All posts by Derek Phillips

Courtney Loves Kurt: Over Everything

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile are the cute stoner couple who swear they’re just friends (and don’t even smoke down) and it’s totally true but I still want to believe the better story. To the joy of everyone who loves them both, they announced an upcoming collaboration called Lotta Sea Lice, due October 13 on Matador. If the lead-off single is any indication of the rest of the album then this fall is looking up.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Over Everything (Official Video)

Kurt & Courtney: web, amazon, apple, spotify.

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

Kurt Vile: web, twitter, fb, instagram, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Broken Social Scene video: Vanity Pail Kids

Video: Broken Social Scene – “Vanity Pail Kids”

Broken Social Scene – Vanity Pail Kids (Official Video)

Let me pitch this concept to you: We open with a toilet in a recording studio scatting (get it?) and beat boxing, but his/her baghead record producer just isn’t feeling it.  They decide to take a break and go to the bar where a gang of other bagheads are dancing and drinking the night away. Our hero, the toilet, spies a sink from across the room and is lovestruck. They dream of explosions and a weird Kabuki princess, who tries the toilet on for size before he/she sets off for the desert to meet some wise urinals who tell him/her to chill and just accept the poo/pee humans have to offer. Our hero, the toilet, then hitches a ride with the urinals’ man-about-town, Bud, back to the city, but not before Bud takes a piss in our hero, the toilet. By the end, we’re back in the studio with baghead producer really digging on our hero, the toilet’s improved scat (get it?) performance.

Produced by Joe Chiccarelli with Nyles Spencer and mixed by Shawn Everett, Hug Of Thunder is out now on Arts & Crafts. Buy the physical album or the digital album.

Broken Social Scene: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Tour dates after the jump.

Continue reading New Broken Social Scene video: Vanity Pail Kids

New Carl Barat video: Burning Cars

Video: Carl Barat & The Jackals – “Burning Cars”

Carl Barat & The Jackals – "Burning Cars"

When we first interviewed Carl Barat with Dirty Pretty Things in 2006, his first foray outside of The Libertines, he told us that he liked the idea of being in a gang. It was an idea that fellow Libertine Gary Powell also referenced and probably led him to join Barat in the new jam.

Fast forward eleven years and Dirty Pretty Things is no more, The Libertines are back to being a functional band, and Carlos seems to finally have his gang with side project The Jackals. The video for “Burning Cars” finds Barat and pals playing at being hooligans drinking, fighting and burning…well, not cars but pallets. There’s only so much budget.

From the Harder They Fall, out now on PledgeMusic.

Carl Barat: web, twitter, fb, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Liam Gallagher video: Wall Of Glass

Video: Liam Gallagher – “Wall Of Glass”

Liam Gallagher – Wall Of Glass (Official Video)

I am an unapologetic fan of Oasis. I like a little attitude in my rock and roll and the Gallagher brothers deliver that by the truckload. Noel’s clearly the funnier of the two (and funnier than pretty much everyone), but the younger Liam wins on pure shit-eating grin attitude. His stance alone tells you all you need to know about him, and it’s that trademark posture that takes center stage in the new video, “Wall of Glass” for his debut solo track.

Because he’s Liam Fucking Gallagher, there’s no need for a plot or a narrative in this stylized video full of blinking lights, seedy hotel lobbies and a hall of mirrors. What does it mean? Nothing! The director knows what he has to work with and just sets our kid up in different situations in which to be snotty. And let’s be clear: he delivers.

More importantly, this is the best track Liam Gallagher has released since “The Shock of the Lightning” from Oasis’ final album, Dig Out your Soul in 2008. There were a number of tracks I liked from Liam’s first venture out sans The Chief, Beady Eye, but this track has the right combo of hooks and instrumentation to cut through the noise that makes for a great Gallagher Bros. track.

“Wall Of Glass” is the first track to preview his forthcoming album As You Were, due in October on Parlophone/Warner Brothers.

Continue reading New Liam Gallagher video: Wall Of Glass

New Phoenix video: J-Boy

Video: Phoenix – “J-Boy”

Phoenix – J-Boy

I have a real soft spot for electro-pop. There’s something about the lilting melodies and crystalline synths that brings me back to summers riding around on Honda Sprees jumping from one pool party to another. Except I didn’t have a Spree and I was rarely invited to pool parties as an awkward dope in junior high. But I could imagine the soundtrack and wax nostalgic, even at the time.

French popsters proved to be masters of the genre with 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, an album so packed with perfect break-up/make-up songs that it became the soundtrack to bachelorette parties for two years.

And now the band is back with more of the same on their new album, Ti Amo. And like me, they’re in a nostalgic mood with a video homage to Italian variety shows from the 80s. I tweeted yesterday—largely in response to Ryan Adams’ continued obsession with glossy production—“If we’re going to emulate the 80s, can it least be The Smiths?” I guess not, but this is at least hummable and I can afford my own Spree now.

Ti Amo is due June 9 on Glassnote Records. Pre-order now.

Phoenix: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

New Afghan Whigs video: Oriole

At first I thought, “This is what you get when you give 13 year old boys cameras, a budget and free reign to shoot a music video.” I mean, really: It’s got naked girls running around as stoned witches in the woods with knives and fire. Kinda the perfect video, right?

