Turn the Beat Around

Although disco has had an ignominious departure from the mainstream in the U.S., in other parts of the world, where people still like to dance and like to drive really small cars, disco (although the music is more like EDM than the Bee Gees) still exits.

At the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, an exhibition sponsored by smart, the small car brand of Mercedes, is currently running: “Night Fever. Designing Club Culture 1960—Today.”

It is curated by designer Konstantin Grcic. Grcic was given the opportunity to transform a smart EQ fortwo into what’s described as the “smart mobile disco.”

The small car has been retrofitted so that there is a lifting platform that accommodates a DJ booth and the requisite equipment. In order to accommodate this it was necessary to basically gut the interior in order to provide space for lifting equipment.

In addition to which, there is a fog machine located behind the radiator grille (think about the irony of this: many cars have fog lights in that vicinity so as to be able to see through the fog; this car produces it). There are LED headlamps and a stroboscope to provide the necessary dance-floor lighting. The wheels and the underbody are backlighted to add a bit more color to the undertaking.

As the head of smart brand, Dr. Annette Winkler, explained, “The smart mobile disco is a great symbol of the smart brand’s links with club culture—a scene that draws people together, forges bonds and brings joy. The many different facets of club culture all embrace a departure from given norms, a different way of looking at things and the courage to try out something new. This is what links the club culture with smart. Visionary thinking and a passion to keep questioning the status quo encapsulate smart’s aims and its essential attitude.”

Talk like that makes me want to (1) dance and (2) buy a smart.

Unfortunately, or not, the smart mobile disco is a one-off, so you won’t find that trim package at your local smart dealer.

Continue reading Turn the Beat Around

Listen: JTL FM ii

Spotify: JTL FM ii

I don’t want nobody hurt, but I made an exception with him.
–Cherry Glazerr

Making a mess is easy when you think you know it all.
–Jessica Lea Mayfield

The color of your mind, you feel it coming right through you.
–Beach House

When you talk to my face you speak politely. I know you’re only following to bite me.
–Tayla

Is she a stripper, a rapper, or a singer? I’m busting bucks in a Bentley Bentayga.
–Cardi B

I don’t want a secret, secret life. I have no idea what I really wanna be.
–Speedy Ortiz

Take over me, I’ll never be the same.
–Ashley Monroe

Major league chemicals make her grave.
–Unknown Mortal Orchestra

So I fall into continents and cars All the sages and stars, I turn all of it to just a su–
–Lorde, Run The Jewels, El-P

It’s not my fault. It’s not my fault like you say it is. It’s not my fault, because I told you long ago that I wouldn’t put up with your bullshit.
–The Regrettes

For all that we know, the heart is pumping rhythms that are not our own.
–Natalie Prass

Even if you got somebody on your mind, it’s alright to be alone sometimes.
–Kacey Musgraves

I don’t wanna worry no more. I just wanna ball like the big leagues. I just want a nice house on the shore. I want a big house like Gatsby.
–Diplo, Lil Yachty, Santigold

Jordan 23, guarantee you’re gonna wanna leave with me.
–Camila Cabello

I remember the first time I was in love. It was only back in 1997.
–MO///

Lean back. Lean back. Lean back.
–Fat Joe, Eminem, Lil Jon, Mase, Remy Ma

You want some me so bad? Come get this body.
–Tinashe, Ty Dolla $ign, French Montana

Continue reading Listen: JTL FM ii

New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Took You Up

Video: Courtney Marie Andrews – “Took You Up”

Courtney Marie Andrews – Took You Up

From May Your Kindness Remain, out now on Fat Possum.

Is it the journey or the destination?
Is this love or is this addiction?
Circumstances are meant to be
What does that say about you and me?

Courtney Marie Andrews has a way of setting up a story, doesn’t she? Who is this couple? We immediately want to know more.

Andrews talked to the Independent about writing “Took You Up.”

Yeah there’s definitely vignettes of personal experiences – there are little snippets of imagery throughout the whole song. I think I’ve definitely experienced pieces of that especially the frozen dinners and laundry piles line. I’ve lived a lot with either people letting me stay on their couches and I’ve also rented hotels and lived on the road for a few years now – not really living this grand lifestyle but also trying to make ends meet. There’s also bits of depression in those lines but I think the hope and the light is that you have somebody you love surrounding that theme. It’s a song where you feel like the only thing you have is that person – everything else is suffering: your pocketbook, where you live…there’s nothing except for that person. But sometimes that person is sad and love is sad as well.

