Video: L7 – “Stadium West”
Directed by Rob Sheridan. From Scatter The Rats, due May 3 on Blackheart.
What more is there to say about L7? They are back and they are kicking ass.
Directed by Gus Balck. Single out now.
I have been on a huge Phoebe Bridgers kick lately so when I heard that she produced this song, I jumped on it. It blew me away the first time I listened to it and continues to get to me every time.
The following verses reminded me of being a teenager so bad it made me gasp:
We were so pretentious then
Didn’t trust the government
Said that we were communists
And thought that we invented it
We went to different colleges
The whole song evokes the awkwardness of a time in your life when you’re trying so hard to be cooler and smarter than you really feel. There’s an emotional intensity to those years that grownups quickly forget. On purpose. It’s painful to remember how strongly you felt things when you were young, all while pretending to be nonchalant and aloof.
Hutson has said, “‘Northsiders’ is sort of a collage of memories I have of several different friends from high school. I think it’s about the friendships you develop that make you feel seen and understood at that time in your life where you feel invisible and misunderstood.”
The double-tracked chorus (“Nothing’s going to change it now”) sounds as much like Elliott Smith as anything I’ve heard. (The only thing that comes close is the way Phoebe Bridgers sings, “I don’t wanna be alone anymore” in “Demi Moore.”)
So who is this guy? Hutson is a 28 year old songwriter from Los Angeles who co-wrote “Ketchum, ID” with boygenius as well as “Chesapeake” and “Forest Lawn” for Better Oblivion Community Center. He’s been releasing solo material since 2012, and lately, he’s been touring with BOCC. No word yet on when a new album will come out or on what label.
But if he’s got an album’s worth of material half as good as “Northsiders” it’s going to be a something else. Wow.
From Fast Faster Disaster, due June 14 on Yep Roc.
Dressy Bessy is back with their first single off their upcoming Yep Roc album, Fast Faster Disaster. All the charm that brought this band national attention in 2005 with Electrified is present in “Tiny Lil Robots,” an ode to parenting complete with a “Little Miss Fucking Sunshine” shirt.
And I’d still rather listen to Dressy Bessy than Coldplay.
Rolling Stone issue #31 had a cover date of April 19, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Sun Ra by Baron Wolman.
Features: “Sun Ra” by John Burks; “Earthquake! California Fears Fear Itself” by Jerry Hopkins; “Bunky & Jake” by Paul Nelson; “Cerebrum” by Charles A. Fracchia; “Jethro Tull & His Fabulous Tool” by Ben Fong-Torres.
News: Morrison’s Penis Is Indecent; Censors Muffle Smothers Bros.; Blue Meanies Attack Beatles; “Tim Hardin: Hobnobbin’ With The Superstars” by Tom Nolan; An AFM Ban on the Moog Synthesizer?; Fillmore West vs. 28 Flavors; “When They Were: Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog, RIP” by Jonathan Cott; Jazz Takes Gas At Fillmore East; Flatt & Scruggs’ Last Breakdown; Rolling Stars: Sun to Enter Sign of Ram; Mercury’s Rockers In the Boondocks; Hearst Closes Its EYE; Cream Movie Is ‘A Real Bomb’; MC5 Kick Out The What?; LA’s Open City Closed Down; Random Notes on Cass Elliot, James Brown, Jeff Beck, Plaster Casters, Janis Joplin, methamphetamine, CSN, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, and Aretha Franklin.
Directed by Henry Kaplan. From Young Enough, due May 10 on Barsuk.
I was nervous that Charly Bliss might have abandoned their guitars on their new album. The first single was a synth-driven nu wave jam, but the guitars are back on this new one. Eva Hendricks is even rocking one of Annie Clark’s signature St. Vincent Ernie Balls (“There is room for a breast…or two!”)
The band says “Hard To Believe” is “about being addicted to a bad relationship, and the endless cycle of trying and failing to end one.”
I’m kissing everything that moves
I’m kissing anything that takes me far away from you
But I would rather eat than starve
I would rather kiss you hard
Video: Sebadoh – “Stunned”
From Act Surprised, out May 24 on Dangerbird.
Here’s the second single from the new Sebadoh album. The first was a classic Lou slow burner, and this one is a scuzzy Jake jam.
Loewenstein told Fader, “The incessant bombardment of the senses with media and advertising can lead to a kind of self defensive paralysis. I am completely stunned at this point.”
