New Alex Lahey video: Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Video: Alex Lahey – “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself”

Alex Lahey – Don't Be so Hard on Yourself

Directed by Callum Preston. From The Best Of Luck Club, out May 17 on Dead Oceans.

Australian Alex Lahey writes smart pop songs and makes funny videos. And in the first single from her new album, she’s got an important message for all the overachievers out there.

You haven’t had a day off in weeks
Your voice is shaking when you speak
It might not be my place to help
But don’t be so hard on yourself

Self-care, people. When things get stressful it’s more important than ever to find a way to take it easy. Even if that includes whipping out a ripping sax solo!

Alex Lahey: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Luther Russell – Medium Cool

We get a lot of press material at GLONO. Like…a LOT. Back in the days before press kits went digital, Jake and I would get hollered at by the postal workers where our PO Box was in Chicago because they’d have to haul out all these overflow bins full of CDs, band photos and one-sheets. I am embarrassed to say we had to just dump a lot of that stuff. [I sold a ton of them on half.com – Jake.] We simply didn’t have the capacity to get through it all. Especially the really cliched press releases.

My least favorite press release trope is where someone tries to describe a band as “If [Well known, well respected artist A] and [Well respected, but somewhat obscure artist B] got together in [Exotic locale, hip town, or fictional setting] and had a love baby!”

I get it, it’s hard to come up with creative ways to describe a sound that will still resonate with the reader–it’s kinda the whole point of this site. But sometimes, I just wish they’d be straight and say, “Yeah, these guys sound like Badfinger.” I guarantee I would listen to that record.

And so I’ll tell it to you straight: This new Luther Russell album sounds like Big Star. It does. And I fucking love it. And why shouldn’t he have a bit of a Big Star thing going on? We all LOVE Big Star and Russell currently collaborates with Jody Stephens in Those Pretty Wrongs.

Continue reading Luther Russell – Medium Cool

New Andrew Bird video: Sisyphus

Video: Andrew Bird – “Sisyphus”

Andrew Bird – "Sisyphus" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin. From My Finest Work Yet, out March 22 on Loma Vista.

You know the story of Sisyphus: the Greek king condemned to to roll a big boulder up a mountain for eternity. As soon as he gets close to the top, it rolls back down.

Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like the whole goddamn world in 2019, doesn’t it? Feels like we’re all doomed to repeat the same mindless bullshit over and over, and the moment it seems like things might be getting better, we gotta start all over again.

Hopeful people say that the arc of the moral universe is long, and it bends toward justice.

Whatever gets you through the night, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe it.

History forgets the moderates
For those who sit
Recalcitrant and taciturn
You know I’d rather turn and burn than scale this edifice

Bird says the song “is about being addicted to your own suffering and the moral consequences of letting the rock roll.”

Keep pushing, people. It’s all we can do I guess.

Andrew Bird: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Ex Hex video: Tough Enough

Video: Ex Hex – “Tough Enough”

Ex Hex – Tough Enough (Official Music Video)

Directed by Brandon Herman. From It’s Real, out March 22 on Merge.

Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris prove they will still be rocking out long after the rest of have been obliterated by a nuclear apocalypse.

Won’t you meet me out downtown?
We’ll watch the moon spin around
Looking for trouble everywhere
Gonna pull it out of the air.

The band says the song is “all about three-dimensional power chords interplaying with whammy dive bombs. It’s a song about turning on your tough switch and forging ahead through whatever storms are happening around you ’cause you have no choice.”

In recording the album, Mary Timony broke out her Rockman amp: “It’s only about the size of a Walkman and takes eight AA batteries, but it sounds massive. We read that parts of [Def Leppard’s] Hysteria were tracked through it, and when we finally plugged it in, it blew our minds!”

The Rockman was developed by Tom Scholz as a portable amplifier that can achieve the “Boston guitar sound” and has been used by rock luminaries such as Rush, the Go-Go’s, ZZ Top, Megadeth, and the Meat Puppets.

Mary Timony knows how to get a gnarly sound out of a guitar.

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

New Better Oblivion Community Center video: Dylan Thomas

Video: Better Oblivion Community Center – “Dylan Thomas”

Better Oblivion Community Center – Dylan Thomas

Directed by Michelle Zauner. From Better Oblivion Community Center, out now on Dead Oceans.

This is so good! And when’s the last time Conor Oberst has looked this happy? Phoebe Bridgers clearly brings out the best in him.

This whole album is great. Which shouldn’t surprise anybody. Their collaboration on Bridgers’ “Would You Rather” from 2017’s Stranger In The Alps was awesome. At the time we called it “a self-contained short story” in the guise of “a simple, pretty, acoustic duet.”

This new one’s more rockin’ and it suits them both. Their voices blend remarkably well. It’s funny that Oberst is as good of a harmonizer as he is, considering the fact that he doesn’t have what anybody would consider a traditionally “strong” voice. But hey, that’s rock and roll. One half science, the other half soul.

* * *

In other news, Bridgers was a named source in a recent high-profile article about a notoriously creepy douchebag who promised young women help with their music careers only to perv out on them and then get emotionally abusive after they got away. Bridgers wrote a great song about her ordeal (“I hate you for what you did… I faked it every time but that’s alright… Why do you sing with an English accent?”).

Others, unfortunately, stopped making music altogether.

Better Oblivion Community Center: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 27

Rolling Stone issue #27 had a cover date of February 15, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Karen Seltenreich by Baron Wolman.

