New Jess Williamson video: I See The White

Video: Jess Williamson – “I See The White”

Jess Williamson – I See The White [Official Video]

Directed by Eli Welbourne. From Cosmic Wink, due May 11 on Mexican Summer.

A cool, moody song about the brevity of existence. Williamson was inspired by the aging of her dog, Frankie. “I noticed the graying of the fur around her eyes, and I realized that she was a physical manifestation of the passing of time, and it was heartbreaking. It’s so easy to act like we have all the time in the world, to feel immortal or invincible.”

She explained to Stereogum:

This song is a love song and it’s also kind of me throwing a tantrum. It’s begging for answers and making a few demands too. I get it, life is short but our souls live on, right? So, I’m gonna need my sweetheart to come too, okay? And maybe my dog. Is that so much to ask? Musically, I wanted this song to feel joyful and pretty, because why shouldn’t we celebrate love alongside the tough questions? Life is wild and beautiful and sad and ecstatic all at once, and I wanted this song to be the same way. We might as well dance and sing and have fun with the time we have because we’re here and then we’re gone, and nothing lasts forever…or does it?

We shall see…

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

New Of Montreal video: Plateau Phase/No Careerism No Corruption

Video: of Montreal – “Plateau Phase/No Careerism No Corruption”

of Montreal – Plateau Phase/No Careerism No Corruption [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Directed by Christina Eleni Schneider. From White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood, out now on Polyvinyl.

Sometimes I worry about Kevin Barnes. I realize it’s not right to try to read too much into the personal life of an artist based on their creative work, but yowza. I hope he’s well. And maybe he is. Perhaps he just thinks serious mental disorders make an interesting lyrical subject matter for disco jams. And maybe he’s right. What do I know?

Barnes explained the origins of this song:

Plateau Phase/No Careerism No Corruption started out as a song I wrote for Janelle Monáe last summer called Fucked In Your Driveway. We worked on it together one magical day in her laboratory at Wondaland but nothing really happened with it, so I reworked it into something very different for my own album. Lyrically I pulled inspiration from Multiverse Theory, the writings of Wilhelm Reich and the economist Guy Standing, Eastern European party culture, and Bluets by Maggie Nelson, as well as my burgeoning new love affair with a woman of mystery and magic. We shot the video in Atlanta at an art/performance space called RowdyDowdy one chilly winter day this January.

I’d love to hear the Janelle Monae version! Maybe some day. In the meantime you can catch Of Montreal on tour this spring.

Of Montreal: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jessica Lea Mayfield video: Offa My Hands

Video: Jessica Lea Mayfield – “Offa My Hands”

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Offa My Hands (Official Video)

From Sorry Is Gone, out now on ATO.

Last time we saw Jessica Lea Mayfield, she was zipping around the desert in a Camaro. Now she’s painting dead fish and contemplating murder.

Making a mess is easy
When you think you know it all
Cause every now and then you make me break a little law

And, of course, after you commit a crime you have to be sure to clean up the evidence: “Gotta wash you offa my hands / Every single DNA strand.” Remember, folks: you have the right to remain silent. Never talk to the cops without a lawyer.

Jessica Lea Mayfield: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Father John Misty song: Mr. Tillman

Audio: Father John Misty – “Mr. Tillman”

Father John Misty – "Mr. Tillman" [Official Audio]

Sub Pop did not respond to our inquiry about whether this was a standalone single, or if it is a preview of the fourth FJM album. So who knows? Not sure anybody even cares about albums anymore. Regardless: new Father John Misty.

“Mr. Tillman” is another entry in Mr. Tillman’s collection of self-referential, image hyperconscious, persona-mocking songs.

Mr. Tillman, good to see you again
There’s a few outstanding charges just before we check you in
Let’s see here, you left your passport in the mini fridge
And a message with the desk says here the picture isn’t his
And oh just a reminder about our policy
Don’t leave your mattress in the rain if you sleep on the balcony

I’m happy to see he’s being funny again. I prefer these kinds of themes over his “the world is stupid and I need to overcompensate for my lack of education” songs. Degenerate wastoids are far more entertaining than self-righteous street preachers.

