What Will You Do When It Is Over?

After a friend read my piece on seeing the Rolling Stones on the band’s now-no-longer-forthcoming No Filter tour, she admitted to me that she had tickets for the show in Detroit. The explanation was simple. She’d never seen the band. She knew that if she didn’t act now she’d not be likely to ever see the band. (An issue on their side, not hers.)

Clearly, a sensible approach. After all, there are lots of things that people go see because they are Important Things. The Grand Canyon. The Liberty Bell. The Empire State Building. The sorts of things that one might check off the proverbial bucket list. Things that are interesting. Impressive. Or just there.

But here we are, in the midst of a situation wherein we are not going to see the seniors, the hole, the broken clanger, or King Kong’s perch. The list may still exist. The things in question still exist. But for now they are outside of our ken because we are all inside.

We are not going to be going to clubs and bars to hear music because those clubs and bars are closed.

And given the razor-thin margins that places like those operate on, when we are able to go back they might not be there for us to go back to.

What’s more, if we think about musicians that performed in those venues, economics are brutal and so they’re going to be in a tougher place than the one they were in before the virus—and that previous one was not in the least bit easy. Many of those people are going to have to give up on their barely paying gigs to try to get another day job.

Music is changed. Perhaps, but let’s hope otherwise, irreparably. Sure, the big acts will be able to coast for a while on the revenues they’ve accumulated, but even they are largely making it only on touring, and to the extend that the tours are on hold, that’s a problem that they may face, as well.
There is another consideration.

Once the stay-at-home advisories are lifted, once we can go back to routines, will we?

Will you shake a stranger’s hand? Will you give an acquaintance a hug?

Will you go to a small crowded club or a large crowded stadium, where the social distancing is a matter of inches rather than six feet?

Or will you decide that it is not worth the risk?

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New Phoebe Bridgers video: Garden Song

Video: Phoebe Bridgers -- “Garden Song”

Phoebe Bridgers - Garden Song (Official Video)

Directed by Jackson Bridgers. Single out now on Dead Oceans.

Phoebe Bridgers is the best. I’m a sucker for sad sack dad rock, and Bridgers isn’t exactly that, but she ticks all the boxes that make me love Elliott Smith, Wilco, and Phosphorescent so much. Her 2017 album, Stranger in the Alps, has been in heavy rotation on CarPlay in my Subaru since she released the video for “Killer” and I realized how amazing she was.

Since then she’s released collaborations with boygenius (with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker) and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst) and sang a song with the guy from the National (which I meant to share but never got to it…it’s pretty good!). She also produced an album by Christian Lee Hutson and the two songs that have been released from that so far are both amazing.

So yeah, I’ve been excited to hear new solo material and “Garden Song” is a tasty appetizer.

And when I grow up I’m gonna look up
From my phone and see my life

Can’t wait to hear more!

Also: DO BONGS.

Phoebe Bridgers: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New of Montreal video: Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist

Video: of Montreal -- “Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist”

of Montreal - Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Directed by Christina Schneider. From UR FUN, out now on Polyvinyl.

It’s fun when Kevin Barnes turns up the guitars. For the past couple of decades he has gone back and forth between making disco beats in his bedroom, and getting down with a full band. Sounds like of Montreal is a badass glam rock band now. Which is awesome.

Barnes told Songfacts, “It’s a cheeky song playing with these different ideas of whether or not you can have blind faith or whether you need to antagonize God into believing in you. We’re always worried about us believing in God, but it’s more important that God believes in you. So it’s playing off that idea, and also with the carpe diem chants in the choruses it’s about not being afraid of life: not letting society or conventionality prevent you from exploring your psyche, exploring your sexuality, exploring all levels of your human experience.”

We don’t wanna be safe, we want experience, we want it louder
It’s crushing our ears, we don’t give a fuck, we want it louder
Loud enough to destroy the talismans of our depressions
We don’t wanna be safe, we want experience, we want it louder

Turn it up!

