New Anna Burch video: Not So Bad

Video: Anna Burch -- “Not So Bad”

Anna Burch - Not So Bad [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Directed by Anna Burch. From If You’re Dreaming, out April 3 on Polyvinyl.

Anna Burch first caught our attention hula-hooping in her “2 Cool 2 Care” video. That whole album, Quit the Curse, was solid, and now she’s back with the first single from her second album. It features the same clean guitar tones and upfront double-tracked vocals that we first fell in love with but the instrumentation here is a little jazzier, i.e., features saxophone.

Burch says it’s “an optimistic love song about retreating into memories to find what you need to feel in control of your own narrative when everything else around you feels precarious.”

She adds, “I wrote ‘Not So Bad’ the day before I left to record, because I felt there was an important piece of the album missing—a hopeful, escapist pop song that dealt more positively with themes the other songs were circling around—and luckily it came together almost immediately. The chord progression felt light and jazzy, and when I started to write the words I remembered my mom bugging me about how melancholic my lyrics tend to be, ‘Surely your life hasn’t all been that bad!'”

The video was dreamily filmed at the Senate Theater in Detroit.

Anna Burch: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Anna Burch video: Not So Bad

Listen: Cosmic Cowboys, Longhaired Rednecks and Other Troublemakers

So every couple of years I like to re-read the 2012 Texas Monthly feature (“That ’70s Show”) on the 1972 Austin music scene that birthed the outlaw country movement. If you haven’t read it yet, just stop now and go read it and come back after you’re done.

Every time I read this fantastic oral history I pick up on new artists that for whatever reason I’ve overlooked before. The first time I read it I went out and tracked down a copy of Willis Alan Ramsey’s album. It’s amazing. This most recent time inspired me to look into the work of Mickey Newbury, which is kind of funny since he’s not even mentioned in the article. You know how it goes: you start googling around and one thing leads to another and all of a sudden you’re obsessed with something you’d never even thought about before.

It’s weird, though, that I’d never come across Mickey Newbury. “Luckenbach, Texas” is one of my all-time favorite songs and he’s namechecked in it: “Between Hank Williams’ pain songs and Newbury’s train songs…” How is it that I’d never bothered to look it up before? I’ve been listening to that song all my life — I still have my dad’s copy of Ol’ Waylon. I’m a music nerd; I feel compelled to uncover every reference and backstory of every song I love. Back in college I figured out who the “Jerry Jeff” from Willie’s chorus was and picked up a wild live two-record set that features the drunkest version of “Up Against the Wall, Redneck” ever recorded. But Newbury escaped me.

Newbury was pals with Townes Van Zandt and wrote “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” and arranged “An American Trilogy.” These are songs I have known and loved for decades yet I never looked into their composer. All the best songwriters have proclaimed their love of Mickey Newbury (Kris Kristofferson said, “I learned more about songwriting from him than any other writer”), and in 2011 Drag City reissued his most highly regarded three albums plus a disc of rarities in a fancy box set featuring liner notes written by Ben Fong-Torres, Chris Campion, Kenny Rogers, Kristofferson, and Will Oldham. It’s available on streaming services…minus the liner notes, of course.

So anyway, I made a mix. 21 songs, 69 minutes long, one song per artist, sequenced to maximize listenability but it’s loosely chronological. It tells the story of what happened when country songwriters, mostly in Texas, stopped caring about Nashville conventions and started to embrace the hippies. The bulk of these songs are from 1972 and 73. Tom T. Hall joked about the “illusion of literacy” this new type of songwriting brought to the country music scene.

Buckle up as we take you from the sublime to the ridiculous (and back and forth again) across this sad and beautiful country where someone’s always doing something dirty that decent folks can frown on.

Praise the lord and pass the mescaline!

Continue reading Listen: Cosmic Cowboys, Longhaired Rednecks and Other Troublemakers

New Soccer Mommy video: Circle the Drain

Video: Soccer Mommy -- “Circle the Drain”

Soccer Mommy - circle the drain (Official Music Video)

Directed by Atiba Jefferson. From color theory, out February 28 on Loma Vista.