Ordinarily, we haven’t been posting audio-only streams, and we probably wouldn’t have posted this one except that the final minute of this video features some hilarious green screen footage of Tillman bumbling around some stock photo stills. And if that isn’t enough for you he’s provided the uncut silent footage for you to remix your own video. Which several people already have…to varying degrees of imagination and artfulness.

Father John Misty: web, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Father John Misty song: Mr. Tillman

New Automne video: Soeurs de Coeur

Video: Automne – “Sœurs de cœur”

Sœurs de cœur – Automne

Directed by Joséphine Lajeat. From the Automne EP, due March 23.

Paris has style. I mean, come on. Look at this video. Who has house parties where everybody is so elegant and chic? Not in a trendy or pretentious or stuffy way, but just totally stylish. Wine, pistachios, tarot cards, chaises longues, cigarettes… So damn cool.

Full disclosure: Autumne’s guitarist, Perry Leopard, is a friend. I’ve hung out with him in divy little bars in outer arrondissements far off the tourist track. We’ve listened to his pals play blues and jazz to an audience of a dozen locals drinking 1664s. We also went and saw the remains of the MC5 together at the Élysée Montmartre. Perry’s a great guy, an Alabama native who’s called Paris home for many years, and a fine connoisseur of rock and roll.

And now, he’s involved in a new project with classically trained Parisian cellist Automne Lajeat. They’ve been woodshedding and playing gigs together for about a year along with drummer Thomas Gromb and guitarist David Haddad. They’re planning on recording a full-length album to be released early next year.

My français is très rusty so Perry helped translate the lyrics for me. The chorus (“à mes potes, à mes copines, à mes sanguines, à mes sœurs de cœur”) roughly means “to my homies, to my blood sisters.” And “sanguines” has a double entendre: a “sanguin” is someone who easily gets carried away.

“Sœurs de cœur” is a celebration of friendship, and the video features our women friends, who are poets, theater technicians, photographers, musicians, and painters. The director, Joséphine Lajeat, is Automne’s younger sister, and she and her director of photography, Joanna Cognard, have been a movie-making team for a while. They made Automne’s previous videos for “Lovecrafter” (words are a Patti Smith poem) and “Nedjma.” Their most recent film of their own is a short called Pouce, in which Automne and I have bit parts.

Even if you can’t understand the words, you get the feel of what Automne is singing about. She sounds brave and defiant. The song is arranged beautifully: subtle but dramatic with brooding cello and gnarly guitars and spooky background vocals, building up to the climax: “Aux optimistes, aux féministes!”

Automne: web, facebook, youtube.

Continue reading New Automne video: Soeurs de Coeur

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 7

Issue #7 had a cover date of March 9, 1968. 24 pages. 25 cents. This is the final issue with no real “cover of the Rolling Stone” as we know it. These first seven issues were formatted like a regular newspaper with an “above the fold” area containing the logo and a bunch of content: a photo, a headline, and the first few paragraphs of an article or two. Below the fold would be another article or two…or three. Jann Wenner was cramming as much stuff as he could get into those 24 pages.

Full-page ads: Spirit by Spirit on Ode Records, Rotary Connection by the Rotary Connection on Cadet/Concept, History of Rhythm and Blues on Atlantic, Something Else by the Kinks on Reprise, Young Brigham by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott on Reprise, and The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion by the Incredible String Band on Elektra. Plus one for the Billboard Bookshelf, a selection of books “for the musically-minded.”

Record reviews: Something Else by the Kinks on Reprise by James Pomeroy, Young Brigham by Jack Elliott on Reprise by Barry Gifford, Lofty Fake Anagram by The Gary Burton Quartet on RCA (no byline; i.e., Wenner), The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen on Columbia by Arthur Schmidt, and Mass in F Minor by the Electric Prunes on Reprise by Jim Miller.

Features: Two-page Jimi Hendrix spread by Jann Wenner and photographer Baron Wolman, The Rolling Stone Interview with Ravi Shankar by Sue Clark, and a front page feature about the Jefferson Airplane’s quest for independence. Plus stories about the Charlatans, Albert King, the Maharishi (“He’s Ayn Rand with a Beard”), and filmmaker Bruce Conner.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 7

New Juliana Hatfield video: Physical

Video: Juliana Hatfield – “Physical”

Juliana Hatfield – Physical (Official Video)

Directed by David Doobinin. From Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia-Newton John, out April 13 on American Laundromat.