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

New Lauran Hibberd video: Bang Bang Bang

Video: Lauran Hibberd -- “Bang Bang Bang”

Lauran Hibberd - Bang Bang Bang

Single out now.

I’m a sucker for a catchy pop song with crunchy guitars and a sassy attitude.

“’Bang Bang Bang’ is my favorite song of mine of date, and after writing songs about wanting a sugar daddy and being a hoochie, I feel like this has to be a great achievement,” Hibberd told Billboard. “It’s my ‘Crash’ by the Primitives, my ode to the ’90s teenager and the soundtrack to every mistake I’ve ever made and how I can laugh at that now. Shout out to Brian Jonestown Massacre for heavily influencing the second verse.”

We used to try and catch the first light
I would drive all night, woke in paradise
You used to wipe my name on windscreens
And play Jonestown on repeat…

Gotta love that the kids are rocking out to the Primitive and BJM. I remember getting into the Primitives because Morrissey wore a “Stop Killing Me” t-shirt in a photo in the NME or somewhere. That’s how we found out about new bands back in the days before the internet!

Lauran Hibberd: web, sc, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Shovels and Rope video: Mississippi Nuthin’

Video: Shovels & Rope -- “Mississippi Nuthin'”

Shovels & Rope - Mississippi Nuthin' (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Directed by Marke Johnson. From By Blood, out now on Dualtone.

The video is funny but the song is sad as its narrator deals with feelings of jealousy of a friend who has left them behind.

Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent say, “This song is about a frustrated guy who feels like he deserves more out of life than he’s been given. He was a star in high school and now he’s a regular Joe in the workforce who’s convinced he’s better than his current situation and that he’s about to break out and hit it big with one of his genius ideas.”

We watched you on TV at the recovery
The sound was good but you’re always looking down
Don’t take this personally
But man if that was me
I’d make more eye contact with the camera
And kinda work the crowd

If you live long enough, you’ll probably end up on both sides of this situation at different times in your life. Try to be gracious when you’re doing well and not too bitter when your friends are doing better than you. Ambition is healthy, competetiveness can be gross.

Shovels & Rope: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Via rs.

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New Waxahatchee video: Lilacs

Video: Waxahatchee -- “Lilacs”

Waxahatchee - Lilacs (Official Video)

Directed by Ashley Connor. From Saint Cloud, out March 27 on Merge.

There’s something about the interplay of the guitars on this that reminds me of “Some Kind of Love” by the Velvet Underground. Which is always a good thing.

If I’m a broken record, write it in the dust babe
I’ll fill myself back up like I used to do
And if my bones are made of delicate sugar
I won’t end up anywhere good without you.

Katie Crutchfield talked to Rolling Stone about writing the song. “I was just in a bad mood. Through all of my personal growth and the path that I’ve been on, you have these days where you slip back into bad behavior and patterns of thought. When I wrote that chorus, I was like, ‘All right, we’re going to make this a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.’”

She also recommends watering your flowers with Topo Chico: “Lilacs have a longer lifespan if they drink soda water.”

Good tip!

Waxahatchee: web, twitter, amazon, wiki.

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New Low Cut Connie video: Look What They Did

Video: Low Cut Connie -- “Look What They Did”

Low Cut Connie - Look What They Did

Directed by Adam Weiner and Alex Wroblewski. Single out now on Contender.

Tough shit for the little guy
Living like a chump with his back to the wall

Damn! Adam Weiner pulls no punches in this tribute to Atlantic City. Not only the town, but also to Bruce Springsteen’s classic song, even calling it a sequel to it. As Caryn Rose writes in Backstreet, even the video is a deliberate homage to Springsteen’s 1982 clip.

Rose describes it as an “update and a confirmation; it’s a continuation of the same story, picked up and carried along, updated and renewed, like a modern folk tradition, the one that reminds the people in power that we notice, we are standing watch, we are paying attention.”

They built casinos in 1981
They said the whole freakin’ city’s gonna grow
Donald Trump made half a billion
What have we got to show?

In a press release, Weiner explained, “I figured now that almost 40 years has passed, it was time for a little moral and civic check-in. Let’s see where Atlantic City is at now. What we find is some serious devastation. Trump went in on a lie, made his gazillions, stiffed a lot of people and skipped town. Now he’s running his scam on everyone else. In New Jersey, we had his number a long time ago.”

Let’s hope the rest of the country is starting to figure it out too…

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

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New Anna Burch video: Party’s Over

Video: Anna Burch -- “Party’s Over”

Anna Burch - Party's Over [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

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

And this is why you should never get married outside! Nature is scary and unpredictable. Stay inside where you don’t have to worry about monsters stealing your betrothed.

The video’s silly, but the song is great with the same slow-motion clean guitar tones and warm vocals that first attracted us to her with the addition of some twangtastic Rickenbacker 12-string.

When the party is compulsory
I’ll start getting down
Watch you make the rounds
When did I lose your eye?
Feels like I lost my mind
‘Cause I’m so tired

Burch told Nylon, “I wrote ‘Party’s Over’ after a night out that didn’t go my way. I used to live across the street from a wine bar that was sort of the nexus of my social scene in Detroit at the time. The summer was ending and I was ready to be in a committed relationship that made me feel secure. It’s a song of exasperation and longing, and was one of the first I wrote for the new record. It feels closer lyrically to the songs on Quit the Curse, so there’s a sense of continuity from where that record left off.”

I’m still kicking myself for not making it out to her show last summer at the relatively small Pyramid Scheme venue. Hopefully she’ll come back around to this side of the state this summer. She grew up in St. Joe after all!

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

Continue reading New Anna Burch video: Party’s Over

New Brendan Benson video: Good To Be Alive

Video: Brendan Benson -- “Good To Be Alive”

Brendan Benson - "Good To Be Alive" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Ben Chappell. From Dear Life, due April 24 on Third Man.

Fresh off the heels of the third Raconteurs album, Brendan Benson is back with his seventh solo album. The first single sounds a little less rock than his previous stuff but that’s not so bad. There’s some deliberately noticeable autotune on the vocals that’s a little disconcerting at first but it works with the synth tones of the bass and programmed drums.

The video features rollerskating and dancing with a horse. And why not?

And I’ve been searching for that hunger
That I knew when I was younger
When I was never satisfied.
Now my body’s getting older
But my brain is aging slower
And I feel young inside.

This is a sentiment that a lot of middle-aged dudes can attest to. I’m about the same age as Benson and it’s weird to be in this spot where you look in the mirror and think, Who the hell is the old guy and how’d he get into my bathroom? Getting old sucks balls, no doubt about it, but as Benson suggests in the chorus, it’s certainly better than the alternative.

Brendan Benson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Exbats video: You Don’t Get It (You Don’t Got It)

Video: The Exbats -- “You Don’t Get It (You Don’t Got It)”

The Exbats "You Don't Get It (You Don't Got It)" (Official Video)

Directed by Kenny McLain. From Kicks, Hits and Fits, due March 13 on Burger.

Remember the Exbats, the father-daughter duo from a couple weeks ago? They’re back with a new song, and it’s just as charming and catchy as the previous single with even more of a Shangri-Las vibe.

“We love punk stuff like FIDLAR and Death Valley Girls.” Inez says, “And I love a good pop song from different bands like Pulp, Flight of the Conchords, and 12-year-old Inez would tell you that nobody writes a better song than Harry Styles, but mostly we’re a Monkees family.”

Watch as Inez McLain lugs a big old green screen around the desert as images of various disasters like wildfires, floods, riots, and Betsy Devos flash across the screen.

The Exbats: bandcamp, insta, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.