The Oscars 2012: Of Men and Muppets

Well, the verdict is in. Everyone, the Academy included, seems to love The Artist. But during the 2012 Oscars on Sunday, room was also made for winners of a more felt-covered persuasion.

No, I’m not talking about actor Sacha Baron Cohen and his carpet-crashing turn as Admiral General Aladeen of the fictional country of Wadiya. Though the ash-dumping stunt Cohen pulled on red carpet host Ryan Seacrest was probably the highlight of the evening (at least for me), I’m referring instead to the winners of the Oscar for Best Original Song: the Muppets.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Muppets won an Oscar.

While the official name on the award belongs to musician and comedian Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame, the driving force behind the Academy’s decision was the star’s work on the 2011 movie The Muppets, notably the song “Man Or Muppet” performed by actor Jason Segel and his muppet brother Walter (voiced by Peter Lintz).

Watch the official video for “Man Or Muppet,” the 2012 Oscar winner for Best Original song here:

Unfortunately, puppet victory aside, the voting for Best Original Song was not without its drawbacks. Unlike years past, which typically saw up to five nominees vying for the coveted prize, this year’s Academy Awards saw only two nominees culled from two family-friendly pictures – The Muppets (live-action) and Rio (animated). The Golden Globe winner for Best Original Song, Madonna, wasn’t even in the running. And neither was fellow Golden Globe nominee Elton John.

However, at an industry-driven event that too often focuses on clichés and Academy-familiarity to pick its winners (hello Meryl Streep and her 17 nominations), it was still a nice touch to see the little guys (seriously Kermit is only about 19 inches tall) win one for a change.

And hey, who knows, maybe if ALF ever makes his way to the silver screen a song from his picture could make it Oscar win number two for the puppet community.

Only in Hollywood…

For more information on the film The Muppets please visit http://disney.go.com/muppets/.

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Perfect time for a “Valley Winter Song”

With recent temperatures hitting the 50 degree mark and higher in the middle of February, the current winter season in the Pioneer Valley hasn’t really felt all that, well, wintery.

However, despite many local meteorologists wringing their hands to remind us of how bad previous years have been, most New Englanders (this writer included) don’t start to feel safe from the ice and snow until at least Mother’s Day. So what better time to spend celebrating our inexplicable good fortune than by listening to a Western Mass-tinged track like “Valley Winter Song” by the power pop rockers of Fountains of Wayne.

Watch Fountains of Wayne perform a live version of “Valley Winter Song” here:

 

Is that a shout-out to the old Baystate Hotel I hear in the lyrics there? Maybe. Fountains’ guitarist and songwriter Chris Collingwood does reside in Northampton after all, and was once part of the mythic Paradise City country group The Gay Potatoes. Also, Collingwood’s songwriting partner Adam Schlesinger has been known to stop by the area on occasion, most recently playing the Iron Horse Music Hall in September with his band Ivy.

Whatever the case, with the whole month of March still to go the chance for snow and such to strike Western Mass. is far from over. But as long as we have good music like Fountains of Wayne to hold us over, we can rest easy knowing that brighter times are just around the corner.

For more information on Fountains of Wayne or to see future tour dates please visit www.fountainsofwayne.com.

And, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on YouTube and Twitter:

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Album review – Zomby “Nothing EP” – February 23, 2012

Album review – Zomby “Nothing EP” – February 23, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Feline Radio” Cat Whisker – February 23, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Feline Radio” Cat Whisker – February 23, 2012

Western Massachusetts metal band Revenge signs to Eulogy Recordings

Revenge

Revenge (Photo credit: Corrin Halford)

Well, it looks like it’s time to put another notch on the belt of the illustrious Western Massachusetts music scene.

Though popularly thought of as a hotbed for musical activity, it’s still always a joy when a band from the Pioneer Valley gains more widespread recognition by getting signed to a record label. And the latest act to join the likes of past local favorites such as Dinosaur Jr, Staind and more is none other than Springfield, Mass. metal/ hardcore group Revenge.

First forming in the birthplace of basketball in 2008, the band, which consists of members Dan McIntyre (vocals), George Barroso (guitar), Jorden Singleton (guitar), Justin Kirkland (bass) and Will Hirst (drums), was recently announced in January as the newest signing by Fort Lauderdale-based label Eulogy Recordings.

While frequently associated with its past work featuring artists like Dashboard Confessional, New Found Glory and Unearth, Eulogy is also often cited for its specialization in the genres of heavy metal, hardcore and punk – a fact that suits Revenge just fine.

In fact, the band has already finished recording its full-length Eulogy debut, Hymns of Annihilation, which is due out this spring.

Watch a short clip of Revenge performing live at Anchors Up in Haverhill, Mass. here:

Additionally, with two previous independent releases already to its credit along with stints on tour with more established acts like Death Threat and Trapped Under Ice, Revenge finally appears ready to capitalize on its own well-honed sound.

Described as, “raw, unapologetic, metallic hardcore with absolutely no remorse,” this music should ably suit old listeners and new fans alike. Plus, you don’t have to worry about bundling up. This is one dish that definitely doesn’t have to be served cold to be enjoyed.

For more information on Revenge or to see future tour dates please visit www.facebook.com/revengehc.

Plus, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on YouTube and Twitter:

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“Behind the Beat: Teenage Riot” Whirl – February 16, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Teenage Riot” Whirl – February 16, 2012

Album review – Kieran Hebden, Steve Reid, Mats Gustafsson “Live at the South Bank” – February 16, 2012

Album review – Kieran Hebden, Steve Reid, Mats Gustafsson “Live at the South Bank” –February 16, 2012