August 31, 2006

DeVotchKa & the music of Little Miss Sunshine

I recently got to see Little Miss Sunshine at its opening screening here in Colorado Springs, and I was pleased as punch with the quirky, bright, eclectic music throughout, provided mainly by DeVotchKa and Sufjan Stevens. I was even more pleased (and instantly knew I would have to write something about this) when our local paper The Gazette ran an article about DeVotchKa’s Colorado heritage. It spurred me to take a closer listen to the so-called “indie rock with a circus-polkacabaret-Eastern-European spin” featured in the film.

For a movie like this, you are looking for music exactly like DeVotchKa: it has to be jangly and a little weird, not afraid of experimentation but catchy & likeable — just like the characters in the movie. Music producers for the film heard DeVotchKa on Los Angeles radio and sought out the Denver band, who ultimately ended up writing the bulk of the film’s soundtrack alongside composer Mychael Danna.


Til The End Of Time – DeVotchKa

No Man’s Land – Sufjan Stevens

**Buy the soundtrack here

As for the film itself, on the surface Little Miss Sunshine is a humorous look at a quirky family road trip (kind of like a very dysfunctional Partridge Family with less singing and more porn?). While there are wildly funny parts, and it is being billed as a comedy, there are also interactions and lines of dialogue which cut a lot deeper than that. In keeping with the #1 rule of moviemaking, the road trip is never just a road trip, but instead a path to some sort of redemption for each character involved. Overall it was a satisfyingly idiosyncratic flick that fosters some deeper thinking as well (topics like parenting, failure, unreturned affections, self-image, child beauty pageants, all that good stuff).

BONUS: One other reason why I love Steve Carell (who shines in this movie): Watch as he interviews himself about the filming of Little Miss Sunshine, with great background music of “Walkin’ On Sunshine” and The Flaming Lips:

(This just reminds me how I can’t wait for The Office to return.)

“But it was okay, because it was a dry heat?”

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  • Have you seen the original “Office”. Comic genius in my humble opinion.

    Matt — August 31, 2006 @ 11:53 am

  • The BBC version of the office was indeed superb, and if you watch the only two seasons you MUST watch the two-part Christmas special as well. Many subplots revealed.

    bryce — August 31, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

  • yeah, guess what? I’m back and bloggin’.
    -Dance Hall Hipsq

    Dance Hall Hips — August 31, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  • Being from Denver, was wondering when you were going to give your local guys props. Devotchka is got a pretty devout following down here in Phoenix. So I guess just the closing track in the film is new. All other tracks can be found on previous Devotchka records and if they come to a town near you, do not miss them live!

    Kevin — August 31, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

  • We saw that movie last weekend…absolutely loved it.

    Great Carrell clip too – I hadn’t seen that! :)

    Chad — September 1, 2006 @ 1:11 am

  • Don’t tell me you’ve just now discovered the DeVotchKa? They’re an amazing band that demands to be seen live. From the lead singer’s incredible range to the fancy accordion to the bass player who plays a tuba (!), you can’t go wrong. It’s really not to be missed. Do it. There’s still time!

    Dainon — September 1, 2006 @ 10:45 am

  • wonderful movie and wonderful music indeed! I am new to Devotchka as well, but I think I have to take a closer look at them!

    Here’s my thoughts about Little Miss Sunshine if you like to know:


    btw.: The Office is just brilliant (don’t know about the American one, but the British kicks ass!)

    Chris — September 5, 2006 @ 7:30 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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