Woo hoo, this is the second video Juliana Hatfield has released for her tribute to Olivia-Newton John.

Hatfield released a statement to Stereogum:

Olivia Newton-John’s lusty “Physical” is a groovy, bouncy song, but my take on it is darker, more aggro, because I don’t think of lust as fun or funny; I think it’s dangerous and disruptive and mostly unwelcome. So that is my interpretation of “Physical”: the human condition is a bummer, and desire a frustrating impediment to serenity.

I can see her point. But even so, even Hatfield’s downer attitude can’t prevent her version from being fun and groovy. ONJ agrees. She tweeted, “Very flattered that Juliana recorded this cd of my music! Great job!!”

I also like Hatfield’s purple suit in the video, a sly nod to Newtown-Johns’ tights in the original video. (See below.)

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

Continue reading New Juliana Hatfield video: Physical

New Superchunk video: Cloud of Hate

Video: Superchunk – “Cloud of Hate”

Superchunk – Cloud of Hate (Official Music Video)

Directed by Taiyo Kimura. From What a Time to Be Alive, out now on Merge Records.

For someone in their forties there isn’t any music more life affirming than Superchunk. They make you feel alive. They open up the possibilities of what it means to be a grownup. You don’t have to be old and lame. You don’t have to get complacent and conservative. Yeah, I’m working. But I’m not working for you!

Last time I saw Superchunk was almost eight years ago. And in a lot of ways it’s a completely different world now.

You have a dream, a bloody nightmare
For every human that’s not you
You scare the kids, I hope you die scared
Of all the kids that know the truth

As grownups who give a shit, we have no choice but to put our faith in the kids that know the truth. Granted, that’s not all the kids. Exit polls suggest that ~37% of 18-29 year olds voted for our orange fuhrer in 2016. More than one out of three kids are still dipshits. Cloud of hate, float me away.

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

New Skating Polly video: Queen For A Day

Video: Skating Polly – “Queen For A Day” ft. Exene Cervenka

Skating Polly – Queen For A Day feat. Exene Cervenka (Official Video)

Directed by Dave Smith. From The Make It All Show, out May 4 on El Camino.

This is the band that worked with Nina Gordon and Louise Post from Veruca Salt on their New Trick EP last year. For this new song, they’re working with Exene Cervenka of X.

Kelli Mayo told NPR, “The lyrics for this song came from a conversation we had backstage with Exene about the old game show Queen for a Day. The premise of the show was that women with tragic stories (sick children, dead husbands, poverty, etc) would compete against each other for applause from the audience. The winner would get a washing machine or whatever household prize they asked for and be crowned Queen for a Day. Months after this conversation Exene sent me lyrics in a text and we wrote the song around them. She’s singing on the second and third choruses too. We wanted the video to emulate the old show, but also look like it was directed by John Waters.”

Mission accomplished, I guess, although the drummer looks like he should be in Cheap Trick in the 80s instead of whatever mid-60s vibe the girls are shooting for. But whatever. Who cares? The song rocks.

Skating Polly: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Skating Polly video: Queen For A Day

New Willie Nelson video: Last Man Standing

Video: Willie Nelson – “Last Man Standing”

Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing

From Last Man Standing, out April 27 on Sony Legacy.

Willie’s getting old, man! He somehow seemed to stay looking about 40 years old from 1979 to some time in the early 2000s, but dang. Those years have caught up to him. For the record he’s almost 85 and he’s doing a whole lot better than Kirk Douglas. But the grim reaper is knocking on Willie’s door and he knows it.

It’s gettin’ hard to watch my pals check out
Cuts like a wore out knife
One thing I learned about runnin’ the road
Is “forever” don’t apply to life
Waylon and Ray and Merle and old Norro
Lived just as fast as me
I still got a lotta good friends left
And I wonder who the next will be

Let him know you appreciate him while you’ve still got time. As I said after I read his biography by Joe Nick Patoski, Willie is as close to the Buddha as this country is every going to produce.

Willie Nelson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.