New Neil and Liam Finn Video: Back to Life

Video: Neil & Liam Finn – “Back To Life”

Neil & Liam Finn – Back To Life (Official Video)

Directed by Sam Kristofski. From Lightsleeper, out August 24 on Lester Records.

Eros was the Greek god who became Cupid when the Greeks gave way to the Romans. You probably associate one—or both—with the tag “the god of Love,” based primarily on the Valentine’s Day cards that you surreptitiously delivered to your secret someones in elementary school.

However, the real subtitle for Eros is “the god of Desire,” which is something wholly separate from—though it sometimes intersects with—Love, and which probably explains why the winged boy is typically shown—as in the video for Neil and Liam Finn’s “Back to Life”—with a bow and arrow. To borrow the title of a Kip Hanrahan album: Desire Develops an Edge. And the edge of Desire is arrow-sharp.

The video is shot as a pantomime which, coincidentally enough, goes back to the ancient Romans, even though in this execution (like many in this genre) it appears as a variant of a silent movie from the dawn of the motion picture age, when there were no voices, just dialog cards. “The more we sing, the less we have to say,” the duo, well, sing.

“Back to Life” is a retelling of the story of Orpheus and his wife, Eurydice. In the original telling (in which Neil wasn’t on piano and Liam on fake lyre), Eurydice died and went to the Underworld. Orpheus followed her there and by performing for Hades was able to convince the god of the Underworld to allow Eurydice to return to life, to return to the surface. Hades allowed this but made one stipulation: Orpheus was to go first and Eurydice was to follow. “Don’t look back,” Orpheus was told in no uncertain terms.

And we know how that plays out.

Chances are, the sweet harmonizing voices of Finn père et fils are such that they, too, could make the chthonic journey and bring back the light.

Neil and Liam Finn: web, twitter (Neil), twitter (Liam), amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Caroline Rose video: Bikini

Video: Caroline Rose – “Bikini”

Caroline Rose – "Bikini" [Official Video]

Directed by Caroline Rose. From Loner, out now on New West.

You gotta love the idea of a woman taking the Farfisa-driven genre of sixties frat rock and updating it with a feminist twist.

We’re gonna give you everything you’ve ever wanted
Hang a banner with your name upon it
Pour three shots in a glass, call it a martini
All you’ve got to do is put on this little bikini
And dance

Then again, if you listen to the Pleasure Seekers’ 1965 stomper, “What a Way to Die,” you’ll realize that female garage bands have been socking it to the man from the get-go.

Rose told Consequence of Sound, “I love this one so much, it’s my riot grrl feminist surf punk anthem. It’s about so many things, but mostly about being female-identifying in the entertainment industry and the standard we’re supposed to live up to. This one’s best listened to with middle fingers up.”

And in a press release she added, “A lot of my aesthetic tends to be very tongue-in-cheek, so I wanted to take a serious subject, in this case misogyny, and just sort of turn it around to laugh at it. I think satire can be used as an incredible tool to take the power away from the powerful when necessary. It was important to me to make sure the video was body positive. When we think of ‘girls in bikinis,’ the tendency is to see tall white models with perfect bodies. I knew that would be missing the point of the song.”

Caroline Rose: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Caroline Rose video: Bikini

New Low Cut Connie video: Hey! Little Child

Video: Low Cut Connie video: “Hey! Little Child”

Low Cut Connie – "HEY! LITTLE CHILD" (official video)

From Dirty Pictures (Part 2), out now on Contender Records.

I heard a segment about this band on NPR last month and upon the recommendation of Ann Powers I checked them out. But the song I listened to didn’t live up to her description of “the essence of rock and roll.” The video is cool, but the song sounded a little too slick, like something one of the “rockers” on American Idol would’ve released after they finished in third place.

I figured they probably put on a fun live show but I don’t need to hear the album.

But then they go and cover Alex Chilton and now it’s a different story. This is good.

Plaid skirt and a flannel vest
Silly nubiles are the best

A dear friend of mine used to hang out with Chilton and heard stories about living across the street from the Catholic school mentioned in this song. The video is giving me flashbacks to my first visit to New Orleans when my pals and I spent an excessively drunken evening at the Muddy Waters in Uptown for a Tav Falco show. I somehow ended up passed out in the back seat of a Ford Fairlane.

Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner said, “Alex Chilton is one of my songwriting heroes. What a mercurial genius. We recorded our version of ‘Hey! Little Child’ in the same room in Ardent where he did the original. We are on the road constantly and spend a lot of time in divey bars talking to local yokels and shooting pool. Roy Power and his crew had the good sense to hang with us a couple nights snapping pictures of the band in our scruffy off-stage moments.”

