Court Yard Hounds and Flying Nuns

One of my favorite things is a well-placed song within a film soundtrack. It’s always nice to discover a new track like the David Karsten Daniels cut, “That Knot Unties?”, used brilliantly at the end of the first season of The United States of Tara.

A great pairing can illuminate a song or elevate a film even further. Take for instance the amusing and carefully choreographed use of Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” in the film, 500 Days of Summer.

But one of my all-time favorite song cameos comes courtesy of A Silver Mt. Zion and their song, “13 Angels Standing Guard ’Round the Side of Your Bed.” When I first heard this incredibly moving piece, it sounded singularly cinematic. It finally surfaced, some odd eight years later. Leave it to director Harmony Korine to vibe on its magnificence and find the perfect placement for it within a film: naturally as the background to nuns skydiving while doing BMX bike tricks in the air. I know, I know. But trust me. It’s a beautiful image set to a beautiful song.

(The visually arresting film is called Mister Lonely, and it follows a Michael Jackson impersonator played by Diego Luna, who hooks up with a misfit island’s worth of fellow impersonators in Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Abraham Lincoln. What? It could happen. Oh, and Carrie Bradshaw finally marrying Big was so much more believable?)

Speaking of perfect unions ... out this week, the debut record from the Court Yard Hounds. Name mean anything to you? How about Dixie Chicks? Better? Well, the Court Yard Hounds are actually two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks, sisters Martie Maguire and Emilie Robison, to be exact.

The Dixie Chicks took a break in 2008, and by the time Martie and Emilie were geared up to cut another record, third Chick Natalie Maines informed them she wasn’t quite ready yet. So the remaining duo kept writing anyway. On their initial Hounds bow, they demonstrate what distinctive and crowd-pleasing professionals they truly are.

I saw them put on a hella good show at Antone’s at this past South By Southwest. I’d heard they were quite a bit nervous about some of their first gigs and the gradual unveiling of this new entity, but none of that turned out to be apparent. They came to impress as they blazed through a set of material that included Jakob Dylan dueting on one new song and a cover of a vintage Rod Stewart ditty. Very nice. Their Courtly debut is out May 5.

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