Jack of all trades, James Franco, recently added musician and music video director to his long and eclectic resume. The multi-degree pursuing actor teamed up with his Rhode Island School of Design classmate Tim O'Keefe to form the group Daddy, whose debut EP "MotorCity" dropped September 25.
The aptly-titled release takes its inspiration from the Motown music that the "127 Hours" star became enamored with while filming "Oz The Great and the Powerful" in Detroit. Lending a bit of authenticity to the record is legendary 'D-Town' native Smokey Robinson, who adds his trademark falsetto to the backing vocals on one track.
For the duo's first single "Love in the Old Days," the Academy Award-nominated actor pieced together a kaleidoscopic montage of seemingly 'Instagram-edited' photography to pair with the psychedelic pop track's nostalgic lyrics. Near the end of the video the former Oscar host splices in several stills from his own parents' wedding--cementing the track as a sort of homage to Franco's mother and late-father who passed away last October.
Hey girl, "General Hospital" actors aren't the only Hollywood heartthrobs with their own indie duos. In 2009, the "Blue Valentine" star shocked a skeptical music media with his band's eponymous debut release "Dead Man's Bones"--earning a solid Metacritic score of 76, drawing comparisons to both Arcade Fire and Bryan Ferry, and a "it's pretty damn good" review from Pitchfork Media. For the recording, the "Half Nelson" star and friend Zach Shields had to learn a few new instruments and employ the assistance of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music's children's choir. It's likely few will rush to prejudge this "Mickey Mouse Club" alum's musical chops in the future.
In 2007, frequent Wes Anderson collaborator and cousin to Nicolas Cage, Jason Schwartzman, launched his own solo music project under the moniker Coconut Records. Employing occasional accompaniment from Incubus band members Brandon Boyd and Ben Kenney, as well as actresses Zooey Deschanel and Kirsten Dunst, the one-man band's first release "Nighttiming" became a critical and commercial success--with songs landing in "Spider-Man 3," "The OC," and "Cloverfield." The "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" villain even composed the theme for his hit HBO series "Bored to Death."
Shortly after palling around with Schwartzman, the "New Girl" actress joined forces with singer/songwriter M. Ward. Performing and recording under the name She & Him, the indie duo darlings quickly became a commercial success--eventually touring both the United States and Europe and even playing large music festivals such as South by Southwest, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and All Tomorrow's Parties. Last winter, the group released their third album "A Very She & Him Christmas."
The "Requiem for a Dream" actor teamed up with his brother Shannon Leto over a decade ago to form the spacey alternative-rock band, 30 Seconds to Mars. In recent years the band has developed a fairly ardent fan base, eclipsing the actor's on-screen fame. Following the release of the group's third album "This Is War," the band toured for several years--ultimately landing in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of shows promoting a single album.
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