All posts by Jake Brown

New Bob Mould: American Crisis

Video: Bob Mould -- “American Crisis”

Bob Mould - American Crisis (Official Video)

From Blue Hearts, out September 25 on Merge.

Holy shit, Bob Mould’s not fucking around. Nobody like an old punk to articulate existential rage!

Welcome back to American Crisis
No telling what the price is
Wake up every day to see a nation in flames
We click and we tweet and we spread these tales of blame

“‘American Crisis’ is a tale of two times,” says Mould. “Past Time and Present Time. The parallels between 1984 and 2020 are a bit scary for me: telegenic, charismatic leaders, praised and propped up by extreme Evangelicals, either ignoring an epidemic (HIV/AIDS) or being outright deceitful about a pandemic (COVID-19).” Telegenic? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. Reagan, maybe. But our current fuhrer is about as physically repulsive as a human can be.

“These fuckers tried to kill me once. They didn’t do it. They scared me. I didn’t do enough. Guess what? I’m back, and we’re back here again. And I’m not going to sit quietly this time and worry about alienating anyone.” Sock it to ’em, Mould!

Drummer Jon Wurster adds, “We cranked this out a couple months ago when everything was only slightly less fucked up. Proceeds go to @blackvisionscollective and @outfrontmn.”

This is exactly what we need right now. More, please!

Bob Mould: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Weyes Blood video: Wild Time

Video: Weyes Blood -- “Wild Time”

WEYES BLOOD — WILD TIME

Directed by Natalie Mering. From Titanic Rising, out now on Sub Pop.

“It’s a wild time to be alive.” You can’t argue with that!

The new video features Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering and a few of her friends frolicking naked in the woods and then getting freaky with some dayglo paint under a blacklight.

Mering says the video “was shot on 16mm pre-Pandemic, then edited together during isolation. Felt like the right time to let this video out into the world, seeing as we’re all getting saddled down by some pretty grim realities. This song is about yearning for wildness and Mother Nature in a time of chaos. It’s for sensitive people who worry about the fate of humanity and feel powerless to do anything about it.”

The song has a very strong Seventies Creepout vibe. Remember when Karen and Richard Carpenter ate a bunch of acid and spent a week locked up in the studio with Scott Walker? Yeah, me neither. But if that happened I bet the results would sound a lot like “Wild Time.”

Weyes Blood: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Weyes Blood video: Wild Time

New Courtney Marie Andrews video: It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault

Video: Courtney Marie Andrews -- “It Must Be Someone Else’s Fault”

Courtney Marie Andrews - "It Must Be Someone Else's Fault" (Official Video)

Directed by V Haddad. From Old Flowers, due July 24 on Fat Possum.

This is the happiest sounding Courtney Marie Andrews song to date. The video is uplifting as well. The lyrics, on the other hand, are as sad as usual.

Feels like I’ve gone crazy
Like the women in my family usually do
We can’t seem to keep our heads on
Long enough to make it through

Hang in there, Courtney Marie Andrews! You can make it.

Courtney Marie Andrews: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Matt Berninger video: Serpentine Prison

Video: Matt Berninger -- “Serpentine Prison”

Matt Berninger - Serpentine Prison (Official Video)

Directed by Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi. From Serpentine Prison, due October 2 on Book/Concord.

There’s nothing to pull you out of your quarantine funk like hearing an unexpected reference to Big Star in the opening verse of a new song.

I see the starlight through the clouds
Why won’t anybody listen to me?
Don’t make me say it again out loud
Big Star are doing “Don’t Worry Baby”

I had to look that up. Turns out a snippet was originally released on 2008’s Thank You Friends: The Ardent Records Story, but the full recording was finally released a couple years ago on Omnivore’s Complete Third (which I guess I finally ought to pick up now).

“Serpentine Prison” doesn’t sound anything like Big Star, or even solo Alex Chilton. But it was produced by Booker T. Jones, so it’s got at least a little of that Memphis soul.

Berninger says, “The title is from a twisting sewer pipe that drains into the ocean near LAX. There’s a cage on the pipe to keep people from climbing out to sea. I worked on the song with Sean O’Brien and Harrison Whitford and recorded it about six months later with Booker T. Jones producing. It feels like an epilogue so I named the record after it and put it last.”

