Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) Is Toe-Tapping, Jazzy Fun

Categories: Music

Courtesy of Masterworks Broadway.
Cover art for Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording).
Fabulously entertaining fans eight times a week, Bullets Over Broadway: The Musical, based on the 1994 Woody Allen film of the same name, racked up six Tony Nominations this year. The musical comedy also recently released its Original Broadway Cast Recording, featuring a score of music from the 1920s adapted by Glen Kelly, with orchestrations by Doug Besterman.

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The Doubleclicks: Their Music Is About More Than Being Nerds

Chuck Cook Photography
The Doubleclicks performing at Comicpalooza 2014

In what will likely be their only appearances in Texas this year, musician duo The Doubleclicks (aka sisters Angela Webber and Aubrey Webber) performed at Comicpalooza this past Saturday and Sunday. The duo writes and performs songs with a geeky bent. They're kind of like the female version of Paul and Storm.

Aubrey plays cello while Angela swaps back and forth between instruments as varied as an acoustic guitar and an adorable, modified B. Meowsic keyboard that makes kitty cat noises.

While their songs are ostensibly fun songs about velociraptors and annoying creeps who scream out "Freebird!", there are messages about how to treat fellow humans. For example, no one wants to pay good money for concert tickets and have their experience disrupted by a drunk, screaming idiot.

The Doubleclicks had an unexpected viral hit on their hands with a song with a more overt message. The music video for "Nothing To Prove" has become an anthem for women who participate in traditionally male-dominated interests and hobbies, such as reading science fiction, playing video games and collecting comic books. The cosplay phenomenon, amongst other things, has led misogynistic types to question whether women are "really" into such things, suggesting that these hobbies are some kind of attention-seeking behavior.

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Y Kant Kendall Read? 10 Hard-to-Pronounce Band Names

Categories: Music, Pop Culture

Honoring the Kardashian family's tradition of intellectual excellence.
I didn't watch the Billboard Music Awards last weekend, because why would I? Even so, it was hard to avoid the news about Kardashian sibling Kendall Jenner's flubbing an intro:

The 18-year-old Keeping Up with the Kardashians star botched her introduction of Australia's boy band, 5 Seconds of Summer, at the Billboard Music Awards Sunday.

As she read the teleprompter, she initially looked poised and confident, but then something went wrong. Suddenly Jenner got tongue-tied and tried to laugh off her embarrassment.

"And now we welcome, one..." she said before trailing off and bending over giggling

Jenner's been linked to One Direction's Harry Styles, which might explain her inability to tell one collective of smirking teenage dipshits from another. But reading about it, I could only breathe a sigh of relief she didn't have to introduce any of these bands.

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Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) Rests Too Heavily on Nostalgia

Categories: Music

Courtesy of Ghostlight Records.
Cover Art for Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording).
Admittedly, when I first heard about Beautiful: The Carole King Musical I wasn't thrilled. As an avid theatergoer and fan of the medium, the jukebox musical that has seemingly taken over the genre of "new" musical is growing long in the tooth, and I can't help but wonder who still wants to see these things. Regardless of my personal feelings on the jukebox musical, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical has garnered seven Tony Award nominations, six Drama Desk Award nominations, strong reviews, and it has found Broadway patrons that adore it. The positive fervor surrounding the show made it a hot property for Ghostlight Records to record; however, as I imagine the show does, I simply feel that Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) rests too heavily on the sense of nostalgia that these various hit songs generate.

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The Houston Symphony Goes to the Ball

Categories: Music

Courtesy of Houston Symphony
Whimsy and beauty

What better way to celebrate the whimsy and sprightliness of spring than with a ball? This Saturday the Houston Symphony throws a soiree complete with splendid music and first-class dance with Belle of the Ball, the last concert in its Family Series. The Belle in the title references Leroy Anderson's composition of the same name, and the golden-gowned heroine of the classic Disney film.

The concert was put together with the aim to introduce young audiences to the joy of live music. Selections will feature a diverse range of musical styles, as well as instruments from different families in order to present a rounded symphonic experience. "For me, the idea of getting into my costume and introducing families, and especially kids, to the music that I love is a thrill," explains associate conductor Robert Franz via press materials. "The Houston Symphony is best experienced live, and what better way to open up your child's world than with the sounds and sights of these incredible musicians."