Low Cut Connie: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Low Cut Connie video: Hey! Little Child

Fly Like a Butterfly, Sing Like Mariah

If you fly frequently you undoubtedly accumulate “miles” as part of a loyalty program. Given a sufficient cubic ton of these “miles” you’re able to book even more air travel, although you probably find that it is exceedingly difficult to schedule anything that goes anywhere you want to at the time that you want to go.

Airlines have cleverly come up with ways for people to use their miles for non-flying purposes, everything from magazine subscriptions to memberships in the airlines’ lounges.

Delta, the Macaulay air travel vendor of choice, has taken this use of miles to a whole new level with its “SkyMiles Experiences.”

This allows you to use miles to “bid” on various things, ranging from attending a NASCAR race to having dinner at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant. While you probably would have zero problem getting tickets to the Quaker State 400, reservations at Per Se would be something else entirely.

At this point you may be wondering whether this is the GloNo Travel Tips section that you’ve accidentally stumbled upon.


Continue reading Fly Like a Butterfly, Sing Like Mariah

New Jess Williamson video: Wild Rain

Video: Jess Williamson – “Wild Rain”

Jess Williamson – Wild Rain [Official Video]

Directed by Eli Welbourne. From Cosmic Wink, out now on Mexican Summer.

This is a dreamy slow burner from Jess Williamson whose previous video “I See The White” was moody and impressive. “Wild Rain” is driven by a tremoloed electric piano and Williamson’s sleepy vocals.

You say there’s two women
Living inside of me
And one’s doubt and desire
And she’s our enemy

Williamson says, “I recorded this song at first with just me singing and playing it on an acoustic guitar. We thought it was going to be a scratch vocal so we didn’t mic everything the ‘correct’ way…I like the way it sounds. It’s a little bit lazy. There is this remnant of my acoustic guitar bleeding from my headphones into the vocal track, you can hear it the most at the beginning of the song. But we liked that too! A happy accident. It became the perfect rhythmic element to anchor the beginning of the song. It reminds me of rain. We wanted to have a moment of the heavens breaking open midway through and ushering us into another realm. So we started building off just my voice and the memory of an acoustic guitar, layering synths and more vocals. This is probably my favorite song on the album and it’s the first song I wrote for Cosmic Wink.”

Director Eli Welbourne says, “The video in essence is supposed to be a living interpretive scrapbook that catalogs Jess’ train of thought visually in tandem with the song as she questions herself and previous relations she had. The song discusses a duality within her and I wanted to represent that in a collage where she is visually split in two, undergoes psychedelic transformations, and the center of the screen becomes a stage for other visual elements to dance.”

Jess Williamson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Jess Williamson video: Wild Rain

New Matt Costa video: I Remember It Well #2

Video: Matt Costa – “I Remember It Well #2”

Matt Costa – I Remember It Well #2

Directed by Pamela Littky. From Santa Rosa Fangs, out now on Dangerbird.

I like Matt Costa. His 2006 album, Songs We Sing, has been in heavy rotation in the family car since my son was toddler. The song “Sunshine” taught my little guy about harmonizing, or at least that was the first time he noticed how cool it sounds when “another person starts singing like that.”

Before I had a kid I imagined how I would subconsciously shape him into being a cool person by exposing him exclusively to an approved playlist of important music. By the time he was three he would be familiar with Elvis Presley’s Sun sessions and the complete discography of the Beatles. I had it all mapped out.

Well, a funny thing happens when you have a kid: they develop their own personality complete with their own taste. I hadn’t seen that coming. Combine that with exposure to “unapproved” music via babysitters and all of a sudden you’ve got a toddler turning his uptight dad on to the joys of Lady Gaga and Taio Cruz. There’s nothing funnier (to a nanny) than teaching a tiny little boy all the words to “Party in the USA.”

And somewhere around that same time period we discovered Matt Costa’s Songs We Sing. A lot of what Costa has done since then has more of a power pop feel, but this new song is a return to the pretty, acoustic, finger-picked sound that I like best. My kid is 11 now and has very little interest in any of the music (or anything else) that I think is cool, but I’m going to play this for him to see what he thinks.

Matt Costa: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Matt Costa video: I Remember It Well #2

New H.C. McEntire video: Baby’s Got the Blues

Video: H.C. McEntire – “Baby’s Got the Blues”

H.C. McEntire – Baby's Got the Blues (Official Music Video)

Directed by Jared Hogan. From Lionheart, out now on Merge.

I would imagine that H.C. McEntire gets tired of comparisons to Lucinda Williams. But whatever. If you dig Williams’ literary sensuality and soulful vocals, you’re probably going to appreciate McEntire.

