All posts by Derek Phillips

Spoon: The Band We Can All Count On

They say you shouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t like puppies or babies. That’s kinda how I feel about anyone who doesn’t love Spoon. I mean…what’s not to love? Soulful vocals and witty lyrics; smart, economical instrumentation; beats and rhythms that make you DANCE; all peppered with hoots, hollers, grunts and groans that let you know rock music is supposed to be visceral.

Full transparency: Jake Brown was not always on the Spoon train and I can tell you that there were several whispered conspiratorial conversations around the office keg. We considered executing the 25th Amendment until he started to come around. I am pleased to say the state of the GLONO union is now strong.

Hot Thoughts is Spoon’s ninth studio album and builds on the same blue print established way back on 2001’s Girls Can Tell. This is a band who is consistent, if not creatively challenging. Once they broke (albeit slightly) from the jagged corners of their first two albums, the mold was set and they’ve honed the product more than redesigned it. And I am totally down with that. It’s a wonder how consistent, and consistently good, Spoon is. Given how shitty things are elsewhere in this country it’s really nice to know we can count on a solid record from this band every 24 to 36 months.

One area of exploration I have enjoyed from these guys is their occasional dips into dance-y pop music. I think it started with 2005’s “I Turn My Camera On,” which is a staple of any indie kid’s dance mix. This year we have “Can I Sit Next To You” as an early contender for Summer Jam 2017. It’s the kinda song that will make middle-aged dudes pine for pool parties that don’t include swim diapers.

If you’re reading this then you probably already have the new album so I’m not going to sell it. But I’d love to open up a conversation in the comments about the elements of Spoon that make them our favorite band. Because there are common elements, some of which are noted above and some of which get turned into criticism for other bands. Why?

Continue reading Spoon: The Band We Can All Count On

Paul McCartney at Pappy and Harriet’s Looks as Amazing As You’d Imagine

How many times have you watch a bar band cover The Beatles? How many times has that band actually included a Beatle?

On his way to Desert Trip, AKA Oldchella, Paul McCartney and band stopped off to play a quick set at Pappy and Harriet’s, a high desert bar with a capacity of 300 people. Yes, three HUNDRED people.

By the looks of this fan video of the band playing “A Hard Days Night,” I probably would have peed my pants and then exploded had I been there.

Paul McCartney A Hard Days Night live at Pioneertown 10/13/2016

Photo via Paul McCartney’s Facebook.

Three Hundred Things People Are Saying About #TrumpDoc

trumpdoc

A lot of people are saying things about this photo. Not us, but a lot of people. Some very smart people; the best people.

I updated my Facebook picture with his smirking mug and added a couple comments. That got people talking…a lot of them.

Here are 300+ things people are saying about #TrumpDoc (of the 570, and counting).

  1. Can’t stop telling you about the time he met Donald Fagan at a boat show.
  2. Ends every question during a physical with, “If you know what I mean…”
  3. Signs your high school physical form on sight, asks if your mom’s dating.
  4. Asks if you’ve ever ridden in a convertible, casually dangles Sebring keys.
  5. Won’t stop asking if you’ve signed up for his band’s mailing list.
  6. Has a secret stash of Zima on his boat, Breakin’ Wind.
  7. Says Michael McDonald is “the voice of my generation!”
  8. Thinks AOL is the Internet. Concurrently somehow still has a NetZero account.
  9. Invites you over to see his margarita glass signed by Jimmy Buffett after he “saved his f*ckin’ life from a ‘gator the size of a goddamn Buick” in a parking lot in the Keys
  10. His favorite coffee mug is a badly stained, circa 1985 plastic one with a barely legible racist joke on it. It leaks, so he wraps it in a bandanna. Continue reading Three Hundred Things People Are Saying About #TrumpDoc

Chris Staples – Golden Age

Chris Staples_HeadshotI maintain a playlist called Golden that pulls together a bunch of songs that give me fall shivers and nostalgic heartstring tugs. There’s loads of Beck’s Sea Change, Kurt Vile’s Walking on a Pretty Day, Steve Gunn’s Sundowner, Elliott Smith, Damien Jurado, Lord Huron, and now…Chris Staples.

Staples’ new album, Golden Age, shares more in common with those songs and that feeling than its title. There’s a type of sadness, without being maudlin. And maybe that’s to be expected. After a rough patch where Staples was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that resulted in pancreas failure, a bike accident that required surgery, and the dissolution of a long-term relationship, Chris Staples is afforded some sad bastard time.

But that’s what’s great about this record: it’s not sad bastard music. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some of that. But Staples’ album maintains a bit of pop bounce with lovely melodies and simple production. It’s been described as a “subtle” record, which I guess is as good anything I would come up to describe the production. Because subtlety implies hidden complexity, and this record has that in spades.

Give a listen to lead off track “Relatively Permanent” and tell me you aren’t ready to sit down with Chris, have a beer, and talk about where you grew up.

Continue reading Chris Staples – Golden Age

Dawes – When The Tequila Runs Out

Dawes have released a new single ahead of their fifth studio album, which is titled We’re All Gonna Die. The video, and the single, show our boys fully embracing much of the “we’re all fucked so let’s party” attitude that dominates the Top 40 these last few years. It’s a pretty catchy tune too with a chorus that alerts us to the fact that “when the tequila runs out we’ll be drinking Champagne.”

Dawes – When The Tequila Runs Out (Official Video)

We’re All Gonna Die, will be released via the band’s own HUB Records on September 16. Preorders taken now.