It turns out that this is the work of acclaimed erotic art director, Amy Nicole Hood.  She’s got an aesthetic to be loved: Witchy, 60s pulp-inspired erotica. Even her Instagram gets the motor running.

The Afghan Whigs – Oriole [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

It all makes for a nice augmentation for the Afghan Whigs’ latest single, which itself is a spooky, smoky song with Greg Dulli’s usual bit of simmering danger.

From the album, In Spades, available now from the Sub Pop Mega Mart.

Afghan Whigs: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

Read a cool interview with Amy Hood: Sex, Power, and the Female Gaze: How Amy Hood Seized the Reins. Her book, Cult Classic, asks the question: “What could possess two young beauties to kidnap a Hollywood starlet and drag her bound and gagged into the California desert for ritual sex and human sacrifice?”

New Charlatans video: Plastic Machinery

Los Angeles has long been a draw for rock bands. The whole “city of angels” thing and Manson and the Whisky…it’s all very alluring.

The Charlatans – Plastic Machinery (Official Video)

The golden hue has got to be even more enchanting if you grew up in a grimy industrial town in northern England so we can forgive the touristy vibe of the Charlatans’ new video for their new single, “Plastic Machinery,” which unfolds like a running Instagram feed.

Of course, it’s hard to ignore the irony of a song seemingly about the shallowness of consumerism, including the music industry, told through a video that almost entirely focuses on the one member of the band who still looks like a young hipster.

Welcome to the machine!

“Plastic Machinery” features Johnny Marr & Pete Salisbury and is the first single from the upcoming album Different Days, out May 26 om BMG. Pre-order now.

The Charlatans: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

The Parson Red Heads – Coming Down

Every New Years Eve The Parson Red Heads cover a different album and invite friends to do the same, creating a night where everyone dresses up like someone else to listen to bands playing someone else’s songs. These kinds of tributes are very popular in Portland, which is odd given the huge amount of talent and original music coming out of this city. But I guess it’s also a fun way for some of these bands to wear their influences (or at least their interests) on their sleeves.

Those influences linger just below the surface in the band’s new single, “Coming Down” from their upcoming fourth studio album, Blurred Harmony. According to their press release, the new album is “the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s ‘Dunedin Sound’ movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.” All of which is true, but mixed up into a stew of its own.

Singer-songwriter Evan Way describes the track as “a song about anxiety, about how life and all it’s mania can start to make you feel like you’re losing it, and how in those moments the people that you love can sort of ground you and bring you back to reality and that sense of safety.”

Blurred Harmony is out on June 9 from Fluff & Gravy Records.

Video: The Parson Redheads – “To the Sky” (Live on OPB)

The Parson Red Heads: To the Sky

Parson Red Heads: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.

*This article has been edited to correct the title of their album and the night they host their covers show.

Old Gibson Plant in Kalamazoo Getting Facelift

I was lucky enough to have spent some of my formative music years in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Not only was it a tour stop for national bands (Kalamazoo being exactly half-way between Chicago and Detroit), but it also had a banging local scene comprised of bands that I still count among my favorites. All of this was built on the foundation of a guitar company that stands as one of the pillars of American musical instruments: Gibson Guitars.

Founded in 1902 as “The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd.” in Kalamazoo to make mandolins and guitars, the main plant was at 225 Parsons St. when Gibson left for Nashville in 1984. Heritage Guitars moved in shortly thereafter and while they made fine guitars, the small company kinda let the building go to pot.

But now new owners Archie Leach and Jeff Nicholson, who bought Heritage Guitars in 2016, are bringing the old girl back to life. Local Spins reports that the company is investing in their history and…ahem…heritage with a $12 million renovation of the plant to “turn the factory into a destination for tourists and local residents, while keeping the legacy of Gibson and Heritage alive and well in Kalamazoo.”

And because this is Michigan, there are plans to include a beer garden and restaurant as part of the renovations, which are expected to be complete by the end of 2018 or in early 2019.

Continue reading Old Gibson Plant in Kalamazoo Getting Facelift

Be Still My Beating Heart – Greta Van Fleet

I was listening to one of those new music mixes on Apple Music and catching up on work when this song popped up and I thought, ‘This new Heart sounds pretty good!” Except it wasn’t Heart, it was Frankenmuth, Michigan’s own Greta Van Fleet. More on that in a bit.

Heart is one of those bands that had a bunch of chart dominating singles, insanely talented writing, vocals and musicianship, especially in the sister duo of Ann & Nancy Wilson, but very few bands wear them on their sleeves as obvious influences. I’m not sure why that is, but I can’t think of a single band where I can say, “Oh yeah, these guys obviously love Heart.”

So when the vocals came in on Greta Van Fleet’s new single “Black Smoke Rising,” I was pleasantly surprised to hear the connection. I mean, there’s no way this vocal performance is not influenced by Ann Wilson, right?

Black Smoke Rising

It gets better. It turns out that it’s not even a modern-day Ann Wilson fronting this band. In fact, there’s isn’t a female in sight! Greta Van Fleet is a four-piece band of dudes—three brothers and a friend! So it’s not a sister act emulating the Wilsons, but a brother act. How great is that?

But wait, there’s more!

Continue reading Be Still My Beating Heart — Greta Van Fleet