Give me a dog in a fight
Call it off or call it God
Call it anything you like
Do you see it in my eyes?

Director Jared Hogan said, “In talking with Heather, we knew that we wanted this video to touch on universal wounds of depression and suffering, but established in a more poetic narrative. We also knew we wanted family and community to play an integral role. All of the subjects in the video are connected to Heather’s life in one way or another, and that was very important to us. The song strikes this beautiful balance between darkness and hope, and we wanted the video to do the same.”

In times of darkness, there’s nothing we need more than some hope.

H.C. McEntire: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: Psycho

Video: Post Malone – “Psycho” ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Post Malone – Psycho ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Directed by James DeFina. From Beerbongs & Bentleys, out now on Republic/UMG.

What kind of dorkus malorkus gets a tattoo of a neck beard? Why, that would be Post Malone, the guy with the number one song in America right now. I don’t get it.

Last year, when we started this series to cover the songs that reach the top of the Billboard singles chart, I expected to be turned on to some weird new pop songs that I’m rarely otherwise exposed to. But instead it’s mostly been a bunch of Ed Sheeran and lame, mumbly hip hop. There have been exceptions, of course, like Kendrick, Cardi, and Camila, but overall it’s been super disappointing.

I dunno, friends. It’s starting to seem like maybe we can’t trust the American public to have very good taste…

Nevertheless, “Pycho” sold 37,000 downloads and had 30.3 million U.S. streams in the week ending June 7 and 98.2 million in radio audience in the week ending June 10. That might not seem like a lot but it’s enough to get to #1 on the Hot 100.

Post Malone: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading Number One Records: Psycho

Rose City ‘Til I Die

By the time this publishes I should be barreling down the road in a van packed with my wife, my son, three dogs, a cat and two of my most cherished guitars. We’ll be heading east, away from a city we love more than we could have even imagined when we moved here almost ten years ago. It’s a necessary move and one that brings its own level of excitement and opportunities, but one that breaks our hearts just the same.

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on December 5, 2008, just weeks before the biggest snowstorm to hit the city in 40 years. After a decade in Chicago, we were ready for a change but also ready for an adventure. So I found a job and five weeks later we packed up out two year old son, two cats, a crazy dog and my one most cherished guitar and headed west. The thing I like to tell people about Portland is that it lives up to the hype. What I don’t tell people is that the hype is killing some of the things that make Portland one of the truly most original and magical places I’ve ever been. But that’s the thing about change: it happens. And still, Portland amazes me in its creativity, its generosity, and yes…its weirdness.

Being a sometimes musician my entire adult life, I was excited to check out the scene in a city that was already well known as a creative hub. I couldn’t have anticipated what that scene would actually mean to our lives here. Yes, I’ve always had musician friends, but I have never had a community as tight-knit and supportive as what we found here. We found a monthly gathering of friends who get together and jam, and pass dishes around, and contribute to the community beer cooler and celebrate the spirit of simply being friends. Sometimes swelling to more than a hundred people, I never once saw a dispute, let alone a fight or aggression. I’ve also never received so many hugs. We all had our kids there and our dogs. It was incredible. I have a long-form piece I’ve been mulling for two years but if you want to get a taste of what The Hoot is and was, please read this post by my friend and everyone’s favorite Philly, Phil Favorite.

The curse of moving around is that it means you’re always leaving people you love. It was hard for me to leave my hometown for Chicago. And then it was hard to leave Chicago for Portland. And now it’s miserable to leave Portland. So why are we doing it? The truth is that it’s because for nine and a half years we’ve been missing people back in the midwest as much as we’ll now be missing our friends in Portland. And so we go.

Continue reading Rose City ‘Til I Die

New Beths video: Future Me Hates Me

Video: The Beths – “Future Me Hates Me”

The Beths – "Future Me Hates Me" (official music video)

Directed by Christopher Stratton. From Future Me Hates Me, out August 10 on Carpark.

What’s up with Australasia? Why do New Zealand and Australia generate such clever guitar-based pop music?

Future heartbreak, future headaches
Wide-eyed nights late lying awake
With future cold shakes from stupid mistakes
Future me hates me for

The Beths’ Elizabeth Stokes says, “There’s a lot of sad sincerity in the lyrics that relies on the music having a light heart and sense of humor to keep it from being too earnest. That’s another New Zealand thing. We’re putting our hearts on our sleeves—and then apologizing for it.”

Maybe that’s what it is. But that doesn’t explain how they come up with such catchy hooks. I guess it will remain a mystery along with kiwi birds and three-eyed lizards.

The Beths: bandcamp, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Beths video: Future Me Hates Me

Rock and roll can change your life.