the Buzz for July 2013


Matt Nathanson — “Kinks Shirt”
(from Last of the Great Pretenders) —

The never-boring Nathanson gets more friskily ambitious with rhythm and percussion (read: more James Brown, less James Taylor) on his eighth career record, a lilting love letter to racing after romance in the City by the Bay. Listening to this, you just know the boy’s gonna get his heart stomped by the flaky gal in the thrift-store threads, and he’s gonna love every last second of it.


The Civil Wars — “The One That Got Away” (from The Civil Wars) —

I am entertaining out-of-town houseguests this morning and am not sure of their political persuasion, so I have decided to forgo my typical AM television fare — Morning Joe, MSNBC’s marvelous mix of news, chat, and fun — for VH1’s non-threatening block of music videos, which just brought me into close contact for the first time with the new single and video from this tortured duo, whose debut project — the blistering, brilliant Barton Hollow — burst out of the box a couple of years ago in a blaze of Grammy-winning glory. I just happened to read a newspaper article last week about how Joy Williams and John Paul White are no longer on speaking terms following their acrimonious split while in the midst of a European tour half a year ago, and rumors are flying that White’s actual participation in the completion of the Wars’ sophomore album was fairly minimal (rumors that would seem to be buttressed rather convincingly by the set’s intense, intoxicating lead single, in which White comes off as little more than a featured harmony vocalist). The video itself packs more fascinating romantic drama and yearning into three-some minutes than most films manage to fill two hours with; indeed, not since Fleetwood Mac dusted off their forgotten classic “Silver Springs” in 1997 — and put Stevie and Lindsay on stage, staring sharp daggers straight into each other’s very souls, to sing it — has a band’s rocky interpersonal dynamics (not to mention what we, the salivating audience, happen to know about same) led to such a rough, riveting musical triumph.


Sarah McLachlan — “Full of Grace” (from Surfacing) —

So, what was supposed to be an unassuming chat on my ramshackle radio show about a self-published memoir from an actress whose work I have long admired has turned into something of a blockbuster, and has given Brandon’s Buzz Radio its most listened-to week in the four-and-a-half years of its existence. In case you missed all the hoopla: the brilliant Alicia Coppola — who will forever be remembered in this household for her three-year stint as that hot-tempered hellcat Lorna Devon on NBC’s dearly departed classic soap Another World — stopped in to the Buzz last Thursday to discuss her brand new book Gracefully Gone, a compelling chronicle of her father’s ten-year battle with brain cancer which is told through interlocking entries from both his and her journals. My show’s network, BlogTalkRadio, showcased the episode as one of their “Staff Picks” all day last Saturday, and by the end of the weekend, the episode had become my most downloaded episode ever. Here we are exactly one week later, and Alicia’s episode is still the second-most popular outing in the “Books” category across the entire network. (And with over 15,000 active hosts currently populating the network’s airwaves, that stat is nothing to sneeze at, people!) If you have yet to catch this installment, you can listen to it here, or — as is the case with all ninety-three episodes of Brandon’s Buzz Radio — you can download it as a free podcast from the iTunes music store. (My beloved, A, would like me to type here a simple note of caution: Alicia and I talk about some fun stuff across the course of our hour together — like how she hungered to rummage through Linda Dano’s turbans and boas and pilfer a few for her own back in the day — but be aware that the conversation does get a bit heavy in places.) As ever, I am overwhelmed by your generosity as you continue to make the various platforms of this homemade endeavor regular stops in your daily journey along the paths of popular culture. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to entertain you, even if only for a few, fleeting moments.


Tyler Farr — “Redneck Crazy” (from Redneck Crazy [Single]) —

I don’t know if I connect with this two-hundred-seventeen seconds of craziness because it’s so funny (it’s hilarious, and made even more so by the fact that Farr plays it mostly straight) or because I share my bloodline with a fair number of folks whom I have no doubt would behave exactly like this if they found themselves trapped in a similar scenario. (Not all of said folks are male, either; regardless of chromosome placement, we Henslees aren’t exactly shy, retiring wallflowers, and thus, the women in my family tend to be a bit on the mean side.) It seems a relative certainty that Mr. Farr has done hopped the bus to One-Hit Wonderville with his ridiculous novelty smash, but it’s a frivolously fun ride nonetheless.