Amber Tamblyn

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bang_ditto.jpgWith music in your blood, you’re bound to have eclectic taste. This is the case with Emmy and Golden Globe Award–nominated actress and poet Amber Tamblyn, whose grandfather was the master violinist for the LA Philharmonic. She chooses everything from instrumental electronic music to poppy indie rock and a blues-infused track from a local singer. Amber’s latest poetry book is called “Bang Ditto” and she is set to appear in Danny Boyle’s upcoming film “127 Hours.”

For More:




1.) Dog Days Are Over Now - Florence and the Machine
2.) 29 Acts of Love - Gliss
3.) Detroit has a Skyline (Acoustic) - Superchunk
4.) Old Fashioned Morphine - Jolie Holland
5.) Turquoise Hexagon Sun - Boards of Canada

Jeremy Sole: Hi, this is Jeremy Sole and I'm here with actress Amber Tamblyn, who's starred in the TV series Joan Of Arcadia and a number of films.  She recently released a book of poetry called “Bang Ditto.”  But we're here to talk about music as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project.  Tell us a little bit about what you brought for us today.

florence.jpgAmber Tamblyn:  This is by Florence & The Machine, a young lady that I just sort of discovered.  It was one of those things where I hadn't been listening to the radio, I've been on tour for my book and I got a text from a good friend of mine whose musical taste I do not trust whatsoever; she once tried to trick me into liking an Ashlee Simpson song and then I've never trusted her since.  And she texted me, ‘You've got to get this album, Florence & The Machine’.  I went 'Oh God,' And I was completely blown away.

AT:  Her voice is so memorable and this song, it's really a throwback in a lot of ways, which I think is what 'The Machine' reference is to. I think that's an old term for bands, that's what my Mom said.  And this song is just really well-produced, the arrangements on it are amazing.  She's got this, sort of a Janis Joplin quality, but mixed in with, I'm gonna say it, like Kelly Clarkson -- it's like a belter -- very unique and recognizable voice and this song is just amazing.  

Song: Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over”

JS:  So once again, we're here with Amber Tamblyn on KCRW's Guest DJ Project. That was the tune Florence & The Machine, "Dog Days Are Over Now".  Amber, tell me about the next song you picked out for us - Gliss with "29 Acts Of Love."   

gliss.jpgAT:  I actually know David Reiss very well, who's one of the musicians in Gliss.  I am very good friends with his girlfriend, Mindy Nettifee, who's a fellow poet, and we run a non-profit together. The album in total is very catchy and has a great quality and tone. I was shooting a movie in North Carolina and I bought all of these CDs and it was the only thing that just stayed consistently in my car CD player.   

Song: Gliss’ “29 Acts of Love”

AT: Music runs in my family.  My grandfather the master violinist for the LA Philharmonic.  I genuinely love everything from classical music -- and I play some classical music on the piano -- all the way up to hard-driving dubstep that makes your eardrums bleed.  I love it all.  It's one of the great things, you know, when you find a song or even an album that you didn't know existed and you've totally fallen in love with it. And it happens over and over and over and over again.   

JS:  So we just listening to Gliss "29 Acts Of Love."  I'm here with Amber Tamblyn.  Amber, tell me about the next song you picked out for us.

superchunk.jpgAT:  The next song that we're going to talk about… an ex-boyfriend put a Superchunk song on a mix CD for me called “Call An Amberlance” -- you know, emergency car thing, ha ha,  play on words, pun.  I'm a big fan of theirs, especially this song, I think it's got the grace of juvenilia and the sense of sort of seeing somebody in their juvenile state and singing about flaking on someone and popping open a can of beer and playing track 6, track 7, over and over again and saying, 'Please come back again, I won't flake.'  Something about it is very sweet and melancholy.   

Song: Superchunk’s "Detroit Has A Skyline”

AT:  I think a lot of people love their hard, sort of punk qualities in songs.  I really like their soft music. I think it's really sweet and, especially, with the lead singer, Mac, with his voice - which has got a very young quality.  He's sounds a little post-pubescent -- not very much, but

JS:  Like he's going through it right now

AT:  Yeah.  I love that he sounds like he's 15 years old and can't quite catch all the melodies, but he's still got this, you know, Irish-angst, it feels like.

JS:  We just listened to Superchunk. "Detroit Has A Skyline" is the name of the song, the acoustic version.  I'm here with Amber Tamblyn. Amber let's go on…the next song we're going to play, a woman whose vocal styles I always loved, tell us a little bit about this one

jolie.jpgAT:  Jolie Holland.  She is a Los Angeles staple.  Her lyrics are so amazing and she's a musical aficionado. She can play all kinds of instruments and her voice is very, very, very recognizable. She's sort of got this (sings) "Old fashioned morphine," like it sounds like 1920's.  
The lyrics of this song are really, really phenomenal.  She's basically saying forget about all the other crap, modern crap we have -- if morphine was good enough for my grandpa and everybody else, good enough for me.  It's just a really sweet, little swinging song.   

Song: Jolie Holland’s “Old Fashioned Morphine”

JS:  "Old Fashioned Morphine" the name of the song from Jolie Holland.  This is KCRW's Guest DJ Project. I'm here with actress, Amber Tamblyn, and poet.  Let's get into this last tune -- I like this one, too.

boardsofcanada.jpgAT:  Yeah.  This is Boards of Canada.  This song, "Turquoise Hexagon Sun," is something that I listened to repetitively while writing my book.  It starts out with this little trickling xylophone, almost, I'm not sure, but it's just a combination of haunting and beautiful and fleeting. If it was a lyric, I could sing it backwards because I know this song so well.   

Song: Boards of Canada’s “Turquoise Hexagon Sun”

AT:  I chose this song specifically because there's two poems that I wrote this to.  All of their music creates such an emotion and a feeling -- especially for a writer, it's hard to find really good music that doesn't have lyrics and so it doesn't compromise the lyrics that are going on in your head that you're trying to compose.  
I find myself using the KCRW voice in here (says in radio voice) ‘Well it's very interesting, this song was something that I felt was very close to my heart and…’ I always wonder about that -- the faces behind KCRW and whether or not when they get off the mic they're like 'Hey Jerry, get me a beer!'   

JS:  "Turquoise Hexagon Sun" from Boards Of Canada, what we just heard, sitting with actress and poet Amber Tamblyn on KCRW's Guest DJ Project.  First of all, I want to thank you for spending this time, sharing these tunes, I know they are personal and mean a lot to you.

AT:  Yeah, thank you so much.

JS:  For a complete tracklisting and to find these songs online, go to





Jeremy Sole