There’s a lot of sadness on May Your Kindness Remain. But sometimes sad songs just make you feel better.

Courtney Marie Andrews: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Hear Prince’s original recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U”

When I was in high school I had a wrestling coach who was famous for saying, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” Which is to say, repeated behavior in itself doesn’t make for improvement. You must have repeated excellent execution to really make any improvement. It was that execution burrowing into your muscle memory that allowed you to be creative on the mat and surprise your opponent.

Prince – Nothing Compares 2 U [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Watching these clips from Prince’s rehearsals in the summer of 1984, overdubbed with his original recording of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” remind is all that in addition to having truly magical talent, Prince worked hard as fuck. Every spin and jump and mic-play he brought with spontaneity to his live show was meticulously practiced–in high heels no less! I could watch this clip on repeat every day for the rest of my life and start a new religion.

Via The Current.

Prince: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: Nice For What

Video: Drake – “Nice For What”

Drake – Nice For What

Directed by Karena Evans. Single out now on Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records.

After eleven weeks at the top of the chart, Drake knocks his own “God’s Plan” out of first place with his new single, “Nice For What,” with 60.4 million U.S. streams and 88,000 downloads sold in the week ending April 12 as well as 31 million in all-format radio airplay audience in the week ending April 15.

Since the Hot 100 began in 1958, only 12 other acts have replaced themselves at No. 1. The Beatles were the first to do it, and they did it twice in 1964: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was replaced by “She Loves You” which was then replaced by “Can’t Buy Me Love.” And then nobody else did it for 30 years when Boyz II Men finally knocked out “I’ll Make Love to You” with “On Bended Knee” in 1994. How about that?

Also noteworthy is that “Nice For What” is only the 30th single to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. This wasn’t even possible before the Soundscan era, and Michael Jackson was the first with “You Are Not Alone” in 1995. And that’s not even a good MJ song!

The video features a bunch of apparently famous women being glamorous and empowered. Drake, meanwhile, ice skates around a futuristic set in a puffy coat to prove he’s still Canadian. How long will “Nice For What” remain at Number One? Will Drake pull a Beatles move and knock himself out of first place again with his next single? Stay tuned and find out!

Drake: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading Number One Records: Nice For What

The Regrettes play Kimmel and Sound Opinions

Video: The Regrettes – “Come Through” (live on Kimmel)

The Regrettes – Come Through

From the Attention Seeker EP, out now on Warner Bros.

The night before they played Coachella, my favorite band the Regrettes stopped by Jimmy Kimmel’s to play a couple songs for his studio audience. Both “Come Through” and “Red Light” are from their new Attention Seeker EP, which also features a cover of “Teenager in Love” and a couple acoustic versions of songs from last year’s Feel Your Feelings, Fool!

Not only that, but the band was also featured on a recent episode of WBEZ’s Sound Opinions where they were interviewed by Greg Kot and played a short acoustic set including “Juicebox Baby” and “Pale Skin.”

Lydia Night reveals that her previous band, a two-piece collaboration with drummer Marlhy Murphy, split up due to Murphy’s resistance to Night’s song, “A Living Human Girl,” which turned out to be the song that got the Regrettes noticed by their manager and signed to Warner Brothers. “She hated it. She refused to play it. She wouldn’t play it live because she hated it so much. And it was so important to me. And that’s, I think, what led to us breaking up.”

Night and Murphy started Pretty Little Demons in 2012 when Night was 11 and Murphy was 9. By 2014 they had played SXSW and Lollapalooza. They changed their band’s name to the Regrettes in August 2015 and released an EP on Black Rainbow Records. The EP contained “A Living Human Girl” and Murphy owns 25% of the songwriting credit for that song. That’s not to suggest that Murphy didn’t hate it, but as with most relationships, the end seems to have been messier than people prefer to remember.

Regardless of how it came about, the current lineup of the Regrettes is amazing. And Lydia Night is right: “The world works in really weird, cool ways.”

The Regrettes: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading The Regrettes play Kimmel and Sound Opinions

Buckingham Out; Ringo Pissed

Fleetwood Mac has apparently given Lindsey Buckingham his walking papers, which is only metaphorically true as Buckingham has reportedly recently sold one of his homes in Brentwood for about $20-million and anyone who has that kind of money doesn’t walk anywhere unless (1) a red carpet is involved or (2) it has something to do with the latest cardio program and it requires a personal trainer.