It’s another sad slow-burner from Nashville’s Sophie Allison.

Things feel that low sometimes
Even when everything is fine
Hey I’ve been falling apart these days

Yes, that’s a familiar sentiment. But you know what helps? Watching skateboarding videos on the internet. Works every time.

Soccer Mommy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

2019 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Streams

Don’t believe the hype. You might hear that “album consumption” grew 15% but that’s an arbitrary measurement made up by the industry and tweaked every other year to make business look healthy. The indisputable fact is that people are purchasing fewer albums than ever, and on top of that, nobody’s even measuring how many albums people are actually listening to.

Yes, they track streams. And streams are up. They track revenue, and that’s up too…at least for labels. (Ask an artist how revenues from their recordings are doing.)

But albums? Come on. Does anybody really believe that listening to the single ten times (or 1,250 times? or even 3,750 times?) is an equivalent experience to listening to the album? Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe albums are just a marketing container to wrap around an artist’s current promotional cycle. Maybe it’s all about the singles and the licensing and the merch and the tour. Maybe I’m totally full of shit. But what’s even more full of shit is the idea that you can calculate “album consumption” with some convoluted formula. Who cares? Just look at the sales and streams.

Total U.S. Album sales (physical + digital in millions)

Total Album Sales (physical + digital albums)

2019: 112.75 million
2018: 141 million
2017: 169.15 million
2016: 205.5 million
2015: 241.39 million
2014: 257.02 million
2013: 289.41 million
2012: 315.96 million
2011: 330.57 million
2010: 326.15 million
2009: 373.9 million
2008: 428.4 million
2007: 500.5 million
2006: 588.2 million
2005: 618.9 million
2004: 666.7 million
2003: 667.9 million
2002: 693.1 million
2001: 762.8 million
2000: 785 million
1999: 754.8 million
1998: 712.5 million
1997: 651.8 million
1996: 616.6 million
1995: 616.4 million (I’ve heard the figure is 616,957,000)
1994: 614.7 million (I’ve heard the figure is 615,266,000)
1993: ~573 million (1994 was 7.4% increase over 1993)

Continue reading 2019 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Streams

New Juliana Hatfield video: Can’t Stand Losing You

Video: Juliana Hatfield -- “Can’t Stand Losing You”

Juliana Hatfield - Can't Stand Losing You (Official Video)

Directed by Rachel Lichtman. From Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police, out now on American Laundromat.

This is fun. The video is almost a shot-for-shot remake of the original Police promo clip with Jules playing the parts of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland. Kinda wish she would’ve donned some big round glasses and a bow tie, but that’s alright.

Like the video, Hatfield’s cover doesn’t veer too far from the Police classic, which didn’t chart here in the States despite being the follow-up single to the Top 40 smash, “Roxanne.” Being a kid in the 1980s, it was mandatory to like the Police whether you were a jock or a punk, a popular kid or a band geek. Everybody liked the Police. Every drummer wanted to be Stewart Copeland. There was a drummer in my high school who even looked like Stewart Copeland! He was definitely the coolest kid in marching band.

Looking back it’s weird to realize how short of a lifespan the band had: basically, from 1979 to 1983. And then poof, like it was all a dream…of a blue turtle (minus the abomination of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86”).

Juliana Hatfield Sings The Police is her second tribute album in two years, following 2018’s collection of Olivia Newton-John hits. In between, she released an album of originals, Weird. Busy busy!

Juliana Hatfield: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Juliana Hatfield video: Can’t Stand Losing You

Wrapping Up 2019

Happy new year, everybody! Sorry this is a little later coming out than usual but we closed down GLONO HQ for the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s and didn’t even look at a computer. Highly recommended. Next year maybe we’ll try to ignore the phones too.

While in 2018 we posted something new every single weekday, we were a little more lax in 2019. Our annual playlist of all the songs we posted about is only 119 tracks this year, compared to 202 in 2018 and 172 in 2017. Sorry (but not that sorry).

There was a ton of good music released in 2019, as there is every year. Sometimes it feels like it’s getting harder to find, and then sometimes good jams are unavoidable. “Old Town Road” was something else, huh?