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When Brilliant Met Divine: A Healthy Conversation with Bette Midler

Photo by Jonathan Pushnik
Bette Midler
She sings. She dances. She acts. She jokes. She cleans up decrepit, crumbling urban properties. She wins awards for all those things. And she also, simply, talks.

In a bit of a departure from her standard high-production fare, on April 29, Bette Midler, the aptly monikered Divine Miss M, addresses the equal-parts anticipatory/participatory audience of the Brilliant Lecture Series.

"I'm happy to be doing this event. I've been doing them for a couple of years now, I kind of enjoy them," Bette Midler remarked on her upcoming Q-and-A appearance with the series which this year has also welcomed luminaries Betty Buckley, Robert Duvall, and Diane Keaton. "I've been to Minneapolis, I went to Niagara Falls, I mean, I've been around.

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Sherie Rene Scott's All Will Be Well - The Piece of Meat Studio Sessions is Affective and Evocative

Categories: Music

Courtesy of Sh-K-Boom Records.
Cover art for Sherie Rene Scott's All Will Be Well - The Piece of Meat Studio Sessions.
Acclaimed musical theatre actress Sherie Rene Scott blew New York City audiences away when she debuted her cabaret concert Piece of Meat at 54 BELOW last year. Using songs from the show, which was about the struggle between enlightenment and animal desires, she has rearranged and reimagined the experience for her sophomore solo album titled All Will Be Well - The Piece of Meat Studio Sessions. With an album of pure ear candy, Scott brilliantly showcases her affective and evocative vocal talents.

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Houston's Own Steve Tyrell Has Done Good (Real, Real Good)

Categories: Music

Photo by Julie Soefer
Steve Tyrell
There's a noticeable Texas twang to singer/producer Steve Tyrell's speaking voice. He came by it honestly: Tyrell grew up in Houston's Fifth Ward. "I was the only white guy around for miles," he laughs. He wasn't, however, the only musician. Houston Music Hall of Famer pianist Joe Sample lived down the street and several other musicians who went on to create the Crusaders with Sample lived in the neighborhood.

Tyrell's parents were fans of Frank Sinatra, but, like his friends, he was into rhythm and blues. That changed when an already established Tyrell was asked to produce a song for the soundtrack to the 1991 comedy Father of the Bride. Tyrell sang an emotional version of "The Way You Look Tonight" and his career as the new standard bearer of the Great American Songbook was born. "That was the first standard I ever sang," Tyrell says.

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Murder for Two (Original Cast Album) Truly Puts the Laughter in Manslaughter

Categories: Music

Courtesy of Ghostlight Records.
Cover art for Murder for Two (Original Cast Album).
Murder for Two, a recent Off-Broadway gem, originally opened at Second Stage Theatre Uptown on July 25, 2013, and then transferred to New World Stages, opening there on November 6, 2013. With strong reviews, the quirky two-actor show is still running strong and is currently booking tickets through July 6, 2014. Moreover, the side-splitting cast album for the show was recently released by Ghostlight Records and has me wanting to hop a plane to New York to see this comical little one-act.

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The Voices of the Spirit IV Concert Features Gospel A Cappella Group The Soul Influence

Categories: Music

Photo by Mars Varela
The Soul Influence
The Soul Influence, one of the groups performing at the Voices of the Spirit IV concert this weekend, is a five-man African American a cappella gospel quartet. Yes, we got that right, a five-man quartet. The group sings in four part harmony, hence the description. The concert also includes performances by Pandit Suman Ghosh, performing a Hindustani music known as Mewati Gharana and a group of Venerables or nuns from the Chung Mei Buddhist Temple in Stafford chanting. Each style captures the rich history and variety of sacred music as practiced by local Houstonians.

Singer Marcus Barnum (seen above far left), a founding member of The Soul Influence , says while the music sounds different, each style has one important common element: "It's meant to express our spirituality." As an a cappella group with a sound that recalls early doo-wop, The Soul Influence's repertoire includes what's known as "The Old One Hundreds" in black congregations along with contemporary Christian songs arranged by Barnum and other group members. "When we're arranging we challenge ourselves, how can we make this sound as orchestrated as we possibly can? We demand a lot of our voices, a lot of power and integrity. We try to not get too complicated to the ear and really stick to the power of our voices."

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