All posts by Jake Brown

New Warlocks video: Dear Son

Video: The Warlocks -- “Dear Son”

The Warlocks - "Dear Son" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Vicente Cordero. From The Chain, out now on Cleopatra.

It’s been 17 years since Bobby Hecksher’s psychedelic Warlocks first blew our mind with The Phoenix Album. I still rank “Shake the Dope Out” and “The Dope Feels Good” as two of the best songs of that whole turn of the century “garage” rock scene. Seeing them at the first Chicago-based Lollapalooza in the middle of the day was a highlight of the whole weekend. And Johnny Loftus’ review of a 2002 Double Door show is one of my favorite things we’ve ever published.

And now the Warlocks are back with a brand new concept album about “two star-crossed lovers who commit a bank heist together.”

Hecksher recently talked to the Big Takeover: “In the video, we see them commit the crime and get caught. The Warlocks are playing to the fictional movie as if scoring it or writing music to it as it’s happening. Our male lead Rocky (played by Tygh Runyan) influences our female lead Diamond (played by Leslie Gladney) by fear to do the crime and her lawyers plead this. She’s loosely a Patty Hearst-type character and gets off. Rocky gets a public defender and the book is thrown at him.”

Right on. Bonnie and Clyde it up!

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

New Phoebe Bridgers video: Kyoto

Video: Phoebe Bridgers -- “Kyoto”

Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto (Official Video)

Directed by Nina Ljeti. From Punisher, out June 19 on Dead Oceans.

It’s got to be so hard being a musician right now with no way to tour to make any money. How do you even promote an upcoming release if you can’t assemble a crew and make a video?

Well, as we’re seeing, artists are getting creative and doing it themselves, working from home like the rest of us.

In Phoebe Bridgers’ new video, she gallivants around Japan without leaving the comfort of her jammies. Dead Oceans says the original plan was to shoot the video on location, but who needs that hassle when you’ve got a green screen and some old Godzilla footage? Plus, you know, the whole global pandemic situation…

The only evidence of potential social distancing violations is a little hiccup with the person holding the fan who accidentally gets into the shot. They’re fired!

Day off in Kyoto, got bored at the temple
Looked around at the 7-11.
The band took the speed train, went to the arcade
I wanted to go but I didn’t.

Bridgers says, “This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.”

We love your ballads, Phoebe Bridgers, but this is good too!

Phoebe Bridgers: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Phoebe Bridgers video: Kyoto

New Hallelujah the Hills video: People Keep Dying (And No One Can Stop It)

Video: Hallelujah the Hills -- “People Keep Dying (And No One Can Stop It)”

People Keep Dying (And No One Can Stop It) [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

From I’m You, out now on Discrete Pageantry.

I wish the songs I love would stop being so goddamn appropriate to our current situation but so it goes. Welcome to 2020. Pour yourself a stiff one.

Many years ago for our honeymoon my wife and I went to Italy and visited the Capuchin Crypt in Rome. It contains the artfully arranged bones of 3,700 dead monks. The idea, apparently, is to remind us of our mortality. My favorite section contains a clock made out of arm bones with an inscription that translates to: What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you soon shall be.

Yep. Might sound glib but it’s true. Give or take 50 or 60 years, which is just a meaningless blip in the universe, our time will come. Can you take this fact and artfully arrange it? Hallelujah the Hills does.

Ryan Walsh says, “It’s a heavy song from a heavy album, and people have been asking about or pointing to this particular song frequently as things are getting worse and worse with COVID-19 in the U.S.A. The truth is, this song is about the baseline human condition that we’re all gonna die. Sadly in this current situation, we actually could’ve stopped some of these deaths if we had an inkling of competent leadership in the country. But this song was always about confronting that terrifying aspect of life as a way of realizing how special every single day is. It’s really hard to do right now, so, personally, focusing on creative things, like making video art with your friends, is a decent way to try to stay sane.”

