Tag Archives: the National

Ep. #127: “Weird Al” Yankovic

“Weird Al” Yankovic is the most successful, astute, and wickedly funny song parodist of our time. On his latest album Mandatory Fun, Yankovic performs his usual balance of style parodies and send ups of big singles, which, in this case includes songs by Robin Thicke, Lorde, Iggy Azalea, Imagine Dragons and Pharrell Williams, replacing their content with lyrics about bad grammar, aluminium foil, DIY home repair, and being a douchebag. A couple of months ago, Al agreed to answer Exclaim! Magazine’s Questionnaire. Here, he ponders what he’s up to, watermelon, living in the house he owns, the work of Mark Ryden, playing Bonnaroo, the glorious highs of Mandatory Fun and the traumatic low of opening for Missing Persons, being told he sucks, LeBron James, having good handwriting, his idea of a perfect sundae, his idea of a perfect Sunday, being amazingly advisable, Canadians know comedy, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and never having met Elton John, being an accordion repo man, spoiling yourself, vocational dreams, spiders in your mouth, vegan police, hat manners, meeting Linda McCartney, wives and Indian food, supportive parents, “Back in Black” by AC/DC at your funeral, what songs and styles he parodies on his new album, the dictatorial flavour of Mandatory Fun, his future album-making plans, Robin Thicke, grammar, Prince might be loosening up, spoofing Arcade Fire or the National, writing parodies when the mood strikes, writing books for kids and a Broadway musical, making a movie, the song “Now That’s What I Call Polka!,” and then our mandatory fun was over.

Related links: weirdal.com exclaim.ca/Features/Questionnaire/weird_al_yankovic vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #111: Hamilton Leithauser

Hamilton Leithauser is a very talented singer and songwriter who is best known for fronting the acclaimed New York City band, the Walkmen. Last year, the Walkmen announced they’d be taking an extended hiatus after releasing a string of wonderful albums. Before long, members of the band began releasing solo material, including Leithauser. His new album is the startling and wondrous Black Hours, a timeless star-studded pop affair that was released on June 3 via Ribbon Music, and has prompted him to tour including a stop at Hamilton, Ontario’s Supercrawl this September. Here, Hamilton and I discuss NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, that time I saw the Walkmen play one of their last shows together in Halifax this past October, knocking a tooth out on a microphone, when work on Black Hours first began, why he made a record under his own name, who helped make this album a star-studded affair, the relationship between the conception of this solo record and the end of the Walkmen and why the band is taking a break, Frank Sinatra records, songwriting reversal, a nightclub, night time tone within the phrase “black hours,” Danzig, Self-Pity, growing up in Washington D.C. and seeing Minor Threat, Nation of Ulysses, Fugazi, and other Dischord Records bands, playing punk, working as a studio assistant at Inner Ear studios while Fugazi was recording Red Medicine, not making it into Instrument, being young and apolitical, loving the Make-Up and Ian Svenonius, the Cramps and the Modern Lovers, lead singers versus bands, Chain and the Gang, being in a band or being on your own, not sounding like the Walkmen, the new record’s weird storyline, the bizarre circumstance of the Walkmen’s “extreme hiatus,” trying new things but the Walkmen will likely be back, it’s fun to play, there are already new songs written but there was some writer’s block, working well with others, playing “Mr November” with the National, Hamilton playing Hamilton, Ontario, the song “The Silent Orchestra,” and then Hamilton out.

Related links: hamiltonleithauser.com vishkhanna.com

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