My favorite album of the year, I’m You by Hallelujah the Hills, came out of nowhere and absolutely blew me away. It’s an album that explicitly deals with the stuff that Glorious Noise was founded on: exploring the convoluted relationship between musicians and listeners. I’m surprised and disappointed it hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

My favorite concert of the year was Sincere Engineer and the Hold Steady at Thalia Hall in Chicago. Both bands reminded me how good for your soul it is to get out and see bands with a bunch of other people. It’s church for people like us. I was going to write it up and then realized that back in 2014 I had already written exactly what I planned on saying. Still, I need to constantly remind myself to get out more. The older I get, the easier it is to retreat into my jammies and stay home.

My resolutions this year are to be nicer to the people I love and to go to more shows (and to eat better and exercise). If you’re reading this, feel free to hold me to it!

And what better way to do that than on our beloved old message board? I’d love to see message boards make a comeback. As much as I appreciate twitter for what it is, there’s something special about a bunch of likeminded community members yakking it up in their own space. Yeah, I know, #okboomer, ha ha, very funny, and while we’re at it, let’s bring back blogs in 2020, but seriously: get in there. We miss you. We mean it.

Take of yourself, try to stay sane, and let’s all hope things get better in 2020.

Love,
Jake and the GLONO posse

Continue reading Wrapping Up 2019

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 49

Rolling Stone issue #48 had a cover date of December 27, 1969. 64 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Mick Jagger by Baron Wolman.

This is the final issue of the 1960s and with that we’re wrapping up our series. It’s been fun to revisit these old magazines, and to see how they influenced what we think of as the canon of classic rock. Jann Wenner’s anglophilia and provincial San Francisco biases are almost comically obvious, and it’s crazy to think how much one dude’s opinion continues to affect the entire music industry. Not to say the Beatles and the Stones and even Jefferson Airplane are not worthy subjects of exploration, but there was a whole lot more going on in the sixties than what was featured in Rolling Stone.

Wanner narrowed the definition of the decade down to what took place between the Monterey Pop festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969. Which, really, was just a blip. Everything before 1967 was oldies; everything after 1969 was compromised. Wenner’s idealized version of his early twenties overwhelms and sucks the oxygen out of any other period of music history. It’s ridiculous. But wow, what power!

Seems appropriate that the final issue of the sixties features a story about how the Rolling Stones are still planning to put on a free concert in San Francisco on December 6. At press time, they still didn’t have a location selected. Mick Jagger was pessimistic: “It depends on whether we can get a place. There are so many obstacles put in front of us. It’s gotten so fucking complicated.”

They would end up, of course, at the Altamont Speedway. Things didn’t turn into the “Little Woodstock” as they had hoped, but instead devolved into chaos, bad vibes, and violence, culminating in the stabbing death of Meredith Hunter by the Hells Angels. And that, so the story goes, was how the sixties ended.

Features: “Free Rolling Stones: It’s going to Happen!” by John Burks and Loraine Alterman; “Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Taylor & Reeves” by Ben Fong-Torres; “The Impressions” by Michael Alexander; “The Truth About Teen Movies” by Richard Staehling.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 49

New Kesha video: Resentment ft. Brian Wilson and Sturgill Simpson

Video: Kesha -- “Resentment” (ft. Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson & Wrabel)

Kesha - Resentment (Video) feat. Sturgill Simpson, Brian Wilson & Wrabel

From High Road, due January 31 on RCA. Single out now.

Team Kesha all the way, but to be honest I haven’t listened to much of her music since she dropped the dollar sign from her name. There was a banger a couple years ago (“Woman”) that featured the Dap-King Horns that I thought we had posted something about, but I guess it must have been just a tweet.

Anyway, this song surprised me. Maybe it wouldn’t have had I been paying attention to her, but I haven’t and it did. I might not have even given it a chance were it not for those wtf “featuring” credits. Sturgill Simpson? Brian Wilson? What is this?

It’s an acoustic heartbreaker, that’s what it is. Wow.

