"). His latest album (In Our Nature,) features more of the same quiet Nick Drake like acoustic sketches and we're sure to hear a few on this coming television season, namely Gonzalez' acoustic interpretation of the theme song to House (Massive Attack's "Teardrop").

Both Gonzalez and Banhart have South American ties (Banhart grew up, in part, in Caracas Venezuala) and are influenced by Brazilian bossa nova, but the similarities pretty much end there. While Gonzalez is often shy in his delivery, Devendra Banhart is certainly anything but. The gregarious singer dons make-up and elaborate clothes looking more like a gypsy troubadour then a traditional folk artist. His latest album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, plays genre hopscotch, hitting bossa nova, reggae and even Jewish doo-wop building upon a folk base. It's 16 songs clocking in at 66 minutes, but live it's one and done on Conan Wednesday night.

Not to be forgotten, this coming Saturday is also the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, and for Kanye West is just the man for the task. It's considered an honor to be the musical guest on premiere night, so you can't say he hasn't won nuttin'.

Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, September 24
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Kanye West (REPEAT)
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Will.I.Am
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Rilo Kiley
Tuesday, September 25
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Sea Wolf
Wednesday, September 26
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Will.I.Am
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: The National
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Bright Eyes
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Devendra Banhart
NICK: Yo Gabba Gabba: Nikki Flores
Thursday, September 27
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Cary Brothers
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Raúl Midón
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Björk
SUNDANCE: Live From Abbey Road: Shawn Colvin, Ray LaMontagne, The Zutons (REPEAT)
SYNDICATION: Live With Regis and Kelly: Tony Bennett
Friday, September 28
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Raúl Midón
IFC: The Henry Rollins Show: The Mars Volta
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Jose Gonzalez
Saturday, September 29
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Kanye West

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Anonymous said...

Gonzalez also covers Bronski Beat's Smalltown Boy this time around. It's not on the album, but it is available as a single on iTunes.

Shawn Anderson said...

Yeah, the Down the Line single (also available on Rhapsody.)

Bumpershine said...

Rhapsody, of course. By the way, did you see The Family Guy Star Wars parody last night? I bet that was water cooler talk today.

Shawn Anderson said...

Yeah, that got forwarded around late last week from this gizmodo post. I've only seen the youtub'd clip from that. We're already up to RealPlayer11 now, Seth! ;)