Today, Chris is gonna let you know about Coconut Records. I’d tell you more, but that’s what he’s doing. Bam.
On the docket tonight is Coconut Records, a solo indie-pop act better known by his real name, Jason Schwartzman. He’s in a bunch of hipster movies. He’s also a previous member of the band Phantom Planet. He probably does a bunch of other stuff too; I assume most of it involves v-necks and clove cigarettes.
Coconut Records currently has two albums out, Nighttiming (2007) and Davy (2009), both of which were released on Schwartzman’s label Young Baby Records. Apparently the man likes coconuts, babies, and records. Unfortunately, I’ve only listened to his first album, so tonight’s assessment may be a little dated. But whatever.
Nighttiming was originally released as a digital download in 2007, with Jason writing all the songs and playing most of the instruments. Tunes from this album have been featured on The O.C., Spider-Man 3, Cloverfield, Funny People, and ads for Dentyne gum, so he’s seen some buzz. I guess the being a famous actor part helps too.
He’s not the only famous actor who makes an appearance. Kirsten Dunst, Zooey Deschanel, and his own brother Robert Schwartzman (lead singer of Rooney) all provide vocals on this release, not to mention musical contributions from members of Incubus. Anyway, as interesting as the facts are, my opinions are far more riveting and provocative, so here you go, but keep in mind that I’m half-assing it tonight.
Track 1: “This Old Machine”
Kirsten Dunst has some vox on this one. Her voice reminds me a little bit of Nicole Kidman’s in Moulin Rouge. The song is okay, nothing makes it stand out. 3
Track 2: “West Coast”
This song can be heard in both The O.C. and Cloverfield. “West Coast” does a much better job at sounding like a real band performs it than his other songs do. I dig the full sound and solid vocals. 4
Track 3: “Back To You”
This is one of my favorites on the album. There’s more of a rock feel to this one. His vocals aren’t very impressive, so the more/louder instruments, the better. It works in his favor for some songs, though, and this is one of them. The track fades out into him playing ukulele and singing, not sure why, kinda cool though. 4½
Track 4: “Summer Day”
This is another popular song of his, landing a spot on the Spider-Man 3 OST and being featured in a commercial. Kirsten Dunst shows up again for the chorus on this one. It’s way catchier than her other appearance, but still nothing special. 3½
Track 5: “Nighttiming”
Ah, the title track, always a contender. Another actual rock song (those are clearly his best), this song is reminiscent of his brother’s band Rooney – which is a good thing. Definitely one of the premier tracks for this release. 4
Track 6: “Minding My Own Business”
Another strong, catchy song, pretty simple lyrics keep it fun to listen to. I like the percussion a lot too. 4
Track 7: “Slowly”
Zooey Deschanel pops in for this one – I can’t really hear her, but I don’t know how Wiki could ever lie. It’s slow (accurate title ftw) and acoustic, pretty repetitive after awhile. Then it stops and some silly piano based bit starts, once again, not sure why, but whatever. 3½
Track 8: “Mama”
This one is also acoustic, but much more raw. There are accompanying female vocals, so I think this is the track Ms. Deschanel is on. Unimpressive song, though. 3½
Track 9: “The Thanks I Get”
I like this number, even though it’s a little annoying and repetitive. I think he might have been going for that. Maybe. I don’t know. 3½
Track 10: “It’s Not You It’s Me”
Starts out slow, throws in some dank organ, then a few guitar chords. Good, but ordinary. Ill guitar solo though, and I think Kirsten has some more vocals on this one too. 3½
Track 11: “Easy Girl”
This ditty is more romantic than the title leads on. It’s another simple song, but happy and lively. Decent singing. 4
Track 12: “Ask Her To Dance”
Zooey does some more singing on this one. Interesting tune, slow and simple, average indie song. Poor way to end the album, however. 3½
All in all, it’s a solid album worth listening to. It isn’t spectacular by any means, but there are several songs that stand out above the rest as radio-friendly rock. I definitely plan to inspect Davy, which was released this past January, very soon. I might even follow it up with an article. Also, I might not, so don’t hold your breath.
Overall: 3.5 / 5