And realize that while McDonalds’ may have trouble selling Big Macs (which accounts for its recent size-variant offerings of that saucy delicacy), Fleetwood Mac evidentially is sufficiently fungible to get a list of venues as long as your arm for its upcoming tour. Oddly enough, the Big Mac and Fleetwood Mac were both formed in 1967.

It seems that the other members of the band have hired Mike Campbell late of the late Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of the best band that will unfairly be remembered as a one-hit wonder, Crowded House.

This has to make Buckingham feel fairly good, as it takes two to replace him. (One assumes, however, that if Campbell and Finn were “hired,” they’re going to be getting a salary, not cubic feet of cash, so the rest of the band members will make out very well, thank you.)

But here is when Ringo gets pissed.

For the past too-many years, Ringo has been touring with the All-Starr Band. (Another good reason why he changed his surname, as “All-Starkey Band” sounds like something Stormy Daniels would be in.)

Ringo’s M.O. has been to hire musicians who have had “hits” but are past their prime, such that he can use them to play their hits so as to minimize the need for an entire set to be based on his meagre catalog. People like Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), Simon Kirke (Bad Company), Colin Hay (Men at Work), Graham Gouldman (10cc). Actually, this is the proverbial double-win because Ringo gets talent and they get to play at venues where corndogs aren’t (necessarily) being sold.

But now there’s Fleetwood Mac vying for talent, hiring musicians like Campbell and Finn.

One can only imagine Ringo dropping one digit from his peace sign when talking with Fleetwood and McVie.

Continue reading Buckingham Out; Ringo Pissed

New Johnny Marr video: The Tracers

Video: Johnny Marr – “The Tracers”

Johnny Marr – The Tracers – Official Music Video [HD]

From Call The Comet, due June 15 on New Voodoo.

We open with Marr and mates driving around what could be “the edge of the world” referenced in the opening lines of the song.

They’re driving a Corsair, a car built by Ford in the UK between 1963 and 1970 and marketed with a tagline that could have been a Smiths lyric, “I’ve got a V in my bonnet,” a reference to an optional V6 engine.

Where are they going? It doesn’t matter as long as you look good getting there.

But the references to overlapping times and places throughout the song and video are made more interesting with the musical choices. There’s a very Stones-y “Woo Woo” tag punctuating the lyrics and some new wavey noise. Underlying the whole song is a drum beat that could have been lifted straight from “Queen is Dead,” which I have to imagine is some sort of intentional call back to the band that made him famous. But what do I know?

Recorded at Manchester’s Crazy Face Studios, where it just so happens The Smiths also spent some time in the earliest days. Marr told Rolling Stone that he’d spend a lot of time wandering the old, empty building just getting lost in his own thoughts as the world outside was falling further into chaos with Brexit and a Trump election coming into full swing.

“It was a very unusual and creative environment,” he said. “I often lost track of the outside world. I’m glad that I’ve come out of it now, to be honest. It was quite taxing.”

Taxing, indeed. But by the looks of this video, Marr isn’t fully out of it yet…and neither are we.

Johnny Marr: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Hatchie video: Sugar and Spice

Video: Hatchie – “Sugar & Spice”

Hatchie — Sugar & Spice (Official Video)

From the Sugar & Spice EP, out May 25 on Double Double Whammy.

Hatchie is Brisbane, Australia’s Harriette Pilbeam who said, “It’s such a fun short song, so we wanted something simple and colourful, and less serious than our previous videos. […] I wanted these songs to sound lush, sparkly, and recreate euphoric feelings I experienced falling in love for the first time.”

Maybe you should take a lesson
From the moon on how to handle
Eyes on you

Hatchie: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Neil Young video: Peace Trail

Video: Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – “Peace Trail”

Neil Young + Promise Of The Real – Peace Trail (Official Music Video From the Film 'Paradox')

Directed by Daryl Hannah. From the Paradox soundtrack, out now on Reprise.

This is a new version of one of the best songs Neil has written this decade. “Peace Trail” was the title track of his 2016 album recorded with session musicians Jim Keltner and Paul Bushnell. This new version is with his band Promise Of The Real and is featured on the soundtrack of Daryl Hannah’s film, Paradox (available on Netflix).

I have to take good care
When something new is growing

Can’t really tell from this video what the movie’s about but Netflix says, “Neil Young and his band of outlaws sow seeds of strange mischief and musical wonder under Western skies in this dreamlike film by Daryl Hannah.” Looks like it might be a sequel to Grizzly Adams. I think I spotted Ben but where’s old Number Seven?

Neil Young: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.