Some of the lyrics are kind of dumb (“I’ve been picking my kid up from school / Smelling like girl scout cookies and drool”) and there are a lot of forced rhymes, but overall the cumulative effect sets a claustrophobic mood that reflects the lockdown vibe pretty accurately.

Matt Berninger: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Matt Berninger video: Serpentine Prison

New Winnetka Bowling League video: Kangaroo

Video: Winnetka Bowling League -- “Kangaroo”

Winnetka Bowling League - Kangaroo (Official Video)

Directed (from home) by Zack Sekuler. Single out now on RCA.

It shows what a dork I am that I know of Winnetka Bowling League as former Regrettes bassist Sage Chavis’ new band, not Hilary Duff’s husband’s band. I didn’t even recognize Duff in her cameo in this video until after I read that it was her. I was just happy to see Chavis working the bass again.

Sage was the Michael Anthony secret weapon in the Regrettes, her backing vocals and muscular bass giving the band an extra somethin-somethin that’s been missing since she’s been gone. Her charisma shines through in the “Kangaroo” video although she doesn’t play on the recording since she “just started playing bass with us and we’ve only had one rehearsal,” Matthew Koma told Percolator. “So this is sort of the first time we’re playing as a band.”

Koma has written songs for Carly Rae Jepsen, Kelly Clarkson, and Shania Twain so the guy is no slouch even if his lyrics are self-deprecating.

I’ve got a bathtub the shape of a swimming pool
A drum set and a Tele that stays in tune
A wife who’s got a better job
She backs me and my indie rock
I’m kidding ‘bout the indie part, I ain’t that cool
But I’m so happy.

That’s a good attitude. Be happy! Refreshing.

Koma says, “‘Kangaroo’ is a song about being okay with yourself. There’s a freedom that comes with no longer allowing the fear of how people see you influence how you see yourself. Also, there’s a descending bridge section that rips off ‘Born To Run’ and lands into some self-indulgent section I wrote after seeing an ELO concert.”

Good for him. It’s probably relatively easy to be okay with yourself when you’re married to a movie star and you own the publishing on a bunch of hits. Still, the sentiment is good. We’re all right where we’re supposed to be.

Winnetka Bowling League: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Regrettes video: What Am I Gonna Do Today

Video: The Regrettes -- “What Am I Gonna Do Today”

The Regrettes "What Am I Gonna Do Today" (Official Music Video)

Shot by the Regrettes. Edited by Claire Marie Vogel. Single out now on Warner.

The Regrettes are back with a new single to help you make it through another day at home. On Instagram, the band describes it as “a song we recorded ourselves remotely in quarantine and we hope it brings you as much joy as making it did for us.”

both of us are always waitin
for a time with nothin in our way
both of us anticipatin
for a day that can turn into tomorrow
without sayin goodbye.

Well, the wait is over! All the days are turning into tomorrow lately without a lot of difference from one to the next. But that’s alright. Listen how good a band can sound, recording themselves at home. Pretty soon we’re all going to realize that there’s no point in ever leaving the house again!

The Regrettes: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Exbats video: Ghost in the Record Store

Video: The Exbats -- “Ghost in the Record Store”

The Exbats - Ghost in the Record Store

Song for Record Store Day, April 18, 2020 released on invisible vinyl, limited edition of zero, for sale nowhere.

Are you missing shopping for inessential things like vinyl? Sad that Record Store Day has been postponed (or whatever it is they’re doing with it)? Well, just remember that some shops are haunted!

At night you might hear a quiet song
You sense his moves but the lights aren’t on
It’s just that friend and he’s still right there
Filling orders in his underwear!

Too bad you won’t be able to pick this one up on invisible vinyl. I’d line up over night for the chance to score one of these babies in its limited edition of zero! Rock and roll!

The Exbats: bandcamp, insta, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Run The Jewels video: Ooh LA LA

Video: Run The Jewels -- “Ooh LA LA” (ft. Greg Nice & DJ Premier)

Run The Jewels "Ooh LA LA" feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier (Official Music Video)

Directed by Brian & Vanessa Beletic. From RTJ4. Single out now.

There’s nothing like a Run the Jewels song to make you feel better about the world and give you hope for the future! So glad these guys are back right when we need them most.

And it looks they got this video made in just the nick of time!

We shot this video only a few weeks before the pandemic hit with no clue as to what the future held. The fact that we got the chance to do it is damn near miraculous in hindsight.