Staying sane is key. Don’t freak out.

We’re all gonna die. Sic semper erat, et sic semper erit.

Hallelujah the Hills: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Christian Lee Hutson video: Talk

Video: Christian Lee Hutson -- “Talk”

Christian Lee Hutson - "Talk"

Directed by Han-Su Kim. From Beginners, due May 29 on Anti-.

As a global pandemic threatens to kill off an entire generation of old people, what better timing for Christian Lee Hutson to release some literal dad rock?

I’m pretty busy
So please forgive me
If I forget to
Not forgive you

I see a lot of my friends struggling to deal with their parents as they get old and weird and their souls are corrupted by talk radio and Fox News. Our folks left us with a lot of their baggage and it hardly seems fair for them to keep piling it on, decade after decade.

I will no longer grieve you
when I have to see you
it’s no use denying
you belong to the dying
And I couldn’t care less
Life’s just a real slow death
Yep, that’s what I was taught

But ultimately Hutson admits, “Okay, so I care a lot.” They’re old. They’ll be dead soon enough. Cut them some slack and try to make the best of the time you have with them. Right?

It won’t be long before our kids think of us that way, if they don’t already. Hopefully they’ll be kind to us and overlook our inevitable, impending kookiness. It’s as tough to be a good parent as it is to be a good kid.

Christian Lee Hutson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Rentals video: Invasion Night

Video: The Rentals -- “Invasion Night”

The Rentals - Invasion Night {Official Music Video}

Directed by American Primitive. From Q36.

What are you going to do after an alien invasion wipes out the entire population, leaving only you and a new pal? Wander around, drive some cars, take a boat ride.

The video is beautifully shot by American Primitive’s Jacob Mendel and Travis Keller. Keller, who you will remember as the founder of Buddyhead, said, “The themes are isolation and the end of the world… should be pretty relatable to everyone this week.”

But, you and I, we didn’t die; we’re still alive
Just waiting for the world to end (is this the end?)

That’s the question we’ve all been asking lately.

This latest version of the Rentals features Matt Sharp along with Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Ronnie Vannucci, the drummer from the Killers. They’ve been trickling out singles and videos every couple of weeks since November, and the double album is due in June.

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

New Norah Jones and Jeff Tweedy video: I’m Alive

Video: Norah Jones -- “I’m Alive” (ft. Jeff Tweedy)

Norah Jones - I'm Alive

From Pick Me Up Off the Floor, due May 8 on Blue Note.

Well I suppose the title of this song is a rather important affirmation in these times of social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation. I hope you, too, are alive and will remain so for as long as reasonably appropriate.

This is a weird thing to be going through, and there have been times over the past couple of weeks where not even listening to music has worked to calm the fear and loathing that rises from my depths of my guts every time I think about how our orange fuhrer and his Republican enablers have botched the response to this crisis. It’s maddening.

But what can you do? Stay home, laugh at memes, and try to comfort those around you. Try not to take out your anger on the undeserving. Watch “Tiger King” and marvel at the wonders of the universe. We are all just blips in the timeline. This too shall pass.

And in the meantime find some joy in this new song by Ravi Shankar’s daughter, recorded with Jeff and Spencer Tweedy at the Wilco Loft.

Just sit and wait, don’t move
Just hesitate
You can hope and pray
You can moan
Maybe things will change.

Things will change. They always do.

Norah Jones: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Phoebe Bridgers video: Garden Song

Video: Phoebe Bridgers -- “Garden Song”

Phoebe Bridgers - Garden Song (Official Video)

Directed by Jackson Bridgers. Single out now on Dead Oceans.

Phoebe Bridgers is the best. I’m a sucker for sad sack dad rock, and Bridgers isn’t exactly that, but she ticks all the boxes that make me love Elliott Smith, Wilco, and Phosphorescent so much. Her 2017 album, Stranger in the Alps, has been in heavy rotation on CarPlay in my Subaru since she released the video for “Killer” and I realized how amazing she was.