You can feel that.
Directed by Danny Cohen. Single out now on Milk! Records, Marathon Artists and Mom+Pop.
It’s been five or six years since I first heard “History Eraser” on satellite radio. That song immediately won me over and I’ve been following Courtney Barnett ever since. Her sardonic wit has grown darker over the years, which makes sense when you consider what the world looks like today compared to 2012 when she started releasing solo material.
I go to Loving Hut, I get my hair cut, I feel the same
I feel putrid, I’m getting used to it these days
No word on whether this is a standalone single or a preview of an upcoming album but Barnett will be touring nonstop through the summer, including a visit to Ann Arbor’s famed Hill Auditorium, hailed as a monument to perfect acoustics. She’s there on a Tuesday night so I probably won’t make it, but you should go! I saw Bruce Springsteen there on the Tom Joad Solo Acoustic tour, and it was a magical experience, even deep in the cheap seats.
From the upcoming album, The Teenage Years Of The 21st Century.
Schnabel’s “Oh What A Bummer” from 2017’s Your New Norman Rockwell has become my definitive song of the current era. There’s a line in it that gets me every single time: “But now I’m a green participant ribbon of a human being just trying to break even in life’s gas station slot machine / I am that kid on the far end of the bench just happy to be on the team / with a giant foam finger that says LIVING THE DREAM.” Gulp. When I saw he was selling a t-shirt with that on it, I immediately ordered one.
“New Shoes” is something of a companion to that song. This time around he’s “got a bad case of ‘innocent people being murdered by angry white men’ blues,” and he narrows down the source of the problem: “this toxic masculinity is bumming our entire human scene.”
The video features Vanessa Jean Speckman cheerfully flossing and frugging and popping balloons with lyrics on them, “Subterranean Homesick” style.
Micah Schnabel is a great guy and he’s one of the hardest working men in show business. If he comes near your town, either solo or with Two Cow Garage, you should go see him. Buy some stuff from him so he can keep on doing his thing.
Directed by Eric Notarnicola. From On the Line, out now on Warner Bros.
If you missed Jenny Lewis’s bonkers 3-hour livestreamed listening party/charity fundraiser, this new video showcases some highlights from it including appearances from Beck, St. Vincent, King Tuff, and a bunch of other famous people.
The band on the song isn’t chopped liver either with Benmont Tench, Don Was, Jim Keltner, and Ringo freaking Starr! Lewis clearly has an impressive Rolodex. Everybody wants to ride with her. Peace and love, peace and love.
When the single was released, newsletterist Griefbacon wrote an insightful essay about the song, the album cover, and the archetype of the Sad Hot Girl:
Hennessy is the Vegas showgirl’s dress of liquor and Red Bull is a college student’s idea of a good time; Lewis may have gotten older, but she hasn’t matured out of either heartbreak or longing. There’s still a party because there’s still pain. We can’t solve the things that haunt us, we can just learn to make bops out of them.
The whole thing is well worth reading. And On the Line is an excellent album.
Video: Jeff Tweedy – “Family Ghost”
From WARMER, due April 13 on dBpm.
I can appreciate any song that starts out declaring “I’m a dope.” That is a sentiment I can get behind. Tweedy goes on to describe how it feels to be a liberal middle aged white guy in today’s environment.
I’m a dope
Blowing smoke at the TV screen
Lost all hope
Based on the things I’ve seen
I’m a man content
For the sake of argument
Underneath each added straw
Oh, I feel so American
I drove across the country with my family for spring break this year, and one of the lessons from that trip is: it’s a big country. Really big. And most of it is empty. Like, not even cows. Just fields and tumbleweeds and dirt and mesas and mountains and no people for miles. Wild.
It’s a weird time to be American. Feels like there’s a lot dividing us from each other. What does it even mean to be American? Will we ever share a common reality, or will we continue to live in our own separate bubbles? I don’t see how that’s ever going to change, so it’s hard to have any hope for any kind of united identity. Whatever that means.
I guess it’s something we’ve been grappling with since before we were even an independent nation. Loyalists and patriots and black folks and indigenous people… Was there ever a true American identity? Probably not.
Regardless, this is a lame video.
For something way cooler, check out the two songs he taped for Acoustic Asheville, another new one from Warmer, plus an old classic. Watch below…