Saturday, 25 December 2010

Music: The Weepies and Folk pop --Sound of the 00s Soundtrack.

Folk-pop music duo The Weepies aren't exactly a household name yet, and their Oct-Nov tour was the first since 2006, but the cute couple have been providing the soundtracks to popular US television shows for the past four years.

The duo Deb Talan and Steve Tannen have scored over a hundred TV and film placements in Scrubs, One Tree Hill, Greys Anatomy, Gossip Girl, Brothers and Sisters, Life Unexpected, Ghost Whisperer, Smallville and sat out of the spotlight raising their new child. As Steve says, "the radio doesn't really pick up bands like us instead we get to go out into the world through TV. "

While the internet became the marketing platform for radio and chart rejectees, harnessing digital downloads in the 90s, a better marketing platform has emerged. TV and film are providing the space for indie debutants and niche acts to promote themselves inside the most popular TV shows. It also presents a less time consuming way for music fans to discover new bands.

One Tree Hill and Scrubs both released extensive soundtracks showcasing a huge variety of popular and indie music,significantly a lot of folk pop, following in the steps of folk-pop saturated teen show Dawson's Creek in the 90s. The Weepies blend of Lilith-Fair, radio-pop and coffeehouse -folk proves perfect easy listening for those oh so many gushy moments.

While their heart tingling folk harmonies draw likeness to Band of Horses, its their crystal clear pop sound that makes them truly unique, giving them mass audience potential and the approval of US TV producers. Being the sound of sentiment will suit The Weepies, whose name the duo said in a recent interview evokes the "weepy" movies of the 1930s era. The two are also "crazy movie fans".

The radio chugs out rnb and pop; film and television have become the musical innovators of the 00s.
Instrumental soundtracks have never sold well. The top ten best selling based on the billboards are all song driven affairs: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard,mega hit soundtrack Titanic-driven by Celine Dion, or Disney's The Lion King. Christmas 2010 and Glee has two places in the top ten, with the Tron soundtrack by hot French export Daft Punk also reaching top 10.

Glee represents the ultimate in soundtrack chart potential by releasing their songs to I-tunes each week, and tapping digital downloads. Danny Boyle's colaboration with Underworld is instrumental for a group who were at their commercial zenith in the mid 90s. Boyle also lifted M.IA from underground act to commercial mainstream success teaming her with two time academy award winner A R Rahman. The single "Paper Planes" from Slumdog Millionaire became a mega hit.

This year's Oscar for best soundtrack category is one of the closest in living memory. A R Rahman's soundtrack to Boyle film 127 hours is up against Hans Zimmer's Inception score and Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nail's score for The Social Network.

A death bell is being struck to veteran film composers who have provided the iconic film soundtracks through the 80s and 90s. Indie bands are being preferred over orchestral film composers for their greater musical versatility. Grizzly Bear is the greatest indie band come cinematic find this year scoring The Blue Valentine.
To survive on top in today's more complex film market you must be able to genre bend like India's proud export Rahman who mixes his western classical training with a trademark southern Indian influence, while negotiating the latest in electro pop and rap.

Commercials are equally bold in using innovative music. in 2010 plenty of adverts showcase debutantes and unreleased tracks with many folk pop entries in 2008-10. Folk band Jil is Lucky, is used on the Flower by Kenzo advert featuring their unreleased single "Wanderer". Its great marketing for a band who will release their first album early 2011.
The Weepies are one of those made in America band stories with a huge American folk fan-base. Hopefully television will get spread their popularity the other side of the Atlantic. Particularly if they are willing to produce a more epic sound compared with their whimsical, understated material, more film placements could roll in.

The Weepie's track Save Danger from new album Be My Thrill was featured in the Harison Ford/Diane Keaten picture Morning Glory (Nov 2010). Be My Thrill is their 4th album and debuted at 34 on the US top 200 billboard and top 10 US Digital albums. The band completed their first US tour in 4 years this November. Keep up with them at their official site

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