Billions Co-Creator & Screenwriter Brian Koppelman, Opinions on The Coup & Amanda Shires

Brian Koppelman makes his living as the showrunner, co-creator and writer for the Showtime series Billions. Jim and Greg talk with Koppelman about how he innovatively uses music in the critically acclaimed show. They also discuss his past career as an A&R executive, where he discovered artists like singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman. They'll also review the soundtrack to the critically acclaimed film Sorry to Bother You and the new release from country artist Amanda Shires.

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Sorry to Bother You Soundtrack

Sorry To Bother You: The Soundtrack Before the release of the critically acclaimed film Sorry to Bother You, writer-director (and Chicago native) Boots Riley was best known as the frontman of The Coup, a radical rap group based in Oakland, California. The Coup released a funk rock-infused album also called Sorry to Bother You back in 2012; back then, Riley had penned the film's screenplay but wasn't able to produce it until years later. Jim and Greg chat about the soundtrack to Riley's long-awaited passion project, with tracks featuring Janelle Monáe, Killer Mike, E-40, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Jim is enthusiastic about the film and soundtrack, which he thinks are a great intro to The Coup. Greg is more ambivalent, maintaining that the original 2012 album is stronger and more original. Jim agrees that the 2012 Sorry to Bother You is full of neglected gems, like the first track ("The Magic Clap").

reviewTo the SunsetTo the Sunset available on iTunes

Amanda Shires To the Sunset

Jim and Greg highlight tracks off singer-songwriter Amanda Shires's new album To the Sunset, which came out earlier this month. Shires has serious musical chops: At just 15, she played violin in The Texas Playboys, once the backing band for“The King of Western Swing,”Bob Wills. She later relocated to Nashville and joined the scene there. Now, when she's not releasing distinctive, genre-busting solo albums, she plays in husband Jason Isbell's touring band, The 400 Unit. Despite Jim's“limited country tolerance,”he loves To the Sunset, especially Shires's gritty violin interludes. He also can‘t help but highlight her flair for telling intense and interesting stories. Shires’s lyric writing is also a selling point for Greg, who finds her songs both pithy and powerful. He appreciates that To the Sunset eschews Americana cliches in favor of something fresh and exciting.


Brian Koppelman

Brian Brian Koppelman has spent a lifetime in the entertainment industry. The son of record executive Charles Koppelman, he got his start as an A&R representative for labels like SBK and EMI. (He is credited with discovering fellow Tufts University student Tracy Chapman while still a college student.) A revelation later in his life brought him to his real passion: screenwriting. In the last 20 years, he has written, directed, or produced a dozen films, including Ocean's Thirteen and Rounders. His latest success is the Showtime drama series Billions, which he leads as co-creator, showrunner, and executive producer. The show follows U.S. District Attorney Chuck Rhoades's relentless investigation of shady hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod. Billions allows Koppelman to indulge his inner music obsessive while tackling topics like class, power, gender and sexuality, and corruption.



“(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go”Curtis Mayfield

Inspired by The Coup's keen social consciousness, Greg picks Curtis Mayfield's "(Don‘t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go" for this week's desert island jukebox selection. He heard Durand Jones and the Indications cover this song at Lollapalooza earlier this month, the same weekend gun violence claimed 12 lives and wounded 62 others in Chicago. Though nearly 50 years old, Mayfield's song could not be more timely, critiquing the normalization of violence and the culture of complicity around it.

Featured Songs

  1. Amanda Shires, Eve's Daughter, To the Sunset, Silver Knife, 2018
  2. The Coup, Monsoon (feat. Killer Mike), Sorry To Bother You: The Soundtrack, Interscope, 2018
  3. The Coup, Hey Saturday Night (feat. Tune-Yards), Sorry To Bother You: The Soundtrack, Interscope, 2018
  4. The Coup, Over and Out/Sticky Sunrise (feat. Janelle Monáe), Sorry To Bother You: The Soundtrack, Interscope, 2018
  5. The Coup, The Magic Clap, Sorry to Bother You, Anti/Epitaph, 2012
  6. Amanda Shires, Charms, To the Sunset, Silver Knife, 2018
  7. Amanda Shires, Break Out The Champagne, To the Sunset, Silver Knife, 2018
  8. Amanda Shires, Wasn't I Paying Attention, To the Sunset, Silver Knife, 2018
  9. Amanda Shires, Parking Lot Pirouette, To the Sunset, Silver Knife, 2018
  10. Amanda Shires, Leave It Alone, To the Sunset, Silver Knife, 2018
  11. Tracy Chapman, Give Me One Reason, New Beginning, Elektra, 1995
  12. Tracy Chapman, Talkin' Bout a Revolution, Tracy Chapman, Elektra, 1988
  13. Keith Richards, Trouble, Crosseyed Heart, Republic, 2015
  14. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Even the Losers, Damn the Torpedoes, MCA, 1979
  15. Mink DeVille, Spanish Stroll, Cabretta, Capitol, 1977
  16. Garrett T. Capps, Born in San Antone, Y Los Lonely Hipsters, Suburban Haste, 2016
  17. Bob Dylan, Visions of Johanna, Blonde on Blonde, Columbia, 1966
  18. Mott the Hoople, I Wish I Was Your Mother, Mott, Columbia, 1973
  19. Johnny Cash, Solitary Man, American III: Solitary Man, American Recordings, 2000
  20. Andrew Bird, Oh No, Noble Beast, Fat Possum, 2009
  21. Echo & the Bunnymen, The Killing Moon, Ocean Rain, Sire, 1984
  22. Sammy Davis Jr., Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles (Single), MGM, 1972
  23. Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, Ella Guru, Trout Mask Replica, Reprise, 1969
  24. Wilson Phillips, Hold On, Wilson Phillips, SBK, 1990
  25. The Dictators, The Next Big Thing, Go Girl Crazy!, Epic, 1975
  26. Eskmo, Billions Title & Recap, Billions Original Series Soundtrack, Milan, 2017
  27. Curtis Mayfield, (Don‘t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go, Curtis, Curtom, 1970
  28. Aretha Franklin, Call Me, Call Me (single), Atlantic, 1970
  29. Aretha Franklin, Rock A Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody, The Electrifying Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962
  30. Aretha Franklin, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Bridge Over Troubled Water (single), Atlantic, 1971
  31. Aretha Franklin, Respect, Respect (single), Atlantic, 1967
  32. Aretha Franklin, A Rose Is Still a Rose, A Rose Is Still a Rose, Arista, 1998
  33. Aretha Franklin, Nessun Dorma, Jewels in the Crown: All-Star Duets with the Queen, Arista, 2007