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Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Neko Case and Thao Nguyen

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Neko Case
Guests: 
Thao Nguyen

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Photo credit: Katie Stratton/Getty Images

Neko Case on loss and self determination

It's hard to imagine that Neko Case wasn't always a singer. She started as a drummer in punk bands, swept up in the excitement of the Pacific Northwest music scene in the mid 90's. For the past two decades, she's been producing exceptional music as a solo artist as well as a collaborator with the indie-rock band, The New Pornographers.

Neko Case sat down with Jesse, and told us why she has trouble listening to her own music if she's not playing it live, and how the loss of her parents shaped her creative work.

When she spoke with Bullseye in 2016 she had just released "Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule" a vinyl box set featuring all her solo work. You'll have a new album by Neko Case to add you collection very soon. "Hell-On" will be her first solo album in five years, and it drops on June 1st.

She's hitting the road this summer. You can check out her tour dates here.

Click here to listen to this interview on YouTube!


Photo: Mike Windle / Getty Images

Thao Nguyen on 80s Pop Music, Collaboration and Familial Estrangement

Thao Nguyen's career in music began in her mother's laundromat. She spent her teens counting change for customers and writing songs whenever she had the chance. Her musical influences include country, folk and hip-hop, and her music is incredibly personal and raw - take, for example, "A Man Alive." It was her most recent album as the front woman of the band Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.

It takes its inspiration from Thao's complicated relationship with her father. Their estrangement began when Thao was first beginning to write music in that laundromat. The music comes from a dark place in her life, but still manages to feel vibrant and full of wonder.

When she sat down with Jesse in 2016 she talked about the importance of her collaboration with producer Merrill Garbus in the making of that album, the diversity of her early musical influences and her struggle to fit in while growing up as a Vietnamese-American.

She'll be embarking on a big tour alongside Neko Case. Check out the tour dates here.

Click here to listen to this interview on YouTube!

The Outshot: Black Sabbath’s Paranoid

Perhaps you haven't listened to Black Sabbath in a long time. This week, Jesse talks about the emotional depth found in Sabbath's 1970 album, "Paranoid" and why it's worth another listen.

Click here to listen to this segment on YouTube!

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Elvis Mitchell, Kevin Barnes, and My Brother, My Brother and Me

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Elvis Mitchell
Guests: 
Kevin Barnes
Guests: 
Alex Zalben
Guests: 
Brian Heater
Guests: 
Travis McElroy
Guests: 
Griffin McElroy
Guests: 
Justin McElroy


Comic Books with Alex Zalben and Brian Heater

Our comic book experts return with new graphic bounty! Alex Zalben recommends the new series Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt, who spins a tale of a plane crash, memory loss and psychic spies. The second issue in the series is out now. Brian Heater suggests you check out Angelman by Nicholas Mahler, which is a story of a man who has superpowers that might be milder or meeker than those of most heroes -- fighting figurative fire with qualities like being a "good listener".

You can find Alex Zalben writing for MTV Geek or co-hosting NYC's Comic Book Club Live. Brian Heater is a journalist and the Editor-In-Chief of The Daily Crosshatch, which highlights alternative comics.

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Elvis Mitchell, Film Critic

Elvis Mitchell is a critic who's brought his insights on film to the pages of the New York Times and the L.A. Weekly; he's also interviewed scores of film industry writers, actors and directors over fifteen years of hosting the LA-based public radio show The Treatment. He's even ventured into filmmaking himself, producing a series of documentaries about race and success called The Black List.

But while he's been in the business of film criticism a long time, his manner or tastes can't be called conventional. Mitchell talks about his wide-ranging cultural appetite (which has room for well-executed films like Pootie Tang), the interplay between television and film, and how he got into the business of analyzing pop culture.

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Pop Culture Advice from My Brother, My Brother and Me

The brothers McElroy -- Travis, Griffin and Justin -- are in the business of giving advice, though they don't suggest you take it. This week, they answer listeners' queries about the collision of pop culture and personal relationships. The McElroy brothers host a weekly podcast called My Brother, My Brother, and Me.

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of Montreal Frontman Kevin Barnes

Kevin Barnes founded the experimental pop group of Montreal over fifteen years ago, and the band's sound has morphed as often as (and alongside) Barnes' various stage personae and personal ups and downs. Of Montreal's original twee pop sensibility gave way to new sounds and increasingly complicated arrangements over the years, as the band experimented with electronic, R&B, funk, disco and psychedelic music within a pop framework.

Barnes discusses why he writes so much of the band's music on his own, the theatricality of the band's live performances (from elaborate costumes and skits, to a live horse), and more.

The band's latest release, Paralytic Stalks, is out now.

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The Outshot: The Late Show with David Letterman

Jesse explains what makes David Letterman such an especially gifted late night host in a world of very good late night hosts.

Got a cultural gem of your own? Pick your own Outshot on the MaxFun Forum.>

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John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Photo cred: D.L. Anderson
Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
John Darnielle

John Darnielle began making music as the frontman of indie rock band The Mountain Goats in 1991. The band has since gained a cult following, and Darnielle has been hailed for his eloquent songwriting as one of indie rock's greatest lyricists. The Mountain Goats' newest release is All Eternals Deck, and you can see them on tour in the US and Europe this spring.

JESSE THORN: It's The Sound of Young America, I'm Jesse Thorn. My guest, John Darnielle, is both a member of and pretty much all of the band The Mountain Goats. For 20 years now he's been writing and recording intimate songs that are intimate in unusual ways for a singer/songwriter. Often written in the third person; often taking a form that's as much of a short story as a confessional. His dozens of albums have earned him a rabid following. His latest record is called All Eternals Deck. Let's hear a little bit of a song from that album, this is For Charles Bronson.

John Darnielle, welcome to The Sound of Young America.

JOHN DARNIELLE: Thank you so much.

Click here for a full transcript of this interview.

St. Vincent, Singer-Songwriter: Interview on The Sound of Young America

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
St. Vincent

The Sound of Young America was in Alberta, Canada for the Calgary Folk Music Festival, four days of performances and workshops from folk, indie, rock, country, and blues musicians.

The singer-songwriter Annie Clark, performing as St. Vincent, sat down with us before performing at the festival. She got her start playing guitar for The Polyphonic Spree and in Sufjan Stevens' touring band, then struck out on her own, playing almost every instrument on her debut album, Marry Me. In 2008, Clark won the PLUG Independent Music award for Female Artist of the Year.

Clark's most recent album, Actor, is a striking blend of beautiful vocals, orchestration, and distorted guitar.