I don’t hate you, babe, it’s worse than that
‘Cause you hurt me and I don’t react
I’ve been building up this thing for months
Oh, resentment

Sturgill Simpson’s vocals are right up front to the point where it might as well be a duet. Brian Wilson’s vocals are indistinguishable and if he wasn’t listed you’d never think, “Hey that’s a Beach Boy!” But who knows? Maybe he contributed a subliminal boost of melancholy.

Kesha said, “Brian Wilson is one of my personal musical heroes, so when he said he would collaborate with me on the recording…that moment was one of the most exciting in my career. Then add in Sturgill who I respect and admire so much, as well as my close friend the insanely talented songwriter Wrabel, and this record felt more like a dream than just another song to me.”

In the video Kesha wakes up in a hotel room after sleeping in her makeup, and proceeds to stumble around hungover and full of regret. It’s unglamorous and feels about as real as any video ever released by a major label pop star. It’s not just the vhs filter effect; it’s genuinely moving!

Here’s hoping she finds someone to treat her right.

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

Continue reading New Kesha video: Resentment ft. Brian Wilson and Sturgill Simpson

New Hallelujah The Hills video: Running Hot With Fate

Video: Hallelujah The Hills -- “Running Hot With Fate”

"Running Hot With Fate" - Hallelujah The Hills [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Directed by Tyler Hollis Derryberry. From I’m You, out now on Discrete Pageantry.

“I’m fine. But I’m not okay.” That’s pretty much how everybody I know is feeling these days. So it’s kind of comforting, I guess, to be reminded that we can get through it: “If you think you’re at your limit just remember what some folks survive.”

“Running Hot With Fate” recounts the abbreviated stories of ten characters (“The stories are all real, but the names have been changed,” Ryan Walsh tweeted. “Except for 2 of the names. 2 names have not been changed.”). These are Hemingway bet-worthy short shorts (“Alice wasn’t kidding when she said she saw a UFO / Elliot was ripping up his letters out in the snow”) that reveal that we’re all going through our own stuff.

The triumphant payoff comes in the bridge:

Can you carve a new world from some old clay?
I keep waking up surprised I get another day
Is this free will or is it destiny?
It doesn’t matter who the fuck’s in charge of me

The video features 27 Boston musicians (Tanya Donelly, Ezra Furman, Marissa Nadler, Mission of Burma’s Clint Conley, Galaxie 500’s Naomi Yang, et al.) doing Andy Warhol-style screen tests.

There’s everyone from a performer who stood on stage the first night the Boston Tea Party opened in 1967, to young musicians just getting their start. In fact, the young boy who appears at the beginning of the video doesn’t have a band yet, but has plans to start one called Mollusk, or maybe Kursed. All participants were filmed in total silence for three minutes; they were asked to interact with the camera with their eyes, to have a conversation without words.

You can watch the original, uncut screen tests up on the video’s mini-site.

Director Tyler Hollis Derryberry says, “Maybe our friends are amazing actors, or really good at being emotionally raw on command, or maybe it’s just the Kuleshov-effect, but staring into another human being’s eyes while Ryan sings about searching for strength in other people’s stories turned out to be more moving than Ryan or I could have imagined.”

Yep.

Hallelujah the Hills: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Lucksmiths video: Camera-Shy

Video: Lucksmiths -- “Camera-Shy”

The Lucksmiths – Camera-Shy (Official Video)

From Naturaliste (2003), out now on vinyl by Lost And Lonesome.

Boy I miss this band. The Lucksmiths were so good. Naturaliste was originally released in 2003 on Candle Records in Australia (and on Drive-In Records out of good old Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the States).

Now after a successful crowdfunding effort, bassist Mark Monnone’s Lost and Lonesome printed 500 hand-numbered copies on vinyl. There are still some left so don’t sleep if you want one.

To celebrate the new release, a new video for the album’s lead-off track “comprised of some recently exhumed home and tour movies” from the early 2000s filmed by the Lucksmiths and Ali Dullard in Melbourne and Amsterdam.

So if it’s not too much to ask
Let’s just let the moment pass
I have no wish to be reminded
Of just how awkward I can be

Well I’m happy that nobody took that advice back when they were filming this stuff. It’s wonderful to be reminded of just how awesome this band could be.

The Lucksmiths: bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.