Becoming Fluent in the Musical Language of Billions
by Al Shipley | Complex | May 3, 2020
At a time when TV prestige dramas often have 90-second opening credits with an epic theme song and lavish visuals, Billions on Showtime has an unusually short and simple title sequence: an ominous aerial view of Manhattan, soundtracked by a queasy low electronic pulse, in and out in about 15 seconds. The show’s score and theme music is by Eskmo, an electronic producer associated with labels like Ninja Tune and Warp Records, who puts moody, unobtrusive beds of sound under the dialogue-heavy show about powerful hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod, his company Axe Capital, and the public officials trying to catch them breaking the law. But Billions, which returns with the Season 5 premiere on May 3, has gotten increasingly flashy with its nods to music since the Season 2 scene that featured a lengthy discussion of Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett’s creative chemistry in Wilco.
Increasingly, Billions has been rife with moments where music didn’t just provide an emotional backdrop but memorable dialogue. “Dollar” Bill Stern (Kelly AuCoin) belted out the opening verse of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” when Axe Capital hatched a plan involving “the chicken man” who sets prices in the poultry industry. Politician Chuck Rhodes (Paul Giamatti) air drummed to Al Green and offered a critical breakdown of 1977’s The Belle Album. And when Attorney General Waylon Jeffcoat (Clancy Brown) tried to intimidate Rhodes’s corrupt father into a confession, he said that he has a witness “singin’ like Hank Williams the elder, tellin’ us all about your cheatin’ heart.”
Continue reading Billions & Bangers: Showtime’s High Finance Drama is a Stealth Love Letter to Music – May 3, 2020
MVP Fan Book
by Gingersnap | Fan Fun with Damian Lewis | June 5, 2019
Welcome back to our ‘Billions MVP Fanbook,’ a compilation post commemorating all those in honor of achievement for the utmost brazen, uber shameless, ultra scheming, unmatched bad asses to date – from sports references, music, and tasty food to pop culture remarks, shocking twists and ultimate paybacks.
In case you missed our previous awards, you can catch up with season four episode one, episode two, episode three, episode four, episode five, episode six, episode seven ,and episode eight, episode nine. and episode ten. Now, let us continue with that tradition as we award our Most Valuable Players (MVPs) this week.
Here are our Billions awards for Season 4, Episode 11, “Lamster.”
Continue reading The Unbeatable, Unstoppable, Unparalleled MVPs from Billions Season 4 Episode 11 – June 5, 2019
BBC’s Classic Documentary Now Available for Streaming
by Anton Spice | The Vinyl Factory Limited | August 21, 2017
Island Records is touted as “the most diverse and influential independent record label in history” and arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music.
Damian narrated BBC’s documentary Keep on Running: 50 Years Of Island Records in May, 2009 to coincide with the label’s 50th anniversary and concert. The BBC’s feature-length documentary has been uploaded to YouTube and available to watch online for the first time since August, 2017.
Originally aired on BBC Four, it follows the story of the label from humble beginnings in Jamaica, where a young Chris Blackwell released budding jazz and ska bands, before making for the UK with the island’s sound system hits under his arm. Chris Blackwell founded the Island label in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 with capital of just £1000. Relocating to London in the early 60’s, Blackwell built the most diverse and enviable back catalogue of any independent record label in history. From Island’s early Jamaican roots in ska and rock-steady, through the label’s expansion to become the cutting edge of progressive rock in the late 60’s, and then on to the signing of such international superstars as Bob Marley, Grace Jones and U2, Blackwell brought to Island a unique vision and passion which still informs the label’s approach to this day.
Watch the 90-minute documentary in full below:
Sources: Island Records and Vinyl Factory Limited