From Utopia, out November 24 on One Little Indian.
Bjork sure is a funny little fairy, isn’t she? Look at her flitting around all ethereally while singing about “excess texting” and “sending each other mp3s.” You have to love her. She might look like an anime princess but don’t let that distract you from what is ultimately a beautiful love song about “two music nerds obsessing” and “falling in love to a song.” Dreamy!
I heard this on satellite radio this weekend and of course I found it irresistible. My first inclination, of course, judging solely on the spelling and stylization of the name YUNGBLUD was to change the channel before I even got the chance to hear it. We all have our implicit biases and this is (one of) mine.
Turns out the young blood is indeed a teenager named Dominic Harrison from Northern England (Doncaster in Yorkshire) and the NME has seen “the future” in him. If that’s the case then the future sounds an awful lot like the Arctic Monkeys. Which is fine. The Arctic Monkeys used to be a really fun band before they started taking themselves so seriously.
I hate L.A. I hate what the city does to the people who move there. I hate the type of people who choose to move there. I hate Los Angeles’ clichéd idea of “rock and roll” with all the dudes with tattoos and eyeliner and spiky black hair. You know exactly what I mean. It’s gross.
It’s always been gross. If you think this Harvey Weinstein business is anything new, then you should look into Louis B. Mayer and the shit that was perpetrated on the likes of Shirley Temple and Judy Garland. Read The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West.
But maybe if you grow up there it’s different. Starcrawler doesn’t look like the cliché. They look like a bunch of delinquent teenagers. The band formed in 2015 when 18-year-old lead vocalist Arrow de Wilde met guitarist Henri Cash at their Echo Park high school. Their debut album was recorded by Ryan Adams on analog tape at his Pax-Am studio in Hollywood.
This video was directed by Arrow’s mom, Autumn de Wilde.
Escape-ism is Ian Svenonius. I first heard him way back in 1999 when downloading songs from the Internet was brand new and Svenonius had a band called the Make Up. I probably read something about them in a Greil Marcus column on Salon and then navigated over to listen.com to see if they had any free MP3s available. A couple of those songs ended up on mix discs I made for pals over the next couple of years. That’s how it worked back then, bubba.
Fast forward to the summer of 2016 when I went to see the Black Lips at a local club and an unknown (to me) band called Chain + the Gang opened up for them. The singer was none other than Ian Svenonius and they blew me away with their minimalist, soulful punk rock.
And now Svenonius has a new project, Escape-ism, and a new album on Merge. I’m sure in his mind there are major differences between all his bands, but I dunno. The same raw coolness that caught my attention almost 20 years ago is still in effect today.
Meet me by the car
Cause it’s not parked very far
We’re spending time
And we’re wasting our youth
I like Rakel Mjöll’s phrasing, how she crams a bunch of words into the end of each line in the verse. And the video is way more fun than any formal dance I ever attended. Then again, my prom was held in an era when teenagers were taught that sex could kill you and it was a girl’s responsibility to fend off a boy’s natural impulses. Seems like kids are having a better time of it these days.
London-based and British/Icelandic-born Dream Wife explains the video: “Let’s Make Out is a lighthearted celebration of sexuality. Women are and have a right to be sexual beings. The video is silly, hedonistic and really fun. There is no shame in sexuality, there is no shame in fun. But remember; consent is key.”
This is stupid but it’s good. There’s apparently a backstory about finding a hard drive in dumpster, but who cares? Just listen. If you dug Beck’s Mellow Gold-era b-sides, you’ll appreciate “Beepers & Beepers.”
Werewolf Diskdrive is the new project from Say Hi (To Your Mom)’s Eric Elbogen. The album has “just been released worldwide digitally (and on hand-burned artisanal compact disc).” Reminds me a bit — not musically — of our experience of receiving Deepgrave min og dog’s CD-R in the old P.O. box back in 2003. I hope more bands produce “hand-burned artisanal compact discs.” Way cooler than the godforsaken cassette revival.
From the Nice Life Winter ’18 playlist, out December 8 on Nice Life.
The always subtle Pussy Riot is back with another video denouncing the police state. It’s a cute pop song with a catchy chorus and sarcastic lyrics. Chloe Sevigny plays a law-enforcement officer in the video and forces children to watch videos of Trump and Putin while smashing their toys with her riot control baton.
No problems in paradise, we locked them up
We all have to sacrifice, it won’t be long
Shut the borders, perfect order, sons and daughters
Drink the Kool Aid, it’s the new way, do what I say
In case you miss the point, Pussy Riot released a big statement (below).
Will Oldham is a creepy mother fucker. I won’t at all be surprised to find out that he’s a time traveling folky/murderer who dips in and out of various decades singing about who knows what but creeping us all out just the same. And that’s why I love him: He confuses me to no end. He’s like a living David Lynch film.
In “Treasure Map” we hear Oldham’s voice over video of some woman wandering around a mountain forest, but I don’t know why. It’s probably because I am not as smart as I was when I was younger and enjoyed Lynch. I still enjoy Bonnie Prince Billy even if I have no idea why.
I’ve been in bands my entire adult life. For most of that time, it was the most important element of my identity. Being in a band was not only a crucial creative outlet, but also a social space; it was how I met people beyond what is now the GLONO crew.
The first band I had–or at least the first group of guys who tried to get a functioning, performing band together–was The Silence. We were really only together for a summer, but we played a couple of shows, if you count basements as venues, and wrote and recorded eight songs. The best of these songs was a perfect little piece of electro pop called “Forever Summer,” written by Rick Grossenbacher.
Rick was our keyboardist and sequencer. He loved electronic dance music way before there was anything called EDM. His flavor was more in the vein of Camoflage, Front 242, New Order and Depeche Mode. Man, he loved Depeche Mode. He and Dan, our lead guitarist, would go on and on quoting videos, interviews and studio banter I can only assume came from outtakes and bootlegs.
“Start the tape, Mart.”
At least I think that quote is from Depeche Mode. I don’t really know because that wasn’t my scene. I came from the Brit Pop school and was specifically focused on the Madchester sound of The Stone Roses. Happy Mondays and The Charlatans. The most important Manchester influence for me though was Johnny Marr and he was then in his dance band project, Electronic, with New Order’s Bernard Sumner. So if keyboards, drum machines and sequencers were good enough for Johnny, they were good enough for me.