Noel Gallagher Remixes Oasis Track for Reissue

On second thought…

Be Here Now was the 1997 follow-up to Oasis’ massive hit, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? To say the former met with mixed reviews given the bar set by the latter is an understatement. In hindsight, everyone seemed to just be confused. Lots of people initially praised it as “bold” and “ambitious,” only to turn around and poo-poo it as “self-indulgent” and “bloated.” Noel Gallagher himself adding to the chorus. As The Chief said in Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop:

“It’s the sound of … a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck. There’s no bass to it at all; I don’t know what happened to that…And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there’s a fuckin’ guitar riff in there in a Wayne’s World style”.

Of course, they say hindsight is 20/20 and with 20 years of reflection, maybe we can give Be Here Now another look…another listen.

Posting on Facebook, Gallagher said, “As the years went by I’d started to accept that the songs on Be Here Now were in fact insanely long… too long! Someone (I can’t remember who) had the idea that we re-visit, re-edit the entire album for posterity’s sake.”

A total album remix? Now that’s interesting. And this might not set off the shit storm George Lucas faced when he revisited the original Star Wars trilogy. No, this was not tampering with a beloved title, but the opportunity to right some wrongs. Han will always shoot first.

Alas, “We got as far as the first track before we couldn’t be arsed anymore and gave up….it does sound fucking mega though!”

Oh well. Here then is the remix of the lead-off track, “D’you Know What I Mean,” which hilariously is only one second shorter than the original. Also, where’d those big ass NWA drums go?

And the original…

Live: Graham Nash in Portland

If I am being honest, I am just as guilty as anyone—maybe more so. I see “legacy” acts touring and think, “Why bother? They can’t be as good as in their prime.” Sometimes I’ve been proven right when a band that hasn’t spoken in 20 years gets together for a tour only to realize they stopped speaking for a reason and should leave us all out if it. But sometimes I am proven wrong; gloriously wrong.

Graham Nash has always been the secret ingredient. His harmonies are unmatched, and that’s evident in the work he’s done from The Hollies, to CSN(Y), and anything else he’s lent that magical voice to. It’s a high harmony, which is a big responsibility to hold in a singing group because those are the notes everyone really hears. Guys like David Crosby and Chris Hillman have a special gift for the harder to find middle parts, but they can also hide a little easier. With Nash, it’s right out there hovering over the entire song. That means his voice needs to be in top form, lest we all walk away just a little disappointed.

Continue reading Live: Graham Nash in Portland

Who The Fuck Is Julie?

I spent a week or so with my grandparents in the spring of 1977 when my sister was born. I was very close with my grandparents and loved getting to stay with them for a WHOLE WEEK. As a bonus, my aunt secured permission from her principal to let me attend a day of classes at her high school.

If you’ve seen Dazed & Confused, you have a good idea of what my experience that day was like…with a rural flair. There were a lot of muscle cars mixed in with non-ironic overalls and cowboy boots. Of the many memories I have of that time what I remember most clearly is the music. There was one song in particular…

Jessi Colter wrote “I’m Not Lisa” and recoded in 1975 (I guess it took a while to catch on in the Midwest) with her producer and husband, Waylon Jennings. On its surface, it’s a pretty standard country tune about a woman lamenting the fact that her man isn’t over a previous lover. The first verse of the song is:

I’m not Lisa…
Lisa left you years ago
My eyes are not blue
But mine won’t leave you
‘Til the sunlight has touched your face

Who can’t relate to that? Competing with the ghost of a lost lover is frustrating, if for no other reason than having to answer the phone with, “No, I’m not Lisa. Can I take a message?”

But then things get weird. Because I left out part of the first line of the song.

I’m not Lisa, my name is Julie

Wait, what? Colter made it clear she’s not Lisa, we understand that. But guess what? She’s not Julie either! She’s Jessi! Who the fuck is Julie?

We know she’s not Lisa, because Lisa was “your morning light/Her smile told of no night/Your love for her grew/With each rising sun.” Lisa sounds pretty awesome. I wonder what happened to her?

And then one winter day
His hand led hers away

Of course! It was…HIM! But maybe Lisa wasn’t so awesome if she could simply be led away by some dude in the middle of a winter day. It wasn’t even under the cloak of night!

I’m still wondering though: WHO IS JULIE? Did Jessi Colter have a breakdown of some sort? Was she in witness protection and just blew her cover in a highly successful MOR country ballad in heavy rotation?

I don’t have any answers, I don’t even have a conclusion to this post. But this song has baffled me for years.

Winaloto – A Song and Video for Trump’s America

It happens in every election cycle: Some candidate tries to co-opt a popular song to punctuate a message in a rally or other live event, only to raise the ire of the artists who created the song. It usually happens to Republicans, because…well…they suck. And really, who can they turn to? Ted Nugent?

This week, Republican presidential nominee and human bag of spoiled Orange Julius sludge, Donald Trump took heat from the Rolling Stones, Queen and George Harrison’s estate for playing their music during live events. It seems nobody wants to be associated with the Donald though the Internet is having a field day with suggestions.

And I have my own: TOMMY CASH – WINALOTO

Continue reading Winaloto – A Song and Video for Trump’s America

Free Download of New Wilco Song Available

Celebrating one year since the surprise release of their last album, Star Wars, Wilco has posted a new song free for the taking—just give ‘em an email.

Wilco – Locator

If you like the somewhat stutter rhythm and cryptic lyrics of the band’s recent work then you’ll dig this song plenty.

Remember these guys?