Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Tuesday Reviewsday: Beck, Serengeti, Jon Brion and more

by Take Two®

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Musician Beck performs onstage at the WE HATE HURRICANES Comedy Benefit For AmeriCares at Club Nokia on December 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for AmeriCares

Beck is back! The artist recently released a new single, which is a pretty big musical departure from what he's done before. Jon Brion also has new music that he composed for a Pixar short called "The Blue Umbrella." He's better known for his work with Fiona Apple, Kanye West and the "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" soundtrack.

We chat with Chris Martins from Spin Magazine and Shirley Halperin from The Hollywood Reporter about these releases and more on Tuesday Reviewsday.

Shirley's Picks

Artist: Beck 
Release: Out now
Song: "Defriended" (single)

"With the exception of his song reader experiment, a book of sheet music that you literally had to play along to in order to hear what it sounded like, It’s been five years since we got new music from one of L.A.’s most revered and respected local artists, but he’s gearing up for a big return – two albums, one acoustic, one – not. Neither of which will feature this song.

"No, Beck navigates the road less traveled yet again in this standalone single, blending a folksy, acoustic feel with heavy electronic hues that feels a little animal collective-y. Whether the song has a social media subtext is not entirely clear (chorus refrain: “Why are you so unavailable?”), a 14-minute remix available on iTunes should give you plenty of time to ponder. Out now." -- Shirley Halperin

Artist: Courtyard Hounds
Release: July 16
Song: "Amelita"

"The Courtyard Hounds are 2/3rds of the Dixie Chicks — sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire – who, like their third member Natalie Maines, are venturing out on their own. Natalie’s album Mother came out on May 7 and was received very positively by critics and radio. And here we are just two months later with another Chicks offshoot, this one more upbeat. 

"The first single, “Amelita,” has a breezy tex-mex feeling about it with a hint of Sheryl Crow as it rumbles along. The rest of the album isn’t as line dance-ready, but you could see this being a big encore number – maybe even for the future Chicks are back tour. And I hate to say it, but Natalie would sound great on this song. Album of the same name out July 16" -- Shirley Halperin

Artist:  Jon Brion
Release: July 9
Song: "The Umbrella Suite"

"This incredibly sweet suite is the score to the Pixar short “The Blue Umbrella,” which served as the opening act to the animated feature “Monsters University.” Composed by Jon Brion, who’s best known for his work with Fiona Apple, Kanye West “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Punch Drunk Love,” it's the soundtrack to a six-minute film about two umbrellas who fall in love, are separated by inclement weather, and find their way back to each other. The music features vocals by singer/songwriter Sarah Jaffe that are equally sugary. Considering the weather out here, well, maybe if we all listen enough, we can make it rain." -- Shirley Halperin

Chris's Picks

Artist: Serengeti
Album: Kenny Dennis LP
Song: "Crush 'Em"

Artist: Rose Windows
Album: The Sun Dogs
Song: "Wartime Lovers" 

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