In conceptualizing the video with our friends Brian and Vanessa Beletic we imagined the world on the day that the age old struggle of class was finally over. A day that humanity, empathy and community were victorious over the forces that would separate us based on arbitrary systems created by man.

This video is a fantasy of waking up on a day that there is no monetary system, no dividing line, no false construct to tell our fellow man that they are less or more than anyone else. Not that people are without but that the whole meaning of money has vanished. That we have somehow solved our self created caste system and can now start fresh with love, hope and celebration. It’s a dream of humanity’s V-DAY… and the party we know would pop off.

Love, RTJ

All hail Run the Jewels, the pride of this great republic!

Run The Jewels: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

Video: The Mountain Goats -- “Until Olympius Returns”

the Mountain Goats - Until Olympius Returns

From Songs for Pierre Chuvin, out now on Merge.

It’s hard not to feel doomed these days. Democracy, empathy, our general welfare: all of these things have been eroding away for the past few years. Longer, of course, but the erosion has ramped up lately like the rising waters of Lake Michigan eating away the shoreline.

Maybe it was inevitable. It’s probably irreversible.

This pandemic and the response to it might be the final nail in the coffin. Will our culture survive?

Our temples are record stores, independent book shops, and small restaurants. Our ceremonies are sweating with strangers in dark clubs with live music. Will any of that even exist in a couple years?

I hope so. We’ll see. Or maybe we won’t.

Do you think the fourth and fifth century pagans throughout the Roman Empire thought about stuff like that while the Christian mobs and Roman armies were systematically wiping them off the face of the earth?

On Songs for Pierre Chuvin, John Darnielle goes back in time to an era that’s hardly recognizable anymore: the 1990s. It was a time when dudes sat on the living room floor and recorded earnest songs about ancient esoterica into boomboxes. They dubbed copies of their cassettes and passed them around to their friends, who dubbed copies and passed them around to their friends, who picked out their favorite songs and compiled them onto mixtapes to impress pals and woo women. The world was physical and the exchange of these artifacts took place in dorm rooms and shitty apartments, face-to-face or delivered to mailboxes.

I first became aware of the Mountain Goats at the tail end of this era. All Hail West Texas was the last album that John Darnielle recorded on his Panasonic RX-FT500 portable cassette player. Since then Mountain Goats albums have gotten gradually more sophisticated, recording in professional studios, adding a bass player, then a drummer, eventually even a saxophone. Darnielle’s compositions have matured as well, as has his musicianship, and several recent recordings feature Darnielle on piano instead of guitar. 2017’s Goths features no guitar at all. It’s jazzy.

Continue reading The Mountain Goats -- Songs for Pierre Chuvin

New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Burlap String

Video: Courtney Marie Andrews -- “Burlap String”

Courtney Marie Andrews - "Burlap String" (Official Video)

Directed by V Haddad. From Old Flowers, due June 5 on Fat Possum.

Courtney Marie Andrews has an amazing voice. I discovered her strictly on the strength of her 2018 album cover, which is still one of my all-time faves. That’s an admittedly goofy reason to check out a record, but in this case it totally worked out. May Your Kindness Remain is as great as its artwork.

Andrews has a new album coming out in June, and this one is all about heartbreak.

Some days are good, some are bad
Some days I want what we had
Some days I talk myself into a lie.

The video is a tribute to a community of musicians in Bisbee, Arizona, where Andrews would visit as a teenager, including a couple named Derrick and Amy Ross who performed as Nowhere Man And A Whiskey Girl. Andrews says they “became my DIY musician mentors, being fifteen years older than me, and showing me it was possible to pay rent off of playing music. I adored them, and we did lots of shows together throughout my early twenties.” Tragically, they both died in 2013. “Losing them was a devastating blow. They were a large part of the Arizonan community. I still go back to Bisbee often, as it’s where my heart belongs in many ways.”

Andrews shot her new video on Young Blood Hill, a place “littered with catholic influenced memorials, shrines and crosses,” including the memorial of her friends. “By the end of the video, I am placing flowers on Derrick and Amy’s memorial, as a way of reckoning with their loss and each loss we grieve throughout our lifetime. Though this song was written for one of the great loves of my own lifetime, I wish to place flowers on heartbreak’s memorial as well.”

Courtney Marie Andrews: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Burlap String