Since then she’s released collaborations with boygenius (with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker) and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst) and sang a song with the guy from the National (which I meant to share but never got to it…it’s pretty good!). She also produced an album by Christian Lee Hutson and the two songs that have been released from that so far are both amazing.

So yeah, I’ve been excited to hear new solo material and “Garden Song” is a tasty appetizer.

And when I grow up I’m gonna look up
From my phone and see my life

Can’t wait to hear more!


Phoebe Bridgers: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Phoebe Bridgers video: Garden Song

New of Montreal video: Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist

Video: of Montreal -- “Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist”

of Montreal - Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Directed by Christina Schneider. From UR FUN, out now on Polyvinyl.

It’s fun when Kevin Barnes turns up the guitars. For the past couple of decades he has gone back and forth between making disco beats in his bedroom, and getting down with a full band. Sounds like of Montreal is a badass glam rock band now. Which is awesome.

Barnes told Songfacts, “It’s a cheeky song playing with these different ideas of whether or not you can have blind faith or whether you need to antagonize God into believing in you. We’re always worried about us believing in God, but it’s more important that God believes in you. So it’s playing off that idea, and also with the carpe diem chants in the choruses it’s about not being afraid of life: not letting society or conventionality prevent you from exploring your psyche, exploring your sexuality, exploring all levels of your human experience.”

We don’t wanna be safe, we want experience, we want it louder
It’s crushing our ears, we don’t give a fuck, we want it louder
Loud enough to destroy the talismans of our depressions
We don’t wanna be safe, we want experience, we want it louder

Turn it up!

Of Montreal: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Lauran Hibberd video: Bang Bang Bang

Video: Lauran Hibberd -- “Bang Bang Bang”

Lauran Hibberd - Bang Bang Bang

Single out now.

I’m a sucker for a catchy pop song with crunchy guitars and a sassy attitude.

“’Bang Bang Bang’ is my favorite song of mine of date, and after writing songs about wanting a sugar daddy and being a hoochie, I feel like this has to be a great achievement,” Hibberd told Billboard. “It’s my ‘Crash’ by the Primitives, my ode to the ’90s teenager and the soundtrack to every mistake I’ve ever made and how I can laugh at that now. Shout out to Brian Jonestown Massacre for heavily influencing the second verse.”

We used to try and catch the first light
I would drive all night, woke in paradise
You used to wipe my name on windscreens
And play Jonestown on repeat…

Gotta love that the kids are rocking out to the Primitive and BJM. I remember getting into the Primitives because Morrissey wore a “Stop Killing Me” t-shirt in a photo in the NME or somewhere. That’s how we found out about new bands back in the days before the internet!

Lauran Hibberd: web, sc, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Lauran Hibberd video: Bang Bang Bang

New Shovels and Rope video: Mississippi Nuthin’

Video: Shovels & Rope -- “Mississippi Nuthin'”

Shovels & Rope - Mississippi Nuthin' (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Directed by Marke Johnson. From By Blood, out now on Dualtone.

The video is funny but the song is sad as its narrator deals with feelings of jealousy of a friend who has left them behind.

Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent say, “This song is about a frustrated guy who feels like he deserves more out of life than he’s been given. He was a star in high school and now he’s a regular Joe in the workforce who’s convinced he’s better than his current situation and that he’s about to break out and hit it big with one of his genius ideas.”

We watched you on TV at the recovery
The sound was good but you’re always looking down
Don’t take this personally
But man if that was me
I’d make more eye contact with the camera
And kinda work the crowd

If you live long enough, you’ll probably end up on both sides of this situation at different times in your life. Try to be gracious when you’re doing well and not too bitter when your friends are doing better than you. Ambition is healthy, competetiveness can be gross.

Shovels & Rope: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Via rs.

Continue reading New Shovels and Rope video: Mississippi Nuthin’