New Dressy Bessy video: Tiny Lil Robots

Video: Dressy Bessy – “Tiny Lil Robots”

Dressy Bessy – Tiny Lil Robots (Official Music Video)

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.

Dressy Bessy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Via apples.

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 31

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.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 31

New Charly Bliss video: Hard To Believe

Video: Charly Bliss – “Hard To Believe”

Charly Bliss – Hard To Believe [Official Music Video]

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

Charly Bliss: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Charly Bliss video: Hard To Believe

New Sebadoh video: Stunned

Video: Sebadoh – “Stunned”

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.

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

New Courtney Barnett video: Everybody Here Hates You

Video: Courtney Barnett – “Everybody Here Hates You”

Courtney Barnett – Everybody Here Hates You (Official Video)

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.

Courtney Barnett: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Micah Schnabel video: New Shoes

Video: Micah Schnabel – “New Shoes” (ft. Thanks Buddy)

Micah Schnabel "New Shoes" featuring Thanks Buddy

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.

Micah Schnabel: bandcamp, twitter, fb, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jenny Lewis video: Red Bull and Hennessy

Video: Jenny Lewis – “Red Bull & Hennessy”

Jenny Lewis | Red Bull & Hennessy (Official Music Video)

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.

Jenny Lewis: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Jenny Lewis video: Red Bull and Hennessy

New Jeff Tweedy video: Family Ghost

Video: Jeff Tweedy – “Family Ghost”

Jeff Tweedy "Family Ghost" (Official Video)

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…

Jeff Tweedy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Jeff Tweedy video: Family Ghost

New Ex Hex video: Rainbow Shiner

Video: Ex Hex – “Rainbow Shiner”

Ex Hex – Rainbow Shiner (Official Music Video)

Directed by M. Wartella. From It’s Real, out now on Merge.

It might be easy to hear this is as just a rifftastic throwaway jam but listen closely.

I got to shine on
Through all the black and blue I got from you
It hits so hard with all the colors that there are

That’s pretty heavy. Or…it’s just a tribute to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” Either way, Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris are real tough cookies with a long history of breaking little hearts like the one in me.

Ex Hex: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

The Road

One of the aspects of rock and roll that gets little general attention is the Sisyphusian life on the road. Ideally the band gets a tour. The tour commences. If things go really well, then (a) the tour gets extended or (b) another tour is established hard on the heels of the first. There is no visible end. Until the end. Then it isn’t pretty.

While touring is certainly a good thing vis-à-vis “making it” (and, presumably, making money), there is a price to be paid for this by the participants. When starting out, travel is fairly primitive and grim. Beat-up vans that have a tendency to break down or buses with a toilet that is dysfunctional on better days. Maybe a motel where the carpet is such that shoes stay on.

If it is a band that has made it, then, certainly, the level of accoutrements is elevated. And while it may seem, initially, exceedingly wonderful to be staying in hotels that had only otherwise been seen while thumbing through a lifestyle magazine in a dentist’s waiting room, that sense of wonder soon dissipates.

Just consider a simple aspect of this. Life on the road means life not spent at home. Not with family. Possibly with friends (but this is no lock, even if a bandmate is family). No possibility of doing “ordinary” things, like going to a favorite restaurant or taking out the trash.

But it is the job. The life.

Somehow the rock musician is elevated in the minds of many who would consider the life of a traveling salesman to be sad, possibly tragic. And how is that different from playing in a band?

A band that has been touring for what could be the definition of “forever” is the Rolling Stones. The extent to which the band is on the road would make the road normalcy and home something unusual.

Continue reading The Road

Rock and roll can change your life.