Having learned a big lesson back in Issue 22 about the power of controversy and nudity, Jann Wenner came up with a 14,000-word, 15-page spread on the story of groupies “and other girls” including the GTOs, the Plaster Casters, Trixie Merkin, and various others. It featured lots of Baron Wolman’s photographs and scandalous tales of women who enjoy hanging out with rock stars.

It apparently achieved the desired result. According to Joe Hagan’s Sticky Fingers, Wenner spent $7,000 on an ad in the New York Times to promote the issue. “When we tell you what a Groupie is, will you really understand? This is the story only Rolling Stone can tell, because we are the musicians, we are the music, we are writing about ourselves.”

A few years ago, Wolman’s photos — and lots of outtakes — and the original text were published as a new book (Groupies and Other Electric Ladies) along with new interviews with several of the women and a foreword by Holly George-Warren. Amanda Petrusich reviewed it for the New Yorker: Reconsidering the Groupie. The Guardian posted some quotes and photos.

Features: “The Groupies and Other Girls” by Jerry Hopkins, John Burks, and Paul Nelson; “Beatles as Cinderella: A Soviet fairy tale” by A. Martynova; “The Motherfuckers: Fillmore East vs. The East Village” by Paul Nelson; “I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone” by Richard Brautigan.

News: “Tim Hardin’s Mom Blows Her Mind”; “2 New Yorkers”; “Arlo & Alice’s Restaurant Hit the Flicks”; “Nudity Gimmick for Bubblegum Music”; “Apple is Alive & Healthy in the UK”; “Stones USA Tour Still Uncertain”; “Who Finishing Rock Opera”; “Record Industry Ups LP and Single Prices”; “The Cream: Final Album and Farewell Film Due”; “Chess Does It Again – Electric Wolf: Man, It’s Dogshit.” Plus Random Notes on Tiny Tim, Grace Slick, Pat Boone, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and the Fugs.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 27

New St. Vincent video: Masseduction

Video: St. Vincent – “Masseduction”

St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION

From MASSEDUCTION, out now on Loma Vista.

St. Vincent just won the Best Rock Song Grammy for “Masseduction” and now she released a video for it. She was up against songs by Greta Van Fleet and Ghost so you know this is a very good rock song. But you knew that already.

At the Grammys she performed a smokin’ mashup with Dua Lipa’s “One Kiss.”

St. Vincent: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New St. Vincent video: Masseduction

New Ben Kweller video: Heart Attack Kid

Video: Ben Kweller – “Heart Attack Kid”

Ben Kweller – Heart Attack Kid (Official Video)

Directed by Robert Strange and Ben Kweller. From Circuit Boredom, due sometime soon on the Noise Company.

I dig Ben Kweller’s grungy Southern rocker look. It suits him.

If you’ve noticed that Kweller has been pretty quiet lately, there’s a very good explanation for that. He and his entire immediate family were all almost killed in a carbon monoxide accident.

“We were in this sweet little cabin and in the middle of the night, Lizzy woke up and said, ‘Ben, get up! Something’s wrong–I feel horrible,'” Kweller says. “I immediately jumped out of bed and collapsed to the ground. We instinctively crawled to the front door and opened it. Fresh air rushed in the cabin. I called 911. We grabbed the boys out of bed, trying to shake them awake, and managed to get everyone outside in the snow. The boys were crying and falling in and out of consciousness–it was like something out of a horror film. When the ambulances arrived, they tested our blood and said our CO levels were so high, we were 15 minutes away from not waking up. Fifteen minutes! We spent the next day in the hospital on pure oxygen and days after that feeling lethargic and mush-brained. When we got back home, I was an incapacitated zombie.”

Fortunately, everybody’s okay, but it took him a few years to be “start the machine back up again” and get back into the recording studio.

Glad he did. I’ve been following Kweller since I first heard “Family Tree” on college radio in 2002. He was just a kid then, but Sha Sha is still one of my favorite albums of that era. And he’s produced tons of great stuff since then as well.

“Heart Attack Kid” is a clear sign of good things to come.

And friends: make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. It could save your life!

Ben Kweller: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Kacey Musgraves video: Rainbow

Video: Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”

Kacey Musgraves – Rainbow (Official Music Video)

From Golden Hour, out now on MCA Nashville.

Fresh off scoring the #1 album on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll and sweeping the Grammys (Country Song, Country Album, Country Solo Performance, and Album of the Year) Kacey Musgraves releases another single from Golden Hour. This is an optimistic piano ballad co-written years ago with Shane McAnally and Natalie Hemby.

The sky has finally opened
The rain and wind stopped blowin’
But you’re stuck out in the same ol’ storm again
You hold tight to your umbrella

It can be heard as a different take on the same metaphor as “Silver Lining” from 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park, maybe even a prequel.

I’m happy that everybody has finally caught up to Kacey Musgraves. She’s been subverting the country establishment for years now. And she’s been on a cosmic trajectory that has achieved a critical consensus that’s pretty uncommon these days. The only thing left for her to tackle is country radio.

Kacey Musgraves: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Kacey Musgraves video: Rainbow

New King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard video: Cyboogie

Video: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Cyboogie”

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Cyboogie (Official Video)

Video by Jason Galea. Single out now on Flightless.

Jake and I often talk about the lack of fun in indie rock. I mean…just look around at all the beard stroking and head nodding going on and you can just tell these folks can’t dance.

Our friends in King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard cannot be accused of taking themselves too seriously. No, these kids have decided to don motorcycle helmets and climb into a synth patch board to crank out nearly seven minutes of old school electro fuzz. It may not be a meat helmet, but Goddamnit